- Italian Parsley
- Eggplant - the last of it for the season!
- Head Lettuce
- Red Onions
- Hakurei Turnips - back for Fall!
- Winter Squash: Starry Night (the speckled one) and Honey Bear Acorn
Shifting into Fall
This month-long streak of sunny, dry weather - plus the omnipresence of late-season tomatoes - has created some cognitive dissonance with the actual calendar. Blindfolded, I'd guess it was late September. Eyes open to my wall calendar and lo and behold! We're two weeks away from November. Bets, the tomato/pepper farmer at Valley Flora, is away for a few days, which means the fruits of her labor are absent from the CSA share this week. Instead, filling in (and helping to remedy my acute case of calendar-date-denial), some of our quintessential fall favorites: the first of our 10+ different winter squash varieties, hakurei turnips, and for some of you this week - romanesco cauliflower!
Tomatoes might well be back next week for another round or two, but not the eggplant. We had our last harvest yesterday and promptly tilled the plants in to make way for winter cover crops. I know that makes some of you sad, but not all of you. See below, Exhibit A: Unloved Valley Flora Eggplant Kicked to Curb in Bandon. (By the way, that photo was taken by a friend of Valley Flora in early September, when the eggplant was still scarce and on rotation for each town, NOT in mid-October after getting 5 straight weeks of quasi-abundant eggplant in your share). It turns out that even during our worst eggplant season on record, it's still too much eggplant for some folks. :)
So long unloved Solanum melongena, howdy doody Cucurbita pepo! There are two different acorn squashes in your share this week to kick off our winter squash season, which lasts through December and into the new year. All of our winter squash varieties have been curing in our warm greenhouse for the past week or two, after being clipped from the vine and hauled out of the field. Over the course of the next 8 weeks you'll see Delicata, Butternut, Spaghetti, Kabocha, Pie Pumpkins, and a few specialty varieties, including this week's "Starry Night" acorn. We trialed Starry Night last year and it got rave reviews from our farmstand customers, who loved the sweet, nutty flavor. In hopes that you'll do your own little side-by-side taste test, we're giving you a regular green acorn (Honey Bear) as well as a Starry Night. Send us your feedback! Acorns are most commonly cut in half, baked face down (put a little water in the sheet pan to help steam-bake the squash), and then eaten with maple syrup and butter floating inside the squash boat. Sounds like a great plan for a rainy weekend.
A quick, obligatory note about winter squash safety: they've got tough hides and they roll around, so don't cut your hand off with a kitchen knife! Some CSA members swear by microwaving them whole for a few minutes to soften the skin slightly, which makes it easier to pierce and cleave them with a knife. Others opt to bake them whole for awhile, then cut them up. Me, I like to live on the edge so I always go after them without any pre-softening, but without fail I use our sharp-tipped, heavy-bladed chefs knife to do the deed. I stabilize the squash, get the tip inserted into the skin, and then work the blade around the circumference of the squash until it's cut in two. I still have ten fingers, so far. Other varieties, like Delicata and Butternut, are easier to work with without lopping off a limb. Acorns are one of the toughest - pretty much the black diamond of squash hacking - so be careful!
If you want to go hog wild on winter squash, or squirrel extra away for winter, we've got most of our varieties available at the farmstand now, in abundance. We're open every Wednesday and Saturday, 11:30 to 2:30 through Thanksgiving. After Thanksgiving it'll be Wednesdays-only until December 14th.
Looking forward to the rain so very much, for the soil, the pastures, the cover crops, the creek, the fire-faded sky. Time to make soup.