Week 23: November 7th

Dr. Seuss Food!

November is upon us, and so are some of our favorite Fall foods. For those of you who are experiencing your first ever season of Valley Flora Harvest Basket eating, you’ll probably open your tote this week and wonder, “What in the $%&@ is that?!”


Welcome to the season of Dr. Seuss food. Some of the fall vegetables we grow are whimsical or weird-looking, and for many people this might be the first time you’ve ever seen them, much less eaten them.


SO, here is a quick primer to some of the more unusual suspects in your tote this week:

  • Brussels Sprouts:If you’ve ever bought these in the store, they are usually sold off the stalk, like little green golf balls. We harvest ours on the stalk and leave it to you to pluck off the sprouts, for a couple of reasons:
  1. The Dr. Seuss factor: they look so cool and Seussian on the stalk!
  2. Speed: We can harvest way more Brussels sprouts in way less time if we whack the whole plant down with one big machete swing. It’s a marital arts workout, harvesting these things: first, you make two good karate chop swipes down the plant to strip the leaves off the stalk. Next, you take aim with a big machete and fell the stalk at the base. Finally, you throw the stalk up in the air and with samurai accuracy, cut it exactly in half while it spins slow-mo above your head. Ideally, the two halves fall neatly from the sky directly into place in a harvest bin. Sort of a Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon thing…
  •  Giant Storage Kohlrabi: It’ll be hard to miss the hefty green soccer ball in your tote this week. You remember those petite little kohlrabis from the spring? Well, this is a souped up fall version, specifically intended to get big and to store for a month or two. You can use it just like the spring varieties: peel it and either eat it raw or cook it. The  Kohlrabi and Apple Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette on our website has gotten rave reviews from Chef Evan Boley at Barnacle Bistro. Try it, or any of the other recipes we have posted at: http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/recipe_search/results/kohlrabi
  • Hakurei Turnips: They’re back for their fall debut! The bunch of white roots in your tote is NOT a bunch of white radishes; they are that sweet, buttery, eat-‘em-raw turnip you first sampled last spring.
  • Celeriac (also called celery root) : This is the big, hairy, gnarly root in your tote, and it’s one of those vegetables that you should definitely not judge by its looks. Intimidating and gruff on the outside, this baby is tender and delicious on the inside. It’s incredibly versatile, with a mellow, nutty, sweet, celery flavor and tender, smooth texture. I have done ALL of the following with celeriac:
  1. Roast it. Cube it up, toss it with potatoes, beets, carrots, parsnips, Brussels sprouts, or any other hearty vegetable, douse with olive oil and salt, and roast in the oven at 425 until tender and slightly browned.
  2. Steam it. Simple and divine, with a little olive oil or butter and some salt.
  3. Soup it. Adds wonderful depth to any soup, especially potato leek!
  4. Mash it. Boil it up with potatoes and then mash them together.
  5. Hash it. Fry it up with spuds, onions, and spices and serve it alongside eggs.
  6. Sautee it. Thin slices in a frying pan, alone or with other veggies. Ooo la la.
  7. Store it. Celeriac will keep for a long time in your fridge. Like weeks and weeks. That gives you plenty of time to make friends with it, find a recipe you like, consider dating each other, and then maybe take the plunge. HOWEVER, do consider the fact that celeriac is a great ingredient in Thanksgiving foods (think, stuffing, mashed potatoes, etc.). I mention this because you will be getting a couple more of these alien orbs the week of Thanksgiving. The point of this week’s celeriac is to help you get warmed up so that you’ll be ready to put it to good use for Turkey/Tofurkey/TurDucken Day.


Thanksgiving Harvest Basket Details – PLEASE READ!!

Speaking of Thanksgiving, here are some VERY important details about your Thanksgiving Harvest Basket. There are usually three burning questions that I field each year:

  1. Q: WHEN will I get my Thanksgiving basket?

A: Please MARK your calendars, because the week of Thanksgiving will be different. For the week of November 21st, we will be delivering ALL Harvest Baskets on Wednesday, November 23rd to ensure that everyone gets their produce BEFORE Thanksgiving. That means that folks who pick up in Port Orford or Bandon will get their tote on WEDNESDAY the 23rd INSTEAD OF the following FRIDAY (11/25) or SATURDAY (11/26). Please note: Port Orford and Bandon totes for the prior week (week of November 14th) will be delivered on their normal schedule (November 18th for P.O. and November 19th for Bandon).


Pickup Hours on Wednesday, November 23rd will be as follows:

·      Coos Bay: Normal hours, Wednesday from 12-3 pm

·      Valley Flora: Normal hours, Wednesday from 9-4 pm

·      Port Orford: WEDNESDAY, starting at 10:30 am (pick up anytime after 10:30 am)

·      Bandon: WEDNESDAY, starting at noon (pick up anytime after 12 pm)


Just to reiterate, there will be NO HARVEST BASKET DELIVERY on FRIDAY, November 25th to Port Orford or SATURDAY, November 26th to Bandon. We will be too busy digesting. We will resume our regular delivery schedule the week of November 28th, a few pounds heavier.


2.   Q: WHAT will be in my basket, so I can plan my Thanksgiving menu accordingly?

A: You can tentatively expect: 1+ pound of shallots, 2 stalks of Brussels sprouts, 1 pound of carrots, 2 celeriac and/or 4 stalks of celery, one head of escarole or head lettuce, 5 pounds of yellow finn potatoes, and a sunshine winter squash (great for stuffing and baking, or mashing, or making pie).


       3.  Q: WHAT IF I can't pick up my basket that week?

A: No problem. Lots of folks are out of town the week of Thanksgiving. If that’s the case for you, you have two options:

  1. We can store your share for you in our walk-in cooler and you can pick it up at the farm upon your return, OR
  2. We can donate your share to a local foodbank.

Either way, PLEASE let us know if you will not be able to pick up your share and we can make arrangements.



The Last of the Uglies…(except for our very ugly carrots, which will continue to be very ugly until the bitter end)

Also in your totes this week, the last of the yellow onions (sigh, sniff). Eat ‘em quick before they’re doomed for your compost. And the last of the ugly butternuts. Both of these crops were intended to see us through the end of the season in December, so the next five weeks of produce will look a little different than planned. You will be getting lots of leeks in place of the missing onions (remember you can use them JUST LIKE onions, in any recipe) and you’ll be getting some beautiful squash that you normally would have seen sooner, like Delicatas and Sunshines.


In your share this week:

  • Head Lettuce
  • Carrots
  • Yellow Onions
  • Broccoli
  • Hakurei Turnips
  • Butternut Squash
  • Celeriac
  • Storage Kohlrabi
  • Brussels sprouts


Kitchen Tips

Don’t forget to visit the Recipe Wizard to find ingredient-specific recipes, or go to the Recipe Exchange if you have a recipe you’d like to share with everyone!


Please note: all of our produce is field-rinsed, not washed. We recommend you wash all of your produce before eating it.


Farm Fact of the Week

This week’s farm fact is that it’s impossible to come up with a clever farm fact when your 9-and-a-half-month-old baby is destroying your office as you try to finish the newsletter.