Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Last Garden Chores of 2013


Yes, it's 2014 and I'm just finishing garden chores from last year!  It is always so - some things can just wait and since I always seem to be busy, wait they do!  The chores involve food, food for storage.  More specifically, dried beans and onions.  Both were fine: the beans were unshelled in pails, the onions had been properly cured and were in crates.  They were fine, but not particularly easy to access.  What finally got me going?  Well, it's time to clear and clean the sun room and get ready to start growing in 2014.

The beans are one of our favourites: Jacob's Cattle.  They are excellent for soups, stews, pork-and-beans and refried beans.  They matured on the bushes and I got them picked in early October, when the pods were brown and crispy.  I had them in a crate for a few days to dry, then they went into pails and into the sun room.  I like to clean them by hand - I sit in front of the TV in the evenings and shell them.  I've tried a lot of different methods like putting the pods in a sack and whacking it on a wall or post but I find it all messy.  I think I get a cleaner product just shelling gently into a pail and discarding the largely intact pod.  I still go through the shelled beans carefully for debris and bad beans before storing in glass jars.  I'll look through them again before I cook them, but I find less debris then beans I've bought at the store!  You do always go through dried beans, right?

The onions were just fine, I just wanted to get them into smaller storage and in a mesh bag that I could hang in the back room.  I cleaned some of the dried skin off and have a beautiful bag ready to use.  A little dusty and messy; perhaps it was a job better for doing outdoors last fall but that's what vacuums are for, right?

Now that's two pails and two crates out of the sun room.  What remains are four crates of assorted winter squash and a few loose squash on the floor.  We're still eating winter squash, I'm still going to bake and freeze some for muffins and such, and the goats and chickens are still getting some real food snacks!  But the sun room is almost clear and ready for the seed starting unit to come back inside.  It's time to get growing again!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Good Bye, Sweet Blaze.

We had to say good bye to our dear friend Blaze today - Farmer Man's best friend.  We knew it was coming but somehow you're still never quite ready to lose a pet.  He'd been slowing down this past summer and fall; he no longer followed either of us anytime we left the house, he slept more, he ate less.  We knew he didn't hear much anymore and suspected his eyesight was going.  Then, two days ago he just seemed to lose the use of his back legs.  We found we had to hoist up his back legs to get him to walk, he'd stagger outside and just lie down even in frigid weather.  We'd have to go hoist him up again to get him back inside.  He couldn't, um, lift-his-leg to do his business and would just fall down into whatever business he had done.  It was time to say goodbye...he could no longer function as a dog.

Blaze, a Border Collie cross, came to us through our pal Molly.  Almost twelve years ago Molly was a very young lady working for the summer at the Clear Lake trail riding ranch, which also held the Clear Lake/Wasagaming pound.  She had called home to her Mom saying that a lovely dog had come into the pound and was due to be put down and she just couldn't let that happen.  He had obviously been on the run a while and was a mess, but seemed to have a beautiful disposition.  Molly worked on finding him a home and when his time at the pound was up, Mom Nancy supported Molly's call and took the dog out of the pound.  Thank you, ladies!

Molly eventually got in touch with us, knowing that our farm dog Nicky was very elderly.  We had always loved the breed: Jes had always been interested in frisbee sports and a Border Collie would be a great match.  Farmer Man wasn't in town but I went over to Nancy's to meet the dog and fell in love!  I brought him home and Blaze was a bit of a surprise present!  Our vet, Dr. Sherry at Wheat City Vet, estimated he was three to four years old at the time.

It wasn't easy at first!  Blaze wasn't well socialized and we had the big farm dog (a Malamute) and we had little Teddy Bear, the diva.  Blaze also didn't like cats at all and the old farm cat Peanuts had to scratch his face a few times to teach Blaze some respect.  Because I didn't know the dog and was still working on walking him and teaching him simple commands, when I was working in the gardens early on I would tie him up someplace close by.  Soon, he was chewing through the rope to be free to come lie down beside me, where ever I was working.

Blaze really became Farmer Man's dog: Jes was always up-and-out earlier than I was.  Blaze would be with him every minute of the day.  When Farmer Man was working on the tractor, Blaze would find a place in the shade and just watch the tractor go up and down the rows.  At potato planting, when the speed is a little slower, Blaze would follow the tractor, up and down the rows. If the farmer was hoeing, Blaze would be lying someplace close.  He might take some time to go swim in the dug out, smelling bad for a time after, but he was never far for long.

When we acquired Grizzly Bear, Blaze and the puppy developed a special relationship.  I don't know if it was because Grizzly was the youngest, but he would groom Blaze intensely, licking his ears, face and even his teeth!  I wonder if Grizzly will miss him?  Blaze eventually became the most accepting dog, showing no problems with visiting dogs, barn cats, chickens and goats.  Even though he absolutely had Border Collie in him, he never showed any inclination to 'herd' anything, but that's okay.

Blaze was the kind of dog that didn't care about toys or treats - he just wanted love and pats!  Oh, he'd chase a ball or frisbee, sometimes he'd bring it back.  But what he loved most was getting his tummy rubbed and his ears scratched.  He was always a hit when we did farm tours, even with children because he would just lie down, roll over and offer his tummy!

I know we'll just automatically be looking for him for a while; it will be hard to find him 'not there'.  Hopefully, he had a good life and enough love and pats!  And we'll see him again....over the Rainbow Bridge.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

It's Been A While...


I've been a bad, bad blogger.  Nothing written for a couple of months.  I think that's the longest I've ever gone since we started the blog!  It's not that nothing has been going on - it's just....it's just....

There's a couple of reasons: I find it so fast and easy to update on our Facebook page.  A photo, a couple of lines and presto!  Done!  Doing a blog post, to my mind anyway, involves more 'serious' writing, an essay every time, more thought, more preparation.  And Facebook often gives more instantaneous feedback: a like, a comment within minutes.  Second, by the end of our season we're so tired and cranky it's hard to write something upbeat and enthusiastic - which is how we like to have the blog.  And this wasn't a fantastic year for us, so it was hard to find the motivation to write.  I really just wanted a break, I guess.

So what's been going on since we last blogged early in October?  CSA went into the first week of October for the first time, an indication of a less than stellar year.  We were at the Global Market just Saturday's through October.  We were still harvesting in October: carrots, onions, hauling in winter squash.  First sweeps of the squash patches were for what was really ripe and ready for CSA and for markets.  We left squash on the vine to continue to ripen until hard frost, which came about the end of October.  We eventually took even unripe stuff hoping it would ripen in the sun room and because you can never have enough - it's great for feed for chickens and goats.  Ongoing problems with the tractor made harvest more difficult.  We can bring in a lot in a tractor bucket and much less in a wheelbarrow, so our work was made a little slower.

October was also all about making soap!  I'd signed up for a few craft shows and needed a good supply of our lovely goats milk soaps, well cured!  The soap made in October was well aged for December sales!  Three weeks is about the minimum our cold-process soap can be cured, so I was happy to have soap at least six weeks old for sale!  Created some new types of soaps and acquired some new molds that let me do guest sizes and some festive shapes!  There was quite a learning curve for the small molds; I found that at first I was letting the soap set-up too much so I was trying to get thick glop into tiny shapes.  Worked that out eventually!

The other challenge with both soaps and blogging has been computer problems.  The old office computer is dying and printing the labels I needed became a challenge with frustrating lock-ups and crashes.  Then, the newer laptop started to act up with the track pad going off - sometimes it wanted to just grab-and-move everything, or just highlight everything, or just ignore being clicked.  Trying to send a simple email might take five or six tries of hitting the 'Send' button before anything happened.   The laptop also decided it didn't want to recognize the printer.  Just writing this blog post I've had to stop three times to un-highlight text.  Aaaaargh!

November was about cleaning the barn and chicken coop, renovating and getting all the critters ready for winter....and breeding for the goats!  We almost completely emptied the barn of equipment and stuff, broke down the pens, hauled out old bedding and then re-built new pens with brand new bedding.  Farmer Man must have taken out forty tractor buckets of old bedding!  That, like harvest, took a while as Farmer Man was working off the farm and the tractor was acting up from time to time.  But that, also, eventually was completed.  On Remembrance Day, Randi the buck got his most fervent wish and got a couple of lovely ladies to live with.  Assuming he did his 'duty', we should have some babies mid-April.  We were still milking Mabel and Chocolate, so we didn't put them in with Randi at that time, because it would be too difficult for me to get them out of Randi's pen to milk.  I'm doing chores alone five evenings a week while Jes is at work and I'm a little intimidated by the exuberant Randi - he's a friendly buck, but enthusiastic.  We started the process of drying off the two milkers, which means milking less and less until they stop producing.  So we'll have another batch of babies, hopefully, mid to end of May.  That will ease things a bit; it got a bit crazy last Spring when the does all had their kids within 36 hours of each other and some of the babies required bottle feeding - don't want to do that again!

Mid-November to now has been about me finding some work, Farmer Man working a lot, always the chores, craft shows, fighting with computers, baking, thinking about getting ready for Christmas.  It's been busy! 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

CSA For October 1st - The Last Tuesday Share!

Things are really winding down.  The gardens show signs of... age, shall we say.  There are few flowers on any of the plants, leaves are browning and getting crispy, the fruit trees are turning golden.  In this last pick up of the season for Tuesday's families we're going to be sharing some goodies that will last you for a while! We regret that our potato harvest has been such a disaster...I really notice the absence in the shares.

It drives us crazy, this time of year, when recipes call for a can of pumpkin puree.  This is the time to make your own using fresh and local squash!  Awesome to pull out of the freezer in the dead-of-winter for soups, casseroles, muffins and more!  Here's some easy instructions here.  We don't puree it at the time, just mash it a bit.  We put one cup portions into freezer bags; they stack nicely and don't take up a ton of freezer space.  Then, grab one when you're ready for muffins!  We freeze some different purees: Hubbard, Kabocha, Acorn - all are great for most recipes!  One delicious way to use winter squash is as an easy pasta suace!  This one boils the skinned and cubed quash with stock for a Butternut Pasta Sauce.  Try this Winter Squash and Balsamic Pasta Sauce from the Cookin' Canuck for some zing!

A few more recipes for your arsenal: this Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Galette sounds divine!  For breakfast, how about a Baked Pumpkin French Toast?  This would be really nice with Hubbard or Kabocha winter squash!  And, you can prepare it the day before, bake it up in the morning!  Here's a great treasury of squash recipes to bookmark:  26 Pumpkin Recipes.

We're sharing our tomato harvest, even though very little is ripe.  Here's a great link (from a fun website) on how to ripen tomatoes indoors.  Here's another great post for ripening tomatoes indoors from one of fav bloggers - we follow her blog Farmgirl Fare regularly for great recipes and fun shots of her farm.

As a little, parting treat:  our summer sown beans are ready - not in the quantity we might like, but a nice taste for everyone!

So, in the share this final week:  For everyone: tomatoes, beans, carrots, Delicata squash, Buttercup squash, Spaghetti squash and for the Part and Full shares Sugar Pie Pumpkin!

Enjoy! And thank you so much for 'eating' your summer with us!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

CSA For September 26th!

A touch of frost on the Buttercup squash!
Not the kind of day we'd prefer for getting ready for our CSA families!  Raining when I got up, we got a little window-of-opportunity mid-morning, then rain again, then stopping early afternoon.  Fortunately, we had winter squash already harvested; cucumbers, carrots and tomatillos may be mucky! Fall is so apparent in the garden - a touch of frost on the leaves, cucumbers are starting to grow in odd shapes and hardly any flowers are apparent so it's probably the last taste of cucumber this season.  The summer squash are finally slowing down, but they are not done until hard frost, which is not in the forecast.  We're also seeing more 'nibbling' by wee creatures, admittedly some by our free-ranging chickens but also mice, raccoons and others are stocking up for winter!

Today is the second-to-last share for Thursday's families!  At the final share next week we hope to stock you up with some winter squash - so it will be a heavy one!  Today has some weight to it, too!  We'll also share tomatoes with everyone next week - ripe or not!  You can ripen them on your counters - just turn them everyday so that they don't get soft spots where they sit!

It drives me absolutely crazy, this time of year, when recipes are posted online that call for a can of pumpkin puree!  This is the time of year to use fresh....and CSA members should definitely be roasting some of their Winter Squash and freezing one cup portions for yummy baking all winter!  We freeze them in the small, zip-top bags - they stack so nicely in the freezer and don't take up much room.  Nonetheless, this recipe for Pumpkin oatmeal cookies sound delish!  We'll be using regular whole wheat flour, regular brown sugar and they should still be awesome!  This Pumpkin Sheet Cake with cream cheese icing also sounds good - and easy!  Both these recipes would be awesome with Kabocha squash, a little more nutty flavor with Buttercup or Hubbard!

Here's one to bookmark: a link of links to a myriad of winter squash recipes!  The Pumpkin Fritters with salted caramel sauce sound divine - Kabocha squash would be awesome in that one!  The pumpkin pretzels sound fun, too!  There's just a ton of great links for everything from appetizers to soup to dessert!  And if you love a hot breakfast, try this Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal!  For dinner, here's a Chicken Pot Pie with Squash and Bacon!  Also found this recipe for Hummus made with Winter Squash - perfect for Sunday football games!  The recipe is using Delicata, and I'm not sure we'll have enough to share but you can, as always, substitute another winter squash.  Hopefully next week we'll have at least a few Delicata on the trading table!

If you've got tomatillos to deal with here's an easy and yummy recipe for Roast Tomatillo Salsa!  Tuesday member Reta did a version of this and is a big fan.  Jes got to sample it and is now a big fan, too!

So, in the boxes today:

FULL SHARES:  Winter squash Hubbard (the pointy orange one), Kabocha (the round orange one), spaghetti and acorn, summer squash either Patty Pan or Crookneck and zucchini, cucumber, apples, peppers including jalapeno, Hungarian hot wax and Thai chili, carrots.

PART SHARES:  Winter squash including Hubbard, Kabocha and spaghetti, summer squash Moroccan and zucchini, cucumber, apples, peppers including jalapeno and Hungarian hot wax, carrots, tomatoes.

SINGLE SHARES:  Winter squash Hubbard and spaghetti, zucchini, apples, jalapeno and Hungarian hot wax peppers, carrots, tomatillos.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

CSA for September 24th!

This is the second last pick-up! This will be the one of the latest seasons, with the final box in early October, but we did start later than ever this year what with a cool, moist Spring!

It's Winter Squash season now...and you'll be getting a bit of a 'stash' in these last two weeks.  We always say that they are somewhat interchangeable in recipes...except spaghetti squash, although if mashed up or blended well enough it's very good in all the recipes!  The recipes will taste differently, depending on the squash you use, but all good!  Everyone is getting a spaghetti squash today, so here's a brief review on roasting spaghetti squash!  So, here's a pumpkin custard that's dairy and gluten-free!  Awesome dessert for Thanksgiving dinner!  This would be awesome with pumpkin, Kabocha, Hubbard or Boston Marrow.  A bit more nutty and textured with Buttercup or Acorn.  Do you like a breakfast smoothie?  Here's a super healthy Pumpkin Pie Smoothie!  This includes kefir, a healthy probiotic, which you can purchase at local health food stores or substitute yogurt!  This is a somewhat simpler Pumpkin Smoothie with bananas and milk or yogurt!  Just 'cause it is 'the season', here's a recipe for Pumpkin Pie Spice.   Make it up ahead then you're ready for all those muffins, pies, loaves, smoothies and custards!  For us, we're going to probably quadruple a recipe like this...it's not going to go bad, right?  How about starting your day with Winter Squash Baked Oatmeal?  And then, if you want to be slightly more decadent...how about Butternut Swirl Cheesecake?  Or Pumpkin Gingerbread, although ignore the part that calls for a can of pumpkin puree and use your fresh baked!

Winter squash are not just for dessert!  How about Squash and Bean Tacos, with Tomatillo Salsa?  This S'ghetti-Q Squash with BBQ beef and loads of cheese sounds yummy but pretty simple!  Start the morning with Pumpkin Pancakes made with coconut flour!  Here's more traditional Pumpkin Spice Pancakes; we've made these and they were fluffy and tasty!  And soup...you've got to make soup with some of your winter squash!  They all freeze well, for make-ahead-meals!  Here's a Buttercup Soup recipe.  Here's one that we've made: Curried Squash and Apple Soup!

And just because there has been some nice tarragon of late, courtesy of Tammy and Mike, how about a Grapefruit Tarragon Gin and Tonic after a hard day?

So, in the boxes today:

FULL SHARES:  Winter squash including Hubbard (the pointy orange one), Kabocha (the round orange one) and spaghetti, Summer squash including zucchini, and Patty Pans, cucumbers, tomatillos, mixed peppers, apples carrots.

PART SHARES:  Winter squash including Hubbard, Kabocha and spaghetti, Summer squash including zucchini and Patty Pans, beets, pepper mix, apples, carrots, tomatoes.

SINGLE SHARES:  Winter squash Hubbard and spaghetti, Summer squash zucchini and Romanesque, mixed peppers, apples, carrots, tomatoes.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

CSA on September 19th!

Rather a mucky, squishy, damp, cool day preparing for CSA!  All the veggies will be damp and probably still a little dirty!  We highly recommend that you get the potatoes and tomatillos out of the plastic bags and let them air out and dry out!

Yes, everyone got some tomatillos today!  They are a tomato relative, but tart and dry.  They are what Mexicans and Central Americans make their awesome Salsa Verde from!  If you didn't see Tuesday's blog - check out this great link with a ton of great things to make with tomatillos!  We're going to try the tomatillo sauce on chicken this weekend!  Lots of people like them fried like green tomatoes, sometimes coated, sometimes not!

Yes, the summer squash keeps coming!  Love this simple appetizer with zucchini roulade: thins strips of zucchini wrapped around ricotta cheese and other goodies!  Also love this dessert recipe from Fruit Share Manitoba: zucchini crabapple crisp!  That uses up a bit of local food: perhaps you've got a crabapple or apple tree in your yard?  Here's a nice recipe for a zucchini apple muffin!  This dessert cake sounds delicious:  Patty Pan Bar - with cinnamon frosting!  Of course, any of the summer squash can be substituted!  CSA member Terra found this scrumptious looking recipe for Patty Pan Quesadillas!

As the Winter squash comes along - here's some other great uses!  We roast up large squash and freeze one cup portions of the meat.  We use the small freezer bags so they stack beautifully in a corner of the freezer.  Grab one, that and whip up these fabulous muffins - they are a go-to breakfast for us in the winter!  We've made these muffins with virtually all winter squash and they're all great, but Hubbard is definitely one of our favorites!  We've also replaced some of the flour with whole wheat and spelt, and just upped the oil a titch!  If you save just 3 tbsp. of that pumpkin meat you can make your own Pumpkin Chai Latte.  Or how about this Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake, which uses applesauce instead of oil and is lower in sugar!  How about a Pumpkin Spice Almond Butter - paleo and vegan! Easy and would be great on pancakes, toast or fresh biscuits!

So, in the baskets today:

FULL SHARES:  Buttercup (green) and Hubbard (orange) winter squash, zucchini, cucumber, tomatillos, Chioggia beets, carrots, a mix of Warba and Sangre potatoes, Hungarian Hot Wax peppers, tomatoes, corn, apples.

PART SHARES:  Buttercup winter squash, cucumber, tomatillos, carrots, mix of Warba and Sangre potatoes, Hungarian Hot Wax peppers, corn, apples, zucchini.

SINGLE SHARES:  Buttercup winter squash, cucumber, tomatillos, carrots, Hungarian Hot Wax peppers, corn, apples, zucchini.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

CSA For September 17th!

So much potential!

We're quite lucky being up here on the North Hill.  There's a touch of frost on some of our plants, in more exposed, open areas from the cold, cold evenings of the weekend.  We've gotten nothing like friends lower down in the valley!  But still worrisome: we look around at the potential of green tomatoes and green butternut squash.  Will we, or you, ever enjoy them?

The cool weather seems to have kick-started the tomatillos!  They've ripened like crazy, so we're able to share them this week.  Tomatillos are a staple in Mexico and Central America.  They're used most commonly for true green salsa: Salsa Verde!  They are related to tomatoes, but are tart and dry, with a papery covering.  They are awesome fried:  check out this recipe for coated and pan-fried tomatillos!  Here's a great link with a number of different recipes: we're liking the looks of Shrimp and Tomatillo baked stew or chicken with tomatillo sauce.  And the tomatillo and pineapple salsa sounds fine, as well!

The deer got into the chard, again!
The deer got into the chard again, just as it was looking good!  They've also been nibbling at the foliage of the carrots, we see.  They ate down the chard and the beets early on; the chard bounced back a little bit better than the beets.  But, we've dug beets today - what the heck!  We want to get some to everybody before CSA is over.  There is just enough for the Full Shares today - and that took a bit of digging!  I think they're a nice, small size - Farmer Man thinks they're a waste of time!  It's mostly Chioggio beets, with a bit of regular Detroit Red and the occasional white beet!  We don't, unfortunately, find the greens of Chioggia as good for eating, but the candy cane striped beet is delicious!  Amanda and Ed provided some Armenian and English cucumbers today.  CSA member Tammy and Mike donated the tarragon in the Full Shares.

Spaghetti squash is one of our most requested, and best known, winter squashes at The Global Market.  Most people eat it in a pretty standard manner: roast or bake, scrape out the stringy flesh and serve.  Here's a great idea for a healthy pizza with spaghetti squash crust!  Or how about spaghetti squash as the crust for a snazzy quiche?  It can also make a delicious sweet treat, here with cinnamon!

So, in the boxes today:

FULL SHARES:  Tomatillos, cucumbers, carrots, Sangre potatoes, Crookneck summer squash and golden zucchini, beets, spaghetti and Delicata (sweet potato) winter squash, corn, peppers including jalapeno, Thai and Hungarian Hot wax, tarragon.

PART SHARES:  Tomatillos, cucumbers, carrots, Sangre potatoes, Crookneck, golden and Papaya Pear summer squash, Spaghetti winter squash, corn, jalapeno and Hungarian Hot Wax peppers.

SINGLE SHARES:  Tomatillos, cucumbers, carrots, Sangre potatoes, Crookneck and Golden zucchini, Spaghetti and Delicata winter squash, corn, and Jalapeno and Hungarian Hot wax peppers.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

CSA For September 12th!

Hungarian Hot Wax Pepper! So many are
so close, but not quite ripe!
For Thursday's families we've got an awesome hit of heirloom tomatoes courtesy of Angela at Mouse River!  She's had a bumper crop this year!  We've got largely Black Krim and Cherokee Purple for you today!  She's got other varieties available for sale....a deal if you're willing to go to Wawanesa for pick up!  Check out her blog post here.  If anyone is interested in getting some for preserving or just for eating, maybe we can get a delivery to CSA at the deal price!  Email Angela from the link on her blog page!

Amanda and Ed came up with some more Armenian cucumbers; the Singles got them this time and a few Part Shares.  Everyone else has regular slicing cukes.  Amanda and Ed also supplied dill and basil and Tuesday CSA members Tammy and Mike donated some of their 'enthusiastic' tarragon!

Zucchini as pizza crust? Check out this quick and easy recipe here.  For an excellent and easy side-dish, how about this Summer Squash Gratin?  Do you like sushi?  How about thinly sliced zucchini instead of the seaweed paper for Zucchini Sushi?  Those little rolls would be awesome at your next football party, as a healthy alternative!  We've made these zucchini fritters and they're pretty yummy and easy!  The included recipe for a dip with Greek yogurt and cucumber is pretty good, too - lots of uses for it!  Just made this zucchini chocolate cake - we've made a number of different recipes and I still think this is the best!  The link for icing has a number of great selections; we used the chocolate fudge icing!

Winter squash is ripening now!  As we mentioned on Tuesday, in most recipes winter squash is interchangeable.  Different with each different winter squash, but just as good!  The exception is spaghetti squash - the only one that doesn't cook up with a fairly smooth texture.  The noodle-like consistency of spaghetti squash can easily be 'mushed' up to be used in many a recipe.  It might not be the best choice for this enticing recipe for Goat Cheese and Squash pasta!  Here's a grain-free paleo pasta recipe where, like summer squash, the winter squash becomes the noodle!  Kabocha would be a good choice, buttercup, acorn, Hubbard, all would work!  Here's also a great link for making easy crackers and chips with your produce, in the oven, including zucchini and winter squash.  The link mentions zucchini and butternut squash, but as you know now and summer squash can be subbed for zucchini and any winter squash can be subbed for the butternut!

On our Facebook page last night we shared a number of fairly fast and easy bread recipes!  Mostly because we're thinking Winter Squash soup!  Here's a pretty simple recipe for Kabocha Cream Soup.  You can make a big batch and it will freeze nicely!  Here's a Roasted Winter Squash and Apple soup; we've done a version of this many times - sometimes with a mild curry - and it's lovely!  Winter squash also make fabulous fries - here's a link for baked Kabocha fries!

So in the baskets this Thursday:

FULL SHARES:  Kabocha and spaghetti winter squash, Patty Pan summer squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, Sangre potatoes, carrots, Hungarian Hot Wax peppers, herbs either tarragon or basil, corn, apples.

PART SHARES:  Winter squash Kabocha and spaghetti, Patty Pan summer squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, Sangre potatoes, carrots, Hungarian Hot Wax peppers, Herbs basil or dill, corn, apples.

SINGLE SHARES:  Kabocha winter squash, Patty Pan summer squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, Sangre potatoes, carrots, Hungarian Hot Wax peppers, corn, apples.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

CSA For September 10th!

Heirloom tomatoes! Yummy!
Oh, have we a treat for you today!  Our friend Angela of Mouse River has had a bumper crop of heirloom tomatoes and we've managed to obtain some for you!  These are heirlooms; Black Krim and Cherokee Purple - awesome flavour, juicy and delicious!  Angela has tomatoes for sale - if you're still looking to preserve or simply want to feast!  Check out her blog post here.  These are all grown organically; she's looking for $3/lb. (the going rate at the farmers market) and she'll do $2/lb. with pick up at her place in Wawanesa!  If enough of us are interested, we may get a nice rate delivered to CSA.....maybe.... just sayin'.  Email her at the link on the blog page!

Amanda and Ed have come up with a nice round of Armenian cucumbers - the long, ridged, pale green ones.  The Single Shares and some of the Part Shares get them this week!  Everyone else has a nice hit of slicing cucumbers.  Amanda also sent some herbs, including basil and we'll finally cut some of ours to go with all those lovely tomatoes!  The classic tomato basil Caprese salad may be on the menu in the next few days!  I find this version of Caprese salad interesting because she's reducing the balsamic vinegar - something we've never done!

A blog post gave me a big giggle this week: 'Ten things to do with zucchini when you're past all hope!'  It's an interesting collection of links from zucchini butter to boats to, well, check it out here!  Here's a great tutorial for making a grain-free zucchini lasagna - the zucchini becomes the noodle!  This link takes you step-by-step through the process!  In this recipe, zucchini becomes spaghetti, with roasted tomatoes!  A 'spiralizer' is probably necessary for this second recipe - a little gadget that slices zucchini and other veggies in special ways!  I'm also loving the look of this zucchini and tomato tart, kind of a pizza, kind of a pie!  Everyone is getting Patty Pan today....as they get larger they are awesome for stuffing as a side-dish; you can serve out little pie-shaped wedges to each diner!  Single Shares have a smaller one - awesome for stuffing for a single serving!  Here's a vegetarian stuffed Patty Pan.  Here's a sausage stuffed Patty Pan; this recipe would also be great for vegetable marrow or Moroccan squash!  Here's the recipe for quinoa-stuffed Patty Pans that we shared on our Facebook page a couple of weeks ago!  Of course, you could use rice instead of quinoa!

As the Winter Squash ripens, you'll be seeing more in your baskets!  Remember that Winter Squash is largely interchangeable in recipes...except for Spaghetti Squash.  It's a little different, but just as viable as long as you mash it or accept a different 'texture' to finished food.  Winter squash are awesome both as savoury and sweet dishes. Everyone is getting buttercup squash today; here's a great link for simple baked buttercup it as a side-dish.  Here's a nifty recipe for pumpkin fudge, dairy-free!

So, in the baskets today:

FULL SHARES:  Heirloom tomatoes, Buttercup winter squash, cucumbers, Patty Pan and Moroccan summer squash, Hungarian hot wax peppers, herbs, garlic, 4 lbs. Sangre potatoes, carrots including Purple Haze and Nantes, apples, corn.

PART SHARES:  Heirloom tomatoes, Buttercup winter squash, cucumbers, Patty Pan and Moroccan summer squash, Hungarian hot wax peppers, herbs, garlic, 2 lbs. Sangre potatoes, carrots including Purple Haze and Nantes, apples, corn.

SINGLE SHARES:  Heirloom tomatoes, Buttercup winter squash, cucumbers, Patty Pan and Moroccan summer squash, Hungarian hot wax peppers, herbs, 2 lbs. Sangre potatoes, carrots including Purple Haze and Nantes, corn.

Friday, September 6, 2013

CSA for September 5th!

It still seems odd to write 'September'...where did summer go?  Except for the heat of last week, it hasn't seemed super 'summery' this year!  Because I put the chickens to bed most nights, I've certainly noticed that it's getting darker much earlier in the evenings!

It seems odd, too, that the Winter Squash is starting to come on strong...and we've hardly had any ripe tomatoes, yet.  However, we soooo love Winter Squash that we're still excited!  Forget canned pumpkin - bake the squash you'll be getting and use it for pies, muffins and cookies, as well as side dishes and entrees.  As a matter of fact, here's a nice recipe for Pumpkin Molasses Cookies!  Today everyone is getting a spaghetti squash...quite unique in the Winter Squash world in that, when baked, the flesh comes out like spaghetti.  You can serve it with pasta sauce or salsa, or I like it with lots of butter and a touch of maple syrup!  Full and Part Shares are getting a buttercup squash - a lovely version with a nutty flavor!  Would be as good in that cookie recipe as pumpkin, giving a bit more, hmmm, almond flavor!

Amanda and Ed have brought the last pick of their corn.  Small cobs, but still good; they've got a pale outside!  We're adding the first pick of our corn, bright green wrapping!  Amanda and Ed also brought a few more Armenian cucumbers as well as herbs and onions!

With back-to-school and back-to-work foremost on people's minds here's a great link for healthy lunches!  Please note the zucchini sticks....Here's a great recipe for a spinach-stuffed crookneck - sounds yummy!

So, in today's boxes:

FULL SHARES:  Spaghetti squash, Buttercup winter squash, zucchini, crookneck squash, Moroccan squash, onions, corn, garlic, cucumbers, Sangre potatoes, carrots, herb either savory or dill.

PART SHARES:  Spaghetti squash, Buttercup winter squash, zucchini, crookneck squash, onions, corn, garlic, cucumbers, Sangre potatoes, carrots, herbs either basil or dill.

SINGLE SHARES:  Spaghetti squash, Buttercup squash, zucchini, crooked neck squash, onion, corn, garlic, cucumbers, Sangre potatoes, carrots.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

CSA The First Tuesday of September!

We're calling this Mondo Tuesday - 'cause everyone is getting some summer squash that is mondo!  The weather seems to be making the zucchini and other members of the group very happy and they're growing like crazy.  Hard to believe that we harvested them thoroughly for Friday and Saturday's Global Market and, a few days later, can find armfuls of large ones again!

As the season marches on, the first of the Winter Squash appears in the boxes this week!  Winter squash, as apposed to summer squash, has an inedible skin.  They are best roasted or baked, although we sometimes steam chunks as a side vegetables and the seeds can be roasted.  Many are as good as pumpkin in pies, muffins and cookies and, of course, they make awesome soup.  We're sharing the first of the garlic today - if you haven't had freshly harvested, local garlic before be prepared for a bit of a flavour surprise!  Way more 'punch' than what you may be used to from the stores.  This garlic is not at all considered cured and ready for storage, but you're all going to use it promptly anyway, right?  Tomatillos are available on the trading table, they're coming but not sure if we'll ever have enough to put them into a share.

Cucumbers are doing quite well.  Amanda and Ed have come up with a few Armenian cucumbers, long, thin pale green cucumbers with distinct ridges.  These are quite different and delightful, with nice cucumber flavour and a dense texture. We closed our eyes and just dropped them in some boxes - don't know how else to split them up! Everyone has some good old slicing cucumbers!  This Thai cucumber salad sounds lovely!  Evelyn and Menno will be making a stop today, too - with some tomatoes!

And...what we all need:  a Zucchini recipe round-up!  Yee Haw!  Tons of great ideas and links!

Everyone is getting the very popular Winter squash spaghetti squash: some have the classic, oval greenish beige version.  Some of you have a round version, with a green and gold 'netted' skin, a variety called 'Little Wonder'.  They taste and cook up the same!  Bake and then pull out the flesh - it's like spaghetti!  It's a very unique winter squash for having flesh that comes out like pasta!  Some people like it with a pasta sauce or salsa, some like it with butter and maple syrup or brown sugar!

The FULL SHARES have a vegetable marrow - which looks rather like the common spaghetti squash.  Marrows have a 'V' carved in them.  This is a classic English vegetable but not well known in other cultures.  On it's own, it's a rather bland, mild green flavour.  It's claim to fame is the way it takes on flavours fantastically: in a stew or saute it will pick up the flavour of your spicing and herbs!  The way I'm accustomed to it is stuffed and baked:  my Grandmother's (and Mother's) recipe involved stuffing marrow with sausage meat.  This is the entree for dinner: just serve slices out!  It reheats beautifully if there is leftovers!  You can stuff them with anything you might use to stuff a pepper, tomato or even a turkey.  PART SHARES have a Japanese Kabocha - a sweet, fine-textured winter squash excellent as a vegetable but also very good in pies and other desserts.

So, in the boxes this week:

FULL SHARES:  3 lbs. Sangre potatoes, garlic, onions, spaghetti squash, vegetable marrow, cucumbers, small bunch of herb, Romanesque summer squash, zucchini, carrots, tomatoes.

PART SHARES:  3 lbs. Sangre potatoes, garlic, spaghetti squash, Kabocha squash, cucumbers, bunch of herb, Romanesque summer squash, zucchini, carrots, tomatoes.

SINGLE SHARES:  2 lbs. Sangre potatoes, garlic, carrots, spaghetti squash, cucumbers, Romanesque summer squash, zucchini, Swiss chard.