Tuesday, September 6, 2011

CSA for September 6, 2011

CSA pick up; Full Shares on one side of the
tree, Part Shares on the other.
The last few years have seen a real boom in the interest in local food, fresh food, chemical-free food, and growing one's own food in North America and in Europe.  We've seen it in the increased interest in Farmers Markets (although finding the farmers is a problem...), an increase in garden rentals and community garden spaces and yes, an increase in CSAs.  CSA is a concept that began in Europe about fifty years ago, and has slowly spread in North America.  The increase in and diversity in CSA is quite incredible across North America!  Some CSA's require the members to do some work, some are pasture or organic meat CSAs, there's even a raw milk/cow CSA to get around the ban on raw milk in most states and provinces!  CSA has gotten so prevalent that CTV did a piece on it late in August!  Here's a link to the piece here.

We had a little communication error with one of our staff members this morning; about double the amount of beets got harvested than we intended.  But, you have a lovely mix of all the beets we grow:  common red round and cylinder, the white beet which is quite exactly like red beets without the color, the bright red and white Chioggia which is mild and sweet and really pretty on the plate, and the golden beet which is also mild and sweet and pretty.  To help you with your big bundle, here's a recipe for a simple beet salad, or how about a warm beet salad with orange vinaigrette?  Roasted beets are a classic side-dish: here's a great recipe for roasted beets with a balsamic vinegar glaze.  If possible, to keep fresh longer, treat the beets like a bouquet, stand in a pail with a little water around the roots and it doesn't need to be refrigerated, just cool and dark.  If that's not possible, put a little moist paper towel or dish towel around the beets and refrigerate.

Now is the time to freeze some of Summer's bounty!  Here's a great DIY post from simplebites on freezing packages of mixed vegetables for use all winter!  It's really quite simple and full instructions are in the blog post!  You can also freeze beets, here's some simple instructions!

Linda Boys kicked in some more celery for everyone today.  Amanda and Ed only had a small pick on cauliflower, not enough to really split, so it will be available for trade or purchase on the Farmers Market table; those of you that read this before you come to pick up will have a bit of an advantage there!  We also dug, for everybody, the unusal 'Russian Blue' potato, whose skin and flesh is dark blue.  It's kind of a cross between a fingerling and a baking potato, with a fluffy texture and good flavor.  It mashes up lovely and yes, your mashed potatoes will be blue!  We love making scalloped potatoes with it, layering common potatoes with the blue!  It also makes a ver good and funky blue french fry.

It's a taste-test kind of a day:  we've got a variety of tomatoes for everyone including a bag of regular slicing tomatoes, a bag of 'Black Plum' and a bag of mixed cherry/grape tomatoes.  There's also a wee bag of tomatilloes, in the jacket, for everyone to try.  This is the green tomato-relative most famous as the basis of the Mexican Salsa Verde, quite nice in salads or fried!  Everyone is also getting some yellow tomatoes; these are known as low-acid: tasty and sweet!  Everyone is also getting a neat little round, yellow cucumber called 'Lemon Ball'.  Although it seems a little prickly, a quick scrub with veggie brush gets rid of those and then the cucumber itself is lovely, sweet and light!

The first of the Winter Squash today, everyone got one, either a spaghetti squash or a butterncup.  Winter squash are different from the summer squash in that you do not eat the skin.  They are best baked or roasted at around 350-375 degrees, either in the oven or on the barbecue.  We cut them in half, scoop out the seeds (which can be roasted, like pumpkin seeds) and place them face down on a baking sheet.  They are done when easily pierced with a fork - the sizes you all have today will take about half an hour.  Winter squash can also be done in the microwave, which will cut down the time to less than half, but we don't think the texture and flavor is as nice.  Spaghetti squash is famous because the flesh then can be scraped out of the skin and is similar to spaghetti, the spaghetti is a variety called 'Small Wonder' and is a peach/yellow skin netted with green.  It can be served with spaghetti sauce or salsa, but I also like it with lots of butter and brown sugar or maple syrup.  The buttercups, the dark green ones with a pale green cup on the bottom, are similar to acorn squash: a slightly grainy texture and nice veggie/nutty flavor.  Any questions just leave them in the comment section of this blog and we'll answer quite promptly!

So: for EVERYBODY today:  A week bag of tomatilloes, large bag of round slicing tomatoes, small bag 'Black Plum', small bag mixed cherry and grape tomatoes, a couple of golden tomatoes (the round is 'Husky Gold', the plum shape is 'Banana Legs'), a slicing cuke, a 'Lemon Ball' cuke, carrots, a couple of onions, celery (some may have two small heads), a 3 lb. bag of 'Russian Blue' potatoes, couple heads of garlic, four kinds of beets, Swiss chard and a winter squash.

Next week's box will see the value of your share go a little beyond what you've paid!  It has been a pretty good year for CSA, and we're getting it done quite promptly!  We always live in fear that some bad years we'll still be delivering potatoes, pumpkins and onions in late October to get CSA finished - but that is not this year!  Two weeks from now, September 20th, will be 'Bonus Week'; the last pick up on that day is our 'Thank You' for allowing us to feed your family, for trusting us with your hard-earned money before you get any food and for giving us such tremendous support and encouragement!  We'll be bring larger bags of potatoes and onions, cured for storage, some winter squash and pumpkins which should keep well past Christmas and anything else that is around that's fresh and ready to go!  So, don't forget - two more weeks of CSA pick up, after today.  Any requests - let us know!  And enjoy this week's goodies!   


  1. Extra beets, your customers are so lucky! I had only a small harvest of beets this year and I'm hoarding each and every one. My favourite way to eat them is just plain. Chop them up on a salad like a carrot. They're so sweet just on their own. And steaming the tops of course with a little fresh butter, yum!

  2. A few of our CSA members were trading in all their beets - just not fans! I like them all: Marguerite have you ever tried the candy-striped Chioggia or the golden beet. Different and very yumy!

  3. Rodale just tweeted the purple potatoes can help lower blood pressure! So tasty, too! Just resist the temptation to put waaaaay to much butter on them! http://bit.ly/pr2Cfs