Fall CSA Week 10

Happy Halloween!

I can’t believe we’re already at week 10! It seems like last week we were nervous about being able to provide enough food for everyone, and now we have too much produce to fit in the boxes. While many area farms and markets are getting ready to shut down for the winter, we are just starting to hit our stride with delicious fall produce. Collards, turnips, radishes and salad greens are making a strong showing, while impossibly dense plantings of fennel, radicchio, and even a last ditch planting of cucumbers fill our two hoop houses. Even though it’s still pretty mild outside, the bugs have slowed down and the plants in the field are enjoying a pressure-free growth spurt. With a little luck, and an occasional rain, we should see some great harvests of late fallfavorites such as carrots, beets and broccoli in the coming weeks.
As the days turn shorter, plant growth slows down to a crawl and we begin to have time to reflect on the season and plan for winter projects. We’ve certainly come a long way this season, but we have even bigger plans for next year.  One of the biggest jobs we have on our plate is the construction of some new hoop houses. We were fortunate to find some used hoop houses for sale and we decided to buy seven of them. I’m not sure that I was in my right mind on that day, but they are being delivered tomorrow and we are excited, if a bit terrified. Over the next few weeks we will slowly begin the process of converting open field into over an acre of enclosed space. The good news is that when everything is finished, we will be able to grow a tremendous variety and amount of food year-round. The bad news is that we have to take the term “off season” out of our vocabulary…
This is the time of year that we turn to the orchard to get it ready for a long slumber. We have run the weedeater so long that we still feel like we’re vibrating when we go to sleep at night. We will spend a few long days with pruners in hand, gently trimming the trees to produce a desired shape. Plum and peach trees are trained to look like a large basket, which helps them produce ample amounts of fruit but maintain enough airflow to prevent rot. Pears and persimmons are grown to resemble the coned shape of a Christmas tree, with every main branch weighed down with string to encourage a 45 degree angle to the trunk (any less and the branch will grow straight up and won’t produce a single fruit). On top of that this is the time of year when young male deer are getting their antlers and they are looking for a sparring partner. Young orchard trees are an easy target. Last year we lost around 20 trees alone to their hooved machismo. I’m hoping that a healthy amount of rotten egg spray all around the orchard will deter them this year, but only time will tell. The bright side of all of this work is that if we prepare correctly this fall, this coming spring should reward us with the first substantial harvests of most of our orchard fruits- a very exciting prospect!

We’ve put together a frightfully good box this week (ok, sorry- no more of that), we hope you enjoy!
Take Care and Eat Well,
 Cory Mosser
In The Box

-1# Apples
-2# Sweet Potatoes
-1 bunch radishes
-1 bunch Chinese Sprouting Broccoli (Choy Sum)
-mixed sweet and hot Peppers
-2 heads Fennel
-1 bunch Japanese Salad Turnips
-1 bunch Collards
-1 medium Pumpkin
Recipes and Ideas

Chinese Broccoli and Shrimp Stir-Fry

-6-8 oz. choy sum or Chinese leafy greens, chopped in half
-Some sliced carrots
6 medium-sized shrimp (peeled and deveined), or thin sliced chicken or tofu, or all three!
1 inch ginger (peeled and sliced thinly)

4 oz mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons cooking oil

White Sauce:

1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fish sauce or to taste
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 tablespoon corn starch
6 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon Shaoxing wine, or white cooking wine
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil

Rinse the vegetables with water and drain the water dry. Mix the white sauce ingredients and set aside. Heat up a wok and add the cooking oil until it’s smoking hot. Add ginger, stir-fry until light brown or aromatic. Add mushrooms and shrimp and do a few quick stir until the shrimps become half-cooked. Add vegetables into the wok and stir quickly. Transfer the white sauce mixture into the wok and continue to stir-fry until the sauce thickens. By then, the vegetables should be perfectly cooked, but not overcooked.

Braised Collards

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon butter
1 leek or 1 small onion, chopped
1 bunch collard greens, stemmed and chopped (rinsed well first of course)
½ cup vegetable or chicken broth
1-2 teaspoons brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
Pinch red pepper flakes
1 Tablespoon mild vinegar: champagne or cider

Heat 1 Tablespoon oil in large sauce pan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Saute onion until soft, 3-4 minutes. Add half of the greens, broth, sugar, salt, and cayenne. Cover and cook until greens are beginning to wilt, about 1 minute. Stir in remaining greens and cook, covered, stirring occasionally over med low heat until quite tender, about 30 minutes. Remove lid and cook over med high heat until liquid is almost evaporated, about 5-10 minutes. Off heat, stir in butter, vinegar, and serve.

Easy Pumpkin Bread
3 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups sugar
Mix and make a well in the center
Add to the center along with the pumpkin and stir just until all is mixed in:

2 cups mashed/pureed pumpkin or winter squash
1 cup oil
4 eggs
2/3 cup water
chocolate chips and/or walnuts, optional

Pour into 1 large or 2 small oiled bread pans (or muffin tins). Bake at 350 for one hour. (Or less for muffins.)

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