So sorry about the late email! It’s been so long since I’ve written directly to you, I almost forgot… Seriously though we barely got the veggies out of the door in time this week, so I had to forgo my normal correspondence to take care of some items around the farm. Better late than never, right?
I’m pretty sure we just experienced our last warm spell earlier this week, and a frost is just around the corner. It doesn’t seem to matter how long I’ve been doing this, the cold always creeps up on you. I know it’s coming but it seems to stay locked in a distant corner of my mind until one day I look at the 10 day forcast and see lows in the 30’s, and then it’s real.
Mid-October is ‘go time’. The farm is swimming in all imaginable shades of green, ranging from the blueish tinge of broccoli to the dark waxy sheen of collards to the pale tint of turnips. Almost everything is planted up and our thoughts turn to protecting and harvesting the crops in the ground. With half of our workforce gone now, we are scrambling to get everything picked on time. We still have to plant garlic and strawberries, finish a hoop house and find a way to sell the thousands of pounds of pumpkins that we still have in the field. At least we’re not bored…
This week we have a nice green box to offer you to match the shades of our fields. Some of the items (endive and escarole) may be unfamiliar, but with a little research and an exploritory attitude, hopefully you will find some new favorites. Endive and Escarole are both in the chicory family, and they are noted for their refined bitter taste. They are both at home in a winter salad with a creamy type dressing. Or simply eaten dressed with olive oil and balsamic. The heart of the escarole (the frilly leaved item) is particularly suited for salads with a wonderful crisp texture and a balanced bitter-sweet flavor. Endive and escarole can both be sauteed as well, and they can be used to make a delicious soup (see recipe below).
Also this week you will notice a cute little pumpkin in your box. We experimented this year with a new variety called Orange Bulldog which ended up being a huge success. Most of the pumpkins you buy for halloween are actually from the northeast, because they have much lower incidence of disease than we do down here. That’s why when you visit a pumpkin patch in the south, it’s mostly a bunch of pumpkins stacked up in a parking lot. The University of Georgia released this variety last year after traveling to the Amazon and finding a native squash and using the germoplasm to create a disease resistant pumpkin that is great to eat too. We couldn’t be more excited!
Take Care and Eat Well,
In The Box
– 1# Apples
– 2# Potatoes
– 1 Small Bulldog Pumpkin
– 1 head Pac Choi
– 1 head Escarole
– 1 head Endive
– 1 bag Arugula
– 1 bunch French Breakfast Radishes
– 1 bunch Basil
Escarole and White Bean Soup
1 head escarole (1 pound), tough ribs discarded and leaves thinly sliced (8 cups)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large garlic clove, chopped
1 large celery rib, cut diagonally into 1/8-inch-thick slices
2 carrots, cut diagonally into 1/8-inch-thick slices
2 cans chicken broth or vegetable broth
3 cups water
1 can white beans such as cannellini, rinsed and drained
Cook escarole in a 6- to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 5 minutes, then transfer with slotted spoon to a large bowl of ice and cold water to stop cooking. Drain escarole in a colander, pressing gently to remove excess water. Heat oil in a 5- to 6-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté onion, garlic, celery, and carrots, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 8 minutes. Add chicken broth and water and bring to a boil, then add escarole and beans and simmer, uncovered, until carrots and celery are tender, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with parmesan.