Sogn Valley Farm CSA Newsletter Fall Week 4 | Oct 30-31, 2018
What's In The Box
Sweet potatoes: Someone bought some sweet potatoes from us at market last weekend and said she was going to use them to make sweet potato brownies. Though I had never heard of this, I was instantly craving it. So this week, we're including just about the right amount of sweet potato to make the recipe.
Buttercup squash: I always remember this variety of winter squash because of the Spanish name given to it by the Mexican farmers I worked with in the past: calabasa ombligo, or belly button squash. The name was used because of the distinctive circular cap on its basal end which resembles a belly button. This squash has sweet orange flesh, but can trend on the dry side if not cooked with some moisture (soup, stew, steam, roast with a little water in the pan).
Acorn squash: Try making stuffed acorn squash rings with this week's allotment. This recipe brings together lots of veggies from this and last week's boxes—acorn squash, carrots, celeriac, onion, and rosemary (sub for sage in the recipe)—along with lentils for some protein.
Brussels sprouts: Talk about a fall vegetable that we love to eat and wish we could grow better. Brussels sprouts have been plagued by Black Rot each year, and this one's no exception. While it takes extra time to harvest, sort, and trim Brussels sprouts under these conditions, we think you'll enjoy them. We typically either roast them or steam and dress with a garlic-mustard sauce.
Turnips: We enjoy adding turnips to many of our winter soups; boiling them with potatoes or celeriac and mashing it all together; or roasting them with oil, salt, and pepper (to appreciate them in their purest form). Turnips are generally peeled before use.
Rosemary: Rosemary is one of my favorite herbs. You can infuse it into some butter and spread it on a roll, add it to a soup, or use it in a cream sauce to serve atop chicken or fish. These have undergone a few frosts, so you may see a little browning here or there as a result. Simply pinch off these portions if you come across them. The central stems on rosemary can be woody, so just strip off the green leaves and mince up to use.
Celeriac: This gnarly vegetable needs just a little trimming and peeling before being used to bring celery flavor to your fall dishes. We added it in place of celery to delicious split pea soup last night, and it's called for in the acorn squash recipe linked above. It'll store well in a plastic bag in fridge if you don't use it all at once.
Cipollini and yellow onions: The coin-shaped cipollinis have exceptionally high sugar content. Cook slow and long to really bring out the flavor and sweetness.
Garlic: You're getting a few bulbs of Chesnok Red garlic this week.
Each week, we’ll give some hints about what new items may show up CSA shares in the next 1 -2 weeks. Please note, this is not a guarantee, but our attempt to give you an idea of what’s coming up.
Beets — Sweet potatoes — Spinach — Potatoes — Carrots
One of my greatest joys in running a business, particular a vegetable farm with its recurring, annual nature, is the opportunity to improve operations from year to year. At the end of each season, I write up a reflection and jot down what went well and what we need to work on. This includes reviewing not just the crop plan—crop varieties, planting schedule, and the acreage of each—but also the processes, systems, and labor organization we employ to grow said crops.
Last week affirmed that we're moving in the right direction. I have no extraordinary accomplishment to report; it may even seem quite mundane to some: we brought our fields into a responsible overwintering state earlier than we have done in previous years.
What did we do? We mowed crop residue in fields where harvest was finished. With the help of a slick new tractor-mounted tool—a hydraulic spool designed to wind up drip tape, plastic mulch, and irrigation hoses in the field—we removed drip tape and plastic mulch from several acres in much less time (and drudgery) than in the past. Then Michael, my go-to tractor guy, got about six acres tilled and seeded to a cereal rye cover crop.
To top it off, we got a gentle 1/2 inch of rain the next day, watering those seeds in and promoting germination and growth.
Two years ago, we didn't finish this task before winter, and I was left with uncover-cropped fields still containing drip tape and plastic mulch in the spring. It's no fun beginning a fresh season by dealing with last season's dirty laundry. Last year, we did get it all out in the fall, but only after the ground became wet and semi-frozen, leading to a grueling process of pulling and winding it all up by hand. Plus, it was too late to cover crop most of those fields, so they went into winter and spring unprotected by vegetation.
So, to have the fields clean, cover cropped, and ready for next season feels great. Many thanks to Michael for his excellent work on the tractor, and to the rest of the crew for taking care of all the CSA and farmers' market harvest, wash, and pack while Michael and I focused on field work.
Have a great week.
Sweet Potato Brownies
These are best served chilled.
2 C cooked sweet potato (about 18 oz raw)
2 tablespoons melted coconut oil or butter
3/4 cup pure maple syrup (or combination of honey and maple syrup)
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 cup white whole wheat flour (or all-purpose gluten-free blend)
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8x8-inch pan with parchment paper so that you have some overhanging the sides, then lightly coat with baking spray. Set aside.
Cook sweet potatoes using method of your choosing. I just peeled them, cut into large (1-1.5”) chunks, and boiled for about 15 minutes. You could also roast them, or for expedience, use the author's recommendation of microwaving:
Place the sweet potatoes in the microwave and cook on high for 7 to 10 minutes or until completely softened. Once cool enough to handle, scoop out 2 cups of the flesh and discard the skin.
Place cooked sweet potato in a larger mixing bowl, then beat until mashed and fairly smooth. Beat in the melted coconut oil (or butter) until combined, then beat in the maple syrup and vanilla extract. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time, stopping to scrape down the bowl as needed.
In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix gently, just until the dry ingredients are incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips.
Scrape the batter into the prepared baking pan and smooth the top. Bake for 25-30 minutes, just until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Place the pan on a wire rack and let cool completely. (The brownies taste better the longer they sit). Gently lift the brownies out of the pan onto a wire rack. Slice and serve.
Recipe source: https://www.wellplated.com/sweet-potato-brownies/
My additions in italics.