Sogn Valley Farm CSA Newsletter Fall Week 6 | Nov 13-14, 2018
What's In The Box
Microgreens: You're receiving one of three types of microgreens. The Spicy Mix has some reddish cotyledons (the bi-lobed leaves that comprise most of the mix) and will have a peppery flavor. The Mild Mix doesn't have any red cotyledons, but does have some purple stems. This blend has a more subtle flavor. The third option is arugula - these are all green and taste like, well, arugula.
Daikon radish: A staple in Korean kimchi and recognized in for is numerous medicinal properties, daikon isn't a staple in most American households. You could try it out in this carrot kimchi, or add it to a curry, soup, or slaw.
Romanesco cauliflower: This ornate cauliflower cousin was a surprise find last week, when, at the back of a field of mostly semi-mature heads, we found a trove of larger ones. Due to the repeated frosts these plants withstood, some of the heads have a bit of frost damage to just the very tip of the curd, which may be soft and discolored. In most cases, slicing off a centimeter or less will remove this, and the rest of the head is good-to-go!
Green kale: In anticipation of recent wintery conditions, we mass harvested this kale last Wednesday. Having gone through numerous nights in the low 20s, it's a bit “softer” than main season kale. But it's just as good sautéed up with some garlic and tamari, scrambled with eggs, or added to a soup. The leaves are smaller, as these are the tops/growing points of the plants, rather than individual larger leaves bunched together.
Butternut squash: Featured in this this week's recipe, butternut squash is a workhorse in our fall/winter kitchen. Store in a cool spot in your kitchen until you are ready to use.
Acorn squash: Wanna go straight dessert with this? Who better than Paula Deen to show you how to infuse butter and two kinds of sugar into your acorn squash. I dare say a few dashes of cinnamon wouldn't hurt, either.
Carrots: Try using some of these in the kimchi recipe, linked above.
Potatoes: A mixture of gold and red potatoes from our friends at Driftless Organics.
Red and yellow onions
Expected in the final box
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.
Sweet potatoes — Colored carrots — Watermelon radish — Salad mix — Microgreens — Butternut squash — Celeriac — Garlic — Potatoes
Feeling thankful for heat this past week. Our wood stove in the house got its first use recently, letting me write this newsletter without guilt in a 70-degree office while the outdoor thermometer reads 3°. The heated concrete floor in our packing shed— first operational last winter—has been maintaining the space at 55°, the ideal temperature for sweet potato storage.
And for the first time, we're extending the greenhouse growing season into the fall by heating it. We have microgreens for both CSA and farmers' market growing in there right now, along with an assortment of potted perennial herbs.
My initial idea was to continue growing microgreens until the last farmers' market of the year, just before Christmas. Then I got the idea of keeping the greenhouse heated at a low level (20°) throughout the winter, in order to facilitate overwintering of rosemary (which cannot survive a Minnesota winter outdoors).
Now I'm getting excited about the possibility of heating it through the winter at a level where cool-season plants could actually continue growing. This would allow us to propagate a large number of perennial herbs, which would be needed for the expanded herb production we are considering for 2019.
Plus, honestly, I like the idea of going out to the greenhouse on a 5° sunny winter day and working with green, growing plants :)
Unfortunately, I'm also the guy that pays the propane bill. And lives with this farm's carbon footprint on his conscience. So I started thinking about ways to increase energy efficiency. The first thing we did was erect a plastic divider in the middle of the greenhouse to shrink the space that we'll need to heat. The second task is keeping the heat in—sealing up any leaks in the end walls, gaps between the baseboards and the ground, and tears in the plastic film.
Our third strategy has been more of a project. I read about the idea of using the thermal mass of water to absorb heat during the day and re-radiate it out at night—a thermal battery of sorts. Last week, I picked up 36 empty 55-gallon barrels from someone on racialist. Some are already black, and the rest will be painted black to absorb the most heat. They will be placed under greenhouse benches and in other open spaces, and then filled with water. We're hoping these will meaningfully offset propane use during this experiment
And for those of you who haven't been keeping track, this is the second-to-last CSA box of the season. One more next week for your Thanksgiving meal!
Have a great week.
Pasta with Butternut Squash and Herbed Breadcrumbs
We've made versions of this recipe numerous times over the past couple of years. We've simplified it a bit from its original form in Fine Cooking magazine, and adjusted a few other ingredients. We have made it with and without the cream, but it's always tasted like comfort food to us.
3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tbs. butter
1 large leek (white and light-green parts only, rinsed well and thinly sliced) OR thinly sliced yellow onion
3 cups 1/4-inch-diced butternut squash
2 cups lower-salt chicken broth (less if adding heavy cream)
3 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
3 tsp. chopped fresh sage
3/4 cup heavy cream (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper 1/2 cup panko (we used a food-processed gluten-free bagel, which was all we had on hand)
1/4 oz. finely grated pecorino or Parmesan (about 1/4 cup)
1 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (optional)
12 oz. campanile or similar pasta (we used penne)
Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil.
Heat 2 Tbs. of the oil in a 12-inch or larger skillet over medium heat. Add the leek/onion and a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the squash, chicken broth, half of the thyme, and half of the sage. Cover, and adjust the heat as necessary to simmer gently until the squash is tender, about 10 minutes.
Mash about half of the squash with a potato masher until smooth, leaving the rest chunky. Stir in the cream and cook until it thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and keep warm.
Heat the remaining 1 Tbs. oil and 2 Tbs. butter in an 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the panko and cook, stirring, until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. Off the heat, add the remaining thyme and sage, the cheese, parsley, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
Boil the pasta according to package directions until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of the water and drain the pasta.
Bring the sauce to a simmer over medium-high heat. Add the pasta and 2 Tbs. of the reserved pasta water; toss well to coat, adding more water if it looks dry. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with the panko.