November 6, 2011
November 6, 2011
This is the 25th, and final, week of harvest... and so it's time to wish the 2011 season a fond farewell....
We hope you enjoyed your share of the harvest this year, and would love to hear your feedback: what did you like, or not like; what worked, what didn't; do you recommend changes to the CSA that you think would improve your experience?
As we look back at the last 9 1/2 months since we sowed the first seeds, we see many successes, including the fact that the soil continues to improve in leaps & bounds, crop production improved across the board (with a few key exceptions), we survived what turned out to be arguably the roughest summer in 10-20 years, and had another great couple of apprentices experience the season with us.
We also have dozens of improvements to make. Despite improved production from the previous year, the extended drought & heat stretched everything thin this year, while stunting the 'flow' of the harvests, preventing any crop bounties above normal expectations, and increasing costs from irrigation and re-sowings. The experience of rough weather is a blessing, however, for next year & beyond, in terms of farm planning, confidence, and expectations. Having seen the extremes, we're in a much better position to plan for them. Thus, even as this season wraps, our planning for 2012 is well under way, and we can't wait to get started.
The season is ending, but there's not much of a break. Winter is the time for making the entire season possible, full of supply orders, crop planning, updating management strategies, solving insect & disease problems, bookkeeping, maintenance & repairs. And, yes, we need to rest.... Which is why CSA makes farms like ours work. Winter is the busy season. The harvests, on the other hand, are the RESULTS of farming, not the core... right now we're in the middle of what it takes to make organic, ecological farming happen, and you're a vital part of that.
Alright, let's get to it! It's the last week, and the first week... thank you all for being a part of this!
First.... 2012 Shares On Sale Now...
Thank you to all who have renewed already! We will confirm your membership as soon as we have time for processing, but all of your renewals are very encouraging.
The early-bird discount ends after this week for those who are able to pay in full, but we want to let you know that we can split up payments to help spread out the cost of membership. Just let us know if this would help. We understand that making one large lump sum payment can be difficult. We're in a similar position. So.... if you want to renew your membership, you can by all means claim your spot by making a smaller initial payment, and then spreading out monthly payments until the middle of March. Simply check in with us if you think this would help.
Shares will continue to be for sale until they are sold out (which has occurred towards the end of February the past couple of years). Find Sign-Up forms HERE... also, find more information at www.riverbendroots.com.
A quick note on the last box returns....
This is the last pick-up for the year, so, in order to return your last boxes, here are a couple of options:
- bring bags to transfer your share into, and leave your last box at your pick-up site.
- or, bring your last empty box to your pick-up spot NEXT WEEK during your regular pick-up time.
- or, if you plan to renew, simply bring your last box to your FIRST PICK-UP next May!
If you have any questions, let us know!
What's In Your Share?
Lot's of crops this week! There are lots of greens for everybody (see salad mix prep above), but there are also turnips, rutabaga, and..... SWEET POTATOES!
Important Note Re: Sweet Potatoes...... Sweet potatoes will be left at your pick-up site in a separate box, divided into 5-POUND-BAGS. Those who purchased a Full Share can pick-up TWO bags of sweet potatoes, while those who purchased a Half Share can pick-up ONE bag of sweet potatoes. (Half Share members who pick up a full share box every other week should pick up ONE bag of sweet potatoes.)
The sweet potatoes are tasting excellent so far. Our apprentice, Janaki, made a couple of sweet potato pies without adding sugar, and they were amazing! (Sweet potato pie is made exactly like pumpkin pie, with sweet potatoes instead of pumpkin.)
Just so you know, we're distributing sweet potatoes with the DIRT still on them.... The reason is that they store better this way (although we recommend eating them relatively soon), and rubbing the dirt off tends to damage their skins. Leaving the dirt on roots is a common way to ensure the integrity of Fall roots. Also note that some of the sweet potatoes have minor damage. This is normal most years. Simply cut away the damaged area. In addition, we recommend storing sweet potatoes out of the plastic bag, in a warm place....
And then, rutabaga makes it only appearance.... and kohlrabi for full shares....
But, that's just the beginning...
Recipes for the Week
Turnips or Rutabaga in Mustard Sauce
from Mark Bittman, How to Cook Everything, 1998
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
About 3 pounds white turnips, rutabaga, or a combination, peeled and quartered
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup chicken, beef, or vegetable stock
2 tsp cornstarch
3 Tbsp Dijon mustard
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves for garnish
1. Place the oil in a large, deep skillet that can later be covered and turn the heat to medium. A minute later, add the turnips, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the turnips begin to brown, about 10 minutes.
2. Add the stock, cover, and simmer until the turnips are tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
3. Remove the turnips to a serving bowl with a slotted spoon; keep warm. Mix the cornstarch into the mustard and stir the mixture into the pan juices. Cook over low heat until lightly thickened, a minute or two longer. Pour the sauce over the turnips, garnish and serve.
Baked Sweet Potato Fries
2 medium sweet potatoes
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp light brown sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt + extra for sprinkling
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Preheat over to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil greased with cooking spray.
Halve the sweet potatoes and cut each half into long spears. Soak in cold water 20-30 minutes and pat dry. In a bowl, mix oil, sugar, salt and pepper. Toss potatoes in mixture and put on baking sheet with plenty of space. (Otherwise the fries steam each other and are not crispy.) Bake for 15 minutes, flip and bake another 5 to 10 minutes until lightly browned. Sprinkle lightly with salt and enjoy!
Green Soup with Ginger
1 large yellow onion
2 tablespoons olive oil 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, plus more to taste
1 large sweet potato
3 cloves garlic
1 large leek, white and light green parts or another small onion
1 bunch spinach (8 ounces)
1 large bunch Kale or Collards
3 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger, plus more to taste
2 cups good-tasting vegetable broth
2-4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
freshly ground black pepper
Chop the onion and cook it slowly in the olive oil with a sprinkle of salt, stirring now and then, over low heat until it is soft and golden, about half an hour.
Meanwhile, peel and dice the sweet potato and put it in a large soup pot with 4 cups (1 liter) water and a teaspoon of sea salt. Thoroughly wash the leek, spinach. Put kale, garlic and ginger in the food proccesor and chop fine. Add to sweet potatoes.
Bring the water to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer the soup, covered, for 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are completely tender. Cook spinach for 30 minutes!! Yes trust me is is very good and thickens the soup. Add the caramelized onions when they are ready. When the vegetables are soft, add the vegetable broth (you can add less if you like a thicker soup) and decide whether you want your soup chunky, like this, or smooth. If the latter, puree the soup in a blender, in batches, or with an immersion blender until it is smooth.
Stir in 2 teaspoons of the lemon juice and a few grinds of black pepper. Taste, and correct the seasoning with additional salt or lemon juice.
Sweet Potato Casserole
3 cups cooked,mashed Sweet Potatoes
1/4 cup Milk
1 tspn Vanilla
1/4 lb. Butter
1 cup Coconut
Put all of the above ingredients in food processor and blend well. Pour into casserole dish (for those who may be tempted to omit coconut please don't-even those who hate coconut love this.)
1 cup broken Pecan pieces
1 cup brown sugar
1 stick of butter (don't melt)
1/2 cup Flour
The topping will be lumpy. Crumble it on top of sweet potato mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Thank you all so much for being a part of this... As young, small-scale farmers, we know that your patronage allows us to build careers in organic farming in contradiction to a food supply that continues to radically concentrate into fewer & fewer hands. All around us, as farms consolidate, over-capitalize, or shut down, and food becomes increasingly bland, uniform, and nutritionally-suspect, you are a part of the future food economy.... where nutrition & soil quality is as important as profits, where you can talk to your farmer at any time, and trust in the safety & flavor of your food is inherent.
Small, local, soil-building, community-oriented farms can feed the world if given a chance. Community Supported Agriculture is an excellent way to provide solid financial footing to small businesses that serve wider community interests, while cementing the relationships between farmers & eaters. In CSA, the line between producer & consumer is blurred, ensuring the best experience of your food, your home, and your community.
We look forward to continuing as your farmers! We hope you all can build on your investment along with us, and enjoy the bounty of the coming year.... We will be in touch during the off-season, and tell you all about plans for 2012, which is just around the corner....
All the best,
Kris, Stacey, and everyone at Riverbend Roots!
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