A New Cast of Characters This Week…
This first week of Fall brings with it some new veggies: celery, shallots, savoy cabbage, and mint. Your summer standbys are still in there – tomatoes, peppers, strawberries, and zucchini – but the transition to Autumn eating has begun. You can look forward to more corn, tomatoes and peppers in the coming weeks, but they’ll start to be accompanied by heavy harvest-time foods like winter squash, Fall broccoli, and Romanesco cauliflower (a favorite among our members, and one of the most stunning-to-behold vegetables we grow).
Here’s a quick run-down of this week’s new produce:
Celery: Our celery is a little different than what you might be used to from the supermarket. It tends to be thinner, darker green, and more intensely flavorful. You can certainly use it for a good old snack of ants on a log (remember raisins and peanut butter on celery sticks, from preschool?), but a lot of people prefer to use it more as a seasoning – in soups, stock, stuffing, and casseroles, for instance. Rather than log the whole plant, we selectively harvest stalks and give you a handful at a time, multiple times throughout the fall. The leaves are packed with flavor, so consider using them as well.
Shallots: We grow two types of shallots, a red and a gold. You’re getting a red shallot this week. They mature alongside our onions, and according to everyone who’s ever laid eyes on them they are the biggest shallots on earth. I don’t know why they get so big for us - we don’t give them special treatment of any kind – but I guess as shallots go, these are colossal. Shallots are actually more closely related to garlic than they are to onions, and they are a staple in French cuisine. You can use them just as you would an onion. They’ll keep fine on your counter (these have been curing for a month, so they don’t have to go in the fridge).
Savoy Cabbage: A beauty of a cabbage, curly-crinkle-leaved savoy is usually grown for fall harvest. You can use it any way you’d use a regular red or green cabbage: souped or slawed or sauerkrauted or stir-fried. These two recipes – one from Down Under, and the other from the BBC, caught my eye. They both combine cabbage and shallots. It appears that the Brits and their former colonies have an affinity for fatty meat, but I’m sure you can substitute butter or oil if you don’t have any goose fat on hand:
Mint: Last week I took a very broad poll of one Harvest Basket member – my dad, Bill – to find out whether he would prefer to get a) cilantro again this week, or b) mint. He hemmed and hawed and finally said this: “Well, the only thing you can do with mint is make Mint Juleps, right? So if it’s hot next week, yes, mint! If it’s not hot, no mint!” Because, obviously, Mint Juleps can only be enjoyed on your porch on a sultry evening. Upon further questioning, my dad admitted that he actually had no idea what went into a Mint Julep….except maybe, mint?
So, in spite of the fact that our last cilantro planting is in its prime this week, we have harvested mint for you – because the weather forecast is about as hot as it ever gets (low 70’s, whoo!). Whether you have a porch or not, and even though I’m sure the temperature is nowhere close to “sultry” on that porch, here is a recipe for Mint Juleps. (By the way, Dad, it’s bourbon and sugar. That’s what’s in Mint Juleps…and of course, some mint): http://allrecipes.com/recipe/mint-juleps/
Also by the way, Dad: it turns out you can use mint for LOTS of other things other than Derby-time boozing. Check it out, from Moroccan fare to chocolatey desserts:
(112 pages of mint recipes from epicurious.com)
Cranky Baby Hot Sauce: Put some spice in you life!
This year’s Serrano hot pepper crop is coming on strong, which means Bets is at it again in the farm kitchen, brewing up batches of her infamous Cranky Baby Hot Sauce. Handcrafted at the farm with homegrown hot peppers that are vine-ripened to a sassy red in her greenhouses, this Tabasco-like hot sauce strikes the perfect balance between hot, sweet and tangy. Makes a great gift, or a standby condiment in your own kitchen (we go through it by the gallon!).
Available by the bottle, half case, or case:
- $5/bottle (5 oz)
- $27/half case (6 bottles)
- $48/case (12 bottles)
To order, please email us your: name, pickup location, and the quantity of bottles you would like. We will deliver to your pickup site.
Sweet Peppers by the Bag!
Bulk Peppers are available to our CSA members: Available in 5 pound bags, $20 per bag.
- Red Roasters (tapered, Italian sweet peppers in reds, yellows, and oranges), or
- Mixed Bag (a combo of bells and roasters in reds, yellows, and oranges)
We will fill orders in the order we receive them on a rolling basis in the coming weeks. Please email us your: name, pickup location, phone number, and the quantity and type of peppers you want. We’ll deliver to your pickup site.
In your share this week:
- Red Shallots
- Head Lettuce
- Fresh Mint
- Sweet Peppers
- Tomatoes – Red Slicers
- Savoy Cabbage
This means that some pickup locations will receive it this week, others next week – or in a future week.
- Cherry Tomatoes
The Valley Flora Crystal Ball: What MIGHT be in your Share Next week
Remember, no promises!
- Leeks or Onions
- Head Lettuce
- Sweet Peppers
- Hot Peppers
Please note: all of our produce is field-rinsed, not washed. We recommend you wash all of your produce before eating it.
For recipes and ideas, check out these links:
Our own collection of recipes, where you can contribute and share your favorites
Our website’s recipe “search engine,” where you can hunt down recipes by ingredient
A vast collection of recipes, searchable by one or multiple ingredients
A storehouse of recipes, searchable by ingredient
A Washington farm that has a good collection of seasonal recipes