In This Week’s Beet Box:
- New Produce of the Week: Leeks, Savoy Cabbage, Acorn Squash & Pie Pumpkins
- Winter Squash Kickoff!
- Last Week of Abby’s Greens Salad Shares
- New Fall Farmstand Hours
In your share this week:
- Yellow Onions
- Savoy Cabbage
- Head Lettuce
- Hot Peppers
- Acorn Squash
- Pie Pumpkins
This means that some pickup sites will receive it this week; others next week or in a future week.
NEW PRODUCE OF THE WEEK
Leeks: Long and lovely, mild-mannered and deeply flavorful, leeks are like a gateway drug to onions. They rank on the mellower side of the allium spectrum and can be cooked up in any recipe where you would normally use onions. They are most famously paired with potatoes in potato leek soup, but don’t stop there. The possibilities are endless and delicious.
Prep tip: Sometimes dirt gets caught within the inner rings of the leek. Cut the leek up the center the long way and then slice the leek crosswise, discarding the root and leaf ends. Rinse the sliced leek in a colander to wash off any dirt and then cook. Will store for a few weeks in the fridge in a plastic bag. If the outer layers get funky, just strip them off to reveal pristine leek below (like cabbage).
Savoy Cabbage: A curly-headed cousin to regular smooth cabbages, savoy cabbage is light and tender. It can be used in all the same ways.
Acorn Squash: Acorns have dark green to black skin, with deep ribs. They often have a bright orange spot on one side, where they were in contact with the ground. This is one tough-skinned squash, so be extra-careful when you cut into it. Acorns are among the more ubiquitous squash varieties in the supermarket and are maybe a little less intimidating to some folks. There are a couple of recipes on our website that I really like if you want to do it up fancy-ish, or turn them into a main dish:
But if you’re in a hurry or more inclined towards the simple, I suggest simply halving your acorns, scooping out the seeds, and placing them face down on a baking tray with a little water in the tray. Bake in the oven at 400 until you can pierce the skin with a fork and the flesh is soft, about 30 minutes or so. We eat them with a pat of butter melting inside, and I have been known to put a splash of maple syrup or a sprinkle of brown sugar on them.
They also make great lunch food if you bake them the night before and then pack them for the next day. The hollow cavity begs to be stuffed with something – feta, rice, nuts, salad, sautéed onions, or all of the above.
Like all the winter squash you’re getting, Acorns will store for a couple months at room temperature, so no need to stress about eating them right away if you have a perishable produce pile-up right now.
Pie Pumpkins: These cute little pumpkins can double as Halloween/Thanksgiving décor and/or the key ingredient in a homemade pumpkin pie. They will store for a couple months on the counter – like all the squash varieties – so if you want to save yours for Thanksgiving you can. (We also have all the winter squash varieties for sale at our farmstand on Wednesdays if you want to stock up in a big way for winter eating!)
My sister is the queen of homemade pumpkin pie. I know, I know: what a wholly un-modern thing to bake the pumpkin, make the filling, craft the crust, and see it through to steaming completion. But once you’ve had the real thing, with a dollop of whipped cream on top, there’s no going back. So be forewarned if you have a stash of canned pumpkin pie filling in your pantry: you’d better be ready to put it up for adoption after you try the real thing. Here are a few variations on the theme:
Winter Squash Kickoff
This week marks the official start of winter squash season! In the nine remaining weeks of the Harvest Basket season (the last week of the CSA will be the week of December 9th), you are going to meet an array of different winter squash. All of them are cured and ready to eat, but will also store for another few months, either on your countertop or in a cool, dry, dark place. There is no need to refrigerate winter squash; in fact their preferred storage temperature is around 50 degrees. Even though they look tough, handle them gently. Bruised winter squash won't store as long.
Many people are new to winter squash and often relate to them more as seasonal décor than food. We’re here to encourage you to EAT them, because they are fantastically sweet, delicious and versatile. We’ve grown a selection of our all-time favorite varieties and each week I’ll give you tips, suggestions and recipes that will help you enjoy them. Don’t be intimidated by their tough skins, large size, or funky shapes. Winter squash is one of the highlights of seasonal eating in our climate, and lucky for all of us it was a good year for squash on the farm!
A word about kitchen safety and winter squash: Their skin is often tough as nails, so be very careful cutting into them. If you’re cutting a squash in half or into slices, you’ll want to use a large, heavy-bladed, sharp-tipped knife (not a thin-bladed, paring, or delicate ceramic knife). We once broke the blade of our best knife while trying to hack open a winter squash, so now we only use a heavy-duty stainless steel chef knife for the job. It’s best to insert the tip of the knife into the squash first and then work the blade down and through the flesh of the squash. Be careful that the squash doesn’t spin out of your grip, or that the knife slips. Always be strategic about where your hands are and where the knife is headed. If you have a microwave, some people suggest nuking the squash for a couple minutes to pre-soften it before attempting to cut into it.
Enjoy the parade of squash coming your way. They are a seasonal delight, and not particularly perishable – in case you need some time to warm up to them.
Last Week of Abby’s Greens Salad Shares
This is the 20th and final week of Abby’s Greens Salad Shares. If you’ve been getting a salad share all season, enjoy this last bag of greens. There will probably continue to be Abby’s Greens for sale at our farmstand each Wednesday from 10 am to 2 pm. You can also find Abby’s Greens at the Langlois Market, Mother’s Natural Grocery, and Coos Head Food Store (depending on supply).
New Fall Farmstand Hours
We have switched to our fall schedule and the farmstand is now open on Wednesdays ONLY from 10 am to 2 pm. There is still the stray tomato to be had at the stand and the last of the summer peppers, but autumn food is taking over – winter squash, parsnips, potatoes, bunched greens, radishes, broccoli, and much more. We anticipate being open each Wednesday through mid-December.
The Valley Flora Crystal Ball: What MIGHT be in your share NEXT week…
No promises, but your tote might include some of the following:
- Braising Mix
- Red Potatoes
- Spaghetti Squash
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