Heavy & Dense
As a Valley Flora eater, you may have noticed something over the course of this season: namely, the increasing heft of your harvest basket each week. The season always starts out light and fluffy: greens, greens and more greens. But as the months progress, the food gets heavier and denser. Eight pound totes give way to eighteen pound totes (we like to put a packed harvest basket on the scale each week, just to see how many pounds of food we’re sending out). And on the heaviest autumn weeks, when there are potatoes and winter squash and celeriac and Brussels sprouts and parsnips and romanesco cauliflower all stuffed into one tote, we give our hand truck a run for its money on packout days. We’ve had Rubbermaids buckle under the weight of our usual seven-high stack in our walk-in cooler!
The thing I love about this seasonal observation is that all these dense foods, all these vegetable calories, are the sum total of so many months of sunshine and long days and photosynthesis. Of water and weeding and patience. You can’t get heavy food in a few weeks. You can seed mustard greens and arugula and kale and have a baby salad in three to four weeks (and that’s why you see a lot of that stuff in the first 4-6 weeks of the season). But if you want the heavy stuff – like carrots and winter squash and onions and tomatoes – you have to be willing to wait for it. Seventy days. 100 days. Sometimes more.
Growing vegetables is one giant exercise in delayed gratification, and I admire all of you for your willingness as eaters to stick with us for the entire progression of the season. I know that all of those spring greens can be tiresome and overwhelming for some of you. And I know that some of the fall foods still to come (celery root, parsnips, Brussels Sprouts, etc.) can seem bizarre or challenge your long-held vegetable biases. But hats off to you for sticking with it, and hopefully even enjoying it along the way. There are seven more weeks to go, and many more veggies still to meet.
This Week’s Squash: Acorn Squash & Pie Pumpkins
Acorn: 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 as such, 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 it for Thanksgiving you can. (We also have all the winter squash varieties for sale at our farmstand on Saturdays if you want to stock up in a big way for winter eating!)
My sister is the queen of homemade pumpkin pie. She makes it at least two or three times throughout the fall, and 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: if you embark on making your own pie from scratch, you’d better be ready to put your canned pie filling up for adoption. Here are a few variations on the theme:
Remember: No More Abby’s Greens Salad Shares!
Salad shares are over for the season, in case you go looking for that red salad cooler at your pickup site this week!
You can continue to get Abby's Greens at various locations, including:
- Valley Flora Farmstand (Saturdays only from 10-2 in Langlois, through Nov. 17th)
- Langlois Market (Langlois)
- Coos Head Food Store (North Bend)
- Mother's Natural Grocery (Bandon)
- Price n Pride (Bandon)
- Seaweed Natural Grocery (Port Orford)
Thanks for all your salad-eating this season!
New Fall Farmstand Hours: Saturdays ONLY from 10 am to 2pm
Our farmstand is now open every Saturday from 10 am to 2 pm, through November 17th! We are no longer open on Wednesdays. The autumn abundance is awesome right now, as summer crops collide with fall food: peppers, tomatoes, chard, kale, onions, potatoes, leeks, spinach, salad mix, melons, apples, beets, carrots, zucchini, herbs, and much more.
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.
In your share this week:
- Head Lettuce
- Winter Squash – Acorn & Pie Pumpkins
- Tomatoes – Red Slicers
This means that some pickup locations will receive it this week, others next week – or in a future week.
Nothing this week…
The Valley Flora Crystal Ball: What MIGHT be in your Share Next week
Remember, no promises!
- Yellow Onions
- Head Lettuce
- Romanesco Cauliflower?
- Butternut squash
- Yellow Finn Potatoes
- Fresh Sage
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