Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Wed/Thurs - Week # 10



Hi,

I hope you are doing well. This week our small shares have slicing tomatoes, acorn squash, cantaloupe, sweet corn, rhubarb and jalapeno peppers. Our full shares have tomatillos, eggplant, roma tomatoes, acorn squash, sweet corn, cantaloupe, garlic, rainbow chard and jalapeno peppers.

New in the small shares this week are cantaloupe, sweet corn, jalapeno peppers, rhubarb and acorn squash. I hope you know what to do with cantaloupe, and I am sure you are well acqainted with sweet corn and jalapeno peppers as well. If you're not sure what to do with rhubarb, you can prepare it in a number of ways--but it is mostly used in desserts and sauces. Though it looks like celery, it has a strong tart flavor, that combined with sugar, makes it excellent in deserts or preserves. It is usually cut into small pieces and stewed with plenty of sugar, and often other fruits. Use it in pie, as topping for crepes, or ice cream; or as a sauce.

The acorn squash is another of our many varieties of winter squash. Of the 12 varieties that we grow, each has unique textures and flavors, but all of them other than the spaghetti (which you received last week) can be prepared in pretty much the same way. First cut it in half and scoop out the seeds. Next, you can slice it into chunks, or cook it whole (or stuffed)--feel free to cook it with the skin on, but cut/peel it off before eating. Make sure to be careful while cutting it--sometimes winter squash can get pretty dicey. I think it is best coated liberally with butter and brown sugar, but you can coat with any fat/oil, or just water, and if you're going for something more savory than sweet, use salt, pepper, and any spices you like instead of sugar. Like the spaghetti squash, you can roast it at 350, and it should be done in about half an hour, depending on how thick it is--it's done when it's as tender as you like it, usually when you can pierce it fairly easily with a knife. As with any winter squash (think pumpkin seeds), you can save and roast the seeds with a little oil and salt/sugar as well.

Obviously I enjoy and value eating locally and seasonally, and I am especially interested in local food cuisine/culture in that same vein. In my view of things, the single biggest thing we can all embrace to help encourage that is winter squash. If we are to really take eating locally and in-season seriously, then winter squash should be every bit as much of a staple food, if not more, than potatoes and onions. They come in so many wonderful varieties, and can be cooked in so many ways--other than the fact that they don't lend themselves to being fried and sold in fast food chains--I don't know why they aren't major staple foods in more households already. I really encourage you to try each kind of squash we share each week and consider making it a staple in your household, even after this CSA season is over.

New in our full shares this week are tomatillos, roma tomatoes, acorn squash, sweet corn, garlic, and jalapeno peppers. Tomatillos are a relative of the tomato, and have a tangy, sweet flavor and tomato-like texture. They can be harvested at varying degrees of ripeness, and you will notice different tomatillos will have slightly different flavors, from tart to sweet depending on how ripe they are. If you have had green salsa, you have probably already eaten tomatillos, and will recognize their flavor. You can prepare them anyway you would tomatoes--I think they make a great pasta sauce, or salsa, or are great sliced in salad, or just eaten as they are (without the wrapper, of course). Roma tomatoes are juicy, meaty, and predominantly used for making tomato sauce, so I hope you will try making some fresh sauce this week. I personally enjoy a good uncooked tomato sauce; just put tomatoes, garlic, herbs of your choice, and olive oil in a food processor and serve over hot pasta.

You will also notice that we have included a letter in each share from one of the newest members of our cooperative, Daniel Miller. We received a lot of feedback in the surveys that said people are interested in knowing more about what is happening on the farms, so we thought it would be a good idea to share right from the farmers. I try to convey generally the kind of feedback you all provide back to our growers as well--but if you are interested in writing back to our farmers in general, or a family in particular--please feel free to send me a message via email, or just ask for their address, and I will make sure to share it. They are always very interested in knowing how you're finding all the produce, and the CSA in general.

Please remember to return your bags.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact me.

Enjoy!

-Mark


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