Savory Pumpkin

Call me un-American, but I’m not a big fan of pumpkin pie. It’s a matter of texture and tang: Pie for me means a fruit pie that is on the tart side.

But I do like pumpkin used in other dishes, and I’ve been trying to expand my repertoire. Two weeks ago, I got an e-mail from Serious Eats with a recipe that fit the bill: Pumpkin Turkey Chili. I know that sounds like a Thanksgiving dinner that collided with a tailgate party, but it really works. (Translation: I liked it, and the kids ate it.) The pumpkin kind of melts in with the tomato and gives the whole dish more substance, which I think you need in a poultry-based chili.

I have also finally found a gnocchi recipe that I can make without turning the potatoes to glue and, surprise, it calls for pumpkin too. The recipe’s title, Pumpkin Gnocchi with a Brown Butter Sauce, Crisped Sage and Shaved Parmigianno-Reggiano, is long, as is the process for making them.
And the recipe’s call for cinnamon and allspice will leave you scratching your head. But those slight, pumpkin pie notes elevate the gnocchi and, to my mind, make it possible to do away with a lot of fancy saucing. A nice side dish for dinner and, if you are my younger son, a breakfast choice as well.

Week 20 Shares

Individual shares, choose 4

Kale

Swiss Chard

Radishes

Baby Greens (lettuces & arugula)

Apples

EXTRAS: Parsley, Chestnuts or Hickory nuts, Collards, Squash, Lettuce, Flowers

CHICKEN WILL BE AVAILABLE AS WELL AS OUR OWN ALL-BEEF HOT DOGS. PLEASE USE THE ON LINE ORDER FORM FOR CHICKEN

Distribution ends the last week of October including November 1st. Please plan accordingly. There are a number of members who have not yet fulfilled their volunteer time commitment. Please contact your distribution coordinator directly to coordinate your volunteer time. IF you are not in a position to meet your volunteer obligation there is a ‘Buy-out’ option. This option provides very necessary dollars directly to offset labor expenses. If you want to exercise this option please click here to make an on line payment. Find the PayPal in the left column in the ‘JOIN HERE TODAY’ section, or make a payment at your next distribution.

George Washington’s Kale

George Washington KaleAfter months of waiting, I finally got White House tour tickets for my family. So last Thursday we headed to DC for a long weekend and, while the rest of the Verona CSA group was at pick-up, we were at Mount Vernon, looking at George Washington’s kale. We were also looking at the founding father’s walnuts but I thought that would push the bounds of good taste in a headline.

Mount Vernon could be held up as a model organic farm, except that, in the mid-1700s, that was really the only kind of farming around. No synthetic pesticides to run off into the picturesque Potomac below, no fungicides on the fruit trees. Of course, Washington’s success as a farmer–he had 8,000 acres and was highly successful–was due in no small part to the fact that he was also a major slave owner. He freed his slaves only upon his death.

George Washington SquashMount Vernon today is a fraction of its old size, but several colonial-era farming practices are still in evidence. There was a deep, straw-lined manure pit next to the stables, much to the dismay of a group of visiting teenagers. And yes, I did try to explain why that was a good idea until my older son rolled his eyes and moaned “Mommmmm”. There were also several beautifully maintained garden plots, with rows of lacinato kale, cardoons, and several kinds of winter squash and cabbage.

None of which, alas, was for sale in the gift shop. But I did pocket a walnut or two.

Watching whales instead of veggies

I got this e-mail and photo from Rose Boeve, a member of the Hell’s Kitchen CSA group.

A few weeks ago I sent an e-mail to Leonard Pollara, asking whether it was ok if a friend of mine would pick up my veggies, as I would be out of town for a weekend. Leonard responded that that was ok, and asked me where I would spend my weekend out of town. I went whale watching in Cape Cod, and was asked to write a little for the farm’s blog.   After a six hour drive and freezing but beautiful outdoor camping we got up early Saturday morning to watch the whales. Unfortunately, the ocean was so rough that the whales did not let us watch them…   Sunday morning, we got up early again (this was heavier than the day before, as Saturday nights in Cape Cod appeared to be very entertaining!). After an hour on a very calm ocean something was waving at us from the waves, splashing around. An immense but beautiful creature appeared, a humpback whale (megaptera novaeangliae), swimming around so peacefully. Our boat was full of people, but once the whales appeared everyone got silent and watched.   All in all it was an amazing experience, you feel so little on the wide ocean, surrounded by big mammals, beautiful!!

whale

Week 19 Share

Individuals, choose 6

Apples

Pears

Radishes

Basil

Parsley

Kale/Collards

Dandelion/Chicory

Pumpkins

Extras: Chestnuts, Hickory Nuts, Lettuce, Stinging Nettles
We’ll have fresh and frozen chicken each week. Please order here.
Please excuse the late announcement.  Fall greens along with radishes are just coming in.  There are also some surprise extras. See you at distribution.

Funky Apples and Sooty Blotch

Upper Meadows Farm Red Delicious AppleI know, it sounds like some sort of garage band.

A few of you asked me what was going on with the Red Delicious apples that we had at last week’s CSA distribution. The short answer is: 26 days of rain in June.

The technical answer is that the endless rain we had in June and the very cool weather left our apples with something called sooty blotch and flyspeck. SBFS is a fungal complex that stakes its claim to the outside of an apple. The blemishes it causes compromise the beauty of the apple,  but they don’t affect the safety or, thankfully, the taste of the fruit.

If I were a conventional grower, I would have knocked out SBFS by waging chemical warfare on my apples, dousing them with fungicides. But I’m not.

Our Delicious apples are from an older scion graft and so still have more of the flavor and less of the shape that characterizes the beautiful, but tasteless “Delicious” apples that everyone is familiar with today. This season’s apples may not be visually pleasing, but when you get past the skin and bite in, you will understand why they were called “delicious” in the first place.

Warm Autumn Chutney

The pears and apples that have been showing up in our CSA shares can be the basis of many dishes, from savory to sweet and appetizer to dessert. This recipe combines them with some of Upper Meadows Farm’s honey into a chutney that is a flavorful condiment with any roast.

If you haven’t yet had a chance to get some of the farm’s honey, Leonard will have some for sale at this week’s distributions.

Printable Recipe: Warm Autumn Chutney