We often get asked, as farmers, what do we do in the winter? In East Tennessee, in zone 6b, we are actually able to still harvest bunching greens, spinach, lettuce, and carrots through much of the winter with minimal protection, but we spend much of the winter seeding our spring crop. By mid-February, we have all of our spring seedlings seeded in the greenhouse, and most of our spring root crops seeded in the field. By the first week of March, we are transplanting those seedlings outside into the fields, and only six weeks later, we are harvesting. With the help of high tunnels (unheated greenhouses), seeding into the field and transplanting into the field can happen even three weeks earlier!
This is the last scheduled week of the regular season CSA. Thank you to everyone for your support and participation this season! Please remember to bring bags to bag your veggies in this week so that we can make an accurate inventory of the bins that we have. I will try to continue to send pictures and updates over the winter. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!
This week’s share includes: sweet potatoes, winter squash (mostly butternut although we may need to give out something else too), carrots, other mixed root veggies (beets, rutabagas, and turnips), spinach, head lettuce, leaf lettuce, kale or chard, cornmeal, or choice of herb.
The Thanksgiving meal causes much stress to so many…what new recipes to try, how to copy Grandma’s recipe perfectly, how to accommodate the vegan, the vegetarian, and the gluten-free guests and all at the same time, etc. For us, the Thanksgiving meal has always been simple and easy. Essentially, we take the bin that you are receiving this week and turn it into a meal, whatever that is in the given season. This year we are making mashed sweet potatoes, roasted veggie tart, kale salad, and pumpkin cheesecake. Mom will make a roasted chicken and dressing (from our cornmeal) and sis will make the appetizers: veggies with horseradish dip (the horseradish comes from the farm, too) and little snacks like cheese, olives, and pickled okra.
Above is the roasted veggie tart. Roasted veggies (peeled, cut into small cubes, and roasted with olive oil and rosemary for 1 hour…remember to stir often) are very versatile. They are one of Evan Shea’s and Lalo’s favorite snacks. They can also be served with eggs for breakfast, blended or semi-blended into a soup, added to lentils with some Moroccan spices for a great winter meal, served with cider glaze or goat cheese as a side dish, or made into a tart or individual tarts. I use 2 rutabagas, 2 turnips, 4 beets, and 6 carrots for each 8-9″ tart, as well as a sprig of rosemary, 1/4 of an onion and a couple cloves of garlic. You can also add white potatoes or parsnips. I make a gluten-free tart crust from tapioca starch, coconut flour, egg, olive oil, and water, but you can easily use pre-made pizza dough or puff pastry.
This week’s share will include: carrots (man are they pretty!), beets, sweet potatoes, dry black turtle beans, Tennessee Red Cob cornmeal (an heirloom TN corn from the late 1800s, grown and ground on our farm, non-GMO and gluten-free), spinach, head lettuce, leaf lettuce (a trial mix that has knocked our socks off…of course it has been warmer and wetter than normal with few extremes), choice of green, and choice of herb. Next week we will also hand out butternut squash and probably some type of root veggie that seems good for Thanksgiving.
If this is your last pick-up (every-other-week shares or anyone who is taking a long Thanksgiving vacation), please remember to bring your gray bins and bags to put your veggies in (even if you are doing winter share). Our last regular CSA pick-up is Saturday, 11/21.
If you are doing the winter share or are a Sustaining Member paying in payments, please remember that your payment is due Monday 11/16.
Winter shares will start Tuesday, 12/1. We will have the following pick-up locations:
Sequoyah Hills 5-5:30
Fountain City 6/6:15-6:30
or you can pick up at the farm.
Thank you to everyone for your support this season. Please remember applications for next season are due 12/15/15 and payments are due 1/15//16.
I feel like the weather has been off most of the season. In February, I was shocked by the snow and the frigid temperatures made me feel like it was too cold to be seeding. In April and May, it felt too hot and dry to be spring. In July, it rained and rained, making it seem more like April or October instead of the middle of the summer. And now, we have had this really warm fall. In part, I think I internalized the New York farming season down to my bones, in the way we do with anything when it is a “first” experience, and so I am always a little thrown off by what we are harvesting in May or October, but this season I have caught myself feeling like it was earlier or later in the season than it was so many times that I know it is not just an odd visceral response to old-laid harvest plans but that the weather this season has consistently been off. Lalo and I both remarked at different times today that it seemed odd to see so many fields tilled in or just seeded into cover crop, the leaves changing, and late fall/winter veggies in our harvest baskets. It just doesn’t seem like the season should be coming to an end. And yet it is. We planted the first seeds (onions, leeks, scallions, spinach, and beets) that would become your CSA veggies in the greenhouse 42 weeks ago, and now there are three weeks left in the regular season CSA. I want to say, “Where has all the time gone?”
For those of you who can make it, please remember we will celebrate the season this Saturday, November 7 at our house/the farm from 5-7pm. If weather permits, we will try to make a quick tour of the farm first. Please RSVP if you plan on coming.
Also, don’t forget 2016 applications (you will receive a December reminder as well).
This week’s share includes: carrots (8 this week…beautiful!), beets, sweet potatoes, choice of bok choy or green cabbage, choice of green, spinach (larger plants and larger quantity thanks to the rain!), lettuce, arugula, mesclun mix, heirloom popcorn, dry black beans, and choice of dill or cilantro. It is a really pretty bin with a mix of greens, purples, pinks, and orange.
We will have cornmeal the next two weeks!
For those of you who are looking for something else to do with your kale, try http://food52.com/blog/12345-kale-and-9-different-ways-to-use-it-that-don-t-involve-salad#
And for those who still aren’t sure what to do with beets, try http://emmaelizabethchristensen.blogspot.com/2012/08/my-top-8-most-favorite-beet-recipes.html or
Also, a side note about a new possible pumpkin: Lalo and I went to a flea market in search of pumpkins from Mexico/Central America, and we found this beautiful pumpkin (called “Pumpkin”…some research made be in order) that we roasted yesterday and made into soup and bread. It was too sweet for me for soup, but it was the best tasting pumpkin I have had, ever! I am one of those who when I hear descriptions like “it has overtones of cherries and chocolate and floral undertones” thinks WHAT?! but this squash tasted just like roasted hazelnuts mixed with butterscotch! We have saved the seeds (picture coming) and look forward to the experiment. We will be trialing several Mexican and Central American squash/pumpkins next season in search of something other than butternut!
I used homemade beef broth, eliminated the chili powder, celery salt, and catsup, used oregano instead of Italian seasoning, and doubled the kidney beans. At 6 months pregnant, it was close enough! It has become one of Lalo’s and Evan Shea’s favorite soups. I made it for them for dinner tonight.
Popcorn off the cob can be popped in the microwave in a paper bag or cooked on the stove. Do not store it in a plastic bag. Instead move it to a glass jar, and make sure to keep it dry.
We should have dry black beans and cornmeal starting next week.