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November 2020

Week 24 of 26: Sweet potatoes make an appearance

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Have you noticed the tall plants with yellow flowers in some of our fields?  It's called sunn hemp, and we grow it along with sudan grass for a thick, carbon-rich cover crop to feed our soil.  Sunn hemp isn't related to cannabis.  It gets that name because of its strong, fibrous stalks.  It's actually related to peas and beans, and like them, has bacteria on its roots that gather nitrogen from the air and make it usable to plants. This is how we grow our own fertilizer.  

Announcements

  • U-picking is still going on for herbs and any flowers you can find around farm (all by wash station, and some extra striped marigolds over by the where the sunflowers were in G2).  We have a nice amount of parsley and cilantro, in addition to many of the other herbs we have mentioned in the past.  We might have a frost this weekend, so if you're planning to pick any basil, this might be your last chance. 
  • The deadline to order fresh, Bay-friendly oysters has passed for the Annapolis pick up on October 29th, but you can order oysters now for pick up at the farm on November 14th! There will also be another chance to pick up oysters in Annapolis--just before Thanksgiving on 11/24.  Details coming soon.  
  • We're still selling garlic!
    For CSA members, the prices are $8/lb or a discounted $6/lb for purchases of at least 10 pounds. 
    Non-members pay $12/pound or $8/pound for 10 pounds or more. 
    If you're purchasing more than 10 pounds for pick up at Dupont or Annapolis, please give us at least one day advanced notice so we can be sure to get it in the van for you. 
    All the options are available for on-line purchase now.  We do not ship or deliver, except to our CSA pick-ups.  
  • It is Week 24 which means after this week, we only have 2 more weeks of shares! Your final week of shares is November 11, 12 and 14. 
  • Don't forget that you cannot take more than 2 shares at a time.  We can tell you at the pick-up how many you have remaining to use up.  
  • We can still use extra help in the fields with harvesting and other field work, any day, Tuesdays through Saturdays.  Call 301-627-4662 to sign up. 

This week's share

  • 2 heads garlic
  • 1.25 pounds sweet potatoes (some of them look pretty funny but they're still delicious!)
  • 1 daikon radish
  • 1 purple-top turnip
  • 1 large head bok choi
  • 1/2 pound eggplant
  • 1.5 pounds peppers (mostly green)
  • Choose 6 ounces of greens from a selection of options (including spicy mix and collards)
  • Optional: 8 ounces of a mild or hot blend of chilies

Note that sweet potatoes store best with their dirt on.  If you don't find the dust a nuisance, wait until you're ready to cook them before you wash them.

Recipes

  • Sweet Potato Oven Fries
    • Ingredients:
      Sweet Potatoes
      Olive Oil
      Coconut oil (optional)

      Salt
    • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Slice up however many sweet potatoes you want about a 1/4" wide, for them to be similar thickness, for even cooking. Toss in a bowl, with enough olive oil to coat, and a little salt.
      If you have coconut oil, I like to put a tablespoon or two on a baking sheet and set it in the oven for a minute to melt. Then spread the oil around the pan for a good coating. You could oil the pan with another high heat oil. I think the oil on the bottom gets them to brown better.
      Spread the sweet potatoes across the pan so none are piled on top of each other, and each has good contact with the pan. Cover the pan with tin foil. Put in the oven and bake until sweet potatoes are tender, about a 1/2 hr.
      Then remove the foil, and put the pan back in the oven to brown. Don’t stir, as this will mess up the browning. Scope the fries out periodically as they bake until you get the level of browning you want
  • Baked Tofu with Peanut Sauce and Bok Choi from the Washington Post
  • Bok Choi Salad
    • Dressing ingredients:
      • 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
      • 1/2 cup sugar
      • 2/3 cup combination olive oil and toasted sesame oil, to your preference
      • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
      • a minced chili
      • If you have a flavor packet with your package of ramen (below), you can use it in place of some of the seasoning in this dressing).
    • Salad ingredients:
      • 1 head bok choi, chopped
      • 1 bunch green onions or chives, chopped (we have chives in the herb garden for u-pick)
      • 1 package ramen noodles
      • 4-8 oz slivered or sliced almonds
      • 1 tablespoon butter
    • Instructions:
      • Mix dressing ingredients and set aside (using a blender will thicken the dressing). 
      • Chop bok choi and chives or green onions. Mix with dressing.
      • Crush ramen noodles.  Mix with almonds and butter and brown in skillet.  Use as a garnish on top of the salad.
      • Serve immediately.


Coming Soon

The forecast for this coming weekend is for a possible frost, so we're busy picking all the remaining peppers and eggplant.  We think we'll have more sweet potatoes, but they will be smaller and skinnier, like fat fingers.  This is the last week for daikon radishes.  We have one more butternut to give everyone, which we're saving for next week.  And we should have bok choi, salad greens, kale, collards, purple top turnips and garlic through to the last week.  


By this time next week election day will have passed!  May we all breathe a sigh of relief when it is over.  
The Clagett Farm Team


Week 23: Coming back to our roots. Big ones.

Sheep loving this fall weather, maybe even more than we are....maybe.

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Announcements

  • U-picking is still going on for herbs and any flowers you can find around farm (all by wash station, and some extra striped marigolds over by the where the sunflowers were in G2)
  • Dupont members, many of you didn't get garlic in your share last week.  Remind Carrie at your next pick up and we'll give you the missed garlic.  Sorry!
  • Don't forget about the oyster pop-up in Annapolis on October 29th.  The deadline for ordering is Monday (10/26).  And we'll have one on the farm on November 14th (details for that location coming later).  
  • We're still selling garlic!!! 
    For CSA members, the prices are $8/lb or a discounted $6/lb for purchases of at least 10 pounds. 
    Non-members pay $12/pound or $8/pound for 10 pounds or more. 
    If you're purchasing more than 10 pounds for pick up at Dupont or Annapolis, please give us at least one day advanced notice so we can be sure to get it in the van for you. 
    All the options are available for on-line purchase now.  We do not ship or deliver, except to our CSA pick-ups.  
  • It is Week 23 which means after this week, we only have 3 more weeks of shares! The season is coming to a close and we hope to leave you with your fill of greens, winter squash, radishes and turnips.  We are planning on digging up those small sweet potatoes soon as well for possibly Week 25.
  • Concerned about how to store your winter squash?  Here's the trick: do absolutely nothing.  That's right, you can use it as a door stop or bookend or festive table display.  And then 3 months from now, when you're thinking about how great it was to have a farm that grew vegetables for you, you can cook it and eat it.  So easy!  
  • Your final week of shares is November 11, 12 and 14.  Don't forget that you cannot take more than 2 shares at a time.  We can tell you at the pick-up how many you have remaining to use up.  
  • We can still use extra help in the fields with harvesting and other field work, any day, Tuesdays through Saturdays.  Call 301-627-4662 to sign up. 
       
        
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This week's share


  • 2 heads garlic
  • 1 winter squash (butternut)
  • 1 daikon radish
  • 1 watermelon radish
  • 1 large head bok choi
  • 1-3 eggplants (about a pound)
  • 3/4 pounds peppers
  • a few small French breakfast radishes
  • Choose 6 ounces of greens from a selection of options (including spicy mix and collards)
  • Optional: 6 ounces of a mild or hot blend of chilies

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Above, Elissa is gracefully displaying the rather extravagant size of one of our daikon radishes.  Be prepared for some big radishes in your bag today!  Note that the radish greens are quite delicious, so taste a little and decide if you'd like to cook with it or include some chopped leaves in your salad.  
 

Recipes


Aigo Bouido
Our volunteer, Vince Renard, likes to use our garlic to make this classic, French soup.
 
Creamy Winter Squash soup with ginger
TIME: 30 - 45 MINUTES (not including roasting time); SERVES: 6+
This soup can be made with almost any type of winter squash.  I prefer to use Kabocha because of its starchy, chestnut-like texture and flavor, but Butternut does wonders as well. 
*Go with a high-powered blender or food processor, rather than an immersion blender, for the silkiest texture.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 medium-large winter squash; roasted, flesh scooped out & reserved (about 2 cups)
  • 2 tbsp. unrefined coconut oil or ghee/butter
  • 1 large yellow or white onion (or 1 - 2 leeks), chopped
  • 1 - 3 carrots (opt.), chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-inch piece ginger, grated
  • Water, vegetable broth, or chicken stock (amount depends on desired consistency)
  • 1, 14-oz. can full-fat coconut milk
  • ~1/4 tsp. each coriander, ground turmeric, & Ceylon cinnamon
  • A pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Juice from 1/2 - 1 lime (depending on size; to taste)
  • 1 tsp. fish sauce (opt.)
  • Kosher salt & fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • Cilantro, chopped
  • Greek yogurt or crème fraîche


METHOD

  • Heat coconut oil or ghee/butter in a large dutch oven or soup pot. When hot enough to sizzle water, add the onions,celery, carrots, garlic, ginger, & spices. Cook until browned & fragrant.
  • Add the coconut milk and roasted winter squash. Add enough water or stock to barely cover. (You can always add more liquid, but it’s hard to cook the soup down once it’s too thin without adding more squash.)
  • Cover and simmer on low until soft and thoroughly cooked through, about 20 minutes. Stir often to avoid sticking.
  • Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Transfer carefully in batches to the blender or food processor and purée until creamy.
  • Adjust seasonings: add the lime, optional fish sauce, and salt & pepper to taste.
  • Ladle into bowls and garnish with chopped cilantro and yogurt or crème fraîche.

 
Daikon Radish Pickles
TIME: 15 MINUTES (plus overnight marinating); SERVES: 2 CUPS
This quick-pickle “brine” can be used for a variety of different veggies: radish, cucumber, kohlrabi, celery, etc.. You can make more or less brine depending on the amount of veggies you wish to pickle.  This is not a fermented pickle, like kimchi, so it's a good choice for people who don't want that strong fermented taste.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups daikon radish (or a mix of veggies), sliced into bite-size lengths, but thin enough to soak in the marinade (I like a long, rectangular shape, or half moon)
  • ~1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
  • ~1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup tamari, Nama Shoyu or soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. mirin or Chinese Shaoxing wine (opt.)
  • A few dashes fish sauce
  • 1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp. gochugaru or crushed red pepper flakes


METHOD

  • Place the sliced daikon radish in a large ziplock bag or a shallow pan/bowl. Sprinkle with kosher salt.
  • Combine half of the water plus all ingredients for the marinade in a separate bowl. Pour over the daikon. You want the majority of the radish to be touching the marinade. If you need more liquid, add the other 1/2 cup of water.
  • Let sit overnight in the fridge. Mix every few hours to incorporate the marinade on all sides. Pickles will keep for a couple weeks.


Enjoy this magnificent weather! 
The Clagett Farm Team


week 22 of 26 weeks: crunchy vegetables

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We have some new items in your bag this week, so these photos might help you identify them.  Above, from left to right: watermelon radish, hakurei turnip, purple top turnip, sora radish and French breakfast radish.  You won't get all of these items this week, but it helps to see them all together for comparison. 

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Bok choi and sunchokes (also known as Jarusalem artichokes)
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These winter squash might look funny but they have knock-out flavor.  Clockwise from center: Thai kang kob, seminole and kubocha.  Don't expect to get many of these unique varieties, since they were experiments for us, but you might see one this week.  

Announcements

  • If you want a chance to get outside and do something great for the world, plant trees this Saturday!  And if you can't do it this weekend, there will be another tree planting November 14th.  Here are the details, registration is required.  All summer these trees have been growing in our nursery, and these two plantings on farms in northern Maryland will keep excess fertilizer out of the streams, carbon out of the atmosphere, and a host of other wonderful benefits.  
  • As we mentioned last week, we can use your help in the fields with harvesting and other field work, any day, Tuesdays through Saturdays.  Call 301-627-4662 to sign up.   
  • We'll host an oyster pop-up in Annapolis on October 29th.  And we'll have one on the farm on November 14th (details for that location coming later).  
  • We're still selling garlic!  For CSA members, the prices are $8/lb or a discounted $6/lb for purchases of at least 10 pounds.  Non-members pay $12/pound or $8/pound for 10 pounds or more.  If you're purchasing more than 10 pounds for pick up at Dupont or Annapolis, please give us at least one day advanced notice so we can be sure to get it in the van for you.  All the options are available for on-line purchase now.  We do not ship or deliver, except to our CSA pick-ups.
  • We have one more month.  Your final week of shares is November 11, 12 and 14.  Don't forget that you can't take more than 2 shares at a time.  We can tell you at the pick-up how many you have remaining to use up.  

This week's share

  • 2 heads garlic
  • 1 winter squash
  • 1 pound radish and turnip medley
  • 2 heads bok choi
  • 1-3 eggplants
  • 3/4 pounds peppers
  • 1/4 pound sunchokes (this week only)
  • Choose 6 ounces of greens from a selection of options
  • Optional: 6 ounces of a mild or hot blend of chilies

Recipes

  • Sometimes a basic stir fry recipe is in order. This one focuses simply on the bok choi.  Consider adding chunks of winter squash, turnips and sunchokes.
    • Ingredients:
    • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 shallot, chopped
    • 1 pound bok choi, rinsed and cut into bite-sized pieces (if you received a baby head, you can quarter the heads length-wise with the core intact)
    • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
    • Preparation:
    • Heat oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat.  Add garlic and shallot and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add bok choi, soy sauce and 2 Tablespoons water, and cover immediately.  Cook 1 minute.  Uncover and toss, then cover and cook until bok choi is tender at the core, about 3 more minutes. 
  • As you might expect us to say, you can add the radishes, turnips, sunchokes, and all the new varieties of squash to the list of vegetables that roast well.  Here's some hints for this week:
    • If you're in a hurry, cut your pieces smaller.  The winter squash can take an hour to roast if you leave it whole or cut in half.  But if you slice it thinly and coat each piece with a little oil, it could take as few as 15 minutes.  
    • If you get a bumpy variety of squash, don't feel obliged to peel it.  Thai kang kob and kubocha have thin, edible skins.  The seminole has a tough skin, so you might try scooping it out of it's skin, once cooked, which is a little easier than peeling.  The tough skin, by the way, is one of its assets--seminoles can store on your shelf for a year!  
    • Sunchokes taste best if they are roasted until they are very soft through the middle, like potatoes.
  • Soups are a perfect way to accomodate most winter vegetables, and sunchokes are no different.  I'm going to give you the French style, with lots of butter and cream.  Substitute for your dietary needs accordingly.  I'm leaving amounts vague to encourage you to make it to your tastes.  
    • Scrub the sunchokes and slice thinly.  Attentive chefs (not me) will recommend peeling them and after slicing, putting them in ice water to retain their white color. Slice turnips and squash if you wish to use them.  Note that squash with a green skin will change the color of the soup, so you might wish to peel it or leave it out for a different dish.  Do you have carrots you'd like to use up?  Slice them up, too.  Don't be too concerned about the width of your slices, just be aware that fatter slices take longer to cook.    
    • Choose a nice, heavy-bottomed dutch oven.  Melt butter (think about 2 Tablespoons butter for every pound of vegetables in the soup).  Add thinly sliced garlic and shallot to the butter until it is soft but not browned. Celery is also a nice addition at this point.   
    • Add the sunchokes and other vegetables to the pan, then pour in stock (at least enough to cover the vegetables), and simmer until the vegetables are very soft.  
    • Blend your soup.  Now is the time to add salt, pepper and cream to your liking, but don't skimp--those ingredients are important.  I like to use an immersion blender so I don't have to pour hot soup into a blender and back again.
    • Return to the heat until it's piping hot but not boiling.  
  • You might not need help coming up with salad recipes, but here's an interesting one from Farmer John's Cookbook (John Peterson is famous in farmer circles from Angelic Organics Farm in Illinois): Young Turnip and Apricot Salad with Toasted Walnuts and Creamy Greens Dressing.  You could very easily include radishes with the turnips in this salad.  


Coming Soon

  • We've finally flattened the okra crop in order to get a good cover crop established.  The cover crop (a combination of rye, vetch and crimson clover) will fertilize and protect the soil until May 2021, when we'll plant your peppers in that field.  The okra plants measured in at 14 feet and 3 inches!  It was our tallest okra crop ever.
  • This is the last week of watermelon radishes, sora radishes and hakurei turnips.  We'll continue to see purple top turnips and French breakfast radishes, and next week we'll add some daikon radishes to the share, which are quite large!  Kimchi lovers, now is your time to shine!  Kimchi, as well as other types of vegetables fermented in salt or whey, are magnificently healthy for your digestive system, and the pasteurized versions of pickles at the store don't have that same benefit.  But not everyone loves the flavor.  If you're new to the idea, check out anything written by Sandor Katz.  Fermenting is incredibly easy, it doesn't require fancy equipment, and despite your fears, you won't mess up and make yourself sick.  
  • The eggplant and pepper fields were under-seeded with cover crop.  Under-seeding allows the eggplant and peppers to continue growing, but the cover crop doesn't establish quite as well.  Fortunately, we won't need their fields again until fall 2021, so we can grow a summer cover crop after this one to double our impact.  
  • The greens in your shares should remain about the same for the next several weeks, including bok choi.

Have a wonderful week, and thank you!
The Clagett Farm Team


Week 21: Crooknecks!

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These are Pennsylvania Dutch Crooknecks.  They are an heirloom winter squash renowned for their great flavor and for the ratio of squash that is seed-free, making it a little easier to prepare.  Don't be intimidated by their size.  You can chop off the part you want to use immediately and keep the rest in your fridge for weeks.  Or you can roast the entire thing and freeze a bunch of it for some future use (soup is my favorite).  Or maybe you don't want to use any of it just yet? All of our winter squashes will keep for months, unrefrigerated, as long as they haven't been cut or nicked.  If you don't have plans for your crookneck, butternuts or acorns right away, tuck them on a shelf until you feel inspired--some wintery holiday when you can amaze your family with your fantastic pumpkin pie (crooknecks make a better pie than orange pumpkins anyway).   
 

Announcements

  • Garlic - new wholesale prices
    You can now purchase 10 pounds or more for $6/pound ($8/pound for non-members)  
    For fewer than 10 pounds, the price remains $8/pound for CSA members and $12/pound for non-members.  Pay with cash or check (made out to CBF), or purchase on-line HERE. (For now, this link is for the $8/lb price only.  We'll adjust for the new wholesale option shortly.) 
  • We're now welcoming volunteers on Saturdays!  Our friends from the education department have gone back to their normal, educating duties, so we're hoping to get some help with harvests (Tuesdays and Fridays) and field work (Thursdays and Saturdays).  We can take up to 10 people at a time, and adults can take one CSA share in exchange for 5 hours of work.  Call the farm line to sign up: 301-627-4662.   
  • Do you have a lawn?  As a steward of your land, the choices you make can either help clean the Bay or pollute it.  You can sequester carbon or release it.  TONIGHT the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and Glenstone Museum are holding a webinar with experts ready to give you ideas, and none to soon--fall is the perfect time to establish new plants in your yard.  
  • Has this year inspired you to wonder why our food system is so fragile?  Do you have ideas about how to make it more resilient?  Future Harvest would like to hear your ideas!  Let's use this crisis to create  system that will stand up to our next crisis more successfully.  
  • If you're thinking of owning a farm business someday, a great place to start is with the Future Harvest Beginner Farmer Training Program.  They are accepting applications now for 2021, and the deadline is soon--October 16.   

This week's share

  • 2 heads garlic
  • 1 Pennsylvania Dutch Crookneck
  • 1 Eggplant
  • 1/2 pound Sweet Peppers 
  • 1 Watermelon Radish
  • 1 small piece of fresh ginger

    Choose one 
  • Spicy Mix (this week's blend is heavy with tokyo bekana, so it is quite mild)
  • Arugula
  • Tatsoi
  • Collards 

    You may also add on 
  • Okra -  6 oz
  • Chilies, mild or hot -  6 oz

Recipes

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Wondering what to do with a watermelon radish? Here are some great links for some ideas:

The Pennsylvania Dutch Crookneck can be used the same way you would butternut squash.  The world abounds with excellent squash soup recipes, but if you haven't found one you like yet, here's a place to start: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/squash-soup-recipe2-1956330.  Don't add the honey until you've tasted the roasted squash--it might be sweet enough that you don't want it.  The cream and butter can be easily substituted with soymilk and olive oil.  Sometimes I add pearl barley to soups to make it a more filling meal.  And some other additions that I find delicious are blue cheese, harissa (or some smoky hot sauce of your choice) and a topping of roasted squash seeds.  Also, I sometimes use apples or apple cider as a sweetener instead of honey.  

Have you been roasting squash seeds?  Don't throw them out until you've tried it!  When you scoop the seeds out of your raw winter squash, pull them away from the stringy orange bits (no need to be picky--a little bit adds to the flavor), and put them on a baking sheet.  Pour a generous amount of olive oil on top and sprinkle some salt (smoky paprika and cayenne are also good additions, but keep it simple your first try).  Mix around the seeds so they all have a coating of oil, and spread them out on the pan.  Then roast them in a hot oven (400F is good) or even toasting in your toaster oven works.  Cook them until they're brown.  You'll often hear them start to pop when they're about done.  It helps to mix around the seeds midway, but is not necessary.   

That little piece of ginger in your share this week is a tiny nugget of gold.  It is packed with strong ginger flavor but without the fibers.  There's no need to peel it.  You can makea healthy, energizing tea with your ginger, toss bits of it in your smoothies, or use it as you would regular ginger in any recipe.  If you can't bring yourself to use it this week, you should freeze it to keep the strong flavor.  

Coming Soon

  • Next week we're planning to harvest the bok choi, and it's beautiful. 
  • Once we've finished the watermelon radishes (next week?  week 23?) we'll start giving out some daikon radishes.
  • Next week we might offer a choice of some other unique squash varieties.
  • The rest of the share next week should be about the same as this one.  The peppers, eggplant and okra are slowing down, so those weights are getting lighter each week.

We'd like to end with this little gem.  We've been seeing tree frogs in our okra field.  Of the seven classes of vertebrate animals, amphibians (including frogs) are suffering the greatest rates of extinction, and they are particularly vulnerable to pesticides because they breath through their skin.  You can feel reassured that your organic farm is a refuge for these beautiful little creatures.  
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Photo by David Tana.

Have a wonderful week, everyone,
The Clagett Farm Team