Week 21: Crooknecks!
Week 23: Coming back to our roots. Big ones.

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

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