Entering Persephone Period
Here in the mild winters of the PNW our greatest challenge to winter growing is actually a lack of daylight and not freezing temperatures. Even if the plants are protected from freezing in the hoop houses they will grow significantly slower once they have less than ten hours of daylight each day. Here in Shelton that occurs from the first of November until the 9th of February. We are planning some experiments this fall and winter to see what kinds of greens will grow best under these conditions. We are getting ready to transplant spinach, bok choi, various lettuce, scallions, and mache (corn salad) in the hoop house. Hopefully we will have some yummy fresh greens this winter!
CSA Basket - Week 20
Your CSA basket this week includes the following veggies:
Long Pie Pumpkin - Our main seed supplier - Uprising Seeds - claims this is the best pie pumpkin they can find. Best used to make a baking puree - see recipe below.
Mixed Lettuce - enjoy some of the last fresh lettuce for the season
Collards - best if blanched quickly and then sautéed - or - have you tried blanching them and using the whole leaf as a wrap?
Rutabaga - These are a great potato substitute but have a unique flavor. They store in the fridge as long as potatoes do in the pantry.
Cabbage - smaller heads - some will get green and some purple
Tokyo Turnips - great for slicing and eating raw
Cauliflower - great for roasting - so sweet!
Purple Sprouting Broccoli - tasty shoots!
Chives - snip up and use on your salad
Carrots - A new variety - Dolciva, which are sweeter (frost may help too)
Ornamental Gourds - perfect for a fall centerpiece
Melon - the last of the melons - they aren't super ripe yet - but we decided to put them in the baskets as an extra
Veggie of the Week:
Botanical Facts - Corn salad is a wild green with a mild nutty flavor similar to spinach. It is sometimes known as mache, vit, or rampion. Corn salad forms large rosettes of slightly succulent, smooth-edged, spoon-shaped, velvety, dark green leaves. It has a branched flower stalk with smaller leaves tipped with rounded clusters of small blue and white flowers in spring.
Historical Origins and Culinary Uses - Corn salad is a common wild plant native to Europe, West Asia, and North Africa. It has been naturalized in North America. It has been cultivated in Europe since the sixteenth century but it was eaten as a wild salad herb long before cultivation. In Germany, it is sometimes called rapunzel, which was the name of the plant that was so strongly desired by the pregnant mother in Grimm's fairytale that she traded her unborn child for it. (Wait - that's NOT in the Disney version!) Corn salad grows in winter when other greens are rarely available, which may explain her craving for it. Corn salad is high in vitamin C and is a nutritious addition to the winter diet. It is used mainly as a salad vegetable, where its delicate, nutty flavor is complimented by mild dressings. Corn salad does not keep well and should be used within a few days of harvest. Corn salad can be cooked like spinach although it will lose its bright green color when cooked.
"Ah," she replied, "if I can't eat some of the rampion, which is in the garden behind our house, I shall die."
Preparing Pumpkin Puree
It's time for pumpkin baking! This is an easy way to prepare your pumpkin puree for use in baking muffins, pancakes, pies and any other goodies you enjoy!
You may notice some green still on your pumpkin - that is normal for this variety - called Long Pie. It will keep for several months if you are not ready to use it yet and will continue to turn orange as it ripens.
There are several methods for preparing your pie puree - I prefer the roasting method because I think results in a sweeter pie filling. But, you can also cut up the pumpkin and steam the pieces and then blend.
- 1 long pie pumpkin
- kosher salt
1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the pumpkin in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and save for roasting later if you like.
2. Sprinkle cut pumpkin with kosher salt. Lay cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 30-40 minutes until pierced easily with a paring knife. Test several places on the pumpkin.
3. Cool pumpkin on a rack for at least 1 hour. Scoop out flesh and process until smooth in a blender or food processor. If the puree is wetter than you like you can strain it using a sieve or cheesecloth to remove some liquid.
4. Puree will keep for one week in the fridge. Or freeze in small batches and it will keep for several months. I like to freeze it in 2 cup batches - the perfect amount for a pie or batch of muffins.
There is still a little sunshine outside but these are some of the last flowers in the field. Have you tried Sunchokes, or Jerusalem Artichokes, as they are sometimes called? They are in the sunflower family but you eat the roots of the plant instead of the seeds. We will leave them in the ground over the winter and harvest them in the spring. The plants are about nine feet tall right now - I had to bend them down to take the picture! They are an unusual early spring treat!
This is the last week of the 2017 Summer CSA! We are sad to see the season end but are already planning for next year! You can find us this winter at the Indoor Market on Harstine Island once a month on the second Saturday from 10-12 and at the Shelton Farmers Market Holiday Market on December 2nd at the Transit Center. We will have some of the yummy greens from our hoop house. Come try the corn salad that Rapunzel's mother traded her away for - because she would "die" if she couldn't have some! Yikes!
Keep an eye out for once a month newsletters this winter. We will begin taking sign ups for next season after the New Year. Thank you so much for your support this season! You are all trailblazing members of the Skokomish Valley Farms first CSA! Thank you!
Don't forget to follow and like the farm on Facebook or Instagram! We appreciate your support!
Your SVF Farm Team