Notes from the Farm
Is it the shroud of smoke making everything seem more subdued or is our summer rapidly shifting into autumn? Last Saturday was our first possibility of frost, which tends to settle in the river bottom. If you come to the farm to pick up your CSA box you will see veils of white row cover draping among the strawberries, tomatoes and peppers. Row cover traps the earth’s heat, protects crops from a light frost and buys us a few degrees.
Also, for all of you doggie lovers, it’s Nali’s fourth birthday today. We had high hopes that she would be a great herding dog, for which Aussies are known, but she quickly demonstrated that her job on the farm is to “meet and greet,” and to entertain children. I must say she excels in both activities and would not turn down an extra pat on the head, doggie biscuit, or burger if you happen to have one in the car.
This Week’s CSA
Celeriac or Celery Root: You’ve gotten the tops to this plant but now you can experience its entire beauty. This strange-looking vegetable signifies autumn. According to our expert chef and foodie extraordinaire Katie:
Celeriac can be eaten both cooked and grated raw for salads. For cooking purposes, this root vegetable takes well to soups, purees, and gratins. The root needs to be scrubbed well and peeled. To peel the root, cut the top and bottom ends off to create a stable surface and then using your knife, cut away the peel in a downward motion. If you have a heavy-duty peeler, you can try using that if the root is not to knobby. Cut pieces turn brown quickly, so place cut pieces in a bowl of water acidulated with lemon juice or vinegar. If you prefer to use the entire vegetable, any pairings from peeling can be put in a vegetable stock. Take time to remove and save the green ribs before storing, which can be added to stocks or soups.
We’ve found that celeriac stores forever in our cooler, so if you do not feel like using this vegetable right away it should be good for quite some time in your fridge. The root is great roasted and the tops are worth drying for a wonderful seasoning.
Purple Marker Potatoes: Blue potatoes were once grown on potato trial grounds between other varieties to demarcate the division between varieties. I stole that line from Irish Eyes Garden Seeds. Luckily for us they not only serve as markers but also are quite tasty, beautiful and more nutritious than a white fleshed potato. The purple comes from anthocyanin, a flavonoid that is an antioxidant.
Green Zebra Tomatoes: I almost gave up on these tomatoes. Year after year I tried to grow them outdoors and was rewarded with a mass of hard green tomatoes at the end of September that would not ripen off the vine. These stubborn brats remained hard and green and then rotted. This year I seeded the last seventeen seeds I had in a last-ditch effort to either succeed or forever drop them. I planted them in the hoop-house, pruned them, strung them up and waited. They have surpassed my expectations. These are now one of my favorite tomatoes, not only for their funky appearance being greenish-gold with dark green stripes, but for their wonderful flavor and prolificacy. There are more to come as they are just starting to ripen in quantity.
Paprika pepper: This variety originally hails from Hungary. They are great fresh or dried and then ground into sweet paprika.
Other veggies in the box: Cucumber, parsley, zucchini (of course), other tomatoes, Swiss chard, corn, red onions, green bell pepper, strawberries.
This CSA box just calls for Tabouli.
1 cup dry bulgur wheat
11/2 cups boiling water
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
2 medium cloves garlic crushed
black pepper to taste
1 onion finely chopped
1 packed cup parsley
10-15 mint leaves minced or 1 to 2 Tbs. dried mint
1 medium bell pepper, diced
1 small cucumber, seeded and minced
- Combine bulgur and boiling water in a medium large bowl. Cover and let stand until the bulgur is tender (20 to 30 minutes minimum).
- Add salt, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and black pepper, and mix thoroughly. Cover tightly and refrigerate until about 30 minutes before serving.
- About 30 minutes before serving, stir in remaining ingredients and mix well. Serve cold with warm wedges of lightly toasted pita bread.
Source: The New Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen