Notes from the Farm
I was a little curious whether we were going to only have kale, squash and onions for this week’s CSA as I looked at the sheen of ice on the strawberry leaves Tuesday morning. Frost sporadically visited the Bitterroot, but left us unscathed. I am not quite ready for frost but there comes a time in the season when farmers and gardeners alike start to root for a cold snap so we can stop picking the f#@king zucchini and lay the soil to rest. In the meantime it looks like we are still in the clear for peppers, tomatoes, tomatillos, summer squash and the like. Happy eating.
If you haven’t noticed our sheep are back from their summer grazing grounds cleaning up the weeds around the perimeter fence. They are eyeballing the cabbage and romanesco. Slightly concerning. Our oldest ewe, Ginger, who is in her golden years (or slightly past) has a bottomless stomach.
This week’s CSA
Carnival Squash: This is most beautiful winter squash we grow. It is an acorn type with light yellow flesh on the inside and a smooth, thin skin. It stores very well. You could possibly keep this gem until late winter or early spring with the correct storage conditions (cool and dark). Or you could put it on your table and gaze at its’ beauty. Or you could eat it.
Purple carrots: Leon has been working on this open pollinated variety of purple carrot since 1996. We select the seed stock for its’ rich color, and uniform shape. People find purple carrots unusual when in fact they used to be the norm. According to Jo Robinson’s Eating on the Wild Side orange carrots were developed four hundred years ago by the Dutch to honor the House of Orange. Orange carrots were then exported, along with the famous tulip bulbs, eventually replacing the purple carrot. Robinson states “Purple carrots are a concentrated source of anthocyanin, which have more antioxidant activity and potentially more health benefits than the beta-carotene in orange carrots.”
We are looking for a good name for our purple carrots. We used to call it Purple Haze, but now there is a hybrid by that name. Any suggestions? Winner gets a free bunch of carrots.
Leeks: The edible part of a leek is the white part plus an inch or so of pale green. Smaller leeks are more tender, making them perfect for grilling or braising, while larger leeks are perfect for soup and gratins. Due to how leeks are grown, they often have lots of dirt between the leaves so they need to be washed well. Cut off the greens an inch above the white part and slice off the roots, leaving a thin piece attached so that the leaves remained joined at the base. Halve the leeks lengthwise down the middle to the root end. Rinse well under running water while you fan the leaves to make sure you are getting dirt stuck between leaves. Cut leaves can also be rinsed after cutting. If using in a soup, leeks do not caramelize well so they are best lightly cooked. In addition to the classic Vichyssoise and Cock-a-Leekie soups, leeks go well with potatoes, fennel, celery, capers, parmesan, goat cheese and olives.
Other veggies in the box: Caribe potatoes, Salad mix, Sungold tomatoes, Anaheim peppers, lemon balm, summer squash (zucchini or crookneck), Brassica surprise.
Carrot-Coconut Soup With Harissa And Crispy Leeks
Note: Harissa is a hot chile pepper paste. You could probably be creative with those Anaheims.
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 pound carrots, peeled, chopped
- 1 apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 medium leeks, white and pale-green parts only, 1 chopped, 1 thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 tablespoon finely grated peeled ginger
- Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
- 4 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
- 1 13.5-oz. can unsweetened coconut milk
- Harissa sauce (for serving; optional)