CSA October 2, 2013

Notes from the Farm

We hope you have enjoyed the bounty from the farm this season. If you loved the CSA, please tell your friends about it.  For every person you refer to us we will give you 10% off next years CSA!

Autumn on the farm is as busy as the springtime.  We continue to dig, pick, and haul produce from the field and it seems like a never-ending process.  The onions in your box this week were harvested weeks ago and set to cure, but due to the rainy, cold weather, they are still a bit moist.  They will cure on your counter top, or any place that is dry and has airflow.  Once the tops have sealed, they are safe to store for months in a cool, dry spot.

The squash is fully cured and can be enjoyed now or put away for future use.  We have loads of winter squash, so don’t hesitate to call and order more, they can store until early spring.  One of our friends even stored a spaghetti squash for well over a year and used it as a play toy for her baby.  We got the hint and stopped growing so much spaghetti squash.

A tremendous thanks to Renee McGrath for designing, editing and updating the website; Katie Lethenstrom for writing the weekly storage notes and recipes; and Marlon and Lisa at Bitterroot Delivery  Service for delivering CSA boxes to Missoula. Eat well, have a great autumn/winter and we hope to hear from you next spring!

This Week’s CSA

The last share is full of great storage vegetables that will help sustain you as the days get colder and the nights get longer.  Folks will find potatoes, yellow storage onions, red onions, carnival and buttercup squash, Arat parsley root, Brussels sprouts, a pumpkin or two, parsnips, garlic, jalapenos, chives, tatsoi, and pears.

Storage Notes

The pears are still a bit green so they will do best stored on the counter to encourage ripening.  Pears can ripen before they turn yellow and become soft (at that point some pears are rotting from the inside) so make sure to check periodically for ripeness.

Tatsoi will do best stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator, as will the Brussels sprouts.  Remove sprouts from stalk if you don’t have room to store the entire stalk in the fridge.  If the parsley root comes with tops, make sure to remove the tops and store separately.  Parsnip roots will do best in the refrigerator.

The potatoes, onions, squash and pumpkin are all considered storage items and will do best stored in a cool, dry and dark spot.  Potatoes require the least amount of light, as light tends to make them sprout.  Winter squash can be stored on the counter but they tend to dry out more quickly.  As for the onions, make sure to use the larger ones first, as the smaller onions tend to last longer in storage.  Make sure to occasionally check all storage items for moldy, soft spots.  Often the veggie can still be used, as long as you remove the soft spots.

Usage Notes

This time of year the rich-tasting parsley root is a perfect addition to soup, but it also goes well with sausage and beans, making it a great addition to cassoulet.  The notes from August 7th provide more information on how to use Arat parsley root.  The recipe for latkes can also be adapted to include parsley root, beets, or parsnip.  The pumpkin is ideal for carving but if you so desire, it can be baked and the cooked flesh used for soups or baked goods.  If you love a good snack, make sure to save the seeds for roasting.

Tatsoi leaves are dark green and spoon-shaped with a mild cabbage flavor.  A member of the Chinese cabbage family, tatsoi greens can be added to a salad mix or tossed with sesame oil and rice vinegar for a side salad.  The leaves can also be added to a stir fry, wonton filling, or soup.

Native to Europe and Western Asia, parsnips have been cultivated to look like a large cream-colored carrot.  The root will be much larger than parsley root and come without tops.  Parsnips have a core that can be seen easily once cut in half.  If the core is woody, it needs to be removed.  Use the tip of your knife to see if the core is tough and stringy.  The root needs to be peeled before using and cut in to even size piece so the root cooks evenly.  Although tough-looking, the root will cook fast, so keep an eye on it so it doe not become mushy.  Parsnips take well to boiling, baking, roasting, or mashing.  Their mildy-sweet but assertive flavor goes well with butter, curry, maple syrup, mustard, parsley, chives, onions, apples, potatoes and other root veggies.


Squash Fritters and Fried Sage

(serves 8 as an appetizer)

From Food and Wine, October 2013

Vegetable oil for frying

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 cups seltzer or club soda, chilled

kosher salt

1 1/2 pounds kabocha squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/8-inch-thick wedges

1/2 cup sage leaves

lemon wedges for garnish

In a saucepan, heat 1 inch of oil to 360 degrees.  In a bowl, whisk the flour and 1 1/4 cups of the seltzer until smooth and the consistency of sour cream; add more seltzer if the batter is too thick.  Season with salt

Working in 3 or 4 batches, dip the squash and some of the sage leaves in the batter; let excess batter drip off.  Carefully add the battered squash and sage, and some uncoated sage leaves, to the hot oil.  Fry over moderately high heat, turning, until lightly golden and crisp, 3 to 5 minutes.  Using tongs, transfer the fried squash and sage to paper towels to drain.  Season with salt and serve immediately with lemon wedges.

Pureed Parsnips

(serves 4-6)

Courtesy of Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison

1 1/2 pounds parsnips, peeled

1/2 pound potatoes, peeled or scrubbed well

salt and freshly milled pepper

1/2 cup buttermilk, cream, or cooking water as needed

4 tablespoons butter

Chop the potatoes and parsnips into pieces; the potatoes about half the size of the parsnips.  Put them in a saucepan with cold water to cover, and 1 teaspoon of salt.  Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until tender.  Drain, reserving the liquid.  Pass the vegetables through a food mill, or beat by hand into a puree.  Add enough buttermilk or cream to make the mixture smooth and easy to work.  Stir in butter, taste for salt, and season with pepper.

CSA September 25, 2013

Notes from the Farm

We have been busy harvesting fun fall treats: apples from Laura Mae’s trees and pears from Mary’s.  Thanks to Donny and Brittany for sharing plums last week!  What an amazing year for fruit!

We are continuing to stock the CSA boxes with storage veggies, so if you feel overwhelmed, remember that a lot of this food can last for several months if stored properly.   As a reminder, there is only one more week of the CSA.

The farm received a light frost last Wednesday and there is more cold weather on the way.  We hope to be done harvesting in a week or two so we can start preparing the fields for fall and setting up wintering pens for the pigs.   It looks like we will have plenty of beets, carrots, winter squash, garlic, and red and yellow onions to sell as storage vegetables. We are starting to take orders, so if you or anyone you know needs more storage veggies give us a call.

This Week’s CSA

Folks will find lots of goodies in this week’s share!  Inside the veggie box, you will find shallots, leekspotatoes, carrots, radishes, Brussels sprouts, fennel, Swiss chard, salad mix, parsley, and Macintosh apples.  A small sample of sweet bell peppers is included along with some more spicy Anaheim and poblanos peppers.  The winter squash varieties are green kabocha and carnival.

Storage Notes

The carrots will be topless and bagged for long storage in the refrigerator.  The Brussels sprouts are on the stalk, which is fun for seeing how this mini cabbage look-a-like grows.  If you don’t have room in the fridge for the whole stalk, the sprouts can be easily popped off the stalk and stored in a plastic bag.  Due to the dry flesh of kabocha squash, this winter squash will store the longest.  Macintosh apples will do best in a cool place or in the refrigerator.  I know the entire fennel bulb can be hard to store, so feel free to cut off the stalks and store separately from the bulb.

Usage Notes

Cooler fall weather always makes me crave soup, and fortunately the share has lots to offer for inspiration.  The squash can be turned into roasted squash soup while the potatoes and leeks make a classic combination.  The peppers we have been receiving will also make a great addition to some homemade chili.  For a more complex flavor, try roasting the peppers before adding to chili.  This link to Saveur will also provide more inspiration on ways to use your vegetable share.

Brussels sprouts can last a long time but they are best when eaten sooner than later, as their flavor becomes more assertive over time.  Any food item that goes well with cabbage or cauliflower also makes a great pairing with Brussels sprouts, including butter, cream, blue cheese, mustard, capers, garlic, bacon, and vinegar.  Brussels take well to steaming, roasting, or braising.  If cooking whole, cutting an X in the bottom brings heat to their centers more quickly.  Generally the small round heads are cut in half or thinly sliced, allowing them to cook faster and better absorb more sauce or seasoning.


Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Vinegar

(serves 4)

This recipe was shared by one of my favorite foodie friends, Emily, and it is her favorite way to cook and eat Brussels sprouts.  Simple, quick, and delicious.  For those of you who need a bit of protein, bacon or pancetta would make a great addition to this dish.

1 pound of Brussels sprouts

2 tablespoons olive oil

salt and freshly milled pepper

1/2 cup dried cherries, optional

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Cut Brussels sprouts in half lengthwise and remove any yellow or wilted leaves.  Toss well with olive oil, salt, pepper, and cherries.  Roast on a sheet pan for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and gently toss halves with balsamic vinegar.  Continue roasting for 10-15 minutes, checking occasionally to make sure the balsamic vinegar does not over caramelize.  Serve while still warm.

CSA September 18, 2013

Notes from the Farm

Most of our farm days are spent harvesting.  We hauled the shallots and most of the red onions in over the weekend, along with a significant amount of winter squash.  The fall harvest is looking lovely so far.  This week we hope to gather more squash, the rest of the red onions, and the yellow storage onions.  These alliums will cure by the end of the CSA and you will find a sampling of each in your boxes.

As some of you have noticed there is a mama sow and her piglets in a pen north of the driveway.  The piglets are free range for the first 6-7 weeks and may wander or bolt out at any time.   We are also starting to let the chickens free range more often now that the majority of crops are harvested.  Our birds believe in the right of the pedestrian (and they don’t like chicken jokes).

The share this week provides a smorgasbord of vegetables from the farm.  You will find fennel bulbs, broccoli, sungold tomatoesradishes, leeks, dock leaves, nardello sweet pepper, Bulgarian carrot chili, red beets, delicata winter squash, and lemon basil.

Storage Notes

The topless red beets are a storage beet so they will last a very long time stored in your refrigerator.  Like other winter squash, the delicata does best stored in a cool dry spot.  Radishes will store longer if you remove the tops first.   Both the fennel and leeks can be stored in the crisper with or without a plastic bag.

Usage Notes

Dock leaves can be added to a salad mix but they also take well to cooking.  When cooking, treat dock leaves as you would spinach.  The notes from June 12 provide a few more ideas on how to use the leaves.  The lemon basil this week will be somewhat dirty.  Pam and Leon do not wash the basil since it is too delicate and would turn black from excessive moisture…so make sure to wash the lemon basil just before using it.

Fennel has a mild anise flavor that makes a great addition to dishes both raw and cooked.  The bulb is used a lot in Italian cuisine but also goes well with just about any seafood.  The bulb is the main part used for eating, but the stalks and fronds can also be utilized.  Please check the fennel page for notes of removing the core and ideas on how to use this tasty vegetable in your meals.

Delicata squash is a delicious winter squash that is small in size with the perfect shape for making edible containers for your favorite stuffing.  This squash also takes well to roasting, grilling, or baking.  The recipe this week is for a simple side dish of sautéed squash that goes well with just about anything.

Egyptians are given credit for first cultivating wild leeks and from there the vegetable spread around the world and are even considered a national symbol for Wales.  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.

This heirloom European pepper looks like a small carrot, thus the name Bulgarian carrot chili.  Also known as Shipkas, the carrot pepper is great for salsas, marinades, pickles, chutneys, roasting or adding to any dish you want to give a kick to since this pepper is spicy.  Please remember to wash your hands well after cutting chilies and be aware of touching your face!


Delicata Squash Rings

(serves 2-4)

Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison

2 delicata squash

1 1/2 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil

salt and freshly ground pepper

chopped fresh herb of your choice or a healthy dollop of pesto

Peel the squash with a vegetable peeler, slice off the end, and scoop out the seeds with a teaspoon.  Cut the squash into rings about 1/3 inch thick.  Heat the oil in a wide skillet, add the squash, and fry over medium heat until richly colored on the bottom, about 6 minutes.  Turn and cook on the second side until tender.  Remove to a serving plate, season with salt and pepper and garnish with fresh herbs or your favorite sauce.

CSA September 11, 2013

Notes From the Farm

This week we are including some great salsa-making veggies.  The tomatillos are falling off the vine, thus a bit dirty.  We do not wash them because it makes the fruit more susceptible to mold as moisture gets trapped in the papery husk.   Simply peel, then wash them and prepare yourself for sticky fingers.  The Anaheims we have taste-tested are mild.  In the next two weeks we will be harvesting hotter peppers out of the hoop-house for those of you who like your pepper to bite back.

Salsa time is bittersweet because it means the end of the growing season is near.  We are starting to gather some of the fall crops.  We have a variety of winter squashes curing in the greenhouse and shallots and onions in the shade house. The cornstalks are browning and we seem to be feeding every Redwing Blackbird in the neighborhood.  While some of the summer vegetables are fading, we will continue to have greens, tomatoes, peppers, salad mixes,cucumbers, herbs and summer squashes until it frosts.  We think this is the best tasting time of the year.  Dig in!

Fresh herbs this week include a mix of spearmint, marjoram, and basil.  Veggies include summer squash/zucchini, kale, yellow beans, cucumber, golden beets, tomatillos, sweet onions, Anaheim chili peppers, and a carnival squash.  You will also find salad greens with nasturtium flowers mixed in for a pleasant peppery taste.

Storage Notes

Treat golden beets like red beets and continue to remove the tops before storage.  The greens can be treated like swiss chard if you want to save them.  Golden beets will turn brown if grated fresh and not cooked.  If you want to keep them raw, try soaking grated beets in acidulated water in order to keep the color longer.  Tomatillos can be stored at room temperature if you plan to use them quickly.  Otherwise they do best stored in a perforated plastic bag or paper bag in your refrigerator.  The squash will do best stored in a cool dry spot.

Usage Notes

The basil we have been receiving is perfect for making a batch of pesto or pistou.  Both sauces freeze well for using during the winter.  Basil also makes a great addition to homemade lemonade.

Anaheim chilies are moderate on the heat scale, but if you are sensitive to heat, make sure to remove the seeds and membrane before eating.  Roasted and peeled, these chilies make a great addition to burritos, veggie egg scrambles, enchiladas, or salsas.  If you don’t plan to use them while fresh, the whole chili can be roasted and then frozen for later use.

Carnival squash, which is a variety of acorn squash, has a beautiful multicolored exterior with a moderately sweet flesh.  Roasted carnival squash makes a great side dish that can be topped with your favorite compound butter.

Native to Mexico, tomatillos make a great addition to many Mexican dishes.  Make sure to remove the papery husk and rinse tomatillos before using.  The fruit can be used raw but it takes well to cooking too.  Roasting or simmering tomatillos can help mellow their slightly tart bite.  Tomatillos are the key ingredient for salsa verde or chili verde, but can also be added to burrito or enchilada filling.  Below you will find a simple recipe for a tomatillo-avocado salsa that goes well with nachos and grilled meats or vegetables.


The veggies these days are perfect for some pasta dishes that require only your taste buds and inspiration.  Start by grating and salting a medium zucchini, letting it drain for 20-30 minutes.  Meanwhile, cook off some off your favorite pasta in salted boiling water, drain and hold warm.  In a large pan, heat some olive oil and briefly sauté minced garlic, adding grated zucchini and cooking for 2-3 minutes.  Add a healthy dose of coarsely chopped tomatoes, cooked pasta, and a generous portion of grated parmesan or fresh mozzarella.  Toss well to combine.  This dish would benefit from a dollop of freshly made pesto.  Serve immediately.

Tomatillo-Avocado Salsa

(Serves 6)

Courtesy of Mustards Grill Napa Valley Cookbook by Cindy Pawlcyn

12-14 tomatillos, papery husks removed and rinsed well

2 small ripe avocados, pitted and peeled

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup rice vinegar

3 cloves garlic

1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground

1/2 bunch cilantro, leaves only

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

To make the salsa, combine all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth and liquid, but not thin.  Refrigerate until needed.

CSA September 4, 2013

This Week’s CSA

This week you will find potatoes, carrots, corn, cucumbers, red onions, summer squash, a head of endive, a head of romaine, napa cabbage, tomatoes, dragon tongue beans, and parsley in your veggie box.

Storage Notes

Parsley will last longer if stored upright in a glass with a bit of water in the bottom.  To prevent the delicate leaves from wilting, cover with a plastic produce bag.   The dragon beans will do great stored like any other bush bean.

Usage Notes

Leon reported that some of the potatoes may be large, making them perfect candidates for baked potatoes or potato salad.  Several of the veggies this week are perfect for pickling, including the corn.  To add corn to a vegetable pickle mix, leave on the cob and slice 1/2 inch thick.  The summer squash can be treated like zucchini for any of your cooking needs.

The bright colored dragon tongue beans are considered a heirloom Dutch wax type green bean that originated in the Netherlands.  This yellowish-green bean with variegated purple strips is great both raw and cooked.  Once cooked or pickled, the purple color tends to dissipate.  Like other varieties of bush beans, dragon tongue beans have an edible shell.   Just remove the stem end before cooking.  If not serving raw, these beans will make a great addition to bean salads, stir fries, salads, or cooked on their own for a side dish.  With the corn, dragons tongue beans can be used to make a succotash that can be served as a main course or side salad.

In addition to the traditional corn on the cob or succotash, sweet corn makes a grate addition to salsa.  Grilled corn kernels (remove kernels with knife after corn has cooled), roasted peppers, red onion, garlic, black beans, cilantro and lime juice will make a delicious salsa that goes well with tacos and grilled pork or fish.


Sweet Corn Souffle

(serves 4)

4 to 5 ears of corn, husked and shucked (about 2 cups)

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 scallions, finely minced

1/3 cup all purpose flour

3/4 cup milk

3 eggs, carefully separate the whites from the yolks

salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Generously a soufflé dish and set aside.

Cut the kernels from the ears of corn with a sharp knife.  Try to do this over a dish that can catch any of the starchy white milk from the corn.  Go back over the cobs and scrape out as much liquid as possible; you should have 2 cups of kernels and liquid.

In a large skillet, melt the butter and sauté the kernels, their liquid and the scallions for 3 minutes.  Add the flour and blend thoroughly.  Stir in the milk, whisking to break up any lumps of flour.  Season to taste and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.

Remove the mixture from the heat and let cool 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, lightly beat the egg yolks and mix well with cooled corn mixture.  With a stand mixer and whisk attachment, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form and slightly dry.  Gently but thoroughly fold in the beaten egg whites.

Pour mixture in to prepared soufflé dish.  Bake 20-25 minutes until puffed and golden.  Remove from oven and serve immediately.

CSA August 28, 2013

This Week’s CSA

In Leon’s best game show host voice, it sounds like this week’s share is a cornucopia of produce from the farm; all the best it has to offer from the summer heat, water, and long days in the field.  So without further ado, your share this week includes kale, salad  mix, summer squash, beets, green beans, Arat parsley root, cucumber, peppers, sweet corn, a bag of garlic, sweet onions epazote, lemon basil, and a small bag of pears.

Storage Notes

The sweet onions will last longer if stored in the refrigerator, while the garlic is cured so it will keep in a cool dark place.  Peppers can be stored in the crisper; plastic bag is optional.  Corn will also do well stored in the refrigerator.  The pears were picked green from a tree that needed thinning in order to save the branches, but the fruit should ripen if left on the counter.  To help the process, the pears can also be stored in a paper bag with a ripe banana or avocado.

Usage Notes

I lost some pears during a Bitterroot thunderstorm, and while they softened enough to eat raw, they did not have a natural sweetness they get from ripening on the tree, which makes these pears excellent for baked items.  These pears are perfect for mixing with the apples from last week to make a crisp, cobbler, or pie.  They can also be cooked with the apples to make a pear-applesauce.  Or if you love to grill, cut the pear into thick slabs, toss with oil and salt, and grill until tender for a great addition to a summer salad.

As for the peppers, you will get either sweet bells or Anaheim.  Anaheims are considered mild, so if you are sensitive to heat, make sure to remove all the pith and seeds to reduce the heat level.  Both types of peppers can be roasted with great results and added to quesadillas, scrambled eggs, enchiladas, burritos, salads, or pizza.

Please refer to the notes from August 7 for a refresher on how best to use the parsley root.  This week’s root should be bigger since it is later in the season, making them perfect for roasting or mashing.

One of the oldest known cereal crops in the world, corn is a kind of grass with very large edible seed heads.  Corn is versatile and can be added to soups, stews, pancakes, bread, soufflés, and casserole dishes.  It can be sautéed, steamed, boiled, creamed, or grilled with great results.  Searching ‘grilled corn’ at Saveur.com will give you several ideas on ways to use corn, from grilling to salads.


Grilled Corn with Flavored Butter

(Serves 4-6)

Courtesy of Cook’s Illustrated #124

This recipe is designed to use with a disposable aluminum roasting pan that is at least 2 3/4″ deep.

1 recipe flavored butter (recipe follows)

1 13 by 9 inch disposable aluminum roasting pan

8 ears corn, husks and silk removed

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

salt and pepper

Place flavored butter in disposable pan.  Brush corn evenly with oil and season with salt and pepper to taste

Grill corn over hot fire, turning occasionally, until lightly charred on all sides, 5 to 9 minutes.  Transfer corn to pan and cover tightly with aluminum foil.

Place pan on grill and cook, shaking pan frequently, until butter is sizzling, about 3 minutes.  Remove pan from grill and carefully remove foil, allowing steam to escape away from you.  Serve corn, spooning any butter in a pan over individual ears.

Basil and Lemon Butter

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

2 tablespoons minced fresh basil

1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/ teaspoon pepper

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.