Mendocino Organics Vegetable CSA – Tuesday, September 24
In Your Share This Week
- Dino Kale
- Curly Kale
- Pie Pumpkin
- Hubbard Squash
As the main growing season winds down, and the days are much shorter, we’ve been surprised with this very warm, dry weather. We’ve had quite a few freezes in Potter Valley now, which has ended the fragile summer crops and killed the aphids. We have been keeping the melons under protective row cover, so we’re still able to enjoy the fruity juiciness these hot afternoons. Honeydew melon is packed with Vitamin C, so enjoy!
We also have an onslaught of winter squash and pie pumpkins. There are so many varieties of winter squash, it’s sometimes hard to choose what to plant. Hokkaido Stella Blue Hubbard Squash keeps for a very long time – as in months – on your kitchen counter or in the garage. It has an orange, flakey flesh and can be enjoyed in soups or as roasted. Here’s more about storing and using hubbards: http://www.finecooking.com/item/5903/hubbard-squash
Are you feeling overrun by fresh, nutritious cooking greens? We found this revival version of Kale and Quinoa Pilaf! http://food52.com/recipes/2434-one-pot-kale-and-quinoa-pilaf
As next week is the last Main Season Vegetable CSA distribution, we want to send you off with a bounty of storable winter squash – so when we really hit chilly fall and winter, you can continue to be nourished with local food. Plan to grab as much as you want at next week’s distribution. If you want 100 lb or so, let us know, and you can come by the ranch to pick it up. We definitely have enough for everyone to take that much!
Butternut Squash, one of the most popular winter squashes, is extremely versatile. Enjoy it cubed or sliced roasted, pureed for soup, or mashed for casseroles, breads or muffins. Our favorite home cook, Martha Stewart, might inspire you with these recipes: http://www.marthastewart.com/275653/butternut-squash-recipes/@center/276955/seasonal-produce-recipe-guide#214499
We mentioned the Hubbard Squash above and Pie Pumpkins last newsletter. Here are Martha’s pie pumpkin basics and recipes http://www.marthastewart.com/274288/pumpkin-recipes/@center/276955/seasonal-produce-recipe-guide
Spaghetti Squash does not keep as long as the other squashes. It produced very well this year and is a fun substitute for spaghetti pasta. If you’re new to Spaghetti Squash or want some new ideas on what to do with it, Martha has tips for it, too:
We have a bit more of Acorn Squash, too. http://www.marthastewart.com/275063/acorn-squash-recipes/@center/276955/seasonal-produce-recipe-guide
So, be sure to bring a box or two and are able to cart home your winter squash next week!
Notes from the Field
The Maize Harvest Party a couple weeks ago was a delicious and fun success, just as we had hoped. All the corn is harvested and in the corn crib at Heart Arrow Ranch. Let us know if you want to order corn or join The Corn Crib as a Corn CSA member. Corn will be available starting in January 2014.
All of the winter squash is getting taken out of the field, and we are generally wrapping up the main growing season. This warm weather has been wonderful for getting winter crops going, before the days are too short for anything to grow. However, we could really use some rain. The light rain earlier this month has helped the rangeland grasses to start, but we need more. Like some other local ranchers, we are already dipping into our hay stores to keep our cattle and sheep fed. The sheep livestock barn and pig farrowing pens are completed now, and sometime soon, a solar system installation person is coming to start work. The handling facilities for our cattle have been drawn out, and a flat pad has been scraped in preparation of building them. We are raising a relatively small herd of cattle (less than 30 cows), so our facilities are simple, and we have referenced Temple Grandin’s humane handling facility designs.
We are working with Rainbow Ag in Ukiah to design the irrigation system for the new fruit orchard and table grape vineyard at Heart Arrow Ranch. And if you have come by the ranch lately, you will have noticed that our landlord is well into renovating (i.e. tearing down half and building anew) the tractor shop. The shop is where our office and meat freezers are located, so we will have to move out temporarily sometime this fall/winter until the building is complete. Along with enlarging the machine shop, there will be an entertainment space and kitchen added. So, while we are stepping away from commercial vegetable production and the vegetable CSA next year, we are definitely planning on many future on-farm events.
We continue to stay committed to our mission – to serve the community through farming – and continue to develop the farm into a sustainable business. We can only serve the community by being an economically viable farm business, and because of many factors, growing commercial vegetables has not worked. Fortunately, we have the opportunity to increase raising grazing animals, and sustainable meats have a robust demand locally and in the Bay Area, such that we have a chance at farming full-time and achieving our personal goals (family, health care, down time, etc.)
We hope to see many of you at next week’s distribution, if we arrive around the same time. We love connecting with the individuals who not only eat our food but support us spiritually and financially. We’ll definitely have another communication with you all before the end of the month.
Adam & Paula