Right before Hurricane Sandy rounded the bay we got in the last of our produce and goods from our local farms: Farmer Daves and the Farm Direct Coop. Beth and Marta wrap-up the summer growing season with a Q&A, the same way they started it:
What was the best new recipe you tried?
Beth: I really enjoyed the arugula and ricotta pizza I tried at the beginning of the arugula season. But probably the most surprisingly good recipe was this Turnip and Sweet Potato stew. The flavor was warm and soothing, and even my 16 month-old son liked the taste of the carrots, though I couldn’t get him to eat as many turnips.
Marta: Somehow I envisioned myself pouring through cookbooks each week to find special recipes that would highlight the uniqueness and beauty of each vegetable. But, it didn’t work out the way I had planned (it never does). Instead, I took the veggie du jour out of fridge, sliced it up, and either stuck it in the oven or sauteed it in butter. When I was feeling fancy, I used sesame oil. But, here’s the cool thing: fresh, local, organic veggies don’t always need a lot of dressing up to be delicious. They stand pretty well on their own.
What new favorites, or surprises, turned up?
Beth: I had a couple surprises actually. One was a mystery green tatsoi, which is very similar to bok choy. The other one was ground cherries. Although some people like to eat those raw, they weren’t my cup of tea (or my husband’s). I’m still planning on turning them into a pie for the end of the season. As for favorites, sweet onions, corn, and radishes.
Marta: Tomatillos! Kohlrabi! Napa cabbage! Hakurei turnips! Garlic scapes! I’ve never had any of these veggies before, and they were all fantastic. I love the diversity we got in this year’s share at Farm Direct Co-op — which I learned is not technically a true CSA since they purchase produce from farmers throughout the region.
What were the biggest hits with the whole family?
Beth: Steve, my husband, was a champ at consuming vegetables day in and day out. But his favorite were all the tomatoes, and he really got into experimenting with homemade sauces. Ethan probably loved the sweet corn best, and playing in the bin each week the second best. (Also… those crazy beet cookies.)
Marta: Our share included organic veggies, IPM fruit, and locally made bread and cheese. We got a few nice extras too, like cider, honey, and maple syrup. Pretty much everything was a hit with my husband, but my toddler son was a little more particular. He scarfed down all the fruit and bread, and he liked the green beans, peas, carrots, and sweet potatoes best out of the vegetables. However, he snubbed everything that could be described as “leafy” (e.g. kale, bok choy, cabbage, collard greens).
Beth: Definitely the biggest fail was the beet brownies I mentioned earlier in the year, but also not being more proactive about giving away vegetables or freezing more like I had originally planned at the start of the year.
Marta: No guts, no glory, Beth. I played it safe this season, so I did not reach your culinary highs or lows. My one true disaster was probably my fondue pumpkin. There was a soft spot in the bottom, which I tried to scoop out then patch up with bread and tin foil. Next, I poured a vat of cheese and cream inside, crossed my fingers, and stuck it in the oven. My leaky pumpkin vessel could not contain the deluge.
Any tips to share?
Beth: The CSA season is long when you’re getting
a lot too many vegetables. There are three things I would do differently. I saw this advice somewhere else, but (1) Set aside a couple hours on CSA day to look up new recipes and cut and prepare for the week. (2) Get comfortable with freezing early in the season and be aware of how long it takes. (To prepare 8 cups of frozen beans took about an hour, start to finish.) Also, freeze more. (3) So much prep work involved, cutting, chopping, dicing, and finally cooking!
Marta: Have fun! Eat well! When in doubt, sautee!
Did you can or freeze anything?
Beth: Yes! I froze 8 cups of green beans, 4 cups of carrots, and 4 cups of corn. Also one casserole and 1 qt of zucchini. There was so much more I could have done if I’d been up for it and willing to spend the time earlier in the season. I looked up recipes for roasting peppers and tomatoes and I wish I’d done more of that, but maybe next year!
Do you have anything leftover?
Beth: I used up my last beets and turnips in the above mentioned stew earlier this week. There are still potatoes in the pantry, and ground cherries I’m going to make into a pie later in the week.
Marta: Again, nada. Down the hatch!
Do you have plans for late fall/winter share?
Beth: Yes. I’m splitting (thank goodness) a fall share from the Green Meadows farm in South Hamilton. It runs through December and has pick-up dates also on one weekend each in January and February.
Marta: We signed on for Farm Direct Co-op’s extended share (two pick-ups in November) and we are going to split a winter share with a friend. Yum yum. Looking forward to it!