Fall is here! Expect the following fall-riffic produce this week:
1 head lettuce
1 bunch arugula
1 head bok choy
1 bunch leeks
1 pumpkin or winter squash
We are hurriedly gearing up for the first-predicted fall frost in two weeks. This year, we are going to experiment with low tunnels in the field that will be covered with row cover and plastic sheets. Keep your fingers crossed for cauliflower, young greens and lettuce in November! I keep anxiously checking all the root crops we have in the ground, awaiting the time that they will be big and juicy for our distributions in the weeks to come.
This week we still have tomatoes. Two weeks ago, we found ourselves not eating tomatoes, however now that the end is near we are planning on many tomato sandwiches this week. I hope everyone has been able to preserve some this year. We will be preserving tomatoes this week in a very different way. The Rose de Berne tomatoes were so stellar this year that we have decided to save some of their wonderful genetic stock by harvesting and processing the seed and growing those seeds for next year’s crop of tomatoes. Just one more way to strengthen our local food system.
Pumpkins and Winter Squash
We are distributing the first pumpkins this week. Our crop wasn’t as great as expected, but we can enjoy what we have! Generally, pumpkins and winter squash store for a long while, however, I do suggest cooking these pretty soon. Some of the fruits have blemishes which do cause them to soften and eventually rot. You can bake the entire fruit in the oven until soft, scoop out the seeds and peel off the skin, and freeze whatever flesh you don’t use this week in 1-cup quantities, to be used later in soups or pies . Alternately, you can peel the skin off the raw pumpkin, chop it in half and scoop out the seeds, and then chop it into smaller pieces. You can freeze these raw pieces, to be roasted later.
The best comfort foods are the simplest, which means they have a few (quality) ingredients. In the spirit of the September eat local challenge, I would like to point out that the following recipe is simple, and all the the ingredients can easily be sourced locally, save the salt, pepper and olive oil. To make it even simpler, you can omit the cream because the potatoes this year are really that good.
Potato Leek Soup
3 large potatoes (1-1 1/4 pounds), cut into large pieces
2 leeks, cleaned of dirt and brown ends trimmed off
3-4 cups stock
1/2 cup dry white wine
salt and pepper
6-8 TBS cream, optional
herbs for garnish: parsley, thyme
Dice the leeks, the white parts and the deep green parts. Rinse in a colander in order to remove the dirt. Saute in olive oil in a soup pot for 5 minutes, or until wilted. Add wine and stir for 1-2 minutes. Add potatoes, salt and pepper, stock and enough water to just cover the potatoes. Bring to a boil, then down to a simmer and cook until potatoes are well-cooked ans almost mushy. Puree with an immersion blender or in batched in a regular blender (take caution with this method!). Adjust seasoning and liquid if necessary, add cream if using and chopped fresh herb. Serves 4-6 for a main course.
Have a great week!