CSA Newsletter–Week 16

newsletter with photoMark and I have been at the Opryland Hotel this week for AACC (American Association of Christian Counseling). Opryland is a huge resort in Nashville built under a temperature controlled dome. Each space has been crafted into a garden full of waterfalls, fountains, and tropical plants with paths on either skywalks or through the gardens. So it’s real and not real, and kinda cool and kinda freaky. I’m entering into this space with an open mind though, and enjoying sitting at a table in the Delta area with waterfalls below me as I write this newsletter. We’ve eaten some good food, but are reminded how spoiled we are to mostly eat Good. Food. That is, food harvested just outside our door, food we know is ethically raised and grown.opryland

Mark presented several times, and I joined him to co-present a session on food titled, “Food for the Soul: Eating, Positive Psychology and Spiritual Formation.” Turns out talking to a group of counselors about food can be rather a satisfying experience–even though some of them think we are taking a risk to include eating (not fasting) and spiritual formation in the same sentence. They asked us back to record it in a studio for use in educational programs. The world is changing and we’re happy to be part of that!

I got to spend 24 hours with dear friend, Allison Belt. We made a Roasted Vegetable Pizza together, sat on her adirondack chairs, walked and visited the otters near her home, and Cedar Hall, the wonderful farm-life school where she taught for six years. We talked about writing a book together about growing food–kinda a how-to-start-a-small-CSA-in-your-yard-for-three families book.

A full four days. Mark and I are ready to come home to Monday’s harvest, and our rather simple life at Fern Creek. (LATER: Oh. Except weather in Denver meant we were way-laid an extra day in Denver… Made it home a day later, on Sunday–and managed to make the most of this extra day away. Were Very Glad to return home today).

One more thing: I mentioned An Everlasting Meal in a recipe I posted last week, one of the many books Allison has given me in the last couple of years. The more I read, the more highly  I recommend it. Adler recommends roasting all your vegetables when you first get them home and then has all kinds of recommendations for how to use them throughout the week. I’m going to do that this week and I’ll let you know how it goes. Definitely we’ll have another pizza–and this time with roasted tomatoes as the base, rather than tomato paste.


From Field to Market

Acorn Squash
Super Sweet Corn
Assorted greens (chard, collards & kale)
Broccoli florets
Butterstick & Crookneck Summer Squash
Zucchini, Eight-ball & Patty Squash
Tromboncini Italian Heirloom Summer Squash
Blue Lake Pole Beans
Fortex Heirloom Beans
Heirloom Cherry & Slicing Tomatoes
Cortland Onions
Marketmore & Diva Cucumbers
Purple & Green Cabbage
Banana & Jalepeno Peppers
Black Beauty & Listada de Gandia Heirloom Eggplant
Parsley & Oregano

And the Winner is… Zucchini!

Last week we surveyed you all on your favorite summer squash and surprise, surprise–zucchini won by a thin margin over Tromboncini. I want to think its only because zucchini is most familiar… because my vote went to Tromboncini!  Patty Pan and Crookneck got the least votes, and yellow zucchini, or Butterstick came in third. We’ll do the same for winter squash at the end of the season for those of you who are around all the way to the end… and speaking of the end…

The Fern Creek Fall Potluck is Coming!!!

… it’s time to get the final CSA Potluck on your calendar: Sunday, September 29 from 4-6:30 Besides eating each other’s great food, you’ll get to go into the field and pick out your jack-o-lantern pumpkin and take home gourds, and bundled corn stalks if you want them ($4/bundle). We’ll provide drinks–you bring food to share, plates and utensils, and chairs or blankets to sit on.

If you can’t make it to the potluck you’ll get your pumpkin your next pick-up day. I’ll have a sign-up in the Market this week so you can tell us what you’ll bring and how many of you will be coming.


New from the Garden

Acorn squash is likely the winter squash you have eaten the most. This reliable squash is shaped like a giant acorn (thus the name), and can be easily cut in half, seeded and either steamed or baked. You can then add a touch of butter, salt and pepper (and honey or brown sugar if you must) and eat it right out of the hard shell, or you can fill it with any number of great ingredients first and then eat it out of it’s shell. Post your favorite way to fill an acorn squash, and I’ll include it in the recipe of the week next week.


Speckled Hound Squash--one of my favorites--which you'll see next week!

Speckled Hound Squash–one of my favorites–which you’ll see next week!

Winter Squash & Hazelnuts

You can use any winter squash for this recipe, but this one assumes an acorn squash. Increase amount of butter, honey, salt and pepper if you are baking something larger, like a Speckled Hound squash.

Cut squash in half and remove seeds and any stringy stuff at the center. Bake on a cookie sheet in the oven with the cut side down at about 350 degrees until it can be pierced with a fork. You can steam/ roast it by putting it in a 9×13 baking pan with enough water to cover the bottom on the baking dish. Bake with the cut side down. To speed up, cover the squash and 9×13 with foil. You can also steam squash in some water in a pan. In all cases, when you can pierce the squash easily with a fork, remove from oven or range and let cool enough to handle.

Scrape meat out of skin and mash squash meat well–for the smoothest texture use a hand mixer. Mix in 1 Tbsp butter (more or less), 2 tsp. honey (or less or none), salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to an oven proof bowl and top with chopped roasted hazelnuts. Bake for about 15 minutes at 350. Cool for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Roasted Autumn Vegetables (Serves 4-6. Plan on about 1 c. raw vegetables per person for a side dish)

4-6 c. vegetables (suggested mix: of potatoes, summer squash, broccoli, winter squash, onions, carrots, beets, corn cob pieces, green beans, peppers, onions, tomatoes).

Cut assorted vegetables into bite size pieces and separate into two bowls–those that cook quickly (like summer squash and broccoli) and those that take longer (winter squash and carrots). Cook the onions with this latter batch so they can caramelize. If you are using beets, keep them in a 3rd pile.

Toss vegetables with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and seasoning (e.g. rosemary, oregano, thyme).  Roast in single layer on cookie sheet for 30-45 minutes at 375, stirring occasionally.

Add 2nd set of vegetables (also tossed with a little olive oil, salt, pepper an seasonings) and stir into first set of vegetables (or on a separate cookie sheet if you’ll be mounding vegetables on top of each other) and cook another 10-15 minutes.

If you use beets roast them separately by wrapping each beet in foil or putting in a shallow pan and covering tightly with foil and cooking for about an hour.  Fork test for tenderness.  Let cool enough to handle and then rub under cold water to peel and slice and arrange around the perimeter of the dish of vegetables.  Drizzle beets with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. If you mix beets in with everything else  it turns the whole platter in a murky purple.

Adler says these should be eaten at room temperature rather than hot. I’m inclined to agree with her when I realize how often I snack on these after dinner when I’m cleaning up.  And better yet–eat them a day or two later as the flavors only improve–like most any soup.





  • I’m roasting a boatload of pattypan squash right now ala Adler. I will sprinkle it liberally throughout my meals over the next few days.

    You know what I’m excited about? Hazelnuts.

    • I’ve been eating my “boatload” of roasted vegetables all week, and like having a good chunk of the work of prepping already done. Had roasted vegetable pizza again last night–realized it was a week ago I ate it with you. Fast week. A lot has happened…
      I’ll hook you up with hazelnuts when you come out–more so when I return in November since the 2013 harvest won’t likely be dried and ready yet in mid-October. Hazelnuts are worth some excitement.

  • Adler has also inspired me to make a batch of caramelized onions and peppers that I keep on hand and add to EVERYTHING. I think we threw them on our pizza last week…

    • Yes–I remember that. I think you said the peppers were hot… Speaking of hot… I bit the tip of a Habanero pepper in the field today, not realizing its about the hottest pepper out there… This is the first time we’re grown it and it looked so harmless and cute and orange. My mouth immediately told my body to find something to cut the heat, but ever the tough cookie, I waited it out and decided just to warn folks those orange boxy peppers pack quite a bit of heat.

  • I really like to envision you continuing to harvest, tears running down your face, quietly encouraging others not to make the same mistake as you. Meanwhile I’d be pouring gallons of milk in my mouth in a most dramatic fashion.

    • If milk had been close at hand I’d have gone for it. But I was a good 60 seconds from the fridge. I kept saying, “it’ll pass, it’ll pass, it’ll pass…” while thinking “and you were thinking what???”
      To my credit, I took a Very Small Nibble. Which was a Very Good Thing.

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