Fern Creek CSA–Week 18


newsletter with photo

The autumn equinox occurs on September 23rd this year; the marker of our shift from summer to fall during Earth’s trek around the sun. This is the day (along with the spring equinox in March) when we have equal hours of light and dark. Mark and I celebrated quietly Saturday night, with a supper of homemade macaroni and cheese (gruyere, parmesan and cheddar cheese) with broccoli, braised greens, and bruchetta. We ate on the balcony off our bedroom, and reflected on the summer while coyotes, crickets and James Taylor provided background music.supper

With the coming of rain and cooler weather you’ll find changes in the Market. Powdery mildew will overwhelm the cucumbers and summer squash plants soon, and they will shut down for the year, having fed us well. Aphids have finally found the brassicas, which can happen earlier in the summer but didn’t this year. We’ll continue distributing broccoli, kale, and cabbage until the aphids overwhelm the plants. You’ll likely take aphids home along with your veggies from this point on. Aphids are tiny gray specks that look more like clumps of dust particles than insects. Wash them away, and don’t worry if you end up eating some; they are harmless to you. I need to remind myself that even aphids have a place in the food chain. They feed ladybugs, for instance, and lacewings, and omnivores pollinators like yellow jackets–all creatures we welcome in the garden. Also this week we’ll pick green tomatoes for you, along with red ones we still find. This time of year we always have more green ones than red, but there are plenty of things to do with green tomatoes. I’ve given you one suggestion in the recipe for the week. NOTE ADDED LATER: We ended up with so many red tomatoes, that we’re holding off on harvesting green ones. So reference the recipe below in a week or two, when we actually run low of red tomatoes!leaves

Enjoy this transitional week. Eat with intention, pay attention, and note the seasonal shifting. Celebrate with gratitude for reliable cycles and patterns undergirding our lives.

On the spirit of the season I’m sharing a reflection called, “The Life of a Day” by Tom Hennen that I enjoy reading every fall.

Like people or dogs, each day is unique and has its own personality quirks which can easily be seen if you look closely. But there are so few days as compared to people, not to mention dogs, that it would be surprising if a day were not a hundred times more interesting than most people. But usually they just pass, mostly unnoticed, unless they are wildly nice, like autumn ones full of red maple trees and hazy sunlight, or if they are grimly awful ones in a winter blizzard that kills the lost traveler and bunches of cattle. For some reason we like to see days pass, even though most of us claim we don’t want to reach our last one for a long time. We examine each day before us with barely a glance and say, no, this isn’t one I’ve been looking for, and wait in a bored sort of way for the next, when, we are convinced, our lives will start for real. Meanwhile, this day is going by perfectly well-adjusted, as some days are, with the right amounts of sunlight and shade, and a light breeze scented with a perfume made from the mixture of fallen apples, corn stubble, dry oak leaves, and the faint odor of last night’s meandering skunk.

May we make opportunities to slow down, to pay attention, and to cook and eat good food in the company of friends and family.



Anticipated in the Marketmarketweb

Spaghetti Squash
Sweet Potatoes
Fall Gourds & Mini pumpkins
Chard or Collards
Kale (Dinosaur, Red Russian & Meadowlark)
Adriana Butterhead Lettuce
Zucchini Squash & Summer Squash
Tromboncino, Patty Pan, Tatume
Red Onions
Marketmore and English Cucumbers
Nante and Danver Carrots
Liberty Apples
Roma, San Marzano, Copia, Rose de Berne, & others…
Baby Cakes, Armarillo & Snow White Cherry Tomatoes
Kentucky Wonder and other assorted Green beans
Fortex Beans
Black Beauty & Listada de Gandia Eggplant
Assorted Sweet and Hot Peppers
Mint & Basil


New from the Field

Spaghetti Squash

Sometimes called “vegetable spaghetti squash,” this oblong winter squash works as a good substitute for pasta noodles. The color ranges from ivory to deep yellow, and the center looks pretty much like other squash when raw. Split it, scoop out the seeds (they roast up great, like pumpkin seeds) and bake, steam or boil it. Then the flesh falls away from the squash like noodles when prodded with a fork. Top it with sauce, or simple a bit of butter, salt and pepper. It’s full of folic acid, potassium, vitamin A, and beta carotene. A great fall food.

Sweet Potatoes

yamsSweet potatoes are a tropical plan, and prefer hotter weather than we usually get in the northwest, but this summer has made for happy sweet potato vines and we’re glad to be able to share some with you. These haven’t been cured yet (we are curing others as we speak), so they won’t be as sweet as the next batch. If you want to cure these rather than eat them right away, keep them in a warm (75-85˚ space) for a week to 10 days and then store them where it’s about 55˚. Even if you eat these now they will be good–just not as sweet as they get once the sugars have a chance to convert. Sweet potatoes pack a lot of health benefits into something that already tastes a bit like eating dessert. In fact the beta carotene (higher than in any other vegetable) is better absorbed when some fat is consumed with the potato, so go ahead and add a pat of butter to that potato, or drizzle it with a bit of olive oil. Sweet potatoes are valuable for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory traits, though I mostly like just thinking of them as one of the delicious expressions of God’s creativity, love, and care for sweet potato eaters everywhere. You can cut them into little cubes and roast, steam or boil them rather quickly. Mash them, eat them as a baked potato, in black bean and sweet potato enchiladas, or use them in soups and stews (like this African Sweet Potato & Peanut Stew). In the store you often only see the big roots, we’re including a wider range of what we find in the dirt, which includes skinny roots and fat ones, small ones and big ones, long ones and short ones. Enjoy them all.

Fall Gourds & Mini-Pumpkins

Assorted Gourds

Assorted Gourds

We grow two plants that offer no nutritional value–they are non-eatable delights: gourds and jack-o-lanterns. The jack-o-lanterns could be eaten in a pinch, but are generally grown for size, and the bigger they get, the more mealy and less tasty they become. Still we split them and feed them to the hens after Thanksgiving, and they gobble up both the seeds (worth roasting for yourselves), and the meat. In honor of the Autumn Equinox and our official shift to fall this week we’re distributing the gourds and mini-pumpkins. In early October you can take home your Jack-o-lantern.


Newberg Bakery Bread of the Week: Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread


Recipe of the Weekfrittata_600-articleLarge

When Red Tomatoes Are Scarce, Go Green
–Martha Rose Hulman

If you have never cooked with green tomatoes, give this Green Tomato Frittata a try, and/or explore other recipes online.


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