Winter Week 7: Soooo Cold! 9 days to Solstice

It has been our pleasure this winter to create a new Pickup Site in Skyway, at Minters' Earlington Nursery. I have to admit, I've done my share of shopping—I'm a plant junkie. And, I couldn't keep my mitts out of the Winter Greens Bar. Stop by and grab some greenery!

THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:
“Baby Pam” Sugar Pumpkin 
• “Yukon Gold” Potatoes
Turnip Greens
• “Tendersweet” Cabbage
Mixed Young Chicories (Radicchio, Dandelion, Endive)
• Young Fennel
• Pepper Cress
• Yellow Onions

Click on the links above for information and recipes about these crops.
COMING SOON:
Brussels Sprouts
Red and Green Curly Kale
Shallots 

NOTE: CHRISTMAS IS AROUND THE CORNER, SO THIS IS ANOTHER DOUBLE HARVEST WEEK FOR WEEKEND PEOPLE. SATURDAY AND SUNDAY SUBSCRIBERS WILL GET TWO WEEKS WORTH OF PRODUCE ON THE 17th and 18th, AND THERE WILL BE NO PICKUP ON DECEMBER 24th and 25th.

Alas, the nights are ever-lengthening, and the mornings are colder each day. It didn’t thaw until 11:00 this morning. This is no great problem, except that most vegetables can’t be picked while frozen or they don’t wake up. They will thaw and be a wilted product that looks cooked. Freezing punctures the cell walls, and the plant structures soften. However, just about everything that is left in the field can handle freezing and thawing just fine, provided that they are thawed when harvested.

Last week we used up the remaining small lettuce plants, because the closer the thermometer gets to 20°, the less likely they are to recover. This week, the fennel is suffering. We decided to pick it, even though it is small and looks damaged because the flavor is still there and should taste good in a salad, soup, or other dish. Use it quickly though.

The chicories also are going to start seeing some damage, and they won’t mature in the spring before they bolt in the increasing daylength, so out they come. We thought that a mix of reds and greens would be nice with a touch of fennel and peppercress for a winter salad.

Turnip greens are a sturdy cousin of mustard greens. A little more substance, and a nutritious tasty vegetable. “Tendersweet” is a special cabbage, not particularly cold hardy, and ready now, so they were chosen this week. Thin, sweet leaves and a flattened head—these are tasty raw, or steamed or sautéed.

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3 responses to “Winter Week 7: Soooo Cold! 9 days to Solstice

  1. I am learning a lot reading these posts. I didn’t know that lettuce can tolerate temperatures that low!

  2. A red and bitter greens salad for solstice – dandelion, radicchio, endive sliced thin, with some curly kale, red beet “greens,” cubed apple and toasted pecans. We dressed this gorgeous salad with Rocksalmic vinegar (visit Rockridge Orchard’s booth at the farmer’s market when you pick up your share), olive oil, salt and pepper.

    Solstice brings quiet and contemplation to my family, but also loud celebration and the promise of longer days and new projects in the coming year. We are tossing out the old from our kitchen. A long day of demolition removed the “vintage” 80’s false ceiling florescent light fixture and our broken range hood. Now our kitchen is larger (we gained a foot of headspace), brighter, shinier (our new hood is stainless) and exhausts properly! A new stainless refrigerator will replace our biggest power drain on Friday. We hemmed and hawed, but found a great fridge to hold our veggies and couldn’t resist. Somehow, we’re not breaking the bank either!

    I’m looking forward to cooking amazing food from the farm in the coming year. Thank you Mike, Shelley, Della, and Cosmo for providing us with such tasty and healthy food!

  3. Two favorite recipes as I head back to work this week: Nappa slaw and maple glazed squash.

    Nappa slaw – slice the cabbage fine, grate a few carrots, slice green onions thin, grate some fresh ginger, and top with chopped cilantro. Dress the slaw with rice vinegar, a dash of fish sauce (or tamari), sesame seeds, toasted sesame oil, hot sauce to taste (we’re partial to Indonesian sambal oolek), and some grapeseed or peanut oil. Toss everything to coat well and serve. Add chicken, shrimp, tofu, or some chopped peanuts to serve as a main dish. Leftovers (if you have any) make great wraps for lunch the next day.

    Maple glazed squash – take a small, sweet, acorn type squash. Cut off the stem and pointed end. Slice in half and remove seeds. Slice the squash halves into “U”s. Toss squash with a tablespoon or two of butter, maple syrup, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt. Roast in a 400 degree oven until tender, flipping once and basting with any remaining glaze, about 15 to 20 minutes. Serve warm.

    Depending on the squash, eat the skin too – it often gets tender enough. “Dryer” squashes like kabotcha are good this way too, but their skins may end up a bit crunchier or chewier.

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