Notes from the Farm
Rain! I woke up this morning hoping to hear the steady patter of rain drops across an already saturated landscape. That was not the case. As it turns out, no rain had fallen overnight, but it would eventually precipitate, giving us just over half an inch of rain over the course of the day. While this is less than what was forecasted, we are happy to receive it for sure. As you probably know, CT, along with much of New England, has been in a moderate to severe drought all summer, and these conditions come on the heels of below average snowfall this winter and drought conditions in the summer of 2015. Last year barely a drop of rain fell on us here at Massaro from June to September, as each lightning-filled summer thunderstorm would pass overhead without giving us any rain. We have had better fortune this year, as a couple storms in late July each gave us over an inch of rain, providing much needed moisture to our fields and wells.
In the last couple weeks a few of you have asked me at CSA pickup whether the drought is affecting us here at all. The simple answer is yes. Even with a couple of wells on the farm to provide irrigation, rainfall is definitely something that we are well attuned to here as we plan, plant and tend to our crops. Happily, the heat-loving summer crops like tomatoes, peppers and eggplants, have provided us with a steady harvest and still have a few more fruits to offer. But while we are still harvesting those heat-loving crops, the summer plantings of our fall greens and roots, which prefer cooler, wetter conditions, have been a bit delayed in their maturity and harvest. Still, this week we are able to bring in carrots and turnips from the field to enjoy while we let others such as kale, beets and cabbages size up and head up.
This week we also enjoy the delicata squash, one of my favorites of fall. We’ll distribute delicata from our own harvest as well as delicata from Waldingfield Farm. You may remember from earlier in the season that we shared our lettuce with Waldingfield’s CSA and they return the favor again by sharing some of their winter squash this week and perhaps some leeks next week. Here’s to a great community! Let us soak up the rain and enjoy the harvest.
Farmer Steve and our Farmers: Alyssa, Tyler, Ed, Briana, Adam, Kelly, Ariana and Jess
In This Week’s Distribution
Our Harvest: Delicata Squash, Carrots, Salad Turnips, Chard, Tomatoes, Eggplant, Lettuce
U-Pick: Cherry Tomatoes
Fruit Option: ‘McIntosh’ Apples
Recipes and Cooking Tips
Baked Delicata Rings
***A Farmer Steve favorite***
Optional: salt, spices
Set oven to 400. Slice Delicata squash in to rings no thicker than ½ inch. You can leave the seeds in the ring, as they fill in the center of the ring well and are great to eat when they get crisp. If you remove the seeds, you can still bake them and eat them separately. Lay out rings on a sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil. Optional: sprinkle on some salt or your favorite spices. Cook in oven for 30-40 minutes or until light brown; or let them get dark brown for a crispier ring. Note that thicker rings will take longer to cook.
Pickled Rainbow Chard Stems
- Stems from 1 bunch of rainbow chard, ragged ends trimmed
- Flavorings: fennel frond, fennel seed, garlic, red chile flakes
- 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- Cut each stem into a 1/4-inch dice, separating the white/yellow pieces and the red/pink pieces into different bowls. To the bowl with the white and yellow stems, add a few reserved fennel fronds and a small pinch of fennel seeds. To the bowl with the red and pink stems, add 1/2 a garlic clove and a small pinch of red chile flakes.
- In a small saucepan, warm vinegar, water, salt and sugar, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil, let bubble for a minute, then take off the heat. Divide the pickling liquid between the two bowls, and let stems pickle for 1 hour before serving. Store pickled chard stems covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.