You may not know me, but my name is Greta, and I’ve been working behind the scenes here at Featherstone for the last 3 ½ years, working closely with Katie Sherman (our former CSA Outreach Coordinator), Jennifer Breitlow (Customer Service), and of course, our farmers (Jack, Shona, and Adan) and drivers (John, Shawn, and Zach) to bring you a quality CSA program. This winter, I’ll be on the front lines, communicating with you directly, and I am looking forward to it!
This past month, my kids and I were lucky enough to vacation with an old college friend in Asheville, NC, who happens to have children the same age as mine. We spent a wonderful week catching up, reminiscing, exploring Asheville on foot, and trading parenting issues and advise. Our time together was easy, refreshing, stimulating, and occasionally challenging, and in the end great for my health and wellbeing.
I hope, if you’re joining us for another winter season, it feels to you like welcoming an old friend back into your kitchen, with the familiar joys of favorite vegetables inspiring you to make your favorite winter comfort foods, as well as the challenges presented the vegetables you aren’t as comfortable with, which demand a bit more persistence and creativity. I hope you’ll consider sharing your tips and tricks, as well as your challenges and triumphs this winter season.
For those of you who are new to our winter CSA, welcome! I look forward to introducing you to some of my favorite winter dishes, sharing ideas for using and preserving your CSA bounty, and learning about our winter CSA through your eyes. Thanks for joining us!
May this season contribute to our health and wellbeing in many ways!
Cast of Characters
Chiogga Beets, Napa or Savoy Cabbage (Napa on Wednesday, Savoy on Thursday), Celeriac, Onions, Winter Squash (Butternut and Carnival or Sweet Dumpling), Carrots, Broccoli, Spinach, Fennel, German Butterball Potatoes, Parsnips, Turnips, Diakon Radish, Salad Mix, Popcorn
Message from Jack
Greetings Winter Shareholders!
Welcome to week 1 of the 2013-14 Featherstone Farm winter share program. We are delighted that you’ve invested in local agriculture (and our CSA!) for the next 4 months. Winter is not a “dead zone” in local food culture in the upper Midwest, despite the cold and snow; we hope you’ll agree that there’s plenty of good eating from our storage coolers and greenhouses well into the new year.
Three crops in this week’s boxes are picked fresh from the field, despite recent freezes: the broccoli, salad mix and spinach all tolerate cold quite well. Other crops were picked in mid-late October, and are kept in storage for the winter in our large, super insulated storage coolers.
For me there’s nothing like “winter fare” … slow roasted squashes, root crop stews, snappy cole slaw… to put me in a holiday spirit, particularly for Thanksgiving. The long, hot push of summer is behind us, the pace of life slows a bit, the butternut is in the oven… life couldn’t be better.
Once again, thank you for joining us for winter shares at Featherstone Farm. We look forward to providing you quality produce through rain, snow, sleet and -20 below in the coming weeks and months!
Broccoli – A perennial favorite at our house, we never have to think twice about using broccoli. Depending on how large the head of broccoli is, we either cut up the florets and pop them into a container in the fridge to be put in our lunches through the week, or we cut off the florets and skin the stalk down to when it begins to get woody, then cut it all into bit size pieces, steam it, add butter and lemon juice (a must for my daughter, but then her first “real” food was lemon wedges), and enjoy. Our website offers recipes for fritters and salad, and a creamy or cheesy broccoli soup might be just the thing for this cold weather!
Bunched Spinach – Use this first! Spinach that’s been through a frost or two is incredibly sweet. This makes it ideal for salads (there are a ton of spinach and apple salad recipes out there), but it’s also great sautéed (in butter!), steamed, stir-fried, or tossed in a soup. Store in a closed bag in your fridge.
Butternut Squash-My all time favorite squash, butternut is great as a substitute in pumpkin recipes. I also have a favorite butternut squash risotto recipe that I’ll share in our e-newsletter. Please use these up soon—you’ll notice a slight blemish on these squash, which you’ll want to cut out before cooking. We’re including these squash on top of the full retail value of you box.
Carrots – Winter carrots are so sweet, we eat them like candy! We cut up enough for 3-4 days and store them in water in the fridge to keep them crispy. That way they're always available for lunches and snacks. Carrots can dry out quickly, so make sure that they are stored in a closed bag in your crisper drawer. Do make sure there’s no fruit in the crisper, as carrots are very ethylene sensitive.
Celeriac – A great winter vegetable, celeriac has all the zippy taste of celery in a warm, energy dense root. Celeriac is wonderful in soups or roasted root vegetables. Google also yielded intriguing recipes like smashed celeriac and Maple-Bacon Roasted Apples & Celeriac. Celeriac will store for a long time in your fridge.
Chiogga (Key-oh-jah) Beets – are a lovely, striped (when you cut them), sweet flavored beet. A fan of beets, I simply boil or roast them and eat them for dinner. Cubed leftover beets are great in a goat cheese or blue cheese, walnut, and beet salad –my children even request this salad in their lunch. Beets will last for weeks in your fridge, as long as they are enclosed in a plastic bag or other airtight container in your crisper, otherwise they will get rubbery and soft.
Diakon Radish – This long, white, mild tasting eastern Asian radish is one that I have to work to use – even though I like radishes, the size seems daunting. Diakons can be substituted in recipes in place of radished or turnips, grated raw to add a vitamin C boost and bit of a zing to salads, sandwiches or slaws, or added to roasts, including roasted root vegetables, soups, and stews. These also need to be stored in an airtight container to preserve their crispiness.
Fennel - A German friend introduced me to fennel. She boiled it until tender (we could pierce it with a fork), cut it lengthwise up the middle, fried it face down in butter until the bottoms caramelized, and then sprinkled it with swiss cheese. Serve over rice. I've also seen great looking recipes for fennel and apple salads, and it's a great addition to pork. Store in the crisper.
German Butterball Potatoes—This wonderful all-purpose yellow potato will shine in all of your favorite potato dishes. Don’t forget to store potatoes in a dark location, and if you want them to keep for more than a couple of weeks, store them cool (42-50 degrees)
Onions, White & Red-Onions for everything! The white onions are sweeter and milder, the red make a colorful addition to slaws! Store in a dry location.
Parsnips – I’ll eat just about any vegetable with the simple addition of salt (if raw) or butter (if cooked). Parsnips are a favorite skinned (the skin is bitter, but the rest of the root is sweet) sliced in 1/8” thick rounds, and fried in butter until they begin to brown. We often don’t have any leftover to include grated raw on salads or cooked in roasted root vegetables, soups, or stews.
Popcorn – this Featherstone grown popcorn is not dry yet – please see the insert for proper drying instruction (or leave it on top of your fridge for a few weeks).
Purple Top Turnips – Since I am not a fan of turnips, I’m going to recommend this NY Times blog: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/06/giving-turnips-a-second-look/?_r=0 for turnip recipes including gratin, smashed turnips, couscous with turnips and sweet potato, and turnip frittatas. As I tell my kids – keep trying food in new combinations, sooner or later you’ll find a way to like it, and you may even come up with a new favorite food. Turnips need to be stored in an airtight container, or they’ll get soft and rubbery.
Salad Mix—Use this tender last season salad mix right away! If you need to store it, do so in a loosely closed plastic bag, and make sure it’s dry.
Napa Cabbage – Napa cabbage is a delicious light variety of cabbage – its leaves are tender and its flavor is milder and sweeter than red or green cabbage, which makes it ideal for salads, vegetable wraps, and coleslaws. Savoy should be stored in a loosely closed plastic bag in the crisper.
Sweet Dumpling Squash – These small, sweet squash are perfect for stuffing and roasting. They will store for a few weeks in cool, dry locations – 50 degrees is the ideal storage temperature for squash, but don’t let it get cooler, or the flesh will become stringy.
Turnip Gratin from Simply Recipes
Do Chua (Vietnamese Pickled Carrot and Daikon Radish) from Red Shallot Kitchen
Napa Cabbage Salad from Food and Wine
Roasted Savoy Cabbage from Chocolate and Zucchini
Morrocan Style Stuffed Acorn Squash from Allrecipes (Substitute Carnival or Sweet Dumpling Squash)
Butternut Squash Risotto from Yum Asia (Veg Recipe, should work on the stovetop as well, but I love making this in the ricecooker with the timer!)
Hearty Chicken Stew with Butternut Squash & Quinoa from Cookin Canuck (Non-Veg Recipe)
Roasted Beet & Goat Cheese Salad from Betty Crocker
Aromatic Parsnips & Carrots from Better Homes and Gardens
Celery Root Mash from Simply Recipes is recommended as a side to Slow-roasted Pork Shoulder with Savory Apple Gravy from the same site.
Honey Sauteed Broccoli and Carrots from Food.com
Winter Root Vegetable Slaw from Simply Recipes
Slow Cooker Gginness Stew from Simply Recipes
Cube any leftovers for Roasted Root Vegetables!
Simply Recipes is quickly becoming my favorite recipe site - it has the recipes I'd most like to make. Hopefully that translates to recipes my family enjoys the most.
If the ingredient list won't display, try this link until I can come up with a more elegant solution.
Week 1 Box Survey
CSA Box Writings