Week #38 (2/9 & 12)

This week your basket contains: potatoes, carrots, onions, Brussels sprouts, celery, cooking greens (kale, swiss chard, and beet greens).

As we have for several years now, we have reduced the number of potatoes we grow for storage in favor of other summer crops we all value highly (like sweet corn).  We have had a relationship with Patrick Thiel of Prairie Creek Farms in Joseph Oregon to supply storage potatoes for us in the winter and spring.  He has been supplying high-end Portland restaurants with potatoes, carrots, and beets for years.  In the past year, COVID restrictions have hit his business pretty hard.  To do our (small) bit to help, we decided to buy in some of his carrots for you this week.  Let us know what you think of them.

Over the past year we’ve partnered with a few producers (Cloudcap Mushrooms & Fraga Farms goat cheese) to offer good products to you and help these producers find new markets in these trying times.  Recently one of our subscribers approached us about offering her soap and personal care products.  Since COVID, foot traffic at her Alberta storefront (Blendily) has been limited and she is pursuing alternative methods of reaching customers.  Blendily creates a spectrum of handmade botanical products for self-care head-to-toe.  They use fresh plants & flowers in their creations that they grow & gather themselves, or source directly from farms & purveyors that honor the land that they cultivate (including Pumpkin Ridge Gardens).  Their mission is to spread botanical magic and herbal wisdom. We (Polly & James) have agreed to act as a delivery service for our customers.  To that end, Blendily has created a special web page for our customers (https://www.blendily.com/pumpkin-ridge-csa).  CSA members will use code ‘PRGCSA2021’ for the 10% discount.  We will pick up your order when we deliver her basket, and deliver it to you with your next delivery.

I’m sure you have heard that the coldest weather of the winter is coming later this week.  For us, this kind of news kicks us into high gear.  Temperatures in the low 20’s and teens means that crops still in the ground can be lost.  We have harvested the remaining celeriac and beets and put them in the cooler (I like the irony of putting things in a “cooler” to keep them warm).  Since the beet greens won’t store well, we used them to bulk up your greens mix this week.  We will also be covering hoop house crops with frost protection fabric and making sure all our hoop houses are as weather tight as possible.  We will also have heaters on standby to help melt and snow accumulation from them (so much easier than scraping the snow, which we may still have to do). 

The cold weather is also why we have celery in your basket this week.  We have been experimenting with the timing of our celery crop.  This is a late seeding that we put in a hoop house.  We are happy with the way they were coming along, but know that even under frost protection fabric they would have been damaged or killed in the cold, so we took the this week.  This is a project we will continue fiddling with.

This is one of my favorite recipes for greens.  Adding celery to it would be a nice touch.

AFRICAN PINEAPPLE PEANUT STEW

1 cup chopped onion

2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced

1 Tbs. vegetable oil

4 cups chopped greens

2 cups undrained crushed, canned pineapple (1 20 oz. can)

1/2 cup chunky peanut butter

1 Tbs Tabasco sauce

1/2 cup chopped cilantro or parsley

salt

chopped scallions

In a covered sauce pan, sauté the onions and garlic in the oil for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are lightly browned.  While the onions sauté, wash the greens, removing and discarding any large stems.  Slice the greens crosswise into 1 inch wide slices.   Add the pineapple and its juice to the onions and bring to a simmer.  Stir in the greens, cover, and simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the greens are tender.  Stir in the peanut butter, Tabasco and cilantro.  Simmer for 5 more minutes.  Add salt to taste and serve garnished with chopped scallions.

Mirepoix, raw, roasted, or sauteed with butter or olive oil, is the flavor base for a wide variety of dishes such as stocks, soups, stews and sauces.  Sometimes, if I’m not sure exactly what I’m going to cook for dinner, I start with this and see what great idea comes to me!

MIREPOIX

1 cup diced onions

1/2 cup diced carrot

1/2 cup diced celery

Try to dice vegetables to a uniform size. You can dice into larger pieces for a longer-cooking recipe, smaller for a shorter cooking time. The diced vegetables can be sautéed in olive oil or butter over relatively low heat until starting to brown. A little tomato sauce can then be added if desired.