Everything outside says fall, except the weather. Warm days are back, which brings me happiness, yet I was getting used to the cool fall mornings with sun-filled afternoons. I know the cool fall days will return, so I must be patient and enjoy what we have right now. Fingers crossed for a long, beautiful fall unlike last year.
Today marks Week 15 of 17 for the CSA program. After today, just 2 more deliveries. While the season is slowly coming to an end, there are still lots of fun items to fill the shares. This warm weather is allowing summer crops to continue growing, which is a benefit for everyone. In addition to summer crops, fall harvest is in full swing. We no longer have a parking lot at the farm. Instead, it is a sea of squash and pumpkins. There is a maze to get to the front door of our office as bins of pumpkins are being staged to be delivered to our stands and other customers. While fall brings another level of busy to the farm, there is something about it that eases the craziness. We can see the finish line, so it’s just a sprint for a little while longer. Then, we get some rest as wrap up the season and prepare for next year.
Another collision of summer and fall in today’s share for you. Let’s take a look at what you’ll find in today’s box.
Spaghetti Squash: This variety has become a very popular type of squash over the last few years, as it can easily be replaced as a healthier version of pasta. Cut in half, remove the seeds, and bake face down on a baking sheet at 350 for about an hour or until soft. After that, take a fork and shred out the flesh, which look like noodles. I like to make a hearty spaghetti sauce with extra vegetables like spinach, zucchini, and mushrooms to spread over the top. You can always stuff the squash with a meat filling as well for something different. There are so many ways to enjoy this variety of squash.
Celery: Yes, celery can be grown here in Minnesota, but it doesn’t get as big as the stuff we typically buy in the store. This year’s crop is a bit slender, but we think it is because of the extreme heat this summer. I’m not a huge raw celery fan, but I’ll add it to a stir fry no questions asked. There are lots of leaves on this celery, don’t throw them out! Place the leaves in a freezer bag that can be added to soups, stocks, or broths later this winter. The leaves are very aromatic and lend a lot of flavor, however you use them.
Carrots: Another round of freshly dug carrots. Crisp and crunchy, these are great for snacks or roasting. I’ll likely roast mine as soon as I get home on Tuesday. These are one of my favorite items to add to dinner or even an afternoon snack.
Zucchini: I can’t get enough zucchini this season. I have always like it, but for some reason this summer it has been by go-to vegetable. Chopped and sauteed with shallots and maybe a few roasted carrots, this will be a great side dish for dinners this week. It is also the perfect time of year to make some zucchini muffins.
Cucumbers: A bit of summer for you with cucumbers in today’s share. Sliced and enjoyed with a bit of salt is likely how I’ll consume mine this week. Otherwise, a quick cucumber, tomato, and basil salad with a bit of balsamic vinegar sounds wonderful as well.
Cabbage: The fall cabbage harvest is here. This Cabbage Soup recipe sounds delightful, so I think I will take a bit of time and throw this together this week. Even if I don’t get to eating it, I can always freeze it in individual servings to enjoy later this fall or winter. If soup isn’t your thing, try a fresh batch of coleslaw to enjoy with one more night of summer burgers.
Shallots: Think of these as a mild onion. These are very aromatic and offer a mild flavor that is perfect for adding to homemade dressings, stir frys, or crisp them up in a bit of butter and use them as a topping for salads or with some potatoes.
Haralson Apples: I think of these as the old fashioned apple because they are the only apple my grandma would make apple pies with. By no means do you need to make an apple pie, but that is one option for these apples. Apple crisp is another great option. Or, grab one on your way out the door for a tasty treat.
Basil: A bunch of basil that is perfect for pesto or a great summertime salad. Sprinkle a little here or a little there. Add it to some spaghetti sauce that you use with the spaghetti squash. Tomato, cucumber, and basil salad is on my menu this week. With the leftover, I’ll definitely make a quick batch of pesto to toss in the freezer. I like to freeze it in little containers so I can just pull out what I need throughout the fall and winter.
Slicing Tomatoes: Enjoy the taste of summer a bit longer! Salads, burgers, or even a lone, these tomatoes offer a lot of flavor for this late into the season. Savor the taste, because before we know it, our only option will be store bought tomatoes with little flavor.
There you have it, week 15! A bit of summer and a bit of fall. I hope you all can find a bit of time to enjoy what’s included for you this week.