First, a brief farm announcement:
Join us for Community Pizza Night at the farm this Wednesday from 4-7! What’s on the menu from The Oven at Hunts Brook Farm?
We will be making dough for 100 pizzas, and pies can be eaten here or to-go. Suggested donations are $10 per pizza. If you plan to eat here, BYOB and bask in the forecasted beautiful fall evening on the farm! As if it couldn’t get any better, we’ll have Hidden Brook’s amazing certified organic apples for sale in our stand for $2.50 per pound!
This week, as I was thinking about something deeply philosophical to write about, I was distracted. No, it’s not the reality of cooler temperatures or the lengthy list of cleanup tasks before the season’s end that makes contemplation difficult. It’s the food, the flavorful food – and the grumbling of my stomach – that I blame.
The pawpaws and Asian pears are here, and they make the perfect snack. Oh man, and the hakurei turnips! A few of us had a moment with the mini brassicas in the field. Any lover of food knows what I’m talking about – that moment when your mind is intensely focused on the flavors at present and your senses seem heightened. (Think first tomato of the season.) After the first bite, we were planning our meals for lunch and dinner with the crisp turnips. We also all officially decided, in our state of turnip bliss, that they were collectively our favorite food ever. I think a few of us may have even found religion. (I’ve found that good food lovers and farmers are big fans of hyperbole when they’re passionate about something. Nicole and I may be the queens of making sweeping statements like “This is the most amazing [vegetable] I’ve EVER had!” Or, you’ll know when we’re serious when we look at you squarely in the eye and say, ”You need to eat this right now,” and slowly, but forcefully, hand over the said vegetable.) The good news is that you’ll also get to experience their goodness this week!
Farmers don’t like to admit it but, well, we complain. A lot. Most of us do a good job of masking our gripes from customers, but there’s always something. Often, it’s weather or element related; the temperature is often too hot, too cold or just not right. It might be a bit unfair to generalize my fellow growers, but it seems that if a farmer isn’t complaining about something, then something’s usually wrong! It’s those many moments in the field, however, with fruits and vegetables picked at the peak of freshness that everything seems right with the world. The frequent anticipation and stress seem to melt away, and we can focus on why we are indeed farmers: The food.
I farm because I love working outdoors, feeling the soil and plants in my hands and knowing that I exist within a complex web of interactions among a range of living beings and elements. Yet, I’m also human, and my basic need for food is more than met by working and living on a farm. I have access to incredibly nutrient-dense foods, grown in a sustainable, mindful manner, and I get to share this beautiful food with others. I do work incredibly hard to reap these benefits of the harvest, so I’m not calling my situation lucky. But I do realize how fortunate I am to have this opportunity to eat and, at times, obsess about the bounty.
So, here’s to truly appreciating and enjoying the season’s flavors!
On behalf of the HBF crew,
CSA Week 16 ~ September 25, 2013
The deliciousness this week:
- Mixed Asian greens or bok choi
- Summer squash or tatsoi
- Hakurei turnips!
- Peppers (hot and sweet)
- Winter squash
- Asian pears or pawpaws
I have to admit: I haven’t really eaten eggplant this summer. Well, I’ve decided that’s going to change starting this week, beginning with this recipe:
Honey-Roasted Eggplant with Chiles (from Martha Stewart Seasonal Produce Recipe Guide)
- 4 or 5 baby eggplants, halved, or 2 regular eggplants, cut into 2-inch cubes
- 5 fresh green Thai chiles, halved lengthwise (or any hot pepper will work!)
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1.) Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss eggplants with chiles, honey, and oil to coat.
2.) Roast eggplants (skin sides up) and chiles on a rimmed baking sheet until eggplant is golden, about 20 minutes (if using cubes of eggplant, stir once every 5 to 7 minutes). Flip, and roast until eggplant softens, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Tips & Notes:
- Can’t get enough eggplant? Check out these 15 simply, flavorful recipes from Real Simple.
- As I mentioned, hakurei turnips are simply terrific. Use and eat as you would radishes, either raw or lightly sautéed or steamed. Don’t forget to save the greens, which are delicious when braised in rice wine, apple cider or balsamic vinegar. Check out this recipe for Braised Turnips with Onions and Turnip Greens.