Week 17: Pumpkin spice everything
Check out the contents of the box below, and/or fill out a preferred veggie form here.
Fall is most definitely here! This week saw us ripping most of our basil plants out of the ground in preparation for our first 32 degree night, and covering many other tender plants in the garden so they could survive the overnight temps. Much of our uprooted basil is living in 5 gallon buckets in our kitchen right now, waiting to be made into pesto and frozen.
In other news, we have an arrival date for our sheep: next weekend! We’ve got the fence in hand, and now just need to get going making the shelter we have planned for them. Thanks to Thomas and Sheri of Shepherd’s Kiva farm for the sheep, and also for our CSA guest stars this week, potatoes and pumpkins! We WWOOFed at Shepherd’s Kiva last summer, and Thomas and Sheri are kind, generous people we’re glad to know.
The season is definitely winding down. We’re thinking this may be our second to last week—we’ll keep you posted when we know for sure. To celebrate the end of our first CSA season and all of the wonderful people who helped make it possible (YOU!) we’re hosting a harvest dinner at the farm Saturday, November 17. We’ll have a farm tour at 4:00, and dinner will start around 5:00, with the potential for a campfire afterwards if it's not too frigid out. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP. Hope to see you there!
In The Box
Alright you friendly folk, we are not mentioning "limited" or "only x amount" anymore since I have a sneaking suspicion some of you may avoid selecting it even if you want it because you want to leave it for others.
Preferred veggie form found here.
- Jalapeno Peppers
- Sweet Peppers
- Ground Cherries
- Pumpkins! (Long Pie, Howden, and the ones we got from Sheri and Thomas are probably some sort of regularly shaped pie pumpkin)
- Summer Squash
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Eggs (mostly tiny ones!)
- Potatoes (Purple ones! from Shepherd's Kiva!)
How to cook pumpkins!
Ask Eleanor what one big issue she wants to preach to the world is, and it's quite possible she'll say it's getting people to cook with fresh pumpkin, instead of canned. It's a bit of a travesty that most Americans these days think pumpkins are only good for jack o'lanterns, and they always make their pumpkin pie from a can, when in fact it's quite easy to cook a whole pumpkin. Below you'll find instructions for this, as well as links to about a million pumpkin spice recipes. You're welcome.
1. Cut your pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds. Optional: save the seeds to roast for a snack.
2. Place the pumpkin halves cut-side down in a baking dish. Add some water to the bottom of the pan, maybe 1/2 to 1 inch.
3. Bake the pumpkin in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or so. You can tell when the pumpkin is ready when the shell turns a darker color and you can easily poke a fork through the flesh.
4. Wait for the pumpkin to cool a bit, then scoop the flesh out of the shell. From here, you can mash it to get a nice puree and use it right away, or put it in freezer bags to save for later. We like to measure out 1, 1 1/2, or 2 cup increments, put them in freezer bags, and squash them down (so they freeze flat), label and date, and stick them in the freezer so they're in easy to use increments for future recipes.
Here are some ways to use this gloopy gold:
- Pumpkin spice latte
- Pumpkin spice cake
- Pumpkin spice Dutch baby
- Pumpkin spice white Russian
- Pumpkin spice muffins
- Pumpkin spice donuts
- Pumpkin spice hot cocoa
- Pumpkin spice waffles
- Pumpkin spice cheesecake bars
- And of course, pumpkin pie
(You'll note that most of these recipes call for canned pumpkin...but why?! Once you notice this, you can't help but find it in basically every pumpkin recipe, and if you're like me, get frustrated by this .)
Brad's Food Philosophy Corner
Brad shares his reasons for farming, one per week!
Reducing Fossil Fuel Consumption
There are many obvious ways that participating in a local food economy can reduce our dependency on fossil fuel use. The most obvious is that the finished product doesn’t have to travel as far. This reduction in “food miles” though is just the tip of the iceberg. Conventional farming practices use a variety of inputs and applications that are based on fossil fuels. The common N-P-K (Nitrogen-Phosphorus-Potassium) fertilizers are made using mined minerals and natural gas. The various -cides are almost all derived from petroleum-based hydrocarbons. Further, these are shipped globally to farms. Finally, the foundation of this sort of farming is the use of heavy machinery. Heavy machinery is used to prep the soil, plant the seed, fertilize the seed, water it (sometimes), apply the -cides, harvest, and process. Perhaps one of the things that enrages me the most—especially because most people don’t realize this—the fuel used in all this machinery is off-road diesel and heavily rebated, sometimes up to 60 cents lower than on-road diesel. It wasn’t until recently that this off-road fuel and engines were regulated at all and the current environmental regulations are less stringent than for on-road vehicles. As described by Crown Oil, the reason for the cheaper, less regulated fuel is that “in order for these industries to make a profit, it is essential…” Perhaps if they had to pay the true costs (not only for diesel, but also this), there would be a level playing field (but even that isn’t enough).
 Not going to use any of my 250 words to explain why this matters, but if it isn’t obvious, fossil fuels are non-renewable resources, therefore not sustainable in the long-term. They often cause environmental harm in both their extraction and their use. We fight wars and strike uncomfortable alliances to secure access to this stuff. And finally, it really is “black gold” and perhaps we should consider saving it for things that really need it.
 Herbicide, insecticide, fungicide, nematocides, and rodenticides.
 (Eleanor points out these philosophizing footnotes are probably cheating, but…) THIS DOESN’T MAKE SENSE TO ME!! People have to eat; all this is doing is keeping the price people expect to pay for industrial food artificially low, yet it is only one example of this sort of big-ag friendly thinking and policy (often pitched as helping out "farmers" when even conventional large-scale farmers aren't the recipients, but rather big agribusiness). Increased costs of production (since it would be across-the-board) would be reflected in an increase price of the commodity and the profit would remain largely the same…unless, that is, they had more competition at this higher price with smaller scale, non-conventional, non-global, non-industrial food production. Hmm...