|Winter Squash – These squash are partially cured, so you may notice some stickiness oozing from the stem. The squash is not rotten–you are welcome to use them immediately or leave them in a dry place with good air flow where they will continue to cure (another 2-3 weeks). After fully curing, the squash will last for many months
Black Radishes – We had a surprising bounty of these beauties this year, so we hope you continue to enjoy them. Black radishes store exceptionally well.
Celeriac – Celery’s cousin. The green tops add a celery flavor to a soup stock. The root also has sweet, starchy celery flavor.
Rutabaga – From Whitefeather Organics. Genetically they are a cross between a cabbage and a turnip. They have been cured and will last for the winter months when keep in the fridge.
Baby Magenta Romaine
From Whitefeather Organics
Decomposing on Field Notes Farm
Yesterday, we spent the afternoon in the hoophouses with the tomato plants – not harvesting, but deconstructing, de-trellising, and taking down their decomposing stalks and fruits. This is when the entirety of the season tends to hit me. Aside from the occasionally nasty responses to coming in contact with rotting tomatoes, we mostly worked in silence, the autumn winds brisk outside the confines of the hoophouse.
Tomato plants are one of our prize beauties during the season. We spend most of our planning season organizing our growing space around the tomato plants. We give the most energy, care and consideration in the spring greenhouse to their planting and environmental conditions. We hedge our bets on how early the plants can go out (there is inevitably a frost in late May!). Until we are certain of warm nights, we cover the tomato plants each night and uncover them each morning. Once they are growing, we meticulously trellis and support each plant. As the warm of summer begins, we marvel at their new fruiting stalks. All our care produces plants too big to support, so we brainstorm and rig extra supports for the massive plants hanging heavy with fruit.
Then, October arrives. We hardly worry about the frosty nights. The plants turn brown. The remaining fruits rot away. I hardly care about the lost potential knowing our chest freezer is packed full of tomatoes.
The cyclical nature of farming allows us to dream, care, support, enjoy, and let go.
There are times of the year where we can brainstorm new ideas and new systems. Then, we get the chance to enact them — and the time to troubleshoot. Somewhere along the way, nature works things out or takes the liberty of squalshing a few. In the rush of peak season, there is not much else to do but harvest all the fruits.
Then, autumn blows in. This year, I have new appreciation for the annual event that allows us to release our expectations. Along with farming this fall, we have been busy gutting and renovating a 100+ year old house. We’ve been scraping away plaster and lathe and fascinated by the construction methods of decades past. In just a few hours, the walls are torn away and the carpets are pulled up. It only takes a few bouts of effort to de-construct the meticulous labors of people before us who constructed the home of their liking.
With tomato plants, we take down the product of our earlier self, the cares and labors that produced beautiful fruits. It is not often we can appreciate the opportunity to break down and deconstruct our previous work.
It is rather fulfilling, especially knowing there is a chance to plan and build a new version next season!
Root Vegetable Mash with Apple & Sage
1½ pounds celery root, peeled and cut into chunks
3 large tart apples, such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored, and cut into chunks
3 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks
2 large (about 10 ounces) russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided, plus more to taste
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
2 medium onions, sliced lengthwise (about 3 cups)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
¼ cup milk or cream
12 fresh sage leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
In a 6-quart saucepan over medium-high heat, combine celery root, apples, parsnips, potatoes, garlic, ½ teaspoon salt, and 2 cups water; cover and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft, about 35 minutes. Uncover and cook 5 minutes longer.
Meanwhile, in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat, combine 1 tablespoon oil, 1 tablespoon butter, the onions, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are well browned, about 10 minutes. Add vinegar and 2 tablespoons water; stir, scraping up brown bits with a wooden spoon. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are very soft, 20–25 minutes longer. Add ¼ cup water, stir and scrape up brown bits, and cook until liquid is absorbed, 1–2 minutes. Set aside.
Using a potato masher, mash celery root mixture until almost smooth. Add milk and remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Keep warm.
Warm remaining 3 tablespoons oil in an 8-inch skillet over medium heat. Add sage and fry until dark green and crisp, about 30 seconds. Drain on paper towels.
Stir half of the onions into the mash and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with remaining onions and the sage. Serve immediately.
Roasted Autumn Veg Stew with Herby Couscous
½ a butternut squash
1 sweet potato
½ a small celeriac
1 splash of red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 red onion
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
1 fresh bay leaf
1 tablespoon plain flour
1 tablespoon tomato purée
1 x 400 g tin plum tomatoes
500 ml hot organic vegetable stock
50 g couscous
a few sprigs of fresh flat-leaf parsley
½ a lemon
Preheat the oven to 200ºC/gas 6.
Deseed the squash and roughly chop along with the sweet potato. Peel and chop the carrots, then trim and chop the celeriac.
Put the chopped vegetables on a roasting tray, then toss in 2 tablespoons of oil, the red wine vinegar, thyme and a pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
Roast for 40 minutes, or until the vegetables are just cooked.
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Peel and finely slice the onion, pick and chop the rosemary leaves, then add to the pan along with the bay leaf and flour.
Stir well, then reduce the heat to low and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft.
Stir in the tomato purée and cook for another 2 minutes.
Pour in the tinned tomatoes and 400ml of the stock, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
Take the roasted veg out of the oven, stir them into the sauce, and simmer for another 10 minutes.
To prepare the couscous, tip the grains into a small heatproof bowl with a pinch of salt and pepper. Add the remaining hot stock, cover and leave for 5 minutes.
Once cooked, pick, roughly chop and stir in the parsley leaves, add a squeeze of lemon juice, then fluff up with a fork.
Season the stew to taste and serve with the herby couscous.