The weather's been getting steadily colder and the frosts have begun, but we've been able to hold our own using greenhouses and our made-on-the-farm contraptions we call "caterpillars," or "cats" for short. These house our big brassicas (kale, tat soi, bok choy, arugula, etc.), spinach and lettuces, as well as some little babies on the way. All this talk about cats can get confusing...kitties! Where? "Hey...we're not that kind of farm." We piece-meal these cats together from scraps and materials we've salvaged, found, and sometimes bought (at prices much less than a full-blown greenhouse). They work just like greenhouses or cold frames. We've spent many days getting the cats in place, and moving them once they're empty to house new vegetables. Without them, we wouldn't be able to keep growing our produce as far into the cold weather as we now do. It's quite a scramble to get them together so we can provide food in winter, and as the weather gets colder, who knows how far we can go! At least it hasn't snowed yet. The only thing we don't have under cover right now are our daikon radishes...pretty darn hardy! We've pulled out some enormous ones.
Speaking of ACTUAL cats, our barn cat Macy gave birth to a litter! Sadly, most of them did not make it, but we've got one little roly-poly fat fuzzball Survivor who has been getting stuck in shelves and knocking over entire piles of boxes already. Still cute as all get-out, but steadily getting to that annoying teenage cat phase where she will attack anything and everyone.
We had a little Thanksgiving at the farm, a splendid affair, a lot of it using Echollective produce of course. Our feast consisted of apple-vegetable stuffed roasted pork tenderloin, roasted vegetables, home-made cornbread, salad (with our beautiful Cherokee lettuce) and home-made cheesecake for dessert. We hope your Thanksgiving was just as decadent! Happy Thanksgiving, a bit late!
In spite of winter's quick approach, Fall CSA continues! Just a few weeks left, folks.
FALL CSA MEMBERS: come on and pick up your member shares out at the Iowa City Grant Wood Farmer's Market! Farmer Derek will be there with your selections.
SUMMER CSA MEMBERS (WHO ARE NOT FALL MEMBERS): if you're still jonesin' for veggies, come by the Grant Wood Farmer's Market! Last chance to get some tasty, local organic produce before winter hits hard!
On the table this week:
- Vitamin Greens
- Braising Mix
- Sweet Peppers (still!)
- Hot Peppers (still!)
- Daikon Radishes
Japanese-Style Sour Pickles
- 1/2 cucumber
- 1/6 carrots
- 7 oz. water
- 1 1/3 tsp. soy sauce
- 5 oz. daikon radish
- 2 2/3 tbsp. vinegar
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- Sliced ginger (optional)
Combine vinegar, water, salt, sugar and soy sauce. Add sliced ginger and stir slowly until sugar is dissolved. Cut cucumber, daikon and carrot into strips. Put vegetables in a jar and pour the mixture over them.
If you would like to do the live-fermentation version of this, simply omit sugar, vinegar, and soy sauce from the recipe. Mix 2 tbsp salt with 1 qt. of water, then submerge the veggies in this mixture. Place something like a lid or jar on top of them to keep them submerged, and let sit for a couple weeks. Make sure to put veggies and mixture in an opaque container, and make sure it is not airtight! Check sporadically to make sure there is no mold growing on top. After two weeks, taste and test.
Garlic and Herb Sauteed Bell Pepper Strips (appetizer)
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 large red bell peppers, seeded, cut into half-inch strips
- 2 large yellow bell peppers, cut into half-inch strips
- 2 cloves finely minced garlic
- salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp chopped basil
- 1 tbsp chopped Italian parsley
- toasted Italian bread to garnish, optional
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over high heat. Add the pepper strips, and sauté for 4-5 minutes, or until the peppers begin to soften. Turn down the heat to low, and add the garlic, salt and pepper. Saute for 2 minutes more. Turn off the heat and add the vinegar and herbs. Toss to combine. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool to room temperature. Toss again, adjust seasoning and serve with toasted bread if desired.
Please tell us if you can't identify something on the market table, don't know what to do with a particular item, have a food allergy we should know about, or if you have other questions or comments. We love to hear from you!