Welcome to week 17, the final week of the season. Boxes are definitely full and quite heavy today, so be prepared as you go to pick up your share. This final share is full of items that can be used right away or stored for use over the next few weeks, so don’t feel too overwhelmed as you unbox everything today. While I may be ready to get back to a regular sleep schedule when the CSA wraps for the season, it is still bittersweet to finish another season. We have an absolutely incredible team that makes this program happen each week. From the ones that harvest and pre-pack some of the items to the team that starts at 2am each Tuesday to get the shares packed and out the door by 7am, it truly takes a dedicated staff to execute this program and I couldn’t be more thankful for them all.
A couple of housekeeping notes before I dive into some ideas on how to use your shares over the next few weeks. Later today, you will all be receiving a Year End Survey. We do a survey each year, but this year we are asking some different questions to learn more about what you are all looking from a CSA program. It will take about 15 minutes to complete, but every single one of the surveys is read and will help us shape our offerings in the future. Many will be wondering when registration for 2024 will open. We are taking a bit of time this year to go through all of the feedback and make changes as necessary to the program. So instead of rushing and opening registration today, the final delivery day of the season, we will be making an announcement by the end of the year with our plans for the 2024 season. We appreciate your patience as we take a look at the entire program. You can read more about this in the email coming later today.
Alright, now that we have those notes out of the way, let’s take a look at what’s in the shares this week.
SweeTango Apples: I am actually quite proud of myself and haven’t let too many apples build up in my refrigerator this season. But, if you have a plethora of apples, now is a great time to make apple crisp, an apple pie, or a quick batch of apple sauce. I will likely take some of the SweeTango and some of the Haralson apples and make a quick batch of apple sauce this coming weekend.
Haralson Apples: A tart apple that is perfect for baking with, I think a batch of apple crisp will be in order. With the cooler temperatures, I am definitely more interested in spending a bit more time in my kitchen these days.
Red Potatoes: Mashed potatoes, smashed potatoes, fried potatoes, roasted potatoes, grilled potatoes….the options are endless. These will store for a few weeks, so no rush to get them used up right away.
Rutabagas: Mashed or roasted is likely how I’ll end up using these. Not something I would normally buy in the store, but I really don’t mind the flavor! One piece of advice, if you have people in your household who may not be interested in trying these, try dicing these up with some potatoes and roasting them. They offer a similar texture and oftentimes, people can’t even tell the difference when mixed together.
Buttercup Squash: There is so much you can do with squash, but I am someone who usually keeps it pretty simple by just roasting it and serving it with a bit of butter and maybe some salt and pepper. Honey, maple syrup, or brown sugar all make great toppings as well.
Butternut Squash: This is the one type of squash I will be a little adventurous with and make a Butternut Squash Risotto. Patience is key for this recipe, but it is definitely a fall favorite.
Spaghetti Squash: A few weeks ago I batch cooked a bunch of meatballs so I would have them on hand for busy evenings. Baking a spaghetti squash and serving it with spaghetti sauce and a meatball or two is likely in order this week or next.
Sweet Dumpling Squash: Again, you can find so many different recipes for dumpling squash as they are great for stuffing, but if you aren’t feeling adventurous, simply cut in half and bake until soft. Super simple, yet super delicious.
Brussels Sprouts: Roasted with a drizzle of balsamic glaze is what I am thinking for this week.
Lettuce: A couple of salads and this lettuce will be all used up. Something I will definitely miss heading into the winter. Try switching up your normal summer salads and instead of topping with summer veggies like tomatoes and cucumbers, you can add some cubed apples, maybe some chopped nuts, and a sprinkle of dried cranberries to make the salad more fall-like.
Carrots: Roasted and served with a bit of honey is one great way to enjoy these. Otherwise, I might peel and chop the carrots so I can make a quick stir fry with carrots, onions, broccoli and any other produce that needs to be used from my fridge.
Broccoli: Roasted or stir fry is what my plan is this week. I did roast some for dinner last night and it was delicious, so I am thinking stir fry is likely the direction I’ll head one night this week. Add some onions or shallots to the stir fry for an extra pop of flavor.
Onions: There are a mix of onions in the shares today, but one thing about them is that the majority of them are quite small….which in my opinion is excellent because you can use the entire thing in one use. Keep the onions in a cool and dry location for extended storage life.
Shallots: Sauteed and served on top of burgers, added to stir fry or even roasted with potatoes, these shallots offer a great flavor that is sweet and mild.
Garlic: Roasted or crushed and added to soups or chili over the next few weeks is likely how I’ll end up using this garlic.
Popcorn: Let this sit for at least a month and then shell it. Once you shell it, you can pop it on the stove in some oil for a great-tasting popcorn. Add your favorite seasoning and you’re all set for movie night.
Maple Syrup: Pancakes, waffles, baked apples, ice cream…..the uses for this maple syrup are endless.
There you have it, week 17! A plethora of items that require a bit of cooking, but nothing too intense. It’s been a pleasure to connect with so many of you this season. While the CSA finishes up today, we have a couple more weeks left of our season. Now through Halloween, we focus on pumpkins and squash, getting as much shipped out as we can. Along with shipping fall items comes the fall cleanup. It has already begun, but will continue on for the next month to six weeks. Lots of things to do around the farm to get it ready for winter. Then, it is always our hope to get a little rest after a long and busy season. We don’t really have an off-season anymore, but things do slow down in late November, allowing us all to catch our breath and get re-energized for next season. Our greenhouses will start back up in mid-February and at that point, another season has begun.
I hope you all have enjoyed the CSA this season. We will keep everyone informed over the winter by email, announcing plans for next year as well as updates from the farm. Thank you for a great season!