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Lincoln/Boston CSA Newsletter

Squash Saga

Do you remember the rain in June? While the weather of spring and early summer may fade in our minds, its effects are still being felt on the farm, especially at harvest time. Record rainfall and low temperatures in June and July led Governor Patrick and members of the Massachusetts delegation to ask federal officials to declare much of the state an agricultural disaster zone, citing tens of millions of dollars in expected income losses. As a Community Supported Agriculture program, we have asked you, the share holders, to take on the risk of the farming season with us and this year, more than any other, you have felt the losses with the demise of our tomato crop by the moisture-loving late blight. Thank you.

The cool wet weather made spring spinach and bok choy flourish and last through July. It set up our beautiful harvest of broccoli, providing the moisture that crop rarely gets in our farm's sandy soils. Unfortunately, it also set our winter squash up for failure. Everyone will still receive a few squash this year, but nothing compared to the bumper crop of two years ago and even less than last year's poor squash showing. Our poor squash were hit on many fronts this year- first seeds were slow to emerge due to cold weather, then birds dug up the young plants to get at the seeds, then cut worms mowed down the acre of transplanted squash, then, after we'd re-seeded all three acres and put in all our extra transplants, we had six weeks with barely any sun and enough rain to ensure the spread of the many diseases that afflict squash plants.

A discouraging saga to be sure, enough to make us young farmers consider a change of career if it weren't for our elders ensuring us that this is one of the hardest seasons they've ever experienced. We still have much to look forward to. The root crops are going strong. We've got rutabaga coming soon along with the winter squash. Parsnips, sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts are on the horizon for the last weeks of October. There are still four more weeks of the CSA to go after this one and many more good meals to be had from the yields of this challenging season.

Winter Shares Are Almost Full

Sign up now by calling Bob at 781-259-5093 x20

Celeriac

celeriac
celeriac
 When encountering celeriac for the first time, the best way to appreciate what it has to offer is to close your eyes and smell the fresh celery scent of this cold weather root. Its intimidating appearance is deceiving. Ignore the comparisons to all things wizened, wrinkled, warty, and gnarled- from a mob boss to yoda to a cyborg. Also known as "celery root" or "knob celery" the celeriac is more popular in Europe, though it has been a trendy vegetable in gourmet restaurants as of late. Cut the knotted brown skin off with a knife and proceed to grate celeriac into salads and slaws, roast it with other roots, slice it for gratin or boil it to mash with potatoes. The stalks and leaves have a rough texture, but add a strong celery flavor to soups or stocks. The hollow stalks are used to sip tomato-based drinks, such as bloody marys, through, imparting a subtle celery flavor. Kept cool and humid, a celeriac should stay good for months so that you can savor its green taste in the dark days of January.

Celeriac and Pear Soup

Adapted from Alfred Portale in The New York Times

2 tablespoons canola oil
2 medium celery roots, peeled and diced
2 ribs celery or celeriac stalks, chopped
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 leek, white part only, chopped
2 quarts chicken or other stock, more as needed
1 Idaho potato, peeled and diced
2 ripe pears, peeled, cored and chopped (could substitute apples)
Bouquet garni (2 sprigs thyme, 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns, 1 bay leaf, tied in cheesecloth)
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
2 tablespoons butter, optional.

In a large soup pot over medium heat, heat oil and add celery root, celery, onion, garlic and leek. Sauté until vegetables begin to soften without browning, 10 to 15 minutes.

Add stock, potato, pears and bouquet garni. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 35 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Strain soup through a coarse strainer, reserving vegetables and stock separately. Remove and discard bouquet garni. Using a blender or food processor, purée vegetables in batches, adding stock as necessary to blend smoothly. Strain soup through a fine-meshed strainer, and return to stove. Adjust consistency: if soup is too thick, add a little stock. If too thin, simmer until thickened to taste. Adjust salt and pepper to taste, and if desired, swirl in butter or top with blue cheese to richen soup.

Celeriac and Apple Slaw

www.foodandwine.com

* 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro
* 2 tablespoons snipped chives
* 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
* 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
* 2 apples—peeled, cored and julienned
* 2 celeriac peeled and julienned
* 4 ounces daikon radish, peeled and julienned
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper
 

In a large bowl, combine the cilantro, chives, olive oil, lime juice and garam masala. Add the apples, celery root and daikon, season with salt and pepper and toss well. Serve the slaw lightly chilled or at room temperature.

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