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Lincoln/Boston CSA Newsletter

Back at the Hoophouse

For weeks we've been talking about things on the farm slowing down, but there is one area where life is just beginning. At the back of our farm between the railroad tracks and our much neglected compost piles sit our two greenhouses. The larger heated one is quietly full of onions, garlic, squash and sweet potatoes curing under its warm, dry cover. Next door its smaller cousin the hoophouse is experiencing a Renaissance. Inside the air is moist and lit by the glow of newly emerged greens. There spinach and herbs that will be harvested for our winter CSA and on into April are starting to unfurl.

All summer this unheated house was full of tables covered in transplants. Recently we took out all the tables, pulled up the landscape fabric that covered the floor and harbored the snakes who are our best form of rodent-control and prepped the newly uncovered ground with lots of clean compost. Now we've seeded the greens and they've germinated nicely. We'll keep these young plants well watered and when the cold nights come, tuck them in with row cover. They will slowly grow through the darkening days of fall and some December afternoon, after the frost has melted away and the hoophouse has been warmed by the sun to a more tropical temperature, we'll trudge through the snow outside and enter the alternate universe of the hoophouse to work in our t-shirts, harvesting spinach so much sweeter and more tender than its summer counterpart.

Think Spring!

Renew Your Membership For Next Year

With three weeks left after this one in the 2009 season, we begin to look to 2010. Renew your CSA membership before December 1st and receive a discount! Download the renewal form or call Bob at 781-259-8621 x20 to ensure your vegetables for next year. In order to offer you the best CSA experience and continue our Mix and Match choice system, we are asking members to choose one pick-up day for next season. Knowing exactly how many members we are expecting each pick up day will allow us to better plan the harvest and avoid running out of some items by the end of the day. Please choose either Tuesday or Thursday as your pick-up day for next season.

Rutabaga

rutabaga
rutabaga
 Rutabagas are one of those vegetables you will be surprised to find yourself falling in love with. A larger, less refined version of their cousins the turnips, rutabagas are too often overlooked, historically categorized as animal fodder or lantern-making material. At first glance few imagine the buttery color of the interior or the sophisticated taste, a sweetness with a complex bite that no other root can match.

Last year our fellow farmer Fatouma had her rutabaga conversion, falling for the vegetable so hard that she had a box of the roots sent to her in Missouri so that she would not be without while she located a new source closer to home. The appeal of the rutabaga is rational as well as sensual- it is an excellent source of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, calcium, folacin and fiber and can keep up to six months if kept close to freezing temperatures at high humidity. (Perfect to keep in that cold spot in your refrigerator.) For maximum nutrition, don’t peel your rutabagas when cooking them. You can make rutabaga fries or chips roasted in the oven, steam or braise them, or grate them raw into slaws and salads. Adding a rutabaga turns mashed potatoes into a super food that is kid friendly.

Creamy Rutabaga Soup

2 tablespoons butter or substitute
1 small onion thinly sliced
1 large rutabaga, cubed
1 1/2 cups veggie or chicken stock (simmer some celeriac greens in the stock beforehand for extra flavor)
1/2 teaspoon salt
dash of pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 cups milk or substitute
1 cup light cream (optional)

Heat onion in saucepan and sauté until tender. Add rutabaga and stock; cook until rutabaga is very soft. Press through sieve. Add remaining ingredients except cream. Cover and simmer 15 minutes. Add cream and heat through but do not boil.

Rutabaga Mash

rutabagas
extra-virgin olive oil
Dash of nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: an equal number of potatoes to cook and mash with the rutabaga

Peel rutabagas with a vegetable peeler, and cut into chunks. Put them into saucepan, add some salt and water to cover. Cover saucepan, and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn heat down to medium and cook about 12 - 15 minutes, or until fork tender. Drain, reserving cooking liquid. Using a potato masher, coarsely mash rutabagas in the saucepan, adding cooking liquid as needed for moisture. Add olive oil and nutmeg. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving bowl, sprinkle with a dash of nutmeg, and garnish with a sprig of fresh sage or herb of your choice. Serves 6.

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