In this week’s box:
2 large bags sweet potatoes
3 large bags Gala apples
2 large bags tomatoes
8 butternut squash
4 acorn squash
1 half-gallon jug apple cider
1 dozen eggs
1 bunch curly kale
3 green peppers
2 two-pound bags white potatoes
2 bags string beans
5 edible heirloom hubbard squash
**CHOICE OF 4 pre-picked pumpkins OR 6 pick-your-own pumpkins of any size (9a.m. until 6 p.m.)
**2 OPTIONAL BONUS PICK-YOUR-OWN bouquets of sunflowers, 9 a.m. until 6 p.m.
**1 OPTIONAL BONUS PICK-YOUR-OWN quart of raspberries, 9 a.m. until noon
**1 OPTIONAL BONUS family hayride, 9 a.m. until noon
Total retail value of this week’s box: $201
Total retail value of goods distributed this season (adding in $80 for Christmas pines): $1,609.50
There are items in this week’s box that you will want to use up within a week or so (tomatoes, kale, peppers and string beans) and then there are many more that you can keep for weeks, even months, making your CSA dollar stretch even further. Each year, I love to use the winter squash in the fall box to decorate around my house, pulling them down one by one to bake for pumpkin bread, soups, risotto and all the other great things you can make with pumpkin or winter squash. The hubbard squash in this year’s box are a real treat. These pumpkin-shaped gourds are not only beautiful, but they are also some of the most sought-after varieties for making soups, pies, souffle and other dishes. I would recommend against using any squash you plan to eat as outdoor decoration. Squirrels, birds and occasional neighborhood teenagers have a tendency to take chunks out of them, leading to quicker decay and possible contamination.
If you pick up one thing at the store on the ride home from this pickup, make it bacon. Use it to make this classic Southern recipe for green beans and new potatoes, which I’ve shared before, but it’s hearty and so good I had to share it again for fall eating. I am considering trying it with sweet potatoes.
This box can truly get you through to Thanksgiving and even Christmas cooking. These sweet potatoes are grown by Miles Hastings at Canning Farm in Dogue, and they are delicious. While many holiday sweet potato dishes are packed with butter and sugar, you really don’t need them to make a dish so decadent it tastes like a dessert. This recipe from Cooking Light is what I put on my Thanksgiving table last year. It’s so good, I don’t think I’ll be able to wait that long to make it again.
Acorn squash can be eaten very simply–baked with butter, brown sugar and cinnamon or stuffed with rice, sausage, beef or whatever else suits you. But it can also make for a very elegant presentation when sliced and roasted. Its pointed shape and the contrast of the dark peel against bright flesh adds interest to many dishes. One that caught my eye recently is this one for roasted acorn squash and apples with kale, quinoa and tahini dressing. I love the flavor combinations here, and the variety of textures.
As for butternut and hubbard squash, I tend to use these interchangeably. These are all great for your pumpkin pies at the holidays, and the numerous other uses for pumpkin you’ll find on Pinterest and the Internet. I recently added diced butternut squash (one whole medium squash, diced) to my go-to chili recipe, and was pleased with the result. It allowed me to get more meals out of a pot of chili, and provided some vegetable nutrition to a meat-heavy dish.
Apples are wonderful for quick crisps and more involved pies, but don’t forget that they’re great in savory dishes, also. This recipe for baked sausages with apples and potatoes is a favorite in our house. I also love apples and kale together. Massage some kale with your favorite vinaigrette, toss in some chopped apples, blue or goat cheese, dried cranberries, walnuts, bacon…some cubed and roasted butternut squash would be nice here, too.
Have fun with this box, folks!