a day late and a dollar short.. that's what my momma always says about me.. well, that is certainly most true for this weeks newsblog. However, I wanted to get it out because we had a few oddballs in the proverbial basket this week. And besides, it's time to finally acknowledge the simple reality... It's FALL!! The leaves are changing color, the deer are growing ever more voracious by the day, the pigs are.. well, turning into bacon, and the CSA season is winding down. However we do still have some crops to come along and some stories to tell.
We are at this time turning in beds, planting fall cover crops, nourishing the soil, reviewing the lessons we have learned, and even though we have the looooong Winter ahead of us, I already feel the seed of next years vision starting to stir. (I know, I know... I need to relax and rest and recuperate... but I can't help but be excited about growing the farm even bigger and better next year.)
What's a cookin'..?
Okay, so onto the food for thought... We have a few new and unique crops in the basket this week along with some of the run-of-the-millers. The three more unique crops are the Watermelon Radish, the Golden Turnips and the Napa Cabbage. You will also find the first of the seasons winter squash in the form of Acorn Squash. They are good for storing for a few months, but you must keep an eye on them, because they won't all last the same amount of time. If they start to get soft spots, they are still good, just use them right away at that point.
Let's begin with an easy one, the Watermelon Radish. If you have never had an opportunity to cut one of these beauties open, you are in for a treat. They are stunningly beautiful as you can see in the picture here. They taste just like a crisp and crunchy spicy radish. They are excellent eaten raw, thrown on salads, etc. However, this style of radish is also an excellent roasting radish. If you happen to be roasting up a chicken, throw some of these in with potatoes, carrots, turnips (if you're feeling really outrageous, throw in some rutabaga!).
The other root crop is the Golden Turnip.. (it should be quite distinguishable from the carrot ;-) The golden turnip tastes, well, much like a turnip, but a touch more on the mild side. I will go more into the various ways to use this next time around, but it is an excellent roasting turnip, it goes great mixed into mashed potatoes, or as an addition to stews. The golden turnip is a good storage turnip too. So tuck it in your crisper in the fridge, and it should stay good for up to 2 months.
Now, let's move on to a slightly more unfamiliar guest in the basket, the Napa Cabbage. No, it is not a sophisticated cabbage who sits around sipping wine all day, but rather more widely known as Chinese Cabbage, a very popular cabbage in parts of Southeast Asia. It is a sweeter, softer version of the cabbage we are more familiar with around these parts. If you have ever enjoyed Kim Chi, then you have likely encountered Napa Cabbage before as it is the most common cabbage used in making that amazing, spicy, fermented dish.
To help you use the Napa Cabbage I will first direct you to a good website put up on another farms CSA page. They run you through six different ways to interact with and enjoy your Napa Cabbage... (now they don't list sitting down and sipping wine with it, but this Farmer fully supports that option.)
Napa Cabbage & Carrots with Rice Wine-Oyster Sauce
As well, here is an amazing recipe for a simple stir fry, that uses both the Napa Cabbage and the carrots. (I would personally throw some chicken or tofu into this recipe too, but you can also go sans protein.) This recipe is from Eatingwell.com and you can find the original recipe at this link or see the recipe inserted below: