Echo Bend CSA Harvest, October 5, 2011 – Final Harvest

I’ve been trying to write this post in my head for weeks now. I’m struggling with it. I’m no good at saying goodbye, but, hopefully, it will just be merely more of a “see you soon.”  As in, I’ll see you at gatherings, in the community, the schools, the library, when I deliver baked goods throughout the winter, perhaps around our Saturday night campfires and our woodstove this winter, and definitely next spring, when you’ll join the farm again.

I know I have told you that I think of all of you when I tend our crops. I’ll think, as I put seeds in the earth, “I must plant more raab, as I know she eats it every morning with her eggs.” I think of you as I tie up my tomatoes on trellises, and of your son who is teaching people in Africa how to do this in their own gardens. I think of you as I harvest, sneaking you a bag of extra cucumbers because you’ve told me you snack on them all day or the only bag of chard that has escaped the heat and bugs because my chard and white bean recipe has become a weekly staple at your house. When I struggle and fail at growing a late season harvest of greens before the end of the CSA shares, I think, “Oh, these 2 will be so disappointed.”

And you don’t leave my thoughts at the end of the harvest season, either. I reflect on the successes and failures and your feedback as I take down the tomato trellises, pull irrigation lines, and dig in the manure.  In just 2 short months I will begin to plan next year’s garden, and I definitely think about what each of you prefer as I study my seed catalogs. I hold my saved flower seeds in my hands and wonder if you’ll want flower shares again next summer. I will ask myself whether you really liked the watermelon enough to grow it again next year? Or bok choy? Or napa cabbage?

Today I’ll get to speak a little bit on TV 7&4 about being a woman farmer, and in the story ( ) I speak about the connection with my shareholders and customers as being the most important element of what I do. I mean that from the bottom of my heart. I do not take our relationship lightly — thoughts of you stay with me throughout the year. When I received a hug yesterday from a shareholder, new to the farm this year, it truly touched me. I hope that you’ve received sustenance from our little farm, both physically, from the organic, diverse produce, but also at least a little bit from sharing a bit of the magic and charm of this place — whether in photos or in feeding the pigs or bringing them toys or in enjoying the view and the peace when you pick up your share baskets.

I thank you, unreservedly, from the bottom of my heart for all of your support and encouragement.

Special thanks also to those of you who came out to the farm to help us get ‘er done. There were some definite moments of heartbreak and challenge this season, and your help pulled us back up and kept us going. Thank you to those of us who helped us build and then, tragically, demolish the hoophouse, plant, weed, mulch, deliver, harvest, and promote the farm.  A special thank you to the Scotts and my mother-in-law for their workshare labor this season. I COULD NOT have done it without you.

Of course, thank you to my husband, who comes home every day from his full time job and begins his farm work. He works every weekend day, also. I don’t pay him anything, and he never complains. You give me all of the credit for this farm, love, but you are part of the roots and spreading branches, too.

This week the garden delivers to you the very last of much of its offerings for the season. Enjoy your final basket of the 2011 CSA season:

  • carrots
  • baby eggplant (oh, stuff these with breadcrumbs and cheese and grill or roast them!)
  • kohlrabi
  • onions, Red Cabernet
  • parsnips
  • baby bell peppers, sweet
  • peppers, hot, Ladybug red and Numex Joe E. Parker
  • tomatillos
  • raab
  • turnips and greens
  • winter squash: butternut, acorn, or Marina Di Chioggia
  • As a special thank you, I’ve baked you all a small sample loaf of our Echo Bend Rustic White bread!
    Enjoy this topped with sauteed raab and melted cheese or to dip into your pot licker cooked turnip greens and sauce or grill those baby eggplant and make an eggplant sandwich, with cheese, of course!

This is the time of year for a “Roasted Everything” dish.  Cut up and throw together your onions, eggplant, carrots, winter squash, turnips, kohlrabi, parsnips, and any other root veggies you have sitting around. Toss them with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast at 350-400 degrees until tender.
OR try this special kicker:

Root Veggies with Dark Beer Glaze
1 pound parsnips, or other root veggies, chunked
1 c. sweetish stout or brown ale
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/8 t. cloves
2 t. butter
salt & pepper
1-2 T maple syrup.
Combine veggies, stout, cinnamon and cloves in heavy saucepan. Cover and simmer until barely tender, 8-10 minutes. Remove cover and simmer hard until liquid reduces to a glaze. Stir in butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in maple syrup, if desired.

Kohlrabi Chinese-Style:
Saute kohlrabi in a little peanut oil with mushrooms, sweet peppers, shallots or minced onions, minced gingerroot, and cashew or pine nuts. Season with rice wine, soy sauce, sesame oil, and pinch of sugar or honey. You can also thicken this with a little cornstarch mixed with water.

Turnip Greens:

Enjoy! Thank you! Cheers!

The farmstand will remain open through October, and I will continue to make and deliver baked goods and jams throughout the winter.

See you soon…

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