CSA Newsletter 10/17/18- Farm Stand Shenanigans
To most, the Red Dog Farm Stand is pretty straightforward. You drive up, park, and select your produce from the coolers. You tally your total, slip your payment into the secure box, and head out.
For me though, the Farm Stand is often a source of mystery and wonder. I check on the vegetables in the morning when I arrive to work, and periodically throughout the day, but I rarely spend the whole day in the Farm Stand. Subsequently, I am often surprised by how quickly vegetables disappear and move around our little store. This could be explained, perhaps, by perfectly innocent acts of our customers and my coworkers. Vegetables are moved, naturally, as folks look for their perfect leek or kale bunch. This explanation is logical. But on long fall days, when I am waist-deep in lacinato kale plants, gazing out into the clear and crisp valley, my mind wanders from the logical to the fantastical.
I imagine the Farm Stand in the evenings, when all the customers have left, and the doors are closed for the night. Perhaps then, when the tractors are quiet and the farm dog, Maggie, is cozied up by the wood stove, the vegetables stretch out their arms and legs and begin to move around. It must be an interesting time, each evening, for each unique vegetable to visit each other, see who was taken home in the day, and meet the new residents who have moved in. The sweet and young orange cauliflower engages the slightly more regal purple cauliflower in conversation, while spunky Romanesco cauliflower, with its spiky green hairdo, listens in from the shelf above. The kale bunches all swirl boisterously around their tub of water, bumping into each other, and inevitably breaking a few leaves, but all in good fun. The herb bunches are by far the most popular, bringing their delicious flavors of dill, parsley, mint, and cilantro to different parts of the cooler. The rosemary heads down to the potatoes, snuggling up with the fingerlings. The leeks jump down a rack too, anxious to be close to their good friends, the red and German Butterball potatoes. Meanwhile, the purple carrots look down wistfully, wishing they could be as beautiful as the red beets below. One or two bunches decide to take the leap, and join the beets for good. The salad bags, so neat and tidy during the day, abandon their posts to compare notes with the spinach and arugula about their favorite vinaigrettes.
Outside the cooler, the yellow onions roll across the Farm Stand table, daring each other to roll off the edge, and to the mysterious floor below. The night is alive with the activity of all these curious and busy vegetables. But as night fades and the first hints of dawn approach, our vegetables, exhausted from their raucous nocturnal adventures, slowly return to their designated shelves. A few leeks give up, deciding just to sleep in the basket with the potatoes. Likewise, a few confused broccoli heads end up with their cousins, the green cabbage.
By the time I arrive in the morning to check on the Farm Stand, all is quiet. In fact, there would be no evidence at all of the evening’s activities, except a few puzzling things. Why, I ask myself, is there a pink radish bunch nestled lovingly between two broccoli heads? And why, even stranger, is an onion wedged behind the Farm Stand table, as if it rolled there just to see what was below?
I will likely never know what truly happens in the Farm Stand when I am away, but the constant change and shuffle keeps me entertained. Perhaps you’ve noticed your Red Dog veggies moving around your fridge at home during the night. If so, I hope you enjoy your own morning mysteries as much as I do.
Brussels Sprouts are one of the quintessential fall crops here at Red Dog Farm. They look like the tiniest of cabbages, and they are in fact closely related to cabbages, as well as cauliflower, bok choy and broccoli. They grow vertically on a stalk, which we call a tree when fully loaded with sprouts. Luckily for all of us, Brussels Sprouts are one of those vegetables that can grow tastier and sweeter after frost. Enjoy the recipe below or check out our recipe page for new ideas!
OCTOBER CSA MEMBERS: don’t forget to pick up your Brussels Sprout trees this week from the containers next to the share crates.
Fresh sage is a great addition to salad dressings, roasts, soups, sandwiches and more. With many fresh herbs a little bit can go a long way. If you would like to save your fresh sage to make it last through the winter drying is a great option! Sage dries relatively easily with a few steps. Rinse and dry the sage (dry it very well), removing any damaged leaves. Bundle the stalks and tie them together with a bit of string- make two bundles if one is larger than a quarter. To dry, hang them upside down in a medium-sized paper bag (tie the top of the paper bag around the stem bundle). Carefully poke holes around the bag to encourage circulation. Stand or hang the paper bag in a warm place, away from the sun for 2-3 weeks. Check on it to make sure there is enough ventilation and there is no mold starting. Once it is dry, remove the leaves and store in an airtight container. Enjoy the taste of sage whenever the time calls!