From the Garden this Week…
From the Garden this Week…
Summer Squash, Gita Long Beans, Butternut Squash, Cucumbers, Carrots, Tomatoes, Green Onions, Basil, Watermelon and Fresh Cut Flowers
Coming Soon…Spaghetti Squash, Radishes, Baby Greens
Using your Produce… by Julie Moreno
This week we have butternut squash coming to you. We consider ourselves amateurs at growing this lovely vegetable, and we have some ready now. We will hopefully be able to store our winter squash so we can send it out through the fall, we have spaghetti squash coming next. This Roasted Butternut squash recipe can be made ahead, just toss the greens in when you serve it. The natural sweetness of the squash goes well with the walnuts and goat cheese. A few tricks for the winter squash: If you don’t have a sharp knife and are afraid to cut into it, you can roast them whole and then remove them from the oven when the skin softens, about 40 minutes, peel and then cut the cooked squash (make sure it is cooked through before eating, this might work in the microwave, but I haven’t tried it)
Roasted Butternut Squash Salad
1 butternut squash, cut into cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup walnuts
½ cup raisins or dried cranberries, chopped
¼ cup sliced red onion
3-4 cups, spinach or chopped leafy greens
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red or white wine vinegar
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
¼ cup crumbled goat cheese
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Toss the butternut squash cubes with the oil and ½ teaspoon salt. Spread out on a parchment lined baking sheet and cook in the oven for about 20-25 minutes, until tender. In the same oven, while cooking the squash, toast the nuts until fragrant, about 5 minutes. In a large bowl, combine cooked squash, nuts, raisins, red onion and greens, drizzle with olive oil and vinegar, season with salt and pepper. Toss the salad gently and transfer to a serving platter or bowl and top with the crumbled goat cheese.
The Gifts of Imperfection…Community Supported Agriculture means our subscribers enjoy the boom and bust of each crop as our co-farmers! Each season we have surprises and disappointments. This is part of the intrigue of eating farm to table vegetables and fruits. We notice the changes from newly ripe, to peak ripeness, to over-ripeness as the season progresses. Peak, vine, and late season ripening can mean a soft spot here and there. We still include imperfect produce because it can be used in soups, stews, and gazpacho. Even an over-ripe melon can be chopped and frozen for smoothies. Enjoy the last weeks of summer! Remember, our autumn season officially begins the first Thursday in September! Time for investors to renew! Many thanks to each of you for helping us grow our garden!
Cool and Crisp Salads…
This week’s watermelon and cucumbers come together in a cool and refreshing salad. Tossed with our basil and feta cheese. With the sweet melon and salty feta you probably won’t need too much extra salt. Always taste as you go, you can add more, but you can’t take it away.
Watermelon Cucumber Feta Salad
3-4 cups watermelon, cubed
1 large cucumber, sliced (peeled and/or seeded if desired)
2 tablespoons basil, thinly sliced
1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lime juice
salt and pepper to taste
Place the watermelon, cucumber and basil in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice and salt and pepper. Drizzle the dressing over the melon mixture and toss to coat. Sprinkle with feta and serve.
Metaphors of Soil and Soul. . . by Ronda May Melendez
Julie Moreno, our Garden Coordinator, inspired me to write about No Till Gardening. The main points that I gleaned from her instruction were these: No till gardening serves the primary purposes of weed maintenance and keeping an appropriate nutritional balance in the soil. She explained that soil contains billions of weed seeds. When we till, we are bringing the things that they need closer to the surface in order to germinate. And what does this do but cause more weed growth!
My next question may seem like a banal one, however, it brought forth some interesting answers! For example, “What are considered weeds?” Weeds, by definition, are: “A plant out of place and not intentionally sown; a plant growing where it is not wanted; a plant whose virtues have not yet to been discovered; plants that are competitive, pernicious, and interfere negatively with human activity; and many others” (12.09.09, extension.psu.edu).
So, let me bring it back to my thoughts on life and the no till method. The no till method is messy. It is a lot of hard work and, in fact, there are warnings stating that it might seem worse the first year before things begin to grow healthier, more in balance and begin to settle into the “new”. That being said, what can we learn? Firstly, weeds are great indicators. What “weeds” in our lives are continually vying for resources and strangling out the opportunity for growth? What have we done to recognize them and formulate a strategy for moving them out of the way? I have read that some weeds, once removed, are best mulched and returned to the same soil to fertilize and feed it, serving as a nutritional foundation for the legitimate fruitful plants around it. Secondly, are we willing to stop tilling and breaking the soil structure, releasing more of our precious resources that are needed for other tasks and bringing up those old nasty ideologies and paradigms that keep us stuck?
Can we just let the old methods go and not allow those old established, dormant weed seeds that are just waiting for the opportunity to take resources and grow to lie in the depths and never give them opportunity to germinate? By continuing to mull things over or till them up, do we needlessly give them power and space to gain ground in the gardens of our lives (and minds)? If so, perhaps, it is time to look into “no till” signs and say “ Nope, not in this plot of land. No more…” I have chosen a different way.