20 September 2019 03:32PM
On Thursday and Friday we harvested the butternut and butterkin winter squash. Night time temperatures below 55 degrees leads to damaged squash. The more nights they are in the field in cold temps, the more damage accumulates. Night time temperatures are heading in that direction on a regular basis so it was time for the squash to come out of the field.
We used the harvest conveyor again and the rest of the farm team gives it a thumbs up. It took us just a few hours to pick up 21 bulk bins of squash. And our bodies were not as tired and sore as we normally are after winter squash. So, now one of our winter tasks will be figuring out how to build our own conveyor system out of a few pieces of equipment that we already own. We are excited about designing this new implement.
The next big harvest will be sweet potatoes. They also don’t like cold temperatures. We want to give the root crop as much time as possible to reach a good size. At the same time we need to get them out of the ground while the soil temperatures are above 50 to 55 degrees. Harvesting sweet potatoes after the soil cools down results in a much shorter storage life. Plus as the farm team discussed during coffee break, it’s really dry right now which makes harvesting so much easier. The memory of last season’s crop failure due to overly wet soil is still fresh on our minds. So Thursday is the day sweet potatoes will start coming out of the ground. You never know when the rain could start again.
Both winter squash and sweet potatoes need a curing period for their skins to harden and for the starchy flesh to become sweet. They go into the greenhouse or a cooler room for 10 to 12 days and we crank the heat up to 85 degrees. After the curing period they go into storage. While both crops want to be stored at temperatures above 55 degrees they need different humidity levels. Sweet potatoes like humidity and winter squash needs drier storage. We have tried storing them together which led to rotting winter squash. Not ideal. A few years ago we solved our sweet potato storage issues with a cooler room in our barn. This year we purchased an additional shipping container to turn into heated, drier storage for our winter squash. Crossing our fingers this means we have sweet potatoes and winter squash for the February winter shares this year!
COOKING TIPS AND RECIPES
Swiss Chard and Mushroom Galette
whole wheat dough
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¾ cup (1½ sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 cup ricotta
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 oz. maitake mushrooms, torn, and/or crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 bunch large Swiss chard, ribs and stems removed, leaves cut into bite-size pieces
All-purpose flour (for parchment)
1 large egg, beaten to blend
1 cup mixed fresh tender herbs (such as flat-leaf parsley, cilantro, dill, and/or chives)
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)
Preheat oven to 400°. Season ricotta with kosher salt and pepper; set aside.
Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms; season with kosher salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl.
Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in same skillet over medium heat. Cook garlic, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add half of chard, season with kosher salt and pepper, and cook, tossing, until slightly wilted. Add remaining chard and cook, tossing occasionally, until completely wilted, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat; season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Roll out dough on a lightly floured sheet of parchment to a 14” round about ⅛” thick. Transfer on parchment to a baking sheet. Spread three-fourths of ricotta over dough, leaving a 1½” border. Top with reserved chard, then mushrooms. Dollop remaining ricotta over vegetables. Bring edges of dough up and over filling, overlapping as needed, to create a 1½” border; brush with egg. Bake galette, rotating once, until crust is golden brown and cooked through, 35–40 minutes. Let cool slightly on baking sheet.
Toss herbs with lemon juice and remaining 1 Tbsp. oil in a small bowl; season with pepper. Top galette with herbs, zest, and sea salt. http://www.bonappetit.com
Pappardelle with Broccoli Rabe and Pine Nuts
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 garlic cloves, peeled, flattened
1 medium onion, chopped
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1 bunch broccoli rabe stems sliced 1/2 inch thick, tops cut into 2-inch pieces
1 cup water
1 8.8-ounce package dried pappardelle pasta
1 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus additional for serving
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook until golden brown, stirring frequently, about 3 minutes. Discard garlic. Add onion and fennel seeds to skillet; sauté until onion is tender about 8 minutes. Add dried crushed red pepper, then broccoli rabe stems and cook 4 minutes to soften slightly, stirring occasionally. Stir in broccoli rabe tops, sprinkle with salt, and add 1 cup water. Cover and cook until stems and tops are tender, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid.
Add pasta to skillet with broccoli rabe and stir over low heat to combine, adding reserved cooking liquid by tablespoonfuls to moisten if necessary. Stir in remaining 2 tablespoons oil and 1 cup cheese. Season to taste with salt and generous amount of pepper. Transfer to shallow bowl. Sprinkle with pine nuts and serve, passing additional cheese separately. http://www.bonappetit.com