Well, it's officially here, and it even feels like it. In fact, we fired up the woodstove for the first time of the season this morning - Happy Fall! This is always my favorite time of the year, and not just because I will finally be done picking tomatoes sometime soon:) The smell of smoke, the colors of leaves, the sweetness of cole crops - all of it is delightful and delicious to me. And so it is time to celebrate another successful garden year and the final harvests of the season. JOIN US! Next Sunday, October 11, from 2 til 10pm, is our annual Warm and Wooly Fall Farm Festival. We'll have farm tours, tractor ride and s'mores on the campfire all day long! We'll have woolcrafts -spinning and felting - from 4 to 5:30pm, a Champagne Tour of the Bed and Breakfast at 5pm, a giant potluck dinner at 6pm, and live bluegrass music with MooGrass at 6:30pm. We'll also have goods for sale from neighbor farms - bread, granola, honey, jams, salsas and more!
Bring friends, family, layers to wear, comfy shoes for walking and a potluck dish or drink to share. Circle M will be providing meat from the homestead and probably a pumpkin dessert or two.
Speaking of pumpkins, you'll notice you have none in this week's box. Nor will you have one next week, which is our last box of the year. Sorry! We had a disease problem which is as yet unidentified - apparently this has been quite common all over WI, according to NPR - and all of our pumpkins and hard squash have been rotting in storage. We are roasting up a storm to try and salvage some before they rot - and hopefully you'll get your share in the form of dessert at the farm festival:)
Luckily, there are a lot of things that are still going gangbusters out there in the gardens. Tonight our forecast is 40 degrees - which could mean a frost in our little valley - so we've brought in lots of tender things that might perish. So enjoy these last tomatoes and eggplants! Here's what's in the box:
Basil - We had bug problems in our first planting of basil, and so planted a second round in the hoop house, on the other side of the property from the original rows. The bonus is that now we've shut the sides and ends and we'll have basil til the end of the season!
Tomatoes - The flavor changes as the weather cools off, and you'll likely notice that. You'll also notice that Brandywines have really taken off at the end of the season. These are the perfect slicers to put on burgers or make BLTs. You've got endive and arugula leaves you can use, but I recommend Swiss Chard leaves and make BLC's!
Eggplant - Nice tender skins, small fruits. These are great to slice and roast, as we did for the base of our Deconstructed Moussaka at the last field-to-table dinner, which was a blast, by the way! See the menu here.
Peppers - We grew peppers in our hoop this year, which has been great for yields, but we still don't really have many red ones for you! So chilly in this little valley...
Endive- And yum again! We combined the arugula and endive for our Duck and Cherry Salad dish at the field-to-table dinner last weekend, and it was hugely popular. Rarely do we get so many glowing comments about the salad course! We slightly heated the fat from the roasted duck and then gently massaged it into the salad greens with a little salt. Then we topped with a bit of pulled duck and some dried cherries chopped with balsamic vinegar. Great combo.
Aronia Berries - Second time in the box for these. We are so lucky to have a partnership with our neighbors at Barham Gardens to bring these to you again. Have fun experimenting. We cooked ours down mashed in a little water, strained the juice out and added enough sugar to make a thin syrup that we added to seltzer water to make the refreshing Aronia Fizz at the field-to-table dinner.
Herb Bouquets: Parsley, Lovage, Baby Celery, Rosemary - All of these are terrific in hearty winter soups, or combined with the russet potatoes.
Herb Bags: Lemon Balm and Oregano
Radishes - I love fall because we get to bring some favorite spring crops back. French Breakfast radishes are even more sweet and crisp in the fall. Enjoy!
Mustard - This lovely bunch of tender serrated leaves is a mild version of mustard. Use torn or cut in a salad, or cook in a soup or stir-fry. Great with all Asian flavors.
Collards - We thought we'd have these for you earlier in the season, but it probably works out best that you get them when it's cool outside. Use with bacon or smoked ham hocks and cook slow and low in the meat stock.
Swiss Chard - Tender and delicious.
Cipollini Onions - Sweet and crisp and delicious!
Russet Potatoes - Great for baking, mashing, boiling - whatever you like!