What a week of gorgeous outside living and inside eating! Fall is such a delightful time to be on a farm. The mornings are brisk, the afternoons temperate, the harvest endless and the food incredible. If you can look past the weeds that inevitably encroach as the season progresses, the gardens are lovely with colorful fruit and seedheads of various sorts, while the fields beyond our boundaries are ripe and golden with corn, soy and hay. We just love it.
You can join us, if you like, in the work and the feast. Monday through Friday we eat at noon, and if you want to come chip in on the harvest some morning, we'd love to share our riotous buffet of food with you. Of course, we've given you a lot to play with at home, this week, too. Don't forget to look at the Box 9 Recipe Blog and the Farmer Kriss Pinterest Page for recipes. Here's what's in the box:
Head Lettuce - At last some crisp fall head lettuce. We love our salad mix, but the sudden change to the sturdier heads is always a welcome surprise. Yum! Be sure to pull these apart and wash them well, leaf by leaf, before eating. They are very sandy due to that pounding rain last week. If you haven't already invested in a small, inexpensive salad spinner - this might be the time to do it. Salad is much nicer is soaked in very cold water just prior to eating, then spun nearly dry before serving.
Nasturtium Flowers and Leaves - For some members, we know this bag is the highlight of the season. Others of you might not know what to do with these but we encourage you to try these peppery-radish-ish treats in a salad or as a stand-alone appetizer. Mix some goat or cream cheese with chives and pepper, spread lightly on a leaf and top with a flower - enjoy and impress your dinner guests! Chefs most often use these to garnish fish or soup, so that's an option, too. These were originally grown in South America as a salad vine - not as the flower bed edging we see here, so we know they are terrific to eat. Trust us!
Tomatoes - This is it for our tomatoes, so enjoy the last bite of summer!
Eggplant - DO roast these. We've had them roasted in all kinds of dishes this week - including this morning for breakfast as a base for a poached egg. Lots of ideas on the Farmer Kriss Pinterest Page! If you don't have time to eat them, roast them, peel and discard the skin, and freeze the flesh to make babaganoush later. A friend and neighbor, Jean-Margret, shared a terrific recipe with us this week for Lamb Mousaka. Find it on the Box 9 Recipe Blog.
Peppers - Reds of all sorts and lovely huge bells. Little hot jalapenos. The fat horn-shaped reds have sweet flesh and spicy seeds - so watch out for that!
Cucumbers (Full Shares Only) - We had a great salad dish featuring cucumbers and beef at Madison's wonderful Lao-Laan Xang Atwood recently. Don't be afraid to combine your cukes with warm ingredients.
Herb Bag: Parsley, Sage, Lemon Balm and Basil - Don't miss this last chance to make a terrific citrusy salad dressing with the lemon balm. Also great to chop and add to a quick tea bread or scone.
Kale - Oh, hooray! Kale is back in the box and better than ever. Boy, we can't get enough of this lovely mixed kale this year, and from your feedback, you feel the same way! Check out the Farmer Kriss Pinterest Page for a ton of new recipes. Great in a recipe mixed with sweet potatoes - but don't use the ones in this box yet! They have to cure for a few weeks before their sugars develop.
Brussels Sprout Leaves (Full Shares Only) - Yeah, you read that right - leaves! We don't have the mini-cabbage heads off of the Brussels Sprouts yet, they are still too small. But we had to top the plants in order to stimulate the balls to grow - these are those leaves. They taste just like Brussels Sprouts and are certainly easy to prepare. A quick search on Pinterest turned up a gajillion recipes for them, of course! So enjoy. We hope to have Brussels Sprouts for you in the final box.
Kohlrabi - Really one of my favorite veggies of the year. Looks awesome in the garden - like a vegetable asteroid from space - and tastes great on the plate. I tend to eat these like apples, right in the field, but we grew the Gigante variety this year, which gives us more to work with in the kitchen. Today we had Chili-Spiced Kohlrabi fries for lunch and they were truly terrific. Sweet! New to me this year - cubed, roasted and sprinkled with a tiny bit of Gruyere and pepper and salt. A superlative side dish.
Beets - We had a superlative beet year, so enjoy these, and enjoy their very lovely, tender, tasty greens, as well. They are very nutritious and can be used in any recipe where you'd use spinach, collards or kale. Check the Farmer Kriss Pinterest Page for ideas.
Sweet Potatoes - These little tubers are a bit of a disappointment for us this year. Of course, we got spoiled with last year's unusual heat. But sweet potatoes are a Southern crops, and here we see why - they just need a long hot season to get big. Nevertheless, they need to be planted well after the last spring frost and dug before the first fall frost so we have a limited window to let them grow. Maybe think of the smaller ones as sweet potato carrots, and simply scrub and cut into rounds and cook that way. The skins are certainly tender enough to eat. BUT NOT YET! Sweet potatoes have to cure for a few weeks before their sugars develop. So wait for about two weeks on these.
Gourd - One pretty gourd, courtesy of our friends at Barham Flower Garden. Thanks, Kim and Roberta!
Save The Dates! These events are coming up fast...
Delicious Driftless Fare
October 4th and 5th
Mineral Point, WI & Dodgeville, WI
This is the first ever local food fair in our neighborhood, and we’re excited to be a part of it! Farmer Kriss will be mediating a movie discussion in Mineral Point on Friday night the 4th, and Circle M will be serving veggie samples at a booth on Saturday. Also, Kriss’s bluegrass band, MooGrass, will be playing on Saturday at noon! Better yet, there is an old-time Potluck and Square dance that evening.
Oct 4th @ Mineral Point Opera House (139 High Street, Mineral Point)
6pm: Meet the authors of Super Snacks for Super Kids
7pm: FREE screening of documentary Hungry for Change
9pm: Wine and Cheese Reception at Grey Dog Deli, panel with local farmers
Oct 5th @ Folklore Village (3210 Cty Rd BB, Dodgeville)
12 to 6pm: Delicious Driftless Fare with vendors and live music
1pm: Keynote Speaker Steven Deller, UW Madison Professor Ag and Econ
6pm: Potluck and Barn Dance ($7 with a dish, $10 without)
Warm and Wooly Fall Farm Festival
Saturday, October 19th
Circle M Farm (1784 County Rd. H, Blanchardville, WI 53516)
This is our annual fall farm open house – we’ll be here from noon til night playing with wool, building bonfires and touring the farm to eat veggies and pet animals. The evening will culminate with a huge potluck dinner at 6pm and live bluegrass music at 7pm. Smores all night. Meet your farmers and bring friends, blankets, chairs and a dish to pass!