Wednesday, November 24, 2010

December Share!

Christmas is upon us!

At the Burgess Farm that means Christmas Tree Sales for a solid month! It's a lot of fun for everyone and that includes the whole family who is involved at the farm (including Lizzie). But by Christmas Eve we're all happy it's the last day of sales.
A quick note about the apples. They froze in the root cellar during that really, really cold stretch a few days ago. I was pretty bummed when I found them the next morning. But I did some research and found a University of Wisconsin paper showing that they are still fine to be used in cooked dishes like pie or sauce. Keep them frozen and then right before making whatever you are making, thaw them and cook them. In other words, they wouldn't be very good fresh eating because when they thaw they'll turn very, very soft.

I did not get to post a blog for the Thanksgiving shares so I figured I'd try to do it early for the Christmas Shares. Below are some photos of what is in the holiday shares.

Leeks on the left, Turnips in the middle and Australian Butter Squash on the right. This is my new favorite squash! It is interesting to look at, delicious and yields a ton of food! What more could ask for from a squash? Actually, from a gardening perspective it offers more. I've never seen a squash plant yield so many squash as this one did this fall. In the back are a couple of decorative 'Moonshine Pumpkins' and some Falstaff Brussels sprouts. The beautiful dark color will be augmented by the flavor now that they have seen frost. These loose their color as they are cooked.
This photo is from the Thanksgiving shares so it includes New England Pie Pumpkins. I will try to put one in each share but I'll also be putting in Long Pie Pumpkins. Delicious heirloom pumpkins that were the pie pumpkin in Maine a century ago. They are the only pie pumpkin that will ripen consistently after harvest. I picked them mostly green in September and they have been ripening in the root cellar since then. I also have included several types of potatoes in this share and hope you enjoy the variety.
Another shot of the Australian Butter. I love this squash!
Here is a shot of the leeks this morning just after I had uncovered them. They have been frozen and thawed a few times under there but the plastic allows the ground to warm enough to dig them. And Leeks are hardy enough to take a few freezings and still be edible and quite good.

Here is everything all laid out before it went into the box for the Thanksgiving shares. The December Holiday Share will have many if not all of the same things though some of the greens will be different due to the cold snap we just had (No Chard for instance).
A couple of specific notes:
Here is a shot of a carrot that has begun to crack at the bottom and show signs that it is not holding much longer in the field. The portion I'm holding however, is still perfectly good. I put carrots like this in during the winter because 'perfect' carrots are far and few between and there is no reason to discard an entire carrot because one section is bad. Cut off that part and eat the rest. The carrot will be sweeter for the frost. Yummy!
And here is a shot of the Long Island Improved Brussels Sprouts. You might have received this one in your share (or one like it) that shows the little black specks on the sprouts and stem. This is a result of excessive fall moisture followed by several freeze/thaw cycles. They don't look great when like this I admit. But, Brussels Sprouts are like several other Brassicas. They taste better after a few frosts. Not all of the sprouts you received will look like this, most look fine. But these specimens are still good. Just peel off the outer layer to reveal the good part on some of them.
Nothing to report on the turnips...I just liked this photo. ;-) They were frozen solid in the field but this is another hardy crop that will be able to stand that. You should be able to thaw them out just before using and have a great dish!
Here is a final shot of the garden for 2010. It was a great season and it was nice to be a farmer. More importantly, it was nice to be your farmer. Thank you for supporting local agriculture and choosing to feed yourselves and your family local, beyond organic, real food from Parker Produce. We hope to see you next season.
Happy Holidays to all!