It’s hard to believe that there are only two more weeks of CSA boxes! September just flew by! Wednesday September 28th will be the last week. After that, you can find us with more fresh fall vegetables at the season’s last Morganton Farmers’ Market on Saturday October 1st. From then on, we’ll have vegetables, chicken, eggs, and pork at Farmer Fridays at the Catawba Valley Brewing Company on Friday afternoons from 4-6:00 pm. We will continue to have vegetables like lettuce, Swiss chard, lettuce mix, kale, and radishes as the cooler weather continues.
As the days shorten we can practically see the plants’ growth slow. Lettuce, arugula, and radishes that would have practically exploded form the ground in May are now slowly growing. A whole week after germination and the seedlings still only have their first set of leaves. Shorter days mean we can start work later and end a little earlier. But there is still plenty to do harvesting, cleaning up, and seeding cover crops. That means we have to run around faster while we do work to make sure we get it all done. The changing of the seasons does make us think of cooler days with a resting farm. Until then you can still find us out in the field.
Sweet Potato Harvest
Today we harvested sweet potatoes. We thought we were just looking for the colorful roots of sweet potatoes. But the harvest turned into an insect and spider safari. Sweet potatoes form a dense canopy of vines providing a great habitat for all kinds of critters. One of the more exciting finds of the day was a small salamander hiding in the debris on the soil surface. A gross find was a whole section of garden bed filled with large white grubs. We collected them as we dug through the soil and fed them to the layer hens-they loved them! We also found more of our arch-nemeses the squash bugs. They had headed into the cover of the sweet potatoes to begin bedding down for winter. In the cooler weather they are slow movers and we could easily squish them! Another exciting find in the jungle were hoards of young wolf spiders. Wolf spiders are the large brown spiders that move very quickly along the ground. They are great generalist predators to have in the garden. The whole surface of the soil had hundreds of little spiders (their bodies were only the size of a pencil led with legs extending out to the diameter of a dime.
Some of the insects we found were pests, but many of them like the spiders are beneficial creatures. Amphibians like toads and salamanders that we find in the garden also play helpful roles eating insects. This entire micro-ecosystem would not be possible with the extensive use of poisons for weeds or insects. Organic practices allow beneficial insects and animals to thrive because there is a diverse base of prey species. When they live in a good balance together problems are kept to a minimum while the whole farm ecosystem thrives.
In your box:
Sweet Potatoes: Not just for sweet potato casserole! These tasty jewels are great baked, boiled, or incorporated with black beans and perhaps chorizo sausage for a tasty main dish. See several amazing recipes at end of newsletter. This week we will be distributing a variety called Ginseng. Like many fruits and vegetables the grand variety of sweet potatoes has been reduced to only a few commercially available. As usual these varieties are selected for transport and storage ability, not necessarily flavor.
Sweet Potato Jungle with harvested potatoes in background
Another note on the sweet potatoes: we are mostly used to cured sweet potatoes. This means they have been dried out a little bit to increase storage capability. It is a widespread practice necessary to store the sweet potatoes through the winter. The curing slightly changes the texture and flavor of the sweet potatoes. These will cook a little differently than usual partly because they are fresh out of the ground.
Red sweet peppers: Small but packed with ripe flavor. I like to think of all of those antioxidants in the ripe red peppers.
Swiss Chard: Lightly steam or sauté and serve with the yummy Brazilian stew recipe below.
Lettuce: A early nibble of head lettuce. Think back 6 weeks ago…That’s when we planted these babies- as early as we could with the oppressing heat.
Arugula: perhaps only enough for large shares? We are going to harvest and see how much there is. I just can’t get enough of arugula and a sweet white vinegar.
Radish: Tiny baby radishes
Garlic: The last of the garlic. We hope you enjoyed your exploration of the other garlics of the world beyond the supermarket.
Sweet Italian Basil: Don’t forget to freeze some whole leaves of basil. Pull the frozen leaves out and crumble into winter’s soups.
Thyme-Roasted Sweet Potatoes Epicurious | November 2005
by Kathryn Matthews
This slightly spicy, moist side dish is both deeply satisfying and nutritious. Sweet potatoes are rich in complex carbohydrates and fiber, giving them a low glycemic index (this means that they slow the body's absorption of sugar and help regulate blood-sugar levels). A bonus for weight watchers: All those complex carbs will make you feel fuller longer than white potatoes do.
Yield: Makes 6 to 8 servings
4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch-thick rounds
Preheat oven to 450°F. In large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and toss. Arrange potato slices in single layer on heavyweight rimmed baking sheet or in 13x9-inch baking dish. Place on top rack of oven and roast until tender and slightly browned, about 40 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature, garnished with thyme sprigs.
New York Times
Roasted Sweet Potato Salad With Black Beans and Chili Dressing
Time: 45 minutes
4 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 large onion, preferably red, chopped
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons minced fresh hot chili, like jalapeño
1 clove garlic, peeled
Juice of 2 limes
2 cups cooked black beans, drained (canned are fine)
1 red or yellow bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro.
1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Put sweet potatoes and onions on a large baking sheet, drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil, toss to coat and spread out in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast, turning occasionally, until potatoes begin to brown on corners and are just tender inside, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven; keep on pan until ready to mix with dressing.
2. Put chilies in a blender or mini food processor along with garlic, lime juice, remaining olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Process until blended.
3. Put warm vegetables in a large bowl with beans and bell pepper; toss with dressing and cilantro. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve warm or at room temperature, or refrigerate for up to a day.
Yield: 4 servings.
Brazilian Black Bean Stew
Vegetarian Times Issue: February 1, 2000 p.34 — Member Rating:
Here's a quick vegetarian version of the Brazilian national dish known as feijoada. This stew entices the eye with the colorful contrast of black beans and sweet potatoes and pleases the palate with nourishing ingredients.
- 1 Tbs. vegetable oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
- 2 medium sweet potatoes (1 to 1 1/4 lbs.), peeled and diced
- 1 large red bell pepper, diced
- 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes
- 1 small hot green chili pepper, or more to taste, minced
- 2 (16-oz.) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 ripe mango, pitted, peeled and diced
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/4 tsp. salt
1. Steam some Swiss chard while the stew is simmering and serve with warmed flour tortillas.
In large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook, stirring, until onion is golden, about 3 minutes.
2. Stir in sweet potatoes, bell pepper, tomatoes (with liquid), chili and 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until potatoes are tender but still firm, 10 to 15 minutes.
3. Stir in beans and simmer gently, uncovered, until heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in mango and cook until heated through, about 1 minute. Stir in cilantro and salt. Serve hot.
Per serving: Calories: 326, Protein: 16g, Total fat: 4g, Saturated fat: g, Carbs: 61g, Cholesterol: mg, Sodium: 211mg, Fiber: 17g, Sugars: g
Copyright © 2008 Cruz Bay Publishing, Inc. | an Active Interest Media Company.
Brazilian Black Bean Stew
"Sweet potatoes, mango, black beans, and cilantro are featured in this flavorful stew from South America."
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/4 pound chorizo sausage, chopped
1/3 pound cooked ham, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 (1 pound) sweet potatoes, peeled and
1 large red bell pepper, diced
2 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes with
1 small hot green chile pepper, diced
1 1/2 cups water
2 (16 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed
1 mango - peeled, seeded and diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 teaspoon salt
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat, and cook the chorizo and ham 2 to 3 minutes. Place the onion in the pot, and cook until tender. Stir in garlic, and cook until tender, then mix in the sweet potatoes, bell pepper, tomatoes with juice, chile pepper, and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 15 minutes, until sweet potatoes are tender.
Stir the beans into the pot, and cook uncovered until heated through. Mix in the mango and cilantro, and season with salt.
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Printed from Allrecipes.com 9/20/2011