This Week’s Harvest
By Courtney Buchholtz
And so the sun shines once again. We had a brief taste on Monday, followed by another half-inch of rain on Tuesday and early Wednesday morning, and then came the reprieve. My spirits soared. Well, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but they were lifted more than I anticipated and I realized just how much the gloomy days of September had been weighing on me. Now perhaps the fall crops will grow! Our optimism flows; the glass remains half full.
We will be giving out the remainder of the winter squash this week, as we plan to take next week (Friday, October 7, and Tuesday, October 11) off. We predict that we will start to see some of the fall crops in mid-October, as long as the sun keeps shining; we will keep you posted, should anything change.
The last winter squash we have to pass out to you is the butternut. Loaded with some of the highest amounts of beta-carotene found in vegetables, winter squash may help minimize the risk of cataracts by keeping the eyes healthy. The nutrients found in winter squash may also help ward off infections; protect against cancer, stroke, and heart disease; and maintain proper fluid and electrolyte balance in the body. Amazingly enough, the beta-carotene content in winter squash increases while it is stored. Storage life for winter squash is around three months, on average, although with the amount of rain that our squash took up from Hurricane Irene, I would recommend eating yours sooner rather than later! Bake them in the oven, top them off with a dollop of butter, maple syrup, and sea salt, and enjoy.
You will find that cilantro has once again made it into your boxes. Perhaps not everyone’s favorite, the pungent leaf is nevertheless loaded with goodness—more than 20 phytochemicals and numerous vitamins and minerals. Traditionally used in Mexican and Asian cooking, the leaf version of this herb pairs well with poultry, fish, and many vegetables and sauces. The seed form, known as coriander, is used in salves for muscle and joint pain, and to disinfect minor cuts and scrapes by killing bacteria and fungi. You will find the recipes for two cilantro-based sauces below, which we hope will provide you with new ways to use this flavorful herb.
In incorporating both winter squash and cilantro into your diet, you are making a great effort to help keep your body and mind healthy. As we move into the time of year during which many succumb to the flu or a cold, nutritious food can be the difference between days spent in bed or time spent doing a favorite activity with family and friends. As Hippocrates once said, “Let food by thy medicine and medicine be they food.”
We look forward to seeing you at this Saturday’s SHAREholder Potluck. Please forgive the tall grass that seems to be in abundance on the farm. The rains have made mowing a challenge; as soon as the ground dries out enough, I hope to have the farm cleaned up again!
Take care and have a great week,
Below, photos from this week on the Ecosystem Farm. Click images to enlarge, or view them on Flickr.
This Week’s Recipe: Amy’s Cilantro Cream Sauce
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon sour cream
1 7-ounce can tomatillo salsa
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- Combine cream cheese, sour cream, salsa, pepper, celery salt, cumin, garlic powder, cilantro, and lime juice in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth and creamy. Place in a serving bowl.
Bonus Recipe: Garlic and Cilantro Sauce
1 garlic head, peeled and minced
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped
2 bunches cilantro, finely chopped
1/2 cup lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
- Toss all of the ingredients together. Spoon over freshly grilled or sauteed fish. Keeps refrigerated for 4 to 5 days.
Ecosystem Farm SHAREholder Potluck: Saturday, October 1, 2011, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Ecosystem Farm: The Ecosystem Farm invites our SHAREholders and their families to join us for a fall potluck. Please bring a dish to share, utensils to use (including plates, cups, and silverware), and a blanket or chair to sit on. The potluck will take place on the Ecosystem Farm; in the case of inclement weather, we will move indoors to the Education Center.
Local Food Forum: Tuesday, October 4, 2011, 6:30 to 8 p.m., Education Center: The Local Food Forum is a monthly meeting of producers and consumers interested in local food. We discuss locally-grown fruits, vegetables, eggs and meat—from where to find them to how to make them more available.