CSA Newsletter August 27th & 28th 2009
This Week’s Harvest:
‘Matty’s’ Yellow Potato
‘King Richard’ Leeks
Winter Squash Assortment (Acorn, Butternut, Spaghetti)
‘Copra’ Onion or ‘New York Early’ Onion
‘Ruby Ring’ Red Onion
‘Black Beauty’ Eggplant
Green Bell Peppers
Purple & White Bell Peppers
‘Red Cayenne’ Pepper
‘Early Girl’ Tomato
‘Green Zebra’ Tomato
‘Juliet’ Plum Tomato
‘Amish Paste’ Tomato
‘Sweet 100′ Cherry Tomato
‘Toma Verde’ Tomatillos
Basil (‘Napoletano’ or ‘Genovese’)
‘Giant Italian’ Parsley
Crop of the Week: Potatoes
Potato plants are herbaceous perennials that grow about 60 cm high, depending on variety, the culms dying back after flowering. They bear white, pink, red, blue or purple flowers with yellow stamens resembling those of other Solanaceous species such as tomato. The tubers of varieties with white flowers generally have white skins, while those of varieties with colored flowers tend to have pinkish skins. Potatoes are cross-pollinated mostly by insects, including bumblebees that carry pollen from other potato plants, but a substantial amount of self-fertilizing occurs as well. Tubers form in response to decreasing day length, although this tendency has been minimized in commercial varieties.
After potato plants flower, some varieties will produce small green fruits that resemble green cherry tomatoes, each containing up to 300 true seeds. Potato fruit contains large amounts of the toxic alkaloid solanine, and is therefore unsuitable for consumption.
All new potato varieties are grown from seeds, also called “true seed” or “botanical seed” to distinguish it from seed tubers. By finely chopping the fruit and soaking it in water, the seeds will separate from the flesh by sinking to the bottom after about a day (the remnants of the fruit will float). Any potato variety can also be propagated vegetatively by planting tubers, pieces of tubers, cut to include at least one or two eyes, or also by cuttings, a practice used in greenhouses for the production of healthy seed tubers. Some commercial potato varieties do not produce seeds at all (they bear imperfect flowers) and are propagated only from tuber pieces. Confusingly, these tubers or tuber pieces are called “seed potatoes”.
Herb of the Week: Leeks (not really an herb, but it goes so well w/Potatoes)
The leek, Allium ampeloprasum var. porrum (L.), also sometimes known as Allium porrum, is a vegetable which belongs, along with the onion and garlic, to the Alliaceae family. Two related vegetables, the elephant garlic and kurrat, are also variant subspecies of Allium ampeloprasum, although different in their uses as food.
The edible part of the leek plant is a bundle of leaf sheaths which is sometimes called a stem or stalk. Rather than forming a tight bulb like the onion, the leek produces a long cylinder of bundled leaf sheaths which are generally blanched by pushing soil around them. Once established in the garden, leeks are hardy; many varieties can be left in the ground during the winter to be harvested as needed.
Rather than forming a tight bulb like the onion, the leek produces a long cylinder of bundled leaf sheaths which are generally blanched by pushing soil around them (trenching). They are often sold as small seedlings in flats which are started off early in greenhouses, to be planted out as weather permits. Once established in the garden, leeks are hardy; many varieties can be left in the ground during the winter to be harvested as needed.
The edible portions of the leek are the white onion base and light green stalk. The onion-like layers form around a core. The tender core may be eaten; but, as the leek ages, the core becomes woody and very chewy and better replanted than eaten.
Leek has a mild onion-like taste, although less bitter than scallion. The taste might be described as a mix of mild onion and cucumber. It has a fresh smell similar to scallion. In its raw state, the vegetable is crunchy and firm.
Leek is typically chopped into slices 5-10mm thick. The slices have a tendency to fall apart, due to the layered structure of the leek. There are different ways of preparing the vegetable:
-Boiled, which turns it soft and mild in taste.
-Fried, which leaves it more crunchy and preserves the taste.
-Raw, which can be used in salads, doing especially well when they are the prime ingredient.
Potato Leek Soup
Parsley Hazelnut Pesto
-Our potatoes were also attacked by Late Blight. We have potatoes for this week and next week’s share, but probably won’t have many beyond that. The late blight struck just as the potato plants were starting to set flower (flowering encourages tuber development below) and as a result each plant is providing less potatoes than anticipated.
-Our pumpkins & winter squash are early this year. We’re assuming it’s due to the unseasonably wetter & cooler weather we’ve had, which encouraged virus & mold growth, which stressed the plants into forcing fruit as it died off. Not as detrimental as the potatoes though, we have enough for a few weeks worth of each.
-Our BagShare Project is wrapping up, and through the help of our gracious volunteers, we have over 30 bags ready to use. Please let us know if you are interested in using our Griggstown CSA Reusable Bags for the remainder of the season.
-Our Picnic Lunch Menu for the Week includes:
Grilled Vegetable Panini on Ciabatta Roll w/Eggplant, Squash, Zucchini, Portobello, Tomato, & Lemon Mayo
Grilled Griggstown Chicken Salad Sandwich with Lettuce & Tomato
Grilled Griggstown Chicken Sausage Sandwich w/Cubanelle Peppers, Mozarella, & Garlic Aoli
Turkey Burger Sliders w/Lettuce, Tomato, & BBQ Mayo
Soup & Sides:
Gazpacho – chilled Tomato soup
Griggstown Tomato, Cucumber, & Red Onion Salad w/Dill Vinaigrette
Potato & Green Bean Salad w/Dill Vinaigrette
Pico de Gallo w/Tortilla Chips
photos by Kevin Henry 8/26/2009