FACSAP -Fredericksburg Area CSA Project

whole food for a whole community


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Apple Season

Apple_Orchard-300x228The 2014 Golden Acres Orchard newsletter, or Applegram, arrived in my mailbox today. Mrs. A. P. (“Scottie”) Thomson and son, John Thomson, of Golden Acres are the farmers who produce the delicious apple juice that FACSAP provides for our members each year. Golden Acres Orchard in Front Royal, Virginia is one of the oldest family-run apple orchards in the United States. Their apple juice is cold-pressed, and flash pasteurized.

For those members who may be interested in visiting the orchard this autumn or ordering a winter’s supply of apple juice, I’ve scanned the Applegram and created a PDF (please see the link at the end of this post.) This newsletter includes a greeting from Scottie and John, as well as order information. Cases of juices are available this fall for farm pick-up or truck shipping (6 cases minimum for shipping.) Bushels of apples are available both at the farm and by UPS delivery.

Golden Acres Orchard, nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, does not have a website—this is a fairly low-tech, family business. If you plan to visit, I would recommend calling ahead and speaking directly with the farmers to inquire about hours of operation.

The orchard’s founder, A. P. Thomson, passed away in 1986. In an article for the Chicago Tribune, John N. Maclean describes Thomson as “a guru of the organic movement who took a worn out family homestead and gradually turned it into a showplace that has spawned imitators across the country.” Maclean adds, “Thomson’s apple orchard is as different from a conventional one as a garden is from a parking lot. The apples blossom in splendor in the spring, unthinned by man-made chemicals. Thomson’s bees accomplish the pollination. The blossoms become little green apples that survive and flourish without the 40 or so sprayings that conventional fruit growers may apply. They become big red and yellow apples and sometimes fall off, instead of being glued to the branch by a sprayed hormone.”

A wonderful interview with A. P. Thomson was featured in the January/February 1981 issue of Mother Earth News. Thomson discusses his farming philosophy and practices, as well as how he embarked on a life of farming. You can find the interview online here.

2014 Applegram

 

 


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Overwhelmed by Winter Squash?

100_9297An abundance of winter squash, in a lovely array of shapes and with colors ranging from dark green to deep red-orange, were a mainstay of our FACSAP produce shares in the last few weeks of our harvest season.
At every distribution, at least one member asked, “Is this edible or just ornamental?”

Each of the winter squash varieties included in this season’s produce share is, indeed, edible.

Winter squash is one of my favorite autumn vegetables—and far superior to its summer squash relatives, in my opinion. Not only is it visually appealing and perfect for an autumn table centerpiece, it’s also packed with nutritional benefits and flavor.

The flesh of a winter squash is low in fat and nutrient-dense: it boasts healthy amounts of beta-carotene, potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin C (about half of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C in one cup of squash). Because of its high level of anti-oxidants, winter squash is also believed to have anti-inflammatory properties, reducing the risk of health issues like asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.

My favorite way to prepare winter squash—any variety—is to simply cut it in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, place it on a baking pan, and roast it in the oven (at about 350°F) until it’s soft and has begun to brown and caramelize around the edges. Sometimes I add a sprinkling of salt, a drizzle of olive oil or maple syrup, or freshly-grated ginger. For me, this is a delicious meal in itself. For variety, the baked squash can be mashed or puréed and incorporated into savory soups, casseroles, risotto, and stuffing, or baked into sweat treats like pies and nut bread. The possibilities are endless.

For those of you who are looking for a vegetarian or vegan substitute for the traditional Thanksgiving turkey, why not try a baked winter squash, dressed with savory herbs, nuts, and wheat berries?

The great thing about winter squash is that, if properly stored, it will keep for months.
No need to feel overwhelmed, just thankful!

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Winter squash storage life varies by squash type: acorn squash stores for about 4 to 6 weeks, butternut stores up to 6 months. Keep squash in a cool, dry spot. Most varieties store best at 50º to 55º F with relative humidity of about 60%.

*    *    *

The following recipe calls for butternut squash, because of its rich color, but any winter squash will do:

Butternut Hummus

approx. 3 to 4 cups of cooked butternut squash
juice of 1 lemon
2 or 3 tablespoons of tahini
1 clove of garlic (baked this with the squash to soften)
salt to taste: instead of table salt, try soy sauce, miso, or pitted green olives
optional seasoning: cumin, cayenne
approx. 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Roast squash and garlic.
Once slightly cooled, purée with lemon juice, tahini, and seasoning in a food processor.
Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil before serving.


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2014 – Week 20

This is our final harvest distribution for 2014.  We look forward to seeing many returning members next year.  Check your e-mail for a copy of the pre-season committment form if you would like to secure your share for 2015.

Your share included the following this week:

  • Butternut Squash from Hartland Natural Farm and Terembry Farm
  • Acorn Squash from Evergreen Acres
  • Pie Pumpkin from Evergreen Acres
  • White Casparita Pumpkins from Terembry Farm
  • Potatoes from Hartland Natural Farm
  • Bell Peppers from Terembry Farm
  • Spinach from Hartland Natural Farm
  • Kale from Hartland Natural Farm
  • Radishes from Green Thumb Growers
  • Green Beans from Green Thumb Growers

 

Bob, Tiernan, Zivia, and Sarah

Bob, Tiernan, Zivia, and Sarah

Here are a few tips to help you get the most from your share:


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2014 – Week 19

Next week is our last harvest distribution for the season.  Please join us for a potluck dinner to celebrate this year’s successes  from 6-7 pm, just make sure to pick up your produce bag before sitting down to enjoy your meal with fellow members.  Bring a dish to share  and beverages for your family.  Look for more details in your e-mail early next week.

Your share included the following this week:

  • Butternut, Acorn, and Seminole Squash from Green Thumb Growers and Terembry Farm
  • Fingerling Potatoes from Hartland Natural Farm
  • Green Beans from Green Thumb Growers
  • Okra from Terembry Farm and Hartland Natural Farm
  • Green Onions from Hartland Natural Farm
  • Bell Peppers from Terembry Farm
  • Lettuce or Spinach from Hartland Natural Farm
  • Radishes from Green Thumb Growers
  • Shiitake Mushrooms from Rock Run Creek Farm
  • Honey from Cardinal Apiaries

Week 19

Here are some tips and recipes to help you get the most of your share:

Evergreen Acres is featured as a stop on this year’s Prince William County Farm Tour, a free and educational event for the family. Start at any location and visit as many as you wish. Find out more at www.pwcfarmtour.org.


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2014 – Week 18

Sorry folks, no picture this week! Your (very heavy) share included the following:

  • Pie Pumpkin from Evergreen Acres
  • Acorn Squash from Evergreen Acres (green, shaped like an acorn)
  • Celebration Squash from Terembry Farm (multicolored)
  • Turban Squash from Terembry Farm (reddish-orange)
  • Watermelon from Hartland Natural Farm
  • Red-skinned Potatoes from Hartland Natural Farm
  • Okra from Terembry Farm and Hartland Natural Farm
  • Green Beans from Green Thumb Growers
  • Tomatoes from Terembry Farm and Green Thumb Growers
  • Shiitake Mushrooms from Rock Run Creek Farm
  • Honey from Cardinal Apiaries

All of the squash included in your share today are edible. Quite a few members thought they may  be gourds, and they are beautifully decorative, but these are delicious too.  You can find lots of recipes online for winter squashes.  Most of them are roasted, stuffed, or made into a soup.  Perfect for the upcoming cool fall days.


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2014 – Week 17

Your share included the following this week:

  • Apple juice from Golden Acres
  • Wheat Berries from Grapewood Farm
  • Acorn Squash from Evergreen Acres
  • Chard from Rock Run Creek Farm or Green Beans from Green Thumb Growers and Hartland Natural Farm
  • Beets from Rock Run Creek Farm
  • Okra from Hartland Natural Farm
  • Peppers from Terembry Farm
  • Summer Squash from Terembry Farm
  • Tomatoes from Green Thumb Growers and Evergreen Acres
  • Lettuce from Hartland Natural Farm
  • Watermelon from Hartland Natural Farm
Nora and Dylan

Nora and Dylan

Here are some tips and recipes to help you get the most from your share:

  • You have many options for using your wheat berries.  Check out the fact sheet provided by the grower here:  Soft Red Winter Wheat info for CSA_2014.  The trick to wheat storage (and the storage of any bulk grain for that matter) is to keep out the oxygen, keep it cool and keep it dry.
  • You can mill this wheat into flour using a simple blender.  Consult your owner’s manual for instructions (my Blendtec has lots of options based on the type of grain) or find out how at http://naturalthrifty.com/how-to-mill-flour.html.  I’ve also seen blog posts about using coffee grinders and food processors. Get creative and check the internet for more tips.
  • Whole grain salads have been popping up in deli counters and restaurant menus.  I’ve been saving the link to this recipe since April, because I knew we’d be getting wheat in one share bag this year.  Find the recipe for Blueberry-Kale Grain Salad at http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/blueberry-kale-grain-salad-50400000136145/.
  • Still looking for ways to use your butternut squash? Remember that winter squash (pumpkins, acorn, butternut) will store for quite some time.  I’m looking forward to trying this pasta recipe with my butternut http://www.onehundreddollarsamonth.com/butternut-squash-pasta/.
  • I’m including the link for one of my favorite recipes for using up kale, but it is great with chard as well.  It isn’t pretty, but the combination of flavors is craveable. This recipe was tested on my 17 month old and was a hit served over couscous: http://ahungryspoon.blogspot.com/2010/09/african-pineapple-peanut-stew.html
  • Member Amy passed along a very simple method of cooking acorn squash that keeps it tender, not mushy. Cut the squash in half vertically, scoop out seeds. Place cut side down on a lightly greased baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 30-45 minutes (check along the way for desired consistency, cooking time may vary  by the size). By placing the cupped part face down, it kind of steams itself! This will work for butternut squash and pie pumpkins as well, but may take just a bit longer.
  • Here is a non-traditional way of serving acorn squash: http://www.onehundreddollarsamonth.com/roasted-acorn-squash-with-parmesan-cheese-recipe/
  • If you are looking for a way to make your gallon of juice last, consider making jelly.  I’ve wanted to try this for years, but never can keep myself from quickly drinking all of the juice!  This might be the year, and this is the recipe I’m going to try: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2011/09/caramel-apple-cider-jelly-recipe-apple-jelly.html.
  • If you cannot drink the juice quickly enough, consider making your own apple cider vinegar.  You use existing ACV as a starter and allow it to help ferment the juice. http://www.culturedfoodlife.com/how-to-make-your-own-vinegar-apple-cider-drink/
  • Speaking of the juice, if you aren’t used to consuming lots of apple juice you may notice some side effects from over-consumption.  Tom found the following information to pass along to our members:
    Apple juice has a 0.5 percent by weight sorbitol content which is non digestible sugar also appearing in prune juice, pear juice and cherry juice.  Bacteria in the digestive tract break down this sugar and cause gas.  This will result in different responses from different groups of people depending on their particular intestinal bacteria and adaptation.  Methods of reducing symptoms include drinking chamomile, peppermint, fennel, or ginger tea.  All of these ease stomach cramping and facilitate the passage of the developing gas.  Limiting the amount of juice consumed at one time also helps.  People with irritable bowel syndrome might want to avoid apple juice completely.
     
    See National Institutes of Heath discussion at  http://digestive.niddk.nih. gov/ddiseases/pubs/gas/

    See suggested remedies for bloating and gas at http://everydayroots.com/gas-remedies


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2014 – Week 16

Wow, summer sure has come back this past week.  Enjoy your watermelon to help you cool off until this wave passes.  Your share included the following this week:

  • Watermelon from Evergreen Acres
  • Tomatoes from Green Thumb Growers, Terembry Farm, and Evergreen Acres
  • Corn from Terembry Farm
  • Green Beans from Green Thumb Growers
  • Peppers from Terembry Farm
  • Butternut Squash from Hartland Natural Farm
  • Green Onions from Hartland Natural Farm
  • Beauregard and O’Henry (white) Sweet Potatoes from Green Thumb Growers
  • Apple Juice from Golden Acres
  • Potatoes from Hartland Natural Farm
  • Okra from Hartland Natural Farm
  • Zucchini from Hartland Natural Farm
MIchael and Sabina

MIchael and Sabina

Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your share:

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