Youth Farm CSA Newsletter: September 3rd (week 14)
On the farm. Although we still have three more weeks of summer, it feels like autumn is in the air. For myself, and I would imagine many farmers, the change of seasons is associated just as strongly with the changing of tasks as the changing of the temperature. Winter is for thumbing through seed catalogs with a steaming cup of tea. Spring is for transplanting. Summer is for irrigation – I can still hear the tick of the water shooting out over the fields.
The fall is for putting up food. You can almost hear the onion tops falling in the field – that’s when I know it is getting colder anyway.
The tops of the onion fall down when an onion has grown all it will grow. This is when you know it is time to harvest the onion for storage. After harvesting it is important to cure the onion so you can insure long term storage. The curing process is basically a time for the onion to dry. In our climate curing is not something that can happen in the field. At the Youth Farm we haul the onions into the upstairs of our barn and hang them for a few weeks. Onion hanging is a big, smelly job, but a nice one all the same. For one, its one of the few jobs on a farm when you can sit while you work. The company is almost always great – working with the crew. And there is something really nice about that final step — that’s left is the eating.
In your CSA share this week: Expect to find broccoli or cauliflower, tomatoes, potatoes, chard, beans, carrots, beets, basil, garlic, zucchinis, Walla Walla sweet onions, a variety of peppers, cucumbers, lots of corn, eggplant, arugula or salad mix, maybe some melons, and — as always — a few surprises. Also a reminder, we would love to put to good use some of your lightly used plastic shopping bags.
And a Recipe: Soba Noodles with Eggplant
We made this dish the other day for lunch at the farm and everyone absolutely loved it!
In a small sauce pan warm 1/2 cup rice vinegar and 3 tablespoons of sugar. You just need to dissolve the sugar so this will take but a minute. Now add 2 or 3 cloves of minced garlic, a finely chopped hot chile pepper, and a few teaspoons of toasted sesame oil. This dressing can be used for so many things. But right now, set it aside for the eggplant and noodles.
The next step is to heat up at least a half cup of high heat oil for frying the eggplant. I like canola, but safflower is another great (and Montana made) oil with a tolerance for heat. Cut up your eggplant in chunks, a nice big dice, then throw it carefully into the hot oil. Cook the eggplant in batches until golden brown, remove it from the oil and place in a colander to drain, then sprinkle on some salt.
Now its time to cook up your noodles. Soba noodles would be fantastic here (buckwheat is the primary flour in soba noodles and they are available in bulk at the Good Food Store). When we made this for lunch at the farm, we used whole pasta noodles — they made a great substitution. This recipe is meant to serve 5- 7 people with a serving size of 1.5 oz or so of noodles per person that would be about 7- 10 oz.
Finally in a mixing bowl toss the dressing with the noodles, eggplant, a half cup of chopped up basil, half a red onion very thinly sliced, and if you want to get crazy cut up a mango into thick strips and toss that in the bowl as well. The dish is ready to go and I promise, you will love it.