Winter Newsletter # 2

Basket contents: Butternut squash, asian greens, kale, beets, carrots (Napoli), garlic (Rocambole), onions (Copra), potatoes (French Fingerling), rutabaga, kohlrabi, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, choice of pesto or turnips

Recipe of the week: Pasta with Brussels Sprout, Mushroom and Cheese Sauce

The wheel is turning, a new season is upon us.  It’s snowing outside as I write this, as if to confirm the statement.  In the first newsletter of the summer season, mid-June, I explained why it is that baskets are so fully of leafy greens in the spring- they’re the first part of a plant to grow, allowing it to capture more sunlight to grow more diversified parts like fruit or swollen roots.  That logic saw us through a summer of increasing fruitiness.  That old debate between what is fruit and what is veggie has little contention in the botanical world.  The fruit is the reproductive part of the plant, where the seeds are found, while ‘vegetable’ refers to ‘vegetative’ growth (ie everything but the fruit).  So in the summer we see an abundance of such ‘fruit-vegetables’ as peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, cucumbers, zucchini.  Well, that time has come and past, and once the fruits have fulfilled their reproductive mission (or the nourishment of our bodies, in our case), plants send their remaining energy down into their roots, to store up over the cold, dark winter months.  That is the season that is upon us. Since these roots have evolved as the plants’ storage organs, they can be stored long amounts of time under proper conditions.

Here’s a bit more about some specific rooty things you’ll receive this week.  If you have any left over from your last basket, you’ll be able to do comparisons!

Carrots:  Napoli is our favorite carrot variety overall.  It grows and tastes great in all seasons, sweetening with the cold.  We find them to be crisp and juicy even in the late winter.

Onions: Ok, so onions are really a root, but rather a bulb, with little white rootlets growing out of the bottom.  But once we cure them in the greenhouse after harvest, they can store just as well as any root.  This week’s onions are of the ‘Copra’ variety, a medium-sized, round, dark-yellow-skinned onion with ivory flesh.  It is our longest-storing onion. High in sugar and moderately pungent, Copra makes excellent French onion soup.

Garlic:  Yes, ok, we don’t actually eat garlic roots either.  In fact, since the cloves are actually the plants’ reproductive organs (through cloning, as garlic very rarely produces true seed), could we consider it a fruit?  This week we give you a Rocambole-type of garlic.  These have 6-10 relatively small cloves per bulb, usually very easy to peel.  They store well until at least January, so no rush to get through them.  Rocamboles are considered to have the best taste of any garlic- more nuanced, less pungent than the larger cloved ‘porcelaine’ varieites (which you received in your last summer basket).

Potatoes: This week you’ll receive ‘French fingerling’ potatoes, one of our heritage varieties, meaning it has been cultivated by our farming predecessors for over a century. These narrow, finger-shaped potatoes are used for roasting, boiling, baking and salads, usually as a side dish.  Since they are less productive than standard varieties, they are often quite expensive in markets.