Feeling Minnesota: What's in This Week's CSA Box

It's easy to be part of a CSA during the summer - the produce is beautiful and plentiful, the variety fun and interesting. Having perused a bunch of other blogs throughout the prime growing season, it was sometimes hard to tell in what region of the country the producing farm was based. Everyone seemed to get carrots, radishes, lettuce, onions, tomatoes, and much more.

Many of you know by now that I was neither born nor raised in the Midwest. But a few farmshare weeks into the cold season, I'm feeling like a true Minnesotan. Delicata squash? Baby white turnips? Red kale tops? If those things existed on Long Island, none of my family or friends knew about it. (We did have raisins for Halloween though.)

Here's a list of what came in this week's Harmony Valley farmshare, with descriptions from their email newsletter (the photo is theirs too):

  • Yellow onions: How about pork chops with onion sage bread stuffing?
  • Red onions: Cut into wedges, toss with balsamic vinegar, and roast just until browned. Add to a burger or roast beef sandwich.
  • Sweet potatoes: Puree steamed sweet potatoes and use in an African sweet potato soup.
  • Baby bok choi: Toss chopped bok choi leaves with toasted sliced almonds, thinly sliced onions, and sesame oil vinaigrette with whatever other chopped veggies strike your fancy. Serve as a side dish, or make it a meal and top with grilled chicken or pork and a side of rice or quinoa.
  • Fennel: Bake a whole fish or fillets topped with chopped fennel, butter, and onions.
  • Baby white turnips: Roast whole baby turnips with large chunks of carrot or parsnip tossed with a little bit of oil. They caramelize nicely, and the naturally bitter fl avor of turnips balances the sweetness of carrots and parsnips.
  • Delicata squash: Prepare your squash as a simple, satisfying side dish by cutting into rings or wedges, brushing with oil, and baking until tender. Dust with salt and pepper, or get adventurous and try a wacky spice mix. Remember - the rind of the Delicata is edible!
  • Festival or Acorn squash: Steam peeled chunks of squash until tender but still relatively firm (not falling apart). Add to a stir-fry and cook just long enough to brown a little.
  • Greenleaf lettuce: Enjoy the end of lettuce season and have yourself a sandwich. A bacon, lettuce, and sliced apple sandwich would be great. Don't forget the mayo.
  • Spinach: Cooler weather invites heartier meals. Use your spinach this week in a creamy spinach pie or spanakopita.
  • Red or green kale tops: Toss steamed chopped kale with a garlic- miso dressing, cooked wakame or kombu (seaweed), and top with toasted squash seeds. Serve hot or cold.
  • Parsnips: Puree steamed parsnips with stock to make a sweet and creamy parsnip soup. Add chopped sausage, onion and garlic, and fresh sage, and perhaps a splash of heavy cream if you like a richer soup. Garnish with croutons and grated cheese.
  • Carrots: Wrap up a crunchy fall veggie sandwich in a warm pita or flour tortilla. Start with a spread of good hummus and layer on shredded carrot, chopped spinach, and red onions. Cooked veggies would also be great in there, even leftovers from last night's dinner if you have some cooked fennel or squash.
  • Potatoes: Store in a cool, dark, dry place, but not in the fridge.