Weekly Share October 17th – 23rd

Winter Turnips
Cushaw Winter Squash
Goldrush Russet Potatoes
Broccoli Rabe or Lacinato Kale
Assorted Late Season Tomatoes
Assorted Green Peppers or Eggplant
Mesclun Salad Mix

It looks like a frost is coming later this week, so after this very warm and sunny weekend we are going to do a final harvest of eggplant, basil, and all of our peppers and chilies. Late last week we cleared our main tomato plantings, leaving a lot of green tomatoes (some will ripen and others will be used green). We still have a small planting of late season tomatoes, including our winter storage varieties, protected in one of our tunnels and due to slow ripening we will continue having tomatoes for a good while; but within two weeks the peppers and chilies will be gone. So we have included some of these late summer goodies in your share along with delicious fall greens and roots. The medley of summer and fall vegetables is getting cut a little short due to a early October frost. This week’s share also includes a piece of our Cushaw winter squash. For those of you new to the CSA these heirloom squash can grow very large and tend to do very well in our climate. They were domesticated between 7000 & 3000 BC in Mesoamerica and have deep roots throughout Appalachia, Louisiana, and the Southwestern US.

The word cushaw is derived from an Algonquin word, although the plant itself ultimately derives from the indigenous peoples of Central America and the West Indies, possibly Jamaica.  In Jamaica they replaced the edible gourds that West and Central Africans were used to.  When African Virginians moved across the Piedmont into the Appalachians, they brought the sweet potato pumpkin with them, and like the banjo (Kimbundu: mbanza) it became part of Southern Appalachian culture.  Cushaws are made into cushaw butter, pie filling, puddings, and are cooked on their own.   – The Cooking Gene by Michael Twitty

The flesh is light-yellow; it is mild and slightly sweet in flavor; meaty in texture and fibrous. It is sometimes called cushaw pumpkin and is often substituted for the standard, orange, jack-o-lantern pumpkin in pie-making. The cushaw has a green summer squash flavor and scent to it. It has a smoky-ness in taste and is moist without being wet. It is used for both savory and sweet dishes and is great for northern climates because it provides vitamin C for the winter and stores very well. In some Native cultures, the seeds are toasted for snacks or ground and made into sauces and moles. The flowers are stuffed and/or fried. Sometimes the flesh of the fruit is used for livestock feed….. Author Lois Ellen Frank (Foods of the Southwest Indian Nations) cites the Akimiel O’odham and the Tohono O’odham, whose homeland stretches from Phoenix, Arizona, to east central Sonora, Mexico, as cushaw growers. The land is some of the hottest and driest in North America; cushaw, a heat-hardy plant, is grown there with the summer rain. In addition to the plant’s tolerance for heat, the green-striped cushaw’s large, vigorous vines are resistant to the squash vine borer, which kills other squash and pumpkin plants that aren’t protected with pesticides. This quality may account for the green-striped cushaw’s longevity—natives could count on it when other species didn’t survive. –  Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity

This year we had a very small harvest of these squash, so each share is going to get a small to medium cut that will need to be refrigerated and processed within 7-10 days. A very easy way to store it is to peel off the skin, cut into large pieces then boil or roast until tender, then cool. At this point you can puree or leave in pieces, put in containers or bags and freeze to use whenever you want. Otherwise make a delicious coffee cake, squash soup, or one of these great recipes this week. Enjoy the share…..Autumn & Brian

Pasta with Winter Squash and Tomatoes

Broccoli Rabe with Bulgur and Walnuts

Pan-Roasted Turnips

Skillet Turnips and Potatoes with Bacon

Potato Hash with Tomatoes, Pepper, and Kale

Moroccan Cushaw Salad

Rich Squash PieThe Fannie Farmer Cookbook
Basic Pastry Dough for a 9” pie shell
1 cup pureed cooked winter squash
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup sugar
3 eggs, slightly beaten
3 Tbls brandy
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
½ tsp powdered ginger
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp mace
Preheat the oven to 425. Line a 9” pie pan with pastry dough. Combine the remaining ingredients in a large bowl and beat until smooth and well blended. Pour into the lined pie pan. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 300 and bake for 45-60 minutes more or until the filling is firm.

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