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CSA Scout: As Fall Looms, Spuds Galore

Subscribers' bounty from Great Country Farms (top right and bottom left), Bull Run Mountain Farm (bottom right) and Good Fortune Farm (top left). (Sarah Hamaker, Betsy DeMarco, Sharyn Fitzgerald, Betsy Bajwa)

I'm starting to get a bit jealous when I read what other CSA subscribers are getting in their boxes these days. Don't get me wrong: I'm happy with the quality and, to a lesser extent, the quantity of produce I'm getting from Karl's Farm, but some of my favorite things have been missing. For the most part, I haven't gotten tomatoes, and unlike some other community-supported agriculture program subscribers, who are getting pounds upon pounds of potatoes these days, my box remains spud-free.

It's a shame, really, because I'm something of a potato freak. My love for the sweet varieties is well documented, but I don't scoff at a white potato, either, particularly one that I have time to roast until it's fluffy, then embellish with all manner of toppings.

Thankfully, I'm able to get my fix from farmers markets, and that should be the case even once my Karl's CSA ends, since I'm lucky enough to live just a few minutes' walk from the Dupont market, where potatoes overwinter.

Here's what our other CSA Scouts are reporting this week:

Betsy Bajwa, Bethesda
Whole share from Good Fortune Farm, Brandywine.

In the box: 1 dozen certified organic eggs, 1 head of garlic (hardneck variety - like this much better than what I get in the store), 1 bag of mixed peppers (mostly green bell peppers but some other varieties), 3-plus pounds tomatoes, 1 quart Bintje potatoes, 1 pound field peas, 1 bunch basil
Meals and cooking plans: Thus far we’ve had: eggs and potatoes for a kids-only dinner (they love breakfast for dinner, and it's easy for me when we’re going out!) and I’ve made a potato, pepper and egg (plus farmers market green beans) salad for lunch. In the works: Pasta sauce using tomatoes, peppers, garlic and basil (to eat - froze last week's that I made); apple cake (with the eggs); field peas will serve as a bean substitute in chili and soup, which will both also include peppers and garlic.Last week’s share: Finished up the peppers and okra on Friday before the next week’s delivery! Basil got a little brown as I didn’t use it up fast enough (hopefully won’t happen this week!). Had a few potatoes and garlic cloves left over and froze half of the okra for later use. It’s amazing how far a little okra will go :)!
Other thoughts: Often when there is a very unusual vegetable our farmer will send some instructions. This week he sent instructions for the field peas -- thankfully! Makes the task of using them up a lot easier.

Betsy DeMarco, Fairfax
Two adults, three young children
Half-share from Great Country Farms, Bluemont, Va.
$475 (20 weeks)

In the box: 1 yellow squash, 3 tomatoes, 4 Asian pears, several pounds of potatoes, 2 regular-size beets and 1 minuscule beet, 1 eggplant, 1 unidentified herb, 2 banana peppers
Meals and cooking plans: I need to keep up with the potatoes that are rolling in! Tonight we dine on an Indian recipe that will use two pounds of them along with some hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes and delicious spices. Two pears have already been consumed and were sweet and yummy. I am torn between using the fresh tomatoes in tonight's dish or saving them to eat raw, maybe in a chutney recipe I just saw in an Indian cookbook while looking for a recipe for the eggplant (which will be served fried up with turmeric, cayenne pepper and black pepper). The beets aren't enough for one meal, but maybe I can combine them with the two we received a while ago. It is hard to use vegetables when I don't have enough to feed the whole family for a meal.

Sharyn Fitzgerald, South Arlington
"Bushel" (large four-person share) from Bull Run Mountain Farm, The Plains.

In the box: 8 ears of corn, 8 sweet potatoes, 2 medium yellow squash, a handful each of Italian basil, mint and chives, 8 sprigs parsley, 2 Italian eggplants, 2 heads of garlic, 4 medium heirloom tomatoes, 12 plum tomatoes.
Meals and cooking plans: All in all, a good week. Still enjoying the corn. Really enjoying seeing the sweet potatoes, although I'd never have guessed that sweet potatoes come so late in the summer/early in the fall. Starting to see the basil bounty dwindle, so we're trying to enjoy some last pesto meals. Also starting to get sad about the end of tomato season. It's always too short!
Feeling the onset of fall, I decided to do some real cooking and made some tempura with the eggplant and sweet potatoes. I don't have the best frying skills, but it turned out great! Especially the sweet potatoes, which held up well. With my remaining sweet potatoes, I plan to make some sweet potato fries, seasoned with some tastes of fall such as rosemary.

Michelle Forman, Silver Spring
Two adults
Medium share from Spiral Path Farm, Perry County, Pa.
$413 (25 weeks)

In the box: peppers, peppers, peppers: a big purple one, a big green one, a medium red one and 6 tiny yellow ones; 4 small tomatoes; cherry tomatoes; 1 big tomato; red potatoes; 2 heads of lettuce; zucchini.
Meals and cooking plans: The green pepper went into a meatloaf. The red pepper went into a savory bread pudding. The purple one and the little yellow ones were used in salads with the lettuce, the large tomato and the zucchini. My husband ate the small tomatoes and the cherry tomatoes. I mashed the red potatoes.

Sarah Hamaker, Fairfax
Two adults, four children
Half-share from Great Country Farms, Bluemont.
$475 (20 weeks)

In the box: 14 potatoes, 3 small beets and leaves, 1 large eggplant, 1 medium squash, 4 tomatoes, 4 Asian pears and a sad little herb plant, which didn’t make it.
Meals and cooking plans: The potatoes I will probably use as side dishes, either baked or mashed. The pears will be eaten with lunches, while the tomatoes will be used as accents to sandwiches and salads. For the eggplant, I will peel, slice, coat with a thin layer of mayo and onions and then dip in a mixture of Italian seasonings, Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs before baking it in the oven. The kids love eggplant this way. The beets are not really big enough to do much with, so I might try a beet salad with the greens. I used part of last week’s Swiss chard ribs in a bean-and-hambone soup, as I recalled you could use the ribs as celery. I still need to do something with the rest of the chard before it goes bad, though.

-- Joe Yonan

By Joe Yonan  |  September 18, 2009; 5:45 PM ET
Categories:  CSA Scout  | Tags: CSA, Joe Yonan  
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For those with only a couple beets, try the Beet Feta Tart from Orangette blog- we did it a couple weeks ago and were amazed with the results. And best of all, you only need 2 beets.

Posted by: CapitolHillLB | September 18, 2009 9:56 PM | Report abuse

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