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~ In the Box ~

Winter Week 3 
Tuesday, February 12

Click item for more info

(32oz jar)

~ Recipes ~   winter squash, frozen

Some of you may have met Sheila, one of our key Chicago staffers who sells for us (and dispenses cooking tips) at many a farmers market and delivers CSA boxes both evenings--and does countless administrative tasks in between. She also helped in the fall up at the farm to cut, scoop, roast or steam, and package the frozen squash you're receiving in the box tonight. She's worked up several easy ideas for you to put this winter treat to work for you.


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Robin (in Chicago)
Chris (farmer/owner)
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We're approaching the halfway point of our winter share this week with our third delivery. Spinach is hitting full stride now and the supply going forward looks great. There is a very good chance it will be in every winter box from here on. Even though it's still cold and the next couple weeks look below average, the longer days and higher sun angle ensure better heating in the hoop houses, and it doesn't take much for the spinach to respond and grow.

Once we're into the last couple weeks of February, spinach will likely be more abundant than we need for the CSA, and we'll have some options going forward. We'll probably work to strike a balance between keeping the hoop houses warm/closed to keep the spinach growing, and opening them up once the weather warms in a few weeks to slow the growth down. The youngest/latest planted houses will likely be opened up as soon as night time temperatures stay above 20 degrees. This will push their harvest date back a few weeks into the middle of April when they'll be in excellent shape for the first few weeks of our spring CSA share. If it is super warm as it was last spring, this could foil our plans and force us to harvest it early, but even then, we could safely harvest it and store it for up to 2 weeks before washing and packing it. Even in this case it would stay in great shape for 10 days to two weeks in your refrigerator.

We hope everyone is enjoying the whole roasted tomatoes we've been packing and that is in the box again this week. Being a farm that really knows growing tomatoes, and having a processing kitchen on site, are great things when it comes to storing food we can deliver in the off season. One possibility is to save up the jars we've been sending you and making a big batch of sauce or chili or whatever you like to cook with them. I typically use 4 to 6 quarts per batch of pasta sauce, to which I add a pound or two of local, organically produced pork of some sort. Usually, I'll use Italian sausage, but this past week, for the first time in my life, I honored my grandmother's tradition of using a few spareribs and slow cooking them into the tomatoes overnight. The other concoction I've been working on lately is a vegetarian delight and includes just about any produce I've got on hand: cabbage, kale, broccoli, carrots, onions, garlic, peppers, lots of parsley, and/or whatever else you have on hand, can be added directly to the tomatoes and slowly cooked for an hour or two to soften things up and preserve as much nutrition and as many vitamins/minerals as possible. Of course one can always sauté as many of the vegetables as you like for that particular flavor, but sometimes it's nice not to heat up the oil, especially if you're using nice olive oil, to preserve its flavor and maximize/preserve the nutritional value of the produce. Not getting produce and the oil above the boiling point achieve this while still softening the produce and somewhat improving its digestibility.

Finally, we've got frozen winter squash in the box. This enabled us to save several hundred pounds of dented and bruised squash that were too damaged to give to customers, but that was still good food. It also saves you the work of cutting, baking, and scooping squash. Most of the squash were butternuts. You can eat it warmed as is, or make it into something like soup or a jazzed up side dish. It's easy and there are many possibilities. We've got a few ideas (see left) and it's always easy to Google for others to suit your fancy.
Chris Covelli
for Tomato Mountain Farm
Tomato Mountain Farm  |  N7720 Sandy Hook Rd  |  Brooklyn, WI  53521