Tag Archives: organic produce

Spaghetti Squash and a New Farm Partner!

Hello Harvesters

This week we will carry spaghetti squash from Island Meadow Farm on Vashon Island. Island Meadow is a new farm partner for us at PCH, and we are excited to work with them!

Learn more about Island Meadow Farm here

Island Meadow Farm. Photo used by permission of the owner.

Island Meadow Farm. Photo used by permission of the owner.

Spaghetti squash is an awesome vegetable. It tastes great, it’s nutritious, and it is hugely variable in its cooking applications. It’s a variant of the same species as most types of edible squash, Cucurbita pepo, but it has a unique twist- when cooked, the flesh comes apart in ribbons that look like spaghetti noodles. Because of this twist, you can serve spaghetti squash as a replacement for the wheat-based noodles in pasta. This is obviously quite helpful for our gluten-intolerant and celiac friends, but it also fun and delicious even if you also love a good semolina pasta.

By DC (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By DC (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

 Spaghetti squash contains relatively high amounts of dietary fiber, vitamins A and C, folic acid, and beta carotene. The folic acid makes it a good choice for pregnant women It’s also low in calories, making it a good choice for a weight loss regimen if you are looking to reduce your caloric intake while maintaining good nutrition.

To cook a spaghetti squash, simply cut in half the long way, drizzle it with some olive oil, and sprinkle some salt and pepper on the flesh. Put the halves face up on a baking sheet and bake it at around 375 degrees for about an hour. The flesh should be tender, but not mushy. Here’s a more detailed guide to cooking a spaghetti squash.

What’s your favorite spaghetti squash recipe? Let us know!

Have a happy and safe Halloween everyone.

 

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Apples and more Apples

It’s almost the height of apple season again, and the variety of apples available in Washington can be staggering. Worldwide, about 7500 varieties of apples are known to humans, with a crop of 75 million tons in 2011. The United States grows about 5.65% of the global total, and of that amount, 58% are grown in Washington. In case you don’t have a calculator handy, that’s 3.3% of global production, or about 2,495,964 tons in Washington alone in 2011. It goes without saying- that’s a mind-boggling amount of apples.

Public Domain, USDA

Public Domain, USDA

Here at PCH, we like to offer a nice variety of apples from the sweetest to the tartest, to give you a nice range of different tastes and styles. The fruit company Sage Washington has a great chart of a few popular varieties of apples from sweet to tart, as well as references for their different uses as a fresh fruit, in pies, and in cooked meals.

Image from Sage Washington

Image from Sage Washington

This upcoming week (the last week of October), we have Liberty apples and Braeburn apples. Braeburn are some the tarter apples on the market, while Liberty apples have a sweeter (but still tart) flavor. Other apples we commonly carry are Gold Delicious (very sweet), Cameo (balanced with both sweet and tart), Fuji (mostly sweet with a hint of tart), and Gala (also very sweet).

What are the best apples for pie?

Some apples can’t be eaten raw. Apples that are grown for cider production are far too tart and bitter to be eaten this way, but when processed into cider they will give the beverage that crisp, mouth-watering flavor that cider lovers enjoy. Once such cider cultivar, the Hewe’s Virginia Crab, was grown by Thomas Jefferson in the late 18th century in Virginia.

 

What’s your favorite type of apple?

Let us know and we’ll be sure to stock it!

 

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El Niño and the Pacific Northwest

Hello Harvesters

 

You may have heard that climate scientists and forecasters are predicting that this winter will see a fairly significant El Niño event. We want to take a moment to think about what this might mean for the Pacific Northwest this winter.

 

What is El Niño

 

In a normal year, the trade winds blowing from east to west over the Pacific blow warm surface water away from the eastern Pacific, near the Americas, towards the western Pacific, near Indonesia and China. This aids upwelling of cold water in near the Americas, leading to a much lower average ocean temperature on our side of the Pacific. This is hugely beneficial for us, because colder water and more upwelling means more nutrients in our seas, helping spur the development of major fisheries. The temperature of the oceans also affects weather circulation patterns across the globe, which is part of the reason our winters tend to be so wet here in the Northwest.

9712

Public domain images via NOAA

Public domain images via NOAA

During an El Niño event, the warmer waters of South America shift global weather patterns, leading to wetter winters in the southern part of the United States, and drier, warmer winters up here in the Northwest. While at first you might think “drier, warmer winter? Sign me up!”, El Niño events can have significant negative consequences for Northwest recreation, agriculture, and water supplies. A warmer and drier winter means less snowpack accumulated over the season. This means fewer powder days for our skiing friends and, consequently, lower profits for ski resorts. It also means we will have a problem in the spring when snowmelt feeds water reservoirs and irrigation systems. Farmers who rely on spring snowmelt for irrigation will find water prices increasing as supply becomes scarce, while government water district managers will have trouble keeping their reservoirs full. This may lead to higher prices for agricultural commodities such as palm oil, sugar, cocoa and wheat (according to Bloomberg).

For more information on El Niño, see NOAA’s El Niño portal.

Are you a skier? A farmer? Let us know what El Niño means to you!

 

 

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Fall Fruit Parfait

Hello everyone!

This week’s recipe will probably require a trip to the store, but we think it’s worth it. This is some of the best granola we’ve ever tasted! No store-bought brand can compare to the crunch of fresh-baked granola. Serve it with some fall fruit from our boxes this week.

Fall Fruit Parfait with Fresh Baked Granola

IMG_1303

Ingredients for Granola

3-4 cups rolled oats
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 sesame seeds
1/3 cup coconut oil melted
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 cup dried fruit chopped (I like tart cherries, but raisins can be substituted to save money)
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut

Ingredients for Single Serving of Parfait

1 cup chopped apples and pluots tossed with a pinch of cinnamon

½ cup plain yogurt

~1 tbsp honey

~1 tbsp shredded cocounut

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix oats, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, shredded coconut,  salt, melted coconut oil, and maple syrup in large bowl until ingredients are evenly coated. Spread evenly over a sheet pan. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake for 1-1.5 hours, stirring every 20 minutes until ingredients are golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool. Mix in dried fruit.

To make parfait, put chopped fruit in bottom of mason jar, top with yogurt, then granola, sprinkle with coconut and drizzle with honey. Can sit overnight, covered. This recipe is great to make ahead for a quick breakfast!

 

Enjoy!

 

Original recipe and photo for PCH by Kayla Waldorf

 

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An Iconic Autumn Squash

Hello Harvesters

 

This week we are introducing our Jack O’Lantern pumpkins for sale on our online market. We will offer them for sale right up until the day before Halloween (our last delivery day that week). To go along with this new product, this week we’re going to take a look at the many different uses for pumpkins, as well as their history in agriculture and food.

 

By Martin Doege (Morn), uploaded to English WP on 2003-08-21 (Own work) [GFDL 1.2 (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Martin Doege (Morn), uploaded to English WP on 2003-08-21 (Own work) [GFDL 1.2 (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

Pumpkins are a variety of winter squash, related to other cultivars like Butternut or Acorn squash. Their orange color and round, ribbed shape have become iconic symbols of the autumn harvest season. Pumpkins are native to North America and were an important source of food for native people and colonists alike. The squash has a wide variety of cooking applications- it can be roasted in chunks, pureed or mashed, and cooked into soups and pies. Growing up anywhere in the United States, it would be very difficult to avoid having pumpkin pie at some point in one’s life, as this dish is a massively popular fall delicacy. The coffee company Starbucks has capitalized on this tradition with their “pumpkin spice” latte (although, ironically, this drink doesn’t actually contain any pumpkin, and tastes instead of nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger). The introduction of the pumpkin spice latte has led to a huge trend in food products flavored with the spices used for pumpkin pie.

 

By Frenchtowner [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Frenchtowner [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Pumpkins also have deep cultural resonances for people in North America. There is a long tradition in Britain and Ireland of carving vegetables such as turnip and rutabaga into lanterns during the Halloween season. These lanterns were supposed to ward off evil spirits. Immigrants from the British isles brought the practice to North America, where they began to use pumpkins instead, due to their easy availability and larger size. The image of a big orange pumpkin in a field symbolizes the turning of the season and the end of summer warmth and long days. Many American children have fond memories of going pumpkin-picking with their families to prepare for Halloween lantern-carving.

 

When you get your pumpkin this year, send us your best Halloween lantern photos and we will post them on social media! Have a great week, Harvesters.

 

 

 

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Wine-poached Pears for Dessert or Brunch

Hello Harvesters

This week’s recipe will help you use up some the pears that have been piling up in our kitchens. In this recipe, you will stew your pears in red wine with some orange slices. The stewed pears will be great as a dessert or as a brunch treat.

 

Red Wine Poached Pears Drizzled with Honey

stewedpearrecipe

Ingredients:

4 medium ripe pears

2 cups merlot (or some other dry red wine)

1 orange

½ lemon

1 tbsp. chopped ginger root

1 cinnamon stick

 

Method:

Combine wine, ginger, and cinnamon stick in medium-large saucepan. Add juice of orange and lemon and some slices of peel to the wine. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Skin pears (leaving stem intact) and cut off bottom to allow to sit flat in pan. Reduce wine to a simmer and set pears upright in pan. Cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes rotating every 5 to allow for even cooking. Remove from heat, let cool, then place in fridge (pan and all) for 3 hours or longer (the longer they sit, the more they will absorb the flavors).

Here are a couple options for serving- for a basic recipe, serve with a few dollops of yogurt, drizzle with warm honey, and sprinkle a bit of cinnamon over the yogurt for a garnish. If you want to make it a bit more complex, try making a maple syrup reduction. Bring 1 cup pure maple syrup to a simmer in a small sauce pan and reduce to about 1/2 cup. One warning- don’t allow the syrup to boil, and make sure to stir constantly to avoid burning the syrup to the bottom of the pan. Drizzle over the pears and enjoy!

 

Original recipe and photo by Kayla Waldorf

 

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Roasted Kabocha Squash Bisque w/ Herbed Croutons

Hello Harvesters

This week’s recipe uses a new kind of squash from Skylight farms that we have in our Veggie and Washington boxes. It’s called Kabocha squash, and it’s common in Japanese and Korean cuisine. The Kabocha has a very sweet flavor, even sweeter than Butternut, and it can be used just like any other winter squash. Give this recipe a try and let us know what you think!

"Kabocha Cut Open 29September2005" by Namayasai LLP - Namayasai LLP, East Sussex, England. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kabocha_Cut_Open_29September2005.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Kabocha_Cut_Open_29September2005.jpg

“Kabocha Cut Open 29September2005” by Namayasai LLP – Namayasai LLP, East Sussex, England. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kabocha_Cut_Open_29September2005.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Kabocha_Cut_Open_29September2005.jpg

Roasted Kabocha Squash Bisque with Herbed Croutons

Ingredients:

For soup:

1 large kabocha squash

1 medium onion

2 tablespoons olive oil

4-8 oz. heavy cream

12 oz. veggie broth

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1-2 teaspoons salt

For croutons:

3 cups cubed bread (French baguette is ideal, but any bread will do. Stale bread is always a good option)

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt, pepper, and thyme to taste (go heavy on the seasoning, as these are an accent)

Directions

For Soup:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel and dice Kabocha squash and dice onion. Toss with olive oil and spread on baking sheet, roast for about 40 minutes or until squash is soft. Let cool for 15 minutes, then puree in blender or food processor with veggie broth. Transfer to pot and add cream (4 to 8 ounces, depending on how creamy you want the bisque). Heat on medium head until soup is warm, but do not allow to boil. Add salt and cayenne.

For Croutons:

Place oven on broil. Toss cubed bread with olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme and spread on baking sheet. Broil for about 5 minutes or until croutons are browned. Serve on top of warm soup.

 

Enjoy!

 

Original recipe for PCH by Kayla Waldorf

 

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Root Veggie 101

Hello Harvesters

As the cooler weather approaches, we are going to start seeing an influx of root vegetables into the harvest boxes. Whether it’s beet, celery root, turnip, or rutabaga, these hardy foods thrive in the winter because of their resistance to cold. Some of our less adventurous friends express some disappointment when root veggie season rolls around- “awww, rutabaga again?” – but here at PCH we think root veggies are awesome. All it takes is a bit of root veggie know-how to keep these foods interesting over the long winter. Let’s start with the basics.

 

The Beet

"Beets-Bundle" by Evan-Amos - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Zero, Public Domain Dedication via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Beets-Bundle.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Beets-Bundle.jpg

“Beets-Bundle” by Evan-Amos – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Zero, Public Domain Dedication via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Beets-Bundle.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Beets-Bundle.jpg

Beets are sweet, juicy root veggies that have the consistency slightly thicker than a potato, but with a much sweeter taste. Beets are the primary ingredient in the traditional Ukrainian soup called borscht, a stew-like dish with beets, potatoes, carrots, and beef or pork broth. Boiled, cubed, and chilled beets also make excellent additions to spinach salads in the fall, and beet greens can also be eaten sautéed. They come in many varieties, including red, gold, and “Chiogga”, the type that exhibits beautiful red and white spirals when sliced in cross-section. Be careful when cooking with red beets, as the juice can put bright magenta stain on your clothing.

 

The Turnip

By thebittenword.com (http://www.flickr.com/photos/galant/2622027467/) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By thebittenword.com (http://www.flickr.com/photos/galant/2622027467/) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

 The turnip is a white and pink taproot of Brassica rapa. It grows partially under and above ground, with the underground part remaining white and the above ground part turning colors, usually pink. In southern cuisine, turnip greens are sometimes eaten boiled like collard greens. Turnips have a spicy kick to them, almost like a radish, and this can be a great addition to a beef stew.

 

The Rutabaga

By pin add (Swede (The Vegetable)  Uploaded by nesnad) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By pin add (Swede (The Vegetable) Uploaded by nesnad) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Rutabagas look quite similar to turnips, but the colored top of the root tends to be a darker, more muted purple rather than pink, and the white subterranean part of the root tends to be a more yellowish cream color. The flavor of a rutabaga is milder than a turnip, with less radish-like kick. Rutabagas are good for adding substance to soups and stews, or for roasting on their own.

 

Celery Root

By Jamain (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Jamain (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Celery root (or celeriac) is a variety of celery that is grown for its large edible root. It has a spicy, bitter celery taste, but a texture more like a turnip or a rutabaga. Celeriac makes an excellent addition to stocks, and tastes great sliced thin and roasted with salt.

 

 

Let us know which is your favorite root veggie!

 

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Whatever-You-Have Stew

Hello Harvesters

This week’s recipe is a little different. It’s not for a specific dish, but rather a basic lesson on how to use extra veggies from the pantry and fridge to make a tasty stew. This recipe is very flexible, and you can use it to cook up some extra veggies that might otherwise go to compost. Thanks to customer Rebecca N. for suggesting this idea.

Coco Eating His Soup, by Pierre-August Renoir

Coco Eating His Soup, by Pierre-August Renoir

Whatever-You-Have Stew

Ingredients:

Basics for the stock:

Bones from whole chicken (broken up if possible)

Water

Salt

Pepper

 

Additions:

1 bunch carrots cubed (1 inch pieces)

4 medium potatoes cubed (1 inch pieces)

1 stalk of celery (the whole thing, not just one piece of it)

2 medium onions diced

2 leeks diced

32 oz. veggie broth

2 cups barley

2 bay leaves

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 fennel root diced (1/2 inch pieces)

 

*you can add any veggies you have lying around to bolster your stew. Any root veggie or winter squash will make a great addition and if you want to add greens (kale recommended) add it about 15 minutes before serving.

Method:

The basis of any great stew is the stock. If you decide to roast a chicken or have a bunch of bones left over from a rack of ribs, definitely make stock for a stew. You can freeze it for later or make a delicious, nutritious stew to keep in the fridge and eat throughout the week!

To make the stock, break up left over bones and place in large pot (breaking the bones is not required, but it will help extract nutrients and flavor). Cover with water and bring to a boil. After water begins to boil, turn heat down to low and leave for 4-12 hours to extract the nutrients and flavor from the bones (a minimum for 4 hours for chicken and a minimum of 6 for larger bones). Keep heat at the lowest possible setting and cover pot, the longer it cooks the better. About 1-2 hours before you will want to eat, strain the broth to remove bones and add about 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Chop all veggies and add barley, onion, leek, and bay leaves and pour additional veggie broth over ingredients. Bring stew back to a higher heat and let simmer for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes add potato, carrots, fennel, and cayenne. Let simmer for additional 30 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a warm baguette or corn bread. Enjoy!

 

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The Harvest Moon

Hello Harvesters

For this week’s blog post, we’re going to take a break from the usual discussions of different types of veggies, cooking styles, and gardening to focus on an astronomical phenomenon that has been incredibly important to human agriculture over the millennia. Next week, on the 23rd at 2:29 AM, the plane of the Earth’s equator will pass through the center of the sun, an event known as the Equinox. For us here in the northern hemisphere, this is the autumnal (fall) equinox, while in the southern hemisphere it is the vernal (spring) equinox. On the equinox, the length of day and night are approximately equal (though day when they are exactly equal might be one or two days off due to light refraction around the edge of the earth).

 

"Harvest moon" by Original uploader was Roadcrusher at en.wikipedia - Transferred from en.wikipedia; transferred to Commons by User:Khayman using CommonsHelper.. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Harvest_moon.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Harvest_moon.jpg

“Harvest moon” by Original uploader was Roadcrusher at en.wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia; transferred to Commons by User:Khayman using CommonsHelper.. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Harvest_moon.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Harvest_moon.jpg

The full moon closest to the autumnal equinox is known as the Harvest Moon. This full moon often appears orange due the refracted sunlight reflecting off the surface of the moon. The Harvest Moon is unique because of the very short time between sunset and moonrise over the next two or three nights. While at most times of year the moon rises about 50 minutes later each day, at the Harvest Moon this time shrinks to about 30 minutes, meaning that there is full light for an extended period after sundown. This is the reason for the name “Harvest Moon”- before modern technology, the extended light gave farmers the opportunity to catch up on the fall harvest long after the sun set on their fields.

5 Odd Facts about the Autumnal Equinox 

NASA, public domain image

NASA, public domain image

The Harvest Moon and autumnal equinox have taken on great cultural significance over the millennia. In Britain, the harvest festival has been celebrated near the harvest moon since before the spread of Christianity to the isles. In fact, the word “harvest” itself is derived from an Old English word, haerfest, meaning “autumn”. In revolutionary France, the monarchy was abolished on the autumnal equinox of 1792, leading the Republicans to declare the equinox “New Year’s Day” of the new Republican Era.

 

Do you have any plans to celebrate the Harvest Moon this year?

 

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