What's in your CSA Box?
This time of year is always busy for farmers, some busy with end-of-season shares, others gearing up for a fall and winter share.
Whether you are in a summer CSA that is winding down or a fall CSA that is just starting up, there are certain veggies that appear this time of year and no other.
They are fall vegetables for a mixed bag of reasons. Some, like Brussels sprouts, require a long season of growth in the ground, while others prefer the cooler weather and even taste better after a frost, such as rutabagas. Then there are some that need both, like parsnips. Whatever the reason for their fall appearance, these vegetables are worth the wait.
Brussels sprouts do not have the greatest of reputations. As a kid, I didn’t like them, which I think is pretty common. My taste buds and I have since matured, and as they are now one of my favorite fall vegetables, I like to try and convert other former sprouts haters.
They are wonderful in their flexibility (yes, Brussels sprouts are flexible). They can be cooked simply, sautéed in oil with garlic and a little cracked red pepper or with a splash of fresh lemon juice and black pepper. You can also dress them up with richer dishes. Try braising sprouts, diced slab bacon and minced garlic and onion in chicken broth and balsamic vinegar, or try browning them in butter, then adding a rich broth and white wine, more onions and garlic, and finally some Dijon mustard at the end.
Rutabagas, less often in the spotlight, are another favorite of mine. Rutabagas are larger and sweeter than turnips, a likely and tasty addition to a root veggie bake or mash. Try peeling and chopping rutabaga into cubes, then sautéing it along with some chopped onion in butter and minced garlic. Add some torn fresh sage and cook until the sage is wilted and rutabagas are tender, adding and white pepper to taste — delicious.
Catherine McCosker is the farm and CSA manager at The Well School in Peterborough.