Wednesday, October 28, 2020

October 29, 2020 - This Week's Box Contents, Featuring Brussels Sprouts!

Cooking With This Week's Box

German Butterball, Peter Wilcox or Purple Majesty Potatoes: How To Freeze Potatoes; Easy Vegan Scalloped Potatoes; Steamed Carrot Pudding

Brussels Sprouts: Hoisin Glazed Brussels Sprouts (see below); Creamy Brussels Sprout Slaw with Apple and Toasted Almonds (see below); Brussels Sprouts with Caramelized Onions

Korean & Jalapeno Peppers: Salt-Cured Chilies

Purple Daikon Radish: Soy-Pickled Daikon Radish

Jester, Festival or Butterscotch Butternut Squash: Stuffed Winter Squash; 17 Stuffed Winter Squash Recipes

Hello Everyone and welcome to the last week of October!!  After this week we have four more CSA boxes remaining.  Don’t forget our delivery schedule changes a little bit in November and December so we can dance around the holidays.  Make sure you check your HVF calendar and know when you have a delivery.  This week we’re excited to be packing tasty Brussels sprouts in your boxes!  I turned to two of my favorite cookbook authors for Brussels sprout recipe inspiration this week.  First, Hoisin Glazed Brussels Sprouts (see below) from Andrea Bemis which could make a nice meal along with some steamed rice and grilled beef.  The second recipe is from Sarah Britton and is for a raw slaw.  Her recipe for Creamy Brussels Sprout Slaw with Apple and Toasted Almonds (see below) is light and refreshing, but also packed with nutrient dense ingredients.  This slaw is substantial enough to serve as a vegetarian main dish, or you can eat it as a side dish.  

Brussels Sprouts with Caramelized Onions
photo from
Caramelized onions have been on my mind this week.  Have you ever had them or made them?  They are so sweet, silky and delicious and I just don’t make them enough!  Tis the season though because I love eating caramelized onions with Brussels sprouts!  If you’ve never had this combo, give it a try.  Here’s a recipe for Brussels Sprouts with Caramelized Onions to guide you.  If you’re caramelizing onions for the first time, consider this tutorial on How To Caramelize Onions.  It’s not difficult, you just need a little time and some patience.  You can make them on the stovetop, or check out this article, How to Make Caramelized Onions in the Slow Cooker.  If you don’ know what to do with caramelized onions, here’s an article entitled: Top Five Ways to Use Caramelized Onions.  If the suggestions in that article don’t appeal to you, consider making this over the top, to die for French Onion Grilled Cheese Sandwich!

We’re coming down to the last of our potatoes.  We have enough for the next two boxes and then we might be finished for the season.  If you’re looking to put something in the freezer now so you can enjoy it later in the winter when you aren’t picking up a CSA box, consider freezing potatoes.  Now, you can’t just stick a raw potato in the freezer and walk away.  If freezing potatoes is new to you, check out this article, How To Freeze Potatoes.  If you don’t have storage space or the desire to freeze potatoes, then try this recipe for Easy Vegan Scalloped Potatoes.  It’ll be a nice alternative to the traditional rich dairy based scalloped potatoes.

Charred Cauliflower with Garlic Tahini Sauce
photo from
We may be coming into the home stretch with cauliflower.  It’s been a heck of a year and we hope you’ve enjoyed cooking with it.  If you’re looking for something new to try this week, check out this article for 15 Cauliflower Recipes Disguised as Comfort Food.  This collection includes a link to this recipe for Charred Cauliflower with Garlic Tahini Sauce.

This may be our last week for lettuce as well.  We’re crossing our fingers that the escarole and radicchio will make it to harvest.  In the meantime, use this week’s Magenta Red Summercrisp lettuce to make a main dish salad such as this Waldorf Chicken Salad.  If you want to go for a beef salad, consider making this Beef Steak Salad with Dried Cherries.  If neither of these recipes appeals to you, check out the selections in this collection of 40 Great Steak Salads.

We’re moving into the heart of root vegetable season, so get ready!  Carrots aren’t new, but they will continue to be a mainstay vegetable in our diets throughout the winter.  Some boxes this week will receive orange carrots while others will receive the mysterious Black Nebula carrot.  If you receive the black nebula carrots, please check out our 2019 Black Nebula Vegetable Feature article.  This article will tell you all about this unique carrot and you’ll find two delicious recipes.  Have you ever had purple soup?  Check out this recipe for Roasted Purple Carrot Soup with Curried Lentils.  It has the most beautiful purple color!  The other recipe is for Carrot Parsley Salad, an insanely easy salad to make!  Carrots can be used in sweet and savory dishes and you can eat them any time of the day, even for breakfast!  Try this Carrot Cake Oatmeal.  You could also turn them into dessert with this Steamed Carrot Pudding, which interestingly contains a potato!

Roasted Parsnips with Caramel and Sour Cream
photo by Julia Gartland for
This week’s boxes also have parsnips!  This recipe for Roasted Parsnips with Caramel and Sour Cream came through my inbox earlier this week.  Check it out—making parsnips for dessert!  There’s a video on this link if you want the visual.  Please note this recipe calls for two pounds of parsnips, but this week’s boxes only have 1.25#, so you’ll need to adjust the recipe.  You could also use the parsnips to make Parsnip Biscuits.  In this recipe you will cook and puree the parsnips before incorporating them into the biscuits.

We didn’t know if they’d make it, but we did one final picking of Korean chili peppers.  If you haven’t made Salt-Cured Chilies yet this fall, this is your last chance!

Moroccan Spiced Warm Red Cabbage Salad
photo from
And what are you going to do with the dense, compact heads of gorgeous red cabbage?  Travel to the other side of the world and make this Moroccan Spiced Warm Red Cabbage Salad.  You could also make this Turkish Red Cabbage Salad which is easy to make and is a great accompaniment to Chicken Kebobs!

Lastly, lets lay out our plans for this week’s winter squash.  All three varieties we’re pulling from this week seem to be storing very well and all three are also appropriate for stuffing!   Here’s a tasty Stuffed Winter Squash recipe, but if this one doesn’t appeal to you, Check out this recipe article entitled: 17 Stuffed Winter Squash Recipes.

We’re at the bottom of another box!  Get ready, we’re going to be delivering sweet potatoes and baby ginger next week!

Have a great week!---Andrea

Vegetable Feature: Brussels Sprouts

By Chef Andrea

Brussels sprouts are a popular crop many members have come to adore when they realize how delicious they are when harvested fresh, in the peak of their season AND cooked properly.  Brussels sprouts are another selection in the family of Brassicas which include cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage. They resemble little cabbages and grow on stalks with leaves similar to collards.  We start Brussels sprouts from seed in the green house in the spring and then plant the transplants to the field where they require a 4-6 month period to reach their full potential.  Brussels sprouts are a hearty vegetable and can take cold temperatures.  In fact, we like them to be “kissed by the frost” a few times before we even think about harvesting them.  This year they were more than kissed, they were actually frozen solid!  The cold exposure changes the flavor making them more sweet, which contributes to a better tasting sprout overall.  While they can tolerate some frost, there is a point when the temperatures drop into the teens and the plants become susceptible to damage.  Knowing we were going to see temperatures in the low twenties to high teens this week, we decided to make harvesting all the Brussels sprouts a priority.  If we had tried to pluck them all off the stalk in the field, we never would’ve finished harvesting them!  So, the crew stripped the leaves, cut the stalk at the base and brought them in on the stalk.  By the end of the day Saturday we had 50 bins of Brussels sprouts in the cooler containing about 6,800 stalks!  Now, on frosty mornings we work in the warmth of the greenhouse popping them off the stalks.

Now that you know fresh, frosted Brussels sprouts are going to taste the best, lets talk about proper cooking.  In my youth I did not adore the drab, olive green little cabbages that made the house smell funny when Mom cooked them.  In my adult life I realized that it was not the Brussels sprouts I disliked, but rather my mother’s overcooked approach to preparing them!  For just a moment lets talk about the science of Brussels sprouts.  As with other vegetables in this family, Brussels sprouts are packed with phytonutrients that make them nutritional powerhouses!  One nutrient compound they contain are glucosinolates, a sulfur containing nutrient that protects and benefits our bodies in many ways including protecting our cardiovascular system and providing anti-cancer effects.  These sulfur containing compounds also contribute to their flavor, but this is where we need to talk about the fine line between a delicious tasting Brussels sprout and one that has crossed the line because it is overcooked.  As you cook Brussels sprouts these sulfur compounds are released.  When overcooked the flavor becomes strong, pungent and, in my opinion, just not very enjoyable.  Brussels sprouts may be roasted, boiled, steamed, sautéed.  Regardless of the cooking method you choose, it’s important to cook them just until they become bright green and are tender, but still with a little bit of firmness remaining.  The next stage after this is where they turn olive green, get soft and mushy and develop a strong smell from all the sulfur compounds volatilizing into the air!  The other important thing to remember when cooking Brussels sprouts is to let them breathe.  It’s best to cook them uncovered as it lets the sulfur compounds dissipate into the air instead of building up in the pan under the lid.

Sheet Pan Chicken with Sweet Potatoes, Apples
and Brussels Sprouts, photo from
To prepare sprouts for a recipe, use a paring knife to trim a little bit off the base of each sprout which will allow a few outer leaves to fall off.  If the sprouts are small, you may cook them whole.  If they are a little larger you may want to cut them into halves or quarters.  I should mention that Brussels sprouts may also be eaten raw in slaws and salads.  In their raw form they are generally sliced very finely.  Brussels sprouts are a natural pairing with other vegetables including garlic, onions (especially caramelized onions), winter squash, root vegetables, sweet potatoes and mushrooms.  They also pair well with fall fruits including apples, cranberries, pomegranate, and lemons.  In my kitchen, they also have an attraction to butter! They also pair well with other dairy products including Parmesan, feta and blue cheese as well as cream.  Their strong flavor goes well with salty, cured meats such as bacon and sausage as well as toasted nuts.  A drizzle of maple syrup, honey or even balsamic vinegar is also a nice way to finish off a Brussels sprouts recipe.

Store Brussels sprouts in the refrigerator in the plastic bag we’ve portioned them in for you.  They will keep for several weeks, but we recommend you eat them within a week or two.  We are grateful to share the bounty of this year’s harvest with you and plan to pack them in the next few CSA boxes!  Enjoy! 

Creamy Brussels Sprout Slaw with Apple and Toasted Almonds

Photo from Naturally Nourished by Sarah Britton
Yield:  2 as a main dish or 4 as a side dish

⅓ cup raw almonds
1 packed cup flat-leaf parsley, leaves and stems
½ pound Brussels sprouts
1 apple
2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

Creamy Maple Vinaigrette
2 Tbsp cold-pressed olive oil
4 tsp Dijon mustard
4 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp pure maple syrup
¼ cup plain yogurt
2 pinches fine sea salt
2 pinches freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
  1. Prepare the slaw:  Preheat the oven to 300°F.  Spread the almonds on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer and roast until fragrant and slightly darker in color, 20 to 25 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool completely.  Roughly chop the almonds and the parsley leaves, finely mincing the stems.
  2. While the almonds are roasting, wash and trim the Brussels sprouts, removing any damaged outer leaves.  Slice them as thinly as possible using a knife or a food processor with the shredding attachment.  Place in a large bowl.
  3. Core and slice the apple into thin sections.  In a small bowl, immediately toss the apple sections with the lemon juice to prevent browning. 
  4. Make the dressing:  Whisk together the olive oil, mustard, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, yogurt, salt, and pepper.
  5. Add the apples, almonds, and parsley to the shredded Brussels, pour the dressing over top, add a generous amount of black pepper, and fold to combine.
Recipe borrowed from Sarah Britton’s book, Naturally Nourished.

Hoisin-Glazed Brussels Sprouts

Photo from Dishing Up the Dirt by Andrea Bemis
Yield:  4 to 6 servings

Hoisin Sauce
2 Tbsp grapeseed oil (or other neutral cooking oil)
3 cloves of garlic, minced
⅓ cup low-sodium soy sauce
3 Tbsp pure maple syrup
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 Tbsp tahini
2 tsp sriracha hot sauce

Brussels Sprouts
1 ½ Tbsp grapeseed oil (or other neutral cooking oil)
1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and sliced in half or quartered if large
  1. Make the sauce:  Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high.  Add the garlic and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 2 minutes.  Add the soy sauce, maple syrup, rice vinegar, tahini, and sriracha.  Cook, whisking occasionally until the mixture is thick and smooth, about 5 minutes.  Pour the hoisin sauce into a jar and set it aside.
  2. Prepare the Brussels sprouts:  using the same skillet (no need to clean it), heat the grapeseed oil over medium-high.  Add the Brussels sprouts and cook until they are a deep golden brown and lightly crisp on all sides, about 8 minutes.  Stir in half of the hoisin sauce and continue to cook for an additional 2 or 3 minutes, stirring often.  Serve warm or at room temperature with additional sauce on the side.
  3. Store any extra sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Recipe borrowed from Andrea Bemis’ book, Dishing Up the Dirt.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

October 22, 2020 - This Week's Box Contents, Featuring Black Futsu Pumpkins!

Cooking With This Week's Box

Peter Wilcox OR Purple Majesty Potatoes: Rosemary and Garlic Roasted Potatoes; Beef Roast with Potatoes

Black Futsu Pumpkins: Baked Black Futsu Pumpkin with Cranberry-Orange Maple Butter (see below); Soy Glazed Black Futsu Pumpkin with Honey & Sesame (see below)

It’s really feeling more like fall and even winter this week with frosty mornings and snow flurries!  Thanksgiving is right around the corner, soup season is officially here, and it’s time to really start getting serious about eating winter squash.  So this week we’re kicking off our chat with this week’s featured vegetable, the unique Black Futsu Pumpkin.  This vegetable originates in Japan where they use the terms “squash” and “pumpkin” interchangeably.  This is our second year growing this beauty and it’s met all of our expectations this year for yield, flavor, ability to store and unique appearance!  You can read more about this little pumpkin in this week’s vegetable feature, but lets talk about what you can do with it!  This week I’m sharing two very simple recipes with you, and lets keep it simple because this tasty squash really doesn’t need much added to it.  The first recipe is for Baked Black Futsu Pumpkin with Cranberry-Orange Maple Butter (see below).  Baking the pumpkin is super easy and the butter comes together in just a few minutes, so if you’re short on prep time this is a good recipe to use.  The second is for Soy Glazed Black Futsu Pumpkin with Honey & Sesame (see below).  I wanted to use flavors that go back to the Japanese roots of this pumpkin, so that’s how this recipe unfolded.  Again, this is pretty easy to make and this pumpkin is so delicious when roasted!

Roasted Garlic Ice Cream
photo from
Our amazing crew is making the most of every moment and we’re finishing the season strong as we try to balance harvest with washing and packing vegetables while at the same time we’re preparing for 2021!  We’re happy to report we finished planting garlic this week!  This is a reason to celebrate, so lets do so with some garlic-centric recipes!  Perhaps you’d like to make something delicate like these Roasted Garlic Custards to serve alongside roasted chicken or beef.  If you want to celebrate in a more traditional way, stick to Rosemary and Garlic Roasted Potatoes.  Either of this week’s potato varieties will work great in this recipe.  I also like this post for Garlic Butter Sauce recipe.  The author of this blog post tells you how to make garlic butter sauce, but then provides a list of various ways you can use it with steak, salmon, vegetables and more!  You could also make this tasty Garlic Butter Mashed Cauliflower, or you could save the garlic for dessert.  That’s right, I said dessert---Roasted Garlic Ice Cream!  You may not believe me, but it’s really good!  We were served garlic ice cream at one of Harvest Restaurant’s garlic dinners some time ago and I still remember how tasty it was served with a butter cookie and ligonberry jam.  Try it—it could be fun!

Keto Cauliflower Mac & Cheese
photo from
It has been a great fall for cauliflower, so it’s time to get creative.  I stumbled across the next two recipes on a new website,  They have a lot of great recipes, but these recipes for Sweet & Spicy Baked Cauliflower and Keto Cauliflower Mac & Cheese caught my attention.  Sweet & Spicy Baked Cauliflower has a bit of an Asian flair featuring a sauce made with honey, garlic, and soy along with some red pepper heat.  Just before serving you finish it off with toasted sesame seeds.  It may be a vegetarian main dish or serve it as a side dish.  The second recipe for Keto Cauliflower Mac & Cheese uses cauliflower in place of pasta.  You get all the creamy goodness of mac & cheese, but without the pasta!

We’re coming into the home stretch for broccoli this season.  We do have a bit more remaining, but it’s still on the small side so this week we decided to move forward on harvesting some of the kohlrabi in our late planting.  Whether you get kohlrabi or broccoli, you can use it to make the Kohlrabi Custard recipe we featured earlier this year.  Of course, you could also use either in one of my favorite kohlrabi  salads—this Kohlrabi & Herbed Yogurt Salad from

Marinated Beet & Bread Salad
photo from
I’ve been trying to hold off purchasing another cookbook, but darn it—I’m going to have to buy Andrea Bemis’s new book, Local Dirt.  Last week on her blog she shared a recipe from her book for Marinated Beet & Bread Salad.  This is a fall twist on the classic Panzanella which traditionally is a tomato and bread salad.  Of course, you could also use your beets to make Andrea’s recipe for Carrot & Beet Morning Glory Muffins with Honey & Hazelnuts.  This is a great way to eat your vegetables in the form of a treat and these muffins are healthy enough to enjoy for breakfast or an afternoon snack!

As I looked at my list of recipes curated for this week’s box, I realized I selected a lot of vegetable salad recipes!  While we have options for green lettuce salads this week, don’t forget there are lots of salads you can enjoy throughout the winter months such as carrot salads!  This week take advantage of some of the last fresh cilantro of the season and make this Carrot Salad with Lime & Cilantro or keep it simple with this French Grated Carrot Salad featuring a Dijon dressing.  If you’re looking for ways to enjoy the last few weeks of our fall lettuce selections, I have a few ideas for you.  Make a simple Romaine and Radish Salad with Buttermilk Lemon Dressing which would be a nice accompaniment to a traditional Beef Pot Roast with Potatoes.  You could also make a tasty Herbed Onion Salad Dressing to serve with a simple lettuce salad.  Or, make the salad the main dish with this Ramen Noodle Salad with Romaine Lettuce & Broccoli.  This recipe makes 8 servings, so you might want to scale it back if that’s too large for your household.  By the way, if you do make that Beef Pot Roast you can use the leftovers along with this week’s radishes and lettuce to make this Beef & Radish Salad Sandwich.  I love leftovers!

One Pan Cilantro Lime Chicken and Rice
with Black Beans, photo from
We’re getting closer to the bottom of the box, but I wanted to share this recipe for One Pan Cilantro Lime Chicken and Rice with Black Beans.  This is a simple main dish dinner and would go great served with any of the salad selections we’ve mentioned earlier in this article.  Lastly, since we are in soup season, I want to share this recipe for Blonde French Onion Soup.  This is a great way to use those onions piling up on your counter and it’s a great way to boost your immune system.

Ok friends, we’re at the bottom of the box!  Have you ever stopped to reflect on all the wonderful things you’ve created with your vegetables this year!  I bet you’ll be surprised by the variety of food you’ve created and the amount of vegetables you’ve eaten this season already!  But we’re not done yet.  We still have Brussels sprouts (which look quite nice) and sweet potatoes yet to come.  The sweet potatoes are officially finished curing, so it’s time to cook some and see how they taste.  According to Richard’s refractometer measurements, the sugars have developed.  Get your recipes ready, we still have a lot more cooking to do!  See you next week—Chef Andrea

Vegetable Feature: Black Futsu Pumpkins

By Chef Andrea

This week I’m excited to introduce you to the beautiful, unique Black Futsu Pumpkin!  This is a heirloom Japanese squash variety that caught my attention in the High Mowing Seed catalog two winters ago.  What was this odd looking pumpkin shaped vegetable with skin that was a grayish, charcoal color mixed with tan?  After a little research indicating it had good flavor and is revered by chefs, I convinced Richard we needed to try it.  Our trial last year was a success so we planted more this year and, once again, we’re very impressed with this unique little pumpkin!  In case you’re wondering if this is a pumpkin or a squash, it’s a squash.  In Japan they use the terms “pumpkin” and “squash” interchangeably.

Maple-Sage Roasted Black Futsu Pumpkin
When we first harvest these, their skin is more of a charcoal gray to green and some are just starting to show some signs of changing to a buff tan color.  They continue to ripen in storage until they are entirely buff colored.  I mention this because you may never see that charcoal gray stage, which I suspect is the reason they are called “Black Futsu.”  One of the other qualities we really like about the Black Futsu is that they store very well.  So, eat them now or keep them on your counter and enjoy their beauty for a bit before you eat them.

Now that you know a little bit about the background on these, lets talk about the eating quality.  The flesh is dense and holds up well to roasting and pan-frying.  When baked, either whole or cut in half, the flesh is moist, smooth, creamy and sweet.  The other unique attribute is that the skin is edible.  It does have a very thin skin and given the bumpiness of the exterior, I would not suggest you attempt to peel it.  When pan-fried or roasted the skin gets nice and crispy and offers a contrast to the soft, smooth flesh.  When baked, I do not find the skin as delectable, however it’s easier to scrape the flesh out of the skin if you bake it whole.  If you don’t care to eat the skin, simply discard it.

Creamy Cider & Black Futsu Pumpkin Soup
So what are you going to do with these cute things?   As I mentioned before, this variety is delicious when roasted.  You can either cut them into wedges or chunks, toss them with oil, then roast them on a sheet tray.  I’m not usually a fan of pan-frying squash, however this one is a candidate for this method.   I would recommend cutting thin slices about ⅛ - ¼ inch thick.  Cooking them on a griddle or in a cast iron pan in butter yields a nice crispy, golden final product.  You can also cut them in half and bake them in the oven.  Honestly, if you don’t want to mess with anything else, just bake them and eat the flesh seasoned with a touch of salt and pepper and a pat of butter.  It’s delicious just like that, however you could also stuff the pumpkin halves with a filling of your choosing.  Of course, you can scrape the cooked flesh out of the shell and use it to make a wide variety of things.  In addition to the two recipes we’re featuring this week, you might also want to check out last year’s recipes for Maple-Sage Roasted Black Futsu Pumpkin and Creamy Cider & Black Futsu Pumpkin Soup.  Both received positive member feedback last year!

Store your black futsu pumpkins at room temperature and use them as a decoration until you’re ready to use them.  I forgot to mention that the seeds are also edible.  Before cooking, extract them from the flesh, rinse them and lay them out on a tea towel (the seeds will stick to the towel, so don’t use paper or anything fuzzy) or a plate to dry.  Once dry you can toss them with a little oil and season them with salt and pepper or seasonings of your choosing before toasting them in a 350°F oven.  These seeds really are tasty and, in my opinion, worth the effort to extract them.  One more tidbit of information you may find useful is that one medium sized black futsu pumpkin will yield about ¾-1 cup of cooked flesh.  Enjoy!

Baked Black Futsu Pumpkin with Cranberry-Orange Maple Butter

Yield:  3-4 servings

1 large or 2 medium Black Futsu Pumpkins
1 stick unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
¼ cup fresh cranberries
Zest from one orange, finely chopped
1 ½ Tbsp maple syrup
Salt, to taste

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.  Cut the pumpkins in half and scrape out the seed cavity.  Save the pumpkin seeds to clean and toast.  If you choose to do so they are a nice garnish to add to this dish!  Place the pumpkin pieces in a baking dish, cut side down.  Add enough water to the pan so it’s about ½ inch deep.
  2. Bake for 45-60 minutes or until the pumpkin is tender when poked with a knife or fork.  Remove the pumpkin from the oven and carefully turn the pieces over.  Set aside for 5-10 minutes to allow the pumpkin to release steam before serving.
  3. While the pumpkin is baking, prepare the butter.  Using a food processor, finely chop the cranberries. Add the softened butter, orange zest and maple syrup.  Blend to combine well, scraping down the sides of the bowl periodically.  If you do not have a food processor, you can also just chop the cranberries finely with a knife and blend all the ingredients in a bowl using a spoon.
  4. When you’re ready to serve the pumpkin, you can either use one half of the pumpkin as a serving, or you may choose to cut them in quarters if they are large.  Serve the pumpkin with a generous serving of butter and a little salt if desired.  Make sure the pumpkin is still warm so the butter will melt.  Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds if you wish.  

Note:  If you have extra butter remaining, either freeze it for use later or use it within a few days of making it.  You could spread it on toast or a biscuit.  You could also melt it over other vegetables such as sweet potatoes or Brussels sprouts!

Soy-Glazed Black Futsu Pumpkin wiht Sesame & Honey

Yield:  4-6 servings

2-3# Black Futsu Pumpkin (1 large or 2 medium)
1 ½ Tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil
2 tsp mirin
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
Salt, to taste
Honey, just a drizzle
2 Tbsp toasted black sesame seeds

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.  Cut the black futsu pumpkins in half and scrape out the seed cavity.  Reserve the seeds to toast and enjoy as a snack!  Cut the pumpkin halves into slices about ½ inch thick, or into larger bite-sized chunks.  Place in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine sunflower oil, mirin, soy sauce and toasted sesame oil.  Stir or whisk to combine well so the oil is fully incorporated with the other ingredients.  Pour over the pumpkin slices/chunks.  Using a spoon or your hands, mix or toss the pumpkin to ensure all pieces are well coated with the soy mixture.
  3. Spread the pumpkin pieces on a large baking pan or cookie sheet.  Sprinkle with a little salt.  Roast for 45-50 minutes, stirring to turn all the pieces about halfway through the cooking time.  Once tender and lightly golden, remove the pan from the oven.  
  4. Drizzle lightly with a little honey and sprinkle the sesame seeds over all the pieces.  Put the pan back in the oven and roast for an additional 5-10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and serve while still warm.
      Recipe created at Harmony Valley Farm by Chef Andrea Yoder

      Fall Farm Update: We’re Preparing for 2021 & Need Your Input!

      By Farmer Richard de Wilde

      Fall Garlic Planting
      photo by Katie Koranda
      Fall is a very important, and somewhat challenging, time of year for us.  Not only are we dancing around the weather in an attempt to finish our fall harvest, we are also making decisions and preparing for next season.  In fact, we’re already planting crops for next year!  We are happy to report the 2021 garlic crop is planted!  We had selected the biggest and best bulbs from this summer’s harvest, over 1,000#, and last week we “cracked” it into individual cloves and planted the biggest ones which will produce bulbs of garlic that we’ll harvest next year.  The smaller cloves were planted as well, but we planted them thick and will harvest them early in the season when they produce green garlic.  Garlic is a crop we grow only for you, our CSA members, with the exception of green garlic and garlic scapes which we do also sell to distributors and retail stores.  We invest a lot of time, money and resources into a crop of garlic.  In fact, we’ve already invested about $10,000 of garlic that we saved from this year’s crop.  Is it worth it?  Absolutely—we all get to eat garlic nearly every week next year!

      Garlic is not the only crop we’re investing in for next year.  Before the end of December we’ll order strawberry plants so we can put in a new strawberry field next spring.  We won’t harvest from this new planting until 2022 and 2023.  We are also planning to plant another asparagus field and will increase our rhubarb planting.  Both of these crops require two years of growth before we even think about harvesting from them.  As you can see, farming requires planning and investment!  However, with resources and a plan in place, we are very capable to execute.

      Weather has been much more favorable this year than in recent years, but we are experiencing a cold fall with precipitation in the forecast.  Given the garlic is planted and the snow and rain wasn’t forecasted until Tuesday, we made sunchoke harvest and planting a priority for the first part of our week.  We are so pleased that in one long day we were able to plant 2 acres of sunchokes for next year!  I know, this is not as popular of a crop as garlic, but it’s a very valuable and important crop for our farm and we hope you will all come to appreciate it along with us as you find new ways to enjoy these tasty tubers!

      Raddicchio & Lettuce, protected from cold 
      under a double cover with hoops
      We have lettuce, escarole and radicchio under a double cover with hoops to keep the covers from resting on the plants.  Even if we see temperatures in the mid to low twenties these crops should be well-protected.  Our hemp crop is harvested and dried.  We’re now ready to embark on the trimming phase of this project so we can send it to the processor to turn it into CBD oil which will be available for purchase in December.  Of course, we can’t forget about the Brussels sprouts which are looking quite nice this year!  We are caught up on harvest of mature cabbages, cauliflower, broccoli and Romanesco.  There are significantly more remaining in the field, so we’re hoping they make it through this cold spell and we get a few more nice warm days!

      CSA Box packing line, pandemic style with
      masks! June 2020
      As we finish this season and look ahead to a new year, we understand there are many uncertainties we face, one of which is a burning question on our minds, “What will the demand for our CSA be in 2021?”  Early in my career I saw the wisdom in having diverse markets established, thus in addition to growing for CSA we also grow for wholesale distributors and retail stores.  Back in 2009 we were at the peak of our CSA membership and were packing 1200 boxes per week.  Unfortunately, after that peak year we started to see a gradual decline in membership which had dropped to about 650 boxes in 2019.  As these numbers dropped we increased our wholesale sales to make up the difference.  This decline in support for CSA was not isolated to our farm alone.  In fact, it caused several longstanding area farms, who did a nice job with CSA, to throw in the towel and quit growing for CSA.  At the start of this year, we had a goal of increasing our membership in 2020.  In fact, we needed to increase our membership this year in order for CSA to remain a viable and sustainable part of our business.  We knew we could not continue to run trucks that were half empty and operate at 50% efficiency while carrying a lot of fixed overhead expenses.  We committed to hang in there for one more year and were not willing to quit even when many of our peers were doing so.  We still believe CSA holds an important place in our society and were confident it was not going extinct.  Our direct connection to customers through our CSA program has been undeniably the best thing for our farm since we started back in 1993. We didn’t anticipate it would take a pandemic to build our CSA membership back up, but we’re happy we’ve been able to grow food for all of you this year!  We did not know how the pandemic would impact our CSA, but it was very clear that you, our customers, wanted to source your food from our farm and were depending on us to produce vegetables and meat for your families!

      Purple Kohlrabi Field, June 2020
      So as the pandemic escalated this spring, we quickly established protocols for a safe delivery and pick-up process after spending hours on Zoom calls and webinars talking with other farmers around the country.  And then the phone started ringing, the emails started flooding in, and when we were just weeks away from our first delivery we found ourselves surrounded by piles of order forms!  Our dream was coming true, but we were faced with processing the amount of orders we typically would’ve processed over a few months in the course of just a few weeks while trying to get our spring planting done, conduct annual crew training and get everything ready for our new pick up procedures.  It was a challenge to say the least, but one we are most grateful to have accomplished!

      Summer CSA Box Contents, August 2020
      We ended up more than doubling the amount of boxes we packed this year in comparison to 2019.  In fact, we’ve surpassed our highest number in history as we’ve packed over 1200 boxes most weeks of this season and will pack nearly 1500 boxes a week in November and December.  We know how to pack CSA boxes, we have over 25 years of experience doing so.  The challenge we were faced with was that we were planning and planting for about 800 boxes and quickly found ourselves committed to packing 1200!  We had a hard time turning away people who just wanted a safe option for sourcing healthy food, especially at a time in our history when healthy food is so vital!  Instead, we changed our plans at the last minute and were able to accommodate the increased CSA demand.  Dare I say, all things considered, we did quite a good job of packing some very nice boxes this year!  That is a reflection of not only farming experience, but also the effort and skill put forth by our professional, dedicated crew members who have gone above and beyond this year and for whom we are most grateful.  You, our members, have also done a good job with pick-ups!  We added quite a few new members to our CSA this year, and many of you are trying CSA for the first time ever.  We were a little nervous how things would go given the need to change our pick up process and helping so many new members figure out the system.  But honestly, we’ve had very few issues at pick up sites and everyone has been very cooperative!  So, despite the challenges, we’ve had a pretty good year and CSA continues to be our tried and true preferred market for which to grow!

      Travel the world through cooking & food!
      Salerno Style Italian Grilled Eggplant
      As we continue to move forward, we need your input to help us plan for next year.  I have read several different reports indicating a dramatic rise in the number of consumers who are now cooking at home in comparison to pre-pandemic days.  Will these behaviors continue?  Will people continue to value organic, healthy food even as they become numb to the COVID-19 pandemic and as it fades into our memories?  Most likely it will be awhile before this pandemic fades away, and no one knows when the next pandemic may fall upon us.  We can only guess what next year will bring, but we want to ask you “Will you continue to source vegetables through our CSA?  Which shares do you plan on purchasing?  Do you have friends, neighbors, etc who may be interested in joining?”  We can do a better job and be more prepared as we start the season if we know who we’re growing for!

      We expect that COVID will still be with us and we are prepared to continue the same safety protocols on our farm and at our CSA delivery sites as we’ve implemented this year.   These protocols have been a large expense for us in both additional labor as well as supplies.  However, these protocols are also what has minimized the risk for contracting the virus for all of us, both on the farm and at CSA sites, so we see no option aside from continuing them indefinitely.  Who pays for the cost of safe food?  We have promise that our Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan will be forgiven.  We also have applied for the USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2, but have not received any payments to date.  Our feeling is if the government comes through, then your tax dollars have covered our COVID expenses.

      The bounty of summer fills the cooler!
       August 2020
      What we need most is the support of our community to back us in 2021.  With your support we look forward to another good year!  In this week’s “What’s In the Box” email we’ve included a short survey that will only take you a few minutes to complete.  We would appreciate if one member from each household would complete the survey.  The purpose of the survey is to see how many of our current members are planning to continue with our CSA in 2021 and which shares you are planning to purchase.  We are not planning to make any major changes to our program or delivery season.  We are still evaluating prices and need to confirm our delivery sites, but aside from minor tweeks, you can expect a similar season as you experienced this year.  We are not looking for payment or a formal sign-up form now, just a forecasted commitment.  This information will be valuable as we continue to craft crop plans, make seed purchases and determine acreage we need to commit to CSA crops versus other land that we can use for our primary wholesale crops.  November, December and January are the months in which we lay the ground work for the 2021 season, so your input now is so very important to us!

      In closing, thank you for joining us for the 2020 CSA season.  It’s been an interesting year, to say the least, but we’re thankful for your support, encouraging notes of gratitude and for the opportunity to fulfill our contribution to this world.  We hope you’ve found nourishment for your body and your soul with each delivery you’ve received.  Thank you in advance for sharing a few minutes of your time to complete the survey.  In exchange we’ll do our best to deliver bountiful boxes again in 2021!

      Wednesday, October 14, 2020

      October 15, 2020 - This Week's Box Contents, Featuring Cauliflower!

      Cooking With This Week's Box

      Red Onions:  Fiery Grilled Beef SaladWilted Spinach Salad with Butternut Squash 

      Red-Gold  or Peter Wilcox Potatoes:  Roasted Poblano Pepper Potato SoupThe Best Potato Salad 

      Red Jalapeño Peppers:  Fiery Grilled Beef Salad

      Korean Chili Peppers: 2020 Korean Pepper Vegetable FeatureHVF Fresh Korean Chili-Garlic Sauce—Updated;  Spicy Korean-Style Gochujang MeatballsSpicy Gochujang Butter PopcornThai-Style Chicken Soup  

      Broccoli Romanesco or Cauliflower:  Leek & Cauliflower Puree (see below);  Linguine with Cauliflower Pesto (see below)

      Broccoli:  Broccoli Cheese SoupBroccoli Cheese Casserole 

      Poblano Peppers OR Mini Sweet Peppers:  Chile Rellenos Grilled Chicken TacosRoasted Poblano Pepper Potato Soup 

      Spinach:  Tangy Spinach & Apple Salad50 Spinach Salad Recipes You’ll Love to EatWilted Spinach Salad with Butternut Squash

      Lemongrass:  2020 Lemongrass Feature ArticleFiery Grilled Beef SaladThai-Style Chicken Soup

      Orange Carrots: Asian Turnip & Carrot Salad10 Healthy and Easy Carrot Recipes for KidsCreamy Carrot RiceBroccoli Cheese Soup

      Mini Romaine/Little Gem Lettuce or Magenta Red Summercrisp Lettuce:  Fiery Grilled Beef SaladGreen Salad with Radishes and Creamy Mustard Dressing  

      French Breakfast Radishes:  Green Salad with Radishes and Creamy Mustard DressingTangy Spinach & Apple Salad

      Baby Violet Turnips:  Roasted Turnips with Wilted GreensAsian Turnip & Carrot Salad

      Green Salad with Radishes
      photo from
      Here we are, halfway through another month!  The bounty of fall is flooding our coolers and some days we’re busting at the seams trying to find a place for everything!  It leaves us with no option other than to pack it in a CSA box and send it your way!  Lets dive into this week’s box, starting with cauliflower.  Check out this week’s Cauliflower Vegetable Feature article (See Below) which includes 10 links to additional recipes as well as 2 links to extensive cauliflower recipe collections.  We’re also featuring two recipes this week.  The first is very fitting for this time of year and is super simple, Leek and Cauliflower Puree (see below).  Serve this simple dish alongside roasted meats for a simple dinner.  The second recipe for Linguine with Cauliflower Pesto (see below) is an interesting recipe that actually uses cauliflower in its raw form to make a pesto like mixture to toss with hot pasta.  Serve this light pasta dish with a salad for a simple dinner.  If you’re looking for salad ideas, consider trying this Green Salad with Radishes and Creamy Mustard Dressing or perhaps this Tangy Spinach & Apple Salad.  This spinach salad does call for pomegranate molasses which may be found in the international section of your grocery store.  If you can’t find it, you could substitute honey instead.

      Wilted Spinach Salad
      with Butternut Squash
      Photo from
      After a summer-time hiatus from lettuce and salad greens, it’s nice to have both head lettuce and baby spinach to work with this week.  Last week we featured this recipe for Fiery Grilled Beef Salad which utilizes lemongrass and fresh chile peppers.  You could use either the red jalapeños or Korean Chili peppers for the heat.  I also found this recipe collection for 50 Spinach Salad Recipes You’ll Love to Eat which includes this tasty recipe for Wilted Spinach Salad with Butternut Squash, a nice fall salad option.

      If you didn’t see last week’s 2020 Lemongrass Feature Article,  I encourage you to go check it out and learn more about how to use lemongrass.  We also included a fragrant recipe for Thai-Style Chicken Soup that utilizes fresh lemongrass.  Now that the chill of fall has set in, I’m feeling the need to make more warming soups.  This week I recommend sticking with some more traditional soup recipes, with a few little twists of course.  Jazz up the traditional potato soup concept by adding roasted poblano peppers.  Here’s a recipe for Roasted Poblano Pepper Potato Soup.  This week’s broccoli could become a comforting Broccoli Cheese Soup

      This week we’re also finishing up the last of our Korean chili peppers.  If you’re not sure what to do with them, check out our blog post with our 2020 Korean Chili Pepper Vegetable Feature;  In this article you’ll find a simple recipe for HVF Fresh Korean Chili-Garlic Sauce—Updated which may be used in a wide variety of ways including this recipe for Spicy Korean-Style Gochujang Meatballs.  Serve these tasty meatballs with The Best Potato Salad or Broccoli Cheese Casserole for a nice dinner option.  If you didn’t try the Spicy Gochujang Butter Popcorn recipe a few weeks ago, I encourage you to do so this week.  It’s so delicious!

      Carrots are a pretty common vegetable, so are often well accepted by children, especially when they are so sweet and tasty!  Check out this collection of 10 Healthy and Easy Carrot Recipes for Kids which includes a recipe for Creamy Carrot Rice (Recipe #2).  You could also pair carrots with this week’s violet turnips to make this Asian Turnip & Carrot Salad.  This would be another good accompaniment for the Spicy Korean-style Gochujang Meatball recipe.  If you’re looking for an alternative use for this week’s pretty little violet turnips, consider keeping it simple and following this recipe for Roasted Turnips with Wilted Greens

      Chili Rellenos Grilled Chicken
      Tacos photo from
      Lastly, I want to share this recipe for Chile Rellenos Grilled Chicken Tacos.  We’ve had a great poblano pepper harvest this year, but sadly the season is coming to an end.

      We still have 6 weeks of deliveries remaining and one of my missions for this week is to lay out a tentative plan for the vegetables we want to pack in these final 6 deliveries.  There is strategy in this plan as we try to balance packing nice boxes with good variety in addition to matching our plans to our labor resources all while dancing around the weather!  Thanks for joining us for the 2020 CSA season, now lets finish strong!—Chef Andrea

      Vegetable Feature: Cauliflower

      By Chef Andrea Yoder

      Purple and Cheddar Cauliflower
      This week the harvest crew will bring in an estimated 2,000 heads of cauliflower, possibly more!  While we grow cauliflower in the spring and fall, fall is the time of the year when cauliflower thrives, tastes the best and is in its prime.  The heat of summer can stress cauliflower and significantly impact its flavor, appearance and how it grows.  In the fall, however, the plants are less stressed so they produce better and the flavor is more balanced.  As with other brassicas, there is a bit of sweetness in the flavor once the plant has gone through a bit of a cold snap.  So while we’ve been delivering cauliflower for a few weeks, we wanted to feature it this week while it’s in its prime!

      White is the traditional cauliflower color most individuals are familiar with, however you may realize by now that we have a tendency to go beyond tradition in favor of growing something a bit more unique.  In the world of cauliflower, this means we also grow purple and yellow varieties.  A common question we are often asked at the farmers’ market is if there is a difference in flavor.  The basic answer is that they all do still taste like cauliflower, however remember that different color pigments in vegetables indicate the presence of different nutrient compounds.  So, if you pay close attention you may notice subtle flavor differences between the different colors.  The yellow variety we used to grow was named “Cheddar.”  We’ve since switched to a different variety called “Flamestar,”  however another common question we get is whether or not the yellow cauliflower tastes like cheese.  While that would be pretty cool to have a built in cheese flavor, the answer to that question is “no.”  If you want your cauliflower to taste like cheese you’ll have to put the cheese on it!

      You may not realize it, but all parts of the cauliflower plant are edible, even the outer wrapper leaves!  If you want to truly maximize the value of a head of cauliflower, save the leaves and put them to use.  Check out this article on that talks about the different ways you can use the leaves including roasting and grilling.  In addition to the actual florets, you can also use the stems that connect the florets to the core, just cut them into smaller pieces.

      White Cauliflower
      I think it’s also important to mention the health benefits of cauliflower.  You likely already know that any vegetable in the family of brassicas (eg broccoli, turnips, bok choi, mustard greens, kohlrabi, cabbage, etc) is going to be packed with valuable nutrients.  Cauliflower in particular contains glucosinates which are plant compounds that help protect our bodies from cellular damage by free radicals and have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral effects.  

      Cauliflower may be eaten raw or cooked and there are so many different ways to use it!  It can be roasted, grilled, baked, stir-fried, boiled and sautéed.  It’s delicious in soups, gratins, salads, pickled, and the list goes on!  To get you started, I’ve compiled a list of 10 cauliflower recipes and links to two pretty extensive collections of cauliflower recipes.  If you try something new, be sure to post in our Facebook Group and let us know how it turned out!

      Leek & Cauliflower Puree

      Yield:  4 to 6 servings

      2 medium leeks, dark green parts removed
      2 Tbsp unsalted butter
      Salt, to taste
      1 head cauliflower (about 1 ¾ pounds)
      2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
      2 ½ cups chicken stock, plus more if needed

      1. Slice the leeks lengthwise, and then into half-moons.  Wash them thoroughly and drain.
      2. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat.  Add the leeks and season with 1 tsp salt.  Slowly cook the leeks for about 15 minutes, stirring often to avoid caramelization.
      3. While the leeks are cooking, core and cut the cauliflower into 1-inch pieces.
      4. Add the garlic and the cauliflower to the leeks and continue to cook for 5 minutes.  Add the chicken stock, raise the heat to high, and bring the liquid to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until the cauliflower is cooked all the way through, about 15 minutes.
      5. Place all the contents of the pot into a blender and puree on high speed.  If needed, add more chicken stock to thin the puree.  The consistency should be slightly looser than polenta.  Season with salt to taste, and serve.

      Recipe borrowed from The Broad Fork by Hugh Acheson.

      Linguine with Cauliflower Pesto

      Yield:  6 to 8 servings

      1 small head or ½ large head cauliflower (about 1 pound), trimmed of leaves, cored, and cut into large     chunks
      1 garlic clove
      Generous pinch of red pepper flakes
      ½ cup almonds or pine nuts, toasted and cooled
      2 ounce chunk Romano or Parmesan cheese, plus a little more for serving
      4 sun-dried tomatoes (see note below)
      1 Tbsp drained capers
      Few tablespoons fresh parsley leaves
      ⅓ cup olive oil
      ½ to 1 tsp sherry vinegar (to taste)
      1 pound linguine

      1. Set a large pot of salted water to boil.
      2. Prepare the pesto:  Pulse half the cauliflower in a food processor until it looks like mixed sizes of couscous.  Transfer the cauliflower to a large bowl, and repeat with the second batch, adding it to the same bowl when you are finished.  If your cauliflower looks like the perfect texture, but one large chunk insists upon escaping the steel blade’s grasp, pick it up and pulse it separately.  You’ll have about 3 ½ cups of fluffy, delightful cauliflower-couscous like crumbs.
      3. Pulse the garlic, pepper flakes, almonds, cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, capers, and parsley in a food processor until the mixture looks like coarse breadcrumbs.  Transfer to the bowl with cauliflower, add the olive oil, the smaller amount of vinegar, and a few pinches of salt, and stir until combined (If you do this step in the food processor, it becomes and unseemly paste.  Best to do it by hand.)  Taste and adjust seasoning as needed—either adding more salt, pepper, or remainder of vinegar.  I start with about ½ teaspoon salt , but often go up to nearly a full teaspoon.
      4. Assemble Dish:  Once water is boiling, add the linguine and cook until it is al dente (cooked, but with a tiny bite left).  Reserve a cup of the cooking water, then drain the rest.  Immediately toss the hot pasta with the cauliflower pesto and half of your reserved cooking water, until everything is nicely dispersed.  If the pesto still feels too thick, loosen it with the remaining reserved cooking water.  Divide among bowls, and serve with additional Parmesan cheese.
      Note:  With regards to Sun-dried tomatoes, use the dry variety;  if oil-packed, be sure to drain them and mince them by hand separately, so the oil doesn’t gum up the food processor mixture, before you add them.

      Additional Author’s Notes:  
      • Want to skip the pasta? This is also incredible as a tapenade on olive-oil-brushed toasts.  
      • To make this like an Italian grandmother, or without a food processor, simply chop everything by hand.

      Recipe borrowed from Deb Perelman’s book, The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.