Sweet (Peppers) (Week) 16 (Newsletter)

And this would be the week that Jack Frost came to the farm. His visit was marked by sweeping the creosote from the chimney, the first firing of the wood stove, sheets over the pepper plants, salvage harvests of the final field tomatoes, and screens being swapped for storm windows. The predicted low for our township on Friday night was 38, but we’ve learned that our low spot in the glacial valley will usually drop further, so we were not taken unawares by the frost that came to the field, icing leaves and freezing flowers, with the temp bottoming out below 30 degrees.

top temp is the recorded low overnight on this frosty thermometer
top temp is the recorded low overnight on this frosty thermometer

It’s hard to believe that just the weekend before, I was sweating on the screen porch and not wanting to go outside into the sunshine, but that’s Minnesconsin for ya. And it looks like there is worse to come this week – I see a predicted low of 30, which could mean a hard freeze of 20 in the field! So this will be a week of preparing for that.

Woo hoo!

inside Box 16

Today was marked by yet another instance of rainy harvest, which seems to have happened a ridiculous number of times this season, given how very little rainfall we’ve had in general. It makes it tricky to pack things into paper bags, but other than that we made do pretty easily with the help of a couple of retired market canopies.

Salad mix– Neighbor Marcia suggests using these leaves in wraps and on sandwiches.

Salad row lookin' fine
Salad row lookin’ fine

Potatoes – The “All Blue” variety. They may make an odd-looking potato leek soup, but we figure you get white-fleshed potatoes most of your life. Plus these are more nutritious!

Jester acorn squash – Mom cuts these in half and steams them upside down in the oven, and then fills the bowl with butter and brown sugar. Or you could make it a main dish bu salting, oiling, baking and filling it with chicken and wild rice soup or a rice pilaf.

Ground cherries – the sweet and cute little sibling of tomatillos. We sorted out any bad or green ones but, to spare our sanity may have left some that were not completely ripe. We like both flavors – the sweet and tart and the smooth mellow ones.

using a light beneath the glass table to determine which ground cherries to keep and discard
using a light beneath the glass table to determine which ground cherries to keep and discard

Leeks – We figured out a great way to plant these using a slightly tapered table leg. Seems to have worked out well! There might be dirt between the layers, since the whole white part is grown underground. If you slice them lengthwise, you can clean out any grit that snuck in. Some recipes say to discard the green top part, but it’s still quite edible. Chop em up and sautee them in dishes!

Parsley- Great in soup, and tis the season … potato leek soup? If you roast veggies, you can toss this with them when taken from the over, to balance the earthly veggies with a fresh bright flavor.

Sweet Pepper Medley – With hard frosts looming, we harvested all the sweet peppers in the field, so this box is bountiful with them! Have you tried simply eating the red ones raw like apples? Quite good.

Eggplant – The cold weather this week is going to put an end to eggplants. We ate some sliced, salted, and fried (no batter or coating) the other night and I thought, I am going to miss you eggplant.

Salad Tomatoes – Some of the season’s last!

things you see when visiting neighboring lands during the River Road Ramble
things you see when visiting neighboring lands during the River Road Ramble
new decoration in the outdoor shower
new decoration in the outdoor shower
the bounty of summer's end at the Market last weekend
the bounty of summer’s end at the Market last weekend
gnawing on a sweet pepper
gnawing on a sweet pepper
gnawing on the mower trying to obtain a mouse. she managed to rip out the spark plug wire completely instead
Widget gnawing on the mower trying to obtain a mouse. she managed to rip out the spark plug wire completely instead

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