Saturday, September 15, 2007

Two Farms Newsletter #413

September 12, 200

1) In your box this week
2) Thelma Sanders
3) Renewal Time
4) Sunday Tomato/Pumpkin Upick! Sept. 23rd
5) Photos
6) Recipes
7) Which Farm?
8) Unsubscribe
9) Two Small Farms Contact Information


1) In your box this week: Tomatoes, Sweet Peppers, Leeks, Thelma Sanders Winter Squash, Potatoes, Stephen Mystery, Lettuce

This week's vegetable list
: I try to have it updated by Monday night, sometimes by Mon. am

How to store this week's bounty: all (except tomatoes and squash) in the fridge as soon as you arrive home.

The tomatoes and winter squash can be stored at room temperature. Potatoes in the fridge, use them within the week if possible.


2) Thelma Sanders Lives, by Stephen

Hard, or winter, squash are one ofmy favorite things to grow. Because we only plant a single seed line on our 64" beds, as opposed to 8 seed lines when we plant some of our high density crops like radishes or baby spinach, they are easy to plant and cultivate on our steep hillsides. And because they aren't as fussy about soil fertility as some of the other things we grow, we can usually get a good crop by adding little more than the over-winter cover crop that we incorporate before planting in spring. Because the plants grow quickly and shade out most weeds with their broad leaves, controlling weeds in squash is also much easier than in other crops.

In addition to these practical reasons for liking hard squash, I also love to eat them. Halved and baked or cubed and steamed they make a quick, easy and satisfying addition to any meal. But they also lend themselves to more elaborate preparations, like pureed soups and sauces, pies and even filling for ravioli.

The term "winter squash" can throw people off because they are actually grown in spring and summer. However, because they keep well and in some cases their flavor actually improves in storage they are usually consumed in fall and winter-hence the term "winter." The squash that people commonly consume falls into one of five species in the Cucurbitaceae family. In general, summer squashes are those that are picked and eaten in their immature stage-when their skin is still tender and their seeds still small and undeveloped. Winter squash conversely is harvested after it has formed a tough skin, fully developed seeds and the plant that bore them has died and dried up.

For the most part varieties have been developed for either one purpose or the other. Summer squash tend to grow on more upright, "bush" type plants, chosen for ease of picking when planted in straight rows. They are generally picked 3 times per week over a month or more. Winter squash on the other hand tend to set on long sprawling vines that intermingle with their neighbors to form a dense impenetrable mat-practical only for a one time harvest after the vines have died away. In Latin America , however, some varieties are used for both, picking young fruit for use as "summer squash" and allowing others to develop fully into hard squashes.

You may remember that last year we planted a trial of over 80 varieties of hard squash and pumpkins. Of those, we found six or seven varieties we really liked. This year we planted a few of these on a much larger scale. One of our very favorites, the Thelma Sanders Sweet Potato is in your box this week. This is a true heirloom variety of acorn squash first domesticated by Native Americans. It was cultivated by Thelma Sanders, a home gardener from Adair County , Missouri and the seeds were passed along by friends and neighbors. What we liked best about this squash, in addition to the fact that it grew vigorously and yielded heavily, is its eating qualities. Its thick, moist, golden flesh is sweet and totally nonstringy. And the entire squash is truly edible, unlike other acorn types which have been bred with a skin tough enough to withstand the rigors of harvest and long distance shipping. Thelma Sanders' skin cooks up very tender and doesn't need to be peeled away. The seeds are also easily removed and are delicious toasted with a little salt.

In a few weeks you'll get another type of heirloom hard squash, called Sibley. This one is a completely different species (cucurbita maxima vs. the Thelma Sanders' cucurbita pepo) and is in the banana squash group. It keeps extremely well, has a dry flesh, and very rich delicate flavor which gets better with storage. It was released originally in 1887, but had been all but forgotten until obtained from an old woman in Iowa who had grown it for more than 50 years. We loved both of these squashes and want to help keep these wonderful heirloom varieties alive for future generations.

copyright 2007 Stephen Pedersen


3) Renewal time is coming!

This week, September 12/13/14 is the last paid share of the current session. The final 9 weeks starts the week of September 19/20/21. Cost is $180 or $234 with flowers. You can mail a check to

Two Small Farms, PO Box 2065
Watsonville , CA 95077

Please contact Zelda at the office: or 831-786-0265 to confirm you want to continue.


4) Tomato/Pumpkin Upick on Sunday, Sept. 23rd

CHANGED DATE: Andy and Julia of Mariquita Farm will have a Tomato/Pumpkin/Weird Squash Upick on SUNDAY Sept. 23rd. 9am to 1pm. join us!

Tomatoes! We can sell 20# of San Marzano 'paste' tomatoes as an 'extra'. 20# boxes are $29 delivered to your
pick up site. Contact Zelda in the office to order. 831 786 0625 or reply to this email.


5) Photos:


acorn squash: (this is a photo of Andy's 'regular' acorn squash from a few years ago, I don't know what the Thelma Sanders look like! maybe similar?? I've not yet received my box! -julia)

Photo Gallery


6) Recipes

Roasted Acorn Squash and Carrot Puree

adapted from Entertaining 1-2-3 by Rozanne Gold

2 pounds acorn squash (give or take!)
1 pound carrots (ditto: give or take)
1/4 cup apple butter

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

Cut squash in half and remove seeds. Cut off rind with a small sharp knife (or leave in tact! the Thelma Sanders variety doesn't need to be peeled.) Cut up squash into 1 inch cubes.

Peel carrots and cut into 1 inch pieces. Mix squash and carrots with 2 tablespoons apple butter, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and freshly ground black pepper. PLace mixture on a baking sheet big enough to accommodate vegetables in one layer. Add 3 Tablespoons water and cover with foil.

Bake for 1 hour. Remove foil. Add 1/4 cup water and bake for 20 minutes more. Transfer vegetables to food processor and process until very smooth. This must be done in several batches.

Transfer to medium pot. Add remaining apple butter (2-3 tablespoons?) and S & P to taste. Reheat gently before serving. Can be made ahead!

Steamed Halibut with Leek Fondue

adapted from Entertaining 1-2-3 by Rozanne Gold

1 1/4 pound leeks
7 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 1-inch-thick halibut steaks (about 12 ounces each)

Remove all the dark green parts from leeks. Discard. Wash leeks well, making sure to remove any dirt between the leaves. Pat dry.

Slice only the white parts of leeks paper-thin. Melt butter in medium pot. Add leeks, 6 tablespoons water, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a pinch of black pepper. Bring to a quick boil, then lower heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 25 minutes.

Add 1/4 cup water, cover, and cook for 10 minutes more. Leeks shouldbe very soft and form a fondue, which means 'melted'. Set aside.

Season halibut lightly with salt and white pepper. Place in large flat steamer, osteam in 2 large non stick skillets in 1/2 inch water. Steam over medium heat for 7-10 minutes until barely opaque, be careful not to overcook.

Gently reheat leek fondue. Add salt to taste. Pour over hot fish. Serve immediately. Pass a peppermill around.

Simplest Winter Squash from Julia:

bake, steam, boil, or even 'crock pot' the squash: I ususally remove the stem, cut in half, remove seeds, then cook. THEN you can just eat the flesh, or puree and make pumpkin bread (pumpkin is a squash!), season and serve as a side dish, make a soup, etc.

Classic Acorn Squash from Simply Recipes Elise's original post with a nice photo:

1 Acorn squash
1 Tbsp Butter
2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
2 teaspoons Maple Syrup
Dash of Salt
1 Preheat oven to 400°F.

2 Using a strong chef's knife, and perhaps a rubber mallet to help, cut the acorn squash in half, lengthwise, from stem to end. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff in the center of each half. Score the insides of each half several times with a sharp knife. Place each half in a baking pan, cut side up. Add about a 1/4 inch of water to the bottom of the baking pan so that the skins don't burn and the squash doesn't get dried out.

3 Coat the inside of each half with 1/2 a Tbsp of butter. Add a dash of salt if you are using unsalted butter. Add a Tbsp of brown sugar to the cavity of each half. Dribble on a teaspoon of maple syrup to each half.

4 Bake in the oven for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, until the squash is very soft and the tops are browned. Do not undercook. When finished, remove from oven and let cool a little before serving. Spoon any buttery sugar sauce that has not already been absorbed by the squash over the exposed areas.

Serves 2 to 4, depending on how much squash you like to eat.


Julia's note: I'm not from the East Coast and I do love winter squash: but not sweet, 'classic' winter squash with maple syrup etc. I'll save the syrup for my waffles. This recipe intrigues me: I plan to try it this weekend. Let me (or the blog) know if you try it. Say yes to savory, spicy squash recipes!

Makes 4 servings.


2 (1 1/2 - to 1 3/4-lb) acorn squash
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, or to taste
1 to 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh hot red chile, including seeds
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro


Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 450°F. Halve squash lengthwise, then cut off and discard stem ends. Scoop out seeds and cut squash lengthwise into 3/4-inch-wide wedges. Toss squash with black pepper, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 2 tablespoons oil in a bowl, then arrange, cut sides down, in 2 large shallow baking pans. Roast squash, switching position of pans halfway through roasting, until squash is tender and undersides of wedges are golden brown, 25 to 35 minutes.

While squash roasts, mince garlic and mash to a paste with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Transfer paste to a small bowl and whisk in lime juice, chile (to taste), cilantro, and remaining 1/4 cup oil until combined. Transfer squash, browned sides up, to a platter and drizzle with vinaigrette.

Aromatic Leek and Potato Soup

4 large boiling potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 large leeks, cut in half, cleaned, and sliced into long, thin strips
4 cups (1 quart) water
1 cup buttermilk, or 1 cup low fat or nonfat plain yogurt, whisked until light and thin


S & P to taste
1 cup minced fresh herbs: parsley, chives, cilantro, chervil, dill, or a mixture

In a large saucepan, combine the potatoes, leeks, and water. Bring to a boil over med-high heat, cover, and turn the heat down to med-low. Simmer until the potatoes are tender enough to cut with a spoon, and the leeks are equally soft. This should take about 40 minutes. In a blender or food processor (or julia's favorite: with an immersion blender!), puree the vegetables in the cooking water, doing this in batches if necessary, then return to the saucepan if you're not using an immersion blender. Add the buttermilk or yogurt, and heat hte soup slowly over low heat, uncovered, until just warmed through. Season with S & P, and serve warm, sprinkled with the fresh herbs. Or, chill the soup, covered, and serve it cold. Serves 4. Per serving: 260 calories using non fat yogurt, fat .7 grams, protein 6.2 grams. I don't know the fiber.

Leeks Braised in Red Wine

adapted from Vegetables Every Day by Jack Bishop

6 medium leeks
2 tablespoons butter
about 2 cups red wine
1 bay leaf
8 black peppercorns
1 teaspoon fresh thyme or ½ teaspoon dried

1. Trim and discard the dark green tops and tough outer leaves from the leeks. Remove the roots along with a very thin slice of the nearby white part. Halve the leeks lengthwise and wash them under cold, running water. Gently spread apart but do not separate the inner layers to remove all traces of soil. If the leeks are particularly sandy, soak them in several changes of clean water.

2. Melt the butter in a large saute pan set over medium heat. Add the leeks, piling them up in two layers. Season with salt to taste. Add the 2 cups wine and the bay leaf, peppercorns, and thyme. The wine should just reach the bottom of the top layer of leeks. If not, add more wine.

3. Bring the wine to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer until the leeks are tender, 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the leeks.

4. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the leeks to a serving platter and cover with foil to keep warm. Turn the heat to high and boil the sauce until it becomes syrupy and redues to about 1/4 cup, about 10 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaf and peppercorns. Add back any accumulated juices on the platter with the leeks and reduce the sauce again if necessary. Adjust the seasonings in the sauce and then drizzle it over the leeks. Serve immediately.

pepper recipes

More Recipes


7) Which Farm?

>From High Ground: Winter Squash, Leeks, mystery, Flowers.

>From Mariquita: Tomatoes, Peppers, Potatoes

Lakeside Organics: Lettuce


8) Unsubscribe/Subscribe From/To This Newsletter

Two Small Farms Blog

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9) Two Small Farms Contact Information

Two Small Farms

Mariquita Farm/High Ground Organics

Organically Grown Vegetables


P.O. Box 2065

Watsonville, CA 95077

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