Westfield Area CSA Blog

Circle Brook Farm

Farm News – October 29, 2018

Hi Everyone, So the bizarre weather pattern continues — frequent rain and consistently gray skies with very little sunshine. And we continue to be frustrated that crops are growing so slowly. At least there’s no extreme cold forecast for the moment. We are waiting impatiently for the cauliflower to head up and the spinach to grow large enough to cut. It’s a small share this week, sorry. (more…)

Yacon

Yacon

Easy to grow and store, high-yielding, supernutritious and crunchy like an apple, yacon root (pronounced ya-kon) is one of the many “new” vegetables coming to us from South America.  In reality, this fruitlike vegetable has been cultivated throughout the Andes for more than a millennium.  South Americans eat it as a fruit; they also use the huge leaves to wrap foods during cooking, in the same way cabbage leaves are used in Germany, grape leaves in the Mideast and banana leaves in the tropics.  Only recently – thanks to some adventurous green thumbs – have North Americans begun to see yacon in produce markets.

In addition to its distinctive flavor – a satisfyingly sweet cross between celery and Granny Smith apples – yacon is noted for its high fiber and low calorie content.  The tubers and leaves contain high levels of inulin, a form of sugar humans cannot easily break down, making it low in calories.  Inulin also aids digestion and promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestine, while inhibiting toxic bacteria.  Recent research also has found that yacon tubers and leaves are a good source of antioxidants.  Yacon is an ideal food for diabetics and weight watchers, but it will make a delicious addition to anyone’s diet.  Plus, the tubers only get sweeter in storage.

In South America, yacon tubers can have yellow, orange, red, pink and even purple flesh, all with distinct flavors.  Unfortunately, only one or two varieties of yacon are available in the United States, and they are white-flesh varieties.  All varieties have a crunchy texture, and the water content is high enough that the tubers can be crushed to make juice.

Yacon is delicious eaten fresh with a little sugar or honey and a bit of lemon juice sprinkled over it. (Yacon recipes often contain citrus, because acidity prevents the discoloration that results once the pared tubers are exposed to air.)  Many South Americans put yacon in a fruit salad called salpicón, because the tubers add a crunchy texture to the mix.  Yacon also can be stir-fried, roasted, baked or made into pies and healthy chips.  Teas made from the leaves can reduce blood sugar by increasing the amount of insulin circulating in the blood stream.  Yacon syrups or powders also can be used as low-calorie sweeteners, and are increasingly available at natural food stores.

Skillet Roasted Parsnips and Carrots

Skillet Roasted Parsnips and Carrots

Parsnips and carrots are a classic fall side dish.  It’s best to use parsnips less than an inch wide, as wider parsnips tend to have tough, fibrous cores that are best trimmed and discarded.  Using warm water will help the sugar dissolve more readily. This recipe comes from Cook’s Illustrated and can also be found on genius kitchen.  Serves 6-8. (more…)

Circle Brook Farm

Farm News – October 22, 2018

Hi Folks! So, it hasn’t been raining much lately and the sun has even been shining from time to time. The fields are beginning to dry out a bit, although we still have deep ruts in many of our farm lanes. The weather issue we have been dealing with lately is cold nights. We have had 3 light frosts so far but no hard freeze. We are covering some crops like the peppers to try and keep them coming a little longer. Between the cold and the shorter days, everything grows a lot slower. We are waiting for the cauliflower to head up and for the spinach to get big enough to cut. I mentioned parsnips in last week’s update but we will hold off on these until next week. For this week we have rainbow carrots for you. (more…)

Bok choy

Bok Choy

Bok Choy is technically a Chinese cabbage. But until you cook with bok choy, you cannot appreciate how special it is. It has a mellow taste compared to some of the other asian greens such as tatsoi. (more…)

Bok Choy with Shiitakes and Oyster Sauce

Bok Choy with Shiitakes and Oyster Sauce

This recipe is from Mark Bittman who writes “The Minimalist” column in the New York Times.  If you do not have any dried shiitake mushrooms, so you can use fresh shiitake mushrooms. Where the recipe calls for reserved mushroom water from the dried mushrooms, you can substitute chicken broth.  Yields 4 servings.

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Broccoli Cheese Soup

Broccoli Cheese Soup

My friend made this soup for me, and it was so good, I had to share. The quantities of ingredients are approximate, so use your judgement. (more…)

Chocolate Chip Squash Bread

Chocolate Chip Squash Bread

From the Eva Bakes food blog, here’s a yummy spiced bread made with butternut squash.  You can substitute other similar winter squash for the butternut (e.g. pumpkin or buttercup), and since you’ll probably have more than 1 cup of squash purée, you’ll be able to make several loaves (they freeze well too).  Yields one 9″x5″ loaf. (more…)