I love October. Things finally cool off, and the cool season crops have reached their glory. Our table at the market is loaded with all types of greens, lettuce, cabbage, beets, turnips, broccoli, arugula, herbs, mesclun, cress, and even the last of the peppers. Actually, we even have a few tomatoes left in October, which makes this month the best of all worlds! Both summer and winter produce are available. We need a bigger table!
Our CSA bags are loaded up with all this abundance. This is a time when some CSA customers look a little bit stressed about how to eat up all the produce in their bags. In reality, all the greens look huge in a bag, but once you start chopping and cooking, they shrink down quickly. Locavores also need to start getting in winter mode this time of year, and get creative with some of the root vegetables. Common items in a CSA bag include sweet potatoes, turnips, beets, and radishes. Some of these are challenging to people. When all else fails, add olive oil, rosemary, and garlic and roast them! Even better, add some bacon! Fear no roots! Radishes are yummy on the best baguette you can find. Cut the bread into thin slices, smear with the best butter you can find, and lay thin sliced radishes on the butter. Add a little salt, and voila, you have a yummy nutritious snack a la France. We also have been mixing our unique lettuce mix, and putting it in our CSA bags. I love interesting salads that have more baby greens in it than just lettuce. Our mix in October includes baby lettuce, baby kale, baby chard, baby pac choy, baby mizuna, and even some baby beet leaves. So yummy and so good for you. This is not your mama’s iceberg lettuce. These beautiful greens are an excellent way to end our Summer CSA, and usher in our Winter CSA that starts November 1. Almost everyone who is a summer member doesn’t want to see it end, and signs up for winter.
October is also a great time for our restaurant business. We spend a lot of time thinking about unique things we can offer the chefs. While we can’t compete price-wise with some large growers, we can own the specialty business! So, we have big plantings of baby carrots, baby beets, baby turnips, different baby greens, unique herbs, unusual things such a cress, beautiful mesclun, and micro sized pac choy. All of these things are items chefs just can’t find from their restaurant supply guy, but sure do make their plates scream of fresh, unique, and Farm to Table!
This month we met a new young grower. His name is Declan Rollins, and he lives in Ruby, SC. Although he is only 23 years old, he is a great young grower. I went to his farm last week to meet him. I saw young cows in the pasture with thick shiny coats, guinea hens roaming around, chickens foraging, rows of huge collard greens were shifting in the breeze, and the cabbage were looking beautiful all in a row. Best of all, none of the veggies were sprayed with any pesticides at all! This was a unique young man, who I am sure we will be working with in the future. He is a great example of an excellent farmer who we want to support, but someone who might not enjoy going into Charlotte, working a market, dealing with restaurants or any of these types of “sales and marketing” things. We want him to succeed, so look for his beautiful collards and cabbage on our market table, at some of the best restaurants in town, and in your CSA bags! We need these young farmers.
Eat your greens!