Salamander Springs Farm/Permaculture Organics

  (Berea, Kentucky)
Permaculture in Practice: Shopper's Basket CSA
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Farewell & Thanksgiving! Thank you from Salamander Springs Farm

Today is the last CSA delivery and also Salamander Springs Farm's last Farmers’ Market of the season - so if you need to stock up for the winter, today is the day!   Since it is bit a cold and damp from the rain, we will be closing up by 6 pm, so try to arrive before then.  We would love your feedback on the season--what you have liked or not, what you would like more or less...what you have learned...  Feel free talk to me at the market today, send comments by email, or call & come out to the farm!

Winter is coming...with last weekends’ frosts, many crops have died back.  Some are hanging on with row covers, and the low tunnel hoop houses need to be moved back on the fall & winter crops...many staple crops to get out, especially the cornmeal cornfield.   I hope to have cornmeal corn dried enough to shell and grind by early November.  There are also lots of pintos & black turtle beans to shell & winnow & package in the coming months.   As you know, Salamander Springs Farm sells the staple grains & dry beans through the Local Harvest webstore, but you can avoid their fees & charges by ordering it directly from the farm--just give a call!  Also if you'd like to come out for a sunny afternoon in the next several weeks to help with corn harvest, shucking & shelling - in exchange a good meal and perhaps some dry beans or cornmeal corn?

Thank you for supporting Salamander Springs Farm this season!   Salamander Springs Farm will continue to sell at Happy Meadow in Berea & Good Foods Co-op in Lexington.  To show our gratitude for your support, we are loading you up with an extra bounty of produce this week! 


BUTTERNUT SQUASH & CHEESE PUMPKINS!  Choose any 2 at the market

“Ponca Baby” Butternuts are a short squat variety suited for today’s smaller families.  They were lucky to be earlier this season, as many of the squash & pumpkins went in late with the cornmeal corn field in the cold rainy spring. 

Cheese pumpkins are actually related to Butternuts, with sweet, nutty flesh--not stringy like orange pumpkins (see my info at the bottom about making pumpkin pie).  These beauties are called “Cheese Pumpkins” because they look like the traditional old rounds of cheese, which were cut similarly in wedges.   Autumn is time for roasted squash, pumpkin pie, and soup.  See my favorite squash/pumpkin soup recipe below!

CABBAGE OR BROCCOLI!   The fall crop is just starting so the heads are still small, but everyone gets one!

SWEET PEPPERS – a wide selection of Bell peppers and flavorful Italian varieties, including Jimmy Nardello's Roasting, Carmen, Corno di Toro sweet peppers, both green & colored.   Sweet peppers are easily chopped & frozen to use this winter and next spring; if you’d like to stock up, we'll have more at today’s market!

SALAD MIX - Tender crisp lettuce mix with Mizuna & flowers - savor the tender crispness of cool fall weather with those homemade salad dressing recipes we posted back in May!  Some of our less hardy lettuces & greens got bit by the frosts this last weekend, but most have recovered.  Time to move the low tunnel hoop houses back onto the fall/winter beds!

STIR FRY MIX:  Flavor-packed mix of Kale, Chard, Dandelion, Daikon, Mustard & Mizuna!

FIGS or JUJUBE DATES!  The fig trees produced about half as many as last year's hotter season; being close to a pond, they didn’t get burned by last weekend’s frosts so we may get few more before a freeze stops them cold.   Jujube “date apples” as their name means in Chinese, taste like little apples fresh, and then wrinkle up nice & chewily like a date as they dry.  They ripen in the dry cold fall and begin to dehydrate into dates right on the tree.  We dehydrate them for long-term use in the solar dehydrator on the farm.  See info below about the nutritional and medicinal benefits of Jujubes!

HARDY CITRUS FRUITS!  What are those little citrus balls in my box, you say?  This is KY’s answer to local lemon juice or zest!  This hardy "Trifoliate Orange” tree produces many of these seedy little fruit every year on its wicked thorny branches.  They are sour, like lemon juice and mostly seeds--it takes a few of them to get a tablespoon of juice!  The most you can expect I guess from a citrus tree this far north...

HEIRLOOM SWEET POTATOES - mix of Bradshaw Red & O’Henry White:  several bigger ones + a bag of tender shoots for stir fries or roasted veggies.  Enjoy the sweet flavor and tenderness of these old time heirloom varieties, whether baked with butter & salt, chopped for stir-fries, soups or last weeks’ easy recipe for yummy oven-roasted “Home Fries.”   Never refrigerate sweet potatoes--these sub-tropical beauties hate cold keep best at room temperature.

ZUCCHINI OR SUMMER SQUASH- savor the last the last tender fruits of the season, harvested before the frost bit--Italian Costata Romanesco zucchini, Patty Pan (Scallopini) or straight neck summer squash.

YELLOW STORAGE ONIONS – down to the smallest ones now; they will store into the early spring.

HOT PEPPERS - Take a selection to warm up with on these chilly fall evenings, and put some flavor in your RECIPES.   We have Límon, Thai, Habanero, Jalapeno, green chilis and Cayenne.  If you are not into hot peppers but want some spice & flavor, we have Sweet Banana & Paprika peppers - or take an extra sweet pepper!

NETTLES, PARSLEY OR BASILselect your your choice.  For a medicinal nutrient-rich boost, take a quart bag of fresh nettles; read back to our May 22 posting for the amazing benefits of nettles and how to use them! Parsley's nutritional benefits were also posted in May.  If you'd prefer Basil, we have a couple bags -the last of the season, harvested Saturday night before frost descended to burn the plants!

BREAD & GOODIES from Clementine Bakery - Cheers and gratitude to Drew & Lindsey for a tasty season!


Susana’s favorite Pumpkin Soup!

You can also use Butternut squash for this recipe.  Make ahead for the holidays - it freezes well!
Halve a cheese pumpkin with a big knife along grooves, scoop out seeds, then quarter it (cut more wedges)   Place pieces in roasting pan with some water, cover & roast about 45 min at 375°F.  If it’s a big pumpkin, you can eat some roasted (yummy with rosemary, salt & butter).
  Scoop out and save about 6 cups (mashed into measuring cup).

Saute in a soup stockpot about 5 minutes while stirring:
2 T olive oil      

1 medium onion, chopped      

2 stalks celery, chopped    

 2 cloves garlic, minced   


2 T freshly grated ginger root

1/2 t turmeric (I also use fresh turmeric. Autumn is also ginger & turmeric season-we just harvested ours!)    

2 t curry powder

1/4 t crushed red peppers  (I dry & crush Cayenne chilis)  

1 t ground cumin    

1 t coriander

Lower flame and saute another 5 minutes.  Add pumpkin and stir to coat with spices.  Cook 5 more minutes while stirring to keep from browning.

4 cups hot vegetable or chicken broth mixed with 1T sorghum or brown sugar.
Reduce heat & simmer 20 minutes until soft & creamy.  Mash with potato masher (or purée in a food processor if you want it really smooth).

You can now set aside or freeze in a tupperware until ready to serve!

Reheat gently and stir in:

1/2 cup heavy cream, milk or coconut milk.
Sir over heat a few minutes until warm and serve sprinkled with garnish--cream/chives/cilantro/pecans...   

CHEESE PUMPKIN AS A SOUP TUREEN! You can also roast one of these beautiful cheese pumpkins WHOLE - with a lid cut out and emptied of seeds.  Place it at center of table filled with pumpkin soup!  


Do not use Curcubita pepo sp. varieties like the standard orange Halloween pumpkins which cook up stringy, insipid, and watery!  Curcubita moschata sp. varieties like Cheese pumpkin or Butternut squash make a better custard:  they have smooth grained, dense, richly orange colored flesh
and are higher in nutrients and sugars.    

Cut pumpkin or squash into large wedges and oven-roast in a covered roasting pan with enough water to cook until soft (about 45 min.). You can also cube and cook in a pot of water.  Allow cooked pumpkin to completely drain and cool, then puree in a food processor.
For every 2 cups of pureed pumpkin, add 2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. ginger, 1/4 tsp. cloves, 1/2 tsp. salt and other pie spices if you like. You're essentially making a custard;  add 2 eggs, 1 cup whole milk or light cream and 3/4 cup sugar.

Blend well and pour into a deep unbaked pie crust.
Bake in preheated 350° F oven for 45 minutes+ depending on your oven and depth of your pie.  Check the center for firmness of the custard filling toward the end of the baking time.  
Don't let it over cook or scorch.  ENJOY with fresh cream, whipped in a blender.  Happy Holidays!


ABOUT Dried JUJUBE “DATES” from Salamander Springs Farm:
Treasured throughout the Orient and in Asian, Indian & health food stores in the USA, these apple-flavored Chinese jujube fruit contain 18 of the 24 essential amino acids!  Jujube (Zizyphus jujuba) is a drought-tolerant tree hardy as far north as Zone 6.  We harvest fruits as they turn red-brown in October and dry in our solar dehydrator. 
Jujube extract is used in Chinese traditional medicine for it’s detoxifying, anti-carcinogenic properties and for the treatment of anxiety and insomnia.  Jujube saponins have been found to have calming and sedative properties.  Research of jujube extract at Osaka University, Japan, found anti-cancer activity in “decreased viability and differential cell cycle arrest of human hepatoma (HepG2) cells.”

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