Tree forts. Capture the flag. Riding bikes. Hide and go seek. Cutting through a new swath of wild land to get home before the sun goes down. Finding a creek. Spending a whole summer experiencing crawdads, submerged and partially decayed logs, dragonflies, polywogs, moss, fish, mud, cattails and some really mean geese. Try to build a raft. Have your raft fail. Think about it. Try again. Build a better raft. Have that one fail. Try harder. Finally build a raft that floats. Then build a raft that floats you and a friend. Make a rabbit trap. You know the one I am talking about. The one with the carrot dangling under a box. Hide behind a rock for 7 hours straight. Like wily Coyote, holding the string in anticipation. Get completely skunked. As a result, come to the realization at a very young age that cartoons are bullshit. Go out for a whole day with nothing but some curiosity and energy to spend. Throwing rocks. Kicking cans. Exploring. Gathering various fruit from the trees that hang over the fences. Have a feast on top of the water tower. Have a fruit fight with the leftovers. Drink water from strangers water hoses. (It was ok). It was all ok. Thank you trees. Thank you long dirt roads. Thank you rocks. Thank you dead lizards. Thank you Mr Neidenmeyers’ black lab who used to chase me from his driveway and all the way to Foss Lane. Thanks for teaching me to be aware of my surroundings. Thank you black lab. For teaching me about real dangers and how to anticipate and navigate them successfully. And thank you mom and dad for trusting that the world works well enough for a 10 year old to go out and have a genuine worthwhile experience without an I phone or even a watch for that matter. Yet still return himself home before dark and on his own volition. Most of all, thank you nature. For being there. Always still. I have found that upon years of observation, as well as much close inspection, it is eminently clear that you do nothing uselessly. I’ve never seen you tire. You never ask for anything. You are pure service. Forever giving. The ultimate teacher for those of us lucky enough who have taken the time to be educated instead of schooled.
Bell peppers, Jalapenos and Sweet frying peppers
Butternut, or Spaghetti or Fairytale pumpkin squash
These amazing Sungold cherry tomatoes are back. All hail! the candy of fruit. You know that you have been a member of a local farm food group for over a year when……………..
You had something you really liked in your box. And then it went away for a long time. And then it came back. If you remember these from before, welcome to your second season with the farm at Blue Sky Ranch! Unless it is your third. Or fourth season of course.
The jalapenos are all ripe. That means they are red. a little soft. And sweeter than green jalapenos. The the two varieties of pepper in the box are Cubanelle and hungarian sweet. They are both sweet frying varieties. So, there are no peppers in this weeks box that are going to send you running to get a glass of ice water. Promise.
I want to share how I like to work with the spaghetti squash. We harvest them a little earlier than the store. So, sometimes they are not fully stringy yet. But they are still wonderful. We cut them in half, pull out the seeds, steam both halves until the flesh gets soft. Pull out the two halves and let them cool a little. Then hold the warm half squash in one hand and scrape the squash out into a bowl with a fork in the other. Repeat with the other half and than add a drizzle of coconut oil and a squirt of lime. Stir and serve. Totally refreshing! Fresh pesto instead of coconut oil and lime is another favorite.
Butternuts and Fairytails are interchangeable in recipes. Here is a real hearty and cheap soup…Pinto Bean and Tomato, Butternut Squash Soup
Roasted Tomato, Squash & Coconut Milk Bisque
2 tomatoes halved. 1 cup cherry tomatoes works too.
1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
1/2 can light coconut milk
3/4 cups vegetable stock or water
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the tomatoes cut side up on a baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt. Rub oil over both sides of the tomatoes. Place the squash on another baking sheet, drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt. Rub oil over all sides of the squash. Roast the tomatoes and squash for 30 minutes, flipping the squash halfway through. The tomatoes should be shriveling but not bursting and the squash should look nicely browned.
Chop the onion, mince the garlic and grate the ginger. When the tomatoes and squash are almost done, heat about 2 tablespoons of oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic and ginger and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the tomatoes, squash, coconut milk and stock and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, or until squash is very soft. Taste and add salt if needed.
Let soup cool slightly and puree until very smooth with a stick blender or in batches with a countertop blender. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding a squeeze of lemon if soup needs a little brightness. Serve immediately or let cool and freeze for up to 3 months.