Weeks 27 and 28: Thinking inside the farmbox

The last few shares were hearty. The farmers at Nichols Farm noted in the week 27 email that the leafy greens are almost gone, and they’re planning for next year. I enjoy picking out plants, herbs, and vegetables for the five or six pots that sit on my small balcony, so I think it would be a lot of fun to be able to choose a wide variety of plants to grow in acres of fields.

Week 27 brought garlic, Russian Blue potatoes, watermelon radishes, rutabaga, onions, carnival squash, red beets, cabbage, and apples.

The Russian Blue potatoes are pretty, and they are great either boiled or roasted. This particular batch was boiled, sliced, and drizzled with olive oil and salt. I put them on the plate under roasted salmon, which was topped with herby Greek yogurt and radishes.

Although, they typically are not part of a winter harvest, I wanted some greens for a side dish, so I purchased some mixed baby lettuce and tossed it with roasted beets, toasted walnuts and Gorgonzola. Beets and blue cheese is a delicious combination—one that I could never get tired of eating.

I also made a salad with the watermelon radishes. I’m not sure I have ever eaten a watermelon radish before this year, although I know I’ve seen them on menus. However I’ve discovered the pretty pink sliced radishes are delicious with lemon, chives, olive oil, and burrata. I’ve made this particular salad twice, and honestly, I’m not sure I want to eat my watermelon radishes any other way.

I’m getting a little better at using the cabbage. It pairs well with pork, so this week, we had sautéed pork chops with sweet and sour red cabbage and oven-roasted apples.

Week 28 brought the second-to-last pickup, and the box contained some large, freshly harvested leeks. According to the farmers at Nichols Farm, winter leeks are “incredibly sweet” because they have been well frozen.

This particular share contained the leeks, fingerling potatoes, radishes, purple carrots, sunchokes, cabbage, and butternut squash.

I wanted to be sure I used the winter leeks quickly before they went bad, so I made a leek and butternut squash soup. I had made some pimiento cheese to take to a holiday party. There were leftovers, so I used the extra cheese to make grilled pimiento cheese sandwiches for dipping into the soup. It was a perfect meal for a cold day.

I saw a recipe in the Thanksgiving issue of Bon Appétit for balsamic-glazed sunchokes that I wanted to try. I’ve also made this twice, and I think it would be a great dinner-party dish because it’s easy to make and impressively easy and tasty.

Balsamic-glazed sunchokes

Balsamic-glazed sunchokes

As I’ve worked through the potatoes in this year’s CSA, I’ve decided that next year, I’m going to do a little more research regarding the best ways to prepare the different types of potatoes. Sometimes, I hit the nail on the head with a recipe, and other times, it would be just ok. Fingerlings are great roasted. I never have to try to scrape them off the pan, and they get crispy and golden brown.

I braised the cabbage with bacon and onions. It was tasty, but I thought it was a rich side dish. I’m still figuring out what to do with the radishes and purple carrots, and I’ll post an update in the next post, which will feature the last box of the year. The final box always brings mixed emotions. I’m sad my weekly delivery of fresh vegetables has come to an end, but I’m excited to have at least a small break from cooking almost every night. I’ll make some wintry favorites and become reacquainted with my favorite takeout restaurants. I’m sure they have forgotten who I am.