This was a propitious week for us, the beginning of our winter CSA subscription. The first box from Even' Star Organic Farm in Lexington Park, MD arrived on Thursday.
Inside the box were some lovely Beauregard sweet potatoes along with one very long Courge de Longue squash (very much like a butternut squash), some arugula, ancho and Peachy Mama peppers, French breakfast radishes, heirloom eggplants and one dozen brown eggs from farmer Bretts Grohsgal's pastured hens.
This year we are splitting the subscription with our friends Helen and Jeff. There's just too much vegetable matter in each week's delivery for our small family to manage. In the deepest part of winter, we will be seeing tons of greens: kales, collards, mustards. We love our greens, but we can only eat so many at a time.
Things will be a bit different this year because of the prolonged drought that plagued our part of the country. Brett announced that he was accepting no more winter subscribers because he spent much of his summer running irrigation pipes around the farm. At one point, he was sucking mud off the bottom of his holding ponds.
In the most recent of his regular e-mails to subscribers (always newsy, written with flair and well worth the price of admission), Brett reports that many of his winter crops--rutabagas, turnips, collards and kales--were destroyed, either by lack of rain or by starving grasshoppers.
What did survive were sweet potatoes--lots of sweet potatoes. Last week Brett and his wife Christine held their annual fall bash for subscribers. This consists of several dozen families driving their automobiles into a parking area in the fields and feasting on a groaning buffet of exotic dishes such as venison posole, prepared by Brett--a former chef--in huge pots. Conveniently, there is also a keg of cold beer.
Many of the guests take a tour around the farm conducted by Brett while the kids chase through the nearby woods hunting for Halloween candy on a specially designated trail. Then there's a bonfire and subscribers are invited to pitch tents anywhere they please and spend the night gazing at a sky brilliantly lit with stars, especially the Orion constellation for which the winter subscription is named.
As we arrived, I couldn't help noticing huge piles of sweet potatoes outside the farm house, surrounded by empty milk crates where workers obviously had been seated recently sorting through the crop. Being in our fourth year of the subscription now, I surmise that we'll be seeing quite a few sweet potatoes in our box in the coming weeks.
Got any recipes for sweet potatoes you'd like to share?