We had just marked the summer solstice when we first started receiving boxes of fresh vegetables through our CSA share.
Farmer Debbie Fox from White House Gardens in Sharon Center filled our box with plenty of early greens — lettuce, spinach and kale.
In the 19 weeks since then, our box has featured the colors of the rainbow, from tomatoes in every shade of red to big purple eggplants.
Our CSA, or farm share, was purchased for 18 weeks, but Fox added in a bonus week because her crops were still producing well.
Our final box included plenty of favorites: lettuce, peppers, carrots, broccoli and beautiful beets, as well as a giant bag of onions, a stalk of celery, some Brussels sprouts, a butternut squash, and a picture-perfect head of red cabbage.
The end of our harvest comes with the bittersweet news that White House Gardens will not be offering farm shares next year. Fox has decided to discontinue her CSA.
“I love growing, but am just plain worn out. Not sure what the future will bring, but I hope you will continue to eat locally and seasonally, whether you join another CSA, shop at the farmers market, and/or grow your own,” she wrote to subscribers in her weekly newsletter that accompanies the boxes of vegetables.
While our harvest series also is coming to an end, there is still plenty of fresh produce at local farm stands and farmers markets, many of which will continue throughout the winter.
We’ll finish the season with a few final recipes.
One, for red cabbage slaw, seemed to be the perfect use for that spectacular cabbage. It would be a great accompaniment at a tailgate party for any grilled food or hearty autumn sandwiches like sausages, pulled pork or even sloppy joes.
For the butternut squash, using it in a pasta dish is a nice alternative to the soup recipes that abound for this fall favorite. Feel free to lighten up the dish by using half-and-half instead of the heavy cream called for in the ingredient list.
Both recipes come from a new book from British publishing house DK Publishing, Cooking Season by Season: 1000 Recipes to Cook Through the Year.
RED CABBAGE SLAW
For the salad:
½ small red cabbage, finely shredded
2 celery stalks, chopped
½ small red onion, thinly sliced
1 red apple, cored and diced, skin on
1 green apple, cored and diced, skin on
Large handful of raisins
Large handful of walnuts, coarsely chopped
For the dressing:
6 tbsp. heavy cream
2 tsp. light brown sugar
½ tsp. Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
Mix all the salad ingredients together in a salad bowl.
To make the dressing, lightly whip the cream with the sugar. Whisk in the mustard and a little salt and pepper. Whisk in the vinegar to form a thick pouring consistency.
Pour over the salad. Toss well. Any leftover salad will keep in the fridge for 2 to 3 days.
Makes 6 servings.
PASTA WITH BUTTERNUT SQUASH, CREAM AND SAGE
1 butternut squash, halved, seeded, peeled and cubed
Pinch of chile flakes
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, grated or finely chopped
6 sage leaves, coarsely chopped
⅔ cup heavy cream (see note)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 oz. shell pasta
Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the squash in a large roasting pan, sprinkle with the chile flakes, and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Combine well and roast in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the squash starts to soften.
Heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan, add the onion, and cook over low heat for 5 minutes or until soft and translucent. Add the almost-cooked squash, garlic and sage leaves, and stir together. Pour in the cream and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Season well with salt and lots of pepper.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pan of boiling, salted water for 10 minutes, or until it is tender but still firm to the bite. Drain, reserving a small amount of the cooking water. Return pasta to the pan and toss it with the reserved cooking water. Then toss the pasta with the sauce, sprinkle with Parmesan and serve.
Makes 4 servings.
Editor’s note: To lighten dish, substitute half-and-half.
Find previous installments of This Week’s Harvest and a list of local farmers markets at http://www.ohio.com/lifestyle/food.