Last armload of veggies from the farm

My CSA subscription ends when the garden season comes to a close. Monday night was my last pickup from the Garden of Earthly Delights until next spring. For 18 weeks I’ve been able to stop by the garden to gather an armload of fresh vegetables and fruit, and tonight the haul was the biggest yet.

The first handoff was a 3-pound bag of freshly dug potatoes: Russian banana fingerlings, golden French fingerling potatoes and some Peruvian purples to round out the rainbow.

The minute I hit the kitchen I washed the bejabbers out of my spuds, cut the biggest ones down to the size of the smallest (about an inch by an inch or a little bigger), added the two fresh onions, which I had sliced thin, plus several cloves of garlic (skin on). Drizzled the whole pile with some good olive oil and tossed with coarse salt and fresh pepper. I baked them for about an hour at 400.

The first winter squash made an appearance Monday. I chose the variety Carnival, speckled green, orange and cream with a nice gold center. It’s best to cut them in half, scoop out the seeds, place the squash face down in a baking dish and bake at 350 until you can poke with a fork – maybe an hour later.

You also can cut it in half, cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 7-10 minutes. I like mine with butter and salt and pepper. Gardener Casey O’Leary goes all out with fresh sage leaves fried in butter (recipe for decadence at the end of the story).

To get your kids to eat squash, Casey suggested cutting the squash in half, removing the seeds, filling the cavity with apple pieces, butter, sugar or honey, cinnamon and nutmeg. Bake until tender. Oh, yes, the house will smell awesome!

A double handful of petite beets and their attached greens will find their way into the big saut pan Tuesday night. When they are about half cooked, the collards will be added, a clove of magic garlic chopped and tossed into the pot as well. Dress it all up with a splash of vinegar and salt and pepper.

The beloved and adored members of the nightshade family are making a valiant last stand in the kitchen this time of year. I picked a deep purple eggplant to go with tomatoes, peppers, green and yellow summer squash. These hot-season vegetables make the perfect autumn dish, a hearty ratatouille. Toss in a handful of the basil and dream of next summer.

Farmer Casey shared her recipe for sage butter and fried sage leaves. Here it is – eat it with gusto. It’s especially nice with the winter squash.

Fried sage leaves:

Put a large handful of sage leaves in a skillet with a stick of salted butter and cook over medium-high heat until the butter starts to turn a caramel color, be patient – it will. When it does, pour off the butter into a separate container. You now have tasty fried sage leaves to top your meal, as well as sage-infused butter that adds a wonderful taste and aroma to most winter vegetables. Bon appetit!

Earthly Delights is a community supported agriculture farm in Boise that provides 18 weeks of produce and other farm products to subscribers who signed up last fall. I have participated in this CSA for the last two years and was asked to contribute an online journal about my share (for the Idaho Statesman).