CSA (10/22/2015): First frost!

 October 22, 2015

turnipsThe first frost of the year came to Root Down in the early morning hours on Sunday. When we arrived at the farm at daybreak, the fields were covered in a light white frosting, but the plants had mostly come through it fine. We had taken necessary precautions, harvesting all the eggplant and peppers we could and covering the more sensitive greens. But the second night of sub-zero temps really did us in. Even our cold hardy crops, like kale and broccoli, had had a rough time of it. The warm days brought them back a bit in time for CSA harvest, but we’re clearly on the far side of the mountain now.

This is Week 19 of our CSA season, and the dramatic slowdown of first frost is not an entirely unwelcome thing. It also dramatically improves the flavor of our cool season crops.

napa2This week we have some fine Napa cabbage in the box. Those of you returning from last year might notice we’ve done a lot better on this crop this year. Staying ahead of pest control was key, as was planting for a fall harvest instead of an early summer one. Napa is native to┬áChina and it’s ubiquitous in Asian cuisines. Though it’s fine to handle it American-style and make a slaw (try this or this), Napa truly begs to be cooked.

In my kitchen, Napa cabbage means one thing — kimchi. I’ve been refining a version of this recipe for several years, the key to which is getting your hands on some traditional Korean chilli powder and wilting the hell out of it before you do the ferment.

But there are a ton of other options if spicy cabbage isn’t your thing. This warming winter Miso soup combines Napa with some other Asian staples. There are tons of stir fry options (try this or this). You can even grill it.

How are you using yours? Post your photos and recipes on our Facebook page.