NEWSLETTERSMcDougal Farms, LLC Newsletter Archive
McDougal’s Farm LLC
What’s Growing On !
September 28th, 2023
Riddle: How can one rain get you wet six times?
Answer: When it starts raining on Saturday and doesn’t stop until Wednesday.
We harvest every Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, so if your bag has rain kissed kale in it, know your farmers were well rain kissed too. We got wet often this week, but still can’t complain. We need the rain and outside of the mornings being so dark when we get started, it still doesn’t feel like we are going into October. The days have been mild and washing vegetables, which always involves getting a little wet, doesn’t seem half bad…yet.
As we move into October, with three more weeks to go, we have ample veggies to fill those bags right to the end and we feel good about that! October 19th will be our last delivery this season, and October 12th for the Every-Other-Week members. As we move towards those dates, along with the weekly harvests, tear-down begins…. If only there was a reverse button of spring prep we could push. The fences that went up, will all come down, plastic mulch roll out, will be rolled up and post pounded in, now get pulled out. Irrigation pumps hauled down the hill, will now get hauled up the hill, and the oversized irrigation hoses that never worked as much as they did this year, will finally be rolled back up and put to rest. Our beekeeper came in before daybreak this week… just like he does in the spring. Early, while the bees are still and all in their hives. But this time it was to pick them up. They are gone now, and it feels a little empty.
We had 24 hives on the farm this year. We have never had that many at one time, so we didn’t know what to expect. We have been beekeepers in the past and know the basics, but this year with those numbers, we learned something new that we have never observed or read about in the books… “Bees are not ALL about work! Give them a chance to show off on center stage and they will!” If there was a camera crew or any kind of gathering here, those bees would start their little swarm dance and if that wasn’t enough to get everyone’s attention, they would do a quick little fly over…as a cloud. We had a family reunion a couple weeks ago. From a distance we could see the bees were beginning to do that little swarm tornado they do as they await their queen to come out. When the queen bee landed on a pine branch only 15 feet above the ground, ten thousand bees piled on her to protect her. The sheer weight lowered the branch all the way to the ground, giving us all (surprise!) front row seats! Did our family run? Nope! They pulled out their phones. Not a single sting that day or all summer…. that’s just not their style.
Hope you all get a chance to sit quietly amongst the trees this week.
It’s a joy being your farmers, our work cubicle is stunning this week! Thank you!
Jerry and Maydene
What’s in the Bag
This week in your bag you will find one of the most recognized squashes and maybe one of the most versatile…the Acorn Squash. You will also find a head of green cabbage, apples, sweet peppers, our famous Bolero Carrots, potatoes, onions, and kale. We put this bag together thinking boiled dinner, veggie soup, apple cabbage coleslaw, apples stuffed acorn squash…so much goodness. Enjoy!
Ham bone with some meat on it
Cover the hambone with some water and boil for several hours. The longer you cook it, the better
the taste. Chop vegetables into large chunks. Add vegetables to ham and water, placing the
cabbage wedges on top and cover. Cook about ½ hour or until veggies are tender. Season with
salt and pepper as needed. I always added a little chicken bouillon.
Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash from Juliasalbum.com
2 acorn squash mediums
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
4 apples 2 green, 2 red
3 tablespoons brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons honey
Roast acorn squash
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Prepare the acorn squash. Cut off the top and the bottom of each acorn squash to create a flat base. Keep your fingers away from the knife to avoid injury. And make sure not to cut too deep into the base of the squash. Slice each squash in half. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and fleshy strands tangled with the seeds.
Combine melted butter with brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.
Coat the insides of the squash halves with the butter mixture.
Place acorn squash cut sides down on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
Roast in the preheated oven at 400 F for 30 minutes.
Make caramelized apples
While the squash is being roasted, prepare the apples. I used 4 apples (2 red and 2 green for presentation purposes. Core the apples and slice each one lengthwise.
Place sliced apples into a large bowl, add brown sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice, and mix. Let apples sit for about 15 minutes to release juices.
In a large pan, heat 2 tablespoons of butter on high heat. Add sliced apples (without juice at the bottom of the pan) and cook on high heat for about 3 or 5 minutes, checking periodically. After 3 or 5 minutes, flip the sliced apples to the other side and let them cook on medium-high heat for another 3 or 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Depending on how hot your stove gets, it might take you less or more time to cook apples, the key is to brown them or even get a slightly “burned” effect. But don’t overdo it, once the apples have this “roasted” appearance.
Right after you remove the pan with roasted sliced apples from the heat, immediately add honey – it will make apples sizzle and will caramelize them beautifully, off the heat.
How to stuff acorn squash
By this time, you have roasted the acorn squash for 30 minutes. The acorn squash should be soft and cooked through. If you have unusually large squash and it’s not cooked through, roast it for 10 or 15 minutes longer. Remove them from the oven and turn the cooked squash halves cut sides up.
Divide the caramelized apple mixture among the 4 halves and stuff the squash until the mixture is leveled.
Sprinkle the apple mixture with the fresh thyme. You can also, optionally, pour the delicious juices from the bowl that you used for apples over the stuffed portion of each squash.
Creamy Apple Slaw Recipe from spendwithpennies.com
½ cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon grainy mustard
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon celery seed
½ teaspoon black pepper
4 cups cabbage shredded
2 tart apples cored julienned (or shredded)
1 cup carrots shredded
Combine dressing ingredients in a small bowl & set aside.
Toss with slaw ingredients.
Allow to sit for at least 1 hour before serving.