A Farmfluence Thanksgiving
Farmers never truly get days off, but Sunrise Organic Farms partners Andrew Gibson, Jesus Salas, and son Jesus “Chuy” Salas did enjoy Thanksgiving meals with their families. Gibson stuck with a fairly traditional menu. Naturally he prepared plenty of Sunrise produce for sides, including purple cauliflower and yams. He also substituted orange kabocha squash for pumpkin in his pie because he prefers the flavor.
Today, it’s back to planting and harvesting. “Keep the plants alive, keep the quality up and make sure we have sales for everything,” Gibson says. “That’s kind of what we do.”
This week, rainbow carrots are back in the box for Farmfluence subscribers. They’re technically the same variety, but each color has a slightly different flavor. “Yellow is the sweetest of all of them,” Gibson says. “Purple has the most earthy flavor.” This rainbow also includes orange and peach hues. Gibson prefers to stir-fry or bake his carrots.
Celery is notably sweet this week. “It’s cold, and that’s what it takes to get really sweet celery,” Gibson says. He used “big and beautiful” celery into his Thanksgiving stuffing. He also juices celery with whatever he’s got handy from the fields. That could mean kale in fall or zucchini in summer. “Celery’s also awesome grilled,” Gibson says, a surprising revelation. “When you do that, it’s best to do over wood. You want that smoke.”
Yellow onions are still in the mix, and Sunrise adds red onions this week. “Red onions are often a little more pungent than the yellow onions,” Gibson says. “The varieties we have are great in raw applications because they’re not too spicy. So awesome in salads, stir-fries, soups, salsas, all kinds of things.”
Acorn squash is sweet right now. “It’s the sweetest of all the acorn squash because it’s a ripe acorn,” Gibson says. “This is the time of the year to get that. As the year goes on, those varieties will fade away more rapidly than spaghetti squash and butternut.” Most of the time, he bakes acorn squash with savory herbs, and it’s also a hit in soup.
Red chard is a hearty green that’s “much more nutrient-dense than lettuce,” Gibson says. “I put that in salads, but a lot of people pan-fry it with a little olive oil and garlic.” Red chard is also a good candidate for soup. So are many other fall and winter vegetables.
Little gem lettuce is smaller and sweeter. “Sometimes they’re delicate and you can cut them in half and dress the whole thing without having to chop it up,’ Gibson says. He prefers to make his own salad dressing, saying, “They’re so much better than store-bought ones.” He uses five ingredients or less, and mixes it up so he doesn’t get bored.
Fresno peppers are bright red, “a sweet and spicy pepper,” Gibson says. “A lot of people put that into sauces or even cut rings up and put them on things like pizza and sandwiches.” Back in 1952, Clarence “Brownie” Hamlin first cultivated this pepper in Fresno County, California, so the name’s origin is pretty straightforward.
This farm box also includes fennel and butternut squash, rounding out the fall bounty. Now that we’re past Thanksgiving and no doubt feasting on leftovers, it’s time to start mulling holiday menus. Plan ahead and use the next few farm boxes for inspiration.