From the Farmer

Week 18 – 9/16/2015
Potluck this Sunday
Potluck this Sunday!  This is a community event – CSA members, residents, Farm Stand regulars, Farm Stand irregulars, farmers standing, metal farm stand goats, real goats, chickens named Roscoe, Camilla and Latifa, chickens not named, chickens thawed and added to dishes…
We’ll all potluck together starting at 5 pm, and take a twilight tour after.  The weather looks fantastic, high seventies. Bring your family and friends, and a dish for at least ten people to eat.
This year we’d like to highlight family and heritage dishes.  We hope you’ll bring your family’s special casserole, humitas, kuggel, ulluco stew, paella, brisket, gefilte fish, roti, risotto, Southern Maryland stuffed ham, maple candy, Smith Island Pie (seriously, someone please be from Smith Island), heck, even Canadian bacon if you’re from those parts.  Last year Scots voted a couple days before the potluck and ended up having to bring bangers to the event instead of haggis, but if you’re a haggis fan do bring.
Bring family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, teammates, and random people you find on your way.  
Let us know if you plan to come!  RSVP here:
Farmily: click HERE!
Residents: click HERE!

Starch.  Potatoes
So it’s getting that time in the season where we start seeing more starches in shares.  We’ve been sneaking these in over summer but the fall starches are more fun.  Starchy veggies include winter squash, pumpkins, potatoes, sweet potatoes, summer squash and zucchini, parsnips, corn and peas, and grains and beans.  “Non-starchy” vegetables, by which we really mean less-starchy, include cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, lettuce and greens, mushrooms, onions, broccoli and cauliflower.  As a general rule, you might think of starchy vegetables as ones that you want to cook before eating.  Like most plant-based foods, you can eat pretty much anything, but you’ll probably enjoy it more if you heat things up first.  Fire good.
Now I know what you’re thinking: I hate it when people tell me they know what I’m thinking.  But you may also be thinking: starch?!  Aren’t I supposed to stay away from starchy things?  (Note to self, pick up dry cleaning).  Don’t be afraid, starch is good, and it is important.  Starch is a complex carbohydrate, and after a few steps is broken down into glucose.   This is the primary source of energy for all cells, brain cells included.  You need this!  In moderation of course, but you need starchy foods in your life, and vegetables –as well as milk and fruits – are the healthy way to add them.  
The best rule of thumb here is to eat close to nature.  The more processed the farther you get from nature, and the more added fats, sugars, preservatives and other additives.  Keep it real.  
How much?  There are a few ways to look at this.  You can count your carbs: most vegetables sources provide about 15 grams of carbohydrate per 1/2 cup or 1 oz. of vegetable. There are a couple exceptions; winter squash and pumpkin give the same amount in 1 cup, and 1/3 cup for rice. You can also think in terms of proportions: some say that 1/4 of your plate should come from starchy foods (only a couple inches deep, no piles!), or roughly 3/4 – 1 cup.  If you count using the Glycemic Index, most starchy veggies (as well as dried beans) have lower Glycemic Index values, though potatoes are an exception to this.
Your veggies are just one part of your food bag, along with grains and legumes, oils and fats, fruit, and perhaps meats and dairy.  Different veggies contribute to your health in different ways, but all, to some degree or another, contribute vitamins, minerals and other compounds; protein and fiber; and carbohydrate.  Like beans, they’re good for your heart, so eat your veggies at every meal!
Speaking of potatoes.  
Like peppers (in last week’s Veggie Spotlight), potatoes are in the nightshade (Solanceae) family.  They hang closer on the family tree to tomatoes and peppers than to tomatillos and cape gooseberries.  All are from the Americas (not Ireland!), and wild potato species occur from the United States south to southern Chile.  Since being domesticated over 7,000 years ago, they’ve migrated all over the world: first to Europe, where their starchy nutrition spurred a quarter of the growth in population between 1700 and 1900, to Africa, to Asia and back to North America.  China now produces more potatoes than any other country in the world, including Idaho (a country unto itself).  
There are thousands of varieties of potatoes and similar species.  We grow about six of them here: red skin and red flesh, yellow, blue, russet and fingerlings. Some potatoes like russets are drier than others, and are good for chipping or baking.  Others are creamier and make great mashed potatoes (try Yukon Gold).  And still others (red skin, white, red or yellow flesh) make great roasters and like to be paired up with onions, red and hot peppers and rosemary.  Yum.
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