The “Tell” – Springdell Summer CSA Pickup #15


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All veggie scraps composted unless otherwise noted.

Thanks for tuning in for another week!  Now for a quick word from Jess.

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Hi everyone!  Jess here.  You may notice that more and more of our “Tell” list is going into storage as we prep for the winter.  I wanted to take a moment to talk about storage of some of the veggies we have access to through our CSA, farm stand and own gardens.  There are many methods out there for storage, and what I’m talking about below is one approach that works for me, however feel free to explore what will work best for you, your households’ temperatures, humidities, lifestyles, etc.

One method of storage is a root cellar.  No, you do not need to build an addition on your house or go digging up your yard to have one (though you can if that’s how you roll).  You may recall that last year I had 50 pounds of carrots stored throughout the season in a simple cardboard box setup, and the carrots lasted just about 6 months before we finished up the last of them- it was amazing!  

Here is a simple root cellar setup.

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Obtain a sturdy cardboard or wooden box.

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Line it with paper.

Layer in your prepped root veggies.  Veggies should be trimmed (of tops, but leave the “stubble at the top” or you can invite rot) and healthy (blemished veggies also invites rot).  There is no need to pre-wash these, some dirt is a-ok.  Next, cover them with sand (sawdust and potting soil also works- this year I’m using a 3 dollar bag of play sand) and repeat between layers.  

Store in a cool (not below freezing but not warm) place (in my house, this is a three season mini-room off in the garage).

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“Harvest” your veggies as desired. (Here I have a sandbox of beets and a box of carrots.  In the cellar (my actual cellar, not the root cellar), I have my squashes stored in a crate.  As the fall goes on, I’ll move into a second and possibly third crate.  

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Please be sure it’s not Springdell crates you’re using with this approach. Our farmers need every crate to keep the CSA running smoothly.

The temperature and humidity seem to keep the squash from going squashy.  I find the squashes that keep the longest are the acorns, at least with my temperature/humidity combination.  As soon as the acorns come home, I bring them to the basement.  If you want to store softer-skinned squashes, such as the edible-skinned delicata or red kuri, it’s best to “cure” them first by just letting it sit in an warm area with good circulation, usually for about a week, before storing.  This can toughen up the skin a bit and hence allow for longer storage.  Some people put theirs on racks to allow full air circulation, I just leave mine on the counter and rotate them gently for the week before transferring them to the crate I have in the basement where it’s cooler and humidity- controlled.  

I check my squashes every few days, as if one starts to “go”, it can take out those around it.  It usually doesn’t require a special trip to the basement to check on them, as I’m up and down the stairs adding and removing squash for different dishes as it is.  

Feel free to check in with any questions, or other suggestions.  Again, this is just my approach, and it’s tweaked a little every year.  We can all learn from each other, and allow these veggies to take us through the winter doldrums!


About Jess

Jess Anderson is the creator of CSA|365 and is passionate about the local food movement. A long time member of Springdell and a busy mother of two, Jess loves keeping her family fed by honest local food.

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