Newsletter

Week #20 – 2017 CSA Season

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What’s in the Box: Russet potatoes, green peppers, sweet peppers, pea shoots, turnip greens, purple stripe garlic, red storage onion, garlic chives, spaghetti squash, jalapeño pepper, tomato, curly kale.

What’s going on at the farm:  We have some great crops for you in this last week of the CSA season including potatoes,  fresh micro greens, and more. We are running out of onions, squash, and most everything with good timing as the CSA season has come full circle.   You may have noticed last week too that we added tomatoes, and sage to the box.  It has been a challenging but successful year and we are packing in as many veggies as possible for you once again this week for our last CSA delivery of 2017.  

This weeks selection includes

Russet Potatoes.  These tasty spuds we actually ship in just for you our CSA members.  We don’t grow them because we don’t have the field space or equipment for it yet.  They are certified organic spuds from Igl brothers in Central WI so they are still local and organic.   I figure potatoes are too basic to not include at some point and in most years we do 4 weeks of them but this year the harvest was late because of the cool wet summer.    They are shipped dirty to protect the fresh skins (they were just harvested last week) so just rinse them before you use them.

Green pepper and sweet pepper has been a popular theme for us this year and you will receive a variety of everything we have left this week which may include yellow, red, and orange sweet peppers.

Pea shoots are coming again and these have been my favorite salad green of the year and my go to base for salads at home.  Add a little tomato, sweet pepper, and onion and you have a fantastic salad.

Turnip greens are great tender sauté greens and these are very much just that because of the great protection they’ve had growing in the greenhouse.   Lightly sautéing them is the best method for cooking these and they have a sweet yet full flavor.  Try them with some garlic.

Garlic is of course a staple so more of that coming for you and hopefully you all have a little stash by this point of the year.  It will hold unrefrigerated until spring if need be.

Red storage onions are also in that same boat of long storage ability so just hold them at room temp and hopefully you all have a little supply to hold you for a while.

Spaghetti squash is going out this week and although they are hard skinned these should be used up within a few weeks as they are not a long term storage squash.  Bake them at 350 for 30-50 minutes depending on the size until you can put a fork through it.  I always enjoy using them as a nice GF noodle option.

Jalapeño peppers are our hot pepper this week and just be careful with the seeds as you chop them up and watch out for the oils.

Tomatoes are amazingly still cranking out so we will try and throw everyone a few again this week.  Enjoy these rare October fruits!

Curly kale is our bunching green this week and we also planted 5 types of kale into the greenhouse this last week for overwintered kale too!   My daughters favorite thing to do with this kale is kale chips.  Simply rub them with oil and bake at 250 for 20-30 minutes or so.   You can season them any way you like.

Garlic Chives are our herb this week and new for us this year.  They were grown from seed this year and should now be an established perennial for next springs early market/CSA season.   They would be excellent with the russet potatoes for mashed, baked, or fried spuds with some sour cream butter and chives of course!

 Thanks to everyone who was with us for our eleventh season of farming here and for being a part of the season.   Your support and participation are greatly appreciated and I hope you enjoyed all the veggies and fruits!  There were a lot of great crops and flavors to enjoy throughout the season, both on our plates, and in the fields.   I know I gave it my all this season.  What keeps me going personally is the ultimate goal of providing lots of healthy fresh organic crops to enjoy so all our families can eat locally and farm the earth sustainably without harmful chemicals, and GMOs.  It may be a bit idealistic but I would like to think that it makes a small difference which works towards a greater goal then just us.  I am very proud of all of you, all the employees, my family, and myself for being a small part of this big picture together.   Hopefully we will see the majority of you back for another season next year.   Sign ups for next season from returning members begin in December and you will receive e-mail reminders on the progress of sign-ups and preparations as we move through the winter months.   Generally early sign-ups are encouraged to help the farm start up again bringing in the seeds, fertilizer, soil, equipment, supplies, etc… that we need to prepare for a successful planting schedule to be executed properly.  These events happen very early in January through March despite the lack of field activity. In fact by March 1st we will then be planting like crazy in the greenhouse again growing thousands and thousands of transplants, stacking up hours of labor again, and spreading tons of plant based compost over the semi-frozen fields.  Our second round of selection for hoop house grant funding will go through this November so keep your fingers crossed for that.   When it happens I will be putting up a third structure adding to our season extension and greenhouse rotation abilities.   Before spring there will be much to do as well and the season will continue on for a bit.  We still have three markets a week through October and downtown market goes until mid November.  Some produce like winter kale, turnips, and carrots are still coming, and so I will be attending some winter markets this year up until Christmas time.  We will also be planting our two varieties of garlic in a few weeks.  It was another good garlic year this year and besides stocking you all up over the season, and especially the last two weeks, we are planting more then ever for next season. Our seed stock is huge which should make for some great garlic next year!   We will be breaking up the bulbs into individual cloves for planting this week and they will be hand planted before the end of October.  Our potting soil for spring is all ready ordered and will be shipped here in early November too!  It will all be trucked in from Vermont Compost Company in Vermont for us and many other organic farms in Southern Wisconsin and ours will come in the form of three huge sling bags.  I then bag by hand with a shovel and sacks all 6,000 pounds of soil and stack it neatly in the greenhouse where it will wait for spring until we start onions and many other crops again in March.   It is always an exciting trip as I have to pick up the sling bags from a main location and partner up with another local farming friend with a rental truck so we can help each other get it done.  It is kind of wild to think that we are not even quite done with this season and yet moving into the next one but that is also the way this type of farming works.   It is all a cycle constantly moving in rhythm to our climate and cycles here in Wisconsin and this late fall early winter months prepare us for reflection, vacations, and continuing education, not to mention healing physically in preparation for a new cycle.  Many other less exciting organizational projects await this winter as well like itemizing seeds and receipts.   Getting to everything that the season did not allow time for is important in the off season as well like vacation before things get crazy busy again including greenhouse and other farm repairs, home repairs, and plenty of paperwork and numbers to crunch.  I will work on clearing out trees and undergrowth which is always creeping in on a few of our fields as well.   The dense undergrowth of some areas always encourages more deer activity and in some areas decreases light too much.   On our 2 acre farm every square yard is valuable space!  Of course I am also looking forward to getting some rest for the aching body, family time with the kids, and the holidays too.   It was a challenging and beautiful journey as always and I think I speak for everyone at the farm when I say we enjoyed growing for you!  Have a great winter and from my family to yours, thank you!

Week #19 – 2017 CSA Season

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What’s in the Box: Honeynut squash, butternut squash, red storage onion, green peppers, purple stripe garlic, habanero pepper, pablano pepper, pea shoots, arugula, sweet peppers, edamame (bi-weekly only), and swiss chard.

What’s going on at the farm:  This week marks the final week of deliveries for bi-weekly members who will receive their tenth share of the season this week.   Full season members still have one week remaining next week for delivery #20 of 20.   It has been a long and bountiful season and I am proud to say I think we did the best job we possibly could.   That being said we are not holding back and going all out as usual this week and next bringing on as much as possible into each share with as much variety as possible.

Garlic. We are loading everybody up with garlic this week because it is the last delivery for some members and it goes good with everything.  Who can really have enough garlic?  Garlic is good for your cholesterol and also helpful as an an medicinal to keep you healthy in the winter.  It even combats dementia and helps to lower blood pressure.  What an amazing bulb!  These dry bulbs will store until spring if it takes that long to use them at room temperature.  Do not refrigerate your garlic and then take it out for long as it will sprout.  Keep it dry and room temp and out of direct sunlight.  Here is a link to the many health benefits of garlic.   https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-proven-health-benefits-of-garlic#section1

Storage Onions Our red storage onions are back but we are down to our last case of yellow so we will have reds for the rest of the season.   These will store up to 6 months the same as the garlic out of direct sunlight and at room temperature.

Honeynut Squash  These interesting mini-butternuts are a new crop for us this year and were bred at Cornell and our new employee Emily even had a hand in assisting with the work when she was there getting her bachelors of science degree In Ithaca.   They are bred to have a personal serving size and high fructose content giving them a suburb sweetness unmatched by larger butternuts.   Ours have cured to a nice golden hue but they do not store well long term so try to eat these as soon as possible.   Some green coloration is normal on the skin as they start that way and quickly ripen to a golden hue during the curing process.

Butternut Squash  In contrast to the honey nut we are giving you these Waltham butternuts this week which are a large heirloom variety of butternut squash.   unlike the honey nut hybrid these are open pollinated and remain unchanged over the years going back to the 1940’s.  Here is a link on them.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butternut_squash

Pea Shoots  These have been a great new crop for us this year and the cooler weather is keeping them sweet and shorter this week.  People really have been enjoying them everywhere we take them to market and hopefully you all have too.   They have quickly become my favorite for salads and would go well with the arugula this week for a sweet and spicy salad mix.

Arugula  Our Fresh arugula that has been grown with good fertility and well watered through the warm periods we had keeping it from getting too spicy.  This is one of my personal favorites to compliment fish like salmon or cod as the mild sweet flavors go with the spicy greens.   You can serve warm fish, chicken, or veggies over it and the arugula will wilt down a tad on its own 0r eat it in your salads with your sweet peppers, and onions.

Sweet Peppers  Are one of my favorite crops to grow and they have been abundant lately mostly because of that super hot week we had last week.  They are slowing back down this week and the result will be a few less but still plenty of types we will be mixing in the shares randomly.

Pablano is one of our hot peppers this week and they are mild and so good stuffed with rice, cheese, and beef.  I like to make the mix and then roast them at 450 for 30 minutes flipping them halfway through.  I do not go through the trouble of pre-roasting and removing the skins under cold water as is traditionally done because I don’t feel its necessary.

Habanero is our actually hot, hot pepper this week and these are pretty hot so be careful with them when you cut them up. The oils can get on things so rinse them away off your knife, cutting board, etc….  The flavor is very fruity and compliments the heat well.

Swiss chard  A fantastic sauté green you can use in place of spinach, it goes well with eggs, pasta, and anywhere you would use spinach.   One last bunch for the year which was definitely our best year for chard ever.

Edamame (Bi-Weeekly Only)  These fresh soy beans are just boiled or steamed for 5 minutes and then tossed with your favorite salt.  They have an excellent umami flavor and good proteins unless you have a sensitive thyroid then they are not the best choice.   Our first crop of these ever this year and a very sweet tasting bean.

This is our last week for Bi-Weekly members so thank you to everyone who joined us for a 1/2 season (Bi-weekly share) this year! Hopefully you found your experience to be a tasty one and found value in your share of organic produce with us and enjoyed the fruits of our labor.  I hope we will see you returning when sign ups open this winter for another season of fresh veggies in 2017!  While we are talking about wrapping up the season I will remind you one more time that full season basic and standard members still have one week remaining!  For Tuesday folks the last delivery is Oct. 10th and for Thursday folks it is Oct. 12th.  We will be shelling garlic for planting over the next week here and prepping our fields for planting it.  It was a very good garlic year and we have a lot of some very large seed garlic which should make for another good year for it next season.  Garlic also adapts to its soil slowly over the years and our stock has definitely progressed into noticeable larger bulbs every year.  To prep for planting we break all the bulbs up into individual cloves which will be hand planted one by one with the water wheel planter in a few weeks.   We still have two more solid months of work here before we can cozy in a bit and let the achy bones rest for a month or two while planning for and dreaming of another season to come.  I am looking forward to some vacation time myself and I will be attending some winter markets as well if you would like to support us and find our produce through the winter months.   Madison East Side Farmers Market winter market sessions will be at the Wil-mar Community Center and we will likely only attend one or two holiday sessions, and possibly some Dane County Farmers Market holiday indoors are on the agenda for winter from mid November until Christmas and there will be some excellent frost sweetened kale, turnips, spinach, and garlic to be had among other things.  We will also be downtown on the square through mid November and at our E. Side Market location through October 31st in Madison.  I will likely be wrapping it up in Fitchburg by the last delivery on October 12th.  Thanks again to all our bi-weekly members this year for your participation and support!  We will be in touch regarding sign-up opening for next season around the turn of the new year.  Until next week then for the rest of our members.  Enjoy the produce folks!

Week #18 – 2017 CSA Season

DSC04022What’s in the Box:  Pea shoots, sweet peppers, spaghetti squash, yellow storage onion, red storage onion, dragons tongue romano beans, porcelain garlic, green pepper, quajillo chili peppers, chocolate mint, and edamame.

What’s going on at the farm:  Its been a scorcher this week and i’m guessing the last blast of hot air for the summer.   In fact it seems like one of the few of them after our cool August, September is going out with temps in the 80’s and 90’s.  We hired on two new workers this week Kevin and Emily.    I told everyone about Kevin last week but Emily had her first day last Thursday and we are excited to have her on the farm.   She has experience working on several other organic vegetable farms and she is also interested in seed production and preservation.  We weeded our late carrots this week and the greenhouse which is pumping out a nice looking crop of arugula and turnips at the moment.   Watering has been an issue this week with the temps so high I find myself misting pea shoots a lot. We started more batches of those this week and ordered 200 lbs of pea seeds to produce shoots with the potting soil we got in last week.   That should last us almost a year at the rate we’ve been producing them but we will see.  Our crop selection looks tasty this week and will include.

Sweet peppers are pouring in with this heat so we will be including a mix of all the types we can!   Enjoy these while they last because when the heat is gone they will ripen much slower.   Stuffed peppers are a great way to use up a lot of these and if you find you have excess you can chop them and freeze them to put in chili or soup in the winter.

Our spaghetti squash is fully ripened and cured with a nice deep yellow now and they make an amazing substitute for noodles in your favorite pasta dish.

Garlic i’m sure your all familiar with, remember it does not need refrigeration just room temp is great.   One of my favorite things to do with it is roast whole bulbs in the oven on low for 40 minutes or so and then spread the cloves like/with butter on bread.

Storage onions are a regular thing in our shares and so here they are again.   The base of cooking in my book, the yellow onions are getting down there so some smaller ones this week.   One nice thing about having some smaller onions around is you can use them when you just need a little onion without having to save a huge cut onion in the fridge.

Dragons tongue beans are back this week and they stay crisp when cooked and remember to give them a little air flow in the fridge.  They are very good with the garlic too!

Pea shoots are back again and these lovely little sprouts will make great salads with some of your peppers, and other veggies!

Guajillo chile peppers are our hot pepper this week and one of my favorites.   They can be dried and ground into a delicious powder but I really like these fresh.   The heat is mild and the flavor complex with these.   I like to mince them up on the little pizzas we make at home or on taco’s but they are good on everything if you ask me and the heat is tolerable to even the most sensitive taste buds.  since they are a drying pepper they do not need to be refrigerated.

Green peppers are here again this week and they are good in so many dishes its hard not to find a use for these.

Edamame, these soy bean pods are meant to be eaten steamed and they are so sweet and tasty.    Cook them in a steamer basket or in boiling water following these simple steps.   This is our first crop of edamame ever so let us know how you like them.    I for one am all for growing more next year all ready.

  1. Bring water and salt to a boil. Add edamame and cook for 5 minutes until edamame are tender and easily release from their pod.
  2. Drain thoroughly and toss generously with a coarse finishing salt like kosher salt or fleur de sel. Serve warm or cold.

Thanks for being a part of the farm folks.   Two weeks remain after this one.   Week #19 which is our last week for bi-weekly shares, and of course our final delivery for full season members the week after.   Enjoy the food all!

Week #17 – 2017 CSA Season

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What’s in the Box: Acorn squash, butternut squash, pea shoots, purple glazer garlic, yellow storage onion, red storage onion, green pepper, sweet peppers, red radish, dragons tongue beans, radicchio, jalapeño, broccoli (Bi-Weekly Only), leeks, radish, and parsley.

What’s going on at the farm: I’ve got a lot of good crops coming for you folks this week and the fall veggies are coming on strong.  The offerings this week include;

Butternut Squash.  We have three types of these this year ranging from mini to extra large.    This week we will feature the Waltham butternut which is an old heirloom variety with large size.   These are long term storage squashes and we have cured them in the greenhouse to toughen up the skins and improve the flavor so they can be stored at room temp and will keep for up to 6 months so no rush on these.  My favorite thing to make with them is a butternut squash risotto with sausage and parsley.  I bake the squash while making the risotto and brown the ground pork on the side adding the pork, and roasted squash at the end with the fresh parsley.   You could follow any risotto recipe to make the base for this.

Acorn Squash.  Although slightly shorter term storage then the butternuts these will keep for months as well and are also cured although they do not require it.   The yellow flaky flesh is great roasted in the oven either halved or in pieces.

Radicchio.   I passed on a recipe for this bitter head green last week and we made it at home.   It was good but I think this may be the most challenging vegetable of the season to cook with.   If y’all have come up with some good recipes for it please feel free to share and I can send them on to the group.

Pea Shoots.   I hope you are all familiar with these by now.  This new addition for us this year has been a smash hit and I could go on and on about the sweet flavor and good shelf life we have been experiencing with these but  my favorite so far was taco salad with these. Yum!

Broccoli.    Broccoli is for bi-weekly members only this week as we were just a little short to make it into every share this week.   Please do check under the heads to make sure there is not any green cabbage worms on the stem.  We have found a few of them but they are easily picked off by hand or you can submerge it in water for a while too.  Not to be gross but we don’t spray chemicals for them and the broccoli itself is still very tasty.

Red Radish.  These fresh bunches of roots will be great with your fresh pea shoots or roasted up.

Red and yellow storage onions.  The base of many recipes everywhere I think you all know by now that onions are a common theme in our boxes too.    All the onions you will receive now are the long term storage types and will hold up to 6 months without refrigeration which will actually make them sprout.

purple stripe garlic.   Purple stripe is back this week and a little spicier then the porcelain we’ve been distributing the last few weeks.  Keep without refrigerating and if you have a garden maybe plant a few large cloves for yourself around halloween this year.

Jalapeño is our hot pepper this week and a pretty familiar one.   We made poppers for the farm party by splitting them and stuffing them with cream cheese after removing the seeds.  Please do remember to wear gloves for that job.  I then roasted them on a sheet of foil on the grill for about 20 minutes.

Dragons tongue beans are pumping out like crazy this week.    Lots of hours of bean picking out there and these are very crisp and juicy beans which will stay fairly crisp even in short high heat cooking.  I have been loosely closing the bags so as not to spill them in the shares but they do seem to keep better with a little air flow so try to store them with the bag open a bit when you get them

Parsley.  Curly style parsley coming at you this week, remember that parsley is not only a breath freshener but packed with vitamins so mince some up for your dishes and add fresh or near the end of your cooking in most cases.

Sweet peppers.  Holy cow, the heat came back this week and we missed a week of weekend markets so we have so many peppers coming your way.  Enjoy these sweet fruits and ignore the gossip about the male and female peppers being better for certain things if you’ve heard that somewhere, it’s a real myth.

Green pepper.  These are getting bit smaller but still tasty and crisp, we like them on our mini pizzas at home.

Leeks are so mild and creamy and besides making creamed leeks they are a great onion for soups, stews, and slow cooker meals.  This may be the last of them for the year and they are a shorter term storage leek.

In other news.   It’s been a long and trying week on the farm.   One of those times in life where all the hardships seem to come at once so rather then pretend like everything is great sometimes it is necessary to accept the hardships and do the best you can.    Alli, my wonderful partner of nearly 2 years of love, life, and work decided to leave on short notice which has been heartbreaking for everyone and we are very sad to see her go.  A lot of you met her personally this season and she was very dedicated to the farm for a good portion of the season so I wanted to let you all know about this important change.   I would like to give a huge thank you out to Alli for being an incredible employee and wish her the best of luck on her journey.  Our other employees have been slowly leaving for other pursuits as well and we say goodbye to Abby this week too who was also a very punctual and hard working employee this year on the farm. So 11 years of farming now almost in the books and it all comes back down to little old me and my two wonderful kids (who do not work much, ha ha).  The pain in my back these days is also excruciating lately but tough times can always be overcome with patience and persistence so that is the plan.  I will be giving and accepting hugs this week from friends (not required) as I push through this extremely difficult period of loss.  Soon there will be more time for rest, healing, adventures, and traveling.  Luckily an old employee returned this week from Chicago and is eager to jump in and help finish up the season.   Kevin was a workshare from 2012 and he is ready to harvest, weed, and help clean up the fields and I am very happy to have him back.  We are also looking for one more part time employee who would be available for 10 hours or so of work a week if ya’ll know anyone who might be a good fit send em our way either now or over winter, or in the early spring when we will be hiring for next season.  I am specifically looking to hire a manager for next season which would require that the person has a year of farm experience under their belt but no experience is required for the part time positions.   We have some new crops coming over the next few weeks to look forward to as well including fresh batches of pea shoots, garlic chives, potatoes, honey nut squash, arugula, turnips, and hopefully some romanesco cauliflower.   Our fields will be cleaned up more every week now and I will be preparing the garlic field for planting soon.   We started kale this week for overwintering in the greenhouse too and planting spinach for winter harvest is also on the schedule.   Thanks everyone, as always it is a pleasure and a privilege to be your farmer and I hope you all enjoy the veggies!

Week #16 – 2017 CSA Season

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What’s in the Box: Porcelain garlic, red storage onions, yellow storage onions, red radish, mustard greens, acorn squash, dragons tongue beans, green pepper, aji rico hot pepper (small red), radicchio, sweet peppers, flat Italian parsley, leeks, and broccoli.

What’s going on at the farm:  This week brings us into the last quarter of the season.  We harvested the rest of our winter squashes this week bringing in butternut, mini butternuts, and acorn squash for curing.   Our dragons tongue beans are setting well and they are heavy with beans so plenty of these coming this week.   When cooked the purple color will fade out and reveal a lovely yellow bean and you eat the whole pod on these beauties either raw or cooked.   Garlic and onions are coming again this week for preparing your favorite dishes and of course they are a staple of cooking for most everything so we like to include these weekly for everyone.  This week will be the last of the summer sweet yellow onions.  Acorn squash is coming to you this week and are easily baked at 350 for about 45 minutes in the oven, I cook them face down on a cookie sheet or glass pan.   Our popular sweet peppers will be distributed in a mixed fashion and we are hoping for some more ripening this week with warmer air coming our way.   Our mustard greens this week are ready for fresh salads and they have a sweet and spicy taste that is more mild with some salad dressing or vinegar and oil on it.  Our red radishes pair well with it or perhaps some of the peppers and onions for a salad.   Sweet and hot peppers are also included again and we like them in our eggs in the morning, or in stir fry or pasta dishes or as toppings on homeade pizza.  The Aji Rico pepper is a new spicy pepper this week and it has a very fruity taste and medium spiciness.  Fall broccoli is in this week and it is so good and sweet when its fresh and the wether is as cool as its been, don’t wait long to cook up this tasty fall crop.  Radicchio is a new crop for you this week and for us in general.   In fact it is our first ever crop of radicchio and it is a beautiful tall travisio type with thick crunchy ribs like a romaine.   A very nice way to cook these is to leave the tap root on after removing the outer leaves and split them into halves or quarters.   You can brush them with olive oil and balsamic vinegar/herbs or use it in salads.   It is a bitter green so depending on your taste you may want to add some honey or sugar to your vinegar/oil mix before you roast or grill them. Here is a recipe for roasted radicchio to guide you on this journey.

http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/roasted-balsamic-radicchio

Our small greenhouse will also be cleaned up of a heavy load of tomato vines soon too as they have been reduced to just a smattering of small fruit here and there.   It was a great tomato year but sadly the cycle does end for us in the Midwest this time of year.   Frost is only a few short weeks away now and the window is closing on our day length and plant growth rate as the temps dip and daylight slowly shortens and becomes less direct.   Our large greenhouse was planted into arugula and salad turnips this week and fields which were harvested of squash last week will be cleaned up and plowed sow we can seed them into cover crops of vetch, and white/red clover this week.   Our harvesting, sorting, washing, and packing will continue as we put together these last week of  summer boxes before fall equinox next week on September 22nd.   Fall is my favorite time of year, and a time to celebrate our hard work and efforts from the harsh daily grind of non-stop long days of hard farm labor for 6 months straight.   We really appreciate all the great folks that came out to help us celebrate this harvest season over the weekend.  We had a great group of people out and we hope those that could not make it this year will be out to see the farm and celebrate with us next year!   Thanks and enjoy the harvest!  -Kyle and Alli

Week #15 2017 CSA Season

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What’s in the Box:  Spaghetti squash, yellow sweet onion, red storage onion, assorted sweet peppers, porcelain garlic, red radish, sage, concord grapes, swiss chard, leeks, dragon’s tongue beans, and cayenne pepper.

What’s going on at the farm: September is coming in with some warmth this week and  reminding us all here that summer is not over.   We spent our Labor Day weekend laboring on some more fall clean up, picking beans, and weeding by hand on some late season crops and mowing.  spaghetti squash was also pulled from the field this week.  Our warm weather crops like beans and peppers will set heavier and change color faster with the heat although it is supposed to cool down again by mid week.  We are patiently waiting for our new blue pole beans to set and the filet beans have slowed down quite a bit, but the heat this week should have the first heavy flush of blue pole beans ready starting next week.   Some new crops for you this week including spaghetti squash.  squash is excellent roasted and or baked and served with some butter and brown sugar or maple syrup but the spaghetti is easily forked out of its shell after baking at 350 for 35-45 minute face down on a cookie sheet.  These squash have a shorter shelf life of one to two months but they can be stored without refrigeration at room temperature.  We cooked them up this week with a fresh sauce of tomatoes, ground beef, green peppers, onions, garlic, and eggplant and some basil, thyme, and oregano for a fresh take on home made pasta.  Another new crop we are excited about are the fresh radishes which came out just perfect this week.   Although there is not a lot of weight to this crop it more then makes up for it in its clean, crisp, yet spicy flavor.  Our dragons tongue beans are a nice late summer addition to shares this year.  They are yellow with purple stripes and the purple stripes will fade if they are cooked.   Plenty of green and sweet peppers to pass out this week too and our concord grapes have finally ripened after weeks of my children asking when they will be ready, they are finally here.   They do have seeds but the taste is just like a fresh pressed glass of grape juice.   We will be throwing our 8th annual CSA dinner this weekend for our CSA members, workers, family, and friends.   It is a potluck style dinner and  to celebrate our harvest seasons bounty and near completion.  Bring a dish to pass and join us on the farm for what is my favorite weekend of the year , otherwise known as the one where we take a day (or maybe a half day) off!  Its always great to talk and connect with the members who support our efforts here and for people to see the farm.   A reminder e-mail on that was sent out last week for the event which is this Saturday evening!  Until next week then folks, happy Labor Day weekend and enjoy the veg!

Week #14 – 2017 CSA Season

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What’s in the Box: Slicing tomato, porcelain garlic, sweet yellow onion, red torpedo onion, leeks, red and yellow Italian frying peppers, green pepper, eggplant, curly kale, summer squash, zucchini, padron peppers, cayenne peppers, and anise hyssop.

What’s going on at the farm:   Another busy week here as we enter week #14 with some good rainfall.   We are also planning out our annual farm harvest potluck which will be Saturday, September 9th!  We will be sending an e-mail out as a reminder with more details for everyone so be on the look out for that.  Our first winter squash harvest will be coming in this week but some of our varieties are still sizing up and looking very healthy.  We will have to wait a bit longer to harvest some of them and cure them in the greenhouse.   We did a lot of weeding and mowing this week and got a good jump on fall clean up by taking all of our tomatoes out of the large greenhouse and taking down our cherry tomato trellising and putting away hundreds of hoops and t posts for winter.   This week we are hoping to remove a few dozen mulch beds from the fields in one half day of work with our new mulch lifter.   After that we can till and plant cover crops for soil protection and improvement for next years crops.         Anise hyssop is our herb this week and it lends itself well to pairing with deserts and has a sweet licorice flavor, it also makes a great tea, you can eat the leave and the flowers can be used as well.  Padron peppers are new this week for you members and a new crop for us this year.  They are a spanish hot pepper that is fun to eat.  Traditionally they are sautéed over medium heat in a little olive oil and sea salt until they lightly blister.  The flavor is sometimes mild, and sometimes they are hot (usually the larger ones) so you never know when to expect the spice.  Maybe try a little fresh tomato with olive oil on the side with them to cool your mouth if needed.   Heat level for these would be considered mild to medium although it does also depend on your tolerance to heat.  Our other crops this week you should be familiar with as we have had most of them all ready this summer.   A nice pot of ratatouille is always a good way to use a bunch of zucchini, eggplant, and peppers up quickly.   We have some new crops coming that are just not quite ready this week but we are excited for them to come in soon including the winter squash which we have 5 types of including spaghetti, acorn, butternut (2 types), and mini honey butternuts.  Our radicchio is looking very nice and our fall broccoli, and romanesco cauliflower is also looking very large, just going to be a bit on heads for those three items.  We also have edamame, dragons tongue beans, radishes, salad mix, pea shoots, potatoes, sweet peppers, hot peppers,  celeriac, and hopefully some late fall carrots coming in the last quarter of the season. Until next week then, enjoy the veggies!

Week #13 – 2017 CSA Season

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What’s in the Box:   Sweet pepper, green pepper, slicing and heirloom tomatoes, porcelain garlic, sweet yellow onion, red torpedo onion, jalapeño peppers, poblano peppers, curly parsley, celery, swiss chard, zucchini, summer squash, leeks, and cantaloupe (Bi-Weekly Only)

What’s going on at the farm:  We are seeing some significant shift in weather and day length this week on the farm as nights begin to dip down into the 50’s.    Summer crops will slow soon and are showing signs of it in the field.   Fall broccoli and cauliflower is sizing up in the fields, and our winter squash is nearing maturity.   We will have a lot of sweet peppers in many colors and varieties coming in for the next few weeks so expect healthy portions of these sweet beauties.   We have been making a lot of ratatouille at home and freezing some batches for winter.  Also taco’s and fajita type dishes at home using up all the pepper seconds we can possibly consume.     I also enjoy stuffed peppers with rice and beef and of course there are many twists on that dish to experiment with.  Our poblano peppers are a very mild chile that are great for stuffing too.   Our herb this week is curly parsley and as we found out last week parsley is a vitamin packed herb which goes good with just about anything.  Jalapeño is the small fat possibly checked (cracked)  green chile in your box and they are very hot this year…. I like to make jalapeño poppers by splitting them and stuffing them with cream cheese or cheddar cheese and then slow cooking them on the grill for an hour or so on indirect heat.   I remove the seeds for this but you may want to wear gloves as the seeds have very hot oils.  Fresh pico is my favorite thing to make with the ripe tomatoes, sweet yellow onion, hot peppers, and maybe a little lime, chile powder, and cilantro.  Cherry tomatoes are slowing down quite a bit right now and seem to be almost done so they will not be in shares.  Our eggplant has also slowed down quickly with the cool temps this week, along with the full size tomatoes which are definitely slowing down as well.   We still have enough tomatoes growing to get you some fresh fruits though.   Enjoy them while they last folks as we head into the last month of summer.  Some other late summer fall crops coming soon include dragon’s tongue beans, edamame, winter squash, broccoli, and romanesco cauliflower.  Thanks and enjoy!

Week #12 – 2017 CSA Season

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Slicing and heirloom tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, eggplant, white porcelain garlic, sweet yellow sweet onion, red torpedo onion, green pepper, flat Italian parsley, celery, cantaloupe, red and/or yellow italian frying peppers, zucchini, summer squash, leeks, and cayenne pepper.

What’s going on at the farm:  

Another busy and abundant week at the farm with some enjoyably cooler temperatures for working and some nice rain has made for a good week.  It looks like we may get some more during our CSA harvest and delivery days this week as temps rise again towards normal temps.    This week on the farm we ripped out beds of mini cukes, patty pans, and plowed in our green beans. We also planted fall carrots, red radishes, mesclun mix, and mustard greens!

Sweet peppers are coming in and besides the green peppers you will receive red italian frying peppers this week.   They are my favorite pepper with excellent sweetness even half red and an unmistakable tapered shape which resembles a horn giving these peppers the name corno di toro or horn of the bull.

Cantaloupe is in and after a total crop failure on these last year it looks like we should have a decent haul to bring in this week.  I always cut mine when they have a faint yellow color to the skin.  Our varieties have firm flesh and a small seed cavity with excellent sweetness.

Sweet onions and torpedo onions are back this week with the same fully sun cured quality as last week.   I keep my onions at room temp out of direct light for longer storage.

Our garlic this week is a little different then the other variety you have been getting.   Our german extra hardy still has large cloves which are easy to peel but it is a little less complex in flavor then the purple stripe garlic.

Celery is new this week and our celery is dark green compared to the blanched stuff you find in stores.   The flavor is richer and it lends itself to good soups, roasts, stuffing, or salads.  Our Leeks would pair well with the celery for a creamy soup or roasted with other veggies.

Cayenne is our hot pepper this week.  These bright red wrinkly peppers have some heat but also sweetness when fresh.   You can dry them to make cayenne powder or crushed red pepper flakes too!

Eggplant is back again this week and when all else fails these are great stewed up with some zucchini, summer, squash, tomatoes, pepper, onion and garlic for some ratatouille.  We have a wonderful ratatouille recipe right here on the website under the recipe section.    Its a great way to use a lot of veggies up in one dish too!

Tomatoes are back!   Can anyone get enough homegrown tomatoes?   We will have an assortment again this week with cherry tomatoes to go with.   A variety of flavors and colors to cook with should keep things interesting for you to make beautiful caprese salads, pico, or just a simple tomato sandwich.

Flat Italian parsley will finish off the box this week and would go well with any of the veggies in your share this week.   With its nice mild flavor and surprising health benefits don’t forget to add some fresh parsley to your dishes this week!   Just as a thought here is a list of things that just ten sprigs of parsley provides!

According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, ten sprigs of parsley contains:

  • 4 calories
  • 0.3 grams of protein
  • 0.1 grams of fat
  • 0.6 grams of carbohydrate
  • 0.3 grams of fiber
  • 0.1 grams of sugar

The same quantity of parsley provides 205 percent of vitamin K needs for the day, as well as 22 percent of vitamin C, and 17 percent of vitamin A.

 

Until next week be well and enjoy the produce!

Week #11 – 2017 CSA Season

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What’s in the Box:   Eggplant,  slicing and heirloom tomatoes, purple stripe garlic, sweet yellow onion, red torpedo onion, leeks, swiss chard, zucchini, english cucumber, summer squash, red cabbage, pablano pepper, cherry tomatoes, and basil.

What’s going on at the farm:  We are seeing some significant shift in weather and day length this week on the farm as some cooler nights dip down into the lower 50’s.  Week 11 is our first delivery of the second half of the season but has also been 5 months straight of work for us and we are looking forward to taking a few days off here and there in the coming months.  Some summer crops will slow down a bit and are reaching the end of their days like cucumbers while others like sweet peppers are just starting to come in.  Luckily we won’t have to work through as many humid 90 degree days either with this moderately cool and wet weather year.    All our onions are harvested with our last haul coming in yesterday on Sunday evening.  Our summer onions are all ready cured and clipped.  The last batch will be cured in a week or so and we will clip the tops on those and stockpile storage onions for your fall boxes.  We found the first ripe cantaloupe this week and just need a little more sun and heat before this crop should be ready for you.  Sweet peppers are just starting and will be coming soon as well.   Never the less our crop list is extensive and very summer this week.

Cherry tomatoes are pouring in and our mix has 7 types which include chocolate, red, orange, yellow, green zebra, yellow striped, and pink cherry tomatoes.  So many ways to enjoy these but just rinsed as a snack is a super easy way.  They are great roasted too.

Slicing and heirloom tomatoes are also in and we have been distributing them to you in varied stages of ripeness so that you can have them throughout the week.  Remember you don’t need to refrigerate tomatoes, they ripen and taste better just left on the counter.

Eggplant is an August favorite on the farm here.  We had a casserole last week which used 4 eggplant under a layer of sliced tomato, and pepper, and onion with mozzarella cheese melted on top…. so tasty.    My favorite characteristic of eggplant is its ability to soak up the oils and herbs in a dish kind of like mushrooms.   A properly cooked eggplant is creamy and full of savory flavors.

Cucumbers are still rolling in but definitely slowing down so we will be decreasing the amount you get each week from here on, enjoy these crisp and hydrating summer fruits while they last.

Zucchini and summer squash, just a tad of each in our share this week.  So many uses for these the list truly doesn’t end.  We put them on pizza and in our pasta and stir fry dishes quite often at home here.

Onions this week are dried and cured meaning you don’t want to refrigerate these any more.  They are not like the fresh green top onions you received before because we layed these out in the sun to cure for a week before clipping of the tops for storage.    The curing process results in a better lasting and tasting onion, see if you notice the difference in sweetness especially in the large yellow Ailsa Craig sweet onions which we had a fantastic crop of this year.   You will also receive red torpedo onions this week.

Our garlic is also dry now and can be stored without refrigeration, more purple stripe coming to you this week which is a tad spicier then our porcelain garlic which will be coming later in the season.

Leek are our third member of the allium family coming this week, these long shanked summer leeks don’t store as long as a fall leek but the flavor is great on these.  My favorite way to eat them is sautéed in butter and blended with potatoes and cream for potato leek soup which can be served cold or hot.

Cabbage is back this week, we planted them closely and harvested our red cabbages at a nice mini stage.   They are good for slaw like a green cabbage or my favorite way which is roasted in quarters either in the oven or on the grill and cooked slowly with some marinade.

Pablano peppers are our hot pepper this week, just a few of these to go around right now but the chile flavor is excellent and the heat is mild.   Much more so when the seeds are removed.   Be careful when handling hot pepper seeds though no matter how hot the pepper.

A little basil coming for everyone this week.  Our basil is nearing the end of its cycle but we thought with all the tomatoes it would be nice to try and get you all some basil one more time this summer.

Lastly our green this week is swiss chard.  Never before have we had such a wonderful crop of it.   No sign of slow down, insect damage, or disease in this gorgeous crop.  We truly eat this almost every day sautéed with eggs in the morning to add some vitamins and fiber to our morning protein.   Treat this green like spinach and use it with or without the stems.

A few more mentions this week which might make the box include green beans, pea shoots, and celery.  We have been debating weather we will have enough quantity on these three crops this week for everyone and that has yet to be decided so we will do what we can there.   Thank you all for your support and enjoy the summers bounty!

 

 

 

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