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!

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