Newsletter

Week #20 – 2018 CSA Season

What’s in the Box:

Edamame, dragons tongue beans, salad mix, radish, sunflower shoots, garlic, red storage onion, honeynut squash, butternut squash, cayenne pepper, green pepper and sweet pepper, and curly kale.

What’s going on at the farm:  

Week twenty of the CSA season is here!   I’m always a little amazed how quick summer goes by this time of year.   I think I took less than 10 days off all season so far so i’m also grateful for cooler weather and the promise of reduced work hours this time of year.  Never the less I have some great crops for you in this last week of the CSA season including fresh edamame!    I got 6 stumps removed out of the tree line this week and the greenhouse site is finally just about perfect and ready for construction.   CSA finishing up should allow me more time to work on that so in reality I don’t think its going to get less busy around here for a few more months.   I also have to prepare the fields for garlic planting and continue cleaning up from the season if it will just stop raining for a little while.   We are getting way to much precipitation again this week and it looks like a very wet forecast which could cause some trouble accomplishing these tasks.   As a farmer all you can do is your best to cope with those uncontrollable forces so thats the plan.  I’m sure it will all work out and i’ll just take it one day at a time as always.

This weeks selection includes.

Edamame.   These fresh soybeans simply need to be steamed or boiled for just 5 minutes and salted to provide a protein packed side or appetizer for any meal.

Dragons tongue beans are our other bean this week and they are like a yellow snap bean but the purple stripes fade when cooked.   They stay nice and crisp when cooked too and you eat the whole pod which does not have beans formed yet.   They can also be used raw or marinate or even pickled!

Salad mix is here again and its obviously great for fresh salads!   use these greens up quick for best freshness!

Radish is back to pair with your salad mix, or you could roast them with other veggies or even have them for a snack with a little butter, ranch, or salt.

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.

Sunflower  shoots are coming again and these have been my favorite micro 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.

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.

Butternut squash is going out this week and these will store for months at room temp if you like.   I hope they turn into some amazing soups, baked squash, or curry soon for you though!

Honeynut squash is in your share again too.  These mini butternuts are gaining a following at markets.   People love the sweet flavor and I think the personal serving size is great too.    Smaller size means they bake faster then the larger squash too.

Cayenne peppers are our hot pepper this week and not only can they be enjoyed fresh but dried as well.  Cayenne is also a cancer fighting pepper!

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.

 Thanks to everyone who was with us for our thirteenth season of farming here!  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 to farm the earth sustainably without chemicals, and GMOs.  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 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 can begin anytime but 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 February 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 at markets and supplying restaurants for me.  In fact I still have four markets a week to manage through October and downtown market goes until mid November before it moves inside the Monona terrace.  Some produce like winter kale, squash, garlic, and peppers are still coming in 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 who have been very patient with my work schedule, and the holidays too.   It was a challenging and beautiful journey as always and I enjoyed growing for you all!  Have a great fall and winter, come see me for your veggie needs at market, and from my family to yours, thank you!

Week #19 – 2018 CSA Season

What’s in the Box:

butternut squash, honey nut squash, acorn squash, red storage onion, green peppers,  garlic, pablano pepper, pea shoots, radish, salad mix, sweet pepper, habanero, tomatoes, and dragons tongue beans.

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 number 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.  This share will be one to remember is the goal!   I hope to see you all back next year to all you bi-weekly members!  Regular full season members you have one more beautiful share coming!

Salad mix is back again and of course its great for salads!   we wash it once and try not to keep it to moist, putting a paper towel in the bag can soak up excess moisture or use a salad spinner before serving.   Try it mixed with pea shoots, peppers, and radish for a great salad!

Tomatoes are one of my favorite crops to grow! They are back for an eleventh week of tomatoes!   An unprecedented amount in our CSA this year so I hope you have enjoyed them as much as we do growing them!

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.

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

Honeynut Squash  These interesting and tasty mini-butternuts are a newer squash and were bred at Cornell.   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 over most of the squash but the green color is hot they are on the vine so don’t worry about it if there is some green coloring. They do not store well long term but will keep for up to two months.

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 non hybrid variety 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 salad mix.

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 down this week as temps drop meaning very few of these left.

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.   I just eat the skins and save the time myself.

habanero One of our hot peppers this week is habanero 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.  They make a great hot sauce diluted with some vinegar, or combined with peaches or tomatoes.

 

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. 2nd and for Thursday folks it is Oct. 4th.

We will be shelling garlic for planting over the next week here and prepping our fields for planting it.  It was not a very good garlic year because of the late snow and hard freeze but 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 in general here before I 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.  The greenhouse project still has barely begun as far as construction but the site is well prepared at this point looking level and solid with plenty of sunlight.

I am looking forward to some vacation time myself or at least a few days off every week and some more time with my children at their soccer games and other activities.   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 likely be at the Wil-mar Community Center but I will likely only attend one or two holiday sessions.  Some Dane County Farmers Market holiday indoors are on the agenda for winter from mid November until Christmas and there will be some excellent kale, squash, 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 in Fitchburg right through the end of the year there too which ends after October.  Thanks again to all our bi-weekly members this year for your participation and support!  We will be in touch with reminders regarding sign-up opening for next season around the turn of the new year.  Otherwise I have all ready gotten a couple sign ups for next season so feel free to use the sign up form to sign up anytime for next year too.   I’ve all ready cleared the old sign ups and I expect pricing to remain the same as I raised it this last season.   As always I offer a 20 dollar discount to any returning members who sign up before February 15th on any share.   Thanks and until next week then for the rest of our members.  Enjoy the produce folks!

Week #18 – 2018 CSA Season

What’s in the Box:

Pea shoots, sweet pepper, acorn squash, yellow storage onion, red storage onion, filet beans, porcelain garlic, aji rico chili peppers, jalapeño peppers, lettuce mix, radishes and tomato.

What’s going on at the farm:  

Its been warming up and drying out this week with gorgeous weather finally!   We harvested all the rest of the winter squash and pulled in our biggest haul ever, easily.   I made great progress on the greenhouse site removing roots, and leveling the site with my tractor.  I borrowed another large tool for the job (a gas powered pole driver) this last week too and I am basically ready to set the foundation poles at this point.    We got some more clean up done this week too removing all the melon beds from the fields.   Winter squash beds got ripped out too after we harvested all the winter squash!   Over 2,000 fruits were hauled out of the field after being clipped off the vines and moved to the greenhouse for curing.  Its been a lot of lifting lately but i’m feeling strong despite being tired and pacing myself into the late season.  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 acorn squash is fully ripened and cured and ready to eat.  It will store at room temperature for 2-4 months.

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.

Filet beans are in this week and they cook a little faster then the regular green beans you got last week.  These are long, slender, seedlesss and tasty!   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!

lettuce mix is back and ready for some awesome salads with some of your sweet peppers, radishes, and other veggies!

Radishes, are crisp and spicy this week and plenty to go around so nice big bunches are coming to you!

Aji Rico chilies, are here for the second time and they are fruity and not to hot.    I love them raw for pico.

Jalapeno is back again this week, i made a large batch of bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers for the farm potluck so if you missed it that’s a shame and you will have to come next year!    I will do it again!

Tomatoes.   Yes we still have some!   This week will mark our tenth week of tomatoes in shares this year.  Thats the most we’ve ever been able to distribute in one season and we may not be done yet although they are slowing quite a bit and def getting smaller.

Thanks for being a part of the farm folks!  It’s worth mentioning there are two weeks remaining after this coming one in our twenty week 2018 CSA season.   Week #19 which is our last week for bi-weekly shares, and of course our final delivery for full season members the week after for week #20. I look forward to having a good time with you all tomorrow night for those of you who can make the annual farm potluck, csa members and their guests are welcome from 3-10ish, and you should bring your prefered beverage and a dish to pass.    There will be a large bonfire after the dinner as we burn to prepare for the new greenhouse building site!   Enjoy the food all!

Week #17 – 2018 CSA Season

What’s in the Box:

spaghetti squash, purple glazer garlic, yellow storage onion, red storage onion, green pepper, sweet peppers, red radish, green beans, jalapeño, pea shoots, sunflower shoots, and tomatoes.

What’s going on at the farm: 

Finally we are drying out a bit and able to get some field work done.   We removed a few rows of tomatoes late last week, and today we removed some more mulch beds after picking the very last melons off the vines.    I got the pine tree stump removed today too and i’ve been able to resume work on preparing the greenhouse site.  which is almost ready to install the foundation on.  I’ve gone down a few workers the last few weeks and although its supposed to get easier late in the year for me it never does and this year is no different with this huge project developing and many other time consuming things like bean picking, weeding salad greens, winter squash harvest, and clean up going on.  I am also preparing to have you all out as guests for the annual farm potluck dinner this coming Sunday, September 16th.   We will start at 3pm and go until sunset followed by a bonfire.  I will plan on dinner being around 5-6pm.  Please bring a dish to pass and your own beverages.  I will supply plates, silverware, brats, and a variety of roasted peppers.

I’ve got a lot of good crops coming for you folks this week and the fall veggies are coming on strong for our last three weeks after this one.  Our offerings this week include;

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

Red Radish.  These fresh bunches of roots will be great with your fresh pea shoots and sunflower 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.

Green beans.   It might be late summer but the beans are coming in strong with this mid summer planting we got in hitting just in time for the last quarter of this season.  We just had them for dinner on the grill in a foil packet with garlic and avocado oil and they were so good!

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.   I made poppers for dinner today and am planning on doing more 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 20-30 minutes.

Sweet peppers.    Enjoy these sweet fruits while they are here as they only ripen when the temps stay up!  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.

Spaghetti squash is our first winter squash this week and everyone is getting a couple of these.  They store great at room temperature on the counter for quite some time if you don’t want to use them right away.

Tomatoes, we are trying to bring them back again this week but not very much to go around so please enjoy these while we still have them.

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 – 2018 CSA Season

What’s in the Box:

Cantaloupe, sweet peppers, garlic, torpedo onion, green peppers, english cucumber, leeks, pea shoots, sunflower shoots, jalapeño peppers, baby kale, cayenne peppers.

What’s going on at the farm:  

This week brings us into the last quarter of the season.   My new greenhouse arrived last Wednesday and I started removing roots and stumps and preparing to burn the branches and level the build site.   Old broccoli beds were removed from the build site and i’ve been solarizing weeds out of the area utilizing the heat.  Green beans are super close to the first pick but I think It will not be accomplished until later in the week so those will go out starting next week along with the winter squash we harvested this week.  Spaghetti was the first of the winter squash this week harvested for curing so that will be coming starting next week.   Looks like a good haul of spaghetti, acorn, butternut, and honey nut squash though overall!   Work will continue this week on clean up for fall along with the regular harvesting, cleaning, and mowing which is a lot this time of year too.   Here is the run down for Week 16.

Cantaloupe is still here!  What a great crop this year.    This will be our third straight week of melons and these are pretty close to perfect ripeness but yours should have a light yellow color to the skin and a sweet scent out of the stem end but they will not get soft.  This variety is very firm with incredible flavor and sweetness.  I have a customer at market that like to eat these in chunks wrapped with prosciutto.  If we have enough i’m going to double up on cantaloupe for everyone this week so hopefully that will happen.  Still some cracking of the skin on these with all the water lately.

Sweet peppers are really coming in with the heat and humidity but that also makes for more peppers that may get a soft spot or mark on them because of all the moisture.  We try to avoid any that are worse then a spot but we are also loading you guys up on peppers so if you have to cut out a bad spot it shouldn’t be the end of the world.   Plenty to go around!

Green peppers are coming to you again too because the green flavor is great sometimes too.  I love them on homeade pizza, in stir fries, or stuffed.

Jalapeno peppers are one of our hot pepper this week and they are good for so much but my favorite is splitting them in half and slow roasting them with cream cheese in them but they spice up any dish nice.  Cayenne is the long skinny red hot pepper and those are great dried for red pepper later or in stir fries, pasta dishes, or make your own bit of hot sauce!

Torpedo onions are here one more time but this is likely the last week for these before we get into all storage types for winter.

Leeks are also back and these creamy textured onions hold well even if the outer wrapper gets dry you can simply peel of a layer before cooking them up!    They are great with potatoes, in soups, stews, and stir fries.

Pea Shoots and sunflower shoots are such great fresh salad greens and full of vitamins, but also great on burgers, sandwiches, tacos or even lightly sautéed.

English Cucumbers are still coming but much slower so enjoy these while we still have them, not likely much to go around this week and it might be the last week for them

Our kale this week is the baby jagallo nero kale, we had it early in the year once or twice and this week it is our sautéed green, great for stir fry, sautéed salad with sesame seeds, or even a raw salad when its massaged roughly with oil.

I hope everyone enjoys the veggies and stay tuned next week for green beans, winter squash, and possibly radishes and the return of salad mix coming very soon!

Thank you all.    -farmer Kyle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week #15 2018 CSA Season

What’s in the Box: 

Heirloom tomatoes, yellow sweet onion, red torpedo onion, garlic, eggplant, assorted sweet peppers, sunflower shoots, pea shoots, leeks, cayenne peppers, aji rico hot peppers, cantaloupe, and watermelon (bi-weekly-only)

What’s going on at the farm:

Way too much rain was the highlight of last week.   Now we’ve got a lot of humidity and heat building up again.  My greenhouse project is well under way as we got most of the logs cut and moved this week.    I’m almost ready to start prying the roots out of the ground this week.  On Wednesday the new structure comes and we will have the parts on hand to build!  Its hard to keep energy up this time of year after working so hard all year long so slow and steady is my pace heading into the last quarter of the season.   Melons and cantaloupes are in and tasting great!   Our green beans, dragons tongue beans, and edamame and winter squash are loving the heat and precipitation too.   Beans should be ready very soon.   Here is this weeks rundown.

Cantaloupe:  This fruit is a favorite of many, yours should have a nice yellow tint to it before you cut it open, and a light scent out of the stem end of the melon.  No need to refrigerate it unless it has a crack or a has been cut open.    I just let them ripen at home on my counter.  Some of them will be very ripe and others slightly under so its up to you when to cut it.

Watermelon is here this week for bi-weekly members only since they missed out last week we will do our best to get everyone a watermelon.    Most of them are orange glow heirloom melons which are orange with a white seed, but you may also receive seedless pink or yellow melons depending on what is ripe this week.

Torpedo onions are a summer red onion great for eating raw as they are not to sharp.   I do believe they are good with everything!  These store dry but won’t keep well after October.

Sweet yellow onions are in the box again this week too, a great staple for any dish this is likely the last week for these sweet onions.  These store dry but won’t keep well after October.

Leeks are another mild onion coming to you this week, great in stir fries, or sautéed in butter with potatoes for some potato leek soup which can also be served cold!

Garlic is back again with flavor this week!  It’s great for you and will hold until spring with no refrigeration at room temp.

Aji Rico chilies are one of our hot peppers this week, these have a tear drop shape and red color and they are very fruity with a small amount of heat.  I would call these mild with great flavor and I really like them with tomatoes for fresh pico, or on tacos or nachos.

Cayenne is our other hot pepper this week and we have a lot of these pouring in right now, they are great for making red pepper flakes if you dry them slowly in the oven or a dehydrator, if you have one.

Sweet peppers are numerous right now too expect a lot of red, yellow, and maybe even some orange sweet peppers of different shapes and sizes in the mix.   In general these are larger then the hot peppers so easy to tell them apart.

Sunflower shoots and pea shoots are back again and they make great salads together and great compliment to your other meals too.

eggplant.  Just a few smaller fruits to go around now with these creamy and spongy summer fruits soak up anything you can spice or marinate them with.   I like them best fried in olive oil for sandwiches, pasta, or ratatouille.

Tomatoes are still coming in pretty well too, a random blend will go in each box and although they are getting a bit smaller they do not lack in flavor!

Until next week then folks, happy Labor Day weekend and enjoy the veg!

-Farmer Kyle

Week #14 – 2018 CSA Season

What’s in the Box: 

Cantaloupe, heirloom tomato, porcelain garlic, sweet yellow onion, red torpedo onion, leeks, sweet peppers, green pepper, eggplant, curly kale, summer squash, padron peppers, and sage.

What’s going on at the farm:   

The site prep for greenhouse three continued this week.   I took down a large pine and a 5 foot wide hardwood hackberry tree that took two days to cut up to make room for the future building.   Now it is ready for excavating the roots, stumps, and leveling the site which I will do with the new tractor.     These were not some little trees so it really gets the blood pumping to do such a dangerous job.    I got several quotes from three different companies on the ideal structure and it looks like the grant will cover about 2/3 of the cost.  Apparently the cost of steel rose over 15 percent recently.    Also investing in solid structure components like metal hips and baseboards, ventilation, and metal end framing can lead to less headaches later and a more reliable long lasting structure in my opinion so that’s where i’m leaning on it.      I should be able to grow enough in it to still pay it pack within a year with the grant so on we go with the project!    We got hit with heavy rains this week receiving over 10 inches the last few days and the fields are thoroughly soaked.   Amazingly I was able to get in a planting before the last rain came.   I had a nice area prepared from earlier weeks work and seeded lettuce for salad mix, spinach, and radishes!   Hopefully they did not all wash out with the heavy rains and we will have some greens coming back for the last few weeks of the season.

Melons and cantaloupes are coming in now but the yields are not incredibly high and all this water is not good during the cantaloupe ripening period.  My plants are making fewer large melons this year.    I’m going to try and get everyone a cantaloupe this week.    If it is cracked at all from the excess moisture you should try to eat it or refrigerate it right away.   So starting of the list this week is;

Cantaloupe.   This delicious dense fruit is not as sweet or easy to ripen during heavy rain periods like this but they are coming in none the less.   Hopefully it does not affect the sweetness.    The variety  grow has exceptional flavor and texture so keeping my fingers crossed.    You should cut these when they have a light yellow color to the skin (but no later) and a light scent to the stem end of the cantaloupe.   That is ideal ripeness in my opinion but they should all be close to or at that point when you receive them this week.  Enjoy!

Tomatoes, are still going strong in the greenhouses and a nice blend of slicers are coming to you this week.   Our outdoor cherry tomatoes are pretty much finished with all the rain this week.   Enjoy the late summer tomatoes while you can because they are getting smaller and slowing down now.

Green peppers and sweet peppers are back and peppers is one veggie my kids and I all love in this household.   I’m sure your familiar with these as well!

Eggplant is also back and these fruits are also getting smaller and slowing down a bit this week, These are great cooked just about any way you can think of buy my favorite is frying slices breaded and putting caramelized tomato and onion over them.

Garlic, sweet onions, and torpedo onions, will help make your cooking flavorful and savory in so many ways.   I’ve been making kabobs a lot lately and grilling the onions, peppers, squash, eggplant, tomatoes, marinated with a  little oil and sweet sauce.

Sage is our herb this week, it is wet from the heavy rains which is not ideal for this herb so do try to dry it out or you could refrigerate it and use it fresh sooner then later.  It will not store well cool and wet for long.    Sage has a great savory flavor that lends itself well with onions, garlic, meat or protein dishes like grilled chicken, beans, etc…

Padron peppers are our hot pepper this week.   These wrinkly peppers range in size from tiny to larger then a jalapeño.    They are a spanish peppers traditionally sautéed in olive oil and sea salt until they soften and blister.  They have a great flavor like that but the larger ones tend to be fairly hot.   The small ones are usually not but thats the thing about padron peppers, you don’t really know how hot each one is until you try them.   We have a few ripe red ones too so those will be sweeter and hot for sure.   In my opinion if they get large they are always hot so keep that in mind when eating them.

That’s it for this week folks.  This is going out later then normal as its been very busy and exhausting here with the greenhouse project going on but I am going to get out in the fields and get harvests and packing done for deliveries today.

Thank you for being great CSA members!  -Kyle

 

 

Week #13 – 2018 CSA Season

What’s in the Box:  

Sweet pepper, green pepper, heirloom tomatoes, broccoli, purple stripe garlic, red torpedo onion, shallots, jalapeño peppers,  zucchini, summer squash, leeks, eggplant, english cucumbers, and curly kale.

What’s going on at the farm:  

Our late summer beans are making good growth this week and we’ve been seeing some ripe melons but not enough quantity for shares.    Hoping to have a bigger harvest soon.   Lots of new hot peppers coming soon including poblano, habanero, aji rico, and more… also I will be planting greens and roots for fall this next week or two.   Items on the list to plant include lettuce, arugula, mustard greens, turnips, radishes, beets, chard, kale, spinach, and more.   Weather will play a big part in that as I only have a few open days where i’m not harvesting and delivering and selling food each week now and the harvests are heavy this time of year.  I’ve been working on preparing some areas that were cleared of harvest this week too and controlling weeds for next year using some different methods including lots of hand weeding, solarizing, and mowing.

Keeping up with the harvest is a challenge this time of year in the heat but we’ve been doing so.   I’m also doing more research on greenhouse structures this week and got the chainsaw blades sharpened so I can start tree trimming soon.    The two trees I have to remove should make quite a bit of firewood for the annual farm potluck dinner coming up in a few weeks.   I don’t like to have it on Labor Day weekend as I know most of you have plans for that weekend.    I’m thinking Sunday  September 16th sounds good.      I hope you all can make it and will mark your calendars.  I’ll be sending more info along in an e-mail reminder closer to the date but we usually start around 4 or 5 pm and go into the evening.   More updates on that coming soon.   For now it’s back to the veggies that we are harvesting and delivering to you this week.

Peppers of all types (and I grow many) are coming in well in the hot humid weather, both sweet and hot are seeing some color change now.    You will receive green peppers, sweet peppers, and jalapeño peppers this week in your shares.  The sweet ones are the large colored ones of course and as always do be careful cutting the jalapeños, they are getting hotter this time of year.   I like to wear disposable gloves when working with hot peppers and clean the cutting board and knife off afterwards.

Heirloom tomatoes abound yet and they are so so good, these are a big part of my daily meals and I love eating just a plate of tomato and cucumber salad for lunch with just some salt, oil, and vinegar.

Allium is the name of the onions family and we have four types for you this week including our mediteranian red torpedo onions, bronze shallots, leeks, and garlic.    They are all dry except the leeks which need refrigeration the other onions family items will store at room temp just about anywhere out of direct sunlight.

eggplant loves this warm humid weather, and I love grilling or pan frying slices of it in olive oil, and herbs, either breaded or not.     Try it on sourdough with some tomato, onion, garlic, or shallot and some melted mozzarella, its heavenly.

Broccoli should hopefully be bountiful enough to go around this week but not much of this crop left so not huge portions going out this week as last week.  None the less fresh broccoli is one of my favorite things and would go well with any meal.

Zucchini and summer squash is here again and coming in slower but steady.   They are great sliced on homeade pizza, stir fries, zucchini fries, breads, muffins, cakes, and more.

English cucumbers are pouring in lately from our late summer planting ands they look perfect.    They are great snacks for these hot summer days with a little salt or paired with the onions for some classic cucumber and onion salad.

Curly kale is back again and we have had it quite a bit but the quality and flavor of this stuff is so good!   My daughter and I are loving the kale chips at home and just a little garlic sliced onto them with some oil and salt and then bake them until they are crispy.   About 15-20 minutes (depending how crispy you like them) at 350 in a  glass pan in the oven stirring occasionally.

That’s all I’ve got for this week folks.  Thanks again and I hope you all enjoy the veggies!

-Farmer Kyle

 

 

Week #12 – 2018 CSA Season

What’s in the Box:

Heirloom tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, eggplant, german extra-hardy garlic, red torpedo onion, bronze shallots, red or yellow sweet peppers, zucchini, summer squash, english cucumbers, leeks, sunflower shoots, pea shoots, basil, 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 before the heat wave came in and a little bit of rain to break the dry spell 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 stay hot and humid.    This week on the farm we clipped a lot of onions, and shallots, did a lot of mowing in preparation for a big field clean up day and took steps to put the greenhouse purchase in motion because I got the NRCS grant!!!   I will be building a third greenhouse this fall but first I have to prepare the site which involves removing a few more trees and leveling it.   Afterwards I have to purchase the building so I got a loan for that and when the project is complete I will get some reimbursement with hopefully not too much out of pocket besides a lot of energy and hard work getting the grant and constructing my third agricultural building.

I also got news that I will be losing my rental land this week, after next season is over.    I grow in two separate locations the last 10 years and so about half of the food is produced on rented land.  The new land I mentioned last week is not quite a for sure either but there are some promising options out there. Including; making my own farm more efficient with the greenhouses, expanding field space and controlling weeds for less labor.   I may consider moving to a larger piece of land too on a larger established farm with infrastructure, but those are as hard to find as a small 5 acre piece to grow on.  Those are my goals at least and in the meanwhile if you know anyone renting farm land out near Edgerton/Milton area let me know!  Just 5 acres or less would be enough for me to really thrive on with the skill set i’ve developed over the years so i’m sure i’ll do great things with whatever I have available and figure something out.

Sweet peppers are coming in and you will receive red or yellow italian frying peppers this week based on availability as they are just slowly coming in this last two weeks with the cooler weather.   They are my favorite pepper with excellent sweetness even half red and an unmistakable tapered shape which resembles a horn giving these peppers the traditional name corno di toro or horn of the bull.

Sweet onions, specifically our red mediteranian 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.

Shallots are coming to you for the first time this year because why not add another allium, these onions are a staple of french cooking and have a buttery texture and flavor that is just perfect for any savory dish. They will store indefinitely at room temp on your counter or cupboard.

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!   I like them in stir fry, with fried eggplant, or cucumber salad for some zippy spice.

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 summer veggies up in one dish too!

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

Basil is probably the best pairing for an herb with all these savory summer veggies, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, onions, they all go so well with a little basil weather its Italian, korean, thai, or american food.   You could even spritz up your lemonade with some fresh basil during these hot summer months!

Cucumbers would be another great way to cool off, so enjoy a fresh crop of these mini english cucumbers, they are looking just perfect again heading into August off the new vines!

Zucchini and summer squash is still here and slowing down quite a bit now, not many more of these to go around this summer so enjoy them while they are here.

Broccoli is back again and these fantastic heads have great flavor and tight beading that only a summer broccoli grower could dream of… it’s been taste tested here and you got my tips on cleaning last week so enjoy this rare summer treat!

Pea and sunflower shoots are both back to provide you with some fresh micro greens for to use right away in your salads, on your sandwiches, or tacos, or even sautéed lightly!

Until next week be well and enjoy the produce!

Week #11 – 2018 CSA Season

What’s in the Box:  

Eggplant, broccoli, heirloom tomatoes, purple stripe garlic, sweet yellow onion, leeks, curly kale, zucchini, english cucumber, summer squash, jalapeno pepper, cherry tomatoes, and basil.

What’s going on at the farm:  

We are seeing some significant shift in weather and decreasing day length this week on the farm as some cooler nights dipped down into the lower 50’s.  Its been great weather to work in so we are lucky that way recently.  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 squash and zucchini, while others like sweet peppers are just starting to come in.    All our onions are harvested with our last haul coming in from the field last Wednesday morning.  Now they will be cured and clipped and stockpile storage onions for your fall shares.  I found the first ripe melon this week and just need a little more sun and heat to get more fruit to set so we can have enough crop 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 summery this week.

Cherry tomatoes are pouring in and our mix has 7 types which include chocolate, two types of red, two orange, yellow, yellow grape, 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 or caramelized with your onions for a sweet and toasty tomato paste.

Broccoli, especially as a summer crops is pretty rare for us so here is our second planting for you to enjoy mid summer.   Broccoli is better the sooner you can prepare it from the field so try to use it soon.  I really like this variety for its summer performance although it didn’t do as well for me in the spring as I tried it this year for the first time in that slot too.  I think we will keep this variety around for summer and fall crops though.  The best way to clean your broccoli is to submerge it in water.   I usually check for caterpillars myself as sometimes there can be a couple on the stems (they are the same color) under the head and submerging can float them off.    I don’t mean to scare anyone away from this delicious crop as I have not seen any issues with them on this crop, just giving my best handling advice.   We also wash the heads immediately after harvest ourselves and ice them to keep them crisp and cool until they are packed to go to you!

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!

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.

Jalapeño 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 moderate.   Much more so when the seeds are removed.   Be careful when handling hot peppers and their 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 curly kale.  It’s a new crop and very tender and flavorful!   We love kale chips at home with garlic sliced up and just a little oil, I bake them at 300 in a glass pan for 15-20 minutes  Stirring occasionally.  Some other recipes call for parchment paper.   In general you can season them anyway you like too.

A few more mentions this week which might make the box include pea shoots, sunflower shoots, and celery.   Thank you all for your support and enjoy the summers bounty!

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