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!

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