Small Family Farm CSA

We Dig Vegetables

 

September Nineth

There is an aspect to farm life that I try very hard not to talk about. The beautiful parts of this life are featured in these newsletters and facebook postings. We do everything we can to “market” the joyful and glorious parts of the farm-for they are many. The depth and richness that is felt from working so closely to the earth and producing such nutrient-dense food and feeding it to our loved ones is worth the struggles and hardship that it sometimes takes to bring this food to the table.
IMG_1087The Hungarian Hot Wax pepper plants with red, orange and lime-green peppers hanging from the plants. We picked red for everyone, but there weren't quite enough red for all, some folks got lime-green.

It’s no secret, but this work is hard. It is not just hard-it’s exhausting! Maybe it’s because we have two small children or maybe it’s that the farm is growing or maybe it’s just that Fall is coming soon and it’s been a long season that I’m finally dropping my arms to my side. It’s always at the end of the season like this that I am totally convinced that we are crazy. We are absolutely, definitely, certainly crazy. I suppose it might make for a happier life in the end to be crazy about something than to settle for less than we’re capable of. Maybe? I’m not sure. 

On Labor Day, I think about all of the normal families out there taking a three-day weekend with the kids to a cabin near a lake up north somewhere. I think about people having picnics in parks and taking road trips. People with more balanced lives than mine. I think about what a day off would look like. I look in the mirror and I see grey hair. Grey hair! Even eating 100% organic food won’t protect you from the damaging effects of stress in your life.

Don’t worry about me folks, I’m too much of an addict to this life, our roots are too deep, I’m just too loyal and committed to quit. You’re CSA shares will keep coming week after week, year after year. We’re married to it. But I am allowed to, for just one insignificant newsletter (since I’m the one who writes these and most of the rules around here) to do a teeny-weeny little bit of whining. Okay? 

Winter will be here all too soon and our weary bones will get their rest. The vibrancy, the excitement, and the enthusiasm will renew and regain somewhere over the course of January and March. With each passing year our small family gets a little bit better at achieving balance. We get a little better at running the farm, hiring helpers, and making time for each other, our friends and our family. After all, these beautiful boxes and this delicious food are worth it. Anything worth having is worth fighting for. 

Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable... Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sooo....What's in the Box????
IMG_1082Farmer Adam giving harvesting instructions on Monday morning before the harvest crew dives in to start harvesting oregano for the boxes this week.
Green Cabbage- A beautiful head of green cabbage for all this week.
Superior Gold Potatoes- Absolutely amazing Superior gold potatoes for all. You will notice that we do not wash our fresh potatoes. Potatoes will scuff very easily if they are washed immediately after harvesting. They also keep better with their skins still on. Do not refrigerate fresh potatoes. They will store wonderfully at room temperature for months before they are in danger of sprouting when they are freshly dug. We undercut potatoes and pick them up by hand. This is a labor of love.
Carrots- A one pound bag of carrots for everyone. We love the rich orange color and sweet flavor of our home grown carrots. The flavor difference between fresh, local carrots and store bought carrots is quite obvious with this vegetable.
Tomatoes- Another week of a huge 8lb bag of tomatoes. We do harvest our tomatoes with a blush. Allow your tomatoes to sit on your counter until they are ripe. You may put them in the refrigerator only if you need to buy yourself time to use up your very ripe tomatoes. Refrigerators usually drain flavor out of fresh tomatoes. You may also notice that as we get into our late season tomatoes like this, they become a little less perfect looking. Some of them my have more cosmetic imperfections.
Cauliflower or Romanesco- Our fall successions of Cauliflower, broccoli and other brassicas are starting to mature now. We are excited that cauliflower is back in season!
Mini Sweet Lunchbox Peppers- A generous 5-6 minisweet peppers for all this week. These are the small little peppers at the bottom of your box not to be confused with your hot peppers. The mini sweets (Lunchbox) peppers are red, yellow and orange. Great for snacking.
Sweet Bell Peppers X 5An impressive 5-6 sweet peppers per member this week.  A big mix of pepper this week from the large and blocky red, orange and yellow bells to the specialty yellow canarios and orange oranos which are a longer sweet pepper that come to a point.  Fajita time! 
Hungarian Hot Wax PepperThis is the longer, lime-green colored hot pepper that sometimes turns an orange-ish color when *ripe*.  These peppers are funny because they are usually picked lime green, but a small 10% of them will turn orange and get a touch sweeter as they "ripen".  Hungarian Hot Wax are also called "bananna peppers".  Despite it's big name, these are among the most mild of all hot peppers.  Technically they are considered a hot pepper, but they are not usually hot.  Although sometimes they are! 
Jalapeno Pepper- This is the small, green pepper that packs a little more punch.  A couple members have told me they don't think they're very hot, but I guess I'm a little wimpy when it comes to heat, because they're hot to me! 
Oregano- What a fun harvest this was! So fun to harvest a fragrant herb like oregano. These bunches can be taken apart and laid out on a tray and dehydrated in your oven or dehydrator. Crunch the dried leaves away from the stem and store the preserved herb in a mason jar with a tight lid. Or make a fresh tomato sauce with oregano this week! Yum!
Red Leaf Lettuce- These heads were small this week, but so nice to have lettuce back in the boxes this fall. We are out of head lettuce for a while now. We're waiting for our fall Spinach and cut lettuce plantings to come into maturity now.
Brussels Sprouts Tops- This was another fun harvest. This is our first time ever giving brussels sprout tops. We had learned that you can eat these as a tender, seasonal treat like you would kale, chard or collards. They are cute little tops. We snap the tops off of the brussels sprout plants to tell the plants to stop growing upwards (as they love to do) and start putting more of their energy towards filling out their little "sprouts".
Yellow Onion-  Gotta have that onion.  These guys are big too!  

NEW!  Adam's Best Guess for Next Week!  

Disclaimer:  This is only our best guess from what we see up and coming from field walks.  Next week's actual box may look slightly different from this projection.  

Napa or Savoy Cabbage, spaghetti squash, chippolini onion, tomatoes, sweet peppers, mini sweet peppers, hot peppers, eggplant, swiss chard, cauliflower or romanesco, maybe arugula and maybe beets and maybe spinach
Recipes

September Second

Ode to the Worker Share

Farm work may be considered by some to be highly undesireable.  Much of the work we do is done out in the elements.  We work in rain, wind, dust, heat and even the bitter cold.  On harvest days the work needs to get done no matter what.  While we may try to find indoor work on a rainy Thursday or Friday, the Monday and Tuesday crews take the brunt.  The sort of person who would be attracted to doing this kind of work isn’t doing it for the money or even the work out.

Farm work builds character.  Workers harvest, weed, plant, mulch, trellis and wash produce even if they are hot, cold, wet or uncomfortable.  There is plenty of heavy lifting, bending, kneeling and repetition on a produce farm.  And if we’re doing everyone’s favorite job, mulching, we all go home with chaff in our boots, bras, hats, hair and noses.  Who would want to do this work? 

Well, I say who wouldn’t want to do this work?  It’s not about suffering or even surviving, it’s all about the food.  I do admit that I love the athleticism of the work.  I love walking on uneven surfaces.  I love the fresh air.  I love getting so thirsty I can drink a quart of water in one quick break.  I even think there is a bit of a tuff-chick inside me that likes getting dirty.  I never was very good at keeping my nails clean and white shirts white.  It’s nice to be a farmer, where no one expects that of you anymore. 

The farm work on this farm, in case I haven’t mentioned it recently, gets done by Adam and I, our two full-time employees, Joe and Todd, and a revolving chorus of Worker Shares that come to work a 3.5hour shift in exchange for their CSA Share.  The Worker Share program, even it’s 6th year, still impresses me.  Every Spring when the Worker Shares call the farm to tell me they want to do the Worker Share again, I am amazed at how they keep coming back! 

We have thirty people who work for their CSA Share.  These thirty people share a few characteristics that I find highly desirable in a human being.  1)  They value where their food come and how it is grown.  They appreciate good, clean, organic food.  2)  They’re not afraid to work hard or get dirty.  3)  They joyfully build community.   Oh, and a Fourth one)  They are also fantastic at keeping commitments.  These are the kind of people you want to have in your life.  In the Spring they gave the farm a verbal commitment and thumbs up that they would be here to help this Summer and we crossed our fingers and hoped they would show up to work.  They all did!  And they all keep coming back week after week to work their shift.  I am not only grateful, I am amazed and impressed.  These people will restore your faith and trust in humanity. 

Doing this work alongside your friends for a wholesome purpose just feels good.  Sometimes we work and talk politics or religion.  Sometimes we joke and laugh and share ideas while working.  Sometimes we sing.  And sometimes we work quietly.  Depending on the task we’re doing and how long it takes-even the weather seems to play a part in the mood of the day.  After all, we are squatted right square down underneath the ever-changing outdoor atmosphere.  But to me it often feels like a form of meditation.  We are able to put our hands to work and turn off the mind.  Thankfully, we get to do this work together.    If it were not for the colorful and eclectic array of Worker Shares who help on this farm and breath life into it, I’m not sure where we would be today.  

Sooo...What's in the Box???

Red Cabbage-  These are a very nice sized head for a red cabbage.  Typically, red cabbages are a smaller head of cabbage.  These heads were ready for harvest a couple weeks ago, but we couldn't fit them in boxes then with all of the melons, tomatoes, sweet corn ect.  The outermost layer looks like it needs to be peeled away to clean them up a little, but they didnt' look too bad.  

Tomatoes-  A hefty 8lb bag of tomato mixers this week.  A mixed variety of slicing tomatoes.  You may have received some romas (the paste tomato), standard hybrid red slicing toamtoes or a few different looking varieties of heirloom tomatoes that could be red or pink or yellow when fully ripe.  You'll know when they're ripe by the richness of their color.  We recommend keeping your tomatoes on the counter until they are fully ripe.  Use them up as they ripen.  You can put them in the fridge when they are fully ripe, but refrigerators do seem to suck a little flavor out of a tomato.  Try to avoid the fridge/tomato combo if you can.  It's a great season for tomato sauce, salsa, bruchetta or soup.  Get creative!  This is the season we've been waiting for!  

Green Beans and or Purple Stripe Dragon Tongue Beans-  Alert!  We picked these beans on a dewey monday morning when the soil was still wet.  Green beans do not like to be washed or they will mold.  We did not wash our beans, so we highly recommend that you wash them right before you eat them.  They have a little dirt on them!  

Dark Red Norland Potatoes-  A 2lb bag of potatoes for all this week.  I love cooking with freshly dug potatoes.  These have a crispness to them that goes away once they've been in storage for a few months.  The red norlands have a bright red skin and a crispy white flesh that is lower on carbohydrates than some other varieties of potatoes.  These cook a little quicker (than, say, a russet) and are very versatile.  They can be mashed, roasted, stamed, fried or whatever.  Love the red potatoes!  

Carrots-  A one pound bag of carrots.  These were freshly dug with their hearts still beating and there little white-tip roots still attached.  You know they are fresh when their little whit tips are still on the end of the root.  

Yellow Onion-  Because everything is made more wonderful with an oinon in it.  This varity is called Ovation.  It is a similar variety to a sweet, candy onion.  They are great keepers.  

German Red Garlic-  I never have been much for detecting the subtleties in flavors in the different garlic varieties.  They all taste wonderful to me.  We love to grow hardneck varieties that withstand these brutal northern winters.  We love varieties with nice, large cloves that are easy to peel in the kitchen.  We also love the streaks of color that these red-skinned varieties have to offer.

Sweet Bell Peppers-  An impressive 5-6 sweet peppers per member this week.  A big mix of pepper this week from the large and blocky red, orange and yellow bells to the specialty yellow canarios and orange oranos which are a longer sweet pepper that come to a point.  Fajita time!  

Mini Sweet (Lunchbox) Peppers-  These are the really cute little red, yellow and orange peppers at the bottom of your box that are a new, fun variety that we tried this year.  Mini-sweets were all the rage at the Dane County Farmer's Market last summer sold in a pint clamshell, and we had to try growing them to see what the fun was all about.  Don't let these be confused with your hot peppers.  These ones are sweet!  

Hungarian Hot Wax Pepper-  This is the longer, lime-green colored hot pepper that sometimes turns an orange-ish color when *ripe*.  These peppers are funny because they are usually picked lime green, but a small 10% of them will turn orange and get a touch sweeter as they "ripen".  Hungarian Hot Wax are also called "bananna peppers".  Despite it's big name, these are among the most mild of all hot peppers.  Technically they are considered a hot pepper, but they are not usually hot.  Although sometimes they are!  

Jalapeno Pepper-  This is the small, green pepper that packs a little more punch.  A couple members have told me they don't think they're very hot, but I guess I'm a little wimpy when it comes to heat, because they're hot to me!  

Cherry Tomatoes or Eggplant-  We had 169 pints of cherry tomatoes and 100 eggplants, almost everyone received one or the other.  We even came up a few short.  Therea are more cherry tomatoes out there than we can get picked.  

Green Leaf Lettuce-  100% Green Leaf Lettuce to make a BLT.  

Basil Bunches-  Basil stores best if you stand the bunches up in a glass of water like cut flowers.  When basil is store in the referigerator, it will turn black.  Or, if you don't have a use for it all now, you could lay it on trays and dry it out in your dehydrator or oven on very low heat.  

NEW!  Adam's Best Guess for Next Week!  

Disclaimer:  This is only our best guess from what we see up and coming from field walks.  Next week's actual box may look slightly different from this projection.  
Potatoes, carrots, red leaf lettuce, tomatoes, sweet peppers, hot peppers, eggplant, onion, green cabbage, spaghetti squash

Recipes:

Stuffed Peppers

Chilled Green Bean and Potato Salad

Tomatoes Stuffed with Rice 

Roasted Red Pepper and Sundried Tomato Soup

August Twenty-Sixth

Sweet corn is just one of the many crops we grow on the farm, but it is undoubtedly a fan favorite.  Sweet corn grown in season, picked at peak ripeness and coming directly from your CSA farm certainly is a welcome treat.  This tricky crop is a little harder to grow that you might think.  We have been growing it every year since the start of our little CSA, but we are still learning how to grow sweet corn with all of the many dynamic needs this tall grass needs to make large, juicy, sweet cobs that we get to pick before the raccoons beat us to it. IMG_1016The Hardy Monday Morning crew happily picking pecks of peppers in the perfect pepper patch.

This year we out-fooled the raccoons for the first time ever!  This is a huge defeat!  We went to our local True Value and bought an electric fencer that hooks up to a deep-cycle marine battery.  We strung two electric wires, 6 and 12 inches above the ground, all the way around the ½ acre patch.  Farmer Adam did a little trimming to make sure the fence didn’t get grounded out by weeds and tall grass around the perimeter of the patch and put a little peanut butter on the fence to make sure the coons knew we meant business.  Even still, we saw a nominal amount of rabbit damage chewing on a few cobs that were close to the ground.  Those tricky rabbits!  But at least we didn’t loose 50+ percent of the ears as we have in some previous years to the raccoons!

We also figured out spacing.  Believe it or not, we transplant our sweet corn at 6 inch spacing!  Transplanting sweet corn, as our full time guys, Joe and Todd, will tell you is tedious.  This involves the tractor moving at it’s slowest speed and Joe and Todd working as quickly as their experienced hands can move, plunking sticky blades of grass into a wetted, pre-poked hole in the soil.  Corn doesn’t like to be crowded with too many other corn plants too close to it competing for air flow, water, nutrients and sunlight.  In contrast, they can’t be planted too far apart where weed pressure will also encroach competing for the same elements. 

Now that we’ve out-smarted the coons and got the spacing down perfect, we also need to make sure we choose varieties that taste good and that have the right amount of day-length so that they will mature when we want them to.  We planted our sweet corn in 5 successions, hoping we would have 5 weeks of sweet corn givings for our CSA, but two of the successions matured at the same time (hence a larger giving this week) tweaking our plan a little.  We transplanted a 68 day variety in late June hoping for a fifth giving of sweet corn, but we learned that short-day varieties of sweet corn (varieties maturing under 72 days) do not like to be transplanted.  Also, we suspect that sweet corn should not be transplanted any later than mid June.  There really is something to the old adage “knee high by the fourth of July”. 

Sweet corn also has teriffically high fertility needs.  Growing sweet corn requires high nitrogen and zinc in the soil.  And since we have yet to irrigate our sweet corn, timely rains after transplant and up until tasseling are essential to good production.  Mother nature always has a hand in the game as well.  As much as we may carefully map out our production plan, high winds, rain, hail or even temperatures that won’t cooperate have stakes in the game too.  It is always a true blessing to harvest this bounty of food.  These vegetables are so much more than a little love and a good idea.  Lotts of hard work and helping hands went into your little box of goodies too!

Sooo...What's in the Box????

It was a very tight fit to fit all of the produce into the boxes this week.  We couldn't fit some of the produce we had harvested into the boxes this week.  We appologize if your produce seemed a little jammed in the boxes this week, we had a very difficult time getting the boxes closed this week!  FullSizeRenderThere is Jay with with a tooth-less tomato. Or does it look like a grumpy tomato? Or a teenage mutant ninja turtle tomato?

Watermelon or Canary Melon-  Most member received a large watermelon.  Or, you may have received a yellow canary melon and a small watermelon or you may have received two canary Melons.  The canary melons are yellow with a firm, green, sweet flesh.  It's melon time!  

Tomato Mixer Bag-  A large 8lb+ bag of a mixed variety of tomatoes.  One of the fun parts of being a CSA member is receiving a mixed variety of slicing tomatoes.  You have have received some romas, standard hybrid red slicing toamtoes or a few different looking varieties of tomatoes that could be red or pink or yellow when fully ripe.  You'll know when they're ripe by the richness of their color.  We recommend keeping your tomatoes on the counter until they are fully ripe.  Use them up as they ripen.  You can put them in the fridge when they are fully ripe, but refrigerators do seem to suck a little flavor out of a tomato.  Try to avoid the fridge/tomato combo if you can.  

Sweet Corn-  Ten ears per member this week!  Sweet corn loses it's sweetness every hour that it is off the plant.  We recommend eating up your sweet corn as soon as possible to enjoy it at it's maximum sweetness.  Sweet corn prefers to be stored very cold if you must wait.  Don't let it sit out on your counter.  

White Onion-  Cuz you gotta have that onion!

Garlic-  We shared the very best garlic variety with you this week.  The German White variety has 3-6 cloves per bulb that are nice and large cloves!  Garlic stores best in a cool, dark and dry place.  Referigerators work fine, or it will store well on your countertop if you'll use it in the next 6 weeks or so.  

Mini Sweet Peppers-  These are the really cute little red, yellow and orange peppers at the bottom of your box that are a new, fun variety that we tried this year.  Mini-sweets were all the rage at the Dane County Farmer's Market last summer, and we had to try growing them to see what the fun was all about.  Don't let these be confused with your hot peppers.  These ones are sweet!  

Cucumber, Zucchini, Summer Squash or Patty Pan Squash-  Ths summer squashes and cucumbers are going out of season fast!  Each member received just one cucumber or one squash.  

Eggplant-  One eggplant per member this week.  The eggplants varried in size quite a bit.  Some were the large standard eggplants and some were the smaller Japanese eggplants.  Eggplant production also seems to be waning in the shortening days.  

Green Beans-  A .92lb bag of beans for everyone this week.  We also planted some dragon tongue beans that are a flat, yellow bean with purple streaks on the beans.  If you received some of these dragon tongues, consider yoursleves lucky, there weren't as many of these.  One more week of green beans coming up next week.  

Beets-  About a pound of topped beets for everyone this week.  Beets store best in a plastic bag in the fridge.  IMG_1021Mini-Sweet Peppers all mixed together in a bin. Yummy!

Sweet Bell Peppers-  Two to four sweet peppers per member this week.  We determined how many you received based on how much space was left in the boxes this week. We tried to fit as many in each box as we could.  This was one of the last items to go in the boxes this week and we were running out of room to fit them in.  Some peppers are yellow, red or orange.  A beautiful color addition to the boxes this week!  

Hungarian Hot Wax Pepper-  This is the longer, lime-green colored hot pepper that sometimes turns an orange-ish color when *ripe*.  These peppers are funny because they are usually picked lime green, but a small 10% of them will turn orange and get a touch sweeter as they "ripen".  Hungarian Hot Wax are also called "bananna peppers".  Despite it's big name, these are among the most mild of all hot peppers.  Technically they are considered a hot pepper, but they are not usually hot.  Although sometimes they are!  

Jalapeno Hot Pepper-  This is the small, green pepper that packs a little more punch.  A couple members have told me they don't think they're very hot, but I guess I'm a little wimpy when it comes to heat, because they're hot to me!  

Red Curly Kale-  A modest bunch of red curly kale this week for everyone to ensure you're eating your greens!

Thyme-  Really nice bunches of tyme this week that add such a nice aroma to the boxes.  If you don't have a use for all of this tyme right away, you could lay the bunch out to dry in a warm, dry place or put it into your dehydrator to dry the herb, strip the leaves from the stems and store the dried herb in a mason jar with a tight lid to preserve the flavor.  

NEW!  Adam's Best Guess for Next Week!  

Disclaimer:  This is only our best guess from what we see up and coming from field walks.  Next week's actual box may look slightly different from this projection.  

Potatoes, Carrots, Red Cabbage, Tomatoes, Sweet Peppers, Hot peppers, lettuce, green beans, garlic, onion, basil, maybe an eggplant and/or cherry tomato

Recipes-

Best Ever Texas Caviar with Sweet Peppers, Hot Peppers, Onion and Garlic-  From Linda Hale, a local CSA Member.

Roasted Parmesan Pattypan Squash- from Linda Hale, a local CSA Member!

Pickled Baby Pattypan Squash-  From Linda Hale, a local CSA Member

Ratatouille

Cheddar-Jalapeno Cornbread

Tequila Braised Corn Salsa 

August Nineteenth

The farm began as an amateurs ideal and dream to work for ourselves, raise a family in the country, and become surrounded by good, clean food that we had raised ourselves and that would nurture our bodies and sustain our hearts.  The decision to become farmers was also about a retreat back to a way of life that was simple, wholesome, and conventional.  We wanted a way out of the tall buildings and into the tall grass. IMG_0971Amy making the tomato bins stackable after finish up the Tuesday morning harvest.

As many young people do, I spent a good portion of my youth wandering and searching for meaning.  I searched all throughout central America, the western coast of the United States, parts of Europe and Asia and even Canada.  I moved and traveled and asked questions.  Eventually farm work caught my attention.  The idea of becoming a farmer and someone who knew something about growing food and plants and plant behavior became the path I walked with romantic ideals and an amateur’s passion. 

We bought the farm in 2007.  The buildings were so big and the yard was so beautiful and the fields were so vast.  The potential was so great!  My knowledge of what we were doing was so limited but our stamina and work ethic was so strong.  We had nothing but huge loans and eyes wide open.  The farm started with a tractor, a tiller, a few flats of transplants and 60 paid CSA memberships.  I still am so thankful for the families who believed in us so early on and wrote us checks and trusted in us. 

It’s amazing what happens in nine years.  It’s starting to feel like we know what we’re doing out here.  We faked it until we made it!  We believed that we could grow and run this farm and grow all of this food…and then we did.  The farm has grown to a point of financial sustainability and the health of the soil and the community around the farm continues to grow as well.  You don’t learn how to grow all of these crops and manage a business from putting a few seasons in as a farm hand on someone else’s farm.  It isn’t until your own neck and mortgage are on the line that you start to figure some things out.

I feel thankful that we still love it.  This life is far from simple and farther still from stress-free.  We’ve carved out a life for ourselves and designed an organized system for producing a wide diversity of food in successions that feed over 400 families for nearly half of one calendar year in Southwest Wisconsin and Northeast Iowa.  The food is good, the life is rich and the community surrounding the movement at large is powerful. 

We made it into the tall grass, alright.  The grass is a little thick at times, even.  The bugs are little heavy and the wind is a little harsh up here on the ridge.  You never know what’s hiding in the tall grass and there are patches of thistle and ragweed that can be difficult to manage.  But it’s when I watch the delivery trucks pull out on Wednesday mornings and see my daughter eating dirty carrots right out of the ground and when the heavy snow in January lays the tall grass back down again that I can sigh.  I can remember in those moments why the farm was a good idea and why we get up every morning and do it all over again. 

Sooo....What's in the Box???

Charentais French Melon-  Everyone received two melons this week.  Everyone received a small french melon with an orange flesh that is a Charentais variety.  We thought these were delicious!
Honeydew or Cantelope Melon-  This was likely the larger melon in your box.  The honeydews have the green flesh and the cantelopes have the orange flesh.  You mave have received either one of these.  Some were a little more ripe than others.  You could let it sit on your counter for a day or two, but we think they should be eaten very soon!  

Tomatoes Mix Variety-  A whopping 6.4lb bag of a mixed variety of tomatoes.  One of the fun parts of being a CSA member is receiving a mixed variety of slicing tomatoes.  You have have received some romas, standard hybrid red slicing toamtoes or a few different looking varieties of tomatoes that could be red or pink or yellow when fully ripe.  You'll know when they're ripe by the richness of their color.  We recommend keeping your tomatoes on the counter until they are fully ripe.  Use them up as they ripen.  You can put them in the fridge when they are fully ripe, but refrigerators do seem to suck a little flavor out of a tomato.  Try to avoid the fridge/tomato combo if you can.  

Celery-  This week we cut the celery above ground in order to cut the centers out of the plants.  Some of the centers of the celery plants were starting to go bad but the outer stalks were still perfectly crunchy and delicious.  We cut them and bunched them this week.  The cut edges of the celery turn a copper color when they oxidize and this is very normal for celery.  Sadly, this is our final celery giving.  

Sweet Peppers-  Two to four sweet peppers per member this week.  Some of the bells are red, yellow or orange.  We try to pick the peppers 90% turned color.  Some of the orange peppers this week were an orange canary pepper.  These are the long, skinney, orange pepper that is sweet-not to be confused with the hungarian hot wax peppers that are smaller and *sometimes* turn orange.  IMG_0973Beautiful Sung Gold cherry tomatoes ripening in successions.

White Onion-  Gotta have that onion!

Sweet Corn-  Six to Seven ears of sweet corn this week. We were surprised at how big they got this year compared to previous years.  We tried a new spacing on our sweet corn this year and planted them farther apart so they plants got more sunlight, nutrients and water and weren't competing for these crucial elements to grow.  Either the Temptation or the Bodacious variety.  We were eating them right in the field, raw, fresh off the plant.  This is the best way to enjoy them with their maximum sweetness, but the next best way to get them is in your CSA box from your favorite CSA farmers (that would be us;)

Mini Sweet Peppers-  These are the really cute little red, yellow and orange peppers at the bottom of your box that are a new, fun variety that we tried this year.  Mini-sweets were all the rage at the Dane County Farmer's Market last summer, and we had to try growing them to see what the fun was all about.  Don't let these be confused with your hot peppers.  These ones are sweet!  

Hungarian Hot Wax Pepper-  This is the longer, lime-green colored hot pepper that sometimes turns an orange-ish color when *ripe*.  These peppers are funny because they are usually picked lime green, but a small 10% of them will turn orange and get a touch sweeter as they "ripen".  Hungarian Hot Wax are also called "bananna peppers".  Despite it's big name, these are among the most mild of all hot peppers.  Technically they are considered a hot pepper, but they are not usually hot.  Although sometimes they are!  

Jalapeno Pepper-  This is the small, green pepper that packs a little more punch.  A couple members have told me they don't think they're very hot, but I guess I'm a little wimpy when it comes to heat, because they're hot to me!  

Cucumber-  About 2 cucumbers per member this week.  Cucumbers are going out of season here.  Maybe anoter week or so of them, but enjoy your favorite cucumber recipes while we still have them!

Pickling Cucumbers-  Another handful of the pickling cukes.  Do a google search for an easy and delicious refrigerator pickel.  Just suff them in a jar and pour a little brine over them.  I like to ferment mine and keep them totally raw.  Fermenting them is probably the fastest and healthiest way to eat them.  See my recipe below!  

Summer Squash, Zucchini and/or Patty Pans-  The summer squash and zucchini plants are looking pretty sad.  It's amazing to me how the plants can look like they are totally dead or dieing and are still cranking out fruits.  What an amazing plant for it's efforts to reproduce!  

Green Curly Kale-  I think Kale might be one of my favorite vegetables.  Rip it onto pizza, bake it into a fritatta, sautee it in coconut oil, make chips out of it or do a massaged kale salad.  So many fun recipes out there to try, so little time!  IMG_0978Funky Heirloom Tomatoes

Curly Leaf Parsley-  Because we had to put and herb in this week's box.  Parsley could be a nice addition to a fresh salsa or make tabouli with these generous bunches.  If you have a dehydrator and you don't think you'll get to using the whole bunch this week, lay the sprigs out on the dehydrator trays and dry them and store them in jars.  Parsley is a really nice additon to potato dishes.  Potatoes coming soon once we think we'll be able to fit them in boxes!  

Eggplant-  We had 200 Eggplant and packed 300 boxes.  We stuffed them in any of the boxes that had room and even those that didn't have room.  

Cherry Tomatoes-  We also had 200 pints of these cherry tomatoe and packed 300 boxes, so not every box got cherry tomatoes.  It takes a very long time to pick 300 pints of cherry tomatoes.  We had the tomatoes, but we ran out of time to harvest them.  With such huge boxes this week and such heavy harvesting all week long, I wonder why we couldn't fit the time in to get them picked?  

NEW!  Adam's Best Guess for Next Week!  

Disclaimer:  This is only our best guess from what we see up and coming from field walks.  Next week's actual box may look slightly different from this projection.  
Melon, sweet corn, red cabbage, sweet peppers, tomatoes, onion, garlic, summe squash, cucumbers, thyme, beets, green beans, eggplant.  

Recipes

Roasted Tomato Bisque-  Thank you to one of our local members, Kathy Crittenden, who submitted these tomato recipes!  

August Twelfth

The summer bounty inspires festivity, celebration, feasting, sharing and reveling in some of our favorite summer crops that we wait almost all year for.  The sight of a ripening tomato on my windowsill with the kitchen window left open and a sweet summer breeze blowing in brings me a sense of summer joy that I almost live for.  The busy summer days filled with unlimited harvesting, hard work and bounty combined with decreasing sunlight, a tiring body and lists of things to do extending well beyond capabilities remind a person of their limits.  The mid summer days are sweet, but they are long. IMG_0922Unloading a Truck 'O Sweet Corn into the cooler.

The farm feeds our family much longer than the summer months.  We are busy canning and freezing and drying and canning some more.  The tomatoes are just coming into season now and we know we have plenty more canning in our future.  I am reminded of a Greg Brown song called Canned Goods with a line that goes “peaches on the shelf, potatoes in the bin, supper’s ready everybody come on in.  Taste a little of the summer, Grandma put it all in jars”.  The song crates a beautiful image of a cold, wintery landscape happening outside with a warm family setting indoors around the dinner table with the preserved bounty and plenty to go around. 

I don’t have time for canning or drying or freezing.  I don’t have time for laundry or showering or mowing the lawn or scrubbing floors.  The harvesting, the weeding, reading books to kids, changing diapers, making dinner, cleaning up after dinner and keeping the gears of the farm oiled and turning is about all I can manage.  But somehow, in the craziness of the summer months I find myself eeking the last hours of the evening stuffing pickling cukes into jars or drying herbs on trays.  I get a wild hair to blanch and freeze broccoli and cauliflower at 9pm.  The time is now or never with produce.  I begin to learn how much sleep I can get away with not getting. 

In the early years of the farm, my mother and my sister told me never to expect as much out of others as I expect from myself or I will always be disappointed.  It was a good lesson to have been taught early on.  I’m a bit of a work-aholic with the farm to keep me running like a rat in a cage and the desire to homestead and put up as much food as possible in the summer months that fills a creative space in my center that helps me achieve balance.  It makes me feel rich and secure and safe and whole to have a root cellar and a basement filled with roots and canning jars full of what will carry us through until next year.  It’s a lot of extra work on top of the work we already have to do to keep the farm going strong. 

But my hope is that you, the family that lives in town with a lawn much smaller than ours and an 8-4 job finds time to sit on the porch swing and enjoy the summer evenings and gets a good nights sleep.  I hope you can taste the summer time in your CSA box, but can also feel a spark for putting some of it in jars.  I hope the dill and pickling cucumbers and other bounty in your CSA box inspires you to dry, ferment, freeze and put away some of the sunshine into jars for when the December winds blow. 

Sooo....What's in the Box???

Charentais French Melon-  Everyone received two melons this week.  Everyone received a small french melon with an orange flesh that is a Charentais variety.  We thought these were delicious!

Honeydew or Cantelope Melon-  This was likely the larger melon in your box.  The honeydews have the green flesh and the cantelopes have the orange flesh.  You mave have received either one of these.  Some were a little more ripe than others.  You could let it sit on your counter for a day or two, but we think they should be eaten very soon!  

Celery-  This could be the final celery giving.  We are getting down to possibly the last picking of the celery.  Celery is a difficult crop to grow with high water and calcium needs.  Later in the season, the hearts of the celery plant begin to start dieing back.  Many of the plants we cut them apart and bunched them so we could cut out the centers that were sometimes bad.  Some of the plants that we left in tact may have had centers that we didn't see that were going bad.  If this is the case, cut out the centers and use the outer stalks that are just fine!  If we give celery next week, we will be cutting and bunching them all.  

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Cucumbers-  One to two cucubers per member this week.  Cucumber production seems to be down a bit with limited rain in previous history.

Pickling Cukes-  A small handful of pickling cukes to make a jar or two of pickles for the fridge.  You may have received pickling cukes if you only received one standard slicing cuke.  

White Onion-  Gotta have that onion;)

Green Beans-  One pound of green beans per member this week!

Carrots-  One pound of carrots per member as well!

Sweet Corn-  Six to seven ears of sweet corn per member this week.  

Hungarian Hot Wax Peppers-  This is the longer, lime-green colored hot pepper.  Hungarian Hot Wax are also called "bananna peppers".  Despite it's big name, these are among the most mild of all hot peppers.  Technically they are considered a hot pepper, but they are not usually hot.  Although sometimes they are!  

Jalapeno Pepper-  This is the small, green pepper that packs a little more punch.  A couple members have told me they don't think they're very hot, but I guess I'm a little wimpy when it comes to heat, because they're hot to me!  

Eggplant-  You may have received a standard sized eggplant or a longer, skinnier Japanese eggplant.  

Hybrid and Heirloom Tomato Mixer Bag-  A 2.5lb bag of a mixed variety of tomatoes.  One of the fun parts of being a CSA member is receiving a mixed variety of slicing tomatoes.  You have have received some romas, standard hybrid red slicing toamtoes or a few different looking varieties of tomatoes that could be red or pink or yellow when fully ripe.  You'll know when they're ripe by the richness of their color.  We recommend keeping your tomatoes on the counter until they are fully ripe.  Use them up as they ripen.  You can put them in the fridge when they are fully ripe, but refrigerators do seem to suck a little flavor out of a tomato.  Try to avoid the fridge/tomato combo if you can.  

Summer Squash, Zucchini and/or Patty Pans-  A steady production of summer squash and zucchini coming off of the patch still.  Production seems to be down a little, but you wouldn't miss it much with all of the other delicious items coming out of the fields.  

Sweet Pepper-  A mixed selection of sweet bell peppers again this week.  You may have received a red bell, yellow bell, orange bell or an orange canary pepper.  The canary peppers are usually a longer, skinnier pepper that comes to a point at the bottom. These are a sweet pepper not to be mixed up with a hot pepper.  We harvest peppers once a week for CSA boxes on Mondays, and we take everything that looks like it needs to go.  Some of the peppers have good color, but they may not be fully turned yet.  Peppers will ripen just a bit off the vine, but typically you can't count on them to ripen much once they've been picked.  We're taking them a little on the early side as we are very excited to be harvesting them and want to give you as many sweet peppers as possible!  Plenty more on the way where these came from.  Pepper production is just picking up!  

Swiss Chard-  The swiss chard leaves aren't looking quite as succulent and amazing as they did earlier in the season.  Smaller bunches this week, but a nice giving still!

Lettuce-  One small head of either red or green leaf lettuce.  This is very late in the season to be getting lettuce.  With very little rain in recent weeks and the looming deer pressure, we're harvesting them smaller.  This was the final giving of lettuce for several more weeks.  Lettuce gets very difficult to grow in peak season like thsi because it doesn't tolerate the high heat well.  

NEW!  Adam's Best Guess for Next Week!  

Disclaimer:  This is only our best guess from what we see up and coming from field walks.  Next week's actual box may look slightly different from this projection.  
Canary Melon, Watermelon, Onion, eggplant, tomatoes, sweet peppers, hot peppers, summer squash, zucchini, patty pan, kale, sweet corn, 
 

Recipes

Zucchini and Corn Fritters