Small Family Farm CSA

We Dig Vegetables

 

Small Family Farm
Below are current issues of The Weekly Dig Newsletter, from Jillian Varney, owner of the Small Family Farm. Stay up to date on what's happening on the farm!

October Eighteenth

The Final Week of Summer Share CSA deliveries brings a kind of bittersweet feeling.  We are welcoming the slower pace of the waning day length, yet recognizing the end of the work we love and the food that has been so bountiful and plentiful all summer long.  Mostly though, I feel a strong sense of gratitude for everything the farm and the community has had to offer us this season. 

The CSA model so beautifully embodies everything a community and a small piece of land can accomplish when they work together.  Without the help of all of the amazing pairs of hands that come to this farm and work, the people like you who have chosen to give their hard-earned dollars for a CSA share, and the desire that Adam and I share for organizing this symphony of food production, there would be one less family farm preserving a piece of land and the healthy little ecosystem inside it. DSC 0341

We all love the idea of there being more organic farms on the countryside, cleaner soils and water in our communities and the preservation of a small family farm.  These things are all possible simply because people like you, yes YOU-reading this exact newsletter, care so very much about them.  Because you care about them and support them, they exist.  And for all of this I honesty and genuinely feel gratitude.  It makes my heart sing to see crews of mixed ages, skill levels and backgrounds, all come together on a weekly basis and show up to stick their hands in the soil and get their clothes and nails and boots dirty while picking spinach and peeling leeks on a foggy October morning. 

The farm will soon turn a page.  We will finish up our 12th season running our little CSA.  The leaves will soon all be fallen from the trees, the ground will soon be frozen, the carrots and the sweet potatoes will all be harvested and safely stored away for winter sales.  After the first of year, we will begin marketing for our 13th season running our small CSA.  We’ll get a couple short months rest before greenhouse season begins again and the earth’s little trip around the sun starts anew. DSC 0349

Fast approaching is my favorite Holiday, Thanksgiving.  I love the idea of there being a Holiday that causes us all to pause for a day and recognize everything the earth has offered us.  In the days of semi-trucks and ships shuttling food across the globe at record speed, we no longer experience hunger and famine the ways people once did in this country.  We have access to every kind of fruit and vegetable at any moment-free of worry that it might not be there for us tomorrow.  But if we honor the pause that Thanksgiving day offers us, we can try to reconnect with how blessed we truly are. 

So Thank You, from the depths of my heart, for an amazing season of bounty that feels like a celebration to me each year that we accomplish it together.  I feel honored to do this work.  I feel thankful to share it with you.  I feel blessed to have this life and look forward to doing it all over again next year.  We hope you will join us! 

Soooo……What’s in the Box???????

Brussels Sprouts-  Yes, these are the very funky looking vegetable that grows on a stalk.  They have the little sprouts that go all the way up the stalk.  We left the snapping-them-off-the-stalk part for you as well as any additional cleaning you desire for these.  One member told us she never learned to love Brussels Sprouts until she had them roasted in the oven.  Check out our roasted Brussels Sprouts recipe in last week’s newsletter. 

Broccoli or Romanesco-  A gorgeous head of either broccoli or romanesco for you.  We didn’t quite have enough Romanesco to give everyone one.  We filled in with Broccoli for those that didn’t get it.  Romanesco is the lime-green broccoli or cauliflower-like vegetable that is fractal looking.  Romanesco spirals up to a point at the top.  A really fun vegetable to grow.  It has a very long season and comes  on somewhat irregularly and sporadically, so it can be difficult to time for a CSA giving. 

Cauliflower-  Very nice heads of cauliflower for everyone.  We really struggled with getting these guys in the boxes this week with all of the other items to tuck in there.

Butternut-  This is probably the most-loved winter squash variety of all.  Everyone seems to know this variety of squash and loves to eat and cook with it.  The texture is smooth and consistent, the flavor is sweet and nutty, and the sheer color of the flesh once cooked up is warming and comforting.  Squash keep very well on your countertop for months. 

Bell Peppers-  Several peppers per member or enough to fill out the box.  Not necessarily colored bell peppers this week.  We knew frost was coming, so we went out and clear-cut the pepper plants no matter the size or color of the pepper.  Adam reminded me that some people do love to eat green peppers.  All peppers will turn color eventually; green peppers are just ‘unripe’ peppers that would turn color if left on the plant long enough.  Peppers freeze very nicely!  Just slice them up, de-seed them, and freeze them in zip-lock bags!  No blanching or extra work required!  We love to use frozen peppers in the winter months on pizza, fajitas, quiches or even thaw them and roast them if you like them that way. 

Spinach-  .4lbs  A heavenly bag of tender spinach for all this week.  This spinach was first-picking greenhouse grown spinach.  We plant greenhouse spinach in the Fall to have spinach for winter harvest.  This was the first picking which always means the leaves are more tender.  Yum!

Parsnip-  1#  We had a great parsnip year!  Many of the parsnips this year were big and beautiful as we always strive for them to be, but we have had years where many of them did not size up well.  Parsnip sold in stores are many times coated in a paraffin wax (a plastic wax) to help them keep and to prevent them from oxidizing.  We strongly feel that coating your vegetables in paraffin wax is un-necessary-even for storage life.  Taste the difference.  These are so fresh!

Rutabaga-  These are not turnips!  A rutabaga does look quite a bit like a large storage turnip-but I assure you these are rutabagas.  Rutabagas are wonderful if you just peel them, mash them and toss them with butter like a mashed potato-and your family will never know the difference!  They’re just a little less starchy than a potato.  We also love them cubed into a soup or stew.

Sweet Potatoes-  Two pounds of fresh, lovely sweet potatoes.  This year wasn’t our best sweet potato year.  We still got a nice harvest for our CSA members, but many of them did not size up quite like they did last year.  You can eat sweet potato skins.

Celeriac Root-  Our celeriac roots are huge this year!  These are not the most beautiful vegetable in the world, but they do get major brownie points on our charts for a few different reasons.  Which are:  they are a low-carb root veggie that adds variety to what is available locally for vegetable offerings in the fall.  They are fantastic keepers.  Store these in a plastic bag in your fridge, and they wil keep for months!  They also offer a very smooth and subtle celery flavor to your soups and stews that we have really learned to love.  Don’t judge this book by its cover.  It really is an awesome vegetable!

Leek-  Take a leek?  One big ol’ leek for each CSA member this week.  Leeks are in the onion family.  You can use them in your cooking like you would use an onion, but they are also fun to feature in a potato leek soup, fried in coconut oil until crispy and sprinkled on top of your soup or salad or really any dish.  Have fun exploring leeks if you’re new to using this vegetable.  The most commonly used part of the vegetable is the white stalk, but they greens are also edible.  They get a little tougher as you go up the leaves.

Recipes

Celeriac Mashed Poatoes

Potoato Leek Soup with Celeriac Root

Celeriac Potato Hashbrowns with Jalapeno and Cheddar

The Great Dane Inner Warmth Squash Peanut Stew

Smoky Romanesco Celery Root and Broccoli SoupSmoky Romanesco Celery Root and Broccoli Soup

 

October Eleventh

The nineteenth summer share delivery may mark the near-end of the produce deliveries for some folks, but it is by no means the end of the work that is done on the farm this season.  There is still a good month’s worth of work for us out there harvesting the root vegetables, tearing down tomato trellising, ripping up black plastic mulch, and planting and mulching seed garlic.  We will also need to mulch the strawberry patch before the ground is frozen.  Only when the ground is literally frozen solid will we finally be done. DSC 0344 1

One more Summer Share delivery left in the season and then we have a ‘week off’ with no produce deliveries.  We will use that week of time to dig potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, parsnips, beets and more.  The race is on now to get all of our fall storage veggies safely out of the ground, washed and into storage where they will be shared with Fall Share and Thanksgiving Share members.  With whatever veggies we have left over, we will hope to sell them to our local food coops and restaurants.  We do not have strong established relationships with many other buyers since we prioritize sending all of our #1 produce all summer to you, our CSA members. 

One of my favorite Fall projects is garlic planting.  I love the ritual of breaking apart all of those bulbs of garlic into bins full of individual cloves.  I love tucking them sweetly into their ‘beds’ in the fields at planting time and telling them to sleep tight.  Maybe this year we’ll hum lullibies on the transplanter at planting time.  When they’re all put to bed, we blanket them with a thick layer of mulch that will protect them from the heaving frozen earth, harsh winter temperatures and will also prevent a large percentage of the weeds from coming up in the Spring.  Additionally, the mulch will help hold moisture in the ground around the seeds and then ultimately it will add organic matter and nitrogen to the soil once it is completely broken down. 

I do love the waning day-length this time of year.  The darkness reminds us farmers to rest.  Ironically, we finally have more time for cooking and baking.  Using the oven is fun because warming the house up and making it smell delicious is part of the motive. There is something about working all day in the cold and wind and then coming into a warm house that smells like pumpkin pie that makes a person feel like they’re in the right place in the world. IMG 3052

We hope you enjoy cooking with all of these new Fall foods like Brussels Sprouts, sweet potatoes, celeriac root, rutabaga, leek and more!  Box packing took much longer than usual this week because we had to try to figure out a way to tuck each item in the box just so, so that it would all fit.  We struggled with getting many of them closed properly! 

Soooo……What’s in the Box???????

Brussels Sprouts-  Yes, these are the very funky looking vegetable that grows on a stalk.  They have the little sprouts that go all the way up the stalk.  We left the snapping-them-off-the-stalk part for you as well as any additional cleaning you desire for these.  One member told us she never learned to love Brussels Sprouts until she had them roasted in the oven.  Check out our roasted Brussels Sprouts recipe below! 

Broccoli-  A gorgeous head of broccoli for you because eating broccoli each week makes life a little better.

Cauliflower-  HUGE heads of cauliflower.  We really struggled with getting these guys in the boxes this week with all of the other items to tuck in there. 

Butterkin Squash-  This is a fun new variety of squash we grew for the first time last year.  A seed we got from Johnny’s.  It’s a cross between a butternut and pumpkin.  It has all of the orange and creamy color of a butternut, but a similar flesh texture and shape of a pie pumpkin.

Savoy Cabbage-  Savoy means ‘crinkley’ or ‘wrinkley’ or wavy or curled.  That’s what the leaves of this cabbage are like.  If you’ve never had it before, it doesn’t keep as well as a storage cabbage variety, but it does have a very light, tender and fun airy texture.  It makes a lovely slaw or salad.  Have fun with this rare jewel! 

Sweet Bell Pepper-  One sweet bell pepper per member.  Peppers are going out of season fast.  There are still peppers on the plants and we’re feeling very lucky that Jack Frost hasn’t come in the night yet and taken them all away from us.  We’re planning to have them again next week, but they may not be full color or they may be entirely green. We’ll have to pick what is left on the plants, turned color or not! 

Mini-Sweet Peppers-  Just a few of these little guys this week.  They could have been the red, yellow or orange ones.  We thought it might be a little difficult for you to tell the difference between the mini-sweets and the hot peppers this week as the hot peppers are mostly red this week as well. 

Jalapeno Pepper-  Many of the Jalapenos this week were red.  Some of them may have been green.  The jalapenos at this stage, many of them have ‘stretch marks’ on them.  A fun characteristic of late-season jalapenos.  Some people say that red jalapenos are sweeter than green ones.  What do you think?

Hungarian Hot Wax Pepper-  Many of these have turned red as well.  Earlier in the season they were yellow or green-ish in color, but many of them have turned red now.  Watch out for the mix of small-ish peppers in your box this week.  Some are hot, some are not! 

Spinach-  A heavenly half-pound bag of tender spinach for all this week.  We picked this spinach on a very muddy and rainy morning.  We did our very, very best to get all of the mud off of the leaves with the wash-time we had, but you might want to check the leaves for mud before eating them or give them an extra rinse before cooking or eating raw. 

Parsnip-  We had a great parsnip year!  Many of the parsnips this year were big and beautiful as we always strive for them to be, but we have had years were many of them did not size up well.  Parsnips sold in stores are many times coated in a paraffin wax (a plastic wax) to help them keep and to prevent them from oxidizing.  We strongly feel that coating your vegetables in paraffin wax is un-necessary-even for storage life.  Taste the difference.  These are so fresh! 

Rutabaga-  These are not turnips!  A rutabaga does look quite a bit like a large storage turnip-but I assure you these are rutabagas.  Rutabagas are wonderful if you just peel them, mash them and toss them with butter like a mashed potato-and your family will never know the difference!  They’re just a little less starchy than a potato.  We also love them cubed into a soup or stew. 

Sweet Potatoes-  Two pounds of fresh, lovely sweet potatoes.  This year wasn’t our best sweet potato year.  We still got a nice harvest for our CSA members, but many of them did not size up quite like they did last year.  You can eat sweet potato skins. 

Celeriac Root-  Our celeriac roots are huge this year!  These are not the most beautiful vegetable in the world, but they do get major brownie points on our charts for a few different reasons.  Which are:  they are a low-carb root veggie that adds variety to what is available locally for vegetable offerings in the fall.  They are fantastic keepers.  Store these in a plastic bag in your fridge, and they wil keep for months!  They also offer a very smooth and subtle celery flavor to your soups and stews that we have really learned to love.  Don’t judge this book by its cover.  It really is an awesome vegetable! 

Leek-  Take a leek?  One big ol’ leek for each CSA member this week.  Leeks are in the onion family.  You can use them in your cooking like you would use an onion, but they are also fun to feature in a potato leek soup, fried in coconut oil until crispy and sprinkled on top of your soup or salad or really any dish.  Have fun exploring leeks if you’re new to using this vegetable.  The most commonly used part of the vegetable is the white stalk, but they greens are also edible.  They get a little tougher as you go up the leaves. 

Recipes

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Leek and Swiss Chard or Spinach Tart 

Pureed Root Vegetable Soup with Celery Root, Parsnip and Rutabaga and Orange, Ginger and Tarragon 

October Fourth

Have you heard of Biodynamic farming?  I have seen the term “biodynamic” defined many different ways, but put simply it is the holistic, ecological and ethical approach to farming, gardening, food and nutrition.  It takes into consideration the more subtle influences of the wider cosmos on soil, plant and animal health.  It is a very spiritual and esoteric approach to farming that was strongly appealing to me in my early and more romanticized days of farming.  I loved thinking about how the pulling, shifting and changing influences of the cosmos were impacting the naked plants and animals standing beneath the sky, so vulnerable and exposed to the raw atmosphere. 

To call yourself a biodynamic farmer, technically, you should be making, stirring and spreading many of these 6 special ‘preparations’  or tea-like potions (as I like to call them), on your farm at specific times of the season-technically.  It can be very time consuming and involving to participate in the concept this way.  In the early years, we did all that stuff, but have slowly moved away from it for lack of time to commit to the endeavor.  But in it’s foundation, Biodynamics is an approach to farming that takes into concern ecological, social and economic sustainability.  This is something that I feel many CSA farms do quite well if their ‘hearts’ are in the right place.  Yeah, I think that’s a big part of Biodynamics as well, farming with your heart, as well as your head. DSC 0352

Adam and I make a nice balance in this way.  He uses more of his head in farming and I use a little more of my heart.  I believe it takes us both to make the farm what it is today.  But I secretly like to dream about the magical side of farming.  Simply watching a little seed, practically a piece of dust, turn itself predictably into something as huge and perfect as a symmetrical as a head of cauliflower.  I love to think about the chemical and microbial life and activity happening beneath the soil surface in such a cool, dark and quite place.  It must sparkle down there.  It certainly is buzzing in it’s own way. 

Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Biodynamics (and a handful of other philosophers as well), talked about how a human is like an upside down plant.  If a person was a plant, our head would be in the ground.  We would do our thinking, expanding, eating, and mineralizing in the soil.  Our spinal cord would be our stem and our sexual organs would be pointed upwards to the sky like a flower.  I giggle a little to think about how plants and people are similar, yet so different in this way.  We’re all just fun cellular structures of stardust and water and bacteria.  I merely think it’s fun to think about all of this from a little different perspective once in a while.  It helps lift the weight of it all. 

Our farm is not a “Certified Biodynamic Farm”, nor do I ever think we will be.  But I do think we fall into the category of ethical and conscious farmers that aim to support biodiversity and sustainability.  Farming is spiritual in a way.  I believe we were called to it.  Like Lemmings we hypnotically followed the light here.  Under some kind of spell we signed the papers and bought the farm.  Still, to this very day, we faithfully and somewhat unbelievably remain devout to the task and will forever make preparations to start the cycle again for yet another season, like an heirloom plant re-seeding itself each year in the same place of the garden.  Or like an old perennial, we come back each year in the same place we were planted many years ago. 

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

Tomatoes-  Just one or two lonely tomatoes per member this week.  Tomatoe are officially out of season after this box;(  Sad, but all good things must come to an end.  We had a great run on them! 

Fennel Bulb-  One fennel bulb per member.  Fennel is lovely shaved very thinly on top of a salad.  It is also wonderful sautéed or caramelized with onions or in place of onions.  Fennel has a licorice flavor when eaten raw and most of that licorice flavor disappears once it has been cooked.   Fennel is in the same umbelliferae family as celery, dill, parsley, parsnip and carrots.  A fun new flavor to give your life a little variety!DSC 0373

Sweet Bell Peppers-  4-5 Sweet Bell Peppers per member. You may have received a red bell, yellow bell, orange bell or a mix of red and yellow sweet carmens which are the longer sweet peppers that come to a point at the tip.  Very fun and delicious!

Mini-Sweet Peppers-  The mini-sweet peppers are small and could easily be mistaken for a hot pepper, but they are in fact, sweet!  The mini-sweets come in yellow, red and orange. There was just one or two this week stuck in a brown paper bag along with your tomato and hot peppers. 

Hungarian Hot Wax Pepper-  These are also called bananna peppers.  Sometimes hot, sometimes not!  They are also sometime red or orange as they 'ripen'.  These are tucked in the top of your tomato bag.

Jalapeno Pepper-  These are the small green pepper in your tomato bag.  They're hot!

Yellow Onion-  One or two yellow onions, depending on the size for everyone because you simply can’t make dinner without onion!

Spinach-  Half pound bags of spinach for everyone this week!  A fall fan favorite!

Green Top Golden Beets-  One large golden beet per member this week with the greens still attached.  Remember that you can cook with the greens of beets and use them like spinach or swiss chard.  Golden beets are fun to cook with because they won’t bleed the red color into your dish like a red beet will.  Easy to sneek them into a soup or dish where no-one will notice! 

Green Curly Kale-  One small bunch of green curly kale this week to make sure you have plenty of greens in your diet! 

Broccoli-  One large and beautiful head of broccoli per member this week.  Broccoli loves to be kept very cold, so be sure to get this guy into your fridge as soon as possible! 

Cauliflower-  One head of cauliflower per member this week.  Some very fine looking cauliflower indeed! 

Acorn Squash-  These are the large greenish looking winter squash toward the bottom of your box that is shaped like an acorn.  Acorns will keep very well if left on your counter in your kitchen at room temperature. 

White or Purple Kohlrabi-  Remember these guys from the Spring boxes?   Kohlrabi also loves the cooler weather of the Fall.  Remember to peel the outer edge off to enjoy the crispy and crunchy inside as a snack with your favorite veggie dip.  The leaves of the kohlrabi are also edible!

Russet Potatoes-  2 pound bags for all. Russets have a very nice texture that holds up well in the cooking process when added to soups or stews.  Russets are also very nice simply baked in the oven.  Remember that we do not clean our potatoes.  They typically hold up better with a little soil on them.  They will keep fine at room temperature for months when freshly dug like this. 

Diakon Radish-  These are the long, while radishes with the greens still attached.  Diakons are usually a very mild radish, but we found that these had a bit of a bite to them.  The greens can be used in a stir fry or however you wish to cook with them.  We love diakons simply cut into veggie sticks or coins and eaten as a snack, but they are also very commonly found in Kim Chi (like a fermented sauerkraut with other veggies and ginger and hot peppers).  Diakons keep teriffically well if kept in a plastic bag in the fridge.  A fine storage root. 

Next Week's Best Guess:  Peppers, winter squash, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, parsnips, rutabaga, leeks, spinach, celeriac root, hot peppers, romanesco

Recipes

 Sausage and Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash

Cream of Roasted Red Bell Pepper Soup

Shaved Fennel Salad Recipe

September Twenty-Seventh

I love the way Fall on a farm feels so cozy.  Well, I imagine that it will begin to feel a little more cozy now that the very strange 90 degree weather we were having is over.  More seasonal weather in the 70’s and 60’s is predicted for later this week and we look forward to some more comfortable working weather over the next few weeks.  Cozy is the feeling we get on a Saturday night when the work week is done, a Prairie Home Companion plays in the kitchen while we make dinner and the sun sets early driving the family closer together in the home. 

DSC 0343

Our actual home is not really that big.  It’s a very modest-sized house that always feels more than a little cramped when we host Thanksgiving or Christmas with extended family-but it’s a good size for us.  It is amazing, though, how big our home-stead is.  There is so much to care for on this land!  We have the cooking, laundry cleaning and care that any family would have.  And we also have a much larger than average lawn to care for, several out-buildings, farm animals and hundreds of other living plants that need attention from day to day.  It really is no wonder that we rarely leave the farm!  The work is endless! 

But I always feel a sweet reprieve as the demands of even lawn care are lifted.  As the harvests begin to wane and the days become even just slightly shorter as they are now.  It is officially Fall now and I am beginning to notice that our family is spending a little more time inside the house each evening together at the end of the day.  Adam even puts a football game on now and then while cleaning garlic in the living room.  I feel inspired to make pumpkin pie and apple bread.  I

The children still eek as many minutes and hours of outside play time as they can in a day until they are called in for a bath or dinner or to ‘help’ with dinner prep.  They are still running barefoot, but I know their time is limited before it gets too cold to run without shoes.  Soon sandals will be swapped for boots and sun hats will be swapped for stocking caps and there will be sweaters and extra layers of clothing littered all over the farm-from not just our own children, but from the working crew as well. 

Rumors of frost excited the harvest crew on Monday morning even as we were picking peppers.  Someone said that someone else said frost on Friday night.  Did you hear that?  I didn’t see that in the forecast and I checked this morning.  Peppers will be the one item we will be most sad to see lost if and when the frost does finally come. 

The field crew workers are starting to talk about what they will do this winter, where they will find work and what adventures they might want to go on.  We promise them all steady and reliable work through Thanksgiving.  The mood of the crew feels chipper and festive.  We talk about having an end-of-season bowling party for the crew to show off our un-developed skills and foolish ego over our possibly non-existent bowling talents.  We harvest on! 

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

Tomatoes-  Note about tomatoes!  If you are not already unpacking your tomatoes from the plastic bag we deliver them in, please begin doing this.  Do not allow your tomatoes to sit on your counter still inside the plastic bag.  Condensation can build up and cause some of the tomatoes to go bad quickly.  They will ripen much more evenly and nicely if laid out on the counter.  A much more modest giving of 3lbs this week.  We pick tomatoes in the early stages of 'blushing' and ripening.  We recommend leaving your tomatoes out on your countertop to ripen.  They will slowly ripen over the course of a week.  We need to pick them at this stage of ripeness if they are to survive the shipping and handling.  We would much rather give you under-ripe tomatoes than smooshed tomatoes.  If you leave them out at room temperature, it will not affect their flavor, they will still be considered vine-ripened tomatoes.  We also recommend not putting your tomatoes in the fridge unless they are fully ripe and you need to refrigerate them to buy yourself some time before you are able to eat them.  Putting tomatoes in refrigerators usually sucks the flavor out of them.  Enjoy!

Fennel Bulb-  One fennel bulb per member.  Fennel is lovely shaved very thinly on top of a salad.  It is also wonderful sautéed or caramelized with onions or in place of onions.  Fennel has a licorice flavor when eaten raw and most of that licorice flavor disappears once it has been cooked.   Fennel is in the same umbelliferae family as celery, dill, parsley, parsnip and carrots.  A fun new flavor to give your life a little variety! 

Sweet Bell Peppers-  4-5 Sweet Bell Peppers per member. The pepper production is really picking up now.  We should be able to get another week or so of strong harvest so long as the frost holds off!

Mini-Sweet Peppers-  The mini-sweet peppers are small and could easily be mistaken for a hot pepper, but they are in fact, sweet!  The mini-sweets come in yellow, red and orange. There were 5 stuck in the top of your tomato bag along with your two hot peppers!

Hungarian Hot Wax Pepper-  These are also called bananna peppers.  Sometimes hot, sometimes not!  They are also sometime red or orange as they 'ripen'.  These are tucked in the top of your tomato bag.DSC 0344

Jalapeno Pepper-  These are the small green pepper in your tomato bag.  They're hot!

Metechi Garlic-  A smaller garlic per member this week.  

Yellow Onion-  One or two yellow onions, depending on the size for everyone because you simply can’t make dinner without onion!

Spinach-  Half pound bags of spinach for everyone this week!  A fall fan favorite!

Carrots-  One pound of sweet and crispy carrots!  They will keep best in the plastic bag in the fridge.

Red or Green Leaf Lettuce-  Fall lettuce is lovely again with all of the familiar crunchiness and tenderness of Spring lettuce.  Yum!

Sun Gold Cherry Tomatoes-  These are the small, orange tomatoes in the pint clamshell.  We have been able to give one pint to everyone the last couple weeks.  These cherry tomatoes ripen orange.  They may just possibly be the best tasting food on earth.  One pint per member.    

Broccoli-  One to two big and beautiful heads of broccoli per member this week. Depending on the size of your cabbage and the number of peppers you received, you may have gotten one or two broccoli. 

White Kohlrabi-  Remember these guys from the Spring boxes?   Kohlrabi also loves the cooler weather of the Fall.  Remember to peel the outer edge off to enjoy the crispy and crunchy inside as a snack with your favorite veggie dip.  The leaves of the kohlrabi are also edible!

Russet Potatoes-  2 pound bags for all. Russets have a very nice texture that holds up well in the cooking process when added to soups or stews.  Russets are also very nice simply baked in the oven.  Remember that we do not clean our potatoes.  They typically hold up better with a little soil on them.  They will keep fine at room temperature for months when freshly dug like this.  

Next Week's Best Guess:  Peppers, very few tomatoes, winter squash, broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi, gold beets, spinach, potatoes, onions, fennel, hot peppers, herb

Recipes

Roasted Cherry Tomato Salsa (Thank you, Kristin, Dubuque CSA Member!)

Bright Lentil Salad with Apples, Fennel and Herbs

Broccoli Stir Fry with Ginger and Sesame

Roasted Tomato Soup

 

 

September Twentieth

We are now in the 16th delivery week out of a 20-Week Summer Share delivery cycle.  My personal favorite time of year.  And what a gorgeous Fall it is turning out to be!  The Fall Colors are beginning here.  A few sandhill cranes flew overhead while harvesting swiss chard this morning.  The air is crisp and foggy in the mornings and the afternoons become sunny and warm.  The breeze blows and a few leaves magically trickle down and the harvest matures. DSC 0380

We’re a little dry on the farm as I write this letter, with just a chance of rain in the forecast.  The dry weather makes for nice harvesting conditions for the crew and less mud and dirt on our harvested crops.  The dry air is also nice for the curing of our winter squash, onions and garlic in the greenhouse.  But a nice soft and slow inch of rain overnight would be welcome soon!   

While there are just four more Summer Share deliveries left in the season, your farmers are by no means slowing down.  Fall always brings a second wind, a sense of urgency and even an excitement of it’s own kind that will carry us through until Thanksgiving when the ground is usually frozen by. 

The first frost is hopefully still a couple weeks away, but by the third week of Sepember we know we are just biding time before it gets here.  The tomato production is waning fast and the quality of the tomatoes simply is not what it was a month ago.  We will continue to pick and share what is left out there, but they will begin to look less perfect as the season wanes.  The only crop left out there that we are always sad to see lost to frost is the sweet peppers.  The colorful rows of peppers are just now starting to really peak in productions and we would still get a good handful of harvest weeks off them if the frost does hold off after all. DSC 0365 1

Our winter squash is all out of the fields and safely tucked away from the danger of frost.  We will continue to harvest our potatoes and soon enough sweet potatoes.  We are excited to start sharing unique Fall Crops like Brussels Sprouts, more fun winter squash varieties, rutabaga, celeriac root, parsnips, golden beets and more! 

We are thankful for this delightful Fall weather, the promise of shorter days ahead and a bountiful harvest on the farm.  Thank you for sharing this very seasonal culinary and community experience with us!  If not for your interest in healthy eating, cooking and the preservation of these out-of-the norm varieties of food, farms like ours could not exist to grow them and protect the culture. 

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

Tomatoes-  New note about tomatoes!  If you are not already unpacking your tomatoes from the plastic bag we deliver them in, please begin doing this.  Do not allow your tomatoes to sit on your counter still inside the plastic bag.  Condensation can build up and cause some of the tomatoes to go bad.  They will ripen much more evenly and nicely if laid out on the counter.  Yet another week with a hefty and hearty giving of tomatoes.  1 full bag weighing about 7lbs.  We pick tomatoes in the early stages of 'blushing' and ripening.  We recommend leaving your tomatoes out on your countertop to ripen.  They will slowly ripen over the course of a week.  We need to pick them at this stage of ripeness if they are to survive the shipping and handling.  We would much rather give you under-ripe tomatoes than smooshed tomatoes.  If you leave them out at room temperature, it will not affect their flavor, they will still be considered vine-ripened tomatoes.  We also recommend not putting your tomatoes in the fridge unless they are fully ripe and you need to refrigerate them to buy yourself some time before you are able to eat them.  Putting tomatoes in refrigerators usually sucks the flavor out of them.  Enjoy!

Sunshine Squash-  These are the beautiful harvest-orange squash near the bottom of your box.  These are my all-time favorite squash!  Once cooked up, these have a bright orange, thick, and creamy flesh that is so sweet and unlike any other squash varities.  Most squash varieties will keep fine on your countertop for months if you need time to use it up.  To cook a squash, use your most heavy-duty chef knife and cut it down the middle length-wise.  Scoop the seeds out and discard.  Place both sides of the squash cut-side down in a baking dish with a quarter inch of water at the bottom of the pan.  Bake for one hour or until the squash no longer feels hard from pressing on the skin or outside of the squash. DSC 0375

Green Beans and Dragon Tongue Beans-  One more encore giving of green beans and/or dragon tongue beans. 

Sweet Bell Peppers-  4-5 Sweet Bell Peppers per member. The pepper production is really picking up now.  We should be able to get another  couple weeks of strong harvest so long as the frost holds off, which it is looking like it will!

Mini-Sweet Peppers-  The mini-sweet peppers are small and could easily be mistaken for a hot pepper, but they are in fact, sweet!  The mini-sweets come in yellow, red and orange. There were just a few stuck in the top of your tomato bag.

Hungarian Hot Wax Pepper-  These are also called bananna peppers.  Sometimes hot, sometimes not!  They are also sometime red or orange as they 'ripen'.  These are tucked in the top of your tomato bag.

Jalapeno Pepper-  These are the small green pepper in your tomato bag.  They're hot!

Eggplant-  Either a standard sized eggplant, a long and skinney Japanese eggplant or a wrinkled Barbarella. 

Yellow Onion-  A yellow onion for everyone because you simply can’t make dinner without onion!

Swiss Chard or Red Curly Kale-  We tried very hard to make sure everyone got a swiss chard bunch, but once the plants were all cleaned up, we moved on to red curly kale to make up the difference.  We hope you got what you love! 

Carrots-  One pound of sweet and crispy carrots!  They will keep best in the plastic bag in the fridge. 

Cilantro-  This cilantro is re-growth from the last time we harvested cilantro.  A very beloved herb this time in the middle of salsa season.  Cilantro is lovely added to ethnic dishes as well. 

Sun Gold Cherry Tomatoes-  These are the small, orange tomatoes in the pint clamshell.  We have been able to give one pint to everyone the last couple weeks.  These cherry tomatoes ripen orange.  They may just possibly be the best tasting food on earth.  Some of the pints were not quite full as we had to distribute the weight of the harvest amongst the number of boxes we were packing. 

Broccoli-  One big and beautiful head of broccoli per member this week.  We’re hoping that the weather doesn’t get too hot this week and affect the fall broccoli plantings.  Broccoli loves the cooler weather of Fall. 

Kohlrabi-  Remember these guys from the Spring boxes?   Kohlrabi also loves the cooler weather of the Fall.  Remember to peel the outer edge off to enjoy the crispy and crunchy inside as a snack with your favorite veggie dip.  The leaves of the kohlrabi are also edible.  

Next Week's Best Guess:  Peppers, tomatoes, winter squash, cabbage, broccoli, kohlrabi, spinach, potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, hot peppers, herb, fennel

Recipes-

The Great Dane Inner Warmth Squash Peanut Stew

Herb Stuffed Tomatoes

Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed Pepper Soup