Each season unravels itself like a ball of uncarded wool. As it lays there raw, and unraveled we are able to view the color differences, the different textures, and the rare soft spots. The hard spots. The stains. And the ubiquitous spots of ideal and pleasing colors and textures. So different are the weather patterns. So different are the crews of people that come to the farm. So different are the bountiful crops from season to season. I am reminded how the farm is alive in so many different ways. There is life and death everywhere and we are powerless to the forces of natures. Storm patterns, personalities, crop pathology, entomology, and soil sciences. The living humans that partake in this farm are merely strands of hair in the ball of yarn that is composed of millions of other living contributions. How important we think we are. How vital we think our role. It is our job as pepper or person to serve as humble strands in big old ball of yarn.
I was out hanging up a load of laundry last Thursday night around 9pm when I saw the Northern Lights streak like blue pillars in waves across the sky. At first I watched in amazement and slight dis-belief. Do we really get to see Northern Lights in southwest Wisconsin? We do! But only if you’re crazy enough to be outside hanging laundry at 9pm. The lights got brighter and taller and became impressively bright a few times as they slowly moved East. I raced inside to get Adam and show him. We watched together on the back porch for a minutes feeling blessed and lucky and grateful. The show lasted maybe 10 whole minutes. Then I went back to quietly hanging my laundry.
The busyness of the season leave us feeling very tired. We’re working as long and as hard as we are humanly able to do. We are tried and tired. We are sore and stressed. We aren’t getting enough sleep and the house is a mess. The yard needs trimming and the chickens are completely free ranging now into the greenhouse, the packing shed and have even been spotted up by the house. But who am I to complain? The CSA boxes look amazing. We have our health. We have two beautiful children. We have the bounty of the farm, a roof over our head and a restful winter to look forward to.
They say to count your blessings, to name them one by one. It’s damn hard to do. It needs to become a daily chore, like brushing your teeth or feeding the dog. Tell yourself that you have it all. You have everything you need. You have opportunities available to you on your worst day that someone else in a faraway land would give everything for. The Northern Lights. The rain (even if it is too much). The company (even if they talk too much). The bounty (even if you can’t eat it all). Your car (even if it won’t start). Kids (even if you don’t have any). Your husband (even if he forgot your anniversary). Change is the only constant and how fun is this magic carpet ride through the growing season of 2016?!
Sooo…What’s in the Box???
German Butter Ball Potato- These papas were lovingly lifted from the dark earth this week by gentle hands. We are so happy to be working with fresh, crisp potatoes again! You’ll notice that we do not wash potatoes for a few reasons.
1) We know that they keep much better with dirt on.
2) We don’t have the time to wash them with all of the other harvesting we’re doing.
3) Freshly dug potatoes will scuff and the skins will peel off quite easily.
2.5lbs per member.
Yellow Onions- Yellow Onions! They’re all cured down by now and we’ll continue to shell them out until then end of the season!
Hungarian Hot Wax Pepper- These peppers are also known as 'Banana peppers’. They are most commonly seen lime green or a yellow-ish color. When they are ‘ripe’ they turn orange or red which sometimes makes them a little sweeter. Hungarian Hot Wax, despite their intimidating name are amidst one of the most mild of all hot peppers out there. For a Woose like me, they’re perfect!
Jalapeno Pepper- One of these little guys per box. Jalapenos pack a little more heat than the Hungarian Hot Wax peppers. We recommend wearing gloves if you go to cut these up!
Sweet Bell Peppers- Five sweet peppers per member this week. You may have received red, orange and/or yellow peppers this week. A wonderful addition to your salsas, stir frys and salads! Some of the sweet pepper this week were a Carmen variety that are large, bulky peppers like a sweet bell, but come to a point at the tips.
Lunchbox Sweet Peppers- Everyone received about five little, small sweet peppers that could be mistaken for a hot pepper, but they are not hot. They usually come in red, yellow and orange colors. We grew these little guys last year for the first time and totally fell in love with them! Eat these for a snack raw, or cook with them like you would any other sweet bell pepper.DSC 0132
Sun Gold Cherry Tomatoes- We were able to pick one pint for everyone this week! Some boxes may have even gotten two pints if there was room in the box at th end of the packing line. These are my personal favorite of all kinds of tomatoes! These little sungolds are packed with flavor and sunshine and good for your tummy and heart gloriness!
Green Cabbage- These cabbages are large, but not as dense as a storage cabbage. If you have been wanting to make sauerkraut, this is your chance! Or hold off until we give Napa Cabbages soon!
Delicata Squash- The first giving of winter squash! It is very important for you to know that all of our delicatas had spots of decay on them! When you pull your delicata out of your box and see spots on it, you can take comfort in knowing that they all looked like that! This is due to the fact that we had a very wet growing season. Delicatas are harder to grow among the many different winter squash varieties because of their susceptibility to curcubit diseases. We thought to give these squash first since they will not keep with these spots on them. You’ll have to cut around the spots. We’re very sorry about this. It was either we did not give them at all, or we gave them now before the spots advance and they go bad. The rest of our squash crop looks great, so this is the only squash variety that we had this problem with.
Tomatoes- We were able to give everyone a whopping 10lbs of tomatoes this week again. One huge bag of tomatoes packed to the brim. We pick any tomato with a ‘blush’ or any shade of red, yellow or orange. We grow many different kinds of tomatoes and some are romas, some are heirlooms and some are standard slicing tomatoes. We grow many different colored tomatoes as well. Don’t wait for your tomatoes to all turn a bright red color, some of them ripen pink or yellow or orange. You will know when they are ripe if you give them a very gentle squeeze and they are soft and not firm anymore. Do not put your tomatoes in the fridge as their flavor with diminish. We recommend leaving your tomatoes on your countertop to ripen if they are slightly under ripe. Only if they are very ripe and you are in danger of loosing them should you put them in the fridge if you can’t eat them up promptly.
Red Beets- About 1 pound of beets per member this week. We cut the greens off of the beets this week. Beets keep wonderfully in your fridge in a plastic bag for months if you don’t have a recipe to use them up now.
Brussels Sprouts Tops- We snap the tops off of the Brussels Sprouts plants to tell the plants to stop growing upwards which them seem to want to do forever. Once we snap the tops of the plants begin to make larger sprouts on the stalks. The sprouts are currently smaller but will soon bulk out now that we’ve topped them. Coincidentally, the tops are edible like kale or collard greens and can be used in any of your favorite greens recipes.
Oregano- A fun herb to add to your tomato sauce this week. If you can’t use all of the oregano you can unbunch the bunch and lay it out to dry on your dehydrator trays or in a very low heat oven until it is dry and crispy. Once it is dried, crumble it off of the stems and store the dried leaves in a mason jar with a tight lid to preserve freshness.
Next Weeks Best Guess:
Sweet Peppers, tomatoes, onion, napa cabbage, kohlrabi, carrots, garlic, winter squash, eggplant, hungarian hot wax pepper, jalapeno pepper, edamame, lunchbox peppers, chard, cherry tomatoes