September Fifth

My neighborhood is wonderful.  I love the people who live on the farm and farmettes around me.  I love the rolling hillside, the cold water that comes from 350ft deep below ground level and spills out of my kitchen tap, and the gusty winds that blow in from the west on our tiny ridge top.  I love the windy Kickapoo river that ziggs and zaggs between the ridges and through the valleys.  I love that the people that who are attracted to live here wish to live very closely connected to their food and the earth and see the connection between the two.  picking_peppersPicking Peppers on a Foggy Tuesday Morning

The beauty of where we live is being discovered.  Land is being parceled-off and sold into smaller and even smaller pieces of land to accommodate the small family farmers (like us!), the homesteaders, the retired, the dooms day-ers, and the passionate land lovers.  Everyone wants a piece of the Driftless area.  What I see happening is curious.  I see spontaneous and un-intentional community.  There is barter and trade and lots and lots of giving.  The people here, including myself, have a slightly reduced interest in personal appearance, style and hyper-hygiene maintenance.  It's a funny thing how the men all start growing beards, the women keep gardens and the children play barefoot.  I think we fit right in.  

This farm, about 10 years before we bought it, was originally about 200acres of land.  It was then sold to a man who divided it into 6 different pieces and sold it off piece by piece.  You might think this to be a sad story, but what came of it is quite interesting.  The families who bought the land built modest homes and are all participating in active engagement with one another.  They share, lend, loan, sell, trade, babysit, preserve food, fix machinery and teach one another.  We are closely connected to one another's lives because we are neighbors in, well, the old-fashined sort of a way.  

Vernon county now has the highest concentration of organic farms than anywhere else in the country.  The quaint little town of Viroqua supports a Natural Food Cooperative the size of a Willy Street Co-op in Madison.  The Farmer's Market in downtown is highly impressive when compared to a Farmer's Market in any other town it's size up and down the Mississippi.  Organic Valley-the nations largest dairy cooperative exists here and families from all over the country bring their children here to go to school at the area Waldorf schools.  There's something happening here.  What it is ain't exactly clear.  And while Vernon county is also considered to be the most economically depressed county in the state-no one seems to mind because we're so rich in natural resources, family-based community, and really, really good food.  

Sooo, What's in the Box???

Red or Green Cabbage-  Just in case the boxes weren't heavy enough this week, we added a cabbage to top it off.  Store in an open plastic bag in your fridge to preserve moisture.  adamaylacukesAdam carries Ayla in his cucumber bin while he harvests cucumbers and watches the baby at the same time.

Red Beets-  We topped the greens off the beets this week because they weren't looking as appetising.  Store your beets in a plastic bag in the fridge to preserve moisture.  Boil beets and then cut them up.  Their color will bleed out of them if you cut them up and then boil them.  

White Onion-  Mmmmmm, yum-yum!  Onion will keep on your counter at room temperature for at least a month or more.  It will not need refrigeration for short-term storage.

Sweet Peppers-  The red, yellow and orange peppers are BUMPING!  It feels so nice to send you such a great variety of sweet peppers.  Such a treat!  Peppers prefer a warmer storage at 52 degrees.  They do not love a very cold refrigerator.  

Hot Peppers-  A Hungarian Hot Wax and a Jalapeno pepper again this week.  Some like it HOT!  Great for salsas and spicy currys.

Summer Squash, Zucchini and Patty Pans-  Were getting to the end of the summer squashes.  I know, I KNOW-you're really wishing that you could get more squash but you'll just have to wait until the fall winter squashes start coming on!

Cucumbers-  Cucumbers are also heading out.  Love 'em before they're gone!

Celery-  We think that this may have been the final celery giving for the season, but there might be one more giving out there, or at least half of a giving.  Enjoy your celery before it is no longer coming in your weekly boxes.  Celery should be stored in a closes plastic bag to preserve moisture in cool storage in the fridge.  

Yellow and Dragon Tongue Beans-  Use these beans like you would use a green bean.  The Dragon Tongues are a new variety that we tried.  Once cooked, the beautiful purple streaks magically disappear!

Swiss Chard or Purple Kale-  Medium Sized bunches of chard or kale this week for cooking greens.  It won't be long before we're rich in spinach and lettuce again now with the cooler weather.weedingJoe and Neal weeding our Fall Spinach on Friday morning

Basil-  We've got to get our fill of basil before the big "F" gets here.  You know the one that I'm talking about that usually arrives in mid September some time.  Shhh, don't say it....

Tomatoes-  Can you believe the tomatoes?  Each bag of tomatoes weighed about 8.5lbs this week.  This breaks the record for the most number of pounds of tomatoes that we've ever sent CSA members in one weeks box.  We harvested around 1,780lbs of tomatoes this week.  Woah!  Remember that if your tomatoes aren't ripe, leave them out at room temperature to ripen.  You will know they are ripen with a very tender squeeze.  Some tomatoes ripen yellow, orange, pink and purple.  Not all tomatoes are created Red.  

Cherry Tomatoes- A pint of Sun Gold Cherry Tomatoes for all again.  They're wonderful grilled on skewers with your peppers, onion, some mushrooms.  

Eggplant-  We picked a little over 100 eggplants this week, but it still wasn't enough for everyone, we started giving some broccoli florettes and extra sweet peppers when we ran out of eggplants.  


A Very Simple Fresh Salsa Recipe

Apple and Raw Beet Slaw Recipe