Small Family Farm CSA

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October Nineth

I am learning to do my work joyfully.  It’s an easier time of year to enjoy ourselves throughout the day with a warm sun on our cheeks and a cool breeze in the air.  The end is near and the finish feels good.  There have been many days work on the farm that have felt more like a stressful chore than a fulfilling vocation.  Maybe we’re cresting some kind of proverbial curb where we now have the tools, the experience and the knowledge that better equips us to survive the day.post_packingOur CSA Box Packing Crew of friends and neighbors!

The seasons become less surprising as the years go on.  We now know why the broccoli bolts, the lettuce wilts and the parsnips don’t germinate.  We see the signs.  We know what we’re looking for because we’ve seen it before.  We take the hit with a little more grace when the rain doesn’t fall.  We know what happens when things get planted too late, planted too early, or planted too often.  We know how to time it so that we have broccoli for the week 19 box.  I guess that what I’m really saying is that finally, after about 9 years, we think we know what we’re doing out here. 

It feels good to know how to do one thing well.  In a world with endless distractions, paths to take, and opportunities available, it feels good in some ways to have chosen one thing and to have stuck to it.  The world can seem so vast and huge and interconnected that it can be easy to wonder if you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing.  I maintain my groundedness by keeping my head bowed above the carrot bed and my hands submerged in the soil, believing that if I just stay here on this little farm in Wisconsin, the world will feel less chaotic, less abrasive, and less confusing somehow.  It works for me.

Thankfully, we don’t know everything there is to know just yet about growing every vegetable.  What fun would there be left then?  If there was nothing left to learn, no more challenges to keep our lives textured and eventful.  How lucky we are to be out here working cheerfully towards the humble objective to grow our own food. 

The real key is to work merrily.  Even when it’s hot or cold or early or late.  To work with a smile and a positive attitude even when the harvest is heavy, you’re getting hungry and the work is long.  Any parent can relate.  It’s like trying to talk your two year old out of tears after they’ve just fallen down.  It’s okay!  You’re just fine!  You’re alright!  The given is that life is hard, the challenge is how we deal with it. 

Sooo, What's in the Box???

Acorn Winter Squash-  These are the big bluish/greenish things at the bottom of the box shaped like an acorn.  Acorns are one of the most popular of all winter squash.  They are amung the easier, heavier producing, and earlier maturing of the winter squash to grow.  We love them all ways. 

Brussels Sprouts-  Did you ever know that brussels grew on a stalk like this?  We left all the cleaning work to you.  We would never have had time to clean them all up for you sprout by sprout.  Snap them off the stalk, peel back any unsightly layers and gently cut and X into the bottom side before cooking.  This will allow their centers to cook a little quicker.  Overcooked brussels are no fun!  If brussels are cooked just right, they are still a little firm, bright green, yet soft and sweet.  They can be prepared in a way that turns a brussels sprouts hater into a lover!  

Carrots-  Another pound of carrots for your everyday use.  Keep these guys in a plastic bag in the fridge to keep them krisp for monthes.  

Rutabaga-  These are the giant, cream colored roots with purple shoulders.  If you're not a rutabaga lover I recommend boiling and mashing rutabaga with potatoes and making your favorite mashed potato dish with them-you'll love it, even if it's the only way you'll eat it.  Rutabaga is very nice simply steamed with butter and salt on it.  In this season of root vegetabels, consider making a roasted root vegetable dish.  If you plan to keep your rutabaga for a little while, keep it in a plastic bag in the fridge to preserve its moisture.  

White Onion-  A simple white onion for your everyday use.  

Tomato Bags-  Still an amazing giving of tomatoes for this late in the season.  Because we still have not had a frost, we're gleaning what we can from the tomato patch.  The unripe tomatoes can sit on your counter until they're ripe.  We notice a slight decrease in quality in the tomatoes this late in the season as well.  The ones that are left on the plants this late are usually the last of the goods.  parsnipsCleaning muddy parsnips in the field.

Yukon Gold Potatoes or Red Norland Potatoes-  A 2lb bag of spuds for adding to your soups, rutabaga mash or roasted root veggie dishes.  Yum!  

Diakon Radish-  Diakons are great shaved into salads, chunked in to a kim-chi, or chopped into an asian cabbage salad as well.  Daikons hold their crisp texture even when cooked.  Their flavor is very mild and quite nice.  If you plan to hold onto your daikon, they will keep for monthes in storage.  Snap your tops off your radish and store the radish in a plastic bag in the fridge.  

Broccoli or Cauliflower or Romanesco-  You may have received one of the three.  A very nice fall harvest here!  The romanescos can be used like cauliflower.  Store any one of these items in a plastic bag in the fridge to keep them firm.  Will keep for a few days.  

Collards- Another bunch of cooking greens to keep your digestion functioning smoothly, your blood clean and your heart pumping strong.  Eat your greens y'all!  

Parsnips-  These are the white roots loose in the box.  We dug these on Monday morning when the ground was still very wet from all the rain last week.  We were cutting a bunch of them with our digger.  Keep these in a plastic bag in the fridge if you don't think you'll use them soon, they will keep for a month or two.  

Sweet Pepper Mix-  A nice mix of red, yellow and orange peppers still that we can thank the late frost for.  Still no frost on this ridge killing off our sweet peppers.  Likely still a small giving of sweet peppers in the week 20 box as well!  

Recipes

Roasted Root Vegetable Soup with Rutabaga, Parsnip, Carrot and Celery

Shepherd's Pie with Rutabaga Topping

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Sausage and Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash