Small Family Farm CSA

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August Twenty-Seventh

You know when you get talking with a friend about an old song, an old TV show or an old car you once had?  I had one of those moments in the field the other day where I sort of felt like I was getting older.  I know you’re probably rolling your eyes at me.  Thirty-One is not old, I know, but I’m no teenager anymore!  But we were talking about the price of gas in the year 2000.  In Dubuque Iowa I think it was right around $1/gallon when I was a Junior in high school.  We had a playful debate about this, but some people remembered this time period as a brief golden period in gas prices the year of 2000 hitting a brief historical low. tomato_baggingEveryone working hard to get the tomatoes bagged up!

I know I’m young, but sometimes when I look at my daughter who I swear was just born yesterday and who is now learning how to ride a bike, I need to pause.   Or if we get talking about what our lives were like the year we bought our farm in the Spring of 2007, I can hardly believe that that much time has passed.  So much has happened.  We’ve learned so much.  We’ve come so far.  

We started our little CSA in 2006 on Adam’s brother’s farm, growing for 23 trusting families that chose to support us in our infancy.  We worked even harder then than we do now, making up for what we lacked in mechanization and infrastructure with a passionate drive to build something that felt meaningful and sustainable to us at the time.  In 2007 we “bought the farm”.  We started off with a big loan from FSA, a tractor, a spader (like a tiller but a little different) and some seeds and a whole lot of naiveté.  We did everything the long and hard way and it’s a good thing we couldn’t see quite how much at the time, but we had a lot to learn. 

And learn we did.  Every year that passed by we saved a little money, rested our tired bones, and used our winters to think about what we needed to invest in next to help our farm reach it’s mechanization goals to keep us in business.  We needed to learn about farm machinery, horsepower, standard bed sizes, cultivation equipment, transplanters, seeders, greenhouses and more!  Then we had to learn how to use and maintain all of these things that we slowly purchased as our farm grew.  We had to learn to hire help because we couldn’t do it all on our own anymore.  

Eventually we grew our crew of helpers, starting with a few dedicated worker shares who believed in us.  In recent years we have been growing our family while also slowly growing our farm in small, manageable increments.  It’s fun to think about what the next 8 years will bring for our Small Family Farm and what we do not yet know.  I’m really hoping that the price of gas doesn’t triple or quadruple on us, but I do hope that the future holds an endless unfolding of learning experiences that make us better farmers, better parents and better people in general.  I am thankful for the struggles and the hard times we’ve been through on this farm that have taught us so many life lessons.  I am thankful for the community of CSA members who have been with us over a stretch of years, (a small handful of you even from year 1) who have patted us on the heads and faithfully mailed in their Sign Up Forms and checks every year while we learned how to walk and then pedal. 

Sooo….What’s in the Box????

Heirloom Tomatoes-  A whopping 10.3 lbs per member this week!  Holy Moly man!  The tomatoes this week took up almost half of the box.  Notice that we tried very hard to give each person a mix of ripeness in their tomatoes and a mix of varieties.  Keep your greener tomatoes sitting out at room temperature to ripen.  If you have some tomatoes that are fully ripe, it might be okay to stick them in the fridge for a day or two to buy yourself some time to eat them if you’re not ready, but be ready to sacrifice a little flavor.  I’m not sure what it is about refrigerators and tomatoes, but they don’t get along very well. Swiss_ChardSwiss Chard strutting it's fine stuff!

Potatoes-  3lbs per member.  We dug three different varieties of tomatoes this week all in one very long bed.  You may have received a purple and pink skinned “Purple Viking Potatoe”, a “Red Norland” red potato, or a “Yukon Gold” potato.  It is pretty rare that we don’t give everyone the same variety but we made a little mistake in deciding which bed to harvest this week.  More reds coming next week! 

Green Beans-  An impressive 1.7lbs per member this week!  A nice giving of green beans again for everyone!  Green beans are best when eaten very fresh, eat them up asap!  They don’t keep well. 

Eggplant-  You may have received a majenta-purple Dancer Eggplant, a Dairyu Japanese Eggplant or a Standard Santana eggplant.  Send me your favorite eggplant dish recipes so I can share them with the membership!  I feel like once you’ve had an amazing eggplant dish, you’re a convert for life!  Some people struggle with this one! 

Carrots-  Sweet, large, crunchy carrots!  Yum! 

Colored Bell Sweet Peppers-  2-3 Amazing sweet peppers per member this week!  We’re growing an assortment of varieties.  This is what makes CSA so much fun, you get to eat all of these fun varieties of peppers.  We have a few more fun Carmen varieties coming into season too that I can’t wait to share with you! 

White Onion-  Probably our best onion year ever!  What a great growing season for onions!   

Rainbow Swiss Chard-  A beautiful bunch of rainbow Swiss Chard for all.  Swiss Chard is in the same family as beets and spinach, so you can use these cooking greens like you would spinach in any of your favorite dishes.  Don’t forget that the stems are edible as well! 

Hot Peppers X3-  You received a Hungarian Hot wax, a Jalanpeno and also a long, thin, red cayenne pepper this week.  These cayennes are great for drying.  If you string it or set it in a dry, well-ventilated place, it should dry nicely for you.  We like to stick a whole cayenne pepper in a pot of chili in the winter months. 

Sun Gold Cherry Tomatoes-  A pint for everyone this week!  Check out Mamma Jane’s Tomato Tart recipe that calls for cherry tomatoes.  We made this one this week and decided that it’s a keeper if you can keep yourself from eating the cherry tomatoes fresh.


Tomato Tart

Green Beans with Lemon and Pine Nuts

Swiss Chard and Tomato Fritatta