Small Family Farm CSA

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September Tenth

All of this food, all of this Midwestern bounty, all of this richness!  It’s hard to believe that with so much abundance that it could ever end.  It’s hard to imagine an earth so generous and outpouring and substantial, that it could just one day stop giving.  Now buried in Tomatoes, what will my egg breakfast be when not smothered in raw tomato?  I have survived enough trips around the sun to know that the seasons do change and that while the good earth is very giving, that doesn’t stop the spinning of the planet away from the sun and from winter from setting in.  Being the local-food die-hards that we are, we have become increasingly adept at living “off the land” as each year passes.savoySavoy Cabbage

Don’t get me wrong, we eat plenty of rice, sugar, peanut butter and foods that are not produced on our farm, but it is at least rewarding and satisfying to know that a large percentage of our vegetable and meat consumption comes from this farm year round.  We like to use the winter months to splurge and buy some tropical fruits that we usually don’t buy in the summer months when we’re inundated with food on our farm.   In January, on a trip through the produce section at our local food coop, we buy Avocados, oranges, lemons, apples, grapes, banannas and usually leafy greens of some sort (because we can’t live all winter without them).  It’s fun to eat non-local foods in the winter for us because we are so loyal to only local foods in the summer months. 

But now, with Fall winds promisingly blowing in, we are frantically thinking about preserving the harvest.  We’ve been using our ‘spare time’ in nights and weekends this summer to freeze zucchini, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet peppers, sweet corn and more.  Making time for these things means really making some time!  It’s no wonder that food in the stores is expensive.  There is a lot of time and resources that goes into not only growing it, but then processing it.  The freezers are filling up fast though and our efforts are paying off!  Grandma Jane (my mom who lives next door and helps on the farm in many ways) is a huge help with canning.  She’s been making Dilly Beans and Pickled Beets and is now getting ready to help with making several cases of home-made spaghetti and pizza sauce.  Momma Jane is the seasoned chef and true canning expert on the farm.  Adam and I become her Sioux Chefs when it comes to canning. 

Our dehydrators are filling and emptying almost as fast as we can keep up with them.  We dehydrate everything from tomatoes to peppers to fresh herbs to raspberries.  Even our chickens and soon our own pork will fill the freezers to the brim.  It became a priority at one point in our lives, probably in part for the economic benefits of growing our own food, and then re-enforced by the sustainable aspects of being as self-reliant as possible.  You could say that preserving food is a bit of a pass time for us.  In the winter we even like to make our own garlic powder with the garlic seconds. 

Preserving the harvest is very empowering.  You don’t have to be the one who actually grew it, but eating local food for as much of the year as possible trumps any trip to the grocery store.  Simply knowing and caring who grew your food is a huge step in the right direction.  And remembering that your food was grown by someone, probably a whole small community of workers and families, is a wonderful reflection to have.  If there has ever been a point in the season where you have felt like you were given more food in your CSA box than what you can eat in one week, remember that you can freeze, dry, ferment or can this bounty and play a small role in “stashing some nuts” for the winter months ahead. 

Sooo…What’s in the Box????

Acorn Squash-  We’re so happy to finally be giving a Fall Item like Acorn Squash.  These guys have been clipped and cured in the Greenhouse for over 3 weeks now.  Slice them half lengthwise, scoop the seeds out, and place face down in a baking pan with a half inch or less of water and bake for about an hour at 350.  Serve with butter and nothing else is needed.  Yum! Pumpkin_Pick-UpIrving and Paul helping to clean up the Winter Squash fleld. Don't worry, we left some pumpkins in the field. We need your help on Sunday to help get the rest of them out at our Fall Potluck!

Tomatoes-  Another hefty week of tomatoes.  Unfortunately, tomatoes will be going out of season much sooner this year than they have in the last few years.  We saw several different kinds of blight on our tomato leaves this summer than slowly killed the plants back from all of the moisture this Fall on the leaves.  We’ll have tomatoes for another week, maybe two, but they’re going out of season fast.  Enjoy your big bags of tomatoes while you have them! 

Green Cabbage or Savoy Cabbage-  We have both a green cabbage and a savoy cabbage succession planted next to eachother for Fall harvest.  They were both coming on about the same time, so we cherry picked the bigger ones from each bed.   

Yellow Onion-  Because who can’t use at least one onion a week?

Red Beets-  Beets will keep very well in a plastic bag in the fridge for months. 

Eggplant-  A good year for eggplant!  I am one of those people who never used to like eggplant and now I love it!  Are you a convert too?  It’s kind of like when you think you don’t like someone, but then you realize that you just don’t know them very well. 

Hot Pepper Mix-  A green Jalapeno, a long and red cayenne and a lime-green or orange-ish Hungarian Hot Wax pepper, listed here in order of most to least hot. 

Asian Tempest Garlic-  A spicy, red-skinned variety of garlic.  Garlic keeps best in a cold, dark and dry environment.  Referigerators work great, or your countertop will suffice for a couple months. 

Sweet Peppers-  A colorful mix of red, yellow and orange bell peppers.  When I hold these peppers in my hand, I feel a little like I’m holding gold or silver.  Aren’t we so rich and so lucky to get to eat these beautiful and delicious fruits? 

Broccoli or Romanesco-  The return of Broccoli!  Our Romanescos are coming into season as well.  These are the fractal-looking broccoli that tastes like cauliflower and broccoli.  It’s a fun(ky) food to eat! 

Sweet Basil-  These basil plants were looking really rough, but we’re predicting that we’re going to loose basil in the cooler weather ahead.  This is likely the final giving of basil.  We like to put it on our pizza, in our quiche, and in our home-made pizza sauce.  Remember that basil does not like refrigeration.  I would use it up asap as it is already looking a little rough. 

Swiss Rainbow Chard-  A wonderful year for Swiss Chard.  These leaves and stems are so succulent and fresh looking.  Eat yer greens! 


Beet Borscht

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

Swiss Chard Gnochi in Tomato Cream Sauce