Small Family Farm CSA

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September Twenty-Seventh

I love the way Fall on a farm feels so cozy.  Well, I imagine that it will begin to feel a little more cozy now that the very strange 90 degree weather we were having is over.  More seasonal weather in the 70’s and 60’s is predicted for later this week and we look forward to some more comfortable working weather over the next few weeks.  Cozy is the feeling we get on a Saturday night when the work week is done, a Prairie Home Companion plays in the kitchen while we make dinner and the sun sets early driving the family closer together in the home. 

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Our actual home is not really that big.  It’s a very modest-sized house that always feels more than a little cramped when we host Thanksgiving or Christmas with extended family-but it’s a good size for us.  It is amazing, though, how big our home-stead is.  There is so much to care for on this land!  We have the cooking, laundry cleaning and care that any family would have.  And we also have a much larger than average lawn to care for, several out-buildings, farm animals and hundreds of other living plants that need attention from day to day.  It really is no wonder that we rarely leave the farm!  The work is endless! 

But I always feel a sweet reprieve as the demands of even lawn care are lifted.  As the harvests begin to wane and the days become even just slightly shorter as they are now.  It is officially Fall now and I am beginning to notice that our family is spending a little more time inside the house each evening together at the end of the day.  Adam even puts a football game on now and then while cleaning garlic in the living room.  I feel inspired to make pumpkin pie and apple bread.  I

The children still eek as many minutes and hours of outside play time as they can in a day until they are called in for a bath or dinner or to ‘help’ with dinner prep.  They are still running barefoot, but I know their time is limited before it gets too cold to run without shoes.  Soon sandals will be swapped for boots and sun hats will be swapped for stocking caps and there will be sweaters and extra layers of clothing littered all over the farm-from not just our own children, but from the working crew as well. 

Rumors of frost excited the harvest crew on Monday morning even as we were picking peppers.  Someone said that someone else said frost on Friday night.  Did you hear that?  I didn’t see that in the forecast and I checked this morning.  Peppers will be the one item we will be most sad to see lost if and when the frost does finally come. 

The field crew workers are starting to talk about what they will do this winter, where they will find work and what adventures they might want to go on.  We promise them all steady and reliable work through Thanksgiving.  The mood of the crew feels chipper and festive.  We talk about having an end-of-season bowling party for the crew to show off our un-developed skills and foolish ego over our possibly non-existent bowling talents.  We harvest on! 

Soooo....What's in the Box????

Tomatoes-  Note about tomatoes!  If you are not already unpacking your tomatoes from the plastic bag we deliver them in, please begin doing this.  Do not allow your tomatoes to sit on your counter still inside the plastic bag.  Condensation can build up and cause some of the tomatoes to go bad quickly.  They will ripen much more evenly and nicely if laid out on the counter.  A much more modest giving of 3lbs this week.  We pick tomatoes in the early stages of 'blushing' and ripening.  We recommend leaving your tomatoes out on your countertop to ripen.  They will slowly ripen over the course of a week.  We need to pick them at this stage of ripeness if they are to survive the shipping and handling.  We would much rather give you under-ripe tomatoes than smooshed tomatoes.  If you leave them out at room temperature, it will not affect their flavor, they will still be considered vine-ripened tomatoes.  We also recommend not putting your tomatoes in the fridge unless they are fully ripe and you need to refrigerate them to buy yourself some time before you are able to eat them.  Putting tomatoes in refrigerators usually sucks the flavor out of them.  Enjoy!

Fennel Bulb-  One fennel bulb per member.  Fennel is lovely shaved very thinly on top of a salad.  It is also wonderful sautéed or caramelized with onions or in place of onions.  Fennel has a licorice flavor when eaten raw and most of that licorice flavor disappears once it has been cooked.   Fennel is in the same umbelliferae family as celery, dill, parsley, parsnip and carrots.  A fun new flavor to give your life a little variety! 

Sweet Bell Peppers-  4-5 Sweet Bell Peppers per member. The pepper production is really picking up now.  We should be able to get another week or so of strong harvest so long as the frost holds off!

Mini-Sweet Peppers-  The mini-sweet peppers are small and could easily be mistaken for a hot pepper, but they are in fact, sweet!  The mini-sweets come in yellow, red and orange. There were 5 stuck in the top of your tomato bag along with your two hot peppers!

Hungarian Hot Wax Pepper-  These are also called bananna peppers.  Sometimes hot, sometimes not!  They are also sometime red or orange as they 'ripen'.  These are tucked in the top of your tomato bag.DSC 0344

Jalapeno Pepper-  These are the small green pepper in your tomato bag.  They're hot!

Metechi Garlic-  A smaller garlic per member this week.  

Yellow Onion-  One or two yellow onions, depending on the size for everyone because you simply can’t make dinner without onion!

Spinach-  Half pound bags of spinach for everyone this week!  A fall fan favorite!

Carrots-  One pound of sweet and crispy carrots!  They will keep best in the plastic bag in the fridge.

Red or Green Leaf Lettuce-  Fall lettuce is lovely again with all of the familiar crunchiness and tenderness of Spring lettuce.  Yum!

Sun Gold Cherry Tomatoes-  These are the small, orange tomatoes in the pint clamshell.  We have been able to give one pint to everyone the last couple weeks.  These cherry tomatoes ripen orange.  They may just possibly be the best tasting food on earth.  One pint per member.    

Broccoli-  One to two big and beautiful heads of broccoli per member this week. Depending on the size of your cabbage and the number of peppers you received, you may have gotten one or two broccoli. 

White Kohlrabi-  Remember these guys from the Spring boxes?   Kohlrabi also loves the cooler weather of the Fall.  Remember to peel the outer edge off to enjoy the crispy and crunchy inside as a snack with your favorite veggie dip.  The leaves of the kohlrabi are also edible!

Russet Potatoes-  2 pound bags for all. Russets have a very nice texture that holds up well in the cooking process when added to soups or stews.  Russets are also very nice simply baked in the oven.  Remember that we do not clean our potatoes.  They typically hold up better with a little soil on them.  They will keep fine at room temperature for months when freshly dug like this.  

Next Week's Best Guess:  Peppers, very few tomatoes, winter squash, broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi, gold beets, spinach, potatoes, onions, fennel, hot peppers, herb


Roasted Cherry Tomato Salsa (Thank you, Kristin, Dubuque CSA Member!)

Bright Lentil Salad with Apples, Fennel and Herbs

Broccoli Stir Fry with Ginger and Sesame

Roasted Tomato Soup