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September Twelfth

I’m not much of a TV person. I’m too busy to find time for it, but on occasion I catch a glimpse of something that looks interesting. Anthony Bourdaine’s cooking and travel shows that my mom used to watch would catch my attention long enough to slow me down for a few minutes. I began to discover his works and appreciate his perspectives and discoveries regarding food and travel. Shortly before his death, he stared the documentary film Wasted which we recently watched.

The story of food waste in the world is interesting to me, to put it politely. As a farmer, I feel acutely aware of the losses that happen at the point of productivity. There is much less loss on a CSA farm than on a farm that puts all of it’s eggs in one basket and produces just one or two crops for wholesale production. The beautifully designed CSA farm is diversified enough that when one or a few different crops don’t produce well in one season, we have enough other crops that we’re growing that we can always still manage to fill boxes with the many other crops we grow to meet our harvesting needs.

The film Wasted talks a lot about the different levels of food waste starting on farms, in grocery stores, in homes, and in restaurants. It also talks about the environmental impacts of food waste as well as the social and the economical effects. I dream of a world where we can lower our standards on the shapes and quality and size that our food comes in. Food needs to be produced ethically, organically and locally. Most inspiringly, as the film suggests, we can all do better as using everything, and wasting nothing. The term ‘nose to tale’ cooking means using every part of the animal, as well as every edible stem, leaf, stalk and fruit that our plants provide. As a result, we will all become more creative chefs in the kitchen, we will be healthier from eating a more diversified diet and will we create less waste! Astoundingly, a head of lettuce takes 25 years to decompose in a landfill. Food for thought!

We have been having a bit of rough time since the recent rains on the farm. The rain and the humidity affected the storage of our onions. Nearly 60% of our onion crop this year are ‘seconds’, as we call them. The onions did not cure down fast enough because during the crucial time that they should have been drying down, we had very wet and humid conditions, so instead of drying down rapidly, they very slowly dried down, causing many of them to simply begin to rot. We decided, after much thought, to give everyone a ‘second’ quality onion this week. We wanted to give these sooner rather than later so that they could still be used before they deteriorated any further. There are still hundreds of pounds of onions we sorted through that we will sadly compost.

Additionally, the melons that we gave this week also had tiny spots of decay on them. We did our very best to keep these for you in our cooler, and even though we had a pretty good melon year so far, we decided we would rather give the melons this week with small spots on them than not give them at all. We hope that you, our faithful CSA members, can help forgive this quality issue. We want you to know that we put our CSA members first and strive our hardest to only ship beautiful, first quality produce whenever possible. There are huge food losses on the farm that you’ll never see because we try very hard to never give second quality crops.

And finally, the tomatoes this week were also low-quality. Blaming this final quality issue on the rains, we have never had such a short tomato year as this. Our tomatoes fizzeled out much sooner this season than ever before. We are still hoping to give everyone a few tomatoes again next week, which will likely be the final week of tomatoes because the plants did not tolerate so much rain and moisture.

Thank you for your patience and understanding! I encourage you to check out the film Wasted and cultivate in your heart a certain level of pardoning to your farmers for some hardships in a growing season. Learn how to cook with your kohlrabi leaves and broccoli stems. Meanwhile, we’ll work on the best looking and tasting crops we can possibly grow! Thank you!

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

Sweet Peppers- Two sweet peppers per member this week. We’re still waiting for sweet pepper production to pick up. We grow mostly colored sweet peppers, so you likely won’t receive many green peppers from us unless they were accidentally picked unripe or unless there is a danger of frost and we pick them green before they have a chance to turn colors. We’re patiently waiting for all of the colorful and beautiful pepper varieties we selected to start sharing with us their true colors. C’mon peppers!

Green Cabbage- The cabbages were on the cute side this time around. Nothing too huge, but more of a young, tender and manageable sized cabbage. There were about 20 people who receive a Napa Cabbage instead of a green cabbage.

Dragon Tongue Beans- .42lbs of dragon tongue beans per member this week. Beans are best eaten fresh! Don’t try to keep them long! We washed the beans again because they were so muddy at harvest-something we had just done for the first time last week that went well! A nice hearty helping of beans for all this week!

Yellow (2nd) Onion- Nice onions that may need a little trimming around a soft spot at the top. Use it up quickly!

Tomatoes- 2 lb bags. Tomato production is near the end. Remember to leave your tomatoes out on the counter to ripen. We’re sorry about these tomatoes not looking the best. The later in the season, the less-beautiful and perfect the tomatoes look.

Red Beets-   A generous handful of beets this week. Many of these beets are smaller, which many people really love because they take less time to cook. Still sweet and lovely as a beet can be!

Kohlrabi- Remember these from the Spring? Kohlrabi love the cool weather of the Spring and Fall! Peel them and enjoy their apple-like texture on the inside with all the flavor of a crispy radish or spring turnip!

Brussels Sprouts Tops!- Yes, these are unique offering! These are the tender shoots off the top of the Brussels Sprouts plants. We snap them off this time of year to tell the Brussels plant that it’s time to stop growing UP and it’s time to put their energy into sizing up those sprouts on the stalk. These tops can be used like any other cooking green such as kale or collards. Tender and delicious! Tell us how you used them! No waste!

Cilantro- Just about everyone received cilantro this wee, but we ran a little short and about 30 people received Dill instead.

Eggplant- Either a standard eggplant or a long and skinney Japanese Eggplant.

Curly Green Kale- Kale is the beloved staple at our house! Kale chips! Kale in egg roll filling, kale in your frittata, kale in your soup, kale it up!

Yellow Doll Watermelon- These are the small, yellow watermelons in your box.  We tested the Brix on these and they were up to 15 on the Brix test.  Sweet!

Hungarian Hot Wax Pepper x 2- These were tucked inside your tomato bags. Hungarian Hot wax are amongst the most mild of hot peppers, but they may surprise you! Hungarian Hot Wax are usually found a lime-green color, but they also ripen orange to red. We don’t want you confuse your hot pepper for a mini-sweet as we have begun sticking minisweet peppers in your CSA boxes.

MiniSweet Pepper- 1-2 very small minisweets again this week. I know it’s a very small giving, but these guys are just starting to produce now too. Minisweets are one of my children’s favorite foods. They can eat piles of these things in one sitting. The minisweets are red, yellow and orange. The only possible issue here is that since they are small peppers, they could easily be confused for a hot pepper. But I assure you they are not hot so long as you are able to differentiate in your CSA box which is the minisweet pepper and which is the Hungarian hot wax pepper. Have fun learning your peppers!

Next Week's Best Guess: Winter squash, collards, mint, beets, carrots, sweet bell peppers, lettuce, kohlrabi, tomato,

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