Small Family Farm CSA

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October Tenth

Rain makes mud. An impressive streak of rain has been falling on the farm these last few weeks. While we haven’t been getting too much rainfall at one time, we have been getting subsequient storms that make it so that after one storm passes, another is shortly behind. Very few days in the past weeks have been sunny or windy or dry.

While I do my very best to keep these newsletters cheery and positive, it gets hard at times like these. We have had several harvest days in the rain and mud where we simply must be out in it to harvest for CSA deliveries or to get the roots out of ground for the upcoming week’s box. Even when it stops raining, we have been out there in full rain gear trying to use the tractor and equipment to dig in small windows of opportunity. This last week we were digging potatoes with a pitchfork because we know it is time that they must come out of the ground or they will begin to rot, which we have not done for many years.

The packing shed is mud city. We come in from a harvest with a muddy truck, muddy workers and bins full of muddy vegetables. Washing takes a little extra longer than usual and even getting dressed and undressed in and out of rain gear takes up time. We are spraying mud off our boots, mud off the floor and mud off of the equipment we use. This has been one of the hardest Fall’s that we can remember farming in.

Now we’re down to just a month left before the season is officially over for us. There are still a lot of vegetables out there in the fields to harvest before old man Winter can come. We’re really, really, really hoping that the rains will stop soon that things can dry out and we can begin to harvest our Fall root crops for the year. A week of warmth, a little wind and sunshine would do your farmers a lot of good. Sunny and dry weather would lift our spirits out of the muck as well.

But if a farmer is a forever optimist. We’ll get though this Fall and winter will feel like a long night’s sleep. We will rest and restore and enter another season full of hope and enthusiasm. In the mean time, help us pray for the rains to END this fall! We still have a solid month’s worth of work to do!

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

Peppers- Nine peppers per member this week. Many of the peppers were green this week. We clear-cut the pepper plants last Friday because it was the night before the first frost of the season. Because of this we took many of the peppers off of the plants that were still green. They are still perfectly edible, but not quite as fun as the colored peppers, I know! Green peppers make a great relish!

Kabocha Squash- This is my personal favorite winter squash variety! Kabocha’s are a creamy, orange flesh with so much sweetness. To cook a winter squash, cut it in half lengthwise, discard the seeds, and bake it in the oven face down for about an hour or until it is cooked all the way through and the squash scoops out easily from the skin. Serve with plenty of butter!

Brussels Sprouts- It’s always fun to discover that this is how Brussels sprouts grow, on a stalk like this. This has been one of our worst Brussels sprouts years because of all of the rain. They have little black spots on the outer covering of each sprout. You’ll have to snap each sprout off the stalk and peel them back individually. Brussels sprouts are wonderful baked, steamed or even pan fried with butter and salt! Be careful not to over-cook them

Leek- A leek is in the same family as onion or scallions. Use in a soup to add the unique flavor of leeks!

Broccoli or Cauliflower or Romanesco- One broccoli or cauliflower per member this week.

Carrots-   One pound of carrots per member this week. One crop that seems to be turning out fairly well for us this year is carrots. It’s a good thing too, because everyone loves them!

Leaf Lettuce- You may have received a red leaf, green leaf or romaine lettuce this week. The heads were very small again, but this is what we were able to get.

Hungarian Hot Wax Peppers x2- 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. Many of them were smaller this week

Fennel- A cute little bulb of fennel for everyone this week. Fennel adds such a nice flavor when shaved raw onto a salad or sautéed with onions.

Sweet Potatoes- 2 lbs of sweet potatoes per member this week. Did you know that some sweet potatoes can look a little funky? They come in all shapes and sizes! We did not wash these sweet potatoes because they get scuffed up from being washed when freshly dug. Don’t forget that the skins of your sweet potoates are edible! You can even cut them into French-fry form, toss them with coconut oil, and make home-made baked French fries (with the skins on!)

Spinach- A modest giving of spinach per member this week. Just a .25lb bag. But the leaves were large and needed to be picked. Our Fall Spinach didn’t germinate quite the way we had hoped, so we didn’t have a much as we usually do. The leaves were quite tender from the first picking and they seemed a little abused from all of the pounding rain. Eat up your spinach soon, my thoughts are that this spinach won’t last long in the fridge.

Parsnips- .75 lbs of parsnips per member this week. Parsnips are such a lovely Fall root. We were able to get these dug and washed in a slight window last week using a 4x4 tractor. Parsnips make a wonderful addition to a Fall Soup, baked with those sweet potato fries, or even in a roasted root veggie dish.

Celeriac Root- Celery’s uglier, grumpier, and older brother. These are specially cultivated plants so that the roots of the plant grow large and not the stalks. In the same family as celery. We left their stalks and greens on them so you can cook with them. The stalks and leaves could be a nice addition to soups or broths. Take advantage of this unique, seasonal offering! Once the tops have been cut off, the celeriac root will keep for months in a plastic bag in the fridge. Celeriac root is wonderful boiled and mashed with potatoes to make a celeriac/potato mash. Celeriac is also nice when peeled, and then diced finely into a soup. Once you have cut into it, the flesh will oxidize and turn a brown-ish color. So we recommend using it up sooner rather than later once you cut into it.

Next Week’s Best Guess- Sweet Potatoes, leeks, parsnips, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower?, spinach, lettuce, sweet dumpling winter squash, oregano, Brussels sprouts, daikon, fennel

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