October Eighteenth

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On the final week of Summer Share deliveries, I feel overcome with gratitude.  Gratitude that the good earth has provided us with a bountiful harvest to share with our faithful CSA community.  Gratitude for the crew of amazing helpers who made the harvest, wash, pack and delivery possible.  Gratitude for our health and minds that we were able to do the work we love that keeps us at home with our family with capable bodies and minds yet another year.  Grateful for winter and that we have a built-in season of rest and recovery so that we can prepare and plan to do it all over again yet another year.   

In our virtual community where we have found one another via the world-wide-web we have united under the common, yet ancient values of supporting our local farmers and neighbors.  We have come together wanting food security and fresh, local, organic vegetables to feed our families with all year.  We remain bound together via the trust we have for one another in fulfilling the bargain we made in the Springtime.  Even though some of us have never met, I feel a connection with you deeper than I may ever have with some of my closer neighbors simply because we agree on these foundational principles. 

Much honor and gratitude is due to our hard working crew of helpers this summer.  I am eternally thankful that they drive their cars out to the farm each morning and show up with their fresh enthusiasm for work on an organic farm.  They willingly haul heavy bins of peppers, tomatoes, and carrots back to the truck again and again without complaint.  I am thankful that the community they find here is nourishing to them in some way.  I am thankful that the work they do here fulfills their body’s need for physical work in the sunshine while munching on fresh veggies.  The work here fulfills their heart’s need for community building and purposeful work. 

Finally, I am thankful to my family and my own body for sustaining the intensive farming roller-coaster ride.  I learn to care for my body with healthy, brothy soups, nourishing oils, fresh foods and protein-rich home-made meals to keep my joints strong and my mind alert.  Twelve years into motherhood, I am deeply thankful to finally be getting restorative sleep again.  Thankful to my children for their resilience for the when mom and dad are tired at the end of the day Thankful to my patient, devoted, hardworking husband for his undying dedication to our farm and his family.  Lord knows he handles much more than his share.  I am thankful for the life perspectives that 40 years on earth, raising children, running a farm and being a community member has given me that I could have achieved no other way. 

In this season of harvest and gratitude I feel the good earth become cold. I watch the landscape look less and less green and alive. I watch the bees stop buzzing, the birds fleeing, and the burrowing animals burrowing deeper as the chilly winds blow.  The time has come to gather our harvest, start our fires and share our meals together.  It’s time to count our blessings, acknowledge all that we have worked towards and revel in the feeling of gratitude, because without it, what is the purpose?  On week 20 I am grateful for you, our supportive CSA community.  Without your support of a local, small business, little farms like ours would not be possible.  In a world of convenience food made possible by large-scale agriculture with cheaper options available to you everywhere, you chose us, and we are thankful. 

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What's in the Box?

Brussels Sprouts-  This is probably our best Brussels year yet.  The lack of rain resulted in no disease and much cleaner sprouts.  We left the work of snapping them off the stalks to you. Snap all of your Brussels off of their stalks and store in a plastic bag in the fridge. They will keep longer and stay fresher and greener in cold storage. Discard the stalk itself. Brussels are such a wonderful fall treat and so nutritious!

Sweet Potato-  2 ½ lbs. per member.  Our crop varied in size quite a bit- so you may receive up to one very large potato or several smaller ones.  Sweet potatoes keep best at room temperature.  Do not refrigerate.  

Butternut Squash-  Store at room temperature.  Butternut is the gem of the winter squash family. They are very versatile and can be used in place of pumpkin in recipes.

Rutabaga-  Such a fun seasonal treat!  Rutabaga is a lot like a giant potato.  We love to peel them, boil and mash them with butter and serve like mashed potatoes.  They're also great just cubed and added to a soup.  They're a low-carb sub for potatoes!  Store in plastic in the fridge.

Fennel-  One bulb of fennel for everyone this week. Fennel adds such a nice flavor when shaved raw onto a salad or sautéed with onions.  Store in the fridge.

Broccoli and/or Cauliflower-  Each member will receive either one broccoli and one cauliflower, or two cauliflower.  Store in the fridge.

Leek-  Leeks are wonderful in fall soups.  Leeks have a mild, onion-like taste. When they are raw they are crunchy and firm. The edible portions of the leek are the white base of the leaves (above the roots and stem base), the light green parts, and to a lesser extent the dark green parts of the leaves. The dark green portion is usually discarded because it has a tough texture, but it can be sautéed, or more commonly added to stock for flavor.

Bell Peppers-  Four peppers per member this week. We continued to pick them greener this week knowing that this was our last week to share them with you.  We’re always thrilled when we can continue to give peppers all the way to the end of the season!

Green Kale-  The kale was looking so amazing, we decided to give it one last time.  Nice bunches of beautiful kale this week!

Thyme-  We are very happy to be able to offer thyme as an herb this week. Fresh thyme is wonderful added to soups, curry, vegetable pot pies, or even made into tea. If you don’t think you’ll use it fresh, you can always unbunch the thyme bundle and lay it out on a tray to dry or in the oven on very, very low heat (maybe with the door cracked). Once dried, store in an air tight canning jar with a tight lid. 

Recipes

Fontina and Caramelized Fennel and Onion Pizza

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 Farro Salad with Butternut Squash, Brussels Sprouts, and Leeks

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Butternut Squash Casserole

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Easy Mashed Rutabagas

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October Eleventh

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Mid October on an organic vegetable farm looks very much like a Fall scene.  Brown earth exposed where the potatoes, carrot and beet beds have been dug.  Shades of tan, brown, yellow, red and even purple where there are weeds and retired vegetable plants that are holding ground, holding space and waiting for Spring. 

Much of the work left to do on the farm is harvest and clean up.  Crops that we still have left to harvest are fall carrots, a couple more beds of beets, cabbage, fall radishes, kale, brussels sprouts and a couple rutabaga and kohlrabi beds.  We are now harvesting the broccoli and cauliflower beds that we have been anxiously awaiting and that are hitting very strong now- and who are loving this cool weather. 

As I write this newsletter on Monday night, we are expecting the first widespread frost tonight.  Frost will take down the tomato and pepper plants that have been so generously providing for us all summer.  These are the only crops that we will feel sad to lose at this stage in the season.  We are finished harvesting from all the other summer crops.  Everything else out there can handle frost and will become sweeter still as their starches turn to sugar in the cold.  We will enjoy sweeter brassicas this Fall because of the frost.  Tuesday night the frost is expected to settle again followed by a few days of rain. 

We continued harvesting in the fields until 6pm on Monday afternoon/evening.  The sun was so low on the horizon at this hour that it was in our eyes as we walked our pepper bins to and from the truck at harvest in anticipation for the frost.  The crew was joyful, the weather lovely, but I felt a bit of sadness knowing that it would be our final pepper harvest of the year.  The sun was nearly setting as we quit for the day.  The waning sunlight a reminder that our time in the vegetable fields is running out. 

We have one more summer share delivery left after this week.  There will be a one-week break with no delivery after the summer shares end where we will use that time to harvest our storage carrots, beets, radishes and parsnips.  We may also use that time to begin breaking open seed garlic and prepare for planting at the end of the October and beginning of November.  As a field-rotation plan we will be taking down our deer fence and moving that to encompass new fields.  Even though the delivery season is winding down, we will still be keeping our crew employed full time right up to the day before Thanksgiving which is when the actual final CSA delivery of the year is made for our farm.   

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What’s in the box?

Tomatoes-  2 lbs tomatoes mixed varieties.  A reminder to remove your tomatoes from the bag and allow them to air out and sit at room temperature outside of the plastic bag at room temp.  Allow them to ripen at room temp.  Quality goes down a little this late in the season.  We allowed a few more cracks and blemishes than what we were allowing earlier in the year. 

Acorn Squash-  A classic winter squash.  Do not refrigerate. 

Sweet Potatoes-  2.5lbs per member.  These were harvested just last week and they weren’t cured quite as long as we typically like.  Do not refrigerate sweet potatoes. 

Brussels Sprouts-  We harvest Brussels Sprouts by the whole stalk.  We left the work of snapping the sprouts off the stalks to you. We took a couple minutes with each stalk to make sure they were cleaned up a bit.  Did you know that Brussels Sprouts is spelled with an ‘s’ at the end of the world Brussels?

Sweet Peppers- 2-4 sweet peppers per box.  We harvested peppers a little more aggressively this week with the anticipation of frost in the forecast.  Not all peppers have as much color as we like.  Many of them are only half-colored. 

Leeks-  Leeks are a fall onions. They can be used from the base of the leek at the white point all the way up the stalk. 

Broccoli-  2 large heads broccoli per member.  Broccoli loves the cool weather in the fall.  Thanks to Farmer Adam’s had work irrigating this summer, we have gorgeous Fall Broccoli this year! 

Cauliflower-  Two large cauliflower per member this week.  Loves to be kept cold. 

Kohlrabi-  One per member.  You may remember from receiving kohlrabi in the spring to peel the outer skin off the outside of the bulb and enjoy the crispy, apple-like centers.  The leaves are edible like kale.

Rutabaga-  These are the large, whitish root with purple shoulders that is commonly confused with turnips.  A low-glycemic potato-substitute.  Rutabagas can be peeled, boiled and mashed like potaotes and your family will never know the difference!  We also cut them into small pieces and add them to any of your fall stews, soups or roasts. 

Next Week’s Best Guess:  brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, leek, fennel, cauliflower, broccoli, green/sweet peppers, tomatoes?, butternut squash, rutabaga

Recipes

Loaded Sweet Potato Skins

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Domada (West African Peanut Stew)  Using Sweet potatoes!  

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Rainbow Stir Fry with Peanut Sauce

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Stuffed Acorn Squash

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Roasted Rutabaga (Just like Potatoes!)

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October Fourth

Ode to my Mother

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I have a secret weapon that helps me get through the season.  This weapon also helps me get through my daily life and survive and thrive as a mother and farmer and the myriad of hats that I wear.  This weapon is not a weapon at all in the violent or aggressive sense, but quite the opposite.  It’s a duplicate of me.  It is my mother’s hands. 

I feel that at least one newsletter each season should be devoted to paying tribute to my mom.  She’s an average looking woman who has shaped me with her words, deeds, stories and hands into the hard-working, pragmatic, resourceful, resilient, and dedicated person I have become.  She lives on a 5-acre piece of her own right next to us in her own house.  She retired a few years ago to become a full-time grandma for our three children, my brother’s three children and my sister’s 4 children.  When she’s not playing ‘super-grandma’, she’s here on the farm mowing the lawn, hanging my laundry, cooking us dinner or running our errands and our kids to their off-farm activities.  We sometimes joke that she’s my wife, taking care of many of our domestic duties-so that I can be a farmer and work the hours I work. 

In today’s world, I often wonder how any family can function with both parents working full time and also raise kids.  I realize that not everyone is working the hours that Adam and I work, but if they were, the family would suffer or starve or never have clean laundry or something?  I really don’t know how anyone else does it or even what a normal life looks like for a normal family.  I do believe that we are far from being a normal household.  But what I know and have faith in is that a normal-ish level of functioning is possible in our family because of the mountain of help that my mother offers us. 

This week mom is gone.  She’s on a trip to Nashville, TN with a group of her old high-school girlfriends.  She’s not here and I’m appreciating her more the way we do appreciate people more when they’re not there.  Luckily, she left behind a pan of eggplant parm, a pot of soup, eggsalad, and pumpkin bars which has helped us make it through the harvest and pack days this week so far.  To say that mom is a good cook is an understatement.  She’s a lover and aficionado of flavorful and beautiful food who spends her free time flipping through cookbooks, reading food blogs, and trying new recipes.  She fills our home with the smells of pumpkin pie, gravy, sauteed onions and garlic, and all the wonderful things that make a house feel like a home-good cooking.  This summer she has put up over 60 pints of salsa and plans to move on to tomato sauce when she gets home. 

It ain’t always easy having mom around though.  She’s also here to remind us to pick up our socks from the middle of the room, rinse our dishes and put them in the dishwasher, turn off the lights, and to make sure the children don’t begin eating before we’re done praying.  Adam’s pants and the children’s hands will never be clean enough when mom is here.  When the matriarch is around, we all obey orders.  She does too much for us all for any of us to talk back-and when we do, the roof is raised. 

I write this newsletter mostly to confess that I’m not a superwoman working full time and raising great kids casually and effortlessly on the side.  I’m a person with limits who also needs sleep and rest and I’m not really doing it all.  I have a secret shoemaker helper elf.  I know that mothers are often to blame for our many faults in life, and lord knows I have blamed my own mother for many of my imperfections.  But the truth about how I really feel about her is a deep sense of gratitude, respect and appreciation.  I choose to feel these happier, warmer, more honorary feelings towards her because I also have children of my own.  I hope that when they grow up they will learn to forgive me for my innumerable humanly imperfections and choose to feel gratitude and respect and appreciation for me as well.  I've gotta give it to her.  Much of the success that we have achieved in our years of farming is because we have had a powerful woman at our backs cheering us on, watching our kids and making us dinner demonstrating unconditional love in her every deed.  

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What’s in the Box?

Tomatoes-  3 lbs tomatoes mixed varieties.  A reminder to remove your tomatoes from the bag and allow them to air out and sit at room temperature outside of the plastic bag at room temp.  Tomatoes love 50 degree storage temps.  We pick any tomato with a ‘blush’ which means any amount of color that it has started to turn, we pick em.  They still qualify as ‘vine ripened’ tomatoes even when we do it this way.  We highly recommend not putting tomatoes in the refrigerator as refrigerators tend to suck flavor out of tomatoes and inhibit ripening.  For maximum flavor and enjoyment, allow them to sit on your counter to ripen and promptly use up once ripe!  Tomatoes have peaked and are on the decline.

Hungarian Hot Wax-  Hungarian Hot Wax, also called Bananna Peppers, will turn red if allowed to sit on the plants.  They turn a touch sweeter when fully ripe like this.  Tucked inside your bag with the tomatoes.

Yukon Gold Poatoes-  2 lbs per member.  Potatoes did very well this summer even in the drought conditions with drip irrigation.

Brussels Sprouts-  We harvest Brussels Sprouts by the whole stalk.  We left the work of snapping the sprouts off the stalks to you. We took a couple minutes with each stalk to make sure they were cleaned up a bit.  Did you know that Brussels Sprouts is spelled with an ‘s’ at the end of the world Brussels?

Sweet Peppers- 4-5 sweet peppers per box.  We grow a very wide variety of peppers ranging from red, orange and yellow bells to the long, sweet carmen types that are pointed at their tip (these are still a sweet pepper and not a hot pepper).  Peppers are a very special fall treat.  Time for roasted peppers or stuffed peppers or however you like to eat them!  They freeze very nicely as well if just cut up and put in zip lock bags.

Sun Gold Cherry Tomatoes-  .5 lb bag per member.  Allow to ripen at room temp if needed.  Enjoy them while they last!

Onion-  Gotta have onions every week!

Swiss Chard-  Chard is a very time-consuming harvest which is why we don’t offer it more often.  But we know it’s a popular green that many people love.  It can be used in place of spinach for many spinach recipes. 

Eggplant- You may have received a standard sized eggplant or two Asian eggplants. 

Broccoli or Cauliflower-  Broccoli and cauliflower are back in season!  One head per member.  Prefers to be kept very cold in storage. 

Kohlrabi-  One per member.  These kohlrabi responded very nicely to the drip irrigation which we definitely would not have without farmer Adam’s hard work getting water to the crops this late summer.  You may remember from receiving kohlrabi in the spring to peel the outer skin off the outside of the bulb and enjoy the crispy, apple-like centers.  The leaves are edible like kale. 

Green Cabbage-  Artost is the variety.  Not necessarily a storage variety, but it will keep for awhile in the fridge.  Many of the heads sized up very nicely, we did have to pick a few heads that were on the smaller side. 

Next Week’s Best Guess:  acorn winter squash, kohlrabi, sweet peppers, tomatoes, hot peppers, beets?, brussels sprouts, onion, cherry tomatoes, sweet potatoes

Recipes

Garlic Roasted Brussels Sprouts

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Cabbage Soup

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Skillit Pizza with Eggplant and Swiss Chard

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Balela Salad (Middle Eastern Bean Salad with Sweet Peppers and Cherry Tomatoes)

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September Twenty-Sixth

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I am delighted to report that since last week, the farm has received over 3 inches of rain-with more in the forecast!  Most of it fell in a moderately gentle shower with mild wind speeds.  The majority of the rain had time to soak in with little to no erosion in the fields.  While it’s a couple months too late to be much help for crops, it has put an end (or a long pause) to farmer Adam needing to irrigate.  We’re thankful for the rain and the contribution to the water table.  The trees and perennials and pastures will benefit the most at this point.  Meanwhile, we’re back in our raingear, muck boots and enjoying the reprieve from the heat and perpetual sunshine. 

The sound of rain falling on the rooftop is like the sound of jingle bells to my ears.  The cooler weather that is so lovely for sleeping, the early evenings that are dark by 7pm and the sound of rain on the roof have a soothing effect to weary and bleary-eyed farmers who have been giving 110% of themselves to the farm for the last 6 months.  The falling leaves promise that the summer will not go on forever and a season of rest is approaching.  Fall has a way of reminding us of our own mortality and if we are present enough, we will learn to cherish each moment of its colorful glory rather than wish it away. 

I have friends, and I’m sure you do too, who do not love Fall.  They dislike winter even more.  The cooler weather and the lack of sunlight are enough for them to feel unhappy for more than half the year.  One hidden and unforeseen blessing of being a farmer is that Fall and Winter become a joyful and welcome phase of the year.  For me winter equals more time with my children, more time for cooking, being creative, being slow, listening, reading, being present, and sleeping more- all of the activities that offer a regenerative balance to my life.  Ah, winter, how I love you! 

Last week, before all the rain came, we did a fair amount of digging.  We almost harvested all of our potatoes from the fields, cleaned out a bed of beets, a bed of carrots and even found some time to begin a little field clean up by rolling up some drip tape that we’re done with. 

We’re watching our fall successions of broccoli and cauliflower mature beautifully.  We’re excited to start sharing some gorgeous cole crops here in the fall that thrive in the cool season. 

The fall carrots, sweet potatoes and radishes will soak up all this moisture and hopefully size up to a bountiful harvest.  We will begin harvesting sweet potatoes next week to share with you all in the last two summer share CSA boxes.  Sweet potatoes are an interesting crop because they need to cure in a high-humidity storage space kept around 80 degrees for 1-3 weeks while the starches turn to sugar, the skins toughen up, and the overall storage life of the potato is secured. 

We’re hoping that regular, soft rainstorms return to being a normal phenomenon here in Southwest Wisconsin.  We’re hoping that the status of “exceptional drought” drought is lifted from our area.  We’re hoping that the temps this Fall are mild and moderate, the frost holds off a few more weeks for prolonged pepper and tomato harvest, and the crops continue to look as good as they have been looking all summer long for the last three Summer Share deliveries!  Cheers to an epic season at Small Family Farm! 

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Do you see the dark red, almost maroon/brownish colored splotch over Southwest Wisconsin? That's us!  We are in the "Exceptional Drought" Zone.  No the Dry, or Moderately Dry, or Severly Dry or Extremly Dry, but the Exceptionally Dry.  We may be leaving the 'exceptional drought' status after all the rain we have received in the last week.  Just had to show you this to prove it was REAL folks!  

Wisconsin U.S. Drought Monitor

What’s in the Box?

Tomatoes-  2 lbs tomatoes mixed varieties.  A reminder to remove your tomatoes from the bag and allow them to air out and sit at room temperature outside of the plastic bag at room temp.  Tomatoes love 50 degree storage temps.  We pick any tomato with a ‘blush’ which means any amount of color that it has started to turn, we pick em.  They still qualify as ‘vine ripened’ tomatoes even when we do it this way.  We highly recommend not putting tomatoes in the refrigerator as refrigerators tend to suck flavor out of tomatoes and inhibit ripening.  For maximum flavor and enjoyment, allow them to sit on your counter to ripen and promptly use up once ripe!  Tomatoes have peaked and are on the decline.

Chesnook Red Garlic-  A bulb of hardneck variety garlic for your cooking pleasure.  Does not need refrigeration.  Tucked inside you bag of tomatoes.

Hungarian Hot Wax-  Hungarian Hot Wax, also called Bananna Peppers, will turn red if allowed to sit on the plants.  They turn a touch sweeter when fully ripe like this.  Tucked inside your bag with the tomatoes.

Yukon Gold Poatoes-  2 lbs per member.  Potatoes did very well this summer even in the drought conditions with drip irrigation.

Red Kabocha Squash-  These are the bright orange hard squash at the bottom of your box.  Do not refrigerate and allow to sit on your counter until you get a chance to use it up.  Red Kabocha are my personal favorite squash variety.  They have a flaky, sweet, orange flesh that is smooth and absolutely delicious!  You may never buy a different variety of squash ever again! 

Celeriac Root-  These are the very funky looking root vegetable with their greens still attached.  The celeriac root leaves and stems are edible like celery and can be added to any soups or stews.  For best storage, remove the greens and store celeriac root in a plastic bag in the fridge.  This ancient root with store for a terrifically long time in a plastic bag in cold storage, but don’t wait!  Rise to the challenge, peel your celeriac root and use the potoato-like root to make celeriac mashed potatoes, or dice it into small cubes and add it to any chicken soup or stew.

Sweet Peppers- 4-5 sweet peppers per box.  We grow a very wide variety of peppers ranging from red, orange and yellow bells to the long, sweet carmen types that are pointed at their tip (these are still a sweet pepper and not a hot pepper).  Peppers are a very special fall treat.  Time for roasted peppers or stuffed peppers or however you like to eat them!  They freeze very nicely as well if just cut up and put in zip lock bags.

Sun Gold Cherry Tomatoes-  .75 lb bag per member.  Allow to ripen at room temp if needed.  Enjoy them while they last!

Onion-  Gotta have onions every week!

Carrots-  One pound per member.  Deliciously sweet carrots this year!  Yummy!

Red Curly Kale-  Happy that the kale is tender again here even in this later part of the season. 

Lettuce-  Finally we have lettuce again!  We sure do miss it when it’s gone after that long run of it in the Spring! You may have received either a red or green leaf lettuce. 

Kohlrabi-  One per member.  These kohlrabi responded very nicely to the drip irrigation which we definitely would not have without farmer Adam’s hard work getting water to the crops this late summer.  You may remember from receiving kohlrabi in the spring to peel the outer skin off the outside of the bulb and enjoy the crispy, apple-like centers.  The leaves are edible like kale. 

Green Cabbage-  Artost is the variety.  Not necessarily a storage variety, but it will keep for awhile in the fridge.  Many of the heads sized up very nicely, we did have to pick a few heads that were on the smaller side. 

Next Week’s Best Guess:  cabbage, potatoes, winter squash, kohlrabi, sweet peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, hot peppers, beets, brussels sprouts?, onion, cherry tomatoes

Recipes

Shepards Pie with Celeriac Potato Mash

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Roasted Kabocha Squash with Maple Syrup and Ginger

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Massaged Kale with Tomatoes, Creamed Mozzerella and Wild Rice

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Kohlrabi Apple Slaw Salad

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September Twentieth

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If the CSA experience does anything for us, it challenges us.  We are challenged by the weekly or bi-weekly boxes of seasonal vegetables that are sometimes familiar and sometimes unfamiliar.  The less familiar vegetables aren’t meant to intimidate, disappoint, or dis-courage you.  They’re meant to inspire you, foster courage and bravery and challenge you to rise to a new level in your cooking skills that impresses your friends and family and builds confidence in you as a cook! 

We’ve been eating from these boxes now for 16 consecutive weeks. Some of the early season excitement we had at the start of the season has fizzled out after 4 solid months of trying to keep up with our veggie consumption goals. Life is busy now in mid/late September and weekends are filled up with adventures, fairs, festivals, soccer practice and sports activities.  But slowly we are entering the season of winter squashes, potatoes, roasted root vegetables and the very cozy feeling of delicious smells coming out of our ovens on cool Fall mornings and evenings. 

As I was thinly slicing up my brussels sprout greens this last weekend I was appreciating what a rare and unusual treat these greens were to be cooking with. The tenderness and quaintness of their inner leaves coupled with the rarity in availability of such a cooking treasure made me feel like I was a real chef in the kitchen.  I had a moment of feeling gratitude for this humble, yet extraordinary vegetable green and I also felt sophisticated and fine for feeling so confident in the kitchen with such an unusual plant.  Even more empowered did I feel as my hungry children were nibbling the greens right out of the pan to nearly gone by the time I was ready to serve dinner. 

The food in your CSA box is truly seasonal and local bounty.  No off-season, bar-coded, stickered and imported from Centra America produce needed.  When I see recipes that call for asparagus and winter squash in the same dish, I keep scrolling along with an offended air at the audacity of putting these two vegetables in the same recipe.  Who would do such a thing?  I’m a committed local cook who believes strongly in preserving the endangered vegetables. I wish to save the celeriac root, fennel, kohlrabi and eggplant from dinner plate extinction by knowing how to prepare them well and to feed them to people I love.  Call me radical, but I wish to inspire such a desire within you as well. 

There are just four more Summer Share deliveries left with our farm.  Soon we will be limited to storage potatoes, cabbage, onions, carrots, squash and a narrow selection of root veggies as the earth tilts away from the sun.  Like the squirrels stashing away their nuts, I hurriedly chop up every brightly colored pepper or tomato or deeply-greened crispy vegetable I can l lay my hands on because I know that my time with these summer treats is limited.  I know that too soon I will be shamefully forced to shop at a grocery store amongst a restricted medley of too-familiar produce. 

Rise to the challenge, impress yourself and make something you’ve never made before.  Explore and find a ‘new favorite’ recipe that you can look forward to each year as the season approaches and they become your ‘old friend’ recipes.  And always feel free to share with me your favorite recipes that are tried and true and I’m happy to share them with the Small Family Farm CSA Community.

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What’s in the Box?

Tomatoes-  3.75 lbs tomatoes mixed varieties.  A reminder to remove your tomatoes from the bag and allow them to air out and sit at room temperature outside of the plastic bag at room temp.  Tomatoes love 50 degree storage temps.  We pick any tomato with a ‘blush’ which means any amount of color that it has started to turn, we pick em.  They still qualify as ‘vine ripened’ tomatoes even when we do it this way.  We highly recommend not putting tomatoes in the refrigerator as refrigerators tend to suck flavor out of tomatoes and inhibit ripening.  For maximum flavor and enjoyment, allow them to sit on your counter to ripen and promptly use up once ripe!  Tomatoes have peaked and are on the decline. 

Chesnook Red Garlic-  A bulb of hardneck variety garlic for your cooking pleasure.  Does not need refrigeration.  Tucked inside you bag of tomatoes. 

Jalapeno Pepper-  Jalapenos will turn red if allowed to sit on the plants.  They turn a touch sweeter when fully ripe like this.  Tucked inside your bag with the tomatoes.

Red Poatoes-  Potatoes did very well this summer even in the drought conditions with drip irrigation. 

Green Beans- A smaller giving of a .35lb bag.  The green beans are waning now quite a bit. 

Spaghetti Squash-  These are the large yellow squash at the bottom of your box.  Do not refrigerate and allow to sit on your counter until you get a chance to use it up.  Spaghetti squash is the all the rage in the gluten free world these days.  A perfect opportunity to hone those cooking skills with this unusual vegetable. 

Celeriac Root-  These are the very funky looking root vegetable with their greens still attached.  The celeriac root leaves and stems are edible like celery and can be added to any soups or stews.  For best storage, remove the greens and store celeriac root in a plastic bag in the fridge.  This ancient root with store for a terrifically long time in a plastic bag in cold storage, but don’t wait!  Rise to the challenge, peel your celeriac root and use the potoato-like root to make celeriac mashed potatoes, or dice it into small cubes and add it to any chicken soup or stew.

Sweet Peppers- 4 sweet peppers per box.  We grow a very wide variety of peppers ranging from red, orange and yellow bells to the long, sweet carmen types that are pointed at their tip (these are still a sweet pepper and not a hot pepper).  Peppers are a very special fall treat.  Time for roasted peppers or stuffed peppers or however you like to eat them!  They freeze very nicely as well if just cut up and put in zip lock bags.

Cherry Tomatoes-  .8 lb bag per member.  Allow to ripen at room temp if needed.  Enjoy them while they last! 

Onion-  Gotta have onions every week!

Carrots-  One pound per member.  Deliciously sweet carrots this year!  Yummy!

Green Curly Kale-  To keep you stocked in cooking greens  And you wouldn’t be a fully ‘seasoned’ chef without plenty of kale in your cooking!

Lettuce-  Finally we have lettuce again!  We sure do miss it when it’s gone after that long run of it in the Spring! 

Flat Leaf Parsley-  Parsley is a superfood!  Loaded in vitamins A, C K and more and is loaded with antioxidants.  Parsley has anti-cancer properties and is good for bone health!  Make Chimmichurri, finely dice into potato salad, garnish salmon, mix in with salad greens, or add to any kind of soup.  You can even dry the leaves and use them this winter!  Store in a glass jar with a tight lid away from direct sunlight. 

Next Week’s Best Guess:  Celeriac root, potatoes, kabocha squash, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, sweet peppers, kohlrabi, carrots, onion, garlic, green cabbage, chard, lettuce or kale?

Recipes

Celery Root Soup with other Root Veggies

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Potato and Celery Root Rosti (could be made even more simple by making hashbrowns)

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Spaghetti Squash Bourrito Bowl

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Chimmichurri Sauce

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Tomato and Mozzerella Caprice Salad

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