Small Family Farm CSA

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Below are current issues of The Weekly Dig Newsletter, from Jillian Varney, owner of the Small Family Farm. Stay up to date on what's happening on the farm!

September Twenty-Second

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This week the farm shifts from feeling like summer to looking and feeling very much like Fall. The maple tree that sits high atop our farm that feels ancient and wise is filled with leaves turning yellow and orange. The north wind blows through her branches making a rustling sound that make the dry leaves rattle a little. I hear crows in the neighbors corn. I hear crickets singing their songs on the long foggy mornings that trail through the better part of the day. I feel tired and excited and nervous and joyful all in one glorious Fall day.

As I walk the fields I see a farm that looks like it has had a season. I see the old onion beds waiting for the plastic mulch to be lifted. I see the dried sweet corn stalks still standing, waiting to be mowed down. I see the old green bean beds over taken by weeds now and the tomato trellising still standing with spent looking plants hanging over the trellis line. So much work to be done to put the farm to rest for a season.

At the end of a season, one cannot help but think of their own mortality. It’s a little like a birthday, somewhat joyful on the day of the occasion, but a reminder of the climbing number of years one has under their belt. The end of a season feels like an accomplishment, a bountiful achievement, and yet symbolizes the fleeting and determinate nature of a season, an experience, a life cycle.

Interestingly, there are still signs of youthful life in the fields. There are fall carrot planting still bright green with tender foliage. There are napa cabbage plantings that look as succulent and tender as spring lettuce. There is even a hopful planting of lettuce that we are watching and hoping will size up so we can share them with you yet this fall before the freezes come. There are very clean spinach beds that could pass as spring spinach if you didn’t know better.

The bright, earthy, warm and sun-soaked colors in the fall peppers and winter squash emanate a warmth brilliant enough to bring cheer to weariest of eyes. The shiny red apples, the glossy yellow peppers, the rainbow swiss chard and the beloved red kuri kabocha squash ignite a kind of fire within my heart that will carry me warmly into the coldest days of the upcoming fall. What is it about this food that connects me so intimately to the seasons and assists my mood and restructuring spirit for it? I feel thankful for these vegetables and what they do for my disposition.

Alas we feel deep gratitude for such bounty. We are packing CSA boxes filled to the top with amazing looking produce. In a season with a very long drought in the Spring followed by two sets of flooding rains mid summer, your farmers worry for the crops. We worry about vegetable diseases, insect pressure, the plants getting enough water when they need it most, weed control and so many other production related variables. It always feels a bit like a miracle to me when we pull off these fabulous looking boxes to the very end of the season. It is not without a fair amount hard decisions being made that we keep this ship a sailing.

Here’s to another week which is another day which is another season which is another year of season, fresh, local, organic, seasonal produce from your favorite small family farm.

Sooo…What’s in the Box????

Sunshine Red Kabocha Squash- These are the large, orange winter squash towards the bottom of your box. These are my personal favorite squash by FAR! Their flesh is sweet, creamy, flaky and absolutely everything you could ever dream of wanting out of a winter squash! They should keep for months on your counter top if you can resist eating them for that long and if they don’t develop any decay spots. Squash prefer a 60-70 degree dry storage temp, so your counter should be perfect!

Brussels Sprouts- These puppies are still on the stalks. 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!

Yellow Potatoes- 2lbs per member. We’re working on getting all of our potatoes out of the ground. The harvest is decent this year considering how worried we were about them this Spring after planting when we had a very long stretch of very hot and dry weather that took out a percentage of the plants right away. Nice looking potatoes.

Beets- Two to three large beets per member. Will keep best in a plastic bag in the fridge.

Carrots- 1 pound per member. These are still our summer carrots we have had in cooler that we’re sharing now. Still plenty of fall carrots to dig!

Eggplant- What a terrific eggplant year! We’ve never had one quite like it! I’m hoping that you’ve found ways to cook eggplant that are appetizing to you! I truly believe that every vegetable is delicious when prepared properly!

Onion- One onion to keep your dishes tasting delicious!

Garlic- This is the Chesnook red variety. It is a hardneck variety with 6-8 cloves per bulb. We have really fallen in love with this variety in the last couple years. Will keep on your counter through the new year, but needs refrigeration for long term storage.

Sweet Bell Peppers- 4-5 peppers per member this week. The pepper patch is really bumping right now. We’re so happy to be sharing such beautiful pepper harvests such as these with you after a hard pepper season we had last year. Our children really love stuffed peppers. We also love to make fajitas and put them on pizza.

Jalapeno Pepper- To add a little spice to your life.

Hungarian Hot Wax Pepper- A little more tame than the Jalapenos. Also called a Bananna Pepper

Swiss Chard- We don’t harvest swiss chard as much as we would like to in the summer because it’s such a time consuming harvest. In the same family as spinach and beets, we’re very happy to be sharing swiss chard with you this week!

Celeriac Root- Celeriac root is in the same family as celery. It is specially cultivated so that the roots of the celery plant grow large instead of the stalks. We left the stalks on these celeriac root so that you can still use them in your cooking. They would be a nice addition to soups or even fresh salads. Check out our celeriac mashed potatoes recipe below! Just boil and mash them with potatoes and you’ll fall in love with celeriac root! Will keep best in a plastic bag in the fridge. With the greens removed, celeriac root is a fantastic storage vegetable. It will keep nearly all winter long in cold storage. It is also nice par boiled and then grated into a hash with or without potatoes!

Lettuce- One smaller head of lettuce this week. Some received a green oakleaf head of lettuce or green buttercrunch or red buttercrunch. It’s a tricky time of year to have fresh lettuce heads, so we’re very happy to be offering this!

Next Week’s Best Guess- Sweet bell peppers, onion, jalapeno, Hungarian hot wax, acorn squash, Brussels sprouts, potatoes, broccoli or cauliflower, celeriac root, mini sweet peppers, eggplant, collards or kale, kohlrabi?

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Recipes-

 Mashed Potatoes with Celeriac Root

 Stuffed Sweet Bell Peppers

 Jalapeno Poppers

 Stuffed Bananna peppers with Chorizo

September Fifteenth

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On the sixteenth CSA delivery week out of 20 summer share deliveries, the farm is looking like it has had a season. The crew is in miraculously good spirits while your farmers are looking a little tired and worn. While tired, we also feel excited and energized knowing that we are in the home-stretch part of our season. The Fall Harvest season brings a warm, festive feel as we pile up our winter squash, begin to harvest our fall root crops and start to think about garlic planting.

This week we harvested some beds of beets that were needing to be cleared out and started the celeriac root harvest. We weeded some of our Fall carrot and beet beds. We are also continuing on with our winter squash harvest. We have run out of the large macro bins that we usually put our winter squash in and are waiting for this week’s delivery of CSA boxes to go out so we can empty out a few more macro bins so that we can fill them up with more winter squash and root storage crops.

We are excited to start sharing some of our favorite fall veggies with you in the coming weeks such as Brussels sprouts, celeriac root, sweet potatoes, leeks and a variety of winter squashes. Sadly this was the final giving of tomatoes this week. This year was not our best tomato harvest season due to the mid summer storms and rains that fired up the blight on the tomato plants.

We are excited about our Fall Potluck next Sunday, September 26th from 3-6pm. We hope you can make it out to the farm where we will offer wagon ride tours of the farm, apple cider pressing, Turtle Stack beer and a fabulous potluck dinner from 5-6pm. We hope you can make it out the farm. This event is usually well attended and we hope you can make it out! This is a chance for you to come out the farm and see the place where your food is grown, have an experience here that leaves an impression on you to take home and hold the farm in your heart for the future seasons to come.

We are also selling more Fall Shares and Thanksgiving Shares this time of year. If you have loved the summer veggies and are wanting to make sure you have plenty to carry you into the winter months ahead, consider signing up for a Fall Share and a Thanksgiving Share. The Fall Share/Thanksgiving Share boxes contain larger quantities of your favorite storage veggies with 5# bags of carrots, 5# bags of potatoes, 3# bags of onions, 3# bags of sweet potatoes and plenty of winter squash, celeriac, rutabagas and more! The boxes contain many items that will store in your fridge and will keep you eating locally and seasonally for weeks after the deliveries have ended. Last year these Fall Shares sold out rather quickly, so don’t hesitate to reserve yours now.  

We are loving working in these days with cool mornings where we begin the day with our sweaters and even winter hats and then shed our layers as the day warms up. We watch the leaves turn on the horizon around us while the crickets play their music for us throughout the day.

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Soooo….What’s in the Box????

Spaghetti Squah- These are the large yellow round items toward the bottom of your box. You may have received 1 large spaghetti squash or two smaller spaghetti squashes. These guys will keep at room temperature for a good month or more. Make sure you use them up if they develop any spots. Noodle like flesh once cooked up!

Beets- About 1 pound of beets per member. We had a nice beet harvest this week that we’re happy to share with you. Will keep for months in a plastic bag in the fridge.

Carrots- 1 pound of carrots per member. Carrots will also keep for months in a plastic bag in the fridge. For all of your fresh salads and fall soups!

Sweet Peppers- Sweet peppers are in good production now. We’re happy to be sharing three to four pepper per member this week. They may be red, yellow, orange or shades of pink. Enjoy this seasonal delicacy.

Tomatoes- .5lbs per member. A very small giving of tomatoes this week. This is likely our final giving of tomatoes for the season. This late in the season quality is lacking a bit, so feel free to use these up quickly as they likely won’t keep long.

Jalapeno- In the bag with your tomatoes. These would be a nice addition to your spaghetti squash hash!

Hungarian Hot Wax Pepper- In the bag with your tomatoes. A nice addition to your salsas or even your soups to keep your immune system awake and active! It never hurts to add a little spice to your life!

Eggplant- For some reason we’re having a really great eggplant year! Wowzers! When we go out to harvest there are fruits almost every week, and lots of them! I’m hoping you’re finding ways to learn to love eggplant if you didn’t already! I do believe that everything tastes delicious when prepared correctly or to your liking! Find a way to love this seasonal fruit!

Potatoes- 2lbs. Red potatoes again this week. It’s not hard to find ways to use these papas up!

Onion- 1-2 yellow onions per box this week.

Green Cabbage- Lovely, tender heads of fall cabbage that we’re happy to share this week. Should keep in your fridge for a good month or so, although this is not technically a storage variety of cabbage. Egg rolls? Did you make enough of your favorite cabbage slaws this summer?

Green Curly Kale- To keep you stocked in cooking greens.

Basil- We finally found some time this week to harvest a fresh herb for the box. The basil plants this late in the season are looking less then young and fresh. We’re sorry for the mix of quality in the leaves, but we thought you could pluck the good leaves off of the stems and use what you can. Basil does not refrigerate well, it turns black in the refrigerator. Stick in a glass of water and keep like fresh cut flowers, but they won’t re-hydrated as well as they may have if they had been put in water right away. Try re-trimming the stems to see if they will take to the water.

Mini Sweet Peppers/Cherry Tomatoes- A very small final harvest of cherry tomatoes and also a surprisingly small mini sweet harvest this week. So we weighed them out and shared the weight amongst us all in these cute little paper bags.

Next Weeks Best Guess:  Potatoes, celeriac root, carrots, sweet bell peppers, hot peppers, mini sweet peppers, swiss chard, onion, garlic, sunshine kabocha squash, kohlrabi?

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September Eighth 

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I do believe that I have the best job in the world. The best job for me, for sure. It’s a hard job and the hours are long and the labor is heavy. The stress is real and the constant variable of mother nature in our partnership can turn even the best farmers into failures on certain crops in certain years.  

I recently read a book called Move Your DNA by Katy Bowman that is a new inspiration in my life. She is a biomechanist who writes about the importance of natural movements, primal movements, in our lives opposed to actual exercise. She talks about the importance of reaching, squatting, climbing, swinging, and just plain moving your body. She writes about how our blood circulates naturally with movement, our joints are strengthened when we walk barefoot on uneven ground. Our pelvic floors, our knees and our ankles thank us when we use them to their greatest potentials.

When we reach for the cucumbers twisting and squatting and bending our bodies in ways that we would not otherwise do-we improve our health. When we pull on the weeds we twist, bend and open our joints-and improve our health. When we squat, and she talks A LOT about the importance of squatting, we improve our digestion, elimination, and just about any other activity that you might need your pelvis in good health for such as giving birth and even the act of making the babies themselves-which we all want to be in peak shape for, am I right?

We have a small barefoot movement happening here on the farm some days-inspired by those of us who have ready Katy’s book. If we’re working on the soft, moist soil weeding the carrot beds, many of us will kick our books off and soak up the grounding effects of walking barefoot on the damp earth. Of course the boss makes us all put our shoes back on when it’s time to get moving or if we need to work in the packing shed on concrete.

Katy even talks about the health benefits of natural sounds and lights in our environments. She talks about the importance of using your eyes and looking far into the distance and focusing on something far away as well as being able to focus on things close at hand-where nature provides these situations perfectly for us. She even talks about sleeping without pillows on firm surfaces-but I’m not quite there yet. A good night sleep is imperative to the success of this farm, so perhaps there is some room for growth here;)

I watch our farm kids run up and down these hills and swing from the numerous climbing apparatuses provided for them in the yard and in the house. I watch their strong bodies and minds grow and flourish and I feel thankful for this setting in which to raise them. I haven’t even mentioned the enormous bonus of raising a family amidst so much bounty and richness.

Breathing fresh air is a new perk to our job that I had previously under-appreciated. In a masked world with the very privilege of being allowed to breath without something over my face, I feel thankful to work outdoors where managing this obstacle is a non issue.

For now the weather is fine. The days are cool and the sun feels welcome and warm on our backs. I whistle while I work knowing that we are now on the home stretch of our very busy season. I may very well be signing a different tune in a short while when the weather turns blustery and my fingers are frozen while my body tightens in the cold weather. We’ll see how much I love my job when it’s freezing rain this fall and our boots are stuck in the mud and the cold north winds blow…..but just let me have this moment, eh?

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Soooo….What’s in the Box????

Napa Cabbage- Glorious heads of napa cabbage this week! Some of them were quite large. Napa Cabbage is a cool season crop and can be tricky to grow earlier in the season. It defends the flea beetle pressure much better in the cooler weather. Makes a lovely Asian salad and is ideal for kim chi fermenters out there!

Spaghetti Squash- These are the large, yellow, oval shaped items in your box, not to be confused with melons! Spaghetti squash are all the rage in the gluten free world and when cooked up resembles noodles when gently forked out of it’s shell. Just cut your squash in half raw, scrape the seeds out with a spoon and then place them face down on a baking pan with a half inch of water and bake for one hour.   When the come out of the oven, let them cool and scrape the noodle-like flesh out of the shells!

Red Potatoes- 2lb bags of red potatoes for everyone this week! Will keep just fine outside of refrigeration for quite some time. We do not wash freshly dug potatoes because their skins scuff so easily.

Carrots- 1lb bags for all!

Green Beans- .70 lbs per member. This is likely the final giving of green beans of the season. They may require a little cleaning up.

Tomatoes- 2.5lbs per member. Tomatoes are getting toward the end of the season. Our tomatoes this year took a hit during all of the stormy weather we received earlier in the summer. Tomatoes do not lovely moisture on their leaves which can fire up the blight on the leaves.

Jalapeno Pepper- In the top of your tomato bags. These are the little green guys in there. They are spicy!

Hungarian Hot Wax Pepper- Also called banana peppers. These are also in the top of your tomato bag.

Mini Sweet Peppers- The mini sweet peppers were put in the plastic clamshells in your box. These are a deliciously sweet snacking pepper. They are also wonderful added to stir fry or salads.

Eggplant- You may have received either an Asian eggplant or a standard eggplant.

Sweet Bell Peppers- 3 bell peppers per member. We grow a wide variety of peppers. All sweet peppers start out green and we wait until they turn colors to harvest them. Red, yellow and orange sweet peppers. I LOVE pepper season!

Sun Gold Cherry Tomatoes- .35 lbs. A much more modest giving of cherry tomatoes this week! We were happy to still have them to share.

Brussels Sprouts Tops- These are the greens at the top of your box. We snap the tops off of the Brussels sprouts to tell the plants to stop growing upwards and to begin bulking up the sprouts towards the top of the stalks. In three weeks the Brussels sprouts stalks should be ready for harvest!  They can be eaten like kale, collards or any other brassica greens!  

Next Week's Best Guess: Potatoes, green cabbage, spaghetti Squash, onion, sweet peppers, mini sweets, tomatoes, green kale, curly parsley, eggplant, celeriac root?

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Recipes

Spaghetti Squash Noodle Bowl with Lime Peanut Sauce

Roasted Spaghetti Squash Hash Browns

Crunchy Napa Cabbage Salad with Ramen Noodles

Chicken Fajita Quesadillas with Peppers and Onions

September First

A gentle breeze blew and a glittering of leaves fell from the walnut trees in the yard. I suddenly realized that Fall was approaching. The wolly bear caterpillars are crawling around looking for a place to slumber and the yellow jackets are ubiquitous around the farm. Monarch butterflies flutter around and the apple trees are beginning to drop their apples.

As we gracefully slip into the month of September I notice a difference in our Farm this year that is different from all other summers in the 16 years we have been running our farm. We are not planning to maintain a presence at the Dane County Farmer’s Market as we have done for so many years in the past. Generally we begin Farmer’s Markets in the month of September to sell our excess produce at. Historically we have needed to sell our extra produce at the Farmer’s Market to supplement our CSA farm income and to find an outlet for our excess bounty. Farmer’s Markets require that your farmers dip deeper into our well of energy and expel the remainder of our vitality on all that is required to harvest for, pack and sell at a Farmer’s Market mid season while we are already giving our CSA our primary focus and 100%.

In order to vend at the Dane County Farmer’s Market we need to spend most of the day on Fridays harvesting for market and loading the truck so we can then drive away at 3:30am on Saturday morning. This also means finding an extra helper willing to work at Market’s with us on Saturday and either Adam or I spending a whole day in Madison on Saturdays vending and then coming home on Saturday nights totally exhausted. This also translates into Sundays as more of a recovery day from the tremendous amount of energy expelled that it takes to do a Farmer’s Market.  

This summer we decided to grow our CSA membership enough that we could supplement Farmer’s Market income so that we could stay home on Saturday mornings, sleep in for one day of the week and keep up with the tasks here at home on the farm at a slower pace. This change has been nothing short of drastic for our family. Knowing that this Saturday Adam and I will both get to sleep until the children wake us up and be at home with our kids feels like a gift. We can make pancakes, can tomatoes, do field work, machinery maintenance, packing shed clean up or even go for a bike ride with our kids if we want.

This change in our lives is made possible by you. By choosing to be part of our CSA membership you have helped a farm family achieve a more sustainable lifestyle. CSA farming is demanding enough as it is. We are enjoying this one step towards a more manageable work/family balance and are acknowledging our gratitude for this change in our lives. Admittedly, Farmer’s Markets were fun and they gave your farmer’s an excuse to get off the farm and put on clean clothes and have face-to-face interactions with some of our customers and supporters. But they do require additional energy and enthusiasm, which I find difficult to imagine mustering up at this late stage in the season.

Perhaps we will do Farmer’s Markets again one day. I like the idea of our children helping us vend at Markets and sensing the festive-like feel of a market. The experience of making change out of a $20 one hundred times again and again, seeing the glow in someone’s eye when the fruits of our labor attract and lure health-conscious eaters over to our table, and the merry and joyful feeling that a Farmer’s Market can bring to your life. But for now those ideas are all going to just have to wait. I will enjoy sleeping until 8am on Saturday while I pay tribute to all of you, the loyal and dedicated CSA members. Thank you!

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Soooo….What’s in the Box????

Tomatoes- 8lb bags of tomatoes. We pick any tomato with a 'blush'. This means any tomato with any beginning of color at the time of harvest as tomatoest ripen nicely off the vine. They are still considered 'vine ripened' tomatoes. We grow a wide variety of tomatoes. You may have received a pink brandywine heirloom tomato, roma tomatoes, red slicers, black velvet heirloom or even Chef's choice which is a yellow tomato. We offer a nice mix of heirlooms and standard slicing varieties. Do not refrigerate tomatoes unless you need to buy yourself some time before you are able to process them. Refrigerators will suck flavor out of your tomatoes. Allow your unripe tomatoes to sit out on the counter until fully ripe.

Beets- 3 medium to large beets per member. The beets this year have been fabulous! We’re thrilled to finally be able to keep the deer off of them and have beets in our CSA boxes! Sweet, earthy and nutritious. Keeps best in a plastic bag in the fridge.

Onion- Because every meal is better with an onion.

Sweet Peppers- 2-3 Peppers per member this week. The sweet peppers are just beginning. There were a few people at the end of packing who did not receive a sweet pepper as we ran out of them. Sweet peppers may include red, yellow or orange bell peppers. We grow many different varieties of peppers. It’s looking like it’s going to be a great pepper year!   Many more of these to come! Some people received minisweet peppers if you only received two standard sweet pepeprs.

Eggplant- 1 Asian eggplant and 1 standard eggplant per member.

Parsley- 1 bunch of flat leaf parsley per member.

Lacinato Kale- Lacinato is the favorite variety of kale. Is lovely in soups, salads or simply stir-fried in a generous amount of coconut oil.

Cherry Tomatoes- 1 lb clamshells of cherry tomatoes. This was our biggest week for cherry tomatoes. Production will be waning after this week. We’ll be hoping for anther giving after this week.

Green Beans- .78 lbs of beans per member. A mix of dragon tongue and green beans.

Honeydew Melon- 1 melon per member. These are a green fleshed melon with a hard yellow rind. We weren’t as impressed with the honeydew melon flavor this year. We allowed

Garlic- Asian tempest is the variety this week. Asian tempest has purple striping on the skins that fades some after harvest.

Next Week’s Best Guess- tomatoes, sweet peppers, onion, green beans, spaghetti squash, napa cabbage, carrots, Brussels sprouts tops or chard, hot peppers

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Recipes-

Apple Cranberry Bacon Kale Salad with Slivered Almonds and Feta

Eggplant Parmesan Stacks

Honedew Melon Sorbet

Green Bean and Cherry Tomato Salad

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August Twenty-Fifth

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In August, I feel tired. If August was a person, it would be a wild-eyed, red haired voluptuous woman, the kind of person that excites you and dances the night away with you and leaves you feeling strewn out on the floor. While there are no festivities and late summer evening fires burning the midnight oil in my life, I am the dedicated farm wife and mother of three small children burning with the desire to grow, nurture, preserve food and ride the exhilarating wave of the August workload and bounty on a small family farm.  

I remind myself that August is not the month to make any final decisions about my life. August is the month of unsustainable energy exertion. We are pushing through these weeks with grit and perseverance and determination. We pulled over 1500lbs of carrots out of the ground last week that needed to be harvested with a little extra help on the farm. We also had our largest green bean harvest of the season that our farm has ever had last week with over 570lbs coming out of the field with loads more that went unpicked!

Tomato harvest is coming to a peak this week. The colorful, soft, juicy fruits are the very essence of summer itself. The tomatoes are both watery and acidic. They’re heavenly and heavy. They’re the long-awaited for and sought after icon of the season. Tomatoes will dominate the space in the CSA box, your counter tops, your cooking and your hearts for the next few weeks. They will satisfy your cravings and will eventually have you crying for mercy before it’s all over. Folks, get ready for tomatoes.

This week on the farm we will continue tomato harvest every two days. We will pick green beans until time runs out and begin to pull in the winter squash harvest. Many of the winter squash vines are beginning to die back exposing many of the fruits. We have begun to harvest some fruits that were showing signs of sun scald and looking fully mature. We are excited to share acorn squash, buttercup squash, red kuri squash, butternut squash, pie pumpkins and spaghetti squash. It’s hard to believe it’s time to start harvesting some of these fall favorites! Fall is just around the corner!

Farmer Adam replanted our fall Spinach last week. We had seeded our fall Spinach before we got all of that pounding 6 inches of rain a couple weeks ago. We suspect that the hammering rain actually compacted the soil so much that the seeds were not able to push through. There was no lack of moisture and the seeds were not washed away, just too compacted in from the heavy rains to be able to germinate. Fingers crossed that we got enough rain this weekend to germinate the second seeding and that they will be ready in time for the last couple CSA boxes to have hefty bags of spinach in them!

Good news is that our Fall carrots and beets are looking great! The Brussels sprouts are looking better than ever before on our farm this year! With a cool breeze and a good nights sleep your farmers will catch their second wind to carry us through the last third of the summer season feeling joyful and strong.

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Sooo….What’s in the Box????

Tomatoes- Hefty 7lb Bags of tomatoes for all. We pick any tomato with a 'blush'. This means any tomato with any beginning of color at the time of harvest as tomatoest ripen nicely off the vine. They are still considered 'vine ripened' tomatoes. We grow a wide variety of tomatoes. You may have received a pink brandywine heirloom tomato, roma tomatoes, red slicers, black velvet heirloom or even Chef's choice which is a yellow tomato. We offer a nice mix of heirlooms and standard slicing varieties. Do not refrigerate tomatoes unless you need to buy yourself some time before you are able to process them. Refrigerators will suck flavor out of your tomatoes. Allow your unripe tomatoes to sit out on the counter until fully ripe.

Melons- 1-2 Melons per member. If you only received one melon, it was a larger melon. We did ship out some Canary melons that had a spots on the outside. These melons looked a little rough on the outside, but we knew they were the sweetest melons of the lot, so we decided to give them anyways. They are a bit like a deliciously ripe mango that is a little shrively and rough looking on the outside, but deliciously sweet on the inside. Consider yourself lucky if you got one of these! The melons were a bit of a mixed lot, you may have received either a Canary melon (with the yellow rind), a cantelope and/or a small yellow watermelon. Melons are coming to an end, but we’re thrilled to still be able to put two in each box.

Cucumbers- 1-2 cukes per member. This may have been the final giving of cucumbers for the season. They’re less cosmetically beautiful at the tail end of the season like this, but still have all the flavor and freshness of a cucumber. We like to peel off some of the outer skin with a potato peeler before we slice them up for snacking and salads.

Green Beans- 1.43lbs per member. A generous giving of green beans this week! The crew spent a lot of hours working on these beans this week. There is a mix of the Dragon Tongue Beans mixed in with the standard green beans this week. The drangon tongue beans have beautiful purple markings on the beans when they are raw but fade away once cooked. These are our kids favorite beans.

Sweet Corn- 4-5 ears per member. This is the final giving of sweet corn for the season. It was a nice run of corn and we successfully kept the raccoons out for the most part. Remember that sweet corn is best when eaten as soon after harvest as possible. Keep cool until you cook it up.

Red Curly Kale- Nice bunches of kale to keep you stocked in greens this week. Have you found a favorite way to eat kale this summer? Have you tried any new ways of preparing it? This nutrient rich veggie is so versatile and delicious, we hope you have found ways to love it as much as we do!

Onion- One white onion per member.

Garlic- This white skinned porcelain variety is called Music.

Sun Gold Cherry Tomatoes- About a pint of cherry tomatoes per member this week. We put them in brown paper bags for three reasons: 1) They fit in the box a little nicer this way in the bag as the plastic clamshell containers take up more room, 2) To reduce the plastic usage on the farm by NOT using the clamshell containers, 3) The plastic clamshells are costly and are also PLASTIC which does not biodegrade.

Sweet Pepper- Almost everyone received one sweet pepper this week. The sweet peppers are just beginning. There were a few people at the end of packing who did not receive a sweet pepper as we ran out of them. Sweet peppers may include red, yellow or orange bell peppers. We grow many different varieties of peppers. It’s looking like it’s going to be a great pepper year!   Many more of these to come!

Eggplant- 1-2 per member. You may have received a standard eggplant that is round-ish and looks like a normal eggplant or you may have received an Asian eggplant that is long and slender. Asian eggplant varieties are slightly sweeter and generally have smaller seeds and cook up quicker. Eggplant isn’t a great keeper. It stores like zucchini which prefers a 50 degree storage temp. The fridge is a little too cold and the counter is a little too warm, so dust off your eggplant recipes and have fun!

Beets- 2 medium to large beets per member. The beets this year have been fabulous! We’re thrilled to finally be able to keep the deer off of them and have beets in our CSA boxes! Sweet, earthy and nutritious. Keeps best in a plastic bag in the fridge.

Hot Peppers- You may have received both a Hungarian Hot Wax pepper and a Jalapeno pepper or you may have received only a Jalapeno pepper. We put the hot peppers in the top of the tomato bags.

Mini Sweet Pepper- One little mini sweet pepper per member stuck in your cherry tomato bag.

Next Week's Best Guess-  Tomatoes, sweet peppers, green beans, honeydew melons?, beets, eggplant, cherry tomatoes, lacinato kale or swiss chard, onion, garlic, parsley, 

Recipes:

Grilled Eggplant Ratatouille Muffaletta

Tomato Tart (this is the delicious Cherry Tomato Tart recipe I forgot to post last week!  Do it!)

Beet and Kale Salad

Gluten Free Chocolate Beet Cupcakes

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