Small Family Farm CSA

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September Eleventh

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As I write this newsletter on Monday night to the sound of rain falling on the roof, I feel soothed. We had a very long stretch of warm and dry weather this summer that has had the fall plantings of spinach, carrots, beets, fennel, kohlrabi and more very thirsty. This time the rain is welcome. This time it falls softly. This time it is calming and quenching.

For the first time, maybe ever, in the history of our farm, we are having a truly wonderful harvest season. The weather has been mild and dry (very conducive to vegetable farming), the crops have been bountiful and beautiful and the work load manageable due to our terrific crew of hardworking helpers! There is more food to stuff inside the CSA boxes than we can figure out how to fit in! The melons have been terrific and now the sweet peppers are stunningly beautiful and plentiful!

I do my best in these newsletters to talk about the beautiful parts of running a farm like this. I want you to think that we’ve got it all together and the farm runs smoothly and effortlessly like a well-oiled machine. You are the audience watching the performance in your seats while munching on popcorn and sipping on your sodas. We are behind the curtains changing costumes, putting on our make-up and hustling around and practicing our lines with sweat on our brow. But there is no foolery here, you know what we’re up to.

Internally I feel like the grumpy ol farmer who is never quite happy with the weather. If you could ask my inner self that was incapable of masking the truth, I would almost always say that it was either too wet or too dry or too hot or too cold or too late or too early. Conditions are constantly changing and we continually have to adapt. Sometimes it feels too hard and like too much.

But in this home stretch of the growing season, these last 5 weeks of Summer Shares, I can honestly say that we are pleased…for now. There is still time for a natural disaster to take it all away. But the tomatoes have been bountiful, the peppers are gorgeous, the melons were abundant, the broccoli is stunning and huge. The piles of green beans this summer were record breaking! We were successfully able to keep the raccoons out of the sweet corn! Our packing shed and facilities function well and are sized to our operation. Satisfaction is fleeting, so let’s all revel in this moment.

It feels so good to lay all of the items that go into a CSA box out on the wagon each week and to take a photo of them for the newsletter or to share on social media somewhere. It is the moment when I can put myself in your shoes and imagine how it must look and feel to you when you get your box each week. It’s like one of those moments when you look into the eyes of someone you love and you’re not thinking about what they just said or where they’re going or what they need to be doing right then, you’re just thinking about far you’ve come, how happy they make you feel and how wonderful life is.

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

Tomatoes-  Another week with a whopping 8lbs per member!  Tomato production is waning fast now.  We will have tomatoes in the next few weeks, but with much smaller givings.  Enjoy the tomatoes in your life while they are abundant!  Remember to unpack your tomatoes from the plastic bag and leave them on your counter to ripen.  They will spoil much more quickly if left in the plastic bag.  You may put tomatoes in the fridge if they are too ripe and you need to buy yourself some time before you get a chance to use them up.  

Napa (Chinese) Cabbage-  These are the large heads of leafy green cabbage type in your box.  Napa cabbage are a true gem of the Fall Season.  They are an asian type cabbage that makes a lovely asian slaw.  Many people like to make kim chi out of this type of cabbage.  It is tender enough to eat raw but also holds up very nicely when cooked.  If you don't know what to do with your napa cabbage, I highly recommned making the recipe that I have listed below!  It will make you a believer!  Don't skip any of the ingredients on the list, and you'll fall in love with this salad for the rest of your life like I have!  

Red Potatoes-  2 # per member.  Finally potatoes!  The potatoes did not love the long stretch of dry weather this summer and it's looking like our yeields will be modest.  But we are planning to give potatoes and then sweet potatoes every week now for the remainder of the delivery season.  We do not wash our potatoes because they hold up very nicely when unwashed and keep terrifically well in a paper bag.  We left a little washing to you this week!  

Honeydew Melon-  We're getting down to the last of our melons this summer.  We are hoping for one more giving of melons again next week as long as they hold up one more week.  These honeydews have a green flesh with a white rind.  Melons don't keep well and take up a lot of space in the fridge, so we recommend eating them up!  

Yellow or White Onion-  To keep your dishes in full flavor!

Broccoli-  Gorgeous broccoli for all!  Broccoli likes to be kept cold, so get it home and into the fridge as soon as possilbe, especially with the warm weather this week!  

Sweet Peppers- 4 amazing sweet peppers for you!  We try to pick peppers with 80% color.  They will ripen just slightly off the vine.  All peppers start out green and 'ripen' to either red, yellow or orange depending on the variety grown.  We grow a very wide selection of sweet peppers ranging from the pointed tip carmen types to the blocky red, orange and yellow bells to the rounded three-lobers of all colors as well.  We hope you enjoy the sweet, crispy flavors of summer!  We're hoping for another generous giving next week of sweet peppers!

Sun Gold Cherry Tomato Pints-  Sun Gold Cherry tomatoes in pint containers this week.  Sun gold ripen orange and are probably the worlds best flavored tomato!  The seem to be waning in production now, enjoy them while they last!

Brussels Sprouts Tops- 3-5 tops per member.  Brussels Sprouts plants need to be "topped" which is where we actually snap off the top of the plant to tell the plant to stop growing upwards and to start putting more of it's energy into bulking out all of those brussels Sprouts that are on the stalks.  The plants look good, but usually the sprouts are still a little small at this stage, so "topping" the plants 3 weeks before harvest tells them that's it's time to fatten up those sprouts;)  Lucky for us all, the brussels sprouts tops are perfectly edible and can be enjoyed just like collards, kale or any other 'brassica' green like cabbage or so on.  They are lovely and the most tender part of the plant!  Enjoy experimenting with this new food!  Just a green that can be added to any dish!

Recipes

Crunchy Napa Cabbage Salad with Ramen Noodles (hands down the best Napa Cabbage Recipe ever!)

Collard Greens with Tomatoes and Asagio (use your brussels sprouts tops for this one)

Seared Broccoli and Potato Soup

Chinese Egg Rolls

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