Small Family Farm CSA

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September Second

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Dear Adam,

This is a letter for you because we don’t get all that much time to talk to each other these days between the sounds and needs of the children, the demands of the harvesting crew and the pressures of the farm. By the time the table is finally cleared and the dishes are finally done and the children are finally sleeping we’re both too tired to fill one another’s cup. We show our love for one another through the loyalty we play to our roles. You are so constant and steady and strong.

You’ve been busy up until last week irrigating around the clock spending all of your evenings running water lines, managing the pump and assessing the effects of the drought on the crops. I see the extra weight that you’re carrying these days and I want you to know that I see you as my real life super hero. You work the hours that you do for the farm and the CSA, but you’re doing it too, for our family and I don’t want that to go un-noticed. The children get the majority of our kisses and cuddles and extra love, but I feel that when we’re loving them, we’re strengthening our family bond and that includes the bond we share.

The farm really does look good, by the way. Awesome, in fact. I know that you’re seeing the farm through the lense of a farmer assessing the damage and yields. You’re too busy putting out fires to even get the chance to slow down and sniff the basil. The beautifully cultivated fall brassicas, the awesome winter-squash crop, and the greenhouse full of onions and garlic are just a few of the signs of success.   The Fall Carrot crop is a little thin, but I know that you did everything you could to get water to them when they needed it most. We did get them weeded eventually and there will be time to weed the parsnips after all!

Hay, the Sweet potatoes are looking good too and the yields of potatoes should be twice what they were last year! I know that my optimist lense doesn’t often work to cheer you up, but I do think you secretly like it. The farm is too heavy to shoulder and you need me to brush some of it off. You took over the torch when Aliza was born and what a job you’ve been doing! This farm wouldn’t run without either one of us, but seamlessly you stitched the years together and the CSA boxes are full and beautiful and quality standards have improved because of you! I’m a bit envious in fact because my identity as a farmer has been handed to you and I have faded into a mother and a farmer’s wife. The cloak of motherhood is radiant and floral and I am so thankful and I would wish for nothing other than exactly the way it is now.

But here you are, living out your boyhood dream to become a farmer, and rockin’ it! Remember that we’re dealing with mother nature here. We’re doing everything right. The seeding, the cultivating, the transplanting, the harvesting, it’s all on time. The soil is fertile, the stage is set, the crew is here, but mother nature really does call the shots. You know all of this, but I thought it might be helpful to remind you how much I love you and appreciate you and how I see that you’re doing more than enough. The season is waning now. We’re almost there!    

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

Tomatoes- 7 plus pounds of mixed tomatoes.  Tomato production is peaking now!  We pick tomatoes with a 'blush'.  This means that we pick any tomato that is showing any signs of color since tomatoes ripen so quickly off of the vine.  If your tomatoes need more ripening, we recommend letting them sit out on your counterop or windowsil.  Only put tomatoes in the refrigerator if they are fully ripe and you need to buy yourself some time before you get to using it up.  Refrigerators suck flavor out of tomatoes.  The more you can leave them to ripen on the counter, the better their flavor will be.  We grow all kinds of tomatoes in all different shapes and colors.  Some of them are heirloom tomatoes (but the herilooms ripen a little later still mostly), the oval shaped romas that are more of a paste tomato and less juicy like a slicer.  We also grow all kinds of slicers that range from yellow to red to purplish-black to orange.  You'll know if your tomato is ripe if it feels slightly soft to the touch.  Even though your tomatoes were bagged in a plastic bag, they much prefer to not be in their little plastic bags.  Remove them from their plastic bag and allow them to 'breathe' on the countertop.  

Peppers- 4-5 Sweet Bell Peppers per member.  Still a fair pepper harvest again this week.  We have been pleasantly surprised at how many we're getting despite the disease and the cull rate.  Hoping for another good couple weeks of pepper sharing!  Peppers prefer 50 degree storage temps so the fridge is a little too cold and the couter is a little too warm, so choose your favorite spot!  They're so delicious, I'm sure they won't last long in any home!  We enjoy putting them in fresh pico or Salsa, on pizza, witih eggs or even stuffed peppers if you're feeling ambitious!  

Green Curly Kale-  Lovely green bunches of kale this week.  Kale keeps best in a plastic bag in the fridge.  Some people just gobble it all up, but one member told me she likes to dehydrate her kale and keep it in jars for enjoying in soups in the winter as a way of preserving what she can't use now for later.  

Green or Red Cabbage-  Cabbage is so common and usual, it can be difficult to remember to appreciate our old friend.  Where would the world be today without cabbage!  An old childhood friend.  

Green Beans and Dragon Tongue Beans-  1.3lb bags of beans this week.  A mix of green beans and Dragon Tongues.  The Dragon Tongue Beans are an heirloom variety of beans that is cream colored, wider and thicker than a green bean.  Don't feel discouraged, but the fun purple stripes on the 'dragon tongues' magically disappear when cooked!  

Yellow Onion-  Because life is much sweeter with onion in everything!  

Spaghetti Squash-  These are the large, hard, yellow items in your box.  This is the first "Winter Squash" giving of the season.  Spaghetti squash have the shortest storage life in our experience of growing squash.  They are also all the rage in the gluten-free world these days.  Spaghetti squash can be prepared similar to any other winter squash.  Cut in in half lenghtwise, scoop out the seeds and discard.  Place the two squash halves face down on a baking pan with about a half in of water all around them.  Bake at 350 for abount and hour.  After one hour, turn the squash face up, drain any excess water and allow them to steam out and loose some of the added moisture from the baking process.  Once it is cool enough to handle, use a fork and scrape the noodle-like flesh into a bowl for working with.  They can be used like 'noodles' for eating a gluten-free spaghetti meal.  My personal favorite is to make the Spaghetti Squash Noodle Bowl with Lime Peanut sauce.  They also make great 'hash browns'.  

Garlic-  One bulb per member.  Asian Tempest Variety again this week.  Asian Tempest is a red skinned hardneck variety with a spiicy flavor.  They hae 4-7 cloves per bulb.  This variety has been cultivated and in the care of the Varney family long before Adam and I started to grow it.  Will have longest shelf life in the fridge, but will keep terrifically well on your counter for a few months too!  

Flat Leaf Parsley-  Parsley is such a fun summer herb to cook with.  I find myself really missing parsley in the winter months.  Parsley is lovely mixed into soups, sauces, marinades and salads of all kinds.  Find ways to sneak this super food into your meals.  Check out the Chimichurri recipe below.  

Hungarian Hot Wax Pepper-  Some of these were picked in the lime-green stage.  The hot peppers were tucked into the top of the tomato bags this week to tell them apart from the sweet peppers.  Some of these hungarian hot wax peppers were turning red too.  Hungarian Hot Wax peppers are amung the most mild of all hot peppers which is why we grow them for CSA.  This is a good one to add to your salsas or sauces if you like a little heat, but don't want the dish to be over-powered.  They can be sneaky though, some of them pack more punch than others.  Taste as you cook to make sure you don't over-do it!  

Jalapeno Pepper-  These were also tucked into the top of your tomato bags.  A little easier to identify, Jalapenos are green and smaller.  They have more heat than the Hungarian Hot Wax.  Taste as you cook with hot peppers so you're not disappointed with too much heat!  

Bag of Minisweet Peppers and Sungold Cherry Tomatoes-  .53 lbs.  We gave a combination of cherry tomatoes and minisweet peppers in one brown paper bag this week.  This little goody bag is excellet for snacking!  We usually give cherry tomatoes in plastic clamshell containers, but we're experimenting this summer with giving them in brown paper bags instead.  This is one small effort at using less plastic on the farm;)  We like using less plastic, but the containers possibly do a better job at keeping them from getting smooshed?  Let us know what you think!

Next Week's Best Guess:  Napa Cabbage?, Toatoes, green beans, onion, garlic, brussels sprouts tops, lettuce?, romanesco and/or broccoli?, spaghetti squash?, potatoes

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Recipes

Argentinian Chimichurri Recipe with Parsley

Cabbage Egg Roll Keto Bowl

Spaghetti Squash Noodle Bown with Lime Peanut Sauce