Small Family Farm CSA

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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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