September Thirteenth

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This week on the farm we contemplate the commitment it takes to produce these bountiful and beautiful boxes of food each week and deliver them on time to each dropsite week after week.  The devotion, dedication and commitment run deep.  CSA farming promises a steady supply of vegetables for 20 consecutive weeks from June through October which demands our full attention and focus. 

A CSA farmer must watch their crops carefully, especially in a season like the one we have had this year with exceptional drought conditions. Each crop has its own unique schedule it which it must be planted, cultivated, watered, and harvested.  Vegetable farming is time-sensitive and the crops and the weed do not wait the way yarn can wait to be knitted or a book can wait to be written or a house can wait to be built on a sunnier day.  An impressive amount of planning and then follow through is needed for this level of food production for a 400-member CSA. 

This week on the farm we had a delivery vehicle break down in the Madison area which required immediate action for getting that vehicle in to be looked at and fixed and then transported home. We also had our potato digger break down mid-harvest which required devising and improvising on the spot with a plan B and C in place.  These are just small examples of how a farm like ours needs to not only maintain daily operations and also needs to be able to act quickly, out of close attention and commitment to our work, to keep the operation running smoothly.

Your farmers don’t take much for a vacation in the summer.  We find tiny windows to escape for a few hours here and there to enjoy our children, our friends and our lives at large while also keeping the farm a top priority at all times.  I think of the farm as a child in itself with needs of its own.  It’s our baby that needs nurturing, attention, love and constant care.  They say the best fertilizer on a farm is the farmer’s footprints.  I believe this to be true because so much of our success, especially in a very difficult season as this, is due to very close consideration to our crops.  Folks, we’re committed. 

I also believe that the commitment is mutual.  You have made a commitment as well to the farm. You have shared your hard-earned dollars with us and have entrusted us to provide you with a delicious, flavorful, colorful and aromatic box of beautiful vegetables each week.  You show up at your dropsite as planned and pick up those veggies and dutifully prepare and serve them to your family.  You have made a commitment to buying local and supporting a local, organic vegetable farm and we recognize all that you do as well to uphold your end of the bargain. You are as vital to our success as the work done out on the farm. 

Commitment to anything is hard.  Like in a marriage, we stick to it through thick and thin.  We hang on, we compromise, we find ways to laugh and at times we fight.  But in doing something hard the rewards are rich.  We discover that it’s only as beautiful and magical and bountiful as it is because we have remained committed.  I see value in celebrating and recognizing all that it takes to bring the food to the table.  We’re doin’ it!  Good job, everybody! 

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What’s in the Box?

Tomatoes-  Another 8lb bag of tomatoes!  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.  A wide variety of tomatoes to share, pink, yellow, red, and ‘black’ heirlooms, red slicers, romas, we grow it all!  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.  If we picked every tomato when it was 100% ripe, you would instead receive tomato sauce in your boxes, and that gets messy!  We highly recommend not putting tomatoes in the refrigerator as refrigerators tend to suck flavor out of tomatoes.  For maximum flavor and enjoyment, allow them to sit on your counter to ripen and promptly use up once ripe!

Potatoes- 2lbs red potatoes this week. The first potato giving of the season.  We did not wash potatoes because we find that they keep better when not washed.  We also found them to be quite clean as the soil was so powdery at harvest time.  Yields look good this year! 

Napa Cabbage-  Not our very best napa cabbage harvest ever.  The heat this summer took a toll on the crop.  We ended up  needing to harvest many of the heads before they were completely filled out.  We were joking at harvest they’re more like napa lettuce as many of the heads aren’t dense like a cabbage typically is.  All the leaves can be used.  Napa cabbage is an Asian green and Asian vegetables are a favorite of flea bettles and Asian beetles.  They do have holes in them, but this is typical for organic Asian greens-especially when grown in the summer months.

Onion-  A white onion for every box. 

Eggplant- You may have received either an Asian eggplant or a standard eggplant.  Stores best at 50 degrees. 

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. 

Brussels Sprout Tops-  Did not know that Brussels is spelled with an ‘s’ at the end of the word? Yep, I’m not mis-spelling it!  Brussels is also always spelled with a capitol ‘B’ due to the fact that Brussels Sprouts were cultivated in Belgium (Brussels being the capitol city of Belgium), in the early 16th century.  This ancient vegetable may have even been cultivated as far back as ancient Rome times.  We snap the top off of the plant about three weeks before we want to harvest Brussels Sprouts to tell the plant to stop growing upwards and to start putting its energy into bulking out those sprouts.  Lucky for us, those tops of the plants are a tender and tasty green that can be eaten and enjoyed much the way you would cook with kale, collards or even Brussels Sprouts themselves. 

Green Beans-  .65 lbs of beans per member.  This harvest was a little more tender and sweet than previous hearvest.  We noticed while bagging that some beans had a little dirt on them.  Beans do not love to be wet and we don’t have an easy way to wash them, so we recommend giving them a little rinse before eating. 

Cherry Tomatoes-  1.2 lbs of cherry tomatoes per member.  A very generous giving of cherry tomatoes!  We hope you’re enjoying these little flavorful fruits as much as we are! 

Hungarian Hot Wax Pepper-  Hot wax peppers ripen orange to red.  They’re technically a hot pepper, but quite mild on the spectrum of hot peppers. 

Recipes-

Garlicy Brussels Sprout Tops

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Peanut Soba Noodle Slaw with Napa Cabbage

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Tomato Galette

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Crispy Fried Eggplant with Cherry Tomato Sauce

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