Small Family Farm CSA

We Dig Vegetables

 

Small Family Farm
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-Sixth

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I have always taken such reprieve in the Fall. It feels like a reward for good behavior and hard work. The bountiful harvest, the milder temperatures, and the lower humidity are amongst my most humble appreciations. I wish only to enter winter warm, tired and surrounded by piles of stashed nuts, seeds, fruits and roots.

I find the surge and force of nature that makes the grass grow, the weeds germinate and the trees pop up everywhere incredibly strong. We fight against the force of nature all summer by trimming and buzzing it with our gas-powered tractors, whacking it with our small engines and turning the earth with even more powerful diesel, high-horsepower machines. We fight, fight, fight against the immense power that nature brings working against us. She does not want her sod flipped upside down for vegetable production. She does not love her bare soil exposed. The bugs, the mildew, and the disease join the fight.

I watch in awe in the Spring time as soil, plant and animal life slowly but surely come back to life and emerge with potent strength. It is lovely to watch in the Spring when everything is so fresh and tender and new. But as Spring turns to summer, I begin to fever with sweat at the prospect of managing the incessant force. We step up to the challenge in the name of vegetable production and land stewardship. We trim, cultivate and seed, transplant, cultivate again and work extremely hard with all of the shapes and forms of forged steel that we own.

Predictably, around mid September, as the sun sinks lower on the horizon and the days become shorter, the force weakens. The grass grows with a little less vigor. The crickets come out and the yellow jackets pursue the rotting fruit and unattended picnic baskets. The flies even seem to surge with a wave of knowing that Fall is here. There is a noticeable silence in the air that the nesting birds used to fill with all of their busyness, chatter and song. But these just are signs of the inevitable end of a Season.

The landscape that once looked so youthful and vibrant and green fades to the default color of brown. We hear the thunking of walnuts hitting the ground and the sound of root vegetables filling up bins for storage. We catch a third wind of urgency, for now the clock is really ticking. Those of us who have taken a few trips around the sun know that mother nature is not loosing steam, she’s just getting tired and is ready for her nap. She will return next March with a renewed vengeance. We must take what we have learned from her this season and apply it to our badge for next year’s term.

There are still three more Summer Share CSA deliveries left in the season, and your farmers are not slowing down yet. We have paced ourselves and are excited to share of the Fall jewels that we have been polishing this summer. Sweet potatoes, leeks, Brussels, pie pumpkins and parsnips just to name a few!

Fall! How love you!

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

Sweet Peppers- Six sweet peppers per member this week. As it gets later in the season, we worry a little more about possible frost. So this week we decided to pick peppers with less color. Some have only the first blushes of color. Peppers keep for a couple weeks in the fridge and they will ‘ripen’ a little off the vine if mostly colored. The more color a pepper has, the sweeter it is. The greener a pepper is, the more it will just taste like a green pepper. We picked many peppers this week that had just a little coloFrost likely on Friday night, so we plan to clear-cut peppers for next weeks box green or colored, on Friday.

Pie Pumpkin- Cute enough to just sit on your counter for a few weeks, but tempting enough to cook up and make pie. Cut you pumpkin in half, discard the seeds and bake face-down in a baking dish with a little water for about an hour. Once it has been cooked through, it should yield about 1.5-2 cups pumpkin which is enough for most recipes! Pumpkin bars, pumpkin soup, pumpkin pie!

Small Spaghetti Squash- Spaghetti Squash are all the rage in the gluten free world these days. Like many other kinds of squash, cut them in half lengthwise, discard the seeds, and bake face down on a pan with half an inch of water to keep it from drying out for about an hour. Once it is cooked, you and scoop out the stringy, spaghetti-like squash and serve it with a marinara sauce or make a peanut-noodle dish out it and eat it cold! Possibilities are endless!

Napa Cabbage- Napa Cabbages are such a lovely fall treat. Napa cabbage is wonderful in stir-fry, kim-chi or many fun Asian cabbage salad recipes.

Yellow Onion- A nice yellow onion for everyone this week!

2 Heads of either Broccoli or Cauliflower or Romanesco- A bit of a mix this week, but you should have received two pieces. They’re all starting to come on.  Must be kept cold.  

Carrots-   One pound of carrots per member this week. One crop that seems to be turning out fairly well for us this year is carrots. It’s a good thing too, because everyone loves them!

Kohlrabi- Remember these from the Spring? Kohlrabi love the cool weather of the Spring and Fall! Peel them and enjoy their apple-like texture on the inside with all the flavor of a crispy radish or spring turnip! Either a white or purple kohlrabi this week!

Red Leaf Lettuce- One or two heads per member depending on size.

Jalapeno- Jalapenos are hot! They were mostly the standard looking green color this week, but sometimes Jalapenos ripen red, so watch out for the sneaking red jalapeno which would be a bit sweeter than a green one, but would still pack much of the same punch as a green one.

Hungarian Hot Wax Peppers x2- Hungarian Hot wax are amongst the most mild of hot peppers, but they may surprise you! Hungarian Hot Wax are usually found a lime-green color, but they also ripen orange to red.

Dill- Beautiful bunches of Dill. Can be added to your egg or potato salads. With Salmon. Any un-used dill could also be dehydrated and saved for winter use. Once it is dried, keep it in a glass ball jar with a tight lid. I recommend dehydrating herbs with an actual dehydrator so they dry down as quickly as possible and keep their nice green color and most of their flavor.

Cilantro- Cute little bunches of cilantro for taco night! Cilantro is not a great keeper, so we always recommend using up your cilantro as quickly as possible!

Garlic- Keeps well on your counter for a month or two, but for long-term storage, we recommend keeping them in your fridge. We store garlic in the cooler at the farm.

Next Week's Best Guess:  Potatoes, squash, garlic, onion, kale, spinach, broccoli or cauliflower or romanesco, peppers, thyme, fennel?, 

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Recipes:

Napa Cabbage Picnic Salad with Toasted Sesame Oil, Ginger and Cilantro!

Spaghetti Squash Noodle Bowl with Lime Peanut Sauce

Stuffed Hot Peppers

September Nineteenth

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We had a wonderful turn out for our Fall Raspberry and Pumpkin Pick and Potluck farm party last Sunday. The weather was perfect and many members of the farm made the trip out to take a look at where their food is coming from and pick a few berries. We couldn’t have been more pleased with the attendance.

If the farm were a plant, it would surely be a perennial. Imagine it as your favorite perennial, perhaps a fruit tree or a lilly or blueberry bush. But surely we are very much so a living entity, not very different from a tree or a plant of any kind. We are tender yet enduring, vulnerable to weather and elements, and we are rooted and growing.   We are a twelve year old perennial, so we’ve been through a few winters and we’ve proven that we’re zone hardy. Most importantly, year after year, we keep coming back.

As any perennial plant, we still need sunlight, water and fertility.   Sunlight is attained through the space we have created for ourselves. We reach for the light and soak up the rays by spreading our limbs and branches. Water is usually provided by the gods above (at times too much and other’s too little), but a seasoned perennial can usually make it through the tough times. And the fertility is you. You are the nutrients our roots and fruits need to grow. Without your participation in our small family farm, we simply would not be able to grow and share with such abundance.

A community farm can be such a beautiful thing to see. I felt so inspired to see all of the children and parents and neighbors and friends on the farm last Sunday. The wagon rides, pie pumpkins, raspberries and Turtle Stack beer were a draw, sure, but we are the ones who felt the most grateful. Your farmers are thankful for your support and for coming out to the farm to breathe life and identity into our little ridgetop farm. It is an honor to farm and to share the bounty with your appreciative homes.

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

Sweet Peppers- Four sweet peppers per member this week. As it gets later in the season, we worry a little more about possible frost. So this week we decided to pick peppers with less color. Some have only the first blushes of color. Peppers keep for a couple weeks in the fridge and they will ‘ripen’ a little off the vine if mostly colored. Four peppers could be enough for stuffed peppers?!

Acorn Winter Squash- Acorn are the earliest maturing winter squash variety. They are also possibly one of the best known next to butternuts. Acorns have a sweet, creamy flesh that will caramelize nicely if roasted. Slice your squash in half lengthwise, discard the seeds, and bake face down on a pan with half an inch of water to keep it from drying out for about an hour. Once it is cooked, you and scoop out the cooked flesh easily!

Spaghetti Squash- Spaghetti Squash are all the rage in the gluten free world these days. Like many other kinds of squash, cut them in half lengthwise, discard the seeds, and bake face down on a pan with half an inch of water to keep it from drying out for about an hour. Once it is cooked, you and scoop out the stringy, spaghetti-like squash and serve it with a marinara sauce or make a peanut-noodle dish out it and eat it cold! Possibilities are endless!

Dragon Tongue Beans- .25lbs of dragon tongue beans per member this week. This is likely the final giving of beans as the production is slowing down quite a bit.

Yellow Onion- A nice yellow onion for everyone this week!

Tomatoes- Just a tomato or two per member this week. This is the final giving of tomatoes for the season. We’ve never had a tomato year quite as short as this one, but with all of the rain, the tomato plants melted right along with the water.

Carrots-   One pound of carrots per member this week. One crop that seems to be turning out fairly well for us this year is carrots. It’s a good thing too, because everyone loves them!

Kohlrabi- Remember these from the Spring? Kohlrabi love the cool weather of the Spring and Fall! Peel them and enjoy their apple-like texture on the inside with all the flavor of a crispy radish or spring turnip! Either a white or purple kohlrabi this week!

Celeriac Root- Celery’s uglier, grumpier, and older brother. These are specially cultivated plants so that the roots of the plant grow large and not the stalks. In the same family as celery. We left their stalks and greens on them so you can cook with them. The stalks and leaves could be a nice addition to soups or broths. Take advantage of this unique, seasonal offering! Once the tops have been cut off, the celeriac root will keep for months in a plastic bag in the fridge. Celeriac root is wonderful boiled and mashed with potatoes to make a celeriac/potato mash. Celeriac is also nice when peeled, and then diced finely into a soup. Once you have cut into it, the flesh will oxidize and turn a brown-ish color. So we recommend using it up sooner rather than later once you cut into it.

Jalapeno- Yes, this is the first Jalapeno giving of the season. There were some red jalapenos that we picked. They sometimes ripen red which makes them a bit more sweet and flavorful, but not always quite as perfect looking.

Eggplant- Either a standard eggplant or a long and skinney Japanese Eggplant.

Collard Greens- The collards are looking great this time of year! Boil them in broth until they are tender and then fry the with bacon in bacon grease. Check out this recipe and fall in LOVE!

 

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September Twelfth

I’m not much of a TV person. I’m too busy to find time for it, but on occasion I catch a glimpse of something that looks interesting. Anthony Bourdaine’s cooking and travel shows that my mom used to watch would catch my attention long enough to slow me down for a few minutes. I began to discover his works and appreciate his perspectives and discoveries regarding food and travel. Shortly before his death, he stared the documentary film Wasted which we recently watched.

The story of food waste in the world is interesting to me, to put it politely. As a farmer, I feel acutely aware of the losses that happen at the point of productivity. There is much less loss on a CSA farm than on a farm that puts all of it’s eggs in one basket and produces just one or two crops for wholesale production. The beautifully designed CSA farm is diversified enough that when one or a few different crops don’t produce well in one season, we have enough other crops that we’re growing that we can always still manage to fill boxes with the many other crops we grow to meet our harvesting needs.

The film Wasted talks a lot about the different levels of food waste starting on farms, in grocery stores, in homes, and in restaurants. It also talks about the environmental impacts of food waste as well as the social and the economical effects. I dream of a world where we can lower our standards on the shapes and quality and size that our food comes in. Food needs to be produced ethically, organically and locally. Most inspiringly, as the film suggests, we can all do better as using everything, and wasting nothing. The term ‘nose to tale’ cooking means using every part of the animal, as well as every edible stem, leaf, stalk and fruit that our plants provide. As a result, we will all become more creative chefs in the kitchen, we will be healthier from eating a more diversified diet and will we create less waste! Astoundingly, a head of lettuce takes 25 years to decompose in a landfill. Food for thought!

We have been having a bit of rough time since the recent rains on the farm. The rain and the humidity affected the storage of our onions. Nearly 60% of our onion crop this year are ‘seconds’, as we call them. The onions did not cure down fast enough because during the crucial time that they should have been drying down, we had very wet and humid conditions, so instead of drying down rapidly, they very slowly dried down, causing many of them to simply begin to rot. We decided, after much thought, to give everyone a ‘second’ quality onion this week. We wanted to give these sooner rather than later so that they could still be used before they deteriorated any further. There are still hundreds of pounds of onions we sorted through that we will sadly compost.

Additionally, the melons that we gave this week also had tiny spots of decay on them. We did our very best to keep these for you in our cooler, and even though we had a pretty good melon year so far, we decided we would rather give the melons this week with small spots on them than not give them at all. We hope that you, our faithful CSA members, can help forgive this quality issue. We want you to know that we put our CSA members first and strive our hardest to only ship beautiful, first quality produce whenever possible. There are huge food losses on the farm that you’ll never see because we try very hard to never give second quality crops.

And finally, the tomatoes this week were also low-quality. Blaming this final quality issue on the rains, we have never had such a short tomato year as this. Our tomatoes fizzeled out much sooner this season than ever before. We are still hoping to give everyone a few tomatoes again next week, which will likely be the final week of tomatoes because the plants did not tolerate so much rain and moisture.

Thank you for your patience and understanding! I encourage you to check out the film Wasted and cultivate in your heart a certain level of pardoning to your farmers for some hardships in a growing season. Learn how to cook with your kohlrabi leaves and broccoli stems. Meanwhile, we’ll work on the best looking and tasting crops we can possibly grow! Thank you!

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

Sweet Peppers- Two sweet peppers per member this week. We’re still waiting for sweet pepper production to pick up. We grow mostly colored sweet peppers, so you likely won’t receive many green peppers from us unless they were accidentally picked unripe or unless there is a danger of frost and we pick them green before they have a chance to turn colors. We’re patiently waiting for all of the colorful and beautiful pepper varieties we selected to start sharing with us their true colors. C’mon peppers!

Green Cabbage- The cabbages were on the cute side this time around. Nothing too huge, but more of a young, tender and manageable sized cabbage. There were about 20 people who receive a Napa Cabbage instead of a green cabbage.

Dragon Tongue Beans- .42lbs of dragon tongue beans per member this week. Beans are best eaten fresh! Don’t try to keep them long! We washed the beans again because they were so muddy at harvest-something we had just done for the first time last week that went well! A nice hearty helping of beans for all this week!

Yellow (2nd) Onion- Nice onions that may need a little trimming around a soft spot at the top. Use it up quickly!

Tomatoes- 2 lb bags. Tomato production is near the end. Remember to leave your tomatoes out on the counter to ripen. We’re sorry about these tomatoes not looking the best. The later in the season, the less-beautiful and perfect the tomatoes look.

Red Beets-   A generous handful of beets this week. Many of these beets are smaller, which many people really love because they take less time to cook. Still sweet and lovely as a beet can be!

Kohlrabi- Remember these from the Spring? Kohlrabi love the cool weather of the Spring and Fall! Peel them and enjoy their apple-like texture on the inside with all the flavor of a crispy radish or spring turnip!

Brussels Sprouts Tops!- Yes, these are unique offering! These are the tender shoots off the top of the Brussels Sprouts plants. We snap them off this time of year to tell the Brussels plant that it’s time to stop growing UP and it’s time to put their energy into sizing up those sprouts on the stalk. These tops can be used like any other cooking green such as kale or collards. Tender and delicious! Tell us how you used them! No waste!

Cilantro- Just about everyone received cilantro this wee, but we ran a little short and about 30 people received Dill instead.

Eggplant- Either a standard eggplant or a long and skinney Japanese Eggplant.

Curly Green Kale- Kale is the beloved staple at our house! Kale chips! Kale in egg roll filling, kale in your frittata, kale in your soup, kale it up!

Yellow Doll Watermelon- These are the small, yellow watermelons in your box.  We tested the Brix on these and they were up to 15 on the Brix test.  Sweet!

Hungarian Hot Wax Pepper x 2- These were tucked inside your tomato bags. Hungarian Hot wax are amongst the most mild of hot peppers, but they may surprise you! Hungarian Hot Wax are usually found a lime-green color, but they also ripen orange to red. We don’t want you confuse your hot pepper for a mini-sweet as we have begun sticking minisweet peppers in your CSA boxes.

MiniSweet Pepper- 1-2 very small minisweets again this week. I know it’s a very small giving, but these guys are just starting to produce now too. Minisweets are one of my children’s favorite foods. They can eat piles of these things in one sitting. The minisweets are red, yellow and orange. The only possible issue here is that since they are small peppers, they could easily be confused for a hot pepper. But I assure you they are not hot so long as you are able to differentiate in your CSA box which is the minisweet pepper and which is the Hungarian hot wax pepper. Have fun learning your peppers!

Next Week's Best Guess: Winter squash, collards, mint, beets, carrots, sweet bell peppers, lettuce, kohlrabi, tomato,

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Rain, Rain. Go away!

September Fifth

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We have simply had enough rain now. I typically do the writing part of the newsletters for the week on Monday nights. Last week on Monday night after I had saved and closed my word document and went to sleep, a whopping 10 inches of rain fell in the night. We woke to the reality of another Driftless area flood. Towns, farms, bridges, roads, and homes washed away in the night while I slept soundly with my windows closed.

Thankfully for us, we are located on a Ridgetop and much of the rain runs downhill. The immediate damage from last week’s flood was exposed potatoes from the hills of the potatoes washed away in the downpour of continuous rain. The rain also shredded the swiss chard leaves and turned the basil black.

The after-affects are still to be determined. The flood were followed by a week of mist, fog, and overcast with nearly 100% humidity every day. Vegetable plants, like many other people and animals, do not like to be wet all of the time. The leaves of a vegetable plant, if wet for two weeks solid will become blighted, diseased and begin to rot. Especially many of the root crops that we have yet to dig that have been sitting in wet soil for thus long. One week later, as I write this newsletter, heavy rain is falling again. We are expected to have continual rainfall through Wednesday afternoon.

The rain makes it just as difficult for the trucks and equipment to get into the fields to harvest and work. We’re feeling a little nervous about what all of this rain means for the rest of the harvest season. We were noticing that our fall spinach looks a little like it’s melting. The young and tender spinach plants are yellowing a little and look like they’re suffering from too much moisture.

If we do see a lot of rot on the produce we are harvesting this Fall, it also means that the crew will have to do a lot more selecting for quality. We will have to sift through the harvest and pull out rotten carrots from the bin and watch for rot on the beets and so forth. This extra attention to quality means that not 100% of the crop may be as perfect as we want it to be if second quality vegetables slip through our quality checks. Due to a higher percentage of second quality.  

On the positive side, we did get most of our winter squash crop harvested. The pumpkins, the acorn, spaghetti squash, and kabocha are all in. We still need to get the butternuts and sweet dumplings, but we’ll get them in over ‘hell or high-water” as they say (which has a more literal meaning than I’ve ever used that expression).

Ideally, a vegetable farm doesn’t really need much rain past September. A dry Fall is desirable on a farm. We are done planting now and any crops we had time to plant are established now. We will need dry weather in order to dig our fall root crops. Dry weather will prevent disease from rotting out our Fall Brassicas. It will enable us to cultivate and weed our Fall Brassicas. A dry Fall also means beautiful Fall Colors! Let’s all pray for a Dry Fall with sunny and cool days leading up to Thanksgiving!

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

Sweet Peppers- Two sweet peppers per member this week. We’re still waiting for sweet pepper production to pick up. We grow mostly colored sweet peppers, so you likely won’t receive many green peppers from us unless they were accidentally picked unripe or unless there is a danger of frost and we pick them green before they have a chance to turn colors. We’re patiently waiting for all of the colorful and beautiful pepper varieties we selected to start sharing with us their true colors. C’mon peppers!

Red or Yellow Potatoes- Yes! Finally potatoes! 2.5 lbs per member this week. Freshly dug potatoes scuff easier than potatoes that have been in storage. We do not wash potatoes because they are less likely to scuff and get damaged in the washing. Unwashed potatoes also stay fresher and keep longer. After eating storage potatoes all winter, there is no comparison to a fresh-dug potato! Some potatoes were washed this week because they were so muddy at harvest. We did not wash all of them because there was so much mechanical damage from using the washing machines to wash them.

Pint Cherry Tomatoes- The cherry tomatoes are the Sun Gold variety. Sun Gold’s ripen orange. Don’t wait for them to turn red because they won’t! We love this cherry tomato variety because of how wonderfully sweet they are!

Green Beans- .75lbs of green beans/dragon tongue beans mix per member this week. Beans are best eaten fresh! Don’t try to keep them long! We washed theb beans again because they were so muddy at harvest-something we had just done for the first time last week that went well! A nice hearty helping of beans for all this week!

Yellow Onion- One nice yellow onion for everyone. Will keep just fine on your countertop.

Tomatoes- 3.5 lb bags. We grow a wide variety of tomatoes each year. About 12-15 different varieties. Some are romas (the longer more pear-shaped varieties with less water that are good for making sauce), yellow slicers, red slicers, tie-dye slicers, and the infamous herilooms that are slowly coming into season. Heirlooms usually ripen a little later in the season since they are a larger tomatoes and are not hybridized for early production. You are likely to receive a very wide selection of tomatoes over the tomato-growing season with a wide variety of colors. We recommend leaving tomatoes out at room temperature to ripen naturally. Remove them from their plastic bag and set them out on your counter or windowsill so they don’t get funky in the plastic bag and mold or rot on you. We pick tomatoes with a ‘blush’. This means that we pick anything that has any early signs of red or pink or color. Once a tomato begins to blush it will ripen fully off the vine and this still qualifies as a vine-ripened tomato. Their flavor will be much better if you just let them sit on the counter to ripen. We do not recommend putting tomatoes in the refrigerator at all, ever, unless they are nearly over-ripe and you need to buy yourself some time before you get a chance to use them up before they go bad. Refrigerators seem to suck flavor out of tomatoes as well. For the full experience, let them ripen on the counter!

Carrots- Some of Small Family Farm’s famous sweet carrots! 1 pound per member.

Napa Cabbage- These are the chinese cabbage heads in the box. The leaves, which are the harvested organ, lay side by side densely, are lime green coloured with white leaf veins and have a smooth surface. The vegetable has an oval form and weighs 3-5 lbs. It develops similar to other head-forming leaf vegetables such as cabbage or lettuce. Best eaten in an Asian slaw or very traditionally used to make kimchi.

Green Leaf Lettuce- One small head of lettuce per member this week. The lettuce was not loving the heat and rain of recent weeks, so the heads were smaller and the leaves a little tougher than we like in a head of lettuce, but this it the nature of summer lettuce.

1 Da Vinci Melons- The Da Vinci melons have a dark green rind with orange flesh. These melons should all be ripe, even though they don’t quite look like it on the outside. We lost a lot of these melons in the field because we waited too long to harvest them. It was hard to tell that they were ready because their rind was so hard and green still, but they were splitting open and going bad and perfectly ripe on the inside. Likely your Da Vinci is ripe, even though it might not look like it;)

Yellow Doll Watermelon- These are the small, yellow watermelons in your box. We ran out of Da Vinci melons, so some people (about 20 people) received two yellow watermelons and no Davinci Melon.

Hungarian Hot Wax Pepper x 2- These were tucked inside your tomato bags. Hungarian Hot wax are amongst the most mild of hot peppers, but they may surprise you! Hungarian Hot wax are usually found a lime-green color, but they also ripen orange to red. We don’t want you confuse your hot pepper for a mini-sweet as we have begun sticking minisweet peppers in your CSA boxes.

MiniSweet Pepper- 1-2 very small minisweets. I know it’s a very small giving, but these guys are just starting to produce now too. Minisweets are one of my children’s favorite foods. They can eat piles of these things in one sitting. The minisweets are red, yellow and orange. The only possible issue here is that since they are small peppers, they could easily be confused for a hot pepper. But I assure you they are not hot so long as you are able to differentiate in your CSA box which is the minisweet pepper and which is the Hungarian hot wax pepper. Have fun learning your peppers!

Garlic- One beautiful bulb of garlic per member this week. We shipped a porcelain german white garlic this week. Garlic keeps well on your countertop in dry storage.

Next Week's Best Guess: watermelon, green cabbage, tomatoes, sweet peppers, onion, beets, kale, dragon tongue beans, Hungarian hot wax pepper, minisweet peppers, kohlrabi, eggplant, thyme

August Twenty-Nineth

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One of the most beautiful parts of being part of a CSA farm is the connection to weather patterns and the seasons. There may have been days when you were at work or at home and noticed the storm coming in, the heat wave or that is has been dry lately. You maybe even thought of how these weather patterns were affecting your crops or imagined what it was like for us out here on the farm.

Eating within the seasons reduces your carbon footprint from eating out-of-season produce from who-knows-where trucked in from who-knows-how-far away. Your vegetables are always fresh and taste like it. Spring vegetables are green and detoxing and crispy to clease and nourish us from a long winter of warming, starchy roots and squashes. Summer is hot and long and the fruits of the season are juicy and cooling and quick to prepare. I even love the late-summer veggies like sweet peppers that offer color and flavor and texture as our juicy fruits fade away.

Tomato production is plummeting. I always feel quite sad about this fact when it inevitably happens because we look forward to tomato season all year long. When tomato season hits, it hits with a bang and never lasts long enough for me. This will be the final week of such hefty givings of tomatoes. Make your pico-de-gaillo or your gazpacho or your tomato soups while the season lasts. Our summer cucumbers, zucchinis and summer squashes are finally over. Winter squash harvest becomes the new heavy harvest.

Because I am blessed enough to live amidst so much bounty, it never makes sense to go to the grocery store or coop and shop in the produce aisles when there is so much at home already. And I love that a certain kind of loyalty has grown within me to eating within the season. It feels like me and summer are buddies. We’re one with one another. I feel like I’m wearing summer’s crown when I cut up melons and slice tomatoes and drink cucumber water.

I don’t mind when summer passes the baton to Fall because then I can look forward to butternut squash and Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes. I love Fall Spinach and broccoli and romanesco. Fall is the Finale. It is an explosion of colors and flavors and foods that last. We see much less perishability in the Fall Veggies because many of them will need to sustain us through the winter. In the end we will store carrots, parsnips, celeriac root and carefully cured onions and garlic and sweet potatoes.

Eating within the season also feels like a reunion with an old friend when they come back around again. I even love the part of missing the tomatoes in the off season. I’m too much of a seasonal loyalist to buy slicer tomatoes out of season. I love the anticipation of wathing for the first of the asparagus that comes up in the spring. I love walking the rows with the girls and hunting for it and reveling in its bounty by eating asparagus for every meal once it finally does arrive, because I know the season is short. And now, we can look forward to pumpkin pie and potato leek soup!

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

Pepper- Two sweet peppers per member this week. We’re still waiting for sweet pepper production to pick up. We grow mostly colored sweet peppers, so you likely won’t receive many green peppers from us unless they were accidentally picked unripe or unless there is a danger of frost and we pick them green before they have a chance to turn colors. We’re patiently waiting for all of the colorful and beautiful pepper varieties we selected to start sharing with us their true colors. C’mon peppers!

Red Potatoes- Yes! Finally potatoes! 2.5 lbs per member this week. Freshly dug potatoes scuff easier than potatoes that have been in storage. We do not wash potatoes because they are less likely to scuff and get damaged in the washing. Unwashed potatoes also stay fresher and keep longer. After eating storage potatoes all winter, there is no comparison to a fresh-dug potato!

Cherry Tomatoes- The cherry tomatoes are the Sun Gold variety. Sun Gold’s ripen orange. Don’t wait for them to turn red because they won’t! We love this cherry tomato variety because of how wonderfully sweet they are!   Some people received two pints this week.

Green Beans- .95lbs of green beans per member this week. Beans are best eaten fresh! Don’t try to keep them long! We washed the green beans again because they were so muddy at harvest-something we had just done for the first time last week that went well! A nice hearty helping of beans for all this week!

Cucumbers- 1 Cucumbers per member! This is the final giving of cucumbers for the season. How I do love cucumbers while they last, but all good things must come to an end!

White Onion- One nice and big white onion for everyone. Will keep just fine on your countertop.

Tomatoes- Another heft 8 lbs+. We grow a wide variety of tomatoes each year. About 12-15 different varieties. Some are romas (the longer more pear-shaped varieties with less water that are good for making sauce), yellow slicers, red slicers, tie-dye slicers, and the infamous herilooms that are slowly coming into season. Heirlooms usually ripen a little later in the season since they are a larger tomatoes and are not hybridized for early production. You are likely to receive a very wide selection of tomatoes over the tomato-growing season with a wide variety of colors. We recommend leaving tomatoes out at room temperature to ripen naturally. Remove them from their plastic bag and set them out on your counter or windowsill so they don’t get funky in the plastic bag and mold or rot on you. We pick tomatoes with a ‘blush’. This means that we pick anything that has any early signs of red or pink or color. Once a tomato begins to blush it will ripen fully off the vine and this still qualifies as a vine-ripened tomato. Their flavor will be much better if you just let them sit on the counter to ripen. We do not recommend putting tomatoes in the refrigerator at all, ever, unless they are nearly over-ripe and you need to buy yourself some time before you get a chance to use them up before they go bad. Refrigerators seem to suck flavor out of tomatoes as well. For the full experience, let them ripen on the counter!

Carrots- Some of Small Family Farm’s famous sweet carrots! 1 pound per member.

Melons- This week everyone received two melons, but we gave three varieties of melons so not everyone received the same varieties. We shipped some Honeydew (or Arava melons that have the green flesh) and some Cantelope melons. Everyone received one Yellow Doll Watermelon. These little yellow watermelons are sure to be a crowd pleaser! Cantelope and Honeydew (or Arava) will ripen off the vine. Be patient and let your melon sit on the counter until it starts to smell like a melon. Don’t put it in your fridge unless you’re sure it is ready to cut up. You will know that a cantelope or honeydew is ready when they have a strong melon smell.

Hungarian Hot Wax Pepper- These were tucked inside your tomato bags. Hungarian Hot wax are amongst the most mild of hot peppers, but they may surprise you! Hungarian Hot wax are usually found a lime-green color, but they also ripen orange to red. We don’t want you confuse your hot pepper for a mini-sweet as we have begun sticking minisweet peppers in your CSA boxes.

MiniSweet Pepper- I know it’s a very small giving, but these guys are just starting to produce now too. Minisweets are one of my children’s favorite foods. They can eat piles of these things in one sitting. The minisweets are red, yellow and orange. The only possible issue here is that since they are small peppers, they could easily be confused for a hot pepper. But I assure you they are not hot so long as you are able to differentiate in your CSA box which is the minisweet pepper and which is the Hungarian hot wax pepper. Have fun learning your peppers!

Garlic- One beautiful bulb of garlic per member this week. We shipped a porcelain german white garlic this week. Garlic keeps well on your countertop in dry storage.

Next Week's Best Guess: watermelon, French melon, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, sweet peppers, onion, garlic, carrots, potatoes?, chard, green beans, Hungarian hot wax pepper, minisweet peppers

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