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!

October Fourth

Have you heard of Biodynamic farming?  I have seen the term “biodynamic” defined many different ways, but put simply it is the holistic, ecological and ethical approach to farming, gardening, food and nutrition.  It takes into consideration the more subtle influences of the wider cosmos on soil, plant and animal health.  It is a very spiritual and esoteric approach to farming that was strongly appealing to me in my early and more romanticized days of farming.  I loved thinking about how the pulling, shifting and changing influences of the cosmos were impacting the naked plants and animals standing beneath the sky, so vulnerable and exposed to the raw atmosphere. 

To call yourself a biodynamic farmer, technically, you should be making, stirring and spreading many of these 6 special ‘preparations’  or tea-like potions (as I like to call them), on your farm at specific times of the season-technically.  It can be very time consuming and involving to participate in the concept this way.  In the early years, we did all that stuff, but have slowly moved away from it for lack of time to commit to the endeavor.  But in it’s foundation, Biodynamics is an approach to farming that takes into concern ecological, social and economic sustainability.  This is something that I feel many CSA farms do quite well if their ‘hearts’ are in the right place.  Yeah, I think that’s a big part of Biodynamics as well, farming with your heart, as well as your head. DSC 0352

Adam and I make a nice balance in this way.  He uses more of his head in farming and I use a little more of my heart.  I believe it takes us both to make the farm what it is today.  But I secretly like to dream about the magical side of farming.  Simply watching a little seed, practically a piece of dust, turn itself predictably into something as huge and perfect as a symmetrical as a head of cauliflower.  I love to think about the chemical and microbial life and activity happening beneath the soil surface in such a cool, dark and quite place.  It must sparkle down there.  It certainly is buzzing in it’s own way. 

Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Biodynamics (and a handful of other philosophers as well), talked about how a human is like an upside down plant.  If a person was a plant, our head would be in the ground.  We would do our thinking, expanding, eating, and mineralizing in the soil.  Our spinal cord would be our stem and our sexual organs would be pointed upwards to the sky like a flower.  I giggle a little to think about how plants and people are similar, yet so different in this way.  We’re all just fun cellular structures of stardust and water and bacteria.  I merely think it’s fun to think about all of this from a little different perspective once in a while.  It helps lift the weight of it all. 

Our farm is not a “Certified Biodynamic Farm”, nor do I ever think we will be.  But I do think we fall into the category of ethical and conscious farmers that aim to support biodiversity and sustainability.  Farming is spiritual in a way.  I believe we were called to it.  Like Lemmings we hypnotically followed the light here.  Under some kind of spell we signed the papers and bought the farm.  Still, to this very day, we faithfully and somewhat unbelievably remain devout to the task and will forever make preparations to start the cycle again for yet another season, like an heirloom plant re-seeding itself each year in the same place of the garden.  Or like an old perennial, we come back each year in the same place we were planted many years ago. 

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

Tomatoes-  Just one or two lonely tomatoes per member this week.  Tomatoe are officially out of season after this box;(  Sad, but all good things must come to an end.  We had a great run on them! 

Fennel Bulb-  One fennel bulb per member.  Fennel is lovely shaved very thinly on top of a salad.  It is also wonderful sautéed or caramelized with onions or in place of onions.  Fennel has a licorice flavor when eaten raw and most of that licorice flavor disappears once it has been cooked.   Fennel is in the same umbelliferae family as celery, dill, parsley, parsnip and carrots.  A fun new flavor to give your life a little variety!DSC 0373

Sweet Bell Peppers-  4-5 Sweet Bell Peppers per member. You may have received a red bell, yellow bell, orange bell or a mix of red and yellow sweet carmens which are the longer sweet peppers that come to a point at the tip.  Very fun and delicious!

Mini-Sweet Peppers-  The mini-sweet peppers are small and could easily be mistaken for a hot pepper, but they are in fact, sweet!  The mini-sweets come in yellow, red and orange. There was just one or two this week stuck in a brown paper bag along with your tomato and hot peppers. 

Hungarian Hot Wax Pepper-  These are also called bananna peppers.  Sometimes hot, sometimes not!  They are also sometime red or orange as they 'ripen'.  These are tucked in the top of your tomato bag.

Jalapeno Pepper-  These are the small green pepper in your tomato bag.  They're hot!

Yellow Onion-  One or two yellow onions, depending on the size for everyone because you simply can’t make dinner without onion!

Spinach-  Half pound bags of spinach for everyone this week!  A fall fan favorite!

Green Top Golden Beets-  One large golden beet per member this week with the greens still attached.  Remember that you can cook with the greens of beets and use them like spinach or swiss chard.  Golden beets are fun to cook with because they won’t bleed the red color into your dish like a red beet will.  Easy to sneek them into a soup or dish where no-one will notice! 

Green Curly Kale-  One small bunch of green curly kale this week to make sure you have plenty of greens in your diet! 

Broccoli-  One large and beautiful head of broccoli per member this week.  Broccoli loves to be kept very cold, so be sure to get this guy into your fridge as soon as possible! 

Cauliflower-  One head of cauliflower per member this week.  Some very fine looking cauliflower indeed! 

Acorn Squash-  These are the large greenish looking winter squash toward the bottom of your box that is shaped like an acorn.  Acorns will keep very well if left on your counter in your kitchen at room temperature. 

White or Purple Kohlrabi-  Remember these guys from the Spring boxes?   Kohlrabi also loves the cooler weather of the Fall.  Remember to peel the outer edge off to enjoy the crispy and crunchy inside as a snack with your favorite veggie dip.  The leaves of the kohlrabi are also edible!

Russet Potatoes-  2 pound bags for all. Russets have a very nice texture that holds up well in the cooking process when added to soups or stews.  Russets are also very nice simply baked in the oven.  Remember that we do not clean our potatoes.  They typically hold up better with a little soil on them.  They will keep fine at room temperature for months when freshly dug like this. 

Diakon Radish-  These are the long, while radishes with the greens still attached.  Diakons are usually a very mild radish, but we found that these had a bit of a bite to them.  The greens can be used in a stir fry or however you wish to cook with them.  We love diakons simply cut into veggie sticks or coins and eaten as a snack, but they are also very commonly found in Kim Chi (like a fermented sauerkraut with other veggies and ginger and hot peppers).  Diakons keep teriffically well if kept in a plastic bag in the fridge.  A fine storage root. 

Next Week's Best Guess:  Peppers, winter squash, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, parsnips, rutabaga, leeks, spinach, celeriac root, hot peppers, romanesco

Recipes

 Sausage and Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash

Cream of Roasted Red Bell Pepper Soup

Shaved Fennel Salad Recipe

September Twenty-Seventh

I love the way Fall on a farm feels so cozy.  Well, I imagine that it will begin to feel a little more cozy now that the very strange 90 degree weather we were having is over.  More seasonal weather in the 70’s and 60’s is predicted for later this week and we look forward to some more comfortable working weather over the next few weeks.  Cozy is the feeling we get on a Saturday night when the work week is done, a Prairie Home Companion plays in the kitchen while we make dinner and the sun sets early driving the family closer together in the home. 

DSC 0343

Our actual home is not really that big.  It’s a very modest-sized house that always feels more than a little cramped when we host Thanksgiving or Christmas with extended family-but it’s a good size for us.  It is amazing, though, how big our home-stead is.  There is so much to care for on this land!  We have the cooking, laundry cleaning and care that any family would have.  And we also have a much larger than average lawn to care for, several out-buildings, farm animals and hundreds of other living plants that need attention from day to day.  It really is no wonder that we rarely leave the farm!  The work is endless! 

But I always feel a sweet reprieve as the demands of even lawn care are lifted.  As the harvests begin to wane and the days become even just slightly shorter as they are now.  It is officially Fall now and I am beginning to notice that our family is spending a little more time inside the house each evening together at the end of the day.  Adam even puts a football game on now and then while cleaning garlic in the living room.  I feel inspired to make pumpkin pie and apple bread.  I

The children still eek as many minutes and hours of outside play time as they can in a day until they are called in for a bath or dinner or to ‘help’ with dinner prep.  They are still running barefoot, but I know their time is limited before it gets too cold to run without shoes.  Soon sandals will be swapped for boots and sun hats will be swapped for stocking caps and there will be sweaters and extra layers of clothing littered all over the farm-from not just our own children, but from the working crew as well. 

Rumors of frost excited the harvest crew on Monday morning even as we were picking peppers.  Someone said that someone else said frost on Friday night.  Did you hear that?  I didn’t see that in the forecast and I checked this morning.  Peppers will be the one item we will be most sad to see lost if and when the frost does finally come. 

The field crew workers are starting to talk about what they will do this winter, where they will find work and what adventures they might want to go on.  We promise them all steady and reliable work through Thanksgiving.  The mood of the crew feels chipper and festive.  We talk about having an end-of-season bowling party for the crew to show off our un-developed skills and foolish ego over our possibly non-existent bowling talents.  We harvest on! 

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

Tomatoes-  Note about tomatoes!  If you are not already unpacking your tomatoes from the plastic bag we deliver them in, please begin doing this.  Do not allow your tomatoes to sit on your counter still inside the plastic bag.  Condensation can build up and cause some of the tomatoes to go bad quickly.  They will ripen much more evenly and nicely if laid out on the counter.  A much more modest giving of 3lbs this week.  We pick tomatoes in the early stages of 'blushing' and ripening.  We recommend leaving your tomatoes out on your countertop to ripen.  They will slowly ripen over the course of a week.  We need to pick them at this stage of ripeness if they are to survive the shipping and handling.  We would much rather give you under-ripe tomatoes than smooshed tomatoes.  If you leave them out at room temperature, it will not affect their flavor, they will still be considered vine-ripened tomatoes.  We also recommend not putting your tomatoes in the fridge unless they are fully ripe and you need to refrigerate them to buy yourself some time before you are able to eat them.  Putting tomatoes in refrigerators usually sucks the flavor out of them.  Enjoy!

Fennel Bulb-  One fennel bulb per member.  Fennel is lovely shaved very thinly on top of a salad.  It is also wonderful sautéed or caramelized with onions or in place of onions.  Fennel has a licorice flavor when eaten raw and most of that licorice flavor disappears once it has been cooked.   Fennel is in the same umbelliferae family as celery, dill, parsley, parsnip and carrots.  A fun new flavor to give your life a little variety! 

Sweet Bell Peppers-  4-5 Sweet Bell Peppers per member. The pepper production is really picking up now.  We should be able to get another week or so of strong harvest so long as the frost holds off!

Mini-Sweet Peppers-  The mini-sweet peppers are small and could easily be mistaken for a hot pepper, but they are in fact, sweet!  The mini-sweets come in yellow, red and orange. There were 5 stuck in the top of your tomato bag along with your two hot peppers!

Hungarian Hot Wax Pepper-  These are also called bananna peppers.  Sometimes hot, sometimes not!  They are also sometime red or orange as they 'ripen'.  These are tucked in the top of your tomato bag.DSC 0344

Jalapeno Pepper-  These are the small green pepper in your tomato bag.  They're hot!

Metechi Garlic-  A smaller garlic per member this week.  

Yellow Onion-  One or two yellow onions, depending on the size for everyone because you simply can’t make dinner without onion!

Spinach-  Half pound bags of spinach for everyone this week!  A fall fan favorite!

Carrots-  One pound of sweet and crispy carrots!  They will keep best in the plastic bag in the fridge.

Red or Green Leaf Lettuce-  Fall lettuce is lovely again with all of the familiar crunchiness and tenderness of Spring lettuce.  Yum!

Sun Gold Cherry Tomatoes-  These are the small, orange tomatoes in the pint clamshell.  We have been able to give one pint to everyone the last couple weeks.  These cherry tomatoes ripen orange.  They may just possibly be the best tasting food on earth.  One pint per member.    

Broccoli-  One to two big and beautiful heads of broccoli per member this week. Depending on the size of your cabbage and the number of peppers you received, you may have gotten one or two broccoli. 

White Kohlrabi-  Remember these guys from the Spring boxes?   Kohlrabi also loves the cooler weather of the Fall.  Remember to peel the outer edge off to enjoy the crispy and crunchy inside as a snack with your favorite veggie dip.  The leaves of the kohlrabi are also edible!

Russet Potatoes-  2 pound bags for all. Russets have a very nice texture that holds up well in the cooking process when added to soups or stews.  Russets are also very nice simply baked in the oven.  Remember that we do not clean our potatoes.  They typically hold up better with a little soil on them.  They will keep fine at room temperature for months when freshly dug like this.  

Next Week's Best Guess:  Peppers, very few tomatoes, winter squash, broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi, gold beets, spinach, potatoes, onions, fennel, hot peppers, herb

Recipes

Roasted Cherry Tomato Salsa (Thank you, Kristin, Dubuque CSA Member!)

Bright Lentil Salad with Apples, Fennel and Herbs

Broccoli Stir Fry with Ginger and Sesame

Roasted Tomato Soup

 

 

September Twentieth

We are now in the 16th delivery week out of a 20-Week Summer Share delivery cycle.  My personal favorite time of year.  And what a gorgeous Fall it is turning out to be!  The Fall Colors are beginning here.  A few sandhill cranes flew overhead while harvesting swiss chard this morning.  The air is crisp and foggy in the mornings and the afternoons become sunny and warm.  The breeze blows and a few leaves magically trickle down and the harvest matures. DSC 0380

We’re a little dry on the farm as I write this letter, with just a chance of rain in the forecast.  The dry weather makes for nice harvesting conditions for the crew and less mud and dirt on our harvested crops.  The dry air is also nice for the curing of our winter squash, onions and garlic in the greenhouse.  But a nice soft and slow inch of rain overnight would be welcome soon!   

While there are just four more Summer Share deliveries left in the season, your farmers are by no means slowing down.  Fall always brings a second wind, a sense of urgency and even an excitement of it’s own kind that will carry us through until Thanksgiving when the ground is usually frozen by. 

The first frost is hopefully still a couple weeks away, but by the third week of Sepember we know we are just biding time before it gets here.  The tomato production is waning fast and the quality of the tomatoes simply is not what it was a month ago.  We will continue to pick and share what is left out there, but they will begin to look less perfect as the season wanes.  The only crop left out there that we are always sad to see lost to frost is the sweet peppers.  The colorful rows of peppers are just now starting to really peak in productions and we would still get a good handful of harvest weeks off them if the frost does hold off after all. DSC 0365 1

Our winter squash is all out of the fields and safely tucked away from the danger of frost.  We will continue to harvest our potatoes and soon enough sweet potatoes.  We are excited to start sharing unique Fall Crops like Brussels Sprouts, more fun winter squash varieties, rutabaga, celeriac root, parsnips, golden beets and more! 

We are thankful for this delightful Fall weather, the promise of shorter days ahead and a bountiful harvest on the farm.  Thank you for sharing this very seasonal culinary and community experience with us!  If not for your interest in healthy eating, cooking and the preservation of these out-of-the norm varieties of food, farms like ours could not exist to grow them and protect the culture. 

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

Tomatoes-  New note about tomatoes!  If you are not already unpacking your tomatoes from the plastic bag we deliver them in, please begin doing this.  Do not allow your tomatoes to sit on your counter still inside the plastic bag.  Condensation can build up and cause some of the tomatoes to go bad.  They will ripen much more evenly and nicely if laid out on the counter.  Yet another week with a hefty and hearty giving of tomatoes.  1 full bag weighing about 7lbs.  We pick tomatoes in the early stages of 'blushing' and ripening.  We recommend leaving your tomatoes out on your countertop to ripen.  They will slowly ripen over the course of a week.  We need to pick them at this stage of ripeness if they are to survive the shipping and handling.  We would much rather give you under-ripe tomatoes than smooshed tomatoes.  If you leave them out at room temperature, it will not affect their flavor, they will still be considered vine-ripened tomatoes.  We also recommend not putting your tomatoes in the fridge unless they are fully ripe and you need to refrigerate them to buy yourself some time before you are able to eat them.  Putting tomatoes in refrigerators usually sucks the flavor out of them.  Enjoy!

Sunshine Squash-  These are the beautiful harvest-orange squash near the bottom of your box.  These are my all-time favorite squash!  Once cooked up, these have a bright orange, thick, and creamy flesh that is so sweet and unlike any other squash varities.  Most squash varieties will keep fine on your countertop for months if you need time to use it up.  To cook a squash, use your most heavy-duty chef knife and cut it down the middle length-wise.  Scoop the seeds out and discard.  Place both sides of the squash cut-side down in a baking dish with a quarter inch of water at the bottom of the pan.  Bake for one hour or until the squash no longer feels hard from pressing on the skin or outside of the squash. DSC 0375

Green Beans and Dragon Tongue Beans-  One more encore giving of green beans and/or dragon tongue beans. 

Sweet Bell Peppers-  4-5 Sweet Bell Peppers per member. The pepper production is really picking up now.  We should be able to get another  couple weeks of strong harvest so long as the frost holds off, which it is looking like it will!

Mini-Sweet Peppers-  The mini-sweet peppers are small and could easily be mistaken for a hot pepper, but they are in fact, sweet!  The mini-sweets come in yellow, red and orange. There were just a few stuck in the top of your tomato bag.

Hungarian Hot Wax Pepper-  These are also called bananna peppers.  Sometimes hot, sometimes not!  They are also sometime red or orange as they 'ripen'.  These are tucked in the top of your tomato bag.

Jalapeno Pepper-  These are the small green pepper in your tomato bag.  They're hot!

Eggplant-  Either a standard sized eggplant, a long and skinney Japanese eggplant or a wrinkled Barbarella. 

Yellow Onion-  A yellow onion for everyone because you simply can’t make dinner without onion!

Swiss Chard or Red Curly Kale-  We tried very hard to make sure everyone got a swiss chard bunch, but once the plants were all cleaned up, we moved on to red curly kale to make up the difference.  We hope you got what you love! 

Carrots-  One pound of sweet and crispy carrots!  They will keep best in the plastic bag in the fridge. 

Cilantro-  This cilantro is re-growth from the last time we harvested cilantro.  A very beloved herb this time in the middle of salsa season.  Cilantro is lovely added to ethnic dishes as well. 

Sun Gold Cherry Tomatoes-  These are the small, orange tomatoes in the pint clamshell.  We have been able to give one pint to everyone the last couple weeks.  These cherry tomatoes ripen orange.  They may just possibly be the best tasting food on earth.  Some of the pints were not quite full as we had to distribute the weight of the harvest amongst the number of boxes we were packing. 

Broccoli-  One big and beautiful head of broccoli per member this week.  We’re hoping that the weather doesn’t get too hot this week and affect the fall broccoli plantings.  Broccoli loves the cooler weather of Fall. 

Kohlrabi-  Remember these guys from the Spring boxes?   Kohlrabi also loves the cooler weather of the Fall.  Remember to peel the outer edge off to enjoy the crispy and crunchy inside as a snack with your favorite veggie dip.  The leaves of the kohlrabi are also edible.  

Next Week's Best Guess:  Peppers, tomatoes, winter squash, cabbage, broccoli, kohlrabi, spinach, potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, hot peppers, herb, fennel

Recipes-

The Great Dane Inner Warmth Squash Peanut Stew

Herb Stuffed Tomatoes

Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed Pepper Soup 

September Thirteenth

The family meal continues to increase in value for me as our small family grows.  In the hustle and quickening pace of our modern-day lives, we still manage to find a pause for all three meals sitting together as a family at my grandmother’s old scratched-up kitchen table.  My mom says that grandma would roll in her grave if she could see that table now.  Meal time is the single most important ritual that holds our family together among the in-the-door/out-the-door happenings on the farm with the crowds of people coming and going.  We somehow manage to protect our little meal-time bubble space and convene over a home-cooked repast. DSC 0345 1

Protecting the space of the family meal feels more important to me than almost any other activity we do together or separately as a family or individuals.  The family meal offers a structure to the day and a known healthy routine in the home.  The parents and the children can take solace in knowing that no matter what happens on this day, we will eat at the said time.  It offers a nutritious meal made from scratch by mom or dad or another husband or wife comprised of home-grown farm-fresh, local and organic ingredients.  It also provides a time period for rest, re-grouping and giving thanks. 

We are not a particularly religious family, but we do practice expressing our graditude for what we have before we eat.  We take turns saying aloud at least one thing we are thankful for on this day.  Aliza almost always says she’s thankful that mom and dad are back.  Ayla has something new to say every day, but many times she’s thankful for the friends who come and play with her.  Adam and I are usually thankful for the weather cooprating, the nice harvest, our health, our family, our sometimes something more specific.  But it’s a good practice, I think, to express appreciation aloud.  This simple pause before the meal is also an exercise in communion and patience and an awareness for what we are doing.  It makes the act of eating more deliberate.  More intentional.  Even more satisfying and wholesome. 

It’s also really fun to work on dinner table etiquette with small children!   Teaching a two year old to stay seated for dinner takes years of practice!  Teaching a 5 year-old how to set the table and ask to be excused also takes practice.  Remembering to make sure everyone has gone potty and washed their hands before we begin is my ongoing work.  ‘Pleases’ and ‘thank you’s’ have always been important to me, engrained into me by my own mother from my own childhood dinnertime experiences.  Mom never used to tolerate reaching across the table or putting your elbows on the table either.  I guess I follow these rules now too.

And because the food we are preparing comes from a place that is very intimate and meaningful to us, the meal is elevated beyond just a means for fuel.  The home-made meal feels entirely different than a purchased meal from a store or a restaurant.  It warms the kitchen, it makes the home look lived-in and it becomes a comforting daily mini-celebration of food, family and culture. 

I sincerely hope that by receiving these CSA boxes this summer from a small, local, organic vegetable farm you are creating beautiful meals in your home, huge messes that everyone has to help clean up together and that you are trying new recipes and becoming a more confident and innovative cook.  I commend you and applaud your efforts at keeping something endangered alive and well; the home-cooked meal! IMG 0017

Soooo….What’s in the Box?

TomatoesNew note about tomatoes!  If you are not already unpacking your tomatoes from the plastic bag we deliver them in, please begin doing this.  Do not allow your tomatoes to sit on your counter still inside the plastic bag.  Condensation can build up and cause some of the tomatoes to go bad.  They will ripen much more evenly and nicely if laid out on the counter.  Another week with a hefty and hearty giving of tomatoes.  1 full bag weighing about 8-9lbs.  We pick tomatoes in the early stages of 'blushing' and ripening.  We recommend leaving your tomatoes out on your countertop to ripen.  They will slowly ripen over the course of a week.  We need to pick them at this stage of ripeness if they are to survive the shipping and handling.  We would much rather give you under-ripe tomatoes than smooshed tomatoes.  If you leave them out at room temperature, it will not affect their flavor, they will still be considered vine-ripened tomatoes.  We also recommend not putting your tomatoes in the fridge unless they are fully ripe and you need to refrigerate them to buy yourself some time before you are able to eat them.  Putting tomatoes in refrigerators usually sucks the flavor out of them.  Enjoy!

Tomatillos-  These are at the top of your tomato bag.  Just a couple of these in each bag.  They have the paper wrapping around each one.  Tomatillos are great chopped into your fresh salsas or cooked in with a salsa verda or cooked tomato sauce of many different kinds to add a unique tomato flavor.  Tomatillos are sometimes green and sometimes a little yellow when fully ripe, but they can be eaten both ways. 

Spaghetti Squash-  These are the large yellow squash shaped a little like a football with a hard stem on one end.  Spaghetti squash will keep fine on your countertop for months if you need time to use it up.  These have been mistaken for melons in the past, so please note the differences between melons and spaghetti squash! 

Edamame-  These are the small bean-looking vegetables in the plastic bag.  .33lbs per member.  Edamame is an edible soybean that must be cooked before you eat it.  Boil them in boiling water for three to five minutes, strain and then toss them with a little salt.  The pod is not edible.  You simply bring the pod up to your mouth and pop the bean out of the pod into your mouth.  The pod should open fairly easily.  It’s a fun finger food and we found that kids really love them!   

Sweet Bell Peppers-  2-3 Sweet Bell Peppers per member.  If you only received one bell pepper, you also got a small clamshell with some mini-sweet peppers in it. 

Mini-Sweet Peppers-  The mini-sweet peppers are small and could easily be mistaken for a hot pepper, but they are in fact, sweet!  The mini-sweets come in yellow, red and orange. There were just a couple stuck in the top of your tomato bag. 

Hungarian Hot Wax Pepper-  These are also called bananna peppers.  Sometimes hot, sometimes not!  They are also sometime red or orange as they 'ripen'.  These are tucked in the top of your tomato bag. 

Jalapeno Pepper-  These are the small green pepper in your tomato bag.  They're hot!

Melon-  2 -3 melons per member this week.  A bit of a mix of melon varieties again this week.  You may have received a watermelon, a cantelope and/or a honeydew.  Watermelons do not ripen off the vine once they have been picked.  So if you got a watermelon, go ahead and cut into that baby as soon as you like!  If you received a cantelope or honeydew, we recommend leaving it sit on your counter until it starts to smell like a delicious melon that is ready to eat.  We are learning to harvest our cantelopes and honeydews a little under-ripe because we have had so many issues with rotting of melons from leaving them in the fields too long to become ‘ripe’ on the vine.  A ripe cantelope or honeydew should have a smell.  If they still look, smell and feel under-ripe, they probably are.  Just be patient and allow them to ripen on your countertop, not in your fridge! 

Yellow Onion-  A yellow onion for everyone because you simply can’t make dinner without onion!

Green Curly Kale-  Kale is such a nutritious addition to almost any meal.  We hope you are becoming more comfortable cooking with kale this season.  We put it on pizza, in quiche or fritattas, smoothies, or even just fried in a pan until crispy and tossed with some soy sauce.  My two year old love it! 

Beets-  A nice giving of about 1 pound of beets.  Beets keep very well in a plastic bag in the fridge for months.  Or just boil them up, slip the skins off and toss with a little butter and salt.  Sweet and yummy!  It doesn’t have to be complicated! 

Dill-  A fun herb for this week.  Dill keeps best in a cup with water like fresh-cut flowers.  If you get it in water soon enough, it will keep well like fresh-cut flowers for several days.   If you don’t intend to use all of this dill up, you can also un-bunch your dill, lay it on the dehydrator trays, and dry it so you have your own home-made dried dill in the winter months. 

Sun Gold Cherry Tomatoes-  These are the small, orange tomatoes in the pint clamshell.  We have been able to give one pint to everyone the last couple weeks.  These cherry tomatoes ripen orange.  They may just possibly be the best tasting food on earth.  

Recipes

Spaghetti Squash Noodle Bowl with Lime Peanut Sauce

Roasted Spaghetti Squash Hash Browns

Beet Burgers

Crispy Kale Salad with Toasted Coconut

September Sixth

A Worker Share Perspective Article by Helen Jones.  

My name is Helen and I am an official Tuesday morning, worker share/ unofficial, part-time worker. Basically, other than Tuesdays, I come in whenever someone can't make it, or when just extra help is needed. Which has been really fun! I've been able to see more of how the farm runs and more of the people who are apart of it as well!DSC 0369

~How did I come to find out about Small Family, you might ask?

Well, its a long, romantic story. I'll give you the short version for now. (; My sister met her husband there, about four years ago. Since I moved in with them (just over 3 miles from the farm), in May, from Illinois, they signed me up for a worker share, as part of my rent. Woo hoo!

~How long have I been helping at this lovely farm?

This is my first year and I hope it's not my last!

~What is my favorite kind of work to do at the farm?

Like anything in my life, it changes! Variety is key for me, and that's what we do at the farm. Today we harvested carrots, weeded the cabbage and picked tomatoes! But my favorite kind of work? Usually working in the field with everyone. We can get some good, interesting and funny conversations going! Which leads me to my next question..

~What keeps me coming back?

The people! I would definitely consider myself an introvert, but I do really enjoy the work crew. I love learning and hearing new perspectives and about other people's life experiences. Being an eighteen year old, I'll take all the advice I can get!

And not to mention, just the good ol' fashioned, hard work that is extremely satisfying at the end of the day! And hey, the bosses are pretty terrific too!

~What's the most surprising thing about working at Small Family Farm?

How effortless Adam and Jill make, leading a work crew, of various people, look! I know, (to a very, very small degree), it's hard work to keep a CSA going, but as far as I can see, things run quite smoothly! They both are such great sports, about our learning curves and teach very patiently. Adam can usually make me laugh or smile every time I am there and Jill always has such a great attitude everyday about anything!

~What is the hardest part about working on the farm?DSC 0374

Working in rain or shine (hot and humid shine) because oregano won't weed itself! Oh and cauliflower. Is. Heavy.

~What do I do when I am not at the farm?

You can usually find me enjoying a book, on a bike ride, coddiwompling through the woods, daydreaming about seeing the world and living in a hobbit house, or hanging out with my family. I am recently exploring the idea of making handmade paper!

~What does a day at the farm look like?

We usually get a good harvest in during the morning hours (mainly lettuce on Tuesday mornings). After lunch, someone washes what we harvested earlier, and the rest go out to harvest more or get some weeding done. Sometimes we break into groups and go do different things. Unless its garlic harvest. Everyone does that, and its all day. (I was happy when that was over with.) Really, it depends on the day and what needs to get done! It varies, and that is what keeps it interesting!

Soooo….What’s in the Box?

Tomatoes-  Another week with a hefty and hearty giving of tomatoes.  1 full bag weighing about 8-9lbs.  We pick tomatoes in the early stages of 'blushing' and ripening.  We recommend leaving your tomatoes out on your countertop to ripen.  They will slowly ripen over the course of a week.  We need to pick them at this stage of ripeness if they are to survive the shipping and handling.  We would much rather give you under-ripe tomatoes than smooshed tomatoes.  If you leave them out at room temperature, it will not affect their flavor, they will still be considered vine-ripened tomatoes.  We also recommend not putting your tomatoes in the fridge unless they are fully ripe and you need to refrigerate them to buy yourself some time before you are able to eat them.  Putting tomatoes in refrigerators usually sucks the flavor out of them.  Enjoy!

Tomatillos-  These are at the top of your tomato bag.  Just a few of these in each bag.  They have the paper wrapping around each one.  Tomatillos are great chopped into your fresh salsas or cooked in with a salsa verda or cooked tomato sauce of many different kinds to add a unique tomato flavor.  Tomatillos are sometimes green and sometimes a little yellow when fully ripe, but they can be eaten both ways.  

Potatoes-  A 2lb bag of Carola potatoes.  We were hoping for a larger giving of this variety of potatoes, but these were low-yielding and we had to cull out a large percentage of them with green spots or sun spots.  Many of them were also small.  They are like a delicacy! 

Sweet Bell Pepper-  1-2 Sweet Bell Peppers per member.  If you only received one bell pepper, you also got a small clamshell with some mini-sweet peppers in it.  The mini-sweet peppers are small and could easly be mistaken for a hot pepper, but they are in fact, sweet!  The mini-sweets come in yellow, red and orange. 

Hungarian Hot Wax Pepper-  These are also called bananna peppers.  Sometimes hot, sometimes not!  They are also sometime red or orange as they 'ripen'.  These are tucked in the top of your tomato bag.  

Jalapeno Pepper-  These are the small green pepper in your tomato bag.  They're hot!

 Melon-  A bit of a mix of melon varieties this week.  You may have received a watermelon, a cantelope or a honeydew.  Watermelons do not ripen off the vine once they have been picked.  So if you got a watermelon, go ahead and cut into that baby as soon as you like!  If you received a cantelope or honeydew, we recommend leaving it sit on your counter until it starts to smell like a delicious melon that is ready to eat.  We are learning to harvest our cantelopes and honeydews a little under-ripe because we have had so many issues with rotting of melons from leaving them in the fields too long to become ‘ripe’ on the vine. 

Napa Cabbage-  These are also called chineese cabbage sometimes.  They are the very large heads of cabbage at the bottom of your box.  Such a fun, fall treat!  Napa cabbage make a delicious Asian salad. 

Lettuce-  I immediately felt inclined to make BLT’s again this week with fresh lettuce again.  Lettuce keeps best in a plastic bag in the fridge. 

Onion-  A white onion for everyone because you simply can’t make dinner without onion! 

Carrot-  A one-pound bag of delicious, sweet carrots for your salads and everyday cooking!  We have been very impressed with out sweet the carrots are this year. 

Eggplant-  We were harvesting three different varieties of eggplants this week.  So you may have received a standard eggplant, a Japanese eggplant (the more slender, long eggplant), or the Barbarella which are a more softball sized eggplant with ripples in the skin and irregularly shaped. 

Beans-  1.3lbs of beans per member this week.  We are still mixing the green, yellow and dragon tongue beans all together in the same bag so that everyone can have a little of each variety.  I have loved cooking up pots of different colors of beans all tossed in butter with cherry tomatoes!  Yum!  

Next Week's Best Guess:  Tomatoes, sweet peppers, jalapeno, hungarian hot wax, onion, melons, edamame, beets, chard, dill

Recipes

Peanut Pasta Napa Cabbage Salad

Napa Cabbage Picnic Salad

Green Beans with Lemon and Garlic

Grilled Eggplant Ratatouille Muffaletta

Homemade Tomatillo and Tomato Salsa