Small Family Farm CSA

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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 Fourteenth

On the final week of Summer Share deliveries I feel gratitude running thick in my blood. I feel thankful for a bountiful harvest that the good earth has offered us even through a challenging growing season of drought. I feel thankful for my health and the health of my small family. I feel thankful for the four seasons that include a season of rest that is before us. And I feel thankful for you, the CSA member, who finds value in purchasing fresh, local, organic vegetables from a small family farm.

There is a small gap between the farmers and the eaters even in the CSA model. This summer I have felt the gap more than ever through the absence of on-farm events, potlucks and dinners sharing food with you. I do everything I can through these simple newsletters to try and bridge the gap between the farmers and the eaters. The newsletters are designed to create transparency that our CSA members feel like the farm is truly their farm. My hope is that when the sun is shining or the rain is pouring or the wind is blowing, you’re thinking about how it is impacting your local farm and food. The newsletters are a tiny window into a world that you belong to, one that feeds you and nourishes not only your need for calories and fuel, but a deeper need to feel connected to a place where your food is grown.

We are a real, live family with faces and names and stories. We are working hard to steward a small piece of this earth and treating it with respect and care and tenderness. We are cultivating, not only vegetables, but community. We are writing a story here with your names and families interwoven. Without your interest in your own health, the health of our local economy, and the health of your local community, none of this would be possible. Adam and I and the crews of people who work and pass through this farm are only pieces in the puzzle. I cannot emphasize enough how important YOU are to the success of our farm. And for this I am eternally thankful.

In an election year where I feel so powerless and confused and frustrated in the macro way of approaching change, I find hope and encouragement in another way of voting on the micro way of voting for change. I vote with my words and my actions and my small stash of dollars. I vote for local food systems by working tirelessly within them. I vote for kindness and patience and generosity by modeling these virtues in my daily practice. I vote for peace through my words of kindness and in the absence of words altogether at times. I will spend my hard earned dollars at businesses that are treating their communities and the earth with this same degree of respect and reverence.  

I believe that we are voting with our knives and cutting boards too. We are voting for more than the local food system. I believe that the home-cooked meal restores and heals more than the land or the economy. When we warm our homes and kitchens with the sounds, smells and flavors of cooking, we are nourishing a home. Homes are where real change happens. The inherent slowness of a home-cooked meal implies that we are in our homes, we are spending time with our families, we are creating a warm, inviting and nourishing place where people want to be. Nothing on earth is more sacred and beautiful to me than food shared among friends and family and community. So thank you, from the deepest part of me, for your vote.   I am so honored to participate in something much larger than this little farm with you. Chop on!  

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Soooo….What’s in the Box????

Sweet Potatoes- This was not our best sweet potato year. We got our 'seed' or sweet potato slips very late this year from our supplier due to weather in the south and suppliers being short handed due to COVID, so they were planted later this year than the should have been. The harvest was very modest and many of the tubers were on the smaller side. We tried to give everyone some of the bigger potatoes this week. We do not wash them to avoid scuffing them up during washing. Endless delicious sweet potato recipes.

Celeariac Root-These are the gnarly looking roots in your box. Celeriac root is specailly cultivated so that the root of the celery plant grows large rather than the stalks. These were one of the first plants we seeded in the greenhouse in the spring and one of the last to harvest in the Fall. They are white and dense on the inside like a potato without all of the starch and carbs. They are fantastic keepers and will keep for months in the fridge. Peel them with a pearing knife, cube them up small and add them to any soup. They can also be shredded into slaws, boiled and mashed with potatoes, or even make a celeirac potato hash browns! Enjoy this very unique and old-time vegetable.

Parsnips- 1 pound of parsnips per member this week. I love the smell and look of freshly harvested parsnips. Parsnips will keep for months in a plastic bag in the fridge, but they sure are fun to eat when they're fresh like this! Enjoy them in soups, gratins, fried or even sub them for carrots in carrot cake! Parsnips are in the same family of carrots, not not as commonly eaten raw.

Leek- These are the longer green-onion looking plant in the box. Leeks are in the onion family but are commonly found in the Fall. You can eat every part of this plant, so have fun exploring how you like to eat it. They're also lovely just cooked in coconut oil and fried and then sprinkled on top of soups. Potato leek soup?!

Brussels Sprouts- We're very pleased with the brussels sprouts harvest this season with very little decay on the sprouts themselves. We think the dry weather this summer led to very nice looking sprouts at harvest. Brussels are prone to getting little black spots that appear on outer layer of the sprouts in a wet growing season, but not this year! We harvested some of the bigger stalks this week. Snap the sprouts off of the stalk and store in a plastic bag in your fridge for storage.

Carrots- These are the last of the summer carrots. We have been busy digging our fall carrots this last week. Carrots will keep nicely in a plastic bag in the fridge and I bet you don’t need much help figuring out how to use these up!

Green Curly Kale- Cute little bunches of kale to add to your fall soups, salads or snacks. These kale leaves have sweetened up from the frost so we find them to be much sweeter than summer kale!

Spinach- .55 lbs per member. These spinach leaves are also sweeter from the frosts. We love wilted spinach salad for a treat. Spinach is wonderful with pasta, raw in salads, with eggs, fritattas, and really just about anywhere!

Pie Pumpkin- Yes, these are the cute little squash at the bottom of your box. They’re not jack-o-lanterns, but pie pumpkins! You can cut these in half, remove the seeds and bake them like any other squash until they are soft. Each pie pumpkin yields around 1-2 cups of squash for making pumpkin bars, pumpkin pie, or pumpkin anything you like this time of year! Have fun with it!

Cherry Bell Radish- These are a fun item to find in a fall box. Cherry bell radishes are commonly found in spring boxes, but we seeded these late summer as an extra little treat for fall boxes.

Broccoli and Cauliflower- 3 pieces per member. You may have received either two broccoli and a cauliflower or two cauliflower and a broccoli. Such a lovely fall item to cook with!

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Recipes-

Wilted Spinach Salad with Chopped Radishes and Shallots

Potato Leek Soup with Celeriac

Pumpkin Bars

Baked Sweet Potato Doughnuts

Octobrt Seventh

Fall on the farm is turning into a glorious and smooth harvest season. Fall colors had their peak about a week ago, but with all of the sunshine this week we will continue to enjoy the array of colors as the sun lights up the leaves as they shimmer in the breeze when we look up from our work. I am reminded how much I love this time of year. October, how I love you.

I love working in the cooler weather bundled up my wool scarves, hats and sweaters. I love the waning day-length that drives us indoors earlier into the evenings so that we spend more time together as a family rather than dispersed among the farm somewhere divested in our personal projects. I love that the cooler weather helps us regain control of the farm somewhat. In the summer months the rate at which the plants, the grasses, and the weeds grow and spread feels too rapid to keep up with. The full force of nature is felt in August and we begin to feel merciful to the idea of managing 25 acres. But almost magically, the pressure lifts. The plants form their seed heads and begin to show signs of regression or ending one generation of plant life.

Fall has a way of reminding us of our own mortality. Everything comes to an end. Every bright, colorful and, bountiful season gently wanes back into the more mature, yet duller earthen color variations of gold, red and brown. The nettles are less stingy, the bees are less buzzy and the grass is less green. My body is less energized and my eyes are more sleepy. The crickets echo a hollowness that feels inherent in a shedding horizon.

As the season ages, it becomes sweeter. The frosts came and kissed the spinach leaves, the broccoli flowers, and Brussels sprouts and turned the starches to sugars. There is less that is tender and crisp and juicy and more that is thick and dense and heavy. In the late stages of this 2020 growing season we are left with all the sugary, dense and, sustaining crops that will carry us through a long winter. Similarly to how when we age, life becomes sweeter and we are less potent and fertile in terms of youth and strength, but we are plump with wisdom and life experience that is the sustenance that carries us through.

The tomato trellising has come down and soon we will plant our seed garlic. We will put the garlic to sleep with a blanket of mulch and then we will wipe off our hands. There is a downward and inward movement of energy. The plants, the animals, the roots, the seeds, and the farmer’s mind are all going down and in for hibernation. We will retreat our efforts for one short season before we are ready for the outward and expansive spring.

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

Butternut Squash-  Butternut squash is possibly the most popular and most loved of all of the winter squash varieties.  They have a creamy colored skin with a bright orange flesh that is very smooth when baked.  They keep best on your coutertop at a dry 60 degrees.  

Brussels Sprouts-  We're very pleased with the brussels sprouts harvest this season with very little decay on the sprouts themselves.  We think the dry weather this summer led to very nice looking sprouts at harvest.  Brussels are prone to getting little black spots that appear on outer layer of the sprouts in a wet growing season, but not this year!  We harvested some of the bigger stalks this week.  Snap the sprouts off of the stalk and store in a plastic bag in your fridge for storage.  

Cauliflower or Broccoli-  Either a cauliflower or broccoli for everyone this week.  We still have a fair amount out there to harvest.  Possibly we'll still be sharing cauliflower and broccoli in Fall Shares this year, weather permitting.  So lovely to have all of these wonderful brassicas to share in the fall!

Beet-  One very large beet again this week!  We had poor germination in our beets this summer due to beets not germinating well during the drought, but the ones that did make it had lots of space to spread out and grow big and strong.  There weren't as many beets in numbers, but when they're this big...

Kohlrabi-  Either a purple or white kohlrabi.  Remember that the leaves of the kohlrabi are edible and can be used like kale or chard.  All kohlrabi are peeled before eating and they're all the same color, flavor and texture on the inside!  

Parsnips-  1 pound of parsnips per member this week.  I love the smell and look of freshly harvested parsnips.  Parsnips will keep for months in a plastic bag in the fridge, but they sure are fun to eat when they're fresh like this!  Enjoy them in soups, gratins, fried or even sub them for carrots in carrot cake!  Parsnips are in the same family of carrots, not not as commonly eaten raw.  

Spinach-  .52 lbs per member.  The leaves of this harvest were quite large, but really very tender.  Enjoy spinach in your salads, with eggs or even in your pasta dishes.  We know you won't have trouble eating up fresh spinach!  

Fennel-  Some of the fennels were humongous!  These were some of the largest fennels we have ever grown!  Some members recieved two of the smaller ones at the end of packing.  

Collards-  One bunch of collard greens to keep you stocked rich in greens.  Collards are lovely when boiled in broth to make them very tender.  We like them with bacon, but you can also use them as a veggie wrap once steamed or whatever you fancy!  

Celeriac Root-  These are the gnarly looking roots in your box.  Celeriac root is specailly cultivated so that the root of the celery plant grows large rather than the stalks.  These were one of the first plants we seeded in the greenhouse in the spring and one of the last to harvest in the Fall.  They are white and dense on the inside like a potato without all of the starch and carbs.  They are fantastic keepers and will keep for months in the fridge.  Peel them with a pearing knife, cube them up small and add them to any soup.  They can also be shredded into slaws, boiled and mashed with potatoes, or even make a celeirac potato hash browns!  Enjoy this very unique and old-time vegetable.  

Sweet Potatoes-  This was not our best sweet potato year.  We got our 'seed' or sweet potato slips very late this year from our supplier due to weather in the south and COVID, so they were planted later this year than the should have been.  The harvest was very modest and many of the roots were on the smaller side.  We tried to give everyone some of the bigger potatoes this week.  We do not wash them to avoid scuffing them up during washing.  Endless delicious sweet potato recipes.  

Leek-  These are the longer green-onion looking plant in the box.  Leeks are in the onion family but are commonly found in the Fall.  You can eat every part of this plant, so have fun exploring how you like to eat it.  They're also lovely just cooked in coconut oil and fried and then sprinkled on top of soups.  Potato leek soup?!

Next Week's Best Guess-  sweet potaotes, brussels sprouts, celeriac root, broccoli/cauliflower, leek, parsnips, radishes, cabbage, spinach

Recipes-

Mashed Potatoes with Celeriac Root

Southern Style Collard Greens

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Hottie Black Eyed Peas with Kale, Ginger, Mashed Sweet Potatoes, and Apples

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September Thirtieth

Fall on the farm feels very different this season.   It feels different because we are getting many of our storage crops out of the ground a little sooner than in previous years. We are also not doing Farmer’s Markets this year due to the fact that the market that we usually attend on the Capitol Square in Madison has been reduced to drive-up pick-up for pre-orders only that we decided was not in the cards for us this year. Not having to spend every Friday harvesting and preparing for Farmer’s Market has freed up the crew’s time to do field clean-up, harvest and ready the farm for winter.

Not doing Farmer’s Markets also means that neither Adam nor I need to get up at 3am on Saturday mornings and be gone all day in Madison. Instead we spend our Saturdays at home with our children. We are also able to use Saturdays to keep up with many of the week’s preparations for the next CSA delivery, maintenance on farm equipment and the innumerable jobs to be done on a farm like this.   Our stress level is lower and our quality of life is higher. Strangely, we are enjoying a calm this time of year never before experienced in the history of our farm.

This week we begin our Sweet Potato harvest that we are very excited about. Our sweet potato slips arrived two weeks later this Spring than when we were expecting them, so we have been letting them sit in the field as long as we possibly can to give them the maximum time that we can afford to size up before harvest. We’re hoping for a moderate harvest. Likely the sweet potatoes won’t be huge this year, but we will definitely get a good crop! We are also excited to begin harvesting Brussels sprouts, leeks and parsnips. We will have fun items in the last couple Summer Share boxes like celeriac root and spinach as well.

The moral of the crew is strong. I am so impressed with the people who work on our farm. Even as the weather cools, the sunlight wanes, and the harvest is a little less fruitful and summery, workers continue to show up every day on time and ready to work as cheery as ever. We dress in layers now shedding slickers and hats and layers of coats and sweaters as the temperatures fluctuate from cool in the morning, to warm in the early afternoon, to cool again in the late afternoon. The farm truck and the packing shed are littered with sweatshirts, water bottles, sun hats and muck boots. Now there are scarves and winter caps in the mix. We change outfits and footwear depending on the temperature and the tasks ahead of us.

We are quickly entering a phase in the season that is not for the fair-weather friend. We will be working in the cool fall wind, sometimes rain if it’s a harvest day and we need to get the harvest in, and rain means mud. We will dig Fall Roots in cool, wet soil if needed and our gloves and sweaters and boots get muddy and somehow that mud gets on our faces, under our nails and it adds weight when we walk. Bins of fall roots are heavy to load onto the farm truck and there are many of them.

The crew will stay busy on the farm through the week of Thanksgiving when we pack out our final CSA boxes of the season. There is still much to do. We have garlic beds to prepare, plant and mulch. We have plastic mulch and drip tape to rip up and tomato trellising to take down. There are quite a few beds of carrots, parsnips and beets to dig as well as rutabaga, radishes and leeks. The harvest always get done thanks to the tremendous help of a crew of hardy workers and worker shares who think it’s pretty cool to work outside, on an organic farm and doing this kind of work that feels meaningful, even if it is a little rugged and heavy. I feel thankful that there are still people who are drawn to doing this kind of work, I know it sure appeals to me! Even after all these years.

Farm work builds character and hardiness in a person. When it starts to rain we don’t run for cover. When the wind picks up we put up our hoods. When our fingers get cold, we grab a pair of gloves or two. If we must endure a little discomfort at times, we are all the happier when we do feel warm and cozy. Interestingly, the connection between the workers becomes richer when we do hard things together and accomplish tasks in a time frame we would never have been able to do alone. It may be getting cooler, but fall is still my favorite time of year!

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

Red Beet- One large red beet for everyone this week. These beets are from a very thinly seeded planting and the beets all grew vary large. Beet greens are nutritious and delicious and they can be used like swiss chard in your cooking.  They have similar texture and flavor to spinach as well (because they're in the same family of plants, can you tell?)

Green Cabbage- Have fun with your cabbage.  Make sauerkraut, egg rolls, coleslaw!  This is not a storage variety of cabbage, so we recommend using it up rather than waiting.  

Red Potato- 3 pounds per member this week. Potatoes are one of the few crops that we do not wash.  They will keep better unwashed- and washing them can sometimes really scuff them up. The variety this week is called Red Pontiac.

Sweet Dumpling Squash- These is the squash that looks a little like delicata but are shaped like an acorn.  Sweet Dumplings are similar to carnival squash and can be used as a substitute for acorn, butternut or almost any recipe that calls for squash.  They make nice soup bowls as well if pre-baked and stuffed with your favorite soup/stew recipe.  

Yellow Onion- Because onions go with almost everything!

Garlic- Another bulb of garlic, tucked in the paper bag with the mini-sweet peppers.

Mini-Sweet Peppers- Just a small handful of mini-sweets for everyone. We picked the plants clean with the chance of frost approaching this week.

Bell Peppers- 4 small bell peppers for every member. This will likely be that last of the peppers for the season.

Tomatoes- Just 2 tomatoes this week. Tomato production has now come to an end for the 2020 season. We will miss you tomatoes!

Kohlrabi- 2 per member (white or purple). Remember this treat from Spring? It has the crunchiness, crispyness and mildness of an apple.  It's not as sweet as an apple, but can be eaten raw, cooked, spiralized, shaved, matchsticked, or prepared in almost any way you could dream up!  My dad use you love to to just slice them up and eat them raw with a veggie dip.  (Peel off the outer, tougher skin).  ALSO, don't forget that Kohlrabi leaves are perfectly edible!

Broccoli or Cauliflower- Either one large broccoli (or 2 banded) or one large cauliflower per member.   We expecting much more from these 2 crops for week 19 and 20,.

Red Kale- Lovely green bunches of kale this week.  Kale keeps best in a plastic bag in the fridge. 

Flat Leaf Parsley – Big bunches of parsley this week. Parsley is lovely mixed into soups, sauces, marinades and salads of all kinds.  Find ways to sneak this super food into your meals. 

Next Week's Best Guess-  Sweet Potato, brussels sprouts, parsnip, leeks, celeraic root, broccoli and/or cauliflower, spinach, kohlrabi, squash, collards?

Recipes

Apple Cranberry Bacon Kale Salad with Slivered Almonds and Feta

Roasted Kohlrabi with Buttered Hazelnuts

Cream Braised Green Cabbage

Quiche with Beet Greens 

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September Twenty-Third

We have a humble tradition in our farm house of holding hands and taking turns saying at least one thing that we are grateful for before we share food together. It provides a moment of pause in our fast-paced lives to see, feel and recognize one small thing that we have to be grateful for in a sea of beauty and privilege in our lives. There are times when we sit down together calm, cheerful and well-prepared for this ritual, and times when we come to the table hungry, grumpy or still holding on to some kind of burden we have been carrying. I have found that even if we attempt to begin eating without this simple custom, the children feel the gap in our routine and will remind us all that it’s time to say ‘Thankful”. We will all say our ‘thankfuls’ each time, no matter the mood we’re in and this practice can work a magical power of helping us out of a stuck place.

I was recently asked by a CSA member and friend if I believed in God. I was caught off-guard by this question and responded by saying, “Yes, I think so…”. My answer felt unsatisfactory to us both but left me pondering my own response. I should know how to answer this question, but I don’t really. I was raised a Catholic school girl through middle school. God was an image of a man in a robe above the clouds in my head. I used to think that the word ‘God’ was owned by Catholics, Christians and all of the other religious denominations. I felt unsure how to use it and if I was caught using it, I would be called to examination of my beliefs. I no longer identify as a practicing Catholic or clearly belong to any organized religion. So who am I?

It wasn’t until much later in life that I began to see and experience God in a different way. Of course I believe in God! What was I thinking? God is everywhere! I live in God’s country!

I feel highly uncomfortable addressing this issue in a CSA Newsletter because I try to remain neutral on issues of politics and religion in these letters from the farm. I care immensely about possibly offending someone or saying the wrong thing. I am not deeply experienced and well-versed in the vocabulary of religion and spirituality. But it feels good to recognize that I can use the word God and that it is not owned by one religion. It feels a little awkward and rusty coming out of my mouth, but true and righteous nonetheless.

I feel God all around me in my daily work. I feel God in the wind on my cheeks, the sunshine on my back and in the plants and earth between my fingers. I aim to please God in my work of stewarding a small piece of land and tending to it with care and respect. I experience God through the warmth I feel in my chest when I see and embrace my children and husband and friends. I experience God when I am generous and giving. I experience God when I am captivated by the beauty I see on the horizon at sunset, the crimson red veins in the stunning chard leaves, and the bountiful harvest so lovingly packaged to the sound of laughter amongst friends in an old basement of a barn built 100 years ago turned into a produce packing shed on a small family farm.

My church is an open field with a seemingly acient Maple tree standing proudly on top. My fellows are the people who love and accept me. And my practice is hard work, grace and announcing all that I am thankful for before shared meals with my friends and family as my witnesses. My written response here still feels a little unsatisfactory, even to me. But I will continue to practice non-judgement, unending gratitude and servitude to the land and my fellow humans and animals through my words and deeds. This will just have to be good enough for now, but my journey isn’t over yet!

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

Green Cabbage-  This is the Artost variety.  Cabbage is great for making coleslaw, egg rolls, sauerkraut, cabbage rolls or whatever you love!  It is not a storage variety, but these heads will keep for a bit in the fridge!  

Gold Potatoes-  Three pounds per member this week.  We mostly had a very good potato year this year.  We're happy to be packing three pound bags this week instead of two pounds! 

Acorn Squash-  Acorn squash is a classic variety and is known for being one of the earliest season varieties out there.  Acorns can be used in just about any winter squash recipe you have-even home-made pumpkin pie!  They are very versatile!  Squash stores best between 50- and 60 degree storage temps.  It keeps very well just sitting on your counter in your home.  If it was to develope any signs of going bad, that would be your cue to eat it up!  

Tomatoes-  This could be the final tomato giving of the season!  These certainly wouldn't be the highest quality tomatoes we have shipped all year.  If they develope any spots on them, that would be a sign to use those up quickly!  The tomato plants on the farm are looking tired and thin these days!  Enjoy them while they last!  Always allow tomatoes to ripen outside the fridge!  Remember to remove them from your plastic bag to ripen with plenty of fresh air around them.  

Onion-  One onion for your everday needs!

Garlic-  This is our Metechi variety.  Metechi is a red-skinned garlic with 6-8 cloves per bulb.  This is one of our favorite varieties.  I bought a very small bag of seed from a man at the Kickapoo Country Fair back in 2009 and we have been propigating it ever since.  We had to do a little digging to discover the name of this variety as the farmer didn't know what it was, other than beautiful!  

Sweet Pepper-  Just one sweet pepper per member this week.  Peppers have slowed down dramatically in production.  We are thining we might have one more pepper to share next week, but it's getting late!  

Mint-  Aromatic bunches of mint for your tea, tabouli, or for drying.  Mint is lovely dried and then used in tea in the winter months.  

Carrots-  One pound bag per member again this week.  These carrots look a little rough because we harvested them and stored them dirty in our cooler for a couple weeks.  We barrel washed them before deliveries this week, but they look a little stained.  They're still yummy and fresh though!  

Swiss Chard-  Almost unbelievably, the chard plants still looked really good this Fall!  We noticed thier lush-ness had to harvest these for this week's box!  We made lasagna with chard this week at our house!

Fennel-  The fennel varried quite a lot this week in size.  Some of them were very sizable, but several of them towards the end of harvest were getting quite small.  We appolozie for the smaller fennel, but they are still very tender and add a great flavor to your soups or salads!  

Lettuce-  Either a red leaf or green leaf lettuce head per member.  Some of the heads were small, so you may have receive two small heads.  The deer discoverd our lettuce patch and cut into our harvest for this week!  

Broccoli-  One very fine head of broccoli per member this week.  The brcccoli is such a nice treat!  Stores best in a plastic bag in the fridge.  

Next Week's Best Guess:  Potatoes, squash, cabbage, kohlrabi, broccoli, onion, garlic, beets?, kale or collards, pepper, spinach?, parsley

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Recipes

Cream of Broccoli and Fennel Soup

Sausage and Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash

Swiss Chard Tamales

Potato and Swiss Chard Gratin- Bad Manners Recipe

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September Sixteenth

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The kitchen on the farm this week has been steamy and warm and even a little sloppy. Momma Jane and I have been busy canning tomato sauce with the culled tomatoes from the farm this week. We’re peeling garlic, chopping onions, plucking herbs, cleaning jars and canning our little hearts out. It feels good to have the pantry filling up with jars of sunshine that will sustain us in the year ahead. We even did one small batch of grape jelly from grapes that the neighbors let us pick.

Tomato and pepper production is rapidly coming to an end on the farm. There are temperatures with lows in the 30s later this week. The nights will begin to dip down closer to frost and truly, it could be ‘any day now’ before we get our first frost. Most commonly the first frost comes around the 3rd week of September, but sometimes sooner and sometimes later. The only crops we are in the biggest danger of losing now are tomatoes and peppers, but both of those crops are waning quickly in production. Many of the crops we still have out there are ‘frost tolerant’ which means that a light frost will not hurt them at all, but will in fact make them sweeter turning the starches from the plant into sugars. Once we get frost and cooler weather, many of the fall brassicas and spinach will actually be sweeter.

The days are noticeably shorter now and cooler which slows down the growth of our Fall crops some. We’re watching our fall spinach plantings and waiting for those succulent greens to size up as we can’t wait to start sharing with you fall spinach again! We were very excited to be offering fall lettuce in this week’s box. Greens other than kale, chard and collards can be tricky to come by in the fall. Many of our fall plantings of broccoli, cauliflower, and kohlrabi are looking very good. We can look forward to these and a few other seasonal treats very soon!

We have had a bit of a switch with our workers this fall as some of our crew members have left us to go back to school teaching and/or studying. We’re sad to see our friends go but we wish then success in their next chapter. We have hired on a few new workers who come with fresh enthusiasm and energy to carry us to the finish line with their new pep and energy. There is a core group of us who have been at this hard labor thing since April and our bones and brains are getting a little weary. But those of us who make it through an entire season sure do have good character! Some of us even wake up from a winter slumber coming back and wanting more!

We feel so lucky and blessed to have some sense of normalcy on the farm. Even with the masks, no hugging and social distancing, getting to work out in an open field with the opportunity to interact with other humans LIVE, we enjoy the sensation for a little while that very little has changed in the world. How lucky we are to be surrounded by so much bounty while fostering community and nourishment in all the ways that we know how.

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

Napa Cabbage-  One head of Napa Cabbage per member this week.  The heads were a little bigger this week than last week.  This cabbage makes a terrific salad.  It is very commonly used to make KimChi, a fermented Korean sauerkraut with hot peppers and mixed veggies.  Keeps best in a plastic bag in the fridge.  

Red Kabocha-  Sunshine Squash is the varity name of this squash.  It is my personal all-time favorite squash!  It has such a thick, creamy, bright orange flesh that makes butternuts fade into the background.  Cut your squash in half lengthwise, remove the seeds with a large spoon, and bake in the oven at 350 for about an hour with a little water in the pan to preven it from sticking.  

Broccoli or Romanesco-  You may have recevied either one broccoli or two small romanesco.  The broccoli the heads were beautiful and perfect this week!  

Red Potatoes-  2 lbs of gorgeous red potatoes for all this week!

Carrots-  1 pound per member.  

Green Curly Kale- One hearty bunch of green curly kale per member.  Keeps best in a plastic bag in the fridge.  

Tomatoes-  2 lbs tomatoes per member.  Tomato production is waning quickly now.  Remember to remove your tomatoes from the plastic bag and allow them to continue ripening on your counter laid out.  Do not refrigerate tomatoes unless you need to buy yourself some time before you get to using them up!  

Thyme-  One very aromatic bunch of thyme per member this week.  Thyme is wonderful in soups, stews, tea or broth of any kind.  If you don't think you can use it all, you can remove the rubber band and lay your thyme out on a baking sheet and or dehydrator trays and dehydate it.  If you use the oven, turn it on the lowest setting and crack the oven door so it doesn't cook.  Store your dried herbs in a mason jar with a tight lid.  

Sweet Peppers-  Very small givings of peppers this week.  We tried to have at least two sweet peppers per member this week.  Some of them were smaller or on the green side.  We're feeling the effects of our pepper disease now late in the season when we normally have a lot more peppers to share!  Luckliy green peppers are still tasty in salsa, on pizza in relish or any other way you can dream up!

Yellow Onion-  One Yellow Onion per member.  

Lettuce-  Either a green leaf lettuce head or a red leaf lettuce head.  Stores best in a plastic bag in the fridge.  

MiniSweet Peppers and Cherry Tomatoes-  1/4 pound paper sacks with a very small offering of mini-sweet peppers and a cherry tomato mix.  

Next Week's Best Guess-Potatoes, onion, garlic, kohlrabi?, fennel?, broccoli, lettuce, tomato, chard, winter squash, carrots

Recipes

Peanut Pasta Napa Cabbage Salad

Caldo Verde-Portugese Kale, Sausage and Potato Soup (I LOVE this Recipe!)

Thai Red Curry with Kabocha Squash