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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 Eighth 

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I do believe that I have the best job in the world. The best job for me, for sure. It’s a hard job and the hours are long and the labor is heavy. The stress is real and the constant variable of mother nature in our partnership can turn even the best farmers into failures on certain crops in certain years.  

I recently read a book called Move Your DNA by Katy Bowman that is a new inspiration in my life. She is a biomechanist who writes about the importance of natural movements, primal movements, in our lives opposed to actual exercise. She talks about the importance of reaching, squatting, climbing, swinging, and just plain moving your body. She writes about how our blood circulates naturally with movement, our joints are strengthened when we walk barefoot on uneven ground. Our pelvic floors, our knees and our ankles thank us when we use them to their greatest potentials.

When we reach for the cucumbers twisting and squatting and bending our bodies in ways that we would not otherwise do-we improve our health. When we pull on the weeds we twist, bend and open our joints-and improve our health. When we squat, and she talks A LOT about the importance of squatting, we improve our digestion, elimination, and just about any other activity that you might need your pelvis in good health for such as giving birth and even the act of making the babies themselves-which we all want to be in peak shape for, am I right?

We have a small barefoot movement happening here on the farm some days-inspired by those of us who have ready Katy’s book. If we’re working on the soft, moist soil weeding the carrot beds, many of us will kick our books off and soak up the grounding effects of walking barefoot on the damp earth. Of course the boss makes us all put our shoes back on when it’s time to get moving or if we need to work in the packing shed on concrete.

Katy even talks about the health benefits of natural sounds and lights in our environments. She talks about the importance of using your eyes and looking far into the distance and focusing on something far away as well as being able to focus on things close at hand-where nature provides these situations perfectly for us. She even talks about sleeping without pillows on firm surfaces-but I’m not quite there yet. A good night sleep is imperative to the success of this farm, so perhaps there is some room for growth here;)

I watch our farm kids run up and down these hills and swing from the numerous climbing apparatuses provided for them in the yard and in the house. I watch their strong bodies and minds grow and flourish and I feel thankful for this setting in which to raise them. I haven’t even mentioned the enormous bonus of raising a family amidst so much bounty and richness.

Breathing fresh air is a new perk to our job that I had previously under-appreciated. In a masked world with the very privilege of being allowed to breath without something over my face, I feel thankful to work outdoors where managing this obstacle is a non issue.

For now the weather is fine. The days are cool and the sun feels welcome and warm on our backs. I whistle while I work knowing that we are now on the home stretch of our very busy season. I may very well be signing a different tune in a short while when the weather turns blustery and my fingers are frozen while my body tightens in the cold weather. We’ll see how much I love my job when it’s freezing rain this fall and our boots are stuck in the mud and the cold north winds blow…..but just let me have this moment, eh?

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Soooo….What’s in the Box????

Napa Cabbage- Glorious heads of napa cabbage this week! Some of them were quite large. Napa Cabbage is a cool season crop and can be tricky to grow earlier in the season. It defends the flea beetle pressure much better in the cooler weather. Makes a lovely Asian salad and is ideal for kim chi fermenters out there!

Spaghetti Squash- These are the large, yellow, oval shaped items in your box, not to be confused with melons! Spaghetti squash are all the rage in the gluten free world and when cooked up resembles noodles when gently forked out of it’s shell. Just cut your squash in half raw, scrape the seeds out with a spoon and then place them face down on a baking pan with a half inch of water and bake for one hour.   When the come out of the oven, let them cool and scrape the noodle-like flesh out of the shells!

Red Potatoes- 2lb bags of red potatoes for everyone this week! Will keep just fine outside of refrigeration for quite some time. We do not wash freshly dug potatoes because their skins scuff so easily.

Carrots- 1lb bags for all!

Green Beans- .70 lbs per member. This is likely the final giving of green beans of the season. They may require a little cleaning up.

Tomatoes- 2.5lbs per member. Tomatoes are getting toward the end of the season. Our tomatoes this year took a hit during all of the stormy weather we received earlier in the summer. Tomatoes do not lovely moisture on their leaves which can fire up the blight on the leaves.

Jalapeno Pepper- In the top of your tomato bags. These are the little green guys in there. They are spicy!

Hungarian Hot Wax Pepper- Also called banana peppers. These are also in the top of your tomato bag.

Mini Sweet Peppers- The mini sweet peppers were put in the plastic clamshells in your box. These are a deliciously sweet snacking pepper. They are also wonderful added to stir fry or salads.

Eggplant- You may have received either an Asian eggplant or a standard eggplant.

Sweet Bell Peppers- 3 bell peppers per member. We grow a wide variety of peppers. All sweet peppers start out green and we wait until they turn colors to harvest them. Red, yellow and orange sweet peppers. I LOVE pepper season!

Sun Gold Cherry Tomatoes- .35 lbs. A much more modest giving of cherry tomatoes this week! We were happy to still have them to share.

Brussels Sprouts Tops- These are the greens at the top of your box. We snap the tops off of the Brussels sprouts to tell the plants to stop growing upwards and to begin bulking up the sprouts towards the top of the stalks. In three weeks the Brussels sprouts stalks should be ready for harvest!  They can be eaten like kale, collards or any other brassica greens!  

Next Week's Best Guess: Potatoes, green cabbage, spaghetti Squash, onion, sweet peppers, mini sweets, tomatoes, green kale, curly parsley, eggplant, celeriac root?

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Recipes

Spaghetti Squash Noodle Bowl with Lime Peanut Sauce

Roasted Spaghetti Squash Hash Browns

Crunchy Napa Cabbage Salad with Ramen Noodles

Chicken Fajita Quesadillas with Peppers and Onions

September First

A gentle breeze blew and a glittering of leaves fell from the walnut trees in the yard. I suddenly realized that Fall was approaching. The wolly bear caterpillars are crawling around looking for a place to slumber and the yellow jackets are ubiquitous around the farm. Monarch butterflies flutter around and the apple trees are beginning to drop their apples.

As we gracefully slip into the month of September I notice a difference in our Farm this year that is different from all other summers in the 16 years we have been running our farm. We are not planning to maintain a presence at the Dane County Farmer’s Market as we have done for so many years in the past. Generally we begin Farmer’s Markets in the month of September to sell our excess produce at. Historically we have needed to sell our extra produce at the Farmer’s Market to supplement our CSA farm income and to find an outlet for our excess bounty. Farmer’s Markets require that your farmers dip deeper into our well of energy and expel the remainder of our vitality on all that is required to harvest for, pack and sell at a Farmer’s Market mid season while we are already giving our CSA our primary focus and 100%.

In order to vend at the Dane County Farmer’s Market we need to spend most of the day on Fridays harvesting for market and loading the truck so we can then drive away at 3:30am on Saturday morning. This also means finding an extra helper willing to work at Market’s with us on Saturday and either Adam or I spending a whole day in Madison on Saturdays vending and then coming home on Saturday nights totally exhausted. This also translates into Sundays as more of a recovery day from the tremendous amount of energy expelled that it takes to do a Farmer’s Market.  

This summer we decided to grow our CSA membership enough that we could supplement Farmer’s Market income so that we could stay home on Saturday mornings, sleep in for one day of the week and keep up with the tasks here at home on the farm at a slower pace. This change has been nothing short of drastic for our family. Knowing that this Saturday Adam and I will both get to sleep until the children wake us up and be at home with our kids feels like a gift. We can make pancakes, can tomatoes, do field work, machinery maintenance, packing shed clean up or even go for a bike ride with our kids if we want.

This change in our lives is made possible by you. By choosing to be part of our CSA membership you have helped a farm family achieve a more sustainable lifestyle. CSA farming is demanding enough as it is. We are enjoying this one step towards a more manageable work/family balance and are acknowledging our gratitude for this change in our lives. Admittedly, Farmer’s Markets were fun and they gave your farmer’s an excuse to get off the farm and put on clean clothes and have face-to-face interactions with some of our customers and supporters. But they do require additional energy and enthusiasm, which I find difficult to imagine mustering up at this late stage in the season.

Perhaps we will do Farmer’s Markets again one day. I like the idea of our children helping us vend at Markets and sensing the festive-like feel of a market. The experience of making change out of a $20 one hundred times again and again, seeing the glow in someone’s eye when the fruits of our labor attract and lure health-conscious eaters over to our table, and the merry and joyful feeling that a Farmer’s Market can bring to your life. But for now those ideas are all going to just have to wait. I will enjoy sleeping until 8am on Saturday while I pay tribute to all of you, the loyal and dedicated CSA members. Thank you!

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Soooo….What’s in the Box????

Tomatoes- 8lb bags of tomatoes. We pick any tomato with a 'blush'. This means any tomato with any beginning of color at the time of harvest as tomatoest ripen nicely off the vine. They are still considered 'vine ripened' tomatoes. We grow a wide variety of tomatoes. You may have received a pink brandywine heirloom tomato, roma tomatoes, red slicers, black velvet heirloom or even Chef's choice which is a yellow tomato. We offer a nice mix of heirlooms and standard slicing varieties. Do not refrigerate tomatoes unless you need to buy yourself some time before you are able to process them. Refrigerators will suck flavor out of your tomatoes. Allow your unripe tomatoes to sit out on the counter until fully ripe.

Beets- 3 medium to large beets per member. The beets this year have been fabulous! We’re thrilled to finally be able to keep the deer off of them and have beets in our CSA boxes! Sweet, earthy and nutritious. Keeps best in a plastic bag in the fridge.

Onion- Because every meal is better with an onion.

Sweet Peppers- 2-3 Peppers per member this week. The sweet peppers are just beginning. There were a few people at the end of packing who did not receive a sweet pepper as we ran out of them. Sweet peppers may include red, yellow or orange bell peppers. We grow many different varieties of peppers. It’s looking like it’s going to be a great pepper year!   Many more of these to come! Some people received minisweet peppers if you only received two standard sweet pepeprs.

Eggplant- 1 Asian eggplant and 1 standard eggplant per member.

Parsley- 1 bunch of flat leaf parsley per member.

Lacinato Kale- Lacinato is the favorite variety of kale. Is lovely in soups, salads or simply stir-fried in a generous amount of coconut oil.

Cherry Tomatoes- 1 lb clamshells of cherry tomatoes. This was our biggest week for cherry tomatoes. Production will be waning after this week. We’ll be hoping for anther giving after this week.

Green Beans- .78 lbs of beans per member. A mix of dragon tongue and green beans.

Honeydew Melon- 1 melon per member. These are a green fleshed melon with a hard yellow rind. We weren’t as impressed with the honeydew melon flavor this year. We allowed

Garlic- Asian tempest is the variety this week. Asian tempest has purple striping on the skins that fades some after harvest.

Next Week’s Best Guess- tomatoes, sweet peppers, onion, green beans, spaghetti squash, napa cabbage, carrots, Brussels sprouts tops or chard, hot peppers

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Recipes-

Apple Cranberry Bacon Kale Salad with Slivered Almonds and Feta

Eggplant Parmesan Stacks

Honedew Melon Sorbet

Green Bean and Cherry Tomato Salad

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August Twenty-Fifth

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In August, I feel tired. If August was a person, it would be a wild-eyed, red haired voluptuous woman, the kind of person that excites you and dances the night away with you and leaves you feeling strewn out on the floor. While there are no festivities and late summer evening fires burning the midnight oil in my life, I am the dedicated farm wife and mother of three small children burning with the desire to grow, nurture, preserve food and ride the exhilarating wave of the August workload and bounty on a small family farm.  

I remind myself that August is not the month to make any final decisions about my life. August is the month of unsustainable energy exertion. We are pushing through these weeks with grit and perseverance and determination. We pulled over 1500lbs of carrots out of the ground last week that needed to be harvested with a little extra help on the farm. We also had our largest green bean harvest of the season that our farm has ever had last week with over 570lbs coming out of the field with loads more that went unpicked!

Tomato harvest is coming to a peak this week. The colorful, soft, juicy fruits are the very essence of summer itself. The tomatoes are both watery and acidic. They’re heavenly and heavy. They’re the long-awaited for and sought after icon of the season. Tomatoes will dominate the space in the CSA box, your counter tops, your cooking and your hearts for the next few weeks. They will satisfy your cravings and will eventually have you crying for mercy before it’s all over. Folks, get ready for tomatoes.

This week on the farm we will continue tomato harvest every two days. We will pick green beans until time runs out and begin to pull in the winter squash harvest. Many of the winter squash vines are beginning to die back exposing many of the fruits. We have begun to harvest some fruits that were showing signs of sun scald and looking fully mature. We are excited to share acorn squash, buttercup squash, red kuri squash, butternut squash, pie pumpkins and spaghetti squash. It’s hard to believe it’s time to start harvesting some of these fall favorites! Fall is just around the corner!

Farmer Adam replanted our fall Spinach last week. We had seeded our fall Spinach before we got all of that pounding 6 inches of rain a couple weeks ago. We suspect that the hammering rain actually compacted the soil so much that the seeds were not able to push through. There was no lack of moisture and the seeds were not washed away, just too compacted in from the heavy rains to be able to germinate. Fingers crossed that we got enough rain this weekend to germinate the second seeding and that they will be ready in time for the last couple CSA boxes to have hefty bags of spinach in them!

Good news is that our Fall carrots and beets are looking great! The Brussels sprouts are looking better than ever before on our farm this year! With a cool breeze and a good nights sleep your farmers will catch their second wind to carry us through the last third of the summer season feeling joyful and strong.

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Sooo….What’s in the Box????

Tomatoes- Hefty 7lb Bags of tomatoes for all. We pick any tomato with a 'blush'. This means any tomato with any beginning of color at the time of harvest as tomatoest ripen nicely off the vine. They are still considered 'vine ripened' tomatoes. We grow a wide variety of tomatoes. You may have received a pink brandywine heirloom tomato, roma tomatoes, red slicers, black velvet heirloom or even Chef's choice which is a yellow tomato. We offer a nice mix of heirlooms and standard slicing varieties. Do not refrigerate tomatoes unless you need to buy yourself some time before you are able to process them. Refrigerators will suck flavor out of your tomatoes. Allow your unripe tomatoes to sit out on the counter until fully ripe.

Melons- 1-2 Melons per member. If you only received one melon, it was a larger melon. We did ship out some Canary melons that had a spots on the outside. These melons looked a little rough on the outside, but we knew they were the sweetest melons of the lot, so we decided to give them anyways. They are a bit like a deliciously ripe mango that is a little shrively and rough looking on the outside, but deliciously sweet on the inside. Consider yourself lucky if you got one of these! The melons were a bit of a mixed lot, you may have received either a Canary melon (with the yellow rind), a cantelope and/or a small yellow watermelon. Melons are coming to an end, but we’re thrilled to still be able to put two in each box.

Cucumbers- 1-2 cukes per member. This may have been the final giving of cucumbers for the season. They’re less cosmetically beautiful at the tail end of the season like this, but still have all the flavor and freshness of a cucumber. We like to peel off some of the outer skin with a potato peeler before we slice them up for snacking and salads.

Green Beans- 1.43lbs per member. A generous giving of green beans this week! The crew spent a lot of hours working on these beans this week. There is a mix of the Dragon Tongue Beans mixed in with the standard green beans this week. The drangon tongue beans have beautiful purple markings on the beans when they are raw but fade away once cooked. These are our kids favorite beans.

Sweet Corn- 4-5 ears per member. This is the final giving of sweet corn for the season. It was a nice run of corn and we successfully kept the raccoons out for the most part. Remember that sweet corn is best when eaten as soon after harvest as possible. Keep cool until you cook it up.

Red Curly Kale- Nice bunches of kale to keep you stocked in greens this week. Have you found a favorite way to eat kale this summer? Have you tried any new ways of preparing it? This nutrient rich veggie is so versatile and delicious, we hope you have found ways to love it as much as we do!

Onion- One white onion per member.

Garlic- This white skinned porcelain variety is called Music.

Sun Gold Cherry Tomatoes- About a pint of cherry tomatoes per member this week. We put them in brown paper bags for three reasons: 1) They fit in the box a little nicer this way in the bag as the plastic clamshell containers take up more room, 2) To reduce the plastic usage on the farm by NOT using the clamshell containers, 3) The plastic clamshells are costly and are also PLASTIC which does not biodegrade.

Sweet Pepper- Almost everyone received one sweet pepper this week. The sweet peppers are just beginning. There were a few people at the end of packing who did not receive a sweet pepper as we ran out of them. Sweet peppers may include red, yellow or orange bell peppers. We grow many different varieties of peppers. It’s looking like it’s going to be a great pepper year!   Many more of these to come!

Eggplant- 1-2 per member. You may have received a standard eggplant that is round-ish and looks like a normal eggplant or you may have received an Asian eggplant that is long and slender. Asian eggplant varieties are slightly sweeter and generally have smaller seeds and cook up quicker. Eggplant isn’t a great keeper. It stores like zucchini which prefers a 50 degree storage temp. The fridge is a little too cold and the counter is a little too warm, so dust off your eggplant recipes and have fun!

Beets- 2 medium to large beets per member. The beets this year have been fabulous! We’re thrilled to finally be able to keep the deer off of them and have beets in our CSA boxes! Sweet, earthy and nutritious. Keeps best in a plastic bag in the fridge.

Hot Peppers- You may have received both a Hungarian Hot Wax pepper and a Jalapeno pepper or you may have received only a Jalapeno pepper. We put the hot peppers in the top of the tomato bags.

Mini Sweet Pepper- One little mini sweet pepper per member stuck in your cherry tomato bag.

Next Week's Best Guess-  Tomatoes, sweet peppers, green beans, honeydew melons?, beets, eggplant, cherry tomatoes, lacinato kale or swiss chard, onion, garlic, parsley, 

Recipes:

Grilled Eggplant Ratatouille Muffaletta

Tomato Tart (this is the delicious Cherry Tomato Tart recipe I forgot to post last week!  Do it!)

Beet and Kale Salad

Gluten Free Chocolate Beet Cupcakes

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August Eighteenth

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I had a CSA member ask me at the farm dinner last Saturday night where the first place my eyes go in the morning when I first step out the door. I prompted this question by offering that I’m always looking for newsletter content ideas and I’m interested in knowing what YOU all want to know. My initial response to her question was the deck floor. I wasn’t exactly sure how to answer this question. Is there something meaningful about where ones eyes go each morning when they step outside their door? What is to be learned about ones self by watching the direction one looks in?

What if I looked up at the sky? Would that mean I was in an optimistic, cheery mood? What if I looked at the flowers growing along the side of the house? Would that mean I am a bright, colorful soul with adventurous energy? What if I looked at the lawn and the length of the grass? What if I just looked at the deck, would this mean I am a very boring person? I still don’t know for sure, but I do know that I am slightly more conscious this week about what my eyes are drawn to seeing at first glance.

I do know that as I walk out to the kale patch to join the crew a few minutes late for Kale harvest (after getting the kids their breakfast and checking in with Grandma about the plan for the day), I walk to the field and notice the flowering wild plants. I see the milkweed, thistle and red clover flowers and know that it is now late summer. I notice the changing light in these mid-August days and how everything has a shadow and the two-tone-ness of the naturally lit outside world. I always admire the contoured fields and the curves in the landscape. I notice the misty morning and the sound of the crickets chirping LOUDLY. I notice that the mornings are cool and my legs feel a little tired.

But a farmers eyes are very good a looking for all the work that needs to be done. We are very well trained at looking for work. The mind and the eye are skilled at looking for pests, disease, weed pressure and the maturity of the crops. We assess that which is within our control and that which is beyond. It is a daily observation. We look for the fires that need to be put out. We look for the damage. We check our transplants and see how they weathered the storms. We check the spinach seed to see if it is germinating in the freshly seeded beds. We watch the soil moisture to see when it will be dry enough that we can dig carrots, till beds, and cultivate fall brassicas.

In general, I know I am a romantic optimist though-if the question was a personality pop quiz. I’m just naieve enough to work my butt off every day of my life and still believe that I have the best life in the world. I’m willing to carry the weight of this growing operation and a family with three small children and watch my husband feel overwhelmed for 7 months out of the year and still tell myself that we have it good. I’m a little like a gerbil running on a spinning wheel, but I’m also a little like a migratory bird. The cross-continental flight to make a nest takes endurance, loyalty, strength, grit, focus and perseverance-all for the love and gratitude of wings.

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

Melons x 2-  Not one, but TWO melons per member this week!  Most members received two cantelopes or you may have received a cantelops and a watermelon or a cantelope and a Canary Melon.  Cantelopes are not fantastic keepers, so we recommend using them up sooner rather than later.  The Canary Melons are the ones with the yellow rind and a crispy green inner flesh.  

Sweet Corn x 4-  Four ears per member this week.  Corn was a tricky harvest again this week.  We're still dealing with many of the sweet corn plants that were tangled and laying down near the ground from the storms last week.  We're thankful we're able to still get a nice harvest to share with you!  Remember that the moment that sweet corn is harvested, the sweetness of the ears begins to go downhill.  We recommend using up your sweet corn as soon as possible for maximum flavor and sweetness.  Keep your sweet corn refrigerated until you eat it up!  

Tomatoes- 5# bags per member.  We pick any tomato with a 'blush'.  This means any tomato with any beginning of color at the time of harvest as tomatoest ripen nicely off the vine.  They are still considered 'vine ripened' tomatoes.  We grow a wide variety of tomatoes.  You may have received a pink brandywine heirloom tomato, roma tomatoes, red slicers, black velvet heirloom or even Chef's choice which is a yellow tomato.  We offer a nice mix of heirlooms and standard slicing varieties.  Do not refrigerate tomatoes unless you need to buy yourself some time before you are able to process them.  Refrigerators will suck flavor out of your tomatoes.  Allow your unripe tomatoes to sit out on the counter until fully ripe.  

Cucumbers- 3 slicers per member.  The cucumbers are still producing, but production is going down.  We're thinking we will continue to harvest them for another week or so. The cukes we're picking now are less perfect than they were at the start of the season, later in the season like this they get a little mis-shapen at times.  

White Onion-  Because everything tastes better with a lilttle sauteed onion.  

Green Beans- .86 lbs per member.  Green beans are producing nicely now.  We're expecting another couple weeks of green bean offerings yet to come!  

Eggplant- 2 per member. You may have received a standard eggplant that is round-ish and looks like a normal eggplant or you may have received an Asian eggplant that is long and slender. Asian eggplant varieties are slightly sweeter and generally have smaller seeds and cook up quicker. Eggplant isn’t a great keeper. It stores like zucchini which prefers a 50 degree storage temp. The fridge is a little too cold and the counter is a little too warm, so dust off your eggplant recipes and have fun!

Sun Gold Cherry Tomatoes-  These are the very adorable little orange cherry tomatoes in the brown paper bags.  We didn't quite have enough to give everyone a pint clamshell so we bagged thsse.  Sun golds ripen orange, so do not wait for them to turn red.  Check out our very favorite and delicious Tomato Tart recipe below that we served at the farm dinner last weekend!  You don't have enough cherry tomatoes here to make the tart, but fill in with your other ripe tomatoes and you'll think you died and went to heaven.  Trust me!  

Carrots-  1 lb bags of carrots again this week. 

Green Curly Kale-  Because the kale is so prolific.  

Next Week's Best Guess- Melons, Sweet Corn, Tomatoes, Sweet Peppers, Eggplant, Cucumbers, Swiss Chard, Beets, Green Beans, Onion, garlic

Recipes

Kale Olive and Chickpea Salad

Sweet Corn and Coconut Milk Chowder

Eggplant Parmesan Stacks

Baba Ganoush (Eggplant Dip) with Pomegranate Molasses

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August Eleventh

The farm received nearly 7 inches of rain the past week.  Heavy winds and rain hammered down this past weekend making for a very muddy harvest on Monday morning.  The crew was getting their boots stuck in the mud.  The bins were muddy, the produce was muddy and there was mud virtually everywhere.  The sweet corn was a very tricky harvest this week as much of the corn was actually laying on the ground at harvest time.  We don't wash sweet corn, so the corn is muddier than we would ever like to send it to you.  The crew was muddy, their hands were muddy, the truck was muddy and it was raining.  Please pardon any extra mud and dirt this week.  We took a lot of extra time this week to wash items that we wouldn't normally even have to wash such as green beans and all of the melons.  It was a very muddy harvest week!  

Tomato Plants do not love moisture on their leaves and the plants are revealing that they have blight in many areas that were previously looking just fine before all of this rain and moisture.  7 inches of rain leads to soil loss and erosion on a vegetable farm with exposed soil.  We did do some tilling right befor the rain to plant our fall spinach beds.  We're hoping the spinach seeds didn't all wash away!  We do a number of things to prevent soil loss on our farm during heavy rains.  We have contoured some of our fields so that they follow the hillside curves. We also do some cover cropping between the rows of the tomatoes and have experimented with it between the rows of other crops.  We use mulch on some crops which will help hold soil in place as well.  We also only till our soil when we absolutely have to because we are aware of the delicate life int he soil that is disturbed in tillage.  

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CSA Family!  You may know that our farm belongs to a coalition of CSA Farmers called Fair Share CSA Coalition.  It's a coaltion of CSA Farmers banding together to spread the good word about CSA farming and all of the health, social and economic benefits.  The coaltion facilitates educational workshops and field days for farmers to share their knowledge and insigt.  The Fair Share CSA Coaltion is also very well known for all of the good work they are doing to make fresh, local and organic food available to low-income families.  Each summer they host a couple giving drives and ask the farmers in the coaltion to spread the word.  The money goes to supporting low income families and their access to fresh, local and organic produce.  If you have the means, feel free to donate to this worthy cause at www.fairshare.kindful.com

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

Sweet Corn-  4-5 ears per member.  The corn was a little dirty this week.  The crew had to harvest in the mud and rain.  We do not wash sweet corn, so you'll have to pardon the mud this week on this item.  Sweet corn is best eaten as soon after it was picked as possible.  We recommend eating it up as soon as possible for optimum flavor and freshness!  Corn also should be stored very cold if you must hold it to prevent the sugars from turning into starches.  

Watermelon-  1 smaller yellow watermelon.  The melons were smaller this year for some reason.  Watermelons are notoriously trickly to grow.  The seed companies all warn growers of 'watermelon wilt' which is a disease that affects the health of the watermeon vines that happens very often in watermelons.  We just hope each year that they size up in time before the watermelon wilt sets in.  Tasty, but on the smaller side.  

Canary Melon or Cantelope-  The Canary Melons are not to be mistaken for Spaghetti squash.  These are the bright yellow melons with a hard rind.  When you cut into them they will have a crisp flesh that looks a little like cucumber flesh.  It's quite crispy, but once you take a bite you'll understand why we love this melon so much!  Canary melons taste like candy when you get a good one!  If you did not receive a Canary Melon, you would have received a cantelope.  Cantelopes are easy to identify and have the creamy orange flesh that is delicious and sweet!  Yummy!  

Cucumbers- 2-3  Per memer this week. Cucumbers are waning in production now. We should still have them for another week or two, but they're almost over at the Small Family Farm.  

Red Cabbage-  These are very cute, dense little heads of red cabbage.  Will keep quite nicely in the fridge in the crisper drawer, but don't hold onto anything too long, so much more to come!  

Onion-  Because onions make everything taste so much better!

Carrots- 1lb of YaYa carrots this week.  We found them to be very sweet and crispy and a nice size too!  

Zucchini and or Summer Squash- 1-2 squash per member this week.  

Broccoli-  1 per member.  The peak summer broccoli isn't our best broccoli.  Broccoli does not love all of this rain and heat.  Typically broccoli is a cool weather loving plant, so the fact that we even have it in mid August is a miracle.  We'll have to enjoy what we have here.  

Fennel-  Nice bulbs of fennel.  Fennel can be tricky to learn to love, so if you're new to it, keep searching for the right recipe!  We love to just slice it up like an onion and caramelize it and use it like an onion in many different dishes.  Put it on pizza, in a stir fry, fritatta, or feature it raw shaved onto a salad.  The frawns make a beautiful garnish as well!  Don't forget to cut out the little core in the center of the bulb. 

Romaine- 1-2  smaller heads of lettice this week. Lettuce doesn not love the heat of the summer, like broccoli.  So many of these heads were smaller.  This is the final lettuce giving of the season for awahile.  

Jalapeno Pepper- These are the little green guys in the box.  They are HOT!  

Hungarian Hot Wax- These are also called a bananna pepper.  Technically they are considered a hot pepper, but are amungst the most mild of all hot peppers.  

Green Beans-  .82 Lbs of Green Beans per member. 

Tomatoes- 1-2.  You may have just received 1 if it was a bigger tomato or two if they were smaller.  This is the very beginning of tomato harvest.  We're hoping for more ripe tomatoes every week for the next several weeks.  It is also helpful to know that we pick our tomatoes with a 'blush'.  Any tomato showing any signs of red will be picked so that we can get them before they ripen too much on the vine and become too soft for shipping.  These tomatoes are still considered 'vine ripened' as we do not use any artifical means for helping them ripen.  Allow your tomatoes to sit out on the counter until they are the desired ripeness.  Only put a tomato in the refrigerator if it is in danger of becoming over ripen and you need to buy yourself some time before you use it up.  

Next Week's Best Guess-  Melons, sweet corn, onion, cucumbers, broccoli?, tomatoes, kale, carrots, green beans, eggplant, peppers?

 

Recipes

Risotto with Sweet Sausage and Fennel

Fennel Cucumber Salsa

Warm Red Cabbage Salad

Zucchini Pizza Crust

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