Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Fair Share Farm CSA---Week 16

uncovering the turnips in the high tunnel
SALAD TURNIPS: These turnips have been treated with care in the high tunnel and are ready for the shares. They are fresh as can be, with ice cream like centers.

LETTUCE: Having a fresh head of lettuce when the snows of November are early is a nice treat. Enjoy the last of these tender leaves.

SPINACH: Only a small amount, as the spinach grows slow when the days start getting shorter. Use it in an omelet, as a soup garnish, or to add some more body to a salad.

BONITA SWEET POTATOES: These sweet potatoes live up to their name. Scrub them, chop them and cook them most anyway you want. Be sure to keep an eye on them, as they are quite tender and cook a bit quicker than most orange sweet potatoes.

CARROTS: A mix of varieties from our fall planting. Sweet from the kiss of frost.

GREENS CHOICE: The first cutting of sprouting broccoli in the high tunnel or a bunch of chard is the choice this week. If you return next year these same plants will be a part of the April harvest in 2019.

LEEKS:  We consider leeks one of the real treats of the fall. A vegetable not particularly fond of hot, dry summers, this years crop stood up well to weather adversities this year. We like to make a simple dish of chopped leeks, fennel and cabbage that have been braised and then carmelized in white wine and butter.

MIXED HERB BUNDLE: Dill and cilantro

The last distribution of the CSA season is upon us and not a moment too soon as winter is making outdoor work difficult.  Frigid temperatures (11 degrees F Saturday morning!) have arrived early this year, sending your farmers scrambling to prepare.The CSA shares are mostly coming from the protected environment of the high tunnel.  The leafy greens and roots stayed above freezing with two layers of row cover inside the structure.

Out in the field the hardy leeks are withstanding the cold under layers of cover.  Most everything else has been bulk harvested to store in the walk-in cooler for winter markets and the fermentation kitchen.  The bulk harvest of the fall cabbage was a success with over a ton of cabbage now in the cooler (that’s 2,000 lbs. folks!).

In the snow we covered the strawberries and the newly-planted garlic with a deep layer of hay and straw.  We have heard that mulching on top of snow is a good practice but this is the first time the weather cooperated in order to try it.  It seems like they will benefit from the moisture during the long winter ahead.

This being our final CSA week of 2018, we thank all of you who have spent the growing season with us.  We love knowing the families and individuals who eat our food.  Thank you for supporting our farm this season and we hope that you will decide to share another harvest with us in 2019.  Look for a survey in your inbox in December and please give your thoughts on our community endeavor.  We will ask for renewals for the 2019 season in January.  Peace and Happy eating to all!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Fair Share Farm CSA---Week 15

BOK CHOI: These hearty Asian greens love to grow in the fall. They are getting bigger by the day. Enjoy them in a stir-fry or any other way you would use a mustard green. They make a simple dish if sautéed with garlic and garnished with some lemon. They are also great in a stir-fry soup.

ONION: The last of the season, these wonderful alliums are the storage variety and should hold well, though they are good enough to eat right away. A little stronger than the sweet onions of the spring and summer, they are great cooked.

RADISH: Growing a perfect radish is harder than you think, but we may have nailed it this week. These beauties out of the high tunnel are a gorgeous red color with very little heat. Juicy and crunchy they are good in a salad or as a sandwich with cheese or butter.

SALAD TURNIPS: Harvested out of the field, these turnips are a little blemished but packed with flavor. A little peeling may be in order, but then simply slice them up and eat them raw. Or add them to the above mentioned stir-fry soup.Yum!

GARLIC: Garlic returns to the shares. We use it in just about everything we cook. It's earthy flavor captures the essence of the farm.

LETTUCE X 2: The lettuce this week and next is coming from the high tunnel. They need to be picked this week as most of them are peaking. The flavor and nutrition comes from our efforts to constantly increase the high tunnel's fertility, through animal rotations, cover cropping, beneficial insect habitat,  water management, and reduced-tillage.

GREENS CHOICE: The greens abound right now. Choices include sprouting broccoli, kale and chard.

HERB CHOICE: We will be clipping down the rosemary plants in the high tunnel to prep for the coming winter. We hope to give everyone a sprig or two mixed with other herbs. Check the label on the crate for your choices.

This week my sister Jeanne Ruggieri and her husband Alan, as well as a high school chum of mine, Joe, paid the farm a weekend visit. It was a splendid time that included CSA work, winemaking and relaxing. It was a beautiful time on the farm. We are always glad when friends and family come to visit so they can better understand what life on the farm is really like.

As we head into the second month of fall the summer cover crops have given up their spirit. So we mow them down and turn them in so that they can provide nutrition to the land when the growing season begins again in the spring.

And if you have not made your farm shift yet for the year we have 3 Saturdays left for the season. We are appreciative of the work the CSA performs at the farm every year. The benefits are countless, both for us and for you.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Fair Share Farm CSA---Week 14

SPINACH:  The high tunnel ground was exposed to the elements during most of the recent rains. This is a great benefit to the soil, leaching salts from the surface and soaking the ground for a short time. The spinach has benefitted greatly from this and the first leaves of the fall harvest are headed to your shares.

SWEET POTATOES: Cured for over two weeks these beauties are just the thing for an autumn meal. We love them as fries (check our November 2012 blog for a great recipe.)

TOMATOES: Truly the last of the season. Make some salsa with the green tomatoes and bulb fennel for a trip back to the summer. Or try that old favorite fried green tomatoes.

GREEN PEPPERS:  Brooksiders got their fair share of our final pepper harvest last Monday. The rest of you get them this week. Great in fajitas.

BULB FENNEL:  With the crispness of celery and a touch of licorice, bulb fennel is a great addition to a lettuce salad. This November 2010 post give you instructions on cutting one up.

GREENS CHOICE: Sprouting broccoli and Toscano kale will be the main choices on Wednesday, and later in the week chard and curly kale will also be available.

LETTUCE: Only one head this week. The lettuce is in great form right now, tonight our salad was only lettuce and fennel leaves and packed a lot of flavor.

HERB CHOICE: We will see how the herbs handled the cold temps when we harvest tomorrow. Sage will be the main choice, as it compliments the sweet potatoes.

The bulb fennel plants form a beautiful block


The first fall freeze came this morning.  We awoke to our fields covered in nature’s icing.  These marigolds along with the summer fruits are dead and gone.  

This week’s share will contain the last of  tomatoes and peppers for the year.  Other crops like the kale and sprouting broccoli remain unscathed.  Some got a blanket of cover to help them through the night.  In the high tunnel we replaced the roof and put a cover inside.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

In the Share---Week 13

LETTUCE x2: How can you resist a head of lettuce like we are harvesting this week. We have red leaf and summer crisp head.  Lucky for us we planted summer lettuce for a hot October!  Take that global warming!
POTATOES: The picture below is of our potatoes at the KC Food Circle dinner at The Reserve on Jefferson in Kearney. Chef Sean mixed Fair Share Farm potatoes, onions and cutting celery with a little vinegar and oil. It was served warm with our spouting broccoli and some Barham beef.  So delicious...

SWEET PEPPERS: The peppers are sprinting towards the finish when frost arrives. Enjoy them while they last.

CABBAGE: First cabbage of the fall. They are quite crisp and ready for fresh eating. We like to cut it into big chunks and cook it with most any other vegetable as if it is stew meat.

TAT SOI: One of the main ingredients in our Green Kimchi. It's nice to eat these vegetables cooked fresh, as well a ferments. While they are mild as spinach mostly, a little mustardy flavor can be kept in check by adding vinegar or citrus juice to a dish.

TOMATOES: What a great tomato year it has been. And still there is more. We like this time of year because things like tomatoes, lettuce, peppers and cabbage are all available at the same time. 

HERBS: It will be a mix this week depending on what trimming happens. You may see cilantro, parsley, cutting celery, dill, chives and/or oregano.

It's always nice when you can be served your veggies by a chef.

Beautiful fall weather makes this our favorite time of year.  The harvest is coming in, the fields are golden with grain and the sky is blue. Just in time for the native grass seed harvest, the farm gained an outbuilding.  This little guy is not the norm for grain bins these days but perfect for our harvest. Some used parts but with 500 new rivets it was fun to see it appear before our eyes as the professional crew put it up in one day. 

The high tunnel is all planted and growing.  We hope that these greens and roots will be ready for the last two weeks of CSA before Thanksgiving.  Until then we need to thin and weed and keep them watered.  It is too hot right now to contemplate covering the structure yet, but weather this time of year can change quickly.  

Finally we have had some cool mornings for CSA harvests with members of all ages.  After a sweltering season, you can't help but smile when you spend your morning like this.

The chicks are also enjoying their time outside on the farm.  They are so cute.  Their yard looks like a normal free-ranging flock but in miniature.  Come on out to see for yourself while they are still adorable.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

In the Share---Week 12

Our best harvest yet of green zebras
TOMATOES: Peak tomato season continues.  You will definitely get some green zebra in your share this week. We think they are one of the most flavorful heirloom varieties out there.

RED ONIONS: Most every dish we cook it seems starts with onions. The red onions look great in a tomato salad, with fresh lettuce, or cooked with the sprouting broccoli.

SPROUTING BROCCOLI: The first pickings from the fall patch.  The crunchy stem makes a nice crudité item. Cut the stalks at an angle to make elongated, chip-like snacks.

RADISH/TURNIP BUNCH: these will be spicy due to the recent heat. They make for a spicy sandwhich, or are good grated and salted for use in fresh salad.  In general, salting root vegetables improves their flavor.
LETTUCE: The varieties we hand out this week will vary depending on your pickup. The red leaf lettuce has shot past the other types and is being harvested first. There will be a mix of red and green lettuce later in the week. Make the most of the summer and enjoy your lettuce with you Fair Share Farm tomatoes.

OKRA/EGGPLANT/PEPPER CHOICE: Always tough to choose with so delicious a trio of vegetables. Keep you okra dry when you cook it to keep it from getting too slippery. The pods are such a flavorful vegetable.

KALE: The third week of kale. While it may seem like a lot we hope that one bunch every two weeks finds its way into you meal planning. If you keep it in a plastic bag in the crisper it will keep well between shares.

CILANTRO/DILL: A mixed bunch of these two fragrant fresh herbs. It's the rare time of year when tomatoes and cilantro are in the share together.  Time for some salsa.

As we must feed the membership, we must also feed the soil. This photo shows our two key steps in growing healthy organic produce:  chickens and cover crops.  The August rains helped the summer-seeded cover crops of sorghum Sudan grass and cowpeas flourish. They look great next to the chicken yard. The scratching and eating and the birds do (along with their fertilizing) will prep the beds for overwintering and then a Spring planting.

Fall is almost here (Saturday night!).  Our fall crops of roots and greens are ready.  So are the farmers who have had enough of the 90 deg. F weather.  Come on fall!!!

We bid goodbye to Summer 2018:  it was a droughty, sweaty mess of a season.  Yet, we all ate well and had some fun along the way.  Much love and appreciation to all the human beings, livestock and wildlife that shared the season with us and made us smile along the way. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

In the Share: Week 11

LETTUCE x2: The soaking rains have helped the lettuce size up nicely. Expect a couple crisp-leafed lettuces in your share.

TOMATOES: Having our tomato harvest peak after Labor Day is a new one for us. Enjoy this bounty in your share, and purchase tomato seconds from the bulk list if you would like to put some up for the winter.

ARTICHOKE GARLIC: This week's garlic is a softneck variety.

KALE OR SPROUTING BROCCOLI: Another item in the share where the time of week you pick up will affect what greens are available. Wednesday shares get mainly kale while later in the week the sprouting broccoli harvest could begin. Try out this kale recipe from our May, 2014 blog.

DESIREE POTATOES: These creamy potatoes go well with greens or roasted with some garlic and herbs..

CHOICE:  Okra, eggplant, cucumbers or sweet peppers. Expect more okra in the choice earlier in the week.

SUMMER SQUASH: These nice size zucchini and squash are perfect for making noodles. Top them with a fresh tomato sauce, and you have a wonderful late summer main course.

RIPE RED JALAPENOS:  Everyone gets a couple to add some heat and color to your dishes.

HERB CHOICE:  Summer savory or Parsley


The days are getting shorter and there's no time to waste in preparing for fall.  Today, we took the tarp out of the high tunnel where it had been for the last month.  It simultaneously encouraged the digestion of the cover crop and blocked the growth of weeds.

It's a big job moving our 100' x 50' tarp around.  Luckily, Lucas (farm apprentice 2011, employee 2013) returned to the farm just in time to help with the task.  Welcome back, Luke!

In no time, we had the beds prepped and first seeds (spinach!!) in the ground. Check out our May 24 and July 26 Instagram feeds to see some of the steps we take to get to this point. And if you don't already, follow us on Instagram.

On Labor day we had some help from dear friends in coaxing the chicks outside for the first time.  Percy sprinkled grass on the ramp to convince them to be brave.

Good job, Percy!  In no time the little girls were scratching around like all chickens are want to do.  

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Fair Share Farm CSA---Week 10

TROPEA ONIONS: We love to grow these beautiful onions that come from farmer Tom's ancestral homeland of Calabria, Italy. Brought to the Italian peninsula by the Phoenicians, this ancient allium has a beautify elongated shape and sharp, sweet taste.

TOMATOES: Our summer planting is beginning to bear fruit. We plant this variety because they will set fruit in the heat of summer. A garden variety tomato, use it fresh or cooked.

KALE: This crop has grown quite quickly since we planted it on August 8th. The leaves are tender and tasty. If you like fresh kale salad, this is the week for it.

CARROTS: Harvested in July, these jewels have spent their time in the cooler sweetening up. Be sure to eat some fresh.

SQUASH: Our second planting of squash is beginning to fruit, just in time for this week's shares.

CUCUMBER: Like the tomatoes and squash, the pickling cukes are also a second planting. While the cukes are growing well we are able to harvest for the CSA one week and for garlic pickle chunks the other.

This week I made a wonderful creamy gazpacho with Companionship Bread's jalapeno loaf, some cukes, tomatoes, onion and squash. This cool summer soup will be perfect this hot weekend.

PEPPER/EGGPLANT/OKRA CHOICE: A choice of versatile vegetables.

GARLIC CHIVE FLOWERS: The recent rain perked up the garlic chives, and our patio is about to become a garden of small white flowers. The flower buds can be used to garnish most any dish, fresh or cooked, that you make with your share.

Since our last report, the farm received over 5 inches of glorious rain!  Hooray!  The drought is not officially over, but the cracks in the earth have closed, the irrigation pond collected water and everything has exploded with lush green growth.

While rain is tremendously exciting for a drought-weary farmer, nothing puts a smile on your face like a box of day-old chicks.  88 little fluffballs arrived on Thursday and were quickly settled in their brooder where they will stay warm and dry for the next few weeks.  Before long, they will be allowed outside to explore their new world, and then in six months we should start collecting eggs from them.  But for now, they just pay us in cuteness.