Tuesday, October 17, 2017

In the Share: Week 14



ARUGULA or ROSEMARY  The first harvest from the fall high tunnel.  Spinach, lettuce, greens and roots will soon follow.

SWEET PEPPERS  We picked alot this week in case it frosted.  Everyone gets a bag of assorted colors.

LETTUCE  Two heads from the patch.  One will be red leaf lettuce, the other either a green romaine or a crisphead from Italy we are trialing.

CARROTS  Orange sweeties.

GREENS CHOICE  Kale, sprouting broccoli or bok choy/tat soi

GARLIC  silverskin

IN TWO WEEKS:  sweet potatoes, leeks, lettuce, radishes, spinach, greens.

FARM REPORT:
This morning we awoke to the first frost of the season.

strawberry plants kissed by Jack Frost.

Luckily it was a light one and damaged little.  We had spent most of Sunday picking peppers and covering the tender lettuces just in case.  Frost is actually beneficial for the strawberry plants as it signals that it is time for the plant to begin to go dormant for the winter.  After a few more frosty mornings we will cover the plants with straw to protect them from the cold.

The farmers are also preparing for winter.  The push to clear the fields began last week with the dismantling of the tomato trellises.  We have lots of irrigation tape to wind up and store and there is another 300 + ft. of sweet potatoes yet to dig.  Our seasonal workers are done for the year so it is just Tom and I scurrying around the fields trying to wrap things up.  There is plenty of space on the Saturday CSA schedule, so for those of you who haven't completed your one shift of the year, please do so soon. We look forward to welcoming you to the beautiful fall fields!


What to Do With Your Share---Week 14

The cool down that has been October has started my cravings for cold weather comfort food. Soups and stews are back on the menu, and there is a bounty on the farm this fall. It has been a good season to preserve, and hope you can take advantage of the opportunities this year has presented. Check out the bulk list for recipes for pickled beets and green pepper relish.

The ripe sweet peppers that are still filling the harvest crates are a great compliment to the other vegetables in the share. A stir-fry with this week's greens is always enhanced by colorful, fresh peppers. Add some broth, stock, ferment juice, or other cooking liquid and you can have a wonderfully hearty soup.

Stir-fry ingredients


Tuesday, October 3, 2017

In the Share: Week 13



LETTUCE  The first heads from the fall patch.  Forellenshluss, the Austrian speckled romaine starts the season.

BEETS  We were going to offer a choice with salad turnips, but alas the turnips are not that great.  We'll supply some to the swap boxes for any extreme turnip lovers.

GREENS CHOICE  Kale, chard or sprouting broccoli.

SWEET PEPPERS  Good harvest of ripe sweeties!

POTATOES  Desiree variety:  pink outside, creamy yellow inside.

ONIONS  Red ones

HERB CHOICE  thyme or parsley.

IN TWO WEEKS:  lettuce, greens, peppers, carrots, garlic and sweet potatoes.

FARM REPORT:
Fall is my favorite time of year.  The pressures of planting schedules are behind us and the weather is still warm enough to ripen peppers but cool enough for leafy greens.


A new fall tradition began last week with the first ever harvest of native grass seed on the Graff farm.  While Tom and I manage the 20 acres of the vegetable farm, buildings and ponds, my father manages the other 260 acres. Back in 2012, he had the farm seeded with a mixture of native grasses and forbs.  Unfortunately, 2012 was a drought year and much of the seed did not sprout.  We followed the advice of conservationists, and over the last five years we have burned the grasses every Spring.  Much of what was bare ground in 2012 is now covered by a beautiful blanket of Indian grass along with lots of wildflowers and other grasses.  Not only do these prairie plants prevent soil erosion and provide habitat to wildlife, but the seed can be combined and sold to others who want to plant native grasses on their land.  Our first harvest was over 10,000 lbs. of seed.  Not too shabby!


Our newest member of the farm family, Sandy, has been adjusting to his new life on the farm.  He went in to Lawson Animal Hospital for his first checkup and received his first round of vaccinations.  They reckon he is about 5 months old and in good health.  He joins us in the fields when the weather is nice but spends his night indoors for now.  There is still much for him to learn about being a good farm cat and we hope that Mommakitty will provide him a mentor.

What to Do With Your Share---Week 13

The weather remains beautiful this year. Lots of sun, rain in showers not buckets, comfortable chickens, and a great bounty. As we head deeper into fall the meals change to comfort food, with lots of hearty root vegetables and savory greens.



It's beets for all this week, as we pull them at their prime. While we know they are not for everyone, we hope that our September 2009 suggestion of Beet Hash will become a favorite. Either thyme or parsley goes well with this dish. You can add a little honey and vinegar to give this recipe a sweet/sour edge.
August 8th

October 3rd

The last view of our sabbatical fields was in our August 8th blog post.  At this point in the season all of our 2017 cover crops are planted and we are tilling in the last of the sorghum sudan grass. This feeding ends a good rest for this field, one we hope helps with future production.

The grasses in the chicken yard have grown almost high enough the hide the movable coop. It is a nice feature for some cover crops, to regrow after mowing or tilling, giving us a second crop of biomass before the winter sets in. All of this composting in place is your meal's meal.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

In the Share: Week 12


KALE  The kale is the prettiest plant on the farm, lush and blue-green, full of nutrients.

CARROTS  big and sweet out of cold storage.

GARLIC hardneck

SPROUTING BROCCOLI  the first fall heads.

SWEET PEPPERS a few more continue to ripen until frost.

RADISHES  fresh from the muddy earth.

ARUGULA  the prelude to the lettuces that should be ready in two weeks.

TOMATOES  a few continue to ripen.

IN TWO WEEKS:  potatoes, onions, peppers, chard, kale, sprouting broccoli and lettuce.

FARM REPORT:
Your farmers took a vacation last week and left the farm for the sand hills of Nebraska.  We had a great time camping, seeing the sights and exploring the natural world to our northwest.

A big bear hug of a thank you to Todd, Jody and Brendan who held down the fort while we were away.   It's not just anyone who can keep the farm running smoothly with the crops, chickens, high tunnel and greenhouse.  A big part of the daily chores is caring for the 100+ hens.  Half of the flock is working on the Spring cabbage beds; the other is working on turning in the sorghum Sudan grass cover crop.

Our first day back, we welcomed a traveler from part's unknown.  Sandy we are calling him at the moment is a clown and a snuggler.  We are hoping Mommakitty warms to him in time and maybe can teach him how to be a good farm cat.


Yesterday we planted lettuces, bok choy and tat soi, cilantro, chard and sprouting broccoli in the high tunnel. 


These plants will be in the shares in November, but for now we enjoy the harvest out in the fields where the wild creatures share the rows with us.


What to Do With Your Share---Week 12

Setting up camp, cooking and dining was the order for three nights of our vacation. State park fire rings are great places to cook. We have a nice dutch oven that can cook enough roasted vegetables to last a few days. Parker Farm brauts and some Fair Share Ferments round out a favorite meal.


On our way back from the Sand Hills of Nebraska we stopped at several parks with restored sites along the Oregon Trail. At Rock Creek the restored wagons are lined up right on the trail. The path ahead is worn down, and you can get a sense of just how busy the area once was.


On Saturday we went to Dunn Ranch to learn more about native grasslands in Missouri. Yet another way that carbon is sequestered biologically. It's a beautiful and diverse sight, too many plants and animals and fungus to know, and understand their interactions.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

What to Do With Your Share---Week 11

I cannot recall when I have lived through a milder August. A month in the 80's did wonders for the farmers and the plants. We planted the kale on 8/1 and they have grown into robust plants that we hope will produce until Thanksgiving and beyond.

These greens go well with the other items in your share, in particular the potatoes and rosemary. They say when things are in season they naturally go together, and this week's recipe is an example of that.

Potatoes and Kale with Rosemary
Ingredients:
2 pounds of potatoes, cut into chunks and
1 bunch kale, destemmed and chopped
1 tablespoon chopped rosemary leaves
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter


Method:
1. Heat the oil in a large pan, add the kale, salt and pepper. Cook on high heat for 2 minutes.
2. Add the cooked potatoes, reduce heat to medium, cover. Cook for 4 minutes.
3. Stir in rosemary and oil. Cook for 5 more minutes or until desired tenderness.