Thursday, November 20, 2008

What to Do With Your Thanksgiving Share

So Much to Give Thanks For
As we harvest and pack the shares we are thankful for the bounty remaining in the fields. Folks are becoming more aware of the multiple benefits of local food, and we are happy to have fresh produce available in late November, when such things can be sparse. With a little help from modern technology (ie, floating row cover made of spun polyester---an agricultural leisure suit), we have been able to protect many of the more tender plants from the low 20° F nights.
Thanksgiving is often a brown (turkey, stuffing and gravy), white (potato) and orange (sweet potatoes and winter squash) affair. The many greens in the share are a great addition to this standard fare. Not only do they add color, but also those many “green” nutrients missing once summer is gone. We feel they also help make a large meal more digestible, especially when eaten raw. We hope to make these shares an annual affair, and hope a few of these recipes become traditions with your family.

Fennel & Escarole Stuffing with Pine Nuts We tried this dish last Friday, with a few modifications. We didn’t have pine nuts so we used roasted shelled pumpkin seeds. And not having any white wine around, we used half white wine vinegar and water. The result was delicious, with a little bitterness from the escarole. We haven’t tried it again, but next time will use a little less escarole and maybe add some raisins or other dried fruit.

Lettuce Spinach Salad with Carrot, Fennel and Grated Root Vegetable A great way to sample five share items at once. Simply wash and tear up the lettuce and de-stemmed spinach into a salad bowl. Cut the tops and root end off a fennel bulb, cut it in half (from top to bottom), and then cut into thin slices. Add to the salad along with grated carrot and turnip or beet. Toss before serving and garnish individual salads with sunflower or pumpkin seeds.

Creamy Lemon Herb Dressing A perfect topping for the salad, the dill and cilantro give this dressing a fresh, Spring-like taste.

Brussel Sprouts with Butter and Cheese Brussel sprouts are something to keep simple when cooking. Snap the individual sprouts off the stalk and clean off any raggedy leaves. Cut larger sprouts in half. Put in a saucepan with about ½ inch of water in the bottom. Cover and cook for 5 minutes, or until sprouts are tender. Drain, put back in pan and add 1 tbsp or more of butter. Serve warm and top with grated cheese (parmesan or cheddar) or crumbled fresh cheese (goat cheese or feta).

Swiss Chard with Vinegar and Egg The recipe in the newsletter calls for kale, but Swiss chard is just as good. And of course local pasture raised chicken eggs from Parker Farms are an excellent addition.

Cole Slaw This is a standard recipe filled with locally available ingredients. Cole slaw recipes are abundant, check your relatives or the web for a perfect one. Don’t be shy to grate turnips or fennel into yours. Dill can be a nice addition too.

NEED TO KNOW MORE? Go to our Recipe page and search.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

What to do With Your Share---Week 24

We hope that you enjoyed your CSA experience this year. We also hope that the blog was a useful addition in communicating with you. You can let us know what you thought by commenting here, or sending us an email.

Grated Cabbage and Root Slaw with Amana Colonies Dressing
A few weeks ago I was looking for a radish recipe and found one called Amana Colonies Radish Salad. It has a sour cream dressing that can be used on roots besides radishes. The source of the recipe, Cooking A to Z, notes “One group of German immigrants, the Amana Society founded seven villages near Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in the 19th century. For many years the residents dined in communal kitchens. Their far, of which this radish salad is typical, reflected both their German heritage and the abundant harvest of the rich Iowa farmland.”

2 cups grated cabbage
2 cups grated root vegetables (radish, beets, carrots, turnips, kohlrabi)
½ cup sour cream
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
¼ tsp ground pepper
2 tbsp chopped chives, parsley or dill
  1. Mix cabbage and root slices with salt. Place in a colander and let stand to drain for 30 to 45 minutes. Blot dry with paper towels

  2. In a medium bowl blend together sour cream, vinegar, pepper and chives. Add drained vegetables and mix lightly to coat with dressing. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve (up to 2 hours).
  3. Serve salad in bowl lined with lettuce leaves

Bulk List
Chard, collards, kale, Asian green $2.50/bu

NEED TO KNOW MORE? Go to our Recipe page and search.

Week 24 - Last week

In the Share: Week 24
HERB CHOICE (F/P) Cilantro and Dill
DRIED HERB (F/P) take a tin of herbs dried in our greenhouse for the winter.

Also this week: Bread of Life delivery

Farm report
The last week of the 2008 season is upon us. We are both sad to be saying farewell for the winter but also grateful for the chance to rest. We thank you all for your support of our farm and hope that you enjoyed sharing the season with us as much as we enjoyed sharing the harvest with you. Tom and I are really looking forward to celebrating our 5th CSA season with all of you at the End of the Season Dinner this Saturday. We’re working on a summary of our efforts thus far as well as some thoughts on the future. We hope to see many of you there.

As I was finishing the blog tonight, I was sent a link to a fun youtube video on blanching Fair Share Farm greens from Emily Akins & Sergio Moreno. Have a look:

The end of the season also means the end of the apprenticeship of Jennifer Baughman. Jenn was a real treat to work with and we will absolutely miss her as she sets out on a search for her farming future. Here’s a few words from her to all of you:

Hello, my name is Jennifer Baughman. As the 2008 growing season comes to an end, I will share my reflections on my learning experience as Fair Share Farm's apprentice this year.

What a blast! THE BEST EVER! Tom and Rebecca are incredible teachers and very patient (as I was pretty inexperienced in the beginning). They showed me the importance of being very detail oriented and very very organized, from planting methods to post harvest handling, always ensuring that the CSA's standards are being met and even exceeded. I feel inspired to apply all that I have learned right away!

Where am I going from here? Before I decide where to live permanently, I plan on visiting a few more farms. I am interested in bio-dynamic farming, no-till methods, and permaculture, and plan to marry all three methods along with specializing in wild crafting and medicinal herbs. Next up on my journey, I will travel to a BEAUTIFUL camp resort down in Georgia. Enota Springs is found tucked deep in the forests at the beginning of the Appalachian Mountains.( \

As for this winter, I will be focusing on my home-based business, where I work with my boyfriend to supply Kansas City with the highest quality superfoods available. As well as host nutrition classes and potlucks through our meetup group.(
Thank you for your comitment to local, organic food. Together, we enhance our wonderful environment.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What to do With Your Share---Week 23

Blanching and Freezing
As the season winds down, we are harvesting what remains in the field that is mature enough for picking. There is more of some things (mainly greens) than we will be handing out in the shares, so the bulk list is back on-line. If you would like any kale, collards, chard or Asian greens to stock in your freezer, now is the time. They are easy to freeze and store for use in side dishes, soups, stews and other winter dishes.
The trick to successfully freezing vegetables is the blanching process. This step, which consists of dunking the vegetables in boiling water for a minute or two, destroys enzymes that will otherwise cause loss of color, texture and flavor. To freeze greens---
1. Clean greens and remove stems if desired. You can cut, but do not chop greens. They will wilt significantly when blanched and will pack into freezer bags easily.
2. Blanch things like spinach and Asian greens for 2 minutes and tougher greens like collards and kale for 3 to 4 minutes. Start counting when the water comes back to a boil. Use a large volume of water so it will keep boiling when you add the vegetables.
3. Remove the greens from the pot and cool immediately with cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain thoroughly and pack in freezer bags or containers.

Bulk List
Chard, collards, kale, Asian greens $2.50/bu

NEED TO KNOW MORE? Go to our Recipe page and search.

At the farm - Week 23

In the Share: Week 23
CARROTS (F/P) Red-cored Chantennay – an heirloom and a good-keeper.
GREEN PEPPERS (F/P) the last harvest
BOK CHOY (P) see week 22 kimchee recipe
NAPA (CHINESE) CABBAGE (P) ditto above
ASIAN GREENS (F) Vitamin Green or Tatsoi
HERB CHOICE (F/P) Cilantro or dill or a dried herb.

Also this week: Parker Farms delivery

Next Week: More greens and roots. Cabbage, garlic and sweet potatoes. Bread of Life delivery.

Farm report
The farm continues to be active as we prepare for the coming cold season. This week we dug the rosemary and marjoram plants from the field and potted them up. They will spend the winter dormant but protected in the greenhouse. Today we harvested all the green peppers of reasonable size from the plants and pulled more irrigation tape out of the beds. We also began the process of folding up the header pipes and fire hose that brings the water to the field. Each run is folded, tied and labeled before being hung in the barn rafters for the winter. On Saturday, the membership rolled out straw bales down the beds destined for next spring's pea crop.

But before you all say goodbye for the season, we need something from each of you. A commitment that you’ll be with us next year … and some money to back it up. This week’s email includes a handy deposit slip that along with $50 will secure your spot in the 2009 membership. Some call it ‘seed money’ which it truly is. We are often asked what we do during the winter. Part of what we do is we purchase the bulk of what the farm needs for the year ahead. We save money by buying in bulk and limiting the amount of shipping by picking up supplies at the winter conferences from our suppliers. Also with the price of everything going up from seeds to plastic, fuel to peat moss, we get the best price early in the season before any shortages can occur. While it all makes good business sense, the winter is obviously a pretty slow time economically for farmers. The only money coming in until the spring signup will be your deposits. So before old man winter arrives, please consider sending in that deposit so that we can prepare for another season of growing quality, nutritious food for your family and your community. Thanks!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

What to do With Your Share---Week 22

Asian Staple
This season has been a challenge figuring out what to hand out each week. We evaluate the plants to try to pick them before their prime passes because of stress from too much rain. The Chinese cabbage and bok choi are peaking now, and just right for making kimchi. This Korean specialty is an example of how Asian cuisine treats the idea of sauerkraut.

Wikipedia notes that “the magazine Health named kimchi in its list of top five ‘World’s Healthiest Foods’ for being rich in vitamins, aiding digesting and even possibly retarding cncer growth.” So we hope you use this week’s share (next week’s for partials) to make this tasty condiment.

Kimchi (adapted from Sunset Oriental Cook Book, ©1984)
1 small Chinese cabbage and 1 bok choi (1-1/2 to 2 lb total)
2 tbsp salt
1 large watermelon radish, cut into matchsticks
2 green onions (including tops) cut into thin slivers
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 dried red peppers, cut in half or 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
¼ tsp cayenne
1-1/2 tbsp honey

Cut cabbage into chunks about 1 inch square; place in a large bowl and add 2 teaspoons of the salt. Mix well. Cover and let stand at room temperature until cabbage is wilted and reduced to about half it’s original volume (3 to 4 hours). Rinse thoroughly, drain. Return to bowl along with the radishes, onions, garlic, peppers, cayenne and honey. Mix well. Pack lightly into a 1 quart jar; cover with lid or plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature, tasting often, until fermented to your liking. (In warm weather, fermentation may toke only 1 to 2 days; in cooler weather, count on 3 to 4 days). Store in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 2 weeks. Makes about 3-1/2 cups.

NEED TO KNOW MORE? Go to our Recipe page and search.

Week 22 - fall preparations

In the Share: Week 22
LEEKS (F/P) This week only.
BOK CHOY (F) see Tom’s kimchee recipe
NAPA (CHINESE) CABBAGE (F) ditto above
GARLIC (F/P) choice for the partials with the herbs. Fulls get both
HERB CHOICE (F/P) Basil, lovage or a dried herb.

Also this week: Bread of Life delivery

Next Week: More greens, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce and roots. Perhaps carrots and beets. Green peppers. Parker Farms delivery.

Farm report
We continue to prepare the fields for their dormant period. The Saturday crew weeded and mulched the strawberries in record time. Photo courtesy of CSA member, Emily Akins.

Despite the fact that 2008 has been one of the most difficult for vegetable growing that we’ve seen, we feel lucky that we did not have actual flooding like many others. While it is my nature to obsess over the details of every crop failure, I must admit that we really cannot complain. The mid-season survey results seem to show that you all feel the same. You are apparently pretty content in both the produce you receive and in the CSA organization. Berries continue to win the ‘please grow more’ category and the okra lovers and haters continue to be equally represented. However, the overwhelming response was none at all. If you did not complete a survey (and you are actually reading this) let us know why not. Perhaps your comments will help us reach more of you next time. The survey results were discussed at our recent core group meeting whose main purpose was to plan the End of the Season dinner taking place this October 25th. As always it is the best potluck in the metro with live entertainment from the membership along with a season wrap-up from us, door prizes and kid’s activities. In the spirit of community, the coordinators are looking for folks who can come early or stay late to help. Keep an eye out for the email invitation which should be coming to your inboxes this week from Social Coordinators, Ann & Mark Flynn.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

What to do With Your Share---Week 21

But I Digress…
…as I tell you that we bought some won ton wrappers and tried last week’s sweet potato ravioli recipe, and it was delicious. The nice thing is that you can make more than you need and freeze the rest.

Broccoli and Cauliflower
This combo is a sign that Fall is here. And so are some of the most nutritious vegetables around. The September issue of National Geographic describes a 0 to 100 rating system from Yale University called the Overall Nutritional Quality Index. The system scores foods based on their nutrients, vitamins, sugar and salt (among other things). At the low end with a rating of 1 are Popsicles. At the high end (100) is broccoli!

What’s Not in Your Share
While we don’t have apples yet (our orchard is still growing), it is apple season here in Missouri. We encourage you to take advantage of the times. One local source of apples is Bad Seed. If you cant’ make the 39 St. or Bad Seed Markets contact Brooke for pickup during City Distribution.
The recipe below is a staple of our larder. Apple chutney goes great on pork, other meats, and fried foods. This version has been modified from the one in Larousse Gastronomique.

Apple Chutney
1 quart vinegar3 lbs apples, peeled, cored and diced
½ cup raisins
½ cup dried apricots, chopped
½ cup candied ginger, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tsp ground mustard
1 tsp salt
¾ cup brown sugar
3 jalapeno or other hot pepper, seeded and chopped
2 tbsp lemon zest

Put in 1 quart vinegar which has been brought to a boil, 3 pounds of apples. Cook them 5 minutes. Add the raisins, apricots, garlic, ginger, mustard, salt, brown sugar, hot pepper, and lemon zest. Heat to boil, then turn to down heat and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until mixture thickens. Process in hot water bath canner, or cool and store in fridge.

NEED TO KNOW MORE? Go to our Recipe page and search.

At the Farm: Week 21

In the Share: Week 21
BROCCOLI (F/P) The fall crop debuts a bit wildly
CAULIFLOWER (F/P) a bit wild as well, the purple is due to stress.
SWEET PEPPERS (F) last of the ripe ones and some green
GREENS CHOICE (F) kale, collards, chard or asian greens
LETTUCE: (F/P) One heads-worth for all again.
TURNIPS OR RADISHES (P) Hakurei Turnips, Purple-Top Turnips or Watermelon Radishes. For the Wednesday shares; the Saturday partials got them last week.
ONIONS (F) the last of them
HERB CHOICE (F/P) Basil, chives, thyme or a dried herb.

Also this week: Parker Farms meat & egg share delivery

Next Week: More greens, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce and roots. Sweet potatoes return. Bread share delivery.

Farm report
The hot topic amongst area organic farmers is a revolutionary no-till approach. It began when Patrice Gros, a Frenchman farming in Arkansas, visited our area last winter to talk about his practices. He loads on the straw along with some rabbit manure and gets high yields out of a small area. The thick layer of organic matter allows the soil to stay loose even after a downpour. It sounded intriguing enough to us but we might never have tried it if our neighbors, Vicky and Dallas Brock, hadn’t shown up one day with a trailerload of grass clippings from their yard. Thanks to them we’ve covered four 100 ft. beds with thick layer of hay and are hoping to do more. We got so inspired by the project that we’ve begun raking up grass clippings wherever we can find them. Here’s Jen laying straw right over the top of our buckwheat cover crop in the spring field. Rocky pitches in the best he can.

Our enthusiasm for the no-till idea has a lot to do with the problems we see in our soil. The clay that Clay County is known for (but not named for; Senator Henry Clay holds that honor) covers the limestone bedrock of our farm. Ages ago, winds carried our soil here from distant lands and left a deep and fine layer called loess. The rich loess deposits of our corner of Missouri and up into Iowa supports a varied and productive agriculture even as much of the best soil has already washed away. What is left on our farm is really fairly good for our area. There is a good foot of topsoil and below that several feet of clay. Despite being able to reliably grow carrots and a variety of tender vegetables, a wet season like this one surely shows us our limitations. The almost 10 inches of rain that fell this September compacted the soil leaving few spaces for oxygen to penetrate. The sun only needed a few days to bake it until it cracked. Today we realized we needed to irrigate after thinking we were done with it for the season. A thick layer of organic matter might have made a difference. Now to find that rabbit poop…

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

At the Farm

In the Share:SWEET POTATOES (F/P) Check out FSF CSA member MaryAnn Blitt’s sweet potato ravioli recipe on Tom’s blog.SWEET PEPPERS OR CAULIFLOWER (P) Welcome the cauliflower.

SWISS CHARD (F/P) The spring crop has re-grown its luscious leaves. The flea beetles like them too.

LETTUCE: (F/P) One heads-worth for all from the bolting lettuce patch.

TURNIPS OR RADISHES (F/P) A combination of several radish and turnip plantings. Hakurei and Purple-Top Turnips; Easter Egg and Watermelon Radishes


GARLIC (F/P) A choice for the partial shares with the herbs.

HERB CHOICE (F/P) Basil, Rosemary, Sage or a dried herb.

Also this week: Bread of Life bread share delivery

Next Week: More greens, sweet potatoes and peppers. Meat and egg share delivery.Fall officially arrived on Monday. On Tuesday we picked the first of the cauliflower. On Wednesday we will be pulling the first of the watermelon radishes, kohlrabi and celeriac. It feels and tastes like fall already. It’s been nice to have mild radishes for a change. Even the watermelon radishes have only a hint of their regular sting thanks to the cool, moist weather. On the other hand, the cool, moist weather has led to black spots on the French Breakfast radishes. We’re going to pull the whole patch this week and send in any survivors as an extra. With another week past since the 5 ½ inches of rain, we are now seeing more adverse effects. The first two beds of cauliflower and broccoli have yellow leaves and some continue to wilt during the heat of the day. Also some are ‘buttoning-up’ as they did in the spring. We also have a lot of bolting lettuce. Bolting is when the young lettuce head sends up a flower stalk prematurely. The lettuce quickly becomes bitter and inedible as the stalk grows. We think the bolting must also be a symptom of the water-logged soils. Our favorite Italian heirloom lettuce, Quattro Stagioni, is so far the main casualty. We rescued a few before they got bitter and have them in the Wednesday shares.

Despite all the drama, Tom and I haven’t lost our marbles yet. There seems to be enough in the field for the next month, although we aren’t looking at any bumper crops. The fields hold carrots, beets, leeks, more radishes and turnips, broccoli and cauliflower, kohlrabi and celeriac, quite a few peppers and cabbages, lettuce and spinach. There is also Chinese cabbage, Asian greens, kale, collards and chard. We have more sweet potatoes curing and a bit more garlic and onions. We will be harvesting the rosemary, sage and basil, oregano and chives.

What to Do With Your Share---Week 20

Kohlrabi and Celeriac

A combo bunch we hope you enjoy. By now most of you have become familiar with kohlrabi, but some no doubt will be puzzled by the celeriac. Also called celery root, it is a versatile vegetable that can be peeled and eaten raw, grated into salads and slaws, or used in stews and soups.

Sweet Potato Ravioli with Lemon-Sage Brown Butter

Member Mary Ann Blitt recommended this recipe. We didn’t have a chance to try it out as we didn’t have any wonton wrappers. We did make the filling and cook it into a casserole with elbow macaroni, and it was the next best thing.


1 (1-pound) sweet potato

2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese

1/2 teaspoon salt, divided

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

24 wonton wrappers

1 large egg white, lightly beaten

6 quarts water

Cooking spray

3 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Sage sprigs (optional)


Preheat oven to 400°.

Pierce potato several times with a fork; place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake at 400° for 40 minutes or until tender. Cool. Peel potato; mash. Combine potato, cheese, 1/4 teaspoon salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a small bowl.

Working with 1 wonton wrapper at a time (cover remaining wrappers with a damp towel to keep them from drying), spoon 1 tablespoon potato mixture into center of each wrapper. Brush edges of dough with egg white; bring 2 opposite corners to center. Press edges together to seal, forming a triangle. Repeat procedure with remaining wonton wrappers, potato filling, and egg white.

Bring 6 quarts water to a boil. Add 8 ravioli; cook 2 minutes or until done. Remove ravioli from pan with a slotted spoon. Lightly coat cooked wontons with cooking spray; keep warm. Repeat procedure with remaining ravioli.

Melt butter in a small skillet over high heat. Add chopped sage to pan; cook 1 minute or until butter is lightly browned. Stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, juice, and pepper. Drizzle butter mixture over ravioli. Garnish with sage sprigs, if desired.

NEED TO KNOW MORE? Go to our Recipe page and search.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

What to Do WIth Your Share---Week 19

Sweet Potatoes and Sage
These sweet potatoes are as good as we’ve ever grown. Caked in mud since coming from the fields, we try not to damage their skins when washing them. There may be a little dirt left on them, as we try not to scrub too hard.

The sage in this weeks share is the perfect addition to most any sweet potato dish. It gives them a savory flavor that may not be familiar to you if overly sugared is how you have normally had sweet potatoes.

Sweet Potato Chips
More than one member has mentioned that they like sweet potato chips. I have never made them so thought I’d give it a try. The recipe below is modified from one in Recipezaar.

1 sweet potato
1 tsp olive oil

Slice the sweet potato thin and place in a bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil. Toss with your hands so that all of the slices are lightly oiled. Place on a baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and bake at 225 F for 40 minutes. Flip the chips and bake for 30 to 40 minutes more, or until crisp. Let cool and they will crisp up more.

NEED TO KNOW MORE? Go to our Recipe page and search.

At the farm - Week 19

In the Share: Week 19
SWEET POTATOES (F/P) A good crop this year.
LETTUCE (F/P) a small head for each share
CHOICE OF GREENS (F) Swiss Chard and Asian Greens.
HERB CHOICE (F/P) Basil or sage or a dried herb. Partial shares can take an herb or greens.

Also this week: Parker Farms meat & egg shares

Next Week: More radishes, turnips, lettuce, peppers and greens. Garlic and kohlrabi. Bread share delivery.

Farm report
I feel like a broken record, but I’ll say it anyway…it is darn soggy out here. Over the past week 5 ½ inches of rain fell at the farm on ground that was already pretty saturated. Luckily, our sloping fields are shedding the water fairly quickly. So far the only casualty is the arugula. It went from green and lush to day-glo and wilty. Interestingly, the asian greens that we seeded in the same bed handled the wet just fine. They’ve already been in the shares and will be again this week as a greens choice. After the last of the greenhouse plantings this summer, we decided to sow the leftover tat soi, bok choy, vitamin green and komatsuna directly in the fields. A new thing for us. We like them in salads or lightly stir-fried.

The Fall Equinox is Monday, September 22 and one of our favorite holidays. While we are always giddy for the spring to start and summer is our bread and butter, autumn brings us sanity. When the days shorten the crops (and the weeds) slow down allowing us to finally catch up. And while we work on catching-up the weather is extraordinary. The improved weather should allow us to dig the rest of the sweet potatoes this week. We’ll have help from the CSA crews and a class of Montessori middle-schoolers led by their teacher, ‘07 FSF apprentice, Libby Negus.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Week 18 - Farm report

In the Share: Week 18
WINTER SQUASH (F/P) An assortment of types: mainly ‘Carnival’
LETTUCE (F/P) Welcome back the tender greens
ARUGULA (F) Partials get a choice of arugula amongst the greens
CHOICE OF GREENS (F/P) including collards, kale and broccoli raab.
TOMATOES (P) mostly cherry tomatoes
HERB CHOICE (F) Basil or thyme or a dried herb.

Also this week: Bread of Life bread shares

Next Week: More radishes, turnips, lettuce, peppers and greens. Sweet potatoes and onions. Meat & egg share delivery.

MARK YOUR CALENDARS - - SATURDAY, OCTOBER 25th, The 5th Annual Fair Share Farm CSA End of the Season Dinner. Get to know your community of eaters at the best darn potluck ever! Stay tuned for more information.

Farm report
The soggy weather has returned after a too brief respite. Our main concern at this point are the tender greens: lettuces, arugula, spinach, etc. who are very sensitive to wet feet. Right now they look a bit wilty in areas but should be okay if they could have a break from the rain. As luck would have it, more rain is in the forecast. A good deal of it fell during last Wednesday’s harvesting. The CSA crew slogged it out heroically. In the cold rain they gleaned the last of the pole beans from the trellises and harvested a good crop of cherry tomatoes.

The farm crew on Saturday had much more favorable conditions and so we took the opportunity to harvest a bumper crop of sweet potatoes. With so many hands we flew down the row. In less than an hour we had harvested a third of the crop which looks to be about 400 lbs. The newly harvested roots are curing in the perfectly hot and dry conditions of the otherwise empty greenhouse. Curing allows the sweets to toughen their skins so that they will keep well and can be washed and distributed. Look for some in your shares starting next week.

What to do With Your Share---Week 18

Greens and Green Beans
The classic dish greens and beans consists of white beans and cooked greens (and sometimes sausage). This dish is actually quite different in texture and taste, but just as good. It is a nice way to clean out the fridge too. We served this over rice.

2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 radishes, chopped
3 Hakurei turnips, chopped
½ to 1 bunch greens (stems and greens chopped separately)
1½ cups chopped green beans
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
¼ cup water
½ tsp salt

Sauté the onion, radish, turnips and greens stems in the olive oil over high heat for 2 minutes. Turn heat to medium, cook for 3 more minutes, then add the remaining ingredients. Stir, cover and cook for 10 minutes, or until vegetables are desired tenderness. Add more water if necessary to keep the vegetables from burning.

NEED TO KNOW MORE? Go to our Recipe page and search.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

lots of rain on the way

In the Share: Week 17
TOMATO (F) perhaps enough for the full shares. We’ll see after the cherry tomato harvest that may be delayed by rain.
SWEET PEPPER (P) in many colors and shapes but all sweet.
RADISHES OR SWEET PEPPERS (F) the first of the fall radish crop.
POTATOES (F/P) the last of them, sadly. Soon the sweet potatoes will fill-in.
CARROTS (F/P) the last of the storage carrots from the spring. The fall carrots are starting to develop their roots.
ONIONS (F/P) from storage
HERB CHOICE (F/P) thyme, chives or basil or a dried herb.

Also this week: Parker Farms meat & egg shares

Next Week: More radishes, peppers and greens. Winter squash and garlic. Perhaps the first turnips, arugula and lettuce. Bread share delivery.

FARM ALERT: The meeting of two weather systems, the left-over of Gustav and a cold front, threaten to make tomorrow’s harvest dicey. We’d be happy with rain, as long as the thunder and lightening stays away. So, if your signed up to come tomorrow, please do and bring any rain gear, boots or otherwise, that you may have. A lot of the share this week is coming out of storage or was picked today so we won’t be completely washed out. The beans, herbs, radishes and cherry tomatoes could be affected if we can’t get out in the fields. One of the fun things about farming, nature keeps you guessing.

Farm report
We spent our labor day weekend with assistance from Tom's two sisters and neice and nephew visiting from Cincinnati. Pictured is Jeanne and her two children, Leah and Franklin, helping sort tomatoes on Saturday morning. We were able to also fit in a farm tour, fossil hunt, barbeque, Jesse James, Watkin's Mill and lots of farm produce before they headed back on Sunday.
September marks the last gasps of summer, and more hints of fall. The pepper harvest is in full swing. There is lots of ripe fruit, but also new little green ones forming. Today we pulled another row of tomato cages and more clearing of the summer crops is in the works. We’ve been zealously weeding, watering and spraying (with Bt, a biological pest control) the fall crops and they are looking pretty good. The solar-powered irrigation pump has been going continuously while the sun shines and the crops seem to have survived a pretty dry August.
It’s fitting that a soggy distribution day will most likely herald the last of the all-but-failed melon crop. We are sending in some Sugar Baby watermelons to distribution this week that are questionably ripe. If you got a bum melon from us at some point in the season or have never received a melon from us, please take one along with our apologies. If you have gotten a good melon from us, please take a pass and let your fellow members get their fair share. We really dislike having to parcel the melons out this year, but despite a lot of effort, the weather and the beetles were too much for them.

What’s in the Share---Week 17

This week brings lots of root vegetables. You can enjoy them all at once if you roast them. This week’s recipe actually includes some of last week’s vegetables, but is just as good substituting this week’s veggies.

Leftover Pakoras
Pakoras are an Indian snack of fried, battered vegetables. In this version, we used some squash we had baked and put in the fridge, and leftover greens to make small meatballs. You can substitute potato for the squash, and any vegetables you want for the greens. We gave it an Indian flavor by topping with a yogurt and curry powder dressing.

2 cups baked squash (baked per last week’s recipe)
1 cup Kale with Vinegar and Egg
or other leftover greens chopped

¼ cup flour
Flour to coat pakoras
Vegetable or other cooking oil

Scoop out and mash the squash pulp. Mix in a bowl with the greens and flour and form small balls. Roll in flour to coat. In a skillet, fry until golden brown. Drain on paper.

Bulk List
CSA Bulk Week of 9/1/08

Item Member Cost Non- Member Cost

Dried herbs: $1.75 $2.00
thyme, marjoram, dried hot peppers,
lovage, lavendar flowers, coriander, oregano

NEED TO KNOW MORE? Go to our Recipe page and search.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Greens and Rocky - Week 16

TOMATO (F/P) enough for every one to get one, on Saturday we might fill in with cherry tomatoes if they don’t last. We'll hand out whatever cherry tomatoes we pick tomorrow.
SWEET PEPPER (F) Mainly red bells and marconis, some yellow bells and a few others.
RATTLESNAKE BEANS (F/P) Our favorite bean is an heirloom climber that should be let to get a little larger than the average bush bean.
BUTTERNUT SQUASH (F/P) Just enough for everyone and they’re not very good keepers – eat soon.
GARLIC (F/P) Garlic is a choice for the partials with the herbs.
GREENS CHOICE: Collards or Kale (F/P) The greens have enjoyed the wet summer and producing lots of tasty leaves.
HERB CHOICE (F/P) thyme, chives or basil or a dried herb.

Also this week: Bread of Life bread shares

Next Week: More beans, peppers and greens. Potatoes and onions. Meat & egg share delivery.

Farm report
Everyone on the farm is excited to be ushering back in the greens. If you are new to cooking greens, Tom’s got some yummy and simple recipes for even the worst greenaphobe. Kale, collards, and their many brasica cousins are some of the tastiest and most nutritious vegetables there are. So far all of our plantings are growing well, save for some rutabagas that were lost early to the water and weeds. The different hues of purple to green are making for some pretty fields.

With Rocky’s first birthday just a month and a half away, we thought we’d update everyone on his progress. Our little pup, who weighed just forty pounds when we brought him home at four months has become quite the dog. At around 100 lbs, (we think. Its really hard to get a 100 lb. dog on a scale), he’s now at full size (we hope!) and is a handsome mix of Anatolian Shepard and Great Pyrennes. He has a stately air about him these days and is beginning to lose a bit of his youthful exuberance. In the mornings if there aren’t any new CSA members to sniff, he follow us through the fields, flopping in the closest shade and napping mostly. If it’s not too hot he might go on walkabout and scavenge for animal bones. Rarely he scores big, as he did last week when he greeted the CSA members in the bean patch with an entire deer leg in his mouth. He proudly pranced around us but didn't get too close thankfully. When he’s not performing for the farm’s visitors, he does guard his territory. In the evenings as the farm’s wildlife awaken, Rocky becomes alert to the world around him. Not a hunter, unless you count the mice that he steals from the cats, he prefers to guard his territory through the intimidating sound of his deep bark. However, a few days ago he apparently got too close to a skunk. A member suggested tomato juice to neutralize the smell. We had some tomato sauce from '04 and he didn’t seem to mind a bit. Around the same time, Rocky was almost re-named Barky after he began barking in all directions at once, day and night. The slightest whiff, of what we don’t know, would send him racing towards the back end of the farm . . . or to the neighbors. He kept it up for several days, but recently seems to be at a new more sensical level. We’re glad our pup is maturing into such a swell dog. We hope everyone is enjoying his presence on the farm. If you haven’t yet met him, you have surely enjoyed the fruits of his labors.

What’s in the Share---Week 16

For us greens become a welcome sight on the table as the summer winds down. We know what a valuable source of nu
trition they are and just how delicious they can be. The Greens recipe section has lots of helpful hints. One of our favorites is the Kale with Vinegar and Egg.

Winter Squash
We’ve been taste testing the various different varieties of winter squash stored in the barn, and enjoying it. Butternut, Carnival and Sunshine have all been delicious. We like to bake them in the toaster oven for a quick meal. You can either eat the squash right from the rind, or scoop it out for use in other recipes.

Baked Winter Squash

Winter squash
Olive oil
Optional: butter, honey, sorghum, maple syrup

Cut squash in half from top to bottom. Scoop out seeds. Prick the cut side of the squash with a fork a dozen or so times. Sprinkle some salt and drizzle a little olive oil on the squash. Rub to coat and bake at 350 F for 40 minutes.

Eat as is, or top with butter and sweetener.

Bulk List
CSA Bulk Week of
Member Cost Non- Member Cost
Dried herbs: $1.75 $2.00
thyme, marjoram, dried hot peppers, lovage, lavendar flowers, coriander, oregano

NEED TO KNOW MORE? Go to our Recipe page and search.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Fall comes Early

In the Share: Week 15
TOMATOES (F/P) farewell, sweet fruit until next summer.
CHERRY TOMATOES or SALSA PACKS (F) The cherries continue on although in smaller quantities as the summer fades.
SWEET PEPPER (P) every other week for awhile.
RATTLESNAKE BEANS (F) See Tom’s blog for more on them.
CARROTS (F/P) More colorful ones from the last dig.
ONIONS (F/P) The last of the sweets and some Ailsa Craig.
GREENS CHOICE: Collards, Kale or Turnip Greens (F) the first picking off of the fall brasicas and the thinnings from the turnip patch.
HERB CHOICE (F/P) Mint, chives or basil or a dried herb.

Also this week: Parker Farms meat & egg shares

Next Week: More beans, peppers, and cherry tomatoes. The last of the potato crop and garlic. Bread share delivery.

Farm report
Here we are in the middle of August and the summer seems to be already gone. Fog blankets the fields most mornings until the sun warms the air into the mid-80s. We couldn’t ask for more gorgeous weather for working outdoors. All this pleasantness does come with a price as we’ve been hearing lately of it being an early fall. If our farm is any indication, it’s already here. The heavy dew and fog has been led to a quick end of the cucurbits as their leaves turned brown and crisp overnight.
Fortunately, the winter squash crop of butternuts, acorns and pie pumpkins had already ripened most of their fruit. We collected them and will store them in the upper barn until they go in the shares. It was a full load for the truck, quite a nice site since we don't always get a winter squash crop. It looks like we got at least a couple of week’s worth.
It’s been sad but rather satisfying at the same time to put away the summer crops. Jen and I made quick work of pulling tomato cages and fencing, then Tom mows the crop down and takes the spader thru to turn it all under. We’re holding on to a few beds with their last fruit, but another week and they’ll surely be gone. Tom spent the better part of today and yesterday turning under the summer beds and also turning in the summer cover crop of buckwheat in the spring field. The buckwheat responded to the wet weather by making a thick stand of organic matter that is now feeding the soil. The buckwheat is not just great organic matter, but a honeybee magnet. Working in the spring field recently with flowering buckwheat all around us there was a constant hum.

End of the summer means ripe peppers. The plants that made it thru the flooding look good and should be producing for the next month or so. A big thanks goes to Fran & Valerie Gillespie who came out a couple week’s back and weeded them. With plenty of sunshine and a handful of alfalfa meal at the base of each plant we’re hoping they’ll give kick in on the home stretch (I’ve been watching too much Olympics) and produce lots of fruit. For now we are alternating between the full and partial shares each week. We grow an assortment of colors and shapes including: Carmen, a long pointy red; Revolution and Red Ace, standard red bells; Pritavit, a squashed-flat red; Golden Cal Wonder, a yellow bell; Gourmet, and orange bell; Golden Marconi, a long pointy yellow Islander, the purple; and Bianca, the white (light yellow, really). We also grow some hot peppers. The Jalapenos are in the salsa packs. The green Ancho or Poblano peppers (for great chile rellenos) and the red Pimentos will be in the swap boxes. All spicy peppers have bright pink labels on the bags for the sake of those who don't like the heat.

What’s in the Share---Week 15

Giant Rattlesnakes
I’m talking of course of the purple striped Rattlesnake beans in the share this week. Some of them evade the picker’s eye for a round or two and grow quite large. These are still good, but will require some stringing.

The culinary suggestion for the week also relates to the beans. Whether it’s the Rattlesnake, Italian flat bean or regular green bean, they are all great with just the simplest of preparations. Steaming them and dressing with just a little salt and butter or oil is all you need. Enjoy the flavor of freshly picked beans while you can.

What’s Not in the Share
We’d been keeping an eye on several elderberry patches on and near the farm, and Sunday enjoyed a good harvest—over 12 pounds. Half of the berries are now fermenting, on their way, we hope, to becoming wine. The rest is destined to be jelly.

Elderberries abound in this area. Look for them along roadways and near culverts or other low areas. If you decide to forage some simply search the web for a recipe that suits you. Elderberries contain antioxidants and are know to exhibit anti-viral properties. It’s been a good year for elderberries, so take advantage if you dare.

Bulk List
CSA Bulk Week of
Member Cost Non- Member Cost

Dried herbs: $1.75 $2.00
thyme, marjoram, dried hot peppers, lovage, lavendar flowers, coriander, oregano

NEED TO KNOW MORE? Go to our Recipe page and search.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

What’s in the Share---Week 14

The canning continues on the farm, as we save some more tomatoes from the compost pile. The seconds have been good in salsa and chili sauce, while the paste have been reserved for tomato sauce. The Speckled Paste variety has been a promising trial. I’ve never seen a better paste tomato. We hope to get an even better harvest next year.

While we feel we have found several excellent versions of orange carrots, we are still working on the red and yellow ones. They are not always as tender as the orange ones, and may need a little cooking to shine.

The recipe below was inspired by a dish that friend Liz Elmore treated us to. It as been modified from the version in the Week 15, 2006 newsletter, and is ready for whatever recipe change you can think of. Additions or substitutions of sesame oil, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, almond butter, hot pepper, etc. are all great. Try it on the kids.

Carrot Butter Spread


4 medium carrots, cut into bite-size pieces
2 tbsp sunflower seeds
1 tbsp peanut butter
2 tbsp chopped chives
Salt and pepper to taste


Cut carrots into bite-size pieces. Take three of the carrots and steam them until tender (10-15 minutes) Put the raw carrot, sunflower seeds, salt and pepper into a food processor and process on pulse to a coarse paste. Add the carrots and peanut butter and process again into a paste. Mix in the chives. Spread on bread or crackers, or use as a dip for vegetables.

Bulk List

Fair Share Farm
CSA Bulk Order Form Week of 8/11/08
Item Member Cost Non- Member Cost

Dried herbs $1.75 $2.00
thyme, marjoram, dried hot
peppers, lovage, lavendar
flowers, coriander, oregano

NEED TO KNOW MORE? Go to our Recipe page and search.

from the farm

In the Share: Week 14
TOMATOES (F/P) almost entirely heirlooms. Not too many more left in the field.
CHERRY TOMATOES (F/P) We think we’ll have enough for all or perhaps as a choice with the romas.
CARROTS (F/P) the colorful ones - best cooked, see Tom's blog.
SWEET PEPPER (F) the first of the ripe ones.
BEANS: (P) Jade, Roma and the Rattlesnake pole beans have started (purple-streaks fade when you cook them).
SALSA PACKS (?) We don’t quite have enough for everyone. They may be as a choice with the romas or cherry toms. Or they might just go in the swap boxes.
GARLIC (F) Partials will get a choice with the salsa or herbs.
SUMMER SQUASH & CUCUMBER (P) one of each minus a few squash. a second cucumber can be had instead.
POTATOES: (F/P) from the wreckage that is the ‘08 potato crop, we offer a rare treat – Bintge, yellow-fleshed and oh so creamy.
HERB CHOICE (F/P) Mint, chives or basil or a dried herb.

Also this week: Bread of Life bread shares

Next Week: End of the tomatoes, summer squash and cucumber season most likely. More onions and carrots. Meat and egg share delivery.

Farm report
As you can see from my scribbles above, the harvest is getting a wee bit tight. This is the point in the year where we enter a lull between seasons. The summer crops are slowing and the fall crops are a good three weeks from the first harvest. Every year so far we’ve been able to coast through this period on the late summer crops, including eggplant, okra and peppers and on our trifecta of storage crops, potatoes, onions and garlic until the first radishes, arugula, lettuce and kale start producing. However, this year is turning out to be quite a kicker with the cool, rainy weather continuing to rot our crops. The shares will be lighter for the next few weeks, but we’re hopeful that with some good weather (and a little luck) we can make it up to you in the fall.

The last two days were spent harvesting what’s left of the potato crop. Usually the farm crew is joined by the membership for the harvest, a perfect task for the whole family. You can thank us later for saving you from the experience (and aroma!) of a field of rotten potatoes. The only thing more shocking than picking up a nice-looking potato only to have your finger slide right thru it’s gooey center, is the fact that we got several crates of thoroughly solid, beautiful and tasty potatoes out of such a mess. Here are our seed potatoes laid out for sprouting back on April 5th . . . ah, such promise. Also of interest is the photo from the April 27th blog showing them underwater.

Here’s the tally so far: we lost at least 25% of the onions and 80% of the potatoes. The cukes, squash, peppers and tomatillos are at half-production. The melons so far are a zero. Half of the last bed of carrots rotted and the okra and eggplant are engulfed by crabgrass after repeatedly weeding them. We plan a 30% cushion into our plantings, expecting a certain amount of loss from pest, disease, weather, etc. But when we’ve got losses of 50-75% in some our most important crops, it becomes more difficult to stretch it amongst 100 shares. We do have a few bright notes. Most of the pole beans seemed to have survived the deluge, as did a fall planting of carrots and beets. There will be winter squash – it is next on the list to harvest. We are nervously eyeing the last planting of melons – best bet are the nearly-ripe Sugar Babies. There’s 500 feet of sweet potatoes growing well so far and most of the fall crops are already in the ground and growing.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Soggy August

In the Share: Week 13
TOMATOES (F/P) the heirlooms are outlasting the hybrids this season – take that Monsanto! It’s the week to try one of our ripe green tomatoes: Aunt Ruby’s German Green or Green Zebra. CHERRY TOMATOES (F/P) Fulls get them. Partial shares get a choice with Romas
BEANS: (F) some choice of Jade, a standard green bean or some Roma II, a Italian flat-pod variety. It’s the first picking so we’ll have to see how far they go.
SALSA PACK (F) The best salsa starts with the right ingredients.
CANTALOUPE (P) There’s enough for the partial shares at the Bad Seed. Full shares are next in line for the melons.
WALLA WALLA ONIONS (F/P) Enjoy these sweet babies while you can; they are poor keepers. SUMMER SQUASH (F) Half of the crop is too soggy.
CUCUMBERS: (F) Ditto on the cuke beds. Partial shares get what we got next week of both.
SWISS CHARD OR BEETS: (P) try Tom’s delectable cheesy chard over pasta.
HERB CHOICE (F/P) Summer savory or basil or a dried herb.

Also this week: Parker Farms meat and egg shares –(rumor has it there’ll be chickens this week.)

Next Week: Fewer tomatoes, summer squash and cucumbers. More beans, garlic and carrots. Meat and egg share delivery.

Farm report
The farm is a busy place right now. With the summer crops still producing, the fall planting only half done with all the rain, and the weeds growing happily in this tropical weather, time is at a premium. Here's the signt that greeted us last Wednesday morning. That's the ends of the fall brassica beds with the 3 and a half inches of rain washing through them.
The farm crew is Farmer Tom, Apprentice Jenn and Farmer Rebecca (me, hi) and lately we've been wishing we could clone all three of us. We are very grateful to have another fabulous apprentice this season. Jenn is definitely one of the bright spots on an otherwise murky season. With her help, we did manage to get the garlic out before the rain last week and we finished the onion harvest on Monday. Luckily, the Walla Wallas and a bed of yellow onions were already harvested and in the barn when the rain came. Many that remained in the ground rotted . . . as did a lot of the cantaloupe and potatoes. If you get a cantaloupe this week, leave it on the counter to ripen and then eat it as soon as possible - they won't keep for long. We are giving no guarantee on them, but thought we'd hand out what we have of these rare fruits. The one we tried tasted more like water than the succelent cantaloupe we were hoping for. On top of watered-down flavor in the fruits, we are seeing lots of specks, molds and rots of all kind out there. We do our best to keep it out of the shares as a quick look in the compost bin will attest. In past Augusts, I would be talking irrigation and drip lines, instead the ground is too wet to prepare for the fall crops. Today we decided we had waited long enough and with more rain in the forecast, we prepped just enough to get the broccoli, lettuce, radishes, turnips, arugula and rapini planted. You gotta be on time for the fall crops because the daylight gets a lot shorter in August and the first fall frost will be here before we know it. Our strategy for any crop failure is to keep up with the planting schedule. We can’t do much now about the potatoes that rotted (did I mention that? Yes, a lot of them…. most, I'm afraid.), but we can get the fall broccoli planted in our best soil on the farm. We’re not panicking too much yet. The beans look nice both the bush and the Rattlesnake pole beans, although as you can see the middle of the beds where there's a slight dip are not faring as well. There’s lots of green peppers that should start ripening soon and our second planting of hybrid tomatoes is starting to produce. No matter the weather something always seems to flourish. Next time you curse the tropical weather, imagine you're a sweet potato vine and all will seem right in the world.

What’s in the Share---Week 13

What’s in the share may be slimming down a bit over the next few weeks due to the many factors surrounding farming this season. So it’s a good time to clean out the fridge of all those veggies you never quite got to.

You may be surprised at what you can still eat from a past share. Got some beets left from week 11, or a cabbage from week 9, or possibly even a kohlrabi from week 7? These items should store pretty well and still be edible. Other things no doubt got a little lost in the fridge and may need a good look over before cooking. But either way there is no doubt some items still around that will go good with this week’s share.

In keeping with that line of thinking, this week’s recipe is a mix of items from the last 2 shares. It was originally meant to be a type of stovetop au gratin, but it never set up, so Rebecca suggested putting it over pasta.

Onion and Chard Macaroni and Cheese

2 medium onions, cut into chunks and separated
1 bunch chard, stems and leaves chopped separately
2 cups grated sharp cheddar or other cheese
1/3 cup water
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1 cup milk or cream
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley or chives
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a pan, add the onion, chard stems, salt and pepper and cook on high for 5 to 7 minutes, or until onions are translucent. Turn heat to medium, add chard leaves, water, stir and cover for 5 minutes. Uncover and cook off any remaining water.

Meanwhile, in a separate pan make the cheese sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium high heat, add the flour and stir for 30 seconds. Add the milk and cook until the mixture thickens. Add the cheese, stir until cheese is melted. Pour cheese sauce over vegetables. Stir and cook for 5 minutes or until desired thickness. Serve over macaroni such as elbows or fusilli.

CSA Bulk Order List Week of 8/4/08
Item Member Cost Non- Member Cost
Paste tomatoes (No. 1's) $2.25/lb $2.75/lb
$1.75/lb over 10 lb $2.25/lb over 10 lb
Tomato seconds $1.75/lb $2.00/lb
$1.50 over 10 lb $1.75 over 10 lb
Basil $1.75//bu $2.00/bu
Tarragon $1.75//bu $2.00/bu
Dried herbs $1.75 $2.00
thyme, marjoram, dried hot
peppers, lovage, lavendar
flowers, coriander, oregano

NEED TO KNOW MORE? Go to our Recipe page and search.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Mid-season - Week 12

In the Share: Week 12
TOMATOES (F/P) Loads of them this week – our best season yet.
ROMA TOMATOES (F) nothing like homemade sauce made with these beauties
CHERRY TOMATOES OR SALSA PACK (P) Maybe some for the full shares too if we have enough tomorrow.
CARROTS (F/P) Lots left in the fields, if it would only dry up enough to harvest.
EGGPLANT OR SUMMER SQUASH (F/P) the eggplant is producing poorly, probably not any more for awhile. Full shares get a choice, partials get squash and are next in line for the eggplant.
CUCUMBERS: (F/P) A few for everyone. The last planting is about ready to produce and it looks great.
HERB CHOICE (F/P) Basil, summer savory or a dried herb.

Also this week: Bread of Life bread share delivery

Next Week: More tomatoes, summer squash and cucumbers. More onions and perhaps (finally!) some cantaloupe. The potatoes are on the list just as soon as it dries out enough to dig them. Meat and egg share delivery.

Farm report
The tomato onslaught continues on the farm. Another day spent harvesting and sorting; another night spent coring and cooking. It’s enough to make us question how many tomato plants do we really need?! One less bed of tomatoes to plant, transplant, weed, mulch, irrigate and trellis could mean fewer weeds in the potatoes or another bed of cucumbers instead. But before I get too far down this line of thinking, I am reminded of the other times that I’ve had a similar revelations during the peak of harvest of one crop or another only to change my mind when the peak passes and we start wishing we had planted more.

With all the rain we've been getting, we have lots of cracked heirloom tomatoes. Heirlooms are prized for their thin skins and silky texture, but this leads to the skins to crack when more water is pumped into the fruit when it's maturing. Rather than send even more tomatoes to the compost than we already are, we are sending in some 'seconds' this week for you all to take if you wish. If you haven't already done so, now is the time to stock up for winter.

What we really need is feedback from the CSA on what crops we should grow more of and what crops we should grow less of. We are in luck, as your FSF CSA Inreach Coordinator, Kent Gillespie, has kindly prepared an excellent survey designed to find out from you how we can improve the CSA for all. Should we grow more summer squash and less cucumber, or the other way around? What is your favorite heirloom tomato that we should always make sure to grow? Or do you favor the standard red globes and wish we would stop with all this day-glo vegetable hippie nonsense? The FSF CSA core group wants to know your thoughts. They would also like your feedback regarding distribution, communication, farm shifts and more. Please consider taking a few moments to fill out and return the survey. It should be in your inbox attached to the email I am sending to the membership tonight. Thanks so much for your thoughtful suggestions and comments.

What’s in the Share---Week 12

More Summer Fare

This week’s share includes tried and true veggies of summer, and needs little explanation. With the current tomato surplus I hope that you try a simple tomato salad. Last year when I was home in Cincinnati with my brother, he went straight for the box of tomatoes I brought, cut a couple heirlooms in a big bowl, sprinkled a little salt, olive oil and vinegar on them and started in. It’s a simple, delicious treat and a wonderful way to make sure none of your tomatoes goes to waste.

Summer Canning

Tomato and chili sauce (more exactly Clara Zimmer’s Chili Sauce c. 1918) are the tasks at hand right now. A photo of the ingredients for each is shown, respectively. Little more than salt and oil was needed for the tomato sauce, while the chili sauce also called for 1-1/4 cup brown sugar and 2 cups vinegar and some pickling spices. The veggies in those crates was converted into 6 quarts of tomato sauce and 10 pints (5 quarts) of chili sauce.

Each called for between 20 and 25 pounds of tomatoes, showing that, canning can be an expensive (but very worthwhile) venture if you are buying your produce. These days though, it can cost less than a tank of gas, and can fuel you through the winter. Of course if you grow your own all you need it to do is be ready when the tomatoes are.

Bulk List

Fair Share Farm
CSA Bulk Order Form Week of 7/28/08

Item Member Cost Non- Member Cost
Beets $2.75/qt $3.00/qt
Pickling pack* (small cukes)
$17.00 $19.00
Pickling pack* (med. cukes)
$13.00 $15.00
Pickling pack* (large cukes)
$11.00 $13.00
Paste tomatoes (No. 1's)
$2.25/lb $2.75/lb
$1.75/lb over 10 lb $2.25/lb over 10 lb
Tomato seconds
$1.75/lb $2.00/lb
$1.50 over 10 lb $1.75 over 10 lb
$1.75//bu $2.00/bu
$1.75//bu $2.00/bu
Dill flowers
$1.75//bu $2.00/bu
Dried herbs
$1.75 $2.00
thyme, marjoram, dried hot
peppers, lovage, lavendar
flowers, coriander, oregano

* Pickling pack aromatics choices are garlic, dill, or cornichon

NEED TO KNOW MORE? Go to our Recipe page and search.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

From the farm - Week 11

In the Share: Week 11
TOMATOES (F/P) The heirlooms are outproducing the hybrids right now.
CHERRY TOMATOES (F/P) The healthiest tomatoes on the farm are on our highest ground.
GREEN BEANS (F) Thanks to all the pickers that have signed up to help us tomorrow! Partial shares will get them next week. Still need more pickers for the 30th. Here's a photo from Saturday's bean picking.
WALLA WALLA ONIONS (F/P) Our sweetest onion, great raw in salads
HERB CHOICE (F/P) Basil, Oregano or a dried herb.

Also this week: Parker Farms meat & egg share delivery

Next Week: More tomatoes, summer squash, cucumbers, beans. More garlic & carrots. Perhaps some cantaloupe. Bread share delivery.

Farm report
There has been a tropical air this week with temperatures in the upper 90s for the first time this year. It came too late for the tropical melons, however. The tropical melon variety called ‘Passport’ is one of our favorites – somewhere between a cantaloupe and a honeydew. We transplanted 200 feet of them along with the same of watermelons and cantaloupes back in mid-May but the cool, wet weather left them to wilt. This week we are beginning to hand out the melons that survived starting with on-farm distribution. If you don’t get one this week, not to worry, there are better chances down the line with our second and third plantings that grew under more favorable conditions.

The end of July signals the peak of activity on the farm. The tomato harvest is in full swing filling up every crate on the farm. After spending all day picking and sorting them, we spend our evenings converting them into our winter stores. The time of the tomato also coincides with the fall planting. So far we’ve planted a bed each of cauliflower, brussel sprouts and kale & collards. Many more seedlings await their turn in the coldframe and shade tents including lots of broccoli, kohlrabi, lettuces, and cabbages. It’s also time to get the last of the garlic out, harvest a bed and a half of carrots, and pull all five beds of onions. Whew! That list made me a bit dizzy. Needless to say, we don’t have a lot of time for the blog right now. It’s 10 pm and my brain is mush and Tom is just filling the final batch of jars for the night – pickles, my grandma’s four-day recipe. So, instead of attempting to blather on any longer, your weary farmer is headed to bed. I’ll see you all soon, however, as I will be sticking around at distribution attempting to sell our extra tomatoes to you all. Read Tom’s blog below for more on that. See you there!