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.