Thursday, November 18, 2010

Your Thanksgiving Share

The Thanksgiving share harvest continues into it's third day on Friday as we reap the last of the 2010 vegetables from the fields. While we unfortunately have to scratch brussel sprouts from the list (too many aphids on them to make them palatable), we have a quality crops of 13 items.

Lettuce: Small to medium sized heads, crisp and delicious.

Endive: A bitter green that adds a nice bite to a late Fall salad. If you saved any strawberries from the Spring try our Week 4 recipe of Garlic and Strawberry Dressing over Endive.

Kale, Collards or Arugula: Kale (or Collards) with Vinegar and Egg is an awesome side dish to add some greenery to a Thanksgiving meal. The last few frosts have sweetened up both of these greens. The arugula has a bit of a kick this time of year, so you may want to use it as you would a herb in your salad, chopped somewhat fine.

Asian Greens: Chop them up and add them fresh to your salad, or stir-fry a light meal on either side of the holiday.

Butternut Squash or Sweet Potatoes: Recipes abound here in the cyber world. Or use a family
favorite, if you have one. Roasting, mashing, soup and pie are all options.

Bulb Fennel: A favorite of ours. We only grow it in the Fall, as that is when its flavor is the mildest. Treat it as you would celery. It is delicious cut into pieces and added to a salad dressed with a red wine vinaigrette. Check out the recipe below for another yummy dish.

Broccoli or Spinach: The last of the hearty broccoli, still as flavorful as ever. Or do you want some of our lone spinach crop of the year?

Roots assortment: The carrots, radish and Hakurei turnips will make a diverse crudités platter for your Thanksgiving guests. A little beet grated onto your salad adds a beautiful color.

Kohlrabi: Fall kohlrabi is the best, sweet, juicy and crunchy. Just trim the top and the root end, peel it, and cut it as you like. It is another staple crudités item, or a great addition to roasted vegetables (see recipe below).

Cabbage: We like it as a raw addition to the Thanksgiving meal. Think cole slaw.

Leeks: Use them wherever onions are called for, or in the recipe below.

Garlic: Everyone needs some garlic if they’re doing any cooking.

Cilantro: Fresh as can be for topping a salsa appetizer, or as an addition to a creamy dressing.

Roasted Fennel, Leeks and Kohlrabi
While harvesting the bulb fennel today, and being soothed by its aromatherapy, our apprentice Emily said how she thought the fennel would be great roasted. So, not being one to let a good idea go to waste, I decided that tonight’s dinner should test her theory. The result (with the addition of leeks and kohlrabi) was a warm, savory and hearty dish. Add what you want to this, potatoes, sweet potatoes, garlic...

trim the top and core the root

2 medium fennel bulbs
2 medium leeks
1 medium kohlrabi
1 tsp salt
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried thyme
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp butter

cut the fennel like you would celery

Cut the tops off the fennel bulb and core out the root. Chop in half, and then crosswise to make celery like chunks.
Clean and chop the leeks into ½ inch slices and rounds
Peel the kohlrabi and chop into ½ inch size chunks
Mix vegetables with salt, oregano, thyme and olive oil
Spread on a baking sheet and top with butter
Bake at 375°F for 35 to 45 minutes, stirring once.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Wedding of Rebecca and Tom

Hello good friends. Not our normal post here, as we would like to let everyone know that on Noveber 6, 2010 we got married.

arriving at the Ratcliff's

The Officiant, John Erb

John is a good friend who made wine with Tom for many years in the Finger Lakes region of New York state. He is also a Catholic deacon with an anti-establishment bent.

John 18:37 Pilate said to him, "So you are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears my voice."

John said he wished to express how he felt that we were living, rather than simply speaking a life of caring for the earth, living a life of love outside the status quo, and sharing our life with the community.

the wedding procession with flower
girls Pearl and Josephine

Here Comes the Bride

First Reading:
Not sure, but we feel that this may be a true story.

Excerpt from Aristophanes's Speech from Plato's Symposium
Translated by Benjamin Jowett

Aristophanes professed to open another vein of discourse; he had a mind to praise Love in another way, unlike that of either Pausanias or Eryximachus. Mankind, he said, judging by their neglect of him, have never, as I think, at all understood the power of Love. For if they had understood him they would surely have built noble temples and altars, and offered solemn sacrifices in his honour; but this is not done, and most certainly ought to be done: since of all the gods he is the best friend of men, the helper and the healer of the ills which are the great impediment to the happiness of the race. I will try to describe his power to you, and you shall teach the rest of the world what I am teaching you.

… the primeval man was round, his back and sides forming a circle; and he had four hands and the same number of feet, one head with two faces, looking opposite ways, set on a round neck and precisely alike; also four ears, two privy members, and the remainder to correspond. He could walk upright as men now do, backwards or forwards as he pleased, and he could also roll over and over at a great pace, turning on his four hands and four feet, eight in all, like tumblers going over and over with their legs in the air; this was when he wanted to run fast.

Terrible was their might and strength, and the thoughts of their hearts were great, and they made an attack upon the gods. Doubt reigned in the celestial councils. Should they kill them and annihilate the race with thunderbolts, as they had done the giants, then there would be an end of the sacrifices and worship which men offered to them; but, on the other hand, the gods could not suffer their insolence to be unrestrained. At last, after a good deal of reflection, Zeus discovered a way. He spoke and cut men in two, like a sorb-apple which is halved for pickling, or as you might divide an egg with a hair …

Each of us when separated, having one side only, like a flat fish, is but the tally-half of a man, and he is always looking for his other half. And such a nature is prone to love and ready to return love, always embracing that which is akin to him. And when one of them meets with his other half, the actual half of himself, whether he be a lover of youth or a lover of another sort, the pair are lost in an amazement of love and friendship and intimacy, and one will not be out of the other's sight, as I may say, even for a moment: these are the people who pass their whole lives together, and yet they could not explain what they desire of one another. For the intense yearning which each of them has towards the other does not appear to be the desire of lover's intercourse, but of something else which the soul of either evidently desires and cannot tell, and of which she has only a dark and doubtful presentiment.

There is not a man of them who when he heard the proposal would deny or would not acknowledge that this meeting and melting into one another, this becoming one instead of two, was the very expression of his ancient need.

And the reason is that human nature was originally one and we were a whole, and the desire and pursuit of the whole is called love.

with our witnesses, Jessica and James

Second Reading:
Readings from our journal that we are trying to keep. We looked back at the days before our engagement to see if there was anything that prompted it.

Thursday, September 30
Weeded cabbage, rolled up irrigation, mowed, sprayed Bt on brassicas. Found 2.7 lb baby puffball mushrooms, also some oyster mushrooms. Mushroom bisque, froze extra, bought tickets to Kauai.

Friday, October 1
Harvest sweet potatoes, many jumbos, cherry tomatoes, wash last of pumpkins. Mushroom quiche, okra & Caesar salad. Spices from Angela Farnung.
Smudging ceremony

Saturday, October 2
CSA day, harvest last beans. Forecast for frost tonight. Harvest rest of sweet potatoes, also green peppers, eggplant and tomatoes. Sonic for dinner. Watch “The Lady Vanishes”

Sunday October 3
Frost on grass, not too much damage. More frost predicted tonight. Froze beans, peppers and eggplant. Got engaged! O’Henry sweet potatoes, pork chops with apples, Roma beans and last bottle of 1999 homemade champagne. Brought in houseplants.

dinner with John, Brooke and Dan

The Bride at Bad Seed

So there you have it. It was a beautiful day.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Bulk List---Week 24

There are a few things we have extra of. Stock up now.

Sweet potatoes: $1.75/lb
Asian Greens (bok choi, tat soi): $3.00/large head
Kale/Chard/Collards: $3.00/bunch
Leeks: $3.00/lb

In the Share - Week 24

SWEET POTATOES (F/P) More sweets from our overflowing stores. It was a good year for the sweet potato.
CHOICE OF GREENS (F/P) bok choi, tat soi or rapini (broccoli raab)
CAULIFLOWER (F) The cauliflower continues it's great run.
BROCCOLI (P) A good pound for each partial share.
CABBAGE (F) The first to head from our patch, just enough for the full shares.
KOHLRABI (P)Partial shares get their turn at our best kohlrabi of the year. Peel, slice and eat it raw.
LETTUCE (F) Our fall lettuce is giving me fits. There is only enough that has even remotely sized up for the full shares, so here you go!
WATERMELON RADISHES (P) Chop off their tops and they will keep til Christmas. But eating them now is a nice thing too. The outside is the hottest, the inside the prettiest.
CHOICE OF EGGPLANT, SWEET PEPPERS OR OKRA (F) This warm October weather is keeping these hot weather crops going.
BEETS OR TURNIPS (F) The beets are very nice. I like to sautee the whole beet plant top to bottom in a little olive oil and vinegar. Yum. Or you can choose hardy fall turnips, either Purple Top or Gold Ball, the perfect addition to a hearty fall stew.

ALSO THIS WEEK: Parker Farms delivery

Here we are at the last week of the season. A bittersweet time for us all. After a long, hard dash through the growing season, Tom and I are looking forward to the slower pace of winter work. We're not there yet, however. This week's been all about the pipe - 2100 feet of it.

pushing the pipe

pipe waiting to be pushed

The unseasonably warm weather has really been nice for the work. It has kept the crops growing too. While it's hard to say for sure until the last share is harvested, we think if the weather holds we will have some broccoli and cauliflower next week. We'll keep you posted but we may go down to the Bad Seed Friday night market on the 29th to sell what we have. I'll send out an email once we know for sure. Also, we plan to do the pre-Thanksgiving market at the Bad Seed on November 19th. By then it will be time to glean the fields of whatever is left and get us all loaded up for our Thanksgiving meals. We'll be in touch once we know what will constitute the "Thanksgiving share".

But before we get to all that, it is time to celebrate the completed CSA season. We hope to see many of you this Saturday at the 7th annual Fair Share Farm CSA End of Season dinner. All of our current members should have received an evite in their inboxes. The party is going to be rocking with a live band, face painting for the kids and, as always, the best darn potluck in town. Our CSAers sure know how to cook, and eat! See you there!

What to Do With Your Share---Week 24

Another Season Eaten Up
Hard to believe that it has been 24 weeks since we first handed out shares for 2010. And while our bones and muscles feel it, our brain sees it all as having flown by. We want to thank everyone for there support, input, encouragement, and camaraderie. Community is the first word in CSA, and we couldn't have done it without you.

The Last Share
We feel it is important to remind everyone of how to store items from the last several shares, so that they will last if you do not eat them right away. Sweet potatoes, for example, are from a tropical plant, and should not be refrigerated. Keep them in a warm, dark area that is over 55 deg F. They can keep until the spring if treated that way. Store your winter squash the same way.

If you happen to get a cabbage, you can store it in a bag in your crisper for at least a month. We store ours in the packing room cooler (after it has been turned off), and can enjoy cabbage for months. Try some cole slaw at Xmas.

Any root crops will keep a long time too. Simply cut the greens off of your winter radishes, kohlrabi, turnips or beets, before storing them in a bag in the crisper.

Butternut Squash-White Bean Stew
We got this recipe from Relish Magazine. Rebecca happened to recover it from the recycle bin, as it was apparently a supplement in The KC Star. To say this stew is hearty is an understatement. Leeks are an excellent substitute for onions in this dish, and sweet potatoes can take the place of the squash.

A 2-pound whole squash yields about 4 cups of cubes. Look for tomato paste in a tube, so you can use a tablespoon at a time. Serve with cheese toast.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup slivered onion
3/4 cup thinly sliced celery
3 cups mushrooms, halved
4 cups cubed, peeled butternut squash
1 (14-ounce) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
1 garlic clove, pressed
2 cups water
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 (15-ounce) cans Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (optional)

1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery and mushrooms. Cook until vegetables start to brown, about 8 minutes.
2. Stir in squash, tomatoes, garlic, water, tomato paste, rosemary, salt and pepper. Mix well. Cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and simmer until squash is tender, about 25 minutes. Uncover, stir in beans and simmer until stew consistency, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley, if desired. Serves 8.

Recipe by Jean Kressy
Nutritional Information
Per serving: 150 calories, 4g fat, 0mg chol., 5g prot., 24g carbs., 7g fiber, 420mg sodium.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

In the Share - Week 23

your cauliflower

CHOICE OF GREENS (F/P) Kale, collards or Swiss chard
WATERMELON RADISH (F) A big winter radish that is green on the outside and pink on the inside. To store for a month or more, cut off the greens leaving an inch of top and place in a plastic bag in your crisper.
KOHLRABI (F) Same story for storing long term. Peel it before you eat it. Great raw or lightly steamed.
HERB CHOICE (F/P) Sage, lemongrass or a dried herb

ALSO THIS WEEK: Bread of Life shares

NEXT WEEK: More broccoli, cauliflower and greens. Partial shares will get either kohlrabi or watermelon radishes or both. More sweet potatoes for everyone. Hopefully the lettuce will be ready.

cleaning off the bean plants

The end of the season is almost here (just one more week after this one) but yet the farm is as busy as ever. We had a big crew on Saturday and took the opportunity to tear down the pole bean fence.

walking out the fence under Rocky's supervision

Later that day the FSF CSA Core Group gathered to plan the Fair Share Farm End of Season dinner which will be held next Saturday, October 23 from 5-7 pm. Look for an evite in your inbox in the next few days from Social Coordinator, Ann Flynn. We look forward to celebrating the season with you all by enjoying what is surely the best darn potluck around. This year the party will be festive with live music and face painting. Hope to see you all there!

The other big excitement this week is covered in Tom’s post. I’m keeping it short here so that we can return my dad’s “hot spot” internet service in a timely manner. If you need to reach us call, don’t send any emails.

What to Do With Your Share---Week 23

Herbs are Great
We heard that the last time we had sage in the shares there were a lot of bunches that made it to the swap box instead of to folk’s homes. While you may not have an affinity for sage, we hope that you reconsider these last few weeks of the season.

Sage is an old, traditional herb (thus said the old sage.) While it is available most all year round from the garden, we save it for the time of year when winter squash and pumpkins are handed out, as it is an idea seasoning for these cucurbits. In past blogs and newsletters we have highlighted its culinary benefits, like in sweet potato ravioli with browned sage butter, or simply with sweet potatoes, as a substitute for sugar and marshmallows.

Lemongrass is another herb choice this week. A plant suited to the tropics, we were able to get an OK harvest this year. Its wonderful aroma is obvious, but how to utilize it in a dish might not be. These little plants pack a lot of flavor and to get to it all you have to do is grate the bulbous root end (after cutting off any root hairs.) Our favorite use is in Lemongrass Chicken. But search the web and you are sure to find many recipes.

The Trencher Strikes
Sorry if this blog is short, but it has been a busy couple of days. You may know that we recieved some stimulus funds to improve our irrigation system---75% cost share on the 2,300 feet of irrigation pipe, as well as 4 solar panels.

With 2 days of trenching behind us (see photo below) we have weathered the trencher hitch coming off our truck on the way to the farm (all is OK), a very wet day of work on Monday, and severing our internet line. We are fortunate enough to have Rebecca's dad next door so we can borrow his Droid and have a hot spot for an hour to compose this latest installment.

Many thanks go out to our farm crew for putting pipe into the ground today, and especially to Tom Parker, a busy farmer and experienced water line installer, who assisted us today. We plan on being even better prepared in the future for all those hot, dry Missouri days that we know we will see.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

What to Do With Your Share---Week 22

Relish the Share
The two light frosts of Saturday and Sunday brought all of the peppers out of the field and into your shares. We hope that you are not overwhelmed by the harvest and put them to good use.

There are many things to do with green peppers. This week we have a green pepper relish recipe. You won’t have enough peppers to make it worth your while to can them, so don’t stress about that. Just keep it in your fridge and use it over the next several months on burgers, in egg salad, potato salad, or in your homemade thousand island dressing.

An option for the peppers you can’t use right away is to freeze them. Peppers are unique in that you don’t have to blanch them before freezing. Simple clean them of the stem and seed, cut them into chunks, and freeze them. It is best to first freeze them on a cookie sheet and them put them in a freezer bag or other suitable container.

Fajitas are another wonderful use of peppers. Or check our Week 21 of 2005 newsletter for 3 other tasty pepper and onion dishes. You can use your leeks instead of onions if you haven't eaten them already.

Hot Peppers
The fulls get a shot at some more hot peppers this week, as they were also harvested to beat the cold. The first hot pepper primer was in this year's Week 13 blog. This week there are a few new ones for you. The ones in the foreground of the photo below are cherry bells. They are the ones you see stuffed with cheese and prosciutto at the Italian delis.

The ones in the background are poblanos. Also known as an ancho pepper when it is dried, they are quite spicy and the pepper of choice for chile rellenos. Unfortunately these peppers never sized up, but they can still be used for this wonderful dish.

Green Pepper Relish
If your are thinking of canning your pepper relish, or doing some other preserving, I suggest this National Center for Home Food Preservation Publication 8004, page 10. The recipe below is adapted to fit the quantity of peppers in your share.

Makes about 3 half pints.
About 6 medium peppers (1.5 lb +/-) a mix of green, red and hot to suit your taste (including juice)
2 medium onions
3/4 cups sugar
3/4 cups white vinegar (5%)
1/2 tbsp mustard seeds
1 tsp salt

1. Combine all ingredients. Boil 30 minutes, uncovered.
2. Pack into jars, to 1⁄2 inch (1 cm) from top.
3. Remove air bubbles by running a plastic knife or spatula between the food and
the jar. Then wipe jar rims with a clean, damp cloth and secure lids and ring
4. Let cool and then store in the fridge, or process pints in a boiling water bath as prescribed in Table 6 of the guide.

In the Share - Week 22

the pepper harvest

SWEET POTATOES (F/P) A good harvest with some real jumbos. Don’t refrigerate your sweets! They don’t like to get below 50 degrees.
SWEET PEPPERS (F/P) The frost threatened so we picked them all. Full shares get 2 lbs, partials 1.5 lbs. Read Tom’s post for some simple ideas for preserving and enjoying them.
GARLIC (F/P) Softneck variety, keeps well.
BROCCOLI OR CAULIFLOWER (F) Just enough for the full shares this week, partial shares are next in line. We are scrambling a bit as the second planting stalled after the deluge 2 weeks ago.
EGGPLANT, GREEN TOMATOES OR HOT PEPPERS (F) Harvested before the frost and the last of the season.

ALSO THIS WEEK: Parker Farms delivery

NEXT WEEK: More broccoli and cauliflower. Kohlrabi, butternut squash and leeks. Cilantro and dill. Kale, collards and Swiss Chard return.

Saturday morning we awoke to a frost advisory for our area for that night. After the regular CSA harvest morning, the farm crew jumped to the task of harvesting anything that might be damaged. The last of the sweet potatoes came out well. We think all the heat and humidity of this summer led to some extra large sweets. We have several football-sized ones to feed us through the winter. Most of the crop was Beauregard, a standard commercial type with sweet orange flesh. We also planted a short stretch of O'Henry, a white variety that grew very uniformly. Hardly any footballs, but few small ones either. We mashed up some for dinner the other night and they were tender and oh so creamy.

one of many crates of Beauregards now safely stored in the greenhouse

Sweet peppers were the other big harvest on Saturday. We ended up with over 200 lbs. of these last jewels of summer. In the last hours of the day we covered the young lettuces with row cover, picked the remaining eggplant, hot peppers and green tomatoes. The sun set and we rested easy knowing that we had done what we needed to do.

The next morning we awoke to frost on the ground. It was a light and patchy frost. Only the most sensitive plants were hit and only here and there. A bit of frost on the tops of the basil plants and on the tips of the okra. The pepper plants look fine. If the warm weather holds for a few weeks we may even get another harvest.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

In the Share - Week 21

Jade beans

LEEKS (F/P) The long ladies are ready just in time for a fall soup.
PIE PUMPKIN (F/P) These are for eating, not carving. See Tom's post for a recipe for pie.
LETTUCE (F) Just enough for the full shares this week unfortunately. We'll have to wait a week or so until the next batch is ready.
BROCCOLI (P) Everyone's favorite. We'll have more in another week or so.
TOMATOES (F) The last of them.
CHOICE OF BEANS (F/P) The bumper bean bonanza continues. You'll have a choice of Roma flat-podded, Yellow Wax or Jade green.
CHOICE OF GREENS (F/P) Partial shares get a choice of Chinese Cabbage, bok choi or tat soi. Full shares get a choice of kale, collards or Swiss Chard.
HAKUREI TURNIPS (F) Crisp and juicy enough to eat raw. The greens are great too.
HERB CHOICE (F/P) Rosemary, parsley or basil.
CAULIFLOWER, SWEET PEPPERS OR EGGPLANT (F) The first of what appears to be a good cauliflower crop. The eggplant have gotten over their late summer stress and are making pretty fruits again.

ALSO THIS WEEK: Bread of Life Bakery delivery

NEXT WEEK: More cauliflower, broccoli, peppers, turnips and greens. Perhaps the first kohlrabi of the fall and more arugula. The much-postponed sweet potatoes. Garlic.

We had quite an exciting time after our last post. We went to bed that night only to be awakened by the sound of driving rain and hail on the roof. There's nothing like listening to a hailstorm within the comfort of your home while you imagine all your delicate lettuces being pounded to pieces. Makes it hard to go back to sleep.

By the time it was all over we had 6.6 inches of rain, marble-sized bruises on the lettuce, bok choi and tat soi and no internet. As many of you know our internet service is dependent on a small antennae mounted on the top of our old grain silo. It works great most of the time but a close lightening strike takes it out.

Harvest was very muddy indeed! We used a 2-step washing program to try to get the mud out as best we could. Despite our efforts there was still alot of mud and those hail bruises don't seem to wash off. Remarkably, the bok choi and tat soi made a full recovery within a few days and by Saturday's harvest the hail bruises were gone! We had no idea that such tender greens could heal themselves so completely. Makes me want to eat them all the more!

bruised bok choi before it heals itself

All this excitement has made the month of September fly by. Here we are on the cusp of October, the final harvest of the CSA just a few short weeks away. Before I go, I'd like to give a quick rundown on what to expect over the remaining weeks.

This is week 21. We've got 24 weeks in all, so the last distributions will be Oct 20 & 23. It's a little early this year, due to the way the days fell on the calendar this year. The End of Season dinner will be Saturday, Oct. 23rd. There will be more info. on this coming soon but go ahead and get it on the calendar now. It is the best darn potluck in town so you really don't want to miss it.

As far as the food goes. The crops are looking good. Most survived the deluge last week except perhaps some radishes and spinach. Otherwise, we've got lots of sweet potatoes, butternut squash, cauliflower, leeks, lettuces, broccoli, turnips, kohlrabi, peppers and greens of various kinds. The beets and carrots came up pretty spotty this summer and then the wet took some of them out, so we may only have them as a choice at some point.

So, enjoy these last few weeks. We know we will. The air is crisp and cool, the sun is shining and the harvest is on.

What to Do With Your Share---Week 21

For the first time in several years (back when we had less members) we are able to give everyone in the CSA a pie pumpkin. Our cultivation of the crop, along with a warm, dry stretch in June/July did the trick.

These pumpkins are not Jack o' lanterns so don't let the small size discourage you. They are meant to be eaten. A hearty soup, casserole, or creamy pie is the reason for the season with these. We hope you enjoy them.

Pumpkin Pie
Rebecca put her baking skill to work this weekend, making a pumpkin pie that tasted like it could have been served at the first Thankgiving. The recipe below is from the 1961 edition of the New York Times Cookbook.

We used a small/medium pumpkin and got exactly 2 cups of pumpkin puree out of it. It was more than enough to fill a store-bought 9 inch pie shell. As some of the pumpkins may not give you a full 2 cups, we recommend seeing how much pumpkin you have first, and then adjusting the ingredient amounts down some if need be.

Unbaked 9-inch pie shell
2 large or 3 small eggs
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp molasses or sorghum
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp powdered ginger
1 to 2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves or allspice
2 cups cooked pumpkin
1-1/2 cup milk, light cream or evaporated milk

  • To cook the pumpkin: cut in half and scoop out the seeds, place face down on a baking sheet, poke pumpkin skin with a fork or knife, add some water to the baking sheet and bake at 350 deg F for 40 minutes or until tender. Let cool and scoop out pumpking pulp. You can run the pulp through a food processor if you want it to be smoother.
  • Prepare the pie shell with a fluted standing rim. Brush lightly with egg white or shortening.
  • Preheat oven to 450 deg F
  • Beat eggs with the sugar, sorghum, salt and spices until well blended. Add the pumpkin and milk and mix well. Adjust the seasonings.
  • Turn the mixture into the prepared curist and bake on the lower shelf of the oven for 10 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 400 deg F and bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, or about 30 minutes longer.
  • Let cool. Serve with whipped cream topping.

If you have extra pie filling you can fill small custard cups and bake them along with the pie.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Bulk List---Week 20

Time to freeze some beans for the winter, or make some pickled beans if you've missed your chance so far. Buy some bulk okra to freeze and add to a nice New Years Day gumbo like we do.

Green Beans: $2.50/lb
Okra: $3.00/lb
Jalapenos: $2.50/pint
Pepperoncinis: $4.00/quart

What to Do With Your Share---Week 20

As this season winds down, we are looking forward to a good harvest, and full shares the rest of the way. The winter squash continues to come out of storage and into your kitchen, and if the weather continues to cooperate, lots of fresh green vegetables are to be harvested from the field.
This week you will see some nice acorn and butternut squash in the shares. There are two types of acorn; the familiar green type and a verigated variety called Carnival. They are one of the simplest vegetables to cook and eat, as this recipe demonstrates.

Baked Acorn Squash
One nice thing about acorn squash is that when you cut it in half, you have an edible bowl. Bake it, and all you need is a spoon to eat it. Cutting them in half at the start is the hardest part. It sometimes helps to stab the squash and slowly work the knife through it, rather than trying to cut it in half like an onion.

2 acorn squash
olive oil
sorghum, honey, or maple syrup

- Cut the squash in half, from stem to base. Scoop out the seeds (save to roast if you like).
- Poke with a fork or paring knife 25 times to tenderize.
- Wipe each squash with a small amount of olive oil (I just rub it on with my hands).
- Drizzle about 1 tsp of sorghum, honey, or maple syrup on each. Add a small piece of butter to each. Sprinkle with salt.
- Bake at 350 deg F for 40 to 50 minutes, or until tender and golden brown on top.

The options for how to "baste" the squash when roasting are many. Sage is a good herb to flavor squash. Goat cheese adds even more creaminess to the dish. What have you tried?

Bulk List
Don't forget to check out this week's bulk list. We have extra beans, okra and hot peppers.

In the Share - Week 20

broccoli - the favorite fall flower

TOMATOES (F/P) Enjoy this moment while we still have the summer fruits and the flavors of fall.
GREEN BEANS (F/P) We have a bumper crop at the moment as 4 beds of beans decided to ripen all at once! The green beans are called, Jade. Very sweet and long and tender. We have a few more yellow wax and Roma types. Extra Jade beans are on the bulk list this week only.
LETTUCE (F/P) More ruffled red leaf and some new green romaines.
RADISHES OR TURNIPS (F/P) Partial shares get radishes, full shares get a choice.
SWEET PEPPERS (F/P) September peppers are always the best, evenly-ripened and incredibly sweet.
BROCCOLI (F) Nice heads are beginning to form in the patch. Partial shares are next in line.
GARLIC (F/P) Artichoke soft-necked variety. Partial shares get a choice with the herbs.
WINTER SQUASH (F/P) This week you will be receiving acorn & carnival squash varieties with a few butternut thrown in. Check Tom's blog for our favorite way to eat them - so simple but good.
CHOICE OF GREENS (F/P) The greens are back and looking beautiful. This week we are catching up with the partials giving them a choice of kale, Swiss chard or collards. Full shares choose between Chinese cabbage, tat soi and bok choi.
HERBS OR HOT PEPPERS (F/P) Sage, garlic chives or hot peppers. Sage is nice with winter squash. The hot peppers are plentiful right now. See the bulk list if you'd like to buy some for freezing.

ALSO THIS WEEK: Parker Farms delivery
NEXT WEEK: More broccoli, tomatoes, peppers, greens, turnips and lettuce. The first sweet potatoes (we delayed this a week as they seem to need a bit more time to cure) and leeks.

Tom and I are routinely asked what our favorite job on the farm is. We both agree that harvesting a good crop ranks pretty high on our list of favorite things. It's even better when it's a highly-desireable crop like broccoli. The fall plantings are looking very good and we hope to have the cruciferous flower in the shares from now until the end of the season.

broccoli and it's paler cousin, cauliflower, in full leaf out.

The 2010 member survey shows that broccoli is your favorite too. You want us to produce more broccoli over any other vegetable. Only the juicy 'berries' catagory had more requests, but not many more. Other favorites were tomatoes and spinach.

Another tidbit from the survey include that 100% of you think your time at the farm was utilized 'effectively'. Glad to hear it. We surely appreciate your help. For example, this past Saturday a crew of about 16 picked 180 lbs. of green beans in addition to the greens and roots included in that day's shares. We're pretty sure that's a record for one morning's work. Check out the stop action video.

We thank you all for putting up with the 'very, very hot days', the bending over, waking up early on a Saturday and the dirt. Your comments are welcomed here and we hope to improve the experience, with the obvious caveats about weather included, for next season and beyond.

Getting 'hot and dirty' was also one of your favorite aspects about farm work. As was 'seeing where the food comes from', 'getting up and out that early and spending time with my son' and 'educating the kids'. One member stated they 'actually loved weeding the strawberry patch' and more of you liked harvest.

Meanwhile, our dedicated crew of FSF CSA Core Group members won high praises. We agree with you all that the distribution teams are doing a great job of making the process easy and flexible. While membership on the Core Group replaces the farm shift requirement, it surely requires more time and equal effort. Special thanks goes to the talented Gary Glauberman, who created and coordinated the survey. It was a beautiul thing.
And one last thanks to the talented Lauren, who has been working alongside us for over a week. She came to visit farm apprentice Emily and in the process harvested, planted and worked in the compost. We appreciate her fortitude and joyful spirit and wish her all the best on her travels.

Emily and Lauren at the Equinox sunrise.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fair Share Farm Art

The submissions are short of expectations, but still coming in for the Fair Share Farm Art Project. We hope you are still thinking of showing the world what you think of food. We have extended the deadline until the end of October. So, if you were going to enter but felt you didn't have the time, now's your chance to catch up on things.

Even if you don't enter, you are encouraged to view the entries for fun and inspiration. Click here to find out what a cherry tomato rainbow is, as well as to see a tomato quilt and some fine drawings.

In the Share - Week 19

freshly dug potatoes

TOMATOES (F/P) Another week out of the last planting
POTATOES (F) An assortment of types from the last of the crop. Sweet potatoes will fill their shoes starting next week.
ONIONS (F/P) Yellow storage types
GREEN BEANS (F/P) Everyone gets a choice of the green Jade, yellow wax or Roma flat-pod types.
PINK BEAUTY RADISHES (F/P) They are pretty. Partial shares get a choice of okra with theirs.
COLLARDS OR KALE (F) The fall greens are here. See Tom's blog for more info. on the collards.
BROCCOLI, SWEET PEPPERS OR CUCUMBERS (F) The first of the fall broccoli looks good with hopefully much more to come. This will be the last week of the cucumbers.
LETTUCE (F/P) Finally some nice big heads. One in each share.
ARUGULA, BASIL OR PARSLEY (F/P) Arugula is back along with the parsley. The basil is still kicking.

ALSO THIS WEEK: Bread of Life Bakery delivery

NEXT WEEK: More tomatoes, peppers, beans, lettuce and broccoli. Perhaps Hakurei turnips. Sweet potatoes and sage. Garlic and some bok choi. More radishes and arugula.

Well, the internet is a bit dicey tonight, so I dare not take too much time in posting. This week has been real pleasant. We have the fields cleaned up pretty nice. Every summer things get a little hectic and we fall behind until around mid-September when we finally catch up.

We planted another round of head lettuce on Monday. We were a bit late with that planting in the greenhouse, so it will be awhile before it's ready. We'll have lettuce for another couple of weeks and then it looks like we'll have a gap before this last planting is ready in October.

Before last night's .75 inches of rain we were able to sow the winter cover crops of rye and vetch. Tom also prepared some new ground above the strawberry patch. It will take awhile for the sod to decompose, but after a few spadings and a spring cover crop it should be ready for 2011 fall crops.

Well, I better get off of here before I get kicked off. We have a big day tomorrow. Lots of beans and greens to pick. If you have some free time, we'd love to see you out in the fields!

What to Do With Your Share---Week 19

The shares they are a'changin' right now. We are starting a shift from the fruits of summer to the heartiness of the fall crops. Here are a couple of suggestions for you.

Collards: A green often boiled until it's super soft, try Collards with Onions over Rice, or last week's Kale with Vinegar and Egg, substituting collards. If you are a meat eater, it's great to saute your veggies in bacon grease instead of olive oil. Mmmm...baconey.

Radishes: Try a radish sandwich. Some good quality bread, butter, salt, lettuce or arugula and radish slices is a known winner. Check out Google for some images to get you thinking.

We hope the rest of the items in the share...tomatoes, potatoes, onions, lettuce...are ready for use in your favorite recipe and need no such suggestions this week.

Farm to Table
We love the fall, and the harvest that it brings. But the vegetables don't plant themselves. Here is a little stop action action from August 23rd, when the kohlrabi went in the ground. They are doing quite well at the moment, green and happy, and much larger.

A sharper version of this is on YouTube.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

What to Do With Your Share---Week 18

In the Spring we often tell ourselves "if we can make it to Labor Day, things will be a lot easier." I don't know why we think that, because this is always one of the busiest and best times of the year.

Preparing the fields for winter, harvesting Missouri grapes, stocking up, feeding the CSA. We enjoy being tired out by such good things. And look forward to some good rest.

A new fresh herb choice, it is a favorite in our kitchen. Marjoram is very versatile. It brings body to vegetables such as summer squash, turns tomato sauce into pizza sauce, and imparts a wonderfully savory flavor to meats.

Its aroma is quite intense. It is also known as wild oregano. Store bought oregano can be a mix of oregano and marjoram.

Pickled Beet Juice and Greens
The cooking of greens often involves the addition of a liquid, to help steam them and create a sauce. This liquid is often water, wine, soy sauce or vinegar. For us pickled beet juice beats them all (pun intended).

A recipe such as Kale with Vinegar and Egg is a great one to try this out on. Just substitute about 1/3 cup of pickled beet juice for the vinegar and water.

Yet Another Front
The sky is a constant show at the farm. This cloud bank to our north probably extended all the way to St. Joe. Looked like a giant dust cloud. It quickly moved on its way.

In the Share - Week 18

this week's harvest
TOMATOES (F/P) The last planting of the season is giving us some real red beauties.
GARLIC (F/P) Artichoke soft-neck.
SWEET PEPPERS (F/P) It is pepper season. With many green fruits on the plants we are hoping for a couple more weeks of warm weather to keep them ripening.
CUCUMBERS (F/P) They won't be around much longer so enjoy them while you can.
LETTUCE (F) Some small heads from the first fall planting that is starting to bolt.
YELLOW POTATOES (P) With all the rain last week we couldn't dig the potatoes for the partial shares. Here they are now.
CHOICE OF OKRA, HOT PEPPERS, SALSA PACK OR GREEN BEANS (F) Lots of okra and hot peppers. Only a few salsa packs and hopefully a decent amount of beans finally.
CHOICE OF GREENS: KALE OR SWISS CHARD (F) We may fill in with sweet potato greens if the kale and chard aren't enough.
HERB CHOICE: (F/P) Basil, marjoram or garlic chives.

ALSO THIS WEEK: Parker Farms delivery
NEXT WEEK: More tomatoes, cucumbers, okra and peppers. Potatoes for the full shares, lettuce for the partials. Arugula and maybe radishes. Yellow Onions.

Spring 2004

Eight years ago this November, Tom and I moved to the abandoned homestead of the family farm. The 1930s era farmhouse and the 100+yr old barn were still standing although wildlife seemed more at home in them in the beginning than we did. We had apprenticed on organic vegetable farms for two years and thought we knew what we were getting into. In reality we found that while the apprenticeships were invaluable, there really is no way to know how to farm a particular piece of land than through doing it.
We knew that our topsoil was a silty clay loam with a clay subsoil beneath. We would be farming wind-blown soil, or loess, blown here during the end of the last ice age as the glaciers receded. The Loess Plateau extends up through Iowa and is one of the most fertile regions of America's Breadbasket.

That is all fine and dandy until we realized what lay below our pretty glacial dust. Good ole Missouri clay. Just like the ponds that dot every farm around, our soil holds water. The clay forms an impermeable layer that allows excess moisture to pool and suffocate the roots of tender plants. We learned this lesson our second year of farming when all of our tomatoes and potatoes rottted in what had been productive ground the season before. Lucky for you, eight years later we have a few strategies that are helping us cope with the 7 inches of rain over the past 2 weeks. Here are a few examples of how the crops are doing.

Bolting lettuces after the rain.

It's interesting that different varieties respond differently to the weather. While the Forellenschluss and Quattro Stagioni lettuces are bolting, the New Red Fire in the foreground is holding firm.

Summer squash with mildew

Right next door the sweet potatoes show no signs of stress.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mulching the Strawberries

If anyone ever asks what CSA members do at the farm on a work day, just point them to this video. Believe me, a lot of work got done in a very short time thanks to the membership. Go team!

A larger version is on YouTube.

In the Share - Week 17

TOMATOES (F/P) There is a few more juicy jewels of summer left
POTATOES (F/P) More of the yellow-fleshed, creamy type
ONIONS (F/P) We're clearing out the last of the sweeter varieties, some red, white and yellow.
SWEET PEPPERS (F/P) We grow bells and marconis, the latter being the elongated pointy ones.
SUMMER SQUASH (F) We still have lots of these dependable summer fruits. Check Farmer Tom's blog for the Ruggieri family recipe.
BUTTERNUT SQUASH (F) You know fall is coming when you start eating the winter squash. We have a bumper crop this year of butternuts, acorns, carnivals and pumpkins. While we wait for the other fall crops to mature, we are filling the lull with the smaller ones. They keep well so there's no rush to eat them.
SWEET POTATO GREENS (P) Okay partial shares, it is your turn to try something new. Check last week's blog for all the info on cooking these satisfying greens.
CUCUMBERS (F) That 4 inches of rain last week was a bit too much for the cucumbers but they are starting to pick up again.
SMALL LETTUCE (F/P) Ditto on the effects of the 4 inches of rain, however the lettuce is less forgiving. Our first planting for the fall is beginning to bolt, i.e. send up a flower stalk and turn bitter. We are picking it at 'baby' size in order to that we may all eat it while it is still edible.
OKRA, HOT PEPPERS OR EGGPLANT (F) The okra is in it's prime right now. Take advantage as the season won't last much longer. We're hoping on a flush of peppers and eggplant to come later in September.
HERB CHOICE (F/P) Basil, thyme, garlic chives or a dried herb

ALSO THIS WEEK: Bread of Life Bakery shares delivery

NEXT WEEK: More tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, summer squash and okra. Garlic returns. We're still waiting on the kale. Partial shares will get their butternut.

The end of August is here and we feel like we've finally passed over the hump of the growing season. Most all the crops are planted and all we have to do is tend to them and harvest. Well, not exactly. There's a big ole list of things that should be done. However, at the end of August it does become harder to keep up the same intensity of work that has been the norm since April. We wonder if it is the barometric pressure, but undoubtedly we are just tired.

This is not to say that we are unhappy with our lot. On the contrary we consider ourselves supremely lucky to breathe in the fresh air and eat well off of the fruits of our labor.

What to Do With Your Share---Week 17

Enjoy Some Fried Food
Not a normal suggestion from an organic farmer, but one that I think will delight your palate this week. It comes from my father's side of the family---zucchini fritters. We know we have been giving you a lot of beautiful summer squash and zucchini and you may be running out of ways to cook it. This is a definite crowd pleaser.

It is a modification of my Aunt Betty's recipe. I made it for brunch on Sunday to feed three of my sisters who were visiting. They agreed that the fritters had a taste that reached back in time to when we used to travel to South Bend, Indiana to visit my Dad's folks.

Sorry I don't have a picture of the fritters, but I do have one of my sisters at the farm. Left to right; Jeanne, Margy, Cathy, me, Rebecca

Zucchini Fritters
A fritter starts out as one thing; a pancake like batter with zucchini and seasoning. You simply fry it in a 1/2 inch of oil until browned on both sides. The aroma of it cooking is worth it.

2 cups shredded zucchini
2 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
3/4 cup grated cheese (parmesan, goat cheese, mozzarella...)
1/2 cup water
flour to make a pancake-like batter (thick)

Mix together all of the ingredients except the flour. Add flour to form a thick batter.
Heat 1/2 inch frying oil in a pan.
With tablespoon, spoon batter into the oil to form patties. Fry until browned on both sides.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

In the Share - Week 16

SWEET POTATO GREENS (F) a seasonal treat. It is time for the plant to stop growing greens and start bulking up those roots. See Tom's post for more info.
TOMATOES (F/P) We have not had our best tomato year. The cold snap in May and the humid summer did not help. But we do still have a few for everyone for another couple of weeks.
CARROTS (F) sweet orange ones.
GARLIC (F/P) of the hardneck variety
SUMMER SQUASH (F/P) get it while it last!
GREEN BEANS (F) The first picking of the last planting.
OKRA OR SWEET PEPPERS (F) Rumor is the okra is more popular than sweet peppers. You don't say.
BASIL, GARLIC CHIVES OR COMMON CHIVES (F) partials gets a choice of either herbs or garlic.

ALSO THIS WEEK: Parker Farms delivery
NEXT WEEK: More tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, squash and peppers. Potatoes and onions return. Perhaps some kale. Won't be long before we have some lettuce again.
It seems no matter where we go lately we see butterflies. Of every size and color, they are everywhere. One of their favorite meeting spots apppears to be our compost pile. Here is a photo of them gorging on the leftovers from the melon harvest.

The Limenitis arthemis astyanax, or Red-spotted Purple, seems to be particularly inclined towards the watermelon rinds. They are the blue and black ones with the red dots on their wingtips.

Butterflies are not the only creatures that seem to be thriving on the farm. Our daily tasks in the fields are often accompanied by a cry for everyone to gather for the latest critter needing inspection. Most are harmless; many are fascinating. Moth larvae with strange protuberances along their bodies, robber flies carrying off their latest prey, large black ants setting up house in a winter squash and even crawfish entertain us with their weird beauty.

In amongst the sage plants, we discovered a large and quite beautiful moth, although we later discovered that it is the adult form of the tomato hornworm (Manduca quinquemaculata) a quite formidable pest if left to devour a plant from the top down.

The farm's ecosystem also supports a large population of frogs and toads. Here is a leopard frog blending in amongst the mulch of the flower patch.

We are heartened to see all the life that shares the fields with us. Amphibians and reptiles, butterflies and moths are especially sensitive to toxins that are commonly used in chemical farming systems. Leopard frogs, in particular, are seen as environmental indicator species.

What to Do With Your Share---Week 16

Sweet Potato Vines
This little cooling spell has made it feel like Fall is around the corner. It reminded us of how long we have been without greens in our meal. Well, the farm provides, as we currently have a sea of sweet potato vines growing.

Our knowledge of their delicious nature, nutritional facts and growing requirements has been increasing over the past several seasons. Among the new things we've experienced is eating the sweet potato vines.

We sauteed some up tonight with a little oil, garlic, onion, salt, and vinegar to re-aquaint ourselves with their mild flavor. It made a small side-dish. It's nice to work it into a main dish too. Add it to your favorite tomato sauce and cook until tender. Or add some fresh to a salad.

Treat it like you would spinach or any other green. The stems are also edible, so chop them up and add them to the dish, not the compost.

When storing, DON'T PUT THEM IN THE FRIDGE. The sweet potato is a tropical plant and the coolness of your fridge will kill it quickly. Instead, store it in a jar of water on your counter.

For a great recipe I suggest going to Emily Akins' blog. If you don't have all the ingredients for her Sexy Stir Fry, substitute as the share allows.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Fair Share Farm Art Project

Submissions are slow, but behind the scenes we are seeing the CSA lumber to life. Interest in the Fair Share Farm Art Project is growing. We know of several pending artworks for display in our gallery.

As a CSA member you are among those that know the most about food. You've picked you own beans, and dug your own carrots. You've visited the chickens, pigs, sheep and cattle that you buy. You've helped harvest and distribute food to over 120 families. So who better to describe their feelings about food in art?

Just click on the happy girl with the big carrot for all the details.

Bulk List---Week 15

Sorry, there are no items available for bulk this week.

What To Do With Your Share---Week 15

Summer is passing in the fields, though some crops have just started. The okra has liked the African weather the last month, and is starting to flower and fruit. The stem of the pod is the same as the stem of the flower. After pollination the pod starts growing up from the base of the flower, shedding the pedals and making some wild looking food.

For the eating part we turn to a recipe from Jan Glauberman. We can attest to her knowledge of okra, having watched her make this dish, and tasted its virtues. We also made it ourselves tonight and remain impressed.

Wok Fried Okra
Water is the enemy of okra. Cooking okra with water will bring out the slimy texture we all hate. Okra needs to be cooked with dry heat and the easiest way I have found is to cook it in the wok with a little oil.

Wash and dry the okra. I leave the cap on but cut off most of the stem, then slice into 3/4 quarter inch pieces. Heat the wok on high and add 1/2 to 1 Tbl of oil, corn or canola works well with the high heat. Just before the oil starts to smoke add the okra and saute, stirring frequently.

It takes about 10 minutes at most and the okra will start to get black edges and soft. Add a sprinkling of kosher salt, stir and it's ready to eat. I like to add 1/2 tsp of an Indian spice mixture called Pickle Masala after I stir in the salt. It can be purchased at the local Indian market.

If you want to make your own, there is a good recipe at Just type in Pickel Masala. This is about the easiest way to cook any vege. Woks rule!

Jan =