Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thanksgiving Share 2011

The late Fall is here. As I sit writing this on Thursday morning it is 21F outside and there is a heavy layer of frost in the fields. Through the wonders of modern weather forecasting we were able to anticipate this deep freeze, and have harvested all but the sturdiest of the crops for your Thanksgiving share. We are always happy when we can provide food to the CSA so late in the season---14 items this year.

 With such a large selection of produce, the recipe options are endless. To start with, we suggest perusing the 2009 and 2010 Thanksgiving share recipe suggestions.
We also offer the following suggestions:

Leeks and fennel: Treat leeks like onions and fennel like celery for all of you cooking needs. Use these substitutions in your standard bread stuffing recipe to create a flavorful dish.
Watermelon radish, Hakurei turnip, fennel and broccoli: Start your feast off with this fresh and healthy crudité platter. Cut the radish and turnips into rounds or half rounds. Pull the fennel stalks off the bulb like celery. Cut the broccoli into florets. Make a dip of yogurt, sour cream, olive oil, vinegar and herbs.
Lettuce, spinach, fennel, cabbage and grated beets: Make a nice salad of these oh so fresh vegetables for the dinner table. Or better yet, wait until after Thanksgiving and top the salad with leftover turkey and grated cheese for a hearty chef’s salad.
Beets: Add some color to the normally brown, white and orange of a Thanksgiving plate. Cook your beets whole in boiling water for about 20 to 35 minutes (until just starting to get tender),  cool in cold water and peel. Cut into slices and dress cold with oil and vinegar, or warm in a pan and top with butter, salt and dill.

Sweet potatoes: Good as a savory dish by themselves (mashed or roasted) or in a pie, the options are in your family traditions or on the web.
Cabbage: A fresh cole slaw is always good, especially if you are having smoked turkey or other bbq style meats.

Tomatoes: The tomatoes have been off the vine for over a month, so we don’t expect them to be especially tasty in a salad, but will go well cooked in a stew or curry.
Bok Choy:  We have had these Asian greens under wraps in the field for the last month. It was a pleasant surprise to uncover them and find such large, green plants. They will make for a good stir-fry either side of the Thanksgiving meal, when you need to load up on some green vegetables.

We wish everyone a happy and healthy Thanksgiving and hope the you are able to share it with your friends and family.

Tom and Rebecca

Monday, November 14, 2011

End of the Season Dinner Thanks

Want to give a heart-felt shout out to all the folks who made our 2011 End of the Season Dinner such a fun success. Ann and Mark Flynn again threw a wonderful get-together, and we can never than Mark enough for procuring so many wonderful raffle items. We raised almost $250 for the veggie voucher fund to help our members who need a little assistance in buying a share.

We want to specifically thank all of the folks who donated to the event. We truly appreciate your support of the Fair Share Farm CSA and the community we are building. As winners of two of the raffles, Rebecca and I are looking forward to our night of dining at Jem Restaurant in Liberty and at the Farmhouse in River Market.

We also want to thank members who contributed items: Fred and Carol Barth, Stacey Cook, the Flynn’s and Coral Wert.
Thanks again to:

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

In the Share - Week 24

Looking like it came from the stars, the kohlrabi

Don’t forget!: FAIR SHARE FARM HARVEST DINNER - THIS Saturday, Oct. 29, 4-6 pm at St. James Lutheran Church, 1104 Vivion Road, Kansas City MO

LETTUCE (F/P) 2 for the full shares, 1 for the partials

BULB FENNEL (F/P) We love us some bulb fennel and this crop has turned out well. See Tom’s post for ideas for use if you are new to it.

TOMATOES (F/P) Amazing to all of us, we still have tomatoes ripening in our packing room from the big pre-freeze harvest. Most of the ones you are receiving this week are not quite ripe, so let them ripen on your countertop or in a closed paper bag if you want to speed up the process.

SWEET PEPPERS (F) Also from the big pre-freeze harvest. I am not a huge fan of green peppers, but boy these sweet things have me thinking different.

CABBAGE (F/P) An assortment of types to choose from.

BROCCOLI OR CAULIFLOWER (F)  They are smaller this week. I think all the hot, dry weather has finally caught up with them. Continue to check for any caterpillars we may have missed.

ROOT MIX (P) 2 beets. 2 watermelon radishes and 1 turnip. See last week’s post for more info. on the watermelon radish.

GREENS CHOICE (F) Tat soi, bok choy or Swiss Chard

KOHLRABI (F/P) Fall is when these beauties really shine. Once you peel it thoroughly, you get to the tender, juicy crunch.

HERB CHOICE (F/P) Cilantro, dill, parsley or a dried herb.

ALSO THIS WEEK: Parker Farms shares

NEXT WEEK: You are on your own folks. I’ll bet you will still have some FSF veggies in the fridge and on the counter. If you are ready for more, check out the friendly folks down at the BadSeed Market on Friday nights. We plan to offer, as we have the past few years, a pre-Thanksgiving share to be picked up at the BadSeed Market on Nov. 18. More information will be coming in November.


The last week of the CSA season has arrived. It is always bittersweet to say goodbye to the growing season. In the last week, the first freeze marked the end to the tomatoes and other warm-weather plants. On Saturday, the CSA helped remove the tomato plants from the field, a good practice to prevent disease.

Other late fall tasks include planting garlic, mulching perennials and overwintering leeks and collecting the irrigation equipment. All of this we are trying to do this week as the farm team will be changing. Dani Hurst will be leaving us to join her fiancé working on his medical residency out of state. We have really enjoyed Dani’s enthusiasm and thoughtful attention to the work since she joined us in August. Lucas Knutter has been working at the farm since last fall and will be continuing with us through the winter on a part-time basis. Lucas has been invaluable to the farm team for the past year and we hope he will find time for us now and again while he builds a farm of his own on family land nearby.

Our farm crew of four relies on a membership of 120 families. Every one of you pitched in this season and helped make the harvest a success. We succeed as a sustainable business and farm thanks to all of you who have lent your hands to our endeavor. We appreciate all the time, energy and creativity that you gave freely to the farm and the CSA this season. Because of you our farm is a productive, thriving example of what happens when a piece of land is supported by a community of people. Tom and I cannot put into words the depth of our gratitude. Thank you!

I think all of our hard work deserves a celebration!

So join us for the  Eighth Annual Fair Share Farm CSA Harvest Dinner, October 29, 4-6 pm at St. James Lutheran Church, 1104 Vivion Road, Kansas City MO.

Look for your evite in your inbox to see what type of dish to bring to the best potluck you’ve ever attended.

Kids Costume Contest!! Adults costumes welcome!

Raffle for lovely items donated by the best green businesses in town, including: The Farmhouse, Green Circle, Sturgis Materials and the Grass Pad.   Raffle proceeds to benefit the Veggie Voucher Fund. 

Come party down with your favorite farmers and your fellow locavores! See you there.

What to Do With Your Share---Week 24

The end of the regular CSA season is here. We thank you all for the support that you have given us, from helping us in the fields and barn, to working with us to distribute your food. The CSA model is the key to the success that we have seen to date. The reasons are many; helping with cash flow, regularly meeting the people we grow food for, an efficient delivery system, moral support, etc. Thanks again.
The Final Share, 2011
This week’s share has many items that you can keep if there is more than you can handle. The cabbage, kohlrabi, beets, and other roots will keep in the crisper drawer for over a month. The lettuce, herbs and other greens will need more immediate attention.

The fennel will keep too, but we suggest that you use it right now, while it is as perfect as we can hope for. Think of it as celery with more flavor. Fennel slices is a realy nice addition to a lettuce salad. You can add it to a stew, soup, or any other recipe that calls for celery.
Fish and Fennel
We bought some fish the other day so that we could cook it in the manner of a recipe we saw Lidia Bastianich prepare on her show Lidia’s Italy. I believe she used veal for her recipe, and you could also use de-boned chicken, or pork.

2 large fish filets
2 medium leeks, cleaned
1 medium or ½ large fennel bulb, cleaned and cut into 1 inch slices
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
2 tablespoon olive oil
about 10 thinly sliced lemon rounds, cut in half
1 tablespoon butter
1-1/2 cups dry white wine, stock or fruit juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Cut dark green top part away from leek. Cut the leeks lengthwise, wash all sand and grit from between the layers. Then cut crosswise into narrow slices.

Cut most of the top off of the fennel, then cut in half from top to bottom. Cut out the root core. Cut into slices.

Dust the fish in flour and fry on high heat with the olive oil. When both sides have browned set aside on a warm plate. Add the butter and 1 tbsp of olive oil and sauté the leeks, fennel, and garlic. Cook on high heat for 2 minutes, and then turn to medium low for 5 to 10 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.
Add stock/wine/juice, bring to a boil. Add fish and simmer for 5 minutes. Serve hot.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

In the Share - Week 23

LETTUCE (F/P) 2 heads for the full shares, 1 for the partial shares.

SWEET POTATOES (F/P) More of the bumper crop of sweets. This week more white O’Henrys

SWEET PEPPERS (F/P) We picked them all and will hand out ripe and green in the next 2 weeks.

TOMATOES (F/P) More of the late flush of ‘maters.


CAULIFLOWER (P) We’re hoping for enough for the partials this week and the full shares in Liberty that missed out last week.

MIXED ROOTS (F) A couple of beets, a couple of radishes and a turnip. This makes the best roasted root vegetable dish. The watermelon radishes lose their bite if you slice them and peel off their outer shell.

HERBS (F) Cilantro, dill or parsley

ALSO THIS WEEK: Bread of Life Bakery shares

NEXT WEEK: Our last week of the CSA season. More lettuce, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower. Green peppers and bulb fennel.


The farm is a buzz of activity preparing for the first freeze of the fall forecasted for tomorrow morning. We spent the last several days covering crops out in the field and harvesting everything else. Monday we focused on the tender summer fruits: peppers, eggplant and tomatoes. Today we pulled beets, turnips and radishes. Overall we brought in over a thousand pounds of produce in two days.

Before we became over-run with green tomatoes and dirty beets, Tom and I got a good visit in with some of our family. On Saturday my niece Nina, my sister Sally and my mom Sharon came for a visit to the farm followed by a performance of the Tom Sawyer Ballet at the new Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. The ballet was a lot of fun and we really enjoyed the beautiful new building. Before we left for the big event Farmer Tom took our photo in front of the newly renovated Fair Share Farm Barn for the Storing of Crops.

What to Do With Your Share---Week 23

Two weeks to go, and we are busy harvesting the sensitive crops and covering up the Fall crops that would prefer not to be frosted. So while the season is winding down, we have been very busy. It is nice though, to be surrounded by a wonderful end of the season harvest as we go about our duties.


White Sweet Potato Soup
This cool, downright cold weather has prompted the urge for soup. As is usually the case, the recipe we decide to try comes from one of Rebecca’s casual comments like “mmm, let’s make some sweet potato soup tonight.” So, pressed into duty I sorted through the options, and realized that it should be as easy as making the standard potato leek soup, but with white sweet potatoes.
This take on the classic soup has an earthy warmth and sweetness that should be in every CSA cook’s repertoire. Finish it with some sour cream or crème fraiche, topped with fresh parsley and it becomes an elegant treat.

2 medium leeks, cleaned
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1-1/2 cups dry white wine (optional)
2 medium white sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into small dice
1-1/2 quarts vegetable or chicken stock (or more if a thinner soup is desired)
Salt and pepper to taste

Cut dark green top part away from leek. Cut the leeks lengthwise, wash all sand and grit from between the layers. Then cut crosswise into narrow slices.
Put olive oil and butter into soup pot, heat until butter melts. Add leeks and sauté 5 minutes over medium high heat.

Add garlic, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper and sauté 2 minutes more.
Add wine and cook until the wine is reduced by half.

Add sweet potatoes, cook 5 minutes.
Add stock and heat to boil.

Reduce heat, cover and simmer on low for 30 minutes or until potatoes are soft..

Serve as is, or puree part or all in a food processor for a creamy soup.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

In the Share - Week 22

LEEKS (F/P) Heighten any recipe by replacing the onions with some slow simmered leeks.

LETTUCE (F/P) More of the red, ruffled head or a green romaine.

BOK CHOY (F) Back in late August when the heat and drought was threatening to kill both crops and farmers alike we rushed to plant as much for the fall as humanly possible. Now we’ve got a bumper crop of brassicas. Hope you are enjoying the fruits of our sweaty labor!

TURNIPS (P) These are the full-size, fall turnips that the full shares got two weeks ago. Check out Tom’s recipe in Week 20 for the best sweet potato, turnip mash ever.

BROCCOLI (F/P) Oh baby, the broccoli crop is in and boy is it beautiful! Everyone gets at least a pound and a half. Again, check for any caterpillars we may have missed.

CAULIFLOWER (F) Last week the members that pick up at the farm got the first cauliflower of the season. This week the full shares in Liberty and KC get their turn. Partial shares will have it next week.

TOMATOES (F/P) Surprise, surprise we have enough tomatoes for everyone.

SWEET PEPPERS (F/P) We keep thinking we need to start picking green ones, but every harvest we come away with enough ripe ones to keep us busy.

EGGPLANT, OKRA OR ANAHEIM PEPPERS (F) See Tom’s post this week for an easy and tasty way to use the versatile Anaheim.

HERB CHOICE (F) Parsley, Arugula, Thyme or Cilantro

ALSO THIS WEEK: Parker Farms shares

NEXT WEEK: More broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, sweet peppers and eggplant. Sweet potatoes, garlic and cabbages.

The saying goes, “make hay while the sun shines,” and while we are not in the haying business, we know enough to take advantage of this unseasonably warm weather. One task that we weren’t sure we would complete before winter hit was painting the new siding on the barn. Since replacing the siding back in July, we have taken time when we can to finish up some of the details around the door and building the landing. And finally this week we were able to start painting.

That’s me on the left. In the middle is Dani Hurst who has been apprenticing with us since August. On the right is Marlene Reuter who has volunteered with us on a regular basis for the past 2 years. Not pictured is Tom who got to do the high up parts. We got pretty far until the paint ran out. Hopefully we’ll finish the job this Thursday.

What to Do With Your Share---Week 22

This Fall has been like no other. While we had some cool nights a week ago, the recent warm temperature and sunshine has caused a growth and ripening spurt in the fields later than ever. It’s been awhile since everyone got a pound of ripe tomatoes, and here it is almost the middle of October. The peppers have likewise filled with color.

In the brassica patch we have found some whoppers. And since we can’t cut a broccoli head in two, some of you are going to be getting some pretty nice broccoli and/or cauliflower this week. This is brought to you by the summer work crew of Luke, Kim, the irrigation system, and your farmers. Those tiny plants that we put in the ground during a 100 degree spell, and tended to through thick and thin, have grown like no other. With all of the fertilizing coming from cover crops, compost, and soil we have been feeding for 8 years, we are struck by just how well biological farming works.
    Broccoli head, Tom head, cauliflower head

We recently purchased some lentils in bulk and have been eating them regularly. The recipe below is one I started using about the time I started making my own tomato sauce in earnest. It is great to use as the liquid for the lentils instead of water. This dish is good hot or cold. We usually make a double recipe.

1 cup of lentils
2 cups of tomato sauce (enough to cover the lentils by ½ to 1 inch
I large or 2 medium peppers, chopped fine, or
  2 to 3 medium Numex hot peppers
1 medium onion, chopped fine
2 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped fine
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp chopped parsley

1. Sauté the onions and peppers in the olive oil until tender ( about 2 minutes) in a 2 quart saucepan
2. Add the garlic, lentils, salt and tomato sauce to the pot, stir, cover and bring to a boil.
3. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until lentils are tender, about 15 minutes.
4. Add the parsley, stir and serve.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

In the Share - Week 21

BROCCOLI (F/P) We returned from our float down Jack’s Fork River just in time to harvest over 100 lbs. of broccoli today. They are big and beautiful despite the grasshoppers chewing on the tops of some. Also, we tried real hard to keep the caterpillars at bay, but you may need to soak the broccoli to get rid of any we left behind. 

SWEET POTATOES (F) The regular orange sweets this time around.

GARLIC (F/P) We’ll be planting next year’s crop in about a month’s time. We save the biggest heads and plant their cloves six inches apart.

CHOICE OF GREENS (F/P) An assortment: Asian greens, Collards, arugula, Swiss Chard, Rapini

LETTUCE (F/P) They are sizing up slowly so we are trying to restrain ourselves from picking too many too soon. This week everyone gets one head.

PEPPERS AND/OR EGGPLANT (F) These warm days are keeping them producing.


TOMATOES (F) Not sure how many we have but they are attempting a small resurgence.

ALSO THIS WEEK: Bread of Life Bakery shares, last distribution of Of the Earth fruit shares

NEXT WEEK: More broccoli, lettuce, peppers, eggplant and greens. Leeks, cabbage and cauliflower.

Tom and I managed a quick vacation this week, our first since sometime in February. We joined my sister Sally and her family on a float down one of Missouri’s lovely spring-fed rivers. See Tom’s post for more and photos of the lush Alley Spring. We returned today to our dry prairie farm and with much else to do this post is brief. Here’s the current view of our irrigation pond. It has dropped significantly, perhaps 4 feet since this Spring.

What to Do With Your Share---Week 21

Rebecca and I just enjoyed a few days off the farm, floating the Jack’s Fork River with her sister and family. It reminded me of the Adirondack Mountains in New York; clear, cold streams and beautiful Fall colors. Our natural close encounters included many kingfishers, an otter, trout, and a bald eagle.

Back at camp we had a great time relaxing, eating, talking and playing music. Dinner included Parker Farms fully cooked brauts, campfire roasted Fair Share Farm sweet potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic, and half a cabbage cole slaw.
Alley Spring reflection

Alley Spring shore

Rebecca pointing to a bald eagle

We got back Tuesday afternoon hoping to harvest enough broccoli so that all of you could get some. We were greeted with a picking of over 100 pounds. After washing and packing it for the shares, we enjoyed it in a frittata.
New York Times food writer Mark Bittman suggests that frittatas include more vegetable than egg. So get a big pan, some eggs and a lot of broccoli and cook one up. They are good both fresh and hot, and cold.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

In the Share - Week 20

TENDERSWEET CABBAGE (F/P) The name says it all. The first out of the fall cabbage patch, which is looking good.

LEEKS (F/P) They are smaller than we’d like but they are a more northern crop that just survived a blaster of a summer. We’ll have them at least one more time before the end of the season.

BEETS (F/P) Full shares get both beets and turnips. Partial shares get a choice of Hakurei turnips or beets.

GOLD BALL TURNIPS (F) These are the real deal. The turnips have sweetened and bulked up during these cool fall days.

CHOICE OF GREENS (F/P) A wide assortment of choices here: arugula, Swiss Chard, Rapini, Collards.

EGGPLANT (F) The eggplant is putting on its fall flush before the frost comes so enjoy them while you can.
SWEET PEPPERS (P) ditto on these guys. Won’t be too many more ripe ones. Then we’ll start on the green ones.

POTATOES OR ONIONS (F/P) Full shares get a choice with peppers.

BOK CHOY/TAT SOI (F) We direct seeded these and are bunching them at baby size for the best stir fry.

ALSO THIS WEEK: Parker Farms shares, Of the Earth fruit shares

NEXT WEEK: More turnips, greens, eggplant and peppers. The fall broccoli and cauliflower begin. Sweet potatoes and garlic.

When the weather is as pleasant as this everyone wishes that they could be a farmer, working outside with the leaves changing and the crisp sunrises. The farm crew surely appreciates such a lovely office after such hot summer. There were times this summer when we dreamt of September days like these. All of this pastoral beauty is tempered, however, by a serious shortage in precipitation. We have been irrigating non-stop since mid-July. July and August can get pretty dry in our neck of the prairie, but usually by now we have received a nice autumnal soaker. Last September we got 6 inches of rain in one week. This September we are officially at 1.1 inches for the month. Cracks in the ground persist even pretty close to our irrigated crops. We are supremely indebted to the irrigation pond and solar powered pump. It was an investment, but it is paying us back this year.

What to Do With Your Share---Week 20

One thing we like on the farm is a good harvest, especially in the Fall. The crops coming from the field now are as green and healthy as we have ever had. We attribute much of this to the farm’s soil fertility plan. The majority of our Fall crops are preceded by a cover crop of chickling vetch and oats. We plant it in April and turn it in at the start of Summer.
This organic matter breaks down just like a compost pile. We plant into it when the soil life is at a healthy peak. The past several seasons we have seen the cover crops create strong, green plants. We feel our results show how productive organic techniques can be once you have brought your soil to life.
For the nine years we have been here we could have been spreading synthetic 10-10-10 fertilizer to grow vegetables instead. If we had gone that route and fed the plants chemicals, we would have provided no improvement to the farm’s ecosystem. The plan for such a farm is to buy chemicals for all of your days. You gain nothing long-term.

We are glad we don’t go that route. We feel good that with our growing methods we can see such a response from the land, and know that it has improved in health. We often bemoan the fact that if organic farming practices had received the support that conventional ag got back in the 1970’s “go big or get out” days, the US would be so much farther along in organic acres planted and techniques learned. If the farm had 40 years of growing under its belt, it would be that much more fertile and energy efficient.
In the present we have some excellent cabbages. The flat-top heads in your share are Tendersweet cabbage. Its leaves are thinner than many cabbages, making it somewhat delicate. It is a raw treat and is perfect for salads of any kind.

Gold Ball Turnips
We hear on-line that turnips are the new beet. We hope you agree, as we are looking to pull some fine ones this week. Our inability to grow rutabaga (it was big last year) has been limited, so we have replaced them with Gold Ball turnips. I encourage you to try them in the recipe below.
White Sweet Potato, Gold Turnip and Garlic Mash
I hope this combination sounds good to you. These vegetables create a very creamy mash, and a quite unique, rich flavor.  

Ingredients1 large or 2 medium O'Henry white sweet potatoes
1 large or 2 medium Gold Ball turninps
6 cloves of garlic; whole, skins removed
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup of milk
Method1. Wash vegetables, and peel if desired. Cut into chunks. Put in pot with just enough water to cover. Add garlic and salt.
2. Bring to boil, turn to simmer and cook until tender. Drain and return to pot.
3. Mash vegetables (or puree with a blender), add butter and milk. Blend.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

In the Share - Week 19

O’HENRY SWEET POTATOES (F/P) White sweet potatoes are super creamy and oh so sweet!

GARLIC (F/P) Soon it will be time to plant next year’s crop but we still have many heads for eating.

HAKUREI TURNIPS (F/P) Welcome back the Hakureis! Eat em like an apple, in case you forgot.

LETTUCE (F/P) We are so close to having enough lettuce for everyone. There may be a few folks on Saturday that we’ll have to send something else. It was darn difficult to get these babies to sprout in the summer heat, but they are looking good now.

BOK CHOI/TAT SOI BUNCHES (F/P) Stir-fry season is back. Check Tom’s post for a reminder.

KALE, RAPINI OR COLLARDS (F) Aphids are invading our brassicas. We will try not to send them in with the shares, but wash well and check the backs of the leaves just in case. PLUM

PURPLE RADISHES (F) I am loving our fall radishes. They are so juicy. Add em to your stir-fry for a crisp crunch.

SWEET PEPPERS, HOT PEPPERS OR OKRA (F) The summer crops are winding down, but we’ll have a bit more until frost.

HERBS OR ARUGULA (F/P) Sage, thyme, basil or arugula.

ALSO THIS WEEK: Bread of Life Bakery shares, Of the Earth fruit shares

NEXT WEEK: More turnips, greens, peppers and herbs. Leeks, beets and cabbage. The Autumnal

Equinox this week marks the end of summer and the beginning of fall. Days and nights are even in length and the plants respond by slowing their growth and sweetening with the cooler temperatures. With only five more CSA distributions after this week (last pickup: Oct. 26 & 29) it is time to celebrate the completion of another successful season. Tom and I look forward to this time of year all season long when we can finally relax and just have a good time with our community of eaters.

We hope you all can attend the 9th annual Fair Share Farm CSA Harvest Dinner on October 29th from 4-6 pm. As always, the event will take place at St. James Lutheran Church, 1104 Vivion Road (same spot as the Spring Signup) and everyone is asked to bring a dish for the best local, organic potluck west of the Mississippi.

  The Fair Share Farm CSA Core Group is planning a fun event including a raffle to benefit our Veggie Voucher fund. Raffle tickets cost $1 (cash only) and you can buy as many as you want to increase your chances of winning. Thank you to Blue Bird Bistro and the MisFit Ranch Bed and Breakfast for being the first two to donate gift certificates for the raffle.

With it being Halloween weekend, costumes are encouraged. Prizes will be awarded for the best children’s costumes. If you would like to help with set-up, clean up or have something you would like to donate to the raffle contact Ann & Mark Flynn, FSF CSA Social Coordinators. Ann and Mark will be sending out an evite to all of our members soon, so watch for that in your inbox.

What to Do WIth Your Share---Week 19

The last days of summer are here, with the Autumn Equinox occurring at 10:04 am on Friday. The days keep getting shorter, and the nights are growing cooler. Farming for a living makes you realize that the sun is the true clock of our lives, not the digital device on your wrist or in your phone. We enjoy this time of year, as the sunrise creeps south every morning, reminding us to stock up and prepare for the Fall and Winter, and enjoy the beauty of Autumn.

Asian Greens
Speaking of seasons, it is once again stir-fry season. Our wok is getting a workout with the Asian greens, turnips, radishes and hot peppers that grace the shares. Now is a good time to make the most of these nourishing green vegetables. Our Stir Fry Primer is all the farther you have to go to master the art of the wok.

Hakurei Turnips
The Hakurei turnip is one of those vegetables that make us happy to be CSA farmers. We are pretty sure that not too many folks knew what they were before they joined the farm. It feels good to be able to offer a new vegetable to people and have them enjoy it like you all do. The Spring planting was a great success, and this Fall’s will certainly rival it. Don’t forget that both tops and bottoms are edible. So be sure to use the greens too, either in a salad or a stir-fry.

O’Henry Sweet Potatoes
We hope that you enjoyed the orange Beauregard sweet potatoes in the Week 17 shares. This week, as promised we are handing out a white sweet potato called O’Henry. We trialed about 30 feet of these last year and were very happy with their productivity and taste. White, sweet, potato says is all about these delectable tubers.

Digging sweet potoatoes with the CSA

We think a good way to try these out is to mash them. It really brings out their sweetness and creaminess. Simply cut off any tough spots, cut into large chunks, and then boil or steam until tender. While still hot mash them before adding some salt, butter and milk/cream. Yummy.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

In the Share - Week 18

                                         mulching the fall brassica

POTATOES (F/P) Last of the “Irish” or “South American” potatoes for the year. Enjoy!

ONIONS (F) Probably the last of the onions too.

RADISHES (F/P) Oh my, we have a lot of radishes on our hands. Too hot for you, you say? Slice them up, dress with vinegar and honey, let sit and then eat without fear.

EGGPLANT OR OKRA (F) The eggplant has rebounded nicely from the summer heat and the okra will continue until the temps. get too chilly.

SWEET PEPPERS (F/P) Still got some ripe ones out there and hopefully will for a bit longer.

CHOICE OF GREENS (F/P) Rapini, Kale, Collards and Chard. See Tom’s post for more on enjoying your greens.

ASIAN GREENS or ARUGULA (F) We direct-seeded some bok choy and tat soi this summer after our greenhouse seedings wouldn’t sprout in the heat. Now there are lots of baby bok choy and tat soi in the field to pick.

HERB CHOICE (F/P) Basil, tarragon, parsley or a dried herb. Partial shares get a choice of an herb or arugula.

ALSO THIS WEEK: Parker Farms shares, Of the Earth fruit shares

NEXT WEEK: More radishes, eggplant, okra, greens and peppers. Hakurei turnips and O’Henry white-fleshed sweet potatoes.

On Saturday afternoon after a productive CSA harvest morning, the farm hosted the 2011 class of Growing Growers apprentices. Growing Growers offers workshops and farm tours to those who desire to start a career in local, sustainable agriculture. The topic of the September workshop was Pests, Weeds and Disease, or as the coordinator of the Growing Growers program and farmer at Blue Door Farm, Laura Christensen, quipped, “The Plagues.” Unfortunately for the students not a pest, weed or disease was in sight to identify at Fair Share Farm (ha ha).

After a stroll through the fields, a demonstration of the electric tractor and the solar-powered irrigation system, we headed to the wash & pack area of the barn. There we had a conversation about what the CSA membership means to us as farmers. The stats. are impressive: over 1,000 hours of on-farm labor provided, an active and engaged core group, money and support provided up-front before the harvest begins and endless hours saved schlepping to the farmers market.

Even more than these, the greatest benefit for us is the guarantee of a reliable income no matter what the season. This year is a good case in point. Too little rain and too much heat led to disaster in the Cucurbit patch, meanwhile the tomatoes flourished. Last year it was the opposite: lots of squashes, cucumbers and melons but few ‘maters. While no farmer wants to see a tenderly nurtured crop turn to dust, we sleep a little easier knowing that our balance sheet is not dependent on any single market favorite. Instead we are fortunate to have as our task to feed our member families well. The diversity of crops in our fields and the adventurous appetites of those who eat them is our crop insurance.

What to Do With Your Share---Week 18

Today was a big day as we finished up our Fall planting (except for the garlic). All of the crops for the remainder of the season are in the ground, and so are the many cover crops we plant. Such days are milestones to us, as we can tick “planting” off our current to-do list.

Enjoying the fruits of the harvest is next on the list, with a kitchen counter full of potatoes, greens, radishes, onions, and many other goodies. We begin craving the late season harvest this time of year, with many of the vegetables harkening back to Spring. But thereally nice thing about this time of year is that there are also tomatoes, peppers and sweet potatoes around.

If you did not link to the Mark Bittman recipe I talked about last week I suggest you do now, as it could become a favorite for many I know. We have it on a regular basis, especially when there is broccoli raab around. A simple dish that starts with toasting bread crumbs in a pan, before sautéing some greens and garlic, and ends by adding some pasta and cheese and tossing it all in the pan.

Tomato Radish Pesto Sandwich
We often fix a quick sandwich at lunch, full of whatever is at hand. We especially like the crunchiness of a good radish and a homemade spread. For the spread we took some leftover pesto and mixed it with a little mayonnaise. Fresh sliced tomatoes, radishes, and a few leaves of arugula filled in the middle of some good bread, and we were ready to picnic.

Arugula Radish Salad
The arugula we are harvesting right now is as good a quality as we can get. It is growing big and green right now, with not too much spiciness. If you find it a little strong, be sure to dress it well, as tart flavors like vinegar mellow out it’s bite. To make a nice fresh salad simply clean and chop some arugula and put in a bowl. Add a generous amount of grated radish, add some creamy garlic dressing (or dressing of your choice), toss, and serve topped with pumpkin seeds or nuts.

Bulk List---Week 19

The farm is reviving as the Autumn nears. Now is the opportunity to take advantage of extra greens, spicy radishes, hot peppers, and basil. Make and freeze some pesto now before the frosts come and the plants are gone.

We also highly recommend that those of you that like hot peppers think about making a big batch of Jalapeno en Escabeche. There is more info on this delicious recipe in our Week 10 blog. We make a quart on Sunday and it is already about gone.

Radishes: $2.50/bunch
Jalapenos: $2.50/pint
NuMex Anaheim hot peppers: $2.50/half lb
Poblano hot peppers: $2.50/half lb
Arugula: $2.50/bunch
Large basil bunch: $3.00/bunch Basil (pesto size bunch): $3.00/bunch
Kale/broccoli raab/mustard greens: $3.00/bunch

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

In the Share - Week 17

SWEET POTATOES (F/P) If I had to pick only one vegetable to grow I would probably pick these sweet roots. They are tasty, nutritious and the plants thrive in our hot, humid Midwestern summers.

GARLIC (F/P) some say the artichoke variety we are handing out this week is the tastiest. See what you think.

ARUGULA (F) A favorite in our kitchen. All it needs is a simple vinaigrette, but for a real treat toss it with some hot roasted potatoes and garlic.

PINK BEAUTY RADISHES (F/P) We’ve got loads of these lovely ladies this week, just in time for a radish sandwich!

SWEET PEPPERS, OKRA, EGGPLANT OR HOT PEPPERS (F/P) The eggplant is coming back to life after it’s “near death experience” in the summer heat. Take your pick of the late summer fruits.

CHOICE OF GREENS: KALE, COLLARDS, ASIAN GREENS, RAPINI (F/P) An assortment of gorgeous greens. Rapini, or Broccoli Raab, is similar to a mustard green but at it’s peak it will make a small broccoli floret. We are picking some before it has started to flower so that we don’t miss the best stage for the lovely greens.

GREEN BEANS (F) The bean patch took a lot of punches from the dry, hot summer and still produced a nice flush of tasty beans last week. Another couple of pickings may be all it has left.

HERB CHOICE (F/P) Basil, sage, parsley or a dried herb. Partial shares also get a choice of arugula with their herbs.

TOMATOES (F) Not sure how many tomatoes we will have until we pick the cherry tomatoes tomorrow. We’ll send in all we’ve got.

ALSO THIS WEEK: Bread of Life Bakery shares, Of the Earth fruit shares

NEXT WEEK: More peppers, eggplant and okra. Radishes and greens. Potatoes and onions.

One of the fringe benefits of being a farmer in the countryside is that you share your work environment with many species that are not often found on the factory floor or in the office tower. Some of our fellow creatures we see every day, the butterflies and birds, our dog and the cats, the katydids and the dragonflies. They are so common that they often go unnoticed or our gaze fixes on them for only a moment before we get back to the task at hand. The appearance of other creatures is much more uncommon, so that when they are spotted we stop with full attention. This week we had our first fox sighting on the farm.
He/she was hunting the many grasshoppers that are in our fields. Foxes also eat rabbits, voles, mice and birds we are told. They say the young foxes that were born this spring leave their den in the fall to forge on alone. Perhaps this little one had just struck out on his own and was happy to find such a bountiful harvest of grasshoppers. We saw him again today so he must have decided our farm was worth a return trip.

What to Do With Your Share---Week 17

This week you will be able to feel Autumn approaching in air, as well as your share. A morning low of 48 degrees greeted us on Tuesday as we harvested. A welcome relief from the hot days of July and August. And the delicious crops of Fall also greets us now, with radish, arugula, greens, and sweet potatoes finding their way to the dinner table.

Sweet Potatoes
A recent article in the LA Times talks about the resurgence of sweet potatoes as a “go to” food for many Americans. In the past decade sweet potato consumption in the US has doubled. On the menu at many a restaurant, this delectable tuber is seeing a popularity it has not known for some time.

Here at the farm we have doubled our sweet potato production of just a few years ago. We have found that we have more consistent results growing them than crops like winter squash, and we like them just as much. We have settled in on growing two separate varieties; the old standard orange “Beauregard”, and the white skinned and fleshed “O’Henry.” The former is in your share this week, the latter in two weeks. We hope that you enjoy them and that they serve as a good substitute for winter squash.

Sage, aka salvia officinalis, is an herb known through the ages. This aromatic herb is traditionally used in sausage making and turkey stuffing. It is also a wonderfully matched accompaniment to sweet potatoes. Simply clean and cut your sweet potatoes, add some olive oil, salt and chopped sage, and roast at 400 degrees until tender and browned.

Broccoli Raab
Among the greens choices this week is broccoli raab, aka rapini. With the taste of both broccoli and mustard greens it is quite hearty. We suggest checking out our Week 3 blog from 2009 for more info and a link to a great article by NY Times food writer Mark Bittman.

Roasted Green Beans
One thing we enjoy about the CSA work days at the farm is the chance to talk with the members and hear how they prepare the vegetables in their share. On Saturday in the bean patch Janice Marsh talked about her incredible simple recipe for green beans…roasting them.

That was all we needed to try it out. Her simple instructions (see below) produced a delicious dish. Thanks Janice.

Green beans
Olive oil

Snap the stem end off the beans and pull the strings off the sides. (While the beans are tender, it will help to get rid of the string).
Toss beans with a tablespoon or so of olive oil and salt to taste.
Roast at 400 degrees for 5 to 10 minutes, until desired tenderness.

Herb Tins
We buy herb tins at the start of the season to have a convenient container for providing you with the choice of a dried herb. We like this tins not only because they are attractive and work well, but because they are reusable.

So, if you have accumulated some tins and are not using them around the house, you can bring them to distribution and they will find their way back to us, and then back to you.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

What to Do With Your Share---Week 16

Fall is starting to make an appearance as the cool crops of autumn continue to try to beat the heat. Things are greening up in the field and we are starting to get our first taste. Collards and kale leaves are being plucked to fill your share and keep the plant producing. The radishes are sizing up and we don’t want to wait to pick them. Good in a salad, or better yet a sandwich.

This hot weather crop has been producing at a peak rate lately. As the plants get larger, the sideshoots of the plant also produce pods, increasing their harvest. Okra is very flavorful, extremely nutritious and good for your digestive system. It has high levels of fiber, as well as vitamins A, C and K.

As Jan Glauberman mentioned in last year’s week 15 blog, water is okra’s enemy, as it will make it slimy. Dry heat cooking, as described in her recipe Wok Fried Okra, gives it some crispness. We prepared it tonight using some ancho chili powder instead of Indian spices to flavor it. Any dry rub that you prefer will work well.

In the Share - Week 16

lettuce newly transplanted

CARROTS (F/P) Last out of cold storage. The pesky heat this summer kept 3 plantings from sprouting, so this is it for the year.

ONIONS (F/P) It was a good year for onions. Dry weather during their critical dry-down time meant less loss in the field and in storage. This week, we are handing out Prince, our best keeper.

SWEET PEPPERS (F) Not many this week, we are trying to restrain ourselves from picking all the green fruit that still has a chance of ripening. At the first warning of frost we’ll have to pick them all, but until then there’s still time for some more sweet reds and yellows.

OKRA OR HOT PEPPERS (P) The okra is at its peak right now. As soon as the weather cools so will it’s production.

TOMATOES (P) It the partial shares turn for the few remaining tomatoes after a glorious run.

PINK BEAUTY RADISHES (F) The first of the fall plantings of radishes, young and tender. By next week they should be full grown and ready for everyone.

KALE OR COLLARDS OR OKRA OR ANAHEIM PEPPERS (F) And the first picking of the fall kale and collards. We grow Toscano and White Russian kales as fall crops.

GREEN BEANS (F/P) Finally the beans are back for a quick run before their season is done. We are picking off of 3 different plantings that stalled over the hot summer: Rattlesnake pole beans, Jade green beans and yellow wax.

HERBS (F/P) Basil, parsley, thyme, summer savory or a dried herb.

ALSO THIS WEEK: Parker Farms shares, Pierce’s fruit shares

NEXT WEEK: More radishes, kale and collards, okra and peppers. A few more tomatoes. Arugula and broccoli raab (rapini). Potatoes and garlic.

mowing down the cover crop

Anyone who has been out to the farm lately can’t help but notice our 8 feet tall cover crop of sorghum sudan grass and cowpeas. The sorghum sudan looks a lot like corn, so many have asked if that is our sweet corn crop. Sorry to disappoint you all, but we are very happy with our healthy cover crops. Cover crops are grown to add nutrients and organic matter to the soil prior to planting our vegetables. The huge amount of biomass produced keeps our soil life active and including both a grass and a legume gives a balance of both carbon and nitrogen to the subsequent crop. In this case, the sorghum sudan and cowpeas will decompose through the fall and will provide a good foundation for the fall planting of garlic and our spring plantings next year. The cowpeas like growing with the grass because it can climb up the tall stalks.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

In the Share - Week 15

potato harvest

POTATOES (F/P) Desiree and Bintje varieties, both yellow-fleshed and great for steaming, frying and salad. Full shares get two shares worth this week, partial shares get the normal amount.

GARLIC (F/P) Is our garlic piling up on you? Try roasting a whole head for a change. Spread the roasted garlic on toast or add to your favorite recipe for a bump in flavor.
SWEET PEPPERS (F/P) The sweet pepper harvest is in a lull right now as a lot of the ripe fruit has been picked. There are a lot of green fruit on the plants however, and more still forming, so the harvest should have several more rounds going right up to the first frost.

OKRA OR HOT PEPPERS (F) The okra really kicked in this week. I hope you all have found that excellent and oh, so simple recipe from the blog from last year. No deep-frying needed and no slime neither!

SWEET POTATO GREENS (F/P) A novel idea in this part of the world, but in others sweet potato greens are the go-to-dish. They grow abundantly in hot weather and trimming the plant back a bit does nothing to diminish the production of the sweet roots. See Tom’s post for a quick recipe with another everyday food from the tropics, peanut sauce.

TOMATOES (?) We’re not quite sure what we are doing with the few tomatoes we have this week. There aren’t enough for everyone to even get one. We’ll know what we have to share once the cherry tomatoes are picked tomorrow.

HERB CHOICE (F/P) More luscious basil and aromatic summer savory

ALSO THIS WEEK: Bread of Life Bakery shares

NEXT WEEK: More sweet peppers, tomatoes, okra and hot peppers. I know I keep saying this, but maybe finally some beans. Carrots and onions.

Finally on Monday morning the farm received a good soaker of a rain and for that we are grateful. Summer is winding down and after the brutal summer we are happy to say, “Good riddance!” The crops are all responding to the cooler temperatures and beneficial moisture. You can almost see the plants growing new leaves and fresh fruit right before your eyes. The peppers, eggplant, tomatoes and beans have set a brand new batch of little green fruit. The okra is reaching for the sky and the sweet potatoes continue their quest to cover the field with their vines. We are keeping a close watch on the radishes, arugula, hakurei turnips and lettuces that we planted in the middle of the hot summer, watered and weeded until now. In another few weeks they will be returning to the shares and it can’t happen quick enough.

I don’t know that it has been noticed much in your households what with school starting and perhaps the last of the summer vacations, but the farmers are a bit nervous about how light the shares are right now. The full shares are getting an extra box of potatoes this week to compensate but still we would love to have more peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, and gosh a cucumber or a zucchini or some green beans would be really nice!
We attribute the lack of much to harvest right now to the after effects of a very hot and dry summer. We lost a lot of crops during the nasty weather, most regrettably the entire Cucurbitae family which seemed to fail due to healthy crop of heat-loving squash bugs than to the heat per se. Others have simply been shy about setting fruit until now.

We believe we will be through the worst of the lull in another couple of weeks once all these green fruit start ripening and the first of the fall crops start coming in. Until then, we hope you understand the difficulties that we face out here and know that we are doing our very best to feed your family well.

What to Do With Your Share---Week 15

We are sorry that the pickin’s have gotten a little slim lately. The heat wave of July put many of the plants in the field into a somewhat dormant mode. For many fruiting plants, such as tomatoes, tomatillos and eggplants all the blossoms of July were burnt by the heat, keeping them from setting fruit for later (now!). Our later plantings of cucurbits were likewise affected and even with irrigation, the plants were severely stressed and then overrun by squash bugs. The beans have been totally confused, blossoming over three weeks ago but barely forming a bean. We hope that they may still produce.

For now though, we do have some delicious vegetables. The potatoes did well this year and we are handing out a double share to the fulls this week. The sweet potato plants are tropical by nature, and with a generous supply of irrigation water have thrived. We plan on digging some this week for inclusion in the shares soon.

This week we will be handing out the delicious and nutritious sweet potato greens. A regular staple in many parts of the world, they are a nice change from all of the fruits of summer. To spice them up we recommend that you mix the cooked greens with some tasty peanut sauce.

Sweet Potato Greens with Peanut Sauce
To cook the sweet potato greens simply cut off the lower half of the leaf stem and rinse the leaves. Put ¼ cup of water in a saucepan, add the greens and cook until tender. You can also add a tablespoon of red or white wine vinegar for flavor and a little salt. Mix or top the greens with peanut sauce.

Sauce Ingredients
2 tbsp peanut butter
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp water
pinch of salt

Stir all of the ingredients together. I also recommend the Cooking with Amy blog. She gives a very good summary of how to make peanut sauce to suit your personal taste.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

In the Share - Week 14

Carmen sweet peppers

TOMATOES (F/P) From now on we will be lucky to have one or two per share each week.

ROMA TOMATOES (F) Also called paste tomatoes for the thick sauce they make.

SWEET PEPPERS (F/P) The sweet peppers continue their late summer run.

CARROTS (F/P) From our cold storage, a sweet taste of spring.

OKRA, EGGPLANT, HOT PEPPERS OR BEETS (F/P) The last of the spring beets out of cold storage or choose from an assortment of summer fruits.

RED ONIONS (F/P) Read Tom’s post for more on our red onion varieties.

YELLOW ONIONS (F) The onions did well this year and we are sharing the bounty. These are our best keepers so you don’t need to use them right away.

HERB CHOICE (F) Basil, summer savory, dried herbs

ALSO THIS WEEK: Parker Farms shares

NEXT WEEK: More peppers, okra and eggplant. Potatoes and garlic. Maybe green beans?

It really does feel like late summer on the farm with the cooler weather and finally we are getting caught up on the rain. After a few years of paying attention to the seasons you start to recognize the signs that mark the shift from one season to the next. One evening taking Rocky for a walk there was a family of crows overhead. The crickets are noisy with their chirping now and the goldenrod is getting ready to bloom. Last week we were presented with a new way to mark the change of the seasons – our first fruit share from the Pierce family at Of the Earth Farm.

The first share included Gravenstein and Redfree apples, Asian pears and luscious peaches. Tom and I tend to not eat much fruit since vegetables are right at hand and free for the taking, so it feels luxurious to gorge ourselves on all their delicious fruits. With another share arriving tomorrow, we are starting to contemplate applesauce or pies in the near future.

I don’t know if everyone knows how lucky we are to have the Pierce’s join our little community. If you have ever looked for it, you would know that local, organic tree fruit is very hard to find around here. Our humid, buggy summers make it a real challenge to produce organic tree fruit that is edible, much less as beautiful and tasty as the Pierce’s. This is why we were so thrilled when the Pierce’s contacted us last winter with the idea to offer fruit shares to the membership. They recently transitioned their orchard to only using organic methods and we are so glad to have them join us. We sincerely appreciate their willingness to take the leap and congratulate them on their delicious success.

What to Do With Your Share---Week 14

Some of this week’s harvest started over 3 weeks ago. The onions were pulled and set in the upper barn to cure. This year is a very good crop. These latest onions have cured well and are all unique. Below is a photo of the four varieties in the barn: Prince, Cabernet, Rosa di Milano, and Tropea.

As a storage onion, Prince is the strongest flavored by far. The Cabernet are very round and very juicy, with a nice sweetness and flavor. The Rosa di Milano have a top that flattens out. They are sweet, pungent and somewhat fine. They have many thin layers with a nice color. The Tropea onions are perhaps the mildest of the four, and are perfect for raw eating, while sweetening when cooked.

We are currently spend much time cultivating the fall planting. Knowing how the hours of sunlight is dwindling makes a farmer anxious. We are rooting for some very healthy looking fall crops to come out of the heat wave and grow for fall.

Last Thursday our good friend Liz Graznak brought her farm crew and helped us get a lot of work done. One was weeding leeks. To make sure their effort stuck we then mulched them with the help of the self-monikered "Team Awesome" on Saturday morning. The farm crew, including our pictured new apprentice Danni Hurst, finished them off on Tuesday.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

In the Share - Week 13

beautiful basil

TOMATOES (F/P) Tomatoes are winding down now. We’ll have a few for a few more weeks thanks to a late planting of “heat setting” types that will set fruit even in hot temperatures.
FINGERLING POTATOES (F/P) See Tom’s post for more on these dainty delicacies.
GARLIC (F/P) no meal is complete without the lovely allium.
SALSA PACK (F/P) the tomatillos won’t be around much longer so enjoy them while you can or freeze your salsa to enjoy later.
SWEET PEPPERS (F/P) Should be more of these sweet babies for awhile.
OKRA OR HOT PEPPERS (F) Nothing says late summer like okra and peppers.
HERBS (F/P) The basil (see above) just keeps coming this year thanks to a heavy layer of mulch.
ALSO THIS WEEK: Bread of Life Bakery shares
NEXT WEEK: Tomatoes, sweet peppers, hot peppers and okra. Carrots and onions. Hopefully the beans will be back.

The break in the weather has cheered up farmer and plant alike at the farm. The cooler temperatures are so very appreciated after such a long stretch of nasty heat. Even changing our schedule to avoid the heat of the day just barely kept the farm crew from overheating. Most of the crops (if you don’t count the entire Cucurbitae family – cukes, squash, melons, pumpkins – all goners) survived the heat but just by the skin of their teeth. Now with those days behind us, all of us survivors hope to limp towards fall growing stronger as the days grow shorter.
While the temperatures have moderated, we still are very dry. The irrigation system continues to keep the plants alive and growing, but we could really use a good soaker. We’ve received perhaps an inch total these past two weeks from four different rain events that looked really promising but didn’t quite deliver. Here’s the scene from one morning last week when we thought we’d definitely get a good downpour.

During the boiling heat we were trying our darndest to get some lettuce seedlings started for the fall. Finally we made room indoors for our dear lettuce and sure enough the cooler temps. provided by our little window AC unit did the trick.

Today we saw the first sprouts pushing up through the potting soil so we quickly moved them to a sunnier location down at the shade house. If all goes well we should be eating lettuce by the end of September.

What to Do With Your Share---Week 13

The shares are expected to enter a lull for a little while, as the summer crops recover from the heat wave, and the fall crops set down their roots. But there is still some delicious harvesting to be done, as we have over 4 beds of potatoes to dig yet.

This week Kipfel fingerling potatoes are in the share. As I write the blog we have not dug the bed, so I do not know how the harvest will be, but we did dig some the other day to try out.

The first two varieties of potatoes you received (Caribe and Kennebec) are mealy in texture and are good for baking and mashing. The Kipfel and remaining varieties this year are more of a waxy texture that makes them well suited for frying and boiling. The recipe below is a simple and delicious. The shape of the fingerlings make them easy to cut into bite-size rounds.

Fried Fingerling Potatoes
Fingerling potatoes
Olive oil
Summer savory (optional)
Salt and pepper

1. Cut the potatoes cross-wise to form little rounds.
2. Add 1 tbsp olive oil to a heavy skillet. Add the potatoes. Let cook for a minute on high heat and then stir so that all of the potatoes are covered in oil. Turn heat down to medium, add salt, pepper and herbs and cook 2 more minutes.
3. Add some water, enough to cover the bottom of the pan. Cover and cook 10 minutes.
4. Uncover, stir, and cook another 3 to 5 minutes, until potatoes are cooked through and browned.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Bulk List----Week 12

Paste tomatoes (firsts) - $3.00/lb; $2.50/lb over 10 lbs
Tomato seconds (heirloom and hybrids) - $2.50/lb; $2.00/lb over 10 lbs
Drying tomatoes: $4.00/qt
Tomatillos: $2.00/lb
Salsa Packs: $2.50/pack
Jalapenos: $2.50/pint
Herbs (summer savory): $2.50/bunch

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

What To Do With Your Share---Week 12

While we are struggling to keep crops going and start plants for the fall, the tomato crop continues to be a bumper. The harvest of the last two weeks has been record-breaking. So we continue to suggest that you make sure to find a way to eat or preserve all of your tomatoes.

One thing that may be helpful, as we noted last week, is to freeze your extra tomatoes. To do that you need to first blanch and peel them. Rather than take photos and show you how, we can take advantage of this well done Youtube video showing the process. .

Another is to make a quick sauce. It isn’t often that the combination of fresh tomatoes and beautiful onions is at hand. Especially when some of them are the “torpedo –shaped” Tropea onions. We like their flavor and shape and would like to know what you think. One way to try them out is the recipe below.

Fresh Tomato Sauce
Jalapeno (optional)
Oregano and/or summer savory
Olive oil

The quantities are up to you and is dependent on the amount of tomatoes you have. Six or seven medium tomatoes would call for one large onion. If you like onions, add more.

With a paring knife, core out the tomato and remove any bad spots. Cut in half and squeeze out the juice. Chop tomatoes into 1 inch chunks. Chop the onions and sauté in olive oil. Add the pepper and oregano, cook 2 more minutes. Add the tomatoes. Stir, cover and bring to boil. Remove lid and simmer for 20 minutes or so, until tomatoes are breaking down.

Take half of the sauce and puree it in a food processor, or run it through the food mill. Return the pureed sauce to the pot. Stir and cook 5 minutes. Serve over pasta with basil garnish.

In organic farming, when certain plants crop up on their own in your fields, you don’t immediately define them as a weed and kill them. What grows well in your soil is an indication of its condition. It is known that if the plant purslane grows, you have a healthy and rich soil.

We have noticed a great abundance of it in our fall crop beds. So, as organic farmers our logical next step is to eat it. We learned to like it several places in our internships in NY and Indiana, and enjoy its flavor and texture. A great source of omega-3 fatty acids and other vitamins and minerals, it is especially nutritious.

We made a simple salad with it on Sunday and really enjoyed it. We picked the leaves off the stems and tossed them with some oil and vinegar. Next we topped it all with pickled beets. Large chunks of tomato would also be a good combination. We hope you try it and enjoy it.

In the Share - Week 12

TOMATOES (F/P) It is “deliously hot” at the farm according to one of our recent guests. Nothing tastes better than a ripe heirloom tomato grown in a hot, dry Midwestern summer.

CHERRY TOMATOES (F/P) We don’t wash any of our tomatoes on the farm. It keeps them tasty and healthy. Wait until you are ready to eat them and give them a quick rinse.

SALSA PACK (F/P) The tomatillos are putting out the fruit right now. Que rica la salsa!

CARROTS (F/P) More big orange ones from the last harvest.

PURSLANE (F/P) What’s that, you say? Isn’t it a weed? Actually purslane is quite tasty and full of Omega 3s. Read Tom’s post for more info.

TROPEA and WALLA WALLA ONIONS (F/P) See Tom’s post for a great onion and tomato sauce recipe. I’m eating it right now and it is divine!

OKRA, SWEET PEPPERS AND EGGPLANT (F) Hopefully soon we’ll have enough sweet peppers for everyone. They are starting to ripen in large quantities. The damaged ones always ripen first, so there will be a crate of “seconds” to take what you want.

HERBS (F) Basil and summer savory

ALSO THIS WEEK: Parker Farms shares

NEXT WEEK: More tomatoes, salsa packs, okra and peppers. Potatoes and garlic.

Here we are at the mid-season mark. Week 12 of 24 has arrived. Now is a good time to pause for a moment and assess the weeks behind us and look to the weeks ahead. Overall, Tom and I were really pleased with the spring and early summer shares. Despite a shortened strawberry season, the shares were hefty thanks to some big lettuces and spring turnips, among others.

The summer started out pretty good with a nice carrot and beet harvest. The summer squashes, cucumbers and beans started out promising but the later plantings have fizzled in the hot, dry conditions.
Right now we are thrilled, if a bit daunted, by the tomato harvest. Last week alone we picked 1,600 lbs. of heirloom, hybrid, paste, drying and cherry tomatoes. Currently, the overabundance of tomatoes is making up for the lack of many of the other summer fruits that have withered in the heat. As CSA farmers our first priority is to fill the shares by minimizing our risk of crop loss. That’s why one of our big investments on the farm is a reliable irrigation system. The system is working very well right now, but it has it’s limits. We have a lot of field to cover, including full-grown summer crops that need a deep drink and newly planted fall crops that need steady moisture. We have had a difficult time getting some of the fall crops established. When the temperatures are extreme some seeds refuse to sprout and flowers drop without forming fruit.
Not all crops are faring poorly. The heat-loving sweet potatoes and okra are thriving. We also have a good crop of onions, garlic, potatoes and carrots that will keep us in staples for a good while. The winter squash and melons bit the dust early on due to the dry weather. A few winter squash may go in the shares next week. For the fall there are rows upon rows of newly transplanted cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli that will hopefully fill our bellies in October if we can keep them alive until then. But really there’s only one constant when it comes to Missouri weather, it’s bound to change soon. Just last weekend we got a nice break and a little rain shower during the Saturday harvest. We managed to squeeze everyone in the packing room until it stopped.