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.