Tuesday, September 25, 2012

In the Share - Week 21

CAULIFLOWER (F) One of my favorite crops and not the easiest to grow. We should have cauliflower for another few weeks.

LEEKS (F/P) I am so ready for some luscious leeks to enter our fall kitchen.  See Farmer Tom’s post for more about them.

LETTUCE (F/P) More of the heat-tolerant crisp heads for a satisfying crunch.

RADISHES (F/P) We have three different kinds of radishes ready in the fields and we plan to pick them all for your choosing. Partial shares get a choice of radishes or turnips.

HAKUREI TURNIPS (F) The farm crew’s favorite snack in the field right out of the ground.

TOMATOES (F) Your farmers are debating whether it is time to begin the dismantling of the patch. So far the plants are producing just enough good ripe fruit to keep us from our task but their time is running out.

EGGPLANT OR OKRA (P) A light frost on Sunday morning spared the tender summer fruits for the most part. Only the basil was significantly damaged.

SWEET PEPPERS (P) Mostly purple peppers along with some ripe types.

CABBAGE OR KOHLRABI (F) Choose your ball of brassica (reminds me of the "choose your ball of cucurbit" of a few weeks back). The kohlrabi is a fall variety that gets pretty big but stays tender.

ARUGULA (F) A bit of spice for your salad.

HERB CHOICE (F) Garlic chives, parsley, thyme or hot peppers

NEXT WEEK: More eggplant, peppers, okra, radishes, turnips and cauliflower. Sweet potatoes and a greens choice.


At Fair Share Farm the planting season starts in early February when we seed the onions in the greenhouse. From then on we keep planting so that we have a succession of crops that keeps the CSA shares well stocked with a good assortment of crops. Only now in late September are we at the point where we can stop planting. The last seeds to go in the ground were planted in the high tunnel this week. It is now filled with young lettuces, arugula, beets, turnips, endive, spinach, bok choy, bulb fennel and chard.

We have also been spending a lot of hours tending to the many rows of fall roots that somehow managed to sprout and grow during the peak of the summer drought.   We have 2200 row feet of carrots and each plant must be weeded and thinned by hand within the rows.   Luckily our Allis Chalmers G tractor takes care of the weeds growing in between the rows.  On Monday we moved all of the irrigation tape out of the path and the "G" and I did some serious weed-killing.

What to Do With Your Share---Week 21

The Fall Equinox has officially passed, and Summer is over. This is our tenth September at the farm, and we have always loved this month. While we kid ourselves that our workload is slim, it is an easier time of year.

I've always loved this time of year too for the true cornucopia of food that is available. We are always psyched when we can dig some leeks and hand them out, and are looking forward to tomorrow morning when we start digging.

Leeks among the buckwheat
 The drought caused some mortality in this prized allium crop, but our constant watering has made for some respectable stalks. So try some Angel Hair Pasta with Leeks and Garlic Saute, or some White Sweet Potato Soup with Garlic,  or even some Mashed Potatoes With Leeks and Garlic. All wonderful recipes that show off the wonderful taste of leeks.

Kohlrabi harvest with Rebecca

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

In the Share - Week 20

O’HENRY SWEET POTATOES (F/P) Creamy yellow sweet potatoes are sure sweet and thankfully survived the summer heat.

ONIONS (F/P) Spicy red and yellow storage onions out of the barn.

TOMATOES (F/P)  The tomatoes are getting slim, but everyone might get a pint tomorrow.

HAKUREI TURNIPS (F) Welcome back our fine white roots. See Tom’s post for a lemon pickle.

SWEET PEPPERS (F) Mostly our purple peppers. 

CARROTS (P) the last of the storage carrots from the summer harvest.

OKRA OR EGGPLANT (F) We hear that the okra is popular down at the Bad Seed distribution. We wish it was producing better but it has stayed short this year and there isn’t a lot of fruit.

RATTLESNAKE BEANS (F) We are hoping for another week of harvest off of the pole beans. The new fruit looks nice but there may be small bags for only the full shares.

HERB CHOICE (F/P) hot peppers, parsley, thyme, basil or a dried herb.

GARLIC (F/P) Seems everyone we talk to had a bad garlic harvest this summer. We’ll have at least one head for all this week.

ALSO THIS WEEK: Parker Farms CSA shares

NEXT WEEK: More peppers, eggplant, turnips and tomatoes. Cauliflower and cabbage. Arugula and lettuce.


On Monday we pulled the plastic on the high tunnel, which turned out to be a bigger job than we expected.  Tom started the day by ascending to the tippy top and attaching the channel that would hold the plastic on the structure.

After spreading out two 40 x 100 ft. pieces on the ground we all climbed under the plastic and began attaching the plastic to the first side.  

Then, we attached ropes to the plastic and attempted to pull it across the top.  After much tugging and shouting and little progress we realized that we were a bit under-staffed for the job.  With the plastic half on we had no choice but to continue. We added more rope, tugged and shouted some more and by about 1 pm we had managed to finish the job. 

With the blower fan installed the two layers of plastic make a firmly inflated roof. Today we formed the beds, added compost and rock powders and then ceremoniously planted the first seed, a spinach seed to be exact.


What to Do With Your Share---Week 20

The season is changing. The nights are down into the 40's now and the days are shortening and cooling off. A wonderful time of year.

White Sweet Potatoes
In the fields our attention has turned to the last 5 weeks of the season, and the harvesting of some of our longer term crops. That means the sweet potatoes are being dug. This week's offering, the O'Henry white sweet potatoes look as good as ever. While the drought reduced the yield this year, the quality is high.

As far as eating them, use any sweet potato recipe that you have. Or, as we said last year, "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."

Hakurei Turnips
The tender white turnips that you may remember from Spring are once again in the shares. They are a touch spicy right now, and can use a nice sour dressing to mellow them out. This Spring I tried out at pickling recipe from a book Rebecca got me for my birthday called The Preservation Kitchen.

Chef Paul Virant has filled the book with a wonderful array of unique and flavorful preserving recipes. The Lemon-Pickled Turnips caught my eye and I made a batch. They were wonderful. Below is the canning recipe. Modify the quantities as you see fit to make a nice little dressing for a salad, or let it stand overnight to get more of a pickling effect.

8 cups sliced hakurei turnips
4 tsp kosher salt
3 lemons, zested and juiced
3-1/4 cups water
1-1/2 cups champagne or white wine vinegar
1/2 cup plus 1 tsp sugar
4 teaspoons coriander seeds

Trim off the root end and tops of the turnips. Halve and slice the turnips about 1/4- inch thick. Mix the turnips in a large colander with the salt. Set aside to drain for 1 hour

Grate the lemon zest into a small pot. Halve the lemons and squeeze the juice over the zest. Pour in the water, vinegar and sugar. In a dry saute pan over medium heat, toast the coriander seeds until fragrant. Coarsley crush the coriander and add it to the pot.

Scald 5 pint jars in a large pot of simmering water fitted with a rack--you will use this pot to process the jars. Right before filling, put the jars on the counter. Pack the jars with the turnips, using about 8 ounces per jar. Meanwhile, soak the lids in a pan of hot water to soften the rubber seal.

Bring the brine to a boil. Transfer to a heat-proof pitcher and pour over th turnips, leaving a 1/2-inch space from the rim of the jar. Check the jars for air pockets, adding more brine if necessary to fill the gaps. Wipe the rims with a clean towel, seal with the lids, then screw on the bands until snug but not tight.

Place the jars in the pot with the rack and add enough water to cover the jars by about 1 inch. Bring the water to a boil and process the jars for 15 minutes (start the timer when the water reaches a boil). Turn off the heat and leave the jars in the water for a few minutes. Remove the jars form the water and let cool completely.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

In the Share - Week 19

hot pepper wash

TOMATOES (F/P) They aren’t as pretty as they used to be, but they are packed with flavor.

LETTUCE (F/P) The cucumber beetles are after anything they can find, including the lettuces. We are picking them young while they are still nice.

RATTLESNAKE BEANS (F/P) We will have a pound for all this week, if our guess is right.

KOHLRABI (F/P) check out Tom’s post to hear from our one of our most misunderstood vegetables.

CABBAGE (F/P) our early-maturing green cabbages are ready. Still growing in the fields are red, savoy and Napa types.

CARROTS (F) The last of the stored carrots. We hope to have many fresh ones in late October and into November for the extended season.

RADISHES, KALE, COLLARDS, OR CHARD (F) Eating a rainbow includes the color green!

EGGPLANT OR OKRA (F)  The okra is being shy this summer but the eggplant is starting to kick in to it's fall flush.

SWEET PEPPERS (P) We are mostly harvesting purple peppers right now while we wait for the other colors to ripen.

HERB CHOICE (F) Hot peppers, tarragon, or garlic chives.

NEXT WEEK: More tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and beans. Onions and sweet potatoes.


pole bean pick

This past Saturday Tom and I joined the FSF CSA Core Group at our mid-season meeting. On the agenda: review of the CSA member survey results and the planning of the End of Season dinner.

The 9th Annual Fair Share Farm End of Season dinner will be held Saturday, October 27th, 4-6 pm at the St. James Lutheran Church (same spot as the Spring Sign-up). As always, the event is a potluck with some of the best food in town. Man, our members know how to cook! Kid’s crafts and a scavenger hunt. Halloween costumes are encouraged. Bring an instrument to play in the pre-program jam if you like. Keep your eyes out for an “evite” coming to your mailbox soon.

The 2012 FSF CSA survey results are in, with over 100 responses. Thanks to all of you who took the time to offer your thoughts and feedback. We actually want to know your answers to the questions in the survey and we use your feedback to guide us in our planning for the future. We were delighted to hear that over 90% of you plan to re-new your membership for 2013 and that you believe the CSA share is a “good value” and a “sufficient” amount of produce. 100% agreed that your time at the farm was productive and that distribution is clear and efficient.

Beyond the produce, many of you commented that you appreciated the opportunity to connect with where your food comes from, that there is a great benefit to the children especially in having that experience, and coming to the farm is a good remedy for the cubicle blues. Getting out of bed early, dealing with the heat and hard labor were your least favorite aspects of it all, but most acknowledged that they couldn't have one without the other. Thank you again for all your comments.  I plan to include more on the 2012 survey in the following weeks.

What to Do With Your Share---Week 19

A member of our CSA family recently asked to have a chance to talk in the blog.

Hi CSA members. You all know me, as I have been a member from the start. My name is Kohl Rabi, but you can call me Cole.

The results of the recent survey showed that there are some of you who have a mixed opinion of me at best. While I can appreciate that, I can’t help but have a little bit of a complex. I know I look a little like an alien, and that I have a thick skin, but I really do have a tender heart.

My lineage is in the Brassica family. My oldest know relative is the wild cabbage. The rest of my lineage is closely tied to human desire. I exist only through the hands of agriculture, being made the way I am by manipulation. Some say my family line goes back to the time of the Roman emperors. Others that it was the Germans that brought me to be in the 1400's.
I’m not as strong as my cousin Purple Top Turnip (which FSF no longer grows), or as hot and spicy as my cousin Radish. In fact, my flavor is closer to Broccoli, which I hear is a favorite of most all in the group.
While I look like a root, I actually spend my days above ground as, I admit, I am a stem. It does makes me a little bit of an oddball. After all, how many fat stems do you know? Which is why I suppose, I am so misunderstood.
All I ask is that, if you haven't already, try Tom's simple kohlrabi and dip snack. I hope we meet again.
Your vegetable,
How to Use Your Kohlrabi
Well put Cole. He did not mention though, how right now the kohlrabi is at its peak at Fair Share Farm. Now is the time for the 2012 Fall crop to be harvested.
To eat kohlrabi you need to know how to easily clean kohlrabi. Below are shown a few photos of this procedure. First you will want to trim the top and bottom flat, so that you can easily use a knife or vegetable peeler to take off the skin.
Once you have a cleaned bulb you can cut it however you want. You can start out cutting it in half, and then into half moons. From there it is easy to cut wedges, julienne strips or cubes.

Once you've cut them, set out a bowl of your favorite dip or salad dressing, and snack away. A sprinkling of lemon or lime juice is a nice touch.
So, there you have it. Cole at his best.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

What to Do With Your Share---Week 18

Turns out that I leave the farm for two days to attend my nephew's wedding, and next thing I know I miss the first major rain in probably a year. But it was fun to come back, walk the fields and see the cover crops germinating in nice rows, mushrooms popping up out of the ground all over, and a certain greeness take over the farm.

A welcome drink that is still soaking in, this moisture will help our plants add some robustness and plumpness, hopefully without bursting. So if you see a crack in something this week, you now know why.

This week's recipe is a soup that combines many of the items you have gotten in your share over the last several weeks. This curried soup can be made with either squash or pumpkin. You can even add some carrots in for sweetness and body. This soup turned out especially good, both in it's truly velvety texture and its savoriness.

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

1 medium butternut squash, cleaned and chopped
3 to 4  small onions, chopped
2 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp curry powder
1 tbsp finely chopped sage leaves
13 oz can of coconut milk

1. Cut the squash just "above the waste." You can then peel them easily with a vegetable peeler. Next cut the squash from top to bottom, scoop out the seeds, and then chop the squash into one inch pieces.

2. Saute the onions in olive oil in a soup pot for 3 minutes. Next add the squash, garlic, jalapenos, salt, curry and sage. Stir and saute for 3 more minutes. Add the water and bring to a boil. Turn to a simmer, cover, and cook for 35 minutes or until tender.
3. Puree the soup in a food processor, return to the soup pot, add the coconut milk and stir. Cook at a simmer for 10 minutes to blend the flavors. Serve with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt.

In the Share - Week 18

TOMATOES (F/P) Five inches of rain bursts a ripe tomato like a balloon, so good “share-worthy" tomatoes are in short supply this week. Not that we are complaining, the rain was most welcome.

RATTLESNAKE BEANS (F/P) The snakes are coming on well now. A big THANK YOU goes to the Saturday crew which picked in the rain and mud with us – we couldn’t have done it without you all!

PINK BEAUTY RADISHES (F/P) The first fresh roots of the fall. I like their light mustardy kick, but if you aren’t so enchanted give them a quick fry to mellow their heat.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH (F/P) The last of the cucurbitae family for the year, unfortunately. Their early demise we think is due to a combination of record heat, record drought and the bugs who didn’t seem to mind either. Thankfully, the drought appears to be over.  See Tom's post for a great curried butternut squash soup recipe.

EGGPLANT, OKRA OR SWEET PEPPERS (F) These three summer fruits will escort us into the fall season and stay with us until first frost.

ARUGULA (F) the plants were beaten up a bit by the strong wind and rain last night, but they are still very nice for a fresh salad. A common (and tasty!) arugula salad is with a red wine vinaigrette, roasted beets and walnuts. Yum! Add a bit of goat cheese and wow! Partial shares get a choice of arugula with their herb choice.

KALE OR COLLARDS (P) The greens are so juicy right now with all of the rain which is just what is needed after a hot, sweaty day in the fields.

HERB CHOICE (F/P) Parsley, basil or a dried herb.

GARLIC (F/P)  Honestly, with every thing else going on this week we haven't looked at it lately.  Tomorrow we will clean and grade it and we think we should have garlic for all.

ALSO THIS WEEK: Parker Farms CSA shares

NEXT WEEK: More tomatoes, peppers, okra, eggplant, radishes and greens. Lettuce returns! More onions.


It is wrong to appreciate a hurricane that caused the suffering of our neighbors to the south, but we were very happy to receive Isaac’s leftovers. Our rain gauge tops out at 5 inches, so we are guessing we got a bit over that in the last four days. Besides the cracked tomatoes and a few broken arugula leaves we seem to have survived the deluge in good shape. The rain cannot undo all of the damage from a summer of drought and extreme temperatures, but we can already see results in the field. Our young green plants for fall are growing fast and well. The summer fruits have a new batch of flowers and all of the cover crop seeds that wouldn’t sprout without rain all summer are sprouting now.

The farm crew continues on the high tunnel project. Both side walls with their drop curtains are up and finished. The last step for the curtain is to run a rope in zig-zag fashion down the length. Tom caught farm apprentices, Dani Hurst and Ryan Stubby, making shadow puppets as they secured the rope.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

KC CSA Coalition Farm Tour

Come one, come all to the farm NEXT SUNDAY! 

Fair Share Farm is hosting a farm tour and potluck Sunday, September 9th.  All are welcome, whether you are currently a FSF CSA member or just want to learn more about what we are all about.

This event is sponsored by the Kansas City CSA Coalition.  The KC-CSA Coalition supports our efforts to build a more sustainable future by promoting area CSA farms and educating the public on the benefits of CSA. See more about them here

The farm is green and lush from the deluge (5 inches so far!) we received from Hurricane Isaac. See your crops growing, meet folks like yourselves who care about where their food comes from, and eat good food.

3:30 pm farm tour

5:00 pm potluck

Bring a dish to share. RSVP to rebecca(a)fairsharefarm.com.