Tuesday, December 3, 2013

In the Share - Week 31

at the BadSeed Market

SWEET POTATOES:  Your choice of orange or cream-colored sweets.

GARLIC:  Soft-necks types, Artichoke and Silverskin, are good-keepers

CARROTS:  More stubby Chantenays

GAI LAN:  Also known as "Chinese broccoli", see Tom's post for cooking ideas.

ARUGULA OR SPINACH:  A 1/2 lb. bag of either. 

RADISHES AND TURNIPS:  A bag of fresh-eating varieties:  Watermelon radishes and Hakurei turnips.

SCALLIONS:  A bunch of dainty green onions out of the high tunnel. 

SWISS CHARD OR BOK CHOY:  Hardy greens for winter stews and braising

DRIED HERBS:  Your choice out of the box of tins.

NEXT WEEK:  No shares until April 2014.  Come see us at the BadSeed Market, 1909 McGee KCMO, 4-8 pm.


Here we are at the final week of our first 31-week CSA season and man, what a year!  The Fair Share Farm CSA turned ten this year and the harvest was a bountiful one.  The season did not start on a good note with freezing temperatures and even snow on Mother's Day.  It was the first time we had ever needed to delay the start of the CSA season, which we did by one week.  But, the weather warmed and the summer fruits ripened well.  The summer heat kept the irrigation pond pumping, but a few stretches of cooler temperatures allowed good germination of the fall roots.  With the last week of the season pushed into December, the farm's coolers are full of produce with excess to donate to food pantries and to sell at the winter market.  The time has finally arrived for your farmers to take a deep breath and forget about the farm for a few weeks before we prepare do it all over again.  We look forward to seeing you all on the other side of the calendar!  Until then, happy eating!!

The Fair Share Farm Family: Rebecca, Rocky & Tom
(not in photo:  Mommakitty, Sunny & the chickens)

What to Do With Your Share---Fall Extended Season Week 4

Well it's been a long haul. Our longest and best year yet. It's great to have a winning season when it comes to growing food. We look forward to continuing and improving the harvests in the coming years.

And through it all, we are able to include a new item in this week's share---gai lan (aka Chinese broccoli). It is easy to prepare since you eat the entire bunch, with no trimming necessary. The stalks are considered the best part, having the taste of a mild broccoli. Use it the same way you would any other Asian green. Tonight we used it in  a stir-fry with plum sauce. A mustard based sauce is also good with gai lan.

Another great recipe is for Butter-Pecan Sweet Potatoes. We ate this dish all through the holiday week. It was a perfect combination of our sweet potatoes and some fresh Missouri pecans that we picked up at the Bad Seed Friday Market. Rebecca trialed this as our dish to bring at Thanksgiving, and it is sure to turn into a regular pot-luck contribution.

From marthastewart.com.
In the fields the soils has cooled down and there is very little biological activity. While we found a worm or two during today's carrot harvest, we will have to wait until mid-Spring for the soil to warm back to life. This rest is good though, and we welcome the same.
Tilled soil, rye/vetch cover crop, and bean fencing

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

In the Share - Week 30

LEEKS:  One of the last crops we harvest in the field.  Cold-hardy and so tasty!

HAKUREI TURNIPS:  These are coming out of the high tunnel.  The caterpillars munched on the greens a bit, but they are still very edible.

SPINACH:  More big leaves from the high tunnel spinach.

RADISHES:  Baby red and pink radishes out of the tunnel.  They are amazingly not spicy for a change!

BEETS:  A bag of beets for your culinary adventures.  I made chocolate beet cake awhile back (use a bit of shredded beets in the icing for a pretty pink chemical-free icing).  Yumm!

CARROTS:  More glorious orange roots, now going topless!

GOLD BALL TURNIPS OR BULB FENNEL:  We hope this is a good choice for you all.  Some folks would like both, but I think there are more of you who would be happy with just one or the other.  If you get the fennel, see Tom's post for a recipe from one of your fellow CSA members.

HERB CHOICE:  Cilantro, dill, sage, thyme or a dried herb.

CAULIFLOWER, CABBAGE OR LETTUCE:  So, don't get your hopes up for being able to choose among these items.  We have a few of each and will be doling them out by distribution point based on how quickly they need to go.  Wednesday folks will get mainly cauliflower, Saturday folks will most likely only see cabbage or lettuce.

NEXT WEEK:  Don't forget!  The CSA is on hiatus for the week of Thanksgiving.  Have a great holiday and we will get you all one last share the first week of December:  sweet potatoes, garlic, watermelon radishes, carrots, beets, greens and herbs. 


The freezing weather last week marked a turning point on the farm from the flurry of fall harvest to a retreat into winter.  A few crops remain outside, some carrots and leeks that we hope to finish digging this week, but the majority of the harvest is either in cold storage, in the high tunnel, or in our collective bellies.  That reminds me of a CSA farm in CA not far from where I use to live called Full Belly Farm. I always thought that was a great name because it makes you smile and maybe think a bit.  CSA is kind of like that.  The bounty of the harvest can make you smile, even giggle when you get that odd-shaped carrot, but it also perhaps opens a door to another way of living on our little planet.   Next week we will all sit down to our family tables and give thanks.  I know Tom and I will be thinking of the soil, the sun and the rain, but we will also be thinking of all of you.  Thank you!!

What to Do With Your Share---Fall Extended Season Week 3

Thanksgiving is nearing. The weather, north flying geese, leaves on the ground, and southerly receding sun all tell us so. As does the harvest, where roots abound in the share. Most all of the greens in the fields are gone, and much has already been harvested from the high tunnel.

Fields ready for spring
So we turn to a wonderful array of hearty roots this week...leeks, beets, carrots, turnips and radish. A good way to start your day is with a hearty leek frittata. Match up your veggies with some farm fresh eggs purchased at the Bad Seed Pre-Thanksgiving Market this Friday (4pm-9pm).  BTW, we will be there hoping the general public likes our produce as much as you do. Be sure to stop by our table. As a member you will pay bulk list prices, not our market table prices.

Leek cross-section

For dinner you can take member Crystal Leaman's advice and try the tasty fennel dish she is sharing.

Fettucine with Fennel and Bacon
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 ounces thinly sliced pancetta or bacon, cut into matchstick-size strips
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 large fennel bulbs, fronds chopped, bulbs cut into 1/4-inch-thick wedges
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1/8 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1 cup whipping cream
1 pound fettuccine
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add pancetta and garlic; sauté until garlic is pale golden, about 4 minutes. Stir in 1/3 cup chopped fennel fronds, fennel wedges, fennel seeds and crushed red pepper. Cover and cook until fennel wedges are soft, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Add cream; cook until reduced by half, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook fettuccine in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta cooking water. Toss pasta with fennel mixture and enough reserved cooking water to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Serve, passing Parmesan cheese separately.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

In the Share - Week 29

YELLOW CLOVER CARROTS:  Planted after incorporating a yellow clover cover crop, we like to give credit where credit is due.  These heirloom carrots are sweet and hefty like fall carrots should be.

O'HENRY SWEET POTATOES:  More creamy white sweets.

GARLIC:  We planted all that we needed and some nice heads remained for sharing.

RED CABBAGE:  brilliant magenta meets your salads this week.

KALE OR TAT SOI:  Try eating them raw.  They have been cold-sweetened. 

LETTUCE:  The very last of the lettuce are romaines and butterheads.

ENDIVE:  A new French variety we are trialing.  We are trying to pronounce it as the French say we must ("ahn deev" or thereabouts).  Tastes like lettuce to us and it is spectacularly frilly.

BROCCOLI OR CAULIFLOWER:  Most likely the last of both.

HERB CHOICE: cilantro, dill or dried herbs.

NEXT WEEK: leeks, hakurei turnips, spinach, gai lan, watermelon radishes, beets, fennel, herbs, greens.


The farm quickly shifted from autumnal splendor to a frozen wintery blast this week.  In  advance of the forecast of two nights in the mid-teens, we harvested like mad and battened down the hatches.  Row cover was added to the high tunnel beds and the entire week's share was harvested from the fields.  The coolers are full to the ceilings with cabbages, roots and greens.  Sweet potatoes are all clean and stacked in the cave.  Darkness was on us with many more carrots to harvest in the field.  We are hopeful that the soil kept them safe and we can get the rest of them out later this week.

Today your farmers retreated to the indoors and worked on a grant proposal to the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program of the USDA for demonstrating new cover cropping methods.  The carrots in the shares this week are a testament to the benefits of cover cropping and we are ready to take the next step in their use.  Wish us luck!

What to Do With Your Share---Fall Extended Season Week 2

As of Monday night a corner has been turned. All non-cold hardy plants on the farm that are not under special protection have died. An event a bit early, but not unprecedented. For us at the farm, it signals an end to the field lettuce, broccoli, arugula, Asian green, kale and fennel harvest. The tasks click down toward a short winter rest.

Still plenty to do though to work off a hearty bowl or two of soup. If there was ever a soup season, right now would fit the bill. A great time of year to combine cauliflower and leeks into an "yummmm" inducing meal. You can follow the recipe from our September 22, 2004 newsletter for Leek and Potato Soup, substituting cauliflower for potatoes and fennel for celeriac.

Core out the stem of the cauliflower and then break into florets
The endive this fall is mild, and can be mistaken for a curly lettuce. Make your own salad mix by combining it with lettuce, Asian greens, kale and/or spinach from last week. These field picked greens are packed with flavor and nutrition.

What leaves don't make the cut during harvest end up in the compost, or are fed to our young chickens. They make short work of most any vegetative material we offer them. They have to eat too, so we work to give them a share each week.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

In the Share - Week 28

SPINACH:  the first harvest out of the high tunnel with lots of huge leaves.

LETTUCE:  green romaine from under row cover in the fields

HAKUREI TURNIPS:  nice bunches from the high tunnel

BROCCOLI OR CAULIFLOWER:  your choice of a pound of broccoli or a cauliflower head.

SWISS CHARD:  big leaves from the high tunnel

LEEKS:  we will be pulling these from the muddy soil tomorrow.  Wish us luck!

KOHLRABI:  sweet storage types.  The outside looks a bit rough, but once peeled they are very tasty.

BOK CHOY:  green and purple varieties from the high tunnel.

FINGERLING POTATOES:  roast these whole for a treat.

NEXT WEEK:  sweet potatoes, garlic, carrots, beets, fennel, herbs, red cabbage, arugula and lettuce.

Week 28!  Can you believe it?  The extended season threw our old numbering system for a loop and now we are getting back on track.  Last week was week 24 of the 24-week season.  For those in the extended season, however, it was week 27 if you count the 3 weeks of the extended season in the Spring.  So, here we are in week 28.  By the end of it all we should clock in at 31 weeks of continuous produce.  Whew!

November arrived with more beautiful fall weather.  These mild, sun-filled days won't last and so we are packing a lot in to the time we have.  We have been burning through bales of straw and hay, mulching the plants that will over-winter.   

We spent a good part of Monday morning graduating the chickens to the next level of free-ranging.   At two months old, they are big enough that they can't walk through the netted fencing that surrounds their yard.  So out went the chicken-wire covered "run" that they had been confined to when outside. 

They are now tall enough that we can hang up their feeder, keeping it off of the ground keeps it cleaner.  Before they got their freedom, we clipped one side of their wings so that they can't fly over and out of the fencing.  It doesn't hurt any more than a fingernail clipping and it saves them from becoming a dog treat if they were to land outside the fence.

What to Do With Your Share---Fall Extended Season Week 1

It's hard to pick a favorite time of year, but right now certainly meets a lot of the criteria...a warm house, well-stocked larder, cooler full of veggies, and a high tunnel with pre-Cambrian sized chard leaves. Despite the low hourly wage we make, we nonetheless are truly part of the 1 percent.

And what better time for a warm and hearty soup. The recipe below is compliments of member and former apprentice, Dani Brownhurst. We have made similar soups many times and can say that the combo of leeks, garlic and potatoes of any kind is always good. If you don't have a blender you can simply mash some of the potatoes to thicken the broth and leave the rest of the soup chunky.

Sweet Potato, Apple, Leek and Fennel Soup

3 tablespoons canola oil or butter
2 leeks, white and light green parts only, cleaned and sliced
4-5 cloves garlic
2 1/4 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 pound regular potatoes, peeled and diced
1 to 1 1/4 pounds tart apples, peeled, cored and diced
Fennel fronds – however much you want to add
2 quarts broth or water
Salt to taste

1. Heat the oil or butter in a heavy soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the leek and cook, stirring, until it is tender. Add the garlic, stir until fragrant. Add the sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, apples and broth/water and bring to a simmer.

2.  Add fennel fronds and salt to taste, reduce the heat, cover and simmer 45 minutes to an hour, until all of the ingredients are thoroughly tender 

3. Using an immersion blender, purée the soup until very smooth.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

What to Do With Your Share---Week 24

This is officially the latest we have ended the regular season in our 10 years as a CSA. Hard to remember, but the spring was so cold and wet that things took longer than normal to kick in.

We consider this year to have been a success. It is measured in many ways. One thing we realize is that we have continued to buy crates, and run out of them. A clear indication of an increase in volume.

The endive is a new item this week. A truly nice addition to a salad, it is nutritionally beneficial, being low in calories, and a source of fiber, vitamin A, and minerals like manganese and iron. Us a dressing with some sharpness and sweetness to cut through any bitterness, like the Sautéed Lemon Maple Frisee from our June 8, 2010 blog.

Glad we could get out some more garlic before the end of the season. Our harvest was less than half of what we planted last year due to the asters yellow disease. The good news is that the garlic that did make it is apparently now asters yellow resistant. We are planting it in hopes of sharing a bounty of garlic next year.

Have to mention the unique lady beetle invasion that took place on the farm Monday afternoon. A swarm descended on us covering everything between the house and the silo. We are not sure where they suddenly came from, but welcomed their arrival. A good sign going into winter.

Thanks for your support this year. We look forward to continuing to improve Fair Share Farm for you.

In the Share - Week 24

first frost

LETTUCE (F/P)  Just enough out of the field to get everyone one for the last week, all butterheads or the speckled heirloom, Forellenschluss.

CARROTS (F/P)  Freshly dug with their tops on, stubby Chantennay-type. 

GREENS CHOICE (F/P)  Kale, arugula, or tat soi.  Partial shares include a choice of endive.

ENDIVE (F)  The frilly French lettuce, also known as frisee.

SWEET PEPPERS OR EGGPLANT (F)  It warmed up last week before the frost and a few more fruit ripened in the process.  Here's the very last of the summer fruits.

WATERMELON RADISHES (F)  Spicy when fresh, they are sure sweet roasted.


HAKUREI TURNIPS (F)  A gamble when we planted them, they are just now sizing up for a small tender bunch with very edible greens. 

SWEET POTATOES (F/P)  More orange Beauregards.

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

GARLIC (F/P)  We planted 3/4 of the field on Monday before the rain.  With only a bit more to go, we are letting go of a bit more for everyone.

NEXT WEEK:  (The first week of the extended season)  Sweet potatoes, leeks, red cabbage, spinach, potatoes, herbs, lettuce, and bok choy.


Whew!  Your farmers are very much enjoying a beautiful Fall after a busy year.  This is the last week of the regular 24-week CSA season.  For almost 100 of you, this is the last week of the CSA.  Thank you for spending the season with our produce.  We hope you feel well-fed from our local family farm.

Looking back, we are always amazed at how much we all accomplish working together.  Ten years of the Fair Share Farm CSA has breathed new life into the farm.  This past Saturday was typical of the crazy wonderful support we see here.  With some time left after the morning's harvest, the CSA crew went to work removing the tomato plants and supports from the fields. 

Fifty of you will continue with us for four more weeks.   The high tunnel is mostly full of green goodness.  We did have problems this fall with the lettuce crop, both inside and outside.  We've had to pick good heads wherever we could save them from their bolting behavior.  But we have beautiful spinach other salad greens and fresh roots in the high tunnel, more under row cover outside and crates of roots in storage to keep everyone full of good food. 

And finally, we continue to pour over the 2013 survey results.  Here are some of our finding so far:

1.       In general, the percentage of members responding from each distribution location matches the actual percentage of members at each site.

2.       About 1/3 of our members have been with us for over 5 years.

3.       Over 40 members responded saying they buy bulk.

4.       112 out of 113 respondents say the pick-up process is clear and effective (nice job distribution teams)

5.       97% say the produce quantity is adequate and is a good value for the price.

6.        96% of respondents say they will sign up again next year.

7.       96% say they use the blog.

8.       It appears our least favorite vegetables are radishes, turnips, eggplant, okra and kohlrabi. Eggplant and okra are also favorites of many.

9.       The membership is not overly interested in communicating internally (87% do not presently use the blog comment capability or Facebook.)  It appears that some people are not aware that we presently have a Facebook page where recipes and other information can be shared. It also appears that folks can “like” and “comment” but cannot post to the wall.

10.   It appears that there is adequate interest in purchasing processed items (78% said yes, or they would probably buy processed food.) Also 29 of 30 members that sampled fermented pickles at the 10th anniversary party said they would buy them if offered.

11.   In responding to what they liked most about the CSA work days the word work was used 23 times, learning 14 times and seeing 13 times. What was liked least was nothing (12), heat/hot (16), and drive (5).

12.   In responding to what members liked most about the CSA the word blog was used 21 times, love (19), and produce (15).

13.   What folks liked least appear to be related to personal inconvenience of pickup times and/or location, the fact that choices dwindle as distribution progresses, wanting more in the swap box, timing of bulk list and blog posting, and wondering why there is a bulk list instead of us sending everything in that we harvest.

14.   Folks want more opportunities to buy eggs.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

In the Share - Week 23

CABBAGE (F/P)  We are sending in an assortment of types:  Napa, Savoy (with ruffles) or smooth-leaved. 

GREEN PEPPERS (F/P) Ahead of tonight's forecasted frost, we cleared out the pepper patch.  Expect a bit of color but mostly greens and purples. 

GREEN TOMATOES (F/P)  These are pure green tomatoes that should be cooked.  See Tom's post for tips. 

LETTUCE (F/P)  One luscious butterhead per share.

SWEET POTATOES (F/P)  After a month of digging we finished the harvest on Monday.  All told, we brought in over 3,400 lbs. - a new record.  This week everyone gets cream-colored O'Henry's.

BROCCOLI OR CAULIFLOWER (F)  More broccoli side shoots and the beginnings of a second flush of cauliflower.

HERB CHOICE (F)  Cilantro, dill, thyme or sage.

GOLD BALL TURNIPS (F)  We love these roasted with some herbs and olive oil.  Mix with other root vegetables or eat them alone.

LEEKS (F/P) Another round of leeks for all. 

NEXT WEEK:  More sweet potatoes, lettuce, herbs and beets.  Watermelon radishes, carrots and greens.

Fall is here in all its glory.  The sun was shining on us as we dismantled the tomato patch on Monday.  The farm crew spent many an hour walking the rows and its always a little sad to see it go.

Before the season ends, Tom and I wanted to thank you all for your responses to the annual CSA member survey.   We were glad to hear that so many of you enjoyed the 2013 season as much as we did.  The survey is one of our most important tools as CSA farmers and we have been very fortunate for the past several years to have Gary and Jan Glauberman on the CSA Core Group as survey gurus.   We love to hear from you all and we use the information in our planning.  We also admit that when 96% of you say that the quality and quantity of the shares was on target, your farmers do sleep easier at night! 

There were a few comments related to the topic of how we decide what is in the share each week.  Tom and I have a rough idea of how much we want to provide of each vegetable when we plan out the year in January.  We like to have a good variety of greens, roots, and fruits with lots of favorites and a sprinkle of something different.  The herb choice is important to many.  Tomatoes, berries and broccoli always win the survey, but many of you also love beets, okra and turnips.

As the crops begin to mature, we make a list for the week of what is ready for harvest.  Some items like carrots, potatoes, onions and garlic are harvested in bulk and then doled out usually every other week for as long as they last.  Other items are picked the day of distribution and we often don't know how much we will have until we bring it in. 

By the time we are a week away from the share going out we have a basic list.  By Monday, that list is fleshed out into full and partial columns and other items are added as the harvest begins on Tuesday.  By the time we send out the bulk list Tuesday afternoon we have a pretty solid idea, but nothing is definite until the final box is packed.  

We attempt each week to provide neither too little and too much.  We have some good vegetable eaters in the membership, but there are also many among us with busy schedules that don't always accommodate time for food preservation.  For that reason, we endeavor to supply a week's worth of produce and not much more.  Sometimes, like at the peak of the tomato harvest or before frost, we give may you a bigger dose, but usually we are careful not to overload the shares with too much of a good thing. 

We think that the last thing any self-respecting local foodie, organic-minded conservationist wants is to waste food.  The weekly bulk list provides for those of you who want to put up extra and it gives the farm an outlet for the excess. 

Well, that's all I've got for now.  We'll try to get to more survey responses next week.  Until then, happy frost day!!

What to Do With Your Share---Week 23

We expect to see a big change in the field tomorrow. The summer crops will be dying, after having produced an impressive harvest. This time of the season can be rather abrupt, but we welcome it as a sign to move on.

The plants are going, but the fruits remain this week. There is still a splash of color in with those green peppers and tomatoes. One good combo of your many share items is a hearty hash.

There are at least three hash recipes that have appeared in the blog. A sweet potato cabbage hash, beet hash, and green bean, potato, onion hash. These recipes generally involve shredding or dicing the major ingredients, and pan frying them until browned. Tonight's combo for us included white sweet potatoes, green and hot peppers, onions, and dill.

To plagiarize our 10/6/09 blog post... As year 6 10 of the CSA draws to a close "what do I do with green tomatoes?" hopefully isn't a questions members have in mind. Fried green tomatoes, green tomato and pepper relish, green tomato salsa, and green tomato curry are but a few of the recipes from our archives. Tried and eaten many times by us farmers, we can attest to the wonderful flavor green tomatoes can impart upon a dish.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

In the Share - Week 22

BROCCOLI (F/P) We have picked most of the first heads and now are picking the side shoots.  Full shares get broccoli and a choice of more broccoli or cauliflower.

SWEET POTATOES (F/P)  big, beautiful orange-fleshed Beauregards

LETTUCE (F/P)  A mix of varieties from the field.

BULB FENNEL (F/P)  Whoa there, the fennel has grown fast and large.  See Tom's post for some culinary suggestions.

CHOICE OF GREENS (F) Bok choy, tat soi, kale or arugula


KOHLRABI (F)  These are the larger, fall season varieties.  Don't let their size scare you, they are tender and juicy.

GARLIC (F/P)  We are saving all of the rest of the garlic for planting later this month. 

TOMATOES (F)  We picked green tomatoes today.  Expect them in your share next week.  Until then enjoy the last of the ripe ones.

WATERMELON RADISH (F/P)  See Tom's post for more on this vivid fall treat.

HERB CHOICE (F/P) Cilantro, dill, thyme, or rosemary

NEXT WEEK:  Broccoli, green peppers, green tomatoes, fingerling potatoes, sweet potatoes, cabbage, carrots, lettuce and leeks.


The farm crew gave up a day off last week to take advantage of the beautiful weather for re-siding the back of the barn.  Thanks to a good platform designed by my dad, we had a sturdy work area.  The old lumber came off quickly in the morning and the boards went up in the afternoon.   

The end result looks pretty nice if we do say so ourselves.

With frost coming any day now, we have been very focused on harvesting the tender crops.  The sweet potato harvest continues with 400 feet left to dig.

What to Do With Your Share---Week 22

Last year, because of the hot, early spring the season was ending this week. This year, due to the cold, wet, late spring we still have two weeks to go. And a good thing, because there is lots in the field to harvest and eat.

One new item is the watermelon radish. We plan to have more in future shares for those of you that are fond of them. And what's not to be fond of. This year they are at their juiciest.

If you are not familiar with them it is worth noting that almost all of the radish's hotness is in the skin. Cut it into rounds and peel, and you have the most striking raw vegetable you will ever ate. Great to snack on, or grate into a salad as a colorful addition.

Peel the heat off the radish (or keep it on for a kick)
Bulb fennel is also new to the shares this week. Use it anywhere you would celery. It is also great chopped and added to a fresh lettuce salad, or roasted.

As far as the sweet potatoes go, we received a great recipe suggestion last year and put it in the blog-Roasted Spiced Sweet Potato Wedges. It is a regular dish for us, perfect for the toaster oven.

While we are feeding you, we are also feeding the soil and our new batch of chickens. We recently turned under our summer cover crops to let them digest in the ground until the spring. The chicks are being fed a ration of organic grains, along with some of the tomatoes, lettuce leaves, and other goodies that would normally go to the compost pile. They are also feeding the soil as we move their trailer down the beds. Thanks go to Kathi Whitman for selling us the trailer and run before she moved to Utah.

Rocky loves the newly spaded beds
Chick trailer, "breezeway", outdoor run and electric fence

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

In the Share - Week 21

romaine lettuces

LETTUCE (F/P) Our best guess is that last hot spell gave the lettuce a fright because almost half of our varieties are going into premature bolt, including some precious heads in the high tunnel.  Crud!  Others are holding on strong and everybody will get one of those until they run out.  Some may also get some baby heads that had to be cut before they get their full bolt on.

TOMATOES (F/P)  The harvest is dwindling, but the plants continue to slowly ripen fruit.  We barely missed a frost this weekend so we'll have them for at least another week.

LEEKS (F/P)  The first digging of the fall leeks.  Can't wait!

BROCCOLI (F/P)  The broccoli is starting to settle down a bit and cold nights make it sweet.

CAULIFLOWER (P)  Partial shares get a choice of cauliflower or more broccoli.

SWEET PEPPERS (F/P)  The ripe ones are getting scarcer but these warm days help. 

CARROTS (F)  Orange sweeties from our recent digging.  There's another bed out there that we are looking forward to eating all winter.

BOK CHOI (F) We planted whatever seed we had left including red ones, white-stemmed and green-stemmed varieties.

HERB CHOICE (F)  Cilantro, dill or basil.

NEXT WEEK:  More peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, sweet potatoes and beets.  Bulb fennel debuts.


Fall is easily our favorite time of year.  The air is clean and crisp.  Snuggled in our hoodies and jackets we are greeted by the morning sunrise a little later every day.  With nothing left to plant, we focus on the harvest.

fall morning radish pull

In any extra time we have on CSA mornings, we tackle the sweet potato harvest which is breaking all previous records.  Last week we dug a whopping 680 lbs. out of a 200 ft. row.  With several more rows to dig, we encourage anyone who still owes hours to get on out here. 

Luke and Lorne leading the way

When the planting ends, work on the infrastructure begins.  First on the list, the back of the barn.  Some of you may remember when we re-faced the front of the barn two years ago.  Some of you even helped us on what turned out to be the hottest day of the year.  Luckily we stayed injury-free and the barn is much improved.  This time around because of the lay of the land we are fifteen feet up off the ground for the entire project.  For this reason, we are sticking with the "professionals" on this job.  The farm crew plus an extra hand here or there should be able to get the job done. 

back of the barn (before)

What to Do With Your Share---Week 21

Change is setting in. Less than a month ago we had a 5 day stretch of 95-100 degrees. Now we are dodging frost and living comfortably. October days can be the most beautiful of the year. The cooler temps help the fall plants grow best, and have also slowed down many of the munching bugs.

Rocky joining us for the morning harvest
The stars in the field lately have been the broccoli and cauliflower. It has been wonderful eating as much as we can. They are two of the best raw vegetables to eat for nutrition, taste and texture. And if you have a favorite dressing, they are the perfect vessel.

Peeled broccoli has beautiful color too.
We eat lots of our broccoli simply cooked; by steaming and then mixing with some butter, lemon juice and salt. It's good at any temperature.

The other thing we do a lot of is peel our broccoli stem. Fresh broccoli is tender throughout. It is a shame to waste anything but a little peel and a trimming of the end. If you have not done this before , we hope you try it and get even more of a meal from your share.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

In the Share - Week 20

BROCCOLI (F/P)  The broccoli packs a flavor punch this week.  We are blaming those hot days in our recent past.  Steamed with some butter and lemon is all the help it needs.

TOMATOES (F/P)  The harvest is about over, so enjoy them while they last.

CABBAGE (F/P)  Choice of Chinese (Napa) or standard cabbage.  See Tom's post for some helpful hints for making slaw.

SWEET PEPPERS (F)  Ripening is slowing down considerably.  Expect green ones soon.

SWEET POTATOES (F/P)  O'Henry are creamy yellow sweet potatoes.  These are the first of many yellow and orange sweet potatoes out in the field waiting to be dug.  If you still need to punch in your hours, come out on a harvest day and more likely than not we will be digging the sweets! 

BROCCOLI OR CAULIFLOWER (F)  Full shares get a choice of either more broccoli, or a cauliflower.

ARUGULA (F/P)  Our second planting is coming on well and the lettuce isn't quite ready, so enjoy an arugula salad this week.

RADISHES (F/P)  If the heat of the radish is too much for you, try lightly steaming or dressing with a honey vinaigrette.

HERB CHOICE (F/P)  Sage, cilantro and basil


NEXT WEEK:  More peppers, broccoli and cauliflower.  Leeks, carrots, beets and lettuce return.


What a whirlwind of a week it has been.  Thursday we replaced the plastic on our 30 x 96 ft. high tunnel.  It was quite the job for six of us and luckily we didn't rip it in two, but we sure tried!  It went better than our first attempt a year ago and we have new ideas for improvements in 2014.  Today we put the ends and doors back on so she's ready to be buttoned up when frost threatens. 

This week we also began to break new ground in the far field below the grapes.  In 2012, sheep on loan from the Parkers grazed.  This summer the chickens ran through.  Now it is our turn.  Tom took out Grandpa, the family's 1962 International 504 bought used by John Graff, Sr. in late sixties. The discs are of a similar vintage. After several passes the ground is chopped up a bit and ready for spading.

Add in the regular harvest routine and then, by some miracle, Tom and I escaped the farm for a full 48 hours.   Between the Saturday rain (very nice!) and Monday afternoon we lounged at a B & B in St. Joseph, Missouri.  It was a welcome rest after the normal rollercoaster of a season we get here on the edge of the prairie.  Besides napping and eating too much pizza, we also managed a walk along the river, 3 antique malls, and several museums.

What to Do With Your Share---Week 20

Time for fall cabbage this week. And choices abound as we hand out round, flathead and Chinese varieties. They are all good eaten raw in a slaw. The trick to a good slaw is to shred the cabbage, salt it (about 1 tbsp. per medium head) and let it sit in a colander and drain for about an hour. Shake and press off any excess water and you have slaw that will remain crunchy and not get watery.

The next step in slaw making is choosing what extra ingredients to add, and what dressing to make. The first thing is to see if you have any veggies in your fridge or share that would enhance a cabbage salad. Peeled and grated kohlrabi, radishes, peppers, pears, apples, raisins, and nuts all go well in slaw. Herbs like cilantro, parsley or chives make a good garnish.

For the dressing the possibilities are pretty endless. We often use either an Asian dressing (sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, honey, ginger), a Mediterranean one (olive oil, white wine vinegar, honey, garlic), or a mayo style (mayonnaise, white vinegar, honey, ground black pepper).

For the first time since early March, Rebecca and I were off the farm overnight. We took a two evening rest in St. Joseph, Missouri. It was well worth the journey as we stayed amused and relaxed.

Our visit to the Glore Psychological Museum included a look at the impressive vegetable production, storage and processing operation of the former State Lunatic Asylum No. 2. As the copy below shows, they weren't small potatoes (the facility housed 3,000 people). From what I can tell from the lower photo, they even fermented cucumbers in quantity.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

What to Do With Your Share---Week 19

Seuss sweet pepper
It appears that fall is creeping in. Just a couple weeks ago it was 100 degrees, but now the nights are cool and the weather favors the autumnal vegetables. We fall in that category too, as the heat of summer is over and we feel a little less worn at the end of the day.

One fall crop that is prime at the moment is kohlrabi. Returning members should remember last year's post by our friend Cole Rabi. Follow the link and learn some basics for eating this crunchy treat.

Here at the farm we have been doing a lot of tomato eating and preserving. Tonight, after previously prepping and cooking down our chili sauce, we are canning it. We use the Ball Blue Book recipe, which is similar to one in our July 29, 2008 blog from member Ann Flynn.

Cover crop and high tunnel
Yet another good recipe for this summer/fall mix of vegetables is Cauliflower puttanesca. From way back in our September 15, 2004 newsletter, this dish is from the newsletter of Rebecca's old CSA in SF, Terra Firma. You don't have to add anchovies or olives, but it sure helps make the dish.

In the Share - Week 19

CAULIFLOWER OR BROCCOLI (F/P)  These plants withstood a lot of heat late into their maturing season, but some are bulking up fairly well.  A hearty thank you to the CSA members who got the weeds in check last week!  We hope to have both for several more weeks.

TOMATOES (F/P)  Today was the last big picking of tomatoes with most of the hybrid reds ripe and the heirlooms dwindling.  The paste or Roma tomatoes will keep coming for a while.

LETTUCE (F/P)  Mostly green crispheads that can take some summer heat. 

KOHLRABI (F/P)  We tasted one today and we were happy we did - very tender and juicy was the result.

BEETS (F/P)  The beets are going bonkers out there - they grew to a large size while we were occupied on other things.  Don't worry, they are still sweet and tender.

SWEET PEPPERS (F/P)  Loads more of these big beauties this week.

GREENS CHOICE (F)   Several of our fall greens are sizing up.  You'll have a choice of kale, rapini or broccoli raab, or Swiss Chard.

HERB CHOICE (F/P)  Basil, marjoram and thai basil.



NEXT WEEK:  More tomatoes, peppers, broccoli and cauliflower.  Sweet potatoes, cabbage and garlic.


Two and a half inches of rain soaked in well.  The soil is loose, full of worms and a pleasure to dig into.  A sure sign of fall, we dug the first sweet potatoes on Saturday.  They are curing in the greenhouse and should be in the shares next week.  Tom has flail-mowed the sorghum sudan cover crop that many of you saw at the farm in the past few weeks.  That's next year's fertility which will be turned into the soil later this week. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

In the Share - Week 18

red peppers

LETTUCE (F/P)  Welcome back, you ruffle-headed beauties!

HAKUREI TURNIPS (F/P)  and you too, turnips...

TOMATOES (F/P)  A few less than last week, but still a nice amount.

SWEET PEPPERS (F/P)  We've never grown such huge, beautiful peppers.  Enjoy!


BROCCOLI (F) Use soon, as it is a bit squirrelly.  Not sure what is causing it to unevenly ripen, but it got stressed by some combination of weather, soil and water. 



GARLIC and HOT PEPPERS (F/P)  Tom has more info. on cooking with the hot peppers in his post.

NEXT WEEK:  More tomatoes, sweet peppers, broccoli, lettuce and turnips.  New will be Napa/Chinese cabbage and eggplant.


Many of you have met Lauren Semivan at the farm this summer.  She and her new husband, Lorne, are headed towards a farm of their own and are apprenticing here in preparation.  Lauren is an accomplished art photographer with works in museums and galleries.  She has been working this summer during the little time we leave her on a new series of composed photographs.  Some bits and curiosities from the farm have even made the cut.  This week she and Lorne travel to New York City for an opening of her work at the Bonni Benrubi gallery on Wednesday night.  Go here to see the show.  Best wishes for a dazzling time! 
Before they left, the farm managed to have quite the party. 
Thanks to everyone who made our first on-farm CSA potluck and 10th anniversary of the CSA a swinging success. 
The rain stopped just in time to have a dry afternoon with very pleasant temperatures.  The baby chicks in their run provided quality entertainment to kids of all ages. 
As always, the membership cooked up some delicious fare plus a lovely cake to cap the day off. 
Here's to the next ten!