Tuesday, September 30, 2014

In the Share - Week 21

BROCCOLI F/P  Partial shares get a choice with cauliflower.
POTATOES F A mixture of Desiree (pink) and Bintje (yellow) varieties

SWEET POTATOES F/P  The sweets did not do well this year.  We can only figure our cool summer stunted their growth.  What we have is nice, but in limited supply. O'Henry (white) and Beauregard (orange) varieties.

GARLIC F/P  More softneck Artichoke

CHOICE F/P  Sage, tarragon or radishes

TOMATOES F  A mixture of a few slicers and cherries


KOHLRABI F/P  Plenty of members mention their disinterest in this vegetable.  We usually eat it raw after peeling it well.  A yogurt or peanut dip makes it even better.

GREENS CHOICE  F  Swiss Chard, bok choy, or rapini (our rapini has no broccoli florets but we are picking it anyway as it is huge and won't fit in the crates if it grows any more)

HOT PEPPERS F  jalapenos, anaheims or hot wax.

NEXT WEEK:  More broccoli, cauliflower, greens, peppers and eggplant.  Carrots and onions


This has to be the best time of year to be a farmer.  The harvest is in,  the days are getting shorter,  and the weather is perfect.  As if it wasn't nice enough, we were graced by a beautiful rainbow at sunrise the other morning.

Another benefit on the farm has been the arrival each week of the cheese share.  This week our cheese shares will feature the award-winning Franklin Island feta from Ken and Jen Munro at Goatsbeard Farm.  Back in August this very cheese was awarded a Silver from the American Cheese Society.  Read all about it here.

What to Do With Your Share---Week 21

It seems that weather-wise we must have matched a record for most consecutive beautiful days and nights. The crops are enjoying it too, especially when we give them a good drink from the pond. The sun helps with that also.

For us it has been stir-fries lately. The eggplant, sweet and hot peppers, bok choi, greens, garlic, leeks and other fine vegetables have been filling our wok regularly. It is always great to see a crop like eggplant achieve the luster of its first fruits again at the end of the season.

The sweet potatoes are freshly cured and ready for cookin'. I suggest starting the sweet potato season with roasted and spiced wedges. Mayonnaise and malt vinegar are both good accompaniments.

On Saturday after the morning harvest I went with John and Dustin over to Parker Farms for an open house. I had not been to Tom and Paula's since they raised the hog population on the farm. It was a happy bunch of pigs and piglets everywhere we went. A beautiful Missouri farm.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

What to Do With Your Share---Week 20

I may have come to realize that the first day of fall is my favorite day of the year. While the daylight has been waning since the first of summer, it is late September that promises some rest. The magnificent weather of the last week has been a nice touch too.

In the kitchen the share continues to change. We welcome leeks this week, and pair them with some beautiful red onions. Add garlic, and you have the trifecta that makes up three lily soup. If you have any potatoes you can make the classic leek and potato soup, or a nice potato and kale/greens soup.

water droplet on the kale
Another idea for the greens is that of a hot dressing. The lettuce from this week and last is quite crisp. It can hold up to a strong dressing. The non-vegetarian version consists of small pieces of chopped bacon cooked up and mixed with some honey or sugar, and vinegar. Yum.

In the Share - Week 20

LETTUCE F  I wish we had more of these crunchy heads, but we'll have to wait for the butterheads and leaf lettuces to mature a bit longer.

CARROTS F/P  These are the perfect snacking size.


LEEKS F/P  The first digging of the fall leeks. It looks to be a good crop.

CABBAGE F  Tendersweet lives up to its name.

BROCCOLI P  We have just enough heads for the partial shares this week, but full shares will get some next week and hopefully for many weeks to come.

TURNIPS AND RADISHES F  Just a few of each.  The trick with eating them raw is to never cut them in advance and then leave them dry.  Eat it right away or dress it with vinegar, oil or salt.

TOMATO/CHERRY TOMATO F/P  Just a bit for everyone and make sure to let them ripen on your countertop.


GREENS CHOICE F/P  Bok choy, arugula, rapini

NEXT WEEK:  More greens, broccoli, cabbage, eggplant and peppers.  Potatoes, garlic and kohlrabi return.


equinox sunrise

The fall equinox marks the moment when our days and our nights are equal.  After that, fall begins the lengthening of the nighttime.  Days getting shorter means the plants grow slower and many people assume that this means farmers get some time off.  Well, we do... but in December.  Right now we are as busy as ever.  We are pushing through these gorgeous days to get the fall crops in order.  The high tunnel is filling and the fields are weeded and watered.  Out in the cabbage patch we caught a visitor that is usually too quick for the camera.

The dew has been heavy lately and she was surely to wet to fly away.  It is amazing to think how far this little, delicate creature has to go from here.  We hope her time in our fields were a benefit and that she finds her way home safely.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

In the Share - Week 19

beautiful bok choy 

 GREENS CHOICE F/P  Bok choy, beet greens or kale

GARLIC F/P  soft-neck artichoke type is a good keeper

FINGERLING POTATOES F/P  Austrian crescent and French fingerling varieties.

LETTUCE F2/P1  This week only and then we will have to wait a few more weeks for more.  Summer crisp variety.

KOHLRABI F  The first of the fall crop.  Partial shares have a choice with the greens choice.

SWEET PEPPER F/P  Just one for everyone.  These cold nights do not ripen peppers.

TOMATO F  ditto on the tomatoes, but we don't have enough for everyone this week, only the fulls.

HERB CHOICE F/P   mint, rosemary, thyme, chives or dried.

NEXT WEEK:  More greens and peppers.  Carrots and onions and perhaps the first of the broccoli, radishes and turnips.  Finally some rapini (broccoli raab).

Saturday morning we awoke to frost.  At first light we ventured to the fields to see the crops dusted with frozen dew.

Officially the thermometer said 35 deg. F. and once the sun melted the frost we could see little damage.  Now three days later it is safe to say that we survived unscathed.  Only the leaves of the sweet potatoes were damaged in any way. 

Sunday night we celebrated with 100+ of the CSA membership.  Our community sure knows how to cook and eat!  The weather was perfect and due to popular demand there were four hayrides.  When not eating or riding around the farm, many enjoyed the view from atop the big round straw bales.  Since I managed to forget almost everything that I meant to say at the dinner, let me say now how deeply indebted we feel towards everyone who has played a role in the re-building of our family farm over the past 11 seasons.   Our farm apprentices, employees, friends and family and the CSA membership have built something together out here that we hope will remain for many years to come.

Rocky staying warm on the compost pile

What to Do With Your Share---Week 19

It could not have been a more beautiful day on Sunday when our CSA congregated to celebrate the harvest. It was a great time. One thing that we enjoy about our farmstead is the lay of the land. It is a nice setting for gatherings and we look forward to the dinner at the farm being an annual event.

For our part of the potluck I made a vegetable stew. A combination of onions, carrots, peppers, hot peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, and garlic. All the ingredients were cleaned and chopped. The first four ingredients were sautéed in olive oil until soft. Next the potatoes were added, followed by the tomatoes and garlic. Tomato sauce, salt, pepper, marjoram and oregano rounded out the ingredients.

The stew was brought to a boil and then simmered for an hour, or until carrots are tender. The stew is done then, but you can thicken it by pureeing a portion and adding it back.

Tell us what you brought on our CSA Facebook page. I know someone was looking for seconds on the coleslaw, and the candied jalapenos were a unique treat.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

In the Share - Week 18

YELLOW ONIONS F/P  We are very proud of our onion crop this year.  This week we begin to share with you these big beautiful yellow ones, which are also our best keepers.


GREENS F  Turnip greens, kale or maybe some rapini (broccoli raab) by Saturday. 



TOMATOES F/P Just one or two or some cherry tomatoes

HOT PEPPERS F/P  See Tom's post on roasting the Anaheims

HERB CHOICE F  Chives, parsley or a dried herb

NEXT WEEK:  A few more summer fruits:  peppers, tomatoes, eggplant along with potatoes, garlic, bok choy, kohlrabi and lettuce.

The summer harvest is dwindling and the fall crops are just starting to produce.  During the transition from one season to the next, the shares will be lighter.  Less time harvesting means more time to tend to the crops.  Today we tackled the broccoli and cauliflower beds. 

On Monday we pulled the chicken coop down the row a pace to some fresh crabgrass.  Unfortunately, we are really good at growing crabgrass.  Lucky for us the chickens love it and it is fun to see them stripping the stems of those pesky seeds.  You can see in the photo that they did a fabulous job of cleaning up their old spot in just three short weeks. 

What to Do With Your Share---Week 18

The recent harvest slow down has given time to pause and check out the farm's newest crop---sunn hemp. We have added this legume to our cover crop mix, as it is suits our climate and soil. It grows fast, provides nitrogen and other nutrients to the soil, and it made a good stand.

The USDA says it originated in India and has been grown since the dawn of agriculture. Its uses and benefits are many. We are glad that it came up so well this first attempt.

On the culinary side of things, we feel that the pause gives us all a good reason to clear out the fridge. Below are a couple of recipe options that take into account many items from the last several weeks.

The first is a greens and beans recipe we had a few days ago. We chopped and steamed some roma beans, tossed them with salt, pepper and butter, and then topped it all chive flowers. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan we sautéed onions, garlic and kale.  We then tossed it with pasta and topped with grated cheese and sunflower seeds.

Chances are you have some hot peppers stashed in the crisper drawer. Member Merri Dillinger posted a recipe for candied jalapenos on our Facebook page. Another option is roasting.

I used to roast my peppers by cutting them in half, cleaning out the seeds and membrane, and broiling until charred. A much better way is to put away the knife initially and simply roast the peppers whole. Turn them once when they start to blister. When both sides are done put them in a bowl with a plate over it. Let them steam about 5 minutes and peel. They are great on sandwiches, in potato salads, or to spice up some greens and beans.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

What to Do With Your Share---Week 17

When August turns to September, our minds turn to the shortening days, and the plantings to get in before the curtain closes. The light of the sun waxes and wanes every year, and there isn't anything we can do about it. Nature is predictable in that way, and the annual transition to fall is one we enjoy.

This year we are pleased to have an ongoing supply of potatoes that will continue into the fall. We love fresh potatoes, and the varieties we have are perfect for country fries. Just cut your potato into skinny wedges or chunks, mix with dried herbs, salt and oil, and bake at 425 F until toasty.

And while there are only two of us, we regularly cook for four, and find our toaster oven to be the perfect appliance for a batch of potatoes. We chose it over a microwave for the great job it does baking, broiling, toasting and roasting, all without heating up the house. An indispensable tool.

This week the herbs return, and in a form we have not handed out before. Back at the start of our life on the farm we planted about 3 or so garlic chive plants on our patio. With no coaxing they have propagated well. You get dozen of seeds from each flower head, and so it appears we will always have garlic chive flowers.

They serve well as a garnish on such seasonal treats as potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers and more. Just pull the flower-heads off the stalks and sprinkle on your favorite dish.

In the Share - Week 17

POTATOES F/P  Desiree pink-skinned potatoes.  See Tom's post for combining with the garlic chive flowers.

TOMATOES F/P  A few of our late-season Bella Rosa hybrid reds are ripening now along with a few of the heirlooms.  Give them a few days on the counter to ripen completely. 

GARLIC F2/P1 Artichoke type

GREENS CHOICE F/P  We are hoping it stays dry tonight so that we can get the greens out in the morning.  We'll have the first harvest of the fall arugula, kale and turnip greens to choose from.


GREEN BEANS F  The last of the bush beans and more Rattlesnake pole beans.

SALSA PACK/EGGPLANT/GROUND CHERRY CHOICE F/P  Full shares get a choice of salsa or eggplant, while the partial shares get their chance at the ground cherries.  See Tom's post from last week for more info. on them.



GARLIC CHIVE FLOWERS F/P  Pretty and garlicky flowers to garnish any dish. 

NEXT WEEK:  More tomatoes, peppers, beans, salsa packs, and eggplant.  Carrots and onions return.

Damp weather has returned to the farm.  The three inches of rain in the last week led to a few very foggy mornings. 

On Thursday we hosted a small tour of farmers to show off our SARE trial. It is a two-year study and still very much a work in progress.  Tom did get to show off the NTPA (no-till planting aid) he built.  It worked like a charm.  Now we just need to find a spot on the farm without bindweed!  For more details on the project, read this.

We wanted to thank all of you who have been showing up at the farm to pick beans.  We couldn't have gotten the harvest in without you.  Thank you. And do you see what I see in the photo of our bean pickers?

See it?  That's the heart of the farm, right there!  ... although there is one in the foggy Rocky photo too!  What is going on at this groovy farm of ours?  Hearts everywhere!