Tuesday, October 28, 2014

In the Share - Week 28








NEXT WEEK:  More lettuce and herbs.  Leeks, carrots, cabbages, spinach, garlic and bok choy.

Another blog night finds us watching the World Series and writing the blog during the commercials.  During the day our work in the fields is sped along by conversations about baseball.  Between games, Tom, Rocky and I took a long walk around the Graff farm on Sunday.  The native grasses that were sowed in 2012 are beginning to spread in the old grain fields. 

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

Another blog night, another Royals World Series game. Not a thing I ever thought I would be saying. We have found though that they have turned the rainbows blue and white on the farm.

With the start of the extended season, the high tunnel harvest begins. Our feeding of cover crops and compost appear to have enlivened the soil since last spring. Our first cuttings include arugula, cilantro and gai lan (Chinese broccoli). From the field you are getting the head style broccoli (Italian broccoli), as well as some wonderful fall lettuces.

The two broccoli types you can use pretty much interchangeably. Both work well in a stir-fry, or in a hearty pasta dish.

You can also make a soup with the gai lan or tat soi. Substitute them in this bok choy soup recipe from member Emily Akins, or this stir-fry soup recipe from our May 23, 2011 blog.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

What to Do With Your Share---Week 24

An so the regular season of the 2014 CSA season ends. It's been a winning year, topped off by a wonderful October. Local excitement, a beautiful stretch of weather, and the promise of an off-season. Thanks to all who support us. Look forward to feeding everyone again next year.

But before then, there is this week's share to discuss. Depending on whether you are full or partial, you may get green tomatoes or small potatoes. The former, while good fried, also makes a wonderful curry. The latter, are great for steaming, before salting and tossing with butter. It has been a good potato year, so enjoy some of the last of the harvest.

In the Share - Week 24

LEEKS F/P The leeks are large with long, tender shanks.   

LETTUCE F/P  The lettuces took a break from growing thanks to the soggy weather, but everyone will get one head this week.

CARROTS F/P  More small snacking carrots

SWEET POTATOES F  Orange-fleshed Beauregards.  We harvested less than 30% of last year's record crop.  We blame the cool temperatures and soggy summer. 

POTATOES P  Small potatoes, good for cooking whole and popping them right in your mouth.

TOMATOES OR SWEET PEPPERS F  Some are ripe, some are green.  See Tom's post for cooking with green tomatoes.

WATERMELON RADISH  F A fall storage radish with brilliant pink flesh.  Cut into watermelon-shaped slices and eat the pink part.  If you like a kick, eat the rind.

HERB CHOICE F/P  Cilantro, dill, sage or radishes

GREENS CHOICE F/P  Kale, Swiss chard, bok choy or cabbage


NEXT WEEK:  Extended season starts with lettuce, greens, bulb fennel, herbs and garlic.


I am watching the world series while writing this post, so please excuse any sloppiness.  I remember watching the 1985 series and I am happy to see our hometown team back in the finals.  With Royals fever in the air, your farmers have been thinking about  how farming is like baseball.  We both start our seasons in the Spring and spend the summer working in the field. 

our home field

From Spring training to our last race around the bases before frost, we are always ready for whatever curveballs Mother Nature throws at us.  We are successful when we work as a team and thrive on the support of our fans... ahem CSA members.  Like the Royals, we too have a post-season.  Ours begins next week.  This is Week 24 of the CSA and for many of you, the last week.  Thank you for your support and we hope to see you back in 2015.  For those in the extended season, we have four more innings (okay...weeks) to go.  Charge!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

In the Share - Week 23

KOHLRABI F  I have heard from many kohlrabi lovers since I mentioned that it is not everybody's favorite.  One said, "I LOVE kohlrabi. It's yummy raw, kind of like broccoli stems or jicama, and it's delicious roasted. Great for salads or in sticks for dipping in dips like hummus. What's not to like?" Others offered that they make kohlrabi fries by dipping them in batter and baking them. " You'll have your chance to try a new recipe.  Since the positive comments began pouring in, the kohlrabi have swelled to softball size.

BULB FENNEL F/P  See Tom's post for more on the finocchio

LETTUCE F2/P1  We rescued many a head from the mud today.  They are triple-rinsed but will need a final rinse in your kitchens.


POTATOES F/P  Purple Viking is our new favorite potato.  Large and pretty in purple with white, fluffy flesh. 


CABBAGE F  The last of the compact varieties.  The big heads are starting to mature.

GREENS CHOICE F  Bok choy, tat soi and yukina savoy, all great in a stir-fry.

GOLD BALL TURNIPS P  Just the roots with the tops removed to make them a bit more manageable.

BROCCOLI, CAULIFLOWER OR NAPA CABBAGE P  The first two are almost done.  The Napa is just starting.

NEXT WEEK:  More lettuce, cabbage, greens.  Watermelon radishes, carrots and leeks.

The farm is very soggy and we are worrying over the tender crops left in the field.  We are approaching 10 inches of rain in the month of October.  Most vegetable crops like 1 inch per week and much more than that leads to pooling and stagnant conditions.  A soil is like a sponge and right now ours is full of water, not air.  The stiff north wind that blew today was a good first step in getting things to dry out.  Sunshine is forecasted for the next five days and should do a lot of good.

In the middle of this wet weather, Tom and I took a couple of days off the farm and ended up visiting our water downstream.  The farm resides within the Fishing River watershed which enters the Missouri River near Missouri City.  Across the river sits Fort Osage, originally constructed in 1808 to conduct trade with our allies, the Osage Indians.  The usual story of death, displacement and hardship followed.  The Osage are in Oklahoma now and our farm sits on their old hunting grounds

the river view from Fort Osage

What to Do With Your Share---Week 23

Another year, another Week 23. It's always something different it seems. The diminishing conditions of the last few weeks has ended the season for some plants this year. Others, sitting on higher ground, are doing well but looking forward to some drying out.

It was wet this week when we took some time off the farm to explore our watershed. From Missouri City to Sibley to Floyd, we were in bottoms. The wildlife put on a good show, doing what they do. For the yellow mud turtle life is best sunning on a log in the backwater of a mighty river. They are endangered in Missouri so we felt fortunate to be able to see some.

Through all the rain there are some very lush areas on the farm One is the bulb fennel patch. It is a great vegetable for this time of year. Cook it alongside onions, leeks and garlic to enhance a dish. Fresh in a salad it provides for good breath and digestion.

Asian greens are also peaking and ready for harvest. A stir fry is a great fall meal that can include most anything in the share. Treat fennel as you would celery in a dish, and don't forget to add a hot pepper.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

In the Share - Week 22


SWEET PEPPERS F/P  A big bag for everyone.  See Tom's post for easy ways to use them/preserve them.

HOT PEPPERS F/P  A selection of jalapenos, Anaheims and hot wax.

EGGPLANT F  We picked baby eggplant in case we had frost.

CARROTS F/P  More snack-size ones.

ONIONS F  storage yellows and reds.

LEEKS F/P  The white part of the leeks are very nice this year - so long they barely fit in the crates!

GREENS CHOICE F  Swiss chard, kale or bok choy

GOLD BALL TURNIPS W/TOPS F  These are great stewing or roasting turnips.  Like most roots they store best without their tops, so separate them before you refrigerate them. 



NEXT WEEK:  More cauliflower, broccoli, turnips, lettuce and greens.  Potatoes, garlic and beets.  New:  the first of the bulb fennel.

An extraordinary week has passed that included a five inch rainstorm, the threat of frost and Tom away at his niece's wedding.  All went well as the farm crew kicked into high gear to make it happen.  See Tom's photo of the bride escorted by her Tom's sister, Fran and husband Woody.  Congratulations to Barbara and Mike! 

Last week I mentioned how lucky we are to work in the beautiful outdoors with rainbows overhead and such.  Three days later we get this lovely sight...

After two days of rain, the forecast for Friday night fell to 36 deg. F.  Not knowing for sure if a frost was coming or not, we decided to bulk harvest the peppers, eggplants and tomatoes and pull out the row cover for the lettuces, fennel, chard and herbs.  Saturday morning came with only frost on the roof, but not in the fields.  All of our work is not in vain as we are now well-prepared for the next time frost threatens. 

Temporary covers protected the crops in the high tunnel during the frost scare, but  by Monday we were ready to put the real cover on.  It is always exciting to play with a 40' x 100' piece of plastic.  This time went much better than last year.  The biggest change is that we are using a single layer instead of a double layer.  This makes it a lot lighter and easier to attach.  Also, less plastic! 

What to Do With Your Share---Week 22

I dined off-farm this weekend, attending my niece Barbara's wedding in Evanston, Ill. This 3 day convergence of family was a splendid time. It included some deep dish pizza and other excellent food.
Woody, Barbara and my sister Fran
We are in the last stage of that time of year when summer and fall crops are available together. Your stir fry can include eggplant, or you can cook cherry tomatoes with your broccoli. It is also the time to stock up, even if for just a short time, on any excess produce.

You may find yourself with a lot of peppers this week. Take any extra and clean them, cut 'em into chunks and put in a freezer bag. They are now a convenience food. They fry up well, and are perfect in fajitas, eggs, or over pasta.

We hope that you have made good use of the herb selections this year. While the basil never recovered from the damp coolness of June, our stores of dried herbs have provided for the shares. We enjoy the hot peppers. Much of their heat is in the seeds. You can snap the stem off and shake out the seeds before crushing it, to cut down on the heat. Or just leave it whole and drop it into a slow cooking dish.

dried cayenne peppers