Tuesday, September 29, 2015

In the Share - Week 21






HERB CHOICE F  Sage, cilantro or dill

GREENS CHOICE F  Swiss chard, kale, gai lan, or bok choy

LETTUCE and/or FRISEE F/P  The frisee makes a nice little salad.

GARLIC F/P  Partial shares get a choice of garlic or herbs.

ROMA GREEN BEANS F  The last week of these guys.

NEXT WEEK:  Peppers, eggplant, greens, turnips, beets, green tomatoes and sweet potatoes

Autumn is here and we welcome its arrival.  After an especially eventful growing season, your farmers are looking forward to a winter rest.  But, we are not there yet!  Much lovely fall crops must be harvested, brought in for storage or protected outdoors.  The high tunnel is ready for its hat to go back on for the wintertime.  We planted it full of greens back in early September.  It is nice to keep the plastic off of its top and ends for as long as possible to avoid overheating the plants inside, but it needs to be buttoned up before the first frost.

Out in the fields have a nice blanket of various cover crops that Tom sowed in late July.  Sorghum Sudan grass, cowpeas, mung beans and oats cover the Spring fields.  These plants growing now are next year's fertility.

Speaking of out in the fields, "Outstanding in the Field" is returning to our farm on October 14th.  Chef Ted Habiger from Room 39 in KCMO will be feeding us multiple courses of local delights from our farm and others in the region.  Event details and tickets are here.

What to Do With Your Share---Week 21

What an enjoyable time the weather has been the last few weeks. We have been fortunate that the last 70 days have been so much better than the previous. At one point we did not know if we would even have any peppers or eggplant, but things turned around. It was great to see such resiliency in the plants and are further refining the varieties we grow based on what did well.

Another sign that it became a warm summer are sweet potatoes. We have harvested about half of them, and they will be in the shares starting this week. My go-to recipe for these nutritious tubers is as spiced wedges. Sweet potatoes are quite savory if you let them be.

Sage is in prime condition right now, and it is perfectly matched to the sweet potatoes. It is another example of the savory nature they have. Our post from September 2011 talks about this and many other facts about sweet potatoes.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

In the Share - Week 20

GAI LAN AND BOK CHOY F/P  Bunches for stir-fry

TOMATOES F/P  The last good week of tomatoes is upon us.

ROMA BEANS F/P  Tom has a recipe for green beans and tomatoes in his post.

SWEET PEPPERS F/P  More sweet bells and horn-shaped sweeties.


KOHLRABI F  The first of the fall crop.  Peel well and enjoy raw or lightly cooked.


NEXT WEEK:  Peppers, greens, eggplant, sweet potatoes, lettuce and kohlrabi. 

First, an update from week 16 regarding our flock of 60 chicks.  They are over a month old now and have moved to a coop in the fields.  They are very energetic and healthy little girls.  They stay in a protected run when they are outside to keep them safe from hawks, etc.  Every few days we pull the coop down the bed so that they get fresh grass.  The love to eat anything green that we can throw at them.  Today they got some bok choy leaves that didn't make the cut for the CSA. 

Meanwhile the 2-yr. old flock got a new patch of weeds to work on today.  They are happily stripping off the seeds of the annual grasses that are such a nuisance for us. 

What to Do With Your Share---Week 20

There have been some glorious days over the past week. The weather has included lots of sunshine and fair conditions. Riding the weather through the year has its good days, and they are a real treat to experience.

Last week we enjoyed a wonderful dish I found on my FB feed from Seeds from Italy. It led to a recipe for Italian Flat Beans and Fresh Tomatoes. Beans, tomatoes, garlic, oil and salt are all that you need. We put them over rice we had melted some Goatsbeard cheese into. As good as it sounds.

Most of the braising greens bunches this week have some gai lan in the mix. Remember from our post of May 26 this year that you can chop the whole thing...leaves, buds and stems. We hope to learn more every year about how to grow and harvest this great vegetable. It has a lot of potential.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

In the Share - Week 19

 TOMATOES F/P  We have picked the majority of the patch and many of the late summer hybrids are ripening nicely. 

LETTUCE F/P  Dainty, speckled heads.


FINGERLING POTATOES F/P  See Tom's post for these gourmet treats.

SWEET PEPPERS F/P  Tom talks potatoes and peppers this week.

GARLIC F/P  Essential for the above combo and also a star ingredient in the tomato and lettuce salad we had for dinner. 


HERB CHOICE F  Cilantro, dill or arugula

STIR FRY GREENS F  A mix of bok choy, tat soi and gai lan.

NEXT WEEK:  tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, okra, salsa packs, greens and kohlrabi.

Tom and I had a fun time at the potluck at the farm on Sunday.  The hayride was a hit,  the food was delicious, the kids played and the adults got in some good conversation over microbrews.

We were touched by the CSA's gift of a commemorative stone in memory of our dear dog, Rocky.  At the time, I was so intent on not crying that I didn't pay attention to the card attached.  Inside there was $135 to be donated to the Veggie Voucher Fund in Rocky's honor.  I can think of no better way to remember his good nature than to help our members in affording their CSA share.

A big thank you to all the folks who donated your resources and creative energy towards making the potluck a real community event.

With the party over, we were back to work on Monday with the planting of the high tunnel first on the list.  Lettuces, radishes, gai lan, chard, endive, arugula, bok choy, herbs and tat soi were added to the spinach and hakurei turnips that we planted earlier.  By the end of the day we were watering them all in with the drip irrigation.

What to Do With Your Share---Week 19

It seems that the idea we had three years ago to have the harvest dinner at the farm is a hit. A splendid time was had by all, and the food was so delicious. The craft beers were a nice addition too.

The sweet peppers are in full ripeness these days, and they are a treat to pick and wash. The colors are vibrant and the taste is sweet. Do as the farmworkers do, and eat them like a hand fruit.

Another peak performer is the French fingerling potatoes. Their elongated shape makes it  easy to cut into fries or wedges. The simplest of recipes is to then lightly oil them and coat with the herb rub of your choice before baking at 400 deg F for about half an hour. They are a favorite here on the farm.

This morning I captured Momma prowling the grounds near a couple buckwheat patches. These cover crops are a wonderful morning sight, and perhaps the source of a cat's breakfast.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

In the Share - Week 18

 Okra season




GREEN BEANS F/P  By Saturday we should have some Roma (flat-pod) beans, but there are still some nice "normal" beans to pick tomorrow. 

DESIREE POTATOES F  Cream of flesh and rose of skin.

SALSA PACK, EGGPLANT OR OKRA F The stars of the late summer.



NEXT WEEK:  tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, salsa packs, roma beans, garlic, and the first of the fall greens.

It has been a whirlwind of a week here.  The summer harvest continues, we have begun to plant the high tunnel, the barn remodel is in full swing, and we are attempting to tidy up the farm before 100+ guests arrive on Sunday.  Along with the crabgrass and the foxtail, there are many crops to see.  The Sunday hayride will bring you past our half acre of brassica family (broccoli, cabbage, kale, etc.).

You may also meet some our resident wildlife.  Remember those friendly butterflies from two weeks ago?  Here's another one, by itself this time drinking nectar from a zinnia.
The monarch larvae can be found all over our farm on their favorite plant, the vining milkweed.  We started the practice of leaving this "weed" wherever we find it.  Even climbing up a tomato plant it does no harm to our crops that it uses as a trellis.  The monarch eggs will be laid on it and larvae will hatch and quickly devour every leaf.  That's what I call a win-win situation.  The butterflies eat our weeds and we in turn leave them their only food source. 
Thanks to the stellar killing power of our nation's favorite herbicide, milkweed is declining.  Keep an eye out for the vining milkweed in your gardens and protect it.  It is pretty common and is easily mistaken for it other vining cousins.  The stem is thick and upright with heart-shaped leaves.

What to Do With Your Share---Week 18

It doesn't seem that long ago that we wondered if summer would ever come. But once it did, it kept going. Last week's warm days and nights were a nice boost to the tomatoes, peppers and eggplant. The occasional inch of rain has also helped. So the summer vegetables continue on.

It has given us a little peak in our okra production this week. We hope that those of you who enjoy okra as much as we do get a chance to enjoy it this week. We get to cook up the extra long ones that won't fit into the bags. While larger than you want them ideally, the top 2/3rd of the Red Burgundy are quite tender.

As usual with okra, I recommend the wok-fried recipe from our 2010 Week 15 blog. We cooked up a variation tonight, baking instead of frying, and with a coating of olive oil, paprika, marjoram and salt. Cut the okra into chunks and bake at 425 for 10 minutes, or until tender and browned.

A good sign in the fields (and we have lots of them)

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

In the Share - Week 17

SWEET PEPPERS F/P  Our sweet yellow bells and red horn peppers are ripening nicely in the heat.

PURPLE VIKING POTATOES F/P  Last of these fluffy ones.  They aren't as brilliantly pretty purple as when we first dug them, but they still make the best mashed potatoes.

GARLIC F/P  Add some garlic to those fluffy taters!

GREEN BEANS F  We are going to give the full shares a bigger share and get the partials next week since we were able to give everyone a taste last week.

TOMATOES F/P  The late planting of hybrids and Romas are keeping us in tomatoes in September.

SALSA PACK OR OKRA F/P  Most of this choice will be salsa packs, with hopefully enough of the other for the okra-lovers.

EGGPLANT F  I hope you all enjoy your eggplant.  I didn't grow up eating it much, but I am completely hooked. 

HERBS, HOT PEPPERS OR RADISHES F  A choice of spicy options.

NEXT WEEK:  Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, salsa packs, potatoes, beans, radishes and onions. 

September is one of my favorite months of the year, closely followed by October, November and December.  Yes, I am fully in love with fall and I think I am not alone amongst farmers. The weather is pleasant, the crops are all planted and the weeds are less threatening.  It has definitely been nice weather for the bean-pickers. 

The past several CSA mornings, we have heard the comment, "I lucked out picking a day in August to come to the farm."  And, its true.  If you came in June, you likely got pretty wet and muddy.  It all goes to show you just can't ever tell with Missouri weather.

After waiting for many weeks/months for the ground to settle after all that mud, we managed to plant quite a few cover crops.  They are all coming up nicely.  Buckwheat is growing where many of the Spring crops were.  We planted a few beds with oats and mung beans which is a new combination for us.

If you come out to join in the bean picking, you have the opportunity to pick yourself a free bouquet from the zinnia patch.

What to Do With Your Share---Week 17

The rain from last Thursday and sunshine of late have made for a beautiful week. Hot weather is forecast for awhile and the peppers and eggplant are happy with the heat wave. The hot peppers especially have been putting on the fruit and maturing with very few blemishes or problems.

While not everyone's favorite, the fiery ones are used frequently in our kitchen. If you are a jalapeno lover you can make short work of your share item. The NuMex Anaheim-type peppers can be treated like a Hatch chile. Just burn the skin of the pepper until it bubbles and blackens, then put it in a closed container to steam. When cool, peel off the skin.

A variety of hot peppers is a treat to grow
While a bit of a repeat recipe form last week, a combination of our summer vegetables, stewed together with ground beef is quick and delicious. The match of color between the Tropea onions and Dancer eggplant is something that I never quite noticed before, but is yet another thing that makes this a wonderful dish.