Tuesday, November 17, 2015

In the Share: Week 31

SPINACH  Big, dark green leaves have grown back nicely from our picking two weeks ago.

LETTUCE  The last of the lettuce from the high tunnel, mostly red-leaf.

CARROTS AND BEETS  A bag with a bunch of each.

FRISEE ENDIVE  From the high tunnel


SWEET POTATOES  O'Henry white ones this week.

BABY LEEKS  We had to turn under our leeks this Spring after the deluge left them waist-high in the weeds.  We re-planted but they just didn't have enough time to size-up. 

GREEN GARLIC  From the high tunnel, some fresh garlic plants.

NEXT WEEK:  You are on your own for the winter.  We invite you to visit us and your local producers at the Bad Seed Market every Friday to get your fill of produce, proteins and ferments.

Here we are in the final week of the 2015 CSA season.  The last of the carrots are out of the ground thanks to the efforts of the Saturday CSA crew.

I would be lying if I said we weren't happy to see the last of the crops come out of the field and the last CSA shares packed.  2015 was a real doozie that we hope to never see its equal.  According to the old-timers in our area, the amount of rain that came down in early summer was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  We sincerely hope so!

We are incredibly lucky to have such an understanding group of folks who support us.  This past Saturday, the Core Group met and reviewed the results of the member survey.  I will be sending out an email that goes into greater depth on the survey responses, but until then know that your comments and suggestions were taken to heart and will inform our decisions this winter as we plan for 2016 and beyond.

Your farmers don't hibernate much in winter.  In addition to working on the barn, repairing equipment, planning for next year and caring for the chickens, Tom and I will be selling our fermented foods at the Bad Seed Market most Fridays from now through February.  We not only sell our products there, it is where we shop so that we can eat local year-round.  This Friday is the double-sized pre-Thanksgiving Extravaganza, where you can get everything you need for the big feast.  Hope to see you there!

The next day (Saturday, 11/21), while Tom stays at the farm to welcome the last CSA crew of the year, I will be just down the street from the Bad Seed at the first ever KC Food Circle Holiday Market (1522 Holmes, 9am - 6pm).  It should be a fun event as it is a combination farmers market with KC Food Circle farmers like us plus crafty people and businesses who use sustainable, local materials.  Go local this holiday season!

What to Do With Your Share---Week 31

Last week of the season. Thanks for sticking with us this year. We hope that the extended season has provided a bounty to you, as we feel the high tunnel has performed well and produced a generous amount of nutritious veggies.

We will be down at the Bad Seed Holiday Market on Friday (4-9pm), so come by and stock up for Thanksgiving week with some fine ferments from the farm, and the many goodies that other vendors will have. One such item, which compliments the share quite well, is chestnuts.

Back in the 1990's I bought an excellent cookbook---Cooking at the Academy, from the California Culinary Academy. One recipe I was especially interested in was the Chestnut and Carrot Soup. I modified it a bit to fit what I had at hand and you can too. You can't go wrong with a creamy soup with chestnuts, carrots, onion, potato and/or sweet potatoes. Quite elegant.

1 lb carrots
2 medium onions
1 lb chestnuts
1 lb sweet potato or white potato
1-1/2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup half & half
salt to taste
3 tbsp. olive oil
Dill or parsley for garnish

1. To peel the chestnuts first cut an "x" in them and place them on a baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees F for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until the shell starts to "peel open." Peel the chestnuts and chop them into quarters.

2. Clean and coarsely chop the other vegetables. For a more refined soup you should peel the potatoes.
3. Heat oil in a heavy 3 quart saucepan over moderate heat. Add onions and carrots and sweat for 1 to 2 minutes or until onions are transparent.
4. Add the potato and chestnuts and sauté for 2 minutes.
5. Add stock and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered for 25 to 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

6. Puree mixture with an immersion blender or in a food processor.  Lightly whisk the half & half into the soup to lighten the texture and extend the volume. You can also add water or stock to thin out the soup if desired.

7.  Top with sour cream, yogurt or crème fraiche and garnish with fresh chopped herbs.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

In the Share - Week 30

KOHLRABI  We ate one today just snacking while we worked and we found it to be crunchy and juicy.

LETTUCE  Mostly red-leaf lettuce this week.  Everyone gets two.
TAT SOI  Bok choy's dark green cousin. 

CARROTS  Chantennay - type are fat and pointy

RADISHES  High tunnel radishes are so mild and juicy. 

CABBAGE  Small heads just the right size for a cole slaw.  See Tom's post for several slaw recipes.

CHARD, KALE OR GAI LAN Your choice of greens.

HERB CHOICE  cilantro, dill or dried herbs or dried peppers

NEXT WEEK:  lettuce, sweet potatoes, leeks, spinach, endive and turnips

The planting of next year's garlic crop went well this week.  6,000 cloves were planted for the main crop, plus several hundred more for greens. 

The soil hasn't been the same since the summer deluge and the work was slowed by the need to remove cobbles of soil from the planting row.  We are counting on the winter freeze-thaw activity to soften the soil in time for Spring.  That is if winter ever comes. . .

Yes I am daring winter to come!  It is time for some cold, rainy days to soak the ground and chill the air.  The task of mulching is best performed on a cold day when you can wear layers to protect yourself.  Saturday morning was chilly enough to provide pretty favorable conditions.   

What to Do With Your Share---Week 30

With the warm weather lately the farm has been greening up. We have been able to do a lot of work in the fields in preparation for spring. It has been nice weather to tidy up and check this important job off the list. If we take care of business now we can get to a time when we have no need to go out into the fields and we can both rest.

For now there are still a few goodies out there though, like carrots and cabbage. With some fresh  radish, kohlrabi and dill you have about as fresh a slaw as is possible. There are recipes from our blog and newsletters here, here, here and here.We hope that you take advantage of this tasty combo. 

One nice thing about a fall like this is that we get some time to hike around. On Sunday we went to the Crooked River, east of the farm on the way to Richmond. It was a gorgeous fall day, and the hike is through interesting terrain.

A couple of highlights include multiple beaver evidence and a very old bridge. The soil would be great for vegetables.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

What to Do With Your Share---Post-Season Week 2

While things are blue all over town, they are green here. The high tunnel is growing well and there are still some nice vegetables out in the field thanks to the mild fall. The weather has been pretty spectacular over the last month or so.

One thing we are doing right now is prepping for the winter by stocking up. This includes roasting cloves of garlic. We are in the middle of garlic planting right now and the cloves that are not perfect enough for planting are waiting to be used. If you are overstocked right now, you may be in a similar situation

Garlic roasting is easy, and warms the house with a wonderful aroma. Peel the cloves and trim off the root ends, wet them with olive oil,  put into a covered baking dish, and roast in the oven at 425 deg F for about 45 minutes. Let them cool and then pop them in a freezer bag whole, or puree and freeze. They are a great addition to soups, spreads, pizza or whatever you want.

As we finish our pepper harvest and prepare to mow down the plants, we coaxed one more harvest of the Numex Suave Orange. Along with great taste, they are a quite beautiful plant, and one we want to keep growing. A choice this week, these habanero-shaped peppers are much milder than those hotties, and are a nice addition to any meal that needs just a little spice. Let us know what you think.

Dawn's early light on the farm

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

In the Share - Week 29

RADICCHIO  This is our second year trying these beauties.  They are yummy in a salad.

HEAD LETTUCE  butterheads and red leaf varieties

SALAD MIX  We had some empty space in the high tunnel, so we broadcasted our leftover lettuce seed.  It grew nicely and we have enough to share.

TURNIPS  Hakureis from the high tunnel.


BOK CHOY  These got pretty large in the high tunnel.


SWEET PEPPERS  The cold weather has held off so here is one more round of green and ripe peppers.

SWISS CHARD OR GAI LAN/BROCCOLI  Broccoli leaves are the new "kale" according to some reports.  I think they mean Gai lan or "Chinese broccoli" which grows into a small shrub and has tender leaves.

NEXT WEEK:  lettuce, spinach, carrot, herbs, radishes and greens.

We have been enjoying the farm's post-season during the day and the Royals post-season at night.  What a team!  What a fun time for Kansas City and the surrounding community!  I hope that the good feelings of togetherness and team spirit continue on after today and permeate other part of our lives. 

The weather is the other local story.  It has been unseasonably warm and mild:  perfect weather for parade-watching or garlic planting.  We did the later this afternoon and hope to have it complete in time for the CSA members on Saturday to mulch all 6,000 cloves.

Most of the harvests are coming out of the high tunnel now.  Things look good overall with lots of greens and roots for the extended season.   We don't grow salad mix very often but it filled in nicely in a space where we wanted lettuce quick.  You might notice a prickly lettuce imposter trying to hide in the salad mix.  He died shortly after this photograph was taken.