Tuesday, October 25, 2016

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

As the climate changes we try here at the farm to adapt. We have learned from fellow farmers that ginger, a tropical plant, is something you can grow here in Missouri with some technique. We are working too at growing other hot weather crops, like lemongrass.

We had a nice little patch of this aromatic in our herb garden this year to see how well we could grow it in a raised bed. You will be tasting the result. According to Wikipedia,  "It is believed to help with stress-related disorders, and has been shown to have antifungal and antimicrobial properties."

I have an affinity for its flavor. I first sampled lemongrass in the mid-1980's at a restaurant in Rochester, New York where I lived. I asked the waitress about the incredible lemongrass chicken I was eating and she came back with the recipe. So, if you eat chicken, I highly recommend this dish.

This was apparently a very quickly translated recipe at the chef spoke only Vietnamese, so I have found that the ratios can be suited to taste. For a whole chicken I would grate a full tablespoon of lemongrass. The grated onions are the carrier of the marinade, and I will grate up to 1/3 cup for a whole chicken.

Broiled Lemongrass Chicken
1/2 chicken boned
1/4 tsp fresh ground lemongrass (use a grater)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 tsp grated onion
1 small clove garlic (crushed)

Mix all seasonings together. Pour over chicken and marinate 2 hours to overnight. Bake chicken at 375 deg F for 45 minutes, turning once.

To use the lemongrass you need to trim, and then grate the base of the plant. The stalk that remains is then in perfect shape to steep for a healthy tea.

In the Share: Week 4 extended

HAKUREI TURNIPS These are the best.  The roots have ice-cream centers and the tops are big and leafy.

RED LEAF LETTUCE  This is held over from last week's picking, so use it soon.

BROCCOLI OR CAULIFLOWER  These are spicier than usual and reminds us that they are arugula's relative.

BOK CHOY OR TAT SOI  High tunnel-grown and huge.  Bring an extra bag to carry it home and get your wok ready.

FRISSEE ENDIVE Frilly and fancy salad ingredient.

PEARS  What?! Not a usual item to have for the CSA, but the farm's crazy old pear tree growing next to the driveway is making decent pears this year.  We have no idea what type of pear it is, but once they ripen to a brownish gold they are pretty sweet.


LEMONGRASS  A new offering to the CSA.  It enjoyed our tropical summer.  See Tom's post for more info.

NEXT WEEK:  lettuce, turnips, radishes, sweet potatoes, greens, garlic.

Despite the warm weather hinting otherwise, the farm continues to prepare for winter.  We removed one big item on the list this past week when the final touches were made on the new chicken coop.  After scavenging the farm for materials, we found enough to remodel the livestock trailer into a cozy home for our new hens.  Sheet metal left over from re-siding the barn joined corrugated plastic from siding the greenhouse joined old windows from the family stockpile.  The secret ingredient, however, was Farmer Tom and his knack for putting it all together.  If you want to see more of the project and other photos from the farm, consider visiting us on Instagram: 


Last night while I was wrapping up the last CSA distribution of the regular season, Tom moved all the three-month-old chicks into their new home.  After dark is the time to move them while they are inside their little coop for the night and sleepy-eyed.  Today we kept them inside so that hopefully tomorrow night they will remember where to go when it gets dark.  Some cleanup in the chard patch gave them a nice snack while they were "cooped up."

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

In the Share: Week 24

LETTUCE F  This hot weather is kicking the lettuce out of the high tunnel, where it would "normally" be cozy during frosty fall days.  Instead, it is all going out in the next two weeks.

GREENS CHOICE F/P  Kale, gailan, chard or arugula


BULB FENNEL F/P  See Tom's post for a bit more on this ferny bulb.

SWEET POTATOES F2/P1  Full shares get some of each type, partial shares have to choose.

LEEKS F/P  Potato-leek soup is the recipe on Tom's post.  yum.



HERB CHOICE F  cilantro, dill or cutting celery.

NEXT WEEK:  Regular season folks, you are on your own.  Extended seasoners:  lettuce, greens, hakurei turnips, bok choy, sweet potatoes.

We were just lightly nipped by the frost last week and most plants survived.  Then summer came roaring back and sent the crops into a heady growth.  The last couple of morning harvests have started with your farmers frowning at the exuberant green growth in the high tunnel.  What can hold for the extended season and what needs to be picked now is the trouble.  Perhaps this warm weather will have us eating peppers in November.

We began deconstructing the summer crops this past weekend.  There is a long way to go to clean up the fields and prepare them for the winter.  All are welcome any Wednesday or Saturday mornings to join in the work from now until Thanksgiving.

What to Do With Your Share---Week 24

As the regular CSA season comes to a close I would like to thank the membership for another great year of agriculture and community. And thanks to all who filled out our annual survey in August. Looking over the survey results and comments provides a lot of satisfaction in knowing you feel well served.

I especially liked reading the comments of what members like best about the farm shift. The words love, experience, and process are common, and we are glad that we have been able to provide not just vegetables, but a real connection to your food.

This week's share is one we've been holding out for, letting the leeks and fennel grow for as long as possible to help them bulk up. The leeks this week would be great in a soup. In particular a potato leek soup which is made with your white sweet potatoes. Here is the recipe from our blog of 5 years ago today.

You can chop up the bulb of the fennel and add it to the soup above. Or if you need some other ideas and a primer on how to clean a fennel bulb, go to our November 2010 blog for some help.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

What to Do With Your Share---Week 23

The peppers were plentiful this morning during our final harvest of the year. It is always a treat to participate in a bountiful day, and the afternoon sweet potato harvest didn't disappoint.

So the question is what to do with all of these seasonal beauties. With the sweet potatoes it is important to make sure that for any that you accumulate, to store them at between 55 and 78 degrees F. Do not put them in the fridge. With proper storage they can keep well into the new year.

The peppers need more immediate attention and can be used right away, or preserved for future use. The recipe of green tomato and pepper relish gets you a condiment for burgers and dogs, and an ingredient for homemade salad dressings and deviled eggs.

You can also store the peppers by freezing. No need to blanch or otherwise process the peppers. Just cut the cleaned pepper into large chunks, put them into a freezer bag, and freeze. Easy.

Our 48 hours off the farm that Rebecca talked about also included some short walks. North of Atchison we checked out Independence Creek and tromped the same ground as Lewis & Clark and the Kanza Indians. 


In the Share: Week 23

SWEET PEPPERS F/P  This morning we picked them all and came away with quite a haul!  There will be 2-3 lbs. per share this week.  See Tom's post for a pepper relish recipe.

LETTUCE OR ARUGULA F/P  The high tunnel is a bit ahead of schedule and so we are picking some of the greens that just couldn't wait any longer.

TOMATOES/GREEN TOMATOES F  With frost in the forecast, the tomatoes are stripped bare and coming to you in shades of green.

HERB CHOICE F/P  Cilantro, dill or parsley.

BEANS OR BROCCOLI P  The last of the beans and the broccoli is attempting a comeback.

EGGPLANT F  Baby fruit picked ahead of the frost.

SWEET  POTATOES F/P  Your choice of Beauregard (orange) or Bonita (yellow).

GREENS CHOICE F kale, chard or gailan.

RADISHES OR BEETS F  This is a tricky one.  We aren't sure how much we will have until we pull them tomorrow.

NEXT WEEK:  the last week of the regular 24-week season.  Sweet potatoes, leeks, greens, bulb fennel, herbs, garlic.

The forecast for Thursday morning stands at 34 deg. F at the moment.  That's cold enough with clear skies and a calm wind to kill the summer crops.  To every thing, there is a season and so we say goodbye to the summer with one last mega harvest.  With one day left to bring it all in, we still have a big list.  Today we harvested the last of the sweet potatoes, all of the peppers, eggplant and tomatoes, over 1,000 pounds total.  Tomorrow once the CSA harvest is complete, we will turn our focus to the crops that remain, adding row cover for frost protection and installing the doors on the high tunnel.  If anyone wants to come help, the more the merrier!!

Before frost threatened, your farmers snuck in a short vacation.  Shocking, I know!  Not since Tom and I traveled to Arkansas in January had we both left the farm for an overnight.  Between chickens, greenhouses, and the fields, it is pretty impossible for both of us to be gone at the same time.  With the greenhouse empty, the fields all but harvested, and a couple of conscientious human beings to care for the chickens, we made our escape.  Wednesday night through Friday we transplanted ourselves to Leavenworth, Kansas.  Part foodie roadtrip, part genealogy research, we spent our time eating Korean food, tromping around cemeteries and exploring the pre-Civil War history of the county.

On our way back we tracked down the graves of my great-great grandparents, Catherine and Peter Graff.  Peter was born in Germany and married Catherine from North Carolina.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

In the Share: Week 22

LETTUCE F2/P1  The last of the lettuce, mainly red leaf.  We have some in the high tunnel for the extended season, but that's it for the lettuce outdoors.

BONITA SWEET POTATOES F/P  See Tom's post on these camotes muy bonitas.

SWEET PEPPERS F  More ripe ones thanks to a warm week.

ONIONS OR POTATOES P  Last of both for the season.

TOMATOES F  Dwindling amounts of these.

GREENS CHOICE P  Kale, chard or gailan.

GARLIC F/P  Silverskin softneck

BEANS OR BROCCOLI F  More roma beans or broccoli.


NEXT WEEK:  Leeks, sweet potatoes, eggplant, greens, peppers.

On the same day that our commercial kitchen was approved (See Tom's post for more on that) we were greeted by a rainbow shining in our fields.  Happy day!

The chicken coop seems to be located at the end of the rainbow.  Perhaps our pot of gold is in the form of golden orange egg yolks from our free-ranging flock.

Another natural beauty visited us at the wash area this week.  This praying mantis hung around for several days on the underside of the drain table and here on our water cooler.

What to Do With Your Share---Week 22

It has been a glorious time lately to spend your days outside. The weather has been beautiful and the plants and people have appreciated it. Inside things have been pretty good to, as the Clay County Department of Health has given us approval to ferment and sell the vegetables we grow on the farm.

It has taken about 3 years to get to this point, and we are glad to finally be here. The support we have received from the CSA, friends, family and the community has really helped to bouy us along through the many stages of this project. Thanks to all!

In the share this week we are able to enjoy a great variety of vegetables, as the summer hangs on and the fall slowly takes hold. The sweet potatoes are enjoying this weather pace, giving them more time to bulk up.

We have a new variety of sweet potato this year called Bonita that has replaced the O'Henry. It is also a type of white sweet potato, but with a pinkish-red skin. They are creamy and sweet, good as a mash, roasted, steamed or boiled. They make a very nice potato salad also.