Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Fair Share Farm CSA---Week 16

uncovering the turnips in the high tunnel
SALAD TURNIPS: These turnips have been treated with care in the high tunnel and are ready for the shares. They are fresh as can be, with ice cream like centers.

LETTUCE: Having a fresh head of lettuce when the snows of November are early is a nice treat. Enjoy the last of these tender leaves.

SPINACH: Only a small amount, as the spinach grows slow when the days start getting shorter. Use it in an omelet, as a soup garnish, or to add some more body to a salad.

BONITA SWEET POTATOES: These sweet potatoes live up to their name. Scrub them, chop them and cook them most anyway you want. Be sure to keep an eye on them, as they are quite tender and cook a bit quicker than most orange sweet potatoes.

CARROTS: A mix of varieties from our fall planting. Sweet from the kiss of frost.

GREENS CHOICE: The first cutting of sprouting broccoli in the high tunnel or a bunch of chard is the choice this week. If you return next year these same plants will be a part of the April harvest in 2019.

LEEKS:  We consider leeks one of the real treats of the fall. A vegetable not particularly fond of hot, dry summers, this years crop stood up well to weather adversities this year. We like to make a simple dish of chopped leeks, fennel and cabbage that have been braised and then carmelized in white wine and butter.

MIXED HERB BUNDLE: Dill and cilantro

The last distribution of the CSA season is upon us and not a moment too soon as winter is making outdoor work difficult.  Frigid temperatures (11 degrees F Saturday morning!) have arrived early this year, sending your farmers scrambling to prepare.The CSA shares are mostly coming from the protected environment of the high tunnel.  The leafy greens and roots stayed above freezing with two layers of row cover inside the structure.

Out in the field the hardy leeks are withstanding the cold under layers of cover.  Most everything else has been bulk harvested to store in the walk-in cooler for winter markets and the fermentation kitchen.  The bulk harvest of the fall cabbage was a success with over a ton of cabbage now in the cooler (that’s 2,000 lbs. folks!).

In the snow we covered the strawberries and the newly-planted garlic with a deep layer of hay and straw.  We have heard that mulching on top of snow is a good practice but this is the first time the weather cooperated in order to try it.  It seems like they will benefit from the moisture during the long winter ahead.

This being our final CSA week of 2018, we thank all of you who have spent the growing season with us.  We love knowing the families and individuals who eat our food.  Thank you for supporting our farm this season and we hope that you will decide to share another harvest with us in 2019.  Look for a survey in your inbox in December and please give your thoughts on our community endeavor.  We will ask for renewals for the 2019 season in January.  Peace and Happy eating to all!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Fair Share Farm CSA---Week 15

BOK CHOI: These hearty Asian greens love to grow in the fall. They are getting bigger by the day. Enjoy them in a stir-fry or any other way you would use a mustard green. They make a simple dish if sautéed with garlic and garnished with some lemon. They are also great in a stir-fry soup.

ONION: The last of the season, these wonderful alliums are the storage variety and should hold well, though they are good enough to eat right away. A little stronger than the sweet onions of the spring and summer, they are great cooked.

RADISH: Growing a perfect radish is harder than you think, but we may have nailed it this week. These beauties out of the high tunnel are a gorgeous red color with very little heat. Juicy and crunchy they are good in a salad or as a sandwich with cheese or butter.

SALAD TURNIPS: Harvested out of the field, these turnips are a little blemished but packed with flavor. A little peeling may be in order, but then simply slice them up and eat them raw. Or add them to the above mentioned stir-fry soup.Yum!

GARLIC: Garlic returns to the shares. We use it in just about everything we cook. It's earthy flavor captures the essence of the farm.

LETTUCE X 2: The lettuce this week and next is coming from the high tunnel. They need to be picked this week as most of them are peaking. The flavor and nutrition comes from our efforts to constantly increase the high tunnel's fertility, through animal rotations, cover cropping, beneficial insect habitat,  water management, and reduced-tillage.

GREENS CHOICE: The greens abound right now. Choices include sprouting broccoli, kale and chard.

HERB CHOICE: We will be clipping down the rosemary plants in the high tunnel to prep for the coming winter. We hope to give everyone a sprig or two mixed with other herbs. Check the label on the crate for your choices.

This week my sister Jeanne Ruggieri and her husband Alan, as well as a high school chum of mine, Joe, paid the farm a weekend visit. It was a splendid time that included CSA work, winemaking and relaxing. It was a beautiful time on the farm. We are always glad when friends and family come to visit so they can better understand what life on the farm is really like.

As we head into the second month of fall the summer cover crops have given up their spirit. So we mow them down and turn them in so that they can provide nutrition to the land when the growing season begins again in the spring.

And if you have not made your farm shift yet for the year we have 3 Saturdays left for the season. We are appreciative of the work the CSA performs at the farm every year. The benefits are countless, both for us and for you.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Fair Share Farm CSA---Week 14

SPINACH:  The high tunnel ground was exposed to the elements during most of the recent rains. This is a great benefit to the soil, leaching salts from the surface and soaking the ground for a short time. The spinach has benefitted greatly from this and the first leaves of the fall harvest are headed to your shares.

SWEET POTATOES: Cured for over two weeks these beauties are just the thing for an autumn meal. We love them as fries (check our November 2012 blog for a great recipe.)

TOMATOES: Truly the last of the season. Make some salsa with the green tomatoes and bulb fennel for a trip back to the summer. Or try that old favorite fried green tomatoes.

GREEN PEPPERS:  Brooksiders got their fair share of our final pepper harvest last Monday. The rest of you get them this week. Great in fajitas.

BULB FENNEL:  With the crispness of celery and a touch of licorice, bulb fennel is a great addition to a lettuce salad. This November 2010 post give you instructions on cutting one up.

GREENS CHOICE: Sprouting broccoli and Toscano kale will be the main choices on Wednesday, and later in the week chard and curly kale will also be available.

LETTUCE: Only one head this week. The lettuce is in great form right now, tonight our salad was only lettuce and fennel leaves and packed a lot of flavor.

HERB CHOICE: We will see how the herbs handled the cold temps when we harvest tomorrow. Sage will be the main choice, as it compliments the sweet potatoes.

The bulb fennel plants form a beautiful block


The first fall freeze came this morning.  We awoke to our fields covered in nature’s icing.  These marigolds along with the summer fruits are dead and gone.  

This week’s share will contain the last of  tomatoes and peppers for the year.  Other crops like the kale and sprouting broccoli remain unscathed.  Some got a blanket of cover to help them through the night.  In the high tunnel we replaced the roof and put a cover inside.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

In the Share---Week 13

LETTUCE x2: How can you resist a head of lettuce like we are harvesting this week. We have red leaf and summer crisp head.  Lucky for us we planted summer lettuce for a hot October!  Take that global warming!
POTATOES: The picture below is of our potatoes at the KC Food Circle dinner at The Reserve on Jefferson in Kearney. Chef Sean mixed Fair Share Farm potatoes, onions and cutting celery with a little vinegar and oil. It was served warm with our spouting broccoli and some Barham beef.  So delicious...

SWEET PEPPERS: The peppers are sprinting towards the finish when frost arrives. Enjoy them while they last.

CABBAGE: First cabbage of the fall. They are quite crisp and ready for fresh eating. We like to cut it into big chunks and cook it with most any other vegetable as if it is stew meat.

TAT SOI: One of the main ingredients in our Green Kimchi. It's nice to eat these vegetables cooked fresh, as well a ferments. While they are mild as spinach mostly, a little mustardy flavor can be kept in check by adding vinegar or citrus juice to a dish.

TOMATOES: What a great tomato year it has been. And still there is more. We like this time of year because things like tomatoes, lettuce, peppers and cabbage are all available at the same time. 

HERBS: It will be a mix this week depending on what trimming happens. You may see cilantro, parsley, cutting celery, dill, chives and/or oregano.

It's always nice when you can be served your veggies by a chef.

Beautiful fall weather makes this our favorite time of year.  The harvest is coming in, the fields are golden with grain and the sky is blue. Just in time for the native grass seed harvest, the farm gained an outbuilding.  This little guy is not the norm for grain bins these days but perfect for our harvest. Some used parts but with 500 new rivets it was fun to see it appear before our eyes as the professional crew put it up in one day. 

The high tunnel is all planted and growing.  We hope that these greens and roots will be ready for the last two weeks of CSA before Thanksgiving.  Until then we need to thin and weed and keep them watered.  It is too hot right now to contemplate covering the structure yet, but weather this time of year can change quickly.  

Finally we have had some cool mornings for CSA harvests with members of all ages.  After a sweltering season, you can't help but smile when you spend your morning like this.

The chicks are also enjoying their time outside on the farm.  They are so cute.  Their yard looks like a normal free-ranging flock but in miniature.  Come on out to see for yourself while they are still adorable.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

In the Share---Week 12

Our best harvest yet of green zebras
TOMATOES: Peak tomato season continues.  You will definitely get some green zebra in your share this week. We think they are one of the most flavorful heirloom varieties out there.

RED ONIONS: Most every dish we cook it seems starts with onions. The red onions look great in a tomato salad, with fresh lettuce, or cooked with the sprouting broccoli.

SPROUTING BROCCOLI: The first pickings from the fall patch.  The crunchy stem makes a nice crudité item. Cut the stalks at an angle to make elongated, chip-like snacks.

RADISH/TURNIP BUNCH: these will be spicy due to the recent heat. They make for a spicy sandwhich, or are good grated and salted for use in fresh salad.  In general, salting root vegetables improves their flavor.
LETTUCE: The varieties we hand out this week will vary depending on your pickup. The red leaf lettuce has shot past the other types and is being harvested first. There will be a mix of red and green lettuce later in the week. Make the most of the summer and enjoy your lettuce with you Fair Share Farm tomatoes.

OKRA/EGGPLANT/PEPPER CHOICE: Always tough to choose with so delicious a trio of vegetables. Keep you okra dry when you cook it to keep it from getting too slippery. The pods are such a flavorful vegetable.

KALE: The third week of kale. While it may seem like a lot we hope that one bunch every two weeks finds its way into you meal planning. If you keep it in a plastic bag in the crisper it will keep well between shares.

CILANTRO/DILL: A mixed bunch of these two fragrant fresh herbs. It's the rare time of year when tomatoes and cilantro are in the share together.  Time for some salsa.

As we must feed the membership, we must also feed the soil. This photo shows our two key steps in growing healthy organic produce:  chickens and cover crops.  The August rains helped the summer-seeded cover crops of sorghum Sudan grass and cowpeas flourish. They look great next to the chicken yard. The scratching and eating and the birds do (along with their fertilizing) will prep the beds for overwintering and then a Spring planting.

Fall is almost here (Saturday night!).  Our fall crops of roots and greens are ready.  So are the farmers who have had enough of the 90 deg. F weather.  Come on fall!!!

We bid goodbye to Summer 2018:  it was a droughty, sweaty mess of a season.  Yet, we all ate well and had some fun along the way.  Much love and appreciation to all the human beings, livestock and wildlife that shared the season with us and made us smile along the way. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

In the Share: Week 11

LETTUCE x2: The soaking rains have helped the lettuce size up nicely. Expect a couple crisp-leafed lettuces in your share.

TOMATOES: Having our tomato harvest peak after Labor Day is a new one for us. Enjoy this bounty in your share, and purchase tomato seconds from the bulk list if you would like to put some up for the winter.

ARTICHOKE GARLIC: This week's garlic is a softneck variety.

KALE OR SPROUTING BROCCOLI: Another item in the share where the time of week you pick up will affect what greens are available. Wednesday shares get mainly kale while later in the week the sprouting broccoli harvest could begin. Try out this kale recipe from our May, 2014 blog.

DESIREE POTATOES: These creamy potatoes go well with greens or roasted with some garlic and herbs..

CHOICE:  Okra, eggplant, cucumbers or sweet peppers. Expect more okra in the choice earlier in the week.

SUMMER SQUASH: These nice size zucchini and squash are perfect for making noodles. Top them with a fresh tomato sauce, and you have a wonderful late summer main course.

RIPE RED JALAPENOS:  Everyone gets a couple to add some heat and color to your dishes.

HERB CHOICE:  Summer savory or Parsley


The days are getting shorter and there's no time to waste in preparing for fall.  Today, we took the tarp out of the high tunnel where it had been for the last month.  It simultaneously encouraged the digestion of the cover crop and blocked the growth of weeds.

It's a big job moving our 100' x 50' tarp around.  Luckily, Lucas (farm apprentice 2011, employee 2013) returned to the farm just in time to help with the task.  Welcome back, Luke!

In no time, we had the beds prepped and first seeds (spinach!!) in the ground. Check out our May 24 and July 26 Instagram feeds to see some of the steps we take to get to this point. And if you don't already, follow us on Instagram.

On Labor day we had some help from dear friends in coaxing the chicks outside for the first time.  Percy sprinkled grass on the ramp to convince them to be brave.

Good job, Percy!  In no time the little girls were scratching around like all chickens are want to do.  

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Fair Share Farm CSA---Week 10

TROPEA ONIONS: We love to grow these beautiful onions that come from farmer Tom's ancestral homeland of Calabria, Italy. Brought to the Italian peninsula by the Phoenicians, this ancient allium has a beautify elongated shape and sharp, sweet taste.

TOMATOES: Our summer planting is beginning to bear fruit. We plant this variety because they will set fruit in the heat of summer. A garden variety tomato, use it fresh or cooked.

KALE: This crop has grown quite quickly since we planted it on August 8th. The leaves are tender and tasty. If you like fresh kale salad, this is the week for it.

CARROTS: Harvested in July, these jewels have spent their time in the cooler sweetening up. Be sure to eat some fresh.

SQUASH: Our second planting of squash is beginning to fruit, just in time for this week's shares.

CUCUMBER: Like the tomatoes and squash, the pickling cukes are also a second planting. While the cukes are growing well we are able to harvest for the CSA one week and for garlic pickle chunks the other.

This week I made a wonderful creamy gazpacho with Companionship Bread's jalapeno loaf, some cukes, tomatoes, onion and squash. This cool summer soup will be perfect this hot weekend.

PEPPER/EGGPLANT/OKRA CHOICE: A choice of versatile vegetables.

GARLIC CHIVE FLOWERS: The recent rain perked up the garlic chives, and our patio is about to become a garden of small white flowers. The flower buds can be used to garnish most any dish, fresh or cooked, that you make with your share.

Since our last report, the farm received over 5 inches of glorious rain!  Hooray!  The drought is not officially over, but the cracks in the earth have closed, the irrigation pond collected water and everything has exploded with lush green growth.

While rain is tremendously exciting for a drought-weary farmer, nothing puts a smile on your face like a box of day-old chicks.  88 little fluffballs arrived on Thursday and were quickly settled in their brooder where they will stay warm and dry for the next few weeks.  Before long, they will be allowed outside to explore their new world, and then in six months we should start collecting eggs from them.  But for now, they just pay us in cuteness.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Fair Share Farm CSA---Week 9

TOMATOES: A good mix of heirloom tomatoes this week. Enjoy these during this peak time period. Lots of water and work has gone into these beauties. Green Zebra, a favorite heirloom of ours, is ripe when green.

POTATOES: I can think of nothing better than a fresh potato salad this time of year. Potato, Onion and Cutting Celery, and German Potato Salad are a couple nice options. Any of the herbs in your share this week goes well with potatoes.

GARLIC: The garlic is at its perfect stage, freshly cured, juicy and flavorful.

SWEET PEPPERS: When they are in the house we regularly add our sweet peppers to any tomato or pizza sauce. Cut them thin and they need very little cooking.

BEANS: We've been patiently awaiting the bean harvest. This hot dry weather has created a halting growth pattern with the beans. Thanks to the CSA farm crew for helping with the Saturday harvests.

CUCUMBER: A second planting is giving us an extension of these summer fruits. These are all of the pickling variety.

OKRA/EGGPLANT/CABBAGE CHOICE: Harvest will dictate this mix, but look for a bit of everything.

HERB MIX: You will get a mix of herbs that will include some but not all of the following: parsley, cutting celery, summer savory, chives and marjoram.

What a summer!  Phew! The heat and drought continue to dominate.  Most of the rain that has fallen in our region over the last month or two has missed us.  Here's the latest drought map:

The blue star marks us in the Extreme Drought category.  Luckily, the irrigation pond is still fairly full of life-giving water.  

In the background, you can also see hay bales from the native grass fields.  With dry pastures, our neighboring ranchers are needing hay for their livestock.  Native warm-season grasses are still green and lush and so we have had some of the fields baled for hay.

Thanks to the irrigation pond, we have happy plants growing for the fall.

cabbages after a few weeks in the ground

new lettuces planted today

The water from the irrigation pond also provides a refuge for nectar and pollen eating insects of all sorts.  While the unirrigated wildflowers dry up, our farm is an oasis of food for our beneficial and wild friends.  

bumblebee in the zinnias

honeybee in the buckwheat cover crop

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Fair Share Farm CSA---Week 8

CARROTS: These beauties were a question mark in April when they sprouted in the field and overnight temps in the low 20's required some hustling from the farmers to protect them. Our efforts paid off, and we have had a good harvest. Thanks to all who helped dig them.

TOMATOES: It is that time of year when the tomatoes are at their peak. The plants are looking good right now, and our second planting of summer tomatoes are starting to produce fruit. We hope you enjoy this week's plump share of the summer's favorite fruit.

ONIONS: More of our sweet Walla Walla's. A perfect choice if you want to put raw onion into your tomato and pepper fresh salad. Slice them thin, salt a bit, and savor their flavor.

SWEET PEPPERS: It is a wonderful time of year when we start to see the peppers turning colors. All are good fresh or cooked. The red bull horn type Carmen's are thin walled and best chopped or fried. The thicker walled yellow Escamillo and red/orange Islander can be roasted and peeled.

VEGGIE CHOICE: This week you can choose from salsa pack, okra, eggplant or squash. For you newbies, the salsa pack instructions for fresh salsa are here and roasted salsa are here.

HERBS: Top those salads and salsas with some fresh herbs. This week is a choice of parsley, summer savory, chives or herb fennel.

Recipe suggestions:
While we have not been posting regular new recipes for the shares, we hope that you have been using the many resources we have developed over our 15 CSA seasons. You can search for recipes within the Fair Share Farm system a couple ways.

1. Simply use the search bar at the left top of this page for recipes that have been on the blog.
2. Follow this link www.fairsharefarm.com/archive/info/recipes.html and search our old website.
3. Join the Fair Share Farm CSA Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/fairsharefarmcsa/) and check out all the recipe suggestions from your fellow members.

 With many severe storms south and north of us last week, I guess we cannot complain too much about the dry weather.

Luckily, the irrigation pond is still fairly full of water, which we are carefully using to water in the fall crops.

This truckload of cabbage plants went in the ground last week.  When we aren't keeping the new plants watered, we turn the irrigation on the summer fruits like the peppers.  Peppers love water and need a good drink at least once per week.  So far, we have managed to keep them growing an making nice fruits for the shares.


On the other hand, the okra plants are perfectly happy with little water and lots of heat.  Since we planted the okra back in May, we have watered it only twice and yet it is producing enough fruits this week to include it as a choice for the 100 CSA shares.  It also has a beautiful flower.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Fair Share Farm CSA---Week 7


MUSIC GARLIC: The heads are still in the curing process, which means they are extra juicy. We love this hard-neck garlic with its half dozen or more nice size cloves, as it is easy to separate and clean.

TOMATOES: A mix of heirloom and hybrid tomatoes of multiple colors. We irrigate as much as possible right now to keep these beauties juicy and the plants happy.

POTATOES:  These Red Pontiacs are the first we have dug this year. Red skin with white flesh they are great cut into chunks, steamed until tender, and tossed with butter, salt and this week's summer savory and parsley herb mix.

SQUASH: After this week the zucchini and yellow squash will be on hiatus. We have a second planting underway that we will try to nurse through the next 5 days of 99.9 degree heat.

CUCUMBER: Enjoy this week's cucumbers, as the first planting's harvest is about done. A second planting is growing for later in the season.

SWEET PEPPERS: The peppers continue to grow, and they are slowing starting to take on some color. This weeks peppers will be green or purple with some blush. Our October 5, 2005 newsletter (our original blog) has 4 recipes for green peppers.  It also has news from the farm from 13 years ago. Ah, memories.

HERB MIX: The irrigation has kept the summer savory and parsley lush so far. A good harvest will be good for them as the heat dome settles on us. Enjoy these aromatic and flavorful herbs. Chop them up and put them in potato salad, tomato sauce, squash dishes, or with meats.

We appreciate those of you who have been participating in the ferment share. This standing order for our ferments is very helpful to our venture. This week we are springing a new item on you, our Garlic Pickle Chunks. We ferment these cucumbers with a healthy dose of both garlic and cayenne pepper. Spicy, flavorful, refreshing and savory, they go well with most any summer meal. As we grow the ferment business we appreciate your comments on recipes.

The drought and heat wave one-two punch is hitting the farm hard.  Number one goal this week is keeping everyone from plants to animals to humans safe.  We start early in the morning each day to bring in the crops that are ready before they literally cook in the ground.

potato harvest

Hundreds of row feet of carrots and onions are waiting to be brought in.  The fermenting kitchen with it's little a/c unit has become a refuge for ripening tomatoes, curing onions, sprouting fall seeds and farmers who need to cool off.

onions curing in the kitchen

Once the fall seeds sprout in the kitchen they are moved to the shade structure by the greenhouse.

So far the plants are happily ignorant of the blast furnace outside their shady spot.  By the end of the month, they will be ready to go out to the fields.  Hopefully it will be cooler by then!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Fair Share Farm CSA---Week 6

GREEN ONIONS: First of the sweet Walla Wallas from the fields.  If you like to use onions raw in a recipe, these are the ones.

CABBAGE: The cabbage is as crisp as can be. It is always good to salt cabbage after cutting. It helps retain its crunchy texture.

YELLOW SQUASH and ZUCCHINI: This true fruit of summer is producing well at the moment.  Any of the zucchini or yellow squash make great "zoodles". We have a hand peeler that cuts the squash into thin noodles, called zoodles. Butter or oil, salt and pepper are all you need to cook up a tasty plate of vegetables.

BASIL: You can make basil pesto with a variety of ingredients. You can substitute sunflower seeds or pecans for the pine nuts. Any leftover garlic scapes sub well for fresh garlic, and grated Skyview cheese can take the place of parmesan.

CUCUMBERS: Peak cucumber harvest is underway. Like the cabbage, salt your cukes after cutting to help them retain crispness. They are delicious with a sweet onion.

SWEET PEPPER: As the pepper plants fill with fruit we are doing a bit of thinning to keep growth steady. Enjoy these first fruits.

CARROTS: The carrot harvest begins in earnest tomorrow morning.  Mainly orange varieties are ready with a sprinkling of yellows.

TOMATO: Surprise! Ripe slicing tomatoes in a June share is not the norm. Thank the heat for the early ripening of both the heirloom and hybrid types. The yellow and orange varieties tend to be less acidic than the red and purple tomatoes.


Harvest at the farm has quickly gone from leafy and light salad greens to heavy fruits of squash and cucumber along with dense cabbages.  Each day another haul of heavy crates comes in from the field buoying our spirits along.  

 Sandy, the farm cat, and the zinnias

Bright flowers bring cheer to all who spend time in the patch.  If you are in the neighborhood, come on by and pick an armload of them.  The zinnias are bursting with flowers and could use some pickers to keep them coming.  CSA members can pick them for free, so don't be shy!

While Summer heats back up, we have started the first crops of Fall.  In the greenhouse the first cabbages are sprouting in their flats.  This little seedling will hopefully grow into a hefty head by October and feed us well.