Monthly Archives: September 2012

Jack Frost Sighting: Week #17

We’ve had a few frosts on the farm already! Nothing too serious, just a few patches. So that’s it for basil and the okra. There’s some frost damage on some of the pepper and tomato plants, but I think we can still get another week out of them. It seems like the summer ended in a hurry. I have no idea what to expect for fall this year. Think of all the crazy weather we’ve had this year; a warm winter, March saw 80 degree days, I think we even broke the record for triple digit temperatures this summer. What will happen next?

Even though tomatoes, basil and peppers are no friends of frost, that doesn’t mean the farm is about to shut down. No sir! There are plenty of crops that don’ t mind the chilly temps and even turn a little sweeter once they’ve encountered a frost. For example, spinach and broccoli will turn a little sweeter after a frost. Sauerkraut makers love fall cabbage because of the frost induced sweetness. Even kale will turn a little sweeter. So be ready for some extra special vegetables coming you way this fall!

Thanks to all who came out for the picnic on Saturday! It was great to share the farm with you and enjoy the wonderful food!

What’s in the Box:

Carrots– After a long hiatus we have carrots again! Enjoy these sweet treats.

Jerusalem Artichokes– (aka Sunchokes)These are the knobby white things in your box. They are a vegetable that’s native to the midwest! Despite their name they are actually the roots of a kind of sunflower. You can use them like potatoes and they have a lovely nutty flavor.

Kohlrabi– These green bulbs in your box are in the broccoli family. They have a great crunch with a hint of broccoli taste. Peel the outer skin before you munch on them. I like to just slice them up raw and sprinkle some salt on them. They are also a great addition to salads and coleslaws

Salad Mix– Pre-washed salad mix ready for your dinner table!

Napa Cabbage– This is definitely my favorite cabbage, bar none. I also like to use it as a substitute for lettuce. It has a great crunch and a sweet flavor.

Tomato– The tomato plants are slowing down a little these days. But we still have a bunch of tasty red tomatoes this week. Time to get your fill of BLT’s!

Italian Sweet Peppers– The red peppers in the box are the sweet Italian type of pepper. They are great roasted or cut up raw in salads!

Garlic– If you’re feeling sick due to the changing seasons, try some garlic tea! I’m serious. It’s a remedy for a cold. Of course some people may argue that the cure is worse than the disease.

Yellow and Red Onions– Enjoy the colorful onions this week. This year we’ll be having dainty or petite onions. This is due to the drought this summer. These onions never got the chance to size up to normal onions because of the lack of water. Ah well, sometimes we just have to take what nature gives us.

Recipes:

Pan Fried Jerusalem Artichokes with Sage Butter– from epicurious.com, a great use for that sage leftover from last week!

Jerusalem Artichoke Soup– from simplyrecipes.com

Teriyaki Flank Steak Wrap with Napa Cabbage, Red Pepper, and Carrots– from cookincanuck.com

Kohlrabi Home Fries– from NYtimes.com

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So Long Basil, It’s Been Fun: Week #16

I’m not sure who turned the dial to “Fall”, but oh my, the season sure has changed. Today we were busy gathering basil, peppers, and tomatoes in anticipation for the cold night we’re supposed to have. Basil was what I was most worried about. It freezes at 38 degrees F, which just so happens to be tonight’s low. It’s sad that it may indeed be over, but we sure had a great basil season. I don’t expect the tomatoes and peppers to be over quite yet. However, I think the plants will seriously slow down.

Though the summer crops are approaching the end of their season, we do have some up and coming stars for the fall. This week we’ve been busy working in the cauliflower. We’ve been tying up the leaves in order for the cauliflower heads will be a gorgeous bright white. Why do we need to tie them up? If we don’t the heads will still grow, they’ll just be an off white color. To get that dazzling white requires some extra effort. I actually enjoy the job. I love looking deep into the cauliflower leaves to see if the head has started or not. Hopefully in a few weeks you’ll see the cauliflower in your box!

Cauliflower all tied up

Don’t forget this Saturday is the Harvest Picnic! We’ll start the festivities at 12:00 pm with a potluck. Bring a dish to pass and we’ll provide the beverages (including homemade rootbeer!). We’ll also tour the farm and you can see where all your wonderful vegetables come from. See you there!

Mr. Toad hanging out in the beets

What’s in the Box:

Arugula– enjoy this peppery green as a salad or in your sandwiches. It goes well with the beets!

Watermelon Radish– The pale green roots in your box are a fall radish with a beautiful pink flesh. The radish can be eaten raw or cooked. It has a wonderful mild, nutty flavor. Peel the skin before you eat it.

Celeriac– Also known as celery root, this the gnarly white root in your box. Peel the outer skin before cooking. Celeriac is great roasted with other roots and in soups.

Red Beets– Another round of these sweet roots. They are fabulous roasted with other root vegetables. Perfect on cool fall evenings.

Kale– Enjoy this very nutritionally dense leafy green. Some of the best stuff you can eat is kale!

Red Onions– These red onions are quite potent in spite of their size. Use them as you would any onion. They are a great addition to roasted vegetables!

Tomatoes– Another healthy helping of these great tomatoes. Again there is a mix of heirlooms and red tomatoes. Pretty soon the tomato season will be ending so enjoy them while you can!

Peppers– A combination of sweet peppers; the long carmens and the boxy bell peppers.

Sage– This is a wonderful soup or roasting herb. It’s also great for seasoning meat.

Recipes:

Celery Root (Celeriac) and Beet Salad– from epicurious.com

French Onion Soup with Celeriac– from allrecipes.com

Sausage Stew with Celeriac and Kale– from redonline.co.uk, since this recipe comes from the UK be prepared for metric measurements!

Kale Salad with Quick Pickled Watermelon Radish– from thekitchn.com

Steak and Watermelon Radish Sandwich -from myrecipe.com

Sauteed Pork Chops with Tomato Sage Sauce– from myrecipes.com

How do I Love September: Week 15

Oh September, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways . . .
These last few days on the farm have been glorious. I love the crisp cool breeze. I love the warm sun on my skin. I’ve been walking among my broccoli and cauliflower plants, and though I am impatient for their heads to appear, I still love them for their large and graceful blue-green leaves. I love that in September the sun is not so quick to rise and that soon I won’t have to get up so early to start the day. I love the apples that have arrived at the farmers markets. They are by far my favorite fruit. I love the smell of bonfires. I love making soups and the warmth and comfort I feel when eating them. I love the root vegetables we’ll soon be having, the rutabagas, turnips, celeriac, leeks, and squashes. (Ok winter squashes aren’t a root vegetable, but they go so well with the other roots.) I love that the weeds will soon be growing slower (just not yet). I love that the crazy pace of the farm will soon slow down (just not yet).  Ah, I love September.

It’s hard to believe that this is the 15th week of the CSA. Only 5 more weeks after this one! Be ready for more greens to show up as the season continues. We’ll also be getting more fall crops too, like turnips, cauliflower, celeriac, broccoli, radishes, and leeks. I’m hoping for the tomatoes to continue to the end of the month, but we’ll just have to see what the weather does. Now that we’re getting a more steady schedule of rain things are looking great on the farm. The only thing is that the grass is getting a little long. I’ve just gotten out of the habit of mowing! Hopefully, I’ll get things cleaned up a bit by the time of the picnic. Don’t forget, the picnic is on Saturday, September 22nd, from 12-3. Bring a dish to pass for the meal and we’ll spend some time checking out the fields. I don’t need an official r.s.v.p. with exact numbers of who is attending, but i would appreciate it if you would email me if you are planning to come. Thanks a lot! Hope to see you all there!

Enjoy the box!

What’s in the Box:

Pea Shoots– These greens with the heart-shaped leaves add a great pea flavor to salads and sandwiches.

Leeks– This member of the onion family has a wonderfully mild taste. The best way to wash leeks is to cut in half lengthwise and run cold water over the open sides. This will remove the soil that gets trapped in the many layers of the leek. Use the white and light green portions of the stalk.

Bok Choi– This leafy green is great in stir fries. It adds a nice zing and a great crunch!

Broccoli– Slowly but surely the broccoli is coming in. This cool weather is definitely appreciated by this veggie.

Tomato– Enjoy the colorful bounty!

Pepper– All the peppers, no matter what shape, are sweet ones. Again, enjoy the colors!

Garlic– Hopefully, your kitchen could use another round of this awesome, flavorful garlic! Don’t forget to brush your teeth!

Mesclun Mix– This is a mix of baby lettuce, arugula, and some mustard greens, so be ready for a lively mix of flavors!

Cilantro– I love this herb in anything, salads, salsas, soups.  Mmmmh what other dishes start with the letter “s”? Sautes, stir-fries, steak, swordfish, sandwiches, s-desserts.

Recipes:

Steak, Shiitake, and Bok Choy Stir Fry– from myrecipes.com

Italian Broccoli with Pepeprs– from tasteofhome.com

Linguine with Spicy Leek and Tomato Sauce– from epicurious.com. This recipe calls for plum tomatoes, but you can substitute the tomatoes in the box. Just chop up the tomatoes and let them drain for a while.

Chicken Tortilla Soup– from foodnetwork.com, by far one of my all time favorite soups!

Rainy to Hot Day: Week #14

What a strange and beautiful day it has been on the farm today. This morning I awoke to a lightning streaked sky in the east. I remembered waking up in the middle of the night and hearing it rain and thunder a little. I was shocked to see it still somewhat stormy, plus I thought I had dreamed the rain. Inwardly I was groaning since today was a big harvest day. Rain has a way of making everything muddy. We were going to get muddy, the truck was going to get muddy, and the vegetables were going to get muddy. It was just going to be a tough harvest day.

Yet, as usual, the day was unlike what I was expecting. The sun came out as we gathered our harvest tools and supplies. The fields were a little slippery and the veggies were definitely on the muddy side, but nobody fell over in the mud. That is definitely a plus! Then this afternoon I found myself picking tomatoes in the hot sun with sweat dripping down my face. Quite the opposite of what I had thought today would bring.

Sometimes I dread the tomato harvest, only because there is so much to pick. It’s a big job and usually takes two afternoons to complete. But it can also be one of my favorite tasks on the farm. Right now the heirloom tomatoes are going crazy. Well, actually all the tomatoes are going crazy, but I’m most excited about the heirlooms. They take the longest to ripen and the skins crack easily. You only have a short window to pick an heirloom tomato. Today all the varieties of heirlooms were heavy with fruit. I couldn’t believe it. This is an excellent tomato year for me, maybe the best of my farming career. I thought I knew the varieties I been growing for 4 years, and I thought I knew them well. Yet, this year I feel like I’m meeting them for the first time! There’s a pink variety I grow called Rose de Berne. Every year it’s been a small to medium tomato that has either cracked before I picked it, or been too soft to take to market. I don’t know why I’ve kept it around all these years. Yet, each year I plant more Rose de Bernes. This time they paid off! The Rose tomatoes are amazing. They are twice the size they usually are and I’ve been taking more to market than all the previous years combined! Just when you think you know a tomato . . .

As the weather’s cooled down we’re starting to get some crops reappearing in the box. This week we have a small amount of broccoli and haukeri turnips! Pretty soon we’ll have lettuce and spinach again, maybe in a few weeks. Enjoy the box!

What’s in the Box:

Haukeri Turnips– Remember these!? Well, after a long, hot & dry summer these wonderful snacking turnips are back. They’re great for dipping into hummus or any of your favorite veggie dips. They have a great nutty flavor. Eat them raw in a salad or cook in a stir fry.

Chard– This leafy green sautes nicely with olive oil, garlic and onions. Just add some scrambled eggs and you have a healthy breakfast!

Broccoli– Thanks to the cooler weather we have broccoli again! It’s just starting to be ready so these heads of broccoli are somewhat smaller. But as the fall approaches we’ll be getting bigger heads. This is just the first! Yay for fall!

Potatoes-Enjoy these creamy potatoes!

Sweet Onions-Store these onions in the fridge. They have great flavor and can go in any dish.

Celery– This is the last of the celery for the season. I hope you haven’t grown tired of it! I’ve been using it in soups and I’ve been dehydrating some for the winter. You can use the tops to make a soup stock as well!

Tomatoes– More and more tomatoes! Enjoy the mix of heirlooms and slicing tomatoes!

Peppers– All the tomatoes in your box this week are sweet ones, no matter what shape they are. The long ones are Italian sweet peppers and the others are bell peppers.

Chives– these will go great with the potatoes or in the salad recipe below. Enjoy!

Recipes:

Cumin Scented Stir Fried Beef with Celery– from epicurious.com, feel free to add more veggies, like the onions and sweet peppers!

Frittata with Swiss Chard, Potatoes, and Fontina– from myrecipes.com, you can use whatever cheese you want in this recipe. Parmesan is always good!

Chard Enchiladas– from gourmetveggiemama.com

Stoplight Salad– from thelocalcook.com, my favorite summer salad, bar none. Use parsley, basil or cilantro for the herb. You can also use lime juice for the balsamic vinegar. Absolutely awesome