Monthly Archives: October 2012

Closing Up: Week #20

All of a sudden it’s that time of year when we’re working on the last harvests and on closing down the farm for the year. The irrigation hoses are all reeled up and ready for winter. Each day a little more row cover is rolled into balls and the sandbags that held the cover down are piled behind the shed. Today we focused on fastening the sides of the hoop house. During the summer we had raised the plastic sides so that it wouldn’t get too hot. Of course “too hot” was impossible to avoid this summer. But we tried. Now the sides are all snug and ready for the winter storms to blow.

We’re also working on cleaning up the tomato field. The tomato plants are all dead and leaning over. We’ve cut the twine that had been a part of the trellising and today we’ve started pulling out the metal stakes that held up the twine. It’s a long job and one I am eager to finish before it turns wickedly cold and wet.

I have to admit I am happy to do the fall cleaning. It means it’s almost time for some well earned rest. I’m exhausted. I will miss going to the farmers markets and seeing the friends I’ve made there. I will miss see you all at the various pick up sites. But I am also happy to get a break, especially from such a crazy year as this has been.

Thanks for all your support over the past months. I appreciate the interest and concern you all took in the farm, especially when things got tough. It has been wonderful to share the season and the harvest with you all. Thank you so much.

I wish you all a wonderful rest of the year. Enjoy the rest of the fall and the winter!

As always, enjoy the box!

What’s In the Box:

Carrots– Sweet fall carrots are some of my favorites! Enjoy these orange beauties.

Napa Cabbage– Use this cabbage in place of lettuce or the regular cabbage. It is sweeter and has a great crunch.

Leeks– I like to use these in place of onions. They have a wonderfully mild onion flavor.

Salad Mix– A beautiful mix of red and green lettuce leaves. Add a damp paper towel to keep hydrated in the fridge.

Broccoli-After the frosts we’ve had, this broccoli should be quite sweet!

Cauliflower– Another helping of this great veggie.

Kale– Check out the two ways of making kale chips below for a tasty, healthy snack.

Radish – These will add a pop of color to any dish!

Purple Top Turnip– This fall favorite is great in soups, stews, and roasted vegetable dishes.

Garlic– I think garlic makes everything better. (excepting desserts of course!)


Cauli Smash– from

Peanut, Carrot, and Cabbage Slaw– from

Roasted Cauliflower and Broccoli Soup– from

Vegetable Cornish Pasties– from

Kale Chips (slow)– from

Kale Chips (fast)– from

Tomatoes Zapped: Week #19

It was a sad sight this week. The tomatoes did not survive the weekend. As I was walking up to the tomato field I thought I caught a glimpse of healthy and thriving plants near the center. It made sense. The tomato plants on the outer parts of the field would be the most exposed to the frost. Perhaps the collective warmth of the mass of tomato plants in the center would keep the middle plants warm enough to make it through the frosty mornings.

No such luck. The frosty nights were too much for my lovely tomato plants. Each plant was a shriveled, dead green. After taking a moment to remember all the wonderful tomatoes that came out of that field, we marched in and starting taking down the trellising. Perhaps that sounds a bit hasty to you, but there is no way I am going to be cleaning up the tomato field in the middle of November when it will most likely be cold and wet. I know from experience that cold, wet, dead tomato plants are no fun, no fun at all.

So we’ve begun the end of season clean up. Instead of weeding and planting (when we’re not harvesting), we are rolling up irrigation, cutting down tomato trellising, and generally putting things away. It’s a good feeling. This weekend I’m hoping to get on the tractor and mow down a few old crops and then get ready for planting cover crops. The cover crops will grow a little this fall and keep the soil from blowing away during the windy winter months. Then in the spring the cover crop will continue growing. When it’s time to plant in the spring, I’ll till in the cover crop, which will add organic matter to the soil. That will add to the nutrients in the soil so that I will have happy and healthy plants next year. ( Thank you for letting me indulge in my teacher moment.)

Enjoy the box this week! Next week will be our last week, so savor those farm fresh veggies!

Grayslake pick up people- remember the pick up is now at my place.

What’s in the Box

Arugula– This peppery and nutty green will add zest to salads and sandwiches. Add a damp paper towel to the bag to keep it hydrated.

Salad Mix– A great mix of lettuces just ready to be tossed in a bowl. Ditto on the damp paper towel idea above.

Watermelon Radish– These are the pale green roots in your box. Cut them open to reveal a fuchsia colored inside! A mild radish that is wonderful in salads. (By the way, I just learned how to spell fuchsia for the first time in my life.)

Hakurei Turnip– These lovely white turnips are great raw in salads or as a snack with hummus. Add them to a stir fry for a nice crunch.

Onions– These onions will be a great addition to any roasted vegetable or meat, or as a base for a soup.

Broccoli– Time for some frost-sweetened broccoli. I think fall broccoli is the best. And yes, I’m serious, a frost will make it sweeter.

Beets– Enjoy the beets. These may well be the last of the year. They’re great roasted alone or with other root vegetables.

Garlic– What dish doesn’t benefit from garlic? Ok, desserts. But other than that . .

Kohlrabi– These are the purple roots in your box. Peel the skin and slice. It adds a great crunch to salads. It’s also great eaten raw as a snack with a little salt.


Kohlrabi Ideas– Check out the list of kohlrabi ideas from Mariquita Farm at

Steak and Watermelon Radish Sandwich– from

The Best Easy Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry– from

Roasted Beet Salad– from

Locally Grown Ginger?! Week #18

That’s right! There’s ginger in the CSA box this week and I grew it. Growing ginger has become a bit of a fad among CSA and fresh market farmers. I first heard about it two years ago at a farm conference. I was ready to sign up then, but unfortunately I had missed the planting time. Not so this year! During the bleak midwinter days I put in my order for organic ginger root at a farm in Hawaii. I thoroughly enjoyed the oddness of it all.

Ginger Roots on Heating Mats

Later on in March the ginger roots came. They looked pretty much like the ginger you get at the store (but not sprayed with an anti-sprouting agent). I tucked the roots in a tray, under a layer of potting soil and set the trays on a heating mat to trick the roots into thinking they were still in sunny Hawaii.

I eventually put them in large grow-bags (heavy duty plastic bags with drain holes) and kept them watered throughout the year. They sprouted and grew to the point that it looked like I was raising a little jungle! Now they’re ready for your table. Enjoy!

Ginger in a Grow bag

Baby Ginger!

By the way, did you know the “?!” has a name?! It’s called the interrobang. It’s my new favorite word. Try using it in a sentence. No, I don’t mean using the punctuation at the end of the sentence. I mean using the word “interrobang” in a sentence!

***FYI- for those of you who pick up in Grayslake, the pick up site is changing! I will email you the address. Thanks for your cooperation. ****

What’s in the Box:

Ginger – Yep, that’s right. That’s ginger in your box this week! The ginger has a pink hue because it is so young. It also does not have the hard skin like the store ginger. Therefore, no peeling necessary! Time to make an amazing stir fry!

Cauliflower/Broccoli– The cauliflower is just starting to size up so some boxes may have a combination of cauliflower and broccoli.

Spinach– Yay! The spinach is back (at least for this week). Enjoy in salads or saute lightly. I love it in an omelette.

Lettuce– Now that we’ve had cooler weather for a while we have lettuce again!

Radish– Speaking of cooler weather crops, radishes are making a comeback. You will get either a multicolor bunch of radishes or all red ones. Remember, these are the ones with a little heat!

Tomato– I’m not sure how much longer we’ll have these guys, but as long as they keep growing, I’ll keep putting them in the box. Hooray for tomatoes in October!

Purple Top Turnip- These are the big round bulbs with, you guessed it, the purple tops. They are the traditional fall turnip. Peel the outer skin first and roast with other root vegetables. They are also good in stews. Perfect for this weekend cold snap!

Leek-This mild member of the onion family is great in soups, stir fries, or any dish that calls for onions. Remember to use all the white and light green parts and to rinse well under the tap.

Celeriac- This is the knobby root in your box. It has a great celery flavor and is used in soups and roasted dishes. It pairs well with potatoes and the purple top turnips. Don’t forget to peel the outer skin first!


Turnip and Potato Patties– from

Roasted Turnips, Sweet Potatoes, Apples and Dried Cranberries– from

Celeriac and Ginger Soup– from

Cauliflower and Celeriac “mashed potatoes”– from,