CSA Week 20

This Week’s Harvest

Sweet potatoes
Potatoes
Broccoli
Purple top turnips
Arugula
Head lettuce
Red onions
Shallots
Garlic
Beauty heart radish
Pie pumpkin OR Hubbard squash
Tomatoes

Farm News

This box closes out our CSA season. The season really flew by and goes in our books as a successful one. There were a few disappointments: we were not able to plant our usual arsenal of heirloom tomatoes and could always use more Sungold Tomatoes, our garlic crop got really wet at a critical time and storage was a problem causing us to lose more than half the crop. At the same time, we have been harvesting healthy big slicing tomatoes for the longest time in the history of our farm and our onion crop (in the garlic family) was the most successful to date.

We learned a lot: how to grow and harvest carrots and spinach in a way that makes sense for our farm, but need to improve ( so we have enough of these crops for our CSA! )

For a couple years now, we have been fine tuning the way we farm and focusing our energy on the fall. Cool weather crops (like broccoli, kale, and turnips) do really well for us in the fall and we have the space needed to store storage crops (like potatoes, winter squash, onions, and sweet potatoes). We have gotten to the point were we are confident in our ability to have a diverse vegetable offering in the fall. Which leads me to the exciting announcement that next year’s CSA will be 22 weeks long, running from the start of June through all of October!

For this year, we are ending the CSA as scheduled, but are hoping to be able to offer a couple deliveries in November (including a delivery on the week of Thanksgivings!) to those who are interested. This is all weather dependent and market sales dependent, but as of now we have a good amount of butternut squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and onions in storage and salad mix, head lettuce, kale, cabbage, kohlrabi, broccoli, cauliflower, Swiss chard and other greens, radishes, turnips, fennel, and spinach out in the field.

We will be bringing all of these items to the 2nd Street Market on Saturday’s through November. After this week we are moving in dose to the west end. We hope you are able to make it and continue to enjoy local seasonal vegetables! We will keep you posted on any more deliveries we decide to make!
Recipes

Potato and broccoli soup

Arugarugula and shallot ula and shallot vinaigrette

Gluten free sweet potato biscuits

IMG_0709.JPG

IMG_0707.JPG

IMG_0708.JPG

IMG_0706-0.JPG

CSA Week 19

This Week’s Harvest

Pie pumpkins
Sweet potatoes
Salad mix
Daikon radish
Broccoli
Green beans
Garlic
Onion medley ( yellow, red and shallots)
Easter egg radish
Arugula
Tomatoes

Fruit Share
Monroe apples ( bright red and with yellow green patches) and Winesap apples ( darker, duller red) from Downing Fruit Farm in New Madison

Farm News
While we always have some flowers in bloom until the frost, I usually have to scrounge around the farm and am unable to make very many bouquets for the October markets. This year we adjusted the flower seeding chart to increase the number of late flowers. I was so happy with the variety and quality of the flowers going into October.

IMG_0703.JPG

IMG_0704.JPG

IMG_0702.JPG

So when on October 4, a frost advisory was issued, I was a little heartbroken. October 4th? It seemed much too soon, and for once in my farming career, I did not feel ready for it. We got home from market and dealt with the vegetables until we could no longer see: picking tomatoes and bell peppers, covering the bean planting, and relocating exposed pumpkins, squash and onions. I basically knew there was nothing to be done about the flowers. If I picked them, they would have to be held for an entire week! Not to mention flower harvesting takes 2 people an entire day and we had about 3 hours of daylight! So, anxious and exhausted, I went to sleep.

IMG_0700.JPG

IMG_0701.JPG

At the crack of dawn, I could tell all was well before even stepping foot outside. Out the window I could see a thick blanket of clouds in the sky! It turns out that the sky never cleared at night and the temperature didn’t even drop below 40! However, I am glad we did all vegetable preparation we did, because we’d always rather play it safe. And now we can cut flowers and make bouquets for market once again! And in another week or two I will actually feel ready and happy for the first fall frost!

IMG_0705.JPG

Recipes

Sweet potato Apple pie

Arugula and fresh tomato pasta

Sweet pickled daikons

CSA Week 18

This Week’s Harvest

Tomatoes
Beans (green or dragon tongue)
Easter egg radishes
French breakfast radishes
Butternut squash
Purple potatoes
Kale
Red onions
Bok choi
Green leaf lettuce
Bell peppers

Farm News

From cooperative and comfortable weather to bountiful harvests to supportive customers, early fall has been really good to us at Mile Creek Farm! I took a few photographs of the farm this week that show how some fields on the farm are ready for their winter rest and how other fields are still producing nutritious veggies and beautiful flowers.

Cover crop of winter rye and tillage radish will set us up for nice soil come spring!

Cover crop of winter rye and tillage radish will set us up for nice soil come spring!

Market stand showcases the merge of summer crops and fall crops

Market stand showcases the merge of summer crops and fall crops

Final planting of sunflowers looking to bloom before our average first frost date

Final planting of sunflowers looking to bloom before our average first frost date

The major task of the week was harvesting sweet potatoes. Typically we have hand dug all 1,000 plants and the harvest takes a really long time. After spending an entire week harvesting the sweet potatoes solo last year, Ben was determined to find a better way. Ben used his welding skills to make an under cutter to attach to the tractor and we tried it out this week. Some adjustments were made and I had to end up riding on the implement to provide weight and get it to go deep enough as to not cut any sweet potatoes. The longest part of this year’s harvest was just figuring out the right way to work the equipment. Once that was all figured out the harvest was smooth and far less laborious then last year!

Harvesting sweet potatoes and admiring the yield

Harvesting sweet potatoes and admiring the yield

Recipes

Butternut squash and kale quesadillas (if you are in a hurry, scroll to the bottom of the page for the recipe. You will probably have left over filling that can be used for another meal…I’m thinking pizza!)

Bok choi and green bean stir fry

Buttery shrimp and radish pasta

Roasted radish and potato salad (use red onion in place of green onion and decrease amount to 1 tablespoon)

CSA Week 17

This Week’s Harvest

Salad mix
Romaine lettuce
French breakfast radishes
Scarlet turnips
Butternut Squash
Patty pan summer squash
Red onions
Potatoes
Tomatoes
Swiss chard
Okra (farm pick up only. All other sites got it a couple weeks ago)

Fruit share: Ida Red and Jon-a-Gold apples from Downing Fruit Farm. They look very similar. Ida Red is slightly darker red and smaller. It is a tart apple and Jon-a-Gold is a sweet apple. Both are delicious!

Farm News

One of the first things we did when we moved to Ohio to start our farm was join the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA). This organization is a wonderful resource for producers and consumers of organics. OEFFA hosts farm tours, webinars, and conferences; is an advocate of sustainable farming practices and watchdog of farming policies; and provides an organic certification program.

We have learned so much about farming through OEFFA programs and fellow OEFFA members. OEFFA’s annual conference is the highlight of our off-season and we try to make at least one of their farm tours each season.

This year, we got to host a farm tour and workshop! This past Sunday we welcomed 20 farmers to the farm and Ben gave an in-depth presentation on equipment choices we have made to make our farm more efficient and profitable. He spoke about his welding experience and modifications he has been able to make because of this skill. Ben’s first experience with welding was a welding course at MVCTC a couple winters ago and his ability to fabricate and fix equipment as a result as been a game-changer for us. We have acquired so many useful pieces of machinery that help us plant, apply nutrients, control weeds, etc. Our operation is systematized and we are able to be more consistent. (for example, it took us 5 years before we had a successful crop of spring broccoli, but now we have had a reliable crop 3 springs in a row). We hope all the participants of our workshop left with a couple takeaways to implement on their own operations. We certainly learned a few things from them!

IMG_4320.JPG

IMG_4318.JPG

IMG_4322.JPG

Recipes
Potato and turnip gratin

Butternut Squash Risotto

Turnip, potato and Swiss chard hash

Summer squash and tomato frittata (use pattypan in place of zucchini)

Summer squash and tomato frittata ( use pattypan in place of zucchini)

CSA Week 16

This Week’s Harvest

Scarlet turnips
Hakurei salad turnips
Beets (golden, chiogga, or red)
Onions (candy and red)
Garlic
Tomatoes
Celery
Kohlrabi
Leaf head lettuce

Fruit Share
Golden delicious and Jonathan apples from Downing Fruit Farm.

Farm notes:
School is in session, the golden rod is in full bloom, the field corn and soybeans are drying, nights are down right chilly, and now our winter squash and pumpkin harvest is in the barn. Although just shy of it being official, it sure does seem like fall.

The squash harvest took 3 wagon loads and used up all of our harvest crates. We have around a ton total of butternuts, hubbards and pie pumpkins! This year we planted Hubbard squash, an incredibly large bluish green squash, as a trap crop. University extension specialists have been studying insect preferences to help control pests. It turns out that cucumber beetles prefer Hubbard seedlings, so you can plant them along side your other cucurbits in hopes that the pest will just destroy the hubbards and not the crops you are wanting to harvest. We definitely noticed a preference and do think this helped. Plus, the hubbards survived the bug damage so we got the added bonus of another winter squash variety to add to our list of what we grow. Now the squash need to cure in the barn and really develop their sweetness. Look for them in the final boxes of the season, and in the meantime, enjoy this week’s harvest!

IMG_4260.JPG

IMG_4266.JPG

IMG_4256.JPG

IMG_4264.JPG

Recipes

Apple and Turnip Stuffing

Turnip Omelet (increase amount of turnips, as this week’s turnips are young and small)

Kohlrabi, beet and apple slaw

Greens, tomatoes and ham

Food notes
Be sure to use the greens on your root vegetables this week! Beet and turnip greens are tasty! The bug damage on the turnips is only on the surface, simply peel it away. Celery tops can be used too. They add flavor to soups, pilafs, and stock.

CSA Week 15

This Week’s Harvest

Tomatoes
Salad mix
Honey Bear acorn squash
Mountain Rose potatoes
Onions (red and candy)
Garlic
Cucumber
Summer Squash
Lacinato Kale
Okra (delivered sites only, farm pick up will get it another week)
Dragon Tongue green beans
Eggplant

IMG_4224.JPG

Farm News

This week we continued our focus on prepping fields for the fall and Ben spent most of his time on the tractor. Last week I wrote about the window of time we were given between the fields drying out and the sun setting for Ben to get the old crop fields (flowers, onions, spring broccoli and kale, etc) ready for a cover crop sowing. With the beds mowed and tilled, he was able to spread the seed next chance he got. Here is a video of how we can sow 500 lbs of cover crop seed in just a couple hours!

Ben purchased this cone spreader last year for a good price as it needed some TLC. The bottom was rusted out and Ben was able to weld a new bottom and give it a nice paint job. We are often asked what we do in the winter, and repairs like this is one of the many things we do! These equipment improvements we (Ben) do help the efficiency and profitability of the farm. They also allow us to improve as farmers and stewards of the land. Which brings me back to cover cropping.

Ben spread a mix of winter rye and tillage radish over the fields. The tillage radish is similar to daikon radishes, just not harvested. Instead it is allowed to grow and gets very long and wide. The deep roots’ penetration and winter decay does so much for the soil from reducing compaction to providing aeration to replenishing organic matter. We are excited to have gotten the seed out this week to allow the roots to grow nice and big before a killing freeze. The winter rye will grow some this fall, go dormant in the winter and really take off in the spring. It will help with soil erosion, weed control, and when we mow it provide tons of organic biomass ( aptly called “green manure” ). With a strong chance of rain on Wednesday night into Thursday to sprout the seeds, we should get a great cover crop stand this fall!

Recipes

Green bean and summer squash sauté

Acorn squash stuffed with kale and sausage

Babaganoush

Roasted eggplant, potatoes and squash

CSA Week 14

This Week’s Harvest

Edamame beans
Tomatoes
Cantaloupe
Red bell peppers
Jalapeño peppers
Purple potatoes
Dragon tongue or green beans
Onions (red and candy)
Salad mix
Kale ( green curly or rainbow )
Cucumber

Fruit share
Magnolia gold and Gala apples from Downing Fruit Farm in Darke County

Farm news

This week we had about 5 hours in which the fields were dry enough for Ben to do some tractor work. Yesterday morning Ben checked the fields and decided that all was still too wet from last week’s rain. With heavy rain in the forecast for overnight we had come to terms with the fact that our very long list of field work would just have to wait. But given the hot breezy day we had, Ben thought that maybe, just maybe, the ground had dried enough to check at least something off the list. So starting at 5pm, as I went into the house to relieve Grammy from kid watching duty, Ben hopped on the tractor and somehow checked multiple things off the list! Using a side dresser he fertilized an entire field of fall crops in a couple hours. As I put the kids to bed at dusk, we looked out the window and saw that Ben had switched implements and was now tilling in a field of old crops to prepare for a cover crop sowing. I fixed a late dinner and hopped out of the house to take a picture of Ben coming in for the night at 10pm. He is glad our old Ford 4000 has head lights! Between Ben’s epic tractoring and a full days’ harvest, I’d say we had a rather productive Labor Day!

Recipes

Braised kale and potatoes and mushrooms (onions can be used in place of shallots)

Jalapeño roasted potatoes

Edamame, avocado and tomato salad (no cherry tomatoes this week, but slicing tomatoes will work just fine. Reference our edamame bean page for how to cook fresh edamame)

IMG_4163.JPG

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.