Thanksgiving

Providing a Thanksgiving vegetable box is something we’ve wanted to do for sometime. This year we really focused on our storage crops in order to have enough to finish out the CSA and continue to go to 2nd Street Market throughout November. Not only did we accomplish this goal, but we also had enough to offer a special Thanksgiving Box!

In Your Box:

Sweet Potatoes
German Butterball Potatoes
Red Potatoes
Celeriac
Scarlet Turnips
Kohlrabi
Yellow Onions
Shallots
Beauty Heart Radish
Daikon Radish
Kale
Butternut Squash

Recipes:

Butternut Squash Pie

Creamy braised turnips and kohlrabi with peas

Roasted Radishes, butternut squash and celeriac

Sweet Potato gratin with shallots and smoked gouda

Mashed Potatoes and Celeriac with crispy shallots (omit the scallions and increase the amount of crispy shallots)

Find even more recipes by clicking the links in the vegetable list above!

Farm News:
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This was a crazy week on the farm as fall suddenly turned arctic on us. Our son had his first snow day, my 20 minute drive to market took 1 1/2 hours because of ice, and the field crops went from being productive and alive to frozen and dead. The lone survivor was kale, making the large quantity of storage crops on hand a welcome relief!

Between this Thanksgiving box and one more market, we will nearly clear out all the crops that remain in our coolers and barn, bringing our 2014 season to a close.

We have a lot to be thankful for as we work on making our dream of an organic farm a reality. First, we need to thank our customers. With the continuing support of repeat customers and the additional support of new customers, you have made this our most successful season yet!

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As this season comes to a close we are already planning and prepping for next year in an effort to continually improve the farm. We know that the Miami Valley is hungry for local, organic vegetables and appreciates farm fresh flowers, and we look forward to growing for you for years to come!

Another necessary element to a successful farm is a strong labor force. We want to thank our employees for all their hard work. In terms of the day to day functions of the farm this was an incredibly smooth season. Farm work isn’t for everyone, and we appreciate our crews’ willingness to work hard in any weather, on any task, and with a positive attitude throughout the season. We are so very grateful!

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And last, but not least, everyday we give thanks to our parents for their support. From allowing us to farm on their land to watching the kids during the week, from helping out at market to providing moral support, Mile Creek Farm would not exist without them!
Thank you to everyone! We had a great year and are already looking forward to bringing you all the best vegetables in 2015!

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CSA Season Extension!

A mild fall and late killing frost combined with a plethora of storage vegetables is allowing us to send out an additional CSA box this week!

In This Week’s Box:

Sweet Potatoes
Purple Potatoes
Carola Potatoes
Butternut Squash
Yellow Onions
Shallots
Lacinato Kale
Hakurei Turnips
Head Lettuce
“Kossak” Giant Kohlrabi
Bell Peppers
Fennel bulbs
Tomatoes
Jalapeno Pepper

We are in good shape entering our “off” season. We planted our garlic in a few short hours one gorgeous late October day. Several fields have a good stand of cover crop. And we are still harvesting so much produce! We didn’t actually have a killing frost until last week, giving us our longest flower and tomato season to date. Therefore, we are still so busy! But our off season is right around the corner and we enjoy the change of pace. We spend more time with the children and doing all the things we didn’t have time to do during the season. We also do tons of planning for the next season.

Garlic about to to be plugged into perfectly straight rows

Garlic about to to be plugged into perfectly straight rows

Nice planting of cover crop for the winter (winter rye and tillage radish)

Nice planting of cover crop for the winter (winter rye and tillage radish)


A rather major change for us next year will be an additional 24 acres to manage! We have been growing on 8 acres and leasing out the farm’s remaining acreage to another certified organic farm that does row crops. But this was their final year and so, 32 acres: here we come! This was always the plan and why we were so excited to find someone to farm the land organically until we were ready to manage it all. We will not be increasing our diverse vegetable or flower production beyond 8 acres at this time, but will manage the additional acreage as a means of building soil. We will be able to rest the current vegetable fields for a couple years (vegetables can be heavy feeders and take a lot out of the soil) by rotating the vegetable production to other areas of the farm. The areas of the farm that are not planted to vegetables and flowers will be managed some how–perhaps a cover crop of sunflowers, or a few years with an alpha crop. Maybe we will decide to plant an entire acre of sweet corn or explore perennial crops, like pussy willow for cut flowers and asparagus for spring sales). What we are going to do with 24 more acres needs to planned this winter. Considerations include soil building, weed control, perennial plants and trees, cost, time, etc. We are glad to have a couple slow months to plan and get all our hens in a row before we delve into another insanely busy, but fun, farming season! (With 24 more acres!!)

New land we will be managing next year!

New land we will be managing next year!

Recipes:

Braised Pork, Sweet potatoes and fennel stew

Sauteed Kohlrabi and onions with cream (Kohlrabi this week doesn’t come with greens, but you can use the kale in its’ place)

Maple roasted turnips and sweet potatoes

Sweet Potato Enchiladas

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

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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.

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