CSA Week 23

This Week’s HarvestB6C25A95-007A-4655-B151-E44EDD3F7098

cabbage

sweet potatoes

carrots

acorn squash

potatoes

radish (daikon or red round)

spinach

purple cauliflower OR romanesco

red onion

salad turnips

braising greens

Apple Share

Gold Rush and Fuji

Farm News

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First day of planting 2019

We can’t do what we do without our crew! This year we enjoyed the return of Audrey, Dan, Courtney, Kelly and Sophia to the farm and welcomed Nate full time. Nate first learned of our farm 10 years ago when his parents participated in the first years of our CSA program! We also had several part-time workers throughout the summer, welcoming a college student, aspiring farmer, and massage therapist. At the height of the season, on the busiest days of the week, we’d have 7 staff in addition to ourselves. Most people on the farm have to be well versed in all aspects of the farm, but we do have staff specialize in certain tasks. Dan focuses on tractor work and can do anything we throw at him. This year was Audrey’s second one on the tractor and she added additional tractor tasks to her repertoire, such as mowing and bed shaping. She can also handle anything we throw at her! Nate and Courtney hold down the fort in the packing shed and pack CSA boxes, wash veggies and do the wholesale pack.

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Dan cultivates beets with the finger weeders
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Audrey drives on potato planting day
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Nate and Audrey plant summer squash

Recently we’ve called on Mile Creek alum, Brittany,  to help us see the season through. We are grateful that Brittany — who last helped us make beautiful market bouquets back when we grew flowers– is able to help us a couple days a week to bring in the fall harvest! And just today we found ourselves unexpectedly short 2 crew members with a jam packed day and had to call on a friend (think harvesting, washing, and bagging for CSA, washing 950 lbs of radishes for wholesale, and picking 300 lbs of kohlrabi also for wholesale).  Taking advantage of the fact that I know our fellow market gardener and neighbor, Stephen Cook, typically takes Mondays off, I frantically texted him this morning. Fortunately he is a saint (he would down play and just say “good friend” ), and left his own to-do list to come help us harvest.`

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Stephen Cook, of Cook’s Garden, helps us out in a pinch!

Needless to say we are grateful to everyone who has had a hand in helping our farm hum along, some days more conventionally than other days. And we are grateful to our customers! For those of you whose biweekly season comes to an end this week, thank you and we hope you enjoyed it! One more week for our weekly and other set of biweekly members left before our regular season comes to an end and our extended season begins.

Recipes

Turnip and Potato Soup

Stuffed Acorn Squash with Garlicky Beans and Greens (Use braising greens, turnip greens, and/or spinach in place of collards)

Roasted Roots with Tumeric-Tahini Sauce (good choices for roasting this week are carrots, sweet potatoes, potatoes, turnips, daikon or regular radish, cabbage, and acorn squash)

Hippie Bowls with Secret Sauce (substitute green cabbage for red. Substitute cauliflower for broccoli)

Coming up next week (our best guess…..) Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, Kale, Rutabaga, Brussels Sprouts, Spinach, Broccoli, Beets, Potatoes, Purple Top Turnips

CSA Week 22

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This Week’s Harvest

Bok Choi

Daikon Radish

Potatoes

Garlic

Sweet Onions

Honeynut Squash

Carrots

Parsley

Tomatoes (last of the year!)

Purple Cauliflower

Salad Mix OR Head Lettuce

Apple Share

Winesap and Gold Rush

Farm News

In addition to our CSA and 2nd Street Market stand we have a third outlet for our produce- wholesale through our Co-Op, Great River Organics. I’ve mentioned our Co-op here before but now I’ll talk about our main contribution to the Co-op. Each of the farms that makes up the Co-op has agreed to grow certain crops so individual farms can grow a lot of just a few vegetables but as a collective we can pull all the different vegetables we grow together and send a nice lengthy list of available produce to grocery stores, restaurants, institutions, etc. Our main crop for the co-op was summer squash. We grew over 20,000 lbs of it for the Co-op!

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Planting the first round of summer squash before a rain storm
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Third round of squash was very productive
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Harvesting the third round in foreground while planting the 4th round in the background

To do this we planted 4 rounds of around 2,500 plants each and picked daily from the end of June to end of September!

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Harvesting squash while the sun begins to set

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Lots of squash to pick!

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weeding the plastic edges with the cultivating tractor

Looking at the fields today you wouldn’t know they produced thousands upon thousands of pounds of squash. We were diligent about mowing the old plants as soon as we were done harvesting to help keep the cucumber beetle and squash bug populations down. We also managed to stay on top of lifting the plastic out.  On Friday we chisel plowed the fields and on Sunday Ben spent all day seeding cover crop and discing to cover the seed, finishing just in time for Monday’s light rain!

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Audrey mows the old zucchini and hopefully kills 1 billion cucumber beetles in the process
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After seeding the fields in cover crop, we run the discs through to smooth the fields and  incorporate the seed

 

Recipes

Garlic Parsley Potatoes

Cantonese Chicken and Bok Choi Fried Rice

Butternut Squash Waffles

Coming Up Next Week (Our Best Guess….) cabbage, sweet potatoes, carrots, acorn squash, potatoes, black Spanish radish, rutabaga, spinach, purple cauliflower and more!

 

CSA Week 21

22F58778-7045-4B45-8587-6771FA399822This Week’s Harvest

Fennel

Salad Mix

Napa Cabbage

Purple Kohlrabi with tops

Potatoes

Beets

Garlic

Red Onions

Butter Lettuce

Tomatoes

Assorted Peppers (the only hot pepper is 1 jalapeño and the rest are sweet peppers)

Apple Share

Winesap (red and tart) and Fuji (red and sweet)

Farm News

We had great weather, a nice turnout, and a delicious spread of food for our CSA member farm tour and potluck! I sadly forgot to take pictures, which is something I actually forget to do every year. Thanks to everyone for coming!

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We were so ready for the change in weather and have been loving these past few sunny and mild days. On Friday, before the cold front moved through, we finished up our sweet potato harvest. We got the final sweet potatoes out just before the rain settled in which was nice, but unfortunately for us, we still had things to pick. With a frost advisory in effect for the weekend, we wanted to pick some peppers for CSA and basil and beans for market before the crops got toasted. We scouted for any remaining peppers while rain dripped from our hat brims and lugged our crates of peppers through the increasingly muddy fields. While I’m grateful for the rain, I’m a farmer and can’t help but complain that it could have waited a couple hours! The crew got dry and headed home and Ben and I remained out in the field. Tomatoes were also on the list but we ran out of daylight. Fortunately for us, on Monday the tomatoes were still alive! So we pulled another 350 lbs of maters off the plants for CSA. Hard to believe we’ll have tomatoes in both week 21 and week 22 of the CSA! Savor these last few tomatoes!

Recipes

Roasted Tomato and Fennel Sauce

Beet Pesto Pizza (use kohlrabi leaves in place of kale)

Asian Chicken Cabbage Salad

Coming Up Next Week (Our Best Guess….) purple cauliflower, potatoes, garlic, parsley, carrots, honeynut squash, head lettuce, radishes and tomatoes

 

 

 

CSA Week 20

A89A417F-EAF6-43B1-A8F5-DEE8B32C1B62This Week’s Harvest

Tendersweet Cabbage

Hakurei Salad Turnips 

Salad Mix

Tomatoes

Basil

Broccoli

Green Beans 

Sweet Onions

Braising Greens OR Kale 

Pie Pumpkin

Apple Shares

McIntosh (good cooking apple, green and red) and Golden Delicious (sweet and crisp)

SAVE THE DATE!!

CSA Member Fall Harvest Potluck

This Sunday Oct. 13 from 4:30 to 7. Rain or Shine. We’ll tour the farm from 4:30 to 5:30 and then share a meal to celebrate the harvest! Family and friends welcome. Outdoor attire recommended.  We ask that you bring a dish to share and folding chairs if you have them.

Farm News

It’s October and our work load has shifted from planting and weeding to harvesting. In addition to our weekly CSA and market harvests, we have several large bulk harvests of crops that store nearly all winter long to complete. This week we will focus on the sweet potatoes as those can’t tolerate too many cold nights. We did an initial scouting of the crop and they are nice and big! After we harvest them this week, they need to cure in our barn to get their signature sweet flavor! So look for those in final few CSA boxes.

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Field of Various Turnips and Storage Radishes

Growing very nicely are a series of brassica roots including several types of turnips and radishes. And we also have 5 beds of carrots and a couple beds of beets. We will wait to harvest carrots and beets to let them size up. The upcoming cold October nights should also sweeten their flavor, so we aren’t in a rush to harvest them. We haven’t quite finished harvesting our potatoes yet and have 5 beds still hanging over us. Storage cabbage is also growing well and will hopefully provide something leafy and green for us in December! Unlike this week’s share of fresh picked cabbage, some varieties of cabbage keep really well. We have 4 varieties of cabbage growing and maturing at different times with the goal to have lots stored in our cooler for the next few months.

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we will store this cabbage for later use!

Overall the fall harvest is looking to be really great! Which reminds me, we will be able to offer an extended season CSA again this year! Look for an email from me detailing this extra season soon! 

Recipes

Crunchy Apple Turnip Slaw

Turnip and Greens Hash with Eggs (use sweet onion in place of shallot. Use braising greens, turnip greens, or arugula in place of kale)

Tomato, Broccoli Mozzarella Pasta Casserole

Coming up next week…(our best guess) Potatoes, garlic, onions, purple cauliflower, kohlrabi, fennel, head lettuce, tomatoes and more!

CSA Week 19

IMG_7331This Week’s Harvest

Zucchini (last of the season!!)

Braising Greens

Salad Turnips

Cauliflower

Broccoli

Honeynut Squash

Romano Green Beans

Cilantro

Dill

Tomatoes

Salad Mix

Apple Share

Cortland (larger, green/red, crisp and sweet/tart) and Jonathan (more red, smaller, softer flesh, sweet/tart)

Farm News

IMG_7300Still no rain and still hot on the farm. Last week I was bragging about how smart we were to move our fall broccoli planting later, and here we are, later, yet still picking broccoli in 90 degree heat! We have 2 varieties ready right now and one of them is clearly outshining the other. Imperial used to be a favorite, but it seems to be very susceptible to alternaria, a fungal disease that effects brassicas and causes brown beading on broccoli heads. I was only able to harvest 60 lbs for market from a 300 foot bed–not good!! Fortunately we planted way more of a different variety, Arcadia, and it is doing really well so far and hasn’t succumbed to alternaria. After this week’s harvest, I’ve made a few mental notes, and next year we will get rid of Imperial, focus on Arcadia, and trial more varieties in search of one that matures sooner than Arcadia but holds up to disease.  You can’t get too comfortable vegetable farming — this job certainly keeps us on our toes!

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Recipes

Hearty Spring Turnip Salad 

Stewed Romano Beans with Tomatoes and Dill

Thai Vegetable Stir fry

Coming Up Next Week (our best guess….) Salad Turnips, Broccoli, Kohlrabi, Bok Choi, Green Beans, Tomatoes, Sweet Onions, Salad Mix, Radishes  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CSA Week 18

This Week’s Harvest

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Cilantro

Swiss Chard

Radishes

Poblano Peppers

Sweet Peppers (Italian, mini or red bell)

Salad Mix

Jalapeno Peppers

Tomatoes

Sweet Onions

Dill

Escarole

Potatoes

Apple Share

Melrose (crunchy, juicy and tart with a flat top)  and Jonagold (sweeter with a taller rounded top)

Farm News

We are digging lots of potatoes lately, squeezing in a harvest of a bed whenever we can. It was just about this time last year that we started preparing for these very potatoes! Potatoes are one of the first things we plant in the spring and because of this it can be a gamble if our fields are going to be dry enough to plant or not. We decided to experiment with making our raised beds in the fall instead of the spring and seeding the beds to a cover crop. We did a blend of oats, which winter kill, and Austrian cow peas, which survive the winter, put on growth in the spring, and fix nitrogen.

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Oats and Peas basking in the fall sun
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Mid Winter
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In march the oats were expired but the winter peas were just beginning to break their winter dormancy

This experiment worked great.  All the organic matter from the cover crops was easily reincorporated back into the soil with a shallow tilling and after spreading fertilizer we were ready to plant 1650 lbs of potatoes.

 

 

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Prepping beds and planting potatoes is the easy part. Weeding 15 beds when a million other things are going on is the hard part! We kept up for a time with tine weeding first and then running through with the G and hilling discs. At some point we weren’t able to keep up and we did have some massive ragweed, smartweed and thistle by the time the potatoes were ready for harvest (no pictures of that mess!)

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aggressively tine weeding as the potatoes are just started popping out
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pretty satisfied with this year’s potato stand
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weed free for the moment!

Even with our 2 row potato digger, we end up crawling on the beds digging under dirt chunks in search of the potatoes. The less weeds there are interfering with the digging process, the better. After this year we’ve got some goals set for next year. Hopefully we’ll have the time to continue weeding the potatoes into August. It would be nice to experience what an easy potato harvest feels like- and I’m sure the crew would agree!

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Recipes

Buttered Escarole and Potatoes with Paprika

Potato and Radish Salad (use sweet onion in place of scallions)

Scrambled Egg and Swiss Chard Tacos (substitute poblano and/or jalapeño for the serrano peppers)

Coming Up Next Week (our best guess…..) Cilantro, Bok Choi, Salad Turnips, Honeynut Squash, Cauliflower, Swiss chard, Fennel, Arugula and more!

 

 

 

 

 

CSA Week 17

IMG_7118This Week’s Harvest

Salad Mix

Arugula

Radish Bunches

Delicata Winter Squash

Kale

Tomatoes

Eggplant

Mini Sweet Bell Peppers

Romano Green Beans

Red Onions

Golden Zucchini

Garlic

Apple Share

Honeycrisp (greener, tart and crisp) and Gala (sweet, small red)

Farm News

This week on the farm has been all about keeping the crew and plants hydrated and cool.    Unfortunately it hasn’t rained in 3 weeks and with it also being so warm, it is hard to keep everything properly watered. As soon as we run the irrigation on something it feels like the next day it needs water again! Our irrigation gun that runs on an automatic reel is only 300 ft long. This is the length of most of our fields, but we are currently growing in 2 fields that are over 400 ft long. This means we have to do 2 passes with the water reel to get the entire length of the field. That coupled with the fact that we are running the reel very slowly to give a good solid soaking just means getting water to everything is a slow process. When its dry like this, we run the irrigation 24/7 and have to set up water in the dark to run overnight. Hopefully by the end of the week, we’ve hit everything and we just repeat the process the next week. Oh and I didn’t even mention that some days we run the irrigation gun are super windy and we just cross our fingers everything gets hit.

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The back half of this field ran overnight and the front half gets watered during the day
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Dusty and hot potato harvests fill our days

We are pretty tried of late night water set-up dates and hot sticky days. The only saving grace is the time year this dry spell is hitting us. We have less crops we are actively watering and the sun sets earlier giving us some respite from the heat.

Also we’ve made some adjustments to our crop plan that are really panning out. In years past we’ve started our fall brassicas a couple weeks earlier than we did this year. But the last couple of years we’ve had the first round of broccoli and cauliflower succumb to disease as September seems to remain hot and humid (the perfect weather for breeding fungal diseases). So we nixed a handful brassicas entirely from the first round of brassicas and pushed everything back 2 weeks. July 4th was my old target planting date for fall brassica planting to begin and now we are looking at July 20th as our new first planting date.  I am so glad we aren’t trying to harvest broccoli in 90 degree heat!

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First round of fall brassicas now only includes kale, cabbage and Brussels sprouts and is planted 2 weeks later than it used to be. 

I’m glad we are able to adjust and continue to grow a wide variety of vegetables for our customers! And I know that come November,  I’ll be missing this warm weather!

Recipes

Kashkeh Bademjan (this eggplant recipe was shared on our Facebook CSA group page)

Italian Breaded and Baked Vegetables 

Tuna Salad Stuffed Tomatoes with Arugula

Coming Up Next Week (our best guess……) Swiss Chard, Radishes, Salad Mix, Honeynut Squash, Bok Choi, Cilantro, Tomatoes, Onions, Poblano Peppers