10/15/18 CSA Week 21

This Week’s HarvestIMG_3260

Napa Cabbage

Beauty Heart Radish

Beets

Arugula

Salad Mix

Purple Top Turnips with greens or Scarlet Turnips

Pie Pumpkin

Red Onions

Braising Mix

Potatoes

Butternut Squash

Apple Share

Fuji, Golden Delicious, Winesap

Farm News

Earlier in the season I wrote about how most of our staff this year is coming to us through a Begin Farming Program for people interested in a career in farming. You can read my post about that OEFFA program here: https://milecreekfarm.com/2018/06/11/csa-week-3-6/ 

 

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Pictured above: One of our apprentices, Courtney, learns to rake and prepare beds for direct seeding and seeds them to late season spinach. Pictured below: Courtney and Dan bulk harvest our storage kohlrabi

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This week marks the 29th week that Courtney has been working with us. She and her husband have 5 acres outside of Tipp City that they are going to grow and market vegetables on. Here to tell you about her season with us and her vision for her farm, Wild Farm, is Courtney herself!

How did you come to realize you wanted to be a vegetable farmer?

I grew up on a farm, and through the years had a perpetual longing to be back on the farm. There is a quote in Wendell Berry’s book, A Place On Earth “He is at peace with himself, his labor has been his necessity and his desire” and I could not say it better myself.

What is something that you learned from Mile Creek Farm that you plan to use on your own operation?

I have learned so much from Mile Creek Farm it is hard to choose just one, but I would say the most important thing I have learned is that I truly love farming and am sure this is all I want to do with the rest of my life. I have gotten to not only learn things like pest management and quality control, but I got to see pure happiness and love, in what they do, in how they are with their family, and with the delicious food they get to eat every day. I truly believe thats what life is about.

Was there anything especially surprising about your time at Mile Creek Farm?

I was surprised that you could actually fill 8 hours hand weeding. I went into it thinking “oh this will only take a couple hours” in reality it takes a couple days. SO my perception on time management was off.

Where there any other helpful aspects of The Begin Farming Program?

Meeting other farmers has been the most helpful part of The Begin Farming Program. Every farmer is so different– from their farms, stories, successes and setbacks.

What are your plans for Wild Farm in 2019?

I hope to sell some good food to some good people.

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Wild Farm, Tipp City Ohio

Recipes

Napa Cabbage and Pork Soup

Roasted Veggies (Good candidates for roasting this week are purple top turnips, beauty heart radish, beets, butternut squash and potatoes. I love roasting 3 pans worth of assorted veggies at once and then using them in meals though out the week.)

Arugula and Radish Salad

Coming Up Next Week (our best guess……) Garlic, Kohlrabi, Potatoes, Mustard Greens, Sweet Potatoes, Rutabaga, Head Lettuce, Broccoli and more!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10/8/18 CSA Week 20

This Week’s HarvestIMG_3902

Head Lettuce

Salad Mix

Potatoes

Red bunched radishes OR purple daikon radish

Braising Mix

Broccoli

Napa Cabbage

Scarlet Turnips

Escarole OR Mustard Greens

Fennel

Apple Share

Fuji, Cortland and Jonagold

Farm News

This week comes with a mad dash to get our sweet potatoes out. We hustled to get CSA harvest done today so we could have the afternoon free. We got one bed done and have 4 1/2 to go! And it looks like we have until Wednesday around 2 to get it done. They have sized up and are healthy looking. Now we just need to get them in before nighttime temps dip into the 30s–which is on Friday believe it or not!

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we use our 2 row potato digger to dig the sweet potatoes.
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We still have to crawl on our hands and knees and unearth the sweet potato clumps from the loose soil and break them off the vines
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one bed yielded 2 wooden bulk crates!

The potatoes aren’t sweet just yet. They will cure in our barn for a couple weeks before we distribute them. Something to look forward to in your final few CSA boxes!

Recipes

Skillet Potatoes and Turnips with Bacon (roasted vegetarian version here)

Napa Cabbage Slaw with Radish and Raisins

Stir Fry Broccoli and Greens (use your braising mix in place of broccoli leaves and cook for 5 minutes vs. 2)

Greens, Potatoes and Sausage (use turnip greens or braising mix in place of kale)

Coming Up Next Week (our best guess…..) Beets, Salad Mix, Purple Top Turnips. Potatoes, Braising Mix, Arugula, Broccoli, Butternut Squash, and more!

 

 

 

10/1 CSA Week 19

This Week’s HarvestIMG_3813

Head Lettuce

Broccoli

Hakurei Salad Turnips

Radishes

Dragon Tongue Beans

Kale

Bok Choi or Braising Greens

Tendersweet OR Napa Cabbage

Tomatoes

Kohlrabi

Garlic

Farm News

In order to grow 13 plus acres of yummy veggies each season we need equipment. Our equipment happens to be very old which means repairs every season are to be expected. Lately, though, it seems that’s all Ben’s been doing. Our delivery truck this week alone got a flat tire and a leaky radiator. Our International 656 had to have a radiator replaced and a week later it’s just lost power completely! Our field truck which brings in the veggies has a broken leaf spring that has it out of commission. We went to till our hoophouses to prepare late season spinach beds and the walk behind tractor (BCS) wouldn’t start. We really just want our machinery to make it to the end of the season so we don’t have to deal with repairs until the winter! But they are all breaking now, while we have the important work of harvesting the remaining potatoes, harvesting the sweet potatoes, and cleaning up finished fields looms large. Oh well, we’ll just tackle the repairs one at a time. The BCS and delivery truck are back in working order so at least we can seed spinach and deliver this week’s harvest to you! Enjoy!

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Out of Order

Recipes

Radish and Kohlrabi Stir Fry (I’d add some hakurei turnips and use the turnips greens in place of radish greens)

Mediterranean Roasted Broccoli and Tomatoes (quartered tomatoes work in place of grape tomatoes)

Greens season is back! In addition to the kale and bok choi in the box, both the turnip and kohlrabi greens can be eaten, so this week’s box is loaded with greens. There are lots of recipes that call for several pounds of greens, so I like to mix all the various greens together when we have a lot of them and consult these types of recipes. Here are versions of some favorites:

Spaghetti Agolio e olio

Greens Gratin

Peanut Sauce (we steam a couple pounds of greens and serve the sauce over the cooked greens)

Coming Up Next Week (our best guess……) Potatoes, garlic, scarlet turnips, broccoli, salad mix, fennel, napa cabbage, braising mix and more!

 

9/24/18 CSA Week 18

This Week’s HarvestIMG_3717

Cilantro

Broccoli

Hakurei Salad Turnips

Radishes

Head Lettuce

Arugula

Tomatoes

Wax Beans

Acorn Squash

Red Onions

Kohlrabi

Apple Share

King David, Jonagold and Mutsu

SAVE THE DATE!

Our CSA member farm walk and potluck is Sunday October 7 from 4 to 7. The farm walk will be at 4 with dinner to follow at 5. Please bring good walking shoes and a dish to share. We hope that you and your family/friends can join us as we celebrate the harvest!

Farm News

Good news from the farm is that we managed to get 15 acres of land seeded to cover crop just in time for Monday’s light day long rain. This process involves several tractor passes with the disc followed by blending the seed combinations we want into the cone spreader, taking it out to spread, coming back in for more rounds of seed, and then lightly discing the fields to incorporate the seed a bit. When we got the 5 inches of rain from hurricane Florence we honestly weren’t sure how much of the cover crop plan we’d get to do. You can’t seed cover crop too late in the season because the crop won’t get enough growth on it before the cold weather. But the warm sunny week that followed the rain helped dry out the fields and the timing worked out to get it done before the next round of rain. The seeds should germinate nicely after today’s rain!

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The disc we use for field prep in front of freshly seeded cover crop fields. The foreground block had this year’s onion crop and the background field had a variety of crops like sweet corn, beans, and salad mix. They’ve been seeded to winter rye and hairy vetch.

The bad news is we are battling a significant amount of disease around the farm. Alternaria Leafspot wiped out our first fall broccoli and it looks like the cauliflower is next. We mowed our entire celeriac planting under because of a condition called hollow heart, which causes incomplete formation of the root leaving it mostly hollow inside. And our carrot tops and beets are starting to blacken and die back because of Cercospora or Alternaria.  We’ll have to do a better job with our crop rotation and other preventative measures like crop selection in the coming years to combat these diseases that seem to thrive in our humid late summer climate.

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mowed down broccoli plants and rough looking cauliflower

We are grateful for the CSA model when we experience crop failures. By committing to the entire season you are helping soften the blow when crops don’t produce. We are working hard to provide you with weekly deliveries that are full and varied even if some crops don’t ever make it in the box. So far so good–we’ll keep providing you with the best the farm has to offer!

Recipes

Seared Wax Beans and Arugula

Turnips with Caramelized Onions and Toasted Lentils

Curried Winter Squash Pizza (sub acorn squash for butternut)

Radish and Kohlrabi Salad

Coming Up Next Week (our best guess….) Dragon Tongue Beans, Napa Cabbage, Turnips, Kale, Broccoli, Tomatoes, Head Lettuce and more!

 

9/17/18 CSA Week 17

This Week’s HarvestIMG_3659

Tomatoes

Dill

Salad Mix

Tendersweet Cabbage

Bok Choi

Potatoes

Red Onions

Fennel

Garlic

Cantaloupe

Green Beans

Apple Share:

Honeycrisp (balance of tart and sweet, larger green and red), Galas (mild, small yellow and red) and Jonathon (tart and crisp, small mostly dark red with green streaking)

Save the Date: 

Our CSA member farm walk and potluck is Sunday October 7 from 4 to 7. The farm walk will be at 4 with dinner to follow at 5. Please bring good walking shoes and a dish to share. We hope that you and your family/friends can join us as we celebrate the harvest!

 

Farm News

From natural disasters to the opioid epidemic to the latest on Capital Hill,  there is no shortage of pressing news. What has been on my mind lately is the Farm Bill. Every 4 to 5 years, Congress passes this hefty piece of legislation and the 2014 Farm Bill expires September 30. Earlier this summer the House and Senate passed their versions of the 2018 Farm Bill. Currently both chambers have to agree on a bill and pass it by the end of the month.

The House version slashed a lot of programs, some of which Mile Creek Farm currently uses or has used in the past that support both regional and organic agriculture. The Senate version easily passed with bipartisan support and did not include near as many cuts. Ohio’s own Senator, Sherrod Brown, is a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture Nutrition and Forestry, the committee tasked with drafting the Senate Farm Bill. Sherrod Brown has been a champion for initiatives that help build a local and regional food supply as well as an advocate for conservation programs that improve water quality and regenerate soils.

We think that our food system is broken and to build a new one–one in which people eat more vegetables, rural areas are dotted with bustling vegetable farms, and a new generation has a chance at a successful career in the field–requires some government help in the form of policy. From the organic certification cost share program to cost share with hoophouse construction to extend the season, to grants to regenerate the soil with cover crops, we feel our farm is in its 11th year in part because of past Farm Bill provisions. We’d like to see the local food movement continue to strengthen and become the norm, not fizzle as a passing fad. Hopefully the 2018 Farm Bill will increase the chance of success–not hinder it!

Recipes

Braised Cabbage with fried Potatoes, dill and feta

Fennel and Potato Gratin

Potato Salad with tomatoes and Green Beans (sub dill for the basil and red onion for the green onions)

Oven Roasted Bok Choi with Garlic (1 large bok choi is around 1 lb so you can mix in some cabbage to stretch it)

Coming Up Next Week (Our Best Guess……) Acorn Squash, Salad Turnips, Salad Mix, Radishes, Tomatoes, Napa Cabbage and more!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9/10/18 CSA Week 16

This Week’s HarvestIMG_3517

Edamame Beans

Potatoes

Zucchini/Summer Squash (last of the season!)

Cucumbers (last of the season!)

Cilantro

Celery OR Fennel

Garlic

Kabocha Squash or Butternut Squash

Poblano OR Jalapeño Peppers

Bok Choi 

Kale

Sweet Onions OR Cipollinis (last of the season!)

Farm News

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My post from last week seems so silly after this weekend’s deluge! On Labor Day we were frantically trying to get water on the wilty crops. 6 days later we were out assessing the damage of 5 inches of rain.

Some returning CSA members may know that we had drainage tile put in the entire farm last spring to help with our soil’s drainage issues. It was a huge investment but such an important one to make. In the past, 2 inch rain events would cause crop failures even in raised beds and we knew hoping for good weather every year wasn’t going to cut it.IMG_1661IMG_1762

It’s been really wonderful seeing the results of the tile both this year and last. The puddle in the first picture above was the wettest part of the farm on Sunday but it was gone by the end of day.  Our harvest through the fields on Monday was not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. In the past we would be wading through puddles and sinking into the mud. Not today! The tile network, buried 4 feet down, is helping to move the water out of the fields quickly. IMG_3582

The most noticeable result of the rain (at least for now–we aren’t out of the clear yet!) is the damage done to the raspberries. We were hoping to include them this week–it is our raspberry season after all! But the heavy rains and damp weather have caused all the ripe fruit to either mold or have no taste.  I scouted the plants this afternoon for what seemed like an hour in hopes that something was harvestable. No such luck. But being a diversified farm means we still have plenty for our CSA members. Even so, such poorly timed rain events can be really rough on us seasonal eaters!

Recipes

Peanut Noodle Salad with Edamame and Bok Choi (To cook fresh edamame, boil in salted water for 7 minutes. When pods have cooled, slip beans out)

Warm Grilled Potato and Fennel Salad (you can substitute celery for fennel)

Winter Squash and Molasses Muffins

Potato, Chorizo, and Green Chili Hash with Eggs

Sausage, Kale and Potato Soup

Coming Up Next Week (Our Best Guess…….) Bok Choi, Salad Mix, Dill, Tomatoes, Fennel, Bell Peppers, Red Onions, Cabbage, Acorn Squash and more!

 

 

9/3/18 CSA Week 15

This Week’s HarvestIMG_3457

Cantaloupe or Honeydew

Raspberries

Cilantro

Jalapeño or Poblano Peppers

Red Bell Peppers

Candy Onions

Cucumbers

Edamame Beans

Green Beans or Potatoes

Delicata Squash

Tomatoes

Zephyr Squash

Apple Share

Honeycrisp, Gala and McIntosh

Farm News

While there is no good time for irrigation equipment to break on a vegetable farm, at the beginning of a dry heat wave is the worst! Our traveling irrigation gun that is supposed to automatically wind back in, stopped moving sometime in the middle of night. Which means instead of our entire patch of sweet potatoes getting watered last night, a 30 foot section got water for over 8 hours!

We were hoping to have all hands on deck with the CSA harvest today to get it done faster so the crew could enjoy an early quitting time on Labor Day. However, Ben was tied up with the irrigation problem. We still aren’t sure what is wrong with the water reel but in the meantime we do have another water system that Ben got set up today. The water reel can water 16 beds at a time and this wobbler system only does 6 beds, so we’ll want our water reel up and running ASAP! Especially if stays hot and dry!

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Recipes

Turkey Taco Squash Boats (Use delicata squash in place of spaghetti squash. Use candy onions in place of scallion)

Edamame and Black Bean Salad (you can also add green beans and/or potatoes. Follow these instructions to cook edamame)

Cucumber, Tomato Salad with Herbs

Coming Up Next Week (Our Best Guess…..) Salad Mix, Cilantro, Potatoes, Bok Choi, Raspberries, Tomatoes, Poblano Peppers, Garlic and more!