Forum Posts

rainsandsun
May 17, 2022
In Newsletters 2022
In the share this week: 1 bunch salad turnips 1 bunch green garlic 1 bag pea shoots 1 bag spinach 1 bag salad mix 1 double bag baby kale Thoughts from Farmer Anna: I love this quote about farming from the late and very funny, down-to-earth farmer, Chris Blanchard: "I think farms. . . . are kind of like two-year-olds. They're very loud and insistent about what they need and what they want from you. If you don't set some limits, you're going to be a slave to the two-year-old." May is the month that the farm feels like peak toddler to me. Everything is happening at once - lots of harvest and so many greens, the start of CSA shares, many crops still waiting to be planted, new farm hands starting, plant sales, farmers markets, etc! These days are very full of work on the farm. And yet, they are also full of joy. Joy in doing this meaningful and gratifying work, joy in seeing your smiling faces at CSA pick-up or the farmers market, joy in working outside in the sunshine and hearing so many birds singing to us as we harvest, joy in feeling the strength of my body grow year after year, joy in sharing what I've learned about farming in the last 9 years with someone new. This work may be relentless some months of the year, but it is incredibly rewarding too. The share this week is fairly similar to last week's share. This is often the case through the season for a couple of reasons. One, most crops are harvested for at least a couple of weeks from a single planting. And two, I like to have both weeks of half shares get to try the different crops we grow through the season. The new item in the share this week is baby kale and we have so much of these beautiful greens this week! These smaller kale leaves are the red russian variety and they are more tender than some other types of kale, making it great for salads. My 8-year old prefers a baby kale salad to a lettuce one (with a good dose of ranch dressing of course!). Here's a recipe idea for a caesar salad with your baby kale: If you are not sure what to do with your pea shoots this week, and you love pesto, try using the pea shoots and your green garlic in a pesto recipe such as the one below: What kinds of things are you thinking of cooking this week? We'd love to have you share recipe ideas here with us, just comment below! Have a great week everyone!
Share 2 newsletter - week of May 17th content media
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rainsandsun
May 10, 2022
In Newsletters 2022
In the share this week: 1 bunch salad turnips (pictured below) 1 head bok choy 1 bag salad mix 1 bag spinach 1 bag spicy salad mix 1 bag pea shoots 1 bunch green garlic Thoughts from Farmer Anna: Happy first week of the CSA season! The farm feels like it's bursting with greens this week after the nice soaking rain that we had last week. May is such a full month around here. The spring crops are coming on strong, we're planting for summer crops, and the weeds start to get going in earnest too. The last two weeks we've gotten our tomatoes planted out in the hoophouses and they are looking strong. I've learned over the years that the quality of your transplants and getting them in the ground at the right time really determine how well the crop will perform. I have high hopes for these tomatoes! We were lucky that we didn't have much planting or bed preparation on the schedule last week, since it rained over 2 inches throughout the week. Now this week we have plenty to get ready and go in the ground and lots of dry weather and sunshine to get it done. The first warm weather crops will be planted out in the field this week - cucumbers, zucchini and tomatillos (new this year!). We also have successions of beets, carrots, lettuce, onions, and radishes to plant as well. Our new summer intern Cara started yesterday and she is getting right to work harvesting, broadforking, and weeding. We are so happy to have her with us this summer! Spring shares always mean lots of greens and it seems like that is just what our bodies need at this time of year. You have several items that can be eaten fresh in salad and even combined if you like. The salad mix is one of our signature crops that we try to have every week of the season and includes a mix of 6-8 types of lettuce. It is so fresh and delicious, especially at this time of year. I like to mix it with our spicy salad mix (baby mustard greens of varying color and texture) for an interesting combo and flavors and textures. The spicy salad mix can also be cooked - I love using mustard greens in a frittata and the spinach would be a good add here too. The salad turnips are one of our favorites. Chop them and eat them raw in your salads or roast them or put them in a soup. They are sweet and delicious! Pea shoots can also be eaten raw in a salad, but I prefer to cook them. You could make this fresh side dish using your green garlic and pea shoots this week: If you've never used it before, the green garlic can be chopped up like a green onion (use every bit of it) and added to any dish that needs some garlic flavor. It's best cooked a bit since the leaves are thicker than green onions. The bok choy is another veggie that can be eaten raw or cooked. I love bok choy in any soup that needs some greens and crunchy ribs (oh and use some turnips in that soup too!), but it is also great in a salad with sesame dressing like the one below: We hope you enjoy your fresh veggies this week! Comment and let us know what you are making!
Share 1 - week of May 10th content media
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rainsandsun
Nov 09, 2021
In Newsletters 2021
In the share this week: 2 lbs sweet potatoes 2 lbs rutabaga 1 lb scarlet turnips or radishes 1 head radicchio 1 bunch green onions 3 ounces ginger 1 bag carrots Thoughts from Farmer Anna: Last share of the season! The longer we farm here, the quicker the seasons seem to pass. Sure, there are slow days in the middle of summer, but when I look back over the season, it seems like hardly any time has passed. Perhaps part of that has to do with the seasonal, repetitive nature of the tasks we do and the crops we harvest. Perhaps it means that I'm getting older :) All in all, I think we had a pretty successful season again this year. We had lots of tomatoes, peppers, green onions, beets, kale, awesome fall spinach and other greens, and the best broccoli and cabbage we've ever had in the spring. However, right now I'm ruminating on our disappointing end of season root crops. We were really plagued with a number of different challenges: voles eating up sweet potatoes and salad turnips, aphids attacking watermelon radishes and scarlet turnips, rabbits getting in the fence and eating carrot tops. It was a bit of an onslaught this fall. We had such great roots crops last fall, so of course I'm comparing harvests and getting a bit depressed. Practically, this means that we won't have too much left for sale in the coming weeks following the end of CSA season. In some ways that is a good thing, because it will give me the time and energy to put into planning for next season. We've also been filling up the hoophouses with greens that we'll start harvesting in late January, so that is something to look forward to! You do have a lot of sweet fall root crops in your share this week. I'm definitely a broken record on telling you to roast them to enhance their flavor and sweetness, but it's just so easy and tasty. This week, I'm thinking of making a grain bowl with some rutabaga and turnips, toasted nuts, cheese and green onion. Here's a link to a recipe for grain bowls (or buddha bowls) that is really flexible: I forgot to tell you last week that we didn't have quite enough watermelon radishes for all of the shares, so we mixed in some black radishes as well. This is our first year growing these storage radishes, and they are definitely a bit strange looking! They are charcoal colored on the outside, but bright white inside and definitely pack a spicy punch. Both these and the watermelon radishes would be amenable to roasting with other root veggies, or you could try your hand at pickling them if you prefer to keep more of their heat and crunch. If you haven't figured out what to do with your radicchio yet, here's another recipe idea below. High heat is really my preferred way to prepare this veggie to bring out it's nutty sweetness. Those cold nights we had last week should also have concentrated the sugars in these beauties. As always, we can't thank you enough for your support of our farm this year. Each season brings new joys and new challenges, and you get to share in a piece of those as a member of our farm. We hope that it was a valuable and nourishing experience for you, and of course we'd love to hear some of your feedback about the season. I'll put together a short survey to send out next week to get your thoughts on what worked for you and what we may be able to improve. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts and we wish you all the best for your holiday season and throughout the rest of the winter!
Share 26 - week of Nov 9 content media
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rainsandsun
Nov 02, 2021
In Newsletters 2021
In the share this week: 2 lbs rutabaga 1 lb mixed radishes 1 head radicchio 3 ounces ginger 1 bunch curly kale 2 sweet peppers 1 lb green tomatoes Thoughts from Farmer Anna: The first frost of the fall happened last Wednesday morning and it looks like the first freeze is coming tonight! We are working on getting the rest of the tomatoes out of the hoophouses today and we have a good amount of nice greens ones, so you'll see those in this week's share. If you plan to make fried green tomatoes (which you probably should), it's really all about the dipping sauce. There are lots of variations for sauces, but this sriracha mayo would be delish: We also got all of our ginger out of the ground this morning (pictured above). It's tough to grow ginger in this climate, but if you get it in the ground in May and let it grow as long as possible you can harvest some decently sized rhizomes. This fresh ginger is such a treat and incredibly flavorful. A little goes a long way, and if you don't plan to use the fresh ginger within a couple of weeks, you can freeze it and then grate off small amounts whenever you need it. Ginger is awesome in stir-fries, so if you still have some napa cabbage from last week, you could makes something with that. Or if you'd like to try something a little different, you could make this roast chicken with ginger and a side of fennel and radicchio salad: Speaking of radicchio, this is another one of the new crops in your share this week. Radicchio is an italian salad green that's related to lettuce. It has an interesting bitterness, but gets sweeter with frosts this time of year. Radicchio can be eaten raw in salads or roasted (which is my preference because it tones down the bitterness and brings out the complex and sweet flavors). This veggies has developed a sort of cult following in the last few years, with some major devotees who love to try the many, many varieties of radicchio. Let us know what you think!
Share 25 - week of Nov 2 content media
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rainsandsun
Oct 26, 2021
In Newsletters 2021
In the share this week: 1 bunch beets 1 bunch salad turnips 1 bunch red radishes 1 fennel bulb 1 red napa cabbage 2-3 green peppers 1 bag salad mix Thoughts from Farmer Anna: The picture above probably doesn't look incredibly interesting, but I was pretty excited about it on Friday. We were trying to get four more beds into cover crops and it was looking too wet and cold to do our usual bed preparations. You can just broadcast seed onto a bed and get some germination, but it's usually not so great. Luckily, we have been getting regular deliveries of spent potting mix from a local microgreens grower and we've been stockpiling this material under a tarp to help digest some of the remnants of the microgreens. So, we decided to broadcast our seeds, but then cover then lightly with the potting mix. By utilizing the potting mix this way, it is provided the beds with more than one function - adding organic matter and lightening up our clay soil, plus acting as a germination boost for our cover crops. It's not earth shattering, but I thought it was nifty and a great way to use this resource. It's also a great no till strategy for those of you interested in this way of gardening. The veggies in the share this week are a bit of a change up from what we've had the last couple of weeks. Our fall beets are looking fantastic, including the greens which you should definitely use! I love pairing beets with fennel and the recipe below included both and utilizes the beet greens in a chimichurri sauce: Napa cabbage is back this week in a new color! These red napas aren't quite as big as some of the green ones from a few weeks ago, but they are pretty lovely. There are so many ways I like to use this vegetable, and one I don't think I've shared with you yet is fried rice. The cabbage sort of melts into the rice dish and binds everything together in a delicious way. You could also add your green peppers in this recipe: One note about the green peppers - we are pulling all of our pepper plants, so you may get either green bells or green long italian peppers. Use these long peppers just like a regular green pepper. As for the rest of the share, just toss some radishes and turnips in with your salad mix! We are happy to finally be able to give you some salad mix in your shares this fall. Our fall lettuce has been a big disappointment this year for a variety of reasons (you never can completely understand these things!). The salad mix this week is coming out of our first hoophouse planting and looks wonderful, so I hope you enjoy! In other sad veggie news, our fall carrots are really not great. We are giving them a couple more weeks in the field and will put them in the last share of the year so that our 'B' half share members will get some. That's it from me - hope you all have a great week!
Share 24 - week of Oct 26th content media
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rainsandsun
Oct 19, 2021
In Newsletters 2021
In the share this week: 2 lbs sweet potatoes 1 lb carrots 2 mini red romaine 1 bag spinach 1 bag baby kale 1 bunch green onions 1 baby pac choi Thoughts from Farmer Anna: True fall weather has finally arrived! I love these chilly mornings and sunny afternoons. We sweat and toil through the hot and humid days of summer, but these fall days are our reward. There is no job I'd rather have than productive farm work in the spring and fall. This week we are planting a crop of onions for overwintering. We did this last fall as well and had some really nice fresh onions in late May/early June before the spring planted onions came on. I've learned that the trick is to wait to plant them until mid-October, so they only have a short while to establish before it gets much colder. In previous years, I had planted onions in September and found they grew too much in the fall and then bolted in the spring instead of forming nice bulbs. The other major items on our list are to get a few more fields planted into winter cover crops (rye and hairy vetch), and to start pulling peppers out of the hoophouses to make way for overwintered spinach and baby kale. The third week of October is about the latest you can reliably get winter cover crops sown. As long as they germinate, they seem to survive winter alright and start growing again when in warms up in March. We have another great fall share for you this week. Carrots are finally back! Our fall planting got in about a week later than planned, so that means a later harvest start and carrots that are a bit smaller than early summer. The great part about fall carrots though, is that the cold nights concentrate sugars in the roots of these veggies (in fact this is true for all of the other roots veggies and even greens like spinach too!). So fall veggies are the sweetest :) Our baby pac choi planting didn't do quite as well as hoped, but we have one head for you this week. It would combine nicely with your kale and green onions in a stir fry like the one linked below. It could be a nice side dish as is, but if you add rice and a protein it would make a great meal. If you have never prepared sweet potatoes in a savory dish, I definitely recommend giving these delicious vegan tacos a try. The combo of black beans and roasted sweet potatoes is so tasty and satisfying. Making sure everything is well seasoned is key here and this blogger has some good ideas (although you can substitute a seasoning blend with less heat if you aren't a fan of spice - we love to use adobo seasoning!) Have a great week everyone!
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rainsandsun
Oct 12, 2021
In Newsletters 2021
In the share this week: 2 lbs sweet potatoes 1 bag baby salad kale 1 bag arugula 1 bag spinach 1 bunch french breakfast radishes 1 mini romaine lettuce 2 sweet peppers Thoughts from Farmer Anna: This is the picture of a totally relaxed 11 year old hanging out in camp. With the kids on fall break this weekend, we decided to head down to Carter Caves State Park to camp Saturday and Sunday night. It can be tough to fit these little trips in, with market and harvest schedules still chugging along at this time of year - but it is so worth it! This campground was very nice, with lots of trees perfect for hammock hanging and lots of awesome people to hang out with. In fact, we had an incredible moment of serendipity when we pulled into camp to find that our neighbors were in fact CSA members of ours! What a small world :) Susan and Kurt helped us out in more than one way, since we had forgotten to bring matches or lighter for our fire AND our van battery died the following morning so they gave us a jump. Campgrounds often seem like such perfect little fleeting utopian communities. People are happy to help each other out, share their food and other resources, and everyone is a bit more relaxed and social than they are in their busy day-to-day lives. While we were away yesterday, Carley held down the fort here at the farm and worked on harvesting many of the delicious veggies in this week's share. It feels amazing to have such wonderful employees, who have been around the farm long enough to feel comfortable working on their own for a day! This week's share is a big shift to lots of fall greens, along with sweet potatoes and radishes. It can be really tough to have nice fall spinach, but we were able to get some seeded at the end of August and now we have some beautiful stuff for you this week! The baby kale and arugula are also looking fabulous. I would probably make a big hearty salad with all three of these greens mixed (along with some of your mini romaine if you like!). This looks like a pretty yummy recipe if you are in need of salad inspiration: The first sweet potatoes are coming your way this week! Many of you will have some favorite ways of preparing these tasty roots, but here's a soup recipe idea that includes kale (you could also use your spinach if you want to cook that): Have a great week everyone!
Share 22 - week of Oct 12th content media
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rainsandsun
Oct 05, 2021
In Newsletters 2021
In the share this week: 1 head napa cabbage 2 kohlrabi bulbs 1 bunch salad turnips 1 bunch french breakfast radishes 1 bag spicy salad mix 1 bunch green onions 2 asian eggplant Thoughts from Farmer Anna: This week's newsletter will be short and sweet. I've got a few extra things on my plate this week, including our organic inspection tomorrow morning. These inspections are typically fun and not so stressful, since I get to walk around the farm and talk crops with someone who knows about these things intimately. However, I do want to make sure I had all of my paperwork ducks in a row, so I'm spending a little time today to ensure everything is at the ready to make the inspection go smoothly. Our big event on the farm this week is the sweet potato harvest! We brought in almost 2/3 of what we planted yesterday and it looks we already have about 400 lbs of good potatoes. I'm always worried about how much vole damage we'll have when we start to dig these up. Voles are very similar to field mice, except that they burrow underground. Unfortunately, our sweet potato beds are perfect little homes for these guys and they appreciate the ready food source, so we often have many roots with chew marks. I've avoided doing much in the way of trying to control the vole population on the farm because we also have many snakes and a sweet farm cat that's been following us around. However, their damage does seem to be getting a little out of control, so I may need to think about trying to trap them next season. Since you have another whole napa cabbage in your share this week, full shares may want to think about trying to make some kimchi in order to keep some space in your fridge! Here's a simple recipe (note: you can substitute your salad turnips and/or radishes this week for the daikon radish): We are harvesting the last of the eggplant this week, before we remove that planting and make way for cover crops. I had a really sweet Filipino couple come to market several weeks ago and tell me about an eggplant omelette recipe that they love to make with the asian eggplant. It keeps the stem of the eggplant intact while you pour the egg mixture over it. I haven't tried it yet, but this may be the week to do it! Hope you all have a great week!
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rainsandsun
Sep 28, 2021
In Newsletters 2021
In the share this week: 1 head napa cabbage 1 bunch beets 1 kohlrabi bulb 1 lb yellow onions 1 lb roma beans Mix of specialty peppers 1 bag sugar snap peas Thoughts from Farmer Anna: Share 20 always feels like a big milestone of the season. After this week, we just have six shares left for our 2021 season! Our work on the farm at this time consists of keeping up with weeds, starting to plant for late fall and winter in the hoophouses, and getting winter cover crops sown in field beds. After the rain early last week, we were blessed with the most perfect day on Friday and were able to get a lot of tarps moved around and cover crops seeded before the gentle rain Saturday morning. Our winter cover crop mix consists of a grain like winter rye or wheat, plus legumes, including hairy vetch, clover, and winter peas. This mix will serve many functions - weed suppression, erosion control, nitrogen fixation, and improved soil tilth. The more we use cover crops here on the farm, the more we want to use them as much as possible. During our open house, a few folks were asking about using animal manure and compost on our beds. While we have definitely used horse manure in the past, we have found that there are so many potential problems with using manure. If not properly composted, it can bring in weed seeds and contain persistent herbicides. Not to mention the labor involved with carting it around to your beds. Cover crops on the other hand, can be seeded with minimal labor, grow an incredible amount of biomass, and can be easily mowed and tarped before the bed needs to be used for crops. The downside of cover crops is that you ideally need a farm that is twice as big as what you need for veggie crops so half of your area can be in cover each year. In our case, we are doing as much cover cropping as we can fit it, while fertilizing with a blend of trusted composted manures and other organic sources of fertility (Ohio Earth Food's ReVita Pro blend). This seems like a good compromise for our small farm. I'm very excited about the napa cabbage in your shares this week. The size and quality of the heads are the best we've ever grown. In fact, they are so big you may find it a little intimidating to use. Fear not my dear members, napa cabbage cooks down beautifully in soups and stir fries (ooh with your sugar snaps!), or can be eaten fresh in salads. Or can even be fermented into kimchi for the more adventurous! I'm looking forward to making a soup with some napa this week. Something like this sounds delicious: If you'd rather have your napa raw in a salad, it would pair well with some roasted beets in something like this recipe: https://waterpennyfarm.com/beet-and-chinese-cabbage-salad-with-goat-cheese/ The summer crops are slowly coming to a close, with the last of our beans going out to you this week. We'll probably still have tomatoes and peppers another time or two, but we'll be clearing out one of our tomato beds this week to make room for fall and winter crops. In fact, you may be getting some green tomatoes in your shares next week :) Hope you all have a wonderful week!
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rainsandsun
Sep 21, 2021
In Newsletters 2021
In the share this week 1 small butternut squash 1 lb tomatoes 1 lb green beans 1/2 lb sugar snap peas 1 lb yellow onions 1 bag spicy salad mix 1 bunch sage Thoughts from Farmer Anna: We had such a lovely time at our open house this past Sunday! The weather was just perfect for showing folks around the farm and the kids had a blast painting tiles. I think we'll likely end up using them for a back splash behind our sinks in the new pack shed. Even though we still have work to do to get the pack shed fully functional, I'm feeling so grateful to have this building as a gathering spot right next to the farm. It often feels like progress can be so slow on many farm projects, but when you look back over the nearly 9 years that we've been here, it's amazing how much we've been able to accomplish. I felt really good about this mid to late September timing for a farm gathering, so I think we'll probably stick with that time frame in future years. We are always trying to think about how to make these gatherings more fun and meaningful and to get more members out to meet one another. I know everyone has busy lives and Covid is also still a concern at the moment, but if you have any ideas about how to make our farm gathering more accessible for your family, let us know! Wow - I think the share this week is really fantastic. We have many fall crops coming on, mixed with late summer goodness too. We are harvesting the last of the green bean plantings this week and we'll have roma beans next week before beans are totally done for the year. The tomatoes just keep on trucking and have had their best year ever. Our fall sugar snaps are coming on strong this week. If you don't just eat these fresh as a snack, you might want to try them in a stir fry. I also think you could add the spicy salad mix greens (a mix of baby mustard that can be eaten raw or cooked). Here's a recipe that gives you an idea of something like that where you could substitute your spicy greens for the collards: The spicy salad mix is looking awesome this week and it's truly not very spicy. Some types of mustard greens are hotter than others, but this blend is fairly mild. I love the nutty taste of these greens and enjoy the fact that they are versatile enough to eat raw or cooked. Let us know what you think! We have one more butternut squash for you this week, along with sage as an herb. If you've never had a pasta made with butternut and sage, you must try it! There are tons of recipes out there and this is just an example. You could also lightly wilt the mustard greens on this dish to good effect. When we've made this in the past we have included chopped toasted hazelnuts too: If you don't plan to use you sage leaves fresh, this herb is very amenable to drying. Just hang your bunch upside down and the leaves will dry nicely. We just leave our dried bunch hanging like that and break off a leaf or two whenever we need sage. It's a great herb for many fall dishes, especially that thanksgiving stuffing! Hope you all have a great week!
Share 19 - week of Sept 21st content media
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rainsandsun
Sep 14, 2021
In Newsletters 2021
In the share this week: 1 butternut squash 2 lbs tomatoes 1 bunch cilantro 2 sweet peppers 1 medium garlic 1 bunch salad turnips Thoughts from Farmer Anna: It feels like spring again on the farm, with lots of little baby plants around. Pictured above are french breakfast radishes (left) and red russian salad kale (right). It is so gratifying to see neat little rows of seedlings popping up, especially when there aren't any weed seedlings mixed in (yet). This week we're finally feeling caught up with seeding and weeding. The weather has been perfect for working and we've had lots of help with weeding from Steve's mom, who shows up many days for a few hours for some weed pulling meditation :) It feels like perfect timing for our farm open house this coming Sunday. The farm will be physically ready and looking nice, the goldenrod is peaking on the hillside, and our workload is lightening so we're feeling mentally prepared to gather you all here on the farm. The veggies are slowly starting to transition to more cool weather crops. We have butternut squash in this week's share. I love these dense and hearty winter squashes and they always grow better than the other winter squash varieties. It looks like we'll have enough to give this week and next so that all of the half shares will get a butternut. These squash typically store well, so don't feel like you have to use it up this week. However, the crops in this week's share lend themselves very well to this awesome African-inspired peanut stew recipe that features butternut squash. In fact, you could really add in the sweet peppers and turnips as well and use every item in your share for this meal: Our first salad turnip planting of the fall was a little dense, so the roots are on the smaller side. I absolutely love the smell of these turnips when we harvest them, especially when it's been awhile since we've had them. The insect pressure is high at the end of summer (even when the planting is covered with row cover), so these roots aren't the most beautiful of the season, but they are still quite tasty! Throw them into your peanut stew or a curry this week. We also have some radishes, arugula and sugar snap peas coming on this week, that are available for swapping or add-ons. I love the flavors of fall so I'm very excited about the coming weeks!
Share 18 - week of Sept 14th content media
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rainsandsun
Sep 07, 2021
In Newsletters 2021
In the share this week: 2 lbs mixed slicer tomatoes 1 bunch cilantro 2 sweet peppers 1 bag sweet potato greens 1 small garlic 1 bunch green onions 1 bunch beets Thoughts from Farmer Anna: I hope you all had a lovely Labor Day weekend! We did a short camping trip with the kids up to Cowan Lake State Park in Ohio. We only stayed one night and it rained the whole night, so we weren't able to get in the hiking and morning fire building that we had planned, but our tent stayed pretty dry and we ended up running into some friends who were also camping there! It can be tough to fit in camping trips during the farm season, but the kids really enjoy them so we are hoping to make that happen more often. Before we left on Saturday, we were able to get a few beds prepped and crops seeded for fall. Spinach went in last Friday and it's been near perfect germination conditions, so I'm hoping to see it popping up soon. Today we'll be busy getting 6 more beds ready for lots of lovely turnips, radishes, arugula and spicy salad mix. We are nearing the end of our timeline for field planted crops. Typically, mid-September is the latest you can plant to still harvest a crop in the fall. However, we'll be getting our winter greens into the hoophouses starting in a couple of weeks and continuing on into late October. It's been really lovely to work outside the last week. There is a chill in the air in the morning and the humidity levels are way down. Ideal weather in my opinion! Well, I had thought that the tomatoes were really slowing down production last week, but then we harvested so many on Friday. So that means that everyone is getting 2+ lbs of tomatoes this week, along with some fresh cilantro that I seeded in late July. Cilantro is really hard to germinate in hot weather so I'm pleased that we got it going in time to give it with a good amount of tomatoes. If I were you, I would definitely make some fresh pico de gallo this week: It's been a big year for beets on the farm. I know they are not everyone's favorite vegetable, but I also know there are some serious beet lovers among you. For many people (myself included), beets are an acquired taste due to their very earthy qualities. It's important to pair them with strong acidic flavors (vinaigrette, lemon juice, balsamic, cheese) to balance out their earthiness. I've found that I really love the texture and flavor of beets when properly balanced with acid and something roasty, crunchy like toasted walnuts. I thought it would work well to use your beet green along with some roasted beets this week. You could even thrown in your sweet potato greens into the mix as well: Hope you all have a great week!
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rainsandsun
Aug 31, 2021
In Newsletters 2021
In the share this week: 1 lb roma beans 1 pie pumpkin or 2 small delicata squash 3 zucchini + squash 1 lb red onions 2 eggplant 1 sweet pepper 1 bag sweet potato greens (pictured below) Thoughts from Farmer Anna: I don't know about you, but I'm feeling ready for the start of September coupled with the cooler temperatures this week. I'm even good with all of the rain that is coming with these cooler temps. It means that we may not be able to prep the beds we'd like to this week, but we can always pivot and get other work done. We'll finish processing yellow onions, thin rutabaga, put down lots of landscape fabric in the aisles of our beds to smother weeds, and continue to trellis and prune the tomatoes in the hoophouses. The share this week feels like a big shift. We thought we'd give you a break from tomatoes for a week since they've been in shares for 6 shares in a row. There are still a good amount in the store if you'd like to swap or add any though. I know not everyone is a huge tomato fan, but some of you could probably eat them as often as possible :) Our second succession of zucchini and summer squash is producing heavily this week, so everyone will get 3 of those this week along with a mix of eggplant. Zucchini and eggplant make a nice pairing in many dishes, including the classic ratatouille. You could use your red onions along with any leftover or extras tomatoes to make a beautiful summery dish like this: Our unusual vegetable for the week is sweet potato greens! The green leaves of the sweet potato vines are commonly eaten in many asian cultures and I can attest that animals like deer prefer them to almost any other greens on the farm. They are a great way to eat your greens in late summer when many of the other greens are not producing well. The texture and usage of the greens is similar to spinach, and although they can be eaten raw, they are much better cooked. We are big fans of throwing chopped greens into soups or frittatas (which is maybe what I'll do with these this week). Here's a link with more info about cooking and preparing sweet potato greens: https://www.epicurious.com/archive/blogs/editor/2012/08/cooking-with-sweet-potato-greens.html Sadly, our delicata and pie pumpkin plantings did not do very well this year. Someday we are hoping to either contract with another farmer to grow some of these crops that take up a lot of space, or to rent some more land nearby to plant these. It can be a bit of a struggle to keep these plants healthy with cucumber beetles, squash beetles and vine borers around. So some of the half shares will get two small delicata squash instead of a pie pumpkin since we are limited on those. The pie pumpkins can be used for decoration for awhile before you cook them if you like. They should keep for a couple of months. The delicata squash keep for about 1 month. I am looking forward to having many of you out to the farm for our open house in less than 3 weeks! The date for the open house is September 19th from 1-5 pm and here are the important details: -Parking is up the gravel driveway at 10038 Marshall Rd (we'll post a sign by the road) -We'll lead farm tours at 2 pm and 4 pm -Collaborative tile painting project (favorite veggie, what you love about CSA or local food, anything else farm or garden related that inspires you) -Kids are welcome to play down by the house at 10050 Marshall (trampoline, swings, etc) as long as a parent is present I would love to answer your questions about our growing practices and anything else you would like to know about our farm. These get-togethers are also a great way to meet some of your fellow CSA members!
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rainsandsun
Aug 24, 2021
In Newsletters 2021
In the share this week: 1 lb slicer tomatoes 1 pint cherry tomatoes 2 sweet italian peppers 1 bag specialty peppers 1 lb green beans or 2 zucchini 1 bag carrots 1 delicata squash Thoughts from Farmer Anna: I've come to the realization that August is a tough month for me because we are planting almost as many beds as we were in April, but we are no longer fresh and we have weeks of temps in the 90s. We can feel the coming seasonal transition. Days are getting a bit shorter, many summer crops are starting to decline, and we have a limited window of time to seed the remainder of our fall crops. It's the last big push before we begin to slow our work here on the farm. The year that Steve and I started dating, I was training for the Chicago marathon. He was such an awesome support through my training process and even jumped on the course and ran 10 miles with me during the actual race. I remember so clearly how I felt at mile 23. You've already run so far, so it seems like those last three miles should be no big deal. In reality, they are the hardest miles of the marathon. So after that experience, anytime we were struggling to get that last bit of something finished we'd say we were at mile 23. I think mid to late August on the farm is just about mile 23 of the season :) The awesome part, is that once you realize this, the work and stress are much more manageable. You know you can do it because you've done it before. Alrighty, now to some fun veggie things! New in the share this week we have delicata squash. This is a small and very sweet winter squash. Typical ways to prepare it included cutting it in half lengthwise and roasting, or cutting little half moon pieces from the halves before cooking if you'd like it to cook faster or you want to saute. The skin of this winter squash is thin, so you can leave it on while cooking and eat it like you would a potato skin. Lots of fiber and many of the vitamins and minerals are present in the skin! Here's a great recipe for a breakfast skillet with delicata squash and sweet peppers: Also new this week for some are the specialty peppers. You get a few banana, poblano and jalapeno peppers in your mix. We love to quick pickle banana and jalapeno peppers for use on sandwiches, salads, pasta, nachos, etc. That would be a great way to put those peppers to use. The poblano peppers have a mild heat and are great for adding to chili or a stir fry, like this recipe below that includes lots of summer veggies:
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rainsandsun
Aug 17, 2021
In Newsletters 2021
In the share this week: 1 lb green beans 1+ lb mixed slicer tomatoes 1 lb red onions 1 small garlic 2 sweet italian peppers 1 bunch radishes 1 bag salad mix Thoughts from Farmer Anna: Our family had a very nice trip last week during our CSA break. We went up to Michigan to visit with Steve's brother and family. All of the kids had a blast playing together and we got to meet a nephew born last September. We were even able to have a perfect beach day at a state park on Lake Michigan. The water was warm enough to swim, and we met up with grad school friends that grew up in the area and happened to be in town at the same time. Pure bliss! It's always hard for me to leave the farm in the midst of the growing season, and I never really stop thinking about it while I'm away, but stepping back for a few days is really important for my mental and physical health. We are also incredibly lucky to have such an awesome farm crew that kept everything running while we were gone. This week I'm happy to be back on the farm, working to get lots of fall crops in the ground to fill out the second half of our season. Here's what we're planting this week: radicchio, turnips, radishes, arugula, kale, watermelon radishes, and lettuces. The crops we've put in over the last few weeks (napa cabbage, kohlrabi, beets, carrots, green onions) are establishing and looking good! Fingers crossed for a productive fall. We have a couple of new items in the share this week: sweet italian peppers and yellow onions. The sweet peppers are a long italian variety that I really love. They have a thinner wall than most bell peppers and are quite tasty. I think they are deliciously sweet, but some folks have said that they occasionally get just a bit of heat from the red ones. You'll have to let me know what you think. The yellow onions are the first of our storage onions that you'll be seeing a good bit of over the second half of the season. This variety dries down really well, stores better than our others and is very tasty. Radishes aren't new this season, but it's been awhile since we've had them in shares. I've never tried planting them in July before, but we had some beds with a failed third cucumber planting and I thought we'd give a quick radish planting a try in the heart of summer. Well, it looks like it was pretty successful! We harvested a lot of beautiful bunches yesterday. I haven't tried any just yet, but I'm guessing they will be decently spicy since their heat level generally corresponds to the temperatures outside. It feels a bit magical to be harvesting radishes in August! You could make a really wonderful salad this week with many of your share ingredients: salad mix, radishes, sweet peppers, tomatoes, and onions. If you want to do something a little different though, you could roast up your sweet peppers, radishes and green beans (substituted for the peas in the recipe below). I would probably throw in some onion or garlic to the roasting tray too: Or cook up your peppers with tomatoes, onions and garlic in a peperonata: It seems like you will probably have no trouble using up these lovely summer veggies this week! Have a good one :)
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rainsandsun
Aug 03, 2021
In Newsletters 2021
In the share this week: 1+ lb mixed tomatoes 1 pint cherry tomatoes 1 lb red onions 1 lb roma beans 1 bunch carrots Specialty peppers, bell peppers or eggplant 1 bunch thai basil Thoughts from Farmer Anna: Tomato city this week. Our heritage varieties are coming on really strong this week, so everyone will get at least 1.5 lbs in their regular share. Here's a rundown on the different slicer varieties we are growing this year: Yellow with red striping - Margold Dark, almost purplish (similar to Cherokee Purple) - Marnerno Green and Pink Striped - Pink Berkeley Tie Dye Dark pink, smaller - Martha Washington Bright red - BHN589 Bright yellow - BHN871 The top four varieties are known as heritage tomatoes. They are the result of crosses between heirloom tomatoes and have been selected for excellent flavor and texture. These plants have a good bit more disease resistance than most heirloom tomatoes as well, which allows us to grow them over a longer season. Margold and Martha Washington are a little lower acid than the other types, which makes them taste a bit sweeter in my opinion. The last two tomatoes on the list are really solid determinate hybrid tomatoes. The breeder didn't give them very exciting names, but we've found the red variety to be just what a lot of people want in a classic red slicer tomato - great flavor, slightly firmer for sandwiches, good meatiness. You are also getting another pint of cherry tomatoes this week since our plants are still producing those like crazy! Here are our three cherry tomato varieties: Sungold - orange and super sweet Cherry Bomb - red, larger with a great balanced flavor Black Cherry - purplish, large and with a complex floral character If you love to slice your tomatoes and eat them fresh, here is a simple recipe for a thai basil dressing that you can drizzle over them: Thai basil has an anise, clove quality that is really lovely. If you don't want to use your thai basil in a dressing and don't have another use for it right away, this is a good herb to dry by handing upside down. We have been giving you so many carrots over the last few weeks! This current planting is looking awesome, so hopefully you are enjoying your carrots in lots of ways. These are awesome for eating raw and we often use them as much as onions in so many dishes - soups, sauteed side dishes, fried rice, etc. They keep really well in the fridge for a while as long as you take the greens off first. New in shares this week are roma or romano beans. These are a larger, flat pod italian green bean. We love the flavor of these beans and the fact that they are bigger and easier to pick. If you are in need of some green bean inspiration, here is a tasty recipe for stewed romanos and tomatoes: Share 13 marks the official half-way point of our CSA season! We hope you have been enjoying your share thus far and we are looking forward to the second half of the season after our one week CSA break next week. It is a perfect time for us to relax and rejuvenate so that we can come back fresh to tackle the rest of the season!
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rainsandsun
Jul 27, 2021
In Newsletters 2021
In the share this week: 1 lb mixed slicer tomatoes 1 pint cherry tomatoes 1 bunch carrots 1 bunch beets 2 eggplant, 2 bell peppers, or specialty pepper mix 1 lb sweet or red onions 1 head summer crisp lettuce Thoughts from Farmer Anna: We are officially in the midst of the dog days of summer. This is an interesting phrase and I just learned the full meaning of it recently. Mostly when we refer to the 'dog days of summer' we mean the super hot, humid sunny days that we typically experience in July and early August. The reason this time of year is called the 'dog days' is based on astrology. The dog star 'Sirius' (I'm looking at you Harry Potter fans!) is part of the Canis Major constellation and rises and sets in the same part of the sky as the sun at this time of year. The ancient Romans thought that because the star was so bright it gave off extra heat that added to the sun's warmth in mid-summer. Interesting stuff, no? In any case, it's been ten days since our last rain (we didn't get any showers on the farm this past Sunday) and over 90 degrees and humid for the next few days, so I definitely think we are in dog days in every sense of the phrase. We are still busily flipping beds this week. I took a picture right after we moved some tarps last week, that shows you just how effective these tarps are at smothering weeds and crops (see above). The beds on the right were mowed and tarped 2-3 weeks prior to tarp moving and have very little residue left. After the pic was taken, we broadforked those beds to loosen the soil, added some compost-based fertilizer and lightly harrow the top 1-2 inches of soil to get them ready for the next crops (fall cabbages, kohlrabi and kale). You can also see the two fields we are cover cropping for this season in the background of this photo. The sorghum sundangrass looks a lot like corn and grows to be taller than me. We'll mow it in the next couple of weeks, let it regrow for another 6 weeks, then mow and tarp it for overwintered onions. I love seeing all of that beautiful biomass that will be turned into the soil to increase our organic matter and feed all of the organisms there, which will in turn feed our crops next year. This period of no rain will force those cover crops to put down really deep roots that can bring up minerals from lower soil layers, so that is a definite plus. More tomatoes this week and even cherry tomatoes for everyone! In past years, we haven't been able to pick enough cherry tomatoes in a week to supply our 65-70 weekly shares. This year I changed our management strategy slightly, hoping that we would have a big flush of these little sweeties - and it worked! We grow three different types of cherry tomatoes: sungold - super sweet orange, cherry bomb - classic red, and black cherry - big purplish tomato with complex flavor. You may get one, two or all three types in your pint depending on what's coming on strongest this week. We are back to orange carrots this week and they are really nice. There are still some rainbow carrots available for adding or swapping in the farmigo store, but these will be bagged instead of bunched as the greens were really going downhill. Our mid-summer beet planting came out very well, so those are in share again this week. I know you've had more beets than usual this year and they are not everyone's favorite veggie. If you are among the beet unsure, may I suggest making them into a deliciously moist chocolate cake? This was the first way that I found to enjoy beets when we received them in CSA shares many years ago: If you are more adventurous and want to take your beet game to the next level, you might consider combining them with your eggplant (Tues and Wed shares) and making a beet baba ganoush: If you are a meat eater, this is definitely the week for the perfect BLT. Our summer crisp lettuce leaves seem to be perfectly sandwich sized and the tomatoes are peak. This classic summer meal is always a favorite in our house! Hope you all have a great week!
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rainsandsun
Jul 20, 2021
In Newsletters 2021
In the share this week: 1 lb mixed slicer tomatoes 1 head garlic 1 lb green beans 1 bunch rainbow carrots 2 slicer cucumbers or 1 quart pickling cukes 1 bunch green onions 1 bunch curly green kale Thoughts from Farmer Anna: It's onion harvest week! We brought in 3 full beds of onions between Wednesday last week and Monday this week. I'm not yet sure how many pounds of onions we are drying, but it's a lot. It seems like a decent bit more than last year although we planted about the same amount of onions this year. We have red and yellow storage onions, with a lot more of the yellow ones because they tend to dry better. Let's hope that they mostly dry down nicely and we don't lose too many to rot during the curing process! We cure (dry) the onions for 2-3 weeks, until their tops and the outer protective skins are thoroughly dry. Then we'll trim the tops and roots and pack them into storage boxes so we can give them in shares for a good part of the second half of the season. We are also gearing up to get many of our fall plantings in the ground from late July through August. It's a little bit like a second spring, as we turn over lots of beds and start putting in cooler weather fall crops again. We'll plant cabbage, kohlrabi, sugar snap peas, napa cabbage, chard, radicchio, kale, fennel, rutabaga, and of course lots more carrots, lettuces, beets, turnips and radishes. This week, we're still in the heart of the summer as far as harvests go. The tomatoes are excellent these first few weeks of harvest. Our second cucumber planting is going strong, so you'll have those in your shares this week as well. We love a simple and refreshing cucumber and tomato salad when it's hot outside: Our kale plantings are still looking good for mid-July. Most years the plants nearly stop producing at this point. I know some of you love kale and are always happy to have more, while others might not be the biggest fans. Remember, you can always blanch and freeze hearty greens like kale for use in soups in the winter. I also thought this kale and roasted carrot recipe sounded wonderful and would be gorgeous with your rainbow carrots: Speaking of the rainbow carrots, they are lots of fun but aren't always as nicely shaped as the orange ones. The yellow and red/orange carrots seem more like a wild root sometimes becoming long but not filling out as much as the orange carrots we are used to seeing. Steve, who has a degree in plant breeding, says that the orange carrot varieties have had many decades of selection and breeding behind them while the newer colored carrots have not. My favorite colored carrot variety is the purple ones that have an orange center. These seem to mostly have a decent size and shape as well. It's important to note that the purple color will fade a bit with cooking, so if you want to really preserve the wow factor it's best to slice them in rounds and eat them raw with some kind of salad. Have a great week everyone!
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rainsandsun
Jul 13, 2021
In Newsletters 2021
In the share this week: 1 lb tomatoes 1 medium garlic bulb 1 bunch red onions 1 lb green beans 2 green/purple peppers or mixed eggplant 1 bag salad mix 1 bunch sweet basil Thoughts from Farmer Anna: The tomatoes are on! When we first start picking tomatoes, they seem to ripen at such a trickle and I wonder when we'll have enough to give in all of our shares. Then all of the sudden - boom - we are harvesting pounds and pounds of them every other day. Most of the tomatoes in this first round are really nice heritage varieties. These varieties are crosses between different types of heirloom tomatoes. Heirlooms are known for their amazing and complex flavors, but most of them have poor resistance to many fungal and other diseases. By crossing varieties together to produce a hybrid tomato, delicious flavors are maintained and disease resistance is improved. Being a certified organic farm, this is especially important for us because we are not using chemical sprays to control disease on our plants. This is also the reason that we grow most of our tomatoes under cover in hoophouses. Too much rain and soil splashing on the tomato leaves, encourages disease and the plants die off much more quickly. Controlling how much water the plants get also prevents some of the skin cracking as fruits ripen. This share is such a shift from the previous few weeks. We have so many new crops to share! In addition to the tomatoes, there are green beans, garlic, red onions, and peppers or eggplant. With both tomatoes, basil and garlic in your share, you might consider making bruschetta. This recipe uses cherry tomatoes, but any tomato works well for this tasty summer appetizer: Most of you probably have tried and true green bean recipes, but if you are looking for some inspiration, we enjoy making a tahini sauce for our beans. You could also add in your bell peppers if you are getting those this week (Tues and Wed shares). Something like this recipe: If you are getting eggplant this week (Thurs and Sat shares), this veggie pairs really well with tomatoes, onion and garlic. I like the sound of this pasta recipe below. Also, this site looks like an amazing resource for CSA friendly recipes in general: The rain early this week is keeping us from some of the weeding that I'd like to get done. Instead, we are keeping up with seeding flats for fall crops, working on our new walk-in cooler, and finishing processing the dried garlic. If it dries out a bit later this week, we'll pull the first onions to start curing in the greenhouse. It looks like we'll have a good amount of nice red and yellow onions this year. Hope you all have a wonderful week!
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rainsandsun
Jul 06, 2021
In Newsletters 2021
In the share this week: 1 bunch carrots 1 head celery 1 head cabbage 1 bunch beets 1 bunch sweet onions 2 summer squash or zucchini 1 bunch lemon or sweet basil Thoughts from Farmer Anna: Oh July. I get a bit tired around this time each season. Maybe it's the heat and humidity? Maybe it's the accumulation of weeks of the farm grind? Maybe it's the increased disease and pest pressure? Maybe it's the few weeds we haven't gotten to going to seed? Maybe it's the realization that summer only just began a few weeks ago?! Most likely it's a bit of all of those things. Over the years, I've found a better work/life balance with the farm and I've noticed the seasonal nature of my energy levels and emotional state. It's actually become a comfort to find myself entering these seasonal phases that I know so well. I've been through it enough, that I know that this fatigue will pass. I have an amazing farm crew this year and that has really helped to balance the load for all of us. The farm is looking great for early July! The tomatoes are slowly starting to ripen and should be on in full force in just a couple of weeks. Peppers and eggplant are getting there too. This week I'm also prepping for a virtual field day with the Organic Association of KY (OAK) that will take place on Friday afternoon. I've enjoyed working with the folks at OAK to put this together and I hope that aspiring farmers and gardeners will find something useful from it. The focus of the field day is on the tools we use for our minimal tillage production system. I'll talk a lot about cover cropping, tarps, our two-wheeled walk-behind tractor, and season extension. If you are interested in attending, you can register for free at this link (https://www.oak-ky.org/farmer-field-days-2021). The share this week includes so many solid veggies. I'm guessing that some of you may be getting a little tired of cabbage and zucchini. This is the last week of cabbage for the spring and it does keep in your fridge for a few weeks. Both cabbage and zucchini are such versatile vegetables that melt and take on other flavors that they are cooked with. I love the idea of using these together in a warm and cheesy casserole, like this recipe below: Beets are back again this week for the 'A' half share that haven't gotten any yet. The Tues/Wed shares will get golden beets that are more cylindrical in shape and the Thurs/Sat shares will get red beets. Carrots are a great partner with beets in many recipes, like the simple one below that also incorporates basil. The recipe calls for sweet basil, but adds lemon juice - so I'm thinking that your lemon basil would be perfect here: Speaking of basil, I should tell you the best way to keep your basil. Treat this herb like a cut flower, snip the very ends of the stems and put it in a cup of water. Change the water every couple of days and your basil should last at least a week and will probably start rooting. You can pluck off leaves as you need them for recipes. Of course, I also enjoy using up a whole bunch of basil at once for pesto. This lemon basil is especially good as a pesto paired with chicken or fish. Ohh, maybe a chicken lemon basil pesto pasta with sauteed zucchini and sweet onions? Yum! Have a great week everyone!
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