Forum Posts

rainsandsun
Sep 21, 2022
In Newsletters 2022
In the share this week: 1 head celeriac 1 bunch radishes 2 bell peppers 1 lb onions 1 bunch dill 1 bag spicy salad mix 1 pie pumpkin Thoughts from Farmer Anna: It's been a little while since I've updated you on our straw bale house building progress. We are nearly finished with the first coat of lime plaster. We ran out of lime before finishing the last bedroom and we're waiting on a new shipment. Though we need to put two more coats of plaster on the straw walls before we're finished, we are getting a better idea of how the house will look once complete. Plastering is labor intensive, but it has been really rewarding to do this first coat ourselves. We are hoping to hire out the next two coats but have had some difficulty getting plaster contractors to respond or get back to us. It sounds like this is a common experience, as there really just aren't enough tradespeople to go around these days. Thankfully, we had a couple of plasterers stop out just yesterday to take a look at the project. These guys are the real deal. They both grew up and were trained in England and one has even had experience plastering a straw bale house. Hopefully they come back to us with a reasonable quote, because we really need their experienced crew if we have a chance of getting these next two coats of plaster on before it gets too cold. The share this week is nearly identical to last week's share, except we have a fresh crop of radishes on instead of the swiss chard. I still wanted to pass along a swiss chard recipe that could also incorporate your spicy salad mix as well since it pairs very nicely with eggs: I'm so happy with these little pie pumpkins this year! We do love to make pumpkin pie with fresh pumpkin and yours should keep for a month or two if you'd like to save it for Thanksgiving time. If you'd like to try something a little different, winter squashes are an awesome risotto ingredient. Here's an idea to try and I think it would be delicious with your dill swapped in for the rosemary in this recipe: It's been super dry on the farm the last two weeks and now pretty darn hot the last few days. The veggies could really use some rain, but we've been irrigating them to keep them happy. The plants and humans will definitely appreciate the cooler temperatures on the way. We have lots of delicious fall things on the way!
Share 19 - week of Sept 20th content media
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rainsandsun
Sep 13, 2022
In Newsletters 2022
In the share this week: 1 celeriac/celery head (pictured below) 1 bag spicy salad mix 1 bunch swiss chard 1 lb red onions 1 pie pumpkin 2 sweet italian peppers 1 bunch dill Thoughts from Farmer Anna: Fall is really creeping up on us this week! These last two mornings have been cool enough that it feels good to wear a jacket for a bit before the sun warms us up. It's been harder to get out of bed in the morning since it's so dark. For the record, I'm on team standard time if we have to give up the time change, but honestly I appreciate it and think that a few days of pain in the spring is better than some really dark and brutal mornings for several months in late fall and winter. Seems like I might be in the minority though :) I'm excited about all of the fall crops showing up in the share this week too! Pie pumpkins are always fun and typically keep on the counter for several months, so you can use yours as decoration for awhile before you cook it up. I'll post some recipe ideas for them next week. The swiss chard is finally looking pretty good this fall! We've been dealing with some fungal disease that has affected our chard crops the last few years and trying to fight off the goldfinches (which have learned to nibble on these greens - who knew?!). I'm planning to make a bean soup featuring some swiss chard for our farm lunch tomorrow. I'll share a recipe idea for that next week too. Our spicy salad mix is looking fabulous, so you'll get that this week and next. Don't be intimidated by the 'spicy' moniker, these greens aren't so hot but they are baby mustard greens so they have slighty nutty and mildly spicy similar to a radish. We love these greens fresh in a salad, or cooked in something like a frittata (maybe combined with your chard?). The craziest veggie in your share this week is the celeriac, although it may actually be regular celery that has grown a bigger root. Celeriac is celery root that has been selected for larger root size. Honestly, we thought we were planting a regular celery variety this year, but it has grown some fairly big roots so we're not totally sure which one it was supposed to be. The bonus for you is that each of your roots has a pretty nice amount of celery attached to it. Garden celery is always a bit more fibrous that what you are used to in the store, but it is also much more flavorful so we like to chop it small before cooking it into soups, etc. The root portion of the vegetable is also great for soups and I love the idea of combining your dill with it: You could also use some or all of your celeriac along with other veggie (or scraps) to make a really delicious vegetable stock: Finally, if you don't want to use your dill in the soup above, it is pretty great paired with fish. This is a quick weeknight dinner using your dill and sweet peppers: Hope you all have a great week!
Share 18 - week of Sept 13th content media
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rainsandsun
Sep 06, 2022
In Newsletters 2022
In the share this week: 2 lbs tomatoes 1 bunch cilantro 2 eggplant or 2 summer squash 1 lb green beans 1 bunch green onions 1 pint peppers (jalapenos, aji rico, or mix) 2 bell peppers Thoughts from Farmer Anna: We got away for a couple of days this weekend to go camping with the kids and my parents and to attend the Nowhere Else music festival (http://www.nowhereelsefestival.com/) that was originally scheduled for May of 2020. It often feels difficult to do the planning and packing necessary to get away, but it sure is worth it. Camping forces all of us to slow down to human speed, focusing only on the basic necessities and relaxing. This trip was even better since we got to listen to some amazing music while we relaxed. The kids did admirably well at the music festival, even though it did get boring for them at times and we forgot to pack stuff to keep them occupied. And at the campground, our youngest took off on her bike for the first time and didn't want to stop. I think they'll have fond memories of seeing awesome live music at a farm in the middle of nowhere :) As we enter September, we have the last hurrah of some of the summer veggies in the share this week - green beans and eggplant. One of our members told me that she loves to make eggplant lasagna, which does sound like an awesome way to use this veggie! You could also cook up your tomatoes, peppers and green onions into a pasta sauce to use with the lasagna. Here's a recipe for some ideas: The rain this weekend, while very good for the farm, is also accelerating the demise of some crops that are susceptible to fungal disease late in the year. Many of the tomato plants are looking tough, our second planting of zucchini and summer squash has just barely come on and now the plants are starting to wilt and die. This is all to be expected at this time of year and it comes with a mix of sadness and relief. The slow down is coming and the fall crops that I love so much will be here soon. In fact, next week we'll have a big shift in the share veggies as we turn again to more greens and our winter squash, along with some other special once-a-season crops. If you have too much cilantro this week, remember that you can freeze it for later. We like to blend it up with olive oil and freeze flat in a zip top bag. You could also make this cilantro sauce that would keep in your fridge for a couple of weeks. It's delicious drizzled on lots of dishes! Have a great week everyone!
Share 17 - week of Sept 6th content media
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rainsandsun
Aug 30, 2022
In Newsletters 2022
In the share this week: 1 lb mixed tomatoes 1 bunch green onions 1 bunch cilantro 1 medium head garlic 2 summer squash 1 lb green beans 1 pint aji rico, poblano, or jalapeno peppers 1 sweet italian pepper Thoughts from Farmer Anna: It's salsa time! We have the rare convergence of tomatoes and peppers with cilantro in the share this week. Add garlic and onions from previous weeks and you'll have a seriously tasty salsa in the works. We love to make a roasted salsa around here and it would be great with your tomatoes, sweet pepper, some amount of the hotter peppers, onion and garlic, with cilantro stirred in after blending. Here's a recipe idea for inspiration: The aji rico peppers are new this year and I'm impressed by their production and flavor. We only planted about 20 ft of these little guys, but they have put off lots of fruits! The Tuesday and Thursday shares are getting these this week and we should be able to give them to Wednesday/Saturday shares next week. These peppers taste similar to a bell pepper with a good kick of heat (about half as much as a jalapeno). They would be an excellent addition to your roasted salsa, just add as many as you think you can handle. They would also be great blistered like shishitos or stuffed with cheese like a jalapeno popper. Or you could preserve them in vinegar and make this Puerto Rican style hot sauce: We're on week 3 of green beans, and it's possible they'll still be on next week before they are done for the season, so if you are tired of cooking them you could make dilly beans with this week's batch. Actually, we may have dill in next week's share so maybe you should hold off until then. Or just start pickling the beans this week and add the dill in when you get it. I'm going to leave you this week with a view of our happy little sunflower field. Our summer cover crop mix included sunflowers and they are peaking this week. These flowers lift our spirits every time we glance over that direction and I'm going to be sad to have to mow them down later this week, but we need to make sure the other crops in the mix don't go to seed. All of the awesome biomass from these cover crops will be returned to the soil and mixed in before we plant our overwintering onions in late October. Have a great week everyone!
Share 16 - week of August 30th content media
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rainsandsun
Aug 24, 2022
In Newsletters 2022
In the share this week: 1 lb tomatoes 1 lb yellow onions 1 lb green beans 1 bag carrots 2 sweet long italian peppers 1 small garlic 4 banana peppers Thoughts from Farmer Anna: It has been a glorious couple of weeks to work outside. The weather has really been near perfect for this time of year. We are making good progress getting all the fall things planted and are starting to get caught up on weeding as well. It's been just a little dry over the last couple of weeks, but that is preferable to too much rain. Working on the farm in the fall feels like such a reward for making it through the brutal days of June and July. I know it's not actually fall yet, but my brain keep going there because we are already in the period of rapid shortening of day length. It's a race to get our fall crops planted at this time of year, because if we miss planting dates by even a few days it can mean that crop won't have time to reach maturity as the days continue to get shorter in the fall. The share this week is full of classic summer crops and pretty similar to last week, but we'll soon start shifting to some new crops. A new planting of zucchini and summer squash, pie pumpkins and butternut squash are coming soon, along with our red onions, green onions, celeriac, cilantro, dill and kale. Turnips and radishes will reappear sometime in September, along with sugar snap peas and the return of lots of salad mix. The end of August seems to be the lowest point of production for our lettuces, but it looks like our newer plantings are healthier and we are hoping to have enough lettuce to start giving in shares again in a few weeks. Here are a few recipe ideas for this week. If you've never roasted green beans, I would give it a try. Throwing carrots into the mix makes for a beautiful and delicious side dish! https://biteswithbri.com/roasted-green-beans-and-carrots/ And here is something you can do with your banana peppers and the long italian sweet peppers: https://www.chilipeppermadness.com/recipes/stuffed-banana-peppers/ Have a good week everyone!
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rainsandsun
Aug 17, 2022
In Newsletters 2022
In the share this week: 1 lb mixed tomatoes 1 lb yellow onions 1 bag carrots 1 lb green beans 1 small garlic 2 bell peppers 2 italian long sweet peppers Thoughts from Farmer Anna: It's hard to believe that August is already half over. These last few weeks have whizzed by with really full days on the farm and working on getting the exterior bales of our house plastered. The kiddos are getting ready to head back to school tomorrow morning and we are welcoming the structure that will bring back to our days. On the farm, we are still getting lots of fall crops planted this week and will probably harvest our little pumpkins to cure in the greenhouse. Our yellow storage onions are cured and looking pretty beautiful, so we've been working on cleaning those up and getting them out of the greenhouse to make way for the pumpkins :) We are loving this milder weather this week! It's nice for all of our little veggie transplants too. The cooler mornings have me dreaming of the slow down that comes with fall. We have more delicious sweet peppers this week! I really love these sweet long italian peppers that are in your shares this week. My plan for our Wednesday farm lunch is to make a fritatta with peppers and onions and tomato. Something a bit like this: We have a new variety of beans in the shares this week. They are something between a traditional green bean and a bigger roma bean. The variety is called Magnum and they are pretty similar to Kentucky Wonder beans if you are familiar with that variety. They look beautiful and are supposed to have a wonderful flavor (we just started picking them so I haven't had a chance to taste them yet!). Maybe a simple preparation like this one below would be good this week. Let us know what you think of them! I'm going to keep it short and sweet this week, since we've got so much going on. I hope you all are enjoying this glorious weather!
Share 14 - week of Aug 16th content media
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rainsandsun
Aug 10, 2022
In Newsletters 2022
In the share this week: 1 bunch beets 1 bunch carrots 1 pint cherry tomatoes 2 eggplant 2 bell peppers 1 bunch sweet basil Specialty pepper mix (banana, poblano and jalapeno peppers) Thoughts from Farmer Anna: It's pepper time this week! The bell peppers are coming on strong and starting to ripen quickly with the hot weather. We've been harvesting the green, red and yellow peppers pictured above and have some purple bells coming as well (although they are a bit smaller generally). I really love sweet peppers and we use them in so many things. They are frequently sauteed with onions for burrito or taco toppings, and they also find their way into lots of soups, curries, stir-fries and vegetable fritters. Oh and pasta sauce! This seems like a great way to use both your peppers and your eggplant this week: The specialty peppers in your share this week include a mix of banana, poblano and jalapeno peppers. If you want to jazz up the pasta sauce above you could throw in the banana peppers and maybe one of the jalapenos. Alternatively, we love to pickle the banana and jalapeno peppers and then eat them on tacos (did I mention that we love tacos here?) or sandwiches or nachos. We do a simple quick pickle like this: I would just slice both your banana and jalapeno peppers and combine them in the pickling liquid. The heat of the jalapenos is really dampened by pickling and the flavor combo of having those together is quite tasty! If you are sauteeing your bell peppers for tacos, you could slice up the poblano and add that in as well. Poblanos have a mild heat and a nice thin skin. They are also great roasted or blistered and would probably be quite good in that pasta sauce too. This new planting of carrots is looking awesome so far! These are some big beefy carrots for mid-summer. With all of the rain we've had over the past few weeks they have really sized up. We spent a lot of hours in early June hand-weeding these babies so I'm happy to see that our hard work paid off :) Carrots and beets are a natural pairing and if you want to keep it simple, maybe you could roast them together on one of these rainy days: Cherry tomatoes are still producing like crazy this week, while the big tomatoes are slowing down just a bit. We'll definitely have many more weeks of tomatoes, so don't worry about that! We just had lots of other awesome veggies this week. On the farm we are busy getting lots of fall crops planted - carrots, napa cabbage, radicchio, rutabaga, sugar snap peas, and more! It's our last big push of planting for the year and it always feels good in mid-September when we can relax just a bit :) Hope you all have a great week!
Share 13 - week of August 9th content media
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rainsandsun
Aug 02, 2022
In Newsletters 2022
In the share this week: 1 pint cherry tomatoes 1 lb slicer tomatoes 1 lb mixed onions 1 bag salsa verde mix 1 bunch beets 2 bell peppers Thoughts from Farmer Anna: We survived as amazingly intense and wonderful week getting the straw bale walls installed in our new home. The people who attend straw bale building workshops are incredibly interesting and it was a joy to get to know each of them. It was 8 really full days from Saturday 7/23 - 7/30. Our primary job was to feed the 37 workshop participants 3 meals each day (no small feat!), while the workshop lead (Andrew Morrison from www.strawbale.com), instructed and led folks in the building of the straw bale walls. While each day was physically exhausting, we were filled up by the shared work and the new friendships we were fostering with these amazing people. We fed them lots and lots of farm veggies during the week and folks really seemed to appreciate the care and effort we put into the meals each day. It was empowering to find that we were able to pull off these meals for a large gathering. Now we are dreaming up future farm gatherings on the hilltop in the amazing space we are creating between the farm and this house. There is so much more to say about the week and I'm honestly still processing much of it, but I'll leave it at this: our parents are absolutely amazing. All four of them worked with us throughout the week to help prepare meals, wash dishes, keep the meal areas cleaned, keep our kids fed and shuttled to and from art camp, work on key parts of the build, and pretty much taking care of every little detail that came up. This week was a huge community effort in every sense :) I'm happy to be back working on the farm this week. We are in the process of turning over a lot of beds in preparation for fall crops. Most of these crops will get planted over the next few weeks. It's a busy and exciting time on the farm as it starts to look a bit like spring again. We are also still in maintenance mode for our long term crops like tomatoes and peppers. Speaking of peppers, the first of the bell peppers are in the share this week. We are constantly using peppers and onions in burritos and tacos. If you want to try a nice side dish or a topping for a pasta dish, you can saute your peppers and onions with your cherry tomatoes and a few other ingredients in this classic italian peperonata: We have some really beautiful beets for you this week! If you still haven't found a way that you like beets, give this chocolate cake recipe a try. I wouldn't say it's a health food dessert (there is a lot of butter and sugar involved), but the earthy, sweet beets do give it a rich flavor and a very moist texture. It's a winner in our house! This is probably the last big week for the salsa verde bags. Remember you roast all of these ingredients together and then blend them into a salsa. It should keep in your fridge for about a week. It would be tasty with your tacos if you decide to use your peppers and onions that way :) Have a great week everyone!
Share 12 - week of August 2nd content media
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rainsandsun
Jul 19, 2022
In Newsletters 2022
In the share this week: 2 lbs tomatoes 1 lb rainbow carrots 1 lb green beans 2 eggplant 1 salsa verde mix bag and 1 bunch green onions or 1 head garlic and 1 bag salad mix/1 quart pickling cucumbers Thoughts from Farmer Anna: Green beans are finally here this week! It's a bit late for our first picking of green beans because we were trying something a little different this year. As our first succession of bean plantings, I planted pole beans for the first time to see if we could get some smaller, more consistently weekly harvests. Well they've only been putting out a few beans here and there until this week. Luckily, our first bush bean planting is also ready to go this week, so we have plenty of beans for CSA. Since we are harvesting from two different varieties you may notice some really long beans in your bags (those are the pole bean variety) and some shorter beans (the bush beans). All of these beans are stringless and quite tasty. There were just a few random roma beans in with the pole beans too, so you may see a larger flat type bean as well. If you've never tried roasting green beans, they are pretty delicious. I found this side dish recipe with roasted green beans and carrots that would be absolutely beautiful with the rainbow carrots: We decided to bag the rainbow carrots this week instead of bunching because their tops were getting weak. Most of you probably don't use the tops anyway, so that works :) The rain we had Sunday and Monday is a nice recharge for the farm, but I'm noticing that some of the fungal disease that had been held at bay by the dry weather is quickly taking hold. Much of this is expected. Our first zucchini and cucumber plantings never last through July before succumbing to disease. We do have a last cucumber planting that is starting to flower and will hopefully produce a few more cukes in August and we put in a fresh zucchini planting last week, but I'm afraid the plants got fried before they were able to establish. We just started another round of seeds just in case. Our eggplants are chugging away putting off so much gorgeous fruit. I know this can be a tough veggie for people to use, so I wanted to share my favorite way to prepare it - Baba Ganoush! If you like hummus, this is a silkier, smokier version. It really is best made with grilled eggplant for max roasty flavor. The tomatoes are producing really well and the cherry tomatoes are starting to come on pretty strong too, so we should have enough of those for all of the shares after we return from our one-week break. We've been enjoying them on some BLTs, in salads, and just straight up eating them with a touch of salt. Yum! Hope you all have a great week!
Share 11 - week of July 19th content media
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rainsandsun
Jul 12, 2022
In Newsletters 2022
In the share this week: 1 lb mixed tomatoes 1 bunch rainbow carrots 1+ lb sweet onions 2 eggplant (pictured below) 2 zucchini or squash 1 cucumber 1 salsa verde mix bag or 1 small garlic and 1 bag salad mix Thoughts from Farmer Anna: This is a colorful share this week and there are so many items that I'm excited about! Our eggplants are the healthiest plants we've ever grown and are producing fruit earlier than usual. We are growing three varieties this year, the standard black italian globe shaped, a stripy purple and white italian variety, and a long thin asian type. All of these are producing like crazy right now! It's hard to know exactly why some years are better than others for certain crops. It could be that these plants loved the early hot weather and weren't too bothered about it being a bit dry. It could be that our transplants were extra healthy and got them off to a good start. Thanks, by the way, to our homeschooler group that planted all of these on a Thursday morning back in May :) In any case, we'll enjoy the lovely crop this year and make all of the eggplant things. The second of the beautiful, colorful crops this week are the rainbow carrots! These are a mix of purple, orange, red and yellow carrots and this is another crop that looks like our best ever. The bed these are growing in was recently plowed up to make it deeper and ammended with some soil mix that we had been getting from a local microgreens grower. Often times, the colored varieties are carrots do not fill out as well as orange varieties and just are overall a bit weirder. These varieties haven't had as much breeding and selected as the orange types, so they are just more wild. However, it seems like given perfect growing conditions, they will do pretty well too. So we are very excited to give you some extra lovely rainbow carrots this week. There should be enough to give in shares next week too! The third item I'm excited about this week is less colorful but lots of fun - salsa verde mix bags! We aren't quite picking enough tomatillos for everyone in a week, so the Tuesday and Wednesday shares will be getting these this week and next week it will be the Thursday and Saturday shares. These salsa verde bags were something that Steve and I received as CSA members ourselves while in grad school. In your bag you will find a pound of tomatillos, 1 clove of garlic, 1 jalapeno, 1 banana pepper, and 1 small onion. I really love to make a roasted salsa, so you could generally follow the recipe in the link below, or you can just roast all of these items together at 350 for about 30 minutes before blending them together in a food processor or blender. Unfortunately, the spring cilantro is long bolted so we don't have any of that to add to the bags currently. However, I'm seeding a new round this week and I'm hoping the crop will last into late summer when we may be able to add cilantro into the bags too. If you happened to freeze any from our spring crop, you could definitely add that. Or if you don't like cilantro this salsa is still delicious without it. We have so many awesome crops this week, I haven't even mentioned the tomatoes yet. They are starting to come on strong, so we have lots of extras available in the store to add or swap in your shares. This week is such a classic summer veggie week, so I'm thinking a ratatouille would be a perfect way to use your eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes and sweet onions! Hopefully you aren't getting sick of the onions by the way. We use so many in our house that I assume other people do too! I really love these sweet onions. This will be the last week we'll have them fresh. We are drying some that will be available in a couple of weeks though. Our garlic is now dry and cured and our two beds of storage onions will soon be harvested and headed for curing as well. All of the sudden, this summer seems like it is just speeding by us! Hope you all have a great week!
Share 10 - week of July 12th content media
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rainsandsun
Jul 05, 2022
In Newsletters 2022
In the share this week: 1 lb heritage tomatoes or cherry tomatoes 1 bunch carrots 2 cucumbers 1 fennel bulb 1 cabbage head 1 bunch sweet onions 1 bunch sweet basil Thoughts from Farmer Anna: The tomatoes are finally coming on this week! It always feels like a long wait for those beautiful orbs to start ripening. They look so big and so green for so long. And I'm always hopeful we'll start picking in late June, but realistically it's the first week of July. Every time. Since they are just getting going, you'll either get a pound of our big tomatoes (and some of them are 1 lb fruits) or a pint of cherry tomatoes. We have four different varieties of heritage tomatoes - marnero (dark purplish, pink - pictured right), margold (yellow with red striping), abigail (dark pink beefsteak - pictured left), and enroza (smaller dark pink). These varieties are delicious hybrids generally created by breeding heirloom tomatoes together to increase disease resistance while maintaining excellent flavor. We also have four varieties of cherry tomatoes this year - cherry bomb (red), sungold (orange/yellow), black cherry (purplish), and sunrise bumblebee (yellow with red striping). We will typically mix these different varieties of cherries in the same pint, but as we start to harvest more we'll have pints of just red cherry tomatoes available too. Our classic red and orange slicing tomatoes come from determinate varieties and those should be coming on in the next week too. Another new item in the share this week is basil. This herb is a classic pairing with tomatoes and would be good sliced on top of this tomato and fennel salad: I like to give lots of recipe ideas for fennel since it seems to be a vegetable that folks have trouble using and getting to like. The key with fennel is to slice it thinly if eating raw and give it enough cook time is sliced thicker. We also have the last of the spring cabbage this week - either a red cabbage or green. We love sauteed cabbage and onions around here and fennel would be a great addition to this mix. I like the idea of doing a spiced version of this side dish as well, so here's an idea for an indian spiced cabbage and fennel dish: We are in the last three weeks before our strawbale workshop and the timeline is tight to get everything finished. Our slab is getting poured this week as long as the rain timing cooperates. It's a weird spot for me, because the farm definitely needs some rain but I'm also hoping for no rain so we can stay on our timeline. Our Wednesday Ft. Thomas market has really been badly affected by weather this season and it looks potentially bad again tomorrow. I'll be sending a separate email out to those of you who pick up shares in Ft. Thomas with a weather contingency plan. Send your good weather vibes our way! Have a good week everyone!
Share 9 - week of July 5th content media
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rainsandsun
Jun 28, 2022
In Newsletters 2022
In the share this week: 1 bunch carrots 1 bunch red long onions (pictured) 1 fennel bulb 1 cucumber 1 bunch dill 2 summer squash or zucchini 1 bag salad mix 1 bunch kale Thoughts from Farmer Anna: We are starting to turn over more beds on the farm from the earliest spring crops and overwintered crops. Believe it or not, we have a good number of beds that will get three crops during the farm season and some are already in their second crop. Nearly all beds get at least two crops each season. Quick bed turnover is one of the reasons that we can grow so much food on less than 2 acres. This week we are planting cucumbers and beans into our early spinach beds and green onions and some trial leeks into the beds that were home to our overwintered spring onions from a month ago. We also completed our first big once-a-season crop harvest yesterday - garlic! Overall, the heads looked pretty good, decent size with very little disease evident. The last couple of weeks without much rain have probably been good for that. Now the heads will cure for a few weeks before they are ready to go out in shares. In house-building news, Steve and Cole (our previous farm hand who is now working on his own property, but is awesome about coming to help us when needed) drove up to a wheat farm a bit southeast of Indianapolis yesterday to get half of the straw bales that we'll need to our house. Today they are back at it getting the other half. We need about 500 total bales for the walls and we were happy to find some relatively close. The first half is taking up most of the space in our farm pack shed and the other half should just fit under the shed roof off the front of the pack shed. Materials logistics feels like one of the hardest parts of building a house (also true of farming to some extent). Luckily, Steve has been able to take a good amount of time off work to brute force many of our logistical challenges! Today the concrete gets poured in the foundation walls, and hopefully we'll have a first floor slab in another week so that the framing crew can get started. We are really down to crunch time trying to be ready for our straw bale wall workshop at the end of July! I'm very excited about the long red onions that are new in your shares this week. They are a fancy italian variety and best for fresh eating. We use tons of onions in our house, and these will probably go in a kale, bean and sausage soup this week. I'm also excited to be digging up the first carrots of the season! We typically have some trouble getting good germination on our first carrot plantings, but these are coming out of one of the hoophouses, so germination was a bit better. You never know how nice or ugly a planting will be until you start digging them, and I have to say that these carrots are pretty decent. To be clear, homegrown carrots always taste amazing. It's just that some plantings have more crazy carrots than others (multiple legs, crazy shapes, etc). We like to include at least one slightly weird carrot in our bunches as proof of authenticity :) These sweeties are delicious raw for snacking, or you could combine some of them with cucumber and onion in this fresh salad: More summer squash and zucchini this week! I might make veggie fritters for our farm lunch tomorrow with zucchini and kohlrabi. I was also reminded of a delicious casserole combo that uses fennel along with zucchini. Fennel has a light anise flavor and pairs really well with sausage since most sausages contain fennel seeds as part of their flavor. If you haven't found a way to use fennel that you liked, please give something like this recipe a try! It has a wonderful flavor and texture combo. Have a great week everyone!
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rainsandsun
Jun 22, 2022
In Newsletters 2022
In the share this week: 1 bunch gold beets 1 head lettuce (summer romaine or summer crisp) 2 zucchini or summer squash (planting pictured below) 1 bunch sweet onions 1 bunch green onions 1 cucumber 1 bunch dill 1 cabbage Thoughts from Farmer Anna: What a wonderful break from the super hot weather we had this past weekend! It gave Steve and my dad time to finish up the insulated concrete form (ICF) walls on the foundation of our house. Those two worked straight through Fathers Day getting this stage of the project finished so that we can stay on our fairly tight timeline leading up to the strawbale wall workshop at the end of July. I helped where I could and kept the farm watered while I was up there. The kids are having fun at the construction site just poking around ("mining") in the dirt and building stuff with sticks like all kids ever love to do. The farm is looking pretty good right now, aside from the fact that it's been a bit dry the last 10 days so we're are having to keep up with watering. The dry weather has given us time to catch up with weeding though, so that is great! We are moving right into the summer crops as we officially begin summer this week! The zucchini and squash are producing beautifully and are very tasty sauteed with the sweet onions in your share this week. The cucumbers are not producing quite as well as hoped and I suspect that they didn't pollinate well during the really hot days last week. Since we had a bit of a reprieve over the weekend I see more small cucumbers that should be sizing up through the week. So anyway, that is why you are only getting 1 cucumber in your shares this week. Happily, our planting of dill lined up perfectly to harvest with the first cukes and it would be fabulous in a fresh salad with your sweet onions (pretty much everything this week is better with sweet onions :) Week 2 of beets, but this week we have golden beets! This variety is called 'Badger Flame' and was bred by one of Steve's professors at UW-Madison. It is a cylidrical shaped beet and has lower levels of geosimin which is the compound that makes beets taste earthy. So if you don't prefer the earthiness of beets generally, you may like this variety. Since you have some big gorgeous heads of lettuce I would make a big salad with roasted beets this week: Speaking of the lettuce, one of our CSA members shared a cooked lettuce recipe with me a few years ago. Cooked lettuce you say? Yep, I had never thought about doing this either even though I love many types of cooked greens, including radicchio which is closely related to lettuce. If you are feeling like trying something new with your big ol' heads of lettuce this week, I'd say give it a try and see what you think! Have a great week everyone!
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rainsandsun
Jun 14, 2022
In Newsletters 2022
In the share this week: 1 bunch beets 1 bunch radishes 1 kohlrabi 1 lb fava beans (pictured) 1 green cabbage 1 bunch green onions 1 head lettuce 1 bunch cilantro Thoughts from Farmer Anna: We have reached the point of the season where I get to complain about the weather a bit. First, the rain. Honestly, we've been getting just about the perfect amount for the last couple of weeks, which means that I haven't had to irrigate the field crops (win!). However, we haven't had much drying out in between rains which means that weeding has fallen significantly behind. The soil needs to be not too wet and not too dry for ideal hoeing and hand weeding conditions. We try our best to use weed prevention strategies, like landscape fabric, as much as possible on the farm, and then mostly use hoes to weed quick crops that are in the ground 60 days or less. One crop that must be hand-weeded, however, are those delicious, sweet, crunchy carrots. Carrots take a long time to germinate compared to many garden veggies (7-21 days) which often gives weeds a head start. The carrot seedlings are also very delicate and can easily be overshadowed by broadleaf weeds. It is certainly a labor of love to grow carrots, but of course it always feels worth it when we start to harvest them. You would not believe how amazing they smell when you pull them out of the earth! Second weather gripe this week is of course, the intense heat and humidity. It is finally drying out enough to do some of the work that we've fallen behind on, but unfortunately it is so hot these next few days that we need to be careful not to push ourselves too hard. I think I may adopt the Spanish siesta for the next few days, and take an extended afternoon break (maybe at the pool with the kids!) and then work some more after dinner when it's not so brutal outside. On the optimistic side, hand weeding carrots is a low intensity activity for these super hot days :) The share this week is a bit of a change up from the last couple of weeks, with most of the veggies making their first appearance for the season. First off, beets! Those who love beets need no introduction or recipe ideas for this sweet and earthy root vegetable. For the many of you who haven't yet found a love of beets I will tell you that they were not my favorite veggie the first several times I tried them. However, I have since found that I really love their sweet earthiness and soft melting texture if it is offset by a vinaigrette, some toasted nuts, and a sharp flavored cheese. We often use our beets in some kind of grain bowl situation, like this one below. https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1016092-farro-salad-with-beets-greens-and-feta You could definitely use your green onions in the grain bowl too! If you want to try something a little different you could use your cilantro along with your beets in this moroccan beet salad: Another veggie that I'm excited about this week is the cabbage! I've come to realize that cabbage is one of my favorites. It is so versatile and easily melds into lots of different dishes. We love to have it in soups or curries (check out the recipe below for curry ideas), but it's also great raw in coleslaw or asian-type salads. This week's share really says curry to me with the cabbage, fava beans, kohlrabi and cilantro. You can pretty much put whatever you like into a curry. Speaking of fava beans, I should give you a quick primer on these if you haven't encountered them before. These are a broad bean similar to a lima bean. They are a special crop that we have just once per season. They do take a little bit of effort to prepare, but it can be a fun activity to get kids involved in. I'd use your shelled beans in a salad or throw them in your grain bowl or curry this week. You'll need to take them out of the pod, then quickly blanch the beans and remove the white outer covering. Here's a tutorial for you: https://www.latimes.com/food/story/2021-04-22/how-to-prepare-fresh-fava-beans-for-cooking Have a great week everyone!
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rainsandsun
Jun 07, 2022
In Newsletters 2022
In the share this week: 1 lb broccoli 2 kohlrabi bulbs 1 bunch swiss chard 1 bunch garlic scapes 1 bunch parsley 1/2 lb sugar snap peas 1 bag salad mix Thoughts from Farmer Anna: We have such an awesome diversity of birds that hang out around the farm. I started a life list a few years ago and we are closing in on 60 different bird species spotted on our property. I love to see the same species coming back again year after year - sometimes just for a few days or a week as they migrate through, sometimes for a month or longer. One of my favorites that we've seen for a few years now is the blue gray gnatcatcher. It's a really tiny little thing, probably not much bigger than a hummingbird. It looks a bit like a mini mockingbird. I've also recently discovered that one of my favorite birding apps (Merlin Bird ID) now has a sound ID feature. You can sit and record the songs and chattering going on around you and the app will pop up most likely birds by sound. It's a lot of fun and is helping me to better recognize common bird songs, and helped me to confidently ID a new and super cool species on the farm - a yellow breasted chat! The sound ID picked up its call a few times and then luckily I heard the call while I was harvesting onions last week and could see the male with his bright yellow chest high up in a tree on the fenceline. I never would have been able to ID him from that distance if I hadn't known to be looking. I love that we have so much biodiversity here to support some really cool species! The share this week is fairly similar to last week, with the addition of garlic scapes, swiss chard, and more kohlrabi. If you haven't prepared kohlrabi before, here's what to do: 1) rip the leaves off (these can be used just like kale if you like - maybe add them in with your chard in the pad thai recipe at the end of the newsletter), 2) peel the skin with a vegetable peeler (typically necessary if you are going to chop kohlrabi into bigger pieces, but if you are shredding like in the fritter recipe below, you can leave the skin on), 3) chop into pieces for roasting, adding to soups, putting on a veggie dip tray, etc! I was reminded by someone at the Independence farmers market on Saturday that I really love kohlrabi fritters. These are super delicious and you don't need to peel the kohlrabi if you shred them in a food processor! Garlic scapes are another fun CSA vegetable. These are the immature flower stalk of the garlic plant. We pull them because 1) they are delicious and 2) it directs more energy toward garlic bulb production. Just chop them up and use them in any recipe that you'd like a little garlic flavor. I use them somewhat like green onions, but they need just a bit more cook time. Or you can blend them along with some of your parsley and other ingredients to make a tasty chimichurri: The last new item this week is swiss chard. I'll be honest, we've struggled to grow healthy swiss chard for the last several years. I'm afraid we have some fungal disease pressure that negatively affects its growth and when we get a lot of rain in the spring (typical of course) it becomes more of a problem. Also, we've found out that goldfinches eat on swiss chard as well - who knew! In any case, I do love chard as a cooking green and I'm glad we have enough for you this week. I chop the stem and leaves, sauteeing the stems with onion or garlic before throwing the chopped leaves into the mix. I like the idea of using your chard (maybe plus kohlrabi leaves) and sugar snap peas in this pad thai recipe below: https://www.purplecarrot.com/plant-based-recipes/early-spring-pad-thai-with-swiss-chard-snap-peas Hope everyone has a wonderful week!
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rainsandsun
May 31, 2022
In Newsletters 2022
In the share this week: 1 bunch spring onions 1 head bok choy 1 bunch broccoli 1 kohlrabi bulb 1 bunch curly red or lacinato kale 1 bunch parsley 1 head mini romaine 1 pint sugar snap peas Thoughts from Farmer Anna: The month of May has just zoomed by here on the farm. We are now nearly finished with spring planting. The winter squashes - pie pumpkins and butternuts - and lots of peppers both sweet and hot went in last week. The sweet potatoes were scheduled to go in this week, but may be put off until next week because it's too hot these next couple of days to ship them. We purchase our slips from an organic farm in North Carolina and it's even hotter there today. We'll continue to do succession plantings of lettuce, beans, carrots, beets, green onions, cucumbers and zucchinis over the next couple of months, but we've gotten our once a season crops in the ground. There are several exciting new crops in the share this week! We are harvesting our first broccoli and sugar snap peas, along with kohlrabi and parsley. Most of you probably won't have any trouble figuring out what to do with the broccoli and peas (just eat the peas raw, they are so yummy!), but I do think that the share this week really calls for a stir-fry. Here's an idea for some flavors: You could also definitely add in your bok choy to the stir fry as well, or try roasting it along with your broccoli (and chop up that kohlrabi to add to the roasting pan too!): The fresh parsley smelled so good when we started harvesting it yesterday. It is so wonderfully fresh tasting and would be great in a salad with your kale this week. You can also dry or freeze your parsley if you don't think you'll use it this week. Well, I'm a little short and sweet with the newsletter today. Gotta get back out in the heat and get a few beds prepped before possible rain again tomorrow and Thursday! Hope you all have a great week :)
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rainsandsun
May 24, 2022
In Newsletters 2022
In the share this week: 1 bunch spring onions 6 oz bag salad mix 1 bunch salad turnips 1 head mini romaine lettuce 1 head bok choy 1 bunch green curly kale 1 bag baby kale Thoughts from Farmer Anna: Our big exciting news this week is that we are finally(!) closing on the construction loan for the strawbale home that we are building this summer! It was pretty difficult to find a lender that was willing to take on this unusual project, so we are thankful that we've made it to this stage. We are a little tight on our timeline to get the foundation, framing and roof done before our scheduled strawbale workshop at the end of July, but it's totally doable. Thankfully, Steve is able to take some days off in the next couple of months to move things along and my dad is now retired and living super close, so he's able to pop over and talk to contractors when needed. We'll keep you posted on our progress with that in the newsletters and on Instagram and Facebook if you want to follow along there. The farm is still bursting with greens this week, but we are getting excited for the solid veggies that will be coming on soon. I've spied many baby broccoli heads this week, the kohlrabi is sizing up and sugar snap peas look like they may be on for next week. New and exciting items in the share this week include our spring onions, (planted in October and overwintered for the earliest possible big onions) and mini lettuce, which is so beautiful it's almost hard to eat. The kale is just gorgeous right now too and you will be in your happy place if you are a kale lover. If you haven't yet discovered the joys of kale, here are a couple of our favorite ways to use it. Both are kid tested and approved :) We've found that kale chips need to be baked at lower heat for a more consistent product. We usually find that 20 minutes at 300 F works to crisp them up. I typically add just a bit of salt and garlic powder after the oil. We also really love a kale, bean soup. I tend to make different variations of this soup, sometimes with a tomato base instead of the creamy base here. We've also often made this with sausage instead of bacon. There is just something magical that happens to the greens in a delicious broth. Our kids don't typically eat sauteed kale as a side dish, but they really love it in soup (they call it seaweed). This recipe calls for lacinato kale, but you can use either your baby kale or curly green kale from your share this week. The lettuce is also looking great, so you are getting a bigger bag of salad mix plus a mini head of lettuce. We've thrown some fresh salad on our plates most of the nights last week. I think for farm lunch on Wednesday we'll have customizable meal salads with quinoa, hummus, feta cheese, nuts, sunflower seeds, chopped onions, turnips, radishes, etc as toppings. So filling and tasty! I know this is week three of the salad turnips, but dang they are just fabulous right now. This is the best time of year for these tasty roots and they won't be around much longer. They do stay good in your fridge for a month or so if you remove their greens and put them in a glass or plastic container. If you want to try something different with your turnips this week, you could make this roasted turnip soup with bok choy. It's actually cool enough this week that soup sounds pretty good! I hope you all have a great week!
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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!
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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!
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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!
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