Category Archives: CSA

Windy Week 14

the  Weekly News

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It was a cold, gray, rainy, and windy harvest today; holy crap! The tarp ripped apart in the gales twice and had to be repaired to keep the rain off of us. Fortunately, we knew this stormy-cold blast was coming, so we spent most of yesterday afternoon and evening pre-harvesting crops that would not suffer in freshness for being a day early, as well as tomatoes (to prevent them from splitting in the heavy rainfall that was unrelenting throughout the night) and ground cherries (which are best harvested dry).

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The temperatures have been on the chilly side all week, but not quite as cold as this – and we’ve kept warm by keeping busy.

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salamander unearthed in the compost pile

Our final two WWOOFers of the season, Jersey Boys Leonel & Marc, left on Thursday, after a final night in their tent weathering one of the wildest storms the area had seen in years. Trees fell, huge  branches menaced our old Buick, missing by mere inches,  and their 10-man tent was destroyed, the fiberglass poles reduced to useless splinters.

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In the field, the row cover was shredded & some tomato plants and several patches of sunflowers and corn were flattened – but overall things survived.

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our friend Mark’s camper on the edge of the field has a tree gently laid across it now

 

Leonel and Marc stopped in Minneapolis on their way westward to meet up with us, and we saw them off with a lunch at our favorite Pho restaurant and a skateboard ride around Lake Nokomis.  We’ll miss them and the amazing positivity they were enlightened by!

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wild plums & mushroom

Once back on the farm, we stayed busy – I can’t even remember most of what was done in the blur of days that followed … but here’s what comes to mind:

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We found a buried hole, first of all! You read that right – it was a hole, which was buried – but not filled in. A sunken area behind one of the old sheds got me curious, and a sweep with the metal detector indicated something large and metal was below. A bit of shovelwork revealed the sealed top of a 55 gallon drum – which, when opened, was found to be bolted atop a second drum, down in the soil. Sadly, there was no treasure – but also no pile of old outhouse leavings. It turned out to be part of an old school DIY septic system which had never been used – so we plan to repurpose the deep shaft to store potatoes and the like, in nice underground climate control.

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Kristin donned her safety gear and transformed into Chainsaw, taking down one of the two dead oaks that loom over the trailer. Our friends Eugene and Vicky (who had camped over the weekend and helped us with the farmer’s market harvest) helped remove the remains as Chainsaw bucked the fallen giant into manageable hunks.

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We sorted the solid logs into the firewood area for splitting and stacking, and the rotten sections into a pile to be used in the Hugelkultur mound down by the field.

Eugene learns to love the Monster Maul
Eugene learns to love the Monster Maul

Later, I picked up all the dry twigs and branches, both to make room to work when we drop the next dead oak, and to prepare a cabinet full of dry tinder for starting fires next spring – when all the branches on the ground outside are still buried in snow.

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there’s something so peasant-core about a cart full of twigs, isn’t there?

 

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Even the bark found a use – it was beautiful, alive with various green hues of moss and lichens. It matched the multi-toned peeling paint of the trailer (which we both quite love), so it was used to create a patio of sorts off the front door. It is gorgeous to our eyes and functional in a couple of ways – it keeps the sand off our feet as we go in and out the door), and it makes us mindful of the beauty of where we are and what we’re doing out here, every time we enter and exit our home.

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You can’t ignore it – it’s easy to walk on, comfortable, but if you are walking mindlessly and in your head, it would be easy to mess up the arrangement. I have loved the impact it’s had on my awareness since it was installed … while we have no idea how it will change, break down, or hold up over time and use, it’s lovely Now, and that alone is more than worth the handful of minutes it took to lay it out!

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We went to a local concert – the 10th annual “Sandbur Fest,” which was held just down the road. Local bands, free food, good people – and close enough that we could still hear the music when we went home to relax by the bonfire before turning in for the night.

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Kristin’s parent’s bought us some fruit trees last week – we planted the two pear trees in the chicken run, where the fencing would protect them from marauding deer. The two apple trees are still in limbo though, as we determine where they should go; the existing three we planted last year were damaged by the severe cold, which opened their bark to black rot. We may have to remove them entirely as a result – if so, these new ones could take their places.

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giant puffball mushroom: edible!

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We foraged wild mushrooms, anise hyssop, plantain, mullein, butterfly milkweed seeds, herbs, cherries, and a whole lot of tart wild plums, which were made into preserves as the rains began last night.

Last week’s tomato feeding worked great – the incidence of blossom end rot has been sharply reduced.

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The 275-gallon IBC container and downspout was connected to the new rainwater collection system on our trailer – using an old plastic tube, a speaker bracket, and a piece of Grandpa Sehr’s old handpump . It rained all night after we installed it – in the morning, it was filled past the brim with rainwater!

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The lows are dipping toward freezing later this week – we may be battling frost in the nights to come. Don’t hate the messenger, but it has to be said; Winter is coming.

Last night, we started contacting farms down South, beginning to plan our our escape route …

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the Weekly Box

Your box this week contains what is almost certainly the last of the season’s summer-kissed produce … let’s hope we get several more boxes of fall crops before the Killing Frost!

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lightning bug & honey bee sharing a sunflower


Pro tip –
look up a good ratatouille recipe – this will use several of the ingredients in this week’s box (basil, peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini)

  • Eggplants – a few varieties went out – you may have gotten a Thai eggplant (long, purple, skinny), and a “weird” white one … and that’s why they used to call them “egg plants” – they were white! (Although these ones are a bit long to pass as egg)
  • Zucchinis
  • Cucumbers
  • Parsley
  • Tomatoes
  • Ground Cherries
  • Tomatillos
  • Potatoes
  • Peppers
  • Green beans – if they seem tough to your taste, they’ll be great cooked!
  • Italian basil
  • Green onions – would be good on the potatoes! Use up the green parts first; the white portions will last longer, in the fridge.
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fungal” flower”

Any questions about anything at all, get in touch! Stay warm and have a beautiful week,

– the Sehrs

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tattoo on a woman that stopped by our Farmer’s Market booth this week!

Wild Week 13

Weekly News

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It rained a lot this week, and the temperatures fell still further away from the brief spell of summery heat. The crops love it for the most part, although the tomatoes are getting stretch marks from their resultant too-rapid growth spurts. The wild fungi also enjoy it, and so we’ve been taking regular foraging forest traipses, collecting bolete, chantrelle, coral, and other varieties of edible mushrooms.

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King Bolete / porcini mushroom

It’s also wild fruit season – we brought home buckets full of tart plums, grapes, and choke berries, which were transformed into jams, jellies, and syrups, preserved to enjoy all year ’round.

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a giant bee savoring wild grape & sugar nectar
a giant bee savoring wild grape & sugar nectar

 

WWOOFer Sean and Athena the Beagle departed to Colorado amidst the downpours,

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Widget is going to miss Athena – they played together wonderfully

,and two new travellers pitched their tents – Marc and Leonel, who are on a journey of exploration and self discovery, surfing westward from New Jersey to parts unknown.

Sean helping Leonel set up his tent for the first time, in the dark
Sean helping Leonel set up his tent for the first time, in the dark

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They helped install an alley-salvaged length of aluminum rain gutter to the back of the trailer, which will collect rainwater into one of the 275 gallon IBC containers.

Marc & Leonel installing the the rain collection gutter
Marc & Leonel installing the the rain collection gutter

 

A cluster of oaks had died on the edge of the field, so we downed, bucked, split, and stacked a few of them for firewood. The ragweed that we let grow in a few patches of field went to seed, so we removed a ton of them from the field, evicting their laden seedheads before they spread them into the soil.  We made buckets of tomato plant food/medicine and fed em it, in an effort to prevent blossom end rot from marring their fruits.

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Our friend Emilie made us a sweet new logo, featuring the dragonflies that hover and dart in a aerial defensive bubble over us in the field, munching on the mosquitoes and gnats that would love to be munching on us – and we love them or being metaphors for transformation, to boot!

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Today was the first time we’ve ever had to harvest for the CSA in a serious rainfall, which was actually kind of fun. When we finished harvesting, we were able to stay dry while cleaning & boxing the veggies beneath the huge tarp shelter that Kristin’s dad put up. This seemed to focus the teamwork and camaderie, and we finished everything in record time, with hours to spare, rather than the usual scant moments. Thanks to the NJ WWOOFers, Jim, Mark, Florian, Ryan & Will for making it a fun time!

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showing off the biggest & baddest carrot

 

We got a game camera from Kristin’s folks, but instead of using it to see what critters come lurking through at night, we first set it up to capture the goings-on in the processing area …

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Stuff we Could Use

A couple of you have asked about items we could use around the farm – so here’s a few of the things we’d find good uses for if you happen to have extras / unwanteds:

  • Buckets
  • Tarps
  • Garbage cans (esp with lids)
  • Bags
  • Sheets
  • Construction hardware (screws, lumber, posts etc)
  • Compost  (food scraps / dead leaves / lawn clippings (only if not chemically treated), coffee grounds, etc))

The Weekly Box

  • Edamame – fresh soybeans! These can be cooked in boiling water, then either shelled & eaten (wih rice, or as an ingredient in salads, stir fry, hummus, dip, etc), or salted within the pod, and snacked on individually as an appetizer (by popping them out of their shells with your mouth, enjoying the salt from the pod along with the beans). More info at http://m.wikihow.com/Cook-Edamame
  • Tomatoes – variety pack; forgive the ones with “stretch marks” from all the rain – they just grow faster than they can form skin in these conditions.
  • Peppers
  • Basil (Italian, Aromato, & Thai varieties)
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Watermelon – last week for these! We’ve made ours into cocktails, enjoyed it in salads, and of course scarfed it in slices. Pairs great with basil!
  • Cucumbers – Lemon & Slicing varieties
  • Zucchini

 

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Week 12 – Summer’s End’s Beginning

The Weekly News
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We woke up chilly the last two nights; lows are falling to almost 50. Windows are being closed a bit at night, sleep snuggling is back in vogue, and the felling, bucking, and splitting of firewood seems much more relevant than it did even a week ago.
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It seems like summer never really even started, weather-wise – strange to feel it already receding.
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As usual, things have been busy.
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wheelbarrow buried in bolted lettuce & weeds
We captured a bunch of red wiggler worms from the second-oldest compost pile, and started a small-scale vermicomposting  experiment, hoping to start producing worm castings for starting seeds in.
We weeded & mulched all the interplanted eggplant and basil, started a test batch of sunflower greens using a new method, did a bunch of foraging for wild fruit and mushrooms, made wild cherry jelly and chokeberry jam, turned a few standing dead oaks into firewood piles, and planted peas for fall salad mix tendrils.
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up a ladder harvesting wild cherries by the woodpile
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edible mushrooms. and rocks
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the fruit pulp matches her shirt!
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Widget finally caught and quickly dispatched the rabbit she has been hunting all spring and summer – first as a baby rabbit in the woods between the field and trailer, and then out among the rows, when the rabbit got into the fence and set up permanent camp in the edible environment.
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That rabbit taught her some serious dodging and evading tactics before she finally advanced in her lessons enough to put teeth to it – tactics which she now delights in using to confound the pursuit of Athena the Beagle (Sean the WWOOFer’s companion).
The porcupine came back gnawing one night, but got away before I could throw furniture polish on him in an effort to convince him to stay away from the trailer. We swam in the mighty purty Saint Croix, ate at Wolf Creek Bar, sold carrots and such at the Market, and composted Gabe’s beard.
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Widget hangin at the Wolf Creek Bar
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It was a good week.

 

The Weekly Box

  • Ground Cherries – also known as Husk Cherries, these look like little tomatillos but have a much sweeter, fruity taste. To open easily, squeeze the husk at the stem attachment side, letting the fruit slid out the tip end. They are sweetest when yellow, more tart when greenish. WWOOFer Sean calls them “ground candy” and gets distracted eating them whenever he comes across a random volunteer from last year’s crop out in the field.  They keep best inside their husks, and don’t need refrigeration.
  • Fennel –  this frilly herb is why your box smells like black licorice. The stalks, leaves and seeds are all edible. I like to eat it raw. Chop up the stalks and use them in a salad, or sautee them. A fennel stalk carried the coal that passed down knowledge from the gods to men; fact! Fennel stalks can also be used for soups, stocks and stews, while the leaves can be used as an herb seasoning. Good on sandwiches, yogurt, and seafood.
  • Potatoes –  a spud rainbow.
  • Watermelon –  most of you got Peace Yellow Flesh or Early Moonbeams (yellow) this week, but a couple folks may have gotten Sugar Babies or Crimson Sweets (red). I really like the yellow ones, I discovered this week. Pro tip for eating seeded watermelons – don’t chew, smash with your tongue and swallow the seeds.image
  • Tomatoes – a mix of the varieties that are producing currently, in with the:
  • Peppers – a mix of the peppers that are ready for harvest (see last week’s newsletter for the full listing of tomatoes and peppers.)
  • Cucumbers –  Lemon and Marketmore Slicing varieties
  • Broccoli
  • Green Beans & Dragon Tongue Beans
  • Okra – you can freeze this until you’re making stew this winter and use it to thicken it up, or sautee it now (but don’t cut open the pods until after you cook em, to avoid the slime-factor.
  • Kale (Dinosaur, Red Russian, and Dwarf Curly Blue varieties)
  • Beets & Beet Greens (the “greens” are only sometimes green, usually more deep red, and they’re bagged with your kale) Cook em up with your potatoes, add em to your salad – maybe a beet and fennel and arugula salad?
  • Arugula – salad, pesto, sammiches! The self-seeded children of the arugula you were eating this spring!
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the giant moth that woke me up looked boring … but it had a surprise when I went to pick it up ….

 

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BAM! It was brighter pink than my camera captured – hot pink. Turns out it’s a “Sleepy Underwing.”

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Indian Pipe – a parasitic plant feeds on other plants instead of sunlight
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this is a tiny frog – that’s his thumbnal it’s on.

 

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spider in the basil

 

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CSA Week 11 – Eat the Rainbow

the Weekly News
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Oh, wow. I hadn’t really thought a summer vacation would be as necessary this year as it had been in previous years – when it meant time away from the 9-5, the city, the routine humdrum. After all, I was away from town, working our own hours on our own terms,  out in the middle of the woods, under the sun and stars and surrounded by family and friends and dogs.
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Farm Life is definitely a much better life – making a Living and not merely a living – but that doesn’t mean a break isn’t a wonderful and necessary thing. Our weekend away was powerful reboot, and we will never consider skipping out on it; floating in the river, finding agates and laughing with friends, and not pulling a weed or planting a seed.
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No literal weeds or seeds, anyway. After just a few days of this, we returned to the Farm renewed, fresh and  happy to be back to our labor.
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It was good to be gone, and it’s wonderful to be back.
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While it was sunny throughout or vacation, back on the Farm it had rained in our absence, and it rained again upon our return; the drought is over, and the field is lush and green, an outward reflection of our inner state. The zucchini, not harvested for the weekend farmer’s market and jacked up on abundant rainfall, had gone berserk – with some approaching watermelon proportions.
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(Don’t fear, gentle CSA member – we have other outlets for these monstrosities, and are only packing a couple of small and tender zukes in the boxes this week,)

On a sad note, Curly the rooster was seriously ill when we got home and checked up on the chickens – our neighbor took him back to her place for observation and treatment, but Curly was done; he died in the night a day and a half later, of causes unknown. It’s possible that the freak accident with the nesting box simply stressed his system out too much, and led to his collapse days later, or it may have been unrelated, we’ll never know. They had a brief ceremony for him and returned his body to nature, for recycling by foxes.

We mourned his loss, but still hit the ground running with our vacation momentum, preparing for a fall salad mix – the arugula we’d let go to seed was resprouting with the ample rain, so we simply cleared out the beds of old growth and weeds, and thinned out the dense sprouts for better growth. We planted Red Ruby and Buttercrunch lettuce, white stalked Pak Choi, spinach, and Ruby Streaks mizuna.

Our first planting of beans really got nailed by bugs and is unlikely to recover – but we had a second wave of backup-beans started – and the new wave is looking great, and should be ready to harvest as soon as next week. (We also had backup waves planted for the zucchini and cucumbers; this year those proved laughably unnecessary, but those who were members last year may recall the bizarre zucchini shortage we experienced.)

The squash, while definitely taxed by bugs and bacteria, is hanging in there and looking decent, thanks to the glorious rain and the emergency insectotomy surgeries. There is still some kind of gopher or mole or Tunneling Jerk Rat rooting through the potato row and messing up the plants and drying the spuds. Efforts to nab the beast continue.

Our compost piles are developing wonderfully, in large part thanks to the weekly garbage can filled with food scraps we get from the cafeteria we sell excess produce to, combined with our own food scraps, weeds, trimmings, and the piles of horse and cow manure donated by our amazing neighbors. If you would like to contribute compost weekly, let us know – we would love to turn your (non-meat) food scraps, egg shells, grass clippings (no pesticides or herbicides though), etc into black dirty gold for the field!

Compost is always crucial for organic farms, but it is extra vital for our field – the Sand Barrens tend not to hold nutrients well, as they are readily washed deeply into the ground beyond the reach of roots. Compost not only replenishes these nutrients, but adds organic matter to the soil, which helps with the retention of water and nutrients and delicious edible life.

 

the Weekly Box
  • Carrots and Carrot Greens – Carrot Greens are not poisonous! Fact! They are, in fact, quite nutritious. The biggest hurdle to eating them is probably their tougher texture, so they do well chopped up into little herbal chunks. They work great in soup stock, chimichurri sauce, pesto, or anyplace parsley works. Here are a few recipes to consider – let us know what you wind up using yours for and how it works out – we’ll be experimenting right along with you this week.

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    As for the carrots – there are your standard sweet orange variety, a well as some more colorful and nutritious varieties in your box; red, yellow, and purple. They are zesty, even spicy – we recommend cooking with the rainbow tribe freaks, and enjoying the staid and steadfast orange ones in the raw.

  • Spaghetti Squash – Noodley flesh! Cut it in half, scoop out the seeds, and cook it in your stove or microwave – checking it frequently so you don’t overdo it. When you scrape it with a fork and the stringy flesh comes off, it’s ready. Toss with other veggies and fresh herbs, or find a sweet recipe online or in your grandma’s cookbook.
  • Watermelon – I’m not sure what the variety is right now, but it’s the earliest-ripening one we planted! We spent a good amount of time today trying to figure out the cryptic mysteries of watermelon ripeness detection; hopefully everyone’s melon is ripe and sweet, but if you should happen to get one picked early, we recommend Vodka augmentation.

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  • Tomatoes – an assortment of varieties that may include any of the types we planted this year: Red Rose, Black Prince, Earl of Edgecomb, Cherokee Purple, Old Brooks, Tricot Chezch, WI55, Grandma Mary’s Paste, Amish Paste, Snow White Cherry (actually we have never even seen this one I don’t think, even though we’ve planted it for three years), Jaune Flamme, Chocolate Cherry, or Tommy Toe.  Who names these things anyway?

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  • Tomatilloes (the husky fellas in with the tomatoes)
  • Peppers – varieties you have may include italian frying, Jimmy Nardello, King of the North, Wisc Lakes, Sirenevyi, Carmen, serrano, habanero (not actually ripe or in anyone’s box – yet), Czech black, Cayenne red, Cayenne golden, and/or jalepeno.

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  • Rainbow Chard
  • Broccoli or Beans or Okra
  • Italian Basil
  • Green Zucchini & Yellow Summer Squash
  • Cucumbers – Lemon & slicing varieties

 

CSA Member Dish of the Week

Grilled vegetable ratatouille by Megan – “Bought salmon, had a ton of CSA veggies and just happened to find the perfect recipes in Cook’s Illustrated!

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CSA Week 10 – Only Happy When it Rains

The Weekly News

It’s been a long week – we’re glad that our annual weekend vacation has arrived, and we’ll be off the farm for the weekend, staying at a cabin in nature with friends and family, recharging and regrounding, rebooting and renewing. It hasn’t been a bad week, just a long one, and at this time of summer it is really nice to be able to unplug for a bit, not wake up and go to bed each day with vegetables and to-do lists swirling endlessly through your waking and dreaming thoughts.

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The week started off as the last few weeks have been, weatherwise – dry as a bone. Even running the gravity drip irrigation daily, the crops were showing the stress of the daily heat and the persistent lack of rain. It is uniquely stressful to look out at a field of crops with drooping, sad leaves.

On top of the drought, the summertime pests have kicked their game into gear. In addition to the hateful squash vine borers we continued to surgically-strike, the squash bugs have taken to the stage, appearing in their myriad forms – clusters of bronzed eggs on the undersides of the leaves, little nymphs of all sizes dancing along the stems, and a handful of early roach-looking adults scuttling among them. These are the most evasive little suckers. Literally, suckers – they drain the vitality from the already-struggling squash plants with their sucking mouthparts, and they run and hide when they see you coming, stopping, dropping, and rolling into the mulch when you attempt to squash them. When you do manage to catch them, they smell like some kind of gross candy from childhood that you can never quite place, but which was most likely the same unnatural color of teal as their guts are.

Worse, the cucumber beetles – the striped black and yellow menaces, are out in record numbers this year. And they don’t limit themselves to cucumber plants – they also love squash. And melons. And all kinds of other things. While they don’t do a lot of direct damage by their feeding habits, they harbor single-celled farm terrorists  in their guts that infect plants with bacterial wilt – which is incurable, inexorable – and inevitably fatal.

So the squash – which had been growing in majestic and triumphant glory, have been battered by three pests plus drought, beaten back into a condition that tends to make as sad rather than smile when we walk among them. There are huge squash everywhere – but you cannot count squash before they ripen. They take a long season to get to the point they’re tastily edible, and the hurdles they must cross are among the most treacherous an organic vegetable faces, unaided by arsenals of pesticide.

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yard art(?) across from the one-n-only local bar … broken down white things without lids … and what is that weird frame thing?

 

By Monday, we were getting serious in our desire for some rain. Rain dancing was discussed with WWOOFer Sean informed us that holding turquoise under running water was said to help bring the rains … it didn’t seem like a compelling plan. But we were hot and parched and ready to avoid the bludgeon of the afternoon sun, so we headed to the Saint Croix with the dogs to take a swim – and of course, I was wearing my dad’s turquoise ring.

And lo, it turns out turquoise rocks really do bring rain if you put em in a river! This is now an Established Scientific Fact, because after we got back to the Farm, the rain started … slowly at first, very very slowly. But then more fell, and more – and soon the trickle turned to a soaking downpour. And the pour kept on downing, hour after hour, all throughout the night – it rained steadily for over 12 hours, dropping almost two inches onto the parched landscape, bringing the drooping leaves and the corners of our smiles back up where they belong. We set out every bucket and pail and wheelbarrow we had, in the open and under driplines from roofs, gathering precious moisture  for future use, in case the rain stayed away for weeks again.

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Smells of summertime … Perfume of the much-needed rain breezing in through the windows, mingling with the toasty smell of homemade tortillas & the peppery bite of WWOOFer Sean’s fresh salsa!

The next day we seized the opportunity to retain soil moisture among the unmulched pepper rows – adding layers of paper topped with a thick hay mulch.  We transplanted some new cool season crop seedlings out of the greenhouse and into the field – spinach into the row cover where cabbages had once been, and new cabbages and broccolis under shade tent a-frames draped over the trellises from which we’d recently removed the snap pea plants.

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Hmmm, what else happened this week … our new rooster, Curly, somehow got himself trapped beneath one of the 5-gallon pails we use as nest boxes – we fortunately found him before he was roasted or suffocated – but we still have no idea how he managed to get himself in such a predicament. We do, however, suspect that the hens may have had something to do with it.

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Curly had a red rump after his stint in captivity – presumably like a diaper rash. It cleared up quickly once he was free

 

We weeded out fistfuls of horrifically spiked sandbur grass from the one corner of the field prone to it, and stalked the fluttering, ridiculously evasive cabbage looper moths with a butterfly net (scored free from Craigslist last year). Hijinks ensued – I wish there was video of me chasing through the field, flailing and swearing and laughing as I mostly missed but occasionally captured and killed the deceptively-pretty white moths (which deposit clusters of future ravenous caterpillars on plants such as cabbage, broccoli, and the like). We found another gorgeous and tasty giant Chicken of the Woods mushroom!

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At night, the coyotes and the owls compete to see who can made the eeriest, most hair-raising cacophony. This week, the coyotes are winning.

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Yesterday, Widget discovered a skunk skulking beneath the semitrailer barn – it sprayed at her but missed. The entire area reeked of skunk all day. The coop is next door to the semitrailer, and skunks are chicken eggs thieves and chicken murderers, so we put out the live trap donated to us by some lovely shareholders, baited with catfood. We really didn’t WANT to catch a skunk and have to figure out how to dispose of it, dead or alive, so we were relieved to find the trap empty in the morning. The dogs seem uninterested in the trailers underside today, so we’re hoping the malodorous menace has moved on … but we’re leaving the trap out just in case.

 

The Weekly Box

 

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The boxes are getting hefty now! Open yours up to discover:

  • Potatoes – mostly “All Blue” variety potatoes this week, with some reds and Yukon Golds as well.

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    tri-color mashed potatoes
  • Tomatoes – an assortment of what’s (finally) starting to ripen … there are many varieties being grown, and only some are red when ripe – there are yellow tomatoes, and varieties that have a dusky, greenish cast to their skins even when fully ripe. To further complicate things and make your tomato-eating more interesting, we’ve picked some for you that are almost-but-not-quite ripe.. So how can you tell if a given tomato is ripe, when color is an unreliable guide? Feel em – if they are hard, they’re not ripe yet. A ripe tomato will give slightly to the touch – not soft, but … slightly yielding. Store them in a paper bag, loosely closed, and they will ripen nicely – or go the old-school route and place them in a window ledge where they’ll get  little sunshine. Just don’t ever put them in the fridge!
  • Kale – Curly Blue, Dinosaur, & Red Russian varieties
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • either Broccoli or Beans or Okra (or two of the above, if you have a Large share box)
  • two kinds of Basil
  • Peppers  – an assortment of sweet (Green Bell, Italian Frying, Carmen Peppers, Sirenvyi) and spicy (Czech Black, Golden Cayenne, Red Cayenne, Serrano)!
  • Zucchini  – still can’t stop, still won’t stop. We’ve been eating them in stir-frys and pancakes this week, ourselves – here’s some inspiration if you’d like some!
  • Tomatillos  – peel the husk and enjoy, raw or in a salsa verde!image
  • Cucumbers –  Lemon & slicer varieties
  • Sweet Corn –  Sugar Buns & Candy Corn varieties

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Weekly Recipes from the Shareholders

Got one to share? send it in! if we have the ingredients in a future box we can share it in the newsletter … previously we’d been posting them to the Facebook page, but this might make more sense we reckon.

Pasta with Corn, Zucchini, and Tomatoes
By Mark Bittman – pic and recipe sent to us by Lizzy Wilkins
From the How to Cook Everything app

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Introduction:

A summer mélange of whatever is on hand, tossed with pasta. Like ratatouille, this is flexible not only in its seasonings but also in its main ingredients: You can use onions, garlic, or shallots, singly or in combination; add green beans (or fresh limas) to the mix; substitute eggplant for the zucchini.

Ingredients:

  • Salt
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or 2 tablespoons oil and 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup corn kernels (from 2 or 3 ears of corn)
  • 1 cup diced zucchini or summer squash (about 5 ounces)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium onion or 3 or 4 shallots, finely chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon minced garlic (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon leaves
  • 4 plum tomatoes or 2 large ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 1 pound cut pasta, like penne, rigatoni, or fusilli

Steps:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Put 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium‐high heat. When hot, add the corn and cook, stirring only occasionally, until the corn is dry and really beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the zucchini and some salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini begins to brown.
  2. Add the onion and the garlic if you’re using it. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens, about 5 minutes. Add the tarragon and cook for 30 seconds, then add the tomatoes and continue cooking while you cook the pasta.
  3. Cook the pasta in the boiling water until tender but not mushy. If the sauce dries out (with plum tomatoes, this is likely), add some of the pasta‐cooking water, about ¼ cup at a time, to thin it somewhat but not make it a soup. When the pasta is done, drain it and toss with the sauce and the remaining oil or the butter. Taste and adjust the seasoning and serve immediately.

Miscellaneous From Lizzy:

Beet greens and broccoli and soba noodles: http://www.annaliisakapp.com/2013/06/how-to-prepare-for-a-cleanse-soba-noodles-with-broccoli-recipe.html

(I added the beet to this, too!)

Green beans and peaches: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Grilled-Green-Beans-and-Peaches-51169060

Zucchini cornbread (it says 55-65 minutes, but mine didn’t cook through until 75-80 grr): http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Zucchini-Cornbread-366395

Zucchini fritters:http://markbittman.com/recipe/vegetable-pancakes/

 

Sweet Pickles
Recipe by Melissa Hickman

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Ingredients:
1 c distilled white vinegar
1 tbsp salt
2 cups white sugar
6 cups sliced cucumbers
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped green bell peppers

Directions:
Over medium heat, bring vinegar, salt and sugar to a boil. Boil until the sugar has completely dissolved.

Place the cucumbers, onions and peppers in a large bowl. Pour vinegar mixture over the vegetables. Let cool some.

Transfer to sterile containers and store in the refrigerator. Give it 24-48 hours before eating so that the flavors have a chance to meld together.

Hints:
Use this as a good base – play around a bit. Add less sugar for less sweet pickles. Add red pepper flakes to add some zing to your sweet. Use different bell peppers. The first batch I did was exactly the recipe, but the second time around, I only had green onions and a purple pepper and some obscure pepper from my CSA. I also ran out of white sugar so used raw sugar crystals instead. I think this batch will be even better (I’ll find out in 2 days when we try them!!).

Dill Pickles
Recipe by Melissa Hickman

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Ingredients:
2 to 3 cucumbers
5 springs of fresh dill (or 1 tbsp dry)
2-4 cloves are garlic, crushed and minced
3 tbsp distilled white vinegar
¾ tbsp salt, to taste
20 peppercorns
¼ tsp red pepper flakes, optional
Filtered water (enough to top off the jar)

Directions:
Cut pickles into discs, spears, or sandwich slices and add everything to a 1-quart mason jar EXCEPT the water. Once everything is in the jar, fill to the top with the filtered water. Screw the lid on tightly, so as not to leak. Shake up the jar to distribute the flavors and leave on your countertop for 12 hours. Shake it again and flip upside down for another 12 hours. Enjoy within a month for maximum freshness.

Hints:
You can do this with just about any vegetable. Eliminate the dill and use okra, bell peppers, etc. get creative!