Category Archives: CSA

CSA Week 17 – Wasps & Wet

the Weekly News

Well, the beautiful Indian Summer faded away this week, but we didn’t get frosted again – the days have been pretty nice still, with nighttime temps falling into the woodstove range. The crops that survived the early frost are happy. revitalized by the previous week of sunshine, and quenched by the occasional rainfalls we’ve had this week.

This was the week of lady beetles and wasps all over the trailers, inside and out. The wasps look scary but are not aggressive at all. The lady beetles look cute but bite and stink, especially if you mess with them.


The two old shiitake logs sprouted from the bath we gave them, after all – we’re excited for next year, when the 20 or so logs we inoculated this spring will be ready to start producing.


The buried hole Gabe found a week or two ago was transformed into a potato root cellar, with stacked baskets on cords, capped with an insulated and vented lid.

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The outhouse was moved off of its partially-buried waste barrel, and moved onto a new platform, for a new incarnation as a composting toilet … and we only ALMOST lost control of it and crushed someone.


In the woodlot, we marked big maples and standing dead oaks so we could tell which ones were eligible for Maple syrup tapping or firewood, once winter robbed the living of their leaves.

We explored the strange logging roads that meander and dead end all throughout the Barrens, and Kristin canned tomato juice.

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We found a good home for our three hens, since we’ll be gone over the winter months.

final evening in the yard


Today we took a break from the endlessly rainy and hypothermic harvest to regain sensation in our fingertips with the help of the woodstove.

It was certainly a memorable and interesting harvest day, if difficult and not all that pleasurable. We were happy to see how capable we were of adapting and dealing with it, with the semi truck trailer turned into the packing house.


the Weekly Box

Weatherman sez: Winter is coming to kill the plants. Lows for the coming week may hit the 20s – so enjoy your peppers, your eggplants, and your tomatoes, because they’re done for after this!

  • Fall Salad mix (with Arugula, two types of lettuce, pea tips, a bit of spinach, red and green Mizuna, baby kale, sheep sorrel, and sunflower greens)
  • a new Gourd for your collection
  • Carrots
  • Eggplant (White or Purple)
  • Tomato Mix
  • Pepper Mix
  • Radishes (Black Spanish & China Rose varieties)
  • Rutabaga
  • Beets & Beet Greens

Speaking of boxes – if you want to drop yours off during the week (if it’s hard to arrange to have them with when you pick up next week), feel free to do so at the drop location whenever it’s convenient.

We’re nearing the end now … looks like next week will be the final box of 2014!


the Weekly Pics

(we visited a 40-acre hoarder’s private junkyard)

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Kristin making a delivery into corporate box land


Sweet Week 16 CSA Newsletter

the Weekly News



After the cold snap, this weather has been like an idealized childhood summer memory … bright, sunny, very warm but never too hot, not humid, hardly buggy … days so nice you’re sad to notice that the daylight is ending hours earlier.



This week, we finally cut down the “Ultimate Ticking Time Bomb” – the dead oak that leaned over the trailer and loomed over our bed. Neighbor Dave brought his tractor and a long cable over, and pulled the tree away from our home while Kristin worked the chainsaw.

Kristin celebrates a textbook tree-felling

The UTTB was quite picturesque, and we enjoyed its constant threat as an opportunity to truly embrace the “que sera, sera” philosophy, especially as we slept through a windy storm … but at the same time, it’s nice to have it gone.

Of course, the old tree didn’t go without a fight – after it was safely down and we were removing the branches, one of them broke under tension and came flying freakishly up off the ground, broken end spinning around to punch Gabe just above the upper lip, splitting his face open. Dave got us a razor to shave it to the skin, so that tape strips would hold the wound closed – although it was deep, it was remarkably clean, allowing it to mend nicely.


We “shocked” the old shiitake logs – soaked them overnight in one of the clawfoot tubs, in an effort to get them to fruit again … but to no avail. Little tiny numbs started to form, but they retreated after a day or so. We’re probably going to re-shock them this week and see if that will get em in gear.


We finished snow-bracing the greenhouse, visited the logging across the road & saw bio-luminescent foxfire fungi, repaired the rotting semi trailer door, made sauerkraut with support from Market Marv (advice and materials!), cut up and stacked plenty of firewood, and built the interior of the Hugelkultur mound up way higher and thicker …

our growing woodpile (all from standing-dead or recently-fallen oaks in our wood lot) seems pretty big – but we know it’ll go fast once the cold begins in earnest … and it really seems tiny next to the massive corridor they’re amassing in the logging operation across the road:
hundreds and hundreds of old, live red oak logged from the Governor Knowles State Forest across the road – to profit the state’s General Fund. :(


sauerkrauting – using Market Marv’s Sauerkraut Kit … whey culture, red cabbage, plus his “rubber glove and cutting baord circle” method



the Weekly Box

  • Fall Salad Mix!  featuring Arugula, Red & Green Mizuna, Sunflower greens, baby dino kale,  baby red Russian kale,Tatsoi , Bok Choi, baby Swiss chard,  Sheep Sorrel (a lemony & sour wild edible that we let grow where it appears), & Pea Tendrils.
the pea tendril & mizuna upper layers of the Fall Salad Mix


  • Pie Pumpkin – you can use these exactly the way you would any otherwinter squash; cut in half, scoop out the stringy stuff, and bake. Roast the seeds in salt and oil.  Or roast in chunks. Or puree it into soup. Or make it into muffins or bread. Or make a small jack-o-lantern!
pumpkins curing, Cleo chilling


  • a Squash – either a Delacato, Acorn, Butternut, or Jumbo Pink Banana variety.
hi! I am squash


  • a Gourd – the Happy Meal Toy of the CSA!
We are Gourd. (Resistance is futile.)


  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Parsley
  • Potatoes – mostly that pink variety that we don’t know what they’re called.


 the Weekly Critters

farm fauxbra


Tiny House Florian’s owner


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 other pictures of the week

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Frosty Week 15 – the CSA Newsletter

the Weekly News
Widget nesting in the row cover fabric


Last week’s winds brought the first forays of winter into our land. We soaked in the wood-fired “hillbilly hot tubs” (old cast iron clawfoot tubs straddling fire pits, cannibal-stew style) as the sun set – these, together with our old iron stove did a wonderful job keeping us snug and toasty through the nights, but the crops in the field had no such luxury to keep the chill at bay.
Florian cleaning carrots during Saturday morning’s frigid market harvest
On Friday night, the weatherpeeps predicted lows in our area to dip to 34 degrees just before dawn’s rays thawed things out – a light frost, perhaps, but still potentially lethal.
We busted out every old bedsheet, bucket, and scrap of row cover in an effort to protect the sensitive crops – but supply was dwarfed by demand, and many crops were left to fend for themselves.
Fortunately, we did get most of the most important and sensitive plants under cover. Unfortunately, the cold was quite a bit worse than predicted – the game camera we set up (it includes a temperature reading with each image it takes) showed the low drop quickly to 32 degrees before midnight, and stay down there until morning.
early in the night, it was warmer, and Tiny House Florian’s cat prowled the perimeter
In the morning, a thick fog lifted only gradually, revealing a rime of white across every surface of the field.


As the sun’s rays weakly pushed through the fog and touched the crops, we could hear the crackle of thawing leaves all around us.




It was beautiful, bringing up conflicting emotions – excitement at the turning of a page, sadness at the death of plants that we’d worked so hard to nurture from seedlings all season long.




As it turned out, many plants survived – more than we thought would, given the extended cold and icy coating.




Fatalities included mostly plants that were pretty much done for the season, or plants that had just managed to finished putting out their long-season fruits anyway – cucumber, zucchini, basil, okra, squash, and melons all succumbed.


fogbow (aka “white rainbow”) over the “trailerpark” (tinyhouse, camper, & RV guest cabins)


Other plants were merely wounded – topmost leaves blackened, margins cold-scorched – but still carrying on to live for whatever little bit longer the whims of weather permitted.


crushing dried garbanzo bean shells with an oak log’s core
As our work in the field slowed, our efforts off-field intensified. We shelled dried beans, pickled water melon rinds, prepared medicinal herbal tinctures of yarrow, prickly ash, and wormwood, and infused oil with callengula & plantains.



We harvested apples & Japanese pie pumpkins, and took down a couple more standing dead oaks – adding their bark and rotten bits to the growing Hugelkultur mound, and their solid limbs and trunks to the firewood pile.


gathering apples

We planted two new apple trees and fenced them off from the reach of ravenous deer, and added interior bracing to the hoop greenhouse, so the heavy snows of winter cannot crush it.

Kristin’s dad orchestrating the snow-support construction


Anticipating the approach of the season’s end goes hand in hand with retrospection – looking back at the time we’ve spent here so far, having left behind our city lives, salaried stability, and civilized comforts … and appreciating just how fucking lucky we are. How amazing it is that we have this opportunity to seize, this experience to live, this adventure to enjoy.


This has been, without any doubt, the best year of both of our lives.


Thank you again for being a part of it.


the Weekly Box


  • Christmas Melons – these dark green, leathery-ridged fruits are also known as “Santa Clause melons,”  because they’re storage melons traditionally said to last until Christmas. We wouldn’t bank on them lasting quite that long though. Enjoy their firm, smoother-than-cantalope flesh … we like them quite a bit, and are definitely planning to grow them again (thanks for the tip, shareholder Amy!)
  • Gourds – all of the gourds this week came from one sprawling monster plant. More gourds in other shapes, colors and sizes will be coming in future boxes, to add to your autumnal collection! (we think there should be at least 2 more weeks to go before the frost puts an end to all this)
  • Spaghetti squash – the last for the season. The mottled appearance some have on one side was from Friday’s frost – this won’t affect the flesh, but may mean they won’t keep for much more than a couple of weeks.
  • Tomato mix
  • Kale (Dino, Dwarf Curly Blue, & Red Russian mix) – kale is said to be tastier after it undergoes a frost, see if you can taste the difference.

    frosted kale

    Also – do you know about massaging kale? It’s a thing. Basically you beat up the leaves a bit before you use it, to reduce the strong and almost bitter taste of the raw leaves.

  • Pepper mix
  • Fennel, bagged with:
  • Broccoli (large shares only)



critters of the Week


glad I didn’t touch this zippy thing sprinting all over the greenhouse – turns out to be a female Velvet Wasp – wingless, and sporting one of the most painful stings the insect kingdom provides


beautiful but on the Squish List: voracious zebra caterpillar
not a bee



other pics of the week



cradling the baby-sized squash


our one swollen kernel of corn smut – aka Huitlacoche


Mark & Florian help harvest senposai & yokatta-na


Kristin tries out the sweet new kitchen machete that shareholder Paul gifted her


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the compost monster growth


Amy enjoys a bouquet after helping with the CSA harvest

Windy Week 14

the  Weekly News


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).


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.

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.


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


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!

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:


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.


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.



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.

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



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.


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!


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.


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.

giant puffball mushroom: edible!


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.


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!


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 …


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!

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.
fungal” flower”

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

– the Sehrs

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

Wild Week 13

Weekly News


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.

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,

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.


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!


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!

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
  • 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