Week 15: Frosts & Fiancees

Our friend Steffan has been regularly helping us with farmwork for several years now, and we were honored that he asked us to hold his wedding on the farm. Of course, we had no idea Covid was coming, but it worked out well anyway, as it had always been the plan to hold it outdoors, in the social-distance-friendly, unplanted west side of our field. So vows were once again exchanged on our land – but this time with three times as many people, and out in the field instead of the woods.

The whole thing went off incredibly – including some tasty farm food that Groom Steffan catered himself! We even surprised the newlyweds by transforming the new semi trailer into a honeymoon suite, using the huge pallets it came filled with as wall partitions, window blinds, and of course, the bed platform.

In other news, we’re back deep into acorn bombing season, with a nearly-constant bombardment raining down upon every available acoustically-active surface … steel roofs, 55 gallon drums, cars, and buckets. It’s funny how used to it one gets, and how quickly – even though the sudden cracks and bangs are utterly unpredictable.

If this and the changing leaves were not clear enough signs of imending autumn, Ma Nature made things very clear with two frosty nights early in the week – and more forecasted for next week …

Inside Box 15

Potato leek soup with parsley or dill on the agenda.

  • Potatoes
  • Leeks – the bottoms are the best part, but tender green tops can be sliced thin and used similarly to green onions.
  • Dill
  • Parsley
  • Green Tomatoes – yes, Fried Green Tomatoes are the classic way to use these lovely emerald orbs , which we decided to salvage before the next round of frosty doom descended upon the farm. But there are plenty of other options too – perhaps try one of these!?
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Swiss Chard

Week 14: Gopher & Gargoyle

Today was a happy day – first, after a month of chasing the gophers that are murdering our carrot patch, I finally managed to catch one of the little monsters! This clan has super deep tunnels, and they backfill their exposed entrances with an impressive tenacity.

Widget is always excited to get the dead gopher to go bury elsewhere. Minus the tail, which we keep for the $3 bounty.

But now I’ve got their number – and this morning I got my arms caked in dirt past the elbows to set three more traps, for the presumed survivors still roaming beneath the carrots.

traps set a;most 2 feet down

In other farm news – a missing hen named Gargoyle was spotted today, days after we wrote her off as a predator loss … she was hiding in the woods on a big pile of eggs. … it’s kind of late for new chicks, but it’s hard to just take them away … we’ll see what happens.

Rabbi Gargoyle 2 years ago, doing her gargoyle thing

She’s our only blue-egg layer, and she’s really odd-looking (Neighbor Marcia calls her The Rabbi, we dubbed her Gargoyle) – so it would be nifty to add some of her genetics to our flock’s future.

the hot season stuff is fading – but the fall salad mix is coming in!

And, of course – it’s gone from simmering heat and humidity to lows in the 40s and 30s and even a threat of frost tomorrow night! Ack. I know it’ll warm up again, but this cold snap is going to leave a mark on the remnants of the hot-weather crops. We will be deploying row covers and making strange sacrifices to the old green gods of gardening, and limbering up the ol’ “que sera, sera” muscles.

Inside Box 14

You could make a mean bowl of Pho this week. And it’s perfect weather for it! Lots of summer crops are making their final appearances this week, cherish them in this fleeting moment.

Most of you have been members during past years when the eggplants were incredibly abundant … well, not this year! These were the final scraggly little eggplants. Not sure why they didn’t produce this year, but regardless, there are NO eggplants in the box. :)
  • Garlic -a fellow SCF market vendor had way too many small garlic heads so they gifted these to us – and since the vole’s destructive tunneling made us opt out of planting our own this year, we figured we should share the bounty with y’all.
  • Bok Choi – would be pretty dang good chopped up and sauteed with your garlic. Or in a soup? It’s soup season.
  • Beets – Borscht? SOUP SEASON.
  • Zucchini – the final zukes of the season!
  • Cucumbers – and the last of the cukes of 2020!
  • Onions
  • Sweet Peppers – another Final Installment for the year
  • Shishito Peppers – these aren’t usually spicy, but for whatever reason, most of these are. Sear ’til blistered and eat as usual, if you like spicy. If not, use them as a component in another dish to spread that spice around.
  • Tomatoes – the last of the season! Aaaaaagh too soon
a last hurrah
  • Cherry Tomatoes – oh my it might even be the final cherry tomatoes. What a week of transition!
  • Thai Basil – salvaged before the murderous cold descends.
  • Micro-Greens (Radish, Kale, Red Cabbage, or Amaranth)

Week 13: No Wild Grapes

Another week of beauty, seven nights with the whippoorwills back from wherever they’ve been and the cricketsong and the rustling commotions of the flying squirrels, seven days of morphing clouds or sunshine and blue skies.

at least 12 feet tall

We did a bunch more preservation and canning of the seasonal abundances du jour – wood-smoking tomatoes, tomatilloes, and peppers for salsas, crafting and sealing away jars of sauces, and using the sun to dehydrate the massive Hen of the Woods mushroom gifted to us by Neighbor Marcia.

Hens of the Woods & Neighbor Marcias are known to be found in proximity to big white oaks

We foraged fruitlessly for wild grapes – they are apparently taking a year off, after busting it out so hard last year. (Works out well anyway since we still have a backlog of blackberries and dewberries to transmute.)

The corn stalks dried up, flocks of geese headed south, bear hunters roved the barrens behind their baying dog packs, and no one went swimming in the river. The humidity followed the geese south and good riddance to it. We slept well and spent as much time as possible outside.

Inside Box 13

garlic chives
  • Carrots – an assortment of orange and purples. I still haven’t caught the gopher, despite my repeated efforts, but carrots still exist.
  • either Okra or Tomatilloes – depending on your dharma. We like pan-searing the okra pods (whole, unbroken). For tomatillos, there are soup recipes worth exploring (we mostly make ours into salsa).
tomatilloes being washed for salsa
  • ripe Sweet Peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • Spaghetti Squash – prepare it like winter squash; carve in half, scoop out the seeds, bake cut side-down until soft – use a fork to pull apart the strands into pseudo-spaghetti. Would be good with butter, garlic, and fresh basil … hey we have basil and garlic chives in this box!
Marty harvesting soaghetti squash for the CSA boxes
  • Zucchini
  • Tomatoes
Torch Tomatoes – would be good in the sauce recipe we linked to last week
  • Cherry Tomatoes – 2020’s can’t stop won’t stop crop
  • Onions
Saint Croix Falls farmer’s market

Week 12: New Semi Trailer

TAKE ONE: This was the week we got another free semi trailer. Bigger, nicer, more versatile and mobile!

TAKE TWO: Every year, there are a few crops that grow like gangbusters and produce unwieldy piles of produce. And in in the same seemingly random and impossible to predict manner, there will be a few crops that don’t produce as we’d hoped.

TAKE THREE: The gophers will pay for what they have done

trapsetting in the ravaged carrot row

TAKE FOUR: It’s is officially Late Season now. Early Late Season, sure. But nonetheless, the signs are there for those with eyes to see. Second rounds of Kohlrabi are in the boxes. We’ve harvested peppers. The corn stalks are browning. There are pockets of Fall Color here and there, as we drive south toward the Cities.

TAKE FIVE: …. long pause; faint rumble of tires on highway, fingers motionlessly poised

Inside & Outside & Falling out of Box 12

picking the Never-ending Cherry Tomatoes
  • a Melon (a yellow or a crimson watermelon, probably)
  • Brussels Sprouts Topswe cut the tops off – being Early Late Season and all – so that the plant puts energy into bud formation. As a bonus, the new leaves at the top of the plants are good eating. Cook it like collards or chard … perhaps with the greens from your:
  • Kohlrabi – a second planting for the late season, ayuh
  • Cucumbers – slicers
  • Tomatoes – they’ve started a band to cover this song for you.
  • Sweet Onions
  • Shallots
  • Microgreens (cilantro, basil, or pea shoots)
  • Zucchini – gold and green (not unlike a Karma chameleon)
  • Summer Squash – two-toned zyphyrs
  • Potatoes (a mix of red, gold, purples)
  • Mint – this and the holy basil might synergize fancily with your watermelon. And/or with booze. Like rum, or vodka. Pro CSA stuff there. Also, making tea is a great idea with this if you really don’t want a refreshing cocktail.
  • Holy Basil – the stuff with flowers at the tips. So you can tell it apart from the Mint it’s bagged with.
holy basil
Say, holy basil
You’re the star of the masquerade
No need to look so afraid
Jump, jump, jump on the tiger
You can feel his heart but you know he’s mean
Some light can never be seen, yeah
  • an Eggplant – courtesy of Neighbor Marcia’s garden, because our eggplants aren’t cooperating this season.
  • Broccoli – side shoots from the first crop of it.

what will be will be