Good afternoon all,

I hope you’ve all had a wonderful weekend! This past week was one filled with lots of activities, the first week back to school for our kiddos, first week of swimming lessons, and so much more!

As this fall weather is setting in, we’re all being reminded of the fall cleanup at our own homes tidying up the yard, raking, cleaning up brush etc. Besides all of that at home, Ben & I are also starting to winterize some of the equipment that we won’t be using anymore this fall, and prep our greenhouse supplies for storage. This next couple of weeks will be a busy one for us but I am confident that we can get’er done!

As many of you know, we work with CAER Food Shelf in Elk River and donate our additional produce that we aren’t using in our CSAs & the actual CSA Boxes that you ask us to donate (if you’re out of town for example). We have donated over 750 pounds of fresh produce to the food shelf this season with your help! Thank you from our partners at CAER! They’re always happy to offer fresh produce to their participating families in our community.

Jalapenos will be in the CSA Shares this week, which is really exciting for us! We have had a heck of a time with bad weather conditions this season and lost all of the jalapenos a few weeks back in the last big hail storm. We have yet to pick many since then, holding out to make sure we would have plenty for CSA Members and now I am happy to share they will be included (finally)!! We also expect to have bell peppers for you within the next couple of weeks!

As many of you can attest, you have gotten quite a few cucumbers in the earlier part of the season along with summer squash. I can say with confidence that you won’t see any more cukes because those patches are basically not producing at all unfortunately. Out of a couple hundred plants, Ben picked about 2 dozen pickles… when usually in a new patch like that we would have gotten at least a hundred pounds. They are in the Zimmerman field which is really heavy ground, and they’ve gotten plenty of everything they need (water, sunshine, field maintenance/ no weeds to compete with), and they’re still not producing well. Ben and I think it’s because the ground is so compact from all the heavy rains, or it could also be because we haven’t had any warm days recently to help push this new pickle patch to produce. Just wanted to let you know that we don’t expect to have more of those this season.

A quick last reminder- this is our last week accepting orders for Add-ons. We have Apple Shares, Fall Storage Shares, Honey Packages (ranging from $18-40), and Maple Syrup available to order through the website (under ‘become a member’ tab). We will close down the online ordering next week Sept. 13th! If you have ordered recently, I will be sending out confirmation emails this upcoming week on Friday in addition to also providing more details and anticipated delivery dates. We are excited to share with you!

This week in your CSA Share, you can expect to receive: Sweet Dumpling Squash, Green Beans, Jalapenos, Red Potatoes, Zucchini or Summer Squash, and also Cabbage or Cauliflower (which ever you didn’t get last week).

Sweet dumpling squash are perfect stuffing squashes. They’re an acorn variety so they’re the same shape, they have bold scalloped edges and they’re mostly white with green speckles. They are drier than other winter squash and pair well with fruits and nuts. Remember that if you’re not going to eat these squash right away that you could get a decorative bowl for your kitchen table or entry way and use them as decorations! In the past, we’ve actually sold over 100 pounds at a time to a company just for decorations. I’m sure that after they serve their decorative purpose that they were passed out and enjoyed. Winter squash hold well, and their different shapes and colors make for a beautiful center piece!

Cabbage and Cauliflower will be in the CSA Shares this week again. We alternate these two varieties so that we can harvest large heads for everyone (instead of cutting all the cabbage or cauliflower at whatever size they are, we’re selective and only harvest larger heads). Whatever you didn’t get last week, is what you’ll get this week!

Green Beans!! We have been anxiously waiting for these little fellas. We planted several times already this spring and through the heavy rainfalls that washed out the seeds and the hail that damaged existing plants, we haven’t been able to offer them yet. So we just keep planting… and NOW we finally have beans to offer you! Keep these in a plastic bag in the fridge to keep them crisp. Munch on them raw, or try cooking them with a little olive oil and garlic- that’s my fav!

Summer Squash and Zucchini will be in the CSA Shares again this week. This patch just started producing so we have plenty to share! If you’re sick of these at this point in the season, remember that they freeze really well for baked goods during the winter. Just shred the zucchini and measure it into portions for your baking endeavors this winter. For example my zucchini bread calls for 3 cups of zucchini so I actually measure 3.5 cups into each separate bag so it’s easy to use during the winter. I always put a little extra in because when it freezes and thaws, more moisture escapes so freezing 3 cups wouldn’t be the same as using 3 cups fresh.

The variety of the week is Jalapenos!!

We will be giving you enough to make some poppers or freeze them! We can confidently say that this will be the only time we will be able to offer jalapenos this season, so we will be giving you as many as we can (I’m thinking about 8 per half share). They can be kept in the fridge in the plastic bag for weeks, or they can be chopped and frozen (or freeze them whole!). Remember that every hot pepper comes in a plastic bag so their heat is contained because we don’t want the other produce in your box to be spicy too!

Jalapenos will get hotter the longer they’re on the plant. The smaller ones aren’t as spicy as the larger ones (implying larger ones have been growing longer), but they still offer the jalapeno flavor without the heat. In all hot peppers, the heat is really in the seeds and inner membranes of the pepper, not so much in the flesh of the peppers (although that does pack a punch too). If you want to make something really spicy, just take off the stem and chop the whole pepper. If you want to take a little heat out of a dish you’re cooking, cut off the stem of the pepper, cut it in half and take out the seeds and membranes completely, then chop.

I hope you all have a wonderful week,

Take care!! ~The Farmer’s Wife

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