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Address: 23078 164th Street
Big Lake, MN 55309

Phone: (952) 836-5263

Email: Jodi@brownfamilyproduce.com 

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  • Admin The Farmer's Wife

FARM NEWSLETTER / / WEEK 12

Happy Friday all!

We are very thankful for the heat we’ve had the last few days. We REALLY needed that warm weather to speed up growth in some of the produce varieties- we didn’t even know if we’d harvest some of them before the frost because of how slow everything has been growing.


For example, we are planning on having Brussel sprouts in our tentative last week of CSA Shares (first week of October). They were planted about 4 weeks behind because of the flooding in the Zimmerman field, we didn’t want to take the risk of planting everything and letting it all go under like the kohlrabi and onions. Waiting that long was a gamble, and we’re hopeful that with this past week of great growth we should be able to harvest them just in time!


Brussel Sprouts are the longest day to harvest maturity rate. What does that mean? Every produce variety grows at a different rate, so that’s where the ‘days to maturity’ comes in. It is a gauge for us so we can know when to plant them, and when to expect them to be harvested. For example, Brussel sprouts have 110 days to maturity (with proper conditions), and radishes are only 28 days! So you could grow piles and piles or radishes before you’d harvest sprouts at all. Even winter squash are less than 80 days usually, so those are ready literally a month prior to us harvesting sprouts! That makes them even sweeter though :)


The purple Cauliflower isn’t ready yet, they’re all about the size of a quarter. I’m hoping that this warm spell will give them enough energy to produce larger heads though because those are so beautiful! Ben said these heads are very nice and they’re getting really big now!


All of the onions are pulled and we included some this past week that were fresh and a handful that we had pulled earlier that have dried. The quantities of onions are still way below average because our first 25,000 onions flooded completely. We were then obligated to plant a second patch of onions which was about 20% of what we had originally planted (usually only plant them in the spring), which got hit by hail and as Ben mentioned before they looked like they were ‘hit by helicopter blades’! It is a miracle they’ve made it this far and we are thankful for everything we’ve pulled from the fields this year!


For those of you who purchased Fall Storage Shares, you also just received an email from me about the shares that will be starting next week on Monday! You will receive one bushel full of produce (squash, carrots, beets, onions, russets, etc.) for the next two weeks for a total of 2 bushels. Make sure to make arrangements to get these boxes to your car or into the house because they will be the heaviest boxes you see all year! Root veggies are the heaviest.


In your CSA Share next week you can expect: Pie Pumpkins, Cauliflower, red cabbage, Carrots and radishes!


The carrots should be placed in a plastic bag and kept in the fridge. If you just place them in the fridge, the respiration of air around them will soften them in a day or two. If you keep them in a plastic bag they will stay firm for weeks potentially! The greens on the carrots are really beaten up by the weather so we will be cutting those all off and you’ll receive the carrot root.


Red Cabbage is different from green cabbage but they are very similar. The red cabbage has slightly thicker leaves so they can keep a little more of their crunch if you’re cooking with them. Cabbage belongs to the cruciferous family and much like it’s relatives it is brimming with nutrients and antioxidants. Just one cup of red cabbage contains 2 grams of fiber and over 85% of your daily value of Vitamin C! Although red cabbage does beat our green cabbage nutritionally, you can’t really go wrong with choosing either. They’re both low in calories and high in healthful properties!


Radishes can be enjoyed raw or cooked. If you’d like to cut out some of the ‘spice’ of the radish try slicing them & sautéing the radishes in a little olive oil and herbs. Remember that you can enjoy the actual root and the greens too! Almost everything about fresh produce is healthy- it’s just whether or not we are willing to try and enjoy it. I challenge you to try these!


Cauliflower is coming again this week! I would recommend cutting it up right away because this is one variety in your CSA Share this week that will not last a very long time. Broccoli and cauliflower both have fairly short shelf lives. We cut the cauliflower in the morning and pack it into your CSA that same morning, but even then they won’t last a whole week. Turn the cauliflower over so the head is face down and use a sharp knife to slowly cut away the stem and leaves exposing a head of cauliflower. Remember these grow with leaves almost completely surrounding the head, so when you see lots of broken leaves around the outside of the head please know it is us trying to clean it up a bit- and not being rough with them! haha We literally take off a lot of leaves for you to even see the head in there!



The variety of the week is pie pumpkins!


These are a little smaller than what we’re accustomed to, which is typical of all the squash this season. Since the vines died earlier than expected the fruits ripened earlier than expected and at a smaller size. Pie Pumpkins are very different than their larger cousins the jack-o-lantern pumpkins. They have a different texture and flavor which is the most important part of a pie pumpkin! The larger pumpkins are grown for their size, not specialized for their sweetness like the pie pumpkins. Some smaller pumpkins look like pie pumpkins but they’re decorative pumpkins. Even I can’t tell the difference between them if they were all the same size they all look alike! Don’t worry though- I can assure you that these are all pie pumpkins :) Pie pumpkins can be used interchangeably with winter squash. Their flesh is all very similar but these are the sweetest in my opinion.


'Tis the season for Pumpkin Spice everything!!!


Have a wonderful weekend,

~The Farmer’s Wife

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