FARM NEWSLETTER // WEEK 15
We are diving into our 15th week together this season! We have a 16 week season, so after this week we only have one week left together this year. Our last week together will be the first week of October (the 5th through the 9th).
It seems like it went so fast… I think part of that is because we had an ever evolving summer surrounding the pandemic and I think all of us had to react so quickly that time passed even faster than normal! We were all on our toes the whole summer, literally!! ;P
The fall shares will be coming out this week and next. It comes in a bushel box for two consecutive weeks. I already sent an email out to everyone who signed up for it. That email also has the fall storage guide that details how to use the veggies and how best to store them.
This week is NOT the last week- but I want to mention this now too.. after the farm season is over we will be coming around to collect the empty CSA boxes. We use your boxes from this season as harvest boxes for next season. That’s what we take out to the field with us to harvest summer squash into for example. So please make sure to return your empty CSA box as normal. Another option would be to bring a reusable bag the last week of the season and empty your box contents into it so that you leave your box there at the site, preventing another trip back around. Totally up to you though!
OUR PUMPKIN PARTY DETAILS HAVE BEEN FINALIZED. This is one of the most exciting things Ben & I have planned all summer, I hope you’re able to join us! It will be from 12-4pm on October 18th. We will be offering free pumpkins to all who come and have carving stations set up. We will also have decorations set up (if you have little ones who wouldn’t handle the knives). We will have a food truck on site!!
Another important detail of the pumpkin party is that we partnered with Finnegans two years ago and they produced a pumpkin brew with our pie pumpkins!! They will be releasing this beer that’s aged in burbon barrels for a couple years now. I am waiting to hear if it’ll be on the shelves at liquor stores next to their flagship ales (it sounds like it will be available throughout!). Ben & I are buying a keg and offering tickets at the door- if you bring a canned food item for the food shelf we will be handing out free beer tickets! It’s one per adult, please. #beerforgood
I had originally thought to have an RSVP for pumpkins, but I think that’ll be too sloppy because plans can change last minute and I don’t want to discourage anyone. So we’ll be bringing hundreds of pumpkins and it’ll be a first come first serve basis.
Social anxiety? Have a beer and laugh it off with the rest of us who haven’t seen people in forever… lol. This is one of the first times that we’ve been able to do “normal” summer things and activities. This will be a socially distanced event too- we are very conscious of keeping everyone safe and following all the mandates that are in place for the state and the city of MPLS.
This spring, Ben and I planted about 300 pumpkin plants. This was right after the pandemic really got wind in its sail and we had to cancel our spring farm event here. We kept care of these pumpkins just in case… and boy are we happy we did!! I’m so happy that we can enjoy these pumpkins & share them with you <3
This is a picture of the back of the property this week. I want to take a picture every week and watch the colors change with you!
This week in the Jumbo & Family Shares we will have sunshine squash, sweet dumpling squash, russet potatoes, dried onions, sweet banana peppers, sage and a mystery fall variety!
This week in the Single Shares we will have sunshine squash, sweet dumpling squash, russet potatoes, dried onions, sweet banana peppers and sage!
What do I mean by ‘mystery fall variety’? Well, I’m referring to one of our fall crops like cauliflower, broccoli or red cabbage. We have huge patches of all of these 3 varieties but not many are big enough to cut yet. So we figured instead of not including them at all, it would be better to include what we can! It will be one of these varieties for sure.
The sunshine squash is Farmer Ben’s favorite squash!! It is a buttercup variety. It has kind of a nutty flavor but awesome smooth texture. This is the one that we end up freezing a lot of. Yes we keep squash into the fall and winter months but this is one that Ben wants to have in April still, it’s the best he says! So we eat the ‘fresh’ squash for as long as we can but by next spring we’ll be out of it so then we resort to the frozen squash.
If you’re squashed out- please remember that there are a lot more uses than just cutting them in half and adding salt & pepper. You don’t need to be a foodie to use them! I have a recipe for stuffed squash this week that has wild rice and berries. If you want to eat healthy but don’t have the time a great adaptation to the recipe is using pre-cooked wild rice (yes, it’s in every grocery store!). I was just chatting with a member the other day about how I had never used a zucchini until Ben grew one for me… yes… never even had one (except maybe in bread?). We all come from different vegetable backgrounds and as far as I’m concerned, I am just thrilled you’re trying something new! Even if we do have to take short cuts sometimes it's a big step in the right direction! ;D
Another go-to for squash is cakes and bars. I know it’s easy to find a way to make vegetables less healthy.. but let’s talk about the priority of nutrition and simply getting them into your system! It’s so important to eat your veggies, even if they’re disguised in cake lol!
Russet Potatoes! These are a high starch potato and generally oblong in shape. These tan colored thick-skinned potatoes fall apart while cooking and whip up fluffy and light. This makes them the ideal choice for mashing. Because they have a light, mealy texture, high-starch potatoes are the best baked potato.
Tip: if after slicing a raw potato the knife is coated with white, foamy starch, chances are it is more suited to baking than boiling. If you haven’t tried hassle back potatoes, check out the recipe I will be posting to the blog this week under the flashback recipes :) or go to the search icon in the blog and type in hassleback and it’ll pop up.
We dried all the onions we had left in the field and when cleaning up part of the onion patch we did find some really nice sized ones which was a great surprise! These dried onions will last for a long time. Just don’t keep them by your potatoes or it’ll cause the potatoes and onions to all spoil (it’s a moisture/gas exchange and it will decompose both faster).
Sweet banana peppers- this is it guys. We won’t be seeing anymore of the peppers after this week. Ben is a little nervous there won’t be enough out there because some did freeze but if we don’t have enough sweet banana peppers we’ll be adding in gypsy peppers which is another type of sweet pepper. They do have a very similar taste and flesh thickness and can be used interchangeably. If you don’t want more peppers- try stuffing them! We made a recipe the other night, it was beef with taco seasoning and we added diced onions and peppers into the taco meat and then stuffed the peppers. Plenty of cheese on top of course, it kind of creates a hat for the pepper lol! Then served with salsa and a dollop of sour cream. Personally I had some taco chips on the side and kind of treated it like nachos. It was so good and simple to make!
Sage!! This year the fresh herbs didn’t do as well as they have in the past, but we did have some really weird weather patterns that I think had something to do with it. They are basically weed free, so it wasn’t competition for light that’s for sure! We will be doing some soil testing this fall to see what nutrients are where, and perhaps exposing some deficiencies or surpluses in some places. Knowledge is power!
Be careful when using fresh herbs like sage. They can be very potent when fresh! To use sage, the best thing I can think of is when I melt butter and chopped sage into it. Then you can use the butter mixture to pour over your meat or vegetables and it adds the flavor but not as strong as if you didn’t have the butter to cut it. (does that make sense?) I copied and pasted some of the storage information from the farm to table storage guide that I gave you this spring- check out the tips for storage, dehydration or freezing below.
For short-term storage, stand upright in a container with an inch of water. Then cover the herbs loosely with a plastic bag and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
To dehydrate: Remove leaves from stem and place piece of paper towel on glass plate. Cover with another piece of paper towel. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Leaves will be dry. Crinkle them with your finger and place them in a dry container, such as a Mason jar with a lid.
To freeze: Frozen herb cubes are easy to make. One frozen herb cube is equal to 1 Table- spoon fresh or 1 teaspoon dried herb. Just add a cube when your recipe calls for the herb. To prepare herbs for freezing: Rinse them gently in cool water. Chop the leaves fairly coarsely. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the herb into each compartment of an ice cube tray, add about 1 inch of water to each compartment, and place the tray in the freezer. Remove the frozen herb cubes from the trays and bundle all the cubes in a plastic freezer bag. Remove as much air as possible, seal and store in the freezer for up to a year.
I want to reiterate that this is NOT our last week of CSA Shares. We do have one more week after this- we go through the end of the first week in October. Then we have the pumpkin party on the 18th which we hope to see you all at!
Stay well friends,
~The Farmer’s Wife
I wanted to share a little about making baby food if this applies to you :)
When it comes to making homemade baby food, I am not an expert but I do have some experience. The squash and carrots can be made into baby food fairly easily. Beets could also be used in baby food but I would suggest adding something else to it (maybe bananas or blueberries for example) so that it’s sweet and less earthy.
To make baby food, it’s mostly just cooking the vegetables really well and then pureeing them. If you don’t have a food processor you could also use a blender. Make sure to make age appropriate baby foods, and as they get older you can process it less or don’t blend it as long and eventually you can give them chunks that they can pick up with their fingers. Of course follow your pediatrician’s guidelines for this.
If you have a hard time pureeing the carrots or squash, add a little bit of water to it until it gets to the right consistency. You can store the baby food in the fridge for 3-4 days or freeze it. I used to freeze baby food in ice cube trays because then it was a perfect serving size for our little ones.