FARM NEWSLETTER // WEEK 15
Welcome to week 15 together this season! We've got a handful of new varieties for you this week, again! It's that time of the year when we're able to really appreciate the transition in seasons. I think that's one unspoken value of CSA Shares.
You see the spring, all of the leafy greens, lettuces, peas and more delicate crops. Transitioning to the summer crops, onions cukes, melons, tomatoes, these are the more celebrated crops as they're more readily available year round- these are the varieties we find at the grocery store all year round no matter what. Then we're transitioning to the fall crops, these are hearty! Winter squash has thick skins and can easily be stored for months, the root crops like carrots, beets, dried onions, and then the super fun crops you'll only find right at the end of the season- pie pumpkins & brussel sprouts for example!
I want to touch on this one last time because we still have TWO weeks left together. This week is not the last week of the CSA Season. The last day of the season that we'll be delivering your CSA Shares is the week of Monday Oct 4th- Friday Oct 8th.
To touch on a little bit of housekeeping--
As we wrap up another season together I'd like to mention what happens with your CSA boxes. As many of you know we are able to recycle these boxes through the farm. Every season all of our CSA Members get several brand new boxes that we use for a season. Then at the end of the season we collect all of the empty boxes, remove all of the name labels, and store them until the following season. Then next season we'll use those as our harvest boxes!! So this season's CSA boxes that you return to us after week 16 will be the boxes that we pick and transport produce in next season.
Every week when we deliver produce you have a couple options for getting your goodies home: you can either take the whole box with you or empty the contents into a reusable bag and then leave the empty box at your pick up site.
During the last week of CSAs, we ask that everyone brings a reusable bag to empty their produce into so that we can get the boxes back. Some people will still take their boxes home which is fine, but we really appreciate being able to get them back so we can reuse them. I will come by the following week to pick up all of the boxes. I will make one trip, I won't go back a bunch of times. So if you don't get your box returned on time please don't just go drop it off anyways because your host won't have anything to do with it.
I will come around on OCTOBER 12th to pick up the returned CSA Share boxes!
Now onto the FUN news. We have a lot to fit into the next couple of weeks, I'll start at the top...
We are adding SWEETANGO APPLES into your CSAs this week!!! We usually offer one week of apples in the fall but we couldn't resist these after trying them. Our favorite orchard, Apple Jacks in Delano, has SweeTango Apples available now. We will be picking up a lot of them early this coming week so that we can add them into your CSAs this week. Surprise!! OK, next surprise! We will have Ben's favorite squash in your CSA (that's saying something)!! This is also a new variety that you haven't seen yet this season. I can tell you that this squash is one of the first to sell out every season, the buttercups! <3
I'd like to share something on a more personal note, it's not really farm related but it is, lol.
TODAY, Ben's little brother is getting married to our longest standing employee!!!! Literally, she has been with us almost a DECADE. That's how long we've had her with us every summer. This is Ben's "kid brother" as you could say. Ben is the oldest of 6, so this brother is 8 years younger than he is. As you can imagine we are ecstatic. First of all, they're perfect together (already went duck hunting together this morning before their wedding, lol!). Secondly, we've had the honor of watching both of them grow up... when I met my little brother in law he was still just a kid in grade school. Ben is the best man and our kids are all in the wedding too- it's will be so much fun!! Congratulations to our precious young couple, Josiah & Hannah!!!
With everything going on this week, I have to admit, I made boxed mashed potatoes as a side to supper. Literally. I feel like I should hide in shame but really, this is life. We're making the most of it. As many will tell us, this is as busy as we'll ever be. We have three young children from 9 to 5, we've got activities, a farm to run, a home to keep in shape and don't forget, weddings on the weekends!! I do have to admit I felt bad about the boxed mashed potatoes but like I said, it is what it is. We're all still eating, so that's a win. The last couple weeks of the season I consider pure survival mode, lol.
Another piece of housekeeping- we are delivering your Fall Shares this week and next week! It will come to you in two increments of one bushel box each week for the last two weeks of the season. If you ordered your Fall Share before July 31st you'll also be getting a bottle of honey with it! We'll include those the second week of the fall shares. I'll be sending out an email shortly to those who signed up for those- so please make sure to watch for it! If you signed up for a fall share and don't get an email from me today with your Fall Storage Share Guide make sure to shoot me a message!!
This week in your CSA Shares you can expect: Jumbo & Family Shares: Sweet Mama Squash, Sunshine Squash, Red Potatoes, SweeTango Apples, Dried Onions, Kale & Beets.
Single Shares: Sweet Mama Squash, Sunshine Squash, Red Potatoes, SweeTango Apples, Kale, Beets, and Eggplant.
We have two kinds of winter squash listed here and both are Buttercup varieties. What does that mean? This variety as I mentioned above, is very desirable. We grow more than what we need so that we make sure we have plenty of everything for your CSA. Then at the end of the season when we have extras we will sell our extra squash. This is always the variety of squash that sells out first!
It can be baked or roasted. Scoop cooked flesh from the skin and puree into soup, mix with cheese and herbs for fresh pasta or ravioli stuffing. Carefully peel squash and dice flesh, then add to broth based soups with lentils beans or leeks. This squash has an extraordinarily long shelf life. There is also an orange buttercup squash called Sunshine. These buttercups are considerably more moist than other varieties you’ll see this winter.
*The picture below has 4 gaylords full of sweet mamas, and one of spaghetti squash that just so happened to be in the picture.
Apple lovers rave about SweeTango. This apple is pure flavor, nurtured by the finest apple growers in the world. Introduced in 2009, SweeTango combines the best qualities of the Honeycrisp and Zestar! varieties. It's got the best of both worlds with a fairly thin skin and nice crunch, paired with a perfectly sweet flavor!!
BEETS! This is the last time you'll see beets in your CSA this season. We're going to be adding them to the fall shares this week too! These earthy root crops can be used in a lot of ways but if you're fairly new to them I would suggest washing them, cutting them into wedges or pieces, tossing with olive oil and thyme, and then roasting them in the oven at 400 degrees for about a half hour. Another way to test them is applying the same concept as the "fork tender" idea to potatoes; except with beets you'll need to use a sharp knife. If a sharp knife can be inserted easily, the beets are done. The reason we do this is because you can't use a fork to piece a beet that's cooked 5x as long as it should, because beets always hold their shape and firmness more than potatoes.
Dried Onions- my biggest tip for you is that they should not be stored by the potatoes! Fun fact: when the sulfur in cut onions meets the water in your eyes, it turns into sulfuric acid — hence the infamous onion-induced tears!! To reduce the assault, use a very sharp knife, or chill your onions in fridge before cutting them. If you’re planning to use chopped or sliced onions raw, it’s a good idea to rinse them in water before use as this takes away the unpleasant bite.
Kale is coming this week, also for the last time this season. Kale is a hearty green that will last in your fridge for weeks if you're not ready to use it. My biggest suggestion is either adding to your salad mix for texture or using it in a stir fry and adding it right before it's done cooking. That way the greens aren't mushy! Remember that even if kale isn't at the tip top of your list of favorites, that this is one of the "super foods" that has so much nutritional value for you!! It's not my favorite either, but one way I get everyone to enjoy it is making kale chips- but add a little bit of garlic too so that it's browned and a little crunchy- which goes well with the texture of the crisp kale chips well.
Wrapping up here-
Thank you for being so understanding these past couple weeks with us getting caught up around the farm. I know I owe quite a few of you emails and I look forward to catching up Sunday before we start harvesting the winter squash for the week's CSAs. We've been short staffed as you know, having two employees out for two weeks in the middle of harvest season is anything but easy, but we always make it work! We also have the support of our friends and family which is key right now. In this stage of the farm season but also this stage of life.
We have a handful of us getting together tomorrow, Sunday afternoon, to pick squash for your CSAs. This might be the seasoning coming to an end but it's certainly not "winding down"! We've got a lot to look forward to still!!! :D
Have a great rest of your weekend,
Take care Friends! ~The Farmer's Wife