FARM NEWSLETTER // WEEK 16
This is our last week together, which seems unreal! I feel like this season has gone much faster than any other previous farm season. I think a big part of that is because we had to be on our toes every day all season, between community changes surrounding the pandemic and the usual farming hurdles throughout the season, it seems like this season went SO fast!!
We all have had to be so fluid and ready to change everything in a heartbeat that I think we ALL need to take a step back and pat ourselves on the back for being so versatile. That is in your personal lives- where you’re working, your job description changing, family changes, school changes, and even on a community level I think that our priorities are changing (for the better).
Please accept our sincere thank you for participating in the CSA program this season. We have enjoyed growing these goodies for you & your family and have been thrilled by all of your feedback and encouragement. That’s what really makes the CSA model special, it’s the involvement that we have from you- our farmily- that makes this line of work so purposeful and fulfilling. Thank you so much for encouraging us and allowing us to grow for your families. We appreciate you more than you’ll ever know!!!
This is our last week of CSAs together but this is not my last email newsletter to you! I will be sending out an email this coming Friday with farm updates, info on the party, how to get your CSA for next season if you plan to join us again. (Returning members have priority!) I will also be posting updates on us settling in a bit more. Now that we’ve been here for a summer we have a much better idea of how we want to utilize our space. And of course let’s not forget- there is a 100 foot greenhouse going up this fall too!!
Here is a little glimmer of summer shining through on this chilly fall afternoon. I am not sure how but these beautiful black eyed susans are still alive though they’ve been through the frost 4 times now, and one of the nights it got down to 28 degrees!
We will be coming around to pick up the boxes next week on Wednesday so please make sure that your boxes are returned to your site by October 14th. We recycle your CSA boxes this season as the harvest boxes for next season, so if you’re able to get them back to us we really appreciate it and we will certainly use them :) Some people will bring re-usable bags for this last week so that they don’t make another trip back to the CSA site but that’s totally up to you & your preference.
We do have some extra produce available for purchase if you’re looking for extras to take into the fall with you. For those who have the fall shares, everything you see on this list below is already included in the fall share but you’re welcome to get more if you’d like. Additional quantities: Bushel of Squash ($30), 5/9th bushel box of russet potatoes ($14), Half bushel of Onions ($15), Half bushel of Carrots ($15), Half bushel of Beets ($18). If you’re interested in any of these goodies please send me an email asap so we can make sure to get it to you this week. If you are interested in the squash, please also include what varieties you'd like. If that doesn’t work, we could likely work it out for the following week.
About the pumpkin party- I originally thought it would be best to have an RSVP for pumpkins but now realize that wouldn’t be the best plan for the party. So what we’re doing instead is bringing a TON of pumpkins and they’ll be first come first serve though we’re planning on enough for one for every guest that comes. We are bringing a LOT more pumpkins than we expect guests to join us :) The event starts at noon! We will have 3 table set up for carving and 2 tables set up for decorating pumpkins with stickers etc. (for those youngsters who don’t handle knives yet). Most of the activities will be planned for the patio but we will also be inside the taproom and have access to the whole brewery if the weather isn’t ideal. This is an event just for us- so we have free rein over the space basically which we are very thankful for!!
WE ARE GOING TO HAVE LIVE MUSIC!! There is an awesome Irish band coming to join our get together, and we are so thankful they’re willing to share their talent with us!! They have a very unique sound with some really awesome instruments! I think everyone who enjoys music will be able to jam with these guys!!
I had a question about bringing guests to the pumpkin party- the answer is YES! The more, the merrier!! This is the first time that we’ve had an opportunity to have something “normal” all summer basically. Pumpkin carving with friends & family, pumpkin beer (and pop options available), sitting around outside listening to live music and enjoying a good meal from the food truck. We will be social distancing and wearing masks of course, but even that feels normal nowadays. This is an opportunity for us to all get together and celebrate and we are really looking forward to it!!
This week in the Jumbo & Family Shares we will have Pie Pumpkins, Acorn Squash, Red Cabbage, Beets, Red Potatoes, Carrots & Parsley!
This week in the single shares, we will have Pie Pumpkins, Acorn Squash, Red cabbage, Beets, Carrots, Red Potatoes & Parsley!
Pie Pumpkins!! These only come once a year so they’re an extra special treat for the last week of Shares. So everyone knows about the ‘pumpkin spice’ craze right? Pumpkin spice coffees, cookies, teas, fiber one bars, coffee creamer, creamed cheese, whiskey… everything & anything…
The only problem is that pumpkins don’t taste like pumpkin spice, but that’s because it has nothing to do with pumpkin actually. You could use pumpkin spice and make squash spice coffee if you wanted! Lol. The “pumpkin spice” mixture usually consists of cloves, ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon. If you don’t want to buy all the individual herbs to make pumpkin spice they actually have a Watkins brand pumpkin spice that is really reasonably priced and it includes the proper mix of all those herbs.
So if you want to make a pumpkin pie you can actually use squash, just as long as you have the ‘pumpkin spice’ to add to it. We use a lot of squash in our pumpkin goodies because it’s ready to harvest much earlier than the pie pumpkins, so I can get my “pumpkin spice” fix earlier in the fall :)
Acorn squash is coming to you again this week! This is one of those with an awesome shelf life and I’m sure you could keep it on your counter for weeks, literally! It could serve as a fun decoration before you eat it, multipurpose produce! ;) This is one that is most frequently requested when people come to the farm stand. It’s one of the most popular squashes, and probably the most well-known as well. If you cut it length wise you can make really pretty wedges. The shape is very aesthetically pleasing & fun to use in the kitchen. If you cut it in half it looks like a flower so it’s really fun to use as a stuffed squash too.
Did you know, Parsley has more vitamin A than carrots, and more vitamin C than oranges?! It’s also high in iron. Toss it into a green salad. Excellent in soups and stews or in homemade tomato sauce, parsley is famous for freshening breath at the end of a meal. Use it to make compound butter to top steaks and breads. Dehydrate it for seasoning later. For short-term storage, stand upright in a container with an inch of water. Then cover the herbs loosely with plastic bag and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. I have a couple of recipes that use parsley posted to the blog this week too just in case you're looking for ideas. The herbed chicken one looks awesome!! And the savory carrot recipe with parsley butter looks great too- I love roasted root crops. Try adding beets to the carrots and roasting it all together!
Beets! The seeder missed a few spots so in some areas they’re medium sized, and in other areas where they had more opportunity and space to expand they got really big! Have you tried beets yet? Are they your favorite or are you hesitant to use them? I have a few ideas for you. To remove the skins, you can roast them in foil or boil them, and the peels will eventually come right off. If you’re roasting them, cook them for about an hour in a roaster pan or similar, with about a half cup of water at 400 degrees. Until fork tender. You can also use them raw and peel them with a knife or veggie peeler, then chop them into sticks and eat them raw like that. Or chop them into small matchsticks and use them to top your salad. Store these in a plastic bag in the crisper of your fridge. They will keep for weeks but their flavor diminishes with time so try to use them within a week or so.
Fun fact: When I worked in Brainerd as the science & nature coordinator for their summer program we had a fun experiment while tie dying clothes. We had extracted the juice from a lot of different types of veggies by boiling them with vinegar. All the kiddos had t-shirts to dye and we had a blast doing the ‘experiment’! A couple obvious ones didn’t work at all, but the ones that worked the best in order were: beets, red cabbage, blueberries and lemons. Beets have a very strong color!!
Red Potatoes! These are another variety that will store for a long time. These are a bit bigger and the peels are much thicker now than what they were in the spring. I have to point out the versatility of potatoes because they are seriously one of the easiest veggies to prep. You can bake them, boil them, mash them, roast them with olive oil and some herbs, grate them and make hash browns, cut them into thin slices and make an au gratin potato dish with some sausage, potato soup, I could go on forever I’m sure. If you haven’t tried fritters yet- I would highly recommend those! It’s basically grated potatoes with an egg, melted butter, salt, pepper, and bread crumbs to give it a little crunch. The egg just allows it to all stick together (kind of the same concept as when you’re breading fish). You can bake them or broil them, turn them into French fries, etc. Anyways-there are a MILLION ways to use potatoes so we hope you can find a fun way to enjoy them!!
Red cabbage! These are smaller than their green counterparts. A couple weeks ago I mentioned red cabbage but we never ended up harvesting any of it, hoping that we would save it all for this last week and have plenty for everyone’s shares. I’m glad we did that because we will have plenty! The red cabbage differs from green cabbage in that the leaves are a little thicker and wavier than their green counterparts. It is also a little sweeter- and a lot of the time this is used in more raw dishes than green cabbage because of that.
We will have carrots for you again this week!! We got out there and found a thicker spot in the patch that we were really happy with!! These are a tad smaller & maybe even a bit sweeter because of that. You can peel them if you want but it’s mostly a personal preference whether you do peel them or not. If you’ve never roasted carrots, give it a try! I LOVE roasted carrots with a tad of brown sugar, cinnamon and butter. It’s a real treat!! I also have a recipe on the blog this week for roasted carrots with a savory butter sauce.
We are sad that this is the last week of harvest for us this season but I'm happy that we still have so many varieties to offer you, this is a fun week of veggies! I don't think the last week will ever get any easier though, year after year it still feels the same. It's a signal that the freshness has come to an end, it will get cold outside & we will button down the hatches in preparation for winter. The one thing that keeps us going is planning for next season already- we are in very high spirits! Ending this season on such a positive encouraging note and having a strong desire to already start working up the fields to plant all over again!! Sure, we could use a little break but we LOVE what we do and we are blessed to have your support for our farm and family in this way. Thank you for making this possible for us <3
Stay well friends,
~The Farmer’s Wife