It's like someone flipped a switch and all of the sudden it was FALL!
Last weekend it was 100* basically every day during the 4-day weekend when Ben was sitting at the stand. So many people felt bad for him that a couple different people brought fans and extension cords for him! It is just crazy that we get heat like that and then the next morning it's literally 63 degrees with a high of 68!
And just like that... of a sudden there are Halloween decorations everywhere, fall decor and fake pumpkins on every endcap at the store, flannel everything and the cherry on top: pumpkin spice, everything.
Back to School
I'm sure you've seen plennnnty of these pictures but here is one more for you ;P Here is our crew the morning before our first day of school! Many of you have known us a long time, so you might be surprised to hear William (our oldest) is already in 5th grade! Both him & Karli are over 5 foot tall already and still growing, they grow faster than the weeds on the farm, I swear!
And our Luna- she is such a good girl! She never goes anywhere she isn't supposed to. It looks like Kelsi is holding her collar but it's Kelsi holding her shoulders trying to get her to look for the picture, haha! She follows commands well & always greets everyone as they come to the farm; we call her the farm mascot because she's everywhere and always happy! One could say she's always singing and dancing.. she's still a puppy and has plenty of energy!
The fall is my favorite season of all! It's a cozy, sweatshirt and jeans type of weather. Cooler in the morning and crisp, then it warms up and I feel like even our personalities get warmer for some reason. We are thankful that this fall is another season of bounty. Even though the hail did ding up quite a few squash we're seeing, there is still a really good crop out there and plenty of root crops too. It's a season of warmth, bounty, soups, fall crop storage, and yes, the farm season will eventually wrap up too. We've got another month though, so we better get after it because we've got a LOT left to show you!!!
The spring crops are lots of greens and 'fluffy' stuff. Sugar snap peas, beans, lettuces, and the summer is full of corn, melons, peppers, tomatoes, cukes, so many good varieties! What I'm getting at is that we have a whole new crop sub-season to celebrate! It's a totally different set of produce varieties basically. We transition to hearty crops, root crops, winter squashes, and specialty crops like brussel sprouts for example.
Fun fact- brussel sprouts take longer than anything else on the farm to get to harvest. On the packages of every seed we sow, it will show you how many days it is until harvest. Radishes are only 30 days, melons are 80-90 days, tomatoes are 70ish days, but brussel sprouts are 110 days! We seed brussel sprouts before we seed anything else in the winter when the snow is still on the ground! When we have to trek through the snow to get to the greenhouse to seed these babies! We've been watching these grow for months and months! They're usually ready the last week of the season but depending on how big the sprouts are, they might be ready week 15. (Week 16, the first week of October, are the last CSAs of the season).
Update on the Apple Shares
We are waiting to hear from the orchard about when we can pick up the apples. We were told we're shooting for later this week. They were ripening well last we chatted, but it was unclear if we'd be able to get them later this week or not. If we can't get them by this weekend, Apple Shares will have to be pushed out a week. If we do get them, Apple Shares come next week! Everyone who got an Apple Share will get an email update about this as well :)
Last year that happened too. The apples weren't ripe for week 14, eeek! That means that week 15 we sent out the first installment of the Fall Shares (a two-week Add-on option) AND all of the apple shares. That was SO MUCH PRODUCE leaving the farm everyday. So much harvest and prep. We are praying they're ready for us to pick up later this week!! But it's all dependent on the weather, like everything else we do.
THIS WEEK IN YOUR CSA YOU CAN EXPECT:
Jumbo & Family Shares: Watermelon, Acorn Squash, Broccoli, Yellow Potatoes, Zucchini/Summer Squash, Green Beans & Tomatoes!!
Single Shares: Watermelon, Butternut Squash, Broccoli, Yellow Potatoes, Zucchini/Summer squash & Tomatoes!!
This week we are sending red seedless watermelons with your CSAs! Jumbo Shares will get 2, Family Shares get 1 and Single Shares get 1 melon. As watermelon connoisseurs will tell you, the seedless and seeded melons don't taste the same. In fact, they say that seeded melons are sweeter! I'm not sure about that- I've had some amazing seedless melons too! For me personally, I think it really has to do with who is harvesting them and if they know what to look for/ when it's a ripe melon. Just because it grows big and green doesn't mean it's ready to harvest! There are little curly Qs on the vines all over that can help cue to Ben that they're ripened. Or the stem thickness/ wetness vs dryness is another cue. Ben is the only one allowed to harvest watermelons! He won't even let any of us out there in the patch because it's SO important to harvest ripe melons. There is no room for error. I don't even harvest the melons.
This week we're doing a flip flop on the squash. So this week, Jumbo & Family Shares get acorn squash and Single Shares get the butternuts! I explained the difference in great detail in last week's blog post here: Farm Newsletter ** Week 12 (brownfamilyproduce.com)
Zucchini and summer squash is back! This is our second planting of the season. The first patch is still producing a little bit but not much, and those are kinda goofy shaped. The second zucchini patch isn't old. In fact, I'm sure you couldn't tell the difference in taste if you had a zucchini from each patch! It's just that the fresh new zucchini plants produce sooo much more.
Let's talk about the difference between the squashes.
Both zucchini and crookneck squash varieties are types of summer squash technically.
The best way to tell the difference between the squashes is to look at the shape & stem color. Traditional yellow summer squash will have a narrow top, with the blossom end bulbing out (see picture). Yellow and Green zucchini will be almost always straight and consistent widths, and the stem end is always green. Yellow summer squash have a yellow stem end. Zucchini are almost always shiny, and summer squash is only shiny if it’s a very small summer squash (less than 6 inches or so). I think crookneck summer squash is sweeter than zucchini.
To store: Store squash unwashed in a perforated plastic bag in the vegetable bin. In the refrigerator they keep for about a week and a half. If the ends get soft before you can use it, cut the blossom end off and you can still use the rest of the zucchini/ squash. If it’s getting soft and you know that you won’t be able to use it before the whole thing will be soft, considering cutting off the blossom end and grating the rest of the zucchini/squash to freeze and save for baking.
Handling: Rinse under water to remove the dirt or prickles, and slice off the stem and blossom ends. Then slice or chop. Scrape out seeds from baseball bat sized zucchinis before using them to bake. It is unnecessary to remove seeds from the smaller squash.
To use: Because of their bland flavor, summer squash lend themselves to many cooking applications, taking on the flavor of whatever they’re cooked with. Try using them as a substitute for rice, pasta or potatoes. Slice tender, young summer squash into salads. Try them in stir-fries, with pasta. Lightly steam (4-5 minutes) and dress them with fresh herbs or pesto. Or coat squash lightly in oil and roast at 350 degrees whole or sliced in half for 15-45 minutes. Stuff whole squash with your favorite stuffings.
**We JUST started harvesting both of these new varieties in this new patch so we're not sure which everyone will get but whichever one you don't get this week, you'll get next week! We'll flip flop them to make sure everyone sees it in their CSA Share this season still!
I'm sure you have noticed it's Sunday evening again....
Our employees will be here at 7am and we get the kids out the door about that time for school. This week is a melon week too!! So I'll be delivering every day this week (it takes multiple delivery vehicles during melon week).
This weekend I spent a lot of time cleaning up around the farm. Harvesting with the kids. Fixing equipment. Hauling feed. Processing fresh strawberries so I can take them out this winter and make some jam and ice cream topping. Prepping salsa ingredients so I can throw together more salsa (though I'm not seeing any free time in the foreseeable future). Ben sold all the salsa I made, which was about 130 jars!
We harvested an extra couple thousand pounds of squash over the week and weekend! Now that they're ripe and curing in the field, we can start to harvest them and get them in the shed as we have time. It's fall crop season, so there is more work than we know what to do with!
I'm thankful for having all of the help we do have, but for the record there are never enough days in a week. There is also never enough coffee!!
Wish us luck ;P
Eat Good & Be Well,
~The Farmer's Wife