The Farmer's Wife
FARM NEWSLETTER // WEEK 14
Greetings All! I have great news as you may have heard, we tested negative for Covid-19, twice! We were exposed last week to our two employees who tested positive. We did have some kind of bug, whatever the kids brought home from their first few days back at school I'd guess. The symptoms were the same as Covid too, so I'm happy we took the precaution to stay home and isolate, but also so happy we are feeling better and able to get back to work this week! We have a lot to Share with you!!!
I'd like to add that we are following and will continue to follow CDC Guidelines surrounding Covid-19 safety for when affected employees can return safely, monitoring symptoms with our whole crew (I check in daily, we're like family after all!) and making sure to stay home when appropriate. We take this very seriously and will continue to operate under your best interest.
APPLE SHARE WEEK! If you signed up for the Apple Share, we'll be sending your Apples home with you this week! It will be a separate box of Honey Crisp Apples and will weigh about 25#. The box that you receive your apples in is yours to keep if you'd like. We would always use it again too, but we plan to not get those back so if we do it's just a bonus. There will be a print out in there too with information about your apples, how to store them, even a couple recipes!
We will also be adding them into our CSAs this week! So even if you didn't get the extra Apple Share, you'll be seeing these sweet beauties this week :)
HONEY SHARE WEEK! If you signed up for the Honey Shares this fall, we'll be sending those out to you this week as well! Seems like a big week, right?! These were supposed to come to you last week but having cancelled it we pushed it back to this week. So some of you are getting double goodies!!
**If you signed up for Honey or Apples you should have gotten an email reminder from me earlier this afternoon.
FALL SHARES THE FOLLOWING WEEK! Read that again- the Fall Shares are not coming this week but will be coming for the last two weeks (the week of Sept 27th & Oct 4th). These will be HEAVY so please plan accordingly. You're welcome to keep everything in the box it comes in, or you can bring reusable bags and empty part of the box out. Expect these boxes to be between 40-50 pounds.
The brussel sprouts are doing great! They could be a little bigger but we've still got a couple of weeks. They start growing from the bottom so the ones towards the top are always pretty small. A lot of people have never seen brussel sprouts on the plant before because commercially they travel without it. It's a huge thick edible stalk (reminds me of broccoli). We are going to get these into the last CSA Share box. I don't care if I have to tape them to the top, lol!
Speaking of that... we only have a few weeks left together this season so we're going to make the most of it and push it to the brim! Your CSAs are going to look like a tetris puzzle... we might have to be selective on the stuff we give you for the remainder of the season. We're already prioritizing the goodies that you haven't gotten yet this season, or ones that you haven't gotten in a while. Carrots are coming this week, just as an example!!! We could put in hot peppers but we're choosing to hold off on those and give you more of the root crops because it's that time of year. It's not like we have a super abundance of these crops but we're prioritizing them because we love being able to offer the variety throughout the season!
One thing that I feel I haven't really touched a whole lot on yet this season is what we process, can and freeze. It's great being able to take the garden into the winter with us! As farmers, we're extra busy in the summer time of course. There is always "that one last thing to do"! So we don't often get time to enjoy all the produce we grow during the season. Our summer meals are a lot more condensed and simple ;) So it's important to put up everything we have time to!
For me that starts with freezing and canning mostly. We freeze tomatoes so that we can use them in the winter. When I have time I'll make a batch of salsa, but as many of you know that takes hours to prep, cook down and process. It's usually something I'll try to do on the weekend if I know I'll be home to stir it throughout the day. Spaghetti sauce too- though I'm still working on fine tuning my recipe. Pickles, stewed tomatoes, chili base, and don't forget the corn salsa! I've always day dreamed about having enough time to can a lot of the stuff I make and sell "canning shares" or something like that with a variety of different canned goods. But again, it comes down to hours in the day unfortunately. A girl can dream though!
We also freeze a lot of produce. I'll freeze a ton of peppers and even onions! Onions will last well into the fall and winter so we'll keep some fresh too of course. I do like to chop them ahead of time and freeze them because it's so much faster to use them in the winter and honestly more approachable. When I make tacos or sloppy joes I'll throw a handful of them into the burger. Squash, broccoli, even brussel sprouts. There is a way to process everything! Except watermelon. I'm sure it's been done but I wonder how successfully.. haha.
I wrote a lot of my tips and tricks down in the Farm to Table Storage Handbook! All of our CSA Members should have received this in the beginning of the farm season. It has all the varieties we grow listed out with storage tips, processing tips (freezing, drying, canning), ideas for how to use it. I hope that it's provided you with value throughout the season and fingers crossed, maybe you're still using it! This is "harvest season" after all!!
THIS WEEK IN YOUR CSA SHARE: The Jumbo & Family Shares can expect: Butternut Squash, Delicata Squash, Carrots, Honey Crisp Apples, Yummy Mix Peppers, and Eggplant.
The Single Shares can expect: Butternut Squash, Delicata Squash, Carrots, Honey Crisp Apples, Yummy Mix Peppers, and Grape Tomatoes.
SQUASH! These next couple of weeks you'll be seeing all sorts of different kinds of squash. We generally give you one of every variety, because there are a lot of different varieties that we grow. All "winter squash" are pretty similar except for the spaghetti squash. You've gotten spaghetti squash twice this season, and they're very stringy and it looks just like spaghetti when the flesh is combed out with a fork. Every other kind of winter squash are true to the general variety; it's rich and thick textured with orange flesh and it's also super nutritious!
Here is a picture of the delicata squash you'll be getting this week!
They're elongated and the seed cavity runs the length of the squash. This is one of the ideal types of stuffing squash and it actually has edible skin! Most winter squashes don't though, so make sure you're paying attention over the next couple of weeks ;)
Then we have the butternuts! This is one of the most popular types of winter squash that we grow. I would say it's a tie between these and the buttercups (coming next week!). When you think soup in the fall, I think we are trained to remember "Butternut Soup". Have you heard of it? It's the ideal soup squash because it's so rich and dense. It's also very creamy when pureed, unlike any other squash variety you'll see this season in your CSAs. This week's weather is calling for soup.
***Squash hack! If you're nervous about cutting them in half to cook because they're hard as a rock (same!), you can put it in the microwave for a couple minutes to soften it up a bit. Some people cook the squash all the way through in the microwave, though personally I prefer the oven.
Carrots!! FINALLY!! These will be coming to you in plastic bags. We will be weighing our portions ahead of time and storing these in bags because that's how we would like you to store them at home too. Keeping them in the bag will help keep them firm. These are topped which means they'll keep for longer (having the greens on them takes moisture out of the carrot and causes it to soften faster. Tis the season for root vegetables!!
Yummy Mix Peppers! We weren't even able to get the seed for these last year because of the Pandemic so I'm really happy we were able to get them! These grow on super short little plants and we literally cut the whole plant and pick them off upside down. Otherwise it takes too long to pick them. So we just wait until the plants are loaded, and then literally go through and "clear cut" the yummy mix patch of the field. The pigs are happy- after we're done stripping the peppers off of the plants we're able to give them the entire plant- and they LOVE them!
Grape tomatoes for our Single Share folks!! We will be bagging up pint portions for you this week. These are the last of the season, literally. After the wind and rain the other night we aren't seeing a lot out there. I'm sure we have enough for you guys this week but this is the end of the tomatoes.
This time of year is always bitter sweet for me. We're saying goodbye to a lot of the summer varieties, melons and tomatoes, cukes and zucchini, but we're also saying hello to a lot of the fall varieties like the root crops, squash, brussel sprouts, don't forget pie pumpkins too!
We've got a lot to look forward to over the next couple of weeks, hang on tight!! ;)
Stay well Friends,
~The Farmer's Wife