FARM NEWSLETTER // WEEK 14
I hope everyone is having a great start to the fall! We're diving in headfirst into our fall storage crops and harvesting the rest of the winter squash. It's important to get it out of the field because now that the greens are dying, they're exposed to the sun and it can cause "sunburn" which will make them expire a little quicker. So we're working to get all of the squash in, which is a huge feat!
This picture is from last season but as you can see, all of these are watermelon bins full of squash. This unit of measurement is called a gaylord. So we've got 13 gaylords full in this picture alone! We're hoping to have just as many this season as well.
This time of year, Ben and I actually sit down and discuss the remainder of the season and our goals for the next few weeks. Of course, this is the last big push for the season and we want to be prepared!
Part of our discussions was what kind of produce we’ll have for you the remaining weeks. We know we still have a couple types of squash (and pie pumpkins!) to get into your CSA this year, in addition to some more root crops like beets, onions, carrots, and then of course my favorite- brussel sprouts! So we basically have a roadmap for the end of the season put together.
Brussel Sprouts are doing great! Aren't they just beautiful?! We have a few more weeks before we add sprouts to your CSA box because we'd like for them to be as big as possible of course! Fun fact, nothing on the entire farm takes longer to grow than brussel sprouts. On all varieties they have a # of days, which is from when it germinates to when it produces. Cucumbers are like 45 days, watermelons are around 80, and nothing comes close to brussel sprouts at 125 days!! So we start these first in the greenhouse and harvest them last.
I AM STUPID EXCITED TO SHARE THIS.
I put together a whole page on our website devoted to all fall/winter storage crops!! AND We've got all the honey figured out and made some packages that I hope you like! One is the staples (just liquid honey and creamed honey), and the second is a bit more detailed with some more specialty products (like the honeycomb- something we've never been able to offer before)!
The first picture here is the honey sampler- it's the basics. The second picture is the enthusiast package, with the more specialty products!
We also have a TON of fall crops! Potatoes, onions, carrots, beets, & squash!!
I weighed these different varieties in their respective boxes, took pictures and have the options posted to the website now! These are ONLY for you. If someone who isn’t a CSA Member buys something we just refund them, because we want to give all of our attention to you!!
The way it works is that you can go online and select whichever options you'd like and then check out like normal. If you select squash, pay attention to the options there please. You can choose one kind of squash (drop down list), a mixture of all varieties, or "other" where you can type in your instructions. There is only one "item" in the store for squash but there is every option you could ever want!
The price for squash is still $30 a bushel. We've kept the price the same for the past 3 years. We have to make money farming, but we don't need to overcharge you and we understand that when you're spending your hard earned money you're putting a lot of trust in us. We value your trust and your business and will always do the right thing by offering you an awesome product at a fair price!
Are you nervous about storing it all or knowing what to do with it? I made a guide for you!!! The same guide that will go home with all of the Fall Share Members is available for you at the bottom of this blog post. It's got info on all the types of squash, how to store and use carrots in an efficient way, and even details on how much starch are in different potato varieties and why that makes them better for certain uses than others.
These additional Fall crops & honey will be delivered either week 15 or 16 alongside your CSA, so there is nothing else you need to do. For those who got Fall Shares, those are still scheduled as normal to come week 15 & week 16.
If you want to check out or order the extra fall produce- here is the link! FALL SALE | Brown Family Farm (brownfamilyproduce.com)
We are going to accept orders for these Fall Storage Crops through next Friday September 30th. I know, it’s QUICK!! We just aren’t working with a lot of time left here folks!!
Please notice that there are boxes of each type of potato separately, and also a box of potatoes that is mixed with all 3 kinds. I added the extra option for a mixed box because I get that request fairly frequently.
THIS WEEK IN YOUR CSAs: Jumbo & Family Shares: Sunshine Squash, Carnival Squash, Spaghetti Squash, Dried Onions, Red Potatoes, and Hot Peppers. Single Shares: Sunshine Squash, Carnival Squash, Eggplant, Summer Squash, Red Potatoes and Hot Peppers.
Sunshine Squash is Ben's ABSOLUTE favorite. He really likes all the buttercups but the sunshine is even sweeter and is has a little softer texture. Cut these in half and scoop out the seeds. Rub with some olive oil and roast in the oven at 350* for about a half hour (or until fork tender). If you're making a dish with them that has cubed squash, I would cook it for only about 15 minutes so it's still firm (and isn't done cooking) because then you put it in a casserole dish and it finishes cooking with the rest of your meal. We've also done this just to change it up. Textures are really important in our meals!!
Carnival Squash are super fun! They're a cream colored with orange spots or pale green and orange stripes in the grooves of the vertical stripes. It has hard thick skin and only the flesh is eaten. Sometimes it is labeled as a type of acorn squash and can be baked, steamed, and then combined with butter or herbs. It is great in soups! This one has the most color variations of all the winter squashes. Out of a thousand squashes we pull from the field none of them look exactly alike
Spaghetti squash for the Jumbo & Families- I'm sorry to squash you out this week but we've wanted to add these for a few weeks now and they're all ripe and ready to go. We usually have a better yield and generally have them for a few weeks throughout the season whereas this season we've only had them in your CSA once. Spaghetti squash are the only squash that isn't really in the winter squash genre but they're still technically a winter squash. These have a totally different texture!! When you take the seeds out and cook it, use a fork to scrape the squash from the outer shell and you'll see that the texture here is unlike any other kind of winter squash.
Dried onions! My goodness, finally!! These take a very long time to cure completely. Even in the fields they have the dried papery skins but unless the roots are pulled out and given time to cure, they aren't truly dried. If an onion isn't totally dried it can go bad quickly so we make sure to give them plenty of time.
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!!
Red potatoes- it's been a long time!! These are the varieties we save for this time of year because we know pickings are getting a little slimmer in the fields. These should last on your counter for weeks but if you keep them in the fridge they'll last for months literally. Even if they get a little soft they're fine because you're cooking them anyways! Not like an apple where it really loses value when it gets soft, a potato is always cooked. Well, I'm sure there are some of you out there that eat them raw but I don't personally enjoy or recommend it lol.
Hungarian Hot Wax peppers! This is the last time you'll see hot peppers this season I would bet. Ben said there are a lot of anaheims and jalapenos in the field but none of them are really big. Personally, my thought is that we'll go out and pick everything that's big enough. Having the mixture is fun! THE BEST TIP FOR YOUR HOT PEPPERS: Let's be real. I know hot peppers can be a challenge for some folks, us included! We don't find many ways to use them in day to day cooking, especially with 3 young kids who have very Minnesotan taste buds, haha.
If you want them to be a little less spicy you can take all the membranes and seeds out and then cook them. Cooking them does help take the bite off.
My biggest suggestion and best tip for actually enjoying hot peppers in our house is to put them in a brine. This sounds intimidating, I know! Let me tell you my secret though- because I sell HUNDREDS of jars of these canned peppers.... Bring 1 cup water, 3 cups vinegar and 1 cup of sugar to a rolling boil. Chop your peppers (deseed them if you wish, I don't), and then put them in a glass container with the brine. If it's not enough brine to cover the peppers you can wait a little bit and they might condense some as the peppers soften, or depending on how many you're doing, you might just need to double the brine recipe. Then leave them in the fridge for a couple weeks and try one on a taco chip, you're welcome!!! :P
When I make the brine, I do it in quarts, so 1 quart of water, 3 quarts vinegar and 1 quart of sugar. As long as the ratios stay the same you'll get the correct end product.
Single Shares are getting summer squash this week! These are really winding down and we're hoping to keep sneaking these in as long as we can over the next couple of weeks, but there is a chance this is the last time we'll have them in CSAs because with these cool nights they're not growing quickly at all.
To wrap it up:
We've got this week and then two more weeks of CSAs so we're really coming down to the end of it. I made us a squash and storage crop guide for the Fall Shares and have it attached here your reference- I even have descriptions of the squashes and how to store everything to make sure it lasts the longest!! You'll see it is slightly geared towards the Fall Share but as CSA Members you see every variety we have in the Fall Shares anyways!!
Reminder- if you want to order the extra fall storage crops and honey, please follow this link: FALL SALE | Brown Family Farm (brownfamilyproduce.com)
Cheers to week 14! Stay well Friends,
~The Farmer's Wife