Farm Newsletter ** Week 14
I have good news- we were able to secure our HoneyCrisps for this week's CSAs! So we'll have Apples in everyone's CSAs in addition to the Apple Shares that come out this week. I sent out a reminder to everyone who signed up for them today- so you should have received an email from me letting you know that they're coming next week! :)
IT'S YELLOW WATERMELON WEEK!
We finally have enough yellow watermelons to add them to the CSA Shares this week! We weren't able to give these out last season as we had a partial failure of the seeds; but this year we have lots of yellow melons! Granted they're not as big as we'd like them to be, but we gave them as much water as we possibly could mid summer when we had our irrigation running around the clock. I think you'll be happy with their flavor though- they're so sweet! Some people even say they're sweeter than the red melons!
ONLINE FALL SALE I got our website updated with all of the fall farm goodies we have available in bulk! We've got whole boxes of carrots, potatoes, onions, squash, #2 apples, SO MANY goodies on the website there.
Are you nervous about storing it all or knowing what to do with it? There is a guide for that! 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. It goes over every variety in detail and I'm confident you'll find what you're looking for in the PDF! (At the very bottom of the blog post).
I posted this graphic to Facebook yesterday too. It's got the dates and deadlines noted on here to be aware of. If you place your order by next Thursday, assume your extra veggies/fruits are coming with your CSA the following week (week 15). The last orders for the season will be accepted on Friday Sept 29th and any orders placed before then will be delivered during the last week of the season. There are no limits; even if you've already bought a fall share and want extra russets for example. Feel free to order through the website for the fastest turn around but I can take orders via email too!
*This is the updated online store page on our website!
We are also having a sale at the farm on Saturday October 14th and Sunday October 15th! Both days we'll have the sale at the farm open from 9am-5pm. We take cash and checks; we don't take credit cards for non-CSA sales. This is the only weekend of the whole season that we have sales made at the farm (we don't sell anything at the farm all season long besides pre-orders!). We go out and glean the fields after our CSA commitments have been met. Gleaning is just a fancy way of saying "harvesting anything that's left"!
Please keep in mind this isn't a farm tour or event, as Ben & I will be busy at the top garage selling squash and root crops. We don't have a lot of parking which is really what prevents us from hosting events. We've got a spot where our employees park on our grass in our front yard, and then there's just the driveway by the house. So that's why it's all day long for a couple of days; steady and not everyone shows up at one time. This event is open to the public and will be posted to our FB page and social media too.
Something worth noting, the LARGEST CORN MAZE IN THE WORLD is a few short miles from our farm here. They also have food trucks there so if you want you could do lunch over there at Stony Brook Farm! So maybe you want to come visit the farm sale, go to that corn maze & get some food; you could make a whole day of the trip north! Also- I'd suggest taking highway 10 and getting on County Road 5 in Big Lake (right by kwik trip) because that road if you drive north goes right through the Sherburne National Wildlife refuge and offers a ton of trails and the fall colors at this time of year... my goodness!
Farm Sales, hiking, corn mazes... It doesn't get much better than that! Just a few weeks away!!
THIS WEEK IN YOUR CSAs YOU CAN EXPECT: JUMBO & FAMILY SHARES: Yellow Seedless Watermelons, Sweet Corn, Buttercup Squash (Sweet Mama variety), Eggplant, Broccoli & Honey Crisp Apples!! SINGLE SHARES: Yellow Seedless Watermelons, Sweet Corn, Buttercup Squash (Sweet Mama variety), Dried Onions, Green Beans & Honey Crisp Apples!!
I'm happy I am really impressed with the quality and freshness of these apples! They were just harvested before we picked them up! And we'll go get more this week because we'll run out of the ones we have on hand here! We needed 6 gaylords... which are the same thing as the watermelon bins at the grocery store... that's a lot of apples!!
They are an orchard run, which means that they're not sorted by size or grade. We'll do that ourselves here on the farm. The #1 apples are blemish free and essentially perfect apples; those go into the Apple Shares and into your CSA Shares. The #2 apples are ones that have some kind of blemish. A stem hole, discoloration, funny shape, etc. basically anything that makes it imperfect. Those are sold on our online store in boxes of ~22# for $40. We still need to get quite a few more apples, so we'll get ready with the car trailer and get to the orchard as soon as they call us.
We also have our first round of pigs going to the butcher shop this week! So we'll be juggling the trailers all week picking up apples on the car trailer, dropping off pigs at the butcher in the livestock trailer, picking up feed on the car trailer or with the truck (but then we have to make two trips). All depends on when we go get the apples/ when they call us about our feed being mixed this week. Lots of juggling around the farm here like I said. One could definitely call it a circus at this time of year, lol!
These are Buttercup Squash! These are one of the most sought after squashes that we sell because they're so sweet and the flesh is so rich in color. They are my favorite baking squash to use in breads and muffins because they turn out so moist. Often times I'll have to add a couple minutes to baking time since they're so 'heavy' but it is SO good! This is one of the only squashes Ben and I actually freeze for the off-season. Most of the squash we store is just kept in our basement with a fan but we do prep some of these ahead of time so we can make them "quick" by just defrosting pre-portioned bags from the freezer as opposed to cooking them for 45 minutes.
The seed cavity is right in the middle of this squash, unlike the butternuts we had over the past couple weeks. They aren't a great stuffing squash because they won't hold their shape as well as others once cooked, but again, they're SO tasty!
EGGPLANT! We've got eggplants in our Jumbo and Family Shares this week. The first time all season thanks to that stinking hail! We picked off the ones with spots and blemishes and gave them time to rebound. We should have enough for the Jumbos/Family Shares this week and then the plan is to add them to the Single Shares next week. Just like the beans ;) Eggplant are notorious for their short shelf life. Or rather, their shelf "texture" I should say. As they age they get rubbery, so you'll want to make sure to pop these in the fridge in a plastic bag or use them within the first handful of days. We're picking these tomorrow morning for your CSAs so it's not like they could even get any fresher; just word to the wise to use them sooner than later. **We harvest these every morning, so we only harvest enough for Monday's CSAs on Mondays.
Since this is one of those varieties that not everyone uses every week... here is a blurp right from the Farm to Table Storage Guide:
Eggplant is a close relative of tomatoes, peppers and potatoes. They are smooth-skinned, oval to elongated, and range in color from purple to black (and others, but we grow the classic variety). Eggplant requires the right kind of preparation; otherwise it can be unpleasantly bitter, rubbery, or watery.
To store: Wrap unwashed eggplant in a towel (not plastic) to absorb any moisture, and keep it in the veggie drawer of your refrigerator. Or store unrefrigerated at a cool room temperature. Use within a week and it should still be fresh and mild.
Handling: Eggplant is usually peeled. The flesh will brown when exposed to air. To prevent browning, coat in lemon juice or keep submerged in water.
Rinse eggplant in cool water and cut off the stem. The shape of the eggplant determines how to prepare it: cut straight narrow eggplant into strips for grilling or broiling, and cut a rounded bulbous eggplant into cubes for stews and stir- fries. To remove bitter flavors and excess moisture, lightly salt slices of eggplant and allow them to sit in a colander for 10-15 minutes. Gently squeeze out any liquid. Eggplant will now soak up less oil and need less salt in preparation.
To use: Stir-fry or sauté 1-inch cubed eggplant in a very hot sauté pan with peanut oil until the eggplant has released much of its water and is very soft. Or brush 1/2-inch to 1-inch slices of eggplant with olive oil or melted butter and broil or grill until brown.
To freeze: Peel and cut into slices 1/3-inch thick. To preserve color, soak 5 minutes in a solution of 4 T salt per gallon water — otherwise don't worry about it. Blanch for 2 minutes in steam. Cool immediately in cold water. Package in layers with each slice separated with two pieces of wrap.
Dried Onions are coming in the Single Shares this week! These can stay on the counter or in your pantry for months if they're kept away from potatoes. Not that a couple onions will last that long at your place, but they will keep a very long time now that they're dried onions and not fresh like their green counterparts that you saw earlier this summer.
Sweet corn is coming in your CSA this week! This could very well be the last time we get it in this season. The cobs are smaller at this time of year because the biggest stage in their growth was after the peak of the summer, so they never got enormous like some of them do mid-summer. They're very sweet though! One last taste of summer!!
Here are a couple of our kids playing in the fort they made!! They're living the life, that's for sure!
I did have to tell them to take it apart though because honestly it's bear season up here and the last thing I need is a convenient den for them in the lower yard. We've had them here messing with our bee hives before and they're very active right now because it's that time of year. The kids were OK with that though because ripping it apart is just as much fun as putting it together, haha!
This time of year is nuts! It's a bummer, but I actually have to remember all of my passwords now because my fingerprint doesn't work to unlock anything on my phone because they're so callused lol! This happens every squash season though. I think Ben's fingerprints went missing in about July, haha.
SORRY FOR THE LATE EMAIL!!
These last couple weeks are the last big push to wrap up a great farm season. I realize it's 11pm on a Sunday night and I'm just sending this out. I apologize for the hold up! All of my daylight hours are spent doing outside jobs, so now that the sun is down I work in my office! I even asked my parents to take the kids last night so I could work longer- which means that we're set up for success this week!! Life is good.
Most of you know us on a personal level and understand our love of the farm and all that she provides our family in terms of our livelihood of course but more so the life we're able to lead. The freedoms it allows is worth the 11pm nights a thousand times over again.
Living on a farm isn't glamorous.. It's actually quite smelly, haha! Pigs in the front yard and all, messy with life and projects on top of juggling around everything in all of our buildings to accommodate our fall crop storage & apple share prep. Again, it's basically a well orchestrated circus right now ;)
I wouldn't say we're 'rich' in terms of time or money but we are rich in all the ways that it matters most... Living the dream, with your help!!
Hope everyone enjoys their veggies this week- we've got some fun ones lined up!!
Eat Good & Be Well,
~The Farmer's Wife