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Farm Newsletter ** Week 15

Greetings All! This is a strange feeling as we're looking over the varieties we have left in the field this morning and looking at fall crops we've gotten harvested already. It always comes faster than we ever expect; though we should know that by now!

Kelsi is saying farewell to the 85 degree September days- they sure had fun with all the frogs this week! With this cold weather I don't suspect to see many more days where the frogs are very active like they have been!


They regularly make homes for the frogs that have little rocks that they can sit on, floating bark, moss, always some water on the bottom (unless they've got toads), and they even affectionately go out of their way to catch bugs with the romantic idea that if they throw in a few dead bugs the frogs will enjoy them. We call them 'day pets' here on the farm because they're not allowed to keep anything overnight; the frogs need to go home at night for their own health and safety. I can't take credit for the day pet rule though- my mom was the original ;)

Our day to day operations look a lot different in the fall. No one is weeding or hoeing anything in the fields, there is no planting to do or field maintenance.


In the fall we start our mornings harvesting for your CSA Shares, washing veggies and packing CSAs and then I leave for deliveries. I'm delivering every day from here on out because our driver is newly pregnant (yay!!!) but she's having complications and has restrictions so we're not going to let her bring any CSAs out the next couple of weeks. So if you see me out over the next couple of weeks, make sure to come say hi!!


Ben will need to drive these next couple of weeks as well; because our vehicle literally can't fit this much produce and it gets so weighted down the van sways if we get over 50mph, eeek! So we split the next couple of weeks into two delivery routes so that we can fit all your goodies with us and get everywhere on time! It takes a lot longer to unload when we have 2x as many boxes. We are so grateful to send our produce home with you- during the CSA season and with all the extra goodies- thank you for your orders!!!


When I leave the farm with your CSA Shares, everyone back at home takes lunch and then they work together to get more squash out of the fields. They even started on field clean up last week for a few hours! We don't remove the organic material from the fields, but we do remove any stakes, twine, black mulch (more like a plastic material), and our drip tape lines. That will take weeks to clean up all the fields but right now we're mostly focusing on squash and root crops anyways!


Here is the squash this morning in our front yard- We got SO much rain last night. Thank goodness we covered all these bins because if they were this drenched they would literally explode- just burst at the seams down the sides and squash would be everywhere. We made that mistake one time... didn't have to make it a second time to know better. Now we've got enough tarps out here in front and in the back by the shed to cover everything that isn't already inside of a shed!!

When I'm finished with my post and emails this morning I need to go take care of pigs and drain this water off of these tarps. We're lined up for more rain today and honestly these gaylords have about a 5gallon bucket of water in each one, if not more!

Some might ask why we don't go longer into the fall. This season has been fairly warm thus far, but we did get frost in our swamp about a week ago. If that would have traveled up into the fields (fields are on higher ground), we would have been hurting. Frost kills and damages a lot of crops- there would have been a lot out in the field that would have been completely unusable and our last of the season boxes would have been pretty skinny. We end our CSA season the first week of October simply because that's a safe time to do so. If we pushed it out farther, every other year would be a nightmare come fall when we're trying to make commitments to you without enough to offer. Hence our end date- Thursday October 5th this season.


THIS WEEK IN YOUR CSAs YOU CAN EXPECT: JUMBO/ FAMILY SHARES: Pie Pumpkins, Red Cabbage, Beets, Red potatoes, Dried Onions, and Sweet Bell Peppers. SINGLE SHARES: Pie Pumpkins, Eggplant, Beets, Red Potatoes & Hot Peppers.


As you know, we document what everyone gets in their CSAs every week and often times flip flop varieties for ideal harvest size. So last week we gave the bigger boxes eggplant for example, and now this week the single shares will get eggplants! We do that because that way, we don't harvest the eggplant down so far that they're not ideal sizes; same goes for cauliflower or broccoli, the list goes on. So now that we're into the last couple weeks of the season we're reflecting on what you've had in your boxes so far, and what we still need to fit in! Good thing we have another week of CSAs after this week!


I literally have a notepad with notes all over- listing the varieties we haven't had for everyone yet this year and the varieties we NEED to get in during the last couple weeks. We did a good job planning these boxes and I am happy to say that we've got next week's box list almost complete too because we KNOW what we want to make sure you get before the CSA season wraps up! We're sitting really good!!


PIE PUMPKINS!

Are right at the top of our list of must-haves. These are a seasonal favorite that you may be surprised to know- they taste just like a squash! They're a little sweeter than most squash varieties but I'd say the buttercups are sweeter than pie pumpkins.


They also have no spice. Pumpkin spice is referring to the mixture of spices you'd use to make a pie or bread; nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon and cloves. I'm sure everyone is familiar with this- it's in our pumpkin spice coffee, yogurt, granola, cheerios, twinkies, whiskey... Literally everything has a pumpkin spice twist nowadays! To use your pumpkin, cut it in half and remove the seeds just like a squash. I always put a little olive oil on the flesh and then put it face down in a pan and cook at 350 for 20-30 minutes until it's fork tender. Once you take it out and it's cooled, scoop the flesh and measure it for your recipe! Then you'll need your pumpkin spices. Which come conveniently as 1 jar now- back in my day you had to buy all 4 spices and mix your own, haha!


Single Shares never got Hungarian Hot Wax peppers or the Anaheim peppers yet because of the hail; we had to harvest off most of the peppers and let them come back. They're baaaaack!! There is not a ton of peppers out there but they look nice. I'm thankful to have any to send with you at all- that hail tore those plants apart and wrecked darn near every pepper out there! Hot pepper heat comes from the seeds and membranes and the flavor comes from the flesh. If you seed a jalapeno for example, you'll still get the flavor of the jalapeno with much less heat! Same goes for the anaheims and hungarian hot wax peppers (better known as hot bananas). These will be bagged this week for you! Then next week our plan is to give you sweet bells ;)


Beets! These are topped now, meaning that you won't get greens with them simply because the greens don't hold any value to you and they'll take up space in the boxes. At this time of year they're weathered and damaged; I wouldn't suggest anyone use them in any salads or even cooking them, so you'll get the actual beets but not greens this week. Beets are very earthy which is one of the reasons I personally love them so much! They're very unique; nothing else out there is really comparable to a beet. Everyone will get beets this week!


Red Cabbage for the Jumbo & Family Shares this week!

Ben always makes fun of me because I call it purple cabbage sometimes. I also call red onions purple onions on occasion- because honestly the outer leaves are PURPLE! They're not red. Same with the onions, when they're dried they are purple on the outside. I'll let you be the judge. Purple cabbage grows a lot slower than their green counterparts. Which is the ONLY reason we're even able to provide these to you this fall!


The green cabbage was destroyed. It was already heading and it was hit by hail, it basically exploded. The purple cabbage wasn't heading yet. It was just a bunch of leaves that were struck and damaged, but the plants are healthy enough to produce more heart leaves and finally produce a head of cabbage! These are stronger flavored than the green cabbage, they've got a little more of a peppery kick to them. They're more dense; the heads are wrapped tighter. They can be used in many of the same recipes but it is most commonly braised or pickled in most recipes. It is great sliced thin and added to coleslaw, or sandwiches for a fun pop of color and great crunch!


Remember- if you ever need help with any of the produce you get this season please reference the Farm to Table Handbook! It's at the bottom of every newsletter email you get, right below all the recipes.

Happy birthday to our Luna-belly! She turned two yesterday and we shared some treats and new toys. She finds most of her own toys here at the farm; sticks, rocks, toads, she doesn't get a lot of new toys simply because she's never bored! :P We found a good excuse to spoil our special girl and she's enjoying testing out the "indestructible" frisbee haha! Can anyone else relate to this?


We are sending out our FALL SHARES this week! If you signed up for one you should have gotten an email from me this morning explaining the box contents, the fact that it's sent over a 2 week period and that they're HEAVY. Those boxes are 50+ pounds so make sure to plan accordingly for travel. The root crops are bagged in there so it's easy to take them out and carry separately if you don't plan to haul the 50+ pound box around intact.


We still have fall crops available for order in our online store! Remember the deadline is next Friday to get your orders in if you want extra potatoes, beets, carrots, squash, the list goes on! Here is the link to the store if you'd like to check it out. You can order these extras and get them delivered alongside your normal CSA!



We're also going to offer more Apple Shares since we have SO MANY! So if you missed out on the Apple Shares OR you just tried those apples and thought it'd be nice to have a lot more- the online store has been updated with the option for the #1 apples ($60- the normal apple share) or #2 apples ($40- these are blemished, great for eating or making crisps, apple sauce etc.). Just a friendly reminder- if you order something right now it won't come until the last week of CSAs. We did get quite a few orders last week that will be delivered this coming week (if you ordered by Sept 21st).


Have a great rest of your weekend! We hope you enjoy your veggies!!!


Eat Good & Be Well,

~The Farmer's Wife



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