WEEKLY NEWSLETTER // WEEK 16
Good morning All!
I hope everyone gets a chance to get out and enjoy the fall colors today. This fall has been prettier than the last bunch of years- and we're very thankful for the masterpiece that nature paints!! It's hard to spend any time inside on weekends like this. It's brisk out there, but the air even smells different. I LOVE fall!!
This coming week is our last week of the CSA season. Everyone always asks us if we're ready to be done for the season and it's a sticky answer. Yes, we are tired, and our bodies and minds could use a break. But we're so thankful to be doing what we do that we will miss it in just a few short weeks.
Just like the farm season, everything in life is cyclical.
Seasonality is what makes life precious. It fills us with gratitude for what is in front of us & it teaches us to embrace the moments we live in because they're fleeting.
Anticipation. Fulfillment. Rest. Repeat.
This is how the farm season is for us. As soon as we've wrapped up for the season we're already flipping through seed catalogs and planning how we can do things differently or more efficiently next season. I love the constant challenges that come on a day to day, problem solving and using every bit of our knowledge and willpower.
Speaking of every day being different, I have a story for you. And we only got one picture because Kelsi was documenting... Don't mind her precious little finger in the way...
Ben called me Wednesday to tell me that one of my chickens got into the pig pen and got stuck in their wallowing area, it’s muddy and very wet. The pigs saw and started messing with the chicken and gumming it up basically. So there goes Ben to the rescue! He gets in the pen and uses a shovel to lift the chicken out. This gal is so covered in mud (and poo!) that he actually pulled out the hose to rinse her off because she was so heavy still it was hard to walk.
So I get this whole story on the phone and my reaction is obviously, a hose?! Seriously?! But really, she couldn’t walk with all that mud caked on her so he did what he could. Keep in mind this is mid-day, while there are also employees working and he's in the middle of a hundred things. He stopped everything to save my chickens- what a guy!!
I get home and go to find my chicken. She’s shivering- it’s cloudy and cold! Poor gal!
The only obvious answer was to give my chicken a bath. These animals are my responsibility and I take that very seriously.
I had Kelsi help me get the door open because now I’m holding this chicken covered in stinky mud. I brought it downstairs and got the sink going with some nice warm water. So then I thought, how am I going to get it off of her head? Well, obviously the wand in the sink, lol! So I took out the wand like a little shower head and this chicken sat in the wash tub for about a half hour and let me lift her wings and scrub under her body, her neck, even her comb (the red fleshy part on their face), and she acted like she was in a spa. No noise, pecking, shifting or discomfort. This chicken straight up loved her bath. So then I’m in the basement with a soaking wet (clean!) chicken. The obvious answer? I can tell you I wasn’t about to blow dry that chicken, lol!
I had Kelsi hold her in a towel while I went and got a dog kennel with some food and water set up. I even gave her the wet cat food and she ate all of it! Canned cat food is good for instances like this because it’s calorie heavy and has a lot more protein than normal food. She needed a little boost..
She slept inside while being supervised by our kitty Tiger, and was again, so calm! He was very curious of the hen in a dog kennel, to be expected haha! All night long she never made a peep. The next afternoon she was dried completely and I brought her back outside by her rooster and she jumped out of my arms and followed him closely the rest of the day.
This is one of those ah-ha moments that solidifies my claim to enjoying the chaos- haha! We do really like that everyday is different. Some days are harder than others but they're all still good days!! I hope you get a chuckle from my afternoon- I know I was laughing the whole time!
Will open on January 1st and we have a WHOLE MONTH devoted to you- our hopeful Returning Members. I create a secret webpage and provide you with the link to sign up, but no one on the internet will find the sign up page because of how it's created. More on that later- but please know that you will have priority over anything we do here on the farm and then we'll open up Membership to the waiting list and so on.
Please make sure to bring a reusable bag this coming week. It's better if you don't take the box at all this coming week because you might not bring it back in time and we'd love to use it next season as our harvest boxes. Having the upcycling of boxes saves us thousands of dollars every season in addition to saving all these boxes from the landfill!!
If you're ordering extra stuff like the apple shares or fall shares, you're welcome to take your box and return it by the following Tuesday. If you'd like to keep it to store your apples or squash in, that works too! We don't want to take your box back if you're using it!!
We are having a squash sale at the farm on Saturday October 15th and Sunday October 16th! 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!). We go out and glean the fields, which is a fancy way of saying "cutting 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, but you're welcome to meander around a bit if you'd like! This event is open to the public and will be posted to our FB page.
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!
This coming week in your CSAs you can expect:
Jumbo & Family Shares: Pie Pumpkins! Brussel Sprouts, Carrots, Beets, Russet Potatoes & Broccoli & Honey Crisp Apples!! Single Shares: Pie Pumpkins! Brussel Sprouts, Carrots, Beets & Russet Potatoes & Honey Crisp Apples!!
I'm happy to say we have all of the apples at the farm here and I am impressed with the quality and freshness of these apples! They were just harvested before we picked them up Friday! And we'll go get more next 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. We do sell seconds of honey crisps for $35 a box, if you'd like some shoot me an email.
Brussel sprouts! We love brussel sprouts and they're one of those special varieties you'll only see once a season. As I mentioned before, they take longer to grow than anything else on the farm, literally! Well, maybe with the exception of the pigs ;P They will come intact on their stalk. If we pop off the sprouts, they'll soften much faster so we send you with the whole stalk (which is also edible!). Keep in mind these stalks are very tall! So when we harvest them we go into the field with our big clompers and cut at the bottom where the sprouts get to a nice size (the ones right at ground level are generally very small). Then we cut the top off, which is about 2 feet around, and very leafy! We break of the leaves on the stalk, which leaves us with the stalk & the sprouts! I have attached the picture from a few weeks ago here for you to reference-
From the Storage Guide: The sprout itself will improve in flavor, sweetness, and tenderness with exposure to a few frosts. They are high in bioflavonoids that help prevent cancer. They have high levels of vitamin C vitamin A, folate, iron, and potassium. They are often paired with bacon.
We'll have these cut to the length of your CSA boxes or put in sideways. This week will be a tough one to close the boxes, so we'll pack them like tetris puzzles and do our best to fit everything we can!
Pie pumpkins!!! Again- this is one of these treats that you'll only see once all season!! Pie pumpkins are very comparable to winter squash and we often use them interchangeably. No one notices when I make a squash pie for Thanksgiving.
Pumpkin spice is out of control right now. Pumpkin spice coffees of course, pumpkin spice kit-kats, pumpkin spice jello, pumpkin spice whiskey, I could go on! The "spice" is cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger & allspice. It's a combination of all those herbs together to make that fabulous concoction that the world is going crazy for!! So adding those spices to squash will give you the same effect ;)
Cooking these are the same as squash, cut them in half, remove the seeds and bake them face down on a cookie sheet in the oven until they're fork tender, or even longer if you please. For us, I store a ton of squash and I cook about half of them right away and store in the freezer, and then leave the second half of our squash in it's whole form. We generally use the "fresh" squash first and then dive into the frozen squash about mid-winter.
Russets are oblong in shape. These thick-skinned potatoes fall apart while cooking and whip up fluffy and light. This makes them the ideal choice for mashing! Because they have a light, mealy texture, high-starch potatoes are the best baked potato. You’ll get russets only at the end of the season because they grow irregularly. Also, because of their holding capacity, we only harvest them in the fall to give our Members a variety that will actually keep for weeks or months if kept properly.
I plan on sending out another email next Friday as a wrap up to the farm season. So this isn't goodbye, it's only see you later! :) Have a fabulous weekend!! Take care Friends! ~The Farmer's Wife