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Middle Way Farm CSA - Week 20
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Weekly Announcements


ON FARM PICK UP TIME CHANGE - For this final week, due to an important meeting that could not be rescheduled, I am pushing back the start on-farm pick-up by ONE HOUR to 4 PM. Home deliveries will also be about an hour later than usual. 

Boxes - As I've mentioned in prior e-mails, on-farm pick-up members are asked to bring reusable bags and to take their shares out of the boxes at the farm, leaving the boxes at the farm. Home delivery shares will be packed in plastic bags and cardboard boxes. Remember to return any remaining wax boxes you have! 

2015 CSA Sign-up - I will be opening sign-up for 2015 CSA shares soon! I have to finalize a few details about pricing, share length, etc. before its ready. Sign-up will be at middlewayfarm.csasignup.com, as it was this year. Standard and custom shares will be available with a few modifications, as will be a revamped fruit share and a new egg share! 

Thanksgiving Share - I am also close to finalizing details for a Thanksgiving share, which will be available the week before Thanksgiving. The share will have a variety of vegetables available (sweet potatoes, potatoes, beets, carrots, cabbage, etc.) as well as locally raised turkeys from shareholder Angela Winburn (Nature's Pace). 

Remaining Balances & Billing - After shares have been delivered this week, I will be checking over everyone's balances and adding in delivery charges. Those of you with negative balances will be receiving a bill from me within the next few weeks. Those of you with positive balances will be given the option of carrying over your balance to next year or using it for the Thanksgiving share.  

Bulk Compost Still Available - I will continue to have compost available throughout the fall. If you're interested, please send me an e-mail at middlewayfarmer@gmail.com. This would be the last week to get compost delivered by the bucket along with your CSA share. Pick-up loads will be delivered during the final two weeks of October. 
 
Per 5 gallon bucket: $3 picked up, $5 delivered (minimum 5 buckets if delivered). 
Per small pick-up load (full load): $40 picked up, $70 delivered (can do 1/2 load)
Per full size pick-up load (full load): $80 picked up, $120 delivered (can do 1/2 load)
 
For reference, see application rates below:
 
Lawns: For 1/2" coverage= total area of lawn (length x width) x .04 (depth) / 324 = # of cubic yards needed
 
Gardens: For 2" coverage = total area of garden (length x width) x .16 x / 324 = # of cubic yards needed
 
Trees: For 1" coverage under drip line = total area under drip line (length x width) x .08 / 324 = # of cubic yards needed
 
Cubic yard of compost = 1600 pounds or 1/2 full size pick-up or full small bed pick-up

Season's Refletion


Can you believe its already the final week of CSA? I could repeat that phrase every year and it would will still be true. The weeks and months accumulate behind us despite our incredulousness. Its been a good year for growing. The produce has been abundant and high quality, thanks to mild temperatures and timely rain. I struggle with this last CSA share to try to include everything that is still available and be able to fit it into a box. My hope is that you will continue to be able to eat Middle Way Farm produce for several weeks, even months, with the abundance of storage crops. I am also solidifying plans for a Thanksgiving share to be delivered the week before Thanksgiving that will offer a variety of vegetables as well as locally raised turkeys from shareholder Angela Winburn. More details of that will be forthcoming. 

Today we spread compost and I tilled the beds for planting garlic. Despite the misting rain, it was still dry enough to do all of that and to plant a partial bed of garlic before I was driven inside by the darkness. I loaded the compost into my truck with the tractor, and three people (two Grin City residents and one friend from town) spread the compost out of the back as I drove slowly over the beds. None of them were working for a wage. Their reward was as many vegetables as they wanted at the end and the enjoyment of doing physical labor on a farm with friends. I have found that in many cases, personal relationships and access to produce take precedence over money. And this is good news for running a small farm, or any small business for that matter. Small businesses and small scale agriculture can work not because they maximize profitability and efficiency, but because they take full advantage of being imbedded in networks of relationships that go beyond monetary transactions. These relationships not only sustain the business but they are also part of the sustenance that the business owners get from the work which makes them want to continue it. 

I continue to discover how meaningful and significant these networks of relationships are to me personally and to my business.  I've come to realize that the true meaning of the word sustainability is in the relationships we have, to each other and to the natural world that sustains us. What a pleasure it is to be in relationship to the soil and plants as well as to the people who benefit from them. Farming is continually challenging work, but it is all made possible and desirable by the relationships that pervade it. 

Thank you for a being a part of the Middle Way Farm Community Supported Agriculture share this season. Until next year, have a great winter and happy eating!

Jordan 
One of the results of Pretzalpalooza on Saturday - a massive jar of fermenting sauerkraut. The final product (due in mid-November or so) will be spread to many kitchens. 

Notes on This Week's Share


I'm introducing a new concept to CSA that I hope to continue next year if it is successful - seconds. Seconds is a term used to describe produce that is generally not marketable for any reason (blemishes, insect damage, bad spots, too small, misshappen, old etc.), as opposed to the best looking and fresh "firsts". Generally on direct market farms seconds are either left in the field, composted, or consumed by the farm owners and workers. They may also be donated to a food pantry, or occasionally offered to CSA members. Its still perfectly good food, but may require a little more labor or waste to prepare in the kitchen, or may not have as good a shelf life as firsts. I've decided to offer some of my seconds at a significantly lower price as a way of not letting them go to waste and to give you a break on price. 

Garlic this week will be a mix of Chopaka Mountain from last week and Nootka Rose, another new softneck variety I am growing. Nootka is a very long storing garlic, meaning you can keep it well into next spring and even summer! Its an heirloom from the San Juan Islands off of Washington State. It has rich, warm flavor but is not overly hot. 

The final stop in the tour of kale is Winterbor, the workhouse variety of the farm. This my most reliable, productive variety and the most recognizable type to most people. It also has a mild flavor that lends itself well to a variety of dishes. Bulk kale is available for freezing or making large servings of food to freeze. 

The rest of the leeks in the field are available this week. Some of them have grown quite large (over an inch in diameter) after growing for just about 6 months in the field and another several months before that in the greenhouse. 

The head lettuce is from the greenhouse, along with the sungold tomatoes (i.e. the best tasting cherry tomatoes ever). Both tomatoes and lettuce grow extraordinarily well in the greenhouse and the greenhouse is able to extend their seasons a bit at the beginning and end of the year. 

I have unfortunately run out of onions for the year. I had hoped to make it through this final week with them still available but as happened last year there just weren't! I'll be planting more onions next year since I never seem to have enough for shares or for myself! In lieu of onions, I'm including the very nice red shallots I grew that I have been reserving for this final week. Shallots are known for their long storage ability and excellent flavor, less overpowering and more delicate than an onion. They have an outer skin like and onion but are usually composed of two or more bulbs that also have skins, which is part of why they store so well. 

Every year around this time I make a clean pick of the pepper plants before they are destroyed by frosts. This results in a bounty of peppers of all shapes, sizes (including smaller than normal), and colors. Bulk peppers include this variety of peppers and are perfect for freezing or making a large serving of food to freeze. 

Spinach is back for the final share. I struggled with poor germination and plant death in my early plantings (August) of fall spinach. The one really successful planting was made in early September and its some of the nicest looking spinach I've grown. In addition to 6 oz. bags of baby spinach for salads, I also have bulk spinach of more mature and less pretty looking leaves in one pound bags for cooking and freezing. 

For this final week, I have potted aloe vera plants as well as curly leaf parsley plants available as houseplants for the winter months. The aloe veras are in small 3" pots. They can be kept in those pots or transplanted to larger ones which will they will grow into (like a goldfish). The aloes also produce prolific side shoots (called pups) that can be pulled and rooted in their own pots. Aloes require minimum maintenance (indirect sunlight and a good soaking watering every so often) and are good not only for treating burns but also for dry skin in the winter. The parsley plants will be dug from the field and transplanted into pots. They are quite large and will produce several bunches of parsley without regrowth. They need more direct sunlight than aloes (or they will become yellow and leggy) and more frequent watering. With good care, they will likely survive till next spring but they are not meant to be a perennial houseplant, just a pot herb for the winter. 

The final fruit share are more Jonathan apples from Berry Patch Farm in Nevada. I visited with the owners of Berry Patch this past week, Dean and Judy Henry. Dean told me the Jonathan's are disease resistant variety, which means that they are low spray. The Henry's have been growing fruit since the early 1970's; they are more or less the authority on commercial fruit production in Iowa. Next year's fruit share will be entirely sourced from Berry Patch Farm. 

Recipe of the Week

This recipe comes highly recommended via shareholder Suzanne Castello and is originally from an article in the Des Moines Register. Its the perfect fall soup and perfect for this CSA share, which includes most of the ingredients! 

Squash Apple Bisque

3 tablespoons butter
5 cups butternut squash, cubed
1 1/4 cup onions, chopped
1/2 cup carrot, chopped
1/2 cup celery (or celery root), chopped
1 small apple, chopped or 1 1/4 cup
1/2 teaspoon all spice (freshly ground is best)
3 1/2 c vegetable or low sodium chicken broth
1 cup apple cider
1/2 cup whipping cream
Fresh parsley & thinly sliced apples for garnish

In a large stock pot, melt butter over medium heat and add all vegetables. Saute for 10 minutes until onions are soft. Add apples and allspice, then broth and cider. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium low and simmer covered for 30 minutes or until all vegetables are soft. Puree soup in batches in a blender or use an immersion blender to puree it in the pot. If using a blender, take out the plastic insert in the top to allow steam from the hot soup to escape as you are blending. Place a towel over the top to prevent the soup from splashing out. Return pureed soup to pot, add cream, and thin with broth or apple cider vinegar as desired. Season with salt and pepper (other possibilities for spices like nutmeg). Serve in bowls and garnish with drizzled cream, thinly sliced apples, and parsley.  
These leeks have been in the ground since April 11! A full 6 months of growing. 
CSA Availability For Delivery on Wed, Oct. 15

Orders should be placed at middlewayfarm.csasignup.com by Tuesday morning if at all possible. Please submit all orders by Wednesday at noon at the latest. Go to the website and click Member Log-in. If you have any trouble logging in, use the E-mail Verification tool to receive a link to access the store. You can change your password to whatever you want and use your e-mail and password to log in for future orders.Please e-mail me at middlewayfarmer@gmail.com if you have any problems with access or ordering. 
Standard
  1. Beets, Red (no tops) - 3 pounds ($6)
  2. Broccoli - .75-1 lb ($3.50/lb)
  3. Brussels Sprouts - .75 lb ($3.00 or 2 for $5)
  4. Butternut Squash - 1 squash ($2.50 each)
  5. Cabbage, Green - 1 head ($3 each or 2 for $5)
  6. Carrots (no tops) - 3 pounds ($5)
  7. Celeriac - 2 roots ($1.50 each or 2 for $2.50)
  8. Garlic, Softneck (Chopaka Mountain/Nootka Rose) - 3 bulbs ($1/bulb or 3 for $2.50)
  9. Kale, Winterbor - 1 bunch ($2/bunch or 3 for $5) 
  10. Kohlrabi, Green - 1 bulb ($1.50 each or 3 for $4)
  11. Leeks - 1 bunch ($2.50/bunch)
  12. Lettuce, Head - 1 head ($2.50/head or 3 for $6)
  13. Pepper, Sweet (green, red or purple) - 6 peppers ($1/pepper or 3 for $2.50)
  14. Sage - 1 small bunch ($1.50/bunch)
  15. Shallots - ~.5-.75 lb ($4/lb)
  16. Spinach - 6 oz. bag ($3.25/bag or 2 for $6)
  17. Storage Potatoes (Kennebec variety) -  3 lb ($5)
  18. Sweet Potatoes - 3 lb ($6.00 or 6 lb for $10.50)
  19. Tomatoes, Slicing (greenhouse hybrid) -  1 tomato ($1 each)
  20. Tomatoes Sungold (greenhouse cherry) - 1 pint ($3.50 or 2 for $6)
  21. Thyme - 1 small bunch ($1.50/bunch)

Bulk
For unwashed quantities, price reduced by $.10 per pound. 
  1. Beets (choose washed or unwashed)  - 6 lb ($10) or 12 lb ($17)
  2. Cabbage - 5 heads ($11.50)
  3. Carrots (choose washed or unwashed) - 6 lb ($9) or 12lb ($15)
  4. Garlic, Bulk (choose hardneck or softneck) - 1 lb ($7.50) 
    1. Avg. of 15-20 bulbs per pound
  5. Kale, Winterbor - 5 bunches ($7.50)
  6. Peppers, Sweet (mix of purple, green, red/orange) - 3 lb ($6)
  7. Spinach, Bulk - 1 lb ($5/lb)
  8. Sweet Potatoes (choose washed or unwashed) - 10 lb ($14.50)
  9. Storage Potatoes (Kennebec variety) (choose washed or unwashed) - 6 lb ($9) or 12 lb ($15)

Extra
  1. Aloe Vera, potted plant - $4 each or 2 for $7 
  2. Kale - $2/bunch or 3 for $5 - Redbor (red, curly) or Lacinato (flatleaf Italian)
  3. Curly Leaf Parsley, potted plant - $8/plant
  4. Potatoes, Red or Yellow - 1.5 pound bag ($3/bag or 2 for $5)

Seconds
  1. Arugula (last week's harvest) - 6 oz. bag ($2.25/bag or 2 for $4)
  2. Beets (small) - $1.25/lb
  3. Butternut Squash (bad spots, for immediate use) - $1 each
  4. Potatoes, Kennebec (green sunburn spots, damaged, unwashed) - $.75/pound
  5. Salad Mix (last week's harvest) - 6 oz. bag ($2.25/bag or 2 for $4)

Fruit Share
2 pounds of Jonathan apples (conventionally grown, Berry Patch Farm in Nevada)
Storage Tips: 
Butternut Squash - Store on the counter for immediate use or find a cool dry place in your house for long-term storage. Check periodically for rotting spots if in long-term storage. If spots develop, use immediately. 

Sweet Potatoes - Store on the counter for immediate use or find a cool dry place in your house for long-term storage. Check periodically for bad spots and shriveling if in long-term storage. If spots develop, use immediately. Sweet potatoes with nicks in the skin are more likely to develop rotting spots. NEVER refrigerate raw sweet potatoes, they can develop a pithy core. Cooked sweet potatoes are fine to store. 
I will never ceased to be amazed by the resilience (and gumption) of plants. This tomato not only sprouted but grew to maturity and bore ripe fruit growing out of the crack in a concrete lane behind a restaurant in Litchfield, Connecticut. 
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