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Middle Way Farm CSA - Week 11
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Before reading the rest of the newsletter, please visit this survey link and answer two questions: 

1. Are you interested in receiving a weekly or every other week egg share from Sandy Hill Farm in Montour starting Week 12 and continuing through Week 20? I need a sufficient level of interest of CSA members before I decide whether to go ahead with it, so this is just expressing interest, not committing to a share yet. However, if there is sufficient interest, I will go ahead and assume that everyone who expressed interest will want to receive eggs. See details about the egg share and Sandy Hill Farm below. 

The egg share would be a dozen eggs delivered with your share each week or every other week. The cost for an every week share (9 dozen) would be $43 and an every other week share would be $24 (5 dozen, on even numbered weeks). Return your cartons when you return your CSA box. Like the fruit share, this is a set price and set delivery share so if you decide to skip a week you will still pay for eggs. However, since eggs keep better than fruit, I can hold the eggs from week and week and make double deliveries if desired. 

About Sandy Farm

All of our poultry animals are treated to naturally fertilized, chemical free pastures and fed certified non GMO Organic Grains, though we are not "certified organic".

*Free Range* Vegetarian Diet* Certified Organic feed* Non GMO Grains* Flax Fed Grains* Chemical Free* No Hormones of any kind* No Antibiotics* No Additives* No Preservatives* Non Irradiated Meat* BPA Free Packaging* Happy Hens* All Natural* Humanely Raised*

Sandy Hill Farm is a small farm located approximately 11 miles from Grinnell. In a society that believes bigger and faster is the better way to do things, our family is interested in a different philosophy. Our goal is to provide healthy nutritious food. This demands more time and care from us but we believe that the animals are happier and healthier living in an environment that allows them to grow and become what their creator intended. Our goal is to provide the most nutritious and delicious food possible for not only your family, but ours too! We try to be as organic and non GMO as possible and yet we are not certified. All the grains and hays fed to our animals are either certified organic or are in transition, meaning the source has not finished the 5 year-no chemicals period but herbicides and pesticides have not been used in the current crop.

Equally important to us and perhaps more so, is that animals that are created to eat grass are not only allowed to, but are encouraged. Our free range hens couldn't get any freer as they have no fencing whatsoever. The laying hens are a hardy breed of chicken that are exceptional foragers. They lay brown, green, and white eggs whose deep yellow yolks reflect the nutritious diet they consume. In the morning they are let out of their houses to search, scratch, and chase after food. They lay their eggs in hay lined nesting boxes. At night, the hens naturally go in the house to roost and we simply close the door to keep predators out.

All animals have naturally occurring hormones in their bodies to control basic body functions. Our own bodies as well. We do not tamper with their natural cycles with hormones of any kind. Antibiotics have been used and abused in agriculture to such an extent that at least 70% of all antibiotics used in the US are fed to livestock for reasons other than treating disease. When a life threatening illness attacks your family, many formerly useful antibiotics are now ineffective. As a rule, we treat sick animals with probiotics, concentrated vitamins, minerals, and homeopathic remedies.

Sandy Hill Farm
3674 Hwy T47
Montour, IA 50173
641-751-5517
DJ and Sandra Rasmussen, 
Owner/Operators

2. If I were to host a CSA field day at the farm next month, what would be the best date and time for you and your family to attend? The field day could include activities such as a farm tour, tour of artist residency, interactive food making demonstrations and tastings such as sauerkraut, heirloom tomatoes, and apple cider, potluck dinner with several farm to table dishes provided, and harvest games (for kids and adults). This would be a chance for everyone to visit the farm, see how their food is grown, and get a chance to meet each other and enjoy a fall evening together. 

This is what happens when you handle a bunch of tomato plants! This sticky "tomato tar" coats the tomato plants and protects the plants from microscopic predators. In high concentrations it makes your skin sticky and black, but in lower amounts its invisible on your skin and you can only see it when the wash water turns a green-yellow color. 

Weekly Notices:

  • Cucumbers are done for the season. They are particularly susceptible to pest pressure from cucumber beetles and squash bugs, which damage the plants and spread diseases that eventually kill them. Both pests have built up larger populations now and are also affecting the zucchini, but they are more resilient than cucumbers. Zucchini will continue producing for at least several more weeks. 
Buckwheat in its full flowering glory. Its a brief glory, though. Buckwheat flowers can quickly develop into seeds, which can then become a weed in subsequent years. I'll be mowing this buckwheat within the next week to kill it and start the breakdown of the plant material. After that, it will be tilled into the soil and rest a few weeks before being planted into a crop of overwintering Spinach in early September. 

Notes on This Week's Share

Tomatoes have finally arrived in full force! This week slicers, romas, juliets, and cherry tomatoes are all available. Slicers will be a mix of heirloom and hybrid varieties and cherries will be a medley of several different varieties I grow, including red (Sakura & Supersweet 100), orange (Sungold), and purple-red (Black Cherry). Juliet tomatoes are also available in bulk quantities. Juliets make a good sauce or cooking tomato due to their lower water content (as do roma tomatoes). They are very easy to freeze. Just wash them, pat dry, lay out flat on a baking sheet or pan in the freezer, wait a day to let them fully freeze, and then pour them into a large freezer bag. 

The garlic is now fully cured and ready for storage. I'll be putting different varieties of garlic in the share as much as possible each week as we clean and prep them for market so you can sample a range of varieties of both hardneck and softneck varieties. We'll start with the hardneck varieties, which don't store as well and then move into the softnecks, which store the best, later in the fall. This week's variety is Chesnok Red, which was among the best of the garlics this year. See the picture and caption at the bottom of the e-mail . 

Green beans are back. I added them late to the CSA ordering page last week, so not all of you got the chance to order them. I did add them to the standard share. This is a new planting and a different variety called Jade. The main difference is the beans are a little more slender, long, and curled, but this difference from the first planting of a variety called Provider is seeming to fade as the beans get more mature. Green beans are also available bulk for freezing and/or canning. 

The fruit share this week is blueberries from Berry Patch Farm in Nevada. Due to winter injury of some of their plantings from the extreme cold temperatures, their blueberries have not been as abundant this year and they have only been allowing pick your own blueberries once a week. I hope to be able to pick one more time before the season is over, but I'm not sure how much longer they will have them. Although these berries are conventionally grown, as I understand it they do not generally use pesticides on the plants but will use herbicides around the base of the plants to keep them weed free. The only pest problem they have is Japanese beetles, which are difficult to control with sprays and they use traps instead.  

I'm excited about the winter squash this year. Pictured are several butternuts maturing in the field, beginning to transition from pale green to the nut brown color of ripeness. Using transplants instead of planting from seed, adequate moisture, and lower pest pressure than last year have all contributed to a very good crop of butternuts and delicata squash, as well as a few other squash varieties that may make an appearance in the CSA. Harvest of the delicatas will begin within a few weeks while butternuts will remain in the field for another month or more, until they are fully ripe and the risk of a nighttime frost increases. 
CSA Availability For Delivery on Wed, Aug. 13

Orders should be placed at middlewayfarm.csasignup.com by Tuesday at 6 am. 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 shares will receive one unit of everything listed under "Standard" automatically. No need to order. If you would like additional standard items (not all standard items will be available for extra ordering), extra items, or plant starts, you will need to order them separately. Whatever you order on the website will be delivered IN ADDITION to your standard share. 

Custom shares need to place an order each week in order to receive delivery ($10/week minimum, no upper threshold). If orders are not received by early Tuesday morning you may not receive your exact order. Some items are more limited than others in terms of availability. 

Fruit shares are pre-determined each week and are only available to those who signed up for the fruit share. They are not available for weekly ordering. 

Storage Tips: Everything in this week's share should be kept in sealed plastic bags in the refrigerator for best quality and storage life (including potatoes) except garlic, tomatoes & zucchini. The garlic is now cured and can be stored on the counter. Tomatoes should not be refrigerated; it will diminish their flavor, but it can be brought back by bringing the tomato back to room temperature. Zucchini should be stored on the counter and used within a few days. Smaller zucchini in particular decompose quicker than larger, thicker skinned zucchini. They can be refrigerated if needed to keep them fresh a few days longer. Beets should be stored separately from green tops. Use green tops within a few days or discard. 
Standard
  1. Broccoli - 1-2 heads ($3.50/lb) 
  2. Green top Beets - 1 bunch ($2.50/bunch or 3 for $6)
  3. Carrots (no tops) - 1 pound ($2.00/pound)
  4. Globe or Japanese Eggplant -  1-2 eggplants ($1.50/eggplant)
  5. Garlic, Cured (Chesnok Red hardneck variety) - 1 bulb ($1/bulb or 3 for $2.50)
  6. Green Beans - 1 lb ($3.50/lb or 2 for $6)
  7. Fresh Candy or White Onions - 1 lb ($2/lb or 3 lb for $5)
  8. Green/Purple Pepper - 2-3 peppers ($1/pepper or 3 for $2.50)
  9. Yellow or Blue New Potatoes - 1.5 pound bag ($3.50/bag or 2 for $6)
  10. Cherry Tomato Medley- 1 pint ($3.50/pint or 2 for $6)
  11. Juliet Tomatoes - 1 pint ($3/pint or 2 for $5)
  12. Roma Tomatoes - a few (.50 each or 3 for $1)
  13. Slicing Tomatoes - a few ($1 each or 3 for $2.50)
  14. Zucchini - 3-5 squash, green & yellow ($1/squash or 3 for $2.50) (see BULK for more)

Bulk
  1. Beets (no tops) - 2 pounds ($4.50), 5 pounds ($9.50) 
  2. Carrots (no tops) -  5 pounds ($8)
  3. Green Beans - 5 pounds ($12.50) 
  4. Kale (Winterbor) - 5 bunches ($7) 
  5. Juliet Tomatoes - 5 lb ($9)
  6. Zucchini, Baking - $1 each for large zucchini good for baking or freezing 

Extra
  1. Lime Basil - $1/oz., any amount
  2. Sweet Basil - $1/oz., any amount 
  3. Green, Savoy or Red Cabbage - 1 head ($2.00/head or 3 for $5)
  4. Chinese Cabbage -  1 head ($2.00/head or 3 heads for $5)
  5. Collard Greens - 1 bunch ($2/bunch or 3 for $5)
  6. Kale - 1 bunch ($2/bunch or 3 for $5) - Choose Winterbor (green, curly), Redbor (red, curly), Lacinato (heirloom green flat leaf) or Red Russian (heirloom red flat leaf) (see BULK for more)
  7. Kohlrabi - Purple or green bulbs ($1/bulb or 3 for $2.50) 
  8. Parsley (choose flat leaf or curly leaf) - 1 bunch ($2/bunch) 
  9. Turnips, Spring - 1 pound, no tops, white skin ($2/lb or 3 lb for $5)

Coming Up
Leeks
Cippolini Onions & Shallots
Yellow & Red Storage Onions
Fingerling & Storage Potatoes
Red Peppers

Fruit Share
Blueberries- .3/4 lb pint (conventionally grown - Berry Patch Farm in Nevada)
A look at the Chesnok Red variety of hardneck garlic that will be in the share this week. The variety originated in the republic of Georgia in the former USSR. It has large easy to peel cloves and is considered one of the best roasting garlics. The flavor comes out sweet and not as garlickly as other varieties. A great all around garlic. 
Copyright © 2014 Middle Way Farm, All rights reserved.


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