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Middle Way Farm Fall 2015 Share Newsletter #2
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2015 Thanksgiving Share Newsletter - November 24 
Payment for share at pick-up may be made by cash, check, or debit/credit card
Remember to return your boxes from the last CSA pick-up!

What's in the Share

Beets - 1 1/2 pounds
Broccoli - 2/3 pound
Brussels Sprouts - 1/2 pound 
Carrots, Bolero - 1 1/2 pound
Garlic, Hardneck (certified organic from Grade A Gardens, Johnston IA) - 1 bulb 
Onion, Roasting (Middle Way Farm & certified organic from Rolling Acres, Murray IA) - 1.5 pounds
Onion, Yellow & Red Mix (certified organic from Rolling Acres, Murray IA) - 1 1/2 pounds
Kale, Winterbor - 2 bunches
Leeks - a few 
Potato, Red - 1 1/2 pounds
Potato, Yellow - 1 1/2 pounds
Spinach - 1 pound 
Squash, Butternut - 1 large or 2 smaller squash
Squash, Carnival - 1 large or 2 smaller squash 
Soup/Stew Kit - 3 pound bag (includes parsnips, turnips, carrots, and/or celeriac)
Sweet Potato - 3 pounds

Apples, Honeycrisp - 2 pounds (Berry Patch Farm , Nevada IA. NOT organic) 

Extras for Sale
Kale, Winterbor - bunches
Spinach - 1/2 pound bags
Leeks - by the each or bunches of small
Soup/Stew Mix Bags - 3 pound bags (includes parsnips, celeriac, carrots, and/or turnips)
Beets - 1 1/2 pound bags
Carrots - 1 1/2 pound bags
Turnips - 1 1/2 pound bags
Radishes, Beauty Heart - 1 1/2 pound bags
Potatoes (including Purple Majesty, Purple Viking, yellow, and Kennebec) - 1 1/2 pound bags & 3 pound net bags 
 
CSA Share Pick-up

4:30 - 6 pm, Tuesday
November 24
3633 Hwy 146, Grinnell


 2/3 mile north of Grinnell on the right side of Hwy 146. Look for the big blue barn, 2nd farmstead on the right after leaving town. Pull in the driveway with the "Grin City Collective" sign. Follow the driveway straight until it forks. Take the left fork. You will see a "Middle Way Farm" sign just ahead by the corner of the blue barn. You can park in the driveway past this sign, in front of the dumpster, propane tanks, and greenhouse. To your left as you pull in to park will be a large red metal building with a garage door and a doorway adjacent. Go through that doorway for CSA pick-up.

Shares will come pre-packed in reusable wax boxes which should be returned in good condition at the next fall share pick-up. Ideally, you can also bring your own bags or containers and leave the box at the farm. Boxes will be relatively large and heavy, so be prepared.

If you are unable to make pick-up on Tuesday, please try to send a friend or family member in your place. If that's not possible, call or text Jordan at (641) 821 0753 to make an alternative arrangement. Shares that are not claimed will be placed in the walk-in cooler. After one attempt to contact the shareholder is made, shares will be kept in the cooler until Friday morning. If the shareholder does not claim it by then, the share will be donated to the MICA food pantry midday Friday.
Local Food Thanksgiving
 
Of all the holidays we celebrate in the United States, Thanksgiving is clearly the one most focused on food. Indeed, in the origin myth of Thanksgiving, it started as a shared meal between indigenous Americans and English colonists in present-day Massachusetts. Rather than being a way of marking a special occasion as in most other holidays, in Thanksgiving the meal itself is the celebration. For this reason, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and I know many others who feel the same way. Thanksgiving in many ways is a celebration of commensality, the practice of eating together. I learned this word years ago and have always loved it for describing a part of human experience that we so often take for granted and don't name. Sharing food together is a good in itself, but I think it is made more meaningful and joyful (and more delicious) when the food comes from a local, known source, a source with face and a story, rather than the massive, anonymous food system. As I said, regardless of the source, eating together is meaningful and important. Making Thanksgiving local simply amplifies that meaning.

Many traditional Thanksgiving dishes lend themselves well to the foods that are seasonally available in the northern US in late fall - turkey, sweet potatoes, winter squash, potatoes, cranberries, cornmeal, onions, carrots, and pumpkin. Even so, what we consider to be a traditional Thanksgiving meal would have been mostly foreign at the first celebration of Thanksgiving. While (wild) turkey and a form of cornbread were probably on the menu, there was also deer venison, waterfowl (including swan and goose), now extinct passenger pigeons, porridge, seafood (eel, shellfish, lobster, clams, and mussels), wild nuts, and probably typical English and indigenous garden vegetables like carrots, turnips, garlic, beans, and pumpkins. There was no wheat flour, butter, cranberries, potatoes, or sweet potatoes. In a time of scarcity, where people regularly died of starvation, such a feast was more than simply celebratory; it was ecstatic. To have enough to eat was a struggle. To have too much to eat was divine intervention. 

We are blessed with an abundance, even an oversupply of foods (for those who can afford it). In many ways we are desensitized by this abundance, never really knowing hunger or scarcity in our lifetimes. This is such a rare and special state for humans in our thousands of years of existence as a species and still a special condition to cherish in this world (and this country) today. This Thanksgiving, let's give thanks for our privilege, not because it is ordained by God as our first president George Washington declared in 1789 when proclaiming Thanksgiving, but because it was brought about by diligent human effort, and that same effort can be used to spread that abundance more widely, rather than hoarding it fearfully. "If you are more fortunate than others, it is better to build a longer table than a taller fence."    

If you have any questions, comments or concerns about the share, just let me know by replying to this e-mail or by phone (in the side bar). 

Your farmer, 

Jordan 
What to Do with Your Share

Broccoli- Rather than full size heads, this broccoli comes from the side shoots that the plant produces after the full size head has been cut. These side shoots are small (no need to chop!), tender, and sweet after being exposed to multiple frosts over the last month.  This was the final harvest of broccoli this season. 
Recipes & Tips: Roasted Broccoli - roasting brings out sweetness!
Storage: Keep in plastic bag in the crisper drawer on high humidity. Use within 7-10 days.

Brussels Sprouts  - I wish I had more sprouts to put in the share, but this was the best I could do on Friday as the storm rolled in and the temperature dropped. Enjoy these true local treats of late fall. 
Recipes & Tips:  Trim any stem on the bottom, remove the outer leaves, and chop them in half if large. Toss in oil and roast on a baking sheet at 425 degrees until very tender and browned. Finish with soy sauce and balsamic vinegar to taste. Some of the brussels sprouts may have yellow outer leaves or small spots of decay. Removing the outer layers of leaves should take care of these, but you may occasionally find a bad one. I did my best to sort them out when harvesting and bagging. The decay is a consequence of fungal disease from the wet and cool weather this summer. I don't spray chemical fungicides when this happens, which makes for increased crop loss but keeps chemicals off of your food and doesn't damage the ecological balance of the farm, which depends on many beneficial fungi that are negatively affected by fungicides. 
Storage: Keep in plastic bag in the crisper drawer on high humidity. Use within 7-10 days.

Carrots, Bolero - This variety of carrot will actually sweeten over time and has an incredible storage life. 
Recipes & Tips: Chop these up and put them upnder your roasting turkey!
Storage: Keep in plastic bag in the crisper drawer on high humidity. Should keep for a month or more. Will start to grow a new top and hairy roots after a while - its still good to eat!

Garlic, Hardneck (Grade A Gardens)  - Hardneck or stiffneck garlics are only found from local growers or grown in gardens. They have fewer, larger cloves than softneck varieties and typically have a stronger flavor and slightly inferior long-term storage quality. They are also differentiated by the fact that they produce a flower stalk in June called a scape. This garlic comes from my friend Jordan Clasen at Grade A Gardens in Johnston, one of Iowa's premier garlic growers. 
Recipes & Tips: Crush a garlic clove with the broadside of a butcher knife to loosen the skin and make them easier to peel. Rub the outside of your turkey with crushed garlic and stuff some cloves into the turkey cavity to infuse garlic flavor into the roasted bird. 
Storage: Store at room temperature loose or in a mesh bag (never in a plastic bag or sealed container - it will mold!). Peeled cloves can be stored in the fridge for a week. Will keep for several months before beginning to sprout in early spring. Exposure to light increases speed of sprouting. Its still good to eat after sprouting!

Onion, Roasting (from Middle Way Farm and certified organic from Rolling Acres)- While this was my best onion year so far, I still managed to end up with a quite a few small ones. Combined with smaller onions from Rolling Acres, these are perfect for putting underneath your turkey (or inside) for roasting. Don't even bother removing the skins, they will slough off easily once the onions are soft and roasted. 
Recipes & Tips: Put these onions into the cavity of your turkey or put them underneath with other root vegetables for fantastic roasted vegetables along with your roasted turkey.
Storage: Store at room temperature loose or in a mesh bag (never in a plastic bag or sealed container - it will mold!). These will store fairly well but tend to deteriorate a bit faster than larger onions. 

Onion, Yellow (certified organic from Rolling Acres) - 
Recipes & Tips:
Hold a matchstick in your mouth with the striking end out to keep yourself from crying when chopping onions. Try it!
Storage: Store at room temperature loose or in a mesh bag (never in a plastic bag or sealed container - it will mold!). Will keep for several months before beginning to sprout in early spring. Exposure to light increases speed of sprouting. Its still good to eat after sprouting!

Kale, Winterbor - Final harvest of kale for the season. 
Recipes & Tips: Turn the stem side up and run your closed hand over the kale leaf to easily strip the leaf from the stem. Discard the stem. Chop or rip up leaves into bite size pieces. Saute in oil on medium heat till turns bright green (3-5 minutes). Turn off heat. Add balsamic vinegar and soy sauce to taste. 
Storage: Keep in plastic bag in the crisper drawer on high humidity. Use within 10-14 days before leaves begin to yellow.

Leeks -Final harvest for the season. A relative of onions and garlic, leek have a mild flavor unlike either that is an excellent compliment to potatoes. 
Recipes & Tips: Use the shaft of the leek up to where the leaves begin to separate. Note that dirt works its way underneath the layers of the leaves, so be sure to clean off the top part of the leek if you will be using that part for cooking. This recipe uses carrots, leeks, and potatoes from the share. 
Storage: Keep in plastic bag in the crisper drawer on high humidity. Use within 10-14 days before leaves begin to yellow.

Potato, Carola - This yellow from Germany is heralded by potato lovers as one of the best. Oblong to round tubers with smooth yellow skin and flesh that has the texture, moisture and taste of a new potato even after months of storage in the root cellar. Boils, bakes, mashes and hashes that are out of this world as well as makes some of the best scalloped potatoes around. Excellent storage qualities.
Recipes & Tips: Try as mashed potatoes. Combine with your Purple Vikings from last CSA distribution if you still have some!
Storage: Keep in plastic bag in the crisper drawer on high humidity for best storage life. Will store several months in fridge. Will deteriorate faster at room temperature.

Potato, Sangre - One of the better tasting red skin cultivars. Dug early for an abundance of small red tubers, used in restaurants cooked whole on the plate, with olive oil and a few flakes of parsley.
Recipes & Tips: Perfect roasting potato. 
Storage: Keep in plastic bag in the crisper drawer on high humidity for best storage life. Will store several months in fridge. Will deteriorate faster at room temperature.

Soup/Stew Kit - These root vegetables provide a perfect base (along with garlic and onion) for any winter soup or stew recipe, or for roasting along with turkey, chicken, and other meats. Celeriac or celery root has the strong taste of celery but in root vegetable form. 
Recipes & Tips: Try these root vegetables underneath your Thanksgiving turkey or use them to make a soup with turkey broth. 
Storage: Keep in plastic bag in the crisper drawer on high humidity. Will keep a month or more. 

Spinach - Last harvest of the fall! The remaining spinach in the field is under snow cover now and will hopefully overwinter and come back strong in the spring for early harvest for farmers market and the spring CSA share in May. 
Recipes & Tips: Full size spinach leaves are best used for cooking, although they can be chopped up for eating raw. 
Storage: Keep in plastic bag in the crisper drawer on high humidity. Use within 7-10 days.

Squash, Butternut (Rolling Acres)- Winter squash with great sweetness and storage quality 
Recipes & Tips: After halving and removing seeds, bake this squash with the skin on and then remove the skin after roasting and allowing to cool. It will be easier to take off then. 
Storage: Store at room temperature. Will keep for up to several months. Look for bad spots developing and use immediately if begins to deteriorate. 

Squash, Carnival (Rolling Acres)- Actually a hybrid of sweet dumpling and acorn squash. Very sweet, superior to traditional acorn but because of size and shape can be used in place of acorn squash in any recipe.  Nuttier and sweeter than butternut squash but not as dry in texture as kabocha squash.
Recipes & Tips: Simply roast a halved carnival squash seasoned with a little butter and brown sugar. 
Storage: Store at room temperature. Will keep for up to several months. Not as good storing as butternut. Look for bad spots developing and use immediately if begins to deteriorate. 


Sweet Potato - Last of the sweet potatoes for the year. Its amazing how fast they went. You may notice some blemishes, defects, and shriveling on some of the sweet potatoes. These will tend to diminish their long-term storage ability but simply trim them off when chopping up the sweet potatoes to enjoy within the next few weeks. 
Recipes & Tips: Excellent roasted whole till can be easily pierced with a fork and stored in the fridge as a ready to prepare side dish. If you use only part of a sweet potato when cooking, take the raw half and place it CUT SIDE DOWN on a plate and leave on the counter. This will keep that side "fresh" for longer without developing discoloration or mold. 
Storage: Store at room temperature loose or in mesh bag, 50 degrees minimum. DO NOT store in fridge; flavor and texture will decline when exposed to cold temperatures. Will keep for several weeks up to several months. Keep out of light to prevent long-term sprouting. Look for bad spots developing and use immediately if begins to deteriorate. 

 Apples, Honeycrisp (Berry Patch Farm)- A famously sweet apple that also happens to be one of the latest keeping apples available. There will also be apples in the final fall share in two weeks!
Recipes & Tips: Try adding cubed apples to roasted root vegetables for added sweetness. 
Storage: Keep in plastic bag in the crisper drawer on high humidity for best storage life. Will store several months in the fridge. Check for bad spots developing. Will deteriorate faster at room temperature.

Possibilities for the Final Fall Share - December 8

The field crops are either harvested or frozen, so everything in the final share will come out of storage: Butternut squash from Rolling Acres, Kennebec and yellow potatoes, onions from Rolling Acres, shallots, garlic from Grade A Gardens, carrots, beets, Honeycrisp from Berry Patch, turnips, radishes
Sweet potatoes at harvest
Some company in the field last week from the pigeons as I harvested spinach. They're welcome anytime. Birds, mice, and insects all eat weed seed on the soil surface, helping reduce the amount that ultimately gets mixed into the soil and germinates. 
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