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Middle Way Farm CSA - Week 15
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Weekly Announcements


CSA Field Day is a week from today, Sunday, September 14 from 4-7 pm. 
  • While no dinner will be served, there will be a variety of heavy appetizers including caprese salad on a stick (mozzarella, basil, and cherry tomato), roasted potatoes, roasted garlic with bread for spreading, kale chips, grilled greens, and drinks, including an herb lemonade and shandy made by Relish's bartender Mustafa Hammouda
  • We will start with a tour of the farm at 4 pm and followed by refreshments and other activities starting at 5 pm. Please feel free to come for any portion of the event. There will be sauerkraut and apple cider making demonstrations, pick/dig your own opportunities (green beans, cherry tomatoes, potatoes) as well as time to relax, eat, and play lawn games. It will be a kid friendly event with lots to activities for younger ones to enjoy. 
End of CSA Share - Please note that the last scheduled day of CSA delivery is October 15. Depending on the weather and availability of produce, I maintain the option of extending the share by a week or more. While I will continue to have produce available into November and later, once cold weather sets in and the number of vegetables available declines, I'm no longer able to provide the abundant and diverse CSA share that I want and you expect, hence why the share ends before all of the produce does.  

Returning Boxes - I think that some of you may be developing collections of CSA boxes, since I found myself low on boxes this week when packing. Please return any boxes you might have lying around this week. Also, I should note that its best if you can store boxes inside or at least out of the sun (they heat up in the sun and it damages the box) and that you prevent your animals (cats) from getting into them if possible, for obvious reasons. 

Gourmet Share


As the share begins to wind down (just 5 weeks left!) This week is a true gourmet share, featuring rare, sought after, and speciality vegetables and varieties. Arugula and radishes make a reappearance after a several month hiatus. The radish variety is an heirloom called French Breakfast. Its a small cylindrical radish with a white tip and red shoulders. I grew these in the spring as well but didn't have any to distribute because of a soil pest problem. A limited number of fingerling potatoes and cippolini onions (final week for both) are also available. Both will be in the standard shares but will be first come first serve for custom shares. Delicata squash make their final appearance as well, with better storing butternut squash up next. Greentop beets this week are an heirloom medley of golden (orange flesh) and Chiogga (white and red bull's eye pattern in flesh). Red sweet peppers are also available in limited quantity (limit one per person), first come first serve. The snap beans this week will be Dragon Tongue beans, a Seed Savers heirloom flat or Roma bean that has a white/yellow background color with beautiful purple streaks. In a few weeks there will be more gourmet vegetables - shallots, celeriac (celery root), and romanesco cauliflower. This is one of the pleasures of buying local - getting direct access to fresh, high quality specialty and unusual vegetables (in addition to the staples) at a reasonable cost. 

Although there is plenty of warm temperatures ahead, the weather is beginning to turn decidedly cooler. I've been commenting lately about how quickly summer changes to fall in our area, even faster than the head spinning transition from winter to spring. We regularly go from 90's in late August and early September to good possibilities for nighttime frosts in late September and early October. For the warm season plants like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants, which want to keep growing and producing "indefinitely", this transition is decidedly abrupt. I expect the ripening of these crops to slow down over the next few weeks, which could lead to some lower availability. There are still many green tomatoes in the field and I'm curious to see how many will ultimately be able to ripen as the weather cools. As frost approaches, bulk orders of peppers for freezing will become available. With the approaching frost we can also look forward to kale, broccoli, and brussels sprouts reaching the full flavor potential. Frosts actually cause these vegetable to produce more sugars and become sweeter. You haven't really tasted kale or brussels sprouts until you've had locally grown ones after a frost. 

 

In addition to tomatoes in the field, I also grow tomatoes in the greenhouse where I start seedlings. Despite getting them in very late this summer, they are beginning to produce tomatoes now and could extend the tomato season by a few weeks. Tomatoes thrive in a greenhouse environment, where they get plenty of heat and don't get any rain or dew on their foliage (they are a desert plant after all and don't deal well with constant moisture). 

Notes on This Week's Share

Arugula, its been too long! This spicy, baby green (related to radishes and turnips) is excellent eaten raw in salads or can be lightly sauted or tossed into any number of cooked dishes. I love it with goat cheese or feta. 

French Breakfast radishes are similar to other radish varieties except for their cylindrical form and half red, half white coloration. They are pre-1885 French heirloom with mild, spicy flavor. They would go great in an arugula salad, or sliced or shredded onto a sandwich. 


The beans this week are an heirloom variety called Dragon Tongue, a creamy white flat bean with purple stripes. Unfortunately the purple streaking disappears when they are cooked. Dragon Tongues are very tender and flavorful. They will be available for several weeks. Like French Breakfast, Dragon Tongues are another French, heirloom variety. They are known as an excellent all-purpose bean, since they can be used as a fresh snap bean, for fresh beans, or for dried beans. Depending on how harvest goes, they make an appearance in the share in a few weeks as more mature pods with fresh beans in them. 

Fall green cabbage are available this week and will be for the rest of the season. I grew this variety as part of a Practical Farmers of Iowa research trial that I mentioned in a newsletter earlier in the season, testing the efficacy of different methods of applying worm castings for maximum yield. As I harvest the cabbages, I will be keeping each replication of the different treatments separate and weighing the cabbages to determining if there is a significant difference in yield between the different treatments. It has not been obvious from casual observation if there are any real differences between treatments, so I'm excited to see what the final data shows. 

Slicing tomatoes are peaking right now and are available bulk along with romas and juliets for bulk orders. The slicers freeze easily (just remove the stem end; a tomato de-stemmer is a very useful tool for doing this and is available at Ace Hardware).

The fruit share this week is Bartlett pears from the farm. They are chemical-free. Bartlett's are the large, juicy pears that are probably most commonly seen in supermarkets. After picking, they require at least couple days of refrigeration followed by room temperatures in order to trigger ripening. Pears do not ripen on the tree or very well at all off the tree unless they go through refrigeration. I refrigerated the pears for several days and by Wednesday this week they will have been at room temperature for about a week. I ate a delicious, ripe one today. Keep them at room temperature to continue the ripening process or refrigerate to hold those that are already ripe. As they ripen they begin to change color from green to yellow, but the best indicator of ripeness is whether the skin is soft enough to press your finger into. If its still hard, let it sit out for a few more days. You can also place them in a paper bag on the counter to facilitate the ripening process. 

The fruit share this week is Bartlett pears from a tree on the farm. I picked almost 50 pounds of pears last week with more pears at the top of the tree to pick. I also found two birds nests while picking to round out the haul. 
CSA Availability For Delivery on Wed, Sept. 10

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. Arugula - 6 oz. bag ($3.25 or 2 for $6)\
  2. Beans, Dragon Tongue - 1 lb ($3.50/lb or 2 for $6)
  3. Beets, Greentop Heirloom Medley (no tops) - 1 bunch ($2.50/bunch) or 3 for $6
  4. Carrots (no tops) - 1 pound ($2.00/pound) or 3 pounds for $5
  5. Globe or Japanese Eggplant -  3 eggplants ($1.50/Globe eggplant, $1/Japanese eggplant)
  6. Garlic, Hardneck - 1 bulb ($1/bulb or 3 for $2.50)
  7. Onions, Cippolini (limited availability) - .5 lb (
  8. Pepper, Green or Purple - 3 peppers ($1/pepper or 3 for $2.50)
  9. Pepper, Red (limited availability) - 1 pepper only ($1.50/pepper)
  10. Potatoes. Fingerling (limited availability) - 1.5 pound bag ($5)
  11. Radish, French Breakfast - 1 bunch ($1.75/bunch) or 3 for $4.50
  12. Tomato, Cherry Medley- 1 pint ($3/pint or 2 for $5)
  13. Tomatoes, Juliet - 1 pint ($2/pint or quart for $3.50)
  14. Tomatoes, Roma - 3 tomatoes (.50 each or 3 for $1)
  15. Tomatoes, Heirloom Slicing -  1-2 tomatoes ($1 each or 3 for $2.50)
  16. Tomatoes, Hybrid Slicing  - 3 tomatoes ($1 each or 3 for $2.50)

Bulk
  1. Sweet Basil - 8 oz. bag ($8)
  2. Juliet Tomatoes - 5 lb ($9)
  3. Roma Tomatoes - 5 lb ($9)
  4. Slicing Tomatoes - 5 lb ($9)

Extra
  1. Basil, Sweet - $2/bunch or 3 for $5
  2. Beets, Red - 2 pounds for $4.50 or 5 pounds for $9.50
  3. Cabbage, Green - 1 head ($3/head) or 3 for $7.50
  4. Kale - $2/bunch or 3 for $5 - Choose Winterbor (green, curly), Redbor (red, curly), or Lacinato (heirloom green flat leaf)
  5. Onions, Yellow or Red Storage  - 1 lb ($2/lb or 3 lb for $5)
  6. Parsley (choose flat leaf or curly leaf) - $2/bunch or 3 for $5
  7. Peppers, Hot - Choose jalapeno ($.75 each) or Martin's Carrot ($.25 each or 5 for $1)
  8. Potatoes, Red, Yellow or Purple - 1.5 pound bag ($3/bag or 2 for $5)

Coming Up
Salad Mix 
Leeks 
Sweet Potatoes
Butternut Squash
Spinach
 

Fruit Share
2 pounds of Bartlett pears (chemical free)
Storage Tips: 
 
Pears - Keep on counter in paper bag to ripen, then refrigerate to hold. Unripe, refrigerated pears will hold for a while, ripe refrigerated pears should be eaten soon. Pears are ripe when flesh can be pressed in easily with finger. 

Tomatoes - If not fully ripe, store on a window sill or counter for a few days until ripe. You can put them in a paper bag to prevent fruit flies from congregating on them. Once ripe, use as soon as possible. You can refrigerate them if you can't use them to make sure they don't spoil, but they will lose some flavor and texture. However, this is better than a rotten tomato! 
Among the pleasures of carrot harvest are the many forms they can take when grown in our heavier soil, which provides more resistance than the typical sandy soil that most commercial carrots are grown in and causes them to take on interesting forms. At Grinnell Heritage Farm the top set of intertwined carrots in the photo would have fallen under the category of "amorous carrots". 
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