Summer Share 2016 - Week 18 - Middle Way Farm
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Summer Share
Weekly Newsletter 

Week 18
Sep. 25, 2016
There's Still Time to Sign-up for the Fall Share. Share starts Nov. 1-2. Spots available!
WAX BOXES - If you have any, please return them before the end of the CSA season. I am down quite a few brown 3/4 bushel boxes from the beginning of the season, as well as missing some white 1/2 bushel boxes. 
Garlic Workshop and Work Day

Grow Your Own Garlic

1-2 pm, October 29

Free workshop

Learn the basics of growing garlic in your home garden including varieties, soil preparation, planting time, mulching, plant care, harvest, curing, storage and saving seed.   All participants will receive a bulb of garlic to plant and some extra bulbs will be available for sale


Garlic Planting Workday

2-5 pm, October 29

 Volunteers should wear close toed shoes, bring sun protection (hat, long sleeves, sunglasses, sunblock) and warm clothes, have a water bottle, and be prepared to stoop, bend over, and work on their hands and knees. No experience is required, volunteers will be taught everything they need to know. Come for all or part of workday.

What's Good This Week

Another very nice harvest of arugula this week.

Scarlet turnips are prefect size and have nice greens for cooking too. Lots of good French Breakfast radishes too.

Dragon Tongue Beans are abundant and delicious this week. 

Really good quality, certified organic acorn and spaghetti squash from Rolling Acres in Murray, Iowa. 

Seed garlic is available for home gardeners who would like to plant your own. Seed garlic just means that its the largest, nicest bulbs that have been held back from the harvest. Otherwise they are the same as on the ones you eat.

There are a ton of nice looking leeks in the field. Available for custom order now till the end of the season. 

What's in the Standard Share
(With Custom Order Options and Prices)

Arugula - 6 oz. bag ($4/bag or 2 for $7)
Beans, Dragon Tongue - 1 quart (3/4 lb) ($4/quart or 2 for $7)
Garlic, Hardneck - 1 bulb ($1.50 each)
Leeks - several leeks ($1.50/large leek or 3 for $4. Bunch of 4-5 medium size for $3.50)
Onions, Candy- 1 quart (1.5 pounds) ($4/quart)
Potatoes, Yellow - 1.5 pounds ($4/bag)
Radish, French Breakfast - 1 bunch ($2/bunch or 3 for $5)
Turnip, Scarlet - 1 bunch ($2/bunch or 3 for $5)
Tomato Medley - 1 pint ($3/pint)
Tomatoes, Slicing & Roma - 1 pound ($2.50/pound)
Winter Squash, Acorn - 1 squash (avg. size 2 lb) ($2.50/squash)
Winter Squash, Spaghetti - 1 squash (avg. size 3 lb) ($3.75/squash)
Also Available for Custom Order

Cabbage, Green  - $3/head
Cabbage, Napa - $2.50/head
Cucumber - $1.50 each 
Fresh Celery Root - $1.50/root or 3 for $4
Kale, Red Curly - $2/ bunch or 3 for $5
Kale, Green Curly - $2/bunch or 3 for $5
Mesclun Mix - $4/6 oz. bag
Onions, White - $4 for 1.5 pound 
Parsley - $2/bunch or 3 for $5
Pepper, Green Chile - 4 for $1
Pepper, Green or Purple - $1/pepper or 3 for $2.50
Pepper, Colored -$2/large pepper or 2 small peppers
Radish, Heirloom Osterguss - $2/bunch or 3 for $5
Hardneck Seed Garlic (for planting) - $12/pound
Zinnia (flowers) - $6 per bunch with returnable quart jar 

Fruit Share
Apples - 3 pound bag
What's Coming Up, What's Going Out

Colored peppers and tomatoes are both slowing down significantly as fruit is picked and temperatures drop. I hope to have both available right through the end of CSA, but in diminished quantities. 

We dug the first bed of sweet potatoes and the other two beds will be out of the ground this week. They will be available the final two weeks. 

Fall broccoli is beginning to form heads but was not quite ready to harvest this week. It should be ready for CSA and market next week. 

Last of the Candy onions this week with yellow and red onions to finish out the last two weeks. 

Next week's winter squash will be Sweet Dumpling and Buttercup. The final week will be Red Kuri and Butternut
Place Your Custom Order

Its hard not to be caught up thinking today about the flooding that is happening in northeast Iowa. I was not in Iowa during the summer of 2008, so I only experienced the aftermath of that flooding well after the fact. My heart goes out to the people who are being affected, including farmers who are seeing portions of their land inundated and washed away by rising rivers. 

This is a natural disaster without a doubt. Water is an astounding collective force that we sometimes have control over, but when we do not it can destroy everything in its path. That said, we also have to acknowledge the twin human factors in this disaster. First is climate change. In 2008, Iowa experienced a 100 year flood. In 1993, there was also a 100 year flood. Now, in 2016, we are experiencing another 100 year flood. So in the past 23 years there have been three 100 year floods. It should be obvious that the historical norms that have been used to gauge the frequency of catastrophic flooding are becoming increasingly irrelevant as precipitation patterns change. Science unequivocally shows that climate change is caused by the human release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The fact that stating that seems like a political statement is just sad. Our attempts to reduce both the causal agents of climate change and to mitigate the already occurring effects of climate change lack meaningful political and cultural support right now. It may take many more Cedar Rapids and Louisiana's before that changes. 

The second human factor in this disaster is land use. Historically, Iowa was covered in perennial vegetation in the form of tallgrass prairie, oak savanna, and bottomland forest. The soil had high organic matter, which acts as a sponge during rain to draw in water and slowly release it into rivers, streams, and the underlying water table. Even as the prairie was plowed up and the savannas cut down and grazed during the second half of the 19th century, large portions of agricultural land remained till quite recently in perennial hay and pasture, with accompanying high organic matter. Now, Iowa agriculture consists almost entirely of annual monoculture with a small amount of perennial hay and pasture. The typical Iowa farm field has 2% organic matter or less, which is 2-5 times less the historical norm. One percent of organic matter holds 27,000 gallons per acre. Multiply that times millions of acres across Iowa and you can understand how much less water our depleted soils can hold during rain events. 

The loss of woodlands, field edges hedgerows, stream and river buffers, and other perennial habitat has been accelerated in the last decade during the recent corn price boom (which seems to have mercifully come to an end). Combine all of that with the fact that many Iowa farm fields have drainage tile that moves water quickly off the field when the soil is saturated, and that means when heavy rains fall, like they did in northeast Iowa last week, the run-off moves very quickly into rivers and streams. Tiling, low organic matter, and lack of perennial cover exacerbates the potential for flooding downstream, not to mention the massive erosion of topsoil that occurs every time there is heavy rain, particularly outside of the growing season when many fields are bare without vegetation. This is also not to mention our nutrient run-off problem, which results in Iowa's poor water quality as well as the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico at the mouth of the Mississippi. 

I write all this because I feel like as much as we should mourn and react to the short-term tragedy of natural disasters, we have to work to keep them in a long-term context, and to understand how current choices, political policy, and cultural norms contribute to the causes of disasters in addition to factors which are clearly outside of our control (like just how much and when rain will fall). We have been very lucky in Grinnell to have escaped the heaviest rains this year and I am grateful for that as a farmer. But long-term we are all going to be affected by what is happening, whether we live on the low or the high ground. 

Your farmer,


What to Do with Your Share

Arugula - A member of the brassica family like radishes, turnips, and mustard greens, arugula is spicy, flavorful salad green that is a favorite of mine to grow. I cut it as a "baby" green, although arugula is also sold bunched as cooking green (like full size spinach). Arugula is more like a wild plant than almost anything I grow, flavor and nutrition-wise, but also because of how it behaves in the field. Arugula germinates very quickly with little moisture and outcompetes weeds. It can grow in the heat and cold and will often vigorously regrow for 2nd or 3rd cuttings.  

Preparation & Cooking:  The arugula comes to you double washed, so its basically ready to eat. There should be no need to wash it again, as this will diminish storage life. If you do rinse it, be sure to spin or pat dry before serving or storing in the fridge. Arugula has a stronger flavor raw then lettuce or spinach, so if you don't like spiciness, its best to mix it with milder greens for eating raw or to cook it. Arugula can also be treated like spinach and used as cooking green. Its excellent wiled over pasta or with a cut of beef, pork, chicken, etc. Pesto from raw arugula is also worth trying. 

Storage: Keep in plastic bag in crisper drawer set on high humidity in fridge. Should keep well for about a week. Yellowing leaves may need to be removed after this point. 

Beans, Dragon Tongues -  This is a truly excellent heirloom variety that can be found from a variety of seed companies (these being from High Mowing Organic Seeds in Vermont but also available from Seed Savers in Iowa). They are flat, large, roma type bean with a creamy white/light yellow background color and streaks of purple on top of that. The purple stripes disappear when cooked. These beans are more succulent and certainly better tasting raw than a green bean. 

Preparation & Cooking:  Like cabbages, broccoli, and just about any other vegetable, roasting is a great option for green beans. They can also be sliced and sauted in oil or butter as a side dish. Green bean pate is another favorite recipe of mine. 

Storage:  Store in a sealed plastic bag in the crisper drawer for up to a week.Green beans, like peas, diminish in quality fairly rapidly the longer they are stored, so the sooner you use them the better. 

Garlic, Hardneck  Garlic is now considered fully cured (dried). This particular variety is a hardneck type (has stiff, woody neck, fewer larger cloves), as opposed to the softnecks (have a soft pliable neck, more smaller cloves) that you find in grocery stores. As compared to a typical softneck, hardneck types have a stronger, spicier flavor. 

Preparation & Cooking: I peel garlic by smashing the unpeeled clove with the side of my knife on the cutting board, which causes the paper to split and slip off more easily. Just got a recent tip about preparing garlic from the Splendid Table on National Public Radio. Crush the peeled garlic clove with the side of your knife or a garlic press and sprinkle with salt. Mince up the garlic and salt. The salt helps draw out the flavor of the garlic and also acts to enhance the flavor of the subsequent dish.

Storage: Keep this garlic on the counter. Don't refrigerate cured garlic, as this will actually encourage it to sprout. Peel cloves can be refrigerated but should be used quickly. Leave cloves unpeeled for best shelf life and to not risk mold or pathogens developing. Can keep for several months if properly stored. 

Leeks are a relative of onions and garlic they grow over a long season. These were planted in mid-April and I'll continue harvesting them all the way up to the killing freezes in November/December. 

Preparation & Cooking:  Leeks are typically prized for their white shaft, with the green part of the shaft and the leaves being discarded. I still haven't achieved the right technique for growing a long white shaft on a leek, so I typically use as much of it as possible, white or green. The top layers of theleek tend to accumulate soil despite farm washing, so watch for grit under the leaves when washing them in your sink. Leeks can be used a mild substitute or compliment to onions. As this website claims, leeks are cooler than onions because they perform the same job but are sweeter with more delicate flavor!

Storage:  Keep in a sealed plastic bag in the crisper drawer on high humidity. Use within a week or so. The tops with begin to yellow as they age. 

French Breakfast Radishes are an outstanding heirloom radish that has become my favorite to grow. They are a beautiful pointed radish with red shoulders and a white tip and outstanding flavor.

Preparation & Cooking:  These would be a beautiful addition to salads and perfect shape for dipping and crudites. The tops will be nice quality as far as radishes go and can be used as a cooking green. 

Storage:  Keep in a sealed plastic bag in the crisper drawer on high humidity. Use within a week or so. The tops should be separated from the roots and used within a few days or discarded. 

Tomato Medley- Medley includes several varieties of cherry and juliet (mini-roma) tomatoes. 

Preparation & Cooking:  Both cherry and juliet tomatoes are wonderful for snacking and salads but you can also slice them and lightly roast or saute as well (they can also be dried in dehydrator this way). 

Storage:  NEVER refrigerate tomatoes unless you're trying to keep them from going bad for a short period of time. They lose their flavor in the fridge. Keep them on the counter and use ripe tomatoes within a few days. Unripe tomatoesmay be held separately from ripe ones and given a few days to develop full ripeness and flavor. 

Tomato. Slicing & Roma- Slicing tomatoes denotes any larger, round tomato that is typically used for making tomato slices. It could be a hybrid or heirloom tomato depending on availability. Roma tomatoes are a long, oval tomato that have less water and more meat than slicers. They are specifically meant for cooking, as they do not contain as much water and therefore do not need to be boiled down as much as slicers do to produce a sauce or paste. 

Preparation & Cooking:  Cut out the stem end of the tomato and the pith just below it. Any surface blemishes can be trimmed off as well. Roma (and slicers) tomatoes should be chopped into smaller pieces up prior to cooking to speed their breakdown. Some people prefer to remove the skin first. To do so, bring a pot of water to boil. Dip in the tomatoes for 30 seconds to minute then remove and cool immediately. This should loosen the skin enough so that you can slip it off. You may also use slicing tomatoes for cooking, but they will have more water. 

Storage:  NEVER refrigerate tomatoes unless you're trying to keep them from going bad for a short period of time. They lose their flavor in the fridge. Keep them on the counter and use ripe tomatoes within a few days. Unripe tomatoes may be held separately from ripe ones and given a few days to develop full ripeness and flavor. Store tomatoes upside down (resting on their shoulders) in a single layer on the counter, windowsill, tray, plate, etc, out of direct sunlight. Don't pile up tomatoes and don't put them a bag. Watch for signs of spoiling and use spoiled ones immediately or discard. Tomatoes freeze very well without cooking. Simply remove the stem end and pack in a sealed freezer bag. 

Scarlet Turnips are a newer variety of turnip similar to the white Hakurei turnips you received in the spring. They are sweet, mild, and less earthy than the traditional purple top turnip (which is also growing for this fall). 

Preparation & Cooking:  Turnips can be consumed raw as a crudite or cooked. Sliced and sauted in butter or cubed and steamed. They are also good grated raw for sandwiches, salads, and wraps. Tops can be used as a cooking green similar to large leaf spinach. A classic wilted with bacon grease!

Storage:  Keep in a sealed plastic bag in the crisper drawer on high humidity. Use within a few weeks, these are not meant to be storage turnips. The tops should be separated from the roots and used within a few days or discarded. 

Winter Squash -   Acorn squash is round, ribbed and, green. They have orange flesh and tend to be not as sweet as other squashes, but are quite desirable for their size and shape, which lends itself well to stuffing (see Recipe of the Week). Spaghetti squash is creamy yellow color and oval shaped. The interior is light colored and stringy. After baking, the flesh can be raked with a fork to produce spaghetti-like strings of squash (see Preparation & Cooking below) Winter squash has thicker, hard skins that allow them to store for up to several months at room temperature, unlike summer squash, which have thin skins and spoil quickly. 

Preparation & Cooking:  Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Cut the squash in half with a sharp knife and scrap out the cavity of the squash, which contains seeds and pulpy flesh that is not good for eating. You can save the seeds for roasting if desired (see below). Grease the cut sides of the squash and place on a baking sheet in the oven. Roast till a fork can easily pierce the skin (45 minutes - 1 hour). At this point, after the squash has cooled slightly, you can peel the skin with a knife and cut up into bite size pieces, or leave intact to use for stuffing (see the Recipe of the Week). Many people like to add butter and brown sugar to roasted squash. You can also puree the cooked squash at this time either manually or with a food processor. For the spaghetti squash, follow the directions above, but once out of the oven use a fork to scrap across the cooked flesh to produce spaghetti-like strands of flesh. Keep scrapping all the way down to the rind. The strands can be used as a spaghetti substitute, tossed in tomato sauce and feta cheese. Its a really wonderful, gluten free, and low starch alternative to wheat pasta.

To roast squash seeds, first clean off any pulpy flesh that is attached and then pat dry. Toss lightly in oil and put on a baking sheet in the oven at high temperature (same temp as baking the squash would work). You can also put them in the toaster oven and use the toast setting. Allow them to toast till the seed has started to brown and puff up (10-20 minutes), but before it begins to burn. You can use a spatula to toss the seeds halfway through cooking. Once toasted, toss in salt and enjoy.You can store these at room temperature in a sealed container for up to a week or so but they are best consumed immediately.

Storage:  Winter squash should be kept at room temperature in a cool, dry place. Acorns do not store as well as spaghetti squash, but should keep for at least several weeks if not longer. Check them periodically for bad spots developing on the skin and use quickly if you discover any. Cooked squash can be stored in the fridge for a week or so or it can also be frozen. 

Recipe of the Week

Sausage and Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash

The stuffing would also be delicious in turkey or chicken. The squash can be cooked ahead of time. 

Prep time - 20 minutes
Cook time- 1 hr 20 minutes
Total time - 1 hr 40 minutes

  • 2 acorn squash, halved and seeded
  • 1tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon ground sage
  • 1 lb pork sausage
  • 1⁄2 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1 celery rib, finely chopped (substitute celeriac or celeriac tops)
  • 4 ounces mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 apples, cored and chopped
  • 1 cup fine breadcrumbs
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon sage
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  1. Combine the melted butter, garlic salt and 1/4 teaspoons sage; brush over cut sides and cavity of squash. Salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Bake in a large roasting pan, cut side up, at 400 degrees F for 1 hour, until squash is tender yet still holds its shape.
  3. Meanwhile make stuffing: Fry pork sausage until light brown. Remove pork to a colander to drain. Drain all but 2 tablespoons drippings from frypan. Add onion, celery and mushroom; saute 4 minutes. Stir in apple and saute 2 more minutes.
  4. Combine the pork, vegetables, and breadcrumbs in a large bowl.
  5. Taste and season with sage, salt or pepper if needed (depending on your sausage you may not want to add more seasoning).
  6. Stir in the egg and parsley.
  7. Fill the squash halves with stuffing-they should be slightly mounded.
  8. Return to oven and bake, covered, for 20 more minutes, until the egg is set.
  9. Garnish as desired with parsley and shredded romano cheese.
Photo of the Week
Megan holds up a contender for Biggest Sweet Potato of the Year (I weighed it later and it was over 5 1/2 pounds!). This is Megan's last week on the farm before she starts a new job working for the Natural Resources Department at the Meskwaki Settlement in Tama. I'm going to miss her - she's a hard worker, has a great sense of humor, and has really learned how she fits into the farm operation. I hope my future employees are like her.  
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