Middle Way Farm 2015 CSA - Week 19
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The regular season CSA share continues until October 28. There are three weeks left. If you have a custom share, you may carry a negative balance and you will be billed at the end of the season. You can also make payments prior to the end of the season. Contact me at if you have questions. 
As we reach the end of the season, please remember to return any boxes that you may have. For the final week, on-farm pick-up customers will need to bring their own bags and take their produce out of the boxes. Home delivery customers will receive their share in recyclable cardboard boxes instead of the reusable wax boxes. 
Spots Still open for the Fall Share 
If you would like to split the share but don't have a partner, e-mail me at
Sign up for Fall Share
Here are the details:
  • 3 shares spaced 2 weeks apart - Nov. 10, Nov. 24 (week of Thanksgiving), and Dec. 8
    • Pick-up day moved to Tuesday, pick-up time will be 4:30-6 pm at the farm. 
  • Standard Shares Only - $145 (payment before or at first pick-up)
    • Custom Shareholders: you can use remaining credit to pay for all or part of your fall share. Credit will be applied to your fall share manually by me after you sign-up and I will follow-up by e-mail
  • Thanksgiving Share option - Only Nov. 24 share ($60)
  • On-Farm Pick-up Only (due to potentially freezing temperatures on pick-up days, I can't leave shares outside at homes) - Exceptions may be made for special circumstances
  • Limited spots available - current CSA customers get first priority!
    • Sign-up will open up for everyone a month from today (Oct. 18)
Each share will contain approximately $50 worth of produce (about twice as much as a regular season standard share). Most of the items in the share will be storage crops that could last you well past the New Year if stored properly. Below see a list of crops slated for the fall share, as well as an example share:
Potatoes - Kennebec Storage, Yellow Flesh, Red Skin, Purple Majesty 
Onions - Yellow Storage, Cippolini, Shallots
Garlic - Softneck and Hardneck
Winter Squash - Butternut, Spaghetti
Sweet Potatoes

Cabbage - Savoy, Green & Red
Brussels Sprouts
Radishes - Daikon, Beauty Heart
Apples from Berry Patch Farm
Parsnips and More!
Example Fall Share (with approximate values)

Note items that need to be refrigerated. Although the share is large, a good portion of it won't need to be stored in your fridge. 

Kennebec Potatoes - 3 lb bag ($5)
Yellow Storage Onions - 3 lb bag ($5)
Garlic - 3 heads ($4.00)
Butternut squash - 2 squash ($5) 
Sweet potatoes - 3 pounds ($5)
Leeks - 1 bunch ($2.50) (Refrigerate)
Parsnips - 3 pounds ($5) (Refrigerate) 
Carrots - 3 pound bag ($6) (Refrigerate)
Brussels Sprouts - .75 pound bag ($3.50) (Refrigerate)
Kale - 1 bunch ($2.50) (Refrigerate)
Spinach - 1 bag ($3.50)  (Refrigerate)

What's in the Share - Week 19 (odd)

For Delivery Wednesday, October 7

Standard Share
Also available for custom order unless otherwise noted
Beets - 1 quart (1.5-1.75 lb) - $3.50/quart or 2 for $6
Broccoli - 3/4 lb - $2.50

Carrots, Greentop - 1 bunch - $2.50/bunch or 2 for $4
Green Bean, Mixed (Green & Dragon Tongue) - 1 quart (3/4 lb) - $3.50/quart or 2 quarts for $6
Onions, Cipollini (Red & Yellow Mix) - 1.5 lb bag - $6

Leeks - 3 leeks$1 per leek or 3 for $2.50
Pepper, Red - 1-2 peppers - $1.50 each (may be 2-3 smaller peppers per "each")

Potatoes, Carola (Yellow) & Purple Majesty - 1 quart (1.75-2 lb) of each variety - $3.50/quart or 2 for $6
Spinach - 6 oz. bag - $3.50/bag
Tomatoes - 1 pint of end of season medley (cherry, juliet, roma, and/or slicer) (Standard Share only)

Available for Custom Order
Cabbage, Chinese - $2.50/head or 2 for $
Cilantro - $2/bunch or 3 for $5
Cucumber - $1 each
Eggplant - $1.50 each or 3 for $4
Garlic, Softneck - 1 bulb - $1.50/bulb or 3 for $4
Kale, Lacinato (flatleaf heirloom) - $2/bunch or 3 for $5
Kale, Redbor (red curly) - $2/bunch or 3 for $5
Kale, Winterbor (green curly) - $2/bunch or 3 for $5

Kohlrabi, Purple - $1 each or 3 for $2.50
Leek (small) - $2.50/bunch or 2 for $4
Onions, Yellow Storage - 1 lb for $2 or 3 lb mesh bag for $5
Parsley - $2/bunch or 3 for $5
Pepper, Green - $1 each or 3 for $2.50
Pepper, Hot - $.50 each, 3 for $1, or 1 pint for $3. Choose Fish or Martin's Carrot varieties
Potatoes, Kennebec Storage - 3 lb mesh bag for $5
Potatoes, Red - $3.50/1 quart (1.75-2 lb) or 2 quarts for $6
Radish - 1 bunch - $2/bunch or 3 for $5 (choose red, white, or mixed red & white)
Turnips, Salad - $2/bunch or 3 for $5 (choose Scarlet pink or Hakurei white)
Turnips, Salad (no tops) - $2.50/1.5 lb or 3 lb for $4 (mixed varieties)

Zucchini, Baby - $.75 each
Zucchini (medium)-  $1 each
Zucchini, Baking - $1.50/large zucchini
Available for Bulk Order 
Beets, Small Pickling - 3 lb - $6.00
Garlic (smaller heads) - 1 lb - $7.50
Green Beans (Green or Dragon Tongue) - 3 lb for $10

Berry Patch Farm Fruit Share
3 lb of apples

Every other week share -  ODD Number Week

Sandy Hill Farm Egg Share

Every other week share - ODD
 Number Week

Plant Starts Available for Custom Order
Rosemary - tender perennial - $3 or 2 for $5

Aloe Vera - $7 large, $4 small
Medium size clay pot & plant

Bringing in the Harvest

As the combines are starting to ply the corn and soybean fields, we're bringing in the harvest at Middle Way Farm too. All the potatoes have been harvested, with a total yield of over 3000 pounds! With such a good yield, there will be plenty of potatoes in the share over the next few weeks. We also started fall carrot harvest last week, which are in the share this week as green-top bunched carrots. The winter storage variety of carrots is called Bolero and its truly a champ when it comes to both yield and flavor, actually sweetening the longer it stays in storage. These carrots will last well over 6 months unwashed and wrapped to preserve moisture in cold storage. This week we will be harvesting sweet potatoes before rain comes on Thursday. With around 700 feet of row to dig, we can expect at least a thousand pounds and probably much more. Sweet potatoes will be available in the share during the final three weeks as well as in the fall share. They need a week or so of curing in the greenhouse before they are ready to eat. Freshly harvested sweet potatoes actually taste bland!

I'll also be working on getting ground prepared for garlic before the rain, moving hay bales into a protective barrier around the garden, and possibly getting in the final cover crop planting of winter rye. 20 cubic yards (a whole truckload) of a manure-based compost from Cowsmo (same company where I bought my seed starting mix) will be delivered this week and we will spread it over more than half of the garden over the next four to six weeks prior to the ground freezing. Compost is the basis for Middle Way Farm's long-term soil fertility plan. Although I am privileged to grow in some of the best soil in Iowa (and therefore the country and world), the constant harvest requires me to put nutrients back into the soil and also to build the organic matter and biological activity of the soil to ensure resilience and sustainability. Because I'm unable to produce as much high quality compost as I need each year, I purchase it in bulk in the fall. This compost has the huge advantage of being produced to National Organic Program standards, which means that it has been uniformly heated to 160 degrees through biological activity for set period of time, making it virtually weed and disease free. It also has been treated in a way to preserves nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus so that they are not leached or burned out of the compost, which typically happens in less controlled settings like what I practice for compost on the farm. 

Even with no frost on the horizon, the tomatoes appear to be on their last legs, so this is probably their last week in the share. Same probably goes for the cucumbers and zucchini, which are still limping along but declining. Eggplants and peppers should continue to produce until a killing frost. The green beans will also continue to produce until frost but this will probably be the last week of good quality beans before the last planting is past its prime, so now would be the time to get bulk green beans for freezing! The mild fall continues to be a blessing, but I always know that a 32 degree night is just around the corner, so we keep working with a sense of urgency to pull in the harvest, mow down the weeds, work the soil where needed, replenish nutrients, and get ready for winter.  
Place Your Custom Share Order!

What's New in the Share

Cipollini Onions - Some of you custom shareholders may balk at the price of these onions, but they are well worth the cost and often are sold for $7 or more per pound (I have them priced at $4/lb)! These are a truly gourmet onion, hands down the best onion for carmelizing over low heat in pan and excellent for roasting and grilling because of their high residual sugar and their flattened shape, which makes them cook more uniformly than round onions. Cipollini (pronounced chip-oh-lee-knee) just means "little onion" in Italian. Their skins are thin, which means they are not the best keeping onion, although they will store well for at least several weeks. 

Carrots, Bolero - Bolero is the winter storage variety of carrots at Middle Way Farm, planted in July and harvested in late September and early October. Part of what makes Bolero's special is that they actually develop more sugar while in storage, making them sweeter during the winter. They are even more delicious if exposed to a frost, although I typically harvest all the carrots before we get temperatures that low. With some protection and good snow cover, its even possible to overwinter carrots in the ground and harvest them in the spring. The green tops should be used immediately or discarded. The roots can be stored in a sealed plastic bag and will keep very well for a long time. Unwashed carrots keep better than washed carrots so I will be offering bulk quantities of unwashed carrots during the final two weeks of the CSA season. 

Potatoes, Carola - Originating in Germany, this potato has smooth yellow skin and flesh that has the texture, moisture, and taste of a new potato even after long-term storage. Makes excellent scalloped potatoes but is very versatile - boiling, baking, mashing or hash browns. An excellent keeper. 

Potatoes, Purple Majesty - This newly developed dark purple potato variety has a beautiful lavender purple flesh that doesn't fade when cooked (other purple and blue varieties of potatoes tend to lose their color when cooked). It has a high amount of the antioxidant anthocyanidin, almost twice as much as other types of purple/blue produce per weight and at a lower cost. Anthocyanidin has been shown to reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease, lower cholesterol, strengthen the immune system and decrease age-related memory loss. Its a great frying potato for chips and fries and tastes great baked or boiled. It makes stunning mashed potatoes and potato salad! 

Spinach - Fall spinach is not the easiest crop to grow. It needs to be planted in August to have time to mature, but the soil and air temperatures are higher than ideal for cool weather loving spinach, which results in spotty survival. The spinach that does survive grows slowly as the temperatures and light levels continue to drop (2-3 hours less daylight right now than in the May & June). However, the resulting harvests, particularly after a frost, is definitely the best tasting spinach of the year. This spinach matured just in time to replace the lettuce mix, which is nearing its end for the season (although there may be a chance for one more cutting next week or the week after). 

Purple Majesty potatoes

Recipe of the Week

Easy Roast Cipollini Onions

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 pounds cipollini onions, peeled and trimmed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Adjust oven rack to center position and preheat oven to 325°F. Melt butter in a large non-stick or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add onions and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to oven and roast, tossing occasionally, until deeply caramelized and tender, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately.
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