Middle Way Farm Fall 2015 Share Newsletter #3
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Final Fall Share Newsletter - December 9
CSA Pick-up will be on Wednesday, December 9,
(NOT Tuesday, December 8)
Remember to return your boxes from the last CSA pick-up! You must bring your own bags to this pick-up as no boxes will be leaving the farm. If you happen to forget bags, I will have plastic bags available. 
Payment for extras or bulk orders at pick-up may be made by cash, check, or debit/credit card

What's in the Share

Beets - 3 pounds
Carrots, Bolero - 3 pounds
Garlic, Hardneck (certified organic from Grade A Gardens, Johnston IA) - 1 bulb 
Kale, Winterbor - 1 bunch + 1 plant tip
Onion & Shallot Mix (from Middle Way Farm & certified organic from Rolling Acres, Murray IA) - 1 pound
Leeks - 1 or 2 
Potato, Kennebec - 3 pounds
Potato, Nicola - 3 pounds
Radishes, Beauty Heart - 1.5 pounds
Squash, Butternut - 1 large or 2 smaller squash
Sweet Potato, Fingerlings -  3/4 pound
Turnips, Purple Top - 1.5 pounds
Apples, Honeycrisp - 1.5 pounds (Berry Patch Farm , Nevada IA. NOT organic) 

Do you want to stock up on root veggies for the winter? Place a custom bulk order by e-mailing by 10 am on Wednesday, December 9. Payment will be due at pick-up. All produce except carrots will be UNWASHED, since produce stores best before being washed. The carrots are too muddy to be given unwashed, so they will be washed for bulk orders. This fact is reflected in their higher price/pound. Note 10 pounds is approximately a full shopping bag of root vegetables.

Beets - 10 pounds (dirty) - $16.00
Carrots - 10 pounds (washed) - $18.50
Potatoes, Kennebec - 10 pounds (unwashed) - $16.00
Potatoes, Yellow - 10 pounds (unwashed) - $16.00
Turnips, Purple Top - 5 pounds (unwashed) - $7.50
Extras for Sale
Kale, Winterbor - bunches
Soup/Stew Mix Bags - 3 pound bags (includes celeriac, carrots, and turnips)
Beets - 3 pound bags
Carrots - 3 pound bags
Turnips - 3 pound bags
Radishes, Beauty Heart
Potatoes (including Purple Viking, yellow, and Kennebec) - 3 pound net bags 
CSA Share Pick-up

4:30 - 6 pm, WEDNESDAY (note change of day)
December 9
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, but you will need to bring your own bags or containers and leave the box at the farm. Plastic bags will be provided if you do not have your own bags or containers. 

If you are unable to make pick-up on WEDNESDAY, 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.
End of One Year, Start of the Next

Just when I think the season is over, its fall again! After the cold passed and the snow melted, I took a walk out in the field to find that many plants had been frost damaged but had survived the cold snap, including the kale that will be in this share. The discoloration of the leaves comes from exposure to the cold and wind. I also found beets that I was sure would be mush after I ran out of time to harvest them before the snow. Instead, it appears that they were nicely insulated under the snow during the coldest nights, and while the leaves are toast, the roots themselves are still rock hard and I'm sure sugary sweet from the cold. The beets in this share will actually come from roots that were in the cooler, rather than the ones that were outside during the snow. I'm once again impressed by the resilience of cold hardy plants. Just when I count them out, they surprise me again. 
Despite this brief extension, the end of the season is indeed almost here. It's bittersweet time for me. Don't get me wrong, I always look forward to getting to slow down, wake up a little later in the morning, and generally keep banker's hours for work. During the winter I shift into working on production planning, marketing, and business management, which takes up plenty of time. I also will be doing some part-time paid work to supplement my farm income. I have more time to read, cook, clean, take on home projects, travel, and attend events. That's all pretty sweet. The bitter part comes with the onset of winter and short daylight hours, which like many of you I'm sure, comes with a general decline in my mood and energy levels. The shift to mostly computer work rather than farm work is also hard for me. Although prioritization is hard, farm work is mostly clear-cut and pressing all the time during the growing season. I get a tremendous sense of energy and momentum (most of the time) from everything that has to get done on the farm at any given time. Computer work, on the other hand, is slow, less fixed, full of distractions (hello internet!), and the deadlines and goals are less clear. It just doesn't feel like I've done much at the end of the day and I question how I'm spending my time. I find myself pineing already for the certainty of July, when the days flow into each other and CSA, markets, rainstorms, and plantings keep a solid and often exhausting rhythm.

Its just another reason to appreciate seasonality and that the next season is always right around the corner. Next year is beginning to take shape. I'm excited to have hired my first employee for 2016. Megan is a Central Iowa native graduating from college this month and is interested in starting her own small-scale vegetable and livestock operation. One of my long-term goals as a grower is to help other young people build the skills necessary to start their own farm businesses. I'm looking forward to having an employee next year who is explicitly interested in farming as a vocation and who is local to the area. As I look down the road 5, 10, even 20 years, my vision would be for a thriving local food system in our area that includes many scales and types of growers, making good livelihoods through direct to consumer sales and helping to change the attitudes and land management practices of our area. Opportunities for getting a foot in the door have to be available, though, and I feel fortunate that I was able to "apprentice" at Grinnell Heritage Farm prior to starting my operation. I want to pass on that opportunity to other young people. 

This week's share features many root crops which should store well in your refrigerator into the new year. By taking advantage of the storage quality of root vegetables, we can extend the season of local eating well into the frozen winter months. You'll notice that even the kale in the share has storage ability well beyond kale you might purchase in the summer or any grocery store kale. I have found that even readily perishable produce such as kale and spinach, when harvested at the end of the season during cold weather and after freezes, has a remarkable storage life. My theory is that the combination of 1) consistently cold temperatures from harvest to storage and 2) freezing weather leading up to harvest that destroys the surface bacteria and microorganisms that otherwise cause the kale leaf to begin to decay in storage result in deterioration that is delayed for weeks, even months in my experience.  

Thanks for taking part in this season's fall share and enjoying the bounty of the end of the season. I hope those of you who are new to our CSA will consider joining next year for our spring, summer, and/or fall shares! We offer more variety of CSA options than most farms: standard shares (like the fall share), fully customizable shares for the summer season (June - October), mid-season joiner shares, and add-on shares from other local farms like fruit and eggs.  CSA sign-up will open at the beginning of the new year and as prior CSA customer you will automatically receive an e-mail update when it does. 

Your farmer, 

What to Do with Your Share

Beets - One of the longest lasting storage vegetables and full of flavor and nutrition. What's not to like?
Recipes & Tips: I learned this method of preparation from chef Kamal Hammouda at Relish this summer and I have been telling people about it since then. Fill an all-metal soup pot (with lid) with just enough water to cover the bottom. Put however many beets you want to prepare in the pot. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Bring the pot to a boil on the stove top and then immediately put in the oven. Allow the beets to steam in the pot until very tender and easily pierced with a fork. The skins with slip off very easily at this point. Allow the beets to cool enough to handle. You can remove the skins at this point and proceed with using the beets or just stick them in a plastic container and store in the fridge for later. These beets are perfect sliced into salads or used in any recipe that calls for cooked beets.
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!

Carrots, Bolero - This variety of carrot will actually sweeten over time and has an incredible storage life. These carrots were harvested late, just before the snow, and were sweetened by multiple frosts before going into storage. 
Recipes & Tips: Don't be put off by "ugly" carrots that are not long and straight or very large carrots. I can assure that all taste just as good as the perfectly shaped and sized carrot. Because of the higher clay content of my soil, the carrots tend not to grow as straight and uniform, but the high quality of the soil results in flavor that cannot be matched by any perfect looking store bought carrot.
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. 
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 & Shallots (from Middle Way Farm and certified organic from Rolling Acres)- You will be able to recognize the shallots mixed in with your onions because they are smaller, flat in shape (like a cipolini), and are actually segemented into 2 or 3 sections, which you will discover once peeling them. Shallots are related to onions but are drier (less watery) and thus have more concentrated nutrients than an onion. However, they have sweet and mild taste that lacks the bite of onions and is reminiscent of garlic (to which shallots are also related). 
Recipes & Tips: If using shallots in place of onions in a recipe, use more shallots. If vice versa (using onions in place of shallots), use fewer shallots. 
Storage: Store at room temperature loose or in a mesh bag (never in a plastic bag or sealed container - it will mold!). Shallots are known for their particularly good storage life when compared to even storage type onions. 

Kale, Winterbor - I call this kale "frost-kissed" because the outer edges of the leaf have been discolored by exposure to ice and cold wind. The plant tip is the whole top of the kale plant, including the smallest leaves. You can cook these smallest leaves whole, but make sure to remove the stems of most leaves before cooking. 
Recipes & Tips:  This kale will be drier than you might be used to, which means that it is best if cooked in water or liquid (boiled, steamed, in soups), rather than sautéed. If sautéing, use a generous amount of oil. The dryness of this kale lends itself well to making kale chips in the oven. 
Storage: Keep in plastic bag in the crisper drawer on high humidity. Use within 10-14 days before leaves begin to yellow.

Leeks -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, Nicola - Nicola is a beautiful golden yellow inside and out potato that works well for boiling, mashing, and roasting along with a unique nutty potato taste. This is a waxy type potato that makes it great for salads too. When baked, this potato’s excellent taste can stand alone without adding the extra condiments. 
Recipes & Tips: Nicola is one of the waxiest potatoes, which means that it has a low glycemic index (good for those with diabetes or at risk) and holds it shape while cooking. They work well for dishes like soups, stews, potato salad and scalloped potatoes where you would need to boil, slice, or roast. You can usually determine if a potato is waxy by its thin skin. 
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, Kennebec -Kennebecs are superb boiled, mashed, fried, hashed or baked. Good jacket potato - smoother it in sour cream, cheese, chives and bacon. Large potatoes are good keepers if kept in a sealed plastic bag in the fridge. 
Recipes & Tips:  Kennebecs can't be beat for oven fries.
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.

Radish, Beauty Heart- White-skinned radish with mildly sweet vibrant pink flesh for fall salads. Chinese ball-shaped radish with crispy bright pink flesh, white skin and green shoulders. Excellent in salads, as a garnish or cooked. Stores well. 

Recipes & Tips: A beautiful garnish, hors d'oeuvre, or snack laid out on a plate. Peel off the pithy outer skin for a less spicy radish. If stumped about what to do with these, throw them in with roasted roots.
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!

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. 

Sweet Potato Fingerlings - I'm calling the last of the sweet potatoes "fingerlings" because of their size. You will notice blemishes, defects, and shriveling on the surface of many sweet potatoes. These will tend to diminish their long-term storage ability but simply trim or peel off when preparing the sweet potatoes to enjoy within the next few weeks. 
Recipes & Tips: Fingerlings are perfect size for roasting whole as sweet potato fries.
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. 

Turnips, Purple Top - From selected strain of a traditional, Southern U.S. variety. Smooth, round roots, are white below the soil line and bright purple above.
Recipes & Tips:o Don't think you like turnips? That's okay. Try cutting them up an roasting with potatoes, carrots, and beets. You can also boil them along with potatoes and mix in sparingly with mashed potatoes. A creamy turnip soup is also an excellent way to use turnips. Try this recipe; it also uses leeks and shallots. 
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!

 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.

Recipe of the Week
From fellow CSA farmers at New Red Fire Farm in Massachusetts

Balsamic Roasted Roots
Your choice of root vegetables
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper
  Preheat oven to 375. Prep and chop your selection of vegetables. Toss all in a big bowl with enough olive oil to coat, and about 1 Tbs of balsamic vinegar per pound of roots. Salt and pepper generously. Spread on a baking pan to get just one layer of veggies, no piling up. Bake for 40 minutes to about 1 hour, or until each is tender through and browned a bit. Length of cooking depends on how big your pieces are.
Tips for successful roasting:
  1. Chop all types of roots intopieces of about the same thickness, so they will cook on the same timeline.
  2. Tossing to coat thoroughly with olive oil will help keep them juicy. 
  3. Cover with foil for 20 minutes or so at start of cooking to steam, which makes them more tender. Then remove foil to get browning.Check them in the oven often if you have hot spots that cook faster, so you don't get one pan that burns a bit (like on my bottom oven rack :).Stir once towards the end of cooking to get more sides more brown 
  4. Herbs can be a delicious addition, but add them when you do your stir towards the end, or they are likely to burn.
  5. Also, onions and garlic are wonderful roasted, but they take less time, so add them part way in, or better yet put them separate on one side of the pan and just remove them early when they are done.
2016 CSA Shares

Sign-up for 2016 CSA shares will begin in early January 2015. There will be discounts for early sign-up as well as a referrals! 
Winterbor kale, probably the hardiest of all the hardy plants. Frost kissed but still thriving after several sub-20 degree nights and wind chills approaching zero degrees. 
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