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Middle Way Farm 2015 CSA - Week 11
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What's in the Share - Week 11 (odd)

For Delivery Wednesday, August 12


Standard Share
Also available for custom order unless otherwise noted
 
Amaranth greens - 1 bunch - $2.50/bunch
Basil - 2 bunches (1 purple, 1 green) - $2.50/bunch or 2 for $4
Cabbage - 1 head (savoy or red) $2.50/head or 2 for $4 
Carrots - 1.5 lb bag - $3.50 for 1.5 lb bag or 3 lb for $6
Collard Greens - 1 bunch - $2.50 or 2 for $4
Cucumber - 2 cukes - $1.50 each or 3 for $4
Garlic, Cured - 1 head - $1.50/head or 3 for $4.00

Onions, White Fresh - 1 pound - $2.50/pound
Pepper, Green - 1 pepper - $1 each
New Potatoes, Red Gold - 1 lb - $3.50/2 lb bag or 2 for $6
New Potatoes, Purple Viking - 1 lb - $3.50/2 lb bag or 2 for $6
Tomatoes, Assorted - 1 tomato or 1 small pint of cherry/juliet tomatoes - Custom Share: 1 tomato/tomato pint order only ($1 each)
Zucchini - 2 zukes - $1 each or 3 for $2.50

 
Available for Custom Order
 
Beets - $3.50/1.5 lb bag or 3 lb for $6
Carrots, Rainbow - $3.50/1.5 lb bag or 2 bags for $6
Eggplant - $1.50 each
Kale, Winterbor (green curly) - $2/bunch or 3 for $5
Parsley - 1 bunch - $2/bunch or 3 for $5
Sunflowers - 3 stem bunch - $4
Zucchini, Baking - $1.50/large zucchini or 3 for $4
Available for Bulk Order 
 
Basil - 4 oz. - $6.00 ; 8 oz. - $10.00
Beets - 6 lb - $10.00
Beets, Small Pickling - 3 lb - $6.00
Carrots - 6 lb - $10.00
Garlic (smaller heads) - 1 lb - $7.50

Berry Patch Farm Fruit Share
 
1 pint of red raspberries

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

All plants are $2 each or 3 for $5

Perennial Herbs 
Rosemary - tender perennial
Garden Sorrel - early season, perennial lemony green
Winter Savory - perennial version of summary savory

Parsley 
Flat leaf - Italian type

Aloe Vera - $10
Medium size clay pot & plant

Mid-season

At week 11 of the CSA, we've arrived at the halfway point in our 22 week season. I'm always surprised that the halfway point comes "this far" into the season, since it seems much later than halfway. My season started back in March with greenhouse seed starting, so by August I feel like I've been at this for much longer than the CSA season. For the custom share folks, now is a good time to look at your balances to see how much you have spent of the original deposit. If you've spent over half of your deposit, you'll probably end up with a bill at the end of the season. If you've spent under half, you may end up with some credit at the end of the season, depending on your orders the rest of the way. I will be doing a fall share this year with three deliveries in November & December, and current CSA members will have first dibs for signing up. You'll be able to apply any credit leftover in your account to that share, as well as 2016 shares. 

Back at the beginning of the season, I mentioned that CSA involves both the risks and rewards of supporting a local farm. Every season brings different successes and challenges, which are reflected in your CSA box. Unlike a grocery store where every type of produce is available every day of the year, local agriculture is bound by the limitations of a particular farm's season, weather, management, and other factors. While in the past I have occasionally purchased produce from other farms to fill in crops that I didn't grow or ones that might have failed, basically 100% of your produce comes from my operation (and when it doesn't, I'm sure to tell you!). I don't have a vast network of suppliers to draw from when the green beans run out or the weather turns too hot for salad mix. While this can sometimes be frustrating for me and maybe for you too as the shareholder, I find that limitation also has an upside; instead of always having to make choices and expecting our exact preferences to be fulfilled, we can just go with the bounty that the particular season is offering us. Not always getting what we want (as a grower or an eater), stretches us and make us more versatile, skillful, generous, and flexible. Early on when I started farming, I was given the advice "go with what grows". As a cook, I've also tried to "eat what's abundant".  

Overall, we've had a pretty good year on the farm and I hope that the CSA boxes have reflected that abundance. The early warmth in March meant the earliest spring crops I've ever had and very regular spring rains made April and May planting go very smoothly. Up until the recent dry spell (which ended in a big way last night!), we've had adequate moisture, which is huge part of good yield and high quality produce. I've been somewhat disappointed with the pace of the tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. June was a challenging month for the summer crops, as they endured consistently water logged soil, very humid conditions favorable for fungal problems, and relatively cool temperatures. They seem to have recovered well and all but a few varieties look good in the field but are either ripening more slowly than I would like (tomatoes and peppers) or lacking in fruit (eggplants). While its frustrating to watch other farmers bringing overflowing yields of tomatoes to market or see photos of their abundant harvest on Facebook, I know that my philosophy of diversity means that the relative success of one crop does not make or break the season. It also doesn't mean that we still won't have a great tomato season. So I ask for your patience as the tomatoes (and eggplant) continue to trickle in. 

On the other hand, I have had an amazing harvest of carrots, beets, potatoes, and onions. I try not to overwhelm the standard shares with certain types of produce by giving them in large quantities week after week, but note that since these crops are so abundant, they will be showing up in your share often. The fall crops look great so far and as the weather cools we will be coming back into some of our favorite cool season crops like salad mix, radishes, kohlrabi, and broccoli. As we move into the second half of the CSA season, I'm grateful for harvest we've had and looking forward to more to come. 

Place Your Custom Share Order!

What's New in the Share

Amaranth Greens - Amaranth is a wild edible (known otherwise as a weed) that I never really plan on putting in the share. Its one of the most abundant weeds on the farm, so I'm very familiar with it. There happens to be flush of this weed right now on the farm that is perfect size for eating and so it seemed an opportune time to offer it for CSA while other greens such as salad, spinach, and arugula are unavailable. Amaranth is the same plant that produces the tiny black grain that has begun to show up in health food cereals, granola bars, and other products. The grain is a complete protein and was one of the staple crop of Mesoamerican empires like the Aztecs. As a young plant, amaranth has delicious tasting and very nutritious leaves, with high amounts of vitamins, minerals, and protein even. I was first introduced to the plant by a Guatemalan immigrant who called it "blero". He liked to prepare it by lightly sautéing it until wilted and added a bit of salt and lemon juice. It can be used anyway you would use spinach, Swiss chard, or kale as an all purpose cooking green. I think that it has a nuttier, more complex flavor than domesticated greens. I hope you enjoy it! Store these in a sealed plastic bag in the fridge. 

Collard Greens - These cooking greens are a classic of Southern cuisine. Traditionally grown during the mild winter months in the American South and cooked alongside ham hocks or other smoked or salted meats, collard greens are not as well known in the North but they share many of the same qualities as their more trendy cousin kale. Like kale, they are also in the cabbage family and are picked continuously throughout the season as bunched leaves. Like kale, the leaves should be striped off of the stem. I've been waiting for these to look prime before offering them in the share, and they finally have reached that point. Try this simple recipe for sauted collard greens with garlic. 
Store these in a sealed plastic bag in the fridge. 

Purple Basil - Traditionally used for flavor and color in herb vinegars, purple basil can be used in all the same ways as green basil - pesto, caprese salad (mozzarella, tomato, basil), tomato sauce, eggs, etc. It has the same range of spicy anise scent and flavor as green varieties. In fact, one variety of purple basil in a 1986 study at Purdue University was found to have more ­fragrance- and ­flavor-producing essential oils than almost any other basil variety tested. For the recipe of the week, I've selected a purple basil lemonade that I've enjoyed making this summer. Store basil in a sealed plastic bag for a few days on the counter or put it in vase of water, changing the water daily. Don't put in the fridge for an extended period of time - it will blacken from the cold. 

RECIPE OF THE WEEK

A fun recipe for using the purple basil in your share. This can also be done with green basil - using the purple basil is really more about the color than anything. 

Purple Basil Lemonade 
From http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/purple-basil-lemonade

In this recipe, basil is crushed with sugar to release the oils. If you don't have a mortar and pestle, process the basil, sugar, and about 1/4 cup of the water in a food processor or blender.
 

Ingredients

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup loosely packed purple basil leaves (about 1/4 ounce)
6 tablespoons sugar
4 cups ice
purple basil sprigs

Preparation

1. Combine 4 cups water and juice in a large bowl. Place 1/2 cup basil and sugar in a mortar; pound with pestle until a paste forms. Add sugar mixture to juice mixture; stir until sugar dissolves. Strain mixture through a sieve over a bowl; discard solids. Place 1 cup ice in each of 4 glasses. Pour about 1 cup lemonade into each glass; garnish each serving with 1 basil sprig.

What's on the Horizon...What's on the Way Out

 
This is the last of the spring planted cabbages. The fall cabbages should be ready in 4-6 weeks. 

Watermelons and melons are close! I have been checking them every few days in the field and they are not quite ready for this week, but my fingers are crossed that enough will be ready by next Wednesday, August 19. I have several different varieties of both watermelons and melons planted, so hopefully they will mature over the course of a few weeks, allowing them to be in the boxes at least two weeks.
 
Purple and green basil at the Cedar Rapids farmers market on August 1. 
Copyright © 2015 Middle Way Farm, All rights reserved.


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