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2013 Middle Way Farm CSA - Week 11
Middle Way Farm
barn & coops

Order

For delivery Friday, August 9. Please e-mail middlewayfarmer@gmail.com with your order (for items from all categories) by 11 pm on Tuesday night, August 6. If you would like 1 unit of each produce item listed under "Standard" below, simply put "standard share" in the subject line. If you are getting the standard share, extra items as well as fruits, flowers, herbs, and wild edibles will need to be ordered separately.

Standard
  • Beets - 1 bunch ($2.50)
  • Broccoli - 1 pound ($3/lb)
  • Cucumbers - a few ($1 each) - Will depend on harvest
  • "Mini" green cabbage - 1 head ($2.00 each)
  • Fresh garlic -  as many as you would like ($1.00 each) Standard amount will be 1 bulb
  • Fresh onions - 1 pound ($2.00)
  • Kale - as many bunches as you want ($2.00 each) - choose from green curly leaf, red curly leaf, or green flat leaf (lacinato heirloom variety)
  • New potatoes - up to 3 pounds ($2.50) Standard amount will be 1 pound
  • Green peppers - a few ($1.00 each)
  • Tomatoes - approx. 1/2 lb ($2.50/lb) - Will depend on harvest, cherries and romas
  • Sweet corn (locally sourced) - dozen ears - price TBD
  • Zucchini - up to 3 ($1 each) - Standard amount will be 2.
Extra
  • Arugula - 1 six oz. bag ($3.00)
  • Collard greens - 1 bunch ($2.00)
  • Eggplant - 1 ($2 each) - first come first serve
  • Swiss chard - 1 bunch ($2.00)
Flowers
  • Sunflowers - 1 bunch ($2.50)
  • Zinnias - 1 bunch ($2.50)
Fruit
  • Wild blackberries - pint ($5)
Herbs
  • Basil - as many ounces as you would like ($1/oz.)
  • Cilantro - 1 bunch ($2.00)
  • Parsley - 1 bunch ($2.00)
Wild Edibles
  • Amaranth - 1 bunch ($2.00)
  • Lamb's quarter - 1 bunch ($2.00)
 Storage Tips: For most of this week's produce, store in the crisper drawer of your fridge in separate, sealed plastic bags to keep them from dehydrating. Fresh garlic may be stored on the counter and will continue to cure but do not enclose it in a bag or it will mold. Zucchini, basil, and fresh onions can all be stored on the counter but their shelf life will benefit from refrigeration in a sealed bag or container. Basil does not keep well refrigerated and should be used quickly.. Purslane should be used within a few days, it does not store well! 

Baked Goods (Sarah's Simples)
  • Please see original e-mail with the Sarah Simples baked goods list attached. Let me know if I need to resend it to you.
Dear CSA shareholders,

While I was blackberry picking this afternoon I realized that its an activity I expect to be accompanied by hot and humid weather. Instead, it was in the high 70's and there was a pleasant breeze blowing. The weather of late has been as comfortable as can be but its a mixed bag when it comes to vegetables. As I've mentioned several weeks already, the warm season crops are ripening slowly but consistently: peppers and eggplants make their first appearance this week. In contrast, the cool season crops like broccoli and cabbage have loved this weather. Diversity ensures that no matter what the weather, there is usually something that is thriving. Given the lack of rain, I'm happy that it is not as consistently hot as it was last season, which really put a lot of stress on the plants. I've continued to run the sprinkler over different areas of the garden to make sure that plants receive critical moisture every so often. Its not as much as some rainy weather would give them but is better than nothing. I've been working hard to keep the soil moist in the fall plantings of carrots, beets, salad mix, and beans to ensure good germination. The beets have germinated very well, but its too early to tell for the carrots. Weed control is also critical this time of year, as many weeds are beginning to go to seed. The onions this year are quite weedy and its difficult to decide whether to just mow and till them after harvest or to try to hand or hoe weed them before. Its amazing how quickly a plot can get away from you when it comes to weeds. That's why its so important to knock down those initial flushes of weeds, when the soil is still bare from being tilled and weed control is quick and effective.

Early in the season I talked about eating locally and seasonally and the lessons that come from it. In addition to raising vegetables, I love to forage for wild edibles and follow the seasons of those plants as well. This year I've made a point of trying to watch how different plants are "in sequence" with each other in terms of plant development at different times of the season. For example, I've observed that black raspberries and tiger lily (common in roadside ditches) seem to coincide and that bee balm (a native prairie plant) is blooming at the same time that blackberries ripen. I think this is a better way of determining from year to year when particular wild edibles will be available than trying to look at a calendar to pinpoint a date. Knowing how the whole plant community moves in sequence and how one plant relates to another means its easier for me to make educated guesses about when plants will be ready to harvest without having to closely observe them. If I can see the redbud tree blooming at my house, then I have an idea that the asparagus out at the farm might be getting ready to emerge. Every year is so different in terms of temperature, moisture and overall weather that the calendar only gives us a rough approximation of when I particular plant will actually be ready. A better measure of the progression of the season may actually be growing degree days (GDD). Growing degree days show how many degrees of temperature above a certain base threshold have accumulated within a season. In the absence of drought, disease, or other mitigating factors, ambient air temperature is what determines the pace of a plants maturity. Growing degree days is found by adding the maximum and minimum daily temperature, dividing it by 2, and subtracting the base temperature (usually 50 degrees). So for example, the growing degree units for yesterday were 18 (78+58/2 - 50). So you can see how different a season can be on August 1 from year to year when compared through growing degree days.

The sweet corn this week comes from Keller BerryFarm in Toledo, where I sourced the strawberries in June. They are transitioning to organic and I'm ecstatic to have a source of chemical-free sweet corn, since I did not grow any myself this year. There is a slight chance corn may not be available until next week but please go ahead and order. If it will not be available for delivery on Friday, I will let you know early this week. Blackberry season continues and seems to be peaking about now. I'm offering full pints this week for $5. It will probably be the last week of blackberries. Early apples may be available as soon as next week. I once again have zinnias available and will also have sunflower bunches. Cilantro makes an appearance this week under "Herbs". It kind of snuck up on me, going from too small to cut to perfect harvest size in what seemed like no time at all.
 
Announcements 

Returning Boxes: If you missed giving me a box at delivery, you can always drop it off before Friday at my house (1325 4th Ave, NW corner of 4th and Elm) on the screened-in porch.

Tomatoes: You may have noticed in last week's share that if you ordered tomatoes you got a mix of ripe and less ripe tomatoes. I pick tomatoes every other day before they have fully ripened, allowing them to ripen completely off the vine. The tomatoes I pick early in the week are those that are most ripe by Friday, while those I pick on Friday are the least ripe at delivery time, so I try to give everyone a mix of each. By eating the ripe one's first and leaving the less ripe ones on the counter for a few days, the tomatoes will last you more than a few days.

Welcome to Mike Guenther and Elizabeth Prevost, who are joining the CSA this week after returning to Grinnell from a year abroad! I took history classes from both Mike and Elizabeth when I was a student at Grinnell College. Mike's class in particular played an important role in my thinking about agriculture that eventually led me to where I am now. I'm very happy to have them as part of the CSA.

I have some more details about the Rurally Good Festival that will be taking place at Grin City on September 20 and 21. The harvest festival at Middle Way Farm will be from 11 am to 2 pm on Saturday, September 21. You'll get to see the ins and outs of my operation and do some taste testing. It will be a kid friendly event. A pancake breakfast fundraiser for Grin City (produced from as many local and organic ingredients as possible) will precede from 10 am to noon. Afterward, the Center for Prairie Studies will be holding a Prairie Festival at CERA (Conard Environmental Research Area) from 2 to 5 pm which I hope you will also consider attending.
 
Until next week!

Your farmer,

Jordan Scheibel
middlewayfarmer@gmail.com
(641) 821 0753
maturing onions

Maturing onions

As the days shorten, the storage onions continue to mature towards harvest. Onions are edible at all stages of their life, from seedlings to full sized onions. What makes a mature, storage onion is that it has reached full size and has been dried down after picking. Like garlic, the onion itself begins to die as it near the end of its life cycle in late summer. This process can be aided by knocking down the necks of the onion plants, which speeds the dying and drying process. Once the onions are pulled, they will hang in the barn where the garlic did to fully cure. A cured storage onion can last for months, sometimes well into the next spring depending on the variety and the storage conditions.
peppers and eggplants

Peppers and eggplants

Since potatoes, peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes are all in the same family (the nightshade family), I plant them in 'block' together in the garden. That way, when I rotate crops from year to year, it easy to move that block of plants to another part of the garden (I do the same thing with the squash family - melons, watermelons, cucumbers, zucchini, and winter squash).
kale pesto

Refrigerator pickles

If you are accumulating cucumbers in your fridge and aren't sure what to do with them, I highly recommend making refrigerator pickles. They are easy to do and the cucumbers will be preserved for months. I've had refrigerator pickles well into the winter. A great way to use onions, garlic, and other vegetables as well. Here is a recipe I picked up from Grinnell Heritage Farm that is very good:

1 cup sugar
1 cup vinegar
1/8 cup salt
1/3 teaspoon tumeric
1/3 teaspoon celery seed and/or 1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
1/3 teaspoon mustard seed
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon fresh chopped dill
Enough sliced cucumbers to fill a quart jar
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