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2013 Middle Way Farm CSA - Week 20
Middle Way Farm

Order

For delivery Friday, October 11. Please e-mail middlewayfarmer@gmail.com with your order (for items from all categories) by 11 pm on Tuesday night, October 8. 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. Please state your preferences for individual items. 

Standard
  • Beets - ($2.00/lb or 3 lb for $5) Standard = 1 lb
  • Brussels sprouts - ($3.00/lb) Will depend on harvest 
  • Cabbage (red) - ($2.00 each) Standard = 1 cabbage
  • Carrots (bunched) - ($2.50/bunch) Standard = 1 bunch
  • Green beans - ($3.00/lb). Will depend on harvest
  • Kale - ($2.00 each, 3 for $5) - choose from green curly leaf, red curly leaf, or green flat leaf (lacinato heirloom variety). Standard = 1 bunch. See bulk pricing below. 
  • Leeks - ($2.00/bunch) - Standard = 1 bunch
  • Potatoes - Choose from white (Kennebec) or yellow (Bintje)($2.00/lb or 3 for $5), or yellow fingerling ($4.00/lb or 3 for $9). Standard amount = 1 pound. See bulk pricing below
  • Peppers, Sweet - ($.75 each or 3 for $2.00) Standard amount = 5 peppers. 
  • Salad mix - ($3.00/6 oz. bag) Standard = 1 bag
  • Tomato, Cherry - ($2.50 each) Standard = 1 pint
  • Tomato, Juliet - ($2.50 each) Standard = 1 pint
  • Tomato, Roma - ($2.00/lb) Will depend on harvest 
  • Tomato, Slicing - ($2.00/lb) Will depend on harvest 
  • Sweet potatoes - ($2.50/pound or 3 for $6.50) Standard = 3 pounds. See bulk pricing below. 
  • Turnips - ($2.00/bunch or 3 for $5) Choose from purple top white or scarlet. Standard = 1 bunch. See bulk pricing below.
  • Winter squash - choose butternut, pie pumpkin or kabocha ($1.15/lb). As many as you would like. Standard = 1 butternut
Bulk
  • Basil - 1/2 lb ($6.00) or 1 lb ($11) Storage tip: Use immediately. Do not refrigerate for longer than a few hours, will turn black when exposed to cold. 
  • Beets - specify washed or unwashed (5 lb for $8) 
  • Kale (for freezing)  - Only green curly available. (5 bunches for $8, 10 bunches for $14). 
  • Peppers, Sweet (for freezing )- Mostly green or purple, some red or orange possible. (10 peppers for $5 or 20 peppers for $9)
  • Potatoes, Storage  - Kennebec (white) or Bintje (yellow), specify washed or unwashed(5 lb bag for $8, 10 lb bag for $14)
  • Potatoes, Fingerlings - specify washed or unwashed(5 lb bag for $13.50, 10 lb bag for $25)
  • Sweet potatoes - specify washed or unwashed (5 lb bag for $10, 10 lb bag for $19)
  • Turnips (no tops) - specify washed or unwashed (5 pounds for $8, 10 pounds for $14) Choose scarlet or purple top white 
Extra
  • Arugula - ($3.00/6 oz. bag)
  • Chard - ($2.00/bunch)
  • Eggplant - ($1.50 each)
  • Peppers, Hot (Jalapeno) - (4 for $1)
  • Spinach - ($3/6 oz. bag) 
Fruit
  • Apples -  ($2/lb) Storage tip: Stores longest when refrigerated
  • Peaches  - ( $2/lb) Storage tip: Ripen at room temperature. Store in fridge once ripe.
  • Pears -  ($2/lb)  Storage Tip: Ripen in a sealed paper bag. Put in an apple to accelerate ripening. 
Herbs
  • Basil -($1/oz) See bulk pricing
  • Parsley - ($2.00 each)


A Brussel Sprouts Perspective 

The weather today reminded that the season is truly coming to a close. We've enjoyed a pretty mild fall so far, and it looks like it will continue to be mild for this coming week. I had hoped (maybe perversely) for a frost this week so that the kale and brussels sprouts would have taken on their particular sweetness but I don't think its wise to push back the end of CSA just for these two crops! So Brussels sprouts are in the share this week. I suppose their long trajectory over the course of the season from seed to harvest symbolizes many of the varied challenges and successes of this year. They started out in a greenhouse at Marshalltown Community College in April and like many transplants I had in there they grew leggy due to a lack of afternoon light (since the greenhouse was attached to the east side of a building). When I transplanted them out in the garden in May, I was not sure the fragile stems would hold up to the rigors of outdoor life. They went through the monsoon in late May and the rain pounded the new transplants into the soil, trapping some under mud. A number of them died but enough survived and thrived that by mid-summer I realized I might actually have Brussels sprouts in the fall. They survived repeated cabbage lopper banquets and when I snapped their growth points off about a month ago, they responded beautifully by growing larger sprouts. It feels fitting that they will be one of the last crops I put in the CSA this year. They have seen and survived it all and will still make it to your dinner table.

I have always liked this quote by Havelock Ellis: "
All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on." When I named my farm Middle Way, that was the idea I was getting at. We have to find the degree to which our interventions and efforts can make a difference, and the point at which we need to let things just happen. This season has been a tremendous and repeated lesson in that insight.  

As the season draws to a close, I want to give you my sincere thanks for being a part of the CSA this season. Every one of you took a risk by investing in my operation at the beginning of the year and I hope that you feel you have gotten a good return. When I met with each of you before the start of the season, producing a CSA share for 20  weeks felt very hypothetical. As I write this last newsletter of the season, I feel significantly more confident and experienced. Your support through your weekly orders and your words of encouragement in person and by notes and e-mail has meant a lot to me, particularly in June when I wasn't sure I would be able to continue the season. This truly does feel like "Community Supported" agriculture and a way of doing business that goes beyond just financial transactions. I described CSA recently to someone as an example of "capitalism with a heart," where customers and businesses feel invested in each other's success and well being. I am very excited to be a part of trying to build that kind of economy and that kind of community.  

This Week in the Share

I've run out of marketable size garlic and onions, so unfortunately last week was the last delivery of them. For all bulk storage crops (potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets, turnips) please specify whether you would like them clean or unwashed. The default will be unwashed. Unwashed produce will store much longer than washed produce, so if you intend these items for long-term storage, its best to leave them unwashed. If you would like certain proportion of them washed for immediate use, jut let me know. 

The two types of turnips I offer have more than cosmetic differences. The purple top white turnip is a classic heirloom with a strong turnip flavor. The scarlet turnip is a newer hybrid that is considered more of a salad turnip, sweeter and less earthy. I think both certainly have their places in the kitchen, but if you are not a fan of turnips, you should consider trying the scarlet turnip.

The winter squash comes from my friends at Table Top Farm, a transitioning to organic vegetable operation in Nevada. They had a bumper crop of squash this year so I'm picking up butternuts, pie pumpkins, and kabocha squash from them. For those of you not familiar with kabocha squash, it is a small, round, bright orange winter squash with incredibly sweet flesh, sweeter than a butternut. Its really worth trying if you have never had it, my favorite winter squash but also one of the more difficult ones to grow (the bugs seem to know it tastes better too). The pie pumpkins are also very good if you have only ever experienced ornamental pumpkins. Pie pumpkins are grown specifically to be eaten, so they are sweeter and more amenable to cooking than a pumpkin you would buy for decoration.

Spinach is making a fleeting appearance in the last week of CSA. I made several plantings of spinach in August and lost most of those to the heat wave in late August and early September. What is left has matured to cutting size, but its much less than I had hoped for, so spinach is limited. 

Announcements

Next Year & CSA Renewal: Plans for next year are still taking shape, but I want to share some of my thoughts with you at this point. I will continue to offer a CSA very similar to this year's share in 2014 (pay-as-you-go a l carte ordering & home delivery). I have had a number of people express interest in the share since last spring and so I have generated a "waiting list" of individuals interested in the 2014 CSA. I will slightly expand the number of shares I offer next season, but likely not enough to accommodate everyone on this list. As current shareholders, you have the option of renewing your CSA first before I open the share to those on the waiting list. Several of you have already expressed your interest in next year's share, but if you have not, please let know as soon as you can whether you are in or out for next season. It would be best for me to know by December, before the holidays. I will follow-up individually as needed. If you are still not sure in December, that's okay. I am happy hold a spot for you into next year as long as you will let me know before the start of next season what your decision is. 
There are absolutely no hard feelings if you decide not to do the share next year. I realize that in a small group of customers it can be more awkward to make this choice than in larger more anonymous pool of customers. I am also happy to take early renewal payments at anytime but like this year I will not require payment until the spring, before the season starts. Earlier payments are always helpful when I am making purchases for next year such as seeds, growing mix, tools, supplies, equipment and inputs. 

Billing: Bills for your end of season balance will go out by the end of this month, once I've had a chance to review everyone's balance and make sure all the pricing is consistent, accurate, and fair. Its not uncommon for me to adjust the advertised pricing after sending out the newsletter each week, but I am committed to transparency and fairness, so I make every effort to keep prices close to what I advertise in the weekly order. If I make an adjustment within a week or between weeks, its usually to make prices more consistent or lower (especially for purchases of larger amounts of produce). 

Boxes: I will be delivering this week's share in cardboard boxes instead of the reusable wax boxes you have gotten used to. That way I won't have to make the rounds to collect boxes the following week. Please try to have any wax boxes you have out when I drop your CSA this week so I can pick them up. Otherwise please return them to my farmers market stand or my house (1325 4th Ave, corner of 4th and Elm). Each box is an asset and I want to reuse them as many times as possible. 

Compost delivery is available again this week. Here are the details:
 I have small amounts of compost available for delivery with your share. For larger deliveries, I will make a separate trip. You can also visit the farm to pick up the compost, for a reduced price. Here are the details:
 
Per 5 gallon bucket: $3 picked up, $5 delivered (minimum 5 buckets if delivered). 
Per small pick-up load (full load): $40 picked up, $70 delivered (can do 1/2 load)
Per full size pick-up load (full load): $80 picked up, $120 delivered (can do 1/2 load)
 
For reference, see application rates below:
 
Lawns: For 1/2" coverage= total area of lawn (length x width) x .04 (depth) / 324 = # of cubic yards needed
 
Gardens: For 2" coverage = total area of garden (length x width) x .16 x / 324 = # of cubic yards needed
 
Trees: For 1" coverage under drip line = total area under drip line (length x width) x .08 / 324 = # of cubic yards needed
 
Cubic yard of compost = 1600 pounds or 1/2 full size pick-up or full small bed pick-up

Compost scarps: If you have compost this week, please put it in a disposable/recyclable container or bag so I don't have to return a reusable container to you. If you are looking for a place to compost during the winter, I do have an enclosed plastic compost bin for sale if anyone is interested. I would be happy to deliver it with this week's share or in the next month. 

Leaves: My offer to rake and collect your fall leaves remains open. Contact me directly if you are interested. 

Survey: In the next month I'll be sending out an online survey by e-mail to get some feedback about the season. Your responses will be anonymous. Your participation and thorough responses are very appreciated and I will take any feedback or suggestions into consideration as I plan for next year. 

Its difficult to sum up the year in a short reflection. It seems to me that we have our immediate reactions to events, which are vivid and important, but we also have the thoughtfulness that comes with a little distance. Even though the CSA is coming to an end and farmers market is not far behind, I still feel in the thick of the season and its demands. It will probably take a few more months and some rest before I can truly put things in perspective. In short, this season as been more challenging and satisfying than I could have possibly imagined when it started. I am tremendously excited for next year, for new opportunities, and for deepening my knowledge, experience, and skills growing food. Thanks again for being a part of this season and I hope to continue to grow for you next year and beyond. 

Your farmer,

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

Leeks

Like brussels sprouts, leeks are a vegetable that is planted early and usually harvested late in the season. This gives them time to grow some impressive layers. 
ground cob webs

Oat cover crop

Its wonderful to look over sections of my garden and see green cover crops covering the soil. These oats germinated from the seeds of the spring oats I planted in April in the buffer strip. Keeping the soil covered as much as possible is a huge part of building soil health and fertility. 
Unripe delicata

Beet varieties

Up till this week I've only had traditional red beets available. The late summer planting I did of golden and chioggia beets is beginning to mature, so I will likely throw a few of those in with the red bets. Golden beets are orange on the outside and yellow on the inside. They are in my opinion better tasting than the red ones. The chioggia beets are an heirloom, lighter red on the outside and a bullseye pattern of white and red on the interior. 
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