2016 Middle Way Farm Thanksgiving Share (Fall Share #2)
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Thanksgiving Share (Fall Share #2) 
November 13, 2016

If you purchased just a Thanksginving share, this is your week!

Take the End of Season Survey (if you had a summer share)

What's in the Share

Acorn Winter Squash (certified organic from Rolling Acres in Murray, Iowa)
 one ~2-3 lb. squash
Carrots - 1 1/2 lb. 
Garlic, Softneck - 1 bulb
Kale, Redbor - 1 plant top 
Leeks - 3 med.-large stalks
Onion Mix (Red & Yellow) - 1+ lb. 
Pie Pumpkin (certified organic from Rolling Acres in Murray, Iowa)
one ~2-3+ lb. pumpkin 
Potato Mix (Red & Yellow) - 2 lb. 
Rosemary - 1-2 springs 
Salad Mix - 6 oz. bag
Soup/Stew Kit (carrot, celeriac, turnip) - 3 lb. bag 
Spinach - 1/2 lb. bag
Sweet Potato - 2-3 lb. 
Winter Pear - 1-2 pears
Clockwise from top left: Celeriac or celery root (in soup/stew kit), rosemary, Redbor kale, leeks

Thanksgiving, Food, & Gratitude

Thanksgiving is a holiday almost entirely organized around celebrating food, especially seasonal food, and for that reason I love it above all other holidays. I recently met with my farm mentor from Wisconsin, Rink DaVee of Shooting Star Farm in Mineral Point, a fellow Grinnell College alum. In our conversation, I said that I want my customers to see that food is not just another consumer choice, that it is more fundamental than that. Food is fundamental. He suggested maybe that should be the farm tagline! In any case, I think seeing food as central to our lives, as life giving and life affirming, as a pivot point of relationship, solace, love, affection, creativity, and spiritual nourishment  is key to a resilient happiness. This feels true now more than ever in a world of empty consumerism, political uncertainty and frustration, and disconnection from many of the sources of our standard of living. 

Its a time for gratitude for good food, food that we know and trust the origins of, and gratitude for the good people we get to share it with. Add this word to your vocabulary if it isn't already there: commensality. Its the practice of eating together or a social group that eats together. What could be a more fundamental human activity than that? So much about what it means to be human has changed through history, but commensality remains what it ever was. Breaking bread together. When the history of Thanksgiving comes up, rather than thinking about the history of the Pilgrims, who represent the start of the incursion of white Europeans into North America and the displacement of indigenous Native Americans from their homes, I'd rather think of this holiday as a celebration of commensality in all times. Maybe in particular that mythic time when the Native Americans and Piligrims, in the midst of the strife and violence that proceeded their meeting and was to follow, got together to eat in peace. Before industrialization, when people more followed the rhythm of the seasons and agriculture, feast days were abundant, scattered throughout the calendar. I recently read that 13th century European peasants took an average of 160 days off a year for festivals and celebrations. We don't have very many feast days anymore. Thanksgiving is one of them. 

A few notes on the produce in this Thanksgiving share: If you've never used fresh pumpkin before for pie or other pumpkin recipes, its easy! Just roast the pumpkin till soft, peel off the skin, and puree. Pie pumpkins are sweeter than ornamental pumpkins and can be used just like any other winter squash. The Recipe of the Week in the side bar is a favorite savory pumpkin recipe of mine. The soup/stew kit is a combo of root vegetables that make a great flavor base for soups and stews (along with garlic and onion) or are great roasted together. If you're making a turkey this holiday, consider chopping these up and roasting in the turkey pan (along with potatoes, onions, garlic, and rosemary!). Celeriac or celery root - think of it as celery in root form. In addition to roasting, it makes a WONDERFUL soup. If you're preparing a turkey, rosemary can be added to a dry or wet brine (I highly recommend dry brining), or stuffed inside the turkey when roasting. The pears also work well as a turkey stuffing. The pears are from a long-standing tree on the farm, an unknown variety that does not begin to ripen until it has experienced a frost (which I just figured out this year). If anyone thinks they know what variety it is, I would love to hear from you! Finally, the Redbor kale comes to you as the whole top of a plant, the final harvest of these plants as the season winds down for them. You can put it in a vase for a seasonal decoration and/or use the leaves as a cooking green and raw garnish. 

Storage Tips

Leeks, Redbor Kale  - Store in sealed plastic bags in fridge. Use within 1-2 weeks. Leeks can keep even longer but quality will decline. 

Rosemary - Sprig will stay fresh for a week or so on its own at room temperature, but will keep longer if refrigerated in a plastic bag. Place in a glass of water to keep fresh longer at room temp. Will just dry down on its own if left out at room temp.  

Soup/Stew Kit, Potatoes, Carrots -  Store roots in sealed plastic bag in fridge. Will keep in good condition for well over a month. Potatoes may be stored at room temp but will keep much longer in the fridge. 

Salad Mix, Spinach - Store in sealed plastic bags in the fridge for 7-10 days. They are double washed, so do not need to be washed again before consuming. If washed again, spin dry before storing. 

Garlic, Acorn Winter Squash, Pie Pumpkin Sweet Potato, Onions - Keep in a visible place with good air circulation at room temperature above 55 degrees. Check for soft spots developing on winter squash and use immediately if they start to develop. All will keep in good condition for well over a month. Do not refrigerate uncooked sweet potatoes, it will damage flavor and storage ability. Refrigerated garlic and onions will tend to sprout.

Pears - Refrigerate to hold at current ripeness, or leave at room temperature to allow to continue soften and ripen, but beware of soft spots developing which can pretty quickly cause pears to rot. 

Photo of the Week

Last week we finished garlic planting and mulching. Here my friend Mustafa, who has been helping out part-time on the farm this fall, distributes straw from a square bale evenly across the bed. Rather than protect garlic from the coldest winter temperatures, the straw is actually intended to keep the ground frozen in the late winter/early spring when we go through repeated freezing and thawing cycles day to night, which causes the ground to heave and can damage tenderly rooted garlic cloves. 

Pick-up Info

Please bring your own bags so that you can take your produce and leave your box at the pick-up site!

On-Farm Pick-up (3633 Hwy 146, Grinnell) - 3-6 pm, Wednesday
Even if you had home delivery or farmers market pick-up during the summer share, all Grinnell pick-ups for fall share will be at the farm. More details will be in reminder e-mail night before pick-up. 

Ally & Brian's home (next to Aurora Park, Newton) - 3 - 6 pm, Wednesday
Shares will be inside side door next to garage like the summer share.  

MCC Agriculture Building (Marshalltown) - 3-6pm, Tuesday

Farm to Folk (First Methodist Church, Ames) - 4:30 - 6 pm, Tuesday

Recipe of
the Week


Pumpkin Mac & Cheese 

Makes: 8 servings
Serving Size: 3/4 cup
Prep: 30 mins
Bake: 30 mins 350°F
Stand: 10 mins


  • 2cups dried elbow macaroni (8 ounces)
  • 2tablespoons butter
  • 2tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2teaspoon salt
  • 1/2teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1cup whipping cream
  • 1cup whole milk
  • 4ounces Fontina cheese, shredded (1 cup)
  • 15 ounce can pumpkin (substitute equivalent amt. of fresh roasted pumpkin)
  • 1tablespoon snipped fresh sage or 1/2 teaspoon dried leaf sage, crushed
  • 1/2cup soft bread crumbs
  • 1/2cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3cup chopped walnuts
  • 1tablespoon olive oil
  • Sage leaves (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook pasta in a large pot following package directions. Drain cooked pasta, then return to pot.
  2. For cheese sauce, in a medium saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour, salt, and pepper. Add whipping cream and milk all at once. Cook and stir over medium heat until slightly thickened and bubbly. Stir in cheese, pumpkin, and sage until cheese is melted. Stir cheese sauce into pasta to coat. Transfer macaroni and cheese to an ungreased 2-quart rectangular baking dish.
  3. In a small bowl combine bread crumbs, Parmesan, walnuts, and oil; sprinkle over pasta. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until bubbly and top is golden. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. If desired, sprinkle with sage leaves.
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