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Summer Share 2016 - Week 20 - Middle Way Farm
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Summer Share
Weekly Newsletter 

Week 20 - Final Share
Oct. 9, 2016
There's Still Time to Sign-up for the Fall Share. Share starts Nov. 1-2. Spots available! Payment can be made by Dwolla, a mailed check, or at the first pick-up.
WAX BOXES - If you have any, please return them this week, and make sure to bring your own bags so that you can leave your box at the drop site.
Custom Share Members and Standard Share members who ordered extras this season - if you have a negative balance, you will be billed later this month after the Summer Share has ended. I prefer to receive payment after billing either 1) by mail or 2) at the first Fall Share pick-up in November (for Grinnell customers) rather than have customers bring payment to Summer Share pick-up, which can be confusing. You do not need to worry about spending exactly how much you deposited - a small negative balance can be billed later. 
Custom Share Members with a Positive Balance- please note that there will be no refund or rolling forward of your positive balance after next week's share. It was considered spent once you made payment. Feel free to take advantage of what the farm offers to spend down that balance, but also know that if you make an abnormally large order to try to use up your balance, it may not be possible for me, with limited supply, to fill that order. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me. 
Upcoming
Garlic Workshop and Work Day


Grow Your Own Garlic

1-2 pm, October 29

Free workshop

Learn the basics of growing garlic in your home garden including varieties, soil preparation, planting time, mulching, plant care, harvest, curing, storage and saving seed.   All participants will receive a bulb of garlic to plant and some extra bulbs will be available for sale

 

Garlic Planting Workday

2-5 pm, October 29

 Volunteers should wear close toed shoes, bring sun protection (hat, long sleeves, sunglasses, sunblock) and warm clothes, have a water bottle, and be prepared to stoop, bend over, and work on their hands and knees. No experience is required, volunteers will be taught everything they need to know. Come for all or part of workday.

What's Good This Week

Sweet potatoes yield this year was above expectations, with many large sweet potatoes form 3-6 pounds!

Great scarlet and purple top turnips available, as well as a new harvest of beauty heart and daikon radishes

Stew bags give you a combo of three roots that are perfect for soups, stews, crockpot meals, and roasting. There will be more stew bags in the fall share, which will include parsnips. 

Excellent fall spinach available this week, as well as arugula and mesclun mix. The spinach is little bit bigger than baby size, which is reflected in the larger unit size (8 oz lb bags instead of 6 oz.) and lower price per oz. 

Dragon Tongue Beans continue to be abundant and delicious this week. 

Certified organic butternut squash from  from Rolling Acres in Murray, Iowa. There will be more winter squash for the fall share including butternut, red kuri, acorn, and pie pumpkins.

There are a ton of nice looking leeks in the field, which will also be in the fall share. 

What's in the Standard Share
(With Custom Order Options and Prices)


Beans, Dragon Tongue - 1 quart (3/4 lb) ($4/quart or 2 for $7. 3 lb. for $12.50)
Garlic, Hardneck - a few ($1.50 each or $7/lb for small-medium bulbs)
Leeks - a few ($1.50/large leek or 3 for $4. Bunch of 4-5 medium size for $3.50. 10 leeks for $10)
Onions, Yellow - 3 lb bag ($5/bag)
Pepper Mix - 2 lb. bag ($3.50 per bag or 2 for $6)
Potatoes, Red - 1 pound ($2.50/1 pound bag) (Limited supply)
Radish, Beauty Heart - 1 root with tops ($2 per bunch or 3 for $5, $2/lb bulk with no tops). $5 for 3 lb. 
Spinach - 1/2 lb bag  ($4/bag or 2 for $7)
Stew Bag - 3 lb bag of celeriac, turnips, & carrots ($7.50/bag)
Sweet Potato - 3-4 pounds (3 pound for $6). 
Winter Squash, Butternut (certified organic from Rolling Acres) - 1 squash (avg. size 3 lb) ($3.85/squash)
 
Also Available for Custom Order

Apples, Honeycrisp (from Berry Patch Farm) - 3 lb bag for $9
Arugula - $4/6 oz. bag or 2 for $7
Broccoli - $4/1 pound plus bag
Cabbage, Napa - $2.50/head 
Fresh Celery Root - $3/lb
Kale, Red Curly - $2/bunch or 3 for $5
Kale, Green Curly - $2/bunch or 3 for $5. 6 bunches for $8.50
Mesclun Mix - $4/6 oz. bag or 2 for $7)
Onions, Small Yellow - $3/1.5 lb quart. 2 quarts for $5. 4 quarts for $9. 
Parsley - $2/bunch or 3 for $5
Pepper, Green or Purple - $1/pepper or 3 for $2.50. Mixed 3 lb. bulk bag for $5. 
Pepper, Colored -$2/large pepper or 2 small peppers
Radish, Red - $2/bunch or 3 for $5 
Radish, Daikon -  $2 per bunch or 3 for $5, $2/lb bulk with no tops. $5 for 3 lb. 
Tomatoes, Slicing- $2.50/pound
Tomato Medley - $3/pint or 2 for $5
Turnips, Purple Top - $2/bunch or 3 for $5. $2/lb bulk with no tops. 
Turnip, Scarlet - $2/bunch or 3 for $5. $2/lb bulk with no tops. 
Hardneck Seed Garlic (for planting) - $12/pound
Zinnia (flowers) - $6 per bunch with returnable quart jar 

Fruit Share
Apples - 3 pound bag
 
Place Your Custom Order
FARMER REFLECTION

The end of summer share is definitely a time for reflection for me. This week will mark the end of my fourth year of CSA (a total of 92 weekly shares. including spring and fall seasons). Every year I wonder how it will be possible to provide an abundant box of vegetables for 5 months straight. And at the end of every season, I have been able to look back and see how it was possible. I am able to see that in the midst of many failures there were also abundant successes. In the midst of many frustrations there were also many joys. I still feel both very grateful and challenged by this work. I feel lucky to have had employees over the last three years who have become friends. I am grateful for my supportive partner and household, who stand behind what I'm doing and make it possible. I'm grateful for the support of the Lacina family and for Grin City Collective and Molly Rideout for getting me started and helping me during these formative years. I'm looking forward to Joe and Laurel moving back to the farm this coming spring and what may come of that. I'm grateful to all of you for valuing food in your lives and choosing to eat locally. The more we pay attention to what we eat, the more we are sustained by what we eat and the more able we are to support good farming and land stewardship. 

During the winter as I go back through these newsletters and newsletters from prior years, I see all of the shares over the course of the years, how they compared and contrasted between and within seasons. What was abundant some years and scarce others. What seemed to work and should be replicated and expanded, what is not working and needs to be dropped or scaled down. As I begin to plan and look towards next year, I take the lessons of this season and prior season with me. I also look towards you, my members, to provide feedback to me through the end of season survey. Its the interplay of my experience on the farm with production and my interactions with you, and your interactions with the produce in your kitchens, that drives this farm forward. Within the constraints of what is possible to grow locally and profitably, I want the shares to reflect what you want to eat week to week! This is part of what community supported agriculture means. Honest positive feedback is wonderful but its often the critical feedback that is most useful for me. 

Please take a few minutes to complete this survey by clicking this link. The sooner you do it, the fresher the experience of this past season will be. Even so, the very first shares were delivered 5 months ago, meaning that they are probably already starting to fade in your memory! As an extra incentive, at the end of the survey you will be rewarded with a coupon code (please make sure to save for later!) that you can use during the 2017 sign-up process for $5 off your total. For those receiving the fall share, there will be a separate survey after the conclusion of that share in mid-December. 

This week in your box you will receive a single beauty heart radish and here's why. The beauty heart radish is the vegetable I choose to include in my farm logo, which you see at the top of this e-mail. The image is a scan from an old book of vegetable sketches that my mom found during the winter of 2013, as I was preparing to launch my first season. On the outside, the beauty heart radish looks like a large, off-white radish with slightly green shoulders. Its certainly no more remarkable than many other root crops. However, when you cut into it, you are rewarded with a brilliant fuchsia colored center, the beauty heart, which you can see in the photo at the top of the e-mail. Its one of the prettiest and most unexpected vegetables. 

On the surface, locally produced food can sometimes be little less polished, maybe also a little unfamiliar, from what is available 12 months a year in the grocery store. It can also sometimes to be a challenge to appreciate fresh food when you don't always feel like you have the time or energy to prepare it. Once you make the choice to cut into though, once you take that first bite, you discover and are drawn in by the flavor, the uniqueness, and the beauty. I discover the beauty heart of the farm everywhere - the yellow garden spiders that suddenly appear in the tomato field, the row upon row of hanging Dragon Tongue beans when I turn over the plant, the worms and rich fungal smelling soil underneath the mulch. The rich flavor of a weekend soup made of farm vegetables. And this past week, it was cutting open a radish on a dreary fall day when I just wanted to be home with a cup of coffee rather than hauling produce out of the field when I re-discovered the beauty heart. 

Here's to continuing to find the beauty heart in all things. Have a wonderful fall and winter, I hope you are looking forward to more good food in 2017. 

Your farmer,

Jordan  
Take the End of Season Survey Now
Next Year's CSA Sign-up will begin in January 2017. Look for an e-mail about sign-up opening after the New Year! In the mean-time, you are welcome to make an optional CSA deposit to reserve your place for next year (you will still need to sign-up online in January to choose your specific share options). 
 
 
$50 for $55 in credit
OR
$100 for $115 in credit

Payment can be made separate or bundled with your end of season payment, which I will bill for after this week. You can also pay at first fall share pick-up in November. 
What to Do With Your Share

Beans, Dragon Tongue - Store in crisper fridge in drawer in sealed plastic bag. Use within 1-2 weeks. Purple striping disappears when cooked. Better flavor than green beans when raw, can be cooked anyway you would use a green bean. Excellent lightly sauted in oil or butter. Beans can be frozen by blanching for 3 minutes in boiling water, cooling under cold water, draining, and then packing into freezer bags or containers.

Garlic, Hardneck - Store at room temperature, don't refrigerate as it will cause garlic to sprout. Should store well for a month or more. Cloves can be roasted whole along with other root vegetables, the garlic then easily slips out of the papery skin. 

Leeks - Keep in the crisper drawer in a sealed plastic bag for 1-2 weeks or more. Leeks are like a mild onion with a richer flavor. Use accordingly. When preparing use as much of the white/green shaft as you want and discard the fanned green leaves on top. Watch for dirt under the upper layers, which is difficult for me to spray off at the farm when I'm washing them. 

Onions, Yellow - Storage type can be kept at room temperature for a month or more, possibly much longer if conditions are right. Can still be used if begin to sprout. You may occasionally encounter an onion that has a bad spot inside once cut open. Its sometimes very difficult for me to detect this in an onion when I'm sorting. It has to do with the onion not properly curing or drying after harvest. Cut around the spot if you can and use the rest of the onion.  

Pepper Mix - Will include green and purple (unripe) and red, yellow, and chocolate (ripe) peppers. Store in crisper drawer in fridge in sealed plastic bag for 1-2 weeks. Peppers are very easy to freeze. Cut in half, remove stem, seeds, and pulp, and pack into a freezer bag or container. You can also freeze them flat on a baking tray for a day and then once frozen pack them into bags/containers if you want the individual pepper halves to be easier. No need to blanch. When thawed they will be soft and only suitable for cooking. 

Potatoes, Red - These are generally "B" size potatoes that are great for boiling and roasting whole. Store in a sealed plastic bag in the crisper drawer in refrigerator. Will store for a month or more. Potatoes stored room temperature will have much diminished storage life. These are not a storage variety of potato so are not meant for overwinter storage. 

Radish, Beauty Heart - Store in a sealed plastic bag in crisper drawer in fridge. Slice and enjoy raw with little salt or roast with other root vegetables. Makes a beautiful slices for platters or grated on sandwiches and salads. Even if you don't like radishes you'll enjoy seeing the beauty heart! 

Spinach - This is let's say teenage rather than baby spinach - perfectly acceptable for a salad but also good size to be used for cooking. Store in plastic bag in crisper drawer in fridge for about a week. Spinach can be frozen by blanching for 3 minutes in boiling water, cooling under cold water, draining, and then packing into freezer bags or containers.

Stew Bag - Three pound bag includes 1 1/2 pound of celeriac, 1 pound of purple top turnips, and 1/2 pound of carrots. Keepin the fridge in sealed plastic bag. Should keep for several weeks or more.  Perfect combo for soups, stews, crockpot meals, and roasting. Celeriac should be peeled before cutting up. Turnips and carrots can be left with their skin on. 

Sweet Potatoes -  Store these at room temperature, never below 50 degrees. The refrigerator will damage flavor and storage ability! Sweet potatoes are capable of storing several months. With proper curing and conditions, they can keep a full year! With the extra large sweet potatoes, note that you can place them cut side down on a plate and allow the cut to heal if you don't want to use the entire sweet potato at once. This cut sweet potato will not store as well as an uncut one and should be used within a few weeks. Smaller sweet potatoes are great roasted whole; you can cut larger sweet potatoes into cubes or rounds for roasting. There is no need to peel the sweet potatoes unless you don't like their texture. They may need an extra scrub after being spray washed at the farm. The skin at this age of the tuber is still pretty tender and will tend to flake off when washing. 

Winter Squash, Butternut - This is one of the sweetest and  best storing winter squashes - it can keep well into the following year. Keep it at room temperature. A cool dry place is best for long term storage. Watch for soft spots to develop in the skin. f they do, use immediately.  To prepare: Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Cut the squash in half with a sharp knife and scrap out the cavity of the squash, which contains seeds and pulpy flesh that is not good for eating. You can save the seeds for roasting if desired (see below). Grease the cut sides of the squash and place on a baking sheet in the oven. Roast till a fork can easily pierce the skin (45 minutes - 1 hour). At this point, after the squash has cooled slightly, you can peel the skin with a knife and cut up into bite size pieces. Many people like to add butter and brown sugar to roasted squash. You can also puree the cooked squash at this time either manually or with a food processor.

To roast squash seeds, first clean off any pulpy flesh that is attached and then pat dry. Toss lightly in oil and put on a baking sheet in the oven at high temperature (same temp as baking the squash would work). You can also put them in the toaster oven and use the toast setting. Allow them to toast till the seed has started to brown and puff up (10-20 minutes), but before it begins to burn. You can use a spatula to toss the seeds halfway through cooking. Once toasted, toss in salt and enjoy.You can store these at room temperature in a sealed container for up to a week or so but they are best consumed immediately.
Recipes of the Week

My Favorite Sweet Potato Recipes Edition


Sweet Potato Quesadilla

An excellent and filling quick dinner recipe. I refrigerate the leftover filling and make the quesadillas fresh for lunch the next few days.

From Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home - p. 272

Ingredients - Serves 4 people, 20-25 minute prep. time

1 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 cups grated, peeled sweet potatoes
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoon ground cumin
generous pinch of cayenne (if you like spice!)
salt & ground pepper to taste
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
8 tortillas (8-10")

Optional - Add black beans to filling while cooking. Add cooked spinach into filling right at the end. 

Serve with salsa and sour cream, green salad on the side

Directions

Satue onion & garlic in oil till translucent.

Add sweet potatoes and spices but not salt, pepper, and cheese. Cook uncovered for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.

When sweet potato is tender, add salt & pepper. Spread 1/8 filling and 2 tablespoons of cheese into each tortilla. Fold in half and cook on skillet (adding a little oil between each batch of quesadillas) till nicely browned on each side.

Serve immediately topped with salsa and sour cream. 
 

Sweet Potato and Peanut Stew 

The original name is Yam & Peanut stew because sweet potatoes are so often confused with yams in the US. The alternate name is "The Godforsaken Stew" because the originator of the recipe used to make this soup a lot and one of his housemates came home one night and said "are you making that godforsaken stew again?"

 

4 C stock (watch the salt and check for sugar)

1 onion, chopped

2 c sweet potatoes, cut into small cubes, peeling on

1 c chickpeas (roughly ½ can)

1/2 c brown rice (if using white rice not it will absorb more liquid and make for a thicker soup)

1/2 t salt (can replace with soy sauce or what’s already in the stock)

2 c kale (spinach or swiss chard are good substitues), cut or ripped into bite size pieces

1/2 c peanut butter

2 T lemon juice (fresh squeeze)

optional: tamari soy sauce (for salt) & chili paste or powder (for heat). Siriracha also great.

 

C = cup

T = tablespoon

t = teaspoon

 

Saute onions & garlic in some stock or oil in a large saucepan till tender. Add all stock, sweet potatoes, chickpeas, rice & salt. Simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until sweet potatoes are tender. Turn down the heat. Spoon out some soup into a bowl and add in peanut butter. Stir together, then add back into soup and mix well. Add kale and lemon juice to soup, cook briefly until just kale is tender. 

 
Photo of the Week
This past week I began the process of planting bare beds with a cover crop of winter rye. Winter rye is the hardiest of cover crops, able to germinate in cold soils late into the fall (even during a winter thaw), stay dormant through the freezing months, and then begin regrowing in the early spring. Its roots help hold the soil in place during the winter, protecting it from wind and water, retaining nutrients, and adding organic matter. In the spring, I kill the rye by mowing and covering with a tarp or rototilling. To plant, I use a regular lawn drop spreader to scatter a thick layer of seeds on the surface of the beds (but not the pathways in between). I then run the rototiller as shallow as possible at a medium rate of speed to incorporate the seed without pulverizing the soil and create good seed to soil contact, which is essential for germinating seeds to be able to take root and grow. 
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