Middle Way Farm 2015 CSA - Week 14
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What's in the Share - Week 14 (even)

For Delivery Wednesday, September 2

Preservation Kits
(Available for Custom Order)

Pesto Kit - 4 oz. basil & 1 bulb of garlic ($5)

Pickling Kit - one dozen cucumbers, 1 bulb of garlic, 1 bunch of dill (from Lacewing Acres) ($10)

Salsa Kit -  3 pounds of tomatoes (slicers and/or paste), 1 bulb of garlic, 1 pound of Candy onions, 3 green peppers, 3 hot peppers, 1 bunch of cilantro ($12)

Tomato Sauce Kit - 3 pounds of tomatoes (slicers and/or paste), 1 bulb of garlic, 1 pound of Candy onions, 3 green peppers, 1 oz. of basil, 1 bunch of thyme/sage (from Lacewing Acres) ($12)

Standard Share
Also available for custom order unless otherwise noted
Carrots - 1.5 lb bag - $3.50/bag or 2 for $6
Cucumber - 3 cukes - $1 each or 3 for $2.50
Dill (from Lacewing Acres) - 1 bunch - $2/bunch
Edamame - 1 bunch of 2-3 plants with pods - $3.50/bunch or 2 bunches for $6

Garlic, Hardneck - 1 bulb - $1.50/bulb or 3 for $4
Green Beans - 3/4 lb - $3.50/.75 lb quart
Kohlrabi, Purple - 1 bulb - $1/bulb 
Onions, Candy - 1 pound - $2/pound
Radish, Red & White - 1 bunch - $2/bunch or 3 for $5
Sage/Thyme (from Lacewing Acres) - 1 bunch - $2
Squash, Delicata - 3 squash - $1.50 each or 3 for $4
Tomatoes, Slicing - 3 tomatoes - $2/pound or 3 lb for $5

Tomatoes, Juliet - 1 pint - $2/pint or $3.50/quart
Available for Custom Order
Basil, Purple or Green - $2/bunch or 3 for $5
Beets - $3.50/1.5 lb bag or 3 lb for $6
Cilantro - $2/bunch
Collard Greens - 1 bunch - $2 or 3 for $5
Eggplant - $1.50 each
Pepper, Green - 1 pepper - $1 each or 3 for $2.50
Pepper, Hot - 1 pepper - $.50 each or 3 for $1
Kale, Winterbor (green curly) - $2/bunch or 3 for $5
New Potatoes, Red Gold - $3.50/1.75 lb bag or 2 for $6
Potatoes, Yukon Gold - 1.75 lb bag - $3.50/bag or 2 for $6
Parsley - $2/bunch or 3 for $5
Tomatoes, Sungold Cherry - 1/2 pint - (Please limit 1 per share)
Zucchini - $1 each or 3 for $2.50
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
Tomatoes, Juliet - 2 quarts for $6
Tomatoes, Slicing - 5 lb for $8.50

Berry Patch Farm Fruit Share
1 pint of red raspberries and/or apples

Every other week share -  EVEN Number Week

Sandy Hill Farm Egg Share

Every other week share -
EVEN 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

Flat leaf - Italian type

Aloe Vera - $9
Medium size clay pot & plant
"Coopetition" and Collaboration
As I've mentioned before in previous newsletters, I'm part of a group of young farmers called the Quinn (short for Quinntesence for the original founding five farms). This group formed in 2013 as a farmer support group - each member hosts the other members at the their farm once during the growing season on a Sunday afternoon, with a different member hosting each month. A few hours of group work directed by the hosting farmer is followed by a potluck. The group has since grown to 7 members and we have gone through expansions, land purchases, growing challenges, and even the end of one farm business over the last three seasons. 

Farming by myself without a partner and without any immediate peers can be somewhat isolating. I sometimes wonder if I'm of my right mind choosing to do what I do and often second guess my decision making and strategic direction. The Quinn has been valuable to me for a number of reasons, but chief among them has been the chance to visit other farms and farmers on their home turf and see what their unique operations look like and the steady reminder that there are others out there who have caught the farming bug too. While we may be a bit odd, we're not alone. I value their friendship and feedback and respect them as friends and farmers. 

In addition to our regular get togethers, we've learned about some other ways that we can support each other too. We've made joint purchases together of fertilizer, garlic seed, seed potatoes, and other supplies. We ask for advice by text message and e-mail. And we've also begun to have conversations about other ways to collaborate. This week you will be receiving dill, thyme, and sage from my friend Julia at Lacewing Acres in Ames. She started her farm the same year as me (2013) and is now growing on certified organic land outside of Ames that is also occupied by the new Alluvial Brewing Company and Prairie Moon Winery. Julia and I are bartering crops, so she will get some cabbage from me for her CSA later in the season. I'm excited about doing more bartering with my Quinn friends in the future. 

Whether we have a crop failure or we just choose not to grow certain vareities, it makes sense for local growers to collaborate with each other in this way. While we all want to have our own independent operations and do things our own way, we also grow many of the same crops using many of the same growing methods, which means we are poised to assist each other in times of relative shortfall and abundance and keep our customers happy. 

I have sometimes been asked the question about whether I see myself as competing with other local farmers, whether its at farmers market or through CSA. I prefer to see it as "co-opetition," a term that I did not coin but picked up over the last few years. Rather than seeing our customers as a finite resource that we have to compete over and elbow each other out of the way, I see our job as growers as helping to grow a bigger customer base together through joint efforts, smart information sharing, and collaboration, so that we all get to succeed, and competing on quality and diversity, rather than by exclusion. This is why I have not hesitated to help other growers who might be seen as my competition, and I have received the same help in turn. 

Farm Field Day in Two Weeks! 

RSVPs are appreciated but not required!
4-7 pm, Saturday, September 12
3633 Hwy 146, Grinnell

2/3 mile north of Grinnell on Hwy 146. Second farmstead on the right after leaving town. Head towards the big blue barn and you'll see the Middle Way Farm sign.

Come for all or part of the day. Hope to see you there!

Farm Tour 
4-5 pm 
Tour will start shortly after 4 pm once everyone has gathered
See the whole Middle Way Farm operation from greenhouse to field to the wash, pack, and cooler area. See produce in the field, learn about our growing methods, hear about this season's successes and challenges, and find out what we're learning about and trying next year!

Potluck Dinner
5-7 pm

We'll provide a few main dishes (including vegetarian/vegan) and beverages. Please bring a salad, side dish, dessert, or drinks to share. Local ingredients are encouraged but not required! Make a label for your dish with the dish's name, your name, listing ingredients and origins, and any allergens to be aware of. Bring your own tableware if possible to cut down on clean-up but we will have tableware available. Dinner will be picnic style outside as long as the weather is good. 

7 pm - late 
After the dinner and clean-up, those who would like to stay later can hang out around the fire as we enjoy an early autumn night on the farm!
Place Your Custom Share Order!

What's New in the Share

Delicata Squash - This unique variety of winter squash is small and has thin skin, which means that it does not store as well as traditional varieties like butternut and acorn, so don't let it sit around too long before you eat it. The squash starts out with a light green color before developing distinct dark green stripes with a creamy white background, which turns into a light orange background with dark orange stripes as it ripens. Squashes are ready to eat when they have their dark green stripes and should be used quickly once they have ripened to a mature orange.

The advantage of delicata's thin skin is that you DO NOT have to peel it before baking. Simple cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds (save them for toasting*). See the Recipe of the Week for recommendations on roasting. 

*Toasting squash seeds: After scooping out of squash, rinse the squash flesh off of the seeds and then dry in a paper towel. Toss in enough high heat oil to coat and place on a baking sheet in the oven alongside your baking squash or, better yet, in the toaster oven. If using the oven, allow the seeds to brown and toast without burning while your squash bakes. If using the toaster oven, use the toast setting and watch carefully that they do not burn. Once toasted, salt and pepper to taste (in our house, we prefer some heavy sprays of tamari soy sauce!). These are a delicious snack right out of the oven or you can keep them at room temperature for a few days in a sealed container. 

Edamame -The fresh edamame pod is steamed or boiled and then the soybean is eaten out of the pod and the pod discarded. The pod itself should NOT be eaten. These will come to you as a bunch of several plant stems with the pods still attached to the plant. Strip the edamame pods off the stems, discard the stems, and rinse the edamame in cold water. Bring a pot of lightly salted water to boil (like you were going to cook pasta) and once it boils add the edamame. Cook for 5 minutes (do not overcook or they will become mushy), then drain and rinse in cold water to cool. Pour into a serving bowl and top with generous pinches of a coarse salt. Serve immediately while still hot. This is a delicious snack or side dish with lots of protein. It can also be refrigerated and eaten cold or reheated. 

Kohlrabi, Purple - The return of purple kohlrabi! You will remember these from the early summer shares - its the same variety, called Kolibri. Peel off the waxy skin with a paring knife and enjoy these raw, sauted or baked along with your delicata squash! Put the raw slices in water in a plastic container in the fridge to keep them fresh and moist for up to a week or longer. Change the water at least weekly.  

Radish, Red & White - After a number of requests this spring for white radishes, I decided to start growing them this fall. I've bunched them along with the regular red Cheriette variety that I grew this spring. Let me know what you think! 

Delicata squash curing in the greenhouse. After harvest, the squash need a few days of heat to dry out and allow their skins to heal and adhere to the flesh, which enhances their storage capacity. The curing process also helps their flavor.  


Roasted Delicata Squash Recipe

Serves 2-4 as a side dish


  • 2-4 delicata squash, depending on size (~1.5 lbs)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Clean the delicata squash by running under warm water and scrubbing away dirt with your hands. If there are any hard spots on the squash, you can scrape them off with a butter knife.

With a sharp knife, cut delicata in half lengthwise. This should be easy and not require any crazy hacking. With a spoon scoop out the seeds and discard (you can save these and prepare them like pumpkin seeds if you wish). Cut each delicata half into 1/2 inch segments, creating moon-shaped pieces that have slight bumps around the curve.

Arrange the pieces in a single layer in a metal baking pan and coat in 2 tbsp olive oil. Too much oil can make the squash soggy. Salt gently. It’s okay if the pieces are a little crowded, but try to maximize the surface area of the squash touching the pan. The browning only occurs where the squash and pan meet.

Place in oven and roast 10 minutes. Using a spatula (I use tongs for most veggies, but delicata squash are easily squished and hold up better if you don’t pinch them) turn the squash in the pan so that the light sides are now touching the pan and the brown sides are facing upward.

Continue roasting, turning every 7-10 minutes until both sides of the squash pieces are golden brown and the texture is creamy to the teeth all the way through, about 25-30 minutes. Adjust salt.

Serve as a side dish with the rest of your dinner.

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

The basil is on its way out for the year, so order while it still available!

There will be at least one more week of delicata squash, followed by other winter squashes such as super dumpling, spaghetti squash, butternut squash, and pie pumpkins!

We are starting to dig our main crop of potatoes this week and new varieties of potatoes will be appearing in shares from now through the end of the season. 

The late plantings of zucchini and cucumber look great and will extend the harvest of both into September.

The next green bean planting is full of flowers and small green beans and they should be abundant for the next few weeks. 
One of the artists in residence at Grin City this past session dug a 4 foot deep pit by hand as part of a performance she did. This is actually a practice used on farms to look at the soil profile and the depth of topsoil. I found it fascinating to see the difference between the top 18 inches of the topsoil and the clay subsoil layer beneath, and how deep that subsoil layer goes. 
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