"Well Vittled" Your weekly Vegetable CSA box companion!
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       "Well Vittled" CSA Newsletter
Sleepy G Farm
RR#1 Pass Lake, ON
HARVESTED THIS WEEK:  Sugar Snap Peas, Beans, Spinach, Lettuce Heads, Lettuce Mix, Scallions, Beets, Arugula, Swiss Chard, Cucumber, *Zucchini, *Fresh Herbs
Number of items to choose this week:  7
* free-choice item
Volume 9 Issue 3
August 15th, 2018

As I laid awake in bed last Friday night the sweat beaded on my face and underneath my pajamas while I listened closely to the rumbling night sky outside our bedroom window.  The relative humidity was very high after three intensely hot days that were spent mowing 100 acres of hay – the total of which would account for nearly all the hay we need to feed our cows through the winter.   As I laid awake in bed I could only hope that the threatening thunderstorm would skirt pass the farm and spare us a downpour that was sure to damage my hay.  The flickers of lightening through the window indicated that the storm was nearing.  I tried to close my eyes and ignore it.  Suddenly I felt a bright light in the room.  When I opened my eyes I heard Marcelle say, as she stared at the weather radar on her phone, “we are gonna get hit any minute now”.  So much for hoping the storm would miss us.
Though growing vegetables is our prime focus on the farm we also own a herd of about 25 head of beef cattle.  Aside from creating work for us outside of the growing season these animals provide an important fertility input for our vegetable production.  We harvest hay from our own farm plus three other properties in Pass Lake during the summer.  Each animal in our herd eats about 40 lbs of hay per day from November to June – roughly 210 days of the year.  That means that we are feeding about 1000 lbs of hay per day to our herd of cattle.  And while growing vegetables is where the vast majority of our income is derived, we absolutely cannot drop the ball on making hay for our animals.  If we come up short of feed it means we are either getting rid of cows that we otherwise would like to keep in the herd, or we are buying hay by the end of the winter.  This past spring we ran out of hay and it cost us about $500 per week just to keep our cows fed!  That’s a lot of money for a couple of people who don’t get paycheques!
The old saying “make hay while the sun shines” is absolutely true.  The key to making hay is as much about good timing as it is about gambling against the weather.  Ideally, the hay (which is a mixture of grasses, clovers, and other plants) is cut on the first day after the morning dew has burned off.  The cut hay then lays flat on the field for about 3 days where the sun dries it out.  On the 5th day the hay is ready to be raked into long windrows, and then immediately baled into square or round bales.  Once the hay is baled up we then look for a good opportunity to take the bales off the field and store them in a barn or under a shelter until they are fed out in the winter.
If the hay is rained upon during the drying process it not only requires additional days of lying in the field, but it also drastically reduces the nutrient quality of the feed.  When rainwater is absorbed into the almost-dry hay, nutrients are lost as the hay dries back out.  Imagine washing a dirty face with a clean cloth, then rinsing the cloth under the faucet and wringing it out.  The dirt that comes out of the cloth is akin to the nutrients lost from the wetted hay.
The worst-case scenario is that the hay never has a chance to dry because the weather does not cooperate and warm up for many days.  In this case the hay will completely spoil beyond salvage.  It is a total loss.
This is the time of year when I am rather pre-occupied with making hay.  Pretty much all of my other duties on the farm are suspended while I try to “make hay while the sun shines”.  Failure to execute this important task properly means we face going into winter with inadequate feed for our beloved cows.  Until the hay is safely baled up and stored I cannot relax, knowing that Mother Nature may not give another window of opportunity to make hay.  The closer we get to fall the less likely we are to have another 5 day window of warm, dry weather with which to get the job done.
There is an undeniable vulnerability that comes with the job of making hay. Obviously I want to feed our cows the best quality, most nutritious hay I can.  And, for my own sake, I don’t want to spend cash money to do so.   Until the hay is actually baled up and in the barn many things can go wrong and threaten our winter feed supply.
The threat of poor weather is the biggest concern I have during haymaking season, but so too is the inevitable breakage of equipment.  All of the machines we own for making hay have a lot of moving parts, and most of the machines are not exactly new.  The reality is that nothing breaks until it is hitched up the tractor and run in the field.  I don’t know how many times I’ve had equipment breakdowns while making hay with rain clouds in the distance!  These are some of the most stressful days for me on the farm.  I had a fairly significant breakage on our hay mower last week that I fortunately was able to weld together, but not before losing almost 5 hours of prime-time sunshine hours.
Making hay, and farming in general, is chock-full of variables beyond our control that leave us vulnerable and sometimes anxious.  Arguably all of the jobs we do on the farm are important, and many of them are both important and urgent at the same time!  But life being what it is will sometimes give you a break, and other times put up hurdles.  I have come to be a lot more accepting of this fact - most importantly the recognition of the things beyond my control and the fact that life will go on.  In 2015 I had the opportunity to work on learning how to surrender to a difficult situation as I laid in bed with two broken feet for the whole summer.
After a lengthy build-up, the rain started on Saturday morning at about 1am.  At first the rain was slow and intermittent, but soon it came down hard and continued for about 20 minutes.  A typical thunderstorm that came and went, leaving behind about 15 mm of rain.  As soon as the rain stopped Marcelle and I both fell fast asleep.   As I fell back asleep I reminded myself that there is nothing I can do about the hay that was rained on but give it more time to dry and hope that Mother Nature gives me a window to get it baled and safely in the barn.  For me, regret comes from not doing my best.  Having known that I had done my best I went right to sleep, woke up on Saturday morning and harvested zucchini, then headed off to the Red Rock Folk Festival and enjoyed a hot summer day while my soggy hay did the same!
Hal, one of our CSA Workshare Members grew up on a beef farm in Saskatchewan.  He was great help last Sunday in making hay
Partners in good food!

This week's coffee from
Rose N Crantz Roasting Co



Small Landholders


Guatemalan coffees are easily obtainable in North America and are very approachable as a single-origin offering  Typically brighter, milder bodied coffee with notes of cocoa allow this coffee to form the backbone of many blends.


Tasting notes:  Mild, clean and slightly citric.  Smooth mouthfeel.  Grapefruit and cocoa in the medium finish.

This week's bread from
Both Hands Bread


Spelt & Flax

Organic spelt flour, water, organic brown flax seed, unrefined sea salt

We are very proud of the beautiful spinach in the CSA box this week.  The humid weather of late is great for leafy cops
Recipe of the Week

Greek Zucchini Casserole

This past week we had some old university friends travel from Burlington and Huntsville to come visit us on the farm.  The two families included 4 adults and 5 kids.  On Friday we used about 7 lbs of zucchini to make a huge casserole that we brought with us to the Red Rock Folk Festival for a nice summer picnic.  It was a big hit with adults and children alike!


  • 3 to 4 lbs  zucchini sliced lengthwise ½ inch thick
  • Salt
  • All purpose flour
  • Fresh parsley, mint and oregano minced
  • 200 g parmesan cheese, grated
  • 250 ml Olive oil
  • Black pepper


Preheat the oven to 350°F.

  • Salt zucchini slices and place in a colander to soften and drain. Let sit for 20 minutes.
  • Dredge zucchini slices in flour and layer in a casserole dish, sprinkling the mixed herbs and cheese between each layer.
  • Layers can exceed the top of the casserole dish because the zucchini will settle as it cooks.
  • Top with remaining cheese and herbs.
  • Mix ground pepper to taste with the olive oil.  
    Once complete, pour the oil over the zucchini.
  • Bake for 1 hour at 350F until browned on top.
  • Can be served warm, cool or at room temperature.
Tonight at Wilson Street Park CSA member and Pampered Chef Consultant Lori will be setting up a demonstration table.  Check out the tools you can use to make the most of your veggies!
Garden Feature
Anyone who has a vegetable garden knows how prolific summer squash (zucchini and patty pans) are.  It is absolutely mind-boggling how quickly a zucchini plant will develop fruit.  This is especially true on very hot days.  It is possible for a zucchini to triple or quadruple in size over just 24 hours!  For this reason, we stick to a strict schedule of harvest during the peak of the summer.  By doing so we never let the zucchinis get too large.

That last point is where home gardeners often go wrong.  They let  zucchinis get freakishly large and then force their family and friends to eat more than they actually want.  Zucchinis are a very tender and satisfying vegetable to eat.  However, as they grow larger their skin becomes tough and the inside becomes seedy - not exactly the kind of traits that lend well to a positive culinary experience.

If we find a zucchini in the field that has gotten too large we feed it to our cows.  Alternatively, zucchinis like this are useful for making  a zucchini loaf of some type.

What I love most about eating zucchini is how satisfying it is.  It is a very substantial vegetable, and it's flesh readily absorbs flavours which makes it very versatile.  I often think of zucchini as being the "meat" of the vegetable world.

Zucchini can be sautéed, baked, stuffed, BBQ'd, shredded, or spiralized using a special tool.  The possibilities are pretty much endless.  When choosing a zucchini we recommend picking a glossy-skinned fruit if you plan to fry or sauté it, and a dull-skinned fruit if you want to bake or BBQ it.  A dull skin is more tough and holds up better to longer exposure to high heat.

The hot weather over the last week has produced a burdensome amount of zucchini for us on the farm.  For that reason, zucchini is a free-choice item in the CSA box this week.  Please take as much as you can possibly use.  Don't be shy!
Smiles like these are a real reward for the hard work we do on the farm

Open Farm Day This Saturday!

This Saturday, August 18th we will be hosting the first of our Open Farm Days of the season. This will be a great opportunity for CSA members to come and see the crops, learn about your farm, and to ask your farmers any questions you might have.

You and your family are invited to join us from 1-3 pm on Saturday.  The tour will be guided by Brendan and Marcelle, and will begin at 1pm.  Please note that Sleepy G Farm has a NO DOG POLICY, so please leave your pets at home.

Click on the button below for directions to the farm.


Next open farm day:
August 18th 1-3pm

Directions to Farm
The beets this season are epic!  These four ladies literally brought a truckload of beets off the field on Monday in just 1 hour of work
Vegetable Storage Info
ON THE COUNTER:  zucchini, cucumber
IN THE FRIDGE:  beets, lettuce head, scallions, swiss chard, spinach
IN THE FRIDGE, WRAPPED IN PLASTIC:  herbs, arugula, lettuce mix, peas, beans
Yesterday we had a group of Stewardship Youth Rangers out to the farm for a day of work.  These young men had a great day of bringing hay off the field and stacking in our cow barn.  1/3 of our hay is made into these small square bales, while 2/3 is made into larger round bales
NEXT WEEK'S GUESS:  Tomatoes, Kale, Lettuce Heads, Lettuce Mix, Swiss Chard, Spinach, Zucchini, Cucumber, Beets, Peas, Beans, Arugula, Fresh Herbs 
Copyright © 2018 Sleepy G Farm, All rights reserved.

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