Summer 2016

We are in full stride here at Suncrest Gardens Farm. The gardens and hoop houses for our fall and winter CSAs are bursting with life, and the pizza nights are busy as ever. Several weddings have already taken place here this year and we have a full schedule of weddings and private parties throughout the rest of the summer.

We continue to be open Thursday’s and Friday’s for our pizza nights taking orders 4:30-8:30pm all the way thru August. In September, we are only open Friday nights, same time frame. Live music is scheduled every week this year, weather dependent of course.

We’ve added a few new offerings this season to the appetizer menu including farm fresh salads, veggie & dip snack trays, fruity moscato sangria pint jars, and beer bucket 6 packs for your cooling convenience in the yard.

Keep up to date with farm news, pictures, and postings on our Facebook page: Suncrest Gardens Farm. We’re even hosting “Yoga on the Farm” this summer. Watch for dates on Facebook.

We are proud to be listed on the Top 10 Hidden Gem Restaurants in Wisconsin. Discover Wisconsin also had a television spot about farm to table places featuring our farm this spring.

Remember, we are open rain or shine for our pizza nights. No reservations needed. A courtesy call letting us know of large groups coming is appreciated.

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Winter CSA week 6

Fresh and Value-Added Items:

FROZEN ITEMS:

This is our last winter CSA for the season and I’d have to say that it feels as if winter has already left. The unusually warm weather and rain has turned the grass green and the perennial gardens are starting to poke up through the mulch. I do worry about the budding on the fruit trees happening too early but hopefully they can squeak through and not be bitten by a freeze which can eliminate a fruit crop like we saw in 2012.

As we mentioned before, we will open the online winter CSA store up with a special sale on some remaining winter inventory. We would deliver those orders to town in 2 weeks: Wednesday, March 30th. I will send an email notice out when the store is open for this special sale.

A new item in the box this week is the frozen Hot Pepper Jelly. It is a great little spread to mix with cream cheese on bagels, crackers, or pretzels.

Thank you for your support this winter season and for inviting us to share your table with you through our foods we grow at Suncrest Gardens. We are honored to be your farmers!

Eat Well. Smile Often.

Your Farmer,

Heather

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Winter CSA week 5

Fresh and Value-Added Items:

Carrots 2#
Potatoes 3#, Peter Wilcox blend
Celeriac: Roasted celery root and Carrots
Onions, 1.5#
Fresh Spinach 1/2#
Fresh Kraut, 1 pt…use within a week
Eggs-1 dozen
Pickles 10 oz…a little spicy this time
Dried Tomatoes: sun-dried tomato spinach rice pilaf

FROZEN ITEMS:

  1. Vegetable Stock 1 Qt: water, onions, carrots, potatoes, celery, rosemary, sage, thyme, bay leaf, salt & pepper.
  2. 2 quarts of soup (Minestrone Soup & Turnip Squash Fall Soup), or your customized items
  3. Rhubarb 1 Qt
  4. Raspberries 1 Qt
  5. Peppers 1 Pt
  6. Sweet corn 1 Qt
  7. Diced tomatoes 1 Qt: Sausage and kale pasta bake with tomatoes

This past week, Mercedes and I attended the MOSES organic conference in LaCrosse. I’ve been to the conference many times in the past and there is always a wonderful spirit among the attending. I always enjoy the comraderrie among all kinds of other farmers and ag people who openly share stories, trials and errors. The presenters and speakers inspire everyone as we finalize winter plans and prepare to begin seeding. We are lucky to have such an amazing event within driving distance.

On Monday, we started many trays of seedlings such as onions, celery, and celeriac. Somehow I managed to barely reduce my seed budget this season even though we will not have the spring and summer CSA programs. There were some items ordered in smaller quantities, but I also filled the gaps with some new trial crops, more flowers, and a few extra things to grow for our fall and winter shares. Once a person has grown food on a larger scale, it is really hard to reduce. We do plan to fill some of the previously planted garden space with a wider diversity of cover crops and pollinator friendly items.

As the winter CSA is nearing the end, we can foresee us having some extra items left in the Winter CSA store such as soups and a few individually frozen vegetables. We will plan to have a sale on those items after our last CSA week.  Our members will have the first chance to purchase these items through the winter CSA store and we will make a special delivery With these orders to the delivery sites in late March. We will post more details in the next newsletter.

Would any CSA members be interested in ordering frozen pizzas if they were to come to Winona in your next CSA box? Please email Heather by Friday March 4 if you’d like to receive a frozen wood-fired pizza order along with your last winter CSA delivery. Orders do not need to be placed now, we are just taking a quick survey to see if we should make the pizzas earlier in the week so we can deliver them to Alma/Winona for you. Thank you.

heather@suncrestgardensfarm.com

Eat Well. Smile Often.

Your Farmer,

Heather

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Winter CSA Week 4

Fresh and Value-Added Items:

  1. Carrots 2#
  2. Potatoes 3#: crock pot beef stew
  3. Celeriac: Celeriac Pasta
  4. Onions, 1.5#
  5. Fresh Spinach 1/2#:
  6. Coleslaw Mix 1#: Cabbage Omelette
  7. Eggs-1 dozen
  8. Pickles 10 oz…a little spicy this time
  9. Dried Tomatoes, ~2 oz: Chicken in Sun-Dried Tomato Cream Sauce
  10. Raspberry Jam, 1 pint

FROZEN ITEMS:

  1. Vegetable Stock 1 Qt: water, onions, carrots, potatoes, celery, rosemary, sage, thyme, bay leaf, salt & pepper.
  2. 2 quarts of soup (Garden Vegetable & Roasted Butternut), or your customized items
  3. Rhubarb 1 Qt: Rhubarb Crumble
  4. Zucchini 1 Qt: Zucchini Pie
  5. Broccoli 1 Qt
  6. Roasted Spaghetti Sauce 1 Qt

The sunshine is getting stronger by the day and the 10 day forecast shows temperatures reaching into the 40s. We know winter isn’t over yet, but it feels as if we have left the claws of deep winter and are nearing milder conditions. By the end of the month, we will be seeding onions in the greenhouse. Time just continues to march on to a beat that I’m not quite keeping up with at times, but regardless the seasons continue to cycle as we ebb and flow through life.

The bonus item this winter season is rhubarb. Somehow we squirreled away an overabundance of rhubarb. I hope you are finding a way to add it into your sweet treats. I find I can toss it in along with most crisps, crumbles, or pies and it acts as a filler to go along with other fruit. I know some make a savory rhubarb chutney as well.

Ericka, a CSA member from Alma, shared the zucchini pie recipe above. Somewhat like a quiche but an alternative way to use the zucchini. Just be sure to drain the zucchini well after thawing. If you have a recipe you’d like to share with the rest of our members, please send me a link and I’ll pass it along. Perhaps I’ll even get a Member Tips/Recipes page created on this website to spotlight some of the very useful member generated tips for using their CSA items.

Our Winter CSA share price has increased for the 2016-17 season. We have kept track of our costs more closely and over the years the contents of what we are consistently putting into the winter shares has increased without an increase to the share price. The average value of the CSA shares you have been receiving this winter have been between $78-$85 while we have charged $55 for the bi-weekly shares. This margin of difference has steadily increased over the years as we have varied the options and volume of produce stored and preserved for the winter shares. For next season, the price per delivery will increase to $70 which still allows for some bonus value to our members but also makes sure that we are sufficiently compensated for our goods and services.

If you are planning on signing up for a Fall or Winter CSA share for the 2016/17 season, please do so soon. On March 1st, I will open up the Fall and Winter CSA sign-up to the general public to fill our remaining available shares. We want to give our long standing members the first chance to continue their CSA shares with our farm before opening up the enrollment. Here’s the link for sign-up: http://suncrestgardensfarm.com/csa/sign-up/

Eat Well. Smile Often.

Your Farmer,

Heather

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Winter CSA Week 3

Fresh and Value-Added Items:

  1. Carrots 2#: Vegetable Barley Soup
  2. Potatoes 3#
  3. Celeriac: Celeriac Soup or use celery root in barley soup recipe above
  4. Onions, 1.5#
  5. Fresh Spinach 1/2#: spinach and sundried tomato pasta
  6. Coleslaw Mix: 3 simple dressings
  7. Eggs-1 dozen
  8. Pickles 10 oz…a little spicy this time
  9. Dried Tomatoes, 1 oz: dried tomato hummus
  10. Radishes, daikon and watermelon
  11. Winter squash: squash crumble bars

FROZEN ITEMS:

  1. Vegetable Stock 1 Qt: water, onions, carrots, potatoes, celery, rosemary, sage, thyme, bay leaf, salt & pepper.
  2. 2 quarts soup (Minestroni Soup & Incognito Soup), or your customized items
  3. Rhubarb 1 Qt
  4. Raspberries 1 Qt
  5. Sweet Corn 1 Pt: Texas Caviar ( feel free to reduce sugar in half)
  6. Sweet Peppers 1/2 pint

The CSA delivery comes in perfect timing with the snow storm this week. We were able to pack all the boxes yesterday, plow, and shovel pathways around the farm. The ice underneath the snow is pretty treacherous and we will be stuck with that for some time. However, we were all pretty excited to receive a new layer of beautiful snow for cross country skiing and playing in. As school is again closed today, the boys get to shovel some more and help deliver the boxes today. I hope you are all plowed out and able to get to your shares this evening.

In this weeks box is a bag of coleslaw mix. Please use the coleslaw mix this week. Either add a coleslaw dressing to it or sprinkle it on top of your spinach salad. Leftover slaw mix can even be tossed into a stir fry, soup, or casserole.

A new item this week are the dried tomatoes. To use dried tomatoes, you can soak them in a small dish with hot water if you want them to be hydrated and tender for use. I usually rehydrate them when using them for hummus or on pizzas. You can use them dried if adding them to soups or a dish that has plenty of liquid for them to absorb.

The last of the daikon radishes and the start of watermelon radishes come today. The daikon are crisp and snappy. The watermelon radish is an awesome pink color inside. Peel the skin to remove the heat and eat it raw as a snack or on a salad.

Eat Well. Smile Often.

Your Farmer,

Heather

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Winter CSA week 2

Fresh and Value-Added Items:

  • Garlic 2 bulbs
  • Carrots 2#
  • Potatoes 3#: Basic Vegetable Soup
  • Celery root: Still scared of this? Read this article
  • Onions, red storage 1.5#
  • Fresh Spinach 7oz
  • Raspberry Jam
  • Pickled beets, 1/2 pint
  • Eggs-1 dozen
  • Pickles 10 oz
  • winter squash

FROZEN ITEMS:

  • Vegetable Stock 1 Qt: water, onions, carrots, potatoes, celery, rosemary, sage, thyme, bay leaf, salt & pepper.
  • 2 quarts soup (see farmers choice soups below), or your customized items
  • Garden Vegetable Soup: Vegetable stock, tomatoes, green beans, potatoes, carrots, zucchini, leeks, kale, parsley, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, salt, pepper
  • Citrus Summer Soup: Zucchini, water, cilantro, onions, tortillas, parsley, lime juice, mint, olive oil, hot peppers, salt
  • Broccoli 1 Qt: Blanched and frozen broccoli
  • Rhubarb 1 Qt: Rhubarb ginger compote
  • Shredded Zucchini 1 Qt: Rhubarb and Zuchinni Ginger Bread
  • Spaghetti sauce 1 Quart: wood fired tomatoes, onions, garlic, peppers, tomato paste, red wine, and spices

We were able to find an afternoon just before the deep freeze to get into the hoophouses and harvest spinach for this week’s share. The crop is snuggled inside the hoophouses under two sheets of inflated plastic, and another internal tunnel of plastic to help minimize cold weather damage to the plants. The spinach still freezes every night, but once it thaws during the day for a couple hours, we are able to harvest the larger leaves by hand. We leave the small leaves on the plant to generate energy for the plant and these small leaves will grow quicker once the light returns to longer lengths in February. We have a very nice looking crop of Giant Winter Spinach in the tunnel this year and we hope to be able to harvest some for each of the winter shares, as long as we can harvest during a time of thaw and sun a couple days before each week’s delivery.

Letters to all of our CSA members were sent out yesterday explaining changes to the CSA program for the 2016-17 season. In short, we will only be offering a fall and winter CSA this year. We hope this adjustment to our workload will help reduce stress and provide more time to do what we need to do better. Fresh vegetables will still be growing here during the summer seasons for the fall and winter CSA and for the pizza farm’s needs, so we will offer a produce stand on the farm limited to the hours of our pizza nights.

Sign-up for our fall and winter CSA seasons is now open. Making a $100 down payment reserves your share and the remaining amount due needs to be paid before the start of your selected season. The link to our sign up page is on our website under the CSA tab.

CUSTOMIZING WINTER CSA 

I think most everyone knows this now, but I wanted to cover this option one last time. We do allow members to customize their soup selections or substitute the two soups for $15 worth of items from the winter CSA farm store. If a selection is not made, soups will be sent per the farmer’s choice. The store will close on Monday at 6pm the week of delivery. The link to the store is always on our website under the CSA dropbox. If you generate a balance due by choosing extra items from the Winter CSA store, I will send an invoice to you at the end of the winter CSA season. http://suncrestgardensfarm.com/csa/customize-winter-csa/

WINTER FROZEN WOOD FIRED PIZZAS

New this year, we are offering frozen par-baked pizzas which can be ordered ahead and delivered with your CSA share on a limited basis. You can order pizzas anytime based upon our winter menu by emailing or calling the farm. The next on-farm pick up date for winter pizzas is Feb 5. Pizzas orders can be picked up here, or delivered to the CSA site on Feb 17th. http://suncrestgardensfarm.com/pizza/winter-par-baked-pizzas/

Eat Well. Smile Often.

Your Farmer,

Heather

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Winter CSA week 1

Fresh and Value-Added Items:

FROZEN ITEMS:

  • Vegetable Stock 1 Qt: water, onions, carrots, potatoes, celery, rosemary, sage, thyme, bay leaf, salt & pepper.
  • 2 quarts soup (see items below) or substituted items via (Winter CSA Store)
  • Minestroni Soup: tomatoes, vegetable stock, zucchini, carrots, kale, celery, green beans, green peppers, oregano, basil, salt, pepper, sugar
  • Butternut Apple: Squash, apples, onions, water, apple cider, olive oil, butter, curry powder, salt, black pepper
  • Beans 1 Qt: Blanched and frozen beans
  • Sweet Corn 1 pint: corn, butter, salt: Black bean corn salad
  • Raspberries 1 quart
  • Rhubarb 1 Qt: Saveur’s best rhubarb recipes
  • Diced Tomatoes 1 Quart

Welcome to the Winter CSA season. Everything at the farm feels snuggled in for a good winters rest. A nice layer of snow covers the ground protecting the perennial plants and hay fields outside. We prefer a snow cover to help buffer extreme temperature changes, but the snow also makes us happy so we can cross country ski and sled.

Last week, I tried to send a reminder email out to everyone about the upcoming winter CSA starting but mistakenly clicked the wrong box and sent it to the year round and fall members, thus leaving some of you out of the loop. I’m sorry about this and I hope we have the kinks worked out of the system for the new CSA season.

We do allow members to customize their soup selections or substitute the two soups for $15 worth of items from the winter CSA farm store. I will make adjustments to our inventory and will reopen the store in a couple days for people to begin making selections for the next delivery. If a selection is not made, soups will be sent per the farmer’s choice. The store will close on Monday at 6pm the week of delivery. The link to the store is always on our website under the CSA dropbox. http://suncrestgardensfarm.com/csa/customize-winter-csa/

New this year, we are offering frozen par-baked pizzas which can be ordered ahead and delivered with your CSA share on a limited basis. You can order pizzas anytime based upon our winter menu by emailing or calling the farm. The next on-farm pick up dates for winter pizzas is Feb 5. Pizzas orders can be picked up here, or delivered to the CSA site on Feb 17th. http://suncrestgardensfarm.com/pizza/winter-par-baked-pizzas/

Eat Well. Smile Often.

Your Farmer,

Heather

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Week 6, last CSA fall share

  1. onions
  2. garlic
  3. leeks: potato leek soup with dill and cheddar
  4. daikon radish
  5. butternut squash: lamb stew with butternut
  6. kale: sausage, kale, and sweet potato soup
  7. red cabbage: mission Chinese foods cabbage salad
  8. fingerling potatoes
  9. carrots
  10. beets: winter salad with roasted beets and pomegranate seeds
  11. salad mix
  12. eggs

As a dusting of snow has arrived and stayed, we say good bye to fall and hello to winter. Hence, This is our 6th and final fall CSA delivery for this year. We thank you for your continued support and commitment to eat more veggies via your local farmers at Suncrest Gardens.

This time of year, it’s always a privilege to go inside the hoophouses and be surrounded by fresh greens while the snow flies outside. The greens are extra magical in the fall and winter. Perhaps knowing their limited availability makes them taste better than normal; however, there are some sweet chemical changes in the leaves that add to the eating pleasure.

The last of the leeks are in your boxes today so it’s time for that potato leek soup if you haven’t already made some. The kale was harvested from the field while it was raining late Monday while temperatures were still above freezing. (Yes, this is why you need to love your farmers as they do these tasks lovingly knowing you will all eat your greens!) I find that I especially love adding kale to soups as it holds up so well and no one seems to complain about eating their greens. It kind of just sneaks by them versus the bowl of sautéed kale which is loved only by some.

Keep the Eggs Coming…Dec 16th special delivery

If you’d like to have another delivery of eggs, we will be bringing a round of eggs to town on December 16th to the CSA drop sites. Let us know how many dozen you would be interested in receiving for holiday baking and winter break. $4/dozen

Winter Wood-fired Pizzas

It was suggested that I should deliver some of our par-baked frozen winter pizzas along with the winter CSA shares. I am certainly open to doing that so if anyone would like to order. All orders must be pre-ordered anytime from now until December 27th by emailing Heather. The winter menu is on our winter pizza blog post below. The delivered pizzas would come Wednesday, January 6th to the CSA pick up site, during regular pick up hours. Or the preordered pizzas would be available earlier for pick up at the farm on Thursday, December 31st.

Meat Shares

We are also offering frozen meat shares to be delivered this winter to the CSA pick up sites. The variety box of farm raised meats would include 1# packages of lean ground beef, 1# packages of Italian pork sausage, bacon, pork chops or a whole chicken, lamb brats, ground lamb or lamb kabob meat, and a pint of rendered lard. The amount will easily store in your top freezer space. Deliveries would be made in January, February, and March. Cost would be $105 per variety box. Email Heather if you are interested or if you’d like to gift someone a meat share.

Eat Well. Smile Often.

Your Farmer,

Heather

 

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Fall CSA Week 5

  1. Onions
  2. garlic
  3. Kale: kale and onion egg bake
  4. salad mix, 12 oz bag
  5. daikon radishes: daikon recipes including kimchee
  6. leeks
  7. Celery root: celery root and potato mash
  8. carrots
  9. Superior potatoes
  10. butternut squash: caramelized butternut
  11. pie pumpkin
  12. Brussel sprouts: Ina’s roasted Brussels
  13. eggs

We wish you all a blessed Thanksgiving and hope this seasonal time of gathering offers you time to enjoy family and friends. The harvest meal is one of my favorites as it traditionally highlights many of the seasonal foods available this time of year.

We find ourselves wrapping up special events here at the farm and steadily booking weddings and events for next summer. Novmeber and December provide us much need time to catch up on ou bookwork, review the past seasons, plan for next year, and perhaps read a few good books by the fire.

I believe the four seasons is one of the greatest blessings of farming in the Midwest, besides the fertility and rainfall. The seasonal changes build in a natural time of reflection and provide time to evaluate how things are going. I think this is a valuable tool both personally and professionally.

Mercedes, who is staying on with the farm throughout the winter, is taking on a slightly different role in the farm as a farm manager assistant. She will be learning and helping to prepare next year’s growing plan and evaluating all the farm enterprises as she takes her level of learning and responsibility to yet another level. She has been a fabulous member of the farm team over the past two seasons and I look forward to having her stay on in this more advanced role.

WINTER WOOD FIRED PIZZA…

We are offering our wood fired pizzas throughout the winter as a frozen par-baked option. Our first pick up for these pizzas is this Friday. The future pick up dates will be Dec 31, Feb 5, and Mar 18. If you are interested, keep an eye on our Facebook page for announcements. We have a smaller menu for the winter and all pizzas must be preordered the week prior to pickup.

Eat Well. Smile Often.

Your Farmer,

Heather

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Winter Wood-Fired Pizzas

The par-baked wood-fired pizza provides a delicious, convenient meal for those busy times when you have company over, when the big game is on, or when you crave the summertime flavors of wood-fired pizzas but instead get to enjoy them in the warmth and comfort of your home.

These special limited season pizzas are created by partially baking our homemade crusts in our wood-fired pizza oven imparting the smoky wood-fired flavors of the oven into each pizza. The pizzas are then made to order and frozen. The directions for cooking each pizza are simple. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and cook for about 12 minutes, depending on your oven. For a crispier crust, thaw the pizza before baking.

Winter Pick-Up Dates:

Fri Nov 20          Thurs Dec 31         Fri Feb 5             Fri March 18

Email/Call Heather to Order 1 week in advance of Winter Pick-Up Dates:

heather@suncrestgardensfarm.com                 608-626-2122 

WINTER WOOD-FIRED PIZZA MENU

CHEESE  Mozzarella and choice of sauce   $17

CLASSIC  Italian sausage or pepperoni, roasted onions, garlic, mozzarella $20   BOTH MEATS $21

SUPREME  Italian sausage and pepperoni, mushrooms, roasted peppers, olives, roasted onions, garlic, mozzarella, basil $22

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HAWAIIAN Diced ham, pineapple, garlic, roasted onions, mozzarella, jalapenos   $19

JAZZY HAWAIIAN Diced Canadian bacon, pineapple, garlic, roasted onions, mozzarella, jalapenos, teriyaki barbeque sauce $21

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SPINACH ALFREDO Garlic alfredo sauce topped with fresh spinach, mozzarella, mushrooms, grated carrots, roasted onions $20 Add Bacon or Chicken for $2

THE FUN-GUY  Mushrooms, caramelized onions, feta, thyme, oregano, and mozzarella on a garlic infused olive oil base $20

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