Sumer CSA week 11

  1. Onions, walla walla
  2. garlic
  3. colored peppers
  4. tomatoes: roasted tomato soup
  5. eggplant: smoky eggplant dip
  6. Summer squash
  7. kale: kale Greek salad
  8. red cabbage: red cabbage and corn salad (add some peppers for more color)
  9. carrots
  10. beets: refrigerator pickled beets
  11. sweet corn

Herb share: lemongrass, Rosemary, cilantro, jalapeño pepper, parsley

The switch to fall like weather seems to have stuck at least for the short while. We can see a slow down in the field harvest of some items due to the change. However, the cooler temperatures makes me feel like we are ready for the back-to-school season. I have even had to bring out the stocking hat to wear this week to keep the cold winds off my ears.

Our raspberries have just started to ripen a bit. Soon we will be swimming in them but it is all in the cyclical seasons of harvest as we will be ready to switch our attention to them as other crop harvests slow down. I’m always so thankful that there is a peak time for many of the different vegetables that ebbs and flows differently from each other, attempting to space our labor efforts out over the entire season.

This weekend at the farm, we will partake in the celebration of two wonderful people, Dale and Jenny Schaffner (Jason’s parents) as they celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary. Farm life reaches deep into both of their histories and continues to live on in several of their children. I look forward to hosting the event and honoring their commitment to each other and the legacy of their love.

imageimageEat Well. Smile Often.

Your Farmer,

Heather

 

 

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Summer CSA Week 10

  1. Tomatoes
  2. peppers, Carmen and jimmy nardello; large sweet bell for full shares
  3. Eggplant: Parmesean Rollatini
  4. garlic
  5. walla walla onions
  6. cucumber
  7. zucchini, summer squash, &/ or lemon squash: Summer squash ribbons
  8. broccoli
  9. rainbow kale: curried kale with coconut
  10. carrots
  11. chiogga beets: beet parsley salad
  12. Sweet corn
  13. celery: burgers with celery, olives, and blue cheese

herb shares: sage, parsley, mint, oregano

Sometimes the weather pattern insists that a farmer has to work even on the weekends, and I’m so glad I did just that this past weekend. By Sunday, I had worked up a large portion of our cover crop areas and prepared an area for planting spinach, salad mix, arugula, late kale, trial snap beans, and winter radishes. The cool rains came Monday as forecasted and we have been able to watch the seeds start to germinate in these near perfect conditions for seeding.

We are trying out a new tractor to see if the size and style is what would work well for the farm here. I do love the simplicity of my 1950s Massie 35hp tractor, but I’m getting to the point that the safety features of a newer tractor with a loader may be more appropriate for our situation here.

Another upgrade to equipment was the purchase of a 6′ tiller to replace our older 5′ unit. The wider new tiller runs so smoothly and fully covers our tire tracks when working up a field. I no longer need to say a little prayer when heading out to the field in hopes that we can get through the project without any hiccups.

It seems there is always an upgrade of something but I feel fortunate to be able to make consistent upgrades as needed trying to keep things flowing smoothly here while appreciating each little step along the way.

The summer CSA has only 4 more weeks left. The last delivery day is Wednesday, September 16th. Enjoy the abundance while it lasts!

Eat Well. Smile Often.

Your Farmer,

Heather

 

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Summer CSA week 9

  1. Eggplant: eggplant roll ups
  2. red pepper, Carmen (long, thick) and jimmy Nardello (not hot, skinny)
  3. Tomatoes
  4. onion, walla walla
  5. garlic
  6. basil
  7. cucumber
  8. zucchini, summer squash, and/or lemon squash: Tuscan grilled squash
  9. lacinato kale: beans and greens tacos
  10. chiogga beets: warm orzo salad with beets and greens
  11. carrots
  12. beans
  13. celery: Parmesan basil chicken salad
  14. sweet corn

herbs: parsley, sweet marjoram, tarragon, mint

My folks were kind enough to go on a road trip to Iowa for me this last weekend and pick up 7 Katahdin ewe lambs. This will make our flock size be at 10 ewes and 1 ram, all registered breeding stock of this hair type of sheep. We enjoy their natural low maintenance style on our pasture system and the 3 lambs from this spring have sized up very well. If anyone is interested in a half of lamb, let me know. Next year, we may have 20 or so spring lambs.

I have decided to get 50 Barred Rock chicks to replace some of older hens in the spring. We have to raise the chicks to around 6 months old before they start laying so this is the time to order in preparations for next year. The Barred Rocks are a heavier breed that tolerates winter well, is pretty calm, lays brown eggs, and have a unique beautiful mottled coloring making the group easily identifiable from the rest of our birds.

Besides animal planning for next year, we are planting field salad, spinach, and fall radishes for this fall. The summer season has peaked and we are forced to begin counting the weeks left until frost. Dreaded words to most, but the daylight is tied to this frost date as well and the number of daylight hours are of utmost importance in getting crops planted at the right time for fall and winter harvests to develop to the right stage.

The Chiogga beets are new to the box this week. Hidden behind the outer red skin is a candy stripe red and white coloring. Cut one in half to revel in this beauty. It is an Italian heirloom and tends not to bleed like regular red beets, although the distinctive coloring does fade when cooked.

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This Friday evening at the farm, our local dairy princesses will be here promoting Wisconsin Dairy and serving soft serve ice cream cones. Come on out to the farm and enjoy some wood-fired pizza and a cone while our beautiful summer weather continues.

Eat Well. Smile Often.

Your Farmer,

Heather

 

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Summer CSA Week 8

  1. Cucumbers: sesame cucumber salad (I add some Siracha too!)
  2. zucchini/summer squash: zucchini brownies
  3. eggplant: schechuan spicy eggplant
  4. cabbage: roasted cabbage wedges with Dijon sauce
  5. carrots: fried rice
  6. kale: salt and vinegar kale chips
  7. onions, not cured store in fridge
  8. garlic
  9. lettuce
  10. tomatoes: 30 minute marinara sauce
  11. jalapeno pepper
  12. celery: chicken salad with grapes
  13. green beans: PF changs spicy green beans

This week started a little rough for me as I came down with a pretty bad summer cold. Thanks to a great team here, they pulled through without me and kept the farm on track while I clocked in a record number of hours of sleep. I am on the mend now and hope that I don’t have to deal with any more crud for a long while.

This week’s box has items you have all seen before. I must be in a spicy mood as several of the recipe suggestions have a little spice in them, as always the heat can be adjusted to your liking.

A note about the onions, they are not cured yet. This means that they are not ready for long term counter storage. To keep them longer, store in the fridge. We are pulling walla walla onions today and will cure them in our greenhouse covered with a cloth for shade so they cure and develop their outer skin.

The Buffalo County Fair was great fun this year, but exhausting. The boys enjoyed displaying their items, discovering what ribbons they got, and of course showing the pig. A big thank you to HUNGER LOGGING who purchased Ashlan’s pig at the auction! He was so proud of himself for getting the pig to weight and learning how to show him. It is really quite an experience for kids to be a part of and for the community to support the 4H groups.

Ethan was very proud that his flowers took best of show. Next year, he thinks he is ready to take a pig as well. The 4H experience is new to me as I was never involved in 4H as a kid, but each year we learn a little more as a family. All in all, it’s time well spent.

Nessa, the fair pig

We have 4 pasture raised hogs available, reserve your 1/2 or whole hog now. $3/# hanging weight at Ledeburs in Winona, Mn. A half usually weighs around 100#s. Ledeburs does a fine job processing and will help you to make your cut selections. Contact Heather to reserve your hog now. Email: Heather@suncrestgardensfarm.com

Eat Well. Smile Often.

Your Farmer,

Heather

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Summer CSA week 7

  1. Cucumbers
  2. zucchini and summer squash, including lemon squash: Marinated Squash
  3. Eggplant: Alice Waters Ratatouille
  4. cabbage: Rice Noodle Salad
  5. basil
  6. carrots
  7. onions, fresh so store in fridge
  8. Garlic, nearly cured so 60 degree / counter storage is ok. You can store in fridge but they’ll sprout when brought out to counter.
  9. head lettuce
  10. tomatoes: Pesto Tomato Sandwich
  11. dragon tongue beans: Beans with Ginger Vinaigrette
  12. jalapeno pepper: Jalapeño & Sweet Corn Cornbread
  13. celery: Celery Stir Fry
  14. sweet corn, couple ears…more to come when next group is ready!

herb share: parsley, mint, oregano, lemongrass

We are to the half way point in our summer CSA season. Wow, it’s hard to believe how quickly a season flies by! This is the time of year of abundance with peak season nearing and tomatoes starting to roll in.

Carrots are new this week. We all love carrots and these will be available in our boxes for the rest of the year. I have come to truly appreciate the versatility of carrots and the nearly year round availability due to their storage ability.

The lemon summer squash are also new. They look like a lemon. Pretty little things. I plan to serve a meal of them tonight as I haven’t had a chance to eat them yet. The variety of produce sure keeps things fun as we can offer you things that you might not regularly find in a grocery store or might have never purchased before.

Celery is abundant this year. Enjoy it for snacking, or add it to stir fries, salads, or anything you’d like a little crunch in. The tops can be chopped and frozen for making veggie stock or adding to soups in the fall/winter. The celery looses its texture once thawed from the freezer but all the flavor and nutrition remains.

I hope you are enjoying the small head lettuce in the box. Although loose leaf salad greens are not happy this time of year, some varieties of head lettuce do just fine. We are continuing to develop our head lettuce program at the farm as it is a nice addition to summer sandwiches.

Tomatoes and basil are a match made in heaven. So we have a nice bouquet of basil in the boxes this week to pair with your tomatoes or to make a little pesto. Pesto mixed with mayo really takes a BLT or other sandwich to the next level.

For those with herb shares, lemongrass is something new we grew this year. Lemongrass tea is supposed to help lower ones internal temperature when it’s hot outside. Drink it hot or cold; however, the tea is first made by pouring boiling water over 25-30 1.5″ long pieces of lemongrass. Steep for 15 minutes. Strain and serve hot or cold.

Along with the busy summer season of harvesting and preserving, we are in the thrust of our pizza season topped with the Buffalo County Fair this weekend. This is the first year that Ashlan is bringing a pig to the fair. He has really enjoyed working with Nessa his pig and has been practicing walking with her in our pen using marshmallows as bait to follow his show stick. Ethan is preparing his non animal show items, his proudest project would be a pioneer cabin he built out of Popsicle sticks.  Although life is full and busy, it’s a great time of year!

Eat Well. Smile Often.

Your Farmer,

Heather

 

 

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Summer CSA Week 6

  1. Spring onions
  2. beets: shocking beet hummus
  3. fennel: roasted eggplant, tomato and fennel salad
  4. garlic bulb
  5. Head lettuce
  6. Beans, dragon tongue or green: stir fried beans
  7. summer squash or zucchini
  8. broccoli
  9. cauliflower: marinated vegetable salad
  10. Celery: juicing celery
  11. eggplant
  12. tomatoes: fresh tomato salsa
  13. jalapeno
  14. Sweet corn
  15. cabbage: grilled cabbage wedges with lime dressing

Herb shares: cilantro, thyme, basil, parsley, dill

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This week’s CSA box comes with the favors of summer starting to roll in….tomatoes, jalapeño pepper, eggplant, garlic, and a taste of sweet corn. Our early corn didn’t do great this year, but we will all get to enjoy a few early ears of this tender sweet corn this week and next. Our other successions of corn are doing much better, are larger, and are fully enjoying the summer heat.

Processing the harvest has begun. Our first batch of sauerkraut has been made and we have a 20 gallon crock full of shredded cabbage starting its fermentation process. I’m so delighted to get to use the crocks which were used by Jason’s family to make sauerkraut for a couple generations.

Tomato processing will also commence this week as we have tomatoes starting to roll in. As you can see, there is a beautiful array of colors and sizes of tomatoes in this week’s share.  Tomatoes are one of the best fresh items of summer so enjoy them in mass while they last. Our job is to cook, dry, and preserve these babies so we can eat them all year long as we’ve become spoiled by eating our own tomatoes all year long.

Eat well. Smile often.

Your Farmer,

Heather

 

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Summer CSA week 5

  1. Spring onions
  2. garlic Scapes: savory egg pancakes with scapes
  3. fennel: teriyaki chicken stir fry with fennel
  4. beets: chocolate beet cake with beet colored cream cheese frosting
  5. rainbow kale: 6 tips for flawless kale chips
  6. beans…green beans or dragon tongue: green bean salad with balsamic
  7. summer squash or zucchini
  8. Broccoli
  9. cauliflower: loaded cauliflower and broccoli (recipe from csa member, see below)
  10. Celery: celery salad and celery, fennel, rhubarb salad
  11. tomatoe…just 1!
  12. eggplant, full shares only

herb shares: basil, tarragon, parsley, mint

The days on the farm and transitioning to harvest versus primarily weeding and planting. It’s always joyous to see the fruits of ones labor begin to appear in such abundance. We are thankful for some extra help from our sweet neighbors who are helping preserve the harvest and assist on our busy pizza nights. It seems that the to-do lists here never really reach full completion but it always gives purpose for tomorrow.

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The heat of summer is here and that meant our garlic was ready to be pulled. We managed to harvest about 75% of the garlic in 3.5 hours. Pictured above are Andrea and Merceds with a wagon load of hanging tied garlic and more bulbs layed out to cure. It was a warm and muddy job as it had rained 1.5″ the night before; however, the gals are still smiling! Maybe that is because they knew lunch was next.

The harvest was one of our best as the garlic bulbs look awesome. It was one of our goals this season to grow a great garlic crop. A new planting approach was tried last fall so that efficient closer spacing was used to condense the weeding efforts and better mulch the crop.  The growing conditions were also in our favor this year. We will leave the wagon in the covered pole shed for two weeks for air curing to occur. Then we will have to cut off the stems and sort the harvest into our seed stock, CSA supply, pizza kitch use, and extra sales piles. Garlic will be coming soon!

A long time CSA member, Jo Ann, has shared with us a Loaded Cauliflower & Broccoli recipe that she says was really enjoyed by her family. Thanks for sharing! If you have a recipe featuring the seasonal vegetables, please pass it along and I will share.

Loaded Cauliflower Recipe

Enough cauliflower or cauliflower and broccoli to fill a 9 x 13 inch baking dish
½ cup sour cream, or substitute with some plain yogurt
½ cup mayonnaise
3/ 4 to 1 pound bacon
6 T. chives or green onion tops
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Wash and cut cauliflower and broccoli into bigger than bite size pieces. Cook in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool in cold water. Arrange in a 9 x 13 inch pan.

Cook bacon until crispy, drain, cool and crumble it.

Mix together the sour cream and mayonnaise. Add half of the cooked and crumbled bacon, 3 T chives and 1 cup of the cheese. Spread this mixture on top of the cooked and cooled veggies.

Top this with the rest of the cheese, the other 3 T. chives or green onion tops and the rest of the cooked and crumbled bacon.

Cook in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. This reheats well in the oven or in the microwave.

Eat Well. Smile Often.

Your Farmer,

Heather

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Summer CSA week 4

  1. Spring onions: use green and white parts-no prejudice here
  2. garlic Scapes: grilled scapes
  3. fennel: roasted fennel 
  4. salad greens
  5. beets: roasted beet salad and goat cheese
  6. Lacinato kale: lemony braised kale
  7. sugar snap peas: sautéed sugar snaps
  8. green beans
  9. summer squash or zucchini
  10. cauliflower: cauliflower pizza crust
  11. broccoli: grilled broccoli (tip-use an aluminum foil pouch)

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The snap peas I’ve alluded to are finally here! Everyone receives a nice bag of them to snack or or even saute into a quick meal. I dont expect them to last long, so enjoy the crunchy goodness now.

An early plot of beans is starting as well so we have 2 different kinds of beans this week, either dragon tongue (yellow with purple stripes) or provider green beans. We really like the dragon tongue beans boiled until they turn yellow. Dabble with butter and a little sea salt and devour.

If the fennel perplexes you, here’s a link to how to cut up a fennel. Once you are familiar, it is quite easy. I often core it and slice it up and add it to my onions and garlic and throw it in with whatever else I might be cooking. There are other recipes that highlight its flavor more and using the fresh fronds as a garnish will give you an extra anise flair.

This season, Mercedes is at the Winona farmer’s market every Saturday with our extra farm vegetables, pizza dough, soups, sauces, jams, other goods. She has created such a cute display. Stop on in and say hi as it’s just plain fun to cruise around the farmers market and find some delicious treasures.

Farmer market stand

Our wood-fired pizza nights are in full swing. We have a nice line-up of music scheduled to add to your dining experience on the farm. There is also several seasonal pizzas that feature a variety of farm grown items. Sometimes it’s hard to narrow the seasonal options down to just a few pizza options when there’s such abundance coming in from the gardens. However, we always have our traditional pizza fares for our more conservative eaters.

Eat Well. Smile Often.

Your Farmer,

Heather

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Summer CSA week 3

  1. Green onions
  2. Garlic Scapes: Grilled Naan with Garlic Scape Chutney, no cook chutney
  3. Fennel: Pasta with fennel, lemon, and kale (or chard)
  4. Swiss Chard
  5. Basil: Basil Pesto
  6. Mixed Salad Greens
  7. Kohlrabi: Kohlrabi and Lentil soup 
  8. Broccoli: Siracha Broccoli
  9. Bok Choy: Bok Choy Ramen Saladseven layer salad (use Bok choy for crunch)
  10. half shares: summer squash and cauliflower
  11. Full shares: Napa Cabbage: Healthier Napa Ramen Salad

Herb shares: Parsley, dill, lemon thyme, tarragon

The days are full and the weeks are sailing by on the farm. We were able to get our hay dry, baled, and stacked in the pole shed before another blast of rain came this weekend. And now with another 2″ of rain this week, everything is well soaked in the field. Harvesting the CSA harvest this week meant sinking in the mud to get to the vegetables. However, the upcoming forecast looks dry. Perhaps the baby zucchini and summer squash that have taken to rotting will dry out and begin producing a better crop next week.

The peas are struggling to produce so there was not a good enough crop this week to add to the shares. The boxes are abundant and overflowing in other ways. The salad and basil could not even fit in the boxes this week, so enjoy the abundance.

We made a kohlrabi soup this week as an alternative way to eat the kohlrabi. Not only was the soup simple to prepare, it was really delicious. See the recipe link above. I’m surprised that I haven’t eaten kohlrabi cubed in a soup before and I loved it’s nonstarchy, mild flavor and it held its shape very well. For those that are not interested in soups in the summer (or ever!), make a pot of rice and label the Solids and a little broth from the soup over the top of it. Easy and yummy.

This will be the last week for Bok choy and I’ve included a couple different dishes that capture the crunch of the choy. See links above.

The garlic scapes have been all harvested in order to let the plants put more energy into the bulb sizing versus flower production. The scapes , or curly cues, are a mild garlic tasting vegetable. One way to make these easily usable is to chop them up in your food processor and keep them in a little container in the fridge to sprinkle into your cooking as you would garlic. Making a condiment our of them such as one of the chutney recipes linked above is another way to add flavors to just about anything. Otherwise, simply use them as you would garlic without the fear of overdoing it as they are milder than garlic cloves.

Eat Well. Smile Often.

Your Farmer,

Heather

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Summer CSA week 2

  1. Bok choy : Bok choy with Sesame Dressing 
  2. Red Fire Lettuce
  3. Spinach: spinach stuffing balls
  4. Garlic chives: White Bean and garlic scape dip
  5. green onions
  6. Broccoli: honey ginger stir fry
  7. kale, red bor: roasted red bor kale salad
  8. kohlrabi: kohrabi fritters with dill yogurt sauce, kohlrabi slaw
  9. full shares only: baby summer squash

Herb share subscribers: basil, dill, parsley, oregano, thyme

It appears we may have a little stretch of sunshine for the week. I think I can hear haybines cutting hay in every valley around me. This summer has proven especially difficult to make and dry any hay. Usually by this time, some are starting to make their second crop of hay but this season we are just beginning our first crop. The hay is older than it should be and tangled together, but it simply needs to cut, dried, and taken off the field so another crop can grow. Thankfully the thistles and weeds haven’t yet set seed. Let’s hope for drying winds and sunshine for the rest of the week.

The moisture has made things lush in the garden.  The kohlrabi are very tender this year, even the skins are thin and edible yet. We have a link to another slaw recipe as well as a fritter recipe which is accompanied by a dill yogurt sauce.

We think that next week the snap peas might be ready along with the first summer squash for everyone. Basil will also come in next week’s share.

Update on the chickens…we have replenished our flock with 150 laying hens from a farm in Westby. The new hens are laying at about 85% so our egg problems have been solved for now. We plan to order some new chicks of different breeds in August so they begin laying in early spring next year.

Eat Well. Smile Often.

Your Farmer,

Heather

 

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