Farm Newsletter October 3, 2016

img_0654Farm Newsletter October 3, 2016

Farm News       Crop Forecast

U-Pick              Recipes               Nuts and Bolts

Sign up here for your 2017 share of the harvest!

Sign up in the barn for the November Storage Share.

Final share pickups of 2016 are the week of October 17, 19 and 21

(you will get a double share that week.)

Greetings Friends!

We’re enjoying the sun as much as anyone.  We hope you’re out enjoying it too!

Dry, sunny, breezy days are perfect for big fall vegetable harvest like winter squash, sweet potatoes, potatoes (for the folks that grow them), and all the roots like carrots, beets, and parsnips.  (And without fro-t it helps keep the tomatoes and peppers limping along too!) The crew has been working super hard bending, lifting, driving, washing and sorting to get these crops out of the fields and ready for you.  It’s a heavy time of year and while we’ve been able to upgrade equipment and systems to reduce the amount of bending, lifting and carrying we all do, there is still inevitably some.  We’re fortunate and grateful to have skilled and happy people to work with to get all this great food ready for you to eat.

Thank you so much to everyone who came and contributed to the Harvest for the Hungry Fundraiser!!  It seems long ago already, but the weather was dry and even sometimes sunny, and it was a lovely night.  Special thanks to The Counterfactuals and The Ericksons for rocking the front porch.  Allia  belting out “There’s a skid steer in my yard”, while playing her air guitar, has made me look out the window a few times to see if there really is one out there.

So many people (over 300 we think) came to enjoy the music and each other, and were very generous in giving to the Harvest for The Hungry program — together we raised over $3000 to help The Food Group buy fresh, local, quality pesticide-free produce to distribute to their 100+ food shelf partners.  Another special thanks to Bluewater Properties and Just Food Co-op for contributions which offset the event’s expenses.  This is one way that together we can help everyone have access to healthy food!

We’ve had many requests for this to be an annual event, and right now it seems like we’ll do that.  We hope you can make it next year!

The Sogn Valley Craft Fair was another beautiful fall event that we enjoyed seeing many of you be a part of (some as artist vendors, some as fun-fair-goers).  Fall is rolling along in all its splendor and we hope it fills your bellies and your hearts like it does ours!

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Crop Forecast

Yields are down on several crops, with fungal and bacterial plant diseases that got established in all the rain.  We’ve been fortunate — we’ve heard estimated totals around 40″ in neighboring counties just for August and September!  We’ve probably had about 15″ in that time, and with our quick-draining silt loam soils that means we’re losing less than many folks and have been able to at least be in the  field harvesting.  It’s been wet here but not flooded or too too soggy.

But the lower yields are keeping the share size down, and making it a little harder for us to have a good amount of each of the options on the slanted mix-and-match table.  We’ll bring some parsnips in this week and sweet potatoes!  The sweet potatoes are still in the process of curing, and their flavor is almost spectacular.  If it doesn’t tastes as good as you want this week, add maple syrup — next week they should be sweet and full-flavored on their own!

We hope you’ve been enjoying eating Winter Squash. It is so hearty and sweet; it is a main focus of our meals many days at this time of year.  We’ll aim to have your choice of 2 for the rest of October, plus some smaller ones in the bag; we had a pretty good harvest but we’ll see; if we don’t have that many we might have to go down to 1 per week, it’s hard to  tell right now.  A few of you have had a squash that looked good on the outside but was rotten on the inside — we apologize for that, it is harder than usual to tell in a rainy year like this which can encourage more sneaky organisms that are hard to detect — please tell us and take a replacement.

There are just a few peppers left, green or red (we’re amazed those sick plants have made it this far). Broccoli and Cauliflower look like they’ll give an ok supply — nothing bumper, but ok.  Summer squash is done, and eggplant is almost done too. 

We should continue to have shallots and/or cipollini onions, plus leeks — they are fabulous this year!  This is probably the last week we’ll have enough tomatoes to go around.

Lettuce and spinach and some of the asian greens have their own different pathogens, worse than we’ve ever seen before.  We may have to go down in those bag sizes.  Hopefully spinach makes it all month, but it would take a lot of sun and warmth to get good re-growth — 1/3 of the planting was not harvestable from disease and nutrient shortages due to too much rain, and the disease has spread…the harvest could go either way from here.  Both lettuce and spinach we’ll be mowing some un-harvestable sections with hopes of healthier re-growth.

So glad you’re here with us, to ride the ups and downs of yields with us!  Your participation in the CSA is a huge part of keeping the farm afloat (figuratively, fortunately no floods here).  Yields on our key wholesale crops have been modest so far, though it’s enough — but without your reliable, steady support of the farm it would be a lot harder to weather years like this one.  Thanks so much!

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What’s for U-Pick?

Basil — You can still find some good leaves out there!

Cherry Tomatoes – will finally get cut down this week or next, hopefully, to make room for a cover crop to feed and protect the soil for next year’s crop.

Flowers and Green Beans — will be here until a fro-t — which looks possible this Friday night.

Plus cilantro, dill, lemon balm, mint, Thai basil, parsley, oregano and thyme.

Please always check the U-pick board when you’re here to confirm what’s available and picking amounts.  Please bring your own scissors for U-pick.  If you don’t have them with you, ask Erin or Ben or one of the crew and we can loan them. 

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Nuts and Bolts

Sign up online has started for 2017 and

for the November Storage Share 

Although the season is far from over, it is time again to sign up for next year. We hope you’ll come back and eat with us some more!

Below is the text from last week’s email, here it is again in case it’s useful:

We are slowly joining the 21st century, and moving our sign-ups online.  We are using a website developed by a wonderful organization, Local Harvest, who has been supporting local farming for decades and we are delighted that they are offering this software to help make CSA sign-ups easier for farmers and shareholders.

Here’s the link.  It is ready to use so go ahead and try it out.
As usual, please sign up by the last pickup day of this season’s share, October 21st.  You can either pay the full amount by October 21st and get a $10 off coupon for extra vegetables or pay a deposit of $25 to save your spot, with final payment due April 1st, 2017.
Soon after the 21st, we will be contacting people on the waiting list to offer them any open spots.  We hope to see you at the farm again in 2017!

Through this website, you will secure your spot for next year, choose how much you are going to pay, enter your contact info, all of your email addresses, and your pick up day choice.  Please make sure that everyone who wants to receive our newsletters via email has an email address entered in this website.  We will no longer be using our old manual email list for the 2017 season.

Split shares will now be signing up separately online, but will continue to share as you have in the past during the CSA season.  This will allow you to manage your own family’s payment, pickup schedule and contact info.  If for 2017 you will be splitting with a different share partner than in 2016, please email us to let us know of the change.
As you may notice, we have increased our prices for next season.  A couple years ago we decided that if we’re going to have employees, we should definitely aim to pay living wages to fairly reward their hard-work, and do everything we can to make the positions desirable, long-term “good jobs.”  This goal was one of the reasons we built the root cellar, and as big as we did.  We also hire less than other farms our size (and some smaller ones too), and aim to hire experienced people we can pay well and keep around for several years, or longer.  Historically and currently, farm workers are severely underpaid, but are a crucially important part of getting food on your tables.  We want to do our part to change that, and are grateful for your understanding and willingness to pay a little more for the farm share to help make it possible.
So, we have raised the sliding scale by $25 for 2017.  Our new median goal is $575 for the full share and $600 for split shares.  We ask that you still pay on the scale where you feel financially comfortable, but know that adding an extra $25 to your total goes a long way in helping our hard working employees have a little more money in their pockets.  Our goal is to create desirable, long-term jobs in the community, and while we don’t like asking for more money, with your help we can do just that.  This price increase also goes in line with many other CSAs around the country who are facing increases in costs and a determination to pay farm workers better.
If you would like to pay by check, you can either send it to us or bring it to the farm. If you would like to pay with a credit card, we will be adding an additional $20 fee to cover the credit card fees (for full shares) or an extra $10 for split shares.
We still welcome you to pay on your own payment plan, in installments throughout the year, but with this option you must pay with checks.
As for choosing a pick up day this far in advance–do the best you can, we know things change and you are welcome to change your pick up day at any point in time before the season begins.  You will also be able to change your pick up day throughout the season, as much as needed, even on short notice.  Instead of sending us an email and us responding, you will be able to do it through the website, make a couple clicks and it will be done.
As with any new technology roll out, we expect there to be confusion and possible glitches, so please don’t hesitate to ask us questions if you need anything.
November Storage Share

Thursday, November 17, 2016  10am – 6 pm

You can sign up with one of us in the barn.

A deposit of $10, or the full amount, by Oct 21st will hold your spot.

For a price, we believe $90 is fair for all of us.

See the previous newsletter for more details.

Slide Show

 

Bulk Produce for You — Check here each newsletter for what we have available for extra purchase.

To place a bulk order, simply call or email us at least 2 days ahead of the day you’d like to pick it up.  Orders can be picked up at the farm during our regular pickup hours, but it doesn’t have to be your share pickup day.

This week’s selection isLettuce Mix for $5 / lb,Carrots, Beets, Golden Beets for $1 / lb Plus Garlic for $1 / head — available in the barn, no need to pre-order garlic.

Share Pickup Hours Monday Wednesday Friday 2:00-6:00pm. You can U-Pick any time (when U-pick crops are in season.)

Please Drive Carefully —Children are everywhere.

We hope you enjoy the harvest,

Your farmers,

Erin and Ben, with Allia, Aaron Ray, Ali, Annie, Anna, Jesse, and Paul

Butternut Squash & Cider Bisque

from Recipes from America’s Small Farms by Joanne Lamb Hayes & Lori Stein

4 Tbsp (½ stick) unsalted butter

2 cups onions, diced

4 tsp curry powder

2 medium butternut squash

2 apples

3 cups vegetable or chicken stock

1 cup apple cider

salt and pepper

Melt the butter in a large kettle and saute the onions and curry powder over very low heat for about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel the squash and apples and cut them into chunks (if you find the squash too hard to cut, bake it at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes before peeling and cubing it). Add the squash, apples, and stock to the kettle and simmer for 25 minutes. Mash the solids with a potato masher or transfer the contents of the kettle to a blender and puree.

Return pureed bisque to the kettle; add the cider and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Autumn Squash Pasta

from Recipes from America’s Small Farms by Joanne Lamb Hayes & Lori Stein

3 to 4 pounds acorn or butternut squash

1 pound ziti or penne

½ cup olive oil

2 Tbsp unsalted butter

2 large leeks, cleaned and coarsely chopped

½ small onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped

½ to 1 tsp coarse sea salt, or more to taste

pepper

½ cup dry white wine or water

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the squash in half; scoop out and discard the seeds. Place the squash side down, in 1 inch of water in a 13 by 9 inch glass baking dish. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until tender. Set aside just until cool enough to handle, then scoop the squash from the shells.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in boiling salted water for 2 to 3 minutes less than the cooking time on the package; drain and set aside.

Heat the oil and butter in a large pot over low heat. Add the leek, onion, garlic, sea salt, and pepper. Saute until the onion is translucent and the leeks have become pliable, making sure the garlic does not burn. Add the squash and wine, stirring until a thick sauce forms. Fold in the cooked pasta; taste and adjust the seasonings. Spoon into the same glass baking dish; sprinkle with the cheese.

Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until the cheese browns; sprinkle with the parsely and serve hot.

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