Storage Share Newsletter 2016
Remember to bring bags and/or boxes, and guess the weight of the Blue Hubbard Squash!
Pickup is This Thursday, November 17th from
10 – 6:00.
Is spring coming? Or is it really winter on its way first? Wow how wonderful the warmth and sun have been, to liven up what can be a dreary time of year. It has been a total pleasure to “toil” in the sun these last few weeks, with so few wet and cold days. For a while at the end of October it seemed like our clothes and boots were always wet and muddy, but now it’s been a lot easier to keep the house clean! And of course it’s made harvesting much easier — picking from drier soil is so much easier and faster than picking from mud, and makes the washing quicker too. And without the deadline of rain, or even cold so far, this warm spell has taken the edge off this tricky season.
This week we’re washing carrots and all the other roots for you, and harvesting the leeks, brussels sprouts, cabbage and kale. The squash and sweet potatoes are washed and sorted, the garlic (almost) all cleaned. Really this week we wash and wash and wash some more — most fall crops are dirty crops!
The recent weeks have been full, but less complicated; we’re all still working full-time and have a little bit of harvest yet to do (parsnips mainly). Since the end of the share we were able to get all the carrots out of the ground and into the root cellar, along with radishes and most of the beets. Once the harvest is done, cleanup can go on almost as long as the weather permits. We’ll remove the big pieces of plastic that were a weed control experiment, then plant prairie in those strips or blocks, to provide habitat for our insect friends. The flowers will be lovely, maybe as soon as next year, and many of the bugs that we hope to provide housing for will pollinate your crops and/or be predators of vegetable insect pests. Then we’ll make firewood, plan and order seeds for next year, and continue to wash and sell roots all winter. This year it looks like we’ll have carrots and other roots until early March again.
If you know anyone looking for a few thousand pounds of purple daikon radishes (ie, a kim chi maker, or such), let us know. Ben went a little wild on radish planting day… We also have a few thousand pounds of juice / seconds carrots (ie, for a juice or smoothie maker) , so if you know anyone in these businesses we’d be grateful to be connected with them.
We hope you find it satisfying and rewarding to cook and eat these hearty foods, and continue to support the farm. Although the regular season share is the mainstay of the farm’s financial stability, and for many of you, the mainstay of your summer produce supply, we hope the storage share is becoming a valuable part of our role in providing food for the community, and will be for years to come. Not everybody gets as excited about the sweet heartiness of fall food as they do about the juicy fruits of summer, so we appreciate your passion for good farm food extending into fall and winter.
We have noticed over the years that our return rate for the storage share is much lower than for the regular season. We hope to do another survey this year, and to adjust the storage share so it works for more people. It’s a tough balance of making it smaller quantities, more pickups, or the like, while still making it pencil out for us and our time. We’ll look forward to your feedback and ideas to help make it a more useful service for more people.
As usual we’ll be happy to answer any questions, concerns or feedback you may have about all this produce. We hope this week’s farm goodies warm your houses, tables and tummies with their health-giving nourishment!
We hope you have a great winter, eating and being well. The first winter store will be Monday, December 14th from 11-4 pm. We know that’s the middle of your workday too — we can set things aside for later pickup, see “nuts and bolts” below for more details.
What’s in the Storage Share?
Carrots — 20 lbs — Sweet and juicy, definitely the best carrots of the year. They’ll be in two separate, ten-pound bags. The bags are perforated with holes and work great for long-term storage. Easy Storage Tip : Fridge. We can store some of them for you, see “nuts and bolts” for details.
Potatoes — 10 lbs — This year we chose not to grow potatoes, as it’s something we’ve never invested in equipment for, and wow it sure was nice to not have to care for them at critical times of the year! Our friends at Driftless Organics focus on potatoes and do them very well, and brought them to us from their farm near Viroqua, WI. They are Kennebec, like we used to grow, which stores well and is a good all-purpose spud. Note: Kennebec is prone to greening in storage, so be sure they are kept in a completely dark place. Easy Storage Tip: Dark, cooler than room temp, but not in fridge.
Mixed Roots — 10 lbs — You get to mix and match a bag of beets (a few golden beets too), parsnips, celeriac(at your discretion), watermelon radishes, purple daikons, purple carrots (hopefully, they had a rough year), and maybe another surprise or two. We’ll have those same perforated bags you can put them in for long-term storage. Easy Storage Tip: Fridge. We can store some of these for you too –see “nuts and bolts” for details.
Winter Squash — 5 — Butternut plus carnival, ambercup and pie pumpkins available. The butternut should keep very well into January, declining after that. The others are best eaten within a couple weeks. We’ve had some bitter tasting carnival, acorn and ambercup — we’ve never seen this before, and they may need to be doctored more than usual. Easy Storage Tip: Countertop or tabletop, but for longest storage put a few in the basement or cool closet.
Brussels Sprouts and/or Cabbage– Your choice of 2 -4, we’ll see — These two crops so far survived “black rot” of brassicas, which reduced the amount we have of all related crops — broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels, kale. Although it’s smaller than planned, fortunately we have a harvest! We’ll find out this week how they held up in these last few weeks. If you’re wary of brussels now’s the time to try them — the few cold nights we’ve had have been enough to make the flavor mild and sweet. We leave them on the stalk since it takes so much labor to cut them off (and maybe it’s interesting for you to see how they grow)–thank you for dealing with the stalk! Easy Storage Tip: Fridge for both. Brussels sprouts do well in a plastic bag on or off the stalk, for 1-2 weeks.
Onions — 5 lbs — These yellow ones store very well, until the sun shines again, March or so. Easy Storage Tip: Basement or hanging basket.
Leeks — probably 6 — Depends on yields, we’ll count this week. They got pretty thick and long this year — there’s a lot of leek in there! Once again this is one of the crops that just took off this summer with the moderate temps and frequent rains. Think of leeks like mild, glamorous onions. Our favorite use is in quiche, with red peppers and spinach or kale (fresh or frozen.) Leeks also freeze well, chopped raw in a bag, they can keep a month or two but then may start losing flavor. Easy Storage Tip: Fridge.
Garlic — 5 heads– These should store until January or even February. We do have extra for sale if you like. Easy Storage Tip: Countertop or hanging basket.
Kale — 1 clear bag — It is mild and yummy, though not as sweet as it can get. Some nights in the teens would take it to another level — we’ll have it open for U-pick for another week or so, then we need to till it in to send the black rot bacteria into the soil to get hopefully munched on by other organisms.
Sweet Potatoes — 3 pounds 4 pounds?— Yields were better than usual for us this year. We trialed a new variety that yielded better, and fewer puny sized ones, and tastes outstanding. We’ll have them clean and dirty, your choice. The clean ones are reliably good for two to three weeks. The dirty ones will store longer, maybe 1-2 months. Easy Storage Tip: Basement, 60°, if it’s not 60 then eat within one month.
Dried Herbs — Your choice of 2 bunches — Oregano, Thyme, and/or Sage. Some are available for U-pick in the field too.
Easy Storage Tip for entire share: Keep about half of everything in your fridge for eating all winter and then have a soup-making day with the rest of the share and freeze soup to enjoy all winter. There are a lot of soup recipes in the hard copy recipes available in the barn. We’ll also have copies of more detailed storage info available. And you can leave some of the roots with us to pick up at our winter store in December or later.
What’s for U-Pick?
Spinach! We’re hoping to harvest a little to have in the barn, and we’ll keep it out there for U-pick for this week. (We said goodby to the lettuce so the soil organisms could start working on the fungal disease that reduced yields so much.) You can use scissors or pinch with your fingers. When we harvest we cut with a knife, but when there’s this much yellow or rotten leaves mixed in, scissors and fingers are better at being selective. We’ll probably till it in after this week, so we can plant a cover crop to give something back to the soil for next year’s crop. It’s been so great to have it so long!
Kale — We’ll have some in the barn but there’s still more out there, help yourself! At this point you can pick every single leaf, literally, there’s no need to leave the small ones since we will till it in soon. Please stick to the kale field east of the driveway, not the bigger tempting ones down by the spinach.
For herbs, there are a few tiny remaining sprigs of parsley, thyme, and oregano.
Nuts and Bolts
If you can’t make it on Thursday please call or email, and we’ll make arrangements to get you your share.
WINTER STORE– MONDAYS — December 14, January 11, February 15, and maybe March 14. 11am – 4pm. Like last year, these days we’ll have a simple, small layout of veggies set out for you to purchase by the pound. We expect to be washing roots for wholesale in the barn and it will be tight quarters. In December we may have a few other crops, but probably just carrots, beets, parsnips and radishes. We will send out a reminder email. If you got this in an email you will get that reminder. The winter store is open to anyone — If you have family or friends who might be interested, have them email us and we’ll get them on the reminder list. If you can’t make it on those days, you’ll be able to pre-order by email and we’ll set it aside for you to pickup when you can.
If you’d like us to store carrots for you we can. Give one of us your bag or partial bag, and we’ll put your name on it to store in the root cellar for you. You can then pick up your bag at one of the Monday winter stores. For example and most likely, you give us your 1 of your 2 10 lb carrot bags, and maybe put a few of the mixed roots in the bag, and we’ll give it back to you when you come and ask for it. Remember that our root cellar is too cold for potatoes, squash, sweet potatoes and onions — this will just work for carrots, beets, parsnips, turnips etc (most crops on the “mixed root” table.)
Guess the Blue Hubbard! We’ve saved out the biggest one of the year and it will go to the closest guess. We have no poker face, so we won’t be weighing it until after everyone guesses! It will be on the sign-in table, a bumpy blue-grey dinosaur-looking-squash, and we’ll provide a few recipes to go with it. It makes an awesome harvest feast.
Bring a Sturdy Box — If you like, a box or tote may be the best way to carry this share to your car. It’s a lot of food, and heavy. Much of it is already bagged for you, but it is several bags, plus the loose crops. We’ll have a few paper bags but if you have some please bring those too. We can help you carry or roll it to your car if you like, feel free to ask.
Storage Details — On the sign-in table we’ll have hard copies of detailed storage needs, lengths, and suggestions for each crop, help yourself.
Storage Share Pickup Hours — THIS THURSDAY, November 19, 10:00-6:00pm. Call or email if you can’t make it and we’ll make arrangements with you.
Please Drive Carefully — Children are everywhere.
Erin and Ben, with Allia, Ali, Anna, Annie, Aaron Ray, and Paul