Farm Newsletter September 4, 2017


Farm Newsletter September 4, 2017

Farm News        Crop Forecast

 U-Pick       Recipes       Nuts and Bolts

Open As Usual on Labor Day


Saturday, Sept 23, 2017  4:00 PM

2nd Annual Organic Farms of 320th St

Fundraiser for Harvest for the Hungry

Hello Friends!

We’re tired, it’s late Sunday and we have barely touched the newsletter due to all the fun family and friends we’ve been hanging around with, and tomato picking — so this will be a short newsletter.  We’re having a blast growing and harvesting for you!  The plants are beautiful, as are their fruits (we hope you agree!)  A special thanks to our crew, new and seasoned, for working hard and smart to help get all this food to you.  It’s no small or easy task, and they play the human role in it with humor and perseverance.  September is a fun time with a good harvest — reaping the bounty shared with us by the sun, rain, soil and plants, and passing it on to folks who are as grateful and excited to eat it as we are.  This week’s is a lovely September forecast for harvesting too — sunny and dry.  Tuesday night looks a little cool, and we’re watching that forecast close to see if the fr-sty temps might dip down this far south, but so far we seem to be warm enough.  A long harvest of peppers and tomatoes makes everyone smile!

Thanks for joining us, in the barn, in the fields, in the community, for the ride of all our lives!

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Crop Forecast

What a beautiful harvest of watermelons and cantelopes!  After four weeks of excellent yields and flavor, there are a few left out there but not enough to have one for everyone; they may show up on the slanted table, but there might not even be that much.  The temperatures, and the absence of a major pest (cucumber beetles), seem to have been a good combo for melons!

It also seems to be a good combo for winter squash, which will be coming in 1-2 weeks, starting with spaghetti squash.  We’ve picked and cooked a little spaghettis but it doesn’t have much flavor yet.  The cool weather may delay all the squash in ripening to full flavor, so we’ll hold them back if they don’t taste good yet.   Winter squash should again be a staple of this fall’s share; after spaghetti, the ripening goes about like this:  acorn and carnival; delicata, buttercup and ambercup; butternut and hubbard and pumpkins.  We have lots of big pumpkins starting to turn orange, more big ones than we’ve ever grown before.

Tomatoes have been and still are amazing.  We are loving the beauty of the heirlooms — these are the best we’ve harvested since 2009. It makes our hearts sing!

Peppers — Greens and hots are coming in well, but one casualty of the coolness seems to be that the green ones are taking longer to ripen into red and orange.  It’s starting; by now we usually have plenty turning color, but hopefully they’ll keep transforming through the cold nights this week.

Kale should (finally) be ready to pick again this week.   Lettuce should be back to normal amounts, since the new plantings are ready and looking very good.  For greens, the next planting is almost ready to give us enough to have our normal amounts, we’ll see how well it grew over the warm weekend.

Onions are cured and lovely — these are now the “storage” onions, dried and cured varieties that can be stored almost anywhere in the house, and should keep through much of the winter.  Garlic will now be for sale in the barn for $1 a head (no need to pre-order). We can do it in the share for 6 weeks, but after that it’s an extra, for-sale item.

Broccoli will be back this week (we were gapping between our summer and fall plantings), and Cabbage will keep on keeping on.

Summer squash and zucchini have hit the September slowdown, and cucumbers are probably close behind.  The plants look great and there are fruit on them, but they have a hard time getting big enough to harvest, and still looking good, when it’s cooler like this forecast says.

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What’s for U-Pick?

Raspberries — Not much out there, but they do taste great.


Cherry tomatoes have been very abundant, and without rain it is much easier for folks to get them picked before they split and/or fall off the vines.  The orange variety is notorious for splitting, but is so much better than anything else that we put up with its faults.  Tomatillos and Ground Cherries are doing great too.  For tomatillos, pick when the fruit has filled the husk, and pick ground cherries when they have fallen off the ground.  It’s a jungle in there, mostly because the plants are super vigorous and healthy, and a little because of weeds; think of it as a treasure hunt.

Cilantro, mint and lemon balm, and parsley, thyme and oregano –are all doing well.  Basil is growing and hopefully will be abundant soon.

Please always check the U-pick board when you’re here to see what’s available and picking amounts.

U-Pick Help:  If at any point in the season you are not physically able to  U-pick due to an injury or any other reason, please let us know.  We have a list of generous folks that are interested in volunteering to pick your U-pick crops for you.  If you’re interested in being on the volunteer list, please let us know too!

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Nuts and Bolts


Saturday, Sept 23, 2017  4:00 PM

2nd Annual Organic Farms of 320th St

Fundraiser for Harvest for the Hungry

Harvest for the Hungry is a program run by The Food Group, a non-profit warehouse/distributor serving over 100 food shelves, pantries and soup kitchens throughout the metro area.  The program uses donations to buy local (mostly organic) produce, direct from farmers at a fair price, and gives that produce to the food shelves, pantries and soup kitchens to distribute to people in need of food.  Fresh, quality produce, not to mention organic, is in short supply in the food relief system — this program is a total win-win for people in need and for farmers.  We’ve worked with Harvest for the Hungry for about 5 years, and love that we get to share our veggies with communities who need them.  Last year we had a blast at this party and raised several thousand dollars, used to buy several thousand pounds, for our neighbors in need.  Come join the fun and the  good cause!

At the party — All ages welcome.  A Food Truck or two for light dinner (or bring your own picnic), Hard Cider from Keepsake Cidery in Dundas, and Local Beer.  You should have received and invitation via email, and if you haven’t please let us know.   It’s gonna be a great sunny day and we hope to see you there!

STORAGE SHARE Version 2 — After about 10 years of doing the storage share as a pre-set amount of each vegetable, our new online order form will make it possible for you to custom order what you want of any, all or none of the fall storage veggies.

You will also have the option to order the same standard storage share by clicking one box.  We’ll try to make it all as easy as possible; it’ll be in a similar Google format as the Change Pick-up Day Form (and no password required, whew).

 Watch for more details and sign-up info in the next week or two!

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.

TOMATO BOXES ARE STILL AVAILABLE!  For at least two more weeks, or until fr-st. A 12lb box of firsts is $24 .  Seconds are a 12lb box for $20.  

This week’s selection is : Carrots, Beets for $1 / lb.  Lettuce Mix for $5 / lb.  Eggplant for $1.75  /lb.  Cabbage for 60 cents/lb.  Kale (new young planting) and Swiss Chard for $3 / lb.  Garlic is for sale in the barn from now on during share pickup hours, for $1 / head, no need to order ahead.  Thanks!

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

Change Pick-Up Day Form — Click here.

Please Drive Carefully —Children are everywhere.

Thank you so much for enjoying the farm!!

Your farmers,

Erin and Ben, with Allia, Bisharo, Fatima, Jaime, Paul, Ray, Sahara and Zach

Tomato Party Sandwiches on Fresh Corn Biscuits with Basil Mayo

(Makes 14-16 sandwiches)


From Fresh from the Farm By Susie Middleton


Ingredients needed:

-1 Large egg yolk

-1 tablespoon heavy cream

-1 cup fresh corn kernels, from about 2 medium or 3 small ears

-2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for the surface

-1 tablespoon double-acting baking powder

-½ teaspoon table salt

-6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces and chilled

-½ cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

-¾ cup cold milk

-sea salt coarse or flaky

-1 recipe basil mayonnaise (see bottom of recipe)

-8 small tomatoes (about 2 ½ inches in diameter), preferably 4 red or purple and 4 orange or yellow, sliced ¼ inch thick, very lightly salted and arranged on paper towels to drain slightly.

-32 large basil leaves, preferably a mix of purple and green or green ruffles; more sprigs for garnish, if desired


Make the biscuits:

Heat the oven to 450 degreesF. Line a heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk together the egg yolk and heavy cream and set the egg wash aside.

Put the corn in a small dish with a tablespoon or two of water and microwave  on high for 40 seconds or submerge them for a few seconds in boiling water (use a handled strainer). Drain and pat dry.

In medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and table salt.. Add the chilled butter pieces and the cheddar. Using a pastry cutter (or two table knives), blend the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Make a well in the center of the mixture and pour in the milk. Mix with a wooden spoon just until the dry ingredients are moistened and the dough comes away from the side of the bowl (the dough will be sticky). Quickly mix in the corn kernels.

Transfer the dough to a floured surface. Flour your hands and fold the dough onto itself five or six times. (Don’t be afraid to flour the surface or the dough as needed). Pat it into a square shape and sprinkle it with flour. Roll it out to a thickness of about ¾ inch. With a lightly floured 2-inch biscuit cutter cut out biscuit rounds (do not twist the cutter). You should have 12-14 biscuits. (You can put pieces together and reroll the dough once). Place the rounds on the baking sheet. Brush the tops with the egg wash and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake until the biscuits are puffed and lightly browned, 14 to 15 minutes. (The bottoms will be golden.) Let the biscuits cool on the pan.


Assemble the sandwiches:

Split the corn biscuits in half and spread each half with basil mayonnaise. Arrange one red tomato slice on the bottom half and top with one leaf of green basil. Layer another tomato slice (of a different color if you have it) on top, followed by a leaf of purple basil (if you have it). Finish with the top half of the biscuit. Arrange the sandwiches on a platter for serving, garnished with sprigs of basil, if you like.


Basil Mayonnaise:


Ingredients needed:

-1 cup lightly packed fresh basil

-1 cup mayonnaise

-2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

-Freshly ground black pepper

-Scant ¼ teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest


In the bowl of a small food processor, combine the basil, ¼ cup of the mayonnaise, the lemon juice, and several grinds of black pepper. Process until the basil is finely chopped. Add the remaining mayonnaise and lemon zest and process again. Store tighlty covered in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Roasted Red Pepper Corn Chowder

From The Homemade Kitchen by Alana Chernila


Serves 6 to 8


2 tbs. unsalted butter

2 cups minced leeks (1 to 2 leeks, using all the white and most of the green)

1 tbs. minced shallot

1½ tbs. coarsely chopped fresh oregano or 1 ½ tsp. dried

1 tbs. fresh thyme leaves or 1 tsp. dried

4 cups frozen or fresh corn kernels (from 6 to 7 ears)

½ cup uncooked millet

4 cups stock, whey, or water

1 cup coarsely chopped Roasted Red Peppers (see below)

2 cups whole milk

½ cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leafed parsley

1 tbs. coarsely chopped fresh mint

3 to 5 chives, finely snipped with scissors

1½ tsp. kosher salt

Freshly ground pepper


1) Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the leeks and shallot and cook, stirring often, until the leeks soften and turn bright green, about 3 minutes. Add the oregano, thyme, and corn and continue to cook, stirring often, until the corn softens and shrinks, about 10 minutes.


2) Meanwhile, put the millet in a small bowl and cover with water. Let it soak for about 5 minutes, then drain and add the millet to the pot along with ½ cup of the stock. Continue to cook, stirring often, for 10 more minutes. Add the rest of the stock and the roasted peppers to the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low, cover, and cook at a low simmer until the millet is tender, about 20 minutes.


3) Remove the pot from the heat and add the milk. Use an immersion blender to blend the soup with a few pulses, just enough to make it a bit creamy while retaining whole kernels. Alternatively, put 2 cups of the soup in an upright blender, blend, and return to the pot. Add the parsley, mint, chives, and salt and pepper. Reheat if necessary, and garnish with additional parsley.


Roasted Red Peppers


Makes 1 quart


8 large red peppers

High-heat oil such as safflower or sunflower

Olive oil


1) Preheat your broiler with the rack about 6 inches from the broiler element. If your broiler has a temperature setting, set it for medium or 450 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.


2) Lightly rub each pepper with oil, laying them on the baking sheet as you go. Broil until the tops are blackened. Stay attentive to their progress, as this will take anywhere from 10 to 25 minutes for each side. The peppers are done when they’re mostly blistered and collapsed. Use your tongs to transfer the peppers to a big heatproof bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap or a plate that fits the bowl exactly. Let the peppers sit for at least 20 minutes, and up to a few hours.


3) If the peppers are fully roasted, they should slide right out of their skins after steaming and cooling in the bowl. Separate the flesh from the seeds and stems as you go. Tear each pepper into strips and collect them in a quart jar. Pour and pepper juice from the bowl over the peppers, and top off the jar with enough olive oil to cover the peppers.


Storage notes: As long as they’re covered with olive oil, roasted red peppers keep in the refrigerator for up to a week. Alternatively, you can freeze the peppers without oil in a freezer bag, saving any juice from the bowl for use in soups or sauces, for up to 6 months.

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