Farm Newsletter September 17, 2019

wheat fieldFarm Newsletter September 17, 2019

Farm News        Crop Forecast

U-Pick       Recipes       Nuts and Bolts

Change Pick-Up Day Form — Click here.  Please use this to notify us of changes in your pick-up schedule.  Thanks!



Temps hit mid-70s, even the 80s! the last couple days and we were sweating , like it was the first time all summer!!

The fall crops have some final sizing up to do — carrots, sweet potatoes, cabbage, celeriac, especially — that these warmer days are right on time to help with, dividing cells and bulking up.  Hopefully the sun is out most of the day and can push away the persistent clouds and fog.

Last week’s rains sure were hard, but other than the tomatoes which were nearly dead anyway, it didn’t seem to hurt much.  The plant diseases we so often see take off from the pounding rains … are present from all the year’s storms, but were worse last year, so it looks pretty good out there. The soil erosion around the farm bugs us…but is 10x less than it was 5-6 years ago, before the waterways, berms and prairie plantings were installed and established.  Besides being beautiful for us and fantastic predatory insect habitat, those improvements were a great investment in this farms’ long-term productivity.   There is still another waterway to rebuild (didn’t get it right the frist time), and maybe a berm to help that area too, and we’re waiting to see a couple more recent prairie strips take off next year (next to the beans, and north of the beans/medicinal herb garden.)

Before the last rounds of rain we finally got winter cover crops planted in all the fields where we were done harvesting, or had been fallow for the summer in a summer cover crop.  We harvested about 3/4 acre of wheat — with as much time spent fixing the 1960s Allis Chalmers All Crop 72 as running it — cleaned it with the 1940s (?) Clipper Fanning Mill (seed cleaner) and replanted it with the 1950 (?) John Deere Van Brunt Grain Drill.  It’s a fleet of durable old stuff that’s the right size and price for what we do, and so well-made it’s a pleasure to work with it and on it.  While most our other equipment , the vegetable stuff, has been sourced from all over, the three grain pieces came cheap or free from kind neighbors who have pitched in in various other ways over the years to help us make it in this farming life — the All Crop 72 (combine) from George Heinrichs, the fanning mill from David Frame (Mary Ellen’s brother), and the drill (planter) from Dave Legvold (aka “The Funny Legvold.)  So those 3 machines had all spent much of their working life in this neighborhood before they came to us, and the combine and fanning mill are shared with our neighbor Andrew and Betsy next door, who use them for dry beans and sometimes small grains too.

For us the harvesting of grain / cover crop seed is maybe justifiable financially, as prices go up with less small grain being grown in the area, but mostly it’s a hobby for the beauty of the grain, the process and the old lovely machines.  But the planting of cover crops is crucial to the vegetables , and organic ecological fertility and pest management.  So you’ll see the bare fields sprouting green and filling in, to protect the soil from wind and water erosion over the winter, keep the soil microorganisms active with growing plant roots to feed and feed off of, scavenge nitrogen and other nutrients to keep them cycling in our soils and available to next year’s veggies, and to add organic matter to feed all the underground critters, from protozoa, bacteria and fungi up to earthworms and beetles.   Those green fields are pretty, and are also one of the most exciting signs of an organic farm feeding and protecting the soil for future productive years.

Here’s to the abundant food those lively fields have given our bodies and minds this year!!

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Crop Forecast

Tomatoes!!  The rains really did them in and they are almost dead.  We will try to get a few for you all this week, but this is likely the last week as a very aggressive disease is taking over the fruits.

Garlic– This will be the last week for garlic included in the share.  After that it’s $1 / head.  Still a good deal for the strong flavor and quality, and helps us bring in a little extra money for the gazillion bills and expenses to keep this show running.

Summer squash and zucchini, cucumbers, and eggplant, are slowing down, after an already slow end of summer for us.  Any day could be the last.

Peppers are peaking in brilliant colors.  Broccoli, carrots, beets, cabbage, onions, celery are all looking good.   We’re past our broccoli peak time — we’ll plant more late broccoli next year.  Cauliflower is starting to trickle in.

Kale and Chard, plus Collards, it’s nice ot have plenty, and it’s so tender and good.

Spinach is good quality , and still enough for the 3/4 clear bag this week, and next.  The re-growth on what we’ve already cut is one of the things that will benefit from this “heat.”

Pumpkins are ready!  A little early for Halloween but they should hold fine for you.  They are big and looks like 2-3 for every share.  We will start them this week at 1 per share and go every week until they run out.  You’ll have your choice between jack-o-lantern and pie pumpkins, and pie pumpkins will also be available next week as an option inside the barn.

Winter Squash —  We will likely start with spaghetti squash, acorn and buttercup next week, if they taste good enough.  Ambercup, carnival and butternut will be ready maybe in two weeks.  We had a great day harvesting them today, getting them off the wet ground and into the greenhouse for safe keeping.

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What’s for U-Pick?

We Still Need U-Pick Containers!!!  If you have any hanging around, please bring them in.

Cherry Tomatoes are still available for final gleaning.

Beans and Edamame are still out there, but you might have to hunt for them. 

Basil is still holding on and looking Ok to pick.

All Herbs are Unlimited, and looking good.

Flowers are still beautiful but will be winding down this month.   Check out the calendula and zinnias east of the sunflowers / cherry tomatoes, that’s the late planting and they’ll go on the longest.

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

Please bring your own scissors for herbs and flowers.  Many shareholders just leave a pair in their car so they always have them.  If you happen to forget, we have a few “kid” scissors that we are happy to lend out.   

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Nuts and Bolts

Remember your reusable bags and also to sign in when you pick up your share. 

Share Pickup Hours Tuesday and Thursday 1:30 – 6:30pm. You can U-Pick any time (when U-pick crops are in season.)

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 is : Carrots, Beets, Onions for $1 / lb. Cabbage for $60 cents/lb, Green and Red Peppers for $2/lb.  Garlic for $1/ head.

Change Pick-Up Day Form — Click here.

Please Drive Carefully —Children are everywhere.

On the note of children, please know where yours are at all times.

Thank you for making this such a great place to be! Thank you so much for your support!!

Your farmers,

Erin and Ben, with Allia, Alissa, Danny, Ed, Emily and Sahara


Roasted Red Pepper Soup

From Angelic Organics
Served hot or cold, this soup is packed with a savory-sweet roasted pepper flavor that might have you skipping the main course and opting for a second bowl of soup instead. Serves 4 to 6

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 small potato, quartered
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced (1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano or thyme, or 1/2 tablespoon dried, plus more for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 4 large red bell peppers, roasted, skinned, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock or water
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar or more to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • salt
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese and croutons (optional)

1. Melt the butter in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, potato, garlic, bay leaf, and herbs; sauté until potato and onion begin to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. Add the roasted peppers, paprika, and 1 teaspoon salt; cook for 30 seconds.

2. Pour in stock or water and scrape up any of the flavorful caramelized pieces stuck to the bottom of the pot. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower heat to a gentle simmer; cook, partially covered, for 30 minutes.

3. Purée soup in a blender or food processor or run it through a food mill. Return it to the pot and heat until warmed through. Add the balsamic vinegar and a few grindings of fresh black pepper. Taste; add salt if desired.

4. Garnish each serving with some Parmesan, a little fresh herb, and croutons if desired.


Pear and Spinach Salad with Caramelized Onions and Blue Cheese

by Jaymi Heimbuch

Prep time: 15 minutes  

Cook time: 40 minutes 

Total time: 55 minutes 

Yield: 4 servings


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 1-2 pears, cored and thinly sliced (Bartlett and Bosc are both great options)
  • 1 oz blue cheese, crumbled
  • A pinch salt and pepper to taste
Cooking Directions
  1. In a skillet heat the olive oil until it just begins to shimmer. Add onions and cook over a low heat stirring often until onions take on a deep golden colour and begin to caramelize, which could take 20 minutes or so. Remove from pan and set aside.
  2. Once you have washed the spinach, just leave the water on it and add it to the skillet. Cook until just wilted which only takes a couple of minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste and a bit more olive oil if it seems too dry.
  3. Plate the spinach and top with sliced pears, onions and cheese. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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