Farm Newsletter September ! 1, 2020

IMG-4496Farm Newsletter September ! 1, 2020

Farm News        Crop Forecast

 U-Pick       Recipes       Nuts and Bolts

Bulk Produce Now Available! See Nuts and Bolts for more info. 

Greetings! 

Thank you so so much to all of you for your kindness in the last couple weeks since the hail storm.  Your kindness in words, gestures, and gifts of money, have all left us floored. We are so glad to be a part of this community, working for your health and well-being. As we’ve said, we’ve never asked for free money before, it’s not how we’ve operated; asking makes us squeamish.  Several of you looked us square in the eye to tell us we should accept the giving, as gratitude and appreciation for what we’ve been giving over the years.  Thank you, too, for that gift.

Our stress levels are much lower now, as we’ve seen our partially laid-off employees pivot (word of the year?) to what’s next in their lives, with not too much difficulty. And thankfully, with the amount of money given, we were able to keep them on one day a week — so we’ll have their help and get to spend the day together.  We also were given enough to keep our second longer-term employee on for four days a week, and maybe five.  Having her help will make the fall much more do-able for us. Now we wait and see what the late fall crops will look like — if we’ll have carrots to sell all winter (and markets to sell them to), or just til New Years, etc.  The budget looks passable now though, so we expect we can weather other curveballs or rollercoasters that come along as we finish out the fall with the produce we do have, and make preparations to hit the ground running next year.

Many of you gave money outside of the go fund me website, which works well too. The go fund me sits close to $28,000 today, and direct to us we’ve received about $18,000 — totaling $46,000 !  That’s very close to our $50,000 goal, which was enough to give a little cushion and keep on more employee hours than the bare minimum / “ben and erin work all the time amount. ” We’re still a skeleton crew for the amount of veggies we’ll probably be bringing in, but a more comfortable skeleton.

These gifts came from CSA members, current and former, and also friends old and new, family and family friends, other farmers , and past employees too.  We are, really, blown away and touched.

Our farmer friend Kathy Zeman had a good perspective on crop insurance and this fundraising need, both ours and Sogn Valley Farm in Dennison, which had similar damage to their wholesale crops, and has a go fund me going for a similar amount.  — when we told her that existing crop insurance programs are not designed or viable for small diverse vegetable farms, she said “it’s ridiculous that our community should have to come up with this money. All these people giving pay taxes, and our government provides at least decent insurance to so many types of producers, we need to get on this.”  And so she has, bugging the MN Commissioner of Ag, and others.  We expect to be part of that discussion too, once we have some breathing room in the veggie seasons. We have a state ag dept currently that is listening to, and moving more and more to support, small diverse farms, in addition to its primary focus on commodity crops and major livestock, which is exciting on many fronts.

Anyway, here we are, carrying on growing food.  As we put it in the last newsletter, it gets worse than the budget situation we were staring down, we know, and many farmers hang on by their fingernails for years  —  Thank you very, very much for your help to keep us growing food and staying out of a fingernail-hanging position.

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Crop Forecast

Well the produce the last three weeks wasn’t all top notch, that’s for sure, but we were pleasantly surprised that we had enough to keep the share size at least what it’s been all summer.  Normally it goes up, mainly on the mix-and-match table; and we can get rid of most of the limits too.  But given the storm damage, the share looks pretty good, we think.

Some of that is because we had extra planted of several crops for wholesale accounts, who either can’t take small quantities and definitely not with the holes and rotting spots that the peppers or some of the tomatoes have had. We’re so glad those salvaged veggies have gotten used up. There will still be some damaged things, but not with rotting spots we think and hope!

Tomatoes —harvests will plummet any day now, which is sad, but for now it’s still good! Tomato abundance is one of the best kinds of abundance. We’ve been picking fruits that were lower down on the plants — they were protected by the younger fruits above them, which got holes, cracks, and or torn off the vine by the hail.  Once those relative few survivors from the bottom have been harvested, we’ll be bare bones on tomatoes. Soak up the tomato love this week!

Peppers — we really hope those holey green peppers didn’t stink up your house! And that they tasted ok. We culled out ones we could tell weren’t worth cutting into… This week we hope to find enough survivors in the pepper field to have a good supply of solid, normal green peppers. Red peppers … the outlook is bleak … we ‘ll see. Last week we were finding 1 good red peppers per every 10-15 plants.

SPINACH!  Looks great and we should have a half bag or more for everyone this week. We planted enough to have lots all fall, fingers crossed. This week’s leaves are huge and may need to be sliced or shredded, but taste great.

From melons, On to Winter Squash ! We had a much better melon harvest than expected, though the flavor and shelf life weren’t quite the same, we met our 4 week goal for melons in the share. We picked some winter squash last week , and some of the acorns actually taste good already! They ripened quick with no leaves to shade them….That also meant some of the acorns got a sunspot/sunburn — this week we are putting out acorns with a white spot, eat it asap, it probably won’t last long. This week you’ll also have a choice of spaghetti squash. Next week probably the same, and delicata squash may be in the mix-and-match too. We haven’t tasted the others yet, but some look like they’ll be good soon, and though most have hail dents, most look like they’ll avoid rotting for at least most of the fall. Next in the share would be ambercup, carnival, with buttercup and butternut probably later. A big hail mystery is whether the butternut will hold up — it has lots of holes but so far is not rotting, and is maturing well.

Garlic! 1 more week of garlic in the share, but plenty of extra to go around.

Lettuce and Greens — look amazing.

Summer Squash, Zucchini and Cucumbers — would normally be close to done by now … we’re still picking those strange looking ones just to have the variety and volume in the share…there are so few they’ll still be limited.

Onions —  KEEP THE RED ONIONS IN THE FRIDGE, and USE THEM ASAP. We don’t think they’ll store at all.  When the red onions are gone we’ll start giving out the yellow ones, which we expect to store normal.

Cabbage — some heads got pinged some did not. Should be good all fall.

Carrots, Beets, Broccoli, Celery, Napa cabbage , and a little bit of fennel and eggplant. 

Kale and chard —  Should be big enough to pick next week. We’ll have some U-pick kale later on too.

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What’s for U-Pick?

Basil, Cilantro and Dill — Still look pretty good!

Other Herbs This Week –Parsley (flat and curly), thyme, oregano, anise hyssop, and nasturtium flowers.

Green Beans — we haven’t looked at them and we don’t know. 🙂 Edamame is probably ready, we’ll try to get a sign on it, but if there’s not and they look ready go ahead and pick.

Cherry tomatoes — limit 1 pint still.

Flowers !  

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

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Nuts and Bolts

Allia (our daughter) is selling sweet little veggie creatures this week and next! She will be outside the barn on Thursday the 3rd and Tuesday the 8th. The individual veggies are 50 cents a piece and the veggie bowls are $3. Please bring exact change. She is donating half of the proceeds to Clean Water Action. Here is a glimpse of the creative creatures!

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Storage Share Info coming in 3 weeks!  The Storage share is a one-time pickup the week before Thanksgiving, separate from the regular share. We’re still trying to figure out how to do it with good Covid precautions.

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!  $1 / lb. Lettuce Mix and Spinach $5 / lb.

 

From LuAnn in the You-Pick Medicinal Herbs Garden:  Several of you have been asking about suggestions for seasonal allergy relief.  Check out my blog post for a few tips – including how to make goldenrod tea that has proven quite helpful for several seasonal allergy sufferers in the past couple weeks.  If you want to talk about tips for dealing with allergies or boosting the immune system, look for me at the herbs garden during your CSA pick-up time.  Since the medicinal herbs garden is a volunteer operation, I don’t have a regular schedule—I do need to give time to my kids and grandkids!—but I’ll be there as much as I can.

Share Pickup Hours TUESDAY and THURSDAY 1:30-6:30 pm.

Change Pick-Up Day Form — Click here.  Please fill out this form instead of emailing us.  Thanks!  If you need to come during a different time slot on your same pickup day, that is ok, no need to email us or fill out the form.

Please Drive Carefully —Children are everywhere.

We love having all of you come to the farm and hope it can be safe and fun for all! Thank you for making it such a great place to be! Thank you so much for your support!!

Your farmers,

Erin and Ben, with Allia, Alexandra, Alissa, Emily, Erika, and Harper

Recipes

BREAKFAST CASSEROLE WITH SPINACH AND FETA

from http://www.skinnytaste.com

INGREDIENTS

  • olive oil spray
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 3 shallotschopped
  • 6 ounce bag baby spinach
  • 24 large eggsbeaten
  • 2 cups 2% milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 12 ounces Feta cheesecrumbled
  • 3 scallionschopped
  • 3 plum tomatoesseeded and diced
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • black pepperto taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray a 9 x 13 x 3-inch Pyrex Deep baking dish with oil.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the oil and shallots and cook until soft, 6 to 8 minutes.
  • Add the spinach and cook until wilted. Remove from heat.
  • In a large bowl whisk the eggs, milk, heavy cream, Feta, scallions, tomatoes, salt and black pepper.
  • Mix in the spinach and shallots and pour into the prepared dish.
  • Bake until the center is solid and cooked through, about 1 hour 20 minutes.

Spaghetti Squash Chowder

From Recipes from the Root Cellar

Serves 6-8

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 whole garlic head, cloves separated, peeled, and chopped
  • 2 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • ¼ cup dry sherry or white wine
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 medium russet (baking) potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Halve the squash, remove the seeds and fibers, and cut into quarters or sixths. Steam over boiling water until tender when pierced with a fork, about 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in the oil in a large saucepan over low heat. Add the garlic and cook until softened and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Do not let the garlic color. Stir in the broth and sherry. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. Stir in the milk and potato and adjust the heat as needed so the soup continues to simmer until the potato is completely tender, 30 to 45 minutes longer. Purée the soup in a blender. Return the mixture to the saucepan.
  4. Using a fork, scrape the squash into a bowl and separate the strands with the fork to create “spaghetti.” Add to the saucepan along with the cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer until heated through. Serve at once or hold overnight in the refrigerator to allow the flavor to develop even more. Reheat gently before serving.

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