Farm Newsletter August 31, 2021
Fummer ? Sall? Sumall? Fummall?
We’re leaning towards “Fummer.” It implies the fun of summer, the bummer of summer ending, and it includes more of summer than of fall.
Whatever we call it, approaching the fall equinox is such a lovely time of year, with the summer’s bounty and lushness cascading everywhere and giving us tomatoes and peppers and melons and squashes, with cooler temps and softer, lovely light as a few trees, vines and other wild plants switch to more yellows, oranges and reds to dazzle us with.
And the vegetable eating is so simple and good!
And our work in the fields is near 100% harvest , with just a few weeds left to pull. And nothing left to plant, til garlic cloves get planted in October. We were able to get a cover crop in before this round of rains, winter wheat to prevent winter/spring soil erosion, and help build healthy soil by providing food and habitat for a huge range of insects and microbes. Most of it it we’ll till in in the spring, to release nutrients to feed the veggies of 2022.
But after so many weeks of dry weather, in May, June and August, coupled with poor timing of seeding of other cover crops this summer — it’s a relief to see the little rows of wheat coming up so fully! And know they have enough water now to become a good blanket for the soil before … um … winter sets in.
Were the rains good for our fields? Yes, mostly. We had about 4″ in the first round and then about 1.5″ in the second round. If we didn’t have irrigation to keep crops growing this summer, this recent wet spell would definitely have been too much too late. A textbook example of local observations that we are getting and climate forecasters warnings that we can expect bigger storms and longer dry periods. Groundwater is feeling like one of Minnesota’s greatest strengths!!
The crops seem to have fared fine. We’ve had so much sunshine and warm weather to keep leaves healthy and growing, and (just barely) enough irrigation to keep the plants sturdy and satiated, they were able to withstand the short bruising rains and gusty winds that we did get.
So harvest continues to look good! Fummertime!! Soon red peppers and squash and spinach!
Foods of Fummer!
Red Peppers should *finally* start next week, with a few trickling in this week. We need to learn more about red pepper ripening and if we can speed it up somehow, cuz they are just hanging out green out there!!!! This is the latest we’ve ever had red peppers come in. One theory is that the plants are just happy — stressed plants ripen fruit earlier. These are showing no signs of stress. We’re trying to learn how to be more like them!
Hot peppers will start this week though! We will also begin to have some Napa Cabbage and Golden Beets!
Tomatoes, Garlic, Cilantro, Basil are about all we can think about. Living large! Heirlooms are coming in now and we are swimming in tomatoes. We will have spontaneous boxes for sale all week. Your Winter Self will thank your Summer Self if you freeze some now!
Lots of Cabbage, greens and lettuce, storage onions, and fennel still. Summer squash and zucchini and cucumbers yields are beginning to fade for the year. Broccoli has been amazing — and the flavor too! — but the planting’s bunched up a little. We might have a week or so with a much smaller amount of broccoli.
The Kale this week will probably be from the tender young planting, it is so soft and yummy it’s like a different food than the summer grown plantings. Now is a great time to try kale if it’s not your favorite; and these young leaves are the best for raw “massaged” kale recipes. Our simplest version is simply olive oil and salt squished into the leaves with clenched fists. Swiss chard got beat up in the rains so we mowed and it looks like it will grow back in 2-3 weeks.
Melons have run their course. A four week run is pretty great when overall yields were down 75% from the wilt disease they got! We’ll miss them.
Sometimes spaghetti squash is ready right as melons fade away — but it’s not ripe enough yet. It looks two weeks away. The other winter squashes will start following in mid-late September. Most look really good.
In Spinach land, the first planting is struggling, so will miss its usual start date of Sept 1 — it might be two more weeks before it’s big enough to harvest. That’s too bad!
The barn will look full and lovely again with so many things, so we’re grateful for all the things we do have, and we have plenty of those to go around!
What’s for U-Pick?
Cherry Tomatoes actually did pretty well in those rains. Lots cracked — that is the fate of thin skinned, delicious varieties — and some of those drop on the ground . So it might look rough out there , but there’s lots more to be had. Also the cracked ones are fine to eat, just check the crack for white mold and picnic bugs — if it looks all clear, down the hatch! But there are more ripening every day, and – extra bonus! – the new ones are higher up off the ground , unlike the early ones which require a deep squat or bend to get to .
And Tomatillos look good too.
Sage, Thyme, Oregano, Parsley, Anise Hyssop — All are in the cilantro/basil area, in a bed in the middle, with white signs.
Cilantro and Dill are cruising along. Get your Basil !!! The young planting closest to the cherry tomatoes has so far stayed healthy , even though the planting just to the west got sickly.
Beans are still going ! Just the plants on the right / south side now. Fewer beans than before, as the rows are shorter and the soil over there is less rich than just across the road. But still beans to pick.
Nuts and Bolts
Bulk Produce for You
We like to offer you the same produce beyond what you get in your share, at or just above our wholesale prices, to use for parties, special events, serving guests, or just filling your family’s bellies each week.
This week’s selection is : Beets, Carrots for $1.25 / lb. Green Cabbage for 75 cents/lb, aka $1.50-$4 per head, you can choose what size if you want. Great for sauerkraut! Lettuce $5.25 / lb. Green Bell Peppers $1.50/ lb. Tomato boxes $18 for 10 pounds.
To place a bulk order, simply 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.
From Luann in the Medicinal Herbs Garden:
From LuAnn in the Medicinal Herbs Garden: Are seasonal allergies bothering you? Ragweed is in full bloom, which is often the culprit due to its plentiful, windborne pollen. Goldenrod is often blamed, but its pollen is actually too heavy to be windborne and thus does not contribute to seasonal allergies. But it does contribute much to our health, including reducing several kinds of allergies. Read more about this amazing, local, native plant in a post I recently wrote, Going for the Gold . There you will also find a link to making a tasty, antioxidant packed goldenrod tea!
Push Pin Sign-In When you come to pick up your share, please “sign in” with the push pin by your name, inside the barn door. This helps us know how many people came each day, so we can be sure to pick/have more than enough for everybody.
For split shares — instead of leaving notes on the sign in sheet, you can email or text your share partner to communicate “Who gets what this time”.
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.
Where is the farm? 4151 320th Street West, Northfield.
Please Drive Carefully —Children are everywhere.
If You Send Someone Else to Pick Up Your Share — Please forward them the basic pickup videos that we sent you a few weeks ago. Then just tell them to introduce themselves to us in the barn, just so we know.
We love having all of you come to the farm! Thank you for making it such a great place to be!
Erin and Ben, with Allia, Alexandra, Alissa, Amelia, Emily, Erika
Amish Tomato Pie
- 1 recipe pastry for a 9-inch pie crust
- 2 pounds heirloom tomatoes
- 1 pound Roma tomatoes
- 1 cup diced raw bacon
- ½ cup sliced leek
- 2 cups grated white Cheddar cheese
- ½ cup grated Fontina cheese
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ½ cup fresh basil, torn into small pieces
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 pinch salt and ground black pepper to taste
- Step 1Chill pie dough for about 1 hour.
- Step 2Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Place a baking sheet on the lower oven rack.
- Step 3Slice heirloom tomatoes into 1/2-inch rounds. Remove seeds with your fingers. Place 6 slices on paper towels or a clean cloth and cover with more paper towels or another clean cloth. Arrange the remaining slices on a wire rack. Cut Roma tomatoes into 1/2-inch slices, remove seeds, and arrange them on the rack as well.
- Step 4Line a deep-dish, 9-inch pie plate with dough. Place 2 layers of aluminum foil over the entire surface. Fill with pie weights or dried beans.
- Step 5Bake pie crust on the preheated baking sheet on the bottom rack. Place tomatoes on a higher rack. Reduce temperature to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Bake until the bottom of the pie crust has lost its translucent raw look and the edges have just started to color, 12 to 15 minutes.
- Step 6Carefully remove the foil and the weights. Cover the edges of the crust with foil to prevent them from burning. Poke the bottom of the pie crust with a fork to keep it from puffing up. Return the pie crust to the bottom rack and bake until the bottom starts to color, about 8 more minutes.
- Step 7Remove pie crust and allow to cool. Continue baking the tomatoes until they are wilted, about 40 minutes total. Remove and allow to cool. Keep the oven on.
- Step 8Place bacon in a large skillet and cook over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until some of the fat has rendered, about 5 minutes. Add sliced leek. Cook until bacon is crisp and the leeks have softened and browned, about 5 more minutes. Drain bacon on paper towels and allow to cool.
- Step 9Place bacon-leek mixture, Cheddar, Fontina, mayonnaise, basil, egg, and mustard in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Mix to combine.
- Step 10Spread 1/3 mixture on the bottom of the pie crust. Arrange 1/2 of the roasted tomatoes on top, overlapping heirlooms with Roma tomatoes. Spread another 1/3 of the mixture over the tomatoes and arrange the remaining roasted tomatoes on top. Add the last 1/3 of the mixture and gently press the fresh tomato slices on top in a decorative pattern. Arrange foil around the edges of the pie crust to protect them from burning, taking care that the foil doesn’t touch the tomatoes.
- Step 11Bake until browned and bubbly on top, about 40 minutes. Cool completely before serving.