Saturday, October 19, 2019

CSA Newsletter for Week 19

Farm Update


A lot of people don't realize that carrots
come in colors other than orange, but
they do!  We're going to have our
multicolored carrot mix in the CSA
shares this week!  Just look at these beauties!
Hi everyone!  Welcome to week 19 of the CSA!  We've been doing a lot of fall tasks this week at the farm; Fred was able to pull out most of the old tomato plantings that were past their prime, which frees up space in the coldframes to plant hardier crops that will last for the next few months.  He's been prepping the soil in the recently vacated coldframes, and over the next few days, we'll plant that space with spinach, lettuce, and mache.  We've had a few significant frosts this week, which fortunately haven't done too much damage, except to the tomatoes and peppers, which we pretty much expected this time of year.

We're also opening up sign-ups for next year, so you can get on the list for the 2020 season any time!  You know the old joke about how if you don't like the weather in Michigan, wait five minutes?  Given the variability in Michigan weather, especially in the spring and fall, we feel like we've had a harder time having the variety of vegetables we want to be able to offer until the 20th week of the CSA. So we've decided that starting next year, we'll have 19 weeks of the CSA instead of 20.  Most years, we raise the price of CSA shares by a few dollars to account for inflation and the increasing cost of labor, but we're going to leave the prices exactly where they are for the 2020 season.  So full shares are going to continue to be $560, and half shares are going to continue to be $305 for next year.  That said, it really helps us out when CSA members put down a payment early for the following year, because it allows us to manage expenses throughout the winter.  So anyone who signs up and pays at least half of their share cost before December 31 will get $5 off their CSA membership for next year!  So if you know you want to sign up, let me know, and I'll put you on the list for CSA season 2020! :-)

What to Expect in This Week's Share


If you are picking up at one of our traditional style drop-offs (Alma, Mt. Pleasant, and Midland), here’s what the options will be at the different stations.  If you have a half share, you’ll choose one item at each station, and if you have a full share, you choose two items at each station!

  • Potatoes or a bag of small onions
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Squash
  • Surprise veggie
  • Kale, cooking greens mix, or microgreens
  • Radishes or beets
  • Onion

If you have a prepacked share (Midland hospital, St. Johns, Lansing, Okemos, or home delivery), here are your options.  If you have a half share, you’ll choose either share A, B, or C, and if you have a full share, you can choose two of them.  So just email me by lunchtime the day before your drop-off to let me know which share you want for this week!  If I don't hear from you, I'll just choose for you. :-)

Share A:  Potatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, kale, multicolored carrots, radishes, onion.

Share B: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, cooking greens mix, Brussels sprouts, beets, onion.

Share C:  Potatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, microgreens, multicolored carrots, beets, onion.

             

Recipes



I was talking to someone at the drop-off last week who was asking about all the different things we do with sweet potatoes, and I was reminded of this amazing Sweet Potato Pie that I make every fall!  You can also make it without a crust (either if you're gluten free, or if you just don't want to take the time to make a pie crust), and it comes out like more of a custard.  I usually make this for our son Timmy's birthday in November, but I think I'll make it early this year, because it just feels like time.  I hope you all enjoy it as much as we do!

Saturday, October 12, 2019

CSA Newsletter forWeek 18

Farm Update


Right now, most of the crops growing
in the fields are fall veggies like these
carrots, because the summer vegetables
have been put to rest for the year.
Hi everyone! This is definitely a week where you win some and you lose some.  We were able to turn under a lot of ground that used to be planted with onions, and we've planted a cover crop of rye on those plots.  That will help the soil to store up nutrients throughout the winter and spring, and we'll have stronger soil to plant in when again it is the season for planting.  On Thursday and Friday we were able to get the rest of the sweet potatoes out of the ground and safely into the barn before the ground starts to freeze, so we're glad to have them stored up in the barn and ready to bring to the CSA drop-offs!  We've also been pretty successful at keeping the deer out of the farm and away from our veggies this week.  The downside is that the almost incessant rain and cold have really caused a lot of our crops to go downhill quickly.  While many of the crops are turned under and put to rest for the year, some of the vegetables that are still in the field are really struggling.  We have several successive plantings of carrots that do not seem to be growing in size, which confounds us to no end.  The Brussels sprouts are late in becoming ready to harvest, but they should start trickling in next week or so.  It feels like fall came upon us really quickly, and most of the summer crops dried up almost overnight.  So now is the time to really embrace the root vegetables, squash, and hearty greens of autumn!  The list of what we'll have have in the shares this week reads like a menu for Thanksgiving dinner!  So bring out your autumn decorations, pick up some apple cider, and put the extra blankets on the beds.  Because ready or not, fall is here!

What to Expect in This Week's Share


If you are picking up at one of our traditional style drop-offs (Alma, Mt. Pleasant, and Midland), here’s what the options will be at the different stations.  If you have a half share, you’ll choose one item at each station, and if you have a full share, you choose two items at each station!

  • Sweet potatoes or beets
  • Potatoes
  • Squash or a bag of small onion
  • Surprise veggie
  • Cabbage, kale, or cooking greens mix
  • Radishes, turnips, or 2 peppers
  • Onion, garlic, or microgreens

If you have a prepacked share (Midland hospital, St. Johns, Lansing, Okemos, or home delivery), here are your options.  If you have a half share, you’ll choose either share A, B, or C, and if you have a full share, you can choose two of them.  So just email me by lunchtime the day before your drop-off to let me know which share you want for this week!  If I don't hear from you, I'll just choose for you. :-)

Share A:  Sweet potatoes, potatoes, butternut squash, surprise veggie, cabbage, 2 peppers, garlic

Share B: Beets, potatoes, butternut squash, surprise veggie, cooking greens mix, turnips, onion

Share C:  Sweet potato, potatoes, acorn squash, surprise veggie, kale, radishes, microgreens

             

Recipes


Normally we don't do a lot of casseroles at our house, because we really love meals where the freshness and quality of the vegetables can really shine.  But in the fall, sometimes you just want some good old-fashioned comfort food, and these Creamy Au Gratin Potatoes are exactly the thing for weather like this!  Try out this awesome potato goodness on a damp, windy evening and relish the fact that you don't have to go outside!  :-)

Friday, October 4, 2019

CSA Newsletter for Week 17

Farm Update


Hi everyone!  It's been a very rainy week at the farm!  We've had a little bit of flooding in a few of the plant beds that has drowned some of the veggies, but fortunately, it's not extensive enough to do any major damage.  The damp weather has damaged the tomatoes more than anything, causing them to crack and develop little spots of rot.  This is pretty common for this time of year; as it gets colder, the summer crops have to work a lot harder to fight plant diseases.  However, the fall vegetables such as kale are thriving!  This chilly weather allows the kale to really play to its strengths.  There is a slight chance of frost this weekend, but we're hoping to avoid it, because once the first frost occurs, the quality of most vegetables slowly degrades until the end of the season.  The longer the frost stays away, the longer we can have a wide variety of both summer and fall vegetables.  The deer have definitely started to be more active, trying to find their way into the farm through the only two entrances in our 8-foot-tall deer fence.  They usually come just as it starts to get dark, so we've been proactive, walking around where they enter the farm at nightfall to scare them away.  We've found that if we scare them at the beginning of the night, they'll find somewhere else to go and usually not return to the farm that night.  The amount of damage a group of deer can do to a bed of vegetables in just one night is incredible, so we want to avoid that.  Folks have been asking lately how much longer the CSA will go this year, so here are the final dates:  The last Alma drop-off is going to be November 4, the last Mt. Pleasant drop-off is November 5, the last Lansing drop-off is October 30, and the last Midland drop-off is October 31.  We still have several more weeks of veggies to enjoy before the fields take a well-deserved winter rest, so let's enjoy them all to the fullest! :-)

What to Expect in This Week's Share


If you are picking up at one of our traditional style drop-offs (Alma, Mt. Pleasant, and Midland), here’s what the options will be at the different stations.  If you have a half share, you’ll choose one item at each station, and if you have a full share, you choose two items at each station!

  • Carrots or Delicata squash
  • Sweet potatoes or arugula
  • Potatoes
  • Butternut squash or beets
  • Radishes or kale
  • 3 Roma tomatoes or 2 peppers
  • Onion or microgreens

If you have a prepacked share (Midland hospital, St. Johns, Lansing, Okemos, or home delivery), here are your options.  If you have a half share, you’ll choose either share A, B, or C, and if you have a full share, you can choose two of them.  So just email me by lunchtime the day before your drop-off to let me know which share you want for this week!  If I don't hear from you, I'll just choose for you. :-)

Share A:  Carrots, sweet potatoes, potatoes, butternut squash, kale, 3 Roma tomatoes, onion

Share B: Delicata, sweet potatoes, potatoes, butternut squash, radishes, 2 peppers, microgreens

Share C:  Carrots, arugula, potatoes, beets, kale, 3 Roma tomatoes, onion

             

Recipes


There are some things that, without fail, signal that fall is really here.  The onslaught of pumpkin spice everything comes to mind, along with the appearance of sweaters and boots as the weather starts to get chilly.  For me, beets are one of those harbingers of fall, so we have some beet recipes this week!  We do a lot of different things with beets, but Beet and Goat Cheese Arugula Salad and Oven-Roasted Root Vegetables make many, many appearances on our table throughout the fall.  In the Roasted Root Vegetable recipe, you can either use parsnips as called for, or you can switch them out for carrots, which is what we usually do.  We usually sprinkle it liberally with rosemary too.  Enjoy!

Saturday, September 28, 2019

CSA Newsletter for Week 16

Farm Update


This is one of the nice pictures
Savannah took of us while she was
following us around for her
photojournalism project.  Timmy's
little face cracks me up every time!
Hi everyone!  It's been another full week at the farm!  The last two weeks, we had Savannah, a CMU student, following us around and documenting our lives for a photojournalism project she's working on.  We had a great time getting to know her as she followed us around at the farm, at some of the drop-offs, at home to see how we live when we're not working, and even for Sunday dinner at Fred's folks house!  The pictures she took were so great, and they totally captured what this stage in the life of our family looks like.  What a totally fun experience!

And things keep moving along at the farm in their seasonal rhythm.  It's been pretty wet lately, but we were able to turn under a lot of field plantings that have run their course.  Some of the beds are still full of vegetables we've recently planted, and the carrots and lettuce are looking especially good.  Now we're primarily planting in the hoophouses; we planted one of the coldframes with lettuce this week, and we're in the process of planting a few more.

We also decided that we need to start looking at a possible land expansion.  We've got fantastic soil at the farm, but pretty much none of it is sandy, and there are several crops that would do better in sandy soil.  After this wet spring, we realized that having some sandier ground would benefit us, so we're on the lookout for 2-10 acres near the farm.  We'll see what turns up!

And here we go into week 16!  See you at the drop-off!



What to Expect in This Week's Share


If you are picking up at one of our traditional style drop-offs (Alma, Mt. Pleasant, and Midland), here’s what the options will be at the different stations.  If you have a half share, you’ll choose one item at each station, and if you have a full share, you choose two items at each station!

  • Butternut squash
  • Snap beans
  • Carrots or sweet potatoes
  • Potatoes or beets
  • Tomatoes or spring mix
  • Kale, cabbage, or 2 sweet peppers
  • Onion, shallot, or microgreens

If you have a prepacked share (Midland hospital, St. Johns, Lansing, Okemos, or home delivery), here are your options.  If you have a half share, you’ll choose either share A, B, or C, and if you have a full share, you can choose two of them.  So just email me by lunchtime the day before your drop-off to let me know which share you want for this week!  If I don't hear from you, I'll just choose for you. :-)

Share A:  Snap beans, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, potatoes, spring mix, 2 peppers, onion.

Share B:  Snap beans, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, beets, tomatoes, kale, onion.

Share C:  Snap beans, butternut squash, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, 2 peppers, microgreens.

             

Recipes


imageWe always like talking to people at the drop-offs about what they like to do with different veggies, because we often get a lot of good ideas we've never tried.  And butternut squash are one of those veggies that you can prepare so many different ways!  I've heard several different go-to squash preparations that CSA members have, many of which are represented among these 23 Butternut Squash Recipes to Try this Fall.  You'll find everything from Roasted Butternut Squash to Butternut Squash Soup to noodles made from squash!  Check it out for some delicious fall squash recipes!

Saturday, September 21, 2019

CSA Newsletter for Week 15

Farm Update


Look at all these pretty beets!  These beets were all
bunched up and ready for their bath in preparation
for last Tuesday's drop-off! :-)
Hi everyone!  I can't believe we're already in week 15 of the CSA!  It's definitely fall out there these days, even though today was like another day of summer for us to enjoy.  We're getting to the point in the season where the weeds will be less on an issue; we're going to have one last hurrah with the weeding this week, and after that we'll likely have to pay a lot less attention to it.  Once the weather shifts into fall, keeping any plants thriving takes more work, and that applies to the weeds too.  Our fall plantings are starting to take center stage.  The carrots we planted several weeks ago will be ready to start harvesting this week, but they won't be in full force until next week.  The kale is also coming back to life, and it's the robust, hearty kale of fall instead of the lighter kale of summer.  We harvested the last of the onions last week, and they are currently drying in one of the coldframes.  This curing process will help the onions last much longer once they get to your kitchen, as opposed to freshly-harvested onions, which you have to use sooner.  We've started harvesting the sweet potatoes, and we'll have them in the shares this week!  This wasn't actually a great year for sweet potatoes, since they generally require a longer hot period than we had this year, so they might be a little smaller than we're used to.  But I do know they'll taste great!  We're also seeing increased deer pressure, which commonly happens this time of year.  Over the next several weeks, we'll start to see more deer making stupid decisions regarding fences, food sources, and crossing the road as the rut (the main mating season) begins.  
     
Another thing we wanted to let you know about is the Butternut squash this week!  We pride ourselves on providing only things we grow on our farm in the CSA shares, but this week we're making a very rare exception.  We wanted to make sure you guys got lots of yummy squash this year, and we're coming down to the end of our Butternuts, so we're going to be including some in the share this week that were grown by a friend of ours.  His name is John Miller, and he's a local Amish farmer near us, and he's also certified organic.  So you can be sure that you're getting the same high quality organic goodness from him that you get from us!  But we just wanted to let you know about it, because we want you to know exactly where your food comes from.  If you have any questions about that, just let us know!

Also, this week is the week where folks can set up tables to sell their products!  So if you're interested in setting up a table, just let me know by the day before your drop-off.  Also, bring your cash just in case you want to buy something from any of our lovely CSA members who have products to showcase.  See you all this week at the drop-offs! :-)


What to Expect in This Week's Share


If you are picking up at one of our traditional style drop-offs (Alma, Mt. Pleasant, and Midland), here’s what the options will be at the different stations.  If you have a half share, you’ll choose one item at each station, and if you have a full share, you choose two items at each station!

  • Kale or green peppers
  • Potatoes or cabbage
  • carrots or cherry tomatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Butternut squash or beets
  • Tomatoes or a bag of small onions
  • Onions, microgreens, or basil

If you have a prepacked share (Midland hospital, St. Johns, Lansing, Okemos, or home delivery), here are your options.  If you have a half share, you’ll choose either share A, B, or C, and if you have a full share, you can choose two of them.  So just email me by lunchtime the day before your drop-off to let me know which share you want for this week!  If I don't hear from you, I'll just choose for you. :-)

Share A:  Kale, potatoes, cherry tomatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, tomatoes and basil.

Share B:  2 green peppers, potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, beets, bag of small onions, and microgreens.

Share C:  2 green peppers, cabbage, carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, tomatoes, and on onion.


             

Recipes



It's sweet potato season!  If you've never tried roasted sweet potatoes, this is the recipe for you!  They come out so delicious, you'll never go back to the mashed and marshmallowed variety you grew up eating at Thanksgiving!  (Or was that just me?  Either way, I'm so glad I've seen the light!) :-)

Saturday, September 14, 2019

CSA Newsletter for Week 14

Farm Update


These tiny lettuces that are just
popping up in the coldframes will be
in your shares during the final week
of the CSA!
Hi everyone!  It was a really rainy week at the farm!  The plants are looking vibrant and green now (except the spinach, which sustained some damage during the deluge), and our driveway is a muddy mess, which is a sure sign that a pretty strong storm went through!  Looking around the farm, the fields are starting to get a little more empty as we harvest many of the plantings from earlier in the year.  We're still seeding spinach in the field, but we're done planting most other crops for the year.  Now as each vegetable bed empties out, we'll plant a cover crop on it to help build the organic matter in the soil throughout the off season.  Our fall carrots are growing fast, and we'll likely have them back in the shares in the next week or two.  The tomatoes are starting to be on the downswing; we'll still have a bunch this week, but they'll start to dwindle each week after that until it becomes impractical to harvest them.  But even as the field starts its slow descent into winter rest, some other crops are still going strong, particularly in the coldframes.  We'll continue to seed lettuce, spinach, kale, mache, and maybe even some radishes in the coldframes throughout the fall.  Some of them will be for the final weeks of the CSA, some of them will be to supply our restaurants and stores throughout November, and some of them will be for overwintering so we can get a jump on the first greens of the spring.  The animal life around the farm is getting more active right now too.  There have been just a TON of grasshoppers lately, and just like every fall, they're getting a little slower and more lethargic.  So they're easy prey for Molly and her kittens, who have been venturing out of the barn more and learning to hunt.  Molly is still a little hesitant to let the kittens too far away from the barn because, unlike her offspring, she knows that they are not the most dangerous predators at the farm.  But they're going to need to know how to catch their own food before winter, and they're beginning that process with the grasshoppers.


In other news, in case you missed the announcement last week, we're going to be having a special event at the drop-offs next week!  At the Alma, Mt. Pleasant, and Midland drop-offs, anyone who has a product to sell (such as homemade bread, jams, art, jewelry, etc.) can set up a table at the drop-off to sell their items.  I just need to know about it beforehand, so make sure you let me know if you're interested in setting up a table!  See you at the drop-off!

What to Expect in This Week's Share


If you are picking up at one of our traditional style drop-offs (Alma, Mt. Pleasant, and Midland), here’s what the options will be at the different stations.  If you have a half share, you’ll choose one item at each station, and if you have a full share, you choose two items at each station!

  • Green beans
  • Cherry tomatoes or Butternut squash
  • Potatoes
  • Tomatoes or a bag of small onions
  • Lettuce or beets
  • Kale, microgreens, leeks
  • Onion, garlic, or shallot

If you have a prepacked share (Midland hospital, St. Johns, Lansing, Okemos, or home delivery), here are your options.  If you have a half share, you’ll choose either share A, B, or C, and if you have a full share, you can choose two of them.  So just email me by lunchtime the day before your drop-off to let me know which share you want for this week!  If I don't hear from you, I'll just choose for you. :-)

Share A:  Green beans, cherry tomatoes, potatoes, tomatoes, lettuce, leeks, and onion.

Share B:  Green beans, butternut squash, potatoes, tomatoes, beets, kale, and onion.

Share C:  Green beans, butternut squash, potatoes, bag of small onions, lettuce, microgreens, and garlic.

             

Recipes



Garlic Lemon Green Beans Recipe | shewearsmanyhats.comIf you're looking for something totally delicious to do with your green beans this week (and who isn't?) check out these Garlic Lemon Green Beans!  This can be either a side dish or just a snack for when it's not quite mealtime, but you're still kind of hungry, because these yummy beans are quick and easy.  Enjoy! :-)

Saturday, September 7, 2019

CSA Newsletter for Week 13

Farm Update



Hi everyone!  I hope you've all been having a great week!  Last week was slightly less crazy than most for us at the farm, which was a really welcome break!  We were able to get plenty of the late fall plantings in, and we got a nice rain just when we needed it too!  It's definitely feeling like fall out there lately, with the cold, damp mornings and (mostly) sunny afternoons.  And just in case you weren't sure if it's really fall yet, we have the first of the winter squash in the shares this week, which pretty much verifies the change in seasons, even if the calendar doesn't yet.

Also, check out this video of how our old-school onion cleaner gets all of your onions pretty and clean!  This is the first time I've tried to put a video in the newsletter, so we'll see how it goes...

In other news, we wanted to let you know that we're planning on having a special event at the drop-offs on the week of September 23-26!  I've had a few people who have products to sell ask if they could set up a table at the drop-off sometime, so we decided to make a whole event of it!  So if you have a product to sell, whether it's homemade bread, jam, jewelry, etc, and you'd like to set up a table at the Alma, Mt. Pleasant, or Midland drop-offs during that week, let me know!  We do need to know about it in advance if you're planning on setting up a table, so make sure you check in with me at least a few days before the drop-off, but we would love to see what you've got!  Just let me know if you have any questions!  :-)


What to Expect in This Week's Share


If you are picking up at one of our traditional style drop-offs (Alma, Mt. Pleasant, and Midland), here’s what the options will be at the different stations.  If you have a half share, you’ll choose one item at each station, and if you have a full share, you choose two items at each station!

  • Tomatoes
  • Potatoes or basil
  • Lettuce
  • Cherry tomatoes or carrots
  • Delicata squash or 2 green peppers
  • Leeks, kale, cabbage, or microgreens
  • Onion, shallot, or garlic

If you have a prepacked share (Midland hospital, St. Johns, Lansing, Okemos, or home delivery), here are your options.  If you have a half share, you’ll choose either share A, B, or C, and if you have a full share, you can choose two of them.  So just email me by lunchtime the day before your drop-off to let me know which share you want for this week!  If I don't hear from you, I'll just choose for you. :-)

Share A: Slicing tomatoes, potatoes, lettuce, cherry tomatoes, delicata squash, leeks, garlic

Share B:  Slicing tomatoes, potatoes, lettuce, carrots, delicata squash, kale, onion

Share C:  Slicing tomatoes, basil, lettuce, cherry tomatoes, 2 green peppers, cabbage, shallot

             

Recipes



Tomatoes and winter squash?
Absolutely!  This Delicata Squash
Tomato Gratin calls for two of the
major items in the shares this week!
If you're new to the CSA this year, you may never have tried delicata squash before, and you have been missing out!  This is one of the sweetest, yummiest winter squashes there is, and here are 24 Best Delicata Squash Recipes from Country Living for you to check out!  Enjoy!