CSA Newsletter Week #15, September 3rd

Farm Notes

Now that the fall semester is in full swing, our apprentice help has dropped quite a bit. However, we’ve still got some wonderful students that are still coming around their class schedule. It’s amazing how quiet in can be out here in the early mornings when its only a few of us.

We will also be opening up our pepper and eggplant field to “You-Pick.” There will be signs showing you what rows you may pick from. There is one bed that you may not pick from, but it will be noted.  Also, there are little to no tomatoes in the tomato field, but you are more than welcome to walk through and pick any you may find. As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to find one of the staff members either out in the field or in the packing shed.

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Just as a heads up, we will be moving our distribution day a day earlier the second week of October due to a football game on Thursday October 15th. We will be moving pick-up to Wednesday October 14th. Campus pick-up will still be at the E.S. Good Barn and farm pick-up will still be at the farm.

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Note from an Apprentice

This week’s note is from Montaynna Heightchew.

Folks, I grew up on a conventional 220 acre farm in Henry County raising what’s typical of my county: beef cattle, silage corn, tobacco and hay. Saying the word “sustainable” could get you called a hippie in a heartbeat. So when I graduated high school and decided upon double majoring in Agricultural Economics and Sustainable Agriculture, my friends and family at home were like, “what on earth is that?!” I have had to defend myself and my views on farming constantly since I have entered this program. But, I have never felt more at home than in this program. I finally found a group of people who share in my views on agriculture, and they teach me new things to boot! The farming techniques I have learned in class and in the CSA apprenticeship this summer are invaluable.

I learned about things I have never even heard of before. If someone had said the phrase “plasticulture system” to me a couple years ago, I never would have thought it had anything to do with agriculture, much less sustainable agriculture. I surely would not have thought that I would strive to implement that same system on my own farm. Plasticulture is the use of black plastic in raised beds to control weeds. Living mulch can be sown in the aisles to prevent the soil from staying bare, and can be used to increase soil matter once the season is over. I think that system is the coolest thing ever. I grow and sell vegetables on my home farm, and I’m always looking for ways to prevent bare soil. If I sow things in the aisles that chickens like to graze, such as buckwheat or rye, I can even send my layer hens down the aisles and incorporate them into the system!

I have also learned a new way of trellising tomatoes which I had never seen before. It was one of my favorite things I have done on the farm. It seems extremely efficient and promotes air flow to reduce disease risk. This is the way I will trellis my tomatoes from now on for sure!

Coming from an agricultural background, I wasn’t sure how much I would really learn from this apprenticeship at first, but boy was I wrong. I learned more in my first day out there than I thought I’d learn all summer! Did I know that you could use a conveyer belt to harvest winter squash? I sure didn’t! Do I now want one for my own farm? Of course I do! After each time I worked at the farm this summer, I wrote down all the cool innovative ideas I learned about and now have an awesome little list for when I start my official farm business next year, when my fiancé and I buy a farm. Hopefully I will get several more opportunities between classes to learn at the farm before the season ends!

Montaynna in the teal/green t-shirt at distribution.

Montaynna in the teal/green t-shirt at distribution.

What’s In Your Share

For this week, you’ll receive:
+ Potatoes (of the Chieftan variety)
+ Siberian kale (bagged)
+ Radishes (of the easter egg variety)
+ Winter squash (of the Bon Bon variety)
+ Onions
+ Arugula
+ Lettuce (“LoveLock” red Batavia)
+ Peppers
+ Bok Choy
+ Kohlrabi
+ Bunched kale ( either Red Russian OR Lacinato)

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You-Pick

The following items are available for You-Pick:
+ ground cherries
+ hot peppers: jalapeños, serranos, and capperino cherry peppers
+ cilantro
+ dill
+ cherry tomatoes
+ okra
+ Herbs: onion chives, garlic chives, flat parsley,  curly parsley, thyme, marjoram, savory, lavender, chamomile, sage, oregano, rosemary and basil
+ flowers

Please remember to bring your own pruners or scissors for harvesting U-Pick items!

Little baby kohlrabies!

Little baby kohlrabies!

Veggie Tips

Bok choy can be stored in a plastic bag in the crisper section of your refrigerator for up to a week. Wash it before cooking or serving. Bok choy is an excellent source of vitamin A and C, folate and it is fat and cholesterol free.

+ You can store arugula by wrapping it in damp paper towels and storing in a plastic bag for up to 3 days. Arugula is a good source of vitamin A and C, folate, potassium and it is also fat and cholesterol free with very low sodium.

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Recipes

Buttercup squash with apples
From http://www.bettycrocker.com

Ingredients:
1 small buttercup or other winter squash (1 pound)
1/2 cup chopped tart cooking apple
2 tsp. packed brown sugar
2 tsp. butter or margarine, softened
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg

Directions:
Heat oven to 400°. Cut squash in half; remove seeds and fibers. Place squash halves, cut side up, in ungreased baking dish. Mix remaining ingredients; spoon into squash halves. Cover and back 30 to 40 minutes or until squash is tender.

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Buttercup squash casserole
From http://www.food.com

Ingredients:
1 (2 1/2 lb) buttercup squash
2 tbsp. brown sugar, packed
1tsp. salt
1tsp. ground cinnamon
1tsp. ground nutmeg
2 tbsp. butter or 2 tbsp. margarine
1 tbsp. fresh chives, chopped
1tsp. ground nutmeg, if desired

Directions:
Heat oven to 350°F Cut squash into quarters; remove seeds. In ungreased shallow baking pan, place pieces, cut sides down. Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until tender. Cool slightly.
Spray 1-quart casserole with cooking spray. Scoop squash pulp from skin; place in medium bowl. Discard skin. Add brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg and butter to squash. Mix with potato masher or fork until well blended. Spoon into casserole. Sprinkle with chives and 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until hot.

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Three Pea (or Greens) Stir Fry

This recipe comes from the “Simply in Season” Cookbook, and instead of the 3 kinds of peas it calls for, you can substitute 12-16 loosely packed cups of stemmed and chopped fresh greens (think Spinach, Pac Choi, or Kale). After adding greens to the garlic, oil, ginger, and hot chilies, cover and cook until just wilted, about 5 minutes. Add water if necessary. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar immediately before serving.

Ingredients:
1 large clove garlic (minced)
1 Tbs ginger root (peeled, minced)
1/8-1/4 tsp crushed hot chilies
1 1/2 cups sugar snap peas (cut in 1-inch pieces)
1 1/2 cups snow peas (cut in 1-inch pieces)
1 cup peas
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame seed oil

Directions:
Heat 1 Tbs oil in large frying pan over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Add ingredients and stir-fry until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add sugar snap and snow peas and cook until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes.
Add peas and stir-fry until hot, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
Stir in soy sauce and sesame seed oil. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and salt to taste. Serve immediately.

Citrus Variation: Omit garlic, crushed dried chilies, soy sauce, sesame seed oil, and sesame seeds. Add 1/2 tsp grated orange peel with the sugar snap and snow peas.

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