Friday, January 15, 2021

BGF NEWS - January 2021 - VOL. XLVI, NO. 3

WHAT’S UP ON THE FARM?


Precipitation in the past month: Snow: 9.0"
                                                            Rain: trace

Happy New Year from the farm!
It was a quiet, snowy holiday season on the farm with only those who live here gathering to share the day in person. We did have Zoom Christmas with extended family which was appreciated and prudent, but not the same. We assume many of you had similar experiences.

The darkest days of winter are now past us and as each each day dawns we have a bit more daylight. The winter crops really appreciate the increasing day length. Crops in the high tunnel are basically held in stasis from mid Dec until about Valentine's day. Then they will suddenly start to put on lots of new growth. 
Winter VegEmail harvesting
This will be a cause for celebration for our winter VegEmail customers as we should have more leafy green crops to offer as the weeks continue. The chickens also slow down during these shorter days. We went from getting 12-14 dozen eggs a day for much of the summer to  about 2 dozen on Christmas day. Don't they understand we have hungry egg customers???

The seed orders are finally all placed and the new seeds are rolling in. This is a photo of just "a few" of the new seeds that have arrived so far. The potting soil (which was hauled up the hill in the sled) is mixed and ready for the coming season. We will start sowing the first transplant crops next in a few weeks.

So what else have we been up to in the past month? VegEmail deliveries continue every two weeks. There's been a fair amount of snow clearing, both mechanical and by hand. The high tunnels have to be cleared whenever there is a heavy snow, which guarantees snow-filled pockets and hoods at some point, no matter how careful I am! 
Once I get the January newsletter out (today!), the 2021  garden maps are the next big priority. The screen shot on the right is a quick glimpse at the plan for our "El Sur" plot, which is about 3/4 done. 
Other than that, we are attending virtual farming meetings, doing daily chores and playing in the snow a bit.

2021 CSA:
Veteran member sign up has begun. If you were a CSA member in 2020, you should have received an email last month with the details and a link to the sign up form. If you didn't receive your membership email for the 2021 season, please let us know ASAP.  2020 members have until the end of January (just 2 more weeks) to lock in their spots and then we will open any remaining shares to our waiting list. Huge thanks to those of you who have already responded and an additional farm-fresh round of applause to those who have already paid (that helps us cover all those new seeds!) If you are interesting in joining us as a new member this season, you can email us at mail@bluegatefarmfresh.com and ask to be put on the waiting list.


Is a monthly newsletter not enough for you? Do you want to read more about our life on the farm and see more pictures? Follow us on Facebook at Blue Gate Farm or on Instagram at bluegatefarmfresh. CSA members can also connect with other BGF members to share recipes or ask questions on our FB community page at Blue Gate Farm Community.

That's about it for now. If you have any questions or comments, be sure to let us know.
Best from the farm,
Jill & Sean (and the whole BGF crew)

Indigo, Luci & Sky

Saturday, December 19, 2020

BGF NEWS - December 2020 - VOL. XLVI, NO. 2

What’s up on the farm?

Precipitation in the past month: Snow: 3.0"
                                                            Rain: 0.4"

Happy holidays from all of us at BGF!

I know, I say it almost every winter newsletter, but I can't believe another month has already passed and now here we are looking at the end of 2020. I don't know that anyone will be sorry to see this one go, but if nothing else, the year has certainly been illuminating.

All tucked in for the night.
So what have we been up to in the past month? We finished up the harvest season in the field and have cleared *most* of the row covers and hardware. We did leave a few in place on some particularly cold hardy crops, just in case it happens to warm up enough that we might do a bit of harvesting later in the winter. You just never know! Our high tunnel crops are coming along nicely under their snug covers, though some days I feel like all I accomplish is opening the covers to let in the sunshine and then recovering the crops before the temperatures start to drop in the late afternoon.

Making chores more fun!
Daily chores take a bit more time now than in the warmer seasons. Eggs have to be gathered multiple times a day to ensure they don't freeze and snow makes things both easier and more challenging. And yes, sometimes after finishing chores I take the opportunity to hop in the chore sled for a little slide down the hill!

We are still harvesting and packing orders for our VegEmail deliveries every two weeks. It gets tricky with the colder weather and sometimes the walk-in cooler is the warmest place to pack and store orders, which seems a bit ironic. Our order volume continues to be brisk, so a couple of our crew members come in to lend a hand for harvest & delivery days. I really appreciate their help and company, otherwise I miss them all winter long!

Most of our other tasks these days are indoors. We recently finished our seed inventory and have nearly all of our seed orders placed. We just lack one company and the seed potatoes and we hope to get those done shortly. A few of our orders have already started arriving, so that is always a fun mailbox run. There is something so full of promise in a new seed packet! The rest of the time we are planning and prepping and attending virtual meetings and conferences.

Speaking of planning, it is time to move forward on the 2021 CSA season.  Given last year's unprecedented demand for CSA shares, we are reaching out early this year to ensure that we are better prepared for another rush on local foods. Veteran members can start reserving their spots this week. You should receive an email in the next couple of days with the details and a link to the sign up form. 2020 members will have until the end of January to lock in their spots and then we will open any remaining shares to our waiting list. If you are interesting in joining us as a new member this season, you can email us at mail@bluegatefarmfresh.com and ask to be put on the waiting list.

Part of our planning for the upcoming season is the "Add, Stay or Go" list. Along with input from the crew, we look at crops, varieties, processes, tools and supplies, assessing which things we are interested in adding to the farm, which things to continue with and which things need to be retired. So far we are adding quite a few new flowers as we had good interest in our bouquets this past season. We are trying some new tomato varieties and retiring a couple that were underwhelming. We are continuing with our fabric mulch trials and plan to expand those into new areas this spring. There's at least one new potato variety, a return to a favorite green bean and experimenting with a couple new leafy greens. 

Our biggest change in the upcoming season is that we are fairly sure we are ending our time as egg producers. We know that this will be a big disappointment for a number of people, and we aren't making this decision lightly. We have kept chickens for 14 years and while we enjoy them and the luxury of having our own eggs, they are also an enormous investment of time and energy. Their schedule and needs rule the start and end of EVERY day on the farm plus some of the hours in between.  We have toyed with this idea for a couple of years, and looked at a variety of options for lightening our workload with them. However, this past year we lost both our source for new birds and our processor for sending our retiring birds to "freezer camp." We decided that this was the universe helping us to realize it was time to make the change. We will continue to offer eggs into the spring, but unless something unexpected occurs, we anticipate bidding our chickens farewell by the start of summer.
Some endings are beautiful!
That's about it from us this month. Thank you for making it all the way to the end of the newsletter and for joining us on all our farming adventures. It is such a privilege to live in this beautiful place and to raise safe, healthy food for so many amazing people. We wish you all the joys of the season and a bright new year!


Is a monthly newsletter not enough for you? Do you want to read more about our life on the farm and see more pictures? Follow us on Facebook at Blue Gate Farm or on Instagram at bluegatefarmfresh. CSA members can also connect with other BGF members to share recipes or ask questions on our FB community page at Blue Gate Farm Community.

That's about it for now. If you have any questions or comments, be sure to let us know.
Best from the farm,
Jill & Sean (and the whole BGF crew)

Indigo, Luci & Sky

Saturday, November 28, 2020

BGF NEWS - November 2020 - VOL. XLVI, NO. 1

What’s up on the farm?


Precipitation in the past month: Snow: 3.0"
                                                            Rain: 2.75"

Welcome to our November newsletter. We will publish these on a monthly basis until the start of the CSA season in June. Our goal is to give our members, customers and friends a window into our world on the "back-side" of the seasonal calendar. So grab a hot beverage, sit back and join us for a little tour of the farm this month.

We are thankful for a time to slow down a bit. Not that a farm ever really rests, but November is usually the time that the pace on the farm really starts to ease. The regular "market season" is done, the farm crew is on limited hours and the field crops are largely out. Somehow, even though these things are mostly true right now, it doesn't feel as "slow" as years past. While we have had a few pretty cold nights, getting as low as 19°, most of our fall field crops are still doing fairly well. We did lose some things due to cold, but that is always the case at some point during the fall and we are pleased that we are still harvesting from the field in late November. It is particularly appreciated this year as our VegEmail sales have been very popular, in fact, our recent pre-Thanksgiving delivery was the most orders we've ever filled in one day! Who could have possibly guessed last spring as we were filled with anxiety over what a season without farmers market would mean for us? We never could have imagined how popular VegEmail would be over the summer and now continuing into the fall & winter. We are SO very thankful to all our amazing customers who place orders all season long. You made it possible for us to keep our farm crew employed and to embrace the change to move forward through a challenging year!

Besides harvesting and packing a crazy number of VegEmail orders, what have we been doing? Well, as the temperatures started to cool, it was time to get the row covers on our fall crops. Due to the drought, our fall crops were slow growing and many of them hadn't yet been harvested by the end of October. 
Row cover in the field
So row covers to the rescue, these big pieces of fabric on wire hoops buy us (and the crops) some extra time. They aren't a fail-safe, but they do help insulate cold-tolerant crops and hopefully allow us to continue to harvest from the fields later in the season. They are "a bit" of a pain, requiring a fair amount of hardware that all has to be installed and maintained and it is always a battle on windy days. Every time we harvest, the covers have to be taken off and put back on, so everything is more labor intensive but mostly the effort is worth it. This year, it has definitely been a boon to have them in place.
High Tunnel #2 on 11/28/20
So far, we haven't had to start harvesting from the high tunnels yet, which means those crops will be more plentiful once we do have to move inside.  

Some of our crops don't get covers, especially root crops. We just let them grow to the size we want and them harvest them all at one time. We can do this because these crops store well for an extended time in the cooler. This includes carrots, beets, turnips, radishes and daikon. 
Harvesting daikon radishes
This makes for some very long harvest days as they all have to be washed and topped (greens removed) before going into the cooler. But once that work is done, it is such a delight to have them all ready to be bagged up for orders. This year we ran out of carrots and beets very early and are now pleased to be able to offer those crops from our friends at Grinnell Heritage Farm for our VegEmail orders. 

Clearing the beds of spent crops is always a big job in the fall. All the plant matter goes to one of our composting piles or to the chickens. Then all the trellises, support posts and fabric mulch have to be cleared and stored. Irrigation system parts are all rolled up, labeled and stored as well. These tend to be messy and sometimes wet tasks and we were very pleased that this year, those all happened on fairly warm days, as often that isn't the case. 

Planting garlic
Usually the final really big fall task is planting the garlic crop for next year. All of the heads are broken into cloves and each clove is hand planted. Our farm crew has gotten really efficient at this task but it is still a big project. This year we planted a bit under 200 pounds of garlic, which translates to about 3600 cloves. 
Covering newly planted garlic
Then once the cloves are set, they are all covered with soil and the whole plot is mulched with straw. 

As I mentioned, we still have most of the fall crops producing, so much of the cleaning up is yet to come, not to mention clearing all that row cover fabric and hardware. So there is still plenty to do outside and we just hope the weather will continue to be cooperative.

VegEmail deliveries have switched over from our weekly summer schedule to every other week in Des Moines and Knoxville. We will continue to do these sales every two weeks until the start of market season. Our next delivery is 12/8 and the order form for that will go out on 12/2 at 5pm. If you aren't receiving the VegEmail order form and you would like to, just fill out the form here: 
VegEmail Sign Up

 We have already started getting questions about next year's CSA season. Given the unprecedented interest that we had last spring, we are planning to open our sign up period a month early this year. So "current" CSA members from the 202o season can start signing up in early December. Then we will open any available spots to our waiting list in January. So keep your eyes open for more CSA details to come next month.

All the activities and craziness aside, we are thankful for the privilege of living here on this beautiful farm, raising tasty, healthful produce. We couldn't do it without our amazing family, customers, members and community supporters. So we are thankful for you! We hope your Thanksgiving was filled with a bounty of delicious foods. Be safe out there!

Is a monthly newsletter not enough for you? Do you want to read more about our life on the farm and see more pictures? Follow us on Facebook at Blue Gate Farm or on Instagram at bluegatefarmfresh. CSA members can also connect with other BGF members to share recipes or ask questions on our FB community page at Blue Gate Farm Community.

That's about it for now. If you have any questions or comments, be sure to let us know.
Best from the farm,
Jill & Sean (and the whole BGF crew)

Indigo, Luci & Sky

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

BGF NEWS - October 13 , 2020 - VOL. XLV, NO. 20

In this week’s box:


Baby Choi: Yukina Savoy and/or Tatsoi
Beets: Ace, Chioggia and/or Golden
Garlic: Northern White
Jubilee Cherry Tomato Mix (see 7/21 newsletter for details)
Kale Bouquet: Mix
Peppers: asst. (see 8/11 newsletter for details)
Tapestry Salad Mix
Tomato: Slicers (see 7/28 newsletter for details)
Turnips: Hakurei

and perhaps one of the following: (please see **NOTE  after "A Little Detail...)     
Broccoli: Gypsy
Cauliflower: Goodman
Eggplant: Orient Express
Mini Bell Peppers: bite-sized, sweet red, yellow & orange peppers
Summer Squash: see descriptions in "A little detail"

For those with the Egg option [Full Shares]: one dozen free-range eggs
For those with the Herb option: Cardinal basil, Chinese Pink celery & nasturtiums

What’s up on the farm?

 

Precipitation in the past week: 0.00" 
Harvesting beautiful Hakurei turnips for today's delivery

Well, here it is, the final delivery of the 2020 CSA season. It's amazing to me that 20 weeks have gone by, and what a season it has been! Who would have guessed what this year had in store for us all back when we were sowing the first seeds in February? And now, here we are.

Final sowing of baby kale
The small high tunnel is now fully planted, with the final sown crops of salad mix, baby kale and tatsoi going in this past weekend. We still have a couple seedings of greens to go into the big tunnel plus one more transplanted flat of  Purple Peacock broccoli and that will be it for 2020 crops. 
Never fear, we aren't just sitting around with nothing to do now. There is still plenty to keep us entertained like clearing all of the spent beds, clearing and storing the irrigation system (though we're still using it) and installing all the row cover over the new fall crops. Plus the work for 2021 is already beginning, beginning with a "post mortem" of the growing season to decide what crops and varieties stay or should be replaced. The crop mapping for next season is the following big step. This is an important and time sensitive one, because we will plant garlic in the next couple of weeks and we have to know where it fits into the rotation. Then we need to prep those beds and the 5,400 cloves of that go into them. So no dilly dallying going on here!

Final Delivery Note: In case you missed it above, today is the final delivery of the 2020 CSA season. Thank you for joining us on this Veggie Adventure. We hope you have enjoyed the journey! Starting in November, we will publish a monthly newsletter updating you on the current goings-on around the farm. We will start sign-ups for the 2021 CSA season in early January. Special thanks to our delivery hosts, Peace Tree Brewing Co. and the Grand Theater for giving us a home away from home.

VegEmail Sales:  Don't worry that with the end of the CSA season you'll be stuck with grocery store eggs and produce, we continue to do weekly Saturday VegEmail sales until the end of October. Starting the first week of November we will move to bi-weekly Tuesday evening sales. You should continue to get the VegEmail announcements. If you see things you would like to purchase, just fill out the order form and then meet us that following Tuesday at Peace Tree in DM or the Grand Theater in Knox. 

Upcoming dates of note:
Tuesday, Oct 13th: final CSA delivery of the 2020 season
Saturday, Oct 31: final weekly VegEmail delivery
Tuesday, Nov 10: bi-weekly VegEmail deliveries begin. We plan to  continue these deliveries on Tuesdays, every 2 weeks until the end of April.

A little detail on your produce this week:


Broccoli & Cauliflower: Wrap loosely in a plastic bag and keep it in the vegetable bin of your refrigerator for up to a week. Immediately before cooking, soak, head down, in cold, salted water (1 teaspoon salt to a 8 cups of water) for 5 minutes. Any [organic] critters will float to the top where you can rescue them or allow them to suffer a salty death. (Note: If you soak broccoli/cauliflower in salt water before storing, it will become too rubbery and too wilted to enjoy.) Slice the juicy, edible stems and use them wherever florets are called for. Peel particularly thick skin before using.

Eggplant: Eggplant prefers to be kept at about 50° F, which is warmer than most refrigerators and cooler than most kitchen counters. Wrap unwashed eggplant in a towel (not in plastic) to absorb any moisture and keep it in the vegetable bin of your refrigerator. Used within a week, it should still be fresh and mild.  The shape of an eggplant determines how it is best prepared. Slice a straight, narrow eggplant into rounds for grilling or broiling, and cut a rounded, bulbous eggplant into cubes for stews and stir-fries.

Peppers:  Place whole, unwashed peppers in a plastic bag, seal, and refrigerate for a week or more. Rinse peppers just before use. For sweet peppers, cut around the stem with a small knife and lift out the core. Slice down the side to open it up and then cut out the inner membranes. Store unused portions in a sealed bag or container in the refrigerator.

Root crops: Remove leafy tops and store them like other greens. The roots should be placed in a plastic bag in the refrigerator and used within a few weeks.

Summer Squash/Zucchini: Refrigerate unwashed zucchini and summer squash for up to a week and a half in a perforated plastic bag or in a sealed plastic container lined with a kitchen towel. These do not need to be peeled to use, just slice them up and go! Our varieties: 8 Ball (green,round), Golden Glory (bright yellow zucchini),  Patty Pan(scalloped white, green or yellow), Slik Pik (thin, yellow) or Zephyr (green & yellow)


Tomatoes: always store whole tomatoes at room temperature, out of direct sunlight. Once cut, store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.


A few other details: All of your GREENS will keep best if stored in a plastic bag, with the top folded over and placed in the produce drawer of your refrigerator.  

** NOTE: You will notice over the course of the season that some box contents listed above say "Perhaps one of the following..."  These are items that we can’t harvest in sufficient quantities for the whole CSA to receive at one time.  We do track who gets what and we will do our best to ensure that everyone eventually receives each item.  On some items this may take several weeks, so please be patient.

Is a weekly newsletter not enough for you and you want to read more about our daily adventures or see pictures of the farm?  Follow us on Facebook at Blue Gate Farm and/or share your recipes, experiences and questions with other BGF members at Blue Gate Farm Community.
That’s about it this week, if you have any questions or comments be sure to let us know. 
Best from the farm,
Jill & Sean (and Luci, Indigo & Sky)


Indigo, Luci & Sky


Tuesday, October 6, 2020

BGF NEWS - October 6 , 2020 - VOL. XLV, NO. 19

In this week’s box:


Head Lettuce: asst.
Jubilee Cherry Tomato Mix (see 7/21 newsletter for details)
Kale Bouquet: Mix
Leeks: Bandit
Peppers: asst. (see 8/11 newsletter for details)
Potatoes: Mix
Sorrel
Tomato: Slicers (see 7/28 newsletter for details)
Winter Density Squash

and perhaps one of the following: (please see **NOTE  after "A Little Detail...)     
Broccoli: Gypsy
Cauliflower: Goodman
Eggplant: Orient Express
Mini Bell Peppers: bite-sized, sweet red, yellow & orange peppers
Summer Squash: see descriptions in "A little detail"

For those with the Egg option [Full & Half Shares]: one dozen free-range eggs
For those with the Herb option: lemon basil, orange thyme & chocolate mint

What’s up on the farm?

 

Precipitation in the past week: 0.25" 
First frost of the season

Last week's frost plus the chilly, drizzly weather on
Saturday really put me in the soup zone. It was all I wanted to eat. So that was my mindset when I started looking for recipes for this week's newsletter, can you tell? Then this week rolls in with 70°-80° temps forecast for every day! What?? Alright, so I added in a kale salad recipe that would be great for warmer weather OR for serving alongside a hearty bowl of soup. 
We did have our first frost of the season Thursday night and then patchy frost again on Saturday night, but no one told the crops that it had frosted, so mostly they didn't seem to notice. That was a pleasant surprise and we plan to take full advantage of it. So be sure to enjoy those peppers and tomatoes because they are definitely on borrowed time at this point. We did clear most of the field sweet basil last week as it really was done, but we still have some in the big high tunnel so Herb Share members get one last taste of summer there as well. 
Now that we've had a bit of rain, the cool weather weeds are feeling spunky and germinating like crazy, so we spent quite a bit of time in the past week cultivating the fall crops and trying to stay ahead of the weed game. So far, things are looking pretty good on that front. 
Beautiful and tasty Winter Density Squash
Since we are now in October, we decided to help you celebrate in style so we are sending out the last of your winter squash in this week's boxes. The Winter Density Squash is one of our favorites as it is a delicious heirloom variety for making pies and baked goods, but is also tasty as a vegetable squash in any recipe AND it can be used as a decorative pumpkin if eating squash isn't your thing. Do note though, that with our vines dying prematurely this year, I am afraid that these squash won't have the storage capacity that they normally do. I would plan to use them in the next couple of weeks if possible. We hope you enjoy them, they really are very tasty!

Finally, we had posted earlier about the amphibian "supervisor" who had taken up residence in our packing barn. Well, a couple days ago he acquired an "assistant" who seemed quite content with his new position hanging out between our sink and our storage rack. And today, we found a similar "squatter" living under our sink. That's it! I've reached my "Frog Capacity" in the packing barn. So we organized a rescue party and returned them outside where they can eat up and then tuck up someplace safe and warm (and not the packing barn) for the winter.

Upcoming dates of note:
Tuesday, Oct 13th: final CSA delivery of the 2020 season
Saturday, Oct 31: final weekly VegEmail delivery
Tuesday, Nov 10: bi-weekly VegEmail deliveries begin. We plan to  continue these deliveries on Tuesdays, every 2 weeks until the end of April.

A little detail on your produce this week:


Broccoli & Cauliflower: Wrap loosely in a plastic bag and keep it in the vegetable bin of your refrigerator for up to a week. Immediately before cooking, soak, head down, in cold, salted water (1 teaspoon salt to a 8 cups of water) for 5 minutes. Any [organic] critters will float to the top where you can rescue them or allow them to suffer a salty death. (Note: If you soak broccoli/cauliflower in salt water before storing, it will become too rubbery and too wilted to enjoy.) Slice the juicy, edible stems and use them wherever florets are called for. Peel particularly thick skin before using.

Eggplant: Eggplant prefers to be kept at about 50° F, which is warmer than most refrigerators and cooler than most kitchen counters. Wrap unwashed eggplant in a towel (not in plastic) to absorb any moisture and keep it in the vegetable bin of your refrigerator. Used within a week, it should still be fresh and mild.  The shape of an eggplant determines how it is best prepared. Slice a straight, narrow eggplant into rounds for grilling or broiling, and cut a rounded, bulbous eggplant into cubes for stews and stir-fries.

Peppers:  Place whole, unwashed peppers in a plastic bag, seal, and refrigerate for a week or more. Rinse peppers just before use. For sweet peppers, cut around the stem with a small knife and lift out the core. Slice down the side to open it up and then cut out the inner membranes. Store unused portions in a sealed bag or container in the refrigerator.

Summer Squash/Zucchini: Refrigerate unwashed zucchini and summer squash for up to a week and a half in a perforated plastic bag or in a sealed plastic container lined with a kitchen towel. These do not need to be peeled to use, just slice them up and go! Our varieties: 8 Ball (green,round), Golden Glory (bright yellow zucchini),  Patty Pan(scalloped white, green or yellow), Slik Pik (thin, yellow) or Zephyr (green & yellow)


Tomatoes: always store whole tomatoes at room temperature, out of direct sunlight. Once cut, store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.


 Winter Squash:  Store winter squash in a cool, dry, dark place with good ventilation for up to a month, depending on the variety. Once squash has been cut, you can wrap the pieces in plastic and refrigerate them for five to seven days. To make it easier to prep winter squash for your recipe, try the prebaking method: pierce the squash to allow heat to escape while it is in the oven, then bake the squash whole at 350° F until it is just barely tender to the poke of the finger, 20 to 30 minutes. This softens the shell and makes cutting and peeling much easier. 


A few other details: All of your GREENS will keep best if stored in a plastic bag, with the top folded over and placed in the produce drawer of your refrigerator.  

** NOTE: You will notice over the course of the season that some box contents listed above say "Perhaps one of the following..."  These are items that we can’t harvest in sufficient quantities for the whole CSA to receive at one time.  We do track who gets what and we will do our best to ensure that everyone eventually receives each item.  On some items this may take several weeks, so please be patient.

Is a weekly newsletter not enough for you and you want to read more about our daily adventures or see pictures of the farm?  Follow us on Facebook at Blue Gate Farm and/or share your recipes, experiences and questions with other BGF members at Blue Gate Farm Community.
That’s about it this week, if you have any questions or comments be sure to let us know. 
Best from the farm,
Jill & Sean (and Luci, Indigo & Sky)


Indigo, Luci & Sky

Sorrel Soup

2 C. Chopped Sorrel Leaves
3 Tbs. Butter
1 Med. Onion (or leek) -chopped
1 Qt. Chicken Stock
½ lb Potatoes-peeled and cubed
1 Tsp. Salt
1 C. Milk
2 Tbs. Flour
1 Egg Yolk
1/8 Tsp. Nutmeg

In a medium saucepan, heat butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 4-5 minutes or until softened. Add chicken stock and sorrel and cook, stirring for 10 min.  Add potatoes and salt. Bring to a boil.  Cover and simmer for 30 min. Combine egg yolk and flour, then add to milk and mix well. Add egg mixture and nutmeg to soup, stirring to combine. Heat through, do not boil.  Delicious served with French bread.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

BGF NEWS - September 29 , 2020 - VOL. XLV, NO. 18

In this week’s box:


Arugula (in the plastic bag)
Baby Choi: Shanghai Green and/or Koji
Jubilee Cherry Tomato Mix (see 7/21 newsletter for details)
Lettuce: Magenta or Muir
Peppers: asst. (see 8/11 newsletter for details)
Spaghetti Squash
Sweet Onions: Candy or Cipollini
Tomato: Slicers (see 7/28 newsletter for details)

and perhaps one of the following: (please see **NOTE  after "A Little Detail...)     
Broccoli: Gypsy
Cauliflower: Goodman
Eggplant: Orient Express
Mini Bell Peppers: bite-sized, sweet red, yellow & orange peppers
Summer Squash: see descriptions in "A little detail"

For those with the Egg option [Full Shares]: one dozen free-range eggs
For those with the Herb option: purple basil, rosemary & garlic chives

What’s up on the farm?

 

Precipitation in the past week: 0.45" 

Aahhhhh, rain sweet rain! And cooler temperatures to boot. We are starting to see a real change in the scenery as well, more colors in the trees, lower angle of the sunlight, almost a burnished edge to the hills every evening.

This past week we cleared the tomatoes from both high tunnels and the eggplant went along for the ride. Currently the only warm weather crops left in the tunnels are peppers and basil, and we are loath to say farewell to those for the season, though the forecast for later this week might just say it for us. Into the cleared beds we transplanted chard and kale and sowed arugula, turnips, salad mix and spinach. We are now down to the very end of the sowing and transplanting for the season.
 
In the coming days we will transplant the last two beds of head lettuce in the field and sow a couple of final beds of greens in the high tunnels and that will be it for the 2020 crops. The biggest tasks to follow will be prep and planting the garlic for next season, clearing all the spent field beds and installing all the row cover in the fields and high tunnels for the late fall crops.

Upcoming dates of note:
Tuesday, Oct 13th: final CSA delivery of the 2020 season
Saturday, Oct 31: final weekly VegEmail delivery
Tuesday, Nov 10: bi-weekly VegEmail deliveries begin. We plan to  continue these deliveries on Tuesdays, every 2 weeks until the end of April.

A little detail on your produce this week:


Broccoli & Cauliflower: Wrap loosely in a plastic bag and keep it in the vegetable bin of your refrigerator for up to a week. Immediately before cooking, soak, head down, in cold, salted water (1 teaspoon salt to a 8 cups of water) for 5 minutes. Any [organic] critters will float to the top where you can rescue them or allow them to suffer a salty death. (Note: If you soak broccoli/cauliflower in salt water before storing, it will become too rubbery and too wilted to enjoy.) Slice the juicy, edible stems and use them wherever florets are called for. Peel particularly thick skin before using.

Choi (a.k.a. - pac choi, bok choy or pok choy) is a structural-looking leafy-green vegetable.  It is a member of the cabbage family and is a traditional Asian stir-fry vegetable.  Both the stems and leaves of choi can be used and are especially tasty in cooked recipes.  If cooking them, separate the leaves and stems, and begin cooking stems first to avoid overcooking the more tender greens. You can also use the leaves like any green-leafy vegetable and the stems like celery.  We tend to use choi leaves as a sandwich wrap, or just roughly chop the whole thing and sauté with garlic and/or onion.  Cook until stems are tender and dress with a little seasoned rice vinegar. Store choi loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in your produce drawer.

Eggplant: Eggplant prefers to be kept at about 50° F, which is warmer than most refrigerators and cooler than most kitchen counters. Wrap unwashed eggplant in a towel (not in plastic) to absorb any moisture and keep it in the vegetable bin of your refrigerator. Used within a week, it should still be fresh and mild.  The shape of an eggplant determines how it is best prepared. Slice a straight, narrow eggplant into rounds for grilling or broiling, and cut a rounded, bulbous eggplant into cubes for stews and stir-fries.

Peppers:  Place whole, unwashed peppers in a plastic bag, seal, and refrigerate for a week or more. Rinse peppers just before use. For sweet peppers, cut around the stem with a small knife and lift out the core. Slice down the side to open it up and then cut out the inner membranes. Store unused portions in a sealed bag or container in the refrigerator.

Spaghetti Squash: A true winter squash, store spaghetti squash like you would an acorn or butternut squash, at room temperature or a bit cooler (basement) with good air circulation. To prepare, bake in the oven or the quicker version is to microwave 5mins/1lb until fork goes through. Cut squash in half and scope out the seeds.  Scoop out seeds, then scoop out the flesh of the squash and flake off “spaghetti” into strands and use as a pasta replacement or as a vegetable side dish.

Summer Squash/Zucchini: Refrigerate unwashed zucchini and summer squash for up to a week and a half in a perforated plastic bag or in a sealed plastic container lined with a kitchen towel. These do not need to be peeled to use, just slice them up and go! Our varieties: 8 Ball (green,round), Golden Glory (bright yellow zucchini),  Patty Pan(scalloped white, green or yellow), Slik Pik (thin, yellow) or Zephyr (green & yellow)


Tomatoes:

 always store whole tomatoes at room temperature, out of direct sunlight. Once cut, store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.


A few other details: All of your GREENS will keep best if stored in a plastic bag, with the top folded over and placed in the produce drawer of your refrigerator.  

** NOTE: You will notice over the course of the season that some box contents listed above say "Perhaps one of the following..."  These are items that we can’t harvest in sufficient quantities for the whole CSA to receive at one time.  We do track who gets what and we will do our best to ensure that everyone eventually receives each item.  On some items this may take several weeks, so please be patient.

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That’s about it this week, if you have any questions or comments be sure to let us know. 
Best from the farm,
Jill & Sean (and Luci, Indigo & Sky)


Indigo, Luci & Sky