Tuesday, October 9, 2018

BGF News - October 9, 2018-Vol. XL, No.19

In this week’s box:

Arugula (in bag)
Cherry Tomato Mix
Choi: Joi, Shanghai Green or Vivid
Garlic: Music
Lettuce Mix
Potatoes: Kennebec
Sweet Peppers: Ace or Revolution (red bells), Islander (purple to orange bell), Quadrato D'Asti 
            Giallo (yellow bell), Golden Marconi (long, pointed yellow) or PASS (flat, yellow)
Tomatoes: asst varieties, see descriptions on the 7/24 post

 and perhaps one of the following:
Beans: Mix
Broccoli: side shoots (entire shoot, including leaves, is edible)
Cauliflower: Sicilian Purple (purple) or Goodman (white)
Spinach: Mix
For those with the Egg option [full & half shares]: one dozen free-range eggs (asst. colors)
For those with the Herb option: par-cel, savory, thyme

What’s up on the farm?

Precipitation in the past week: 8.5" and counting!

Wow, I guess it's safe to say the drought is truly over. We spent the past week dodging raindrops while getting the farm ready for our biggest event of the year, Farm Crawl! This was the 12th year for the Crawl and the first year when we were up to our eyeballs in mud. Due to the weather, we only had about 400 in attendance, but despite the wet, muddy conditions everyone seemed to have a great time. We are SO thankful to everyone who helped us put on the event and to those who braved the elements to join us!

Repainted & reinstalled barn quilt
Folks "crawling" despite the weather
New salad beds under water

Besides the farm crawl prep, we did get a few other tasks accomplished this week. We cleared most of the peppers from the big high tunnel. We couldn't clear them all because all the rain has flooded the north end of the tunnel. So we pulled all we could reach and will finish the task and prep the bed as soon as things dry out a bit. That is the final bed to be sown for the year. Last week we got the rest of the tunnel beds sown with the final crops of spinach, arugula and salad mix. We do still have half a bed of Napa cabbage to transplant, and then the pepper bed to sow to spinach, beets and broccolini but that should be the end of the seed sowing for the season.

The harvest today was a little rough due to all the extra rain (3" just last night). That pounding rain threw mud everywhere. We double washed all the greens, but you may find more dirt that normal on today's produce. Please just plan on giving them a quick rinse before using.

Final Delivery Note: as next week is our final delivery of the 2018 CSA season we want to give you a couple of bits of information that will make everyone's lives easier. First, please do your best to remember your empty box, that way you won't be stuck with an empty box sitting around your house all winter. We will pack your produce for the final delivery into plastic bags so you won't have to worry about returning that box either.

VegEmail Sales:  Starting the first week of November we will send out an email with a link to an order form that lists all of the produce/products that we have available for sale that week. 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. Payment is due at the pickup. We will do it (nearly) every 2 weeks from Nov to the start of market in May (though we are planning to take New Year's Day off). If you were a member of the CSA in the past year or ordered during the Jan-May VegEmail season earlier this year then you are on the email list. 

If you can't wait until November to get your fresh produce, we hope you'll come visit us at the Downtown Des Moines Farmers Market. We're there every Saturday until the end of October.

Final 2018 CSA delivery: Next week, Tuesday, October 16th
VegEmail sales begin: Tuesday, November 6th
Fall  Indoor Farmers Market: November 15-17
Winter Indoor Farmers Market: December 14-15

A little detail on your produce this week:

Choi (a.k.a. - pac choi, bok choy or pok choy) 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.

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.

Potatoes: Keep unwashed potatoes in a cool, dark, dry place, such as a loosely closed paper bag in a cupboard. They will keep for weeks at room temperature, longer if you can provide their ideal temperature of 40 to 50 degrees. Beware: the low temperature of your refrigerator will convert the starch to sugars. Moisture causes potatoes to spoil, light turns them green, and proximity to onions causes them to sprout. (You can still use a potato that has sprouted, however; simply cut off the “eyes” before use.) Potatoes store best if they haven't been washed, so we send them out in their "dust jackets". Just before using, scrub potatoes well and cut off any sprouts or green skin. (Clean delicate new potatoes gently.) Peeling is a matter of preference.

Tomatoes: prefer to reside on your counter and not in the refrigerator unless they have been sliced. A light "squeeze" is the best test for ripeness. 

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)

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