Well, historically speaking, our first average frost date is October 10th, and it looks like nature is keeping her schedule tight! After a week of lots of rain, we are now scrambling to get a myriad of tasks done before the forecast freeze this weekend. The crew has been working on clearing the irrigation system so that we can install low tunnels and row cover on the crops in the field. We're letting the warm season vegetables go, but we have lots of cool season crops still growing so we'd like to protect those. We've made progress on the repairs of the big high tunnel, but I don't think we'll get it completely recovered before the cold rolls in, so we may resort to row covers there as well. Sean has been pushing to get the wall & floor repairs done on the house, so that we can get it insulated again. There is just a general scurrying all over the farm.
Final Delivery Note: as next week is our final delivery of the 2019 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.
Here's the short version:
October 15- Final CSA delivery
October 26- Final Farmer Market
November 5- First VegEmail Sale
A little detail on your produce this week:
Beans: Fresh beans are an easy "store." Just leave them in their plastic bag and keep them in the produce drawer. Can last up to 2 weeks.
Beets: Cut off greens, leaving an inch of stem. Refrigerate the unwashed greens in a closed plastic bag and use with your chard mix. Store the beet roots, unwashed, with the rootlets (or “tails”) attached, in a plastic bag in the crisper bin of your refrigerator. They will keep for several weeks, but their sweetness diminishes with time. Just before cooking, scrub beets well and remove any scraggly leaves and rootlets. If your recipe calls for raw beets, peel them with a knife or vegetable peeler, then grate or cut according to your needs baby/young beets usually don't need to be peeled. Leeks: Loosely wrap unwashed leeks in a plastic bag and store them in the vegetable bin of your refrigerator. They will keep for at least a week. Cut the leek about 1 inch above the white part, where the leaves begin changing from dark to light green. (Save the unused greens; they’ll give great flavor to your next vegetable stock.) Fan the leaves under running water to dislodge any dirt collected there, then pat thoroughly dry. You can julienne a leek by cutting it lengthwise, or slice it crosswise.
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.
Tomatoes: always store whole tomatoes at room temperature, out of direct sunlight. A light "squeeze" is the best test for ripeness. 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.