Sunday, January 29, 2023

BGF NEWS - January 2023 - VOL. XLIX, NO. 3

WHAT’S UP ON THE FARM?

Precipitation in the past month: Rain: 0.95"
                                                           Snow: 5.50"

Happy new year from all of us at Blue Gate Farm! 

Xander rules the seed stock
The seed orders are rolling in (SO MANY SEEDS) 
and the farmer meeting and conference season has begun. Such is the way of January on the farm.

I feel like we've been pretty lucky with the weather so far this year and we've really appreciated the added moisture. However, as I write this we are headed for below zero temps, but again, such is the way of January! 

Bring on the snax!
The animals aren't too bothered with the weather, the alpacas are well bedded in their shed and have recently been getting extra snacks, thanks to our "Paca Snack" campaign for returning CSA members. Sky has a cozy insulated doghouse and as you can see, the "farm" cats are spending a fair amount of time in the house. 

Seed starting season will begin in about 2 weeks with the onion, shallot and scallion crops as well as some assorted herbs and flowers. Then in March, things will really get crazy! We are growing a few new things this year that we are pretty excited about, including a few new tomato varieties, a whole lineup of new cucumbers, a traditional green celery, a couple of new sweet peppers and some new lettuce varieties. Plus a  BUNCH of new flowers for our VegEmail bouquets.

VegEmail deliveries continue on the winter schedule of every other Tuesday in Des Moines at Peace Tree-Des Moines Branch and in Knoxville at the Grand Theater. We will continue to do these sales every two weeks until the first of May.
Our next delivery is Tuesday, 2/14 and the order form will go out on 2/8 at 5pm. If you aren't receiving the VegEmail order form and you would like to, just fill out the form here: VegEmail.

CSA 2023: 
Signup season is here! CSA members from 2022 have just a few more days to reserve their places for the upcoming season. Here's the link for our veterans: CSA 2023 Signup. Starting February 1 any remaining spots will be offered to our waiting list. If you aren't a CSA member but are interested, here's where to find details: CSA Info. Or email us with any questions.

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 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)

Saturday, December 24, 2022

BGF NEWS - December 2022 - VOL. XLIX, NO. 2

What’s up on the farm?


Precipitation in the past month: Rain: 1.75"
Snow: 2.00"


Happy holidays from all of us at BGF! What a year it has been and how very thankful we are for our amazing family, crew, members, customers and friends! We wish you a season filled with joy, good food and those you love. 

Wow, the first official day of winter brought some serious changes to the farm this year! BRRRRR! We saw lows of -14° for a couple of days. Weather like that is rough for everyone, farmers included, requiring lots of extra chores, frozen waterlines and many layers of clothing! Luckily our power stayed on and everyone seems to have gotten through the worst of it. And yes not only the farm cats but the farm dog got to spend a couple of days in the house weathering the storm. It's still too cold to open up the high tunnels to check, but we most certainly lost some of the crops even with the row covers on. We'll get in there as soon as it warms up a bit more and see how things look.

In the meantime, this is the season of seed and supply inventories, which we completed earlier this week. 
The stack of seed catalogs has been perused and the seed order lists begun. That task should be mostly completed before the end of the month. Then we move into conference and farmer meeting season and before we know it, seed starting season will begin (in about 6 weeks).

VegEmail deliveries continue on the winter schedule of every other Tuesday in Des Moines at Peace Tree-Des Moines Branch and in Knoxville at the Grand Theater. We will continue to do these sales every two weeks until the first of May.
Our next delivery is Tuesday, 1/3 and the order form will go out on 12/28 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

CSA 2023: 
Signup season has begun!  Current CSA members from the 2022 season should have received an email (or two) earlier this month with the '23 sign up information (if you didn't get yours, be sure to let us know).  Those members have until the end of January to register for the upcoming season. Any remaining spots will be offered to our waiting list in early February. If you aren't a CSA member but are interested, shoot us an email and we'll get you on the 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)

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

BGF NEWS - November 2022 - VOL. XLIX, NO. 1

What’s up on the farm?

Precipitation in the past month: Rain: 3.35"
Snow: 2.50"


Welcome to our November newsletter. We will publish these once a month until the start of the CSA season in early June. Our goal is to give our members, customers and friends a quick peek 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 when the pace on the farm really starts to ease. The rush of the main planting and growing season is done, many of the crops are out and the farm crew is on limited hours.

So, besides harvesting and packing VegEmail orders, what have we been doing for the past month?

Installing row cover (giant pieces of fabric) to protect the producing crops from early cold. It means harvesting takes longer, as the covers have to be removed and then replaced, but it does extend the lives of many of our fall crops.

Due to the unseasonably cold temperatures, a couple weeks ago, the row covers couldn't provide enough protection and the crops were damaged beyond use. Once the snow and ice melted, the row covers and all the hardware were cleared and stored for next year.

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. 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. Happily, we were able to get this done before the bitter cold temps hit so these crops are all tucked into the walk-in cooler for the winter VegEmail season.

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.
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 pleasant days, as often that isn't the case.

Usually the final 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. This year we were helped along by Skeehan family members here at the farm for a reunion weekend. They cloved out over 100 lbs of seed garlic so the farm crew was only responsible for the planting, hilling and mulching. 
Our crew has gotten really efficient at this task but it's still a significant undertaking. This year we planted a bit under 200 pounds of seed garlic, which translates to about 3600 cloves. Then once the cloves are set, they are all covered with soil and the whole plot is mulched with straw. It is a huge project and one that we celebrate once completed!

Amid all the field work, the high tunnel crops were sown or transplanted, cultivated and tucked into their own row covers for harvesting throughout the winter.




This is also the time of year when I start focusing more on our yarn and fiber inventories. There's lots of fiber and yarn to dye and much spinning to be done.
Just a reminder that we offer our U-Pick Yarn sales on the first VegEmail delivery each month in Des Moines. So locals can stop in a peruse our full fiber inventory. Folks who have yarn interests but aren't in DM can contact us directly for other options and we are happy to ship any of our fiber products.

VegEmail deliveries have now switched over to our winter schedule of every other Tuesday in Des Moines at Peace Tree-Des Moines Branch and in Knoxville at the Grand Theater. We will continue to do these sales every two weeks until the first of May.
Our next delivery is Tuesday, 12/6 and the order form will go out on 11/30 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



CSA 2023: We have already started getting questions about next year's CSA season. "Current" CSA members from the 2022 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 alongside our fabulous farm crew. 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 and time with your favorite people


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)



And welcome to Lily and Xander, our newest additions to the BGF family!

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

BGF NEWS - October 18, 2022 - VOL. XLVIII, NO. 20

In this week’s box:

Cabbage: Farao
Chard
Garlic
Head Lettuce: asst.
Scallions
Sweet Peppers: asst.
Sweet Potatoes 
Tomatoes: asst.

and perhaps one of the following: (please see **NOTE after "A Little Detail..." below)
Broccoli Florets (with edible leaves)
Cauliflower 

Herb It! option: Sorrel, Garlic Chives, Rosemary
Bread Share: Korean Milk Bread

Featured Recipes:

Coconut Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Greens

What’s up on the farm?

Precipitation in the past week: 0.10"

Well, here it is, the final delivery of the 2022 CSA season. It's mindboggling to me that 20 weeks have gone by, seemingly in the blink of an eye! CSA veterans will probably recognize that I say this every year at the last delivery, but it never fails to amaze me. Thank you for joining us on this veggie adventure, we couldn't do it without you!

The weather however has announced that it is definitely the end of the outdoor growing season this week! We are forecast to have near record lows for a couple of days. This is NOT the weather we were hoping for to round out October, but nature rarely asks what we would prefer, so onward we go. In fact we were hoping to send out tatsoi in today's delivery but it froze solid last night, even under the row cover, so we had to pull it from the list this morning. Drat!
We spent quite a bit of time this past week preparing for the cold turn in temperature. We've put row cover over all the fall crops that we can and have harvested (or bid a fond farewell) to tender crops that can't abide the cold regardless of a cover. Now all we can do is hope that most of the crops make it through. 

On some of the cooler mornings we spent the start of the work day in the packing barn cleaning onions and garlic. We've gotten all the garlic trimmed and sorted. Now we are all set to clove out about 200 lbs of seed garlic to be planted in the next couple of weeks. 
Once the temps warmed up a bit we continued our task of clearing spent crops in the field including the tomatoes, one of the biggest clean-up chores. There is a LOT of hardware involved in growing and trellising more than 700 tomato plants and it all has to be installed at the top of the season and cleared when it's season is done. The plants and all the 300+ steel posts are done but we still have to clean up and clear more than 2,000 feet of fabric the tomatoes are grown on. It was good timing as many of those steel posts are not helping hold our row covers in place. Even though a number of crops are wrapping up, we still have plenty to do.

You'll see on the box list this week we are including sweet potatoes in the delivery. We used to grow them, but had near total crop failure year after year. So we finally got smart. These are beautiful, chemical-free roots from our Amish neighbor to the south. We started working with them years ago as our organic potting mix supplier and then last year we contracted with them to grow sweet potatoes for us. It's a win-win!  We hope you enjoy this end of the season treat. If you like them as much as I do, you will be happy to find them on our VegEmail offerings over the winter.

Final Delivery Note: In case you missed it above, today is the final delivery of the 2022 CSA season. Thank you for joining us on this Veggie Adventure. We hope you have enjoyed the journey! Special thanks to our delivery hosts, Peace Tree Brewing Co. and the Grand Theater for giving us a home away from home. 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 2023 CSA season in early December. 

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 (along with Ebersole Cattle Co, Lost Lake Farm and Cottagescapes Bakery) until the end of October. Starting in November we will move to bi-weekly Tuesday evening delivery. You should continue to get the VegEmail announcements throughout the winter. 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. 

Important Dates Ahead:

Tuesday, Oct 18, Final 2022 CSA delivery
Saturday, Oct 29, final Saturday weekly VegEmail delivery
Saturday, Oct 29, Makers, Bakers & Boos @ Peace Tree DM
Tuesday, Nov 8, first bi-weekly winter VegEmail delivery
Thursday, Dec 1, CSA 2023 sign up begins!

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 or cauliflower in salt water before storing, it will become too rubbery and wilted to enjoy.)

Cabbage: Store dry, unwashed cabbage in the refrigerator, preferably in the vegetable bin. The outer leaves may eventually get floppy or yellowish, but you can remove and discard them to reveal fresh inner leaves. Cabbage can keep for more than a month. Once it’s cut, seal it in a plastic bag and continue to refrigerate for several weeks. Rinse the cabbage under cold running water just before use. Peel away a few of the outer leaves, then cut the cabbage according to your needs with a big, sharp knife, and then chop, sliver, or grate.

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.

Scallions (green onions): are best kept upright in a glass with about 1" of water in it, more like flowers than vegetables. Loosely cover the tops with plastic and store in the refrigerator and you will be amazed at how long they will keep. We like to throw a handful of chopped scallions into nearly any savory dish, right near the end of the cooking time.

Sweet Potatoes: Keep unwashed sweet potatoes in a cool, dark place, such as a loosely closed paper bag in a cupboard or cool basement, and use them within two to three months. Do not store in the refrigerator; cold temperatures can darken sweet potatoes and adversely affect their taste. Scrub sweet potatoes gently before cooking. Peeling is a matter of preference. If you will be puréeing or mashing sweet potatoes, bake or boil them whole and then remove the skins. Our favorite way to eat them is the simplest, just bake until soft, split open and top with butter, cinnamon, honey and a pinch of salt. Delightful!

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? 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)

Sky, Wallace & Gromit


Tuesday, October 11, 2022

BGF NEWS - October 11, 2022 - VOL. XLVIII, NO. 19

In this week’s box:

Arugula
Cherry Tomatoes: Jubilee Mix (see description on 8/2)
Head Lettuce: asst.
Onions: Patterson (yellow)
Pac Choi: Joi
Potatoes: Carola  
Sweet Peppers: asst.
Tomatoes-Slicers: asst. (see description on 8/2)
Turnips: Hakurei

and perhaps one of the following: (please see **NOTE after "A Little Detail..." below)
Broccoli and/or Cauliflower Florets (with edible leaves)

Herb It! option: Orange thyme, lovage, lemon balm
Bread Share: Apple Bread

Featured Recipes:
Sauteed Bok Choy and Hakurei Turnips
Choy and Sweet Peppers

What’s up on the farm?

Precipitation in the past week: 0.05"

Well, the freezing temperatures held off until 2 days before out "First Average Frost Date" but early Saturday morning, we did hit 32° with heavy frost, which brought a quick end to summer vegetable season. The tomatoes and peppers are the most dramatic losses, along with the malabar spinach and many of our flower. Surprisingly, the blackberries (pictured bottom right) just shook it off. 
But the low temps were the trigger to move us into high gear for some field "house cleaning". Over the past week we've cleared the peppers, basil, flowers and the oldest cabbage and broccoli. We also mowed down the popcorn patch and the broom corn.

Never fear, though, not all is lost! The cool weather crops are putting on a great show right now, especially the greens! We did take the opportunity right before the real cold hit to harvest nearly all the daikon radish. 
Normally radishes are quite cold hardy, but many of ours had gotten so big that they were sticking out of the ground where a freeze could damage them, so out of the ground and into the walk-in cooler they went. The turnips, watermelon radish and kohlrabi will be the next to follow the daikon into cold storage.
We also spent a significant amount of time and energy last week getting all of the popcorn shelled. It's a big (and somewhat monotonous) job but we were able to get all of it shelled, mixed and stored in the cooler where it will keep the daikon company until we package it for sale.

It is definitely a season of change on the farm! Just a reminder that next week is the final CSA delivery of the season. But don't worry, we won't leave you stranded without fresh produce, you can always join us for VegEmail throughout the winter and until the start of the 2023 CSA season in June. 

Important Dates Ahead:
Tuesday, Oct 18, Final 2022 CSA delivery
Saturday, Oct 29, final Saturday weekly VegEmail delivery
Saturday, Oct 29, Makers, Bakers & Boos @ Peace Tree DM
Tuesday, Nov 8, first bi-weekly winter VegEmail delivery
Thursday, Dec 1, CSA 2023 sign up begins!

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 or cauliflower in salt water before storing, it will become too rubbery and wilted to enjoy.)

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.

Onions: can be stored on the countertop for quick use or in a mesh bag in a dark spot with good air circulation for longer storage.

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. So refrigerated potatoes should be brought to room temperature for at least 24 hours before using. 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.) Scrub potatoes well and cut off any sprouts or green skin. (Clean delicate new potatoes gently.) Peeling is a matter of preference. Cut potatoes according to your recipe. If baking a whole potato, be sure to prick the skin in at least two places to allow steam to escape.

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

Turnips: keep best if separated from their greens. Greens are stored in a plastic bag and can be cooked like mustard or collard greens (you can add them in with your Braising Greens Mix). Trimmed roots can go into a lidded container or zip-close bag. These aren't your grandma's turnips. These are a sweet, Japanese salad variety that is particularly tasty for fresh eating. They will still work great in cooked dishes, but we love to eat them raw, often right out of hand, like an apple. One of the farm crew's favorite mid-field snacks.

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? 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)

Sky, Wallace & Gromit


Tuesday, October 4, 2022

BGF NEWS - October 4, 2022 - VOL. XLVIII, NO. 18

In this week’s box:


Baby Cabbage: Farao (green) and/or Omero (purple)
Carrots: Rainbow Mix
Cherry Tomatoes: Jubilee Mix (see description on 8/2)
Choi: Beijing Express (use like choi or romaine lettuce)
Head Lettuce: asst.
Shallots: Ambition (tan) and/or Camelot (purple)
Sweet Peppers: asst.
Tomatoes-Slicers: asst. (see description on 8/2)

and perhaps one of the following: (please see **NOTE after "A Little Detail..." below)

Broccoli and/or Cauliflower Florets (with edible leaves)
Beans: Provider (green) & Carson (yellow) Mix

Herb It! option: Pink celery, sweet basil, chives

Jam It! option: Ginger Pear & Black Raspberry Jam
Spice It Up! option: Pesto Pepper

Bread Share: Tavern Fare

Featured Recipes:  
Sautéed Baby Cabbage *BGF favorite* see recipe below

What’s up on the farm?

Precipitation in the past week: 0.00"

The seasonal changes continue to push forward on the farm. Clearing spent/cold sensitive crops in the high tunnels was a focus this past week. We cleared basil and peppers and replanted with cold weather greens.  

High Tunnel #1, September 28th
Five Days Later (10/3)
High Tunnel #2, October 3
Honestly, clearing basil and tomatoes are two of the tasks I dread every fall as they are some of my favorite things to grow(and eat). The tomatoes are still in place but given the forecast for low 30's this weekend, this is likely the last week for them and for the field peppers as well. We cleared the final sowing of beans today, as last week's cold temps burned them and this week's colder forecast will do them in.
We are getting ready to clear all the spent crops from our El Sur plot and that includes some of our early cabbage. Many of the main cabbage heads were harvested earlier in the season, but cabbage will often set side shoots that produce mini heads if conditions are right. So before clearing those plants we harvested off any usable heads. Many of them are the size of brussels sprouts and can be used exactly that way. Others are a bit bigger and we love to leaf them out (pull them apart) and sauté in butter. They are so sweet and tender that way! They are a little silly, as far as cabbages go, but we hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

Important Dates Ahead:
Tuesday, Oct 18, Final 2022 CSA delivery
Saturday, Oct 29, final Saturday weekly VegEmail delivery
Saturday, Oct 29, Makers, Bakers & Boos @ Peace Tree DM
Tuesday, Nov 8, first bi-weekly winter VegEmail delivery
Thursday, Dec 1, CSA 2023 sign up begins!


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.

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 or cauliflower in salt water before storing, it will become too rubbery and wilted to enjoy.)

Cabbage: Store dry, unwashed cabbage in the refrigerator, preferably in the vegetable bin. The outer leaves may eventually get floppy or yellowish, but you can remove and discard them to reveal fresh inner leaves. Cabbage can keep for more than a month. Once it’s cut, seal it in a plastic bag and continue to refrigerate for several weeks. Rinse the cabbage under cold running water just before use. Peel away a few of the outer leaves, then cut the cabbage according to your needs with a big, sharp knife, and then chop, sliver, or grate.

Carrots: These "mid-season" carrots are a little different than the candy-sweet gems of cool weather carrots. They are a little more strongly flavored, a little earthy. This makes them perfect for cooking and more complicated recipes, as some might not love them for fresh eating. Remove the leafy green tops, leaving about an inch of stems. Refrigerate dry, unwashed carrots in a plastic bag for two weeks or longer. Peel carrots or scrub carrots well with a stiff brush just before using. Trim off any green spots, which can taste bitter. When slicing or chopping carrots for cooking, be sure to make all the pieces relatively the same size; this will ensure an evenly cooked dish. Greens can be added to soup stock for flavor.

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.


Shallots: A "high-brow" member of the onion family, shallots have a smooth, rich onion-y flavor that is perfect with egg, vegetable and salad dressing recipes. Cured shallots are stored like a cured onion or garlic (at room temp) for many months. If your shallots have green tops, please hang and store at room temperature until the greens have dried, then trim and store like onions. Once you cut into a shallot bulb, store the remainder in a sealed container in the fridge.

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? 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)


Sky, Wallace & Gromit

Sautéed Baby Cabbage

2-4 baby cabbages (depending on size), including outer leaves
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
 
If the cabbages are more the size of giant Brussels sprouts, just pull the leaves off, whole. If larger cabbage is used, cut the cabbage in half and, with the cut-side down, slice it as thinly as possible around the core, as though you were making coleslaw. Discard the core.

Melt the butter in a large saute pan or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add the cabbage, salt, and pepper and saute for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is tender and begins to brown. Season, to taste, and serve warm.

Based on a recipe by Ina Garten 2001, Barefoot Contessa Parties

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

BGF NEWS - September 27, 2022 - VOL. XLVIII, NO. 17

In this week’s box:


Basil: Sweet (the farewell tour!)
Beans: Provider (green) & Carson (yellow) Mix
Chard
Cherry Tomatoes: Jubilee Mix (see description on 8/2)
Head Lettuce: asst
Leeks
Potatoes: Kennebec
Spaghetti Squash
Sweet Peppers: asst.
Tomatoes-Slicers: asst. (see description on 8/2)

and perhaps one of the following: (please see **NOTE after "A Little Detail..." below)

Broccoli Florets and/or Cauliflower Florets (with edible leaves)


Herb It! option: Nunum basil, peppermint, curly parsley
Bread Share: Tomato Basil

Featured Recipes:  

What’s up on the farm?

Precipitation in the past week: 0.20"

This week might not be going according to our plan. An important date for all our fall crop planning is the First Average Frost Date. Here on the farm that tends to be around October 10. If the forecast for Tuesday night holds, we may get our first frost a full 2 weeks ahead of schedule. The FarmHer is not amused! So regardless of whether we actually get frost or not, what will Tuesday night's low temps mean? It will likely be a quick end to our basil, beans, peppers and tomatoes. 
The last peppers of the year?? 
Other crops that are likely to be offended include all our flowers, roselle and some of of our more tender herbs.  We did a big gleaning harvest on Monday ahead of the cold to claim any produce that was mature enough and we were afraid of losing. Most of our greens and recently planted fall crops are pretty comfortable with temps down to freezing, so we aren't too worried about those, but we may see some cosmetic damage.  The okra and pole beans just missed the cold weather experience, as we pulled them on Monday.
Pole beans headed for the compost pile.
Adios, okra, thanks for a great season!







With the cooler and weather and light rain last week we took the opportunity to hang out in the packing barn and clean garlic. We've gotten through more than 200 lbs so far and we're probably  a bit over half way done. Then we need to take on the onions and shallots.
We also took advantage of the dry, windy conditions this weekend and started shelling the first of this season's popcorn. The wind helps blow the chaff away as it exits the sheller. So far it looks to be our best popcorn crop yet!

And once again, we have to apologize for the less-than-spectacular winter squash. This time it's the spaghetti squash that we aren't proud of, so please use it soon because again, we don't think they will store long. And this brings to an end our season of winter squash shame.
 
Important Dates Ahead:
Tuesday, Oct 18, Final 2022 CSA delivery
Saturday, Oct 29, final Saturday weekly VegEmail delivery
Tuesday, Nov 8, first bi-weekly winter VegEmail delivery

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.

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 or cauliflower in salt water before storing, it will become too rubbery and wilted to enjoy.)

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.

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. If you store them in the fridge, be sure to let them sit out at room temperature for a day before using. 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.) Scrub potatoes well and cut off any sprouts or green skin. (Clean delicate new potatoes gently.) Peeling is a matter of preference. Cut potatoes according to your recipe. If baking a whole potato, be sure to prick the skin in at least two places to allow steam to escape.

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 scoop out & discard the seeds.  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.

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? 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)

Sky, Wallace & Gromit