Blog/Farm Newsletters

Posted 10/22/2013 9:59am by Hannah.

IN THE SHARE TODAY Acorn Squash, Sweet Potatoes, Red Beets, Hakurei Turnips, Leeks, Bell Peppers, Garlic, Bok Choy, Spinach, Salad Mix, Tomatoes, hot peppers, Yummy peppers

UPCOMING EVENTS:

October 26th: Live Music with Blue Heron. FoodShed grill will open at 6pm with music performance at 7pm. Blue Heron is encouraging attendees to come in costume!

Nov 2nd: Farm Breakfast & Fall Harvest Gathering 8am to noon. Hayrides, farm tours, children’s activities and the breakfast grill will be open in our FoodShed.

Fall Extension/Winter CSA Sign up now open!  Sign up online or at a staffed distribution

Pastured Turkey’s available for ThanksgivingPreorder online or at a staffed distribution!

 

Farm Notes: WE NEED YOUR HELP!

We do not wish to sound alarmist, but today we are asking for your support during the comment period for the new Food Safety Modernization Act. We try to reserve these requests for situations where our farm and our shareholders are directly impacted and this is one of them! This act is poised to GREATLY impact family farms, and our farm directly, and action must be taken by Nov 15. Depending on how the rules are set, we will see massive oversight of farms by the Food and Drug Administration for the first time and will impact how food is grown, packaged, and distributed and it doesn’t look hopeful for farms like ours.

Much of what appears here can be found on the National Sustainable Agriculture’s website at www.sustainableagriculture.net. Please visit the site for more information and for a template for submitting comments if you do not feel comfortable submitting on your own.

In its push to write new food safety rules based on the Food Safety Modernization Act passed by Congress, FDA is threatening to make sustainable and organic agriculture, local food, and farm conservation efforts collateral damage.

As currently written, the rules will:

  • put many small farms out of business;
  • reduce the supply of fresh, local produce in schools and hospitals;
  • push farmers to tear out wildlife habitat; and
  • increase the use of chemicals rather than natural fertilizers.

Everyone has a role in ensuring our nation’s food is safe – from the farmers who grow it to the folks who take it home and prepare it. But unless we act now, these new rules will have a devastating impact on the farmers and businesses responsible for putting fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods on America’s dinner plates – which, in turn, affects our health and wellbeing.

Make Your Voice Heard: Submit a Comment to FDA Today!

FDA is seeking comments from the public - that's you! The #1 most important thing you can do to help fix FSMA is take a few minutes RIGHT NOW to submit a comment to FDA either online or through the mail. Use the sample comment below to get started! It is important to personalize your comment – FDA will read every single submission, and unique comments have the most impact.

Submit (or postmark) your comment by the deadline: November 15, 2013!

Step 1 – Customize the comment below for yourself! There are guiding questions to help you tell your story effectively to FDA below.

Step 2 – Submit your comment in TWO places – to the Produce Rule (http://bit.ly/fsma-pr) and to the Preventive Controls Rule (http://bit.ly/fsma-pcr). This is important because these issues affect both rules.

Step 3 – Take a stand publicly and sign NSAC’s FSMA petition! Then use your voice and the tools of social media to help spread the word!

Sample Comment for Consumers

Re: Preventive Controls Rule: FDA-2011-N-0920, Produce Standards Rule: FDA-2011-N-0921

I am a [concerned consumer, parent, entrepreneur, etc.] writing because I am concerned about the impact that FDA’s proposed FSMA rules will have on [the farms that I buy food from, my business, my family’s ability to find local food, the environment]. I ask you to ensure that new regulations do not put family farms out of business, harm farmers’ soil, water, and wildlife conservation efforts, or shut down the growth of local and regional healthy food systems!

[Customize your comment: Do you make an effort to buy from farms that use sustainable practices like organic?  Why? If local farms went out of business due to the rules, how would that limit your access to fresh produce? Why is it important to you that farmers be able to support habitat for honeybees and wildlife?]

I urge you to modify the rules so that they:

Allow farmers to use sustainable farming practices, including those already allowed and encouraged by existing federal organic standards and conservation programs. Specifically, FDA must not exceed the strict standards for the use of manure and compost used in certified organic production and regulated by the National Organic Program.

Ensure that diversified and innovative farms, particularly those pioneering models for increased access to healthy, local foods, continue to grow and thrive without being stifled. Specifically, FDA needs to clarify two key definitions: first, as Congress required, FDA must affirm that farmers markets, CSAs, roadside stands, and other direct-to-consumer vendors fall under the definition of a “retail food establishment” and are therefore not facilities subject to additional regulation. Second, FDA should adopt at least the $1,000,000 threshold for a very small business and base it on the value of ‘regulated product,’ not ‘all food,’ to ensure smaller farms and businesses (like food hubs) fall under the scale-appropriate requirements and aren’t subject to high cost, industrial-scale regulation.

Provide options that treat family farms fairly, with due process and without excessive costs. Specifically, FDA must clearly define the “material conditions” that lead to a withdrawal of a farmer’s protected status in scientifically measurable terms. FDA must also outline a clear, fair, process for justifying the withdrawal of a farmer’s protected status and for how a farmer can regain that status.

Thank you for your consideration,

[Full name, city and state, email address]

Remember – You’ll need to submit this online twice (to the Produce Rule (http://bit.ly/fsma-pr) and to the Preventive Controls Rule (http://bit.ly/fsma-pcr) or mail in a single hard copy to Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.

Submit (or postmark) your comment by the deadline: November 15, 2013!


Recipe: Scalloped Sweet Potatoes & Squash

Layer sweet potatoes and butternut squash with a cream sauce and Asiago cheese for a new colorful twist on scalloped potatoes."

INGREDIENTS:

-        2 sweet potatoes, quartered lengthwise

-        1 butternut squash, quartered and

-        seeded

-        2 tablespoons olive oil, or as needed

-        3 tablespoons butter

-        1/2 yellow onion, chopped

-        2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

-        2 cups milk

-        1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh sage, or

-        more to taste

-        1 pinch garlic salt, or to taste

-        ground black pepper to taste

-        1/4 cup grated Asiago cheese

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease an 8x8-inch baking dish.
  2. Brush sweet potatoes and squash with olive oil. Arrange sweet potatoes on a baking sheet; set squash aside.
  3. Bake sweet potatoes in the preheated oven for 5 minutes. Add squash to sweet potatoes; cook until almost tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove and cool.
  4. Heat butter in a saucepan over medium heat; cook and stir onion until tender, about 10 minutes. Add flour, milk, and sage; season with garlic salt and black pepper. Cook and stir until flour is dissolved and sauce is thickened, 5 to 10 minutes.
  5. Remove and discard skins from sweet potatoes and squash. Thinly slice sweet potatoes and squash. Arrange sweet potato slices in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Layer half the squash atop sweet potatoes. Pour a little less than half the cream sauce over squash. Sprinkle with half the Asiago cheese. Repeat layering with remaining squash, cream sauce, and Asiago cheese, respectively. Cover with aluminum foil.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake until cheese is melted and bubbling, about 10 more minutes.
Posted 10/8/2013 9:51am by Hannah.

Farm Notes…

Another beautiful autumnal week on the farm! We hope you will join us on November 2nd for our Fall Harvest gathering. We are tossing things up a bit this year and having a Saturday morning event, in conjunction with our first-Saturday-of-the-month breakfast. We will have hayrides, farm tours, children’s activities and will open the grill where you can purchase a delicious farm-sourced meal if you want.

With the changing seasons, we are starting already to plan for next year’s harvest. Every day we work to balance serving well our current shareholders, planning for a manageable and vibrant future, and ensuring the land is stewarded. You are an integral part of our community and we are grateful particularly to those of you who now have been with us for 10, 15, even going on 17 years! Of course we thoroughly enjoy the yearly additions to our community as well. Thank you to each of your for enriching our lives.

Enjoy your share! Hannah


IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK: 

Pie pumpkins*, romaine lettuce, onions, garlic, napa cabbage, eggplant, bell peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, hot peppers, herbs and kale (outside box)

 

UPCOMING EVENTS:

October 26th: Live Music with Blue Heron. FoodShed grill will open at 6pm with music performance at 7pm.

Nov 2nd: Farm Breakfast & Fall Harvest Gathering 8am to noon. Hayrides, farm tours, children’s activities and the breakfast grill will be open in our FoodShed.

Fall Extension/Winter CSA Sign up now open!  Sign up online or at a staffed distribution

Pastured Turkey’s available for ThanksgivingPreorder online or at a staffed distribution!


Recipes…

Pumpkin Soup

Ingredients:

3-4 cups mashed cooked pumpkin

1 Tablespoon minced garlic

1  large mild (sweet) onion, chopped

6 fresh carrots (finely chopped or grated)

3 tablespoons melted butter or margarine

one half teaspoon salt and dash of pepper

1 pint half-and-half (If you want to go "au naturale" try your favorite milk instead - half and half gives it more body, though)

2 teaspoons thyme

4 tablespoons chopped parsley

2 stalks of celery

Step 1 - Cook pumpkin*

Step 2 - Gather the other ingredients

Step 3 - chop the onion & celery- about 1/8” in   

Step 4 - Sauté the onion, celery and grated carrots in butter until tender.

Step 5 - Add the rest of the ingredients, except the ½ and ½. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  

Note: If you want to freeze the soup for use later, stop now and freeze it.  When you are ready to use it, defrost it, heat it up  and resume with step 6! 

Step 6 - Add half-and-half, and heat (on medium, while stirring). Serve warm. Makes 6-8 small servings.

* To make pumpkin purée from a pie pumpkin: start with a small-medium pumpkin, cut in half, scrape out the stringy insides with spoon or ice cream scoop, discard (save the seeds, of course). Lay cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet lined with silpat or aluminum foil. Bake at 350°F until fork tender, about an hour to an hour and a half. Remove from oven, let cool, scoop out the pulp. (Alternatively you can cut the pumpkin into sections and steam in a saucepan with a couple inches of water at the bottom, until soft.) If you want the pulp to be extra smooth, put it through a food mill or chinois.

Posted 10/1/2013 1:19pm by Hannah.

IN THE SHARE TODAY: Sweet Dumpling Squash, Leeks, Cauliflower, Eggplant, Kale, Lettuce Heads (Full Shares), Lettuce Mix, Red Beets, Watermelon Radishes (excellent in salads), Peppers (Out of Box), Bok Choy, Sweet Corn (last of season), Tomatoes, and Garlic.


UPCOMING EVENTS:

October 5th: Farm Breakfast 8am to 11am. Stop by for a farm-sourced nutrient-dense (and delicious) meal.

October 26th: Live Music with Blue Heron. FoodShed grill will open at 6pm with music performance at 7pm.

Nov 2nd: Farm Breakfast & Fall Harvest Gathering 8am to noon. Hayrides, farm tours, children’s activities and an open breakfast grill in our FoodShed.

Fall Extension/Winter CSA Sign up now open!  Sign up online or at a staffed distribution

Pastured Turkey’s available for ThanksgivingPreorder online or at a staffed distribution!


Farm Notes…CSA Box 101

Here are a few things that can make your CSA experience even a better one:

Plan: Assuming your farmer gets her “box predictions” out in a timely manner, J, plan at least a few meals ahead of time around the box. Or, if you like surprises, design your meal plan the evening you get your box.

Know what you have: If you don’t recognize something in your box, ask your farmer while you have her at distribution. She might not be available when your pan is hot and you are rooting around in your crisper drawer! Reading your newsletter helps too as we often have special notes.

Store right away: Once you are home, store your veggies according to each one’s needs (you can always Google this, if need be). Unwashed veggies last longer, but being able to grab something in a pinch is helpful, too. If there are veggies you know you’ll eat raw, get them as ready for eating as you can, including washing and chopping, etc.

Think out of the box: We recently read this in a blog post by Johanna Vost on greatest.com: “Fry Lettuce: Yup. I said fry your lettuce. Switch up how you think of each vegetable. For example, move past thinking of lettuce just in salads. It can be sautéed, tossed into soups, fried etc.”

She also makes these recommendations for CSA box content preserving: Turn your fridge down one degree. And, “just about every fruit, all your leafy greens, tomatoes, peppers, beans and yes, even potatoes can be frozen raw or blanched to use later on. No doubt you will be excited to open your freezer and eat summer vegetables in the middle of winter.”

Too much? Feel overwhelmed by zucchini or bok choy? Make it an excuse to prepare extra and freeze it OR drop in on that neighbor you’ve been meaning to connect with.

  

Recipe…Braised Winter Squash with Black Bean Sauce & Bok Choy

3 tbsp vegetable oil

1/4 cup shallots, about 2 bulbs worth, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 large 1-inch hunk ginger, peeled and minced

1 tbsp Asian black bean-garlic sauce

3 - 4 cups winter squash, such as butternut, peeled and cut into 1- to 2-inch chunks

2 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry

2 tbsp soy sauce

1/2 tsp granulated sugar

1 cup water or vegetable stock

1 large bunch bok choy, cleaned thoroughly and trimmed as needed and cut into 2 inch pieces

Sesame oil for drizzling

1. In a deep skillet or wok with a lid, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat and add the shallots. Cook until softened, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute or so, then add the black bean sauce. Stir to keep from sticking.

2. Add the squash and stir to coat with the aromatics, 2 to 3 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the rice wine, soy sauce, and sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add to the squash and bring to a lively simmer. Add enough liquid so that the vegetables are barely covered. Cover and cook until the squash is just about fork tender, 15 minutes.

3. Remove the lid and place the bok choy on top of the squash mixture. Drizzle the bok choy with the sesame oil. return the lid and allow to steam until the bok choy arrives at your desired done-ness, at least 3 minutes.

Posted 9/24/2013 11:30am by Hannah.

Farm Notes…

Winter Storage Crops and Brassicas!!! Wow and Oh No!

So, the good news is, we’ve been harvesting like crazy. The bad news is, one of our coolers went out and some of our harvested brassicas (like cauliflower) significantly lost shelf life. Imagine the disappointment after growing and harvesting a bumper crop (relative to last year) only to lose it to a storage glitch! So, this week, we are recommending you use your cauliflower quickly and maybe in soup as you will find some spots on the heads. It’s fine for eating, just not pretty. Our cooler has been repaired, so hopefully that’s the end of that issue.

On another note, the days continue to be spectacularly beautiful here on the farm and our fall extension / winter season are filling up nicely. So, if you haven’t reserved your share yet, please consider doing so soon. Hannah

IN THE SHARE TODAY:

Acorn Squash, Potatoes, Onions, Cauliflower, Green Peppers, Tomatoes, Garlic, Collards, Bok Choy, Lettuce Heads (Med), Mesclun Mix (Full), Green Beans

UPCOMING EVENTS:

Farm Breakfast: October 5th from 8am to 11am. Stop by for a farm-sourced nutrient-dense (and delicious) farm breakfast (first Saturday of every month April-November).

Fall Extension/Winter CSA Sign up now open!  Sign up online or at a staffed distribution

Pastured Turkeys available for Thanksgiving! Preorder online or at a staffed distribution!

 

 

 Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Greens

Martha Stewart Living

- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

- 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)

- 4 cloves garlic, chopped

- Sea salt

-  1 medium head cauliflower (about 3 pounds), florets and stems cut into 1-inch pieces (8 to 9 cups)

-  4 1/2 cups filtered water

- 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill, plus more for garnish

- 5 large kale or collard leaves, or a combination, tough ends removed and leaves roughly chopped Freshly ground black pepper

 

STEP 1

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat; cook onion, covered, until soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and a pinch of salt, and cook for 3 minutes more. Add cauliflower, and pour in filtered water until it reaches just below the top of the cauliflower.

STEP 2

Bring to a boil over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons dill. Reduce heat to low, and simmer until cauliflower is just tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in greens, and simmer for 3 minutes.

STEP 3

Let sit for 5 minutes to cool slightly. Stir in remaining 2 tablespoons dill. Puree soup in batches in a blender until very smooth, adding more water (about 1/2 cup) if it's too thick. Return to pot, and reheat. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with dill, black pepper, a drizzle of oil, and sea salt.

Posted 9/17/2013 12:44pm by Hannah.

Farm Notes…

This week we got our first visit from students involved in the 2014 Envirothon. This year’s theme is “sustainability” and it was great to walk the farm and see it from the perspective of the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed! They all seemed fully engaged and interested in all the major sustainability practices here: crop rotation, crop diversity, integrated pest management, attracting beneficial animals, soil fertility, managed grazing, physical removal of weeds, water management, use of alternative energy, and growing to sell locally. As stewards of our land, sustainability means more than just economics (though that’s important too or we won’t be here in the future), it means restoring and rejuvenating the soils that produce so much for us.

Come on out and see what we’ve got going on sometime, Hannah

IN THE SHARE TODAY:

Leeks, delicate squash, sungolds, cabbage, eggplant, peppers, snack peppers, broccoli, Valencia tomatoes, garlic, kale and lettuce mix

UPCOMING EVENTS:

Farm Breakfast: October 5th from 8am to 11am. Stop by for a farm-sourced nutrient-dense (and delicious) farm breakfast (first Saturday of every month April-November).

Fall Extension/Winter CSA Sign up now open!  Sign up online or at a staffed distribution

 Pastured Turkey’s available for ThanksgivingPreorder online or at a staffed distribution!

Broccoli, Leek, and Potato Soup

INGREDIENTS:

4 slices bacon, diced

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

3 large leeks, chopped

1 onion, chopped

3 stalks celery, chopped

3 cups chicken stock

3 Yukon Gold potatoes, cubed

1 teaspoon herbes de Provence

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon fennel seed, crushed

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon ground black pepper

3 cups broccoli florets

2 1/2 cups whole milk

3 green onions, chopped (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

1.       Stir the bacon and olive oil in a large pot over medium heat until the bacon has turned golden brown and released its grease, about 7 minutes. Add the butter, leeks, onion, and celery. Cook and stir until the leeks have softened, about 7 minutes.

2.       Pour in the chicken stock, potatoes, herbes de Provence, coriander, fennel, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the potatoes are just beginning to turn tender, about 8 minutes. Stir in the broccoli, and simmer 5 minutes. Add the milk, and continue simmering until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes more.

3.       Pour the soup into a blender, filling the pitcher no more than halfway full. Hold down the lid of the blender with a folded kitchen towel, and carefully start the blender, using a few quick pulses to get the soup moving before leaving it on to puree. Puree in batches until smooth and pour into a clean pot. Alternately, you can use a stick blender and puree the soup right in the cooking pot. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper; sprinkle with chopped green onions to serve.

 

 

Posted 9/10/2013 11:31am by Debra Brubaker .

Farm Notes…

The flannel shirts are starting to appear in the wardrobes of the farm crew and a couple of mornings with temperatures in the low 40’s really start to make the reality of fall settle in.  Our winter squash crop is 75% harvested and starting the curing process and we are starting to harvest broccoli and cabbage which feels like a real win for us after a very disappointing Cole crop season last year.  As I strolled around the farm on Sunday evening, it was stunning how different the farm looked- rows of leafy greens, and bushy tops of root vegetables, and where there were tall staked rows of tomatoes and vining melons, now level fields with tracks of the grain drill waiting patiently for the needed rain. The pastures are filled with happily grazing turkeys, hens, and chickens.  Every season brings with it its own beauty- and I’m so happy to be able to be surrounded by it day in and day out!

 
 

IN THE SHARE TODAY:

Yellow Watermelon (last of season), Broccoli, Fennel, Red Beets, Lettuce Heads, Chard, Bell Peppers, Snack Peppers, Eggplant, Onions, Garlic, Hot Peppers.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

Farm Breakfast: October 5th from 8am to 11am. Stop by for a farm-sourced nutrient-dense (and delicious) farm breakfast (first Saturday of every month April-November).

Fall Extension/Winter CSA Sign up now openSign up online or at a staffed distribution

 Pastured Turkey’s available for Thanksgiving- Preorder online or at a staffed distribution!

 

 

Recipe:

Roasted Beets, Fennel, and Apples

INGREDIENTS:

4 medium beets, peeled and quartered

4 apples, cored and chopped

1 heads fennel, trimmed and thickly

sliced

1/2 cup honey Dijon salad dressing

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon sea salt

ground black pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

1.       Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

2.       Place the beets, apples, and fennel in a large roasting pan. In a small bowl, mix together the honey Dijon salad dressing, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Pour the dressing mixture over the beets, apples, and fennel and mix well.

3.       Roast in the oven for 1 hour or until the beets are tender.

 

 

Posted 9/3/2013 11:59am by Hannah Smith-Brubaker.

Logistical Changes Coming!

What a beautiful day! Clear sky, bright sun and cooler temps…clears my mind enough to remind me to mention a few logistical changes coming up for the next few seasons.

We are going to be experimenting with a few things and look forward to hearing from you regarding how they work for you and we’ll let you know how they are working for us. For one, we are going to try to actually take a break over the holidays this winter. A year-round CSA doesn’t allow for much hibernation – a necessary experience when heading into spring with all its demands.

Here’s what we are planning:

  1. We will offer a 3 week fall extension this year (first three weeks of December). Please reserve your spot by November 1. Perhaps respond early as we anticipate reaching capacity.
  2. We will take a 5 week winter break from mid-December through mid-January.
  3. Winter/Spring season will begin January 21/22 (depending on where your distribution is located) and run until May 27/28 with our typical every-other-week distribution schedule.
  4. Starting with the Winter/Spring season, Harrisburg and perhaps Lewisburg will move to a Wednesday distribution.
  5. Starting with the Fall Extension, we are going to go back to one size share again. This is also part of our quest to give ourselves the gift of a more manageable system. At the end of the 2014 Summer/Fall season we will re-evaluate and look forward to your feedback. The size for the Fall extension and Winter/Spring season will be larger (as it has always been in the winter) to accommodate carrying your family through every-other-week distributions. The size for the Summer/Fall season will be somewhere in between a medium and full share, but closer to the standard full size. We anticipate not everyone will like this change; please know we took the decision seriously and feel we can be better farmers for you with this change. If the share size seems potentially too large for you, please consider the option of sharing with someone.
  6. We’ve decided to accept credit cards. Soon we will begin processing cards on any distribution day with a minimum purchase of $10 and will accept cards through the PayPal system on our website.
  7. We hope to have online sign-up for Fall Extension and Winter/Spring Season available by next week.

I think that’s it for now. Please feel free to ask questions and offer your thoughts! Hannah


IN THE SHARE TODAY:

Sweet corn*, lettuce mix, potatoes, green beans, bell peppers, snack peppers, cucumbers, garlic, heirloom and standard tomatoes, and hot peppers

*from neighbor farm –corn is not certified organic, but is no-spray.


UPCOMING EVENTS:

Farm Breakfast: Sept 7 from 8am to 11am. Stop by for a farm-sourced nutrient-dense (and delicious) farm breakfast (first Saturday of every month).



Results of Mid-Season Survey – Thanks everyone!

Feedback on Quantity:

 

Quantity expectations are, almost without exception, met or exceeded. We received a lot of feedback from people finding “delight in the bounty.” Some folks expressed a desire for more choice with regard to what goes in their share. We will be experimenting next year with some new options in this area, though we will remain committed to equitable distribution of each week’s harvest.

Feedback on Quality:

 

Quality expectations are met or exceeded. Mostly, we received very good feedback about the quality of items this year. As typically happens, though, the very crops some had some strong negative feedback about are the same crops others extoled as superior. That’s what happens when we choose a diverse ecosystem over standardized production of just a few crops. That said, we work hard to ensure the best quality we can and will continue to focus on improving in this area.

Feedback on Chicken & Eggs:

We always receive very positive feedback about our eggs and chicken, particularly as it relates to taste. Our chicken and eggs taste so good and have such deep colored yolks primarily because of the insects and pasture greens they eat in addition to their grain. We occasionally receive comments about price being higher than other places. This is a bit perplexing to us as we are generally lower than other farmers in our area and, to be blunt, we don’t cover our feed and labor costs for our eggs. We just consider them an important part of our offerings. And, if we convert to non-GMO feed next year, we will have to raise our prices. If you see eggs elsewhere for less, it is not because that farmer can afford to produce them for less (assuming they are also fully pastured). Also, no, storing the eggs point up or point down doesn’t make them last longer. :) However, washing all the protective natural coating off eggs (like is done for a grocery store) decreases storage time. We do spot clean our eggs before packing (but concentrate on clean nesting areas vs cleaning dirty eggs) but, like in all of Europe where eggs are not even refrigerated, we leave the “bloom” on the eggs (meaning our eggs can last for months when properly stored in a cool area).

General Feedback:

Again, people are always so generous with their positive feedback and we love to hear it. We also heard that people appreciate a sign with the week number and extras listing at pickup, that it would be greatly appreciated to get the box predictions in a timelier manner (Thursday) and to “bring back” the sharing table. We will work on all these areas. Just a note, even if you don’t see a tablecloth that says “sharing table” there is always a lot of informal trading of unwanted/wanted produce going on at CSA so feel free to participate!

Posted 8/27/2013 11:07am by Debra Brubaker .
Farm Notes…

School bus #1 streamed by our farm this morning at 7:40 AM…the same exact time it used to come by 28 years ago when, after what seemed like an endless summer, I so eagerly hopped on the school bus-escaping another day of bean picking or tomato sorting.  I must say there is something nice about the academic calendar and the change of routine that it allows.   While the farm doesn’t offer such a drastic change of routine, we are in transition.  All of a sudden we have to hustle to get the summer plants removed from the greenhouses to afford the fall plants that replace them the most growing potential before frost.  Today tomatoes and cucumber plantings are being removed and beds quickly prepped and replanted with kale and spinach.  Winter squash harvest is starting (unfortunately a little prematurely due to some aggressive powdery mildew which caused the plants to die back early.) In the brassica field small heads of broccoli and cabbage are starting to form.  So while I didn’t hop on that school bus this morning, I am getting a good education on all that I missed out on 28 years ago- the school of fall crops.  I’m learning a lot, and enjoying the subtle transitions of the season.  Wishing all of you impacted by the academic calendar a great new beginning! Deb

IN THE SHARE TODAY: Cantaloupe, green beans, bell peppers, snack peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, onions, garlic, herbs, heirloom and standard tomatoes, kale, and hot peppers

Recipe:  I realize we have been throwing lots of sweet peppers your direction.  If they are beginning to fill up your refrigerator drawers may I suggest roasting and freezing them for later use.  Every year I freeze roasted peppers and am so happy to take them out for pizza, roasted red pepper hummus, or for use in a great pasta dish in the cold of winter.  Below is the general process I use.

Roasted Red Peppers-
Directions
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

Place the whole peppers on a sheet pan and place in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until the skins are completely wrinkled and the peppers are charred, turning them twice during roasting. Remove the pan from the oven and immediately cover it tightly with aluminum foil. Set aside for 30 minutes, or until the peppers are cool enough to handle.

Remove the stem from each pepper and cut them in quarters. Remove the peels and seeds and place the peppers in a bowl along with any juices that have collected. Discard the stems, peels, and seeds.

Once completely cooled, place a typical recipe portion in a Ziploc bag and freeze.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

Farm Breakfast: Sept 7 from 8am to 11am. Stop by for a farm-sourced nutrient-dense (and delicious) farm breakfast (first Saturday of every month).

Posted 8/20/2013 11:34am by Hannah Smith-Brubaker .

Farm Notes…

If there’s one thing we all have on this farm, it’s an inquisitiveness (OK, an obsession) around creative solutions to problems, including the optimization of underutilized spaces. Sometimes, though, there is so much joy taken in the solving of the problem that we forget to actually enjoy the solution. This was the case with the food dehydrator that Roy installed years ago in some open space in the back of one of the greenhouses. It’s an ingenious contraption, taking advantage of the heat and exhaust system already part of the greenhouse system. Imagine our delight when, after several days of dehydrating tomatoes and cantaloupe in a kitchen-sized dehydrator, that Debra came across this 7 shelf industrial unit one night while closing up the greenhouses! Somewhere in the back of her mind, she probably knew it was there but it certainly hadn’t been on our radar for quite a long time. It required a bit of cleaning out, but boy did it speed up our process. Oh the joy this winter when, on a dark day, we remember we have dehydrated fruit we can eat!

Hannah

IN THE SHARE TODAY: Sweet corn*, bell peppers, snack peppers (Carmen, Jimmy Nardello, Yummy), eggplant, cucumbers, onions, garlic, herbs, hot peppers, heirloom and standard tomatoes, watermelon** and chard**

*Corn is from neighbor’s farm - not certified organic, but non-GMO/no spray. **watermelon and chard are outside the box - don’t forget to pick them up!

UPCOMING EVENTS:

Farm Breakfast: Sept 7 from 8am to 11am. Stop by for a farm-sourced nutrient-dense (and delicious) farm breakfast (first Saturday of every month).

Roasted Tomato Stuffed Peppers

Ingredients:

3 yellow or red bell peppers

8 cherry tomatoes or cubed standard tomatoes

2 cups boiling water

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

3 tablespoons olive oil1 small bunch fresh basil, thyme, parsley or oregano

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

3 ounces goat cheese

1 loaf of crusty French bread

Method:

Preheat the oven to 350° F (180° C) then lightly oil a shallow sheet pan with one tablespoon of the olive oil.

Cut each pepper in half then remove the membrane and seeds, but leave the stalk intact. (The stalks are not edible, however, will help the peppers keep their shape while roasting). Lay the pepper halves in the oiled sheet pan with the inside of the pepper halves facing up.

Score an “x” into the bottom of each tomato then place into a heat-safe bowl. Pour the hot water over the tomatoes and leave for one minute. Drain the tomatoes and use fingers to slide the skins from the tomatoes. Cut the tomatoes into quarters (or cube), evenly divide and add to each pepper half.

Divide the garlic slices and fresh herbs then add to each pepper half. Drizzle the pepper halves with the remaining olive oil and season with the salt and pepper. Place the sheet pan into the oven and allow the peppers to roast for 50 minutes to 1 hour. Transfer the cooked peppers to a serving dish, pour any juices left in the pan over the peppers, crumble goat cheese into each pepper and serve alongside crusty French bread.

Posted 8/13/2013 10:56am by DebraBrubaker .

Farm Notes…

It’s a week of vibrant colors here on the farm.  The packing shed and coolers are a glow with seemingly all colors of the rainbow.  The peppers have emerged from their early bout with the European corn borer thanks to some help from the Trichogramma wasps which come to me every Thursday through the postal service.  These wasps prey on the eggs of the Corn Borer moth and seem to be very effective in helping us produce the quality of peppers we like to share with all of you.  Adding to the color spectrum this week we have rainbow carrots and yellow watermelon!  I hope you all enjoy the diversity of color.  I’ve been taking lots of photos so I have them to look at in the cold of January!

IN THE SHARE TODAY: Sweet Corn* Tomatoes, zucchini (green & yellow), Cucumbers,  Red and Yellow Bell Peppers,  Frying Peppers, Snack Peppers, Rainbow Carrots, Onions, Garlic, Yellow Watermelon and Hot Peppers.

*From neighbor’s farm- not certified organic but non GMO/no spray.

 

A little on the pepper varieties: All the varieties in your box are sweet peppers and include:

Bell Peppers- We have both yellow and red bell peppers.

Carmen Italian Roasting Peppers- Larger elongated peppers (look like a red chile pepper)

Jimmy Nardello Italian Frying Pepper- Smaller elongated pepper (looks like cayenne)

Yummy pepper- small orange pepper

***Hot peppers will always be either outside the box or in a bag or container in order to distinguish from the sweet varieties!***

 

And on the Sweet Corn…We admit the growing sweet corn is not always our forte.  Sometimes we have good luck and sometimes we don’t.  This year luck was not with us other than the fact that we have a neighbor that is good at growing sweet corn and was willing to supply us we enough to offer it to all of you today.  David Swarey is not certified organic, but his sweet corn is non GMO and not sprayed.  As with most unsprayed sweet corn, you may encounter some worms on the tips of the ears so just pay attention when husking.  

Upcoming Events:

Farm Breakfast: Sept 7 from 8am to 11am. Stop by for a farm-sourced nutrient-dense (and delicious) farm breakfast (first Saturday of every month).