CSA distribution #28 & newsletter

Our next CSA distribution will be Monday October 8 and Thursday October 11; remember that we’ll be skipping the following week (more below). This share will likely include some bonus extra products like potatoes and cabbage to help get members through the extra week. This week’s mild weather has been a glorious run-up to what should be the coldest weather yet this weekend (temps currently forecast for 32ºF Saturday night), and we’ll be ripping out the remaining summer crops with the help of various CSA members who volunteered their time for Saturday (thanks!).

ANNIVERSARY WEEK
As discussed a while back, our wedding anniversary is coming up in mid-October, so we’ll be taking a week off (sort of). We’ll still need to do daily animal & vegetable chores and keep things maintained, but will try to back off from other work to give us some much needed rest. Thus the timing of this weekend’s cold spell is perfect, as it provides a good context for finishing off all the summer crops that need regular harvest (tomatoes, peppers, squash, beans, etc.) while most fall crops consist of roots and greens that can be harvested when we need them with less ripening time pressure. While we’re never fully caught up on our to-do list, we should be able to enter our first real break since January with the farm in reasonable shape. This break will feel especially good given that we’re already four weeks beyond our minimum target for the length of the CSA season.

FALL FIESTA UPDATE
We have a number of members planning to attend this event, which we hope will be really cool. We apologize for not setting out any more details yet (like a clearer schedule of events & help needs); we’ve just been too busy juggling everything else to sit down and think it through. We have every hope of being able to get more useful information out soon, but in the meantime please bear with us.

THIS WEEK’S PRODUCE
It’s worth noting that most of our greens are harvested the day before distribution, and we expect them to last close to two weeks in members’ fridges. Thus you don’t need to feel an urgency to use everything up right away; store them well and you can dole them out over many meals if so desired. Of course, let us know if you find that not to be the case.

MAYBE? Green (fresh) Peanuts No promises, but there’s at least a small chance that this week’s share could include a special treat. We harvest peanuts just after the first good freeze, so this is likely to be our Sunday morning task. We know there are (or were) some peanuts down there, because we’ve seen some shells scattered around from ones that rodents have munched. The real question is how many they’ve left behind for us (& whether the drought/heat reduced flower set). In two of the three years that we’ve grown peanuts, we’ve had pretty decent yields. Last year was a disaster. We won’t know until we dig. IF we have enough to distribute, we strongly urge you to boil the peanuts for an excellent southern treat. Only fresh, green peanuts make proper boiled peanuts, so this is a rare food in Missouri. Rinse the dirt off of the shells, then boil for several hours in salted water. When done, they should be fairly soft and very tasty. YUM!
NEW! Potatoes These have been in storage since August, and we’ve been waiting for other crops to slow down a bit to distribute these again. The variety is Kennebec, a good general-purpose potato.
NEW! Cipollini onions
We thought these were gone, but found one more partial basket of small cipollini onions that we overlooked. These sweet onions are great for raw salsas, salads, grilling, and more.
NEW! Napa cabbage
Large, bulky cabbages excellent for coleslaw and more. These have a mild cabbage flavor, and they make superb Asian cabbage slaw. We harvested the first one on Thursday to test quality, and were not disappointed. There’s remarkably little insect damage on the heads so far. The cabbage worms seem to be going after some volunteer collard plants instead of the cabbages; no complaints here.
Green tomatoes
We harvested over 300 lbs of green tomatoes on Thursday morning, so we’ll be offering these in bulk for next week. These have a very good shelf life, so feel free to request plenty for use over the next couple of weeks.
Saute mix Same as last week.
Mustard greens Same as last week.
Sweet pepper mix Last week for these, with the final harvest set to happen no later than Saturday so the plants can get pulled before they get thoroughly frozen.
Green pepper mix
Same as before; we’ll likely also store some for distribution in a couple weeks.
Hot peppers
One more week of the standard mix.
Garlic: TBD

Pac choi: We grew only a small amount as a test planting, and we distributed that last week. It grew quite nicely and barely even experienced insect damage, so that was a success. We’d be happy to hear from members regarding how much you liked it (or not).

HERBS
We’ll go back to 4 bundles/full share and 2 bundle/part share this week.

Cilantro Finally! Cilantro likes cool weather, and it is finally big enough to harvest. We had hoped to have a couple of weeks of overlap with ripe tomatoes, but didn’t quite succeed. However, green tomatoes can be roasted for a nice salsa that is reminiscent of a tomatillo salsa, and some cilantro would make a nice addition to that.
Dill leaf
Thyme

Oregano
Sage
Tarragon

Chives
Orange mint
Lemon balm
Catnip
Parsley

COMING SOON: Sweet Potatoes
We’ve finally finished the sweet potato harvest. Though we haven’t weighed them yet, we’re sure it will be a record amount for us. The weather certainly gets some credit. Sweet potatoes like hot weather, and boy did they get it. The soil quality gets some credit, too, though. Digging sweet potatoes is a good way to get familiar with the soil, and we liked what we saw: good structure with lots of porosity, countless worms, and plenty of soil life in general. We encountered at least three small salamander-like critters called red efts (the juvenile stage of a newt). And we also saw a live vole, as well as plenty of evidence of their presence in the form of nibbled sweet potatoes. In any case, the sweet potatoes are currently curing in a warm room. It takes a number of weeks for the sweetness to develop fully, but we may distribute some of the 2nds before then just to make sure they get eaten before they have a chance to go bad.

One thought on “CSA distribution #28 & newsletter

  1. Playing catch-up:

    The pac choi was wonderful!

    I know there was a query at some point about longevity of the shitakes in fridge-storage. We were keeping that last batch in an open plastic bag, and we had some last week. So yes, they keep quite well. The quality wasn’t what it was in the first 2 weeks, of course, but they were still tasty. (I’ve heard the paper bag in the fridge theory, and I know that works for some types of mushrooms and some fridges – our fridge seems to _adore_ drying things out quickly.)

    I mentioned our canned roasted peppers a while back, and I think there was a recipe request? The recipe I used came from an extension site, and I can’t find the silly thing at the moment, but this is similar: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/marinated_roasted_red_bell_peppers/
    If you look for roasted pepper recipes for canning, you’ll find several versions, all of course quite similar because of the acidity concerns. We’ve been really happy with them in cup jars – good for salads, great for chopping up and tossing with roasted veggies and pasta/rice as an instant sauce.

    Finally had that windy day we’ve been needing at my parent’s place, and the pecans are on the ground. We’ll be doing a couple of treks out (30 miles west of CoMo, basically) to gather. I know you’re busy, but if you want to gather some, just poke one of us and we’ll figure something out. Black walnuts are also quite abundant this year, if you aren’t buried in them yourselves. 🙂

    Hope you’re getting a nice ‘break’ for your anniversary!