Bird list & natural events, October 2014

Once we got the early heavy rain over with, October was a wonderfully pleasant month. Generally stable weather & temperatures meant we could enjoy working outdoors. Temperatures finally crashed right at the end of the month, fitting a trend we’ve discussed before: that the October/November transition is when the first true cold weather always seems to arrive. This October, like others before it, felt like a final gift of Indian summer and we were glad to have it.

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2014 CSA distribution #25

Second-to-last share of the season; this one comes with a whiff of winter about it. Due to the serious cold snap coming midweek, we’ll be harvesting everything for both deliveries (and quite a bit for the Thanksgiving share) on Sunday. Virtually everything we offer this time of year has good storage qualities, so there should be no issue in doing so. With Thursday’s forecast high of 36 (and previous night low of 22), just getting things packed in our open barn will be an exercise in efficiency!

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2014 CSA distribution #24

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Fall shares mean roasted vegetables are back on the menu! This particular mix includes parsnips, turnips, beets, sweet potatoes, and carrots, some of which will be in the coming share and all of which you’ll get at some point in the remaining season. Onions, potatoes, garlic, & leeks also do well in such mixes. Read for more on this week’s share, and the rest of the CSA season leading up to Thanksgiving. Continue reading

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Bird list & natural events, September 2014

This September was reminiscent of last year’s, with pleasant & mostly dry weather. We received a scare with the threat of a very early hard frost in mid-September, but some rain the day before and some un-forecast cloud cover the second night buffered us just enough to allow sensitive plants to keep producing through the month. All in all, an unremarkable but enjoyable month in our ecosystem.

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2014 CSA distribution #22

A late newsletter due to an eventful end of week, featuring over 6″ of rain followed by the season’s first killing frost on Friday night. Our thanks to those members who came out to help with pre-frost harvest & other chores on a long Friday.

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Here’s a photo of roasted “not quite shelling beans” that we made for Sat. lunch. We removed strings, tossed with oil and a bit of salt, spread whole on baking trays, and roasted in the oven at 400ºF for ~35 minutes, stirring after about 15 minutes. On the left: Kentucky Wonder, quite good flavor. On the right: Rattlesnake Snap, extraordinary flavor & sweetness. We left the beans whole (minimizes prep work) & ate them as finger food.

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2014 CSA distribution #21

We’re grateful for the nice, stable weather that is contributing both to the rapid growth of crops and to our sense of relief that there should be plenty of produce for the bags for the remainder of the season. Speaking of the remainder of the season, our first “off week” is coming up a few weeks from now, in mid-October. Please consult the webcalendar for full details on the distribution schedule from now to Thanksgiving.

Here’s a teaser of the crops that have a good chance of making an appearance in the shares between now & the end of the year: beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, collards, cucumbers, escarole, garlic, kale (curly & Russian red), kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, mustard, okra, onions, pac choi, parsnips, peppers (Anaheim, sweet, & green), potatoes, radishes (watermelon & daikon), saute mix, shelling beans, spinach?, sweet potatoes, Swiss chard, tomatillos?, turnips (golden), & winter squash.

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2014 CSA potluck

We’re excited about hosting our annual potluck & produce tasting for CSA members on Saturday, September 27 starting at noon. We’ll start by setting out food, then eating & socializing; this event is a great way to meet other members. Afterward we’ll tour the farm & digest a bit.

Members: Please RSVP no later than Thursday Sept. 25 by commenting on this post, sharing what you intend to bring, so the menu can be balanced by all attendees without a lot of coordination on our part. If you’re not sure yet, even a general category (main dish, side, salad, dessert, etc.) is helpful for planning. Feel free to add more specifics later, if you wish. If you’d rather not use your full name, that’s ok as your email address (required to comment but not displayed on the site) should identify you to us. Read on below for more details & guidance.

FOOD CONSIDERATIONS

  • We have members with a variety of food preferences & allergies (vegetarian, gluten-free, etc.). We would like to be as accommodating as practical in making the potluck welcome to everyone who would like to come. However, the collective list of member food avoidances & allergies includes virtually everything EXCEPT vegetables. So, here’s our proposal: If you are planning to come and have special dietary concerns, please RSVP ASAP by commenting on this post (anonymously, if you like) with a description of your preferences/needs, and in the case of allergies, degree of sensitivity. In that way, when deciding what to bring, others can take into consideration the needs/preferences of members who are actually planning to come. Not all dishes necessarily need to meet all needs, but we hope to have appropriate & sufficient food available to feed everyone who is here. One consideration for extremely gluten-sensitive members: We bake routinely with wheat & rye (which we grind ourselves), so unfortunately we cannot guarantee a complete absence of residual gluten in the environment of our house or food that came from our kitchen.
  • Keep in mind the basic food ethics of the farm. For example, we’d strongly prefer that nothing brought onto the farm include GMO ingredients, highly processed foods, or factory-farmed meats. We’d prefer that animal products in general either be from a producer that you know and trust (and preferably who avoids/minimizes feeding GMOs to the extent economically feasible) or if from a distant source that they be certified organic. If you’re not certain what is GMO and what isn’t, there are numerous websites with information about that, such as this one.
  • Please let us know in advance if your dish needs any special handling (has to be kept cold, has to be reheated, etc.).

WHAT TO BRING

  • Your potluck dish. Basic labeling could be a good idea, especially if ingredients aren’t obvious (such as chicken broth in a soup). Also, serving utensils would be helpful, as we have a limited quantity of these.
  •  We’ll provide water to drink, possibly iced tea; anything else is up to you.
  •  Please bring your own (washable, not disposable) plates, bowls, cups, utensils, and napkins. We’ll have limited quantities of such things for anyone who forgets. We don’t use disposables here and would prefer that others didn’t either. Aside from the ethics, there’s the practical concern that we don’t have an easy way of getting rid of smelly trash smeared with food such as disposable paper plates. We generate very little trash ourselves (none containing food wastes) and bring a dumpster in only once every year or two to get rid of what dry trash we do generate.
  •  For touring the farm, we strongly advise close-toed shoes.
  • And, of course, bring a big appetite!
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2014 CSA distribution #19

Minimalist newsletter this week, as Eric is doing double duty while Joanna is away celebrating a family wedding. This means that herbs will be limited on Monday, and Thursday’s survey, which usually goes out Monday afternoon, will be delayed until Monday night or Tuesday morning. Because of cool weather (and possibly an early frost this weekend), share contents are especially uncertain.

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