November Winter CSA

Welcome to the first winter share of the season! There is no better time to receive your first dose of winter veggies than right after daylight savings time. Personally, after a long season here at the farm an extra hour of sleep is more than needed, even though we have to put up with Janaki complaining that his kids now wake up at 4:30 in the morning. This is also the final week of the season for many of our farm hands, some of whom have their own winter adventures ahead of them. Lucky for me, I get to stick around the farm this winter to help pack your winter shares and local wholesale orders.

If this is your first share with us, thank you for choosing local and organic. If you have been a member here for years, thank you for continuing to support our mission. Although we farm hands don’t interact with members very much, we definitely keep all of you in mind when doing various tasks on the farm. As we ventured through the great carrot and potato harvests of 2021, I considered how many mouths these crops will feed through the winter and it made the work more fulfilling.

The last few weeks have been really busy here at the farm to get us set up for the winter. We have cleared many fields of the crops they have been growing all season long. We harvested so many tons of carrots, potatoes, parsnips, cabbage, and Dave’s favorite crop: rutabagas. Among these harvests, Janaki has a plan for exactly which crop is going where this winter. Many carrots will end up in your winter shares. Others will be on the shelves at local grocery stores. The odd shaped and broken carrots even get sold to local businesses to make things such as kimchi. If it’s in the root cellar, it has a plan.

Also, be sure not to forget that it’s officially SOUP SEASON! I know I said that right at the turn of the first leaf this fall, but now it’s more relevant as we have finally experienced cooler temperatures. As a disclaimer, you’ll probably see many soup recipes in these newsletters this winter. A staple in the diets of many Minnesotans, soup may be the defining soup of the winter season. Luckily for you all, many (if not all) of our winter crops are perfect for soup makin’.

Your local soup enthusiast,

Emily

In your shares this month:

Beets, Brussel Sprouts, Carrots, Celery, Onions, Russet and Red Potatoes, Rosemary, Spinach, and Delicata and Kabocha Winter Squash

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Indonesian Carrot Soup (from New England Soup Factory Cookbook, Druker and Silverstein)

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 whole cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1 large onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 ribs celery, sliced
  • 1.5 lbs carrots (we also use winter squash), peeled and sliced
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/4 cup sherry
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 16 oz coconut milk (one can)
  • 2 tbsp cilantro 
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heat stockpot over medium high heat.  Add olive oil, garlic, ginger, onion, celery and carrots/squash.  Sauté for 10 minutes.  Add curry, coriander, cumin, pepper flakes, stock and sherry.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to med and simmer 30-40 minutes (until carrots and/or squash are tender).  Remove from heat and add honey, coconut milk, cilantro, salt, and pepper.  Puree the soup using immersion or conventional blender.  Makes 5-6 servings.

Spanish Tortilla (New York Times, Mark Bittman)

  • 1.25 lbs potatoes (3-4 medium)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 6 extra large eggs

Peel and thinly slice potatoes and onions.  Heat oil in nonstick skillet over medium heat.  After 3-4 minutes, drop in a potato slice.  When tiny bubbles appear around its edges, add potatoes, onions, salt and pepper.  Gently turn mixture in oil with a wooden spoon and adjust heat so oil bubbles lazily. Cook, turning potatoes every few minutes, until they are tender when pierced with a knife.  Adjust the heat.  If potatoes begin to break, they are overdone.  As potatoes cook, beat eggs with salt and pepper in a large bowl.  Turn oven on to 350 degrees F.  Drain the potatoes in a colander.  Wipe out skillet and heat over medium heat for one minute.  Add 2 tbsp. of oil.  Gently mix warm potatoes with eggs and add to skillet.  As soon as edges firm up, reduce heat to medium low and cook for 5 minutes.  Finish cooking in the oven.  Bake until firm (appx 10-15 minutes).  Serve warm (not hot) or at room temperature.

Summer CSA Week 18

That’s right farm sharers… It’s the final countdown (insert Europe guitarist). I think every one of us on the farm is shocked that the final CSA delivery is upon us. Not only because it’s still in the 70s during the day, but it also seems like only yesterday we were on the back of the transplanter planting the first of thousands of veggie starts. I don’t think we could have done it without that life-saving, and back-saving implement. Moreover, we could not have done it all without the support of our community and share members. It is all of you that keep the farm afloat and drive us to be the best farmers we can be. 18 weeks of shares have gone by in the blink of an eye yet we have so much to show for it. We have fed hundreds of people fresh, local, and organic veggies all while sustainably stewarding our farm.

This is not to say that with the end of the Summer CSA that comes the end of our work on the farm. In fact, we are just starting most of the large scale projects that will prepare us for our ’21-’22 Winter CSA, winter wholesale orders, and winter itself. On the farm hand side of things, this means clearing out the greenhouses, harvesting insane amounts of carrots, potatoes, beets, rutabagas, parsnips and cabbage, taking down trellises, and stowing the irrigation pipe that got our plants through this brutal summer. On the Janaki side of things, this means ensuring that fields are seeded with cover crops, compost is produced to feed our soil microbes, and operating the tractors so that us farm hands do not suffer at the expense of the insane amount of carrots I mentioned. Of course these aren’t the only things we will be doing over the next month, but you get the idea.

Just as we’re putting the farm to bed, we’re including a few sprigs of lavender in your share, long used as an aromatherapy sleep aide.

Here’s a list of things I have learned this season, even though nobody asked for it:

  • Do not waste time picking burs off of Chester. He will only come back around covered in more. He is also a professional skunk hunter and deer carcass finder.
  • Driving a very old tractor (we call it Stubby) is very fun and also terrifying at the same time.
  • Pigweed is a noxious plant that really makes you question whether or not being an organic farm is really worth it… (It is).
  • When a bee colony swarms they are actually super calm because they are not protecting their queen or hive anymore. I once walked through a swarm of thousands of bees to feed the chickens.
  • Raccoons sneak onto the farm for our tiny corn patch and nothing else.
  • Aside from the skunks that Chester brings around, the worst smell on the farm is hands down the smell of rotting daikon radish.
  • Do NOT harvest beets without gloves on unless you want to look like a murder suspect.
  • There is no such thing as a free meal.

Once again, we could not have done it without all of your support this season. We look forward to feeding you again in 2022. Until then, we will be here waiting and working the land to ensure you all receive high quality veggies next time around.

Take care,

Emily

“Agriculture is the noblest of all alchemy; for it turns earth, and even manure, into gold, conferring upon its cultivator the additional reward of health.” – Paul Chatfield

In your shares this week:

Beets – Carrots – Cilantro – Collar Greens – Lavender – Lettuce – Yellow Onions – Sweet Red Peppers – Hot Peppers – Potatoes – Rutabagas – Red Shallots – Delicata and Kabocha Winter Squash

A wonderful rainbow that made an appearance after we were rained on all day.
An absurdly large daikon radish that is destined for Spirit Creek Farm kimchi.

Red Flannel Hash (modified from NYT Cooking)

This recipe also works wonderfully with left-over roasted vegetables!

1.5 cups diced potatoes

1 cup diced squash

1/2 cup diced beets

1/2 cup diced carrots

1/2 cup diced peppers

1/4 cup diced onion

1/2 tsp each thyme and parsley

salt and pepper to taste


*Note:  Dice all the veggies into the similarly sized cubes (~1/2 inch) Heat oven to 425.  Place potatoes, squash, and beets on a rimmed baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of oil and bake for 20 minutes.  Add remaining veggies and herbs to the pan with the remaining olive oil and bake another 25 minutes.   
Fry the baked veggies in a frying pan with butter in a single layer to achieve crispness.  Top with a fried egg and serve with a side salad.


Strata (savory bread pudding)

1/2 lb french bread (stale or leftover works best), enough to make 4 cups of bread cubes

1 cup sliced mushrooms

1/2 cup diced peppers

1 cup diced or grated squash (~1/4″ cubes)

2 cups kale

1 clove garlic, minced

1.5 cups milk

1/2 cup grated hard cheese (swiss, gruyere, or cheddar)

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp fresh rosemary (or 1/2tsp dried) 

1 tsp salt

4 large eggs


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Soak the bread cubes in 3/4 c. of the milk. Oil or butter a 2 qt baking dish.  Heat a frying pan and add the kale.  Fry over medium heat until the leaves begin to soften and wilt.  Cover the pan and let the kale steam until cooked (3 minutes).  Remove from pan, press or squeeze out the excess liquid.  Chop coarsely and set aside.  Add 1 tbsp oil to the same frying pan and add the mushrooms and peppers.  Fry on medium heat until the mushrooms are cooked and the peppers have lost some of their moisture.  Add the minced garlic and the squash, and continue to fry for another minute.  Stir in the rosemary and kale.  Remove from heat, pour into a bowl with the cubed bread, the two cheeses, and toss together.  Arrange in a baking dish.
Beat eggs in a medium bowl and add the remaining milk and salt (and a few shakes of black pepper if you like it).  Pour over the bread and press the bread down into the custard mix.  Bake for 40-50 minutes until puffed up and brown and a knife poked into the strata comes out clean.
Note:  this can be assembled and left (covered) in the fridge for the night for a quick and easy morning bake, too!

Summer CSA Week 17

I hope everyone’s fall equinox was filled with fall festivities. Leaf watchers should be infiltrating the region en masse in the coming weeks. Luckily we don’t have to go very far at the Farm to see the beautiful colors of fall. For those who have been out to the Farm, you know what I mean. This is also the week where onion cleaning is in full swing which means that the falling leaves will become mostly indistinguishable from onion skins that are left to the ground.

Onions are one of our main storage crops for the winter. Last week we harvested several thousand pounds of storage crops. These include squash, potatoes, cabbage, and daikon radish. Speaking of… daikons will be making an appearance in your shares this week. The following recipes are heavily influenced by daikons as they are probably not used as often in people’s cooking routines.

This is a really nice time on the farm.  The weather is not too hot, and not yet cold. The weeds and bugs have slowed, and we are no longer planting vegetable starts or seeds into the field with the exception of cover crop seed. The frost seems to be keeping its distance and we received a 3/4″ of rain this week. All of our “free time” is pretty focused on harvesting storage crops.

Also, this week we will be sending out pumpkins! Farmer Janaki notes that although these are technically edible, the texture and flavor is not as good for eating. This variety is mainly used for carving. Let the fall festivities ensue.

Thanks for reading,

Emily

Terri hauling pumpkins while wearing her pumpkin colored overalls.

In your shares this week: Pole Beans – Carrots – Celery – Cilantro – Cucumbers – Greens Mix – Onions – Red Peppers – Hot Peppers – Fingerling Potatoes –  Daikon Radishes – Spinach – Delicata Squash – Tomatoes – Zucchini

Beans in the greenhouse.

This recipe is good for a quick addition to anything that might need the crunch of a pickle (salads, grilled items).  The original recipe also called for carrots. 


Daikon Radish Quick Pickle (Modified from The CSA Cookbook (Ly)


1/2 lb daikon cut into 2-inch matchsticks

1tsp salt

1/2 cup rice vinegar

1/2 cup water

2 tbsp sugar


Toss the daikon with the salt and let it sit in a colander in the sink for about 30 minutes.  Toss once or twice to remove as much liquid as possible.  Combine the vinegar, water, and sugar in a saucepan.  Cook over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.  Let the brine cool to room temp.Rinse the daikon under cold water to remove the salt and pack into a container.  Cover the daikon matchsticks with the brine and let them stand for at least 4 hours at room temperature.  Pickles are best if refrigerated overnight.

Spicy Chinese Slaw (The Joy of Cooking)


Slice into 2-inch matchsticks- Daikon, cucumbers and cabbage (to equal 3 cups)

Place in bowl and toss with 4 tablespoons of salt.  Let stand to drain for 30-45 minutes. 

Rinse veggies with cool water to remove the salt.  Drain well and place into serving bowl. 

Stir in: 1 tsp minced garlic Red pepper flakes (to taste)

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

1.5 tablespoons olive oil

1.5-2 tablespoons of sesame oil

salt to taste. Marinate for at least an hour.  

The 3rd recipe I chose should use some of the root veggies in this share…YUMMY!


Roasted Roots with Vinaigrette (modified from The Smitten Kitchen)


1 cup of cooked grains – quinoa, barley, couscous, farro (your choice!)

salt

3 small shallots or 1 small garlic clove

olive oil

3-4 cups mixed root vegetables (possibilities:  radishes, turnips, beets, carrots, potatoes, squash, cabbage, zucchini) – you can also include any non-root veggies from your shares.

2 tablespoons lemon juice


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Peel shallots (or garlic), break the shallot into clove-sized portions and wrap in aluminum foil with a few drops of olive oil. Place in oven. Coat baking sheet or roasting pan lightly with olive oil. Arrange the root veggies in one layer and drizzle with as much olive oil as you like to use (at least 2T). Sprinkle with lemon juice, sprinkle generously with salt and pepper to taste. Add roasting pan to oven. Roast veggies for 20 minutes, flip them over and roast for 10-20 more (until tender and slightly brown).  Remove both veggies and foil packet from oven.


Vinaigrette

2 tablespoons mild vinegar (sherry is good)

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1/4 tsp salt

3 tbsp olive oil

pepper to taste


Remove the shallot or garlic from the foil packet and toss into blender with the vinegers and salt.  Drizzle in olive oil and sample the dressing.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  
To assemble:  spoon the grain onto a platter.  Arrange roasted root veggies over the grains and drizzle with the dressing.    

Summer CSA Week 16

Howdy food sharers,

This past week was the week of squash. To be honest, I’ll probably never see that much squash again in one place. On Wednesday we harvested around 8,000 pounds of Delicata alone. As much as it feels like it will never end when we are in the middle of harvesting, the end results are very satisfying to look at. 4 tons of Delicata sitting on drying racks is a sight for sore eyes (and arms). It is also very funny to be using old bakery racks as storage racks. They sure do get the job done though.

Delicata are not the only variety of squash we are growing this year. The others include: Winter Sweet, Acorn, Kabocha and Sunshine. To be honest I think I would name my pet after these squashes. Maybe not Delicata though… I sometimes think that squash is such an interesting crop so I decided to do a little research to spice up this newsletter. Here are some fun facts about squash:

  • The name “squash” comes from a Native American word “askutasquash” which means “eaten raw or uncooked” which is….ironic. Or at least I have always cooked my squash.
  • Squashes are some of the oldest crops. Some estimates are at 10,000 years old. 
  • The regions of Mexico and surrounding Central American countries are where squash is originally thought to come from. 
  • We grow both summer and winter squash here at Food Farm. Summer squashes are harvested when they’re immature and their skins are still soft. For example, zucchini is a well-known summer squash. Winter squashes are harvested when their skin is hard, making them suitable for long term storage.

Pretty soon your summer CSA will be over and your household may start to accumulate more and more squash. Pumpkins will be on their way to you soon. Jack-o-lanterns will be carved. Pies will be baked. Although this is the beginning of the end of our time being your summer farmers, we still have a LOT to get done on the farm before freeze-up. Best of all, the autumn equinox is on Wednesday. According to the MN DNR Fall Color Finder, between 10-25% of our trees in the area are turning color. Fall has quickly become my favorite time of the year since I started farming.

I’m keeping this newsletter short and sweet, just like our acorn squash.

Thanks for tuning in,

Emily 

In your shares this week: Arugula – Beans – Carrots – Cucumbers – Red Russian Kale – Leeks – Onions – Parsley – Peppers – Potatoes – Acorn and Sunshine Squash – Tomatoes – Zucchini

Chinese Chard with Almonds by TasteofHome

Ingredients

1 bunch chard (about 1 pound), chopped (the Red Russian Kale this week is tender enough to use in place of Chard)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large sweet red pepper, cut into strips

1 large tomato, diced

1 small red onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon minced fresh gingerroot

1 tablespoon hoisin sauce

3/4 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Dash crushed red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Directions

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, bring 2 in. of water to a boil. Add chard; cook, covered, until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain; set aside.

In same saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add pepper, tomato and onion; saute until pepper is crisp-tender, 3-4 minutes. Add garlic; cook 1 minute more. Stir in next five ingredients; add cooked chard. Cook and stir until pepper is tender, 3-4 minutes ; add lemon juice. Top with almonds.

Kale and Leek Gratin by Food & Wine

3 pounds kale, de-stemmed

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 

5 medium leeks, white and tender green parts only, sliced 1/4 inch thick

Salt

3 garlic cloves, minced

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

2/3 cup all-purpose flour 

1 quart whole milk

1/2 cup shredded Gruyère cheese

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese 

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Freshly ground pepper

Directions

In a large pot of boiling water, blanch the kale in batches until wilted, about 1 minute. Drain, squeeze dry and chop it.

Heat the oil in the pot. Add the leeks and a pinch of salt. Cover and cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until tender, 7 minutes. Uncover, add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 2 minutes. Add the kale, season with salt and remove from the heat.

Preheat the oven to 425°. Butter a 10-by-15-inch baking dish. In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Stir in the flour over moderate heat to form a paste. Gradually whisk in one-third of the milk and cook, whisking, until the mixture starts to thicken. Repeat two more times with the remaining milk. Bring the sauce to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce the heat to low and cook, whisking often, until thickened and no floury taste remains, 15 minutes. Whisk in the cheeses and the nutmeg; season with salt and pepper. Mix the sauce into the leeks and kale. Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Bake in the upper third of the oven for about 25 minutes, until bubbling and golden brown on top. Let rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Summer CSA Week 15

It’s hard to believe that we are already on the 15th week of the CSA, it feels like the season just started last week!? Anyways, while we are excited to share with you the vegetables of the week, there are still a few that you may not see this week, or next. Crops like brussels sprouts take a long time to mature–they’re seeded in early June and usually aren’t ready until the last week of the CSA. Most crops, like the celery in your shares today, are a couple of weeks ahead of schedule, but the brussels are actually slow enough that they may not even mature in time. I’m excited to eat them even if we have to wait for the winter shares.

This past weekend we attended the Harvest Festival at Bayfront and enjoyed seeing many familiar and new faces at the booth. The crew worked all day Friday harvesting vegetables to ensure that festival-goers received the freshest produce possible. It was great to see everyone after a year off from the festival.

The theme of last week seemed to be our potatoes. We worked on getting out the rest of the first planting of potatoes which included whites, russets, and yellows. Potatoes rock our world in so many ways and are incredibly versatile. I thought it might be useful to include a guide as to what potatoes are good for different potato cooking techniques. Disclaimer: this guide is based on a quick Google search and really, you can do whatever you want to your potatoes.

Fingerlings: great for baking, roasting, and potato salads. Not as good for soups.

Russets: These are the long brown potatoes in the share today. These are good for baking, mashing, french fries, and chips.

Reds: Unlike Russets, red potatoes do not fluff up as much when cooked. This makes them good for soups and stews.

Yellow/Gold: Creamier than most and are great for mashing, roasting, and grilling.

White: Great for french fries and hashbrowns. Doesn’t necessarily need peeling due to thin skin.

That’s the reference guide I use when choosing potatoes, but I use the different varieties interchangeably for the most part. Next up, I felt compelled to include a recipe for a classic potato dish that I grew up eating at every family gathering and holiday, and I hope you did too.

Thanks for reading,

Emily

We were fortunate to receive a few random rain showers and a big rainbow last week.

In your shares this week:

Beans – Broccoli – Carrots – Celery – Cucumbers – Dill – Lettuce – Onions – Red Peppers – POTATOES – Acorn Squash – Tomatoes

Farmer Kathleen driving the crew back to the potato fields for harvesting.

Potatoes au Gratin by RecipeTinEats

  • 1 1/2 cups cream
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter,melted
  • 2 lb starchy potatoes, Russet
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups gruyere cheese (or mozzarella)
  • 2 tsp thyme leaves
  • Cream Mixture: Place butter, cream and garlic in a jug or jar. Mix until combined.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Slice potatoes: Peel the potatoes and slice them 1/8″. Or use a slicer!
  • Layer 1: Spread 1/3 of the potatoes in a baking dish, then pour over 1/3 of the Cream Mixture, scatter with 1/3 of the salt, pepper and thyme. Sprinkle with 3/4 cups cheese.
  • Layers 2 & 3: Repeat for the 2nd and third layer, but do not finish with cheese on the top layer (will add later).
  • Cover & bake: Cover with lid or foil, and bake for 1 hr 15 min or until the potatoes in the middle are soft (use knife to test).
  • Top with cheese, bake again: Remove foil, top with cheese. Bake for a further 10 to 15 minutes until golden and bubbly. Stand 5 minutes before serving.

Cream of Celery Soup by AllRecipes

  • 3 quarts vegetable stock 
  • 1 head of celery, coarsely chopped
  • ½ pound carrots, julienned
  • ½ pound onions, chopped 
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 3 quarts hot milk
  • 1 cup margarine
  • Step 1 Pour the vegetable stock into a large pot, and bring to a boil. Add the celery, carrots and onion to the pot.
  • Step 2 Whisk together the flour, salt, pepper, and milk; add to the pot along with the margarine.
  • Step 3 Boil for 10 minutes, then strain out the vegetables by pouring through a sieve, or if the vegetables are large enough, a colander may be used.

Summer CSA Week 14

This week was a big week for our dear friends the alliums. Alliums are a genus of plants that include onions, garlic, leeks, and shallots. Onions! Enough to make a grown man cry. To say that these crops are the very backbone of savory dishes in the Midwest is an understatement. Not only do they provide great flavor and texture to our food, they also make the air smell great when you harvest them for several hours. And what do you say to a small onion that has helped you? Thanks shallot. We also started to sort out seed garlic which involves picking out the most perfect heads of garlic to use for next years garlic crop. This process, over the course of years, helps us yield the best looking heads of garlic to give to our dear members and the community.

Soup season is just around the corner, unless you’re like me and believe soup shall not be limited to colder weather. Either way, I feel compelled to throw in a decent soup recipe in these newsletters each week. They’re great for many things but amazing for using up random veggies in your fridges. Great for budgets and your stomachs. This may very well be the beginning of canning season for your household, for which soup is a fantastic candidate. Our dear friend the leek has been patiently waiting it’s arrival in your shares. And you had better believe there’s a soup recipe in this newsletter whose sole intention is to use a decent amount of leeks. Personally, I think the leeks this year look way bigger than last years. This is probably due to the warmer temperatures we have been experiencing.

This weekend you’ll find the Food Farm crew at the Sustainable Farm Association’s annual Harvest Festival at Bayfront Park in Duluth. Have you been wishing to have just a few more heads of broccoli this year? Perhaps you’re wishing for some more tomatoes? Fear not, as we will likely have a wide variety of food available to you. My favorite thing about these festivals as a consumer is seeing the value added goods that people create. Every year there is something new to try and it’s even better knowing it’s local. The annual Harvest Festival is a fun and great way to connect producers directly to consumers. Aside from these newsletters, there are only a handful of ways in which we are able to directly connect with our share members and the general public. We hope to see all of you there! We’ll be there from 10am – 4pm.

Some exciting news from our newest farm hens, they’ve laid their first eggs! These relatively tiny eggs will not be included in the egg shares yet. However, they are a reminder that these chickens play a valuable role on the farm. They provide our members with food and our fields with fertility. Plus they’re cute and full of personality – what more could you ask for in your coworkers?!

If anyone has a soup recipe suggestion, please do not be shy. We must all prosper in the richness that is liquid food.

Your local soup enthusiast,

Emily

In your shares this week:

Broccoli – Carrots – Cilantro – Cucumbers – Garlic – Greens Mix – Leeks – Onions – Hot Pepper – Red Peppers – Potatoes – Tomatoes – Zucchini

Bumble bees are fond of our bean plants and their flowers. I call this photo: “Bumble Bean”

Potato Leek Soup from Tasty

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 large leeks, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 lbs potato, cubed
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ cup fresh chives, chopped
  • hot sauce, to taste
  1. Melt butter on medium heat in a large pot. Add the chopped leeks and stir until coated with butter.
  2. Cover the pot and lower heat, cook for around 10 minutes until the leeks have softened.
  3. Increase to medium-high. Add garlic, potatoes, salt, and pepper. Cook for 1 minute, then add vegetable broth, water, thyme, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil.
  4. Lower heat and cover pot with a lid and simmer for 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender and easily speared by a fork.
  5. Uncover and remove thyme and bay leaf.
  6. Use an immersion or countertop blender to blend the soup until smooth.
  7. Stir in chives and hot sauce (optional).
  8. Allow to cool 2 minutes and serve

Cucumber Avocado Salsa by To Simply Inspire

  • 1 large cucumber peeled, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 avocado finely chopped
  • 1 medium tomato finely chopped and seeded
  • 1/4 cup red onion finely chopped
  • 2 – 3 tablespoon fresh cilantro finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove minced

For the sauce:

  • 1/4 c reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1-1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1-1/2 tsp lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  1. In a medium bowl, combine the first six ingredients and gently toss
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the sour cream, lemon juice, lime juice, cumin and salt.
  3. Pour over cucumber mixture and gently toss to coat.
  4. Serve with tortilla chips.

Summer CSA Week 13

Every day was super eventful on the farm this past week. The crew adjusted the solar panels along the driveway to match the sun’s fall position in the sky. We are also gearing up for the fall harvesting that will be happening soon, especially for the storage crops. On Wednesday we harvested about 13 tons of carrots – all before lunch. It’s days like those that really make us realize the impact we have on the local food system. Also, not to scare anybody but there are at least 30 more tons (hopefully) that still need to be harvested before late October. And those are just the carrots. Our list of things to do seems like it should be getting smaller but let’s be honest – it’s definitely going to get bigger.

Early this week we said a heartfelt goodbye to Karin who has been the backbone of the farm crew for 7 seasons. She will be deeply missed, but we all wish her the best of luck with this transition in her life. In her honor we built a huge shrine with some parts we found laying around in the barn and it’s just outside the pack shed so she is never forgotten. It doubles as a second bucket-drying rack. Just kidding – that’d be weird. But truthfully, she deserves the recognition for being so cool.

As many of you probably experienced this week, the air quality was very poor from the wildfires burning north of us. As a farmer, I never realized how much I had been taking good air quality for granted. Luckily, wearing a mask helps a lot. There was some rain at the end of the week (yay!) that helped improve the air quality. As a bonus we got to finally experience some autumn-ish weather that the storms brought with them – cool breezes and chilly mornings. Rain also gives us all some excitement knowing that our veggies will be that much happier.

Our newer hens have been adjusting nicely to their new home in the last month. They live on the far side of the farm in a mobile coop that gets moved every few days. This ensures the field they are in is getting an equal distribution of fertilization from the chickens. Earlier this season Farmer Janaki taught us that the fields that have had chickens rotated around in them are significantly more fertile than their non-chicken bearing neighbors. This is just another way the Food Farm builds soil and improves soil quality. What that means for our share members is more nutrient dense veggies.

Thanks for reading my first newsletter, I am excited to carry on this task.

Emily

In your shares this week:

Cucumber – Zucchini – Potatoes – Carrots – Hot Peppers – Red and Green Peppers – Onion – Dill – Tomatoes – Greens Mix – Beans – Beets

Zucchini Lasagna from PBS

  • For the Tomato Sauce:
  • 1 – 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes (or about 4 pounds of fresh tomatoes)
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. fennel seed, crushed slightly to release the flavor
  • 1 tsp. ground oregano
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped basil
  • 1 tsp. cane sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • For the Cheese Filling:
  • 1 pound of ricotta cheese (or cottage cheese)
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • For the Vegetables:
  • 2 to 3 medium-sized zucchinis, no bigger than 4 inches diameter (or 4 to 5 small zucchinis)
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pound of mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 bunch of swiss chard or spinach (about 4 cups, chopped)
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. flour (can be gluten-free flour)
  • A dozen or so fresh basil leaves (optional)
  • 4 cups shredded mozzarella (about 1 pound)
  1. Slice the zucchinis lengthwise to between 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Use a mandolin if you have one, it will help you slice the zucchini faster and in perfect consistent slices. Otherwise, slicing with a knife is fine too. Place the slices on a clean towel and pat the zucchini very dry. Rub 1 Tbsp of olive oil onto an extra-large baking sheet (or 2 smaller ones) and place the zucchini slices in a single layer. Roast in a 375F oven for about 10 minutes. Allow to cool.
  2. If using fresh tomatoes, deseed the tomatoes (if you wish remove the skins). Bring the tomatoes to a boil and add the minced garlic, chopped basil, crushed fennel seeds, ground oregano, olive oil, sugar, and salt to taste. Simmer until thick and reduced. It’s important to use a thick lasagna sauce in this recipe because the lasagna can otherwise be on the soupy side without the pasta to soak up the extra liquid as it bakes.
  3. In a large skillet or wok, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil and sauté the onions for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and continue cooking. Once the mushrooms are soft, add the chopped swiss chard. When the chard is cooked, remove from heat and drain any juices (save these for great soup stock). Add 2 Tbsp flour to the mixture and mix well to incorporate.
  4. Oil a 9 x 13 inch lasagna dish and spread about one third of your sauce on the bottom. Add a layer of roasted zucchini to cover the tomato sauce. Add the ricotta and parmesan cheese mixture and spread evenly. Add another layer of zucchini slices. Add a second round of tomato sauce and spread evenly, followed by the vegetable mixture and half of the shredded mozzarella cheese. Add a last layer of zucchini slices followed by the third and last round of tomato sauce. Place the twelve basil leaves on top of the sauce and sprinkle the rest of the shredded mozzarella on top. Pro tip: place a baking tray on the rack beneath the lasagna pan to catch any bubbling juices from falling to the bottom of your oven. Bake for about 40 minutes at 350F until the cheese is melted.

Cucumber Tomato Salad from Spend With Pennies

  • 2 cucumbers (sliced)
  • 2 large tomatoes (diced)
  • 1/2 onion (sliced)
  • 1 tablespoon of dill
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a boil and toss well.

Summer CSA Week 12

At week twelve we are about three months through our Summer CSA. So many weeks to go still – and so much bounty to be brought in from the fields. The mid-summer CSA crops are so enjoyable, and many will last through to the end. They’ll be joined by cool, end of season crops for some very colorful and full of variety (and heavy!) share boxes: winter squash, Brussels Sprouts (hopefully), maybe spinach again (though it’s not germinating well), and sweeter carrots from cooler nights!

Most of the heavy lifting that happens, harvest wise, happens in the last few weeks of the season, as we transition from harvesting what we need here and there for the CSA or our wholesale deliveries to harvesting larger and larger amounts of storage crops out of the field. Already, the crew is starting to cross some things off the list: the first planting of carrots, the first planting of red potatoes, garlic. Soon to add the whole first planting of potatoes and the onions. Bucket-full by bucket-full loaded onto the ever-in-motion trailer: all the produce will make it’s way down to the root cellar.

Getting into the rhythm of the fall harvest is one of my favorite times on the farm. I like working out the timing just right of when produce should get loaded up, and how many people should do what task so that we’re working as efficiently as possible. Sometimes that is the hardest when the most efficient thing to is to wait for a machine, and just hang tight for 2 minutes. I say getting into the rhythm, but more often I feel I have a rhythm just as we’re at the end of harvesting one crop and moving on to another. Rhythm or not, it seems to usually work out by some miracle.

This year I’ll be doing none of the harvest work- I am going to be done with my time on the farm, for now. I have my own tiny early-fall project to work on. Hint: it’s like a butternut squash that tries to kick my cup of (decaf) coffee off its new resting spot. Other hint: the little project wants me to stop bending over at work so much*. I am thinking of asking Janaki about putting in 30 acres of 4′ high raised beds. I think he might go for it.

Depending on how you count it (and I am the only one counting I suppose) this has been my 7th season on the Food Farm. The farm has grown since my first year, and many changes have happened on the farm, and in the peoples’ lives who surround the farm. I think I’ve learned a lot since starting, but the truth is I probably had to relearn it all just this past April and so it might not be a cumulative knowledge. Every spring I just start with a “green side up” mantra for transplanting and go from there. That red cabbage makes the mantra tricky… farming keeps one on their toes.

I’m not really mentally prepared to be done. Working on the farm has brought me a lot of joy, and has been a big part of my life for a long time now. The quick but odd moment in life of something going from an every-day reality to a memory is never a comfortable transition for me. Much of being on the farm; the work, the interactions with people, the little details, feels like a memorized little dance that happens each year. Some times more gracefully than others. Soon the little details in my head will become totally obsolete in my life. Then they’ll be forgotten entirely. Shall I document some for you? You won’t mind?

16 pounds of jalapenos fit in a 5 gallon pail and about 25 pounds of anything else. Our pallet boxes weigh 110 pounds. The flat trailer fits 76 buckets on it, but if you drive in 4th gear over a bump there is a good chance you could loose the bucket on the back left corner. Field 14a is Janaki’s favorite field, because the soil is so delicious, and Field 14b has a purslane problem on the whole south half. Dave wants 13 pounds of sand in a sandbag. It’s his lucky number, I guess.
Beyond the numbers it has been nice to get to know the ever changing crew each year, and of course the people who are always around too. I could probably list dozens of little quirks and traits of all the farmers (as I have no quirks of my own, I really notice other people’s) but the newsletter would get long, and I would probably cry.

It has been an honor to have grown and harvested for you these several years. Thanks for supporting the farm so that it could support me – and all the workers over these years. Some part of me, and any farmer or farm-worker anywhere, goes to be with you in your kitchen and at your table. All the more so if you’re eating potatoes we had to pick up after the bucket tipped off the corner of the trailer.

Keep eating good food, and keep reading the newsletter as “Farmer Emily” (as my son says) takes over next week.

With affection, and just for myself this time,

Karin

*my little project is a baby!


In your share this week:
Green Beans – Broccoli – Carrots – Cucumbers – Kale – Melon – Onions – Red, Green, and Hot Peppers – Tomatoes – Zucchini


Curried Carrot Soup

From the Leek and the Carrot

It was under 60 degrees this morning… time to make soup!

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons sweet curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon hot curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon siracha hot sauce
  • 13.5-ounce can coconut milk
  • 4 cups chicken (or vegetable) stock

Add butter and oil to a large stock pot. Melt butter over medium-low heat. Add the onions and garlic as well as a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Cook until onions are translucent and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Add the carrots, spices and hot sauce and turn the heat up to medium. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the coconut milk and stock. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes until carrots are tender and liquid is nicely reduced.
Let cool and puree with an immersion blender. We don’t puree until completely smooth. We like some small chunks of carrot in there, but that is up to you. Taste and adjust seasoning. Top with chickpeas if you are feeling extra fun!

CUMIN ROASTED CHICKPEAS
15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1-2 teaspoons Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss chickpeas with oil, cumin, salt and pepper. I use 1 teaspoon of salt if I’m making these chickpeas for my carrot soup (because it’s already a little salty) and 2 teaspoons of salt if I’m making these chickpeas as a non-soup-addition, generally-delicious snack. Roast for 20 minutes or until crunchy. Take out the pan and shake it occasionally for more even crisping.

Summer CSA Week 11

I am sure I have said in newsletters of yore that recipes aren’t really my thing. Finding them for the newsletter – I just do the laziest thing which, depending on what I’m looking for, is either just googling “spinach recipes” or whatever, or going to a couple of my go-to sites for ideas and seeing what they say. Recipes aren’t really my thing, but I do like pretty pictures of food, and being forced to look up new ideas for the newsletter does help me snap out of a rut (re: last week’s zucchini fritters comment).

A lot of the way I cook (when I’m not “cooking” eggs and toast) feels like just throwing what I have lying around together, often in one or two pots and then eating all of whatever it is in a bowl. Sometimes I don’t feel like it counts as a “meal”- the Midwest concept of what a meal is has imbedded itself in my brain. Sometimes I don’t feel like it counts unless there’s meat (duh) and two sides (one being potatoes) and dessert. I’ll skip the glass of skim milk at dinner… but thanks for offering.

With shares like this week’s especially, I feel like all the food is just waiting to be chopped up and eaten together. I do recommend cooking the potatoes first. All these veggies would be great in a grain bowl for example. Is that so 2017? 2017 BCE? I just made a salad that is not unlike the quinoa chickpea salad below, but instead of a mustardy dressing, I used a huge scoop of fresh basil-pesto in the dressing. So good.

You also don’t have to chop all the veggies and mix them all together this very night. So much chopping! So much time! No matter what I do, I don’t feel like I get any faster at processing whole veggies and working with any whole food takes time. You’re allowed to cut a zucchini in half, cover it in cheese and store bought sauce and roast the living daylights out of it. You can even call that dinner. No milk and no meat, no problem!

All of this is partially a pep talk to myself to get me to do something with the cauliflower in my fridge before another one ends up there!

For the farm crew,

Karin


In your share this week:
Basil – Beans – Cabbage (Monday), or Cauliflower (Thursday) – Carrots – Cilantro – Lettuce Mix – Melon – Onions – Sweet and Hot Peppers – Red Potatoes – Tomatoes – Zucchini


Zucchini Turkey Meatballs with Zoodles

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini
  • ¾ cup unseasoned breadcrumbs, or you could use seasoned
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

FOR THE NOODLES
2 medium zucchinis, zoodled with a spiralizer (or…https://topwithcinnamon.com/lazy-girls-zucchini-spaghetti-no-fancy-tools-required-with-peas-creme-fraiche-and-pesto/)

Your favorite pasta sauce


Line a large baking sheet with wax paper.
Place all the ingredients for the meatballs in a large bowl. Using your hands, gently work all the ingredients together, careful to not overwork the meat.


Using a two tablespoons, scoop meat into individual balls and place on the prepared baking sheet. Once all is scooped, form the meat into balls. Freeze 20 of them in a freezer-safe plastic bag or container and place 10 of them onto a plate to set aside to cook.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add olive oil.


Once the oil is hot, carefully place the meatballs into the skillet and let brown on one side then turn with tongs. Continue cooking until meatballs are all cooked through, about 7-10 minutes.
For the zoodles, you can either just blanch them in hot water and add sauce on top along with the meatballs or you can throw them into the same skillet and cook them until softened and pour sauce on top along with the meatballs.
Serve warm!

The meatball mixture makes roughly 30 meatballs. They freeze really well and I love having the ability to pull them out of the freezer during busy work weeks! 🙂

Quinoa Chickpea Salad with Summer Veggies!

From the Crowded Kitchen

  • 1 cup dry quinoa, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup yellow onion, diced (1 small onion)
  • 2 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced (2 cloves)
  • 1 cup finely chopped spinach (or any leafy green)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup cucumber, finely diced
  • ¾ cup grated carrot
  • ¾ cup finely diced yellow bell pepper (1 small pepper)
  • 3 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 14.5 oz can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed well
  • ¼ cup grated vegan parmesan (or regular)

VINAIGRETTE:

  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain dijon mustard
  • 1 ½ teaspoon maple syrup (or agave)
  • 1 teaspoon fine grain kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Cook quinoa according to package directions and add ½ teaspoon of salt to the water.
  2. While quinoa is cooking, add olive oil to a small skillet over medium heat. Add onions and sauté for 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes, until softened and slightly browned. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. 
  3. Once the quinoa is done cooking, transfer to a bowl to cool slightly (you can place in the fridge or freezer to speed this up). 
  4. Add all vinaigrette ingredients to a small mixing bowl and whisk until well combined.
  5. Prep the spinach, tomatoes, cucumber, carrots, pepper and parsley.
  6. Add all ingredients (cooked quinoa, onions/garlic, vegetables, parmesan) to a large mixing bowl and toss well with the vinaigrette.
  7. Optional: refrigerate for 30 minutes-1 hour before serving (or enjoy right away!).

Summer CSA Week 10

We’re just over half way through the 2021 summer share! We hope you’ve been enjoying the ever more summery selection! Our item list on the white board hardly fits any more – time to write it smaller. The crew has more of a routine as the summer goes on as different people take on a different, regularly harvested crop like daily zucchini and cucumbers, and almost daily melons (for a while), peppers and broccoli (never ending!). The addition of increasingly more harvesting is butting up against some later-than normal season weeding as rains have helped both crops, and the little (and not so little) unwanted plants in our fields.

We will be getting into a more regular rhythm of harvesting large amounts of things at a time too, to have available for a week or two at a time. The first planting of carrots got harvested a week and a half ago, and we have a few bins of cabbage in the cooler waiting for wholesale orders and for CSA delivery. The garlic is out of the ground, a couple weeks ahead of usual, and is curing in the greenhouse for now. Soon we’ll trim those stalks and move the garlic to make way for onions. Bit by bit the harvest ramps up, and we can start ticking entire crops off the list.

How about all of you? Do you feel like you’re in a good rhythm of using your share, or are you stuck in a rut? Hopefully you won’t ever feel too stuck since the veggies change throughout the season, though I think my household is already ready to move on from zucchini fritters… Time to move on to my regularly occurring (but it’s been a while!) potato salad I guess!

August in Minnesota always feels so full and so fast with late summer camping trips, or weddings and planning for the fall and school season ahead. Even if school isn’t a part of your life any more, there seems to be a different pace to things come September. I hope you are all finding satisfying ways to spend these last summery weeks. Perhaps in a couple of weeks, on the 21st (3-5pm), you’ll find yourself out here at the Food Farm for our farm gathering, or up the road for the Free Range Film Festival (7pm)! What could be more summery than an afternoon drive out to Wrenshall?

For the busy crew,

Karin


In your share this week:
Green Beans – Broccoli – Carrots – Cucumber – Dill – Melons! – Sweet Onion – Green Onions – Sweet and Hot Peppers – Potatoes – Tomatoes – Zucchini


Cream of Broccoli Soup, By Farmer John

One large head of broccoli “the biggest you can find”, chopped
One large onion, the biggest you can find, chopped (not a sweet onion… sorry)
One large carrot, also the biggest you can find, chopped

2 Cloves Garlic
2 Tbsp, (but he uses 3) butter
2 Cups chicken or veggie broth
Salt to taste
1 Cup milk

Cook veggies in broth until quite soft, and then blend the living daylights out of it with an immersion blender. Add milk, stir and taste.
We talked about the option of freezing the soup – perhaps freeze it before blending, and adding the milk, so as to simplify the reheating. Then thaw, heat, blend and add milk when you’re ready to serve.

Ultimate Zucchini Bread

From The Smitten Kitchen

I have been making this like it’s going out of style… but it never will in my house! If you want a fun little description about how she got to this recipe from other less satisfying versions, look it up on her website – all her complaints about plain old zucchini bread were also my own- but I love this recipe! Disclaimer… it is basically eating cake for breakfast.

  • 2 cups (13 ounces or 370 grams) grated, packed zucchini, not wrung out, grated on the large holes of a box grater
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup (160 ml) of a neutral oil (I use safflower), olive oil, or melted unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup (95 grams) packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons (25 grams) raw or turbinado sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a 6-cup or 9×5-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray. Place grated zucchini in a large bowl and add oil, eggs, sugars, vanilla, and salt. Use a fork to mix until combined. Sprinkle cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and baking powder over surface of batter and mix until combined — and then, for extra security that the ingredients are well-dispersed, give it 10 extra stirs. Add flour and mix until just combined. Pour into prepared loaf pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle with the raw or turbinado sugar — don’t skimp. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick or tester inserted into the middle cake but also into the top of the cake, closer to the dome, comes out batter-free.

Let cool completely in the pan. Leave in pan, unwrapped, overnight or 24 hours, until removing (carefully, so not to ruin flaky lid) and serving in slices. Zucchini bread keeps for 4 to 5 days at room temperature. I wrap only the cut end of the cake in foil, and return it to the baking pan, leaving the top exposed so that it stays crunchy.