March Winter CSA

Hello beloved farm members,

This is the time of the year when our farm seasons begin to overlap. We are still packing up the last of our veggies from this past growing season and sending them to our wholesale customers and your CSA shares. In addition, the crew also started planting onions and greens for this upcoming season. Onions are the first to be seeded into flats, and one of the first be transplanted into the fields each year. This year we planted over 40,000 onion seeds! Greens mix is relatively quick, but it’s always touch and go whether they’ll be ready in time for the April Winter Shares, so bring on the sun! It’s exciting every year to get the new season rolling while we’re still sending out produce from last year.

This growing season we will have some new faces here on the farm as well as some seasoned veterans. Personally, I am excited to meet new crew members and learn their life stories and what brought them to work at the Food Farm. Everyone’s story is different but our goals are all relatively the same: getting our hands dirty and growing good organic veggies for our community. I feel like I learn new things almost every day at the farm, so I am also looking forward to that this year too.

A few weeks ago we had the pleasure of being interviewed by Fox21 to let our community know how things are going for us at the farm. Check our the interview (and my cinematic debut) by clicking this link here: https://www.fox21online.com/2022/02/28/food-farm-ready-for-2022-farming-season/?fbclid=IwAR1iteB7ZoSbY1O-82BXkTwMGjuKBPEG1ULnkIjY1QuBdD9-I94tPLq4k5A

We hope you’ll have a chance to get outside and enjoy the warmer weather this week!

For the farm crew, Emily

In your shares this month you will find:

Red Cabbage, Rutabaga, Beets, Red Potatoes, Fingerling Potatoes, Onions, Parsnips, and Orange and Purple Carrots.

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Beet and Fennel Salad with Citrus 

  • 2 lbs beets
  • 3 oranges (assortment looks pretty:  navel, cara cara, mandarins, blood oranges)
  • Fennel (one bulb), very thinly sliced
  • 1 shallot, very thinly sliced (or red onion)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp vinegar (white wine or champagne best, white is OK)
  • 1/2-1 tsp sugar or honey
  • Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Trim and wash the beets and wrap them in foil.  Put them in the oven and roast for 45-60 minutes, until tender.  Let cool.
  • Slice the peels and pith off the citrus.  Thinly slice (1/4″ or less) or section the oranges over a bowl to catch the juices.  
  • Slice or dice the beets and layer them on a platter.  Place the thinly sliced fennel, orange sections, and shallots on top of the beets.  
  • Make the vinaigrette by combining the vinegar, olive oil, sugar, salt and pepper (to taste) in a bowl.  Whisk until emulsified and pour over the salad. 
  • This salad is also very good with the addition of sliced avocado, but the leftovers are less attractive.  🙂

Carrot-Parsnip Soup (New York Times)

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion
  • 3 cups coarsely chopped parsnip (about 1 lb)
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 1/2 cups coarsely chopped carrot (about 1 lb)
  • 2 cans (28oz total) vegetable broth
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp chives (garnish)
  • Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook 10 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.  Add chopped parsnip, water, carrot and broth:  bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 50 minutes or until vegetables are tender.  Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes.  
  • Place 1/2 of parsnip mixture in a blender: process until smooth.  Pour pureed carrot mixture into a large bowl.  Repeat procedure with remaining veggies.  Stir in salt and pepper. 
  • Sprinkle chives on top of soup before serving.  

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 6

It seems that somehow the weather has been colluding with current events – when it rains it pours. When it pours it also hails. If you haven’t yet read Janaki’s storm report from mid-week last week it’s worth reading through, just scroll down this page.

We take a lot of pride in the food we send in the shares each week. The plants get a lot of TLC around here between greenhouse time, or field weeding and hoeing time (not to mention the tractor time and watering time). Janaki and Dave are always considering this or that about the appearance of the leaves, or the way plants look when they sprout, or how to perfectly place pac choi in a box so it’s as unrumpled it can be. The care and precision for every aspect of a plant’s life is time consuming, and it rubs off on everyone who works on the farm.

Doing things to the best of our ability is all we can do, and there is so much that isn’t up to us.. It is disappointing, and a little nerve wracking to see plants we are counting on look like someone stepped all over them. We can still do our best to care for the plants and to harvest them tenderly, but nothing is going to change the pock marks in the peas, or the dead carrots or other crops now open to more pressure from pests or disease.

During this whole insane time we find ourselves in as a society, I have really struggled to pull myself back from the precipice of “everything-is-horrible-and-it-shouldn’t-be-and-if-only-people-had-done-the-work-in-the-beginning-or-at-least-tried-even-later-or-just-did-anything-at-all-even-small-things-this-wouldn’t-be-happening-and-if-I-get-mad-enough-at-strangers-in-the-grocery-store-will-that-fix-how-terrible-I-feel”. It’s a long name for a precipice. I should consider an acronym.

This year so far has been a lot of rubber meeting the road and wool being pulled from our eyes. It is a lot to digest, and it feels like it’ll digest us. It’s not easy to put one’s head down and keep doing right, and keep working for better when it seems like a hail storm is going to come along and undo whatever you’ve worked for. Or even trying again after a hailstorm of life- it’s hard to keep on when maybe the damage that’s been done won’t be out-weighed by the effort and vulnerability of our attempt for better.

In pulling myself back from the aforementioned precipice, I have to constantly remind myself that I am only in control of what I do and don’t do. I can not control most of what happens to me, or other people. I can not control what the weather does, or the climate, or the people in the grocery store.

On the farm, we’ll keep tending to the crops tenderly, even though (especially because) they’re in rough shape. We’ll harvest them well and pack them for you as gingerly as we can. That’s what we can do. We can keep on doing the right thing for the soil on the farm, year in year out and keep making choices that keep us as off the grid as possible.

Thanks for doing your part by using our vegetables, and for sharing in the ups and downs of farming and life with us. None of this would be happening without all of you choosing to eat our food for yourselves and your families.

For the farm crew,

Karin

 

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In your share this week:

Beets – Broccoli – Cauliflower – Carrots – Cucumbers – Head lettuce- Snap peas


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Straw all stacked -done and done!

Napa Cabbage Salad with Buttermilk Dressing

From The Smitten Kitchen

-I am including this recipe mostly for the dressing, because having a good dressing on hand can be a key part of getting veggies from your fridge and into your mouth! Also, did you know that Napa cabbage (should you have any left from last week) can be stored for quite a while, well wrapped in the fridge? Not maybe as long as hard cabbage, but for at least a month.

1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons minced shallot
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons finely chopped chives (or green onions!)
1 pound Napa cabbage, cored and thinly sliced crosswise (4 cups)
6 radishes, diced
2 celery ribs, thinly sliced diagonally

Whisk together buttermilk, mayonnaise, vinegar, shallot, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl until sugar has dissolved, then whisk in chives.

Toss cabbage, radishes, and celery with dressing.