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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Our CSA Email Newsletter for August 19 deliveries

Important info this week:  I'll be delivering the shares a bit earlier this week, from 10-12 instead of the normal 12-2.  This is because I'll be selling at the Rockford City Market (farmers market) from 3-7 in Rockford, so I'll need to leave here at 1 pm.  I apologize for the inconvenience!


Hello everyone, it's week 6 already!  The summer is just flying by.  I'd like to take this opportunity to invite you all to our farm Open House on Monday, September 5 (Labor Day) from 2-4 pm.  This will be a chance for you to see how your food is grown, tour the gardens, see the hens, view our equipment, and ask us any questions.  We hope to see you here!  The farm is located at 4679 Flansburg Rd, Lena, and is about midway between Cedarville & Lena.  Flansburg Road can be accessed from Highway 20.  We are the last farm on the east side of Flansburg Road before you reach Cedarville Road.

Some news from the farm this week.  It's been a busy time around here for the last couple of weeks, our intern has returned to college and the boys are getting ready to return to school (preschool, kindergarten, and 3rd grade).  We've been planting fall seeds & plants, harvesting the summer crops, building a greenhouse, and planning for next year already.  Another thing keeping us busy and a bit insane: our flock of 50 red hens (the day-old chicks we got back in April).  Many of you may remember my news in the farmers market newsletter several weeks ago, when my oldest son, our intern, and I clipped the wings of these young hens.  They were flying the coop, literally, and ranging all over the farm.  This is bad news because they get into the gardens, eat the seeds, scratch the crops, and worst of all..... get chased & caught by our dog.  So we clipped the wings.  It worked great for several weeks, they could fly a bit but not high enough to reach the top of the 4 -ft fence.  Well.... like any haircut, it grows back.  Theirs grew back quickly, and now there are several of them flying over the fence again every day.  Our puppy is no longer being "nice" and we've had to leash him all day long before he kills one.  It's not been much fun for anyone.  These hens are fast, and we have a hard time catching them!  Some of them can't get back inside the fence once they've flown over it, and we can't catch them, so they end up sleeping outside the coop (bad news for anyone who knows what a raccoon does to a chicken).  So, we're planning another wing-clipping session for the near future - anyone want in on that party?  No?  Don't blame you.  (By the way, wing clipping does not hurt the chickens, it is similar to a human haircut.  They just don't like being caught & held while we do it.)  Our mature laying flock of hens that gives you your beautiful brown eggs is much more calm than these crazy red hens!

We still have fall CSA shares available!  Tell your friends!  More info: http://all-natural-mama.blogspot.com/2011/08/fall-csa-announcement.html


So what's going to be in your share this week?  Here is what I'm planning on, but it may not be exact as we harvest things may change.


Delivery Schedule: Your share will be delivered on Friday, between 10-12 pm, unless you have arranged for a farm pickup or otherwise. 


-Tomatoes - Ripe red full-sized tomatoes AND the first of the heirloom tomatoes!  Okay, for those new to heirloom tomatoes: they are not "pretty" tomatoes, nor are ours red.  You'll be getting anything from a "black" tomato (really a dark purple), to orange, to pink.  Heirlooms are seeds that have been handed down for generations, and are much beloved for their delicious taste.  They were bred for flavor, back when tomatoes were only eaten in the summer, and not bred for shipping ability, so you won't see them in grocery stores.  They are difficult to grow and many of you may cringe when you see them - they crack, they are misshapen, some are huge, sometimes ugly, and many have green "shoulders" - that means the top of the tomato is green while the bottom is ripe (you simply cut the green part off when eating).  However, you will probably forgive all their shortcomings once you taste one.  So delicious you may shed a tear.  This is what tomatoes are all about, what they should taste like.  I hope you enjoy the first of the heirloom tomatoes this week!  They are just starting to ripen, so you can expect a larger share of them in the future.  Tomatoes should not be refrigerated.  Keep on counter. 

-Cherry & Pear Tomatoes - You'll get the mixed rainbow of cherry & pear tomatoes again this week, and I'll try to keep those in your share every week until frost!  I hope they cheered with their brightness & rainbow colors, and great taste!   Many of the varieties in your rainbow bags are heirlooms.

-Radish- I'm hoping there will be enough full-sized radishes to provide you each with a bunch this week.  I grow "French Breakfast", a mild elongated pink radish with a white tip, as well as a standard red round radish.  Refrigerate.

-Kale- Red Russian Kale in your shares this week.  The most nutritious of all vegetables.  Kale is great as kale chips (recipe in a previous newsletter) or in soup.  Refrigerate.

-Green Beans (Green Italian Flat or Yellow Wax) -
again a maybe.  For some reason the new plantings are taking longer to grow - perhaps all those heavy rains we had lately. Refrigerate.

-Summer Squash - a variety of our summer squashes.  Have you made zucchini bread yet?  You can use any type of summer squash, even the patty pan flower-shaped squash, in place of regular green zucchini.

-Parsley.  This week's fresh herb can be used in the tabbouleh recipe or even the raw pasta sauce recipe in place of basil.  Refrigerate.

-Lettuce Mix or Baby Swiss Chard - Hopefully the lettuce will give us another week, it's not doing very well & the new plantings weren't growing well in the horrendous heat we've had all summer.  If the lettuce is not good for harvest this week, I'll switch it out for baby swiss chard, which can be chopped & eaten raw like lettuce.  Refrigerate.

-Cucumbers - I'll try to include all 3 varieties in your share this week: the crunchy curly Asian burpless, the yellow round Lemon, and the regular slicers.  Recipe for cuke sandwiches!  Refrigerate.

-Sweet Onions-  Refrigerate sweet onions.  If you have extra sweet onions from each week's share, they can be easily frozen for use this winter!  Simply chop them up & toss into a freezer bag.

-Garlic - Another variety this week!  Garlic may be left out on your counter for several weeks.

-Brown Eggs or full-size zucchinis
, depending upon your option upon signup.


And here are some recipe ideas for all those delicious organic veggies!

Recipes:


Cucumber Sandwich

  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese
  • 2 teaspoons dill weed or fresh dill leaves
  • 12 slices pumpernickel rye bread, or any bread on hand
  • 2 to 3 medium cucumbers
  • In a large bowl, combine cream cheese and dill. Spread on one side of each slice of bread. Peel cucumbers if desired thinly slice and place on six slices of bread. Top with remaining bread. Serve immediately. Yield: 6 servings.


Raw Pasta Sauce (using weekly CSA share ingredients. This recipe is from a CSA member. Want to share your recipe here? Simply email it to me :-)
-tomatoes
-onion
-garlic
-sweet pepper (optional)
-fresh basil 

Chop all and mix together, serve over cooked warm pasta.


Creamy Summer Squash Soup (one of my all-time favorite soups, it freezes well too - you could take advantage of our 1/2 bushel for $10 sale and freeze a huge batch for winter)
The step-by-step recipe, with pictures, is on our farm blog here: http://all-natural-mama.blogspot.com/2009/10/creamy-zucchini-soup.html


Tabbouleh
(a customer made this with our farm vegetables last year and shared some with me, it was absolutely delicious)

  • 1 cup bulgur
  • 3 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cucumbers, peeled and chopped
  • 3 green onions, chopped  (could substitute your share's sweet onions here)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/3 cup fresh mint leaves (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  1. Place cracked wheat in bowl and cover with 2 cups boiling water. Soak for 30 minutes; drain and squeeze out excess water.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the wheat, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, garlic, parsley, mint, salt, lemon juice, and olive oil. Toss and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving. Toss again prior to serving.


Grilling Ideas:

-How about trying grilled tomatoes?  I've never done it, but I'll bet the flavor would be similar to roasted tomatoes, which are delicious.  You could put cherry tomatoes on a skewer, coat with a bit of olive oil, and grill for about 5-10 minutes.  Or try very thick slices of regular tomatoes.  Let me know what you come up with!



More information on the Extra Purchases:

  • Bulk Bins: 1/2 bushels of cucumbers or summer squash  - $10 each.  Tons of cukes are great for making freezer, refrigerator, or canned pickles or for eating fresh, you can go in on a 1/2 bushel and get about 25-30 cukes or squash to split with friends & neighbors!  Squash soup (above) freezes very well. 

Thanks for all your support!  Let me know if there is anything we can do for you, or any questions you'd like answered.

Penny Peterson
Wishful Acres Farm
Certified Naturally Grown
http://wishfulacres.blogspot.com

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