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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Farm Fresh Newsletter, December 10, 2011

Hi Everyone and welcome to this December edition of the Farm Fresh Newsletter from Wishful Acres Farm!

Farm News
I hope you are all keeping warm, winter is nearly upon us and the gardens are almost bare.  I say almost bare because believe it or not, I still have some vegetables growing.  It's amazing what can be done with a few lengths of plastic pipe and a sheet of plastic hooped over a garden bed, when combined with extra-cold-hardy varieties of vegetables!  If you won't take my word for it, you can click here to view a picture on our farm blog to see a few of the small hoophouses: http://all-natural-mama.blogspot.com/2011/11/snow-on-low-tunnel-hoophouses.html .  Yes, you can support a local farm & buy fresh local foods in Northwest Illinois.... in mid-December!  How amazing is that?!  :-)  If you'd like to order some of these awesome vegetables, the list of available food is located below, after the farm news (there is a lot of news!).  You can pick up any orders here at the farm, or have it delivered. Delivery option: $2 charge for any sized delivery, or free delivery for orders over $20 (Freeport, Cedarville, Lena, Pecatonica, Winnebago).  To place an order, you can email wishfulacres@gmail.com or call Penny at 815-990-2380

There is so much going on with our farm right now!  I will try my best to keep this short.  First, an exciting new endeavor will make an appearance on our farm next spring - an on-farm store!  Yes, right here on our family farm, we're currently renovating the yellow unused mobile home that shares a driveway with our farmhouse.  I plan to have the farm store open by May.  It will feature our vegetables, eggs, handcrafted items, meat, and more.  The hours of operation are still being considered, if you have any input on this let me know.

Speaking of meat in the farm store, one of the main reasons for opening an on-farm store / farmstand is because beginning next summer we'll be offering our own farm-raised pastured chicken and  turkey meat!  I am currently in the process of gaining a USDA exemption for on-farm poultry processing.  What this means is that hopefully by next summer we'll have an on-farm poultry processing station and can legally process (butcher) our own chickens for sale.  Nate (my husband) and I processed our very first chickens the day after Thanksgiving (our version of Black Friday, apparently :-).  We processed about 10 of our egg laying chickens for our own consumption, to "test" ourselves to see if we'd be able to handle it!  Glad to say it was fine, and we're now confident we can handle processing chickens for our customers next year.  However, there is a bit of a snag: the USDA exemption for on-farm poultry processing means we can only sell the chicken meat on our farm (meaning it would be illegal for us to take this chicken meat to a farmers market).  So, if you want to purchase this meat you'd have to pick it up at the farm.  Hence, the farm store! 

More exciting news is our farm's CSA program (Community Supported Agriculture).  Our last CSA "shares" went to our farm shareholders (CSA Members) on Friday, Nov 25 (the day after Thanksgiving).  You can click here to see what they received and a picture: http://all-natural-mama.blogspot.com/2011/11/final-csa-community-supported.html .  2011 was a great first year for our CSA program!  I will be expanding the CSA next year - it will run for 3  10-week sessions (spring share, summer share, fall share).  You should join our farm for a 10-week session, or even all 3!  Next year's CSA will boast a much larger variety of vegetables.  The Wishful Acres Farm CSA will begin with our spring share in early May.  To learn more about our CSA program, visit our web site at www.WishfulAcresFarm.com and click on "CSA".

I will probably be pulling back a bit on my participation at the Freeport Farmers Market next year (probably not selling at the market each Saturday, but rather every other Saturday or so).  This will allow me to use that time to focus on our farm's CSA program, farm store, and meat production!  So, if you are a farmers market customer and still want to eat our delicious vegetables each week next year (and take my word for it, they are far better than any veggies you'll buy in a grocery store).... you should join our CSA!  (The weekly or bi-weekly CSA shares can be delivered right to your Freeport home or work on Friday afternoons, or picked up here at the farm.)

Lastly, I have to ask you all a favor.  We are always in need of egg cartons, so if you have extras please pass them along and we'll re-use them many times.  A great way to remove waste from our landfills & contribute to "re-use".  To order new egg cartons costs us about 50 cents per carton, and we're trying to keep our egg prices as low as we can (it's actually quite costly for us to raise small flocks of chickens the way we do, and we don't want our prices to go up any higher).  Thanks so much!

Farm Products Available:
Thanks so much, everyone, for your support of our small family farm!  Here are the products currently available from our farm for pickup or delivery.  I can deliver on Mon, Wed, and Fridays between 3-4 pm, $2 delivery charge or free delivery on orders over $20.  Email or call me at 815-990-2380 to place an order.

  • Brown eggs from our free-range hens.  $3 per dozen.
  • Sweet Dill Pickle Slices from our farm pantry.  $4.50 per pint sized jar.  Grown and made right here on the farm, all natural, and super delicious. 
  • Beef - this is delicious and lean; the best beef I've ever had.  Beef prices & cuts available are listed on the farm web site here: http://www.WishfulAcresFarm.com
  • Vegetables: - all vegetables are grown following Organic standards and are Certified Naturally Grown.  Available vegetables listed below.

-Garlic - gourmet varieties, 50 cents per garlic bulb.

-Salad Mix
- $2.50, triple washed, quarter pound bag.  A mix of baby greens, lettuce, and spinach.
-Spinach - $2.50, quarter pound bag. 

-Turnips
- $1.50 per pound.  Delicious, ready for your recipes. 

-Rutabaga -
$1.50 per pound.

-Carrots
- $2 per pound (tops not attached).

-Scallop Squash -  $1.25 per pound.  Use like a winter squash

-Green Onions - $1.50 / big bunch of 10.


Farm Recipes

Lentil Soup with Seasonal Root Vegetables
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 rutabaga, chopped
  • 1 turnip, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 pound lentils (approximately 1 1/4 cups)
  • 11 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2/3 cup whole wheat elbow pasta
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan (for sprinkling on top of bowls when served)
Heat the oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, rutabaga, and turnip. Add the garlic, salt, and pepper and saute until all the vegetables are tender, about 5 to 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juices.  Simmer until the juices evaporate a little and the tomatoes break down, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Add the lentils and mix to coat. Add the broth and stir. Add the thyme. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and simmer over low heat until the lentils are almost tender, about 30 minutes.
Stir in the pasta. Simmer until the pasta is tender but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Ladle the soup into bowls. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and serve.


Italian Beef sandwiches in the crockpot
A great winter treat, the recipe and pictures can be viewed on our farm blog here:
http://all-natural-mama.blogspot.com/2010/02/yummy-italian-beef-sandwiches-made-in.html


Frittata
(easy egg skillet recipe)
On the farm blog with pictures:
http://all-natural-mama.blogspot.com/2009/02/fritatta.html

To order, either email me at wishfulacres@gmail.com or call me at 815-990-2380.

Thanks again, everyone, for your support!
Hope to hear from you soon.

Penny
Wishful Acres Farm
http://www.WishfulAcresFarm.com


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