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Newsletter
Summer Share #10  
August 3 - August 9, 2015

 

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Liam, along with Aidan, are the "Coffee Men" at the Spring Green Farmers Market. Stop by on Saturday mornings and enjoy a cup of their locally roasted Brewhaha Coffees! They also offer iced coffee with coffee ice cubes.

Table of Contents 
 (Click on the links to go directly to an item or scroll down.)


 

Members Suggestions:

In case you still have some of the wild mint left from last week's box, here are some ideas of how to use it from share members:

  • in workout drinks, smoothies or shakes
  • and if you are so inclined - muddle with a little sugar and mix with vodka and soda. I will imagine you sitting on a deck in the early evening relaxing with this option!
* Let me know if you have an idea or recipe you'd like to share with other members, and I'll pass it on!
 


 

Calendar & Reminders

1. Watch your email for a mid-season survey. Please complete with any comments, thoughts, insights you have regarding your share and send it back to us. We appreciate your input and want to make sure the CSA is meeting your needs as best it can.

2. There is a new item in the newsletter this week - Member Suggestions. Let me know if you have an idea or recipe you'd like to share with other members, and I will include it the next week.

3. Box Pickup -  Please take the box with your name on it and return it the next week.

4. The Partner Shares Donation Drive ends Friday, August 7.

5. Sunday, September 20 - Bike the Barns Event. 
http://www.csacoalition.org/news/2015-bike-the-barns/

6. We rinse all produce except berries & tomatoes. However we recommend washing the produce in your box before eating it. 


7. Previous editions of our newsletter are on our Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/pages/My-Fine-Homestead/145013635612327

This Week's Box

Please note: This is the produce we harvested and packed for Thursday's shares. The Saturday and Monday boxes will be similar but may change depending on produce availability.
 

Full Share:  (Black Plastic or Brown Wax Box - take the one with your name)

Carrots - 2 bunches
Zucchini,Yellow Summer Squash,Green Striped Summer Squash - combo of 3
Slicing Cucumber - 2
Tomatoes - 6 small
Tomatillos - 4 Most popular way to use these is in salsa verde. (The flat leaf parsley in last week's share is a good substitute for cilantro.) May be lightly stir-fried with other delicate summer vegetables - think zuchinni & summer squash. Can also be chopped into salads, made into preserves or even pies!

Cherry Tomatoes - 1 quart
Basil - 1 bunch See recipe in this newsletter.
Leeks - 1 bunch See Vegetable Spotlight and Recipes in this newsletter.

 

Half Share: (White Wax Box - take the one with your name)
 

Carrots - 2 bunches
Zucchini,Yellow Summer Squash,Green Striped Summer Squash - combo of 2
Slicing Cucumber - 1
Tomatoes - 3 small

Cherry Tomatoes - 1 pint
Basil - 1 bunch
See recipe in this newsletter.


Contact us with any questions on the contents of your box or for ideas of what to do with them. We are always happy to talk "food" with you!

Update on crops in the field:
 

  • the snacking pepper plants are loaded with green fruit which will should be turning yellow, orange and red in a couple weeks
  • the new, red potatoes will be ready next week or the week after - we got our potatoes in late this year so they are a little behind
  • the Caraflex cabbage - a smaller, pointy shape, specialty cabbages are almost big enough to harvest - I predict next week for those
  • celery will be coming soon - maybe a couple stalks in next week's box
On the Farm . . . what's happening this week in words and pictures.

So much that happens on a farm revolves around the weather, of course. This past week can best be described as hot, sunny, windy. and DRY! We're trying our best to keep up with watering all the different crops growing in the fields, but it has been a challenge. The relentless wind seemed to spite us either by blowing the water from sprinklers away from where Bill had directed it or by drying the soil before we could get back to that spot.

Usually we water each area for 4 hours at a time to ensure a deep watering promoting lasting benefits and deeper root growth. The rule of thumb in gardening is that vegetables require 1 inch of water each week for even growth and general plant health. Certain situations such as newly germinating seeds or plants setting fruit need additional water.

Irrigating squash with a sprinkler.

It gets complicated trying to cover a couple acres of produce especially when using a cobbled together system of garden and soaker hoses with various sprinklers. The other complication is us. We both grew up on farms that didn't use supplemental irrigation. Whatever rain Mother Nature gave us was what the farm got, and the resulting crops reflected that. That is the way it was. The mindset of irrigating is new to Bill and I. While it may seem easy to change, we wait a little too long, trusting it will rain. We have seen firsthand the difference watering can make to a row of carrots or tomatoes or cucumbers, but honestly we have been frustrated with our inability to master the art of predicting the critical points of dryness for each crop. And sometimes, it is tense as Bill and I disagree over the order of irrigating. 

The good news is, we are learning, and we do have a system(however unsophisticated it is) set-up.  And over the years, we've had lots of practice smoothing the ruffles between us to focus on our shared goal. For the future we plan to upgrade our irrigation system next year, and realize that as we apply more compost and green manures to the fields new to vegetable production, they will be better able to retain moisture.

                                            Byrds Creek

Experiencing the dry days of August also has us reflecting not only on the importance of water to our farm but around the world as well. We feel lucky to be farming in the Midwest, next to Byrds Creek, near the Wisconsin River and in the Great Lakes area of the country. We sympathize with farmers in California and elsewhere experiencing real drought and hardship. We talk of it in hushed tones for fear saying things like "dry wells", "drained aquifers", "mandatory water reductions" or "disagreements with neighbors upriver (in our case - upcreek)" aloud may have the power to manifest these hardships in Southwest Wisconsin. We feel uneasy and nervous until the immediacy of harvesting, planting or mowing draw our attention. For now we can choose when, if at all, we think about the predicament of drought comfortable in the knowledge that, at least for this year, the rain will come. We are lucky indeed.

Enjoy your week,

Stacey

 

Vegetable Spotlight on Leeks
(information from From Asparagus to Zucchini)

 

Leeks are members of the lily family along with their close relatives onions, garlic, scallions, shallots and chives. Broad, blat, dark green leaves cascade like a fountain around the contrasted white of its base. Milder and more refined in flavor than onions, leeks produce a pleasing aroma and sweeten as they cook. And there are no tears while cutting a leek.

Native to the Mediterranean area, leeks may have originated in Egypt, where they were cultivated and worshipped, or, as it has been written, "where onions are adored, and leeks are gods." Leeks have been a cooking staple in Europe and the British Isles for centuries. France and Wales particularly have glorified the leek in both their lore and cooking.

To clean: remove green tops to within 2 inches of the white section. Peel off the outside layers (we've done this for you). Cut leek in half lengthwise and wash thoroughly under water to remove any grit and soil between layers.

 

  • Leeks may be eaten raw, chopped into a variety of salads.
  • Leeks may be cooked whole; try braising or baking.
  • Steam or boil leeks for 10 - 12 minutes. Top with butter; a dash of salt, pepper; and Parmesan cheese.
  • Layer thin slices of leek in a favorite sandwich. Leek, tomato, and melted cheese is a winner.
  • Lightly sauté chopped leeks alone or with other vegetables.
  • Chop or slice leeks into quiches, egg dishes, casseroles, stew, stocks, soups and stir-fries.
  • Substitute leeks for onions in recipes and notice the subtle flavor changes.
  • Puree cooked leeks for a soup base.
  • Add leek leaves to long-cooking dishes, such as grains, beans, or stews for added flavor.
  • Add cooked leeks to mashed potatoes.
Wrap lightly in plastic and store in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Creamy Leek, Potato, and Sour Cream Chive Soup
 
3 Tbl butter
2-3 leeks, thinly sliced (white and green parts only; about 4 cups total)
1 tsp dried tarragon
1 lb potatoes, peeled, thinly sliced
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 - 1 cup sour cream
 4 Tbl chopped chives, divided
salt and pepper
 
Melt butter in pot over medium-low flame. Add leeks and tarragon; cover and cook slowly, 15-20 minutes. Add potatoes and stock; bring to simmer, cover, and cook until tender, 10-15 minutes. Puree mixture. Return puree to pot; stir in sour cream and 2 Tbl chives. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle each serving with additional chives. Makes 6 servings.
 

Saffron Rice with Frizzled Leek
(from Patricia Mulvey and Laura Gilliam of Local Thyme)

Bright yellow with dark green and brown flecks, this pretty side dish goes especially well with seafood entries. Serves 4.


           1 Tbl oil
1 Tbl butter
1 leek (white and light green parts only), halved lengthwise and cut into slices
1 c white rice
Generous pinch saffron
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Heat the oil and butter in a medium pot with a tight-fitting lid. Add the leek and cook over high heat until browned and crisp. Stir in the rice, saffron, broth, and salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to medium low, and cook until the rice is tender, 15 - 20 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork and serve hot.
 
Tomato Basil Dip
(From Asparagus to Zuchinni)
 
up to 3 c diced fresh tomatoes
1 Tbl or more minced garlic, mashed to a paste (use a garlic press or flat of knife)
5 Tbl chopped basil (chopped medium-fine)
1 Tbl olive oil
dash of balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
thinly sliced, lightly toasted baguette slices
 

Lightly toss tomatoes, garlic and basil. Drizzle with olive oil, splash with balsamic vinegar, and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Give a quick stir and serve with baguette slices. Adjust quantities and flavors to one's own taste. Leftovers are good as a salad dressing. Makes about 8 - 12 servings.

FairShare CSA Coalition is launching their second Partner Shares Donation Drive. It started July 20 and runs through Friday, August 7! The Goal: Raise $5,000 to support the Partner Shares program.

What is the Partner Shares program?

Partner Shares is a cost-sharing program that provides financial assistance to limited-income households for purchasing CSA vegetable shares.

For eligible households, FairShare will contribute 50%, up to $300, toward the cost of shares from FairShare-endorsed CSA farms. Only on-farm produced shares are eligible.

The participants take on the responsibilities of being a good CSA member of the farm of their choice, and work with FairShare to complete an affordable payment plan for the remaining cost of their share.

If you'd like to donate to the Partner Shares Drive, you have two options:
  • Donate Online
http://www.csacoalition.org/news/share-the-seasons-bounty/
 
  • Donate by Mail
Please make checks payable to ‘FairShare CSA Coalition’ and mail donations to:
 
FairShare CSA Coalition
303 S. Paterson St. #1B
Madison, WI 53703

 
“Thank you, Partner Shares! We wouldn’t have been financially able to participate in a CSA without you! The whole family loves to see what yummy & colorful surprises we get to eat each week!” ~Heather R., Partner Shares Farm Member

Help us raise $5,000 so that more families can enjoy the bounty of the season by joining a FairShare CSA farm!
Find out more about the Partner Shares program.
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