Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Week 11 CSA Newsletter

Greetings from Dancing Hen Farm!  Happy Labor Day!!  This is Week 11 of our summer/main season CSA.  Week 11 is an egg week.

And suddenly it was fall!  Today was fairly warm and I am sure we will still have some warm days (dare I say summer-like?), but this past week has had me dreaming of pumpkins and apples and looking for changing leaves.  I do love fall, but this almost seems like the summer that wasn't, with lots of rain and cooler temperatures.
Our fields are slowly turning over to more fall like crops.  Our greens are loving this cool weather.  Watch for mixed mustard greens, turnip greens and more lettuces coming soon.  We have a small planting of arugula and with a bit of luck, should provide a harvest in the next few weeks.  Winter squash will be coming soon. We are working with some of our neighbors to once again secure sweet potatoes this year.  Unfortunately this cooler weather is not helping our remaining summer crops mature.  We have a final planting of summer squash and cucumbers which are slowly growing and trying to make fruit, only time will tell if these plants produce harvestable fruits.  Our second, and larger, planting of okra is also suffering from the cooler weather, as are our eggplants.  We are thinking our tomatoes will start to slow down in the next weeks.
CSA members will be noticing some new items appearing on our pick list.  New last week were tomato seconds.  These are beautiful and, for the most part, heirloom tomatoes.  They are usually ripe and do  have minor blemishes or cracks and will generally need to be used shortly after they are received.  You will receive approximately 2 quarts of tomatoes for each seconds order.  These are the tomatoes we use on farm!  New this week are no spray sweet corn, crab apples and fall salad mix.  The crabapples are old fashioned crabapples off of a large old tree we have on farm.  This year it is weighted down with apples.  Crabapples are small, hard, sour/bitter apples and generally are not good eaten fresh.  They do however make good jelly, pickle or can nicely and can be used to make chutneys.  As our crabapple tree is unsprayed and un-managed, the apples will have some blemishes.   Here are a couple of websites with information on crabapples, including some recipes.  If all else fails you can do as we did as kids and a great crabapple fight!  Also new this week is fall salad mix.  This is a favorite mix on farm and will include lettuces, mustards, sorrel, herbs, and more! 

Our kitchen is still in preserving mode.  This week we canned tomatoes and I have beans in the cooler to freeze.  Plans are for another batch of tomato sauce and possible more canned tomatoes.  I am thinking ketchup and relish will not be in the plans this year.  But, I may try a turn some of our tomatillos into salsa verde for canning.  We also have plans for our annual batches of sauerkraut.  We have a nice German fermentation crock which holds 10 pounds of fermenting cabbage.  Our plans are to fill this crock, 2 or possibly 3 times, this year.

Farmer Don and I had a night out this past Sunday.  One of our few nights away from the farm this summer!  We attended a "meet the farmer dinner" at the Blind Pig Kitchen in Bloomsburg.  The farmers featured were our friends Johnny and Leah Tewksbury of Tewksbury Grace Farm.  We had a great night filled with delicious food and good friendship.  At least one third of the guests at the dinner were fellow and farmers and friends of ours, so we got a chance to catch up on how everyone's summer was going and swap some great farm stories!  If you have not been to the Blind Pig yet, I would encourage you to do so!  You can learn more on their website.

Farmer Don is busy making dinner as I type and he just told me we are about ready to eat.  So, I end here, print this, so Farmer Don can read it, and eat some pasta with fresh tomato sauce!

Be well, be safe, be kind and keep our neighbors in Texas and Louisiana in your thoughts and prayers.

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