Winter CSA Week 5

Hello CSA Members!

Don’t forget, pick up is on TUESDAY this week! Happy Thanksgiving!

If you came the last few weeks, you may have noticed that we are working on reducing the amount of plastic we use at CSA. We are going to be offering veggies that we once bagged (like potatoes, turnips, and brussels for example) in quart containers so you can use your reusable produce bags. We will, of course, still have plastic bags available if you need them!

Here is what we *hope* to bring you for Week 5 of our Winter CSA:

REGULAR SHARE

CHOICE: Garlic OR Radish
Onion
CHOICE: Celery OR Celeriac OR Brussels
Potatoes
CHOICE: Turnips OR Beets
CHOICE: Kale OR Collards OR Chard OR Bok Choi OR Lettuce
Pie Pumpkin

LARGE SHARE ADDITIONS

No large share during Winter CSA

FRUIT SHARE
No fruit share during Winter CSA

 

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Winter CSA Week 4

Hello CSA Members!

This week is shaping up to be very cold! We’re working on loading you up with some great Thanksgiving veggies this week and next.

If you came last week you may have noticed that we are working on reducing the amount of plastic we use at CSA. We are going to be offering veggies that we once bagged (like potatoes, turnips, and brussels for example) in quart containers so you can use your reusable produce bags. We will of course still have plastic bags available if you need them!

Here is what we *hope* to bring you for Week 4 of our Winter CSA:

REGULAR SHARE

Watermelon Radish

CHOICE: Garlic OR Herb
CHOICE: Onion OR Leeks OR Winter Radish
Cabbage
Potatoes
CHOICE: Turnips OR Brussels OR Celery
CHOICE: Kale OR Collards OR Chard
CHOICE: Lettuce OR Bok Choi
Butternut Squash

LARGE SHARE ADDITIONS

No large share during Winter CSA

FRUIT SHARE
No fruit share during Winter CSA

 

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Simple Winter Squash Soup

This soup feels like an indulgence. It’s creamy and filling, and complex tasting using just a few ingredients and it takes just a few minutes hands on time to make, and just one pot.

My favorite thing about this soup is thinking of delicious toppings and food to dunk in the soup. Here I sauteed some apples and added bacon and some cheddar cheese.

Basic is always good too, here I had some sage butter with croutons and it was so good.

You can use any orange flesh winter squash. I used a butternut squash.

Gather your ingredients.

  • 1 pumpkin, butternut squash or any orange flesh winter squash, about 2 1/2 to 3 pounds seeded, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 large onion, or a couple leeks chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt and 1 tsp pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
  • 3 to 4 cups vegetable broth or water. I used Better than Bouillon
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons butter or oil
  • Sage, ginger or other herbs are optional but delicious
  • Any fun additional topping or dunking vessels you like! Black beans! Tortellini! Grilled peanut butter and jelly! Granola! Leftover roasted vegetables! Add some cream, coconut cream, or curry! Kale or collards! Blue cheese and walnuts!

Warm the butter or oil and sauté the onions until they are soft, about 5 minutes.

Add the peeled and cubed squash, herbs if you are using any, garlic and salt and pepper and cook that for about 8 to 10 minutes until it just starts to soften.

Add the water or broth and simmer until the squash is really soft, about 30 more minutes. You should have just enough liquid so the squash is poking out like a crocodile’s head in a swamp. You can adjust as needed.

I used an immersion blender to mix mine. You can move it to a blender and blend until smooth, leave it chunky or mash it with a potato masher until it semi-smooth. It does have a lovely shiny creamy texture if you blend it.

Leftovers are of course great.

Hope you are all the winter squash in your CSA share!

Mo

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Winter CSA Week 3

Hello CSA Members!

The snow has arrived so we will see  on Monday what survived. This weeks veggies look like a great soup week!

Here is what we *hope* to bring you for Week 3 of our Winter CSA:

REGULAR SHARE

CHOICE: Herb OR Garlic
CHOICE: Onion OR Leeks
CHOICE: Cauliflower/Romanesco OR Brussel Sprouts
CHOICE: Potato OR Beets
CHOICE: Kale OR Collards
Salad Greens CHOICE
Delicata Squash

LARGE SHARE ADDITIONS

No large share during Winter CSA

FRUIT SHARE
No fruit share during Winter CSA

 

Posted in 2022, Farm, Newsletter | Comments Off on Winter CSA Week 3

Batch Roasting Vegetables

There are endless ways to use roasted vegetables. I like to make a weekly big batch of roasted vegetables, especially in the winter, to be able to quickly create several healthy, vegetable dense meals all week and just cook once!

Once your vegetables are cooked you can store them in the refrigerator for a week pull out what you need.

You might feel like a nice hearty salad, easy to do once the vegetables are already cooked.

Or add roasted vegetables to any polenta or pasta dish. Maybe make a roasted vegetable grilled cheese and sub the roasted vegetables for kale.

Sometimes I am cleaning out the refrigerator and need to use up droopy vegetables and other times I am trying to make room because I’m picking my CSA share soon. This week I had some turnips, fennel, delicata squash and Romanesco to use up before my pickup. So this is what I used this week.

To roast vegetables you will want to wash your vegetables and peel them if you like. Then cut them up about the same size so they cook evenly and drizzled some olive oil and salt and pepper and roasted them for about 25 minutes in a 425F oven. After 25 minutes stick a knife in them and see if they are done or if they need more time.

I like to keep my vegetables segregated so if one variety gets done before another I can take it out and let the others finish cooking. Today everything was done at the same time.

While the oven was hot I decided to roast some kale too. I don’t know if I had ever roasted kale before, but, why not? The tray was dirty and the oven was hot.

My absolute favorite breakfast and lunch is savory oatmeal. I make enough oatmeal for the week and warm up enough for a meal and add whatever vegetable odds and ends I have. I like to top it with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and cheese. The olive oil and pepper and cheese take oatmeal over the top.

Having a stash of already roasted vegetables at the ready make meal prep a breeze and the different combinations and endless so you never have to get tired of basic dishes.

I hope you are enjoying your winter CSA.

Mo

Posted in 2022, Miscellaneous, Recipes | Comments Off on Batch Roasting Vegetables

Winter CSA Week 2

Hello CSA Members!

So far the cold weather hasn’t gotten too bad so we still have lots of fresh herbs for you this week!

Here is what we *hope* to bring you for Week 2 of our Winter CSA:

REGULAR SHARE

CHOICE: Herb OR Fennel
CHOICE: Onion OR Garlic OR Winter Radish
CHOICE: Celery OR Kohlrabi OR Turnips
CHOICE: Cauliflower OR Cabbage OR Celeriac
Potatoes
CHOICE: Spinach OR Arugula OR Lettuce
CHOICE: Chard OR Collards OR Kale
Pie Pumpkin

LARGE SHARE ADDITIONS

No large share during Winter CSA

FRUIT SHARE
No fruit share during Winter CSA

 

Posted in 2022, Farm, Newsletter | Comments Off on Winter CSA Week 2

Roasted Fennel

If you haven’t tried roasting fennel you should. Roasting fennel brings out sweet and caramel flavors and the strong licorice taste of raw fennel becomes very subtle and more rounded. Much how onions become sweet and less sharp when they are roasted.

I think roasted fennel is a simple elegant side dish. Here is some roasted fennel with this simple cauliflower sauce.

You want to roast fennel pretty hot and quick to make sure it caramelizes. Cut up your fennel bulb add some olive oil and salt and pepper and roast it in a 400-425F oven for 20-25 minutes.

I hope you give it a try.

Mo

 

 

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Welcome Winter CSA Members!

Caterpillar tunnelWe are excited to welcome you to our third Winter CSA! Like many things, our Winter CSA was born out of a “pivot” due to Covid. In 2020 we decided not to have our fall farm stand/pumpkin patch so we had a lot of vegetables at the end of the season but we weren’t sure where to go with them. We decided to give a Winter CSA a try and it was great! It was a way for us to stay in touch with some of our regular CSA members at a time of year when the farm moves at a more relaxed pace. And our members were so excited to be able to continue getting fresh vegetables when most farm fields are hibernating for the winter.

Caterpillar tunnel interior

A lot of crops we have now are things like beets, turnips, and winter squash that we harvest in the fall and they keep for a long time. But we are able to bring you fresh greens thanks to our caterpillar tunnels. Take a look at the tunnels in our field at Thomas Open space and you’ll see where we are growing crops like kale and collard greens. The tunnels are sort of a low-tech greenhouse and inside we throw a blanket (aka row cover) over the greens and they are protected just enough to keep them alive. One bonus is the the cold helps to make the crops a little but sweeter!

We’re looking forward to seeing you each week and keeping you fed for the rest of the year! ~Amy

Posted in 2022, Farm, Newsletter | Comments Off on Welcome Winter CSA Members!

Winter CSA Week 1

Hello CSA Members!

It’s the first week of Winter CSA! We’re thrilled to continue bringing you veggies for the next ten weeks.

Here is what we *hope* to bring you for Week 1 of our Winter CSA:

REGULAR SHARE

Herb CHOICE
Cauliflower
Fennel
Celery
Salad Greens CHOICE
Bunched Greens CHOICE
Winter Squash

LARGE SHARE ADDITIONS

No large share during Winter CSA

FRUIT SHARE
No fruit share during Winter CSA

 

Posted in 2022, Farm, Newsletter | Comments Off on Winter CSA Week 1

Thank You CSA Members!

Barn at Thomas Open Space FarmThis season has felt like a blur! This is a snowy photo from March, way back when we first leased the Thomas Open Space Farm in Lafayette. It’s hard to believe that was just this past spring. It was a much bigger challenge than we expected to move a large part of our operation to a new location. (But of course it was more than we expected! Isn’t that just the way these things go?) Now we have one season under our belts, an incredibly welcoming community in Lafayette, and a huge amount of support from the City of Lafayette Open Space staff. It feels a lot less overwhelming to think about next season now that we’ve been through this year and have an idea of how this new farm works instead of just a bunch of dreams about the future.

Like every season, we had lots of challenges and successes. I’m always reminded of the first few lines of A Tale of Two Cities when I think back on each farm season! The snow pack looked great in March but then we did not get a single drop of rain in April! We did our regular early season plantings in March and we had enough irrigation water in our storage ponds to water the seedlings for a month or so but then we ran out of storage water at two of our farms in May. And it was so dry that the irrigation ditches at these two farms turned on really late. We lost a few crops because we didn’t have enough water (the first of many reasons we didn’t successfully grow any carrots this year) and it was a near thing on being able to keep all the onions and potatoes alive.

Fortunately the City of Lafayette has a different water source for Thomas Open Space Farm and we had irrigation water available there in May. Wyatt threw away a lot of his crop plans and we moved the majority of our crops over to this new farm. That was a huge leap of faith! I would not recommend gambling the farm on growing crops in unfamiliar soil and an unfamiliar irrigation system. We originally thought we would start out slowly and grow just a few crops there this year to see how they grew in this new soil. We didn’t have much choice though. It was looking like our other two farms might have hardly any irrigation water this season. I can’t believe how lucky we got though! Wyatt and the crew did a fantastic job and a lot of the crops there did amazingly well. (Part of it may have been the fact that Wyatt panicked and thew a little extra organic fertilizer on the crops just for good measure!)

Cherry Tomatoes

Our home farm on 63rd Street was more hit and miss. The tomatoes in our caterpillar
tunnels were unbelievable! I can’t believe we were still able to harvest some cherry tomatoes this week. But we’re still losing the battle with all the Canada thistle in our fields. Our winter squash plants really suffered and we got much lower yields than we were hoping for.

We’re also struggling with all the things the rest of the world is dealing with: the impacts of Covid, the continuing labor shortage, and my complete lack of knowing how to run a business in a period of high inflation. As far as the labor shortage, this is the third year in a row that we’ve been extremely short staffed. Our crew did an amazing job of getting our 500+ CSA members fed each week! I feel like we were worried almost every week that we wouldn’t be able to pull it off but somehow the crew made it happen!

There are so many ups and downs and challenges each season. There is one single reason we are able to keep doing it: our CSA members. Farming is so uncertain and our CSA members give us the financial stability to keep our farm going year after year. We receive payment at the beginning of the season so a lot of the guess work is taken out of budgeting each year. (Although, back to the part about inflation, I have no idea how to deal with this!) One example is that we don’t have to worry about the weather in terms of selling our vegetables. When our crops are ready, we have to get them into people’s hands right away. They can’t sit on a warehouse shelf for a few weeks if it’s a rainy weekend and nobody goes shopping with us at the farmers’ market. We lose those crops and those sales but still have to find the money to cover payroll. Our CSA members come to get their veggies no matter what the weather is outside! We also have a much better idea of how much to grow each year. It’s a lot easier to calculate how much food we need for 500 CSA members as opposed to guessing how much we will sell at a farmers’ market, our farm store, or through restaurant orders.

Another thing that keeps us going is the gratitude we get from our CSA members. It’s the little comments you make at the pickups when you tell us how much you enjoyed something like the peppers or arugula last week. I also have what I call our “CSA love letters”. These are emails or handwritten notes telling us how much our farm means to our members.  My personal favorite is what I think of as “CSA kids”. These are the kids who have grown up in families who have been our CSA members for years. The kids get excited about things like peas, turnips, beets, and kale when they see these things on the table at CSA pickup. What normal kid gets excited about turnips?! It feels good to know that we are helping to teach kids that vegetables are delicious when they are grown the right way.

My sincerest thanks for being there with us for yet another farm season. I hope we’ll see you next year or even this winter! ~Amy

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