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Week 11 Newsletter

August 23, 2012

In your box:

  •  Beans
  • Celery
  • Collards
  • Cucumber
  • Onion
  • Parsley
  • Red onion
  • Summer Squash
  • Tomatoes

 

Suddenly, many of our crop beds are starting to disappear after bringing forth life and fruits for the past several months. Garlic, cabbage and peas are already turned under, and this week we will work in the corn and onion beds after removing all of the storage and red onions. Once an area is done producing, we add compost, work the bed under with tractor equipment, and seed it with a cover crop to reduce erosion and keep the soil active until it freezes up. At the height of the season, we had 84 beds of 200’ each full of crops. Now, that number is down to 45. But even as our garden shrinks down, we are still busy planting the last of the fall greens—salad mix, arugula, and—hopefully!—spinach for our last few boxes.

It’s a strange experience to have a bed of crops turned under for the winter. After countless hours of weeding, watering, monitoring, and harvesting, in the matter of a few minutes the crop simply disappears. We don’t have a goodbye ceremony for our decapitated broccoli plants. There is no graduation party for storage onions when they are removed and put under shelter to dry. The plants serve the purpose we intend for them (some more willingly than others) and then break down into the elements from which the originally came. I’m not going to sing “The Circle of Life,” but you can if you’d like to.

Our new entry this week is Celery, which has the unenviable position of replacing sweet corn. Celery is believed to be native to the south of France, and its early culinary usage extends around the Mediterranean. Celery has been used throughout history as a garland for the dead during burial. It was also used as a garland for the victorious in early Olympic-type games, before it was replaced by crowns made of pine. Non-participating home viewers of this year’s Olympics put on an average of 4 pounds in the two weeks of the games, suggesting that maybe getting a little more celery into the modern Olympics might not be a bad idea.

The celery we grow is more similar to this early wild crop than the grocery store offerings that are mostly water. This celery might be a little less kid-friendly, though it adds a nice crispy bite to soups, stews, and stir-fries. Keep celery in the fridge for a week or so, preferably in the hydrator drawer.

Also new to your box: Collards. Collards are a mainstay in the cuisine of the American South. Black slaves, looking for a replacement for the cooking greens of their homelands, were drawn to collards as a substitute. Collards are quite tolerant of heat, and so do well even in the South. Collards are not nearly as popular here in the North, where milder summers allow for the production of cabbage and a limited interest in their close cousins.

Our collard greens are even more popular in the cuisine of cabbage worms, which have nibbled through a fair amount of our leaves. The worms have not replied to our request for recipes. Collards are closely related to Kale, and can be used interchangeably.

With school starting again soon, we know that many of your schedules will be changing. If you would like to change your pickup site or day, please let us know. We’d be happy to accommodate you.

Mark your calendars: Our year-end Harvest Festival will be Saturday, September 29th here at the farm, from 4pm until dark. Join us for a celebration of fall with crafts, yard games, jack-o-lanterns for the kids, farm tours, and a potluck at 6pm. Our farm is located at 17250 County Road 122 ~ New Germany MN. Please call us with any questions: 952-353-1762. This is always a highlight of our year, and we’re looking forward to it. We hope to see you there!

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