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Week 17 Newsletter

October 17, 2013

In your final box:

  • Broccoli or cauliflower
  • Carrots
  • Chinese Cabbage
  • Kale, “Winterbor”
  • Lettuce
  • Parsnips
  • Spinach
  • Winter squash

 

Thank you all for your support this season! It has been a difficult year to summarize. At best, it’s been a tale of three seasons: It was the worst of times (flooding and light boxes to start the year), it was the most ok of times (mid-year), and then one of the best times (at the end of the year, unless your fridge is stacked with extra greens from the past few weeks…) all rolled into one bizarre year. If this is your first experience with our CSA, know that their spring boxes are not always that wimpy and the fall boxes aren’t always this overwhelming.
We value your membership and support this year. I come to love farming and our lifestyle more and more with each season, and we couldn’t do this without you and your support for local, sustainable agriculture. Thank you for supporting us this year, and best of luck surviving the cold, gray days of Minnesota winter without local salad mix and kale coming your way every week! We really hope you’ll join us for the next growing season. Your support means so much to us.

2013 by the numbers:

  • Empty berry pints eaten by Henry the dog: 0 (3 in 2012, 7 in 2011, 12 in 2010)
  • Total pounds of Tomatoes harvested: 1,824 (853 pounds average)
  • Total number of winter squash and pie pumpkins harvested: 681 (448 average)
  • Eggplant harvested: 181 (249 average)
  • Peppers harvested: 932 (709 average)
  • Bean harvest: 167 pounds (562 pounds average)
  • Cucumbers: 1,544 (1,686 average). Zucchini: 904 (915 average). Strawberries: 302 pints (259 average). Raspberries: 279 pints (260 average)
  • Pairs of pants destroyed by farmers: 0, for the first time ever! (4 in 2012, 4 in 2011, 3 in 2010)

Most of the winter squash going out this week are Acorn, either the nerf football-shaped “Fordhook” or the traditional acorn-shaped green ones, “Tuffy.” A few of you will receive “Delicata,” one of our favorites. These are long and yellow with green or orange stripes. Unlike other winter squash, the skin of Delicatas is edible and lends a nice texture to the squash.

We have Parsnips (much like their carrot cousins, but all white) for maybe the first time ever, although I’ve tried growing them each of our five years. In the past we have had miserable germination and they weren’t worth weeding. This year I planted them earlier and sowed several thousand seed, but unfortunately I had really really good germination. With so many plants growing so close together, they weren’t able to grow to a good size. Next year we’ll hope for either a moderate germination rate or else enough time to thin them out in June. Parsnips have a very strong taste, so these little guys are more than enough for me. Try mixing them with carrots for an even taste.
By the way, please don’t say anything mean about the carrots this week within their earshot. Some of them are really self-conscious about their appearance, their multiple legs, their weight issues, and their failed attempt to reach their ideal “baby carrot” image that society forces upon them. Their carrot mothers love them just as they are, and so should you…. Some of these are so big they should last you through the winter!
This week we introduce Chinese (or Napa) Cabbage. Some didn’t have time to form big heads, but the entire plant is edible and the outer leaves can be used just as well as the inner head leaves. Napas keep well for up to two weeks in the hydrator drawer of your fridge. It can be eaten raw (chop it into fine pieces), shredded into cole slaw, steamed, or stir-fried. It can be used in any recipe calling for traditional cabbage, but reduce the cooking time by about two minutes. Both the stems and the leafy greens should be eaten. Try it in soup, egg rolls, mashed potatoes, or fried rice.
With regard to any empty boxes… This is a great week to bring an extra bag when you pick up your produce, so you can leave the empty behind and not worry about it. If you forget to bring a bag or if you have other boxes around the house please return them to your delivery site. I will drop by all of the sites in a week or so to collect any remaining boxes.
Thanks again for supporting our CSA this season. We will follow up in a week or so with a feedback form and a chance to reserve a spot for 2014. –Farmer Red

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