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Week 16 Newsletter

September 29, 2015

In your box:

–Broccoli or cauliflower

–Carrots

–Garlic, “Lorz Italian”

–Kale, “Winterbor”

–Leeks

–Salad mix

–Sweet Pepper

–Tomatoes

–Winter squash, “Butternut”

This past weekend marked the Harvest Moon, which has always signified the end of the growing season and one last chance for farmers to bring in the abundant harvest before cold weather sets in. I love this imagery, except that in produce farming we have two harvests a week for eighteen weeks of the year. 36 harvest moons a year would make them much less special, just as washing and bagging salad mix for the fourteenth time this year has also made that job much less special (not that it isn’t worth it!).

The one unique harvest that we do each year is for winter squash and pumpkins. Every year, late in September I hook up my tractor to our criminally warped hay wagon and make a lot of bold-faced lies about how safe and harmless the wagon is as I convince my family to hop on. And hold on for dear life. I slowly haul the wagon out to the field to wherever our pumpkin patch is for the year, at which point everyone immediately jumps off the wagon and begins kissing the ground, unable to comprehend how they survived the jolting, bumping horror of a ride above warped plywood and two flat tires. Once that experience has been forgotten, we begin searching under the vines and behind weeds for the array of gourds, jack-o-lanterns, pie pumpkins, and ten different kinds of winter squash that we grow. Everything gets carted over to the hay wagon and placed on top. The goal is to so cover the wagon that there is no room for human riders and no one has to ride back. But there’s always at least enough room for my poor wife and boys, so they climb back aboard after a few hours of picking and endure another five minutes of holding on for dear life, now with the added danger of pumpkin stems rolling in every direction all around them. Ah, tradition.

This year’s squash harvest was strong, but the pie pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns never put out much fruit. We will have enough squash for two weeks of deliveries, but unfortunately we don’t have any pie pumpkins this year.

This week marks our one-time entry of leeks for the season. Unless of course someone broke into your box and took a leek, which would be disgusting. Ok, no more potty jokes for the rest of the newsletter. Anyways, leeks are close relatives of onions and garlic but they take a really, really long time to grow. They are the first crop into the gardens each spring and one of the last out of it in the fall. The whole plant is edible, but most often the green tops are discarded and the central stalk is cleaned and used. I’m sure there is a variety of ways to use leeks, but ours are always destined for potato-leek soup. We’ve taken the traditional recipe and added kale for a little extra flavor and nutrition, as you’ll see below.

Thanks to everyone who made it out the farm last weekend for our annual fall festival! We’ve appreciated your support all year, and it was a real blessing to meet so many of you, show you around the farm, and watch all the kids inventing strange games!

Sadly, it does look like autumn is just around the corner and our bounty of produce is numbered. This has been one of the most enjoyable Septembers I can remember, with plenty of rain and warmth to keep things growing. But the fields are starting to look a little bare, so we’ll have just two more deliveries after this week’s box. The final delivery for members who pick up on Tuesdays will be Tuesday, October 13th. For our Thursday members, I’m wondering if we could switch up that last delivery to Wednesday the 14th? Thursday is a school holiday for MEA weekend, and I know many of you will be traveling that day. So I would like to bump it up one day, with the same times and pickup locations, for just the final delivery. Please let me know if that doesn’t work for you. But a Wednesday switch for the last box would give me an extra day with my family for the long weekend, so let’s plan on that unless you need another option.

Still to come: acorn squash, Brussels sprouts, celeriac, cabbage, roots, and greens.

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