German White Garlic
Arugula or Lettuce Head
Purple Top, Golden, & Scarlett Queen Turnips
Sucrine Squash or Seminole Pumpkin
Broccoli Raab or Tuscan Kale
This is the second to the last share of the CSA season and marks the slowing down of our season. Our full season intern Izze and our part-time helpers Kendal and Chelsea end their season with us in two weeks, so our work load changes drastically once they are all gone. We continue going to market twice a week up until Thanksgiving and then in December we transition to once per week until Christmas. Normally this mirrors the slowing down of crop growth and lets us continue picking from our Fall crops without over harvesting. Although this year with the extreme weather, many of our Fall crops seemed to wear out really early on. We are seeing a bit of a jump in growth though, probably with the warm nights over the past week. When the weather is temperate like it has been this past week, Fall is the most beautiful time of year to work outside. We love the crisp cool mornings, it encourages working quickly to warm up and since we have less hours each day to work we need to work with more pace. The leaves are changing and the vibrant color keeps the scenery very enticing. Everyone and thing on the farm seems to enjoy the fall. These last two full weeks with our regular help means we have a long list of goals to accomplish; from large bulk harvests of root veggies going into cold storage, to fence repair and cleanup, to duck processing, to processing our value added products such as cornmeal and chile flake. At this point most of our summer crops have been cleaned up and mowed. We have almost completely transitioned all out covered spaces to winter direct seeded crops, and are going to seed our last outside crop this week, Fava beans. We grow them under a low tunnel structure over the winter and uncover them in March. So things are getting wrapped up for 2019.
Today we had our final CSA work share day, which is always our annual garlic planting. It went perfectly with 12 of us working together. Most of the work share people had planted garlic 2 or more times with us, so we were able to get the heads separated and the beds raked, dibbled, and planted like a well oiled machine. We planted around 7000 garlic cloves today and will get it mulched with straw later this week, so they are tucked in and cozy for the winter. So as our season winds down, we look forward to 2019. Perhaps it will be a mild mannered year, perhaps.
This week’s share includes a larger amount of garlic, as it is last for the season, and winter squash. Our planting of squash this year was ravaged by a persistent and very hungry groundhog. It took out 70% of the planting, so we had a small yield with only 2 of 6 varieties surviving. We have links to a recipe for each variety. The Sucrine is definitely savory, with more texture; while the Seminole is going to have a silkier and sweeter flesh. In addition you have some bitter and spicy treats this week including arugula, broccoli raab, and turnips. Enjoy the share…..Autumn and Brian
Berrichon Squash Pastry Adapted from ”The Compleat Squash” by Amy Goldman (Artisan)
Flour, for board
2 frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed
3 cups minced raw winter squash, preferably Sucrine du Berry, turban or butternut
1 small onion, minced
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup crème fraiche optional.
1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly flour a work surface. Divide each pastry sheet in half, and place 2 half-sheets on floured board. Mound squash on each, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Top with onion and parsley. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Use rolling pin to flatten and enlarge remaining half-sheets slightly. Place over filling, and seal by brushing with water and pressing together. Cut three slits in each pasty and brush with egg.
3. Transfer to a baking sheet, and bake until golden, about 30 minutes. Serve warm in slices, with crème fraiche if desired.
Yield: 4 to 8 servings.
Savoy or Napa Cabbage
Goldrush Russet Potatoes
Poblano & Green Bell Peppers
Collard Greens or Tuscan Kale
Red Round Radish
Red Leaf Lettuce
Radicchio – Brente Precoce, Lusia, or Chioggia
Peppers – Sweet, Seyrek, or Cubanelle
Beet – Chioggia or Red Ace
Cauliflower or Broccoli
Lacinato Kale or Frisee
A short little farm update; the storm brought us between 6-8” of rain in a six hour period with extremely high winds. We lost two very large trees by our front gate along with others in our woods; but overall the poultry houses and all our buildings went unscathed. We were without power for 5 days followed by another 24 hours without our phone and internet service. No electricity means no water which is beyond inconvenient for a farm, so much of the week was spent shuffling around buckets of water and making sure basics needs were met for the crops, animals, and ourselves. Overall the crops look ok; although it always takes two-three weeks to see the long term damage. We were surprised by how little water was visible the day after the storm, perhaps because the ground was already so saturated and it came down with such force, it ran off very quickly. Run off is never a positive word when it comes to water on soil, as it always takes the top soil along for the ride; but we did implement a few last minute tactics to minimize the damage. Using straw bales to block run off in areas with slope and covering other areas with black plastic, combined with the trenches already in place from Florence, seemed to help from too much run off. Many of the leafy crops look beaten down, especially the more tender ones; but we are slowly cleaning them up and trying to give the younger crops what they need to bounce out of the stress from the extreme conditions. So we wait to see how they fare. The next phase is the quickly cooling conditions; which is yet another big swing to hit these crops, especially the many temperate ones. The cooling days are welcome by us though, as it is beautiful with the beginning of leaf change and wide open blue skies. Our job now is to observe the crops and give them some extra care.
This week’s share includes the first of our radicchio harvests; which is always an exciting time for us. It is one of our favorite crops of the year both for growing and eating. These varieties are great for eating raw. They will have some bitterness; but are extremely thin tender leaves with a nice crunch. The beets, dill, onions, and greens can all be paired for wonderful hot or cold dishes. Due to the cold conditions, this might be the last time the shares get dill. Our broccoli and cauliflower have been hard hit by the storms and extreme heat and humidity, so these will be small portions, delicious nonetheless. This has been a wonderful pepper year for us; both for yield and quality. This may be your last share with the sweet varieties, so savor them while you got them. Enjoy the share…..Autumn and Brian
Misato Rose Winter Radish
Bunching Greens (Broccoli Raab, Kale, Swiss Chard)
Italian & Middle Eastern Eggplant
Okra or Sweet Peppers
The Warmth Of A Winter Radish (Check out the 4 recipes in this article)
San Fan Bok Choy
Baby Daikon Radish
Hakurei Salad Turnips
Yu Choy or Mustard Greens
It has been a few weeks since we have provided any updates and in that interim we have experienced some of the most extreme and bizarre weather in our seven seasons of farming here in Green Bay Virginia. Early September bounced between grey and cool conditions and extremely hot and humid conditions. Then we waited with anticipation to see what Hurricane Florence would do. Over the weekend it was grey, wet, and a bit windy; but overall pretty mild with only 1.5” of rain. On Monday though, the aftermath of the storm hit our farm, as well as many others throughout the region, pretty hard. It was a harvest day, we worked outside for 12 hours, trying to get our orders together while receiving a whopping 4” with occasional strong winds and tornado warnings. In hindsight we should have not been out in the fields, as it was not helpful for the soil or crops, not to mention unpleasant and slow for us. Walking in the pathways and messing with the soil, while it is so wet compacts the soil in a way that is difficult to reverse. But we are so habitual about harvest days and always attending every scheduled market that we always work regardless of weather. Plus we had already had our previous Saturday market cancelled, so we needed to get to market and move some produce. Overall though, we were really lucky that the storm was not more harmful and our thoughts go out to all the lowland farmers in North Carolina as well as all those in the continued path of the storm that got hit really hard. These unpredictable storms can make or break a farms season, meaning peoples livelihood. It should be recognized that this is a risk farmers have to take, we have no way around the weather, all we can do is try to prepare and mitigate whatever risk we can.
In our seven seasons we have never received more than 2” of rain in a day, so managing 4” with our extremely heavy clay soil was beyond nerve racking. We had spent some time the previous week readying our farm; but there is only so much we can do. Over the past three years we have been making long-term adjustments to our tillage systems, soil health, and drainage capabilities; because we experienced a storm one October that destroyed a large portion of our Fall crops and left standing water for over a week. This storm also exposed how much soil loss we were seeing with heavy rains, so it woke us up to needing to make some serious changes. Perhaps some of these methods have paid off as we are definitely seeing some damage to Fall plantings; but not in such an extreme way as we expected. It takes weeks to truly understand all the damage though and last week’s continued rain and grey did not help the plants take off. We look forward to this coming week though, some beautiful weather that will help the fields dry out and perhaps let the crops breathe.
Prior to the big storm, we were looking at one of the best Fall stands we have ever had, meaning even with being hard it, we are still in an ok spot with oncoming successions of crops; but it is meaning that we have less flexibility with our produce. Right now our Summer stuff is not really producing (too much grey and wet), the last of the beans and tomatoes just petered out to nothing. We hope to see more Okra; but it stood dorment for the past two weeks. Our fall crops also got a beating and stagnated a bit, so our choice of crops in the shares has become pretty limited. Hence the condensed amount of radishes and turnips, lack of cut greens (we lost three successions of Arugula and are seeing bolting in all our lettuces), late oncoming of broccoli (first heads are rotting from the rain) and less variation with the bunching greens (we lost a succession of broccoli raab and the Russian kale was devastated). All of this may mean smaller shares or less variety coming later in October; but overall we feel pretty good about our prospects. We hope you do too. Enjoy the share……Brian and Autumn
New Potato Tempura – Japanese Farm Food by Nancy Singleton Hachisu
(Try this recipe with Yu Choy, Daikon, or Mustard Greens as well)
½ lb medium-sized potatoes
Best quality rapeseed or peanut oil
½ cup unbleached cake flour
½ cup cold sparkling water1
8 tsp fine white sea salt
3 ice cubes
organic soy sauce for dipping
Cut the potatoes into ½” wedges (measured on the thick side). Drop the potato pieces into a small pot of salted cold water. The potatoes should be covered by about 1”. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until the centers still have some give but the outsides are soft. Drain and cool.
Line a cookie sheet with a thick layer of newspaper and top with a layer of paper towels. Set next to the stove. Over low heat, warm 4” of oil in a medium-sized heavy, stainless steel saucepan. Whisk the flour with the sparkling water and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Take out two pairs of long cooking chopsticks or tongs. Use one pair to dip in the batter and one pair to remove the tempura from the oil. Increase the heat on the oil to about medium-high; the oil should not be smoking. Test the oil with a drop of batter before starting. It should sizzle and immediately form a small ball as it hits the oil; but should not brown. Adjust the oil temperature as needed.
When the oil is hot, drop the ice cubes into the batter and stir once. Add 5 or 6 pieces of potatoes at a time to the batter. Pick up one piece at a time, let the excess batter drip off, and slip into the hot oil. Roll the tempura pieces gently as the batter turns a pale (slightly) golden color. When all sides are cooked, remove to the prepared cookie sheet. Continue cooking until all pieces have been fried, but (if possible) serve each batch immediately. Dip in fine white sea salt or soy sauce before eating.
Arkansas Black Apples
Red Round Radish
Red Ace Beets
Pepper Mix (Cubanelle, Anahiem, & Poblano)
Bunching Greens (chard, collards or the like)
Lettuce (Bibb & Panisse Oakleaf)
Japanese Red or Southern Giant Mustard Greens
San Fan or Black Summer Bok Choy
Thai and Asian Long Eggplant
Scarlett Queen Salad Turnips
Jalapeno or Serrano Chiles
Sweet Red Peppers
Eggplant with Thai Basil
1 lb eggplant, cut into ½-inch slices
4-5 cloves garlic
1-2 medium sized fresh red or green chilies (or sweet bell pepper for the meek)
1 Tbsp light soy sauce or tamari
2 Tbsp dark soy sauce
2 Tbsp palm sugar or dark brown sugar
1 bunch Thai basil
Slice the eggplant into ½ inch rounds and fry them over medium high in a wide skillet with ¼ inch of canola or other frying oil. When things get going, the eggplant slices will absorb the oil and you will gradually see it penetrate through to the top. Make sure that they don’t get too brown on the bottom before this happens. If the eggplant slices absorb all the oil and still don’t look wet, you must add more—but don’t worry, because they will release much of it as they cook. When they look like they have absorbed enough oil and they start to get nice and brown on the bottom, flip them over and brown them on the other side. If the pan is dry at this point, don’t add more oil because the slices have absorbed enough to fry themselves. When they’re done, drain the slices on paper towels
Meanwhile, cut the garlic into slices and the chilies into diagonal rings. When the eggplant is ready, remove it and add 2 Tbsp of fresh oil to the pan, add the garlic and half the chilies, and stir-fry until the garlic is golden. Add the soy sauces and sugar, stir for about 30 seconds until the sugar starts to bubble, and return the eggplant to the pan. Add torn basil leaves, stir and serve, garnished with the rest of the chilies (if you dare!)
Lacinato or Russian Kale
Salad Greens, Bibb, or Butterhead Lettuce
Romano Beans or Okra
Sweet or Shishito Peppers
Leutschauer Paprika Peppers
Highlander Yellow Onions
Welcome to our Fall CSA season. We get really excited this time of year, as there is so much diversity of crops. This cool front and shortening days really makes it seem like Fall, although we still have 2 weeks until it is officially here. While we appreciate the weather shift, we are a bit apprehensive of the potential storm later in the week; but all we can do is wait and watch. The weather has a strong hold on us and learning to work with it is the most we can do.
As you can see this week’s share includes more greens, the first of our lettuces and kale as well as some of our paprika peppers. Although these are traditionally dried and used as a flake or powder, they are also delicious when fresh, quite spicy and sweet, with some stone fruit and earthy qualities. We have included a recipe for smoking them, if you crave the smoked paprika flavor; but feel free to use them as they are in any sauté or saucy dish. Once again we had a pretty lame onion yield; but we did get some and although small in size they pack a lot of flavor. These are cured and will hold for a few months either in a pantry or in cold storage. Same goes for the potatoes. Enjoy the share…..Brian and Autumn
Flat Leaf Parsley
Crimson Spineless Okra
Dancer & Italian Eggplant
Celebrity & Salad Tomatoes
Sweet Italian & Peruvian Aji Peppers
Red Round or French Breakfast Radishes
It’s our last Spring/Summer share, signifying a slow seasonal shift into Fall. Mainly marked by the shortening day lengths and sometimes cooler nighttime temperatures, by no means are the Summer days over though. Here in Virginia many of the Summer heat loving crops thrive into October; but we also see the return of more temperate and cool season crops beginning in September. This year they are coming on fast and furious. This is our favorite season as we have the most diversity of crops at one time. Meaning extremely challenging harvest days and wonderful times in the kitchen. Although this coming week is looking quite hot and humid, we are looking forward to some cooling off in the coming weeks, as our workdays are more full than at any other point in the season. We are on a specific weekly planting schedule through the first week of October, in order to sustain successions of various crops through next Spring. We cross our fingers for adequate moisture (not too much rain), so we can direct seed when needed and have to be diligent about keeping weeds in check and pest management in order to have healthy crops. Cover cropping is also a crucial part of our September schedule. We get cropland cleaned up, beds shaped and various cover crops seeded for over the winter, to protect from run off and build soil health; while being ready for early Spring plantings. In addition we are raising two flocks of meat birds throughout the fall; our broiler chickens and Muscovy ducks, so we have to dedicate time to moving these flocks throughout our pastures twice a week. Fall is a busy time, the last big push to get us through the season, with a focus on the coming season and the myriad of projects to do through the Winter to keep the farm in good health.
This week’s share is bringing back some greens and radishes after a big hiatus; paired with the best of summer. The Peruvian Aji dulce peppers, look like little pumpkins and are fabulous thinly sliced in a salad or paired with fresh tomatoes. They are thin skinned and delicate compared to the other sweet peppers. Okra is back, the planting is putting off huge amounts, like many of the warm season crops this summer, we are getting huge amounts at one time and then the crops dwindle a little bit. Fried okra is always fabulous; but you can also try it braised with some tomatoes and sweet peppers for a delicious simple dish. The arugula and radishes have some spice, as always when grown in the heat; but they go great with the sweetness of the tomatoes and peppers. If you make pizza, this here share has some great options. Check out the recipes below and enjoy the share……Autumn and Brian