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Week #19 begins with a few updates.

For farm members: Saturday markets will start at 9 am (not 8 am) starting tomorrow, October 1st. Saturday October 8th will be the last market of the season and The Cheese Bar will be present – they helped us open the season and they’ll be there to close the season. Facebook event details. After that we’ll be emailing out a weekly list of the veggies we’ll have available and will be packing up individual orders that can be picked up at the farm. Check your emails for more details and please talk to us about these changes when you see us at the farm in the next 2 weeks.

For ALL members: Before the season began we had hoped to run for 24 weeks – until November – but that is no longer realistic. The CSA will end on Saturday October 22nd for farm members and Wednesday October 26th for ShopEco/Windsor members. If you have a basic, pre-packaged bag, we will be emailing you if your bag is to end sooner than the above dates. Please talk to us at the next few markets if you have any concerns or questions. We are letting folks know in advance because if you’re on the credit system you’ll want to make sure you use up your credits before the last week. There is a small chance we’ll be able to go longer but that will be a bonus rather than part of the core CSA program. The CSA has always been 20 weeks long, this year we were hoping for 24, and we could have started even earlier (we started 2 weeks earlier than ever), but these are all things we learn from each year as farming is always a work in progress.

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October Vegetable Share from 2015

We have ordered bulk potatoes, carrots, and beets that will be available on Wednesday October 5th and Saturday October 8th – in time for Thanksgiving! There are other options for using up credits as well – dried herbs and herbal teas, sun-dried tomatoes, tinctures, pickled asparagus, honey, and *fingers crossed* seeds to get you started on next year’s garden, dried beans (eg, kidney and black beans, for cooking), salves, hot pepper sauce, and pesto. Or simply stock up on all the veggies we have available and fill your freezers so you can make nourishing meals all Winter. We’ve found that the Scallion Roots make a very delicious stock! We came across this link for vegan “bone broth” that gives you lots of ideas for using up veggies ~ http://cleanfooddirtycity.com/recipes/healing-soup-with-vegan-bone-broth/

If you haven’t been convinced to start canning than maybe this comprehensive link (download included) will help ~ https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/135558/posts/1172189242

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Preparing a Digestive Herbal Tea

We’ve been lucky in many ways with this season so far. It’s been the most productive and the longest tomato season ever! The drought has given incredible bumper crops to every commercial Tomato grower, so much that we, and others, are letting the fruits rot on the vines because the demand isn’t there. I guess folks don’t want Tomatoes as much as we thought they would. We’ve also got more Melons + Squash to harvest, that’s exciting! But, we weren’t able to plant new crops to tide us over for the rest of the season. There is an insect in the soil in all parts of our gardens that eats every root crop, crops that we rely on to extend the vegetable season well into November. Other insects (due to no Winter kill) have decimated every seedling we planted and despite using organic insecticides we could not beat them this year. Every season is different – different highs and different lows – and we must go with the flow and cross our fingers that there will be enough for everyone. CSA’s – community supported agriculture – help farmers remain viable because they value community and take the risks as well as the benefits.

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VEGGIE OF THE WEEK IS EGGPLANT + SUMMER SQUASH

We’ve had these 2 vegetables available for many, many weeks now, but never in enough numbers to be an “official” veggie of the week. But as staples of the garden they deserve recognition. Every year since we started being market gardeners we hear that there is too much Eggplant and Zucchini (a type of Summer Squash) and every year we plan to plant less and less of them so that we have a steady supply versus an over-abundance. Eggplant are ready to harvest early in the season and give a steady supply until frost comes. We started growing smaller sized Eggplant a few years ago so that no one is stuck with large amounts of large Eggplant. This website is chock-full of recipes – hundreds of them – for both Eggplant and Summer Squash. We actually planted over 200 Summer Squash (mostly Patty Pans) this year but the seedlings were eaten by Striped Cucumber Beetles, the seedlings that managed to grow couldn’t produce fruit because the Cucumber Beetle ate the flowers. Even growing a large variety of this prolific fruit didn’t help us to have very much of this garden staple.
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Q: Where do chickens come from?
A: The Egg-plant.
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Huh?

Produce available this week (may vary depending upon location and availability): Salad Mix, Kale + Chard, Scallions, Beans, Sweet + Hot Peppers, Tomatoes (slicing, canning, cherry), Broccoli, Mushrooms, mini-Cucumbers, Savoy Cabbage, Kohlrabi, Eggplant, Summer Squash, Winter Squash, Garlic, and fresh herbs.
Spotted at the farm this week, Several Swallowtails munching on the same Wild Carrot plant, so many that they couldn’t all be photographed at once!
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How many Swallowtails can you spot?

 Stay dry everyone!

 

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The Autumnal Equinox – the balance between the light and the dark, the day and the night.

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A perfect time to highlight the Super Squash Squad.

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L-R: Acorn, Honeynut, Butternut, Long Pie Pumpkin, Thelma Sanders (Sweet Potato), Heart of Gold

Autumn’s sweetness seems to come with Winter Squash. Check out the Veggies! page for storage tips, recipes, and variety information. Our Heirloom have been the best performers with all the problems plaguing the Squash this year (no Winter kill = more insects to eat all your blossoms + fruit + stems, for example).

“What game do Elephants like to play with mice? SQUASH!”

While the Equinox has come, the weather doesn’t feel like Autumn quite yet and we’ve been blessed with a long season of Summer’s fruits – the longest season we’ve ever had Tomatoes a’plenty (we can still squeeze you in for a last chance at a hamper of tomatoes for canning!!!) … we can still Eat The Rainbow ….

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We took the time this week to preserve the bounty and we pickled Beans and Ghost Peppers and Ring of Fire Peppers.

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New this week we’ll have available Shepard’s Purse Tincture. We gathered the fresh leaves in April to make a tincture for ourselves but we made so much that we wanted to share! Available in 120 ml glass jars, you only need to take 1 ml (1/5 a teaspoon) per day, and the tincture will keep for 2 years in a cool dark area. Shepard’s Purse is used to reduce bleeding. Take 1 to 2 days before menstruation and up to 3 days during menstruation. Also helps with nosebleeds. To find out more, including safety information, precautions, and dosages,  please check out this article on WebMd and detailed info from Herbalist Richard Whelan.

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After filtering out the tincture.

We also have small amounts of Yellow Dock Tincture but only if requested. If you want to know if Yellow Dock would be beneficial to you please read this article.

We’re very excited to be having local company The Cheese Bar at our farm market this Saturday September 24th! 100% Canadian Artisanal Cheeses! They will be at the farm from 10 am to 2 pm tomorrow, don’t miss it!  Facebook event and The Cheese Bar info here. We are still offering Dig Your Own Tree at the farm during market times on Saturday’s 8 am to 2 pm.

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This is what Fall looks like to Rashel …. the gorgeous hues of Goldenrod, Purple Aster, White Aster, and the ripening goodness of Rosehips that will be harvested after a frost ….

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Tremblay Creek bank, while looking for the Heron.

And just for fun …

A Melon blessed by our local Heron 😉

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We picked so many Beans on Tuesday that all we could see when we closed our eyes was Beans …. and that’s a lot of Beans! We made some canned dilly beans, froze some, all to our heart’s content but still harvested close to 150 lbs of Beans this past week. And there’s more to come!

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Lennon bringing in the Bean harvest

Since Beans have already been veggie of the week (and we don’t see the point in duplication for a simple and well-known veggie) we’ve decided to feature ….

Watermelons and Cantaloupes!

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We thought they were all dead but we’re still picking a few more every week and will be until there is a frost. The most productive Watermelons have been Blacktail Mountain, Cream of Saskatchewan, and Baby Doll. The most productive Cantaloupe has been Oka (which has personal family significance and great Canadian historical significance).

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‘Oka’

Tomatoes are still looking beautiful these days ….

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Striped German, Nebraska Wedding, Bosque Blue, Oxheart, and more.

We now have Sun-dried Tomatoes available for sale, superb snacks! Those who’ve tried them can’t put them down, something like healthy chips 😉 We also now have Ghost Peppers for sale until the frost hits. We’re going to try pickling some this weekend!

Other veggies available this week include: Kale + Chard, Salad Mix, a variety of fresh herbs, Sweet Peppers, Jalapeno Peppers, Scallions, Garlic, and some surprises.

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Salad Mix

A note for farm members – we are open at the farm, rain or shine; starting next Monday Morris Rd will be closed as crews do work on the bridge, we’ll post details for the detour next week.

One of our CSA members has started a new business called Trust Our Gut, check them out on Facebook. They use all organic ingredients in their bone broths, including veggies from the Locally Germinated farm.

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This week they got all the Celery tops that others didn’t want, great way to share the bounty!

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We’re offering dig-your-own Maple Trees from the farm for $5 a Tree, dig as many as you can. Fall is the perfect time to plant Trees and these have been generously fertilized by our pastured chickens. Available until October.

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Until next week …

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While we were finishing up for the day, farm child Lennon was still busy picking BEANS and came back with SO MANY BEANS that he couldn’t even pick them all! It’s amazing what a couple of good rains and prolific pollinators will do!

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Photo by Jessica McCracken

This is the perfect week to try your hand at pickling beans, we have them in bulk!, and Jess is joining us at the farm again to do a demonstration for an easy way to pickle a multitude of vegetables. Stop by tomorrow between 9 and 10 am for the pickling demonstration and until 2 pm for the farm market!

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VEGGIE OF THE WEEK IS

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CELERY!!!

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This is our first attempt ever at growing Celery and it’s been a resounding success! This is a very advanced crop to grow, so we only planted a small amount, in our richest and fluffiest raised bed, we watered it every other day, planted it densely, and voila! Beautiful Celery! This is a member exclusive as we only grew a small amount. To make sure your Celery last as long as possible in the fridge please make sure to store it in a sealed plastic bag. We’ve kept the big beautiful top leaves on as they are perfect for freezing, as is, and using later for vegetable/soup stock.

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Eat The Rainbow!

Another new (ish) crop we tried this year was sweet corn but it turns out it needs it to rain to produce large cobs, a failed experiment. We’re giving what we harvested away for free (some of you have already received these). The dried beans we planted with the corn did well and you’ll see those later in the season once they’ve fully dried out and we shuck them.

Results from the Tomato Taste-Test Fest confirmed that our favourites are indeed the best and let us know which new varieties to keep growing.

Top rated heirloom tomato varieties were: Lemon Boy, Black Cherry, Yellow Pear, Chocolate Stripe, Banana Legs, Bosque Blue, Black Plum, Nebraska Wedding, Oxheart, Peach, Missouri Love Apple, Sweetie, and Elfin.

Thank you to everyone who tasted and rated our tomatoes!

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Some dear CSA members shared with us another of their family dishes made with their weekly CSA veggies. “So I had all these little peppers that I got from you and decided to make stuffed peppers! I cut them open and made little boats that were fantastic! I also roasted your tomatoes and used that to cook them in! Your kale made it to the plate as well! What a great dinner tonight! Thanks!

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Another lovely surprise this week was that not all the cantaloupes and watermelons were dead and we found a basket full of melons, with more to come!

Veggies available this week …

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Week 16, September 9th, Leafy Greens, Tomatoes, Sweet + Hot Peppers, Spaghetti Squash, Cantaloupe, Watermelon, Parsley, CELERY, Winter Squash (sweet potato, acorn, butternut), Scallions, Patty Pan, Eggplant.

Not pictured: BEANS, Basil, fresh Mint, Corn, Fennel, Kale, GARLIC.

What an abundance we’ve received with Summer’s last hurrah!

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VEGGIE OF THE WEEK IS PEPPERS

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Sweet peppers, lunchbox peppers, bell peppers, Italian frying peppers, hot peppers – so many PEPPERS to choose from!

We started growing lunchbox peppers in 2014 and the first time we harvested them we thought, “I don’t think this is worth it, they’re so small and it’s back-breaking to pick them.”. But then we tasted them … and we were hooked. We pack them for customers in half pound bags but we take home 2 pounds a day and eat them in a sitting. As I sit and write this I’m snacking on these sweet treats. They are a dream to grow but even better to eat. With few seeds, all near the stem, you can eat the little red ones in one bite, leaving only the stem, making these a perfect snack for busy families. This variety doesn’t have the problems that bell peppers do so they’re also our most productive pepper. For a list of all the peppers we’re growing check out the VEGGIES! page.

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Not to be confused with HOT PEPPERS. Lunchbox Peppers and some of our Bell Pepper varieties look like hot peppers but we’re very careful to grow them far away from each other, to pick them at different times, and to carefully label them. We would never want someone to take a big bite out of pepper and find out it’s HOT. But we are growing hot peppers, and this year, with all the heat and drought, they are really hot. If you are a hot pepper connoisseur these are the peppers for you. Carefully selected and harvested by our farm children, who are hot pepper connoisseurs, these freeze well and make superb hot sauce.

“What do you get if you cross a chili pepper, a shovel, and a terrier?

A hot-diggity-dog!”

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Hot, hot, hot.

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With all the rain we got on Saturday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, our Tomatoes exploded, literally. They didn’t know what to do with all the water (having acclimatized themselves to a slow irrigation drip) – and they split, cracked, exploded all over. We’ve worked at removing all the tomatoes so that new ones can come in all sweet and shiny.

Which is a good segue into imperfect produce …. We’ve all been accustomed to “perfect” vegetables that are sold in grocery stores. What most of us don’t know is that in order to get those “perfect” veggies a farmer must not only use unsustainable, polluting, and harmful methods, they must also plant 3 to 4 times more of a particular crop, which means 3/4 of a crop goes to waste. We cannot farm in this way, it goes against all we are and how we live. Our chickens and our composters don’t want or need that much food.  So yes, our produce is often imperfect, it looks the way it would if you grew it yourself. But it’s healthy and fresh, it’s good for your body and good for the environment. Imperfect produce is a trend, google it!

Before we get to the vegetable selection for the week (ignoring the BIG name we gave this blog post 😉 ) we want to thank our dear, dear farm friends who’ve stepped up to help us this week. It’s been hot, the work has been hard, it’s rained hard on us, we’ve worked long, long hours, but in the end everything gets done. Young and old, new and familiar, have all helped out this week. We had a lovely visit from a member and their little one who came to pick their own basket of tomatoes for turning into sauce and salsa. So many lovely visitors this week. Thank you all 🙂

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This week our salad mix contains some borage leaves. They feel a bit prickly on the lips but once you chew them they’re like a refreshing cucumber and the prickliness becomes but a memory.

We have cherry tomatoes, a variety of other tomatoes, beans, eggplant, gorgeous scallions (try dehydrating them for a surprising snack!), garlic, and some surprises.

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Mint drying to make mint tea.

On Saturday August 27th we welcome back Jackie from Another Way to our farm market, this time to talk about Crystals! Facebook event can be found at this link.

From 8:00 AM until 2:00 PM, Jackie will be available to answer your question as it relates to crystals. She can share which crystal would be best suited for you or how to use crystals. You could ask which crystal would be the best to use for a specific condition; how to use your crystal; what to use your crystal for. Using Hibiscus Moon Training and intuition to answer your crystal questions. Crystals will also be available for sale.

Until next week!

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Photo by Andrea Nickerson. Mark your calendars for Saturday September 3rd for our Heirloom Tomato Taste-Test Fest!

 

 

 

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Our new favourite farm motto song! (I do love me some Brian Wilson.) Please tell us all about your favourite veg-table!

From around the farm this week ….

Monarchs have hatched out and are hanging around with us while we work, this one is sipping on a cracked Black Cherry Tomato.

11958200_830843003703055_5139214276639898949_oAnd we found another, much larger, Cecropia, this one on an Apple Tree.

cecropiaWe’ve planted the last of the lettuce seeds for the season, where these…..

11145910_10153542007401280_1133688028356184826_o…can turn into this….

All of these items were sourced from our farm. We only have a small family patch of Strawberries and 1 small nut Tree though, sorry folks!

All of these items were sourced from our farm. We only have a small family patch of Strawberries and 1 small nut Tree though, sorry folks!

and you can add some of these….

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Scallions

and some of this…

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Broccoli

and some of this…

What we're calling Broccoflower because it's part Broccoli-part Cauliflower

What we’re calling Broccoflower because it’s part Broccoli-part Cauliflower.

and shred up some of these….

Beets and Turnips

Beets and Turnips

Purple Top Turnip beauties

Purple Top Turnip beauties

And if you’re adventurous you can add Kale….

Kale or Palm Trees?

Kale or Palm Trees?

Collards are also bouncing back.

Collards are also bouncing back.

Or you can add Tomatillos (learn more about these delights from last year’s post), Cherry Tomatoes (get ’em while you can!), Sweet Snacking Peppers (the best!), or Dragon Beans! And how would everyone like if we started carrying those delicious Portabello Mushrooms again? Yum! The Pears and Apples were a hit and a nice surprise, let’s hope we can find more little-known sources of unsprayed fruit in the future!

12000986_10153542009871280_357533499521888888_oWith the Kale making a comeback I wanted to share a recipe a member shared with us – easy and simple – 3 Cups of Kale, 3 Garlic Cloves, mix with oil and salt in a food processor and you’ve got delicious Pesto. The last of the Basil will also be available if you want to make a more traditional Pesto. If you didn’t get your Garlic yet now is the time as we’re almost sold out for the season!

The Parsley is looking lovely right now so why not try this beautiful gluten-free and vegan Tabbouleh? The recipe can be found at http://mayihavethatrecipe.com/2015/03/18/not-just-for-passover-recipes-quinoa-tabbouleh/ Or you can google any variation on the Tabbouleh recipe – it’s a farm favourite and we make a huge batch that lasts days! The lemony flavour gets better as it sits and flavours the rest of the dish so it’s meal that tastes better as a leftover.

Quinoa-tabule-passover-620x438Our market table setups from this week….

ShopEco on Tuesday at our new indoor location.

ShopEco on Tuesday at our new indoor location. From their Facebook page.

At our on-farm Wednesday market.

At our on-farm Wednesday market.

Until next time!

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We’re often asked why we grow such a diversity of colours and if the colourful veggies taste the same as “regular” ones. Well…there are many reasons we grow colourful vegetables! You can’t deny that the pop of colour pleases the eye as well as the palate but growing a variety of colours also makes for better growing conditions (most of the time). Take Kale for instance….the “regular” green curled Kale is the slowest growing and least productive of all of the 10 or so varieties we’ve grown and the non-green Kales aren’t a tasty treat for the White Cabbage Moth’s Caterpillars that decimates crops so quickly (and requires an investment in insect netting as well as regular applications of organic pest controls, which has it’s downsides even in organic/ecological farming). As seen here…you’ll understand why we haven’t had Kale available for a couple of weeks now….

Skeletonized Kale (yes, we made that word up).

Skeletonized Kale (yes, we made that word up).

This is also why we grow Red Cabbage vs Green Cabbage – to fool the Cabbage Moths. Sometimes a crop that is colourful is just more productive, take Dragon Beans for example, they produce Beans over the whole season instead of the 2 pickings you get from green or yellow Beans, and they are tastier! Purple Peppers are the first to ripen. Yellow Cucumbers like Poona Kheera and Lemon are more resistant to the diseases that plague Cukes and they are more productive. Colourful Tomatoes are more flavourful but also give a diversity of flavours when you’re snaking on our Candy Cherry Tomatoes. The more colourful the veggie the more diverse the vitamins and minerals and the healthier they are. And of course….I cannot resist anything that is purple but everyone already knows that, hahaha.

Double Dragon Carrot, Dragon Beans, Brocco-flower, Heirloom Tomatoes, Sweet Peppers.

Double Dragon Carrot, Dragon Beans, Brocco-flower, Heirloom Tomatoes, Sweet Peppers.

Sometimes we grow colourful and strange vegetables in order to try and find a couple of varieties that will produce and withstand tough conditions like the Squash Vine Borer, Downy Mildew, Powdery Mildew and more that plague Squashes (we haven’t been very successful so far but there are many more varieties to try)….

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‘Winter Sweet’, ‘Spaghetti’, ‘Delicata’ + ‘Sweet Mama’, Squash Vine Borer

On a happier note we have seen Squash Bees around….no pic but here’s a link for more info on this native pollinators.

We’re curing our pumpkins and squash right now but you will see some of the varieties that aren’t good for storage in the coming weeks. Spaghetti Squash has many uses – cooked or raw. For fun, Why Is Squash Called Squash.

This week’s pick list includes but varies depending upon location …..

  •  Our Salad is thriving again and we’ve got plenty of delicious Salad Mix
  • We’ve picked the last of the Kohlrabi and the Cucumbers have almost seen the end of their days as well
  • Some of you have already seen the Broccoflower and others will see it this week while supplies last
  • The Sweet Peppers aren’t at peak yet but are starting to come on strong, much to my delight! I love the little Snacking ‘Lunchbox’ Peppers (last season’s post on them) and like last season I cannot stop eating them!
  • We have limited amounts of hot peppers and okra for those who are interested
  • Chinese Eggplant
  • Garlic and Onions (Onion supplies are running low so stock up now if you want some for the Fall and Winter)
  • limited amounts of Scallions will be ready again
  • new this week is the long awaited Dragon Beans, included in a mix with Cherokee Trail of Tears and Rattlesnake Pole Beans
  • Our Heirloom Tomatoes and Candy Tomatoes are still going strong. If you want to use up some of your remaining credit we are still taking orders for bushel baskets (must be ordered in advance) – $25 per 20+lb basket. It’s also super easy to make sun-dried Tomatoes using the Candies – just slice once and put in a dehydrator. Here’s a great recipe using Sun-dried Tomatoes. Some raw food recipes using Tomatoes, and a plethora of recipes using a multitude of veggies at once!
  • Also new this week…Hakurei Turnips! After hearing other CSA’s rave about these I had to try them this year! They’re like a sweet Radish or a juicy Turnip – both and neither at the same time – with leaves that taste just like a mildly spicy lettuce mix we grow. Here are some recipe ideas (if you don’t eat them raw like I do) – The Better Turnip, Salad Turnips, Pickled Harukei Turnips.

10339569_820975638023125_7573863776127053480_n* We’ve always got a variety of fresh herbs for sale, too, and if you don’t think you’ll use them fresh just string them up and let them dry so you can use them when needed all year long. Thyme, Oregano, Basil, Rosemary, and Sage.

Tyler from Union Herbs getting your fresh herbs ready for market!

Tyler from Union Herbs getting your fresh herbs ready for market!

From the “what you missed on Facebook” this week file….

From chef Ben at The Iron Kettle Bed & Breakfast - "I split the fennel down the seam but left the core so that the strands can stay together, like a cabbage, and I grilled it with some olive oil, salt and pepper over extremely high heat. Served it with a roasted chicken basted in butter that was whipped with the fennel fronds. Roasted the tomatoes whole and made a chutney to serve with the chicken."

From chef Ben at The Iron Kettle Bed & Breakfast – “I split the fennel down the seam but left the core so that the strands can stay together, like a cabbage, and I grilled it with some olive oil, salt and pepper over extremely high heat. Served it with a roasted chicken basted in butter that was whipped with the fennel fronds. Roasted the tomatoes whole and made a chutney to serve with the chicken.”

#workperks

#workperks Farm friend and employee Andrea has been busy turning Tomatoes into sauce, paste, salsa, ketchup, and sun-dried tomatoes.

At the new ShopEco location at 1645 Wyandotte with Envy Boutique.

At the new ShopEco location at 1645 Wyandotte with Envy Boutique.

Our market offerings at the Belle River Farmers Market on Sundays.

Our market offerings at the Belle River Farmers Market on Sundays.

Coming soon from our experimental strawbale bed (with thanks to farm friend Siobhan for the idea!)….

tomatillos

Tomatillos

The weather sure can be hard on the soil….

11889704_819390608181628_8194545194329195189_nTill next time!

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