Farm News for the week of September 26
Reminders & Announcements
- This week, all Late Summer Vegetable, Fruit and Egg Share members pick-up. This week is the final Late Summer pick-up for every other week members.
- Next week, weekly Late Summer Vegetable and Fruit Share members pick-up. This will be the final week of Late Summer Shares.
- Upcoming dates:
*Fall Egg Shares are sold out.
This Week's Vegetable Harvest
- Head Lettuce
- Rainbow Swiss Chard
- Sweet Bell Peppers
- Zucchini - Off farm members will receive this week.
This Week's Fruit Share
- Bosc Pears
- Honeycrisp Apples
- Freshly Pressed Apple Cider
A throwback to our early days of farming at the Prairie Crossing Farm.
Today is the day we've been looking forward to for a week now...the transition to cooler fall weather! The return of seasonal fall temperatures are welcomed by us, our crew, the chickens and other animals on the farm. While we're used to adapting to unexpected changes in weather, this year's fluctuations have been extreme.
In July, we received 12 inches of rain within less than a week's time leaving immediate visual impacts like flooded fields, crops under water and soaked chicken coops. There were also longer term, less visual but equally as devastating impacts that we are still feeling. So much rain in such a short time caused our soils to become very compacted leaving us with difficult planting conditions. Many of the plants we did have in the ground became stressed causing leaves to turn purple, broccoli to prematurely head up and lettuce to go to seed.
In contrast, we are now in day six of historically hot temperatures and drought conditions. While Jen frets about the comfort of our animals at night (will the temperatures be cool enough for chickens and goats to recover from a very hot day?) and our crew sweating in the field, Jeff irrigates fields watering late into the night to ensure crops are receiving the TLC they need.
For farms like ours, there is no crop insurance available nor do we receive any support or relief from the USDA. That's where you, our CSA members stepped up! We've received emails telling us, "Don't worry, we're in this together with you.” At pick-ups, we heard the concern in your voices when asking how both we and our crops were fairing during the weather extremes. We were struck by and grateful for the support so many of you gave us and our fellow farm partners. Despite the weather, we all do everything in our power to avoid much of an an impact to your shares.
To us, CSA is about eating with your values in mind, and by making us your farmers, it means your supporting the sustainability of our local food system. Your partnership makes it possible for us to grow and provide food to our community.
The abrupt changes in our weather this season have been jarring. In the words of a fellow central Illinois farmer and friend, "Autumn used to mean sweaters at sunset, not tank tops. Goat coats should be growing not shedding. Tomatoes should be slowing their ripening, giving the fall greens a chance to take center stage. Nature is confused, and as farmers we must acquiesce."
As we come to terms with what it takes to farm in changing and oftentimes dramatic weather patterns, we're grateful that you join us in this journey of growing and eating honest, local food.
Jeff, Jen, Owen & Gavin Miller
Fresh & Frozen Pastured Turkeys Available
Fresh or frozen turkeys are available from our friends at All Grass Farms. All Grass Farms is a diversified family farm located in Dundee, IL. Cliff and Konda farm on 150 acres of pastureland and using a historic dairy barn (built in 1905) located at the Brunner Family Forest Preserve on IL Rt. 31.
Cliff raises Broad Breasted Bronze turkeys which are moved to pasture at 3 weeks of age. They are free range in and around portable shelters with their shelters being moved daily. They are fed certified organic feed mixture from day one with no antibiotics or growth hormones. They are processed at 17-19 weeks for maximum flavor and they are humanely processed at local, family-owned USDA inspected facility.
Turkeys will be available for pickup here at Prairie Wind on Friday, November 17th from 5-7pm. To reserve your turkey ($35 deposit), please email Cliff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Farm Kitchen Recipes
Seven Vegetable Slaw with Citrus Dressing - I add chopped broccoli and radishes to make it nine!
Arugula and Pear Salad with Toasted Walnuts
Preserving Bell Peppers - in case you have a few in your kitchen from a previous week's share!
Next Week's Harvest (our best guess)... cabbage, broccoli, apples, pears, dill, arugula, swiss chard and more!