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Heat + Farmer Stories

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Heat + Farmer Stories
This Week's Vegetable Harvest:
  • Italian Sweet Frying Peppers
  • Zucchini
  • Curly Green Kale
  • Summer Salad Mix
  • Red Beets
  • Cucumber
  • Tomatoes
  • Shallots
  • Garlic
  • Eggplant - This week, Thursday members will receive. We will distribute to the other sites in the coming weeks.
This Week's Fruit Harvest (from Mick Klug Farms, St. Joseph, MI)
  • 'TangO' Flat/Donut Peaches
  • 'All Star' Yellow Peaches
  • 'Himrod' Green Seedless Grapes
What's New at the Farm Stand
Heavy Produce = Cabbage and Watermelon - Cabbage is available for your late summer slaws or preparing kimchi and sauerkraut for winter storage. You can find plenty of other complementary ingredients -- onions, garlic, carrots -- too. Our farm crew conducted their own experimentation with growing organic watermelons this season. They are bringing in a nice harvest available now at the farm stand. The Farm Stand is open daily, 7am-7pm. 
Tomato Update: Since we've received questions, we thought we'd share an update on ordering tomatoes in bulk. Yes, we intend to provide this availability towards the end of August or early September. The selections we can offer are dependent on the weather. When we are ready to take orders for cases, we announce via this newsletter. As always, thank you for loving farm-fresh, organic tomatoes.
Farm Journal
Good evening from the farm and welcome to the Late Summer season!

We would like to warmly welcome Late Summer members and send our thanks to our existing full-season members. We're happy to have you all as members of the farm and we're glad to be your farmers!
Over the past three weeks, we've told the stories of the people that grow your food, including our farm crew members David, Miguel, Cleto, Anacleto and Riley.

This week, we're sharing the final story in our series -- a story of your farming family, the Millers -- Jeff, Jen, Owen (18) and Gavin (14).
Many know our story of how we came to farming, which started 18 years ago when we had our first son, Owen. We changed our careers to build a family business that would allow us to make a tangible difference and serve our community. After sending Owen to college last week, we are finding ourselves reminiscing about how we got started and reflecting on what we set out to do nearly two decades ago.
Jeff and I realized early on that we shared many of the same values. We were both raised by loving families. We spent our childhoods surrounded by our cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles. We were both firstborns, so we expected a lot of ourselves! We were depended on to care for others, too.

I (Jen) was raised in a small in-home daycare business where my mom relied on me to help her organize games, make lunches, weed gardens, teach reading, and steward art projects with the kids. Jeff spent his summers waking up very early to care for golf course grounds and greens with a multi-lingual crew alongside the golf club's loyal golden retriever. Both sets of our parents made a living in non-profits, small businesses, and education. Perhaps it is no wonder we learned values like serving our community and sharing with others.
After 17 years of family farming and recently sending one son to high school and another to college, we began to reflect on how our career choices impacted our sons. One evening at dinner, I asked them, "Do you ever wish that you didn't grow up on a farm?" to which they quickly answered (i.e., yelled), "NO!"
After a laugh, they explained how felt like they might have felt differently if the farm was located in a more rural setting because they would not have friends as close by or access to a bike trail system, but they felt the suburban setting of our farm was special. They said they felt grateful to live where we do, connected to the Prairie Crossing community, close to their schools and friends, and at the same time, living with all of the living things on the farm.
I asked them another question we often ask ourselves, "Do you ever feel like our farming life is difficult?" and they scoffed at the question. Owen's reaction was that nothing seemed too hard for too long and Gavin said, "Life is like this, isn't it?" 

As a farming parent, it was reassuring to hear this wise perspective. Even though we experience emotional rollercoasters with the ups and downs of farming, we all acknowledge that this mirrors the natural world, where change is constant. 
After all, our sons experience births and deaths up close on the farm. They see us when we are excitedly preparing to host 250 person farm event. They see us when we are emotionally wrecked by the impact of Mother Nature on our farm. They see us happily visiting with members and friends at the weekly CSA pickup and at the farm stand. They see us exhausted and hydrating after an extremely long, hot work day. 
Besides this front-row seat to farming, they also farm. They have mucked many chicken coops, planted thousands of seedlings, worked early morning farmers' markets, packed CSA shares, gotten soaked while closing up farm buildings for incoming storms with Dad, and endlessly cleaned up the dirt that they find on their pants, shirts, shoes, and fingernails.
We often get the question of whether our boys will become farmers themselves. We don't know which direction they will choose for themselves, however, we do know they love many of the parts and pieces of farming. Owen often asks us why we make certain decisions and wants to understand the impacts of each decision on our business, our crew, and the land. He cares very deeply for his/our environment, so we imagine he will find intersections where he can make an impact on the world.
Gavin is always interested in helping his dad. On the farm, he steps up to help Jeff with building, engineering, and keeping his bees happy! Gavin proactively helped to better connect his high school teachers with Jeff so Jeff can, in turn, connect the farm with more students. Gavin is always proud to share the farm and his work with others, and we know his dedication to sharing will continue in whichever direction life takes him.
So after reflecting, we're grateful to share our family business with our children and our community, and we are happy to make a tangible difference at the farm.

Thank you for caring about our family and our team who grow your food. We've enjoyed sharing these personal stories. We hope you've enjoyed them as well.

Please enjoy the late summer harvest!

~ The Miller Family (Jeff, Jen, Owen & Gavin Miller), David, Cleto, Miguel and Anacleto
Notes from the Farm Kitchen
Italian sweet frying peppers can be used like a bell pepper, however they have thinner and skins, allowing them to cook more quickly. They are deliciously sweet when cooked and wonderful raw as well. Peppers are best stored in the crisper drawer where the temperature is a bit warmer than the back or shelves of the fridge (peppers like 50 degrees).
Grape season has begun! This week's variety is 'himrod' a green seedless variety known for its firm texture and sweet flavor. Jeff's summer childhood was filled with eating frozen grapes at his grandmother's home after mowing the lawn. There are plenty of ways to freeze grapes, so here are a few ideas.
Seasonal Recipes in the Farm Kitchen

Cider Vinegar Pickled Beets

Baked Farro with Summer Vegetables - Try this to use up whatever summer veggies you have on hand!

How to Fresh Fresh Peaches

Cobb Salad - This is our go-to summer dinner salad, which is also endlessly flexible to whatever proteins you prefer.

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