Farm News for the week of September 5
Reminders & Announcements
- This week, weekly Late Summer Vegetable and Fruit Share members pick-up.
- Next week, all Late Summer Vegetable, Fruit and Egg Share members pick-up.
- Eat fresh and local this Winter! Winter Shares are now available - Winter Produce Shares will include a combination of frozen preserved produce and fresh winter produce in five monthly deliveries from December through April. Winter Egg Shares will also be delivered monthly to our pickup sites. Please join us to eat local this winter!
- Last week of bulk tomato cases - The 20 lb. cases of beefsteak, heirloom and mixed tomatoes are available at discounted pricing through this week. Please email Jen if you are interested.
This Week's Vegetable Harvest
- Bok Choy
- Zucchini - off-farm pickup site members will receive this week.
This Week's Fruit Share
- 'Thomcord' Grapes
Farm Team Profiles
Our hard-working crew came in bright and early on Labor Day to bring in this week's CSA harvest. We'd like to introduce you to a few of our crew members help us labor, grow, harvest and prepare your food. We'll continue to share their stories over the course of the next few newsletters.
This is Sarah's first season on the farm. She's made an impression on all of us with her strong work-ethic, dedication to quality and her warm, friendly personality. Here's what drew her to farming in her own words:
"Working with plants has been a family tradition. My grandfather owned a local tree nursery where my siblings and I played in the dirt while my mother worked. I have learned most of what I know about plants and growing food from her. I've had many trials in backyard and container gardening in Chicago, and have long wondered what it would be like to work on a full-fledged farm. After taking a break from teaching, I decided to do just that.
Prairie Wind has been an incredible educational opportunity for me. Not only is it rewarding to support such a wonderful family (Winston included) and sustainable local business, but Jen and Jeff also make a big effort to answer our many questions, pause frequently for teaching moments, and encourage the realization of our own agricultural goals. When I'm not farming, I actually also enjoy spending some time inside, specifically in the kitchen, cooking and making bread."
When asked what might surprise others to learn about the farm, Sarah shared:
"Most of the communication on the farm is done through two-way radios: checking up on harvest, planning for upcoming tasks, addressing any field issues, etc. I think that our CSA members might be surprised to hear that the Miller's sons Gavin and Owen are also well versed at the ins and outs of radio communication.
"Gavin to Mom"
"Can I have a popsicle?"
I love these reminders that this is truly a family farm."
Jean joined Prairie Wind this season with farming experience and a passion for learning. Jean not only lends her farming experience, but she often lends us fellow family members! Jean's brothers volunteered on the farm periodically throughout the season and shared fun family stories. Here's more about Jean's background and thoughts about farming in her own words:
"I was a teacher and found that students learned wonderfully outside through nature. I knew I needed to reconnect to nature. I started working on farms in 2015, looking for a way to bring teaching and farming together.
I love to be outside. I enjoy camping, and outdoor activities. I enjoy learning. Learning new recipes, practicing piano, drawing, listening to lectures, reading, etc. Most importantly, I spend time being with family and loved ones.
Farming is always about dealing with the unexpected. We are constantly working with what weather and the conditions give us in the field. Everyone communicates, evaluates, and reevaluates. Farming is easily viewed as a simple process, like a duck swimming peacefully, but there's certainly a lot of motion under the surface." We'd welcome you to say "hello!" if you see Sarah or Jean around the farm or at at a pick-up.
Have a great week!
~Jen & Jeff
Thank YOU for your feedback!
We appreciate the wonderful response we've received to our CSA member survey. Your feedback is valuable and already assisting in our planning process. If you haven't provided your thoughts yet, we want to hear from you! Please take the member survey (takes ~5 minutes). Thank you!
Making the most of your share
Arugula and spinach return to shares this week. Arugula is pictured here and spinach seeds are what you see pictured at the top of the newsletter within our tractor mounted seeders. These cooler weather crops are thriving in the moderate August temperatures we've experienced and we welcome their return to our salads, sandwiches and sautés. You can cook with spinach and arugula similarly. When they are cooked lightly together with olive oil and a couple of garlic cloves, these greens make a wonderful addition to any soup, pasta or stand-alone side dish.
Thomcord Grapes are a new variety to the Fruit Shares this season and based on Abby Klug's recommendation, we were eager to try them! A hybrid variety of the Thomspon Seedless and Concord grapes, these are particularly popular as they taste like concord grapes but are seedless. They are dark purplish black and they are wonderful for snacking or try one of these dinner ideas using grapes.
Due to a successful crop, Bok Choy and Carrots make another appearance in late summer share this week. We challenge you to a fun taste test if you have any remaining carrots in your refrigerator. We've distributed three of our favorite varieties of carrots throughout late summer shares -- Ya Ya, Nectar and Bolero -- and each variety has its own shape, texture and flavor profile. Let us know your favorite! This week's Bolero's are wonderful variety for stews, soups, roasting and storing. To store, simply remove the green tops (feed to chickens, rabbits or make a carrot top pesto!) and place the roots well-covered with plastic.
Farm Kitchen Recipes
Mexican Cabbage Soup
2 cups chopped onions or shallots
1 cup chopped carrot
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped poblano or green bell pepper
4 large cloves garlic, minced
8 cups sliced cabbage
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon minced chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth or chicken broth
4 cups water
2 (15 ounce) cans low-sodium pinto or black beans, rinsed
¾ teaspoon salt
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for serving
2 tablespoons lime juice
Crumbled queso fresco, nonfat plain Greek yogurt and/or diced avocado for garnish
Heat oil in a large soup pot (8-quart or larger) over medium heat. Add onions, carrot, celery, poblano (or bell pepper) and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 10 to 12 minutes. Add cabbage; cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, about 10 minutes more. Add tomato paste, chipotle, cumin and coriander; cook, stirring, for 1 minute more.
Add broth, water, beans and salt. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro. Serves 8.
Sesame Roasted Carrots and Bok Choy
1 head of bok choy
½ pound carrots/small bunch
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon chili flakes
If using one head of bok choy, cut the head crosswise into 4 pieces, trim any brown spots on the core piece and then cut it into 6 wedges. Trim the tops off the carrots and scrub, cut into 2-3 inch pieces depending on the thickness. In a large bowl toss the carrots and bok choy with the remaining ingredients. Then pour out onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Roast in a 450 degree oven for about 20 minutes until the carrots are cooked through and the bok choy leaves have browned slightly. Remove from the oven and place in a serving dish, serve right away if possible. Serves 4.
Fresh Tomato and Arugula Pasta
2 2/3 cups dried ziti or mostaccioli (8 ounces)
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 -6 medium tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped (3 cups)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8-1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
4 cups arugula and/or spinach, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup pine nuts or slivered almonds, toasted
1/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola or Parmesan cheese
Cook pasta, drain; keep warm. Meanwhile, in a large skillet cook onion and garlic in hot olive oil over medium heat until onion is tender. Add tomato, salt, black pepper, and, if desired, red pepper. Cook and stir over medium-high heat about 2 minutes or until the tomato is warm and release some of its juices. Stir in arugula and/or spinach; heat just until greens are wilted. To serve, top pasta with tomato mixture; sprinkle with toasted pine nuts and cheese. Makes 4 servings.
Next Week's Harvest (our best guess)... broccoli, lettuce, apples, garlic, spinach, grapes and more!