Diversity! - Summer brings a wide variety of crops that change frequently with crop successions and weather. We're unlike the grocery store in that the farm stand follows the flow of the seasonal harvest. Thank you for staying flexible with us and coming back each season to see what's new.
Hours: Open daily, 7am-7pm. We restock two to three times per week.
Save the Date! CSA Farm Share Member Open House and UPick, Saturday, September 10th Each year, we invite our Farm Share Members to visit and enjoy the farm. All 2022 Farm Share Members are welcome. More information to come, but in the meantime, please save the date!
Good evening from the farm!
Great news! Last weekend's rains added up to 3.25 inches here on the farm, and neighbors reported between 3.5-4 inches within Prairie Crossing. That's enough to fill up a tractor bucket! The rain was such a welcome gift after nearly two months without significant rainfall.
This rainfall reminded us of a few lessons we've learned to manage this consistent state of flux we've farmed through over the last several years. The key lesson we've learned is to accept, even welcome, change and always remain flexible.
For instance, with the quick and heavy rainfall, the ground wasn't quite ready for the deluge so we saw flooding in all of the usual spots. After years of seeing an increase in flooding on our farm, we've decided to change how we farmed. We've taken several of the frequent flooding areas out of crop rotation and production. This means we reduced the footprint of our vegetable crops and are keeping more of our farmland in perennial cover. With this consistent ground cover and cover crops in flooding areas, our heavy soils can take in the water more quickly and the soil remains on the farm.
This adaptation took a while to pull off! Jeff completely reconfigured our growing plans to add more crop successions, change crop spacing, purchase different seeding tools and different seeding trays, purchase different amounts of seed, and taught our crew different lessons for planting.
This regenerative approach is sometimes framed as being less profitable for the farmers, but that framing seems to miss the point. The way we farm isn't about being the most profitable -- it is about doing the right thing for us all. As we've learned over 16 years, farming success cannot be measured in dollars. We're responsible for more than ourselves!
That all said, we're also simply grateful to experience a collective sigh of relief we feel when the rainwater cycles back into the water table deep beneath our rich, Illinois soils!
Another lesson in this time of flux is to make space for others who might not have the same privileges that we acknowledge we have. In partnership with the Liberty Prairie Foundation and the Lake County Health Department, we hosted a tour for 30 9 to 11-year-old kids from the Boys and Girls Club of Lake County on Monday. Health Department dietitians educated the kids about a variety of topics including nutrition, healthy eating, and caring for their bodies through their food choices.
The highlight of the farm visit seemed to be kids' freedom to walk, talk with farmers and discover new things themselves. The kids found tiny toads amidst the edible landscape and had so much fun trying to catch them, which gave way to discussions of animal habitats. Together, we identified and we tried fruit (currants) along the farm tour route talking about perennial foods. We even had a discussion about how valuable kids are! Even though the tour was different than we originally envisioned, we focused on giving the kids the encouragement to dream about how they could take steps to plant and care for animals in their own neighborhoods and homes. We'll be here for them to support them as they need us!
This brings us to the most important lesson of all: we're all connected. We've found that spending time together -- even if you're working hard -- is essential to our happiness and understanding of each other.
In this picture, Arlet and Yamany share the new potatoes they dug together. As they worked, the team planned the back-to-school-celebration for our college and high school crew members. Despite differences in age, language, and experience among team members, we're all passionate about feeding others and that's something to be celebrated!
We all hope you enjoy this week's harvest, ~ Jeff, Jen, Owen, Gavin, Arlet, Cleto, Riley, David, Yamany, and Silas
Notes from the Farm Kitchen
This week's Golden Plums are ripe and ready to eat. I'm again sharing my favorite muffins recipe which uses a combination of peaches and plums. I always add extra fruit, cut the sugar in half and eliminate the sugar topping. We also love to grill plums (and peaches!) and add vanilla yogurt for a sweet treat.
Green Romano Beans (also known as Italian Flat Beans) are within the green bean family. They are broad and flat with a juicy, sweet flavor and great crunch. They can be eaten raw, however, they really shine when they are cooked (e.g., braise, roast, grill, stew). Keep them in plastic until you're ready to enjoy.
This week's share contains beautiful new red potatoes. Typical potato harvest involves mowing off the potato leaves with a tractor and then waiting a few weeks for the skins to cure before harvesting the potatoes. We've found our rich, moisture-holding soils are not as ideal for curing potato crops, but they are perfect for growing rich, delicious new potatoes. This week's new red potatoes (the variety is called Norland Reds) haven't had any curing time. They have an excellent flavor and because their skins are very delicate, we leave them unwashed until cooking. I hold them underwater, gently brushing the soil away with my fingers to clean them. Store these potatoes in a brown paper bag in a cool, dry place and use them within two weeks.