Brown Crimini Mushrooms - River Valley Ranch, Burlington, WI
*Unless otherwise noted, all vegetables are certified organic and grown by Prairie Wind Family Farm.
This Week's Fruit Harvest (from Mick Klug Farms, St. Joseph, MI)
What's New at the Farm Stand
Seasonal Variety!- In the early days of the farm stand, the most frequently asked question was: when will tomatoes arrive? Now, the most frequently asked question is: when will late summer arrive? Thank you for embracing the seasonality shifts and surprises that change weekly at the farm stand! The Farm Stand is open daily, 7am-7pm.
Upcoming Farm Event
The Liberty Prairie Foundation (our landowners, partners and friends) are seeking volunteers to help clean up the Prairie Crossing Farm hedgerows following the spring wind storm and prepare their outdoor learning spaces for the 2023-24 school year.
Last Week's Early Summer Shares - photo credit: Maddie F., CSA member
After a helpful rain storm last week, the farm began to burst with growth and energy! Positive energy is flowing, too as our rebuilding process began in earnest last week.
As you may recall, this past April, our farm indoor growing structures were destroyed by an unpredicted microburst of wind. We shared our story in this newsletter and reached out to this supportive community with a GoFundMe campaign. We received donations, significant media attention, handwritten heartfelt notes, offers to volunteer, and gifts. Within two week's time, we were stunned to find we raised enough funds to rebuild our lost structures!
We quickly realized that rebuilding in a smart way would take time. So we borrowed indoor growing spaces for spring crops, planted our early summer crops outdoors, tried new crops, erected temporary growing spaces for late summer crops, and took down damaged structures. With our community behind us, we did our best to make (basil) lemonade out of lemons in the field and we got to work planning for new, different structures.
We strategized and explored climate-smart ways to rebuild. We reexamined typographical maps to explore new layout possibilities, considered existing water and wind system patterns and ran scenarios of rebuilding differently considering both the positive and negative impacts.
Jeff researched and found new materials and technologies that were not available when our original hoophouses were first built. These newer tools would help us better withstand extreme weather events. He studied the innovations in construction to develop both internal and external resiliency for indoor growing structures. While more costly, we decided to invest in a new way of rebuilding our greenhouse, as it's one of our most essential structures to recover.
The new system consists of two key facets -- an exterior track system that provides an additional level of connection between the metal structure and the plastic, and a new form of plastic called Solawrap or "greenhouse bubblewrap" as we call it. Jeff believes this two-tiered system provides additional resiliency and weather protection. The tracks anchor the plastic in more places, and the plastic provides better light diffusion (which the plants like) and better insulation, reducing the need for fossil fuels in heating. We are currently experimenting with managing the differences we're already seeing in temperature and growing conditions. As we finish this rebuild, we're also preparing for the hoophouse rebuilding next.
Supplies for three hoophouses were delivered on Monday! More to come as we get started with building these new structures.
For those who offered us their time to volunteer, we thank you! While we're not in need of volunteers at this time, we will keep you posted if needs arise! Also please consider donating your time and skills to the Liberty Prairie Foundation's volunteer day (see event details above). Your time will support the Prairie Crossing Farm as a whole.
We'll bring you along in this rebuilding and adapting journey while feeding you along the way. Enjoy this week's share, and look forward to more early summer harvests to come!
~ The Miller Family, Cleto, David, Riley, Anacleto, and Miguel
Notes from the Farm Kitchen
This week's fruit share contains sour or tart cherries which are rounder, softer, and more tart than sweet cherries. They can be eaten fresh, though I enjoy baking with them and using them in smoothies. Try them in a batch of muffins (add them to whole wheat pancakes, yum!) or as a topping for grilled pork chops. If you aren’t going to use your cherries this week, pit them and and place them in a freezer bag for use later.
This week's members will receive either kale or broccolini this week.
What can we say about kale that hasn't already been said -- it is a known super-food as well! When it's warm outside, we like to use kale in our smoothies or make it into a thinly julienned salad.
Broccolini is the young broccoli relative and is tender, flavorful, and delicious steamed, sautéed, grilled, stir-fried, and eaten fresh. While generally harvested just for stems and florets, we've included some of the broccolini greens and stem as they are equally as delicious and packed with nutrients -- some consider these greens a superfood! Since the stems are pretty thin, broccolini doesn’t take long to cook. Just toss it in a hot skillet with some olive oil and sauté until bright green. Add lots of garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes, then pour in a splash of water and cover until tender.
The tender baby leek harvest concludes this week, so we hope it will hold you over until leeks arrive sometime in August. As with full-size leeks, you'll need to trim off and discard the top third of the green leaves. Leeks are great roasted, grilled, or sautéed. We substitute baby leeks for onions in our scrambles or pasta dishes.