Brown Crimini Mushrooms - River Valley Ranch & Kitchens, Burlington, WI
'Hercules' Carrots - short and sweet!
Frozen Blueberries - Mick Klug Farm, St. Joseph, MI
Frozen Tart Cherries - Mick Klug Farm, St. Joseph, MI
Frozen Green Beans
Good evening from your farm!
February is when we often get the question: what's new this year? I'm guessing we get this question because we're all beginning to feel ready for spring to arrive! Another reason might be asked this is because each season, we try new things. We think (hope) you'd like us to share what we're learning.
It's a compliment to receive the inquiry, thank you! We plan to dedicate several of our newsletters to digging into what we're working on and learning in 2022.
Firstly, our changes, and season, start in the greenhouse. For many, many years, we've used the greenhouse tables that we designed and built ourselves. Over time, however, the tables began to weaken and sag. Oftentimes, plants in low spots would struggle because they got too much water and not enough air circulation. We tried many different solutions to make our tables more level and consistent. While each improvement helped, none of the solutions truly solved the problem and we continued to see too many plants failing to thrive.
After a lot of research, careful planning, and conversations with fellow farmers, we decided to invest in greenhouse tables with rigid tops and steel frames and legs. These new tables will remain flat, and they sit at a better working height so we and our team do not need to do so much bending to water plants. We also have high hopes the long steel legs will keep the mice at bay!
While this "process improvement" may not seem that exciting or fun, our goal this season is to invest ourselves and our team so we can be at our best for you.
We shared in an earlier email that we intended to invest in our farm staff this season to ensure they are being fairly compensated for their work. We are (and will continue!) doing this. Investing in our team also includes removing frustrating roadblocks and doing what we can to make the physically challenging work of farming easier. When we struggled to see some of our seedlings grow properly in the spring, we knew that morale could be lifted if we improved how we started our farming season.
We believe investing in ourselves and our team helps us all, builds our excitement for spring planting, and allows us to better share our passion for growing healthy food with you.
We look forward to sharing more about our plans for the coming season again soon. In the meantime, please enjoy this week's winter shares!
Warmly, Jeff, Jen and the Prairie Wind team
Notes from the Farm Kitchen
This week's shares include brown crimini mushrooms from our friends at River Valley Ranch in Burlington, Wisconsin. Mushrooms are an excellent source of B and D vitamins, riboflavin, niacin and fiber. To prepare them, wipe the caps clean with a damp paper towel and trim off the very end of the stem. Due to their moisture level, it is best to use mushrooms within a week of receiving them. Or you can preserve them by briefly sautéing and freezing them in a ziplock bag for later use in pasta or soups.
We are proud to offer fresh fruit year-round, including this week's frozentart cherries, grown by Mick Klug Farm. Mick Klug grew up on a 40-acre farm in St. Joseph Michigan his parents established in the 1930s. He took ownership in 1974, and has expanded the land to over 120 acres. His daughter, Abby and husband, Mark, as well as Mark's brother Ben and wife, Bae, work together to produce delicious fresh fruit for our CSA as well as restaurants, co-ops, farmers markets and wholesale customers.
The Klugs are committed to sustainable agriculture and promoting locally grown produce. Their farm is MAEAP (Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program) verified for their cropping and farmstead systems.
Lemon Orzo with Shrimp and Tomatoes- Just run the frozen tomatoes under cool water for about 10 seconds to slip off the skins and then chop. Or, toss them whole (and still frozen) into soups, stews, or sauces.