Black Turtle Beans- from Breslin Farms, Ottawa, IL
This Week's Fruit Harvest:
''Golden Supreme' Apples
'Suffolk' (seedless) RedGrapes
Good afternoon from the farm!
Last week's cooler, cloudy weather ushered us into a seasonal shift. Many of our summer crops begin to wind down and we're beginning to focus on fall and winter crops and projects now. One of these projects was to welcome a warm compost delivery from our friends at Purple Cow Organics from Madison, Wisconsin. Look at that beautiful compost! Our whole team excitedly worked together with shovels, buckets, and hoes to spread on our hoophouse planting beds to prepare for the coming winter spinach and lettuce. As soon as our fields dry out, we will apply it to beds throughout the farm fields as well. We like to think of compost like vitamins for the soil. You don't need a lot but the right mixture and timing is important to maintaining healthy and active soil.
Speaking of soils, we harvested beautiful carrots from our farm fields this week! Jeff was curious to see if he could get a different window into soil health from this crop. He brought a few carrots into the farm kitchen and squeezed their juice onto this Brix meter. This meter allows Jeff and the farm team to measure the sugars content (or Brix) within our carrots with the idea being that the higher the sugar content or Brix, the higher the nutrition level. This is because the sugar that is produced by the plant is illustrative of what nutrients the crop can access in the soil. In other words, the higher the Brix, the healthier the soil and thusly, the healthier the crop. We measured this week's carrots at a 7.5 Brix score as of today. We will continue to monitor our carrots' Brix scores as the fall temperatures provide additional sweetness to crops, as does winter storage. The chart above shows how storage impacts carrot sweetness per variety, so we believe our Bolero carrots will continue to improve in flavor as the season progresses!
Our ongoing research into seed varieties also continues as the team taste-tested the 10 trial pepper varieties we grew this season. We look forward to trying a few new varieties next season as a result!
Finally, my (Jen) favorite research projects happen in the kitchen! Our kids are learning by making their own farm lunches every day, in between their Zoom sessions. Our farm crew incorporates as many locally sourced foods as possible in their dishes and they inspire us with their creativity. After 15 years of farming and many years in the kitchen, we still have a lot to learn and that's the fun of it all! We hope you'll enjoy the late summer science in your home kitchen, including plenty of taste testing along the way :)
Cheers, Jeff, Jen and the PWFF Farm Crew
Winter Shares are back!
The Winter Produce Share includes a combination of fresh, winter-sweetened greens, stored crops and our most popular summer vegetables harvested and preserved at the peak of ripeness when they are most nutritious and flavorful. These are the same delicious vegetables and fruits that CSA members enjoy throughout the growing season.
The Winter Egg Share consists of one dozen fresh free-range brown eggs every other week. Our chickens are fed a wholesome, diverse diet of grains, vegetables and fruits throughout the winter. We encourage them to graze on grasses, green plants and bugs whenever weather allows. They can move around freely with plenty of access to clean water, fresh air and sunlight.
Sign up early and save! Sign up before Monday, September 21st and use the code winter to save $7 on your Winter Produce Share. Register soon so we can be sure to preserve the harvest for you!
Notes from the Farm Kitchen
Ginger is a tropical plant that we grow in our hoophouses throughout the summer, which the most tropical environment on the farm! We plant the ginger in early March in our greenhouse and by early summer, the plants are large enough to transfer into the hoophouse beds. Throughout the summer we tend to the crop by weeding, adding compost, watering, and we hill the beds to keep the ginger bulbs protected while they grow upwards. When the plants are nearly waist-high, we gingerly (sorry:)) dig an experimental patch to see the size of the treasure beneath. We were pleased to see the results and we hope you'll enjoy the fresh flavor of this week's ginger!
We store ginger in a paper bag in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. However if you won't use all of it within a week, we encourage freezing it in a zip-lock bag. When you are ready to cook with it, simply use a knife to shave the peel away, and then grate to your desired amount.
Asian pears have a distinct but pear-like taste and a crisp texture, much like a good apple. Their flesh is crisp, somewhat course, and always very sweet. They are wonderful in salads, eaten raw and used for baking. They store well in your refrigerator in the crisper.
Seasonal Recipes in the Farm Kitchen
Heirloom Tomato Galette - Here's the recipe for the dish pictured above, made by our Assistant Farm Manager, Abbey. It's delicious!