Butternut Squash - from Big Patch Farm's Amish Community Growers, Platteville, WI
We warmly welcome you to the first week of the Fall Farm Shares!
As Jeff and Luis know very well, fall is a season of change throughout the farm. We change our project work, our clothing, our workday length, our harvests. Here's a window into the changing fall farm activities.
We received our first patchy frosts this weekend. Frost tends to sweeten a number of our hearty fall crops, and those more delicate crops, we keep under cover. In the fall, we delay the harvest until the warm sunshine is high enough to melt the frost away, slightly warm the crops in the field and keep the team warmer, too.
In the covered growing section of the farm, Jeff and his team work diligently to prepare the site for our newest addition, hoophouse four. We decided to install another large hoophouse to provide more protected growing space. Hoophouses provide us with an insurance policy against unpredictable weather, give us more control over water, and allow us to grow summer (e.g., tomatoes, cucumbers) and winter (e.g., spinach, lettuce) crops longer. Jeff plans to fill this hoophouse with winter cover crop and then, spring lettuces.
In the farm fields, we are also planting our 2020 crops like garlic, over-wintered spinach and over-wintered onions. These are multi-day projects, as we individually break apart each head of garlic, soak the cloves, prepare the field for planting, and plant. Our other over-winter crops include the food forest we planted this spring. We will soon add mulch and additional protections for the plants against extreme temperatures, wind, ice and hungry deer.
In the farmhouse office, Jeff works with an inspector from the Midwest Organic Services Association (MOSA) to complete our USDA certified organic inspection for our 13th year in a row.
Finally, around the farmhouse kitchen table, we will soon gather with our team to offer them a learning session. We provide a variety of ways for our crew members to learn more about agriculture and farming. In the fall, we sit indoors to discuss in-depth topics of interest to them while enjoying a warm bowl of soup. Our crew is usually interested in examining soil tests together, or talking about what its like to experience an organic inspection, or discussing how we make decisions about what to plant and why. We enjoy giving back to the team that's contributed a great deal to our farm.
We embrace the change and the energy fall sunshine brings. We hope you'll enjoy the fall season and all of the delicious bounty it offers!
Your farmers, Jeff, Jen and our farm crew
Notes from the Farm Kitchen
Celery root, also known as celeriac, is a funny-looking but delicious relative of celery. Use a sharp kitchen knife to trim the outside layer from the bulb before chopping it. Because celery root has a mild celery flavor, we use in place of celery, as a roasted vegetable or shredded and combined with apples to make a delicious slaw. Make sure to trim the top off the bulb and the bulb will store for weeks to months in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. We left the celery root tops, which are also edible! They have a strong celery flavor, thought much more fibrous, and are best used as a flavor enhancer to make vegetable stock or within soups.
Peppersmake one of their final appearances in shares this week, as they didn't care for the patchy frost we received on Sunday evening. That said, we've had peppers for much longer than we anticipated as planting peppers in the hoophouse (to extend their growing season) worked! They loved the extra heat and sunshine that the plastic covering allowed through. We look forward to continuing to grow peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, ginger and more in our covered structures next season.
Recipes Ideas from the Farm Kitchen
Celery Root, Apple and Fennel Slaw 1 pound celery root, peeled and julienned thin 1/2 cup sugar 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 1 tablespoon drained capers, chopped 1 tablespoon drained prepared horseradish 2 sweet apples, cored and julienned thin 1 small fennel bulb—halved, cored and julienned thin 1/2 cup lightly packed parsley leaves 2 tablespoons finely chopped oregano Pepper
In a large bowl, toss the celery root with the sugar and 1 teaspoon of salt; let stand for 15 minutes. Drain the celery root well in a colander and squeeze out some of the excess liquid. Wipe out the bowl.
In the same bowl, whisk the olive oil with the vinegar, Dijon, capers and horseradish. Add the celery root, apples, fennel, parsley and oregano; toss well. Season with salt and pepper, toss again and serve.
Grilled Baby Bok Choy with Miso Butter 3 baby bok choy 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature 1 tablespoons white or yellow miso paste 1 tablespoons olive oil 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice Pinch of kosher salt Freshly ground black pepper
Cut the leaves away from the bok choy stalks. Halve the stalks lengthwise. Rinse the leaves and stalks well, then pat dry to remove any excess water. In a small bowl, mix together the butter and miso with a fork until well combined. Set aside. Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal or gas grill. Put the bok choy stalks in a large bowl. Using your hands (or a fork), coat the bok choy with the miso butter. Arrange the bok choy, cut side down, on the grill grate. Close the lid and grill for about 5 minutes, until golden brown on the underside. Turn the bok choy with tongs, re-cover, and grill for 5 to 6 minutes more, until golden and crisp-tender.
While the stalks are cooking, stack the bok choy leaves and roll them up lengthwise into a cigar shape. Slice the leaves crosswise into thin shreds. Make a bed of the shredded leaves on a serving platter. Drizzle the leaves with the oil and lemon juice, sprinkle with the salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and toss to combine. Put the grilled bok choy on the dressed salad to wilt the leaves; sprinkle additional pepper over the bok choy. Serve immediately (bonappetit.com)