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What can we learn from the field?

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What can we learn from the field?
Reminders & Announcements
  • This week, we deliver to weekly Late Summer Vegetable and Fruit Share members.
  • Next week, we will deliver to all Late Summer Vegetable, Fruit and Egg Share members.
Upcoming Dates
  • Winter Shares Savings - Eat locally this winter! Sign up before September 15th, and use the code winter to save $8 on your Winter Produce Share. Register soon so that we can be sure to preserve enough produce for everyone who'd like to participate. Thank you!
  • 2nd Annual Lake County Farm Stroll - 11am – 4pm, Sunday, September 16th at the Prairie Crossing Farm. The Lake County Farm Stroll is a self-guided tour of Lake County’s diversified family farms. There is no beginning or end to the tour, just simply choose the farms you wish to visit during the designated hours of the event. 
  • Pizza Night on the Farm - Thank you to those who joined for our August Pizza Night on the Farm! We enjoy seeing you, your family and friends at the farm so please save the date for our final two Pizza Nights of the season:
    • September 30
    • October 28

This Week's Vegetable Harvest:
  • Green Beans
  • Kohlrabi 
  • Scallions
  • Poblano Peppers 
  • Yukon Gold Potatoes
  • Fresh Dill 
  • Head Lettuce
  • Tendersweet Cabbage
  • Arugula
  • Bell Peppers
This Week's Fruit Harvest:
  • Nectarines
  • Red Raspberries
  • 'Interlaken' Grapes

Farm Photo Journal

Good morning from the farm!
The fluctuations in late summer weather -- foggy mornings, high humidity and heat indexes and at times, some downright chilly evenings -- are oftentimes difficult on plants. 

As farmers, we ask ourselves, "What's the most important thing can we do today to improve the lives of our plants, our animals and our farm?"

The answer usually comes from taking a moment to slow down and observe diversity that surrounds us. What insects are we seeing? What cues can the crops and other plants around the farm give about what is happening and the changes to come? 
We've recently observed at least ten monarch butterflies and dozens of honey bees taking advantage of the Joe Pye Weed bounty, preparing them for the season's changes to come.
We've been carefully watching the hop yard to find the right time to harvest the fragant cones. Managing the hop yard this season has been a great opportunity to deepen our knowledge and integrate more perennial agriculture into the farm. These perennial vines grew over 16 feet with a bountiful harvest of hops that the crew enjoyed learning about and harvesting. We'll continue the harvest, drying and processing over the coming weeks.
We are experimenting with a "lower & lean" trellising system we designed for our hoophouse tomatoes. We did this after observing rapid growth of the vines pressing up into the roof of the hoophouse, and we wanted to make sure to allow for their continued healthy growth. This system requires a lot of pruning at the bottom of the plants to minimize disease and limit what come in contact with the ground. 
While doing some scouting in the tomato field, we discovered that the hornworms found on a few of our tomato plants were being controlled naturally. Parasitic wasps attach themselves to the hornworms, laying their eggs into the hornworms, which kill them when they hatch, creating more natural predators for these damaging tomato pests.
We continue to watch our field tomatoes closely after early summer's "tomato drama" as we jokingly call our experience. We're starting to see the first of the tomato harvest coming from this field. If the weather allows (i.e., not too much rain, not too many cold nights) we believe we'll begin to harvest in earnest in the coming two weeks. The upcoming harvests will help to predict our yields and determine if we'll meet our goal to offer tomatoes for canning from this field. We'll keep you posted!
Finally, we observed a great celebration this past Sunday at the farm. Thank you to all who joined us for our August Pizza Night on the Farm. We met guests from Grayslake, St. Charles, Gurnee, Wauconda, Northbrook, Evanston, Oak Park, Mundelein, Waukegan, and Wisconsin! We always have a great time chatting with guests, sharing the farm and allowing everyone a moment to observe the farm on their own.

Have a great week!

Jeff, Jen and the farm crew
Notes from the Farm Kitchen
This week's vegetable share includes Poblano Peppers once again. We've been amazed by the pepper bounty this year and thusly, we continue to share! We've grown several varieties of poblano peppers this year offering a diversity in sizes, shapes and colors. Most often, we harvest poblanos when green however they do continue to ripen to chocolate brown and red colors, which deliver a more sweet/spicy flavor. You'll find these peppers in a plastic bag to separate from sweet bell peppers.
Elaine shows off this week's fruit shares which feature nectarines, fall red raspberries and Interlaken white/green grapes with a great fresh flavor.
Recipes, Tips and Ideas

How to Cook with Kohlrabi - Here's a good piece on how use this funny looking (delicious!) vegetable.

Deborah Madison's Potato and Green Chile Stew

Mick Klug's Easy Grape Muffins

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour 
1/2 cup sugar 
3 tsp baking powder 
1 cup milk 
1/2 cup melted butter 
1 egg 
1 tsp vanilla essence 
pinch salt 
1 cup grapes, halved if you prefer

Stir dry ingredients together. Add grapes. Combine egg, milk, melted butter and vanilla and stir into flour mix just to moisten. Lumpy is OK.

Bake at 350F for 20 minutes or until golden. Turn onto a rack to cool, or eat warm with butter or whipped cream.

Notes: These freeze well. For a healthier treat, you can: 
- substitute out butter for apple sauce 
- decrease the sugar quantity and up the grapes 
- substitute some maple syrup for some of the milk and sugar.

Next Week's Harvest (our best guess)... leeks, pears, bell peppers, beets, plums, parsley and more!

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