Brown Crimini Mushrooms - River Valley Ranch, Burlington, WI
Frozen Cherry Tomatoes
Frozen Blueberries - Mick Klug Farms, St Joseph, MI
Frozen Tart Cherries- Mick Klug Farms, St Joseph, MI
Whole Grain Oats or 'Groats' - Janie's Mill, Ashkum, IL
Yukon Gold Potatoes - Igl Farms, Antigo, WI
Hello from your wintry farm!
Often, winter can be a simpler, even slower season with blankets of snow covering the farm fields. We embrace the beauty of the winter landscape and strive to be patient. We let the snow do its work in the field insulating the garlic, protecting the soil, and eventually when melting, putting more water back into our water table. But, it's hard to practice the same patience when planning for our winter share harvest because we really want you to have the best food we can provide.
We have to remind ourselves that just like the summer season, our work plans must change frequently with the whims of the weather. Like all seasons, we endlessly watch the weather to catch the ideal window of opportunity for the harvest. We truly are similar to this focused predator, hunting for its next, much-needed winter meal!
This week is a great example. We hoped (and planned) for winter kale to go into shares this week. We watched for a sunny, warm(ish) 20-degree day so the sunshine would thaw the plants within our unheated hoophouse. But the CSA week arrived with a forecast of mostly cloudy skies and a high temperature of 10 degrees. While today is sunny, the temperature is still very cold, and the kale leaves and stems remain frozen, without much hope of a thaw. If harvested when frozen, the leaves and stems would be floppy as the plant's cells would be damaged from our handling and greens would rot quickly when you got them home.
So we practiced patience (albeit difficult!) and made a familiar decision, like those we made in summer when a crop is not ready to harvest or field conditions are too unsafe for vehicles or our team. We decided our kale harvest was simply not possible to get the quality of greens that would taste delicious and hold up in your refrigerator. With any luck, sunny days and warmer temperatures will soon return, greens will be even more cold-sweetened and delicious, and we will again harvest from hoophouses for you!
In the meantime, this share highlights the amazing growing of our farming friends from Wisconsin, Michigan and Illinois to bring you this truly collaborative winter share from us all. We’re channeling summer and sharing several of our favorite summer crops that we’ve frozen, in collaboration with our friends at Victus Foods and Mick Klug Farms. We’re also sharing several of our stored root crops for soups and groats for warm breakfasts. Please stay warm, enjoy winter and enjoy this week's local food!
Warmly, The Miller family (Jeff, Jen, Owen and Gavin Miller)
Note from the Farm Kitchen
This week's share includes three of our favorite roots -- scarlet turnips (left) and red beets (right) which are bagged together and rutabaga (not pictured) which is not bagged.
Rutabagas are creamy and starchy with a pale yellow flesh. Rutabagas are rich in vitamin C, dietary fiber, potassium and antioxidant compounds. They work well for mashing, roasting and braising. Rutabagas store extremely well when wrapped in a plastic bag in your refrigerator.
Scarlet turnips that have a mild radish flavor and a delicate sweetness that can be played up in dishes that call for apples, apple juice or honey. You can leave the skin on for a beautiful addition to roasted root vegetable combinations, or use a mandoline to slice into thin medallions and combine with other roots for a roasted vegetable gratin.
Whole grain oats are also known as groats. “Groat” is an old Scottish word for any hulled grain, but it’s mainly used for oats in modern English, while “berry” is used for whole grains of wheat and rye. Janie's locally grown whole grain oats are rich in B-vitamins, calcium, protein and fiber, and low in sodium and unsaturated fat. They have a pleasing texture and wholesome nutty taste. You can use them as you would wheat berries — for grain bowls, pilafs, soups, stews, and hot cereal. Here's a link to Janie's Mill How To Cook Whole Grain Oats guide.
Farm Stand Reminder We're harvesting and partnering with local farmers year-round to provide meats, cheeses, produce, preserves and more! Eat and support local food year-round by making a stop at the farm stand. Restocked twice weekly and open daily, 7am-7pm. Thank you for your support!