Archive | 2014 CSA

2014 CSA Survey Results.

winter garden

Thank you for your Feedback

The vegetable fields are already covered in snow, and I miss being outside in the sunshine all day long, playing in the dirt. While mother nature may think she has given us another good smack-down by sending us an early snowstorm (we got about 10″ here), the reality is that we have a lovely view of our quiet, dormant, farm.

Here on the farm, winter is a time for regeneration and planning for the future. As I begin making plans for the 2015 CSA, I first take into consideration the feedback you provided me from this year’s CSA. So here are the results of the end-of-season survey.

Total 2014 CSA members: 48
Full share members: 22
Half share members 26

Total number of surveys returned: 33
Participated in a CSA in the past –  yes: 19  No: 14
Quality of produce – Excellent: 29  Satisfactory: 4
Quantity of produce in each box –  Not enough: 1 Just right: 29  Too much: 4
Variety of produce – Not enough: 6  Just right: 26 Too much: 1
Communication: Satisfactory: 33
Overview of comments

  • Overwhelmingly everyone agreed that they enjoyed the weekly updates and appreciated the sense of humor and creativity. (thank you!)
  • Many comments of praise and encouragement which I genuinely appreciate – in fact I’m smiling right now as I browse through the surveys once again.
  • Several comments expressed acknowledgement that the weather was terrible and recognized that this affected the variety of produce in each box, but understood it could not be controlled.
  • One survey expressed disappointment due to not enough variety and will not sign up again next year.
  • One survey stated they wanted to order two full shares next year.

Common comments about produce:
-too many cucumbers
-want more lettuce/greens
-too much lettuce/greens
-want more kale
-too much kale
-loved the broccoli
-loved the tomatoes
-loved the eggs (those who purchased eggs)

What I learned

The 2014 growing season was extremely difficult. The non-stop rain and cold in the spring turned the soil into jiggly, gelatinous slop, making the fields unplantable until the end of June. In fact it was so bad that many farmers in this area still had standing, unharvested corn from 2013 still in the field as late as 4th of July…a time when their new crop should be knee high. Overall, for Kanabec and Pine Counties, it was a horrible growing season.

So what did I learn from this?

Better communication with my CSA members – Farming is a tough and risky business that is completely dependent on the weather – something no earthly being can control. As a farmer, I accept that risk. But one of the key components of being a member of a CSA is that you share the risk with the farmer. In my weekly newsletters, I work really hard to keep the news up-beat, and not whine about the weather or all of the other dilemmas encountered each week. And the truth is, even through all of the hardships I face, I don’t let it discourage me and I press on through it. But I realized that I do need to do a better job of telling you, my CSA members, the problems I face. If I expect you to share the risks with me, you need to know the risks I deal with to grow, harvest, clean, pack, store, and deliver your produce. This year I had a LOT of crop failure. Of the 65 different kinds of produce I planted, about 20% of them failed, due to the crazy cold, wet spring…and I should have kept you more informed about specifically what was happening out in the fields and how it will affect the harvest. And then there was the day I woke up to find that the thermostat in the walk-in cooler failed and ended up freezing everything I spent the previous day harvesting. Sigh.

Grow more in the hoop house – I love my hoop house. I know you’ve heard me say that over and over. And this year, well over half of all of the crops for the CSA were grown in the hoop house. It doesn’t matter what the weather outside is doing, inside the hoophouse, all is good. So now I’m going to figure out ways to grow even more in there. This will be fun.

Experiment with unusual crops – The hoop house also gives me the opportunity to try growing things that are not normally grown in this region. So this next year I’m going to try growing ginger, turmeric, wine cap mushrooms, and artichokes inside the warm and cozy hoop house. Stay tuned.

Thank you all for your kind words, encouragement and your candor. I am fired up and excited for the 2015 growing season, and ready for the holiday season as well.

Small Business Saturday

This coming Saturday is “Small Business Saturday” where you can “shop small” to show your support to local businesses. You can also support our small business by doing your holiday shopping via our online store. Maple syrup and honey are gifts that makes anyone smile. Or you may even consider giving the gift of a CSA share as well.

I frequently make trips to St. Cloud and the Twin Cities, so if you want to avoid the cost of shipping, just give me a holler and I can connect with you to deliver your order in person. Mora and Cambridge folks – stop by the farm or I can meet you somewhere in town.

Maple Syrup and Honey

Happy Thanksgiving!

Jim and I wish you all a very blessed Thanksgiving and holiday season.

Cheers,
Debbie

Follow the farm adventures on Facebook and follow us on Twitter at @SapsuckerFarms

CSA Week 20: The Last Box of the Season.

Week 20

Hi CSA Members,

It’s here. The last box of the 2014 CSA season. It’s kind of a bittersweet moment for me, knowing that the growing season is over. But I also look forward to what new farming adventures I’ll be facing in the 2015 season to come. THANK YOU for supporting Sapsucker Farms. I hope your experience was as joyful for you as it was for me.

So here is what you’ll find in your last box of the season:

Potatoes – small, medium, large, or a combo of both in either red and/or white.

Broccoli florets – a handful of spears

Lettuce – two or three different varieties of delicate bibb heads

Green/semi-ripe/ripe heirloom tomatoes – You have several options here. You can either enjoy some fried green tomatoes (I recommend Aunt Mary’s recipe on my website), or you can leave them on your counter to let them ripen up.

Cucumber – of course.

Basil – a small bouquet of green and purple basil, perhaps for one last batch of pesto.

Onions – two sweet Walla Wallas

Shallots – and two of these too.

BOXES and COOLER PACKS – I know you’re probably wondering about what to do with your last box and cooler pack, so here is what I would like to do:

St. Cloud and Plymouth folks – This week I will pick up your boxes and cooler packs that I dropped off last week. But since I will not be returning next week, you can keep your boxes and cooler packs as a souvenir of the season.

Mora folks – Please return your boxes to Made of Mora and I will pick them up there.

Cambridge folks – this is all foreign to you because the co-op always keeps the boxes and returns them to me, so you don’t have to do anything.

As usual, the pick-up and delivery schedule for this week is the same.
St. Cloud offices – Tuesday morning
Good Earth Co-op – Tuesday morning
Plymouth Community – Tuesday afternoon, probably between 12:30 and 1:30 p.m.
Made of Mora – Thursday by noon
Sapsucker Farms – Thursday after noon
City Center Market Co-op in Cambridge – Friday morning by 10:00 a.m.

And even though the season is over, you can still keep up with what’s happening on the farm by following us on our Facebook page and Twitter @SapsuckerFarms.

With sincere gratitude for your support,

Debbie

CSA Week 19: The Growing Season is Officially Over.

fall farm

Hello CSA Members,

Alas, the season is coming to an end. This is the last box for the half-share members… full-share members’ last box is next week.

I don’t know about you, but I sure enjoyed this season. Yes, there were a lot of challenges… rain… mud…cold…critters…lots of surprises…even a vegetarian crocodile and alien abductions. But despite these challenges, it made me happy to know that Sapsucker Farms was able to overcome these obstacles and fill up your CSA boxes each week for 20 weeks with fresh, 100% certified organic produce.

As we close out the season, I really want your feedback. In your box you will find an end-of-season survey, along with a stamped, self-addressed envelope for your mailing convenience. It’s a very short questionnaire so it’ll only take a few minutes to complete. I really do take to heart your comments, so I would really appreciate.

One last bit of housekeeping… half-share members, if you could please return your boxes and cold packs to the place where you pick up your boxes, then I will pick them up next week when I deliver the last box for the full-share members.

Week 19
So here is what you will find in your box this week:

Grapes – These aren’t your ordinary table grapes. They have an intense, tart and sweet taste, and all of them have seeds. Even though they are all purple, there are actually several different varieties, so each bunch will have a slightly different flavor.

Petite Brussel Sprouts OR sweet/hot peppers – This year the brussel sprouts plants were beautiful, tall, and mighty… but had teeny weeny little brussel sprouts. Unfortunately, that means that there is not enough for everybody, so you’ll find either a bag of of petite brussel sprouts, or some peppers. You won’t know for sure until you open your box.

Lettuce – The next succession of lettuce is ready to harvest. You’ll find some baby romaine and some heirloom bibb or baby oak leaf greens.

Leeks – You’ve already had some experience with leeks in your box a couple of weeks ago. Now your stock is re-supplied with two more for your culinary delight.

Potatoes – a random combination of white or red spuds.

Broccoli florets – it keeps on growing… even in this cold weather.

Vine-ripened heirloom tomatoes – yes, even though it’s cold out, the tomatoes are warm and happy inside the hoop house. I love my hoophouse.

Cucumber – The MVP of the CSA season.

Onions – two more for you this week.

Shallots – and again… two more for you this week.

Half-share members, I want to thank you for supporting Sapsucker Farms this year. I hope you have enjoyed your bi-weekly box of organic veggies and fruits, and I wish you all God Speed in all that you do.

Full-share members… one more week to go for you!

Now, here is an EXCLUSIVE Sapsucker Farms CSA member news bulletin. Throughout this season, we have been working hard expanding our farm to include a farm winery. We are happy to report that we now have our federal and state license to produce and sell hard apple cider. And in 2015 we will be rolling out Sapsucker Farms Yellow Belly Hard Apple Cider! Here is a sneak peak at our label which is still in progress, and the first batch is now in production. More news will be coming soon, so stay tuned for more info very soon!

YellowBellyLabels.7.8

Also… now that the holiday season will soon be here, I’d like to suggest Sapsucker Farms organic maple syrup as a holiday gift that is sure to make everyone smile. You can even order it through our online store on our website. How easy is that?!

syrup

As always, here is the pick-up and delivery schedule for this week.
St. Cloud offices – Tuesday morning
Good Earth Co-op – Tuesday morning
Plymouth Community – Tuesday afternoon, probably between 12:30 and 1:30 p.m.
Made of Mora – Thursday by noon
Sapsucker Farms – Thursday after noon
City Center Market Co-op in Cambridge – Friday morning by 10:00 a.m.

And even though the season is over, you can still keep up with what’s happening on the farm by following us on our Facebook page and Twitter @SapsuckerFarms.

With sincere gratitude for your support,

Debbie

CSA Week 18: It’s Deja Vu All Over Again.

Week 18

Hi CSA Members

This week you’ll find some things in your box that you haven’t seen in awhile. Alas the successive plantings of greens are ready harvest just in time for fall. Here is what you’ll find in your box this week:

Lettuce – the delicate and tender baby oak leaf lettuce is making a reappearance this week.

Puberty spinach – it’s not quite baby, and not quite full grown spinach. Plus it had quite a bit of attitude while trying to grow a second succession, and was stubbornly slow to grow. There is not a lot of it, but a small handful for each. Just enough to combine with the lettuce to make a nice salad.

Shiitake mushrooms – once again we were surprised by finding another crop of mushrooms bloom. This time there are two different kinds of shiitakes, a little smaller than the ones in your box awhile back. Some of these are also slightly dried as that is how mushrooms are preserved – by drying them. But just add them to any of your favorite dishes, or try one of these recipes on our website, and they’ll plump right up.

Potatoes – a random mix of small, medium, or large taters, red, white, and/or blue.

Broccoli florets – a nice handful of some spears, small and medium-sized.

Parsley – a fresh bouquet of  “Giant of Italy” parsley

Onions – a couple of Walla Walla sweet onions

Shallots – two more for your culinary pleasure

Vine-ripened heirloom tomatoes – a try full of different sizes and colors.

Cucumber – one for you to enjoy.

Only two more weeks left for the CSA this season. As soon as we get a nice, cold, hard frost, then the grapes will be ready to harvest. They need a good frost to get them all sweetened up nicely, and I have a really good crop this year. The birds and yellow jackets have even stayed away from them too. Fingers crossed that we get a good frost this next week.

As always, here is the pick-up and delivery schedule for this week.
St. Cloud offices – Tuesday morning
Good Earth Co-op – Tuesday morning
Plymouth Community – Tuesday afternoon, probably between 12:30 and 1:30 p.m.
Made of Mora – Thursday by noon
Sapsucker Farms – Thursday after noon
City Center Market Co-op in Cambridge – Friday morning by 10:00 a.m.
And don’t miss out on all of the activities on the farm and follow us on our Facebook page and Twitter @SapsuckerFarms.
Cheers,
Debbie

CSA Week 17: A Savory Feast.

Week 17

Hello CSA Members

It’s officially fall, and the sugar maples are really showing off now. The colors are beautiful all over the farm, so it’s only appropriate that your box of produce be colorful too.

Here’s what you’ll find in your box this week:

Cabbage I.O.U. – First, I need to make up for my mistake last week, as I forgot to include the cabbage in the boxes to everyone in St. Cloud and Plymouth. As you cabbageless victims know, I sent you all an email apologizing for this oversight and said that I will make it up to you this week. But since I no longer have any fresh cabbage, you folks will be getting a bag of kale in place of your cabbage last week. Remember… kale is what really cool people eat.

Now… back to the subject of what everyone will be getting this week….

Apples – I did something a little different this year, and put labels on each of the apples, so you can sample different varieties that we have growing. Due to some hail damage, we don’t have a sample of all of the varieties to share with you, but you will find a random mix of different kinds, many of which you probably have never heard of before. Some are great for eating as is, some are great for juicing, and all of them are great for baking.

Leeks – If you’re not familiar with leeks, they look like monster scallions. There are a number of different ways to prepare leeks and you’ll find some recipe suggestions on my website. One of the most popular ways to prepare them is potato leek soup. And as you will see, you have potatoes this week too.

Potatoes – A random combination of red, white, and/or blue spuds.

Broccoli florets – They just keep sprouting, so I happily keep clipping and boxing them up for you.

Onions – sweet yellow Walla Walla, white, and red.

Shallots – a couple of them for you to enjoy.

Peppers – sweet and hot.

Vine-ripened heirloom tomatoes – remember how much I love my hoop house? This is one of the many reasons why I love it. Even after a touch of frost, the tomatoes have been warm and snuggly inside the hoop house.

Cucumber – Alas, the cucumber plants are starting to slow down. This week you’ll see just one cucumber, but there are still some little ones on the vines. We’ll see how big they will get before the end of the season.

Just a reminder… I’m running low on boxes again, so please return your boxes and cooler packs.

As always, here is the pick-up and delivery schedule for this week.
St. Cloud offices – Tuesday morning
Good Earth Co-op – Tuesday morning
Plymouth Community – Tuesday afternoon, probably between 12:30 and 1:30 p.m.
Made of Mora – Thursday by noon
Sapsucker Farms – Thursday after noon
City Center Market Co-op in Cambridge – Friday morning by 10:00 a.m.
And don’t miss out on all of the activities on the farm and follow us on our Facebook page and Twitter @SapsuckerFarms.
Cheers,
Debbie

CSA Week 16: Fall is in the air.

Week 16

Hello CSA Members

What a delightful and beautiful late summer we have been having. And I have been thoroughly enjoying spending my days outside harvesting and taking in the crisp, cool air.

And the produce seems to be liking the weather as well. Here is what you will find in your box this week:

Tart Apples – Why are they tart you ask? They are just a tad early. Apples sweeten up nicely after the first frost of the season. These apples fell victim to a storm and heavy winds the past few days, so they were blown off the trees. If they had another week on the tree they would be a little sweeter, but tart apples are also quite tasty. You’ll find a random selection of several different varieties.

Mini Cabbage – I had quite a few cabbage that grew to this very small size then just got stuck. I guess they were just meant to be really small. But despite their small size, they’re just as tasty as their larger counterparts.

Beet greens with micro baby beets – Just like the mini cabbage, these are some tiny little beets that grew to this small size and just stayed there. So they’ve been harvested for their greens, and the teeny little beets too.

Carrots – A handful of orange carrots, freshly harvested so they are oh so tender. Something you may want to consider is to juice these carrots, along with the beets and the apples. Oh my it is good. If you frequent The Good Earth restaurant, you will see this juice mixture on their menu named “Heart Beet” and it is my fave.

Rosemary – This aromatic herb very versatile, used in many types of Italian and Mediterranean dishes.

Broccoli florets – The broccoli plants are still sprouting florets, so I just keep on harvesting them.

Garlic – A couple of small heads for your savory pleasure.

Shallots – If you’re starting a collection of these little onion-like nuggets, you’ll be happy to know that they are capable of long-term storage.

Onions – One sweet yellow Walla Walla, and one white.

Vine-ripened heirloom tomatoes – A tray of big and small.

Cucumbers – of course.

As always, here is the pick-up and delivery schedule for this week.
St. Cloud offices – Tuesday morning
Good Earth Co-op – Tuesday morning
Plymouth Community – Tuesday afternoon, probably between 12:30 and 1:30 p.m.
Made of Mora – Thursday by noon
Sapsucker Farms – Thursday after noon
City Center Market Co-op in Cambridge – Friday morning by 10:00 a.m.
And don’t miss out on all of the activities on the farm and follow us on our Facebook page and Twitter @SapsuckerFarms.
Cheers,
Debbie

CSA Week 15: Surviving Disasters, and Having Good Breath.

Week 15

 

Hello CSA members,

It’s been quite an adventurous week. Mother Nature gave us a serious smack-down last Wednesday with hail, wind, and a flash flood. Then we had a mechanical challenge when our walk-in cooler had an identity crisis and decided it wanted to be a freezer… so sorry to those who may have received some frozen veggies last week. UGH. Then the rabbits turned foodies as they munched on all of the beautifully ripened red peppers. I can’t blame them for liking them, but I can sure be disgruntled about them destroying the cream of the pepper crop. Hrmph. But, despite the challenges, here is what you’ll find in this week’s box:

Edamame – This is a Japanese soybean. Many of you already know what this is. But if you’re not familiar with it, I’m quite sure you will really like it. It’s very easy to prepare, and I will be including the basic recipe for preparation in your box. This is also the only crops that survived the disastrous “East Field.” Previously, I mentioned how one of our fields was so cold, wet, and muddy, that most of the crops did not survive (melons, squash, sweet corn, and chard.) Thankfully two rows of edamame did make it. I wish I had more, but at least you’ll be getting about 3/4 of a pound.

Baby rainbow carrots – The carrots got a late start this year, and they are about a month later than normal. But alas, even though they are still babies, they are tender and tasty. They’re also colorful – orange, white, yellow, and red.

Garlic – This is the first year that I’ve grown garlic. I started with a small crop, just to figure out what varieties do the best. But when it comes to garlic, it’s all good. You’ll find a couple of small heads in your box this week. If you love garlic as much as I do, it won’t last long. Personally, I think that garlic should be considered a breath freshener.

Onions – Another savory breath freshener.

Shallots – Yet another savory breath freshener (see the pattern here??!)

Mint – This is indeed a breath freshener, and you probably experience it everyday when you brush your teeth. At least I hope you do…. But whether you brush your teeth or not, you can enjoy some fresh mint this week. One of the best ways to use it is to add it to a pitcher of water, along with a sliced cucumber and some lemon slices, and you’ll have quite a refreshing beverage.

Cucumbers – of course… and as mentioned above, slice them up and add them to a pitcher of water along with the mint and some lemons and you’ll have a refreshing beverage.

Basil – By now you have probably mastered making pesto. If not, you have another chance.

Vine-ripened heirloom tomatoes – A nice combination of different colors and sizes.

Peppers – Sweet and hot

Kale – have you tried making kale chips yet? Oh man, are they ever good! Give it a try. It sure is a lot healthier than potatoes chips.

As always, here is the pick-up and delivery schedule for this week.
St. Cloud offices – Tuesday morning
Good Earth Co-op – Tuesday morning
Plymouth Community – Tuesday afternoon, probably between 12:30 and 1:30 p.m.
Made of Mora – Thursday by noon
Sapsucker Farms – Thursday after noon
City Center Market Co-op in Cambridge – Friday morning by 10:00 a.m.
And don’t miss out on all of the activities on the farm and follow us on our Facebook page and Twitter @SapsuckerFarms.
Cheers,
Debbie

 

CSA Week 14: It’s Still Summer.

Week 14

Hi CSA members,

I trust that you all had a terrific, long, and enjoyable Labor Day weekend. And now the kids are back to school too. Some say this is the end of summer, but I’m going to stick with what the calendar says, and it says that there is still a few weeks of summer left. And until the leaves start turning colors, I’m hanging on to summer as long as it is reasonably possible.

This week you’ll recognize most everything in your box with just a slight difference in variety. So here’s what you’ll find.

Oregano – ok, I lied, this is new and you haven’t had it in your previous boxes. Fresh oregano is a fragrant and delicious herb frequently used in Italian dishes. Try it on pizza, in a tomato sauce for pasta, or just add it to a salad.

Broccoli florets – the broccoli plants are still sprouting some small floret spears, so I just keep cutting them and adding them to your box. Since they are small cuttings, the portions are small, but it’s enough to keep a broccoli lover smiling.

Radicchio – Even though it looks like a tiny red cabbage, it is actually chicory. It is slightly bitter by nature, but it sweetens up when it is cooked. It can be enjoyed raw by adding it as an accent to salads or cole slaw…. if you still have some cabbage left over from last week. If you don’t know what to do with this, check out the recipes on the website. I really enjoyed the recipe for charred radicchio with balsamic vinegar and bacon.

Red and gold beets with greens – Personally, I love beets. I especially like pickled beets and I confess, I am tempted to keep them all to myself instead of sharing them with you. But as you can see, I used my better judgement and I’m sharing them with you. If you aren’t used to preparing beets, you can check out the recipes on the website. Or, you can just juice them along with an apple and carrots and BOOM – the ultimate, delicious power drink. Ok… now I want one right now. For the greens, think of them as Swiss Chard, since Swiss Chard is also in the beet family. So you can substitute the greens for any of these recipes.

Potatoes – a combination of four different varieties: Kennebec (white), Superior (white), Norland red (red… duh), and All Blue (blue… duh again).

Kale – This week includes Dino kale, a dark green, long leafed kale that is one of the most popular types of kale. Have you become a kale lover yet? If not, there is definitely a recipe here that will convert you to a kale lover.

Onions – Walla Walla sweet yellow, and Gladstone white onions this week.

Shallots – a couple more for your culinary creations.

Peppers – Some sweet, some hot.

Vine-ripened heirloom tomatoes – a nice big tray with several varieties and colors.

Cucumbers – two again.

As always, here is the pick-up and delivery schedule for this week.
St. Cloud offices – Tuesday morning
Good Earth Co-op – Tuesday morning
Plymouth Community – Tuesday afternoon, probably between 12:30 and 1:30 p.m.
Made of Mora – Thursday by noon
Sapsucker Farms – Thursday after noon
City Center Market Co-op in Cambridge – Friday morning by 10:00 a.m.
And don’t miss out on all of the activities on the farm and follow us on our Facebook page and Twitter @SapsuckerFarms.
Cheers,
Debbie

CSA Week 13: Enjoying Summer.

flowers

Hello CSA Members

I have to say it is really pretty on the farm right now. Our native prairie is in full bloom, with lots of wildflowers everywhere. Since my phone died again right at the moment I was taking a picture of this week’s harvest… I decided to share with you a little snap shot of what else is happening here on the farm. When my phone is recharged, I’ll add a photo of this week’s harvest to this post on the website too.

Farming is always full of surprises, and this week was no exception. This time of year, we Minnesotans delight ourselves with delicious seasonal crops that we eagerly look forward to each year, unfortunately this year, some of those crops that I planted have failed. Considering this, I was discouraged, and knew that I had to break the news to you all (more on this below).

Then a happy surprise happened Sunday. The shiitake mushrooms that we planted over a year ago, have fruited. I’ll spare you the details about our mushrooming experience, but if you want to know more about it, you can check out my blog post here. So this week, I am happy to share with you, our first-ever crop of certified organic shiitake mushrooms.

Week 13

Shiitake Mushrooms –I know that not everyone loves mushrooms, but I hope that this might be an opportunity to give them a try. Shiitake mushrooms are “meaty” or “hearty” and can even be used as a meat substitute for vegetarians. In fact, some of these ‘shrooms are HUGE, the size of a steak, so you can also grill them. I like to just sauté them in butter, onions, garlic, and salt to taste. But they’re also wonderful in pasta dishes. Here are a few recipes to try. HOWEVER, if you are one of those who don’t like mushrooms, I totally understand. Just promise me that you will not just throw them away. Not only because it took us over a year and half to grow them, but because I know that you will know someone who would love them. Perhaps you can use them to barter something with your neighbors? Considering that organic shiitake mushrooms go for upwards of $11 per pound at the grocery store (where available), you may even want to consider scalping them in the parking lot at Byerly’s or Lunds. The choice is yours, just please don’t put them in the compost pile.

Broccoli florets – another pleasant surprise is that the broccoli keeps on coming. I’m still getting some secondary growth of florets, and some of the florets are almost as big as the original heads on the plant. So you’ll find a small handful of florets this week as well.

Beets with greens – I love beets, especially pickled beets. This week you will find a combination of red and gold beets, complete with greens. Don’t throw out the greens as they are very good too. Beet greens are much like spinach or Swiss chard which can be served raw in a salad, or cooked as a side dish. Check out some of these recipes and give it a try.

Rainbow potatoes –Ok, I admit that there really is no such thing  as rainbow potatoes, but it was the best way to describe the multi-colored sampling of potatoes you’ll be getting this week. This year I planted four different varieties of potatoes: Kennebec – a thin-skinned white potato; Superior – another variety of white potatoes; Norland red – a hearty red potato; All blue – just as it’s name says, these cute little things are completely blue. No matter what variety or what color they are, they can be used in any of your favorite potato dishes. You’ll be seeing them again in the weeks to come as well.

Kale – This nutrition-packed green is oh so trendy right now. Really cool people eat a lot of kale. In fact, if you want to become really cool, all you need to do is just eat some kale and BOOM, you’re cool. True. It is also very versatile for many types of dishes ranging from smoothies to being a meat substitute. As always, I’ve included a lot of recipes for kale on my website.

Shallots – This is a favorite among foodies. If you’re not familiar with them, shallots are like small, mild onions. So if you want to be a foodie, just use some shallots.

Onions – Some sweet yellow Walla Walla onions this week.

Vine-ripened heirloom tomatoes – A variety of colors and sizes. Remember, don’t store them in the fridge. Just eat them really fast.

Peppers – Some sweet, some hot, some big, some small.

Cabbage – this is the last of the cabbage for the season. I’ll be making some sauerkraut here soon, how about you?

Cucumbers – of course

Crop update
Even though I plant a long list of fruits and veggies each year, there is always some crop failures. This year, I had one field that was so muddy, wet, and cold all the way through the end of June and was pretty much unplantable. So I took a chance and planted a few things there anyway… after all, if I planted nothing, I would get nothing. But if I at least tried I could possibly get something to grow.

The good news is that the edamame planted in that field did grow, and is doing very well. Even some of the purple beans planted in that field grew also. But most everything else failed, including:
Green and yellow beans – although, as I explained to the full share members in week 10, I did have a rogue, vegetarian crocodile that munched them up, so it really wasn’t my fault.
Melons and squash – Darn. The cold, wet, late spring was just too much for them to handle. Although, there is some evidence that points to the possibility of them being abducted by aliens, so if they do suddenly reappear, I’ll be sure to share them with you too.
Swiss chard – there are a few scraggly, sad looking plants, with no possibility of a thriving future.
Fennel – I was really looking forward to this, but it’s not going to happen this year.
Sweet corn – Knee high by 4th of July? I wish. Considering that many of my neighbors still had their 2013 corn crop unharvested by 4th of July this year, I felt pretty accomplished by getting mine in the ground the end of June. But even after a lot of coaxing, it was barely knee-high by the 15th of August. So now it is mulch. Some good organic matter tilled back into the soil, ready to help the crops grow for the 2015 season, so not all is lost. Even though you won’t be getting any sweet corn this year.

Despite these crop failures, there are still some vibrant crops that continue to grow, and pending any natural disasters, some future CSA box appearances will include: grapes, apples, edamame, and more.

As always, here is the pick-up and delivery schedule for this week.
St. Cloud offices – Tuesday morning
Good Earth Co-op – Tuesday morning
Plymouth Community – Tuesday afternoon, probably between 12:30 and 1:30 p.m.
Made of Mora – Thursday by noon
Sapsucker Farms – Thursday after noon
City Center Market Co-op in Cambridge – Friday morning by 10:00 a.m.
And don’t miss out on all of the activities on the farm and follow us on our Facebook page and Twitter @SapsuckerFarms.
Cheers,
Debbie

CSA Week 12: Something Different.

Week 12

Hello CSA Members,

I thought I would change it up a little this week and include a few items that you probably have not had much experience with in the past. But they are things that we have enjoyed so I thought I’d share them with you as well. So here is what you’ll find in your box this week:

Grape leaves – Huh??! No, don’t worry, I’m not trying to scrape the bottom of the barrel just to put something in the box. In fact, I have a good report, the grapes are coming along just fine. But you probably didn’t know that grape leaves are not only edible, but also a very delicious Mediterranean dish. Over the decades, the Morrison family has enjoyed making stuffed grape leaves, so I hope that you will be adventurous and give this a try. I’ve included a complete recipe of how we make them... it’s really easy and oh so very good.

Radicchio – This looks like a cute little red and white cabbage, but it is actually chicory. If you’ve bought any salad mix bags in the past, you’ll see these little slices of red cabbage in the bag… that is radicchio. It is mildly bitter, and as always, I have some recipes on the website for you to try.

Shallots – If you’re not familiar with shallots, they are in the onion family. If you’re a frequent watcher of the Food Channel, you will notice that many of the really good chefs often use shallots in recipes instead of onions. They are smaller and a little milder than onions, but you can use them as an onion substitute anytime.

Onions – Oh yeah, you’ll find some onions in the box too.

Turnips with edible greens – I was really surprised to hear from so many of you about how much you liked the turnips, and especially how your kids liked them as well. So this is the very last of the turnips for the season.

Broccoli florets – I’ve also heard from a number of you about how your kids like the broccoli too. While most of the large heads of broccoli have been harvested, there are still the secondary growth of florets that are emerging, so you’ll get a small handful of them as well.

Cucumbers – as always

Zucchini – also as always

Vine-ripened heirloom tomatoes – a random combination of beefsteak, slicers, mediums, and cherries.

As always, here is the pick-up and delivery schedule for this week…HOWEVER… there is a lot of road construction going on between Mora and St. Cloud, so I hope that doesn’t delay me to much…. you’ll soon find out.

St. Cloud offices – Tuesday morning

Good Earth Co-op – Tuesday morning

Plymouth Community – Tuesday afternoon, probably between 12:30 and 1:30 p.m.

Made of Mora – Thursday by noon

Sapsucker Farms – Thursday after noon

City Center Market Co-op in Cambridge – Friday morning by 10:00 a.m.

And don’t miss out on all of the activities on the farm and follow us on our Facebook page and Twitter @SapsuckerFarms.

Cheers,

Debbie

 

 

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