Tuesday, September 30, 2014

CSA For The Last Day of September!

The last pick up for Tuesdays families!  We wish we had so much more to share with you!  The weekends' work harvesting the potatoes was extremely disappointing - just like digging the garlic.  A row that should have yielded fifty or sixty pounds of French Fingerling produced a couple of buckets of small sizes.  Same in the Linzer fingerlings.  We just can't figure it out - decent soil, we kept the potato beetle at bay, the rains seemed to come when we needed them.  Just not enough heat?  Last years' harvest was a disaster, too, and this was all new seed purchased from reliable sources.  At least we got a decent dig on the rare and lovely Pink Fir Apple, which all of you are getting today!

None of the winter squash was very prolific this year, and harvested sizes are smaller than normal.  At least we've got some tomatoes to share!  There are currently two, count them: two, decent butternut squash in the field - as green as can be!  There are a few smaller sizes that will probably never complete.  The field is full of fall cabbage which has not filled out - so disappointing!

This winter squash salad with goat cheese sounds fantastic!  If you're a Single or Part share with a smaller squash, just reduce the ingredients accordingly!  We've shared lots of links over the last few weeks for pumpkin/winter squash recipes!  You can freeze some, too!  We roast a squash and then scrap out the meat, put it up in plastic zipper bags in one cup portions - which is exactly what you need for most baking recipes.  Two bags will make a nice little pot of soup for four people!

Still have a zucchini on the counter? Or maybe you shredded and froze some?  Any apples hanging on a tree in your neighborhood?  These Apple Zucchini Muffins sound fantastic!  And since we know you have carrots....try these Carrot Cake Pancakes!  Speaking of carrots - fresh garden carrots will store for three to four month in the fridge.  Here's directions for storing carrots, applies for beets as well!

FULL SHARES:  3 lbs. ripish tomatoes, 3 lbs. unripe tomatoes, spaghetti squash, Buttercup squash, 'Winter Sunshine' Kabocha, Sugar Pumpkin, carrots, beets, Pink Fir Apple potatoes, garlic, peppers, Lemon Ball cucumber.

PART SHARES:  3 lbs. ripish tomatoes, 3 lbs. unripe tomatoes, spaghetti squash, Buttercup squash, 'Winter Sunshine' Kabocha, Sugar Pumpkin, carrots, beets, Pink Fir Apple potatoes, garlic, peppers, Lemon Ball cucumber.

SINGLE SHARES:  3 lbs. ripish tomatoes, 3 lbs. unripe tomatoes, spaghetti squash, 'Winter Sunshine' Kabocha, Sugar Pumpkin, carrots, beets, Pink Fir Apple potatoes, garlic, peppers, Lemon Ball cucumber.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

CSA For September 25th!

Panda Bear found it a hot day for working in the garden!
Yesterday was a disappointing day for us.  We were working on the potato harvest, checking winter squash and digging garlic.  Nothing has met expectations this year.  The winter squash foliage should be covering the plots and the squash should be ample.  Instead we have found little spread and the squash are few and far between.  Last year the butternut covered a thousand square feet and there were 50 or 60 squash.  This year: sparse foliage and maybe twelve butternut, none ripe and only three of a decent size.  The potato harvest was even more depressing:  we took up a full row of Linzer, a fingerling that is one of our favourites.  What should have given us twelve or up to fifteen pails of four to five inch long potatoes yielded about two pails of two to three inch potatoes.  Everything was done as usual.  Was it lack of heat?  Inconsistent water?  We could second-guess ourselves all day but yesterday was not a happy day!

These last few days of heat, although hard to work in, have been fantastic for the tomatoes!  If you follow us on Facebook, you may have seen this last night but we thought we'd share it here as well.  Fast and Easy Fresh Tomato Pasta Sauce!  Next week will be the last CSA share for the year and we will load you up with tomatoes: as ripe as we can and some that need to ripen on the counter!  You all know never, never, never put a tomato in the fridge, right?  Right???  Check out this post for ripening tomatoes indoors...you can even improve those tasteless, perfect-looking, store bought globes in mid-winter!

We'll be giving you big bundles of carrots today and carrots and beets next week.  Check out Tuesdays' blog posts for tips on storing root veggies in the fridge for extended periods.  Eat all the small ones first, or any with dings or scrapes - they won't keep well.  And eat some of those wee ones now - raw! They are delicious!  And have you made pesto with carrot tops yet?  It's awesome!

I'm liking the sound of this Pumpkin Streusel Cake!  How about a Pumpkin Spice Latte Mousse for dessert?  Even the littlest Kabocha or Acorn will yield enough to make these Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies with Cranberries and Walnuts!  Turn winter squash into a pasta sauce with this recipe.  The recipe calls for butternut but ours haven't done very well this year, we're thinking there wasn't enough heat for them.  However, the recipe would be great with Kabocha, Acorn, Hubbard..well almost all of them!  And save the seeds from your winter squash - they're all delightful, like these Spicy Roasted Squash Seeds!  The recipe for these Sweet Potato Fries would be great with any of our potatoes...but awesome with any of the winter squash, as well!  The dipping sauce sounds fantastic!

FULL SHARES:  Garlic, onions, carrots, 3 lbs. Sangria potatoes, 2 lbs. French Fingerling potatoes, spaghetti squash, acorn squash, Lemon ball cucumber, slicing cucumber, tomatoes, green pepper, jalapeno, tomatillos.

PART SHARES:  Garlic onions, carrots, 2 lbs. Sangria potatoes, spaghetti squash, golden Hubbard squash, Lemon Ball and slicing cucumbers, tomatoes, jalapeno or Hungarian Hot pepper, Swiss chard.

SINGLE SHARES:  Garlic, onions, carrots, 2 lbs. Sangria potatoes, spaghetti squash, Buttercup  squash, Lemon Ball and slicing cucumbers, tomatoes, jalapeno or Hungarian Hot peppers.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

CSA For September 23rd!

Goldie the Goat is eating her carrot tops - are you?
Winter squash everything, all day long.  Breakfast could be this yummy-sounding Honey Maple Pumpkin Cake.  Or Pumpkin Spice Pancakes.  We've made the pancake recipe with Acorn, Kabocha and Hubbard - all yummy!  For lunch, this recipe sounds fascinating: Pumpkin Ravioli using wonton wrappers! Maybe for dinner another great pasta: Bacony Butternut Bowties.   For dessert try Pumpkin Brownie Pizza, except roast a winter squash and use the flesh rather than opening a can of pumpkin puree.  And we don't really use any cake or brownie mixes around here...we'd use this recipe for Brownies!  I know this recipe calls for Sweet Potato, but winter squash would be fabulous in these healthy little cakes!  And how about Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Beer Bread?  I know Winnipeg's Fort Garry Brewery is making a pumpkin spice beer called 'Happy Jack'!

Sneak some veggies into classic comfort food!  Check out this Mac 'n Cheese recipe - use beet greens or chard for your greens!  Fall is certainly a good time for stew and this Moroccan Vegetable Stew sounds delicious - and exotic!  Try this Smoky Black Bean and Squash Ragout!

We've gotten the first decent pick on tomatillos today.  They are a tomato relative, with a papery covering.  They are like dry, tart tomatoes so you can fry them up like green tomatoes!  They are the main ingredient in fresh Salsa Verde, which you may have had while on vacation in Mexico or Central America.  We've also picked tomatoes today - we just can't wait any longer.  The forecast is fantastic for the next five days and we'd rather they ripen on the vine but we've taken what we can!  None are really fully ripe, but should ripen in a few days on your kitchen counter.  Remember to turn them every day, so that soft spots don't start where they have contact with the counter!  These are heirloom tomatoes, mostly Pink Brandywine and Black Krim.  The first will ripen pink, the latter will ripen a dark rusty red.  There are a couple of Aunt Ruby's German Green - which stays green with a gold flush and is ready when it softens up - very tasty.  They are not pretty: weather fluctuations have caused cracking around the stem but it is cosmetic!  A heartbreaking amount have gone straight to the garbage can because they were too cracked, too soft or leaking.  It's hard to throw something out when you've been babying it since February! On the 'upside', we've ripened a few on the counter and they are soooooo tasty!

We're also going to be doing bigger bundles of carrots this week and next!  Eat the smaller ones now, and prepare the bigger carrots for storage!  Here's a great link for storing carrots!  Properly prepared, fresh carrots will store in the refrigerator for three to four months, but bigger sizes are best!  The same can be said for beets, and you'll all get some good bundles next week!  And don't forget to eat your carrot tops!  We've posted before about this but here's another link with some recipes for carrot greens!

Today, for the FULL SHARES:  Spaghetti squash, Acorn squash, Lemon Ball cucumber, carrots, onions, tomatoes, tomatillos, potatoes.

PART SHARES:  Spaghetti squash, either an orange Kabocha or Hubbard squash, carrots, onions, tomatoes, potatoes.

SINGLE SHARES:  Spaghetti squash, blue Kabocha squash, carrots, onions, tomatoes, potatoes.

Friday, September 19, 2014

CSA For September 18th!

Well, got home from our CSA meet-up last night to find the power out.  No power, no internet around here.  Farmer Man phoned the Manitoba Hydro trouble line and our trouble was not listed so we checked our system, assumed it would be short lived and lit some candles.  Evening chores were done by flashlight.  Over an hour later, he phoned again and we were now listed, cause being a pole with wires down and no idea when it would be fixed.  So I went to bed.  The power came on again a little after 10 PM, but I did not get up to finish the blog post....sorry!  Then this morning...just no internet!  Re-booted all the equipment, checked all the connections and nothing.  So, a couple of hours later we're finally back to normal and finishing the CSA newsletter!

I guess the big surprise in the baskets was fresh celery.  Late Wednesday evening our pal Roger showed up with some gorgeous heads of celery and some spaghetti squash.  Roger is a 'potato pal' - he and Jes met over the search for interesting potatoes.  Roger seems to grow a lot of things that he doesn't eat...hence, he thought of us when he had some lovely extra celery!  We wanted to make sure everyone enjoyed some of this treat, so we split it as best we could!  Don't forget all that foliage is wonderful for seasoning soups, stews and sautees....and may make an interesting pesto!  Thank you, Roger!

Baking with winter squash is a delight!  Please replace the 'canned pumpkin' in any recipe with roasted, fresh squash!  Try these Pumpkin Donut Holes!  There's also great links at the bottom of the post for muffins, donuts and more!  Here's the Winter Squash Muffin recipe we use all the time.  We've made it with pretty much every type of winter squash.  We roast a whole squash, let it cool, then pack away the roasted flesh in one cup portions - ready for these muffins!  In the zipper type freezer bags, they store flat and can be stacked or tucked into all kind of spare space in the freezer!  Check Tuesday's blog post for some more recipe ideas!

How do you deal with some of the larger, hard skinned squash like Hubbard or Boston Marrow? Well, a saw can help.  A large, sharp knife and a rubber mallet can be good.  Check out this post with some ideas for cutting winter squash.  One of the best tips I ever learned was from an elderly farmers market customer: she would wrap a large squash in a plastic garbage bag and just throw it on the concrete floor of her garage.  It would break into pieces in the bag: just wash off and prepare!  I've used that trick many times!

Have you tried baking your Swiss chard? Here's a great recipe for baked Swiss chard, Greek style!  Beet greens would be lovely in that recipe, too!  Heard of kale chips?  You can do that with chard or beet greens as well - here's a recipe for Beet Green Chips!   Here's five more great recipes for beet greens!  While you're at it: eat those carrot tops!  We've posted this before and some CSA members have now had carrot top pesto and loved it!  Check out a number of things to do with carrot tops, including pesto, here!  And these roasted carrots with cumin and chick peas sound fantastic!

ALL SHARES, just varying sizes:  Celery, Sangria (or Sangre) potatoes, spaghetti squash, Delicata winter squash, Lemon Ball cucumber, a mixture of beets including golden, white, Chioggia (a mild beet with red and white stripes inside), a mixture of carrots including orange Nantes, Purple Haze and Atomic Red, onions.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

CSA For September 16th!

The tomatoes came through our cold spell nicely,
under their fleece cover! 
Well, the cold spell has come and gone!  The forecast is warm for the next five days.  We definitely had frost - there are touches on the summer squash, the cucumbers that we didn't cover look crispy.  Everything we covered is fine - and hopefully will keep going as the weather improves now!

We started digging our garlic...and what a disappointment!  The heads are small to, well, tiny!  Can't figure out why when there has been such consistent moisture this season.  We knew something was 'up' when they didn't flower or scape.  We love the scapes and we missed them this year!  The garlic is tasty, but some of the cloves are just little slivers.  We found, when we dug some on Sunday to go with our lamb shank (see our Facebook page) that it is just too much hassle to try to completely strip the papery covering off the tiny cloves.  And you know what?  It didn't matter - it was so light it just disappeared during the cooking.

Spaghetti squash is coming nicely.  It's so unique in that the flesh comes out, well, like spaghetti rather than a nice soft puree.  Here's a great recipe for using it just like pasta, gluten free! Try Spaghetti Squash with Turkey Meatballs on a cool autumn evening!  Or how about stuffed with lasagna!  This would work well with any winter squash.  The seeds of all winter squash are edible, once roasted!  Pumpkin seeds are the best known, of course, but they are pretty much all good and great to toss on salads, roasted veg or even to top your muffins and such!  Here's an great link with basic instructions for harvesting and roasting the seeds.  This vegetarian stew with winter squash, crushed tomatoes and beans sounds delightful! A rift on Mexican posole, it would be rib-sticking and warming on a cool Fall night.

Feel like a little baking?  Here's Pumpkin roll with maple frosting!  This would be wonderful with Sugar pumpkin, Kabocha, Hubbard, Boston Marrow or even Delicata!  These Winter Squash Brownies sound fabulous - and the link has a bunch of other links for pumpkin/winter squash goodies!

Fall is a fantastic time to start making casseroles.  The house smells good, having the oven on warms things up a bit on a cool evening.  Comfort food indeed, and casseroles are often quite simple!  Here's a great link from The Kitchn with 10 Casserole Recipes including vegetarian lasagna and a potato, squash and cheese version.

Got zucchini or other summer squash to use up?  These zucchini and cheddar hand pies sound good.  If you're not into making the dough from scratch, I'm sure those tubes of crescent rolls in the grocery store would work just as well!

Today, for The FULL SHARES:  Garlic, Lemon Ball cucumber, carrots, beets, zucchini, mixed Largo and Crookneck summer squash, Sangria potatoes, spaghetti squash, Delicata winter squash, tomato, apples.

PART SHARES:  Garlic, Lemon Ball cucumber, carrots, beets, zucchini, Crookneck summer squash, Sangria potatoes, Spaghetti squash, Delicata winter squash, tomato, apples.

SINGLE SHARES:  Garlic, Lemon Ball cucumber, carrots, beets, zucchini, Crookneck summer squash, Sangria potatoes, spaghetti squash, Delicata winter squash, tomato, apples.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

CSA For September 11th!

All the tomatoes under fleece! Two five-hundred foot rows!
Thanks for pal Deb who came and helped!
The last thirty six hours, for us, have been all about frost!  Wednesday night had a possibility (although I don't think it happened) and tonight's forecast low of -2 Celsius ( about 29 F.) will absolutely do some damage.  Wednesday afternoon we put aside soap making and barn cleaning and a few other chores to cover, protect and harvest everything we could!  The summer squash will not make it through temperatures below freezing so we took everything we could find.  Today's CSA families will get a handful of the delightful wee baby summer squash and free choice of some larger green and yellow zucchini.  We saved enough big ones for Tuesday's families, because they will hold well.  And we donated a bunch to Samaritan House.  We had to make hard decisions today: dig potatoes or keep harvesting tender veggies?  The tender veggies won out, so there are no potatoes for CSA today!

The cucumbers will probably not survive also.  We have covered the Lemon Ball and part of one patch of slicing cukes but the rest will be left to fend for themselves.  The thing is, when frost comes, is that we only have so much stuff to cover stuff with!  And our priority:  the tomatoes and peppers.  It is unbelievable to us that our CSA families have not yet gotten a ripe tomato!  And it's almost the middle of September!  So we've picked some that were showing some colour and have 'tucked in' the rest!

We've given you a ton of links for using summer squash.  Here's one we've never, ever shared before: How about making your own gummy candy from dehydrated summer squash?

Everyone got a fairly good supply of cucumbers today.  I found this article very interesting: cucumbers as the new baguette!

Many of you will still have larger sizes of summer squash and here comes the winter squash!  All are fabulous stuffed - here's a link with a myriad of stuffing recipes!  We've taken the first of the Spaghetti squash today, and it and vegetable marrow, as well as large sizes of zucchini and Patty Pan are my favourite for stuffing.  The sweeter winter squash, such as Kabocha and Acorn, are lovely with a fruit stuffing.  Simple, easy and looks impressive on the plate!

It's 9:30 PM and I'm just finishing the blog post.  After getting home from CSA we've had a quick bite to eat, put the goats and chickens to bed, fed the dogs and cats, then picked some crab apples for some friends that want them but can't seem to get over here to pick their own.  It was getting too dark to even see the crab apples, so we've unloaded the CSA crates from the truck, checked all our frost protection and covered a few more things and there is nothing else we can do.  It is what it is - and we'll find out tomorrow just what has transpired!

So for today, FULL SHARES:  Slicing cucumbers, Lemon Ball cucumbers, beets, Delicata, large Spaghetti squash, small 'Small Wonder' spaghetti squash (round one that looks like it has green netting), Acorn squash, Winter Sunshine Kabocha (the small orange one), green zucchini, small and large, yellow zucchini, Jalapeno and green bell pepper, corn, carrots.

PART SHARES:  Slicing cucumber, Lemon Ball cucumber, beets, Delicata, Spaghetti, Acorn and Winter Sunshine Kabocha winter squash, small green and yellow zucchini, large zucchinis, jalapeno pepper, corn, carrots.

SINGLE SHARES:  Slicing cucumbers, Lemon Ball cucumber, beets, Delicata, spaghetti, Acorn and 'Winter Sunshine' Kabocha winter squash, green and yellow baby zucchini, large zucchini, jalapeno, corn, carrots.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

CSA For September 9th!

Farmer Man digging potatoes first thing: Fresh is
what we're all about!
I must admit that I had my snow pants on this morning.  And a toque.  It was seriously that kind of chilly!  And I'm a bit of a pansy where working out in cold weather for extended periods is concerned.  I still have light-weight summer chinos out for wearing - the heavier denims and corduroys are put away so something had to be done!  There was just enough wind that my legs were cold so...the snow pants were easy to find!

Veggies are getting a bit more 'field to fork'!  Our help has gone back to university, so Jes and I are doing everything ourselves.  Once again we ran out of time to do very effective cleaning.  Usually things harvested first, like potatoes, are put into our crates to air out and dry off.  Today, nothing much dried, so the dirt was sticking to the potatoes, onions, carrots and beets.

Part of the experience of CSA is really seeing, and eating, the cycle of the growing season.  Lettuce, peas, beans came and went.  The summer squash appeared, and just never ends!  Winter squash has started to appear.  As we go through this little cold spell, notice how the weather changes your veggies. The skin on cucumbers and summer squash gets a little thicker.  Swiss chard gets a little 'chewier'.  As we go through the next few weeks, if there is a little frost, do you notice the carrots and the beets getting any sweeter?  Some of interesting veggies are ready: today we've got the all-blue potato Russian Blue and some purple carrots!

Here comes the winter squash!  Winter squash is different from summer squash in that it is ready later, and you don't eat the skin.  The seeds aren't eaten unless you roast them.  Things like pumpkins, butternut squash and acorn squash are some of the best known...as well as spaghetti squash which is unique in that the flesh comes out in strands like spaghetti.  Most winter squash, cooked, is rather more like potatoes in texture except for nutty, often sweet flavour!  Winter squash is often interchangeable in recipes, you just get a slightly different version of the dish.  We've made muffins, for example, with butternut, Sugar pumpkin, acorn, Hubbard, Boston marrow, Delicata, buttercup and Kabocha.  They are all wonderful - just different flavours and textures!  And please, please, please make any recipe that calls for canned pumpkin and just substitute your fresh, roasted Winter squash for fabulous flavour!  Wash and half a winter squash, roast in the oven at 375 C. until the skin is easily pierces with a fork.  Some recipes call for the cut side down on your baking sheet, some call for cut side up and buttered or oiled.  Doesn't really matter.  The roasted flash scoops out of the skin quite easily and is ready to use for muffins, loaves, soup and pies!  Everyone got a Delicata today: a small oval with ridges.  It is known as the sweet potato squash because it tastes vaguely like sweet potatoes.  Some CSA members love this one for fries!

Will the broccoli finish?
That being said, these Pumpkin Roll Bars sound fantastic!  Our Full Shares got Vegetable Marrow today - a large beige oval.  This one has less flavour than many winter squash, but excels at absorbing flavour.  We always stuff them, then serve out slices.  Use any recipe you might stuff something with: turkey stuffing, green pepper stuffing, leftover rice, quinoa...you name it1

Yes, there is still summer squash!  Look back through the links in the blog for something new to try!  This Zucchini Boat with Mediterranean Rice Salad, found over at the Hedley's Health Hut Facebook page, sounds really good and quite easy!

FULL SHARES: Slicing cucumbers, Largo, Patty Pan and Papaya Pear summer squash, vegetable marrow and Delicata winter squash, beets, Russian Blue and Viking potatoes, chard, carrots, onions and jalapeno pepper.

PART SHARES:  Slicing cucumbers, Largo, Patty Pan and Crookneck summer squash, Delicata winter squash, beets, Russian Blue and Viking potatoes, carrots, onions, bell pepper.

SINGLE SHARES:  Slicing cucumbers, Largo and Patty Pan summer squash, beets, Russian Blue potatoes, carrots, onions. 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

CSA for September 4th

A new friend helped with CSA today!
Thursday CSA seems to have no luck this year...when it comes to rain!  Another rainy Wednesday evening and early Thursday morning.  Thunder, lightening - the whole show!  But, we're already behind with Thursday's families so when the weather radar looked like it was going to end mid-morning we decided to go for it!  It's mucky - no question.  And the veggies are dirty - no question.  But, there is some awesome stuff ready to go and we got it!

We're into September, I haven't seen any stats but I think this summer has been short on heat and long on rain!  On the Weather Network, the 'High Water Level' is back on due to the rain.  Yeesh!  We have some lovely, lovely tomatoes - all as green as anything.  We can't seem to ripen a tomato this year!  Anybody love fried green tomatoes, let us know - we can make you happy!  We've lost a few cantaloupe due to rot starting where they lay on the ground.

Here comes the winter squash!  We've got our first pick today on vegetable marrow - a traditional favourite with my mother's family - enough for the Full Shares only today.  It can get a little confusing because Brits tend to call small zucchini 'courgettes' and large zucchini 'marrow' but what we have is a different thing called 'vegetable marrow'.  It is a winter squash so you don't eat the skin, although we have one farmers market customer whose family has always eaten the skin on all winter squash!  On it's own, vegetable marrow is rather bland.  It's fantastic, though, at absorbing flavours!  Our traditional family recipe involves spiced sausages removed from the casing - anything from breakfast sausage to chorizo would work, depending on your spice level.  Check out this recipe for sausage stuffed marrow!  You can stuff it with anything you might stuff a pepper or tomato - just think flavourful because the marrow will absorb the flavour!  We've also got a wee pick on Delicata - known as the sweet potato squash for its' resemblance to the taste of sweet potatoes.  It's a favourite of one of our long time members who happens to be allergic to potatoes - it is perfect for making fries!

Finally, here comes the carrots and beets!  We've got a nice little dig on purple and red carrots today - for a little veggie 'bling'!  And STOP!  Don't compost those carrot tops...they're good eating, including a nice, slightly bitter pesto!  Here's a great link with ideas for eating your carrot greens!

Zucchini and other summer squash continue to do well.  Hmmh, Greek zucchini fritters!  Here's a great link to a plethora of links for zucchini recipes: everything from bread to muffins to appetizers with goat cheese!  In Tuesdays' blog post we mentioned the spiralizer - a little gadget that will cut your zucchini or other veggies into pasta or curly fries.  If you've got a mandoline or if you have good knife skills, you can cut your zucchini into lasagna noodles!

Cucumbers are doing well!  Anybody wanting to pickle - let us know.  In the meantime, how about using some for cucumber canapes? Little, bite-size cucumber slices for hors d'ouevres or as a side? Everything from cream cheese to crab to sun-dried tomatoes make awesome bite size delights!  The bigger sizes are perfect for chunky salads like Greek or this chunky cucumber salad.  Cucumber are also fantastic for beauty treatments....no, really!  Here's some great ideas for cucumber facials.

FULL SHARES:  Vegetable marrow, Delicata winter squash, slicing cucumbers, Lemon Ball cucumber, Crookneck, Papaya Pear and Patty Pan summer squash, 1 lb. Romano beans, carrots, beets, Swiss Chard, apples, Red Potatoes,  jalapeno and Hungarian Hot peppers.

PART SHARES:  Delicata winter squash, slicing cucumbers, Crookneck, Papaya Pear and Patty Pan summer squash, 1/2 lb. Romano beans, Swiss chard, carrots, beets, apples, potatoes, jalapeno and Hungarian Hot peppers.

SINGLE SHARES:  Slicing cucumbers, Lemon Ball cucumbers, Papaya Pear and Patty Pan summer squash, Swiss chard, carrots, beets, apples potatoes, jalapeno pepper.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

CSA for (gasp!) September 2!

Lemon Ball Cucumbers ready to pick!
 Hard to believe it's September: Where did Summer go? Did we have a summer this year?  We're already into a cycle of cool nights and warm days; our dwarf Amur maple 'Fireball' is already showing Fall colour in the leaves!  And the Fall solstice is still twenty days away!  For many of our members this is back-to-school time and we totally expect a few of you to forget your pick up today in the rush of events!  Happens every year.  This odd summer has some of our garden renters coming to us with problems like mould and mildew on everything from tomatoes to winter squash.  Dense planting, over-head watering with a can or sprayer are all leading to problems for gardeners.

The gardens carry on, nonetheless.  We're at the uncomfortable moment between crops - the winter squash, carrots and tomatoes are not quite ready, the beans are tailing off, the lettuces and peas are finished.  We see a touch of frost on the foliage of our winter squash, up in the north part of our fields, out in the open.  Just a touch - must have happened that evening that got down to six degrees Celsius.  The cucumbers seem to be loving this weather, though!  We've got our first pick on Lemon Ball cucumbers.  Yes, those little yellow balls are heirloom cucumbers!  They've got a bit of bristle on their skin; just scrub it off and they are a delightful slicing cucumber.  Also coming on are tomatillos and ground cherries - we've got small picks on both which will be on the trading table - on of the reasons it's good to come early!

Amanda and Ed have come through today with the first pick of corn!  It's probably all they have to share - but it's a start.  Our corn, knocked over during one of the storms, is coming along fine but is a week, maybe two, before it's ready.  Amanda and Ed also brought a nice selection of herbs!

Ground cherries, from pineapple flavours to lime,
depending on the ripeness!
Here's a round up of fast cucumber recipes for salads and juicing!  These larger sizes of cucumber are great for cold cucumber soup, it's so easy to remove the centre seed package and chunk all the flesh for pureeing!  The big sizes are also fabulous for chunky cucumber salad - like this Szechuan cucumber and bacon salad!  This recipe includes bacon lardons, which are just pieces larger than bacon bits.  Check out lardons here and this one with video instructions for making your own.  Here's a very simple chunky cucumber salad.

Have you heard of a spiralizer? You can put veggies like zucchini through the little machine and noodles come out!  Here's a recipe for Zoodle Pasta, an example of the fabulous things you can do!  They are also handy for curly potato fries and fancy carrots!  How about zucchini for breakfast with these Whole Wheat Zucchini Pancakes?  Classic zucchini bread is always welcome, and this recipe makes two loaves, one of which would freeze well if nicely wrapped.  Here's a link to a bunch of links for zucchini bread, including versions with berries, chocolate chips and lemon!

For the FULL SHARES:  Long English cucumber, slicing cucumber and Lemon Ball cucumber, 4 heads of corn, lb. of pole beans, assorted zucchini, assorted Crookneck squash, 3.5 lbs. of red potatoes, herb.

PART SHARES:  Slicing cucumber, Lemon Ball cucumber, 4 heads corn, 3/4 lb. Romano beans, assorted zucchini, assorted Crookneck squash, 3 lbs. red potatoes, baby beets, herb.

SINGLE SHARES:  Lemon Ball cucumber, 2 heads corn, 1/2 lb. Romano beans, assorted zucchini, assorted Crookneck squash, 2 lbs. red potatoes, herbs.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

CSA For August 28th

Lots of flowers, but no sign of fruit yet on the Butternut
squash.  Is there time to finish any this year?
Last week was a bit wild! Stormy weather Thursday caused us to cancel the pick-up - something we've rarely done in our years of doing CSA!  The wild weather continued through the weekend causing some havoc around Aagaard Farms.  Did you see the picture we shared on Facebook of the corn all blown over?  Branches were broken on tomatoes, apple trees and, of course, the willow drop thousands of bits all over the place.  The rain was welcome - it has been a bit dry but the deluge can cause things to grow too fast.  Time will tell on the weathers' effects on the gardens!  We tried our carrots today - and got a small dig - just enough for the Full Shares, but they are coming along nicely.

Today has been a bit rocky for me (Norah).  I always have a little problem with my hip but this morning I woke up with my neck out-of-joint.  I tried a little heat in the morning, which helped a bit but by early afternoon I felt like I had seized up from my shoulders to my thigh on my left side.  Farmer Man was nice enough to say he'd do the CSA pick up solo while I stretched out again with a hot water bottle.

The cucumbers have gone wild: they loved the hot weather of last week and then 'did, indeed, blow up' with the rains of the weekend.  How about a cold cucumber soup, this one made creamy by stirring in avocado! This tangy cucumber salad would be great as a side dish, as the bed for a grilled piece of salmon or chicken, or on a sandwich or burger.  This cucumber sauce, intended for Greek gyros, would be excellent as a veggie dip, with falafels or on fish or chicken.  Don't forget that if you don't have fresh herbs, use dried but use 1/4 to 1/2 the specified quantity - drying herbs concentrates the flavour.  Start of with about 1/4 of the recommended amount of fresh, then taste to decide if you need to add more.  If you love Japanese food, you've had sunomono salad...it is really quite easy to make.

Here is a nice little guide to food preservation.  We always love it when our CSA members save a little of the harvest for winter eating!  While the summer squash are happening - freeze a bit for winter muffins or cake.  The beans will save nicely, too.

Nice Crookneck squash in everyones' baskets today.  Here's a nice crookneck frittata - great for breakfast, lunch or dinner!  This Southern fried crookneck  and crookneck fries recipe sounds good!  Check Tuesday's blog for a recipe for beer battered crookneck!  Here's a recipe for stuffed crookneck from a Southern cook's grandma!  There some Papaya Pear going around today, too!  Always our favourite for the BBQ!

For the FULL SHARES:  Assorted summer squash of Romanesque, Crookneck and Papaya Pear, an Armenian cucumber, slicing cucumbers, carrots, beets, German Butterball potatoes, Hungarian Hot Wax peppers, onions, herbs, Kentucky Blue pole bean, Romano green beans.

For the PART SHARES:  Summer squash assortment of Romanesque, Crookneck and Papaya Pear, slicing cucumbers, onions, German butterball potatoes, beets, herbs, Kentucky Blue pole beans.

For the SINGLE SHARES:  Summer squash assortment of Romanesque, Crookneck and Papaya Pear, slicing cucumbers, beets, German Butterball potatoes, onions, Kentucky Blue pole beans.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

CSA for August 26th!

We do have some lovely tomatoes! Just all green still!
Did you see the picture on our Facebook page of the corn all knocked over?  It's been a tough weekend!  First, we had to cancel Thursday's CSA pick up due to wet weather.  And the wind and rain didn't stop!  Lots of damage over four days of storms: corn and sunflowers knocked over, tree branches down, plums blown off the tree, some of the tomato plants broken.  It was chilly-willy when we started out with chores this morning: just 5 C (about 42 F) but it has warmed up nicely as the day has gone along. It is, however, still mucky in the garden and lots of the veggies are dirt-splashed!

The Patty Pan summer squash are coming on strong.  As the sizes get larger think about stuffing them!  Eye-catching as well as yummy.   Farmer Man has a favourite recipe involving crab meat, cream cheese and onion.  How about cheese and bacon stuffed Patty Pan?  Here's a great link, with good photo instruction, on sausage stuffed Patty Pans.  If you've got a large one, stuff it and serve slices.  If you've got a few mediums, stuff and serve as individual portions - looks good on a plate!  You can stuff them with anything you might stuff a pepper or tomato with: rice mixtures, quinoa, left-over mashed potatoes all mixed with veggies, meats, cheeses and even fruits!  We've done this recipe for stuffing with dried cranberries!

All of the summer squash are pretty much interchangeable in recipes.  You've all got Crookneck today and it is a bit more tender and buttery.  It is awesome in something like zucchini fritters.  We have a soft spot in our hearts for battered and fried Crookneck: here's a link with a beer batter for Crookneck!  Here's basic instructions for a crunchy coated squash.  We quite often do them in Panko and Cajun spice!  You all know summer squash is excellent for dessert, too, right?  Do try these zucchini brownies  or these cinnamon frosted zucchini bars

While they are abundant, are you going to get some veggies frozen?  Here's some quick and easy instructions for freezing fresh vegetables.  We always save some freezer bags of summer squash - grated, drained a bit then stuffed into freezer bags in one cup portions: perfect for winter muffins or zucchini bread.  The Patty Pans, Papaya Pear and Moroccan types aren't as 'juicy' and we usually don't have to drain them.

We've got a pick on pole beans today: either a green bean type or a Romano (flat pod) type.  The pole beans are late, after the bush beans.  They are a bit more fibrous and all have a string along the spine so remove it as you top-and-tail the beans!  These big, meaty beans are awesome for soups and stews, and do quite well in tin-foil packs on the BBQ, although not quite as tender as Dragons Tongue!  Beans are a little prone to rust and we're surprised at how much rust developed over this wet weekend!  We were 'editing' in the field as we picked, but some may have made it into your bags with some rusty ends.  It's largely cosmetic, but eliminate the end and the rest of the bean is fine!

For the FULL SHARES:  A couple of large Crookneck, assorted medium to large Patty Pans, Blue Lake pole beans, beets, an Armenian or Long English cucumber, slicing cucumber, small bag mesclun mix, large bag All Red potatoes, small bag either Sangria red or Yukon Gold potatoes, onions.

PART SHARES:  Crookneck squash, assorted medium Patty Pan squash, Romano pole beans, Armenian or Long English cucumber, slicing cucumber, medium bag Sangria red potatoes, medium bag Yukon Gold potatoes, herb, onions.

SINGLE SHARES:  Crookneck squash, Patty Pan, slicing cucumber, small bag All Red potatoes, herb, onions.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

CSA for August19th

A little bit of an unusual CSA Tuesday.  We've lost our right-hand lady Alex, who is off to university in Saskatoon.  We will sure miss her but wish her all the best of luck!  Then, to complicate matters I, Norah, am off this afternoon to a training session.  If I didn't do this session, the only other option was driving to Winnipeg on a Thursday, in a few weeks, so I had to take the time today.  I've picked beans like crazy this morning, but will be leaving Jes and Andrew to prepare the rest of your CSA baskets.

Had one of those fantastic 'farmers markets moments' on Saturday.  Love introducing new vegetables to people!   During the Global Market I introduced some acquaintances to Patty Pan summer squash.  They were having a BBQ, and I told them about the joys of Patty Pans ( or Scallopinis, as they are sometimes called) in tin foil veggie packs.  They don't get soggy like zucchini.  Well, by chance I ran into them later that night and they were raving!  The creamy texture, buttery flavour - they are big fans now!  Next, they need to try Papaya Pear, which is also fantastic for BBQing.  Papaya Pear is solid enough that you can grill thick slices of it just like a hamburger.  We often soak it for twenty minutes or so in a mix of balsamic vinegar and olive oil.  Yummy!

Oh, Yeh! Carbonara pasta with green beans!  We did this Sunday night with Jade green beans, topped with some crumbled bacon.  Very nice; the leftovers were good for lunch the next day!  It will work very well with the Blue Lake pole beans everyone is getting: it's a big, meaty bean perfect for this sort of recipe!  I had pre-cooked the beans and next time I will leave them a little less cooked!

The summer squash is coming on strong!  How about turning those zucchini into little zucchini pizza bites?  We made these before:  zucchini pancakes. Big and fluffy and just fabulous with Manitoba Maple Syrup.  Long time customer Juel shared on Facebook a recipe she found on this blog a few years ago: a zucchini salad called crudo, from Michael Ruhlman.  Zucchini are not just for dinner: there is, of course, the fabulous moist chocolate zucchini cakes, and zucchini muffins but this recipe for zucchini cookies with lemon glaze sounds great.

So, for the FULL SHARES:  Long English cucumber, slicing cucumber, Blue Lake pole beans, Dragons Tongue bean, zucchini, Patty Pan, golden zucchini, kale, baby beets with greens, All Red potatoes, Mesclun lettuce mix and Buttercrunch lettuce.

For the PART SHARES:  Long English cucumber, slicing cucumber, Blue Lake pole beans, zucchini, Patty Pan squash, golden zucchini, All Red potatoes, Mesclun lettuce mix, Buttercrunch lettuce.

For the SINGLE SHARES:  Armenian cucumber, slicing cucumber, Golden Child French filet bean, Blue Lake pole bean, zucchini, golden zucchini, Yukon Gold potatoes, Mesclun mixed lettuces, Buttercrunch lettuces.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

CSA For August 14th!

Here comes the Summer Squash!
It's high summer and look out!  Here comes the Summer Squash!  The zucchini, the Patty Pans, the Papaya Pear, the Golden and more of our fabulous variety of Summer Squash are kicking into high gear!  They will be in your baskets 'big time' for the next while!  There are so many fabulous things to do with summer squash, not just stir fries and raw sticks!  Cookies, the most fabulous chocolate cake, pancakes and, oh, here's a great recipes for zucchini fritters!  While you are there checking out the fritters, do check out the rest of the fabulous blog Closet Cooking! Here's our own primer on our wide variety of Summer Squash, Part 1 and Part 2.  On this blog, down the right-hand side are labels for all the blog posts over the years, click 'summer squash' label and a ton of posts with recipe links will come up!  And we'll be posting new finds in each and every newsletter in the next little while!  Speaking of chocolate cake: here's a recipe for a simple, from-scratch chocolate zucchini cake.  If you've never made one it is the most moist, delectable chocolate cake with all that 'hidden' fibre and nutrition!

Amanda and Ed have arrived with some lovely Long English Cucumbers for everyone!  These are thin-skinned, delicate cucumbers which tend not to cause digestive problems for people!  Amanda and Ed have also supplied some nice herbs - ask us about what is in your box if you don't recognize it 'cause there are small amounts of a number of herbs!

We've dug the last of the winter onions today and everyone is getting some.  We took our first little dig of the spring-planted onions and they are coming along nicely!  The foliage will be awesome chopped raw into salads and as garnish!  The garlic, well, it's coming slowly.  We've just had a walk to look at it and we're watering it this afternoon.  Although Brandon has been inundated with flooding and wild storms we are now officially into drought.  This hot, humid weather can be stressful for plants used to cool and moist!

Also, as the season progresses more of our interesting potatoes are being dug.  As we get away from baby or 'new' potatoes we get more interesting textures.  Today, everyone is getting a mixed bag of 'Yukon Gold', a drier, fluffy yellow potato great mashed or for fries, and 'All Red' a neat, dense potato with pink flesh! Yes, it's red all the way through.  Great fun mashed or in salads or scalloped potatoes!

So, for the FULL SHARES: Long English cucumber, slicer cucumber, green and golden zucchini, Dragon's Tongue and Romano bean mix, Jade green beans, Golden Child filets beans, 3 lbs. mixed potatoes, lg. bag Mesclun mixed lettuces, lg. bag Buttercrunch, head of Romaine lettuce, winter and spring onions, an herb.

For the PART SHARES: Long English cucumber and slicer cucumber, mixed green and gold zucchini, Dragon's tongue and Romano bean mix, medium bag of Jade green beans, 2 lbs. mixed potatoes, Mesclun mixed lettuces and Buttercrunch lettuce, winter onions, an herb.

For the SINGLE SHARES:  Long English cucucmber, green zucchini and a small Patty Pan squash, Dragons Tongue and Romano bean mix, 1.5 lbs. mixed potatoes, Buttercrunch lettuce, winter onions, an herb.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

CSA For August 12th!

Romano beans!
We're really noticing the inevitable 'march' of the seasons this week!  As the raspberries come to the end of their season, the leaves of the canes that carried berries start to yellow and crisp up.  There is lovely new green growth, the canes that will carry fruit next year, but still the patches of yellow show in the rows.  We really notice, as the days get shorter, that The Hens are going to roost earlier (a good thing after the long days of CSA harvest).  And our egg count is down a bit, as chickens are stimulated by day length to lay their eggs.  We're now only bottle feeding our baby goats once a day, meaning they are growing up and soon we'll be free of that chore.  On the up-side: the corn is looking good, we have a bevy of small green tomatoes, the peppers are flowering like crazy and cucumbers are on the menu!

A nice change: hardly any biting insects bothering us today.  Mosquitoes seem to have abated, the little flies are hardly noticeable.  On the downside, aphids and fruit flies are around: you may find a tiny purple/black bug on your beans and it's not a spider - it's an aphid.  We've taken the unusual step (for us) of rinsing the both the Dragon's Tongue and Romano beans today.  Although we've given them plenty of time to dry we highly recommend you get them out of the plastic bags!  Think of it as another sign of your veggies being grown chemical-free!

We want you to eat your veggies!  All of your veggies!  So here's a great post from Mother Earth News on keeping the harvest fresh!  Some great links at the bottom of the page for preserving, too!

We don't grow copious amounts of chard, but because it re-grows nicely CSAers get some throughout the share season.  Here's a fantastic primer on all things chard: from storage to some unique recipes including a galette with Gruyere!  Chard will be available again in another week, maybe two.

Amanda and Ed came through with some lovely Long English Cucumbers today!  There are also mixed in a few Armenian cucumbers - long but pale green instead of dark green.  We've gotten the first nice pick on slicing cukes for everybody, too!  The second seeding of assorted salad greens have done well so some nice salads are in your future!  Amanda and Ed also brought the absolute last of the cabbage!

The bean-o-rama continues.  Dragons Tongue for everyone today and some close cousins: Romano beans.  Also a long, thin but wide bean, Romanos deserve more respect...and more planting.  Here's some great info on Romano beans.  We've also had a nice pick on a lovely green bean, Jade.  And the first pick on a true filet: Golden Child.  Filets are wee, skinny beans: delicate and tender! Although they are fairly prolific, their size means we have to pick a lot to get a pound!  Please do not overcook the filets - they will get too soft easily!

Here comes the summer squash!  There are Crookneck, with the rounded neck.  This is a soft, buttery delicate squash.  Stir fry lightly - the southern States consider this a delicacy and bread slices and then pan fry.  The roly-poly squash is a Papaya Pear - firm and nutty flavor.  BBQ slices like hamburgers, soaked in balsamic vinegar and olive oil for about 20 minutes before grilling.  The other little 'space ship' are Patty Pans, also firm and a light almond flavour.  All of these will be awesome raw in salads, in stir fries and, particularly the last two, in tin foil on the grill!

So, for the FULL SHARES:  Cabbage, Long English cucumber (or maybe an Armenian), slicing cucumber, summer squash mix of Patty Pan, Papaya and/or Crookneck, Beans: Dragons Tongue/Romano mix, Jade Green/Golden Child mix, onions, Mesclun mixed lettuces, Grand Rapids lettuce, Buttercrunch lettuce, Norland/Yukon Gold mixed potatoes, herb.

For the PART SHARES:  Cabbage, Long English cucumber, slicing cucumber, summer squash mix of Patty Pan, Papaya and/or Crookneck, mixed Dragons Tongue and Romano beans, Golden Child filet beans, onions, Mesclun mixed lettuces, Grand Rapids lettuce, Eramosa white potatoes, herbs.

For the SINGLE SHARES:  Long English cucumber, slicing cucumber, Summer Squash, Dragons Tongue beans, onions, Mesclun mixed lettuces, Buttercrunch lettuce, Norland red potatoes, herbs.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

CSA for August 7th!

The peas are about done!
We're starting to really feel the cycle of the gardens.  Most vegetables are annuals: the plants have one try at growing and making babies (the vegetable or part we eat) and then they die.  The peas are the perfect example, already the foliage is yellowing and dying back; they're about done for this year!  Yes, there are still a few flowers at the tips, but unless the weather stays cool and rainy, those would largely just set stumpy little pods.  We picked out the peas today and really not enough for any share but some bags will be on the trading table!

Amanda and Ed have supplied one last round of cabbage.  We had an extra from Tuesday's CSA and we snapped it up for a little dinner party in honour of visiting sister Keltie last night.  Oddly enough, sister Keltie did most of the cooking for the party - and was it delightful!  She used this recipe for roasted cabbage with bacon on the BBQ!  So tasty - and really very easy!  You could do this in the oven, as well, no problem!  It's a must try - very yummy.  We had some vegetarians with us last night and did a couple pieces without the bacon - also delish!

It is bean time...lots of beans the next few weeks.  Keltie also made, last night, honey-Dijon glazed beans.  She pre-cooked the beans, a mix of yellow and green, to just crispy.  Then she sauteed them in equal parts honey and Dijon mustard.  She made a huge mess of beans, enough for eight people, and used half a cup of each.  Dial back the amount to maybe two tablespoons for a pound of beans - you can always add more!  She just stirred the beans a few times to make sure all were well coated in the mix.  Great flavour!  Now we do like our families to keep some of their share for winter use.  The abundance of beans may mean you have more than you can eat in a week.  Check Tuesday's blog for a post of quick-and-easy freezing without blanching.  If freezer space is limited you can dehydrate beans - they reconstitute quickly in soups and stews.  They can just be stored, preferably in glass, in cupboards or pantry shelves.  Here's a link with a number of ways to preserve beans including dehydrating in the oven!

At the bottom of this post is a great chart for cooking a wide variety of vegetables.  This showed up in my inbox and I thought it was perfect for sharing with you all.  Most people over-cook vegetables and destroy more of the essential vitamins and minerals then is necessary.  This cheat sheet is fantastic!  Hope you can read it!

So, for the FULL SHARES:  1 1/2 lbs. Dragon's Tongue beans, 1 lb. mixed Royal Burgundy and yellow wax beans, 1 lb. green beans (Jade, first pick), lg. cabbage, 3 lbs. Norland red baby potatoes, onions, Grand Rapids lettuce, Mesclun mixed lettuces, radish, herb, raspberries.

For the PART SHARES:  1 lb. Dragon's Tongue beans, 1 lb. mixed Royal Burgundy and yellow wax beans, med. cabbage, 2 lb. Norland red baby potatoes, onions, Grand Rapids lettuce, Mesclun mixed lettuces, herbs, raspberries.

For the SINGLE SHARES:  1 lb. Dragons Tongue beans, 1 lb. mixed Royal Burgundy and yellow wax beans, sm. cabbage, onions, Norland red baby potatoes, Grand Rapids lettuce, herbs, raspberries.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

CSA For August 5th!

Things are finally starting to look like Summer in the garden!  Took a while this year!  The first pick on zucchini today, there are little wee cucumbers and tomatoes!  The corn is coming nicely, although a little weedy.  And the beans!  The beans!

CSA members will get a torrent of beans of all kinds over the next few weeks!  The bigger beans, the Romano types like Dragon's Tongue and some of our climbing beans, do very well in veggie packs in tinfoil for the BBQ!  The regular beans do okay, the delicate filet will not benefit from that treatment!  Vegetables of all kinds are awesome and easy roasted on the BBQ in foil.  Here's a great link with basic instructions for BBQ roasted veg.  We encourage you all to freeze some packages of beans for winter use!  Here's a great link to easy bean freezing without blanching.  However, we all want to eat a bunch right now so here's a nice link with eleven fresh bean recipes.  Hmm, beans in a bacon vinaigrette?

Probably the last share on raspberries.  As the picking gets more sparse it's just not worth our time and we have U-pickers waiting to get a chance!  Nice, big container for everyone today!  Probably the last of the Grand Rapids lettuce as well today - unless the plants already cut grow back well.  That is highly unlikely in hot, dry weather so we will probably bid adieu to Grand Rapids for now!  We will seed a variety of lettuces shortly for nice Fall salads.

Amanda and Ed have supplied lovely cabbages again today - probably also the last of the cabbage for you!  So many 'last of's today - but that is what fresh, local eating is all about!  Everything has it's season, it peaks and then it is done!  Amanda and Ed have also supplied a nice assortment of fresh herbs.  There is a bit in everyone's basket; we'll be on hand to tell you what it is or how to use it but they have brought dill, summer savory, oregano, spearmint, mojito mint and Italian parsley!

So, for the FULL SHARES:  Lg. cabbage, a zucchini, 1/2 lb. shelling peas, onions, 1 lb. Dragon's Tongue beans, 2 lbs. assorted yellow wax, green and purple beans, 2 lbs. Norland red baby potatoes, 1/2 lb. Warba white potatoes, raspberries, radish, Swiss chard, Grand Rapids lettuce, one of the assortment of fresh herbs.

For the PART SHARES:  Cabbage, zucchini, snow peas, onions, 1 lb. Dragon Tongues Bean, 1 lb. assorted beans, 2 lbs. Norland red baby potatoes, raspberries, Grand Rapids lettuce, one of the herbs.

For the SINGLE SHARES:  Small cabbage, zucchini, onions, 1 lbs. Dragons Tongue Beans, 1/2 lb. Royal Burgundy beans, 2 lbs. Norland red potatoes, raspberries, Grand Rapids lettuce, one of the assortment of herbs.


Thursday, July 31, 2014

CSA For The Last Day of July!

Everyday starts and ends this way..for about another month!
It finally feels like summer! We had to wait until the end of July - but summer seems to be here!  Lovely and warm today, very little breeze, not a lot of bugs - fantastic day for harvesting for our families!  We were actually late for Tuesday's meet-up because there is so much to harvest right now!  We used our time a bit more wisely today and think we'll be on time!  There's so much labour-intensive veggies to harvest right now we could sure use some help - especially with raspberries!  If you'd like to find more raspberries in your basket and have time on Thursday mornings please let us know!

Beans will come hot-and-heavy for the next few weeks.  Here's a great link, with links at the bottom of the page, to a lot of ways to keep beans for winter use!  We've never dehydrated beans, but it seems like a good idea! They'll take up shelf space only, and a small space at that!  We regularly freeze beans and pack them in portions in freezer bags.  They stack nicely in the freezer, thaw quickly for use in soups, stews and stir fries!  We've picked the first of the Dragons Tongue - a Romano type bean, big and flat but tender and tasty!  Treat just like any other bean; unfortunately the purple stripes fade on cooking.

Our growing partners Amanda and Ed have provided beautiful cabbage again today.  They've also brought the first harvest of some fresh herbs.  The ferny leaf of the dill will be wonderful chopped for the new potatoes or in your salad - very different from the dried dill in the stores.  The heads of dill will flavor jars of the 'Dilly Beans' from the link above or a wonder to flavour vinegar for homemade salad dressing.  The flat leaf Parsley will be excellent chopped into salads or sprinkled on grilled chicken or pork.  It's also excellent for stuffing a roast chicken and I believe the first chickens from Luna Field Farm are available this week.  The herb with the flowers is Greek oregano - a zesty herb that will also be excellent in your salads.  It's fantastic to add a little Greek flavour to meats and pastas.  Try a little of the herb in your box straight, to give you an idea of the flavour.

The first share of new potatoes for Thursday's families- a lovely red Norland.  Please don't over-cook young potatoes.  We usually simply steam them for about fifteen minutes but you can boil them, too, just not too long!  New potatoes sometimes can get mushy if roasted in tin foil on the BBQ, so perhaps wait a couple of weeks until we've got older spuds for you!

Last week everyone got Boyne raspberries - the standard hardy raspberry for the Prairies grown here for decades.  For this Thursday, we got a small pick on Mammoth, a newer variety developed at the U of S.  There's just enough today for the Full Shares.  We'll be interested to see if you notice a difference.  We won't make any comment here 'cause we don't want to influence you!

So, for the Full Shares: Lg. cabbage, 3/4 lb. each of green, yellow, Royal Burgundy and Dragon's Tongue beans, 4 lbs. new potatoes, Lg. Mammoth raspberries, bag each Mesclun mixed lettuces and Grand Rapids, fresh dill.

For the Part Shares:  Lg. cabbage, 1/2 lb. each green, Royal Burgundy and Dragon's Tongue beans, 3/4 lb. yellow wax beans, 3 lbs. new potatoes, 1 lb. shelling peas, Boyne raspberries, bag each Mesclun Mix and Grand Rapids lettuce, fresh flat leaf parsley.

For the Single Shares: Sm. cabbage, 1/2 lb each green, yellow wax, Royal Burgundy and Dragon's Tongue beans, 3 lbs. new potatoes, Boyne raspberries, bag each Mesclun Mix and Grand Rapids lettuce, fresh Greek oregano.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

CSA for the Last Tuesday in July!

New Game in Town: Chasing Baby Goats From The Raspberries!
Hard to believe July is almost done!  We've hardly had any summer at all.  The local flooding, the storms, the lateness of the gardens make it feel like late Spring, maybe end of June!  However, vegetables are starting to come on strong now.  First pick of beans, first dig of baby potatoes, first couple of little Hungarian Hot peppers - good things are happening!  Right now it's a matter of time - many of these veggies take a while to pick so we could have had a bigger basket but just ran out of time!  Of course we had a couple of interruptions: The baby goats, led by that mischievous  Pygmy goat Dan-Dan, have developed a taste for raspberry leaves.  Every chance they get they're breaking out and heading for the north row!  Fortunately, they same to have to interest in the berries, just the leaves.

We've got a great pick on snap beans for everyone!  I'm sure you've all had the basic yellow wax bean and probably the common green bean.  The purple bean, Royal Burgundy, may be new to some.  Similar in flavour to the green bean, it will turn a dark green when it cooks.  That's always been such a disappointment to me because I love the colour purple!  Tasty, tasty bean, though!  The beans will be prolific over the next two to three weeks.  If they get to be a bit much for fresh eating please, please, please freeze some to enjoy in the winter!  Here's some great, simple instructions for freezing beans.  Of course, you can water-bath can beans - in vinegar, pickled!  If you've got a pressure canner, you can pressure can beans in water - just like store bought.  We freeze beans in the zippered plastic bags; we do a portion appropriate for the two of us, and freeze flat for good stacking in the freezer!  Don't want to can?  Here's an easy refrigerator Dilled Bean, which will last in the refrigerator for a couple of months!

So, for the Full Shares:  Large cabbage, 3 lbs. Norland baby potatoes, a few wee Hungarian Hot peppers, large bag mixed yellow and green beans, medium bag purple beans, bag each of Grand Rapids, Buttercrunch, and Mesclun mixed lettuce, pound of shelling peas, large Red Mammoth raspberries.

For the Part Shares:  Large cabbage, 2 lbs. Norland Red baby potatoes, medium bag mixed yellow and green beans, bag each of Grand Rapids, Buttercrunch and Mesclun mixed lettuces, pound of shelling peas, regular size Boyne raspberries.

For the Single Shares: Medium cabbage, 1.5 lbs. Norland baby potatoes, mixed yellow and green beans, bag each of Grand Rapids, Buttercrunch and Mesclun mixed lettuces, Snow Peas, reg. Boyne raspberries.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

It's CSA Thursday!

Some of Amanda and Ed's lovely cabbage!
A dreary, damp morning for CSA!  We had The Odd Job Squad out today to help pick raspberries.  This is a government program to help find work and activities for kids under sixteen.  Nice group of kids!  If you have 'odd jobs', chores, cleaning, packing, stacking, gardening or other such work please do consider giving them a call at 726-6199.  The kids get paid minimum wage, of course, and are enthusiastic and industrious.  They could be a boon, too, for small businesses looking for a little help packing orders or something!  Anyway, we were picking raspberries in a light rain so we highly recommend that you get them out of the containers and spread out on a cookie sheet or towel, because we're quite afraid mould will start quickly in the bottom layers!

Returning members will know this from previous years but for new members: our neighbours, Amanda and Ed, help grow for our CSA.  They are a retired couple, like-minded in terms of not using chemicals, they are enthusiastic, experienced gardeners and we're so happy to have them grow for you!  Once again this year, they've come up with some beautiful cabbage.  Amanda keeps these looking so good with a mix of flour and cayenne pepper to keep the bugs off!  Everyone is getting a lovely summer cabbage today!  Here's a round up of coleslaw recipes from simple to spicy Asian and more!  Of course, there is cabbage soup (along with the blogger's 7-day diet plan), cabbage fried, in sautees or steamed and cabbage rolls!  You'll probably get more cabbage, at least next week, so familiarize yourself with some recipes!  It stores well just in the fridge, so you don't need to get frantic about using it up in the next few days!

So, for today: for the Full Shares: a large cabbage, bag of Grande Rapids lettuce, bundle of baby Romaine lettuce, Swiss chard, onions, large bag of shelling peas, small bag of snow peas, 2 pints raspberries.

For the Part Shares: large cabbage, bag of Grande Rapids lettuce, bundle of baby Romaine lettuce, Swiss chard, onions, medium bag of shelling peas, two pints raspberries.

For the Single Shares:  small cabbage, bag of Grande Rapids lettuce, bundle of baby Romaine lettuce, Swiss chard, onions, small bag of shelling peas, pint of raspberries.

We've got volunteer opportunities next week!  If you'd like to come help at the farm we need raspberry pickers on both Tuesday and Thursday mornings!  Volunteers always go home with bonuses!  We're also looking for help on Weeding Wednesdays, morning or evening come help pull a few of those weeds!  Pet a baby goat, cluck at a chicken, play with a small doggie or pet a barn cat - lots to do while you're here!  Email us if you're interested!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

CSA, July 22nd.

Peas are coming nicely!
A couple of hot days, a couple of cool days, lots of bugs...not much has changed in the gardens since last Tuesday!  However, it's a day of firsts: 1st pick on the raspberries, 1st pick on the shelling peas!  Neither are big picks - but both are coming nicely!  We don't think it's going to be a great year for raspberries, but it will be a decent year!  We had trouble getting into the raspberries early on for pruning and weeding: it was just too wet and mucky!  We're also seeing lots of mechanical damage: berries have been 'smacked' into surrounding bushes and canes by the extreme high winds of some of our recent storms.  Lots of bits and pieces of willow have been blown in, breaking branches.  We're also seeing a bit of 'bloom' on the berries: a whitish tinge to the berry.  That's a cold, wet weather thing, not pretty but totally edible.  Bit of a mess in the raspberry rows!

We got a wee pick on snow peas for Saturday's Global Market.  Got another wee pick today, just enough for the Part Shares.  Shelling peas we got a better pick so enough for a decent share for all the Full Shares.  Sorry, no peas for Single Shares this week, but we'll keep you top of mind next week!

We've got some lovely baby Romaine lettuce for everyone today.  Of course, it's the main ingredient in a classic Caesar Salad!  It's got more crunch that the Grand Rapids, which you're also getting!  We've actually pulled the Romaine lettuce - roots and all.  Stand it in a vase or glass of water like a bouquet, with the roots just covered, for maximum freshness!

So, for the Full Shares:  Small bag of Swiss Chard, shelling peas, Romaine lettuce, Grand Rapids lettuce, bundle of onions, container of raspberries.

For the Part Shares:  Small bag of Swiss Chard, Snow peas, Romaine lettuce, Grand Rapids lettuce, bundle of onions, container of raspberries.

Single Shares:  Small bag of Swiss Chard, Romaine lettuce, Grand Rapids lettuce, bundle of onions, container of raspberries.

If you're looking for volunteer opportunities...we'd love some help picking raspberries the next few weeks.  They are quite labour intensive, so the more help the more berries for everybody.  Volunteers go home with a bonus!  Plus, every Wednesday here is Weeding Wednesday.  Lots of jobs, big and small, day or evening if you'd like to come out and pull a few, we'd welcome you!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

CSA Today: Looks a Lot Like Tuesday's Share!

We're looking forward to meeting some new members today!  I always think it is rather incredible that people will give us money to grow their food without meeting us face to face!  I've had lots of email 'conversations' with people but we've never actually met!  Today is the day!

Not much development in the last two days.  Thursday's CSA share looks, well, exactly like Tuesdays! Check out Tuesdays' blog post for some great tips on storing fresh veggies throughout the season, as well as a nice link for homemade salad dressings where you can control the amount of sugar and other ingredients!

Although flooding continues in this region, water levels are receding slowly.  What remains is the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes - and they are out in clouds.  Forget 'The Cloud' or the 'iCloud'! Brandon has numerous clouds.  Sand flies are also a huge problem today: the little nuisances are getting into ears, noses, behind glasses, down shirts!  The worst is when you try to talk to your harvesting companion and they fly in your mouth!  Not exactly the kind of protein I'm looking for!

Today's heat may help the vegetables.  Our worry is that in all the cool, wet soil plants didn't root very deeply and will now not be able to withstand high heat and little rain.  Our irrigation system is acting up (again!) so we'll have to have a visit from our pals at D & B Sprinklers real soon!

We were kind of surprised by the number of Tuesday's members who weren't familiar with Swiss Chard.  It's a nutrition super food, just not getting the attention kale seems to be getting right now!  Here's some detailed information on the health benefits of Chard!  You may have seen big, white-ribbed leaves in Grandma's garden, but we grow a variety called 'Bright Lights' with colourful stems and a milder taste.  Chard can be used raw in salads or cooked - like spinach.  Here's a great link with five easy Chard preparations!

So, today's share, everybody gets the same thing: a large bag of bright green 'Grand Rapids' lettuce, a bag of 'Red Sails' lettuce, a bag of Swiss Chard called 'Bright Lights' and a bundle of winter onions.  These onions have been in the ground all winter and are very tasty.  However, a few are getting ready to bloom and the stem may be hard.  The bulb and the greens still completely usable!

Enjoy your first taste of fresh-from-the-farm for this season!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

First CSA Share of 2014 - Not Much in the Basket!

We're sorry - the spinach didn't make it!
The first CSA share of the season! Later than most years due to odd, very odd, weather!  And not a big share, at that.  This year has seemed more of a struggle then any other.  After a long cold winter, a long cold spring has made gardening challenging.  In the last month, a few weird storms have set us back even more.  At least we're not flooding, like some of our neighbours!

Veggies struggled early on.  We basically lost the spinach: it was tiny and yellowed and much died in cold, wet soil.  As the temperatures have improved, some has come back but only to go straight to seed!  I've never seen spinach two inches high with four poor leaves flowering.  It's a goner!  Some of our winter squash was washed out, as well as some of the beets and carrots.  We've replanted all, but it's rather amusing to see Delicata squash coming up eight feet down the hill from where it was planted!  The early planting of radishes have cracked from too much rain and have baby bugs tunnelling in them, so they're getting plowed under.

There's not a lot to say about today's harvest so I figured we'd start with some basics.  Here's a great link to storing and keeping your fresh vegetables and fruits: http://www.thekitchn.com/the-kitchns-guide-to-storing-fruits-and-vegetables-tip-roundup-176308.  This one is worth bookmarking: it has basic tips as well as links for specific vegetables and fruits.  We bring our vegetables as 'fresh from the field' as we can, with a basic rinse but I wouldn't consider them well washed.  We recommend getting everything out of plastic as soon as you can.  Here's a good link for vegetable 'washes', very useful for store-bought veggies which are more likely to have waxes, pesticide residues and such.  Our veggies are just...somewhat dirty but the washes are helpful to keep them fresh longer.  Since this first few weeks will be all about greens here's a great link for DIY salad dressings.  Homemade salad dressings can be made free of extra sugar and additives, and can be made fresh in small quantities.

The rejected lettuce will make excellent goat food!
So today is simple: Everyone gets a bag of Grand Rapids lettuce, a bright green, frilly lettuce perfect for salads or sandwiches.  Everyone gets a bag of Red Sails lettuce, pretty in a salad.  There are winter onions, in the ground since last fall.  Some are starting to go to seed, so if the stem is very hard it cannot be used, otherwise all parts will be very tasty in salads or cooking.  Everyone is getting Swiss Chard, a variety called Rainbow Lights with bright coloured stems.  Chard can be eaten raw or cooked like spinach: braised, sauteed or simply steamed.  We've used it in a quiche and it was very good!

So, a slow start to our CSA, but it's all fresh and chemical-free!  Just FYI...the raspberries and the beans are coming very well.......