Greetings Farm Share Members
It is week 23 for some of you and week 2 for others-it's a crazy farm share program we run. Almost no one else in the country will let new members in monthly. That makes us special. But it also makes it very hard to plan out the market garden for the farm share when we do not have a head count of members for the season. I do realize it makes it (somewhat more) convenient for members to be able to drop in and out of the farm share but I am finding that there is an inherent unfairness for the members that paid for a full season (or partial season). The full season members are taking the full risk of being a farm share member. If they go out of town they do not get to make up their missed week(s), for example. So things will change next year. I have not hammered out how they will change other than full season members will get a discount and I don't believe there will be a monthly option. I think monthly option will change to seasonal option where I split the season into 3 or 4 sections and people have the choice of either buying a full season share or a 2 or 3 month seasonal share. Full season people will have the option of a payment plan. seasonal members will have to pay in full. I will likely keep the cost about the same as this year. This is just a heads up for all you members who are planning on joining us in 2010.
Oh and don't forget we will be doing a Winter Share. There are still about 9 spaces left for that. Here are the details:
We will do on farm pick up twice a month, cost will be $100 a month ($50 a share). The shares will be larger than a summer share and will mainly be food that can store for months like taters, winter squash, onions, carrots, parsnips, a few canned goods, garlic, pears, dried herbs, leeks, etc.. If the weather is good to us, leafy greens (arugula, kale, spring mix, lettuce) and other things from the hoop houses will also be included throughout the season (we will certainly have them the first 2 or 3 pick-ups). This will start Wednesday November 11 and go through Wednesday January 20 for 3 months/6 pick-ups. Unlike the summer shares, we require people to pay the $300 for the entire winter share upfront, no month to month shares. We will have 12 shares available this year.
I was going to write bout how dry the farm is getting and if we don't get rain soon the yields will start dropping a lot and the fall stuff will be spotty. But we got over 2" of rain Monday and the market garden is much much happier. This means no more hand watering-literally taking 2 gallon watering cans out to the newly seeded beds and watering the seeds to get germination. Just like home gardeners do, only our garden is around 100x bigger. As I have mentioned in earlier newsletters, we do use drip irrigation but drip irrigation will not do for starting seeds. It cannot get the soil surface damp enough to ensure good germination. So we are forced to water by hand if it is dry.
As I mentioned, it rained and as long as it doesn't continue to rain non stop through the rest of the month we will be in great shape. If it decides to rain the rest of the month it will be tricky, if not impossible to get beds tilled for the rest of the late fall and winter crops (and even early spring crops like spinach) and seeds planted in the ground. I do not see that happening as September is our driest month of the year. Not to mention we have about 70% of these crops in the ground. So far for fall, we have planted arugula, spring mix, beets, green beans, carrots, radishes, red turnips, fall maters, fall zucchini, fall cukes, snow peas, sugar snap peas, kale, cilantro, cabbage, broccoli, daikon, and likely some other things. Plus we are harvesting a lot of winter squashes (butternut, delicata, acorn, etc..) and soon will be harvesting popcorn, parsnips, celeriac, celery for late summer through winter use. this week you will start to see the winter squashes, and while we do have hundreds harvested most still need to cure for another 3 to 4 weeks before they will be ready to eat. An uncured winter squash has no sugar development so the flavors tend to be dull and a bit off. But wait 3 to 5 weeks and that same squash will be fabulous.
What I want you all to come away with from reading this is just because the "Official" close to summer has happened i.e. Labor Day. This does not mean that us farmers and our farms have suddenly stopped producing. No, and in fact, fall is the best time of year for produce as it all comes in-both cold and warm weather items from mid September until frost when we lose the summer crops like tomatoes and peppers. It is a shame that a lot of non farmer managed/run farmers market close down after Labor Day as this just reinforces this myth on the non farmers of our country. But one of the things we at Boulder Belt Eco-Farm do is educate the general public on the fact that CSA's, Farm Stands and Farmers Markets (if they are still open) are at their best from now through frost. That there is a lot more going on than Corn mazes, Indian corn and pumpkins. That now is the time to buy in bulk so you can put up food for winter
Hey! There is a pot luck dinner/farm tour coming up Sept 20th. That is a Sunday. Please RSVP yes or no ASAP. We will be preparing roasted chicken that we raised for the meal (I can promise you that you will never have a better chicken). We may also offer some home brewed beer and home made wine to drink along with distilled water (this is very pure and excellent). You bring a dish that can feed 6+ people plus things to eat from (plates, cups, flatware). Meet at the store around 6ish and we will do a walk about around the market garden and explain what we do and take any and all questions, than we will eat like royalty.
No recipe this week, sorry.
What's in the Share
Tomatoes-several kinds of heirlooms and a mix of cherry maters. probably around 5 pounds, maybe a more, maybe less. The big reds are GL-18, the pale yellow are great White (one of our favorites), the big round yellow orange fruits are Sun ray, the orange not so round and flatter fruits are Dr. Wyche's yellow, the small greens are green grape (excellent taste, don't let the color put you off), the smallish browns (black, actually) are Nyagous, the smallish reds are a saladette and some should be Green Zebra but are not. The more oblong big reds are Amish paste and excellent for canning, making salsa or fresh tomato sauce
Kale-a nice bag of White russian kale. this is a brand new bed of kale that needs thinning badly so you will get baby to adolescent kale. this should be tender and yummy
Scallions-a bunch on big scallions. I notice when i slice these they make me cry and yet the scallions themselves are not hot at all, despite being huge and about ready to split into 3 or more little scallions. Scallions, unlike green onions, never make a bulb. they instead divide into several new plants. green Onions, on the other hand are actual onions and if left in the ground will make a bulb and eventually the greens will die back.
Basil-a big bag of basil for using fresh or drying or freezing (see http://www.localharvest.org/blog/330 for old newsletters that tell you how to do these things if you are new or missed that week)
Leeks-a couple of lincoln leeks. These are good fresh or cooked.
Raspberries-2 boxes of berries. These are getting sweeter as the days get shorter.
Pears-heirloom Keiffer pears. These are hard and green but quite sweet and edible. If you want them a bit softer (they never get really soft until they start to rot) put them in a paper bag and wait a week and they should get a lot riper.
Peppers-still green and purple peppers but you may get one close to all ripe this week. Next week you will certainly start to see ripe peppers in your share as the peppers are beginning to turn from green (or purple) to red, yellow and orange. ripe peppers are sweeter and higher in Vitamin C and other nutrients than green. They are also a lot harder to raise as it is in the last 3 weeks of ripening that all the pests and diseases attack the peppers. This is why ripe peppers cost twice as much as green peppers at the market
Acorn squash-the first of the winter squashes. You get 2 medium or 3 small ones. We harvested these about 3 weeks ago so they should be perfect. To prepare cut in half, remove the seeds (which are excellent roasted, like pumpkin seeds so don't throw them out!). place flesh side down on a baking sheet and put into a preheated 350F oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Slather with butter and honey and you have a real treat.
Garlic-3 corms of garlic
Ailsa Craig onion-a pound of so of sweet onions
Potatoes-a couple of pounds of a mix of potatoes. likely White, red and Yukon golds though you may find some fingerlings this week.
Boulder Belt Eco-Farm