Welcome to the last farm share newsletter of 2009. This also means this is the last pick up for most of you (The members that are NOT going month to month have one last pick-up next Tuesday). It's been a wonderful season. We have had great growing conditions, few insect problems (too cool I think) and a lot of interest in the Farm Share Program. We will be doing the FSI again next year though there will be some changes that I will let you all know about when I have them finalized. If you have any input on the FSI let us know, especially negatives, as this will allow us to improve. Though the on farm pick-up will not change this coming year. We had bad experiences with delivery in the past. We want to know what kind of produce you would like us to grow, if the days/hours of pick up are okay or could be better, that sort of thing. A lot of CSA type farms send out a survey to find this kind of thing so consider this request a survey of sorts (a very badly written one)
Already we are thinking about what to plant next year and we will have our seed order finalized and in the mail before Christmas. This year and all the past years we have grown food for Farmers market sales (and other sales such as to restaurants and small natural food stores) and not foe CSA sales because in the past we either did not do a CSA or it was so small and weak it did not matter how we planted we almost always had more than enough food to supply that and all other markets. But interest in the FSI and the farmers markets we do is growing. Plus there should be a new co-op in Oxford, the MOON Co-op opening next summer that we will supply (we have been members of this yet to exist co-op for 6 years and have planned on selling some of our food there for as many years). So all this success means we have to rethink what we are growing as our markets are changing and we have to tweak things to keep up with the times. Oh, an as a side note if you are in the Oxford area or go to Oxford at all and you are not a member of the MOON CO-OP (I realize we have several incredibly hip members who are members already) You must join. This is an amazing group doing an amazing thing in Oxford that will be a huge support for the local foodies, farmers and food-shed. But they need more members to add to the almost 500 they have now. It costs $150 to join and they have flexible payment plans. More information at http://www.mooncoop.com. You know you will shop there when it opens as it sounds like it will be a mini Jungle Jim's (it will have everything) only with a lot more local foods and hipper people running the place.
Okay, back to future plans at Boulder Belt. Right now we are seriously thinking of dropping almost all the tomatoes-we grew something like 450 plants this year with over 21 varieties. We have found that there is a tomato glut at the farmers market from July through September so we are not selling as many as we have at the farmers market and I am guessing that you, our members, do not want 12 pounds of tomatoes a week for 8 to 10 weeks. We did donate hundreds of pounds of tomatoes to a food pantry in Oxford and chickens ate a lot of them but we still had too many. Next year we think it will be around 100 plants most of with will be grown for the farm share and our own use. These will be replaced by more alliums-onions, leeks, garlic, shallots, etc. We will also do more root crops of other kinds as well because they are food and they store well and we really want to do more winter share stuff and get our members more deeply entrenched in locavorism. Part of that is getting it through people's heads that it is possible to eat a nice variety in winter in Ohio from local sources (granted, it is far easier for omnivores than vegans to do so). So we have to grow for winter to do this.
We will be doing a lot more greens as well. This year we planted a lot but had several failures over the year. This is happening now which is why you are not getting spring mix and lettuce in your shares as often as I think you should. The stuff is spotty and growing slowly so we often can cut only 4 to 5 6 oz bags which will not cover all the members. So it goes to the farmers market. Of course every year brings different growing conditions and we may find we are way over planting next year if the conditions are perfect for greens
Of course we will not know what to grow until we have an idea of how many FSI members we will have next year. And you guys probably won't know if you will join until I figure out the dates, cost, etc.. I plan on finalizing the details before mid December and will post this on the Boulder Belt website as well as sending everyone who has been a Boulder Belt FSI member a notice
Winter squash is also good in this as is celery and tomatoes. Pears and apples might also be good
Wash, peel and cut the roots into 1 to 2 inch chunks. The garlic you want to keep the corm whole and cut off the top 1/8 inch so that the tops of the cloves are just exposed. Toss everything into a roasting pan (or baking dish you cover with something like aluminum foil), drizzle the oil over top and salt to taste and put into a preheated 350F to 400F degree oven for about 30 to 40 minutes.
Okay on that note here is what you will get in your share this week:
Parsnips-You should have gotten these for the past couple of weeks but they never seemed to be dug in sufficient quantities (and they are a bitch to get out of the dirt-it takes about 4 minutes to coax one out vs carrots which take about 15 seconds to dig up). But yesterday we went and got a bunch-about 15 pounds and it only took 1.5 hours with two of us digging. At any rate these are delish. they look like a white carrot and are related. best roasted with other root veggies
Tomatoes-the tomatoes plants died a couple of weeks back including the late crop we thought would do well in a hoop house but we were able to harvest a lot of green tomatoes and now have some ripening. You should get 3 to 4 maters in your share.
Kale-a big bunch of kale. It should be sweeter than last week as it has been hit by two frosts since Friday
Herbs-I have herbs that need to be used you will get a bag of one of them. There is tarragon, sage, dill, cilantro, parsley, rosemary and oregano to choose from. if you have preference tell me before noon today (if you are picking up Tuesday), otherwise i will toss one at random in your share
Garlic-2 corms of garlic
Onions-about a pound of red and yellow onions. The yellow onions are best cooked as they are hot, hot. The reds have tended to be hot as well
Peppers-3 to 4 peppers, mostly green because that is what we have.
Leeks-a couple of Lincoln leeks
Red Turnips-around 3/4 of a pound of these turnips. Make a dish of mashed turnips for Breast cancer awareness month (they will be pink)
Mitsui Rose radish-AKA Red meat radish. This is a cooking radish but can be eaten raw if you like a pungent radish. More importantly they are beautiful
Pears-8 pears for eatin'. these are getting sweeter as they get older
Potatoes-You will get a variety of fingerlings this week-the red with gold flesh are French Fingerling and the white with yellow flesh are Russian Banana (I do not name these things). these are excellent for roasting or soups and stews but not good for mashed taters