Hello members! As you can see from the blog post title, this is a "D" week, which means if you are a biweekly member with a delivery, you'll receive your share this week! If you're a biweekly pickup, your turn begins next week.
This is Mini Harvest Season week number 1 out of 3 (the extension for those of you in the summer program who missed sign ups for the full fall program).
This is Fall Program week 1 out of 8 for those of you enrolled in the full program.
Phew! This is why we bundled the 3 seasons together for next year - to avoid some of the confusion and get everyone on board for the full length of the program.
If you're not sure which of these scenarios applies to you, feel free to email beforehand. We would hate to turn you away here.
Last week was a really terribly rainy one, wasn't it? It really made for a lot of miserable harvest days, yucky market days, and consequently, not as many pretty pictures taken around the farm. It's always disappointing when that happens, and we especially feel bad for our crew when they put up with the elements to keep at all of the tasks that need to be done. Here's a shot of Ethan and Randy continuing to pick beans in the pouring rain. After that is a shot of Randy with some freshly harvested leeks for the weekend markets. He's giving the Gorton fisherman a run for his money in that outfit!
On Monday morning, I chatted with Randy and crew member Ethan about the feeling of relief that comes with the fall subscription program. As Randy put it, "I feel like I can breathe again." We have significantly less membership for the fall because our crops start slowing down, and with it comes less pressure to continue growing and keeping up with the harvest. Randy's had everything in the fields planted since September 15th. Now it's a matter of keeping it healthy, protected from frost, and beginning to clean up the fields. We'll still plant in the greenhouse, but it's much less labor-intensive. We had all of the shares packed before noon on Monday, which is kind of a miracle when we've been packing until 6:00 all season long.
On Saturday night, we got a pretty significant frost. As we always do, we were sure to harvest any peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, beans, squash and zucchini that might have been affected. Our family stepped in to help cover the plants with Reemay cloth again and as long as the plants were covered, they survived again. It's amazing that we are able to extend the growing season for so long, but it also is such a project to do every time that we begin to fall behind on other tasks we really want to do, like finish digging potatoes, which has been a Saturday job.
One of the tasks we'd like to complete over the next couple of months is closing in our hardening house to be converted into another greenhouse! Check out the video for a little tour of the hardening house and how we're planning to better utilize some of our space on the farm.
Peter sampled the string beans for you this week. Check out the information below from last week's blog post to see more about the difference between wax beans (yellow) and green beans. You might receive either one in your share this week.
Alison K. shared this recipe for Warm Yellow Wax Beans in Bacon Vinaigrette in our Facebook group, and said that the vinaigrette was versatile enough to be used on other dishes and salads. Thanks for getting our members talking, Alison!
If anyone likes to stuff hot cherry peppers, we have a surplus this week and can give a 25% off bulk discount, beginning at 10 lbs. To give you an idea, 10 lbs. is about 2 plastic shopping bags' worth. You can even split it with a family member. These are awesome when stuffed with cheese and prosciutto and packed in oil, or pickled in a vinegar brine. Here's a recipe:
We also have tomato seconds for anyone interested in making sauce. Boxes are 25 lbs. for $25 and you don't even need to know how to can. You can make sauce as you normally would and freeze it in freezer bags instead. Whole tomatoes can even be frozen for later use in soups, sauce, and chili. Email us if you're interested.
This week, it's all about SOUP! One lucky winner will find a package of "Soup Socks" in their share, which is perfect for making your own stock. If you don't know how to do that, check out my cheesy blog post tutorial about it.
At pickup, we'll also have some hot water and specialty tea bags for you to take away some complimentary tea in a To Go cup (not quite soup-related, but it'll warm you up). Or, just take a wrapped tea bag to go for later consumption. Because of COVID, we ask that you wait to enjoy it so that you can wear your mask the whole time you are in the store.
In our Facebook group, we'll be talking about the different soups we're making... we would absolutely LOVE your submissions so we can feature them in an upcoming email marketing newsletter. Our crew will pick a winner for the Most Creative Soup and you'll win a prize! If you're not on social media, feel free to email your submission! We'll pick the most creative soup submitted in the next 10 days. This doesn't have to be anything super crazy. We're just looking for some inventive alternatives to classics like chicken noodle soup. How can you use seasonal items to spice up your soup repertoire? Here's an example...
Roasted Red Pepper & Acorn Squash Soup:
Or, Spicy Pork & Mustard Greens Soup (you can use the bok choy or choy sum too!)
We'd like you to take your own photo, but you are absolutely welcome to post the website where you got your recipe. No need to make up your own recipe.
Our crew will pick the winning soup and the winner will receive a soup-themed prize! I'm really excited about this cute, silly prize!
A Message from Randy:
Contents (In approximate order from shortest shelf life to longest):
1 head of bok choy OR one bunch of mustard greens
1 head of lettuce
1 lb. of colored peppers
1/2 lb. bag of beans
1 acorn squash
1-2 heads of bok choy OR one bunch of mustard greens
1 bunch of choy sum
1 head of lettuce
1 bunch of kale
1 lb. of colored peppers
1/2 lb. bag of beans
1 acorn squash
Caring For Your Share:
Wash all before using:
Store the peppers, eggplant, and bag of beans in the fridge as is. Wash when ready to use.
Keep the tomatoes out of the fridge and store out of direct sunlight, like on a counter.
Store the onions in a cool, dark place such as a pantry. Put them in a mesh bag or a location where they will get some air flow. Keep them out of the fridge.
Swish the mustard greens, kale, and choy sum in a bowl of cold water to remove dirt, then wrap them in a paper towel in a Ziploc bag in the refrigerator.
Wrap the head of lettuce and bok choy in a moist paper towel or a Ziploc bag for some protection. Remove any bad leaves first. Put in the crisper. Wash and spin out the lettuce when ready to use.
LGF Cooking Club:
If it's your first time eating choy sum, I recommend this simple recipe to really enjoy it in isolation: Choy Sum with Garlic Sauce (you could toss in the mustard greens too):
Lettuce Wraps for dinner one night! Pick your type from these options:
Ground Beef Fajita Taco Salad:
This Roasted Eggplant Spread has been a coveted recipe pretty much since we started here. Try it out and you'll see why!
Acorn Squash with Kale and Sausage
Roasted Acorn Squash Barley Salad:
Vegetable Lo Mein with Eggplant & Bok Choy:
Stuffed Eggplant Parm:
Cooking Tip(s) of the Week:
50 Tips for Making the Best Soup:
Catch-Up Time from Last Week's Summer Program:
Wow! The final week of our summer program! Randy and I were reminiscing about this season over the weekend, and we both agree that the beginning of the season feels like both a lifetime ago and just the other day. He said it feels like just the other day because of the fact that it has been such an enjoyable season with so many new members and didn't make him feel "stuck." I would definitely agree with that, though we have been in such a positive routine for so long now that it's hard to remember a time before the store was completely renovated and open.
You all have definitely made this year feel easy with your positive momentum, and we thank you so much for keeping our morale up. Between the Facebook group, your sweet emails, or our face-to-face (masked) conversations, you all remind us how lucky we are. We literally couldn't do this without your support, and we want you to know how much we appreciate it.
On a similar note, within just a week of opening enrollment, we are already 45% full for next year's program (Extended and Main Season), with less than 10 spots remaining for the spring, summer, and fall bundled program. If you sign up for your vegetable subscription before Thanksgiving, you receive:
An invitation to our Onion Planting Party in April 2020
An invitation to our Seed Planting Party in spring 2020 (bring the family!)
A bonus vegetable box ($15 value) that we teach you to harvest yourself one day during the summer
A Laurel Glen Farm keepsake mug
None of these events will be available to non-members or after November 26, 2020.
Additionally, remember that you do not need to pay for your subscription in full at this time. You can click "Offline Payment" and mail a check for 50% as a deposit. The balance will be due a week before the start of your program. We hope to have you with us again next year!
Randy and his crew have been spending their Saturdays digging up potatoes. It's a labor intensive process. First, you can use the potato digger, like in the video at the bottom of this newsletter. But then, it's important to go back through the row with a rake to see if any were missed, and then pick those up by hand. We have at least 3 1/2 more full rows to dig, plus sweet potatoes, so if you're signed up for the fall program, you'll definitely be reaping the benefits. If not, the store will be stocked with them most definitely through our closing date on Saturday, December 12th.
Remember when I mentioned that I was going to move our chard plants over from the hardening house over to the greenhouse? These are them now, thriving! We find that fertilizer really helps our plants to grow. Although it's certainly not necessary, sometimes our pots lack the full nutrients that plants need, and it gives them an extra boost. The chard you've been receiving in your share is from the field, but these plants will help us to continue to farm once harvesting from the field has finished for the season.
Do you know your fall crops? These beauties are starting to come back around. I took these photos for our online ordering system for the Monroe Farmers' Market, but see if you can name them all. Answers below the collage.
Answers: Mustard greens, Delicata squash, butternut squash, parsley (it's a curly variety!), spaghetti squash, and acorn squash.
P.S. If you would like fresh parsley, we typically don't stock it in the store. Just ask and we can run out and pick it for you!
What's the difference between wax beans and green beans?
You may have seen our recent poll on our social media stories, asking if you prefer wax beans or green beans. Wax beans just edged out green beans! There isn't a huge difference between the two other than color. Wax beans get their name because they have a yellow hue like beeswax. Green beans contain chlorophyll, whereas wax beans do not. The benefit of wax beans seems to be that they retain their yellow color when cooked, while green beans tend to become a bit duller when cooked. Both are high in fiber. For Randy and I, it's psychological. Both of our grandparents grew wax beans in their gardens, and we have fond memories of eating them raw as kids.
Our second planting of tomatoes are doing pretty well now. We were able to give you all a half pound in your share last week, and this week, everyone will be receiving grape or cherry tomatoes. Covering the plants with Reemay when the temps dip down give them an essential layer of protection. We had a light frost late last week on Thursday into Friday. Randy says he doesn't see any evidence of a hard frost in the forecast any time soon. The difference between a light frost and hard "killing" frost is that a light frost dips slightly below 32 degrees for just a few hours. Though it can cause major damage, we can protect against it with Reemay cloth. In contrast, a killing frost usually dips well below freezing either for days or low enough to shock the plants and kill them.
With our 2 plantings of tomatoes, we're still bringing in some "seconds." If anyone would like to preserve, we can put together a box or two of 25 lbs. for $25. You just cut away the imperfections and use the rest; no need to can, you can actually freeze tomatoes whole or make them into sauce and then freeze that. Send us an email if you're interested!
Well, we didn't get to host our 2nd annual Fall Festival like we were hoping to (this is a picture from last year). It would have been this past Sunday. We decided not to have it because of COVID. Here's hoping next year is better for it! However, we have been discussing the possibility of having our 4th annual Thanksgiving Centerpiece workshop and our 3rd annual Holiday Wreath Making workshop. Those have been the cherry on top of our season over the past couple of years, and it's absolutely wonderful to be able to welcome you here for those. If cases don't rise, we think we are able to safely have those events with proper social distancing and time slots. Stay subscribed to our email list, because it will be a last-minute decision if we decide to have it, based on COVID numbers and state guidelines.