One thing I love about the subscription program is how things can change so much from week to week. Just last week we were enjoying the bright colors of late summer, and this week we've transitioned more to the deeper, greener hues of autumn. I'm especially excited about this box because there are a few new items that have inspired me to try some new recipes. The combination of eggplant, mint, and cucumbers feels very Mediterranean, while the bok choy invokes inspiration for Asian cuisine. I love that this process creates opportunities to enjoy completely different dishes from one night to the next.
SAVE THE DATE!
On October 4th, we will be opening enrollment for our 2021 subscription season. It seems early, but Randy and I are hoping to use the winter to plan our season out even better. This year, Randy mapped fields, purchased seeds, and planted for the CSA program and markets that we typically run, but those quickly changed changed due to COVID. Next year, we are hoping to accept 250 members into our main season program, and this will require us to purchase, map, and plant differently. Details about 2021 are up on the website! Click the 2021 Veggie Subscription tab. Most aspects will stay the same with a few changes.
Our current program runs through October 17th. We have 20 weeks in all.
This week, our focus quickly shifted from succession planting to covering crops to protect them from frost. Sunday, September 20th we received an alert that if the wind died down, it could bring in a light frost. Frost typically settles when the air is still, whereas the wind keeps it moving. Randy waited to see what would happen, and around 2 p.m. didn't feel like he could risk it any longer. We called both of our dads and our neighbor Frannie, and they were here to help gather up rocks to cover all of the crops with a giant piece of Reemay cloth. It took until about 8:00 at night, but Randy felt so relieved once it was done. He said that if it had been mid-October, he probably wouldn't have bothered; but with 12 weeks left in our subscription season, it was too early to risk losing everything.
When we woke up the next morning, we had gotten a light frost, which ironically made Randy really happy to know that he had put in the work and made the right decision. All crops were okay, just cold and in some cases wet. We'll continue to take the Reemay off during the day so we can harvest the eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, squash, zucchini, and cucumbers underneath, and then cover them back up at night so that they stay warm.
Here's the video of succession planting I had planned to focus on this week. It's all still true, though it's incredible how fast the gears start shifting and turning here once the word frost is mentioned.
One of our best friends Meg (sister of Katelyn from Rustle Floral Co!) took some amazing photos of us for our website. I'm hoping to redo it for next season to change it up. Meg takes photos under her business name Locust and Honey Photography & Design. She does amazing mini sessions which are perfect for fall and holiday time that you might want to check out! https://locustandhoneydesign.com
Here's a little sneak peek of the ones she did for us:
P.S. Katelyn's flowers are in the store every Saturday and typically mid-week and should continue to be until we have a hard frost. They're gorgeous! Here's a sample photo.
Pumpkins are here! Traditional jack-o-lantern pumpkins are $0.50 per pound, gourds are $2 per pound, and specialty pumpkins are $1.00 (cooking pumpkins and anything dark red, tan, white, etc.) Mums should be ready next week!
Just a friendly reminder to make sure that you're wearing your mask properly upon entering our store (over the mouth AND nose). As cases begin to rise again, we want to make sure that we are all protected from the spread of any illness. We sanitize in the store often and take our temperatures daily, and we believe that mask wearing is integral to the success of keeping case numbers down and keeping our little store a nice alternative to grocery stores. Thank you for your understanding.
Here are a couple more pretty shots of the farm. Looking forward to seeing you all soon!
A Message from Randy:
Having trouble uploading the video... will try again later today...
Contents (In approximate order from shortest shelf life to longest):
1 head of bok choy
1 bunch of mint
1/2 lb. of beans
1 lb. of cucumbers
1 large eggplant
1/4 lb. bag of salad mix
1/2 pint of ground cherries
1 head of bok choy
1 bunch of mint
1 pint of shishitos
3/4 lb. of beans
1 lb. of cucumbers
1 large eggplant
1/2 lb. bag of salad mix
1 pint of husk cherries
DISCLAIMER: At this point in the season, because of these abnormally low temps, these shares are subject to change.
Caring For Your Share:
Store the eggplant, bag of beans, shishitos, and cucumbers in the fridge as is. You may want to transfer the shishitos to a ziploc first. Wash when ready to use.
Keep the husk cherries out of the fridge. Dump out into a bowl and store out of direct sunlight, like on a counter. Wash cherries before using.
Store bok choy or chard in plastic bags in the fridge. Shake out excess moisture first. Use within a few days.
Wrap mint in a damp paper towel and place it in a Ziploc bag in the fridge. You can also freeze it in ice cubes for refreshing water or let it dry out to use later.
LGF Cooking Club:
Use this Greek Yogurt Sauce with Garlic and Mint as a dipping sauce for protein. We've got plain Stani yogurt you can use as the base: https://www.cookinglight.com/recipes/greek-yogurt-sauce-garlic-mint
White Chocolate Mojito Cheesecakes (with mint!): https://www.taste.com.au/recipes/white-chocolate-mojito-cheesecakes/bb93e493-a4af-42ca-b1a6-0f83854f1a30
Broiled Eggplant with Mint Vinaigrette: https://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/broiled-eggplant-mint-vinaigrette
Honey Soy Crispy Garlic Green Beans (Hint: Toss in the bok choy to offset the weight of the green beans recommended for this recipe): https://www.food.com/recipe/honey-soy-crispy-garlic-green-beans-536666
If honey/soy isn't your thing, try Green Beans with a Warm Dijon Vinaigrette instead: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/239250/green-beans-with-warm-dijon-vinaigrette/
Gheimeh Bademjan – Persian Seared Eggplant & Tomato Beef:
Ginger Bok Choy Soup with Noodles: https://naturallyella.com/ginger-bok-choy-soup-with-noodles/
Cooking Tip(s) of the Week:
Everything You Need to Know About Cooking with Cast-Iron Pans. You may want to season it up now to get it ready for fall cooking: https://www.buzzfeed.com/jodyduits/how-to-care-for-cast-iron?utm_term=4ldradw&bffbtasty&ref=bffbtasty#4ldradw
10 Healthy Ways to Use Fresh Mint:
Biweekly Catch-Up Time:
Mums are almost ready! Fingers crossed they'll be ready for purchase in a week or two. We don't want to put them out for sale until they're in bloom and we can see them well. Colors should be orange, gold, and purple.
The greenhouse is still looking good! This week you may even be receiving some bok choy from the beds inside. One of my big projects last week was moving chard plants over from the hardening house to the greenhouse. There is no water with fertilizer in the hardening house and the plants desperately need it. We're hoping this will help their progress quite a bit. The hardening house is usually used as a transitional location before trays of transplants are exposed directly out into the elements in the field. The chard plants didn't need the full cover that a greenhouse provides, being closed in and warmer, but now they really need fertilizer.
Our crew is also working on weeding and replanting the hanging pots for heads of lettuce and escarole to be used this fall. All of the remaining transplants will go out into the field this week so Randy can meet his September 15th "deadline" for being done with all planting.
These heads of lettuce were planted on biodegradable plastic last week by Randy, Ethan, and new crew member Tyler. Look closely and you can see wire hoops over each row. The hoops will hold up the Reemay cloth (like pictured all the way in the back) and act as a layer of warmth for these chillier nights. The beautiful striped rows next to the lettuce are beds of arugula, spinach, radishes, salad turnips, choy sum, and salad mix for the fall.
Randy "wades" through a "sea" of greens in an outfit that Gorton would be proud of. We have to make some funny fashion choices around here when it's extra rainy, hot, humid, or cold.
Here, Randy is harvesting peppers and weeding the beds by hand at the same time. Peppers are one of the trusty crops that stay healthy and consistent right up until the frost as long as we take care of them - and for that, we are thankful. Off in the distance you can see squash, zucchini, and cucumber plants (closest to the greenhouse), next beets, and then beans which should be ready in a week or so.
Another shot in that general direction. Tomatoes are to the right of the drive road.
Here's a shot looking the opposite way - the squash plants are on the right, greenhouse to the left. In the distance are the peppers, eggplant, carrots, beets, rutabaga, and leeks. If you look closely, you can even see our compost pile near to the fence line.
Happy birthday to Randy's dad (Peter's Papa), Ed! From maintenance, to tractor work, to helping with heavy lifting, Ed is an asset here at the farm.
Plum tomatoes are pretty much gone, but we can put together 25 lb. boxes of "seconds" of tomatoes for those who are interested. We haven't canned our own sauce yet, but are planning to do it with seconds - you don't necessarily need plums for sauce. Instead of purchasing online, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll give you an estimated timeline. It'll most likely take up to a week.
However, we do have some $25 boxes of "imperfect peppers" for sale. Throughout the week, we harvest bruised, blemished, or sun scalded peppers for freezing and then we'll email you once the box is full. You simply cut around the imperfection and place them into freezer bags. If you want to blanch, you can, but I always skip that step to keep it simple.
I froze this batch of peppers on Sunday and it took me about 30 minutes. I used a Food Saver, but you don't need to. I'm also not a fan of the plastic waste it creates, but it was a gift so I'm using it up. This is about a third of what you would receive in your box. You can use them for soup, stir fry, omelettes, or stuffed peppers within the next few months. If interested, email me, though we can only accommodate a few people - we don't get a ton of imperfect peppers quickly (maybe that's a good thing!)
On Saturday, we changed over the store's stock to offer lots of fall themed items: beef stew meat, ham steaks, various sausages; cranberry, beer, and espresso-infused cheeses; maple candies and maple sugar for baking; hearty pastas like stuffed shells and mushroom ravioli; fall grains like farro, wild rice, and a beautiful harvest blend; pumpkin and apple-scented soaps; peach, apple, and tons of fall tea blends; and even apple pies and cider donuts from Oronoque Farms in Shelton. Saturday was the most amazing turnout we have ever had, by far, so thank you for that! Randy and I spent some time over the weekend discussing how we'll be able to safely and enjoyably add pumpkins and mums to the mix when it's already so busy and crowded at times. Stay tuned, because we have some ideas we're working on...
Last call to order your Thanksgiving turkey from Shaggy Coos Farm! We will not have any for sale in person; you must pre-order. Follow this link to do so!