173 130th Street • Deer Park, WI 54007
507.923.6251 •
CSA Newsletter: Week Twelve
06 September 2017
scroll down to read what is in your CSA box, storage tips, recipes,
and see photos of the farm this week

* * * * *

Did you miss last week's newsletter? Click here to read it: Week 11 Newsletter

Our thermometer read 41 this morning, our coldest morning yet (my phone said 39 but I'm not ready for the thirties, so I'm going with 41). It was nice to have a warm weekend, and it is amazing how quickly crops respond to just a brief period of warmth. I was looking back at our records from last year and am surprised just how far behind crops like spinach are when they were seeded at the same time as last year. Having a cool August (a couple degrees cooler than average) really affected the crops this year, whether with disease, slow growth, or ripening. In conversation with other farmers, especially those that have been growing for 25+ years, unpredictable and extreme weather is becoming more common than a decade ago and is not making farming any easier.

Meteorologist Paul Huttner wrote a
blog post yesterday about the connection between major weather events and climate change that is an interesting read. We've had a smoky haze on the farm for days that is a reminder for us that there are devastating wildfires burning out west. Hurricane Harvey has made our son's name one every household will now recognize, and the resulting catastrophic floods are something no farmer or family alike want to ever experience. My parents are evacuating their home in the Tampa Bay area ahead of Category 5 Hurricane Irma and headed north to Grandma Joan's house in North Carolina. Our fingers are crossed for all of Florida that Irma decides to take an unexpected turn back towards the Atlantic.

On the farm we made some headway on the battle against weeds. Wet weather has kept us out of the field on days we aren't harvesting, so it was nice to finally accomplish that important task. We had some friends visiting this weekend, and they were able to watch us cultivate with Belle--always a rewarding experience for all involved. The fall crops are looking pretty good, even if growth is slower than we would like. The next succession of broccoli is starting to show small heads, and I really hope to have it in the box next week. Temperatures are supposed to warm by the end of the week, which will spur some good growth.

A note about this week's melons: During the first couple of weeks of cantaloupe harvest, we had some nice, sweet melons. We've noticed, though, that the last couple weeks the cantaloupes are slipping off the vine but need a week or more on the counter-top to continue ripening (and while they taste fine, they aren't the best cantaloupes of the season). We encourage you to leave your melon out of the fridge and wait to cut it until it smells sweet. 


FALL SHARES AVAILABLE: Email us today to reserve your fall CSA share. Two deliveries (10/25 and 11/15), lots of veggies--most of which will keep through the winter months--and our favorite harvests of the year! 

TIME TO ORDER SWEET TOP FARM HONEY: 16 ounce jars are $10. We will deliver to your dropsite within the next couple of weeks. It was a good harvest this season, and there is plenty of honey, so you can order as many jars as you would like. Email us today with your order!

CSA MEMBER POTLUCK and PUMPKIN PICK: Save the Date - September 30th 4-6pm. Please email your RSVP to us and include the number of people coming with you. Friends and family are welcome but leave pets at home.

TOMATO UPDATE: For those of you that did not read the newsletter last week, the one variety that we planted that is Late Blight resistant now has late blight (and still no ripe tomatoes). Unfortunately, that row was mowed down as well. Many other farms in our area are now reporting Late Blight as well and are mowing down their crops too.

Details about this week's harvest are below.
                                                                                                                    Your Farmers,

Megan, Adam, Edith, and Harvey

What's in your box and
where does it go?
  Fridge? Bag?
cantaloupe once cut container of choice
carrots yes plastic
cucumbers yes plastic
garlic no  countertop
green beans yes  plastic
onion no  countertop
peppers-hot, italian, and bell yes plastic
potatoes-red gold no  countertop
salad mix yes plastic
winter squash-delicata no  countertop
Stuffed Delicata Squash
2 small delicata squash (about 12 ounces each), halved and seeded
6 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 cup bulgur
1 cup water
1 small onion, chopped
8 ounces lean ground beef (90% or leaner)
2 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 cup nonfat or low-fat plain yogurt
4 teaspoons toasted pepitas (see Tip)


Preheat oven to 425°F.

Brush the cut sides of the squash with 2 teaspoons oil and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Place facedown on a large baking sheet. Bake until tender and browned on the edges, 25 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring bulgur and water to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes. Drain well.

Heat the remaining 4 teaspoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring, until beginning to brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Add beef, chili powder and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring and breaking up with a spoon, until the meat is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Stir in the bulgur and cook 1 minute. Stir in yogurt.

Spoon about 3/4 cup filling into each squash half. Serve sprinkled with pepitas.

Tip: For the best flavor, toast chopped nuts or seeds: Heat a dry skillet over medium-low heat. Add nuts or seeds and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 2 to 4 minutes.
Adapted from chef turned farmer Heather Wiarda.

Caramelized Spicy Green Beans

1 pound green beans 
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1 medium-size red pepper sliced
1/2 medium-size onion, sliced
1 teaspoon peanut oil
3/4 teaspoon seasoned salt

Cook beans in boiling salted water to cover 1 minute; drain. Plunge green beans into ice water to stop the cooking process; drain well, pressing between paper towels. Stir together brown sugar, soy sauce, and dried crushed red pepper. Sauté bell pepper, onion, and green beans in hot peanut oil in a large skillet over high heat 3 to 5 minutes or until beans look blistered. Sprinkle with seasoned salt. Remove from heat; add soy sauce mixture to green bean mixture, and stir to coat.
Adapted from Southern Living magazine

How we roast potatoes here at Sweet Top Farm:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut potatoes into small pieces (a little smaller than bite size). Toss with a generous amount of olive oil and spread evenly on sheet pan. Sprinkle with more salt than you think you need (we use Real Salt and recommend that you choose a nice sea salt for roasting veggies). Roast until crispy.
There are an abundance of frogs and toads on the farm this year. I made friends with this guy while picking green beans. That's Adam in the background hard at work.
Details About Today's

This is the last of the cantaloupe. We harvested these melons when the stems "slipped" from the melon but they DEFINITELY need several more days (maybe even a week) on the countertop. These cool temps are not ideal for melons, so hopefully they sweeten up for you.

Great for lunchboxes!

6 slicers!!! What!?

The bulbs are a bit small this year, but the flavor is really great.

Green Beans
We likely have one more week of beans after this. Please return the cloth bag with your CSA box.

One ginormous onion--equivalent to three medium onions! If you don't need it all at once, bag and put in the refrigerator.

One small medium-hot jalapeno (pointed green pepper), one or two large Italian peppers with some color (not hot), and one or two purple bell pepper. Finally seeing some color on the peppers.

Potatoes--Red Gold

A nice potato for salads or roasting.

Salad Mix
We don't grow a lot of salad mix because it is labor intensive, but it sure is DELICIOUS! Use in the next couple of days when it is freshest. 

Winter Squash-Delicata
The oblong creamy colored squash in your box. We love it roasted, but it is also great for stuffing.
This week's harvest (left to right): salad mix, cantaloupe, cucumbers, delicata squash, carros, red gold potatoes, peppers, green beans, garlic, jalapenos, and onion.
Nearly full moon rising over the greenhouse.
Pole shed at's box packing night!
On Sunday, our buddy Atticus learned to drive the tractor (a dream come true for him) and then helped us harvest the delicata squash. 
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173 130th Street
Deer Park, WI 54007

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