173 130th Street • Deer Park, WI 54007
507.923.6251 •
CSA Newsletter: Week Ten
12 August 2015
scroll down to read what is in your CSA box, storage tips, recipes, and see photos of the farm this week

Sweet Top Summer Camp

We had quite an exciting weekend on the farm.  Edith would describe it as "people, people, people," but to be more descriptive, it was actually 5 campers and 2 counselors from Camp St. Croix in Hudson.  This year the camp added a two week camp with an emphasis on Farm and Garden.  For their overnight trip, campers would stay on a farm and learn about sustainable agriculture.  On Friday (luckily after the 2.5 inches of rain had fallen), the campers set up tents and started their weekend with our first watermelons of the season.

Most of the kids were from the Twin Cities region, so on Saturday, after stopping at the Hudson Farmers Market, they visited the St. Paul Farmers Market.  Only about half of them had been to a farmers market before, so this was a nice experience for them to visit with a diversity of vendors selling everything from goat cheese and meat to strudel and vegetables.  That afternoon, they visited our neighbors at Whetstone Farm to tour their livestock operation where they raise sheep, pigs, chickens, and turkeys.  Megan helped two of the campers make Summer Squash Sloppy Joes that evening with pork from Whetstone and vegetables from Sweet Top.

Sunday was spent working on our farm.  We gave a tour in the morning followed by hand-weeding the fall carrots and harvesting potatoes for this week's CSA share and some extra for the kids to take home with them.  Continuing with the culinary adventure, we all worked together to make Chocolate Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cake and pizza.  Kids mixed up the dough and sauced about 20 pounds of tomatoes, allowing it to cook down all afternoon with an entire giant bulb of garlic.  They picked their own toppings: green peppers, eggplant, summer squash, and zucchini--they were very adventurous as none of them has EVER had a pizza without meat.

We ended their weekend with the chance to do some work with Belle, our horse.  About 400 tomato stakes needed to be moved, and we took the opportunity to do so with real horsepower.  It was really fun to see how interested the kids were, and several of them tried their hand at driving.  Belle of course enjoyed the extra attention, and Edith got a kick out of watching all the "people" interacting with her horse.

Overall, it was a nice weekend, and we had the chance to use a bit of our educational background to teach kids about sustainable agriculture and what we do here at Sweet Top Farm.  Needless to say, we were all tuckered out come Monday morning.  Edith took a three hour afternoon nap and woke up wondering where all the people had gone.  Mama and papa harvested tomatoes and zinnias and then enjoyed a beer in the nice (quiet) evening breeze.

On to this week's vegetable share:  There is no denying that the box is heavy this week (good training for when we start to put winter squash in the box).  Inside you will find the first watermelon of the season.  If your melon is striped, it is yellow inside.  The watermelons with the dark skin are red fleshed.  Harvesting watermelons is no easy task.  There are several indicators that the melon is ripe and ready, and we try to make sure we see them all: hollow sounding when knocked upon, slightly ribbed, and a dead leaf and curly-Q where the stem attaches to the vine.  Every so often, we taste-test just to make sure our test checks out and so far, we are doing pretty well.  Despite this checklist, sometimes you will get a melon that isn't quite ready and that is, unfortunately, the way the game goes. We hope we picked a good one for you.  Cantaloupes are not far off.

We recently read that another farm was also experiencing a lack decent sized peppers on their plants due to heavy rains knocking off the initial blooms.  This is not something that occurred to us but certainly could be the reason that it seems like the peppers are taking forever to size up.  We finally decided to go ahead and harvest a green pepper this week and will likely continue to do so.  One of these days soon, we hope to see some color, but that day could be a few weeks out.

Tomatoes are starting to kick into high gear.  Unfortunately, the heavy rains at the end of last week resulted in some major cracking on some of the heirlooms.  If they were oozing, we didn't put them in the box.  If the cracks had started to scar over, we added them but encourage you to eat these first.  We also harvest any tomato with color on it so one, we can keep up with the harvest and two, you can enjoy tomatoes throughout the week.  Alice Waters, executive chef, founder, and owner of Chez Panisse, found in all of her trials, tomatoes were of best quality and taste picked slightly under ripe and then allowed to ripen at room temperature.  We also had enough cherry tomatoes for everyone to have about a half pint.  There are loads of green ones out there, but it typically takes a little time before they come on strong; this is just a taste of what is to come.

Remember to lift the box with your legs, not your back!  Enjoy the harvest!

Your Farmers,

-Megan, Adam, and Edith

What's in your box and
where does it go?
  Fridge? Bag?
carrots yes plastic
cucumbers yes plastic
garlic no countertop
green beans yes plastic
green pepper yes plastic
hot pepper yes plastic
lacinato kale yes plastic
summer squash  yes plastic
sweet and red onion yes no
thyme (herb) yes plastic
tomatoes no countertop
watermelon yes no
yellow new potatoes no counter/paper bag
zucchini yes plastic

some of you might have an eggplant OR cauliflower
*highlighted words are new items in the box
Kale and Cucumber Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 bunch thinly sliced kale, packed
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds
  • Combine tahini, canola oil, lemon juice, water, garlic, soy sauce and sugar in small bowl. Stir until smooth. Place kale and cucumbers in large bowl. Pour dressing over kale; toss until combined. Marinate for a minimum of 20 minutes, tossing occasionally. Sprinkle with almonds.
  • Adapted from

Rotini with Fresh Tomato
and Thyme
1/2 pound dried rotini or other spiral pasta
3 small tomatoes
2 garlic cloves
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 to 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup crumbled ricotta salata or feta

Fill a 4-quart pasta pot three fourths full with salted water and bring to a boil for rotini. Coarsely chop tomatoes and mince garlic. In a large bowl toss together tomatoes, garlic, thyme, vinegar, oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Marinate tomatoes 20 minutes. Cook rotini in boiling water until al dente and drain well in a colander. Add pasta to tomatoes and toss. Serve pasta sprinkled with ricotta salata.

Adapted from

Click these recipes for
additional ideas:
Red and Yellow Watermelons

Details about this week's
CSA box

The carrots are sizing up and yummy as can be!

The cukes are slowing down, so not quite as many as last week.

Eggplant or Cauliflower
Dark purple Japanese type or globe or a surprise crop of cauliflower that decided to mature (we had given up hope)  


Try roasting whole cloves of garlic alongside potatoes.

Green Beans
Last of the greeny-beanies for a while.  The next planting is coming along, but we aren't seeing blooms yet.

Green Pepper
Large, green pointed pepper called Carmen

Hot Pepper
Dark green jalapeno

Lacinato Kale
Also known as Dinosaur Kale

Sweet and Red Onions
Walla Walla onions that become quite sweet when cooked.  We can't get enough of them!  Also, one red torpedo onion.

Thyme (herb)
Use fresh or hang upside down in a dark location to dry for use later (a paper bag works great to catch leaves that fall off as they dry).

Tomatoes of all shapes and sizes are starting to turn.  Everyone should have several slicing tomatoes and a scant half pint of cherry tomatoes.  Way more to come!  We will reuse the pint containers in the future if you return them with your CSA box.

Striped skin is yellow fleshed and dark green skin is red fleshed.  Both have seeds and are sweet.

Yellow New Potatoes
This is a variety called Satina that is similar to Yukon Gold potatoes.  Creamy texture and sweet taste.  They just might be our favorite variety.

Summer Squash and Zucchini
Try last week's recipe for Summer Squash Sloppy Joe's.  Even Edith loved them.

Top: The last of the transplants--kohlrabi
Bottom: A peek at this week's flower share bouquet
Clockwise from top: Pressing tomatoes for pizza sauce; Proud chefs; Baby gold finches; Moving tomato stakes with Belle; Harvesting potatoes.
If prior arrangements have NOT been made, share boxes left after the 7pm pick-up deadline (6pm for Pathways Chiropractic) will be given away or donated as our pick-up sites do not have refrigeration space to hold CSA boxes overnight.
You can find the newsletter and recipes here: On our website, you can find recipes from seasons past if you need additional ideas.  We frequently post on Facebook, and you can "follow" Sweet Top Farm by liking us on Facebook.
Like us on Facebook for more news, information, and photos
Copyright © 2015 Sweet Top Farm LLC, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
173 130th Street
Deer Park, WI 54007