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173 130th Street • Deer Park, WI 54007
507.923.6251 • sweettopfarm@gmail.com  
www.sweettopfarm.weebly.com
CSA Newsletter: Week Three
24 June 2015
If prior arrangements have NOT been made, share boxes left after the 7pm pick-up deadline will be given away or donated as our pick-up sites do not have refrigeration space to hold CSA boxes overnight.
scroll down to read what is in your CSA box, storage tips, recipes, and see photos of the farm this week

Sticking to the Schedule (well, not if Mother Nature is involved)

We spend most of January studying seed catalogs, researching crop varieties, and entering months worth of data into spreadsheets.  All of this is to prepare us for the upcoming season of seeding, planting, and harvesting.  Unlike a personal garden where most of it gets planted all at once, we have to carefully calculate multiple seedings and plantings of most of our crops.  Over the years we've honed our spreadsheet skills (well, Megan has--Adam sticks to playing with Edith and perusing the internet for good deals on farm implements) to calculate expected first and last harvest dates and determine how many row feet of a certain crop we need...dorky farmer stuff.  Once January is over, it is like our senior project for the year is done--printed out and hole punched and placed neatly in a binder.  It is our road map for the season.

We're happy
to report that our travels through the season thus far have been smooth, and greenhouse seeding and transplanting have been on schedule for the most part.  Crops are looking great and are ripening on time and some are also maturing a little earlier than expected.  One might think, "Oh, wonderful!"  But the plan!  That plan from back in January that we proudly carry around in the blue binder.  We aren't supposed to have beets quite yet, and hey, what about the snap peas that should be ready to harvest?  Well, it turns out that Mother Nature has her own plan, and sometimes we're traveling on the same road, and other times, we're going in different directions.  So, enjoy the early beets and look forward to those snap peas.  

Time to preserve the harvest: 3/4 bushel Box of mixed Kale $20 
We try not to overwhelm you with greenery in the early boxes.  For some of you, it might still be too many leafy greens and for others, not enough.  If you fall into the latter category and would like to take advantage of the abundance of kale and chard that we have right now, you can place an order for a CSA box of mixed kale (green, red, and lacinato) for freezing, juicing, eating, etc. (or state specifically that you would like one variety).  Place your order by email, and we will drop your box at your dropsite the following week or you can pick it up at the Saturday Hudson Farmers Market on Carmichael Road by Faith Community Church.

On to this week's vegetable share: Edith's vegetable of the week is a bit of a surprise, as it is a little earlier than expected: "Broc-coli!"  She marches around singing broc-coli and munches the tops off leaving a defoliated stem.  Don't worry, all of yours are intact.  

Also new to the box this week are bunches of beautiful red beets with gorgeous green tops.  While most people are familiar with the root end, we encourage you to also cook the stems and leaves.  They are delicious sauteed with a little oil and vinegar and topped with feta cheese.  The taste is a little earthier than spinach, and the stems are a little sweet.

Napa cabbage is the head of bright green leaves with thick white stems.  You can cook the entire thing or eat it raw.  The leaves are thicker than lettuce and little more rough, but if sliced thin and mixed with a dressing, it is very good.  Napa cabbage is popular in stir-fries, and this week's recipe for fish tacos is highly recommended.

Rounding out the box is the biggest head of red leaf lettuce we've ever grown, and it is still quite tender.  This is the last week for spinach, but most of the other contents will make a return in the next box or two.  We wanted so much to have sugar snap peas this week, but the darn things just aren't quite ready.  There are gobs of peas waiting to fatten up and still loads of blooms, so we expect that next week we will be able to pick a decent bag for everyone (don't worry half shares, there will be some two weeks from now too).  


On the farm:  The weeks are just flying by.  It is hard to believe that most of the greenhouse seeding is done for the season, which in turn means that there is very little left to go in the ground other than fall brassicas--broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower--and a few other miscellaneous crops.  

Many vining crops--squash, cucumbers, melons, pumpkins--get covered with a light cloth to protect young plants from pest damage.  As they start to vine and flower, we uncover them so that pollination can take place and fruits can start to form.  Bees play an integral part in pollination on vegetable farms, so you can imagine our excitement when an area beekeeper offered to bring some hives to Sweet Top.  The bees arrived on Father's Day and are making themselves at home on flowers everywhere.    


We have a few CSA vegetable shares available, so feel free to give our information to anyone that is interested in becoming a farm member.  This Saturday marks this season's first Hudson Farmers Market on Carmichael (in the parking lot of Faith Community Church).  We will be there every Saturday through the end of October 8am-12pm, so please stop by and say hello--we'd love to see you.

Enjoy this week's harvest!

Your Farmers,

-Megan, Adam, and Edith

What's in your box and
where does it go?
 
     
  Fridge? Bag?
Beets yes plastic
Broccoli yes plastic
Garlic Scapes yes plastic
Hakurei Turnips yes plastic
Kohlrabi (bulbs) yes plastic
Napa Cabbage yes plastic
Radishes yes plastic
Red Leaf Lettuce yes plastic
Salad Mix bagged yes plastic
Scallions yes plastic
Spinach-bunched yes plastic
     
     
     
     
*highlighted words are new items in the box
New vegetables we hope to have next week: Sugar snap peas, possibly summer squash or zucchini, kale, gold beets
Recipes
 
Quick Kohlrabi Pickles
 
  • Trim, peel and cut 2-4 kohlrabi bulbs into half inch cubes and place the kohlrabi chunks in a lidded, airtight container. Drizzle with a touch of olive oil, a good splash of rice vinegar or white vinegar with a pinch of sugar, and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Replace the lid and shake well. Taste and adjust seasoning. Place in fridge, shaking occasionally. They are best after they have marinated for a few hours, and will last about a week, becoming more intensely flavored but still largely retaining their lovely texture.
From “Restaurant Window” blog
 
Fish Tacos with Napa Cabbage

2 avocados, halved, pitted, and diced
1/4 c. sour cream or plain yogurt
2 scallions, minced
2 T. chopped cilantro
5 T. fresh lime juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 small head of napa cabbage, shredded (~4 cups)
2 T. vegetable oil, plus more for brushing
2 lb. fish filets, cut into ten 2-inch-wide strips
Ten 7-inch flour tortillas, warmed
Hot sauce and Lime wedges, for serving if desired
Thinly sliced Radishes and Turnips
, for serving if desired

In a large bowl, toss the cabbage with the 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and 2 tablespoons of lime juice. Season with salt and pepper.  Brush the fish with oil and season with salt, pepper and lime juice (we marinated ours in this combo for a couple of hours before cooking).  You can also add a dash of chili powder.  Grill over moderately high heat until lightly charred and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Transfer the fish to a platter and pull off the skin. If you do not have a grill, you can also fry the fish in a skillet.  Assemble fish tacos with desired toppings (avocado, sour cream/yogurt, scallions, cabbage slaw, hot sauce, lime wedges).
From our friends at Prairie Drifter Farm

Click these recipes for
additional ideas:
side view of Napa Cabbage
Details about this week's
CSA box

Beets
A nice surprise in the box this week: Beautiful red beets with greens that are great chopped and sauteed with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.  Roast, grill, boil, or shred and eat the beets raw.  

Broccoli-Edith's Veggie of the Week
Enjoy the head and the stem, which is quite tender and sweet this time of year.  It is pretty darn cute hearing Edith march around asking for "broc-coli".

Garlic Scapes
These are the curly cue in your box.  Garlic plants shoot up stalks that will eventually flower.  We take them off so that the plant can put energy into making a big garlic bulb.  Scapes can be substituted in recipes calling for garlic.  We love them grilled or roasted whole with olive oil.  A special treat!


Hakurei Turnips
Still tender and juicy--nothing like storage turnips.  Eat them raw with a dash of salt or cook lightly with a little butter.  The greens are also edible.

Kohlrabi
This is the bulb shaped vegetable at the bottom of your box.  Peel it and slice the flesh.  Crisp like an apple and is tender and juicy.  Great in stir-fries, cut into strips and used for dipping, or our favorite, eaten raw, sliced into rounds, and topped with salt.  


Napa Cabbage
Tall leafy head with thick white stem, both of which can be cooked or eaten raw.  We love this cabbage for slaws.  The stems have a uniquely floral flavor that is just delicious this time of year.


Radishes
A bouquet of bright red, these radishes are a little spicy on their own but goes unnoticed if sliced thin and added to salads, slaws, etc.  You can even cook them.

Red Leaf Lettuce
We've had ideal weather for spring lettuce, and the heads are, well, the size of a head.  That means: plenty of leaves for salads, sandwiches, wraps--you name it--and lots of nooks for dirt. We do our best to clean your lettuce, but recent hard rains splashed lots of dirt into places that can't be reached until it is cut open.

salad Mix
A mix of red and green leaves perfect for salads of all sorts.  While we wash and spin your lettuce, you should clean it again before eating.

Scallions
A bunch of green onions with white ends this week; use on anything that calls for a little onion.  Can be cooked or eaten raw


Spinach
This is the last week for spinach as the warmer temperatures are causing it to bolt.  Goodbye until fall.

 
Clockwise from the top: Our 40 pound haul of strawberries from White Pine Berry Farm in River Falls; First bouquet of the season already screams 'it's summertime!'; Our newest addition to the farm: the bees arrived this week; Little summer squash that might just be in next week's box; Cucumbers are just a couple weeks away; Yowza, that red leaf defines Head Lettuce!
You can find the newsletter and recipes here: www.sweettopfarm.weebly.com. 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.
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Our mailing address is:
173 130th Street
Deer Park, WI 54007