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173 130th Street • Deer Park, WI 54007
507.923.6251 • sweettopfarm@gmail.com  
www.sweettopfarm.com
CSA Newsletter: Week Eight
09 August 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 7 Newsletter. 

A month or so ago we decided that we would make a real effort to get away for a mini vacation at some point this summer. When we started farming, it was our intention to take a mid-season break to refresh, relax, and let go of our farm to-do list for a couple of days. It goes without saying that farming is hard work--mentally and physically--so this was part of our plan to take good care of ourselves. Well, that lasted two years, then we had Edith, then we bought a farm, then we got a dog, and then we used the excuse that we were just too busy to leave. This past weekend, we finally left. Our neighbors watered the transplants, Belle contentedly ate grass, Sassy stayed at a nice kennel down the road, and the veggie fields did just fine in our absence (it helped that we worked overtime to get transplants in the ground and weeds out before the beautiful day of rain on Thursday). When Adam arrived home from the farmers market on Saturday, we loaded up the minivan and headed to visit friends in Washburn, WI (on Lake Superior) for a weekend of rest and relaxation...and it was FANTASTIC!

We spent Saturday evening boating around in the Chequamegon Bay. Edith biked her first 5k in an informal race Sunday morning followed by a full afternoon splashing in the waves of Lake Superior and sailing around on a Laser (a little bigger than a Sunfish). We hit the beach again Monday morning before we left and Harvey had his first dip in the Lake while his sister splashed around like a fish. Adam and I went to college in Ashland, and this part of Lake Superior holds a very special place in our hearts. This was our first vacation as a family, and now our connection to that large body of water is even stronger. 
.

ABOUT THE BOX: Watermelon! We cut open one last week that was okay and then cut another two open yesterday that were good and sweet. WATERMELON DISCLAIMER: We do our best to pick ripe melons and apologize if your melon isn't ready yet. Unlike cantaloupe, once harvested, a watermelon does not continue to ripen. Sometimes a melon passes all the criteria on our checklist and still isn't quite ready. More times than not though, if a melon passes the test below, it's good. We'll have melons again next week and expect cantaloupes in another week or two. If you get a melon that is dark green, the flesh is pink-red (Edith's favorite); if it's striped, the flesh is yellow (my favorite). Each melon goes through our ripeness checklist in this order: 
1. Tendril and leaf near stem need to be dead
2. Melon sounds hollow
3. Feels slightly ribbed
4. Nice yellow spot on the side that is on the ground (although we've had great melons that have no spot)


We picked the first of the bell peppers this week, an early variety called Purple Beauty that is deep purple. Unfortunately it loses its color when cooked, so if you want to show off its purple beauty, slice and eat raw. It tastes like a green pepper and would make a nice arrangement on a veggie platter with carrots, celery, and a dip of your choice.

The last of the early broccoli and cauliflower are in the box this week. We looked at our records from previous years and this is the longest stretch of broccoli harvest that we have ever had for the early season boxes. I wish the cauliflower would have gone a bit longer, but two successions exploded at one time and ended harvest after two weeks. The heads this week have a yellowish tint due to sun exposure. They still taste great! 

Cucumbers are between plantings right now. We expect they'll be back in the box next week. Pickling cukes will be ready by next week too, so stay tuned for an email about ordering 10 pound boxes for pickles. 

Green beans are also between plantings and will be back again next week.

For those of you wondering about tomatoes, the plants look great and are heavy with fruit. There is still no color (other than green) out there, but I'm hoping that will change and expect it to in about 2 weeks. 

Enjoy this week's harvest!

                                                                                                                    Your Farmers,

Megan, Adam, Edith, and Harvey

What's in your box and
where does it go?


 
Fridge? Bag?
basil no  in vase of water
beets-loose yes plastic
broccoli yes plastic
carrots yes plastic
cauliflower yes  plastic
celery yes plastic
eggplant no  countertop
peppers-hot and bell yes plastic
potatoes-red no  countertop
red onions yes  plastic
watermelon once cut container of choice
zucchini/squash yes plastic
Recipes
 
Broccoli, Cauliflower, and Carrot Mix-up

This has been on our menu for the last couple of weeks and everyone from Grandpa on down to Edith enjoys it.

Cook enough rice to feed your family. Cut bite size chunks of cauliflower, broccoli, and carrots. Steam until tender crisp (not mushy). Mince garlic and ginger (the amount is up to you). Cook ground beef, pork, or italian sausage and towards the end add the garlic and ginger (and possibly some jalapeno or hot pepper flakes if you like heat) stirring constantly to prevent burning. Add the steamed veggies and a couple tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and continue to stir until everything is cooked. Serve over rice. We like to add kim-chi or sauerkraut too.


Roasted Eggplant and Chickpea Wraps
 
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh herbs
Vegetable oil, cooking spray
1 large eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 small onion, peeled, root end left intact, halved lengthwise, cut into 8 wedges
1 cup drained canned chickpeas, rinsed
6 ounces tomatoes, chopped
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
Freshly ground pepper
4 ounces fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
4 whole-wheat lavash pieces or whole-wheat wraps (2 ounces and 8 inches each)
 
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Whisk vinegar, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon oil, and 1 tablespoon herbs in a small bowl; set vinaigrette aside.

coat a large rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Toss eggplant, zucchini, onion, and remaining tablespoon herbs in a large bowl. Spread in a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Roast, tossing occasionally, until golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Transfer vegetable mixture to a large bowl. Add chickpeas, tomatoes, and salt; season with pepper. Drizzle with vinaigrette; toss to coat. Arrange mozzarella in center of lavash pieces or wraps. Top each with 1 1/4 cups vegetable salad. Roll up, and cut in half.


Adapted from chef turned farmer Heather Wiarda

 
Click these recipes for additional ideas:
Details About Today's
CSA Box

Basil
Adds a nice flavor to salads, pastas, baked or grilled squash/zucchini or eggplant, or try adding to potato salad. Do not refrigerate basil; the leaves will brown. Instead, keep in a vase of water on your countertop and wash only before using.

Beets-Loose
Every year we trial new varieties. This particular variety of beet called Moneta has been a disappointment. While the beets are fine, the greens looked awful so we topped all the beets this week.

Broccoli
This is the last of the early broccoli. We'll see it again in a few weeks.

Carrots
No need to peel! Take the greens off before storing to keep the carrots crisp in the bag.

Cauliflower
One large head. This is the last of the cauliflower until late September.

Celery
One of our favorites! Northern grown celery has a stronger flavor than what we find in the store from California. Great with any dip of your choice. You can also dice--stems and leaves--freeze and store for the soup season.

Eggplant
A smaller variety called Diamond. We love to slice thin and use as "pepperonis" on pizza.

Peppers
One small medium-hot jalapeno (pointed green pepper) and one purple bell pepper. If you like the color, eat it raw; cooking turns it back to green.

Potatoes--Red Norland
New potatoes with soft skins and fantastic flavor. Wonderful steamed until soft with a pat of butter and a sprinkle of sea salt.


Red Onions
Fresh onions that are shaped like torpedoes.

Watermelon
Please read disclaimer in the newsletter above. If your melon has dark green skin, the flesh is pinky-red; striped skin is yellow fleshed. 


Zucchini/Summer Squash
One of each again this week.
This week's harvest (left to right): basil, broccoli, red potatoes, red beets, zucchini and squash, watermelon, purple pepper, jalapeno, carrots, celery, red onions, cauliflower, and eggplant.
Adam seeded some Japanese millet (a cover crop) between the tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant a couple weeks ago. The photo on the left is when it was seeded. The photo on the right is what it looks like now.
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173 130th Street
Deer Park, WI 54007






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