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173 130th Street • Deer Park, WI 54007
507.923.6251 • sweettopfarm@gmail.com  
www.sweettopfarm.com
CSA Newsletter: Week Seven
26 July 2016
scroll down to read what is in your CSA box, storage tips, recipes, and see photos of the farm this week
ATTENTION: Do you have a cloth bag (or two or three)? We started the season with 250 and are down to about 50.  PLEASE RETURN THE BAGS! We reuse them each season, and they are not for you to keep.  Thank you for your cooperation.

From the Beginning

About this time every year, I find myself reflecting a lot. Whether I am lost in thought while hand-weeding beets or a memory comes back to me while I am making flower bouquets, I have a lot of time to think. Adam and I celebrate our seventh wedding anniversary on Monday, so I thought it would be fun to write about how we started farming.

Our love of the outdoors began in Northern Wisconsin, where we graduated from Northland College in 2003 and from there, we've been on many adventures together. Since we started dating thirteen years ago, we've lived in six different states as well as Norway. Adam has worked as a raft guide, school bus driver, environmental educator, ski instructor, and painter. I've been a produce manager, teacher, baker, kayak guide, and ski instructor as well. 

Food has always been an important part of our relationship. We enjoy cooking together, but it wasn't until we traveled in Europe that we realized how good food could be made with simple, fresh ingredients. When we returned to the United States and moved to Colorado, we started gardening in two small raised beds and visiting a farmers market and farm stand that sourced local produce from the Palisade region--one of Colorado's green belts. We cooked for other people and enjoyed canning and freezing as much of the season's harvest as our little apartment would hold. We planned, sourced, and cooked an entirely local menu for our wedding--still one of my favorite meals of all time.

With our love of the outdoors and our passion for good food, we needed to find a way to make both a bigger part of our life. At the time of our wedding, I was working as a produce manager at a natural grocery store chain. As I started to learn more about packing standards and farms in the region, I realized that I wanted to grow the vegetables and help people really understand how good you can feel when you eat well.

As we approached 30, Adam and I did some soul searching and decided to return to the Midwest to take a course called Farm Beginnings offered by the Land Stewardship Project. It was during that six month period that we formed a support network of new and experienced farmers that would guide us through our beginning years as farmers. After Farm Beginnings ended, we worked for two farms in Osceola, Wisconsin to continue building farm skills and really see if working together was something that would strengthen our marriage or hurt it.

In 2012, we decided to start our own farm business on rented land in Hudson, Wisconsin. Our first year as a Community Supported Agriculture farm, we had 15 member families--many of whom are still wholeheartedly supporting us as our membership has grown to nearly 100 families. Over the next couple of weeks, we'll share more information about the history of CSA, the challenges that CSA faces today, and the importance of your Sweet Top Farm membership.

Please read the details below about individual vegetables in your box this week.  No cucumbers; we're waiting for the newest planting to size up, and we should have them again next week. 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
carrots yes plastic
celery yes plastic
fennel yes plastic
green beans yes plastic
jalapeno yes plastic
new potatoes no paper
summer squash yes plastic
walla walla onions yes plastic
zucchini yes plastic
Recipes

Refreshing Celery and Fennel Salad

¼ cup pine nuts
1 fennel bulb, very thinly sliced
6 celery stalks, very thinly sliced
½ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves with tender stems
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
2 ounces Parmesan, shaved

 
Preheat oven to 350°. Toast pine nuts on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing occasionally, until golden brown, 8–10 minutes; let cool. Toss fennel, celery, parsley, and pine nuts with lemon juice and oil in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper. Serve salad, topped with Parmesan.
 
Adapted from bonappetit.com
 
Broccoli with Jalapeno and Garlic

4 cups of 1-inch broccoli florets (about 1 pound)
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 medium fresh jalapeño, halved lengthwise, seeds and ribs discarded, thinly sliced
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1/8 teaspoon salt

Steam broccoli until tender-crisp. In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat, swirling to coat the bottom. Cook the garlic and jalapeño for 3 minutes, or until the garlic is lightly browned and the jalapeño begins to soften, stirring frequently. Stir the cumin into the garlic mixture. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in the broccoli, lime juice, and salt.

Adapted from heart.org

Click these recipes for additional ideas:
Clockwise (farm photos by our nephew Talen): Garlic from the recent harvest; Edith with a bouquet she made all by herself (I'm a proud mama); Belle taking a break in the shade; Talen with the bouquet he made for Grandma Phyllis; Wide open sky over the pole shed.
Details about today's
CSA box


Beets
The red beets loved the heat and 2 inches of rain this past week.

Broccoli
This is the last week for broccoli until September.

Carrots
Nothing tastes better than a fresh carrot. No need to peel them (or cook for that matter). We'll have a break from carrots next week while we wait for the next succession to size up.

Celery
Northern grown celery is delicious! It has a strong flavor and can be cooked or eaten raw. We are seeing Black Heart on the young leaves in the middle of the plants--something that isn't always noticeable when harvesting. It doesn't affect the larger stalks that you would be eating now, so just discard the heart of the celery if you notice browning. It is ESSENTIAL that it is cut, washed, and sealed in a bag in order to make sure is doesn't become limp. You can also chop it and put in a bag in the freezer for use during the winter.

Fennel
White bulb with a strong anise smell and flavor.  This is great chopped on a salad or roasted with other veggies. Often paired with citrus.

Green Beans
A small bag of beans this week. Many of the beans became over-ripe during the heat wave, so we did our best to give everyone a handful. The next planting is in full bloom, so next week's bag might also be small. We do not wash green beans; it is best to wash them just before you cook them.  
Please remember to return your cloth bag.

Jalapeno-HOT
Small, dark green, pointed pepper. 

New Potatoes
Although this is the same variety as last week, we dug from a new row and saw very little of the growth cracks that we found last week--whew! Good news for us as no one wants a field full of ugly potatoes.

Summer Squash and Zucchini
This is the first harvest off the new planting--a couple of zucchini and one or two squash.

Walla Walla Onions
A sweet onion.  The onions took quite a hit a couple weeks back when a storm with 45 mph winds came through. The onions grew some since last week but still don't seem to have the vigor of last season. These are not meant to be stored so use within the next couple of weeks.
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173 130th Street
Deer Park, WI 54007






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