173 130th Street • Deer Park, WI 54007
507.923.6251 •
CSA Newsletter: Week Six
15 July 2015
Sunday, July 19 9:30am - 3pm

Email RSVP with number attending by July 17th

Come for some or all of the day.  Walk around the fields, see our new packing facility, meet our horse Belle, pick some flowers to take home, and help pull a few weeds if you want to.  We will have a light lunch available for a noon picnic and time to meet each other.  Kids welcome (please leave pets at home).  Bring close-toed shoes, a hat, sunscreen, a water bottle, and a wide mouth glass jar with a lid if you want to take home sauerkraut or kim-chi.   
Tentative Schedule
9:30-noon Self guided tour of the fields; work alongside your farmers, harvest for the Fermentation Demonstration

Noon  Light picnic lunch provided by Sweet Top Farm; time to visit with each other

1pm-2pm  Fermentation Demonstration; Megan will demonstrate how to make fermented cabbage and our version of Kim-Chi.  Bring a wide-mouth jar if you would like to take some home.

Self guided tour of the fields; work alongside your farmers
scroll down to read what is in your CSA box, storage tips, recipes, and see photos of the farm this week

Cutting Hay with a Slice of Farm History

One of the many joys of our new farm is that we have additional acreage to plan into cover crops to help rebuild the soil health.  We also have a large horse that eats a fair bit of hay in the winter.   This spring, I seeded 7 acres with oats and a grass/clover mix, and recently, we were able to cut and bale hay for Belle to eat this winter.  We hired our neighbor Jerol, who grew up just down the road on a dairy farm and still farms the same land today, to cut and bale the hay for us.  He also spent a little time telling me the history the land that we are now farming.

The 25 acres that we own were originally owned and farmed by a man named Earl.  Our particular fields were known as Earl’s Flats.  When you come to visit the farm it is very apparent why the fields were called this.   The original homestead and a few farm buildings are still visible just to the east of our land.  Earl was a dairy farmer, and he farmed here until the mid-nineties.  He then sold the farm to one of his hired farm hands.  This man farmed for a few years but was unable to make a successful living at it, so he decided to sell.   A date was set for an auction to sell the farm equipment and the dairy cows.  The week before the auction, the dairy barn caught fire and burned to the ground, taking with it some equipment and most of the cows.

Our neighbor Jerol was there the night of the fire and for the next few days to help clean up what they could and bury the cows.  Jerol remembered it as a very difficult and sad week.   After that, the land was parceled up and sold to the Hopkins family who we bought from last fall.  It was a fascinating story and told with great detail.  As I sit here and write this, I know I am not doing justice to the story.  I have always enjoyed history and was very appreciative of this small slice of what came before us on this land. I look forward to another story in a few weeks when we make a second cutting of hay.   

On to this week's vegetable share: Edith's vegetable of the week is Fennel!  On a recent field walk, we stood chatting and looked up to see Edith taking a bite out of a fennel frond.  She loves to chew on the stems (all natural tooth paste).  The bulb of the fennel is what is commonly eaten though.  It is great raw, roasted, sauteed, or grilled.  Fennel is often paired with beets.  The stems and fronds can be chopped and used as garnish in salads or on pasta.  The fronds were too big to fit in the box, so we had to cut most of them off.

It is Christmas in July with green beans and red potatoes in the box this week.  Both are picture perfect and taste delicious.  The green beans are in a cloth bag handmade by Megan's Grandma Joan, so please return the bag with your CSA box.  We reuse them throughout the season so that we don't have to use as many plastic bags.

We harvested the last of the garlic scapes and threw a few in the bottom of everyone's box.  You can use them chopped as you would garlic cloves.  Soon enough, we will have bulb garlic.

Broccoli is coming to an end (it will be back in September) and there was still quite a haul this week.  About half the boxes have cauliflower and those without have extra broccoli.  This is the last week for scallions as well since we will start putting fresh onions in the box next week (yahoo!).

Rounding out the box are carrots, beets, romaine lettuce, squash, zucchini, and several cucumbers. 

We hope to see you this Sunday on the farm.  Enjoy this week's harvest!

Your Farmers,

-Megan, Adam, and Edith

What's in your box and
where does it go?
  Fridge? Bag?
broccoli yes plastic
carrots yes plastic
cucumber yes plastic
fennel yes plastic
green beans yes plastic
parsley yes plastic
red beets yes plastic
red new potatoes yes plastic
romaine lettuce yes plastic
scallions yes plastic
summer squash  yes plastic
zucchini yes plastic
garlic scapes yes plastic
Some boxes have cauliflower or extra broccoli
*highlighted words are new items in the box
New vegetables we hope to have next week: fresh onions, maybe celery, more new potatoes
Fennel, Beet, and Green Bean Salad
    1/3 cup olive oil
    3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
    1 tablespoon lemon juice
    1 teaspoon kosher salt
    1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
    2-4 beets (about 1 pound)
    8 ounces green beans, trimmed
    1/2 cup walnut halves, toasted
    8 cups lettuce
    1 fennel bulb, cored and very thinly sliced
    1/2 cup slivered fresh basil (or parsley)
    1 tablespoon lemon zest
    1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
    1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
    1. To prepare vinaigrette: Whisk oil, vinegar, lemon juice, salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl until well combined.
    2. To prepare salad: Place beets in a medium saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Rinse with cold water to cool slightly. Peel and slice the beets.
    3. Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add green beans and cook until tender-crisp, 3 to 6 minutes. Rinse with cold water to cool slightly. Drain, then pat dry.
    4. Break walnut halves into pieces still large enough to pick up with a fork. Add the walnuts and beets to the vinaigrette and let marinate for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the green beans, lettuce, fennel and basil/parsley to the bowl; toss to combine.  Serve immediately.
  • Adapted from
Smothered Green Beans
with New Potatoes
5 slices bacon, chopped
1 pound green beans, trimmed
2 medium onions, finely chopped
12 ounces new potatoes (4-6 small), cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups water
Place a Dutch oven over medium heat, add bacon and cook until slightly browned but still soft. Add beans, onions, potatoes, pepper, salt and water. Stir well and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are very tender, about 1 hour. Uncover, increase the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened and most of the water has evaporated, 20 to 25 minutes more.
Click these recipes for
additional ideas:
Edith with her Veggie of the Week: Fennel

Details about this week's
CSA box

Early summer broccoli is coming to an end, so this could be the last week.  Don't worry, we planted the first of the fall broccoli on Saturday--but let's not rush summer.

A beautiful bunch!

The first planting of cucumbers is going bonkers!  We will have cukes in the box for a while.  Be sure to try Cucumber Salad (link at the bottom of the recipes).

-Edith's Veggie of the Week
Fennel can be eaten raw in salads or cooked (great grilled, roasted, sauteed).  While the anise sent is strong when fresh, it mellows when cooked.  The fronds were huge and had to be trimmed to fit in the box.  You can use the frilly fronds as garnish on salads (try it with a cucumber salad).

Green Beans
In a cloth bag.  The first green beans are always a welcome sight.  Enjoy!  There's more to come.

Dark green leafy herb.  Great chopped fine and added to salads or mix in with buttered new potatoes.  Store it in a case in the fridge or on your counter top as you would a bouquet.  Also keeps in a plastic bag.

Red Beets
Our second planting of beets caught right up to the first.  Try grilling your beets by boiling, skinning, chopping and finishing them in a basket on the grill.  Delicious!

Red New Potatoes
Tender red potatoes; you know that they are new potatoes if bits of their skin slip off.  We have been roasting them with olive oil and coarse salt, but they are also delicious boiled and tossed with butter, salt, pepper, and parsley.

Romaine Lettuce
The head lettuce is coming to an end until fall.  We might eek out another week or maybe not, so enjoy the last lettuce salads for a while.

Can be cooked or eaten raw.  This is the last week of scallions as we will start to harvest onions next week.

Summer Squash and Zucchini
Everyone should have a couple of squash and a few zucchini.  We were gifted a Zoodle (zucchini noodle maker), so if you are looking for a way to add veggies into a noodle lover's meal plan, give this contraption a try.

Garlic Scapes
We harvested the last of the garlic scapes for the season and decided to throw a few in all the boxes.  Before long, we'll have garlic bulbs!
Clockwise from the top: Rows mulched with oat hay that was cut last week; Japanese eggplants are coming along nicely; Winter squash vines have completely covered the space between rows; WATERMELON! It isn't ready yet but we'll keep an eye on them.
Pretty Honeycrisp Apple
A nighttime visitor on our window
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.
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Our mailing address is:
173 130th Street
Deer Park, WI 54007