Farm News (08/26/14)

Important Reminders:
  • This week we are delivering vegetables, fruit, eggs, dairy and meat.
  • Next week we will be delivering vegetables and fruit.
  • Fall share registration ends tomorrow, August 27th.
  • Online registration has begun for winter shares and lamb shares.
  • We're still taking orders for bulk quantities of tomatoes. Check out last week's newsletter for more information.

The Vegetable Share:

  • Carrots
  • Heirloom Tomatoes
  • Beefsteak Tomatoes
  • Head Lettuce
  • 'Carola' Yellow Potatoes
  • Fresh Sage
  • Sweet Red & Orange Peppers
  • Red or Green Cabbage
  • Sweet Onions
  • Curly Parsley
The Fruit Share:
  • Red 'Vanessa' Grapes
  • 'Goldenrod' Grapes
  • Apples
  • Nectarines
  • Watermelon or Cantaloupe

The Dairy Share:

  • Aged Raw Milk Cheddar from Brunkow Cheese, Darlington, WI
  • Havarti from Roth Käse, Monroe, WI
  • Garlic & Basil Butter from Nordic Creamery, Westby, WI
  • Lowfat Vanilla Yogurt from Sugar River Dairy, Albany, WI

The Meat Share:

  • Pork Chops
  • Bratwurst
  • Ground Pork
  • Steaks
  • Ground Beef
  • Breakfast Sausage

All of the meats included in this month's share were raised by Jen and Bryce Riemer, our good friends and neighbors here in Brodhead. Here's a picture of Jen holding one of their young Berkshire pigs.

According to the old adage, farmers should make hay while the sun shines. Jen and Bryce did just that during the dry weeks of early August, working hard to cut and bale the hay that will sustain their cattle through the winter. 

Of course, life on the farm is not all hard work. The same hay bales that will feed cattle this winter currently provide an awesome playground for the Riemer kids. Jen and Bryce's girls recently discovered that a hay bale plus a rope swing equals endless hours of fun!

(By the way, the Riemers have recently started a meat CSA of their own, and we're helping to spread the word. This fall and winter they will be making monthly deliveries to Crystal Lake and around Brodhead. Registration ends soon. Please email Jen and Bryce for more information.

Field Report

Well, we were hoping for some rain this past week, and boy did we get it! By last night the rain gauges at both farms had topped out somewhere between 3 and 4 inches for the week. In the photo above, the Grayslake crew harvests chard during a dry window on Monday. The tomato crop has suffered just a bit, mainly because excessive rain causes some fruits to split on the vine, but there are still plenty of beautiful fruits out there. (And plenty of beautiful tomatoes in this week's share too!) Our brassica crops--broccoli, cabbage, kale, and kohlrabi--can never get enough water, so they are very happy with all the rain.  All in all, we'd have to say it's been a pretty good (albeit soggy) week.

In the Farm Kitchen: Tips for Making the Most of your Share
Many of you have taken advantage of the opportunity to buy pre-picked cases of romas, beefsteaks and heirlooms. It's still not to late to order for delivery to your pickup site, but you'll want ot let us know soon since tomato season won't last forever. Here are some tips for preserving your tomatoes so you can enjoy them once the season has ended.

One of the simplest methods for preserving tomatoes is simply to wash and dry them and pop them in a freezer bag whole. When you remove them from the freezer, run them under warm water for a few seconds and you'll be able to slip the skin right off. While a defrosted tomato will no longer have the same sturdy texture as a fresh tomato, it will be a delicious addition to almost any dish.

Freezing tomatoes whole is a perfectly good option, but roasting before you freeze them adds even more flavor. In the farm kitchen we start by cutting romas in half and beefsteaks into quarters. Then we place them in a single layer (cut side up) on a rimmed baking tray.

Drizzle them with olive oil and salt, and roast them at 300 degrees for about 3 hours. Once they've cooled they can go straight into freezer bags. They're perfect for marinara, soups, stews, casseroles, etc.



This Week's Featured Recipes

Tabouli with a Twist
1 cup chopped carrot tops
1 cup chopped curly parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
1 3/4 cups cooked bulgur wheat
2 large carrots, shredded
2 cups chopped tomato
Handful fresh mint, chopped
1/3 to 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
Coarse sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Toss the first 8 ingredients in a large bowl; whisk the lemon and olive oil in a smaller bowl and pour evenly over vegetable mixture. Season with sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Toss mixture gently, taste and add additional seasoning, if needed.                                            

Roasted Tomato & Sage Soup
2 lbs ripe tomatoes, halved
1 medium sweet onion, quartered
2 cloves garlic, skin removed
2 tablespoons olive oil
fine sea salt
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
⅓ cup dry sherry
1 tablespoon honey (or more to taste)
fresh cracked pepper
10 fresh sage leaves
creme fraiche or cream for garnish

Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a roasting pan with the tomatoes, onion and garlic. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast for 30 to 45 minutes or until cooked.

Put roasted tomatoes, onions and garlic in a saucepan. Add stock, sherry and honey. Bring to a boil. Immediately reduce to a simmer and cook 30 minutes. Add sage leaves and allow to simmer 10 more minutes.

Using an immersion blender, or a standard blender and working in batches, purée the soup until smooth. Strain through a fine sieve to remove seeds and skins. Season with more salt if necessary and freshly ground black pepper. Garnish with creme fraiche or cream, if desired.

Cheddar Sage Biscuits
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 heaping tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.  

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Mix in cold butter with your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in Cheddar cheese and sage. Add buttermilk and stir with a spatula until just combined.

Drop round spoonfuls of dough, about three tablespoons, onto prepared baking sheet. Brush biscuits with melted butter. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until tops are golden brown. Remove from oven and serve warm.

Next week's harvest (our best guess)... green beans, broccoli, grapes, blueberries, tomatoes, poblano peppers, peaches, beets, basil, kale, plums, lettuce, melons, carrots and more!

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  • Margaret Sheaffer