Farm News (8/26/15)

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IMPORTANT REMINDERS & ANNOUNCEMENTS:

  • This week we are delivering vegetables, fruit, eggs, dairy and meat.
  • This is a pickup week for full and half shares.
  • The next available tomato u-pick dates are 9/1 and 9/3 from 3:30 to 7:00. Email jen@sandhillfamilyfarms.com to reserve your spot.
  • We're currently taking orders for bulk quantities of tomatoes. Check out last week's newsletter for more information.

The Vegetable Share:

  • Head Lettuce
  • Red Beets
  • Beefsteak Tomatoes
  • Heirloom Tomatoes
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Red & Orange Sweet Italian Peppers
  • Lacinato Kale or Swiss Chard
  • Sweet Corn (grown by Scott Koster and family, Burlington, WI)
  • Eggplant (Tuesday members will receive eggplant this week.Wednesday members will receive next week.)
Many of you are taking advantage of the opportunity to buy pre-picked cases of romas, beefsteaks and heirlooms. 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.)

 

A young shopper at last week's farmers market contemplates what she might do with one of our large heirloom tomatoes. Salsa, pasta sauce and weight lifting all seem like good options!

The Fruit Share:

  • Red Seedless Grapes
  • 'Goldenrod' Seedless Grapes
  • Red Plums
  • Raspberries
Table grapes are a hallmark of late summer. Sometimes members new to the fruit share are surprised to find that these delicious seedless varieties are grown in the Midwest. They do indeed grow very well here, but the season is short. We expect to feature seedless grapes in the fruit share for the next three weeks or so, followed by a week or two of concord grapes.
 
We are past the mid-point of the fruit season, but there is still a lot to look forward to. In the coming weeks you'll receive nectarines, raspberries, apples, pears, plums, grapes and cider. Peaches are still going strong too. In fact, this past week we were busy in our processing kitchen, taking advantage of the abundance of peaches by freezing them for our winter produce share.
 
The peaches will be added to our stores of already-frozen blueberries, strawberries, and cherries. In the coming weeks we'll be processing sweet corn, tomatoes, peppers, broccoli and more. We've had a tremendous response to our winter produce offering, and there are just a couple of spots left. Here's a link to more information.

 

The Dairy Share:

  • Greek Yogurt from PastureLand Coop
  • 'Peace of Pasture' Cheese from PastureLand Coop
  • Havarti Cheese from Roth Kase
  • Raspberry Yogurt from Sugar River Dairy
We think that PastureLand's Greek yogurt, made from the milk of local pasture-grazed cows is pretty terrific. Its thick, creamy texture lends itself to so many uses, from smoothies to vegetable dips to salad dressings to freezer pops! For more inspiration, check out these recipes.

The Meat Share:

The contents of the monthly meat share are typically uniform across all pickup sites. This month there is a fair amount of variation, so the exact contents will be listed on your meat share insert instead of here in the newsletter. Last month's meat share was a little heavier on pork, and this month we've tried to go a little heavier on beef and chicken. All of your beef and chicken was raised by third-generation family farmers Jen and Bryce Riemer on their farm near Brodhead, Wisconsin.

 

A note from Peg: In addition to raising three kids, farming 260 acres, and caring for their cattle, pigs, chickens and turkeys, Bryce and Jen are leading the effort to protect drinking water in our area. When a Nebraska businessman came to town 2 months ago and announced plans to build a 5,500-cow confinement dairy operation nearby, Bryce and Jen stepped up to the plate and started to organize local family farmers in the fight to block this very real threat to our groundwater. I'm in the process of writing a longer letter to share with those of you who might be interested in learning more about what we are doing to address this important issue. In the meantime, thank you again for your support of our farm and the other family farms we work with.

Be well,
Peg
Next Week's Harvest (our best guess)...broccoli, green beans, melons, tomatoes, peaches, carrots, arugula, grapes, shallots, eggplant, peppers and more!

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  • Margaret Sheaffer