Farm News (9/8/15)


Important Reminders & Announcements:

  • This week we are delivering vegetables, fruit, eggs and dairy.
  • This is a pickup week for full and half shares.
  • Next week is the final week for delivery of 20-lb cases of tomatoes to CSA pickup sites. Order deadline is this Friday for delivery next week. We will have beefsteak cases available for $38, but no paste or heirloom. Please email orders to
  • The summer season is coming to an end soon. The last delivery of summer meat shares will be the week of September 21st. The last delivery for summer vegetable, fruit, egg and dairy shares will be the week of October 5th.

The Vegetable Share:

  • Head Lettuce
  • Broccoli
  • Winter Squash (Red Kuri or Acorn)
  • Tomatoes
  • Oregano
  • Sage
  • Carrots
  • Garlic
  • Watermelon or Cantaloupe*
  • plus Sweet Corn (grown by Didier Farms, Lincolnshire, IL)

*Melon season is coming to an end, and we may not pick enough for everyone this week. If you don't receive one this week, you will receive your final melon next week.

The Fruit Share:

  • Bartlett Pears
  • Peaches
  • Plums

Your bartlett pears were picked on the firm side in order to prevent bruising during harvest. Store them in the fridge until a few days before you want to eat them. Then allow them to ripen at room temperature. Placing pears in a paper bag at this point will speed things up because it traps the ethylene gas that pears naturally emit during the ripening process.

The Dairy Share:

  • Parmesan Cheese from Nordic Creamery
  • Summer Butter from Nordic Creamery
  • Fontina Cheese from Roth Kase
  • Lowfat Vanilla Yogurt from Sugar River Dairy

This week's dairy share contains fontina. It's a cheese we haven't included in some time, but not for any particularly good reason. It's a fantastic cheese! Our Wisconsin version is milder than the Italian original, yet it is still distinctive. Beneath its red-wax exterior, you'll discover a semi-soft cheese with a smooth, creamy texture. Fontina's ability to melt easily and evenly makes it perfect for all sorts of dishes.

Labor Day Field Report

Here on the farm we observed Labor Day, a point on the calendar that marks the transition from summer to fall, by doing our first big winter squash harvest. Late last week we clipped acorn, red kuri and spaghetti squash and lined them up in the field to cure for a few days. These particular squash varieties don't need much curing, so yesterday we hauled out the big pallet bins and starting filling them. 

Monday is typically a very busy day on the farm, and yesterday was no exception. Our regular crew of employees wasn't able to finish binning up the spaghetti squash by the end of the day, so we had to call in the after-hours crew. 

Our kids are usually pretty obliging when asked to help out with farm chores, especially when the whole family gets to work together. Mom drove the tractor, dad counted and sorted, and the kids took turns tossing and catching squash. During the busy summer months we'll seize any chance we can to spend time together, even if it means breaking a sweat together!

Some members will receive acorn squash this week (far left) while other members will receive a variety called red kuri (second from left).  Other varieties we grow include (from left to right) delicata, spaghetti, butternut and buttercup. All squash will store best in your refrigerator. If you don't have room in your fridge, you should store it in a cool dark place.

Notes from the Farm Kitchen

We are now past the peak of tomato season, but we are still harvesting (and eating) them in large quantities. 

Beefsteaks are particularly plentiful right now, as you can tell from the looks of our stand at the Oak Park Farmers Market.

Jen, Kelsy, Peg and Jessie have been busy processing tomatoes at the commercial kitchen this week. We've put away hundreds of pounds of tomatoes for our winter share members. All 140 frozen produce shares have been spoken for. Thanks to everyone who signed up!

Corn & Tomato Salad with Fresh Oregano
5 ears of fresh corn
1 tablespoon salt
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1 shallot, minced 
1 clove of garlic, minced 
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano

Bring large pot of water to the a boil and add salt, When it returns to the boil, add corn and cook 3 minutes. Remove from pot and set aside to cool. When cool, cut corn from cobs with a sharp knife. Combine cut corn, tomatoes and shallot in a large bowl. Place garlic, lime juice, salt and pepper in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Drizzle in oil while whisking so as to form an emulsion. Pour over vegetables and stir gently to combine. Stir in oregano right before serving.

White Beans with Fresh Tomatoes & Sage
3 cups (about 21 ounces) dried cannellini (white kidney beans)
3 quarts cold water
5 tablespoons olive oil
4 whole garlic cloves, peeled
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 large fresh sage leaves
6 whole garlic cloves, minced
2 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped

Place beans in large bowl; cover generously with water. Let stand at room temperature overnight. Drain beans; transfer to heavy large pot. Add 3 quarts water, oil and garlic. Bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer uncovered until beans are tender, about 1 hour 5 minutes. Remove from heat; mix in salt. Cool beans 1 hour. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Refrigerate in water.)

For the sauce: Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add sage and garlic; sauté 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and sauté 5 minutes.

Drain beans, reserving cooking liquid. Mix beans into tomato sauce. Simmer over medium-low heat until sauce thickens slightly and flavors blend, adding reserved cooking liquid by half cupfuls if mixture is dry, about 30 minutes (beans should have slightly soupy consistency). Season with salt and pepper. Serve beans warm or at room temperature.

Winter Squash & Sweet Corn Chowder
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
3 shallots, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh sage, chopped
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
3 cups peeled, seeded, winter squash cut into medium dice
2 cups peeled potatoes, cut into medium dice
3 cups sweet corn kernels
1 and 1/2 cup half-and-half

Heat oil and butter in a large, heavy-bottomed stockpot over medium high heat. Add shallots and sage; saute 5 minutes.

Add the flour, salt and red pepper flakes and stir until blended. Stir in the broth, squash and potatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until potato and squash are tender (about 20 minutes).

Add corn and half-and-half; cook 5 minutes. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Next Week's Harvest (our best guess)...napa cabbage, lettuce, cilantro, leeks, grapes, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, raspberries, carrots, spaghetti squash, onions, eggplant and more.

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  • Margaret Sheaffer