Farm News (9/23/15)


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 summer season is coming to an end soon. This is the final delivery of summer meat shares. The final delivery for summer vegetable, fruit, egg and dairy shares will be the week of October 5th.
  • It's time to start thinking about 2016! A 5% early bird discount is available until December 1st and can be applied to the Spring, Summer & Fall Vegetable Package and/or the Weekly Fruit Share. Please use discount code renew at checkout. 
  • Please join us for our upcoming fall festival. Together with the Liberty Prairie Foundation and several other local farmers, we will be celebrating another successful farming season at our farm in Grayslake. Please join us from 10 am to 1 pm on Saturday, October 3rd. Learn more here.

The Vegetable Share

  • Radishes
  • Cilantro
  • Leafy Asian Cabbage (Tokyo Bekana)
  • Head Lettuce
  • 'Superior' Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Rutabaga
  • Cipollini Onions 
  • Popcorn 
  • and eggplant if you didn't recieve it last week

The Fruit Share:

  • Honey Crisp Apples
  • Seedless Concord Grapes
  • Asian Pears


Honey Crisp season has arrived! We've tried and been disappointed by some designer apples before, but this wildly popular variety tops our list of favorites. Even those who aren't fans of super sweet apples love the crisp and juicy Honey Crisp. We'll try our best to get them into the fruit share one more time before the end of the season. 

The Dairy Share:

  • Muenster from Nordic Creamery
  • Garlic Basil Butter from Nordic Creamery
  • White Cheddar from Brunkow Cheese
  • Lowfat Plain Yogurt from Sugar River Dairy

We can't get enough of Nordic Creamery's garlic basil butter. This small-batch butter is made using rBGH-free milk from pastured cows. We love it on fish, pasta, carrots, boiled potatoes and on a good piece of crusty bread.

Watch this video of Farmer Al making butter. It's pretty neat.


The Meat Share:

  • Pork Breakfast Sausage or Pork Chops
  • Whole Chicken
  • Beef Stir Fry, Fajita, or Stew Meat
  • Ground Round (Beef)
  • Ham Steaks or Pork Shoulder Steaks

This month's meat share contains chickens from our friends Kay and Paul Jensen of JenEhr Family Farm in Sun Prairie, WI. The beef and the pork were produced by Jen and Bryce Riemer of Riemer Family Farm in Brodhead, WI.

Field Report
There's no doubt about it--the summer season is drawing to a close. Cooler temperatures and shorter days mean the sights and smells of summer are quickly fading. We've picked the last of the tomatoes. The final harvest of eggplant and peppers will happen next week. Soon these plants will be tilled in and the soil spread with a blanket of nourishing compost in preparation for next year's crops. Donna, Jeff, Charlotte and the rest of the harvest crew have recently turned their attentions to picking crops we haven't tasted in a while--radishes, leafy asian cabbage, and rutabaga (in the photo below). Though we will miss the tastes of our beloved summer vegetables, we are definitely looking forward to savoring the flavors of fall.



Notes from the Farm Kitchen

With their purple tops, rutabagas look a bit like turnips. The difference is that rutabagas are slightly more elongated than turnips and the flesh is a little more yellow. They're also sweeter than turnips and less peppery. They are thought to be a cross between a wild cabbage and a turnip. Rutabagas are creamy and starchy like potatoes, and they work well for mashing, roasting and braising. 


To make roasted rutabaga, cut it up into 3/4″ dice, tossed it with olive oil, the herbs of your choice, a bit of salt and pepper, and a spoon full of sugar (to encourage browning). Then spread the cubes out on a baking sheet and cook at 350F until the cubes are tender. Here's another easy recipe to try.

Mashed Potatoes with Rutabagas
1 1/2 pounds rutabagas, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 pounds potatoes, peeled, cut into 2-inch pieces
6 tablespoons garlic basil butter
3/4 cup buttermilk (or more)

Cook rutabagas in large pot of boiling salted water until very tender, about 20 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer rutabagas to strainer. Press gently to release any excess liquid.

Add potatoes to same pot of boiling water; cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain. Return potatoes and rutabagas to same pot. Add butter; mash well. Add 3/4 cup buttermilk; mash until smooth. Add more buttermilk if desired. Season with salt and pepper.

Like rutabaga, leafy Asian cabbage is a crop that is usually harvested during cooler times of the year. It's been a while since we've included this vegetable in the share, so we thought a quick refresher wouldn't hurt.  Despite its name, we treat it much more like a head of lettuce than a head of cabbage. It is mild, crisp and juicy, with just a little bit of a cabbage flavor.

Fall Salad of Asian Greens, Carrots & Apples
1 bunch leafy Asian cabbage (tokyo bekana)
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 peeled apple, cut into matchsticks
3 medium shredded carrots
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger
Coarse salt and ground pepper

Cut Asian cabbage crosswise into thin strips and set aside. In a large bowl, mix apple, carrots, lemon juice, vegetable oil, and peeled fresh ginger. Add Asian cabbage; season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat.

Next Week's Harvest (our best guess)...spinach, garlic, lettuce, hakurei turnips, mushrooms, dill, squash, raspberries, apples, plums, peppers, cabbage and more!

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  • Jen Miller