Farm News (10/13/15)

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Important Reminders & Announcements:

  • This is the first week of fall vegetable deliveries. 
  • It's a pickup week for full share members only.
  • Next week we will be delivering fall vegetables for full and half share members, as well as eggs, dairy and meat.
  • Last week we sent out an email containing information related to pickup site logistics for the fall season. If you did not receive this email, please let us know.
  • Thanksgiving turkeys are now available! Please scroll down for more info.
This Week's Vegetable Share (full shares only):
  • Leeks 
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Italian Parsley or Curly Parsley
  • Carrots
  • Garlic
  • Head Lettuce
  • Radishes
  • Winter Squash (Carnival or Butternut)
  • Leafy Asian Cabbage (can be used like lettuce)

Fall Farm Journal
It's mid-October and that means we are starting to put the farm to bed for the winter. That's our way of describing the process of shutting things down at the end of the season. We have begun working our way down a list of things that need to happen before Thanksgiving. The list includes cleaning and putting away tractors and implements, planting garlic, removing tomato stakes and tomato plants from the field, shutting down the irrigation system, and sterilizing the plug trays that will be used in the greenhouse next spring. The list of winter-prep tasks is long, but we must still find time to harvest, wash and pack all the beautiful vegetables still growing in our fields!
We recently finished digging sweet potatoes at the Brodhead Farm. It was a good year for sweet potatoes, and we're quite pleased with the yield. In this photo Kelsy is holding some freshly-harvested sweet potatoes with the vines still attached.

The plants started out looking like this in May. Most crops are started from seeds, but sweet potatoes are started from individual "slips". Slips are green shoots from mature sweet potatoes that are typically purchased from suppliers in southern states and planted in spring once the chance of frost has passed.
Over the course of the summer, the vines grew into a thick mat that covered the soil. Several weeks ago we used a tractor-mounted bar to undercut the roots and make it easier to harvest the roots. 

During the harvest we culled out any sweet potatoes that were scarred or damaged. These were collected in a separate bin and sent over to Bryce (above left) and Jen Riemer's farm where they were a big hit with the pigs! Fortunately, this year's planting produced an exceptionally high rate of unblemished sweet potatoes. Each member will receive 4 pounds this week. We recommend storing them outside of the refrigerator. A cool, dry place works best. Here are some of our favorite sweet potato recipes. Enjoy!
 
Sweet Potato & Leek Soup
3 tablespoons butter
2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled, in 1-inch dice
1 ½ cups milk 
salt and ground white pepper
2 tablespoons chopped parsley for garnish

Melt butter in a heavy saucepan. Add leeks and saute slowly over low heat until tender but not brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic. Add sweet potatoes and 3 cups water. Simmer about 20 minutes, until tender. Purée.
Return purée to saucepan, add milk, and bring to a simmer. Add 1 to 1 1/2 cups more water to make soup no thicker than heavy cream. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with parsley.

Sweet Potato & Carrot Dal with Fresh Ginger & Leeks
(Dal is a thick Indian stew made with lentils and typically served with rice.)

2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 leek, white and light green part thinly sliced
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp dried turmeric powder
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
pinch of chili flakes
1 cup red lentils
2 cups chopped sweet potato
2 cups chopped carrot
1 two inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
3 1/2 cups water plus more if necessary
salt to taste
cooked rice for serving
chopped parsley for garnish 

Place a large pot over medium heat. Heat up the coconut oil in the pot and add the ground coriander, turmeric, mustard seeds and chili flakes. Stir until the mustard seeds start to pop just a little bit.

Add the leeks and saute, stirring occasionally, until soft. Add lentils, diced sweet potato, ginger, and a pinch of salt. Stir the whole mixture to combine. Add the water. Bring to a boil and simmer until the mixture is creamy and soupy, stirring occasionally. The sweet potato and carrot pieces should be cooked but still intact. The lentils will be broken down, filling out the mixture. Add more water if you need to. Serve dal over rice. Garnish with chopped parsley.

 
Roasted Sweet Potato & Radish Salad
4 cups diced sweet potatoes
1 cup thinly sliced leeks
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup honey
4 cups chopped leafy Asian cabbage
4 medium radishes, sliced paper thin

Preheat the oven to 400°F. In a medium bowl, toss together sweet potatoes, leeks, pepper and 1/4 teaspoon of the cinnamon. Transfer to a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet and roast until tender, about 45 minutes. 

Meanwhile, whisk together vinegar, honey, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Toss together leafy Asian cabbage and radishes in another medium bowl. To serve, arrange cabbage mixture on plates. Toss sweet potatoes in balsamic mixture and spoon over cabbage mixture.
www.wholefoods.com

In other News... Sandhill Welcomes The Harvest Ninjas!
Last week a group of 15 ninjas descended on the farm in Brodhead to glean leftover produce including peppers, potatoes, eggplant and sweet potatoes. Harvest Ninja is a program that helps kids make a difference in the fight against hunger in the community. 
 

 
The kids work together to harvest fruits and vegetables from unpicked gardens and fruit trees in what are called "fruit attacks". The produce is then donated to the Loaves & Fishes Community Meal, a monthly free meal for the hungry and for those want to share a meal with others in the community. 
 


By the time they were done, the harvest ninjas had brought in 199 pounds of eggplant, 109 pounds of sweet potatoes, 332 pounds of peppers and 325 pounds of potatoes. Way to go, ninjas! 

Thanksgiving Turkeys from Riemer Family Farm
Thanksgiving Turkeys from Jen and Bryce Riemer can be picked up at our Grayslake farm the week before Thanksgiving. Theses broad breasted bronze turkeys are raised on pasture and are free of antibiotics, hormones and animal byproducts. Frozen turkeys are $4.25 per lb and are available in two sizes--small (15-22 lbs) and large (22-30 lbs). Please visit the Riemers' website to place an order and select Sandhill Family Farms as your pickup site. Ordering a payment will go directly through Riemer Family Farms. Turkeys will be available for pickup on Thursday, November 19th at Sandhill Family Farms in Grayslake during regular CSA pickup hours (3:30 to 7:00). You can find directions here. Order deadline is November 12th. Contact Jen Riemer at riemerfamilyfarm@gmail.com for more info.

By the way, if you normally pick up your CSA shares at one of our off-farm pickup sites, you can switch your pickup site to the farm that week so that you can pick up everything at once. Please contact jen@sandhillfamilyfarms.com to make a change to your pickup location.


Next Week's Harvest (our best guess)... shallots, spinach, dill, beets, potatoes, lettuce, parsnips, and more!

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  • Margaret Sheaffer