Farm News 8/12/16


Important Announcements & Reminders

  • This is a pickup week for members registered for weekly and biweekly vegetable & fruit shares.
  • This week we are also delivering eggs and dairy to neighborhood pickup sites. Home delivery members will receive eggs and dairy in 2 weeks.
  • Scroll down for details on tomato u-pick opportunities and ordering cases of pre-picked tomatoes.

This Week's Vegetable Share

  • Green Beans
  • Eggplant 
  • Tomatoes
  • Red Scallions
  • Rainbow Swiss Chard 
  • Bell Peppers 
  • Cucumbers
  • Leeks
  • Zucchini (on-farm pickup only)
  • Watermelon or Cantaloupe*

    (*Melons will be going to off-farm pickup sites this week. Two weeks from now melons will be distributed to on-farm pickup sites. We keep a record of the number and type of melons that are distributed to each pickup site over the course of the season to ensure that produce is distributed equitably among all members.) 
This Week's Fruit Share
  • 'Pristine' Apples
  • Red Haven Peaches
  • Blueberries

This Week's Dairy Share:

  • Plain Greek Yogurt from Country View Dairy
  • Summer Butter from Nordic Creamery
  • Butterkäse and Havarti Cheese from Roth Käse
Peg's Farm Journal
Last week, as the weather really heated up and the pace of work on the farm reached a fever pitch, I was again reminded of how much we depend on our amazing team to keep plants watered, animals fed, CSA boxes full and CSA members happy. 

At the Grayslake farm, our partners, Jeff and Jen Miller, took a quick break from packing CSA boxes this morning to pose for a photo with their staff. Jeff, second from the left in the back row, stands next to Luis, Drisana, Johnny, Kurt, Jeff C, Ash and Donna. Jen is kneeling on the far left next to Lindsey, Charlotte and Tyler K. 

The crew at the Brodhead farm is smaller in numbers but not in enthusiasm! In this photo I'm standing in one of our tomato fields, flanked by Kelsy and Colin.

Tyler S also works with us in Brodhead, but on the morning we were goofing around in the tomato field, Tyler was busy preparing to make a delivery.
Our 13-year-old son, Avery, is now an official member of the farm crew in Brodhead. After completing a 25-hour farm safety course through the University of Wisconsin, Avery began working half days alongside the rest of the crew. I snapped the photo above while he was helping Matt grind feed for the chickens.

Grinding feed with his dad is just one of the chores for which Avery is responsible. He also helps harvest zucchini and cucumbers, trellis tomatoes, weed sweet potatoes and wash eggs. His dad and I couldn't be more proud of him. There are many great things about running a family farm, but working alongside your kids and watching them learn and grow is definitely the most gratifying. Have a great week! Peg

CSA Member Tomato U-Pick 

What:  Members can pick up to 30 pounds of tomatoes for $1.50/lb.
Who:  Members of the Summer Vegetable Share (full and half)
Where:  At the Grayslake Farm (560 N Harris Rd, Grayslake IL)
When:  Members are welcome to sign up for one u-pick day. U-pick dates for August are the following:
  • Tuesday, 8/163:30-7:00 pm
  • Thursday, 8/183:30-7:00 pm
  • Saturday, 8/20, 9:00 am -noon
There will be additional u-pick days in late August and early September as long as the weather cooperates. We can only accommodate a certain number of members on each u-pick day to ensure that there are enough ripe tomatoes to go around. You can sign up for your u-pick day by emailing Jen at, and she will send you a confirmation email.

Bulk Quantities of Tomatoes are Available
As in previous years, we will have 20-lb cases of beefsteaks, heirlooms and paste tomatoes available for members. You can order cases hereand we'll deliver them right to your pickup site. Tomato cases will be available the week of August 29, September 5 and September 12. Order deadline is 9 am on Monday of the week you would like to pick them up. Member pricing for this year is the same as last year:
  • Beefsteaks (Red Slicing):  $38
  • Paste (Romas): $38
  • Assorted Heirlooms: $48
  • Mix of Beefsteak and Paste: $38
  • Mix of  Beefsteak and Heirloom: $43
  • Mix of Paste and Heirloom: $43
Recipes from the Farm Kitchen

Tzatziki Sauce
2 medium cloves garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1 medium cucumber
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon dried dill
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Peel garlic and chop coarsely. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and mash into puree with blade of knife held sideways. Scrape into medium bowl. Remove ends from cucumber and peel. Cut in half lengthwise; scrape out and discard seeds. Coarsely grate cucumber flesh or mince finely with knife.

Working over another bowl or sink, squeeze grated or chopped cucumber firmly to extract as much juice as possible; discard juice and add squeezed flesh to bowl with garlic. Add yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil, dill and pepper, stirring together well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours for flavors to blend. Add more salt if needed. Serve as dip with pita bread and fresh vegetables or as sauce for grilled lamb, chicken, beef or vegetables.

Grilled Peaches with Vanilla Ice Cream
4 freestone peaches (such as Red Haven)
1 lemon
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 pint vanilla ice cream

Peel, halve, and pit peaches. Preheat grill to high. Combine lemon juice and vegetable oil in a bowl. Add peaches; toss to coat. Place peaches (with liquid) on a large piece of parchment-lined foil.

Stir together brown sugar, water, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and salt. Brush over peaches. Fold foil to form a packet, crimping edges to seal. Grill, covered, for 15 minutes.Slice peaches, and divide among 4 bowls. Top with scoops of ice cream.

Swiss Chard with Braised Leeks & Garlic
1 bunch Swiss chard, roughly chopped
2 leeks, white and light green parts thinly sliced
1 tablespoon butter
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 cup dry white wine (or broth)

In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add leeks and saute 5-7 minutes. Add garlic, salt, pepper and thyme and continue cook 3 more minutes. Add wine or broth, stir, then cover pan and reduce heat to low. Cook for 10 minutes, until everything is very soft. Check occasionally to ensure that nothing is burning, and add a splash more wine if necessary. Add prepared chard to pan and cook, covered, at least 5 minutes. Stir everything to combine and continue cooking, covered, until chard is very soft. Uncover and allow to cook only long enough to evaporate any excess cooking liquid. 

Apple Butterkase Bites
1 (8 oz) tube refrigerated crescent rolls
1 sweet-tart apple, peeled and thinly sliced in 24 slices
1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice
5 ounces butterkase cheese, cut into 24 cubes

Unroll crescent roll dough into one long rectangle; seal seams and perforations. Sprinkle lightly with apple pie spice. Cut into 24 squares. Lightly press the squares of dough onto the bottom and up the sides of ungreased miniature muffin cups.

Bake at 375 degrees for 3 minutes. Place a slice of apple into each cup, cutting apple to fit if necessary. Place a piece of cheese into each cup. Bake 6 to 8 minutes longer or until golden brown, cheese is melted and apple is

Eggplant, Tomato & Chickpea Stew
1 eggplant
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 large leek, white and light green parts chopped
2 medium green peppers, diced into 2/3- to 3/4-inch squares
2 teaspoons paprika
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 15-oz. can chickpeas, drained & rinsed
salt & pepper
1 c. chicken or vegetable stock or water
1/4 c. minced flat-leaf parsley (optional)

Cut the eggplant lengthwise into 2/3-inch cubes. Heat 4 tablespoons olive oil in a large sauté pan over high heat until hazy. Add the eggplant and stir to distribute the oil. Cook—reducing the heat if the eggplant threatens to scorch—turning the pieces every few minutes, until golden, about 10 minutes. If you do not have a large enough pan, do this in 2 batches. Set the eggplant aside.

While the eggplant cooks, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a heavy pan over medium-high heat. Add the leeks and peppers and sauté until the leeks are soft—about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and paprika during the last few minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for a few minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook for a few minutes more. Add the eggplant, chickpeas, the stock, a teaspoon of salt (less, if using canned broth) and a few grindings of pepper. 

Lower the heat and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are cooked through and the flavors are blended—adding water if the stew seems dry—about 30 minutes. Taste and correct the seasoning. Stir in the parsley if using. Serve with Basmati rice or couscous. based on a recipe in Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison 


Homemade Greek Yogurt & Berry Popsicles
2 cups fresh blueberries and/or raspberries
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ cup water
1 ½ cups plain Greek yogurt 

In a large bowl, combine the berries, honey, lemon juice, water, and Greek yogurt. Using the back of a spatula, lightly mash the berries to release their juices and stir until well combined. Fill a popsicle mold with the yogurt mixture according to instructions. Freeze until the fruit bar is firm. Makes 6

Next Week's Harvest (our best guess)... carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, basil, parsley, grapes, nectarines, peppers, shallots, zucchini, beans, melons, corn and more!

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  • Margaret Sheaffer