Farm News 8/2/16


Important Announcements & Reminders

  • This is a pickup week for members who are registered for weeklysummer vegetable shares and weekly fruit shares.
  • Next week we will also distribute eggs and dairy at all of our pickup sites.
  • Scroll down for details on tomato u-pick opportunities and ordering cases of pre-picked tomatoes.

This Week's Vegetable Share (weekly members only)

  • Watermelon
  • Tomatoes
  • Basil
  • Potatoes (white-fleshed)
  • Kale
  • Broccoli
  • Garlic Bulb
  • Sweet Corn (from Didier Farm in Lincolnshire)
  • Zucchini (off-farm pickup sites only)
  • Cucumbers (on-farm pickup only)

This Week's Fruit Share (weekly members only)

  • Blackberries
  • Peaches
  • Plums
  • Blueberries

Field Notes

Watermelons are close cousins of squash, cucumbers and pumpkins. There are over a thousand different types of watermelon grown around the world. Many have stripes while some varieties have no stripes at all. There are even a few varieties, such as 'Moon and Stars' that have spots instead of stripes! Plant breeders and seed suppliers have outdone themselves when it comes to naming watermelons; Little Baby Flower, Cream of Saskatchewan, Peacock Striped, Golden Midget and Georgia Rattlesnake are just a few of the more colorful melon monikers we've come across.

Here at Sandhill we grow half a dozen different varieties, chosen not only for their taste, texture and size, but also for the ease with which we can tell when they're ripe. This week some of our early-maturing watermelons started to produce the requisite deep "thump" when whacked with the side of Matt's thumb. 
Of course, it's always better to be safe than sorry, which is why frequent sampling is such an important part of the quality control process! Over the course of melon season you'll receive an assortment of red-fleshed and yellow-fleshed melons, as well as cantaloupe. We hope you enjoy the delicious diversity!

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.
Are you interested in tomatoes for freezing or canning but don't have time to pick? We'll be happy to pick them for you! Read on for details...

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

A Note from Peg...

I wanted to share the exciting news that I've recently accepted the role of Program Director for Farmer Training at Angelic Organics Learning Center. I'm looking forward to bringing 16 years' worth of farming experience and insight to the farmer training team at AOLC. As many of you know, I am passionate about creating partnerships among farmers that strengthen the economic viability of the traditional family farm business model. I hope to contribute to AOLC's farmer training program a keen understanding of small farm financial management and a familiarity with the financial tools and support systems that farmers need in order to make their businesses truly sustainable. While I will still be very much involved in running the show here at Sandhill, I will be handing over some day-to-day tasks to my partner farmers--Matt, Jen and Jeff--and to other members of our amazing Sandhill team. I look forward to sharing new experiences and insights with you. Thank you for your continued support of our work and for the important role you all play in the good food movement!


Recipes from the Farm Kitchen

Tomato-Watermelon Salad with Feta & Toasted Almonds
4 cups 1-inch chunks watermelon
1 large tomato, cut into chunks
1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 5 ounces)
1/4 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted

Combine melon and tomatoes in large bowl. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and toss to blend; let stand 15 minutes. Add oil, vinegar, and basil to melon mixture. Season to taste with pepper and more salt, if desired. Sprinkle melon salad with feta cheese and toasted almonds and serve.

Kale with Sweet Corn
1 cup fresh corn kernels (about 2 ears) 
1 bunch kale, stems and center ribs removed and leaves chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/4 cup vegetable broth
1/4 cup chopped walnuts, lightly toasted
1/8 teaspoon black pepper, if desired

Boil ears of corn until tender, about 4 minutes. Cut kernels from cobs with a sharp knife. Set aside. Steam the kale for 15 minutes or until tender. When the kale is done, place in a colander and press to remove excess liquid. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Saute onion and garlic until soft, about 2 minutes, Add the corn, kale and vegetable broth. Reduce heat to low and cook until kale and corn are heated through, stirring frequently. Toss in the lightly toasted nuts and add black pepper if desired.

Next Week's Harvest (our best guess)... green beans, eggplant, cantaloupe, poblano peppers, carrots, tomatoes, green onions, swiss chard, lettuce and more!

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  • Margaret Sheaffer