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Update from the Garden
Our 2018 CSA Season has come to a close now, after 18 weeks of fresh garden veggies! I can’t thank you all enough for the amazing commitment you have made to this farm.

Each year presents its own challenges and this year was certainly no exception. I have never had a season with this year’s combination of factors. We had, what seemed like a late and wet spring, which quickly turned into a dry spell lasting into July. This was a huge problem because May and June are the months where I had been seeding most of my crops and without water, many had poor germination or were stunted. Hence the few carrots and then small parsnip and garlic for example. The dry weather had me scrambling to water everything – not for them to thrive, but to just keep everything alive!

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We have limited water at the farm and so we had to get creative with accessing a 2nd well on the farm and pumping/transferring water, then we re-purposed our old milk bulk tank for holding water and put an eavestrough on the barn to collect the little amount of rain that we did get. It was a little crazy. Each year brings a new major challenge and when I decide that I’d rather not struggle like that again, I make a new investment for the business… so for next year, we plan on having an irrigation pond on the farm, which will serve as a reservoir of water for us over the season. On to the planning for that…!

The goal is to build resilience as a farm, especially in the face of climate change and all the extreme weather that we are now regularly experiencing. It’s challenging but also exciting to have your livelihood dependent on the weather – a factor that is completely unknown and unpredictable. Or maybe it’s a little nuts. Either way, I’ll be back next year.

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A family friend has written a short kids book about a little boy learning that farmers are both men and women!

Garlic Planting Party
This is my first time hosting a garlic planting party so here it goes. I have over 7,000 cloves to slam in the ground and if you want to come see how that happens – and plant a bunch – come join me on Sunday October 14th, from 1pm – 2:30pm (or so). Being a fairly German family, there will be a gorgeous Torte with coffee and even beer (dad’s suggestion). Kids are welcome and we have tricks for having them help plant garlic… from my own experience with my kids 🙂 Would LOVE to see you Sunday if you can make it! 🙂

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Garlic zone, ready for cloves.

This week’s share
1 bag Spring Mix OR Spinach
1 box Potatoes
2 Peppers
1 bunch Parsnip
1 Cabbage OR 1 bunch Leeks
1 Choice of Squash
1 bunch Chard OR 1 bunch Kale
Large ONLY: 1 kohlrabi, 1 bunch radish, 1 Romaine

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Parsnip and Squash Soup
I have made this recipe 2x in the past week. The original recipe called for carrots but I only had parsnips in the fridge and the substitute worked great. I used a butternut squash for this but you can use pretty much any other squash or pumpkin. I came up with my own typical soup seasonings and they worked great. Just add to taste.

1 sprig Rosemary, chopped fine
4 small Parsnips – chopped small
2 small Onions – chopped fine
3 cloves Garlic – minced
2 sprigs Celery – chopped small
1 small squash – chopped bite size
1 L. stock
Seasonings of: tamari sauce, lemon juice, grated parmesan, salt, pepper, splash of cream

Heat a couple glugs of oil in a soup pot. Add the rosemary and let it sizzle for a minute. Add the parsnip, onion, minced garlic and celery. Saute it for 10 minutes.
Add the chopped up squash and saute that for a few minutes until you start to see it softening.
Add the stock and scrape the bottom of the pot getting all the flavour mixed in.
Simmer for 30 minutes.
Blend 1/2 the soup and then add your seasonings. I used a splash of tamari sauce, juice from 1/2 a lemon, probably 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, a few pinches of salt (my stock was low sodium, so be careful with the salt), loads of cracked pepper, and a splash or two of my coffee cream to lighten the colour a bit. Voila!

 

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Update from the Garden
This past week has been a little overload for me with CSA/Market/Kids with colds/School Council/Thanksgiving preparations, hence this newsletter coming late… but it’s also timely with wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!

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My first caesar salad of the year – finally…. prepared for Thanksgiving.

This past week we had a pretty hard frost in the garden and that put a definite end to our pepper, squash and tomato production. Some crops didn’t mind the frost and some even benefit from frost. Our frost happy crops right now are bok choy, kohlrabi, cabbages, kale, spinach and parsnip. All of these crops actually get sweeter and tastier with a touch of frost – the frost converts starches to sugar. We have other crops out there that we have covered such as lettuce, romaine and cilantro – these guys don’t mind a mild frost but need to be protected with row cover to prevent frost damage.

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Frost sweetened parsnips, fresh from the earth.

We have now formed the beds for our big garlic plant and actually, we are inviting anyone who is interested to join us on Sunday, October 14th from 1pm – 2:30pm for a big garlic plant (weather permitting). We will have coffee and cake on hand and about 7,000 cloves of garlic ready for the ground! I will send out a reminder/invite later in the week. If you are keen in joining, please let me know so I can prepare a task.

This was indeed the final pick up for all Bi-weekly Group A members and I want to truly thank you all for joining us this season. This season was a big year at the farm with an expanded CSA and market table and it couldn’t have happened without all your support and enthusiasm, so thank you! I hope you will join us again in 2019. We will begin our sign up in February, so stay tuned for a colourful, warm e-mail in the dead of winter!!!

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Potent leeks.

This week’s tip: Storing squash
Winter squash don’t like the fridge. Stable temperature is key and you are aiming for 10C-13C. Attached garage is usually good or a cooler room/basement in your house.

This week’s Share:
1 bag Spring Mix
1 bunch Leeks
1 bunch Parsnip
1 box Potatoes
1 Red Kuri Squash
Weekly ONLY: Spaghetti Squash
Bi-weekly ONLY: “Winter Luxury” Pie Pumpkin
1 item from Choice Shelf
Large ONLY: 1 extra Spring Mix, 1 bunch Carrots + something I forget!!

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Spring mix, washed and spun dry.

Roasted Red Kuri squash
The main thing to remember with a Red Kuri squash, is that you can eat the skin! This is a big reason why it is the most popular squash I grow. That and the fact that it is mega tasty. Here is an easy recipe for roasted squash slices that uses some nice herbs and garlic. You can also pre-roast squash like this when you want to make a roasted squash soup! Absolutely delicious.

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Open the kuri squash and remove all the seeds.
  3. Cut the squash into one inch slices and spread them on a baking sheet lined with baking paper.
  4. Sprinkle generously with olive oil.
  5. Add salt, pepper, 1 tsp. rosemary and 1/2 tsp. thyme, 5 cloves of garlic and mix well.
  6. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes or until soft. Turn on the broiler for the last 10 minutes to brown the edges a bit more. You can flip half way.

 

Update from the Garden

The garden managed to escape all damage from the high winds last week. Considering the incredible devastation so close to us, I’m feeling pretty lucky right now. Lots of rain had the slugs out in force over the week, but that’s just how it is sometimes. We had the greens soaking in water to do our best to ensure none went home today but be sure to check your greens when you wash them.

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Greens drying, after a good soak.

On Monday, I successfully mowed down the entire future garlic plot, where I had peas/oats growing. I did attempt to rototill combine the cover crop but I think it needs a few days to break down. In the mean time, I got my awesome order of new seed garlic varieties from legendary garlic man Al Picketts, of Eureka Garlic in PEI. I opened that box faster than I opened gifts as a child. I’m really excited to get the new plot in shape for planting. Weather permitting, we’ll have a garlic planting party in October!

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Garlic plot mowed. Hoping this all works out in time to plant.

I had a lot of fun doing some bed making in the new squash plot. I’ve been pulling away all the dead squash vines from the old plot, getting ready to relocate the growing mats I transplant through. I was delighted to discover that my Ranger side-by-side has a dumping feature on it so cleaning up plant debris this season will be a total breeze!

I’m so looking forward to continuing this field work on Monday again.

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Woohoo, cut off surprise t-post jammed in the flail mower…

This week’s tip: explore uses for pumpkin
Pumpkin is not just used in pie, although that would be a lovely way to use this smooth and velvety pumpkin. If pie isn’t your thing, you can make a crust-less pudding. I often use pumpkin in a smoothie (with banana/almond milk/pecans/vanilla/cinnamon). You can look up a recipe for Pumpkin Enchiladas, which are excellent – use the pumpkin in the filling.

This Week’s Share
1 box Potatoes
1 Celery
1 head Romaine
1 Bok Choy
1 bunch Carrots
1 pie Pumpkin – Winter Luxury!
1 item from Choice Shelf: tomatoes, peppers, onions, kale

Yummy fried rice
You can substitute ingredients for what you have on hand including adding greens.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 3 eggs, whisked
  • 2 medium carrots, small dice
  • 1 small onion, small dice
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup, chopped celery
  • 4 cups cooked and chilled rice, (I either use white or brown rice)
  • 3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • sliced green onions for garnish, if desired
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of butter into a large skillet.
  2. Add the eggs and scramble until fully cooked. Remove them from the pan and set aside.
  3. Add the remaining tablespoon of butter into the pan.
  4. Add carrots, onion and celery to the pan and cook until tender, 3-4 minutes.
  5. Stir in garlic and cook for an additional minute.
  6. Add in the cold rice and sauté for 3-4 minutes. The rice should brown up a bit.
  7. Add the eggs back to the pan and stir in soy sauce, oyster sauce and sesame oil. Cook for 1-2 minutes to heat through.
  8. Serve immediately with green onions for garnish, if desired.

 

Update from the Garden

This past week has been a lot of the same – cleanup and fall prep. I did seed some extra arugula and mustard greens because they are too yummy! I am now moving on to tilling and forming the new beds on the new plot, where I intend to plant squash next year. So far it’s going well but it’s going to take time, for sure.

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Red Kuri squash coming soon!

I have also been doing one of my favourite tasks – ripping out spent squash plants and vines. Ah I love this so much. Those things are such a mess and all over the place. It feel so good to get them tidy in the compost.

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I can see a frost is on the horizon for the weekend and so I’ll be busy the next couple days bringing more things in and blanketing what is left out there. This weekend there is the Carp Fair and so there is no Farmers’ Market. First Saturday off since before Mother’s Day! I’m looking forward to a slow breakfast with the kids and spending the day in the glorious village of Beachburg!

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…another obsessive cover crop photo – but that coverage! (oats & peas)

This week’s tip: Freeze that celery
You can use the entire celery that you received this week. The bulb part can be treated like a root veg and be roasted. I highly recommend chopping the stems up and freezing them. Chop the leaves and freeze them separately. The next time you are making stew, stock or soup, grab a handful for max flavour. I didn’t buy a single celery stalk last winter because I had this potent stuff in the freezer.

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Getting the arugula washed.

This week’s share:
1 box Beets OR Peppers
1 head Romaine
1 box Tomatoes
1 bag Arugula
1 Celery
1 box Pattypans
1 bunch Radishes
1 item from the Choice Shelf
Large ONLY: 1 tray Microgreens & 1 box Cucumbers

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This week’s share! 

What to make this week
A customer at the farmers’ market last week verbally gave me this recipe and I have to pass it on, it’s sooo good! I don’t know anything about quantities, so you’ll have to make it to taste. For the dressing, I did use a lemon/garlic oil “bread dipper” from Kricklewood Farm, possibly available for sale at Wilkie’s, downtown Pembroke.

Roasted Pattypan & Arugula Salad

Ingredients:
Pattypan, sliced for the grill
Arugula – a handful or so
Pear(s) – sliced in pieces
Goat Cheese
Nuts (pecans, walnuts, cashews etc.) – possibly toasted and candied with honey
Dressing: lemon, olive oil, salt & pepper

Grill your pattypan slices on the BBQ or in a pan. Meanwhile, toast the nuts on a frypan. I drizzled the nuts with some honey to make them extra yummy. Once your squash are grilled but still firm, toss them with the arugula, thereby wilting the arugula. Place the pattypans and arugula in a shallow serving dish. Top with pieces of pear, lumps of goat cheese and drizzle with the lemony dressing. I also did a drizzle of honey. SO GOOD!

Update from the garden
Last week I was honoured to be a bridesmaid in my dear friends’ wedding on Saturday, which of course cued mother nature to bring on the season’s first frost! Woohoo. I am usually prepared for this sort of thing and have the row cover on hand, etc. to easily cover the sensitive crops, but last week was a little different as at the time I would normally be covering the garden (around 6pm), I was to be standing in a wedding! As such, covering the garden became an early Saturday morning job with Dad and his pal Rick and my questionably helpful 4 year old – who reeeeally loved the floaty row covers. The wind joined – as it always does when I have 100ft x 20ft sheets of thin fleece to handle. I would have rather been off getting hair and makeup done but alas, that’s farming. And I love it. And I did make it in time for mimosas and hair and all the great things! In the end, I only lost my basil and much of the beans, which I had no row cover for. That is all OK and it just means that I can now mow down the beans and incorporate the entire plant into the garden bed for fertilizer.

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This is row cover in action on my peppers and eggplant.

The threat of frost however also hastened my harvesting of winter squashes. Friday was supposed to be a light harvesting day – getting the last things I needed to send to market – but suddenly turned into a huge final harvest of all our squashes and pumpkins. Good thing that’s my favourite thing ever to harvest!! All those items are now sun-curing in the greenhouse.

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Evidence of frost! This is basil that probably should have been harvested.

This week, for the first time since April, I took some time to clean up around the farm. I had plenty of mess up in the hay mow, where I had dried garlic back in August. I had all kinds of things that needed to find homes. I even spent some time cleaning straw out of the hay mow from 15 years ago. We don’t need it up there and all it does is provide accommodation for mice. No thanks. Mathias and I took a look up there today and are making some plans for next season’s garlic drying racks. Already looking ahead, so fun!

This week’s tip: pizza and quiche
The tip is simply this: when in doubt, put it on pizza or in a quiche. My family eats an insane amount of pizza but it’s such a perfect seasonal dish that is fun to prepare and very satisfying. Dough is easy to make – especially using a kitchen aid – and you can make enough for a couple days. We do a lot of canned tomato sauces and that helps make it convenient and extra delicious too. But generally, pizza and quiche can handle all the veggies – even if you may need to pre-roast some things.

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“Giant Red Mustard” – in your CSA share this week.

This week’s share:
1 box New Potatoes (yellow or red fingerlings)
1 box Cherry Tomatoes
1 box Beans
3 or so Peppers
1 bag of Romaine Lettuce (a pair)
1 bunch Radishes
1 bag Spicy Mix (arugula and mustard greens)
1 item from the choice shelf (kohlrabi, kale, cabbage, bok choy, onions, shishito peppers)
Large ONLY: take 1 extra box Tomatoes, 1 bag Parsley, 1 Cucumber, 2 Onions

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Experimental hops of mine ready for drying.

Deconstructed Baked Potato (Food & Drink Magazine)
Super great recipe for those baby potatoes…

12 long skewers
12 baby potatoes – Yukon Gold
3 slices of thick cut bacon
6 green onions (or the thick stalk parts of the young onions)
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
3/4 cup finely grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
freshly ground black pepper

Soak the skewers in warm water for 20 minutes and in the meantime, preheat the oven to 350F.
Slice each potato in half. Cut bacon into 4 sections. Cut the green onions into 2 inch pieces.
To make the skewer, simply thread on the potato, bacon, and onion. Place the skewers on a baking sheet and lightly brush them with oil.
Bake the skewers for about 18 minutes until the potatoes are almost fork tender and the bacon is almost crisp. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the cheddar cheese on the potatoes. Bake another 5 minutes until the potatoes are soft, bacon crisp, and cheese is melted. Sprinkle with gresh ground pepper and serve.
Makes 12 appetizer servings.

Update from the Garden

First off, this is week 13 of 18 to help you follow along. That means 5 more weeks of CSA, with our final pick up on October 10th.

You have to agree that the tomatoes are fully in season! Our cherry tomato plants are weighted in loads and loads of gorgeous gems and because of this, everyone gets 2 containers of them this week. I think I harvested 130 containers this week so far! The larger tomatoes just didn’t perform for us this year. I think they got majorly set back during the drought times and they didn’t seem to benefit enough from our drip irrigation. The cherry tomatoes made an impressive come back though.

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Hot pepper mix – we will have more next week too!

This past week, I finally finished turning in my 2nd new plot of the year – which will be used for planting squash next season. For now I will leave the grasses turned over and allow them to decompose slightly before I do a harrow or rototill… followed by bed shaping. My plan is to prepare all the squash beds this fall for planting next May 24th. Yes, you read that correctly. I’m in constant pursuit of ways to spread my work over the year and to “get ahead” for the coming season.

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Lettuces coming along nicely for the final weeks of CSA.

I also spent some time this week starting to harvest squashes. All the kuri, delicata and spaghetti are looking great. Our pie pumpkins too. Acorn are good and the mini-blue hubbards turned out well. We have very few butternut this year but I will be able to confirm that once I get to harvesting them – though they tend to mature a little later than the others.

This week’s tip: blanche and freeze
Some things can be easily blanched (boiled briefly and flash cooled) and then put away in bags or yogourt containers and into the freezer for the winter. Beets and carrots can be done this way. Kale can too. If you feel like you want to squirrel away a few things – you can google the procedure. If you have too many cherry tomatoes – give them a rinse, dry and throw them in a zip lock for a pasta over winter.

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Pretty cabbages – one of the choice items this week.

This week’s share
1 box New Potatoes (3 varieties)
1 bunch Carrots
1 bunch Beets
1 bunch Kale
2 boxes Cherry Tomatoes
1 box Grapes
4 Peppers
Hot Peppers – taken as needed
1 Choice Item (Eggplant, Beans, Shishito Peppers, Cucumbers, Kohlrabi, Cabbage)
Large ONLY: Take 2 extra items from the choice shelf

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Lush kale bunches as night temperatures cool.

Grapes
We do grow a few grapes for the family on the farm but these grapes this week came from Francie Hawkins – she has the farm on Highway 41, with the thousands of gladiolas growing out front. The grapes were actually grown by her husband, Harry Hawkins, whom many of you may know passed away about a month ago. If you knew Harry, you would know how great of a person he was and how many amazing hobbies and pastimes he enjoyed, including growing all kinds of things (often in large quantities!). Growing grapes was one of his many things and I hope you all enjoy them this week, in memory of this incredible person and mentor of mine.

This kind of grape is more tart than the typical grocery store grapes and they also have seeds. Fine for snacking if that’s your thing – cave people were fine with seeds – but here is an awesome grape syrup my mom made this week to put on top of ice cream or yogourt, etc.

Grape Syrup
Remove your grapes from the stem and place them in a pot with enough water so it doesn’t burn (possibly 1/4 cup). Bring to a boil and cover and simmer about 15 minutes until all grapes have released their juice. Strain the grapes using a sieve and a wooden spoon or perhaps some cheese cloth. Put your hot grape juice back in the pot and sweeten ideally with sugar but you can try other sweeteners. The recipe we have says 3/4 cup sugar for 1 cup juice but we used less. Boil for another 10 minutes or so until it’s syrupy. Be careful not to boil too long or it will turn to jelly. Will store in the fridge for 2 weeks.

Update from the Garden
Ah, another grand week of early fall-type work. We’ve been pulling out old/dead plants, and “ploughing down” the rows where the sugar snap peas once grew (or attempted to, during the drought weeks). We did some cultivating in the older carrot beds, etc. where the bed is not empty and have planted some oats/peas in it’s place to cover the soil until frost comes. I just noticed how our Kuri squash stems have started to dry and the colour is getting richer… it’s about time to harvest those guys! Seems early.

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Radish cover crop going in on a former snap pea bed.

This week I ploughed a whole new plot (in addition to the new plot for garlic). This new 100ft x 100ft plot will contain beds for squash next season. That includes zucchini, pattypans, cucumber, melons and all our winter squash. I have been finding that the garden is getting crowded and we have little space for rotation, so I had occasionally been planting in a less than ideal bed for certain crops – for example, carrots in a bed that was relatively weedy in the previous season. It just creates more work and kills efficiency, and so adding new plots will give me more space to select the right spaces for the right crops. The unused beds will be seeded with several rounds of buckwheat next season.

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This is how we store irrigation lines and garden tarps – off the ground so they don’t get lost in the grass.

This weeks tip: Freeze your herbs
This little gem of a tip comes both from my 91 year old Omi and a CSA member who’s been with us since Day 1. You can freeze herbs like parsley and dill very easily. Wash them, let them dry and then put them in a mason jar and straight into the freezer My Omi recommends a pinch of salt to take up any remaining moisture. Herbs come out fresh-fresh all winter long.

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This week’s share:
1 box Potatoes (Fingerlings/Yukon Gold)
1 box Tomatoes
1 box Summer Squash
1 Kohlrabi
1 bag Herbs – mainly Parsley
1 box Beans
2 Peppers
Large ONLY: Take extra Tomatoes & Potatoes

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Tabouleh – use that parsley!
For Tabouleh, I recommend adjusting quantities to what you prefer but make it mainly parsley. Here is what I do…

1 bag Parsley – chopped fairly fine
Handful of cherry tomatoes – chopped small
1 clove garlic – minced fine
1/2 cup – 3/4 cup of cooked bulger
Juice from 1/2 lemon
Olive Oil
Salt & pepper – to taste

Combine all ingredients and adjust the oil/lemon/salt & pepper to taste. Stores well for several days too. Great served with naan bread & hummus. Also lovely as a little side salad, in a wrap or on toasted bread.

Update from the garden
Super fun week in the garden. It was a total hustle getting all our cover crops and fall plantings in before the rain but it has paid off. In the photos you can see the tiny seeds of radish, etc. coming up. I also finished ploughing the new garlic plot and thanks to Keanan and Reuben Stone at Valley Bio in Cobden, I was able to get some last minute oats and peas to finish cover cropping the area just hours before the rain arrived…. and happily it is all coming up! I love it. Again, I am planting peas and oats before planting garlic, etc. to help add organic matter and nutrients. Peas are nitrogen fixing (they can take nitrogen from the air) and so when we plough it down in a few weeks and turn it into the soil, it will release nitrogen for our crops to consume. Free fertilizer all around us!

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Just 6 days later.

We got in the last of our onions today too so they are drying both in the greenhouse and the hay mow. Not very big this season, that’s for sure, but delicious nonetheless.

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Babies on their way.

This week I also fully realized how weird the eggplants are this season. It seems that the huge beautiful plants dropped their flowers at some point, likely during the drought months, and so there are pretty much no eggplants. Perhaps that’s great news to some CSA members, but I for one am totally disappointed! It looks like more flowers did develop at some point and there are a few small plants coming along but it’s a little sad for sure.

Finally, would you like some hot peppers? I can offer them in your CSA share but I would prefer a direct request before I harvest them. I have some red chillies,  “Santa Fe” peppers and also some Habaneros (peppers are mentioned in order from mildest to hottest). If you are interested, shoot me a message please.

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Former garlic beds…

This week’s tip: try something different
If you are getting tired of the same old dish you make with a veg don’t be shy to try something new. For example, one CSA member was talking about how you can prepare a fake apple sauce using stewed zucchini. Another mentioned… deep fried kale! Roasting is a great prep method for most things if you are bored with steaming and pan frying. Ask around – someone may have some interesting ideas!

This week’s share
1 Zucchini
2 Pattypan Squashes
1 box Tomatoes
4 Cucumbers
1 Melon
Carrots OR Beets
1 Choice Item (Cabbage, Peppers, Kale)
1 box Beans
Large ONLY: 1 head Romaine, 1 extra box Beans, 2 extra Cucumbers

Fish Cakes  (the kids approved)
While fish cakes may not really use many CSA ingredients, I made these last night with a side of green beans and had the leftovers tonight with pan fried pattypan squashes and it was just sooo good. I also know many of you have your own herb gardens and fish cakes are pals with dill, parsley and tarragon. This recipe of course came from one of our fabulous Scandinavian cookbooks. Try and enjoy!

600g white fish filets
2 spring onions, chopped
2 eggs
100ml 18% cream
2 Tbsp finely chopped tarragon
3 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
juice from 1/2 lemon
2 Tbsp. potato flour (I used wheat flour)

Use 30g butter and veg oil for frying.

Chop the fish filets finely with a sharp knife. Put in a mixing bowl with spring onions, eggs, cream, herbs and lemon juice. Fold together gently. Add the flour, 2 tsp. salt (*I found the result a little salty) and 1 tsp. pepper and fold again. You may need to add more flour to get the right consistency.

To fry, heat the butter and oil in a fry pan and shape the mixture into 12 small balls using a spoon and your hands (mine was too runny so I just plopped them in the pan). Gently cook the fishcakes for 4 minutes on each side.

 

Update from the Garden
The seasons are slowly switching over in the garden. As August marches on, this past week we were busy flipping beds. This means we were pulling out the pea trellis, pulling old cabbage plants, pulling lettuces that have went to seed etc. and doing some cultivating and cover cropping to restore nutrients and build organic matter. We have been planting hundreds of transplants including lettuces, bok choy and kohlrabi. We also direct seeded some arugula, radishes, and some fancy spicy red mustards for the fall. All of these crops love the cooler weather and will hold us over until the end of October. We are also finally turning in a new plot to incorporate into our rotations. We will cover crop it and then aim to plant garlic in the fall. We would have liked to have had this cover cropped since June but it was just too dry. The field is currently in hay production and free of weeds, so we’re hoping it will work out nicely… if we get the cover crop seeds in before this week’s rain!

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Ploughing a new plot… cover cropping with an oat/pea mixture.

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Many of our squash plants have relaxed slightly and are revealing loads of gorgeous squash beneath. We did a bit of research for our pie pumpkins and have sought out a market gardener’s favourite (and best tasting) variety: Winter Luxury. Check out the pretty lace skin on these squashes, which are coming along nicely.

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Finally, the Garlic Fest was a huge success for us. We sold all our garlic (about 3,000 bulbs), which was totally crazy. Many many people were returning customers, which was great to see. Our fancy garlic braids and single garlics earned several ribbons. Of course we are planting even more this coming fall!

This week’s share
1 Zucchini
2 Cucumbers
1 Head Lettuce
1 box Tomatoes
1 bunch Garlic
1 bunch Onions
1 bunch Carrots or 1 bunch Beets
1 item from the Choice Shelf
Large ONLY: 1 extra Zucchini, 1 bunch Basil, 1 extra bunch Carrot/Beet

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Our cucumbers being harvested. We never trellis our cucumbers due to intense cucumber beetle pressure, but boy do they do well!

Claudia’s Beet Salad
This recipe was created by our German WWOOFer from a few years ago.

1 bunch beets – half steamed & roughly chopped, half raw and grated
1 medium onion – sliced thin
1 avocado – chopped
Dressing: 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard, 3 Tbsp. white wine vinegar, 1/2 cup olive oil, salt & pepper

Update from the Garden
Wow, like that the CSA is already at the half-way mark! We are in the heart of the summer – where we get all the summer crops like cucumbers, tomatoes, and squash. I love it.

The garlic season is almost complete, which means that we are moving on to fall prep. This includes flipping beds into fall plantings like spinach, lettuces, turnips, arugula, radishes, kohlrabi, etc. I like this time of year because weed and bug pressure somewhat subside. We do have a lot of garden catch up to do since all this rain came.

This is also the time for me to plant our cover crops on beds and areas that are done for the year. The cover crop will be a combination of peas and oats. We basically plant peas and oats and allow them to grow until the frost kills them. These crops will mop up nutrients and grow… then when they die, they will return nutrients and lots of organic matter to the soil. Helps build soil health and suppresses weeds. I absolutely love cover cropping!

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Upstairs in our awesome hay mow, where I dry and process garlic. Lots of lumber drying here too.

This week’s tip: Eat it raw
Figure out what you can eat raw and go for it.
 If you are unsure about which foods to eat raw, start with dark leafy greens such as spinach and kale or try carrots, turnips, and cucumbers. Technically you can eat almost any vegetable raw, in its naked, natural state (careful around rhubarb!). It’s just a matter of taste and how well your body digests it. Just make sure to chew your food well to aid your body in digestion.

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Pepper plants are getting very heavy with fruits.

This week’s share:
1 bunch Carrots
1 bunch Garlic
1 Zucchini
1 box Pattypan Squash
1 Cucumber
1 pint Tomatoes
2 Peppers
1 Choice Item: Bok Choy/Kale/Beans/Cabbage
Large ONLY: 1 extra Cucumber, 1 head Romaine, 1 bag Basil

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Little Pete out for a tractor ride with Opa…. 

Dark Chocolate Zucchini (or Pattypan) Brownies
These are seriously delicious brownies – a recipe that a CSA member gave me in my first season, about 7 years ago!

2 cups zucchini, grated
1/2 cup virgin coconut oil
1/2 cup honey
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup whole spelt flour (or an additional 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips (I used a combo of chips and chopped up 100% cocoa chocolate)

Preheat oven to 350F and grease an 8 inch square baking pan. Grate zucchini. Dump into a mesh colander and squeeze it with a towel to get rid of excess moisture. Fluff it back up
with a fork.
In a large bowl, beat together the wet ingredients (oil, eggs, honey and vanilla). Stir in the zucchini.
In a separate, smaller bowl, stir together the dry ingredients (whole wheat pastry and spelt flour, cocoa, salt, baking
powder and cinnamon). Pour the dry mixture into the wet/zucchini mixture. Stir just until combined, and then stir in the chocolate chips. Pour the batter into your prepared pan.
Bake 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (mine was done baking at 30 minutes).
Let cool completely before serving.