Sign-up for 2015…Now!
We have had a great year and this a the best time to sign up for next season. Help us plan ahead for the summer ahead and sign up here online. We have more folks on our wait list than ever before and we want to be sure all of you current members who would like a share are signed up first.
Stock up for Fall
Our cupboards are full here at the farm. In addition to lots of vegetable to take home we also have plenty of great local products…
- Dark Maple Syrup
- CSF Honey– doesn’t get more local!
- CSF Frozen Blueberries– Enjoy summer all winter long
- Willow Pond Apple Cider– This stuff is too good
- CSF Ground Lamb– Our own Grass Fed
- CSF Ground Beef– Our own Grass Fed
- CSF Elderberry Syrup– Keep healthy this winter
- Sparrow Farm Organic Eggs
What’s in the share….
With the passing of the first day of Autumn I’m reminded as I walk outside why this is my favorite season in Maine. Dry, bright days with views that go on and on run into cool nights that give me the best sleeps of the year.
September is also the month of Leila’s birthday; she turned nine this week. On the morning of her birth, Maura and I walked down Pleasant Hill Road in the wee hours of the morning to Parkview Hospital in time for her scheduled delivery. It was a morning much like today, we like to reminisce about enjoying a quiet walk in fresh air and anticipation before welcoming our baby (and a few days of rest). Leila was born on a CSA pick-up day and our wonderful farm apprentice Leah (we only had one then) and our veteran volunteer Bob did all of the harvesting and washing that morning. I came back to the farm after the birth, talking to CSA members and telling everyone about Maura and our wonderful new daughter. We had not yet named her, and many of you threw out your two cents in that regard as well. There are many of you who have been members since that time (and earlier!). Nothing measures time quite like the rapid growth of a child. You are still coming week after week, year after year, a vital part of this farm, and that little baby is now up to her mom’s chin and perhaps checking your name off when you arrive at CSA. We are so grateful for you, all of our CSA members, long-time and new, for being a constant source of support and the reason we are still here.
The Frost Came
We did end up getting frosted on Friday morning last week.This slowed our harvest day considerably as we had to wait for all of the greens to thaw before we could begin cutting them. Thanks to the hard work of the crew in the days before the frost we were able to finish harvesting the sweet potatoes and the last of the winter squash, the last two crops that have no tolerance to freezing. The plus side of an early frost (the earliest in our 11 years here) is that the greens and roots from here on out will taste even better, sweetened by the cold.
We have honey for sale starting this week. These one and two pound jars are from the hives in the vegetable fields that our friend Ken Faulkner tends. Besides being sweet and wonderful, honey that is produced in the area where you live is full of pollen which can go along way towards inoculating you from the effects of seasonal allergies. Besides that, it tastes great.
What’s in the share…
Sweet Dumpling Squash
What’s in Upic…
Really feels like fall this week. The weather gurus are talking up the possibility for the first frost (even for us coastal folks) this Thursday or Friday. I personally don’t think it will happen as it will be the earliest frost by five days we will have seen on this farm in our 11 years here. That said we have been getting ready this week for the cold that will arrive one day or another. Harvesting peppers, eggplant and the last of the tomatoes is the easy part. Larger tasks are bringing in the ample winter squash and sweet potatoes.
Sweetening the Crop
Harvesting sweet potatoes is complicated. Certain varieties of this southern crop actually grow easily here and the plants flourish all summer virtually pest free. The complicated part comes in when we harvest. First the crew has to cut away a think tangle of vines from the surface, allowing us to come in with a tractor and loosen the soil around the clusters of tubers. We have to be very careful handling the potatoes at this point as their skin is very delicate and comes off if they are handled roughly. Because of this we pull the tubers by hand and grade them by size into vented lugs. These lugs are then packed into an insulated room and we crank up the heat to 85 degrees and let them cure for about 10 days. The curing hardens the skins making them easier to handle but more importantly it signals the potatoes to convert their starches into sugars -which is what we all love about this crop. This process started last week so with any luck all of you will see your first sweets in the share next week!
What’s in the Share…
What’s in Upic…
Fall is here in all it’s crisp glory. Nothing feels better than working through a clear sunny day without the humidity that has been with us most of the last couple months. The change in the weather this time of year comes along with a change in our schedule as school has started and we are back to busy. During the summer we really never slow down on the farm, but other than being ready for all of you to arrive on Tuesdays and Fridays we don’t have to watch the clock too closely. With the start of school all of that changes and shorter days and bookended between getting kids out the door and transitioning them into homework or soccer practice, not to mention dinner. Historically this is a time when many of you tell of “falling behind” with your CSA shares for the sole reason that everyone is in transition and time is tight. With that in mind we are harvesting very storable crops this week and no greens (other than lettuce). Carrots, Chinese cabbage, beets, peppers and acorn squash will all “hold” until you have time to get to them. Put the roots and the peppers in you chiller drawers and the acorn squash will be fine on the counter for a long time (call it a fall decoration).
We will finish squash harvest this week and it has been a bumper year with plants yielding more and larger fruits that average. In our limited sampling to date it seems that the same factors that gave us great tasting melons will also be delivering superb quality for winter squash. Our biggest problem for the weeks ahead looks to be finding containers to harvest into as the squash crop will use up crates needed for potatoes. We usually pick into 20 bushel apple crates that we move with the tractors. The crates come from area orchards that sell us their old crates on the cheap. The apple crop is big this year and no one will part with their extras.
Chinese or Napa cabbage is in the share this week and this tender relative of green cabbage is very versatile. Shredded or sliced thinly, it makes a great salad with a light vinaigrette or peanut sauce, especially with carrots. Try making a rice gratin with your acorn squash and some cheese and using the napa as a wrapper. The “cabbage” link on our recipe sidebar has lots of good ideas as well.
Ever make your own salad dressing? Mince half a shallot mixed with wine vinegar some mustard and oil and you are in business. Shallots can be used raw or cooked and are somewhere between the pungency of an onion and the sweetness of garlic. These little bulbs go with everything.
Apples, Pears and Comb Honey
With fall comes the work of the bees. Paula Red apples and Clapp’s Favorite pears from Willow Pond Farm are available this week along with comb honey from hives here on the farm. We hope to have jars of honey in a couple weeks as well. Nothing is better for you than local honey…
Whats in the Share…
What’s in Upic…
Back to school this week and the farm crew has been whittled down to the core group. Our summer crew is full of high school, college and grad school folks balancing out their studies with hard summer work. Two weeks ago we had ten folks in the fields and this week we are down to five. Our full season crew, Tom, Kristin, and Lauren are the professional farmers, starting the year as the last snow falls in April and finishing with the first in November. You have met them here at the farm on CSA pick up days as they take turns overseeing the CSA barn. Last week they enjoyed a few days without Seth on the farm. The goal of the apprenticeship is to give the farmers the tools they need to operate their own farm. By late August Seth is able to step out for a break and all the many parts keep moving without a hitch. We are always so grateful to our smart, hardworking, and dedicated crew. Labor, love, and learning.
We still have Pork available! Fed on grain from Maine Beer Company in Freeport and all the cull vegetables they could handle; all of them look great. Pigs are sold as whole or half and processed into cuts as you like them (all bacon is currently not possible). If you have freezer space and would like to enjoy high quality farm-raised pork this fall and winter talk to us about the details at pick-up.
We will have frozen berries for sale at pick-up for the next few weeks. They are $25.50 for a five pound box.
Edamame in Upic…
These soybean pods are a new addition to the Upic field. If you have ever been to a Japanese restaurant you may have had them as a starter. The furry pod surrounds tender soybeans inside. Here is the recipe for them steamed, simple and tasty. This is another link to a long-winded food article about this crop with an accompanying snarky cooking video (everyone love the videos). This crop is just getting started in upic so look for the really full pods and save the not full ones for another week.
What’s in the Share…
What’s in Upic…