As we move into our third week of harvest we thought everyone, old members and new, might like a rundown of the most popular questions we are hearing about the farm.

Is the farm certified organic?

Our vegetables, lamb, and pastures are all certified organic by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association. This means we submit a 40-60 page plan each year that includes every detail of how we produce crops. This plan includes everything we use for fertilizer (fish meal, fish emulsion, and brewery grain), how we wash our greens (twice in stainless steel tanks with annually tested well water), how many bales of forage we produce on a acres each year (12-16), etc. MOFGA then comes once a year spends half a day “inspecting” us; looking at records, walking the fields and asking questions about the details we submitted in our plan. The cost of certification, in addition to time is about $1200 per year. Our pigs are not certified  organic because we feed them a ration that is made up largely of spent grain from Maine Beer Company in Freeport (great beer!) and the grains they brew with are not organic (even though  they are very high quality).

Do you wash the greens?

Yes! Twice as a matter of fact. We have two 350 gallon stainless steel tanks where we dunk and re-dunk the leafy greens. These tanks are deep and enable us to roll the leaves over a few times allowing the grit from the field to settle away from the crop. While in the tanks we also inspect for quality, pulling bad leaves and weeds from the mix. Just because we wash the greens doesn’t mean you should not. It never hurts to wash them when you get home and the cold water from your tap will help them cool off after warming up on the trip from the farm to your kitchen.

What do I do with all these greens?!

  1. Salads is an obvious one of course - but we also like to stress making your salad into more of a meal by adding other veggies, nuts, chicken, legumes, or other proteins.   Experiment with dressings – this makes the salad way more exciting!   Play with ingredients like miso, tahini, tamari, lemon juice, or toasted sesame oil to make salads a great treat!
  2. Stir fries and sautés.  Butter, olive oil, garlic.  Sometimes if I want my greens a bit more tender, after a few minutes of cooking in a skillet with the garlic & onions I’ll add a tablespoon or two of water and cover until the water is absorbed.
  3. Is pesto a favorite?  Lightly steam your chard or kale, and throw it in the blender or food processor with garlic, onions, basil, or other herbs, toss it on pasta or pizza with oil or butter, and cheese.
  4. Bacon.  Hard to go wrong with bacon.  Cook the bacon in a pan, and then add the greens.  Watch out – the kids might argue over who gets the last bite!
  5. Spanikopita. Many cookbooks or of course the internet will have the recipe.  We’ve been making variations on this for years.  I use kale, chard, or spinach I use whatever cheese I might have, and I rarely use the filo dough due to time constraints.   Sometimes I’ll top it with bread crumbs, roasted sunflower seeds, or even crushed up tortilla chips.  We call it kale pie.  I like to steam the greens and then puree them in the food processor.  And lots of basil.  Another favorite of kids.
  6. Smoothies!!  See link below!  Green smoothies are all the rage these days.  If you’re not doing it already, then get on the trend! Throw your greens in the blender along with fruit, juice, and you’ll be powered up for the day!
  7. Facebook?  We have not been very active on our facebook page – but I have to admit it is a great way to share recipes.  We will put some recipes on there – so I encourage you to “like” us if you are so inclined, and to share recipes with each other – especially since we are all working with the same ingredients from week to week! https://www.facebook.com/crystalspringcommunityfarm

 

Can I get any tips from professional food writers who are also members of your CSA?

Absolutely!!

Local writer and editor Liz Pierson and her family have been CSA members with us since day one.  Liz and her husband Jan have been inspiring us for years sharing anecdotes from their kitchen – an interesting Indian spice or super simple tomato sauce.  Liz recently posted a delicious recipe for creamy spinach and mushroom enchiladas on her daughter’s blog: http://www.diaryofalocavore.com/2014/06/creamy-spinach-mushroom-enchiladas-liz.html

Try it out & let us know what you think.  We will continue to look to Liz and her daughters for more great ways to cook with what is in season.

Another CSA member, Laura McCandlish recently wrote a column in the Portland Press Herald about the pleasures of CSA and using greens in smoothies!   Kid friendly as well.  Perfect timing!    http://www.pressherald.com/2014/05/31/the-farm-to-table-family-when-csas-give-you-greens-make-smoothies/

We will keep you posted with more of their great ideas as they come in!

What is the Upic field and when does it start?

The Upic is a 3/4 acre field where we grow crops that we think are fun to harvest. Each season you will find peas, beans, cherry tomatoes, herbs and flowers all available for you to pick each week. We expect our first crop that will allow us to open the field will be peas which we hope will be ready the first week of July. Once we open the field you are welcome to come pick once a week on Tuesday, Friday or Sunday dawn to dusk. The crops we grow here are meant to compliment the others we offer each week in your share.  We will let you know when the crops are ready for you to harvest and we’ll give relevant guidelines then as well.

Do you (Seth and Maura) own the farm?

Maura and I have run the farm as our family business for the past 11 seasons.  We have a long-term on lease 115 acres of the farm’s 320 acres from the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust who saved it from development more than 25 years ago. The land trust runs the Saturday farmers market and cares for the farm’s trails along with many other important properties in the area.  More info on the work of the trust and how to support their efforts can be found on their website www.btlt.org.

Why operate the farm as a CSA as opposed to going to farmer’s markets or selling to restaurants?

Many years ago we were lucky to have worked on a several CSA farms in California and Massachusetts and found their connection to the communities they were a part of to be unique.  Inviting folks onto the farm each week of the season provides the potential for a relationship between growers and eaters that can’t be found anywhere else. Each week you are learning about what you are eating by coming straight to the source and talking to the people who grew the food for you.  As farmers we know every week that you are looking forward to picking up the harvest; we cannot hide from you – we have a commitment to present you with beautiful, delicious, quality food.  We in turn, are grateful for your appreciation and excitement about eating and cooking the fruits of our labor, it keeps us charged from week to week.  We also get to learn from all of you what is important about your food and your experience when you come each week.  We consider it to be a great partnership and obviously we can’t do it without you – thank you!

How do you deal with the crazy weather?

In short, we don’t.  If we have done our job we have handled all the variables within our control (planting by the calendar, protecting crops with row cover, irrigating when it’s dry etc.). Plants are very resilient and many of our crops we plant in succession ensuring another harvest in a week or two if one planting is lost. We also use different varieties that withstand one weather variable better than the next so if we lose the red onions we have yellow onions planted nearby that will deal with the changes differently and do well. When the weather makes wild changes we try to react as best we can and then hope all of our crops are healthy and can withstand mother nature’s swinging pendulum.

What’s in the share…

Lettuce Mix

Arugula

Chard

Kale

Spinach

Baby Bok Choi

Beets

Cabbage

Kohlrabi

 

 

 

Great first week….

Hope all of you enjoyed your first share this past week. The greens will keep coming and we have a few other great things on the horizon like beets, kohlrabi and scallions.  Please let us know if you need tips for using your greens in the kitchen.  Next week we’ll send out some favorite and easy recipes for greens!

How do we get your share to you each harvest day?

IMG_6484The night before harvest day, we stack empty barrels high on our flat bed trucks, and sharpen the knives.  The trucks are ready to head down to the field.   In the morning, our seven person crew piles in the trucks one by one and we’re rolling at 6:00 am.  Even on the warmest days our coastal farm is cool this time of day. We usually start with greens, lush and crisp with evening moisture.  Cutting spinach, kale, lettuce, and asian greens into barrels pulled along rows we harvest quickly and load up the trucks with 70, 80 and 90 pound totals of each crop.  If we are fast and the weather cooperates we can get these first tender crops into the barn and start washing before they are warmed by the sun.  We double wash the greens in water tanks, spin excess water out in our spinner, and place on the scale.  One person is in charge of keeping track of total numbers of pounds for each crop.  Finally we stack the bins onto our awesome cargo bikes and head into the cooler, ensuring the produce will chill quickly and keep well in your fridge.  On an average harvest day we will cut 300-400 pounds of just greens.  As we add in root crops, fruiting crops (squash, peppers, tomatoes) and heavier leaves (cabbage, broccoli, etc.) things really get busy and we make several trips between the fields and the washing barn each Tuesday and Friday.   The 2:00 deadline can certainly come fast some days, and feels well worth it when you arrive!

IMG_6489

Egg Shares Start next week…still time

We have another week before the egg share begins so there is still time to add eggs to your pick-up each week.  Shares are $110 and run next week through the last week in October.  You can sign up online by clicking the link on our home page.   We will also have eggs for sale this week and every week at CSA pick up.

Mushroom Shares

What could be better that fresh local mushrooms along with your share this summer?   Portobellos, oysters, morels and many more varieties, cultivated and foraged make up your share each week. The share is $207 and runs for 18 weeks starting next week.   For more information on the producer, see their website http://www.oystercreekmushroom.com  To sign up, see the link on our homepage.

Upic Rising

Peas, beans and flowers are thriving in the upic field and we hope to be able to let all of you loose out there around the first week of July. Look to the newsletter from more updates…

IMG_6561Pigs are in their element

Our dozen pigs went onto pasture this week and have already started conditioning what will be next year’s Upic field expansion. Experts at excavation and perennial weed removal these guys are serious workers. Come by and watch their work ethic next time you’re at the farm.

Email list

Please make sure everyone who is part of your family/CSA share is receiving our emails. This is our primary mode of getting info about the CSA to all of you. We are happy to add whomever you would like and they always have the option to unsubscribe…

What’s in the Share this week…

Spinach

Lettuce Mix

Kale

Chard

Arugula

Asian Greens

Broccoli

Kohlrabi

 

Welcome to the 2014 Season!

Its been a slow but steady kind of spring this year. The farm apprentices started out on March 31 and we had 2 week sod cold and even a bit of snow and we waited to get into the fields. The days have been warming gradually and have allowed us to have some pretty nice greens and radishes that can sometime bolt this imd of year due to hot days and frosty night -neither of which we have seen since May began. All of us on the farm excited to begin harvesting these plants we have been caring for these past couple months.

We will start harvest this week and you can begin your summer of fresh organic produce this Tuesday or Friday. Here’s the nuts and bolts you need to know…IMG_6476

  • Pick up on Tuesday or Friday from 2-7pm.
  • Please bring bags for your produce. A few bags to separate different items works best. We will have bags here if you arrive without…
  • We will have a spreadsheet for those of you unsure of your balance.
  • In addition to produce we will have cheese, gelato, lamb and maple syrup for sale.

What’s in the share…

We expect glorious greens to dominate the share these first few weeks of June. Coming along quickly are our scallions, beets, broccoli, napa cabbage and strawberries. Soon we will be picking peas and cherry tomatoes in the upic field.

Organic Egg Shares

There is still time to sign up for an egg share! Fresh organic eggs from pastured hens raised by Sparrow Farm in Pittston Maine. The share starts June 16th and runs until October 27th (20 weeks) for $110. Your share guarantees you a dozen eggs when you come each week(big family? buy 2 shares). If you buy organic eggs regularly you know this is a great price for deep orange yolks and white that stand tall and proud. Click here or look for the button on our home page to sign up.

Fish Shares still available

If you have been on the fence about buying a fish share this is the last chance. We are close to having enough members but if we don’t get a few more by Tuesday we will not be able to host this share this year. Check out this awesome selection of ground ands shellfish all coming out of the Gulf of Maine. Here’s the link to the salt and sea website.

Mushroom share

Miane raised and gathered mushrooms for 18 weeks starting next week. Morels, black trumpets, hen of the woods and oysters are just a few of the varieties Oyster creek mushroom will deliver. The price is $207 for 18 weeks. The share begins next week so don’t delay. Here’s the link or find the button on our website.

 Cows?

IMG_6473Some of you who travel our road may have noticed a group of 11 cows in the pasture where we usually have ewes for the summer. These are heifers (young females that have not had calves) that we are grazing for a farmer friend from New Hampshire who is moving (himself and his animals) to Maine this summer. Its been great getting to know a new group of animals. Walking amongst these gentle giants is really satisfying as they work their way though our green landscape.

 

Much to do here at the farm! It’s been a strange spring. Early in some ways, late in others. We have tomatoes and squash in the ground earlier than ever but our first round of greens are moving slowly with less sun and cooler soils than usual. For now some basic announcements:IMG_6395

CSA Shares and How to Make Payments…

We have officially sold out of shares for 2014. Many thanks to all of you who have thrown your hats in for another exciting season.  If you would like to make a payment towards your share please follow this link or mail us a check.  If you are not sure what you owe please check your records & that fails send us an email & we’ll check for you.

Wait List

If you missed out and would like to be first on the list for possible share openings this season (or to sign up for next year) follow this link to our wait list.

When will the CSA start?

We have not picked a start date for the CSA yet as we are waiting to see how our greens do this week. The ice and snow in April kept us out of the fields later than usual and the cool spring has slowed many things we have planned for the first harvest. When we make a decision as to a start date we will send out an email to let everyone know so watch your inboxes.

Pick up Times

When we do start harvesting, the veggies will be here for pick up on Tuesday or Friday from 2-7pm each week.   Bring bags!

New Member Orientation: Saturday May 31 or Sunday June 1, Both at 4:00 pm

For members that are new to the farm, you are welcome to come meet us and learn the lay of the land.  If you cannot make those time, do not worry, we will be here at the distribution times to show you the ropes and answer any questions you have about the farm.

 

IMG_6394Fish Shares

We are again hosting a fish share at Crystal Spring CSA. Local fish and shellfish delivered each week on Fridays (available for Brunswick members only) during June and July. The first pick-up will be on Friday June 6, same hours as CSA pick-up.  Visit their website Salt and Sea for more details and to pay online.

Egg Shares

Egg shares will be available again this year. These are the same fresh organic eggs from our friends Karen and Ted at Sparrow Farm. Bright yellow yolks and stand tall whites -grocery store store eggs can’t even compare.  The egg share will run from the week of June 16th through the week of October 27th (20 weeks) for $110. This is the best way to make sure you always have a dozen eggs when you come for your produce. To sign up and pay click here.

Upic

Our upic field is shaping up nicely. Peas are up and we were able to transplant many flower varieties this week. Look for peas, beans and edamame along with herbs to be our first crops out here.

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Thanks Everyone! We will see you at the farm soon!

 

Winter has left the building and we are busy! It’s been a while since we updated you on the comings and goings at the farm…read all the way down for payment info, new member orientation and other offerings at CSA pick up.

IMG_5923Its May and we are now caught up on our planting schedule. The first two weeks of April were quite February-like but then overnight the snow left, the fields dried out and we were able to get some seeds and plants in the ground.  I’m brimming with optimism as late springs have generally turned in to mild, temperate summers with fewer long stretches of cold rain, heat or drought. This time of year brings to the forefront the great wager we have with the weather. Starting plants in greenhouses covered in snow and feeding animals the last bales of hay seamlessly transitions into the ground thawing and first blades of grass appearing. Every year it always renews my trust in the calendar.

We have a great looking crop of tomatoes this year. They are still in the greenhouse but will be heading out into our field tunnels in about a week. The past few years we have been experimenting with a new process for this crop called grafting. When we graft plants we take a strong rootstock and put it together with a fruiting top from a variety we like. The root stock is IMG_5966IMG_5925specially bred for resistance to many common diseases but doesn’t make good fruit (in this case tomatoes). The fruiting top or scions come from several tomato varieties we have grown for years and think have great flavor. The problem we have found recently is that we are having a harder and harder time keeping these varieties we love healthy (especially the heirlooms),  which is why we are grafting to the disease hardy rootstock. To make this happen we start seed for both the rootstock and the scion and once they are a few inches tall we cut the tops off the rootstock and attach the tops from the scion. Nothing is more unsettling than taking your beautiful tomato seedlings, cutting them in half and hoping the will live stuck onto another plant. After a couple years of trials we have figured out the pitfalls and have been able to do this successfully.

Fish, Egg and Mushroom Shares…

We will have Fish and Mushrooms shares available again this year. Next week’s newsletter will have all the details!

Spring CSA payments and Shares

We have just a handful of Brunswick Shares left for the year and Portland shares are getting close. If you have been putting off signing up please don’t wait. Many thanks to those of you who have signed up.

  • If you put a deposit down and have made your payments (due February and April) you last payment is due June 1.
  • If you are unsure what you owe and cannot locate your own records, let us know.
  • The total for a 2014 Brunswick share is $525.
  • The total for a Portland area delivered share is $315.

Make a payment by clicking here

  • If you would like to make another payment by electronic check or credit card please follow this link.
  • If you have fallen behind in your payments you can still make a April/May payment here online or mail us a check for the balance.

Brunswick Share New-Member Orientation

If you are a new Brunswick on-farm pick-up member we will have orientations days Saturday May 31st and Sunday June 1st at 4pm. This is not a mandatory event but it is a great time to see the farm, meet the farmers and get the inside scoop on how to pick up your share this summer. We will have a upic field orientation for Portland members in July. Look for more info and a date soon. Hope to see you…

Lambs and Piglets

IMG_6265We are overflowing with small animals these days. We have a litter of 12 piglets and spring group of over thirty lambs to add to our winter group of 75. As the grass greens up everyone will be heading outside to enjoy the bright and start working on the grass that is growing fast.IMG_5950

 

 

 

Happy March!

We’ll do a more complete newsletter soon but for now, in brief:

Farm Camp

Dates and registration are now available on our website.  The link to that page is here (registration is a link at the bottom of the page)  http://crystalspringcsa.com/farm-camp/

For 10-12 year olds we are offering an exciting opportunity to join Farmer Seth and the crew.  One week, afternoons only, see the description on the webpage for more info on our Junior Apprenticeship.  We’ll also have some spots open for junior counselors ages 13-16.  Any comments or questions let us know.

Lamb Open House

Come visit the newest members of the farm in the barns.  As of this writing we have 70 lambs with six more ewes still expecting.

Saturday March 15 11-1 open to the public

Sunday March 16 11-1 for CSA members and friends of the farm.  Bring your friends and family.

CSA Memberships

Still available if you have not signed up yet!

Seeding is Underway…

We’ll get some pictures out soon just to prove it to you, that under the frozen tundra, in the warmth of our heated greenhouse, seeding has begun.  Onions, leeks, beets, celariac, flowers and herbs all going in this week.

Spring is fifteen days away folks…here’s hoping!

More coming soon…

Seth & Maura

 

 

 

High of twelve today, but the sun is warm and the sky, blue. It seems never to be able to get so blue during any of the other seasons. We’ve been busy since our last newsletter in November. Busy in the winter is relative as our work is bookended by a later sunrise and an earlier sunset (and this winter by sub-low morning temps and a cold afternoon wind). My enthusiasm for sitting in front of a keyboard and making phone calls goes way up this time of year. Proof of this is our complete seed order, 2013 taxes and a barn full of supplies for the coming summer. Now if I had only cut more wood for the stove last summer!

What’s New for Next Summer…IMG_5172

IMG_0369Between holiday preparations, making lunches, feeding sheep, and youth basketball games, I spent December looking at seed catalogs and rereading your surveys, searching for new ideas to improve what we grow. This last year we had 43 different crops and over 140 different varieties of vegetables flowers and fruit (wow). During each year we are putting seeds into soil in the greenhouse or in the field every week between the beginning of March and the end of August- so there are many places to make changes. Sometimes we like a particular variety but feel like to came too soon on too late so we’ll adjust its planting time forward of back a week. Other times we find a variety just didn’t perform on this farm and we look to replace it entirely. What’s more complicated, but ultimately the most satisfying, is when we find crops and varieties that go well together like greens in our mix and match, or different tomatoes that ripen at the same time, giving us a good supply to please everyone, whether they like them firm and acidic or soft and meaty.

  • We’re trying a few new greens varieties to keep everyone interested in their weekly salads and stir fries. There are a host of new Asian varieties that offer new color and texture that we think you’ll like.
  • Eggplant and peppers will both have new varieties with varied color and size this year and we’re trying some new planting dates to allow us to mix and match them instead of flooding you with one or the other for weeks in a row.
  • After a couple years of trials we are jumping into the latest craze and grafting all of our tomato varieties. This is the process where you take perfectly healthy tomato plants and cut them off at the stem and stick them onto rootstock that you have cut the tops off of. The rootstock is bred for vigor and disease resistance, the tops (scions) take this vigor and produce more fruit that stand up to disease longer. This technique has been used in fruit trees for centuries but is now spilling into annual vegetables in a big way to improve yield and disease resistance in our increasingly variable climate.

IMG_5390Sheep

Ewes are big and healthy these days as we are due to start lambing in about a week. Those of you that drive by the farm may have noticed the white plastic round bales arranged in several fields. These wrapped bales are ensiled (fermented) grasses cut green in the summer and IMG_0391preserved for use by the flock in the winter. Unlike hay which is dried, the bales are lush and green. The high nutritional value of this feed has allowed us to transition our ewes and lambs off of grain supplements completely which is great for these animals that were made to digest grass and great for us as it disconnects our flock from the increasing variability of the global commodities markets.

CSA Lamb Day March 16 from 11-1

Come join us at the farm for our lamb open house for CSA members and friends of the farm. We’ll open the barns and show off the new arrivals, which should number between 85-100. Dress warm and wear shoes that will serve you well on the farms slippery and muddy tracks.  Bring your friends and family.

Farm Camp

We’ll have Farm Camp dates and registration open on March 1st.  This will be posted on our webpage.   All the dates will be in July this year.   No camp will be offered in June.

We will be looking for junior counselors again this year as well!

Lamb Sausage and Maple Syrup Available at the Farm

We have our own Lamb Sausage available for pick-up at the farm. This spicy natural cased sausage is packaged in 1 lb packs for $11. We also have qts. of grade B dark Maple Syrup for $16 each. This is the same great stuff we have in the summer. Pancake, lambs sausage and eggs sounds like a powerful Maine lumberjack breakfast to keep you warm on a cold day in the woods… Send us an email with your order and when you’d like to come by.

February Payments Due

Those of you who are on our payment plan, your February payment is due next week ($150 for Brunswick shares/$80 for delivered shares). Here’s a link to our online payment form that will allow you to use a credit card of e-check to pay. This link is also on the website. Look for the green “make a payment” button. You can also mail us a paper check but we would prefer payment via the web as it cuts down on our administration time.  As always please let us know if you would like to make other arrangements for payment.

2014 Farm Shares Still Available…

If you haven’t signed up yet or if you have a friend, neighbor or relative who would like to be a part of the farm go to our website and click the orange “Join” button or follow this link. Its quick, easy and then its done.

 

 

IMG_4818All good things must come to an end, and as we start our last week of harvest and CSA distribution….

Thanks to all of your for your support of all of us here and what we do. This is your farm and we are very proud to be your farmers.

This has been a good year for all of us eating what the farm has grown. While every crop didn’t perform perfectly, as farmers we are happy with the season as a whole. This fall has been one of a kind. In the ten years we have farmed here we’ve never seen a September or October that was so dry and so mild.  The greens we have been cutting the last few weeks have been so abundant and such high quality they looked like they were grown in May, not October.

What a gift all of these greens have been. As winter approaches we all have full fridges and can eat healthy, fresh meals when we sit down to eat during our busy  fall days.  Trying each week to either eat or find storage for food, especially greens is challenging.  We hear you and this is our reasoning behind offering these crops in such consistently large quantities – we have it.  In the late summer we plant absurd amounts of greens for the fall, knowing that in a normal year many things will be lost to frost or the disease that come with abundant fall rain. Well this year we had neither and the greens flourished.  Rather than not harvest them at all, we chose to offer them to you. Many of you “old timers” who have been members for many years have learned not to take more than you can use, knowing that much of this overabundance will be passed on to the local food pantry or be added to our compost – which will nourish next years crops.  In seasons past we have also had folks not renew, feeling like “it’s too much.” Please understand that farming is a great gamble and while our experience allows us to beat the odds many times, if you don’t sign up again because we are doing our job too well – we all lose out.

Crop Diversity Blow-out

As you work with your share this week, making meals out of all of these different things please remember to use out website as a resource.  In the right hand menu bar is a recipe listing by vegetable. Each crop has at least two or three ideas and quite often the recipes include other crops from the fall -helping to make great meals with many of your farm ingredients.

What’s Missing

Amongst the bounty of many crops we have had a few conspicuous poor performers this year, butternut squash being the most notable. This crop was a total loss for us due to the heavy rain and heat of July. Other notes are less than expected yields in tomatoes (they tasted great) and onions.

Survey Time

Please take a moment to fill out our annual CSA member survey. We use your responses and ideas to shape the year to come and a few minutes of your time goes a long way to making the farm better each year. Follow this link to the 2013 online form.

Local Pastured Turkey

Our neighbors and fellow farmers Mike and Lucrecia Woodruff here in brunswick raise birds for thanksgiving. Our family has celebrated with their birds for many years and we are always happy. If you are interested call them @ 725.4554

Upic Has Come to an End This Year…

What’s in the Share?

Potatoes

Sweet Potatoes

Winter Squash

Carrots

Beets

Turnips

Leeks

Onions

Cabbage

Chard

Kale

Lettuce

Brussels Sprouts

Parsnips

Kohlrabi

 

The tsunami of fall roots begins this week with turnips and parsnips, added to the assortment of carrots, beets, celeriac and sweet potatoes we’ve been in up to this point. If you are feeling overwhelmed or even just a bit challenged by all these roots there are 3 simple things to remember. One, all of these crops keep forever in a bag in your fridge, giving you lots of time to work with them.  Two, roots go well with just about all other roots. You can roast, braise and mash your way into some pretty great meals on the blustery days and nights coming up soon. Remember to check the website for recipes. Here’s the link to the best simple roasting recipe.  Last, we have come into soup season.  Surprisingly easy.  Simply chop up your roots, sauté some onions & garlic, and then cover with water or broth, and simmer until the veggies are soft.  We use a hand blender to puree, sometimes adding coconut milk and Indian spices.

IMG_4783We dug the first of the parsnips yesterday and its been a long wait. Parsnips are generally the first crop we sow into the fields each spring, generally in early April. The seeds germinated very slowly -about three weeks, and don’t begin to look like something we planted deliberately until almost mid-summer. During this time they have been setting insanely long tap roots, penetrating about four feet underground. By the fall the foliage is bushy and about eighteen inches tall and the taproots average 8 feet long. Luckily we only harvest the twelve inches or so closest to the soil surface!  Yesterday we dug two 350 foot rows, using the tractor and a undercutting blade to get underneath the roots and lift them, making it possible to pull them easily.

From the field we bring them up to the farm and run them through the same root washer as the potatoes, carrots, etc. and then get them into the cooler, waiting for you to come and take them home at long last.

The End is Near…

Next week will be our last week of harvest and CSA for the season. It’s been a good year all in all. With a great fall to cap it off. Thank you for your support of what we do here.  We never really know what to expect from each season.  Farmers juggle so many variables in the process of growing good food.  We don’t take you, our loyal customers, our farm share members, for granted.  Thank you for being the steady component on the farm!

Sign up for 2014

Thank you for signing up for 2014!  We appreciate those of you willing to throw your hat in with us again this fall.  If you have yet to sign up here’s the easy link to our online sign-up.

Please don’t delay in signing up – once again we have accumulated a long wait list and will be opening that up this week to new members.  We truly don’t want you to miss out if the CSA is full next Spring.  Please be in touch if you do want to sign up but something is getting in your way (uncertain plans, share partners, money, etc) so we can hold a spot for you.

Pork

For those of you that missed our pork order or who don’t have the freezer space for a side will be happy to know we have hams, chops steaks and shoulders for sale in the freezer.

 Winter Shares

Wolf Pine Farm once again will be delivering their winter shares right here to Crystal Spring Farm.  We are just a drop off host & all the info can be found on their website: http://wolfpinefarm.com

Upic

Cherry Toms

Flowers

Herbs

What’s in the Share

Dumpling Squash

Sweet Potatoes

Asian Greens

Lettuce

Carrots/Beets

Kale

Chickories

Chard

Peppers

Red Onions

Parsnips

Turnips

 

Reprinted from the NYT

INGREDIENTS
  • 3 pounds assorted root vegetables: carrots, parsnips, celeriac, potatoes, turnips, etc.
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Chopped rosemary, thyme or parsley, plus more for garnish

PREPARATION

1.
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Peel vegetables (optional) and cut them into 1- to 2-inch chunks, put them in a baking pan and toss with the oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper.
2.
Put the vegetables in the oven and roast without stirring for 20 minutes, then check. If they look dry and are sticking to the pan, drizzle with more oil. Continue roasting, stirring or turning the vegetables once, for another 20 minutes or so. Stir in the herbs, then return the pan to the oven for another 20 to 40 minutes, until crisp. Remove from the oven. Garnish with rosemary or thyme.

 

 
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