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October is unknowable, at least until we get here. Each year we plant spinach, lettuce mix, tatsoi, etc. in abundance, gambling on the weather for these last few weeks of the CSA. Warm days with rain once a week and nights that don’t turn cold too fast are perfect. Without the extremes all of these crops keep growing and sweeten up in the cool. If stays dry and or we get night temps that crash well below freezing the leaves burn and we are out the cost of seed (and the chance to keep the share diverse in the last weeks). Most of the time this bet pays off an we have some of our best greens of the year and it looks like this year was a good one take the risk.

How Do I Store All this Food…

If you are wondering how to keep the roots and squash in your share around this fall and beyond we have lots of advice on our vegetable storage guide page…

When is the Last Harvest?

Our last share will be the week of October 26th. That means there are 2 weeks of produce after this one.

Renew Your Share for 2016

Many thanks to all of you who have signed up for 2016 already. Throwing your hat in with us now makes a huge difference for us as we plan our way towards another great season. Those who sign up now can take full advantage of our winter payment plan (not to mention its just done – and you don’t have to remember to do it later!). Your share is great value of fresh organic food that you know is grown well. Joining early allows us to work hard over the winter so we all can have the produce that makes our Maine summer taste so good. Click here for Brunswick Shares and here for Portland Delivered Shares

Crystal Spring Honey

We have farm honey available at pick-up. This is from the hives in our fields that are managed by our friend Ken Faulkner. Great for what ails you and pretty god on toast too.

Pork for the Winter

Bacon, ribs, chops; need I same more?  We will have more info on how to order pork at CSA pick-up, shoot us an email or click here for the digital version.

What’s in the Share?

Radishes

Sweet potatoes

Beets

Red Cabbage

Acorn/Sweet Dumpling Squash

Asian Greens

Kale

Chard

Leeks

Potatoes

Carrots

What’s in Upic?

Flowers

 

Late season onions are built for long season storage in cold dry conditions. A garage or proch that doesn’t freeze will keep them for months. The chiller drawer in the fridge will do well too if you keep them in a bag as well. Beware Aware the strong flavor of onions will flavor things stored around them. Potatoes, carrots, etc. will taste like onions if you keep them together without a barrier (plastic bag).

 

Carrots, parsnips, potatoes and beets all do well stored in your refrigerator. Pack them tightly in a plastic bag. If you are not going to be pulling a few out every week don’t seal the bag tightly (they need a little fresh air occasionally). The back of your fridge down low or in the crisper drawers are generally a good spot.

 

Keep your squash somewhere cool (55-60 degrees) and dry  where there isnt alot of airflow. A heated foyer, closet on an exterior wall or very dry basement are all good spots.

Winter squash can be divived into two storage groups:

-Short term varieties (enjoy before the New Year):

  • Delicata, acorn, sweet dumpling

-Long term varieties (can be kept until March):

  • Butternut
  • Kabocha (turban style)
  • Red Kuri
 

IMG_0446 copyWe have been digging potatoes in earnest this week and with yields that are quite good considering the Gobi desert-like conditions of August and September. The 3/4 acre that we plant into spuds each year is not large by Maine farm standards but it does yield us about 20,000 pounds each season, and harvesting them is a significant task.  To make the job easier we have a machine that lifts the tubers from the soil and lays them out on top of the ground for the crew to then pick up into crates.  The digger is vital as we would kill ourselves if we tried to harvest with forks by hand. Each winter I go through all of our machines and fix things we have broken or worn out the previous year. Sometimes I get the chance to do deep repairs (this is my term for work that goes beyond the problem I know the tool has) other times I just get to the obvious problem.  Sometimes we break something during the season that we need desperately and everything stops (at least for the head mechanic, i.e. me) and I have to get deep when I don’t have the time or the brain power.  This spring we were using our potato digger to dig rocks in the upic field (rocks can be lifted just like spuds) and we broke an axel that is part of the drive system.  Being spring, I did not stop everything and fix the digger but instead kept on with the cascade of other tasks and parked the broken machine in the corner of the field and promptly forgot about it. That is until about 3 weeks ago when I started thinking about potatoes.IMG_0447 copy

Our potato digger is old. I bought it out of an old barn in Fort Fairfield (across the river from Caribou) many years ago. It is by no means the oldest machine we own but I always assumed that it had been digging spuds in Maine at least before the age of disco. Old machines are like old houses – they look simple to fix but when you get into a repair you find yourself wishing you could just afford to buy a brand new one. The broken drive axle was 1.25″ square (not a common dimension) and when it broke it had taken out 2 of the 4 bearings that allow it to turn. The axel was a custom order and the bearings had to come from Texas and were not cheap, especially since I ordered replacements for all four of them. If you are going to take something apart, replace everything you can (this is the rule of deep repair). While waiting for my parts I spent a few hours taking the machine apart, cutting rusted bolts and fighting to remove steel rivets that were holding various things together. When I had the new stuff in hand it all went back together pretty easily and we still had a couple days before potato digging was to start. Murphy’s Law is as central to farm machinery as gravity so I gave my repairs a trial run. I hooked up to a tractor and filled up the tires on the digger. It was a hot day and as I added air one tire exploded. I took a step back. Both tires looked awful, old and worn. I pulled off the wheels and brought them to my tire guy. In trying to locate replacements he found out that the old tires were last available in 1964 (decidedly pre-disco) and also noted that the inside of the rims were heavily rusted and the holes where the valves come out were so jagged they would pop a new tube. I went and got the rims, ground off the rust, welded washers into the valve holes and repainted them. The tires were not in stock so while the rims were off I repacked the wheel hubs with grease. All told I put about 10 unexpected hours into this vital tool and have been working it ever since. Hopefully I can have a few extra hours reading by the fire this winter in exchange.

Renew Your Share for 2016

Many thanks to all of you who have signed up for 2016 already. Throwing your hat in with us now makes a huge difference for us as we plan our way towards another great season. Those who sign up now can take full advantage of our winter payment plan (not to mention its just done – and you don’t have to remember to do it later!). Your share is great value of fresh organic food that you know is grown well. Joining early allows us to work hard over the winter so we all can have the produce that makes our Maine summer taste so good. Click here for Brunswick Shares and here for Portland Delivered Shares

Pork for the Winter

Bacon, ribs, chops; need I same more?  We will have more info on how to order pork at CSA pick-up, shoot us an email or click here for the digital version.

What’s in the Share?

Butternut Squash

Celeriac

Asian Greens

Lettuce

Arugula

Kale

Chard

Red Onions

Potatoes

Carrots

What’s in Upic?

Flowers

 

 

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I went to sleep on Friday night thinking about a lot of things (kids soccer games, potato harvest, laundry -just to name a few). A killing frost was not even in my top 50. All forecasts during the week were for a stunning weekend (great soccer weather). Saturday morning I was up early to water and move sheep and repack the wheel hubs on the potato digger. I looked out across the pasture as the sun rose and knew I was in trouble. The light patches on the grass were frost and I immediately thought of just one thing -sweet potatoes. If it had been two weeks earlier my anxiety would have been diffused among many crops like tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and tomatillos but all of these summer crops are done, leaving only one potential victim.

IMG_0440Sweet potatoes are a true snow bird crop for us. The green shoots arrive by mail from Tennessee each June and we hurriedly harvest them before it gets frosty, never to few the cold. When that southern box arrives in the spring we rush them into the ground laid with black plastic for warmth. Most years we can harvest them before the September equinox but this year we put that off. Hoping a warm fall and some rain would bulk these tubers up, they were on our list to harvest next week. That is until Saturday morning. Sweet potatoes are in the same family as the morning glory and are sensitive to frost is a way few other crops are. When the cold comes their leaves turn black like most sensitive plants but the vines also begin to decay quickly and release a chemical that can travel into the tubers and cause them to rot very quickly. Nothing is so painful as loosing a crop below ground.

We were able to harvest about half of the crop yesterday and cut the vines from the remaining tubers. While not our best harvest this looks like a solid crop -in spite of the change in the weather.

Adirondack Reds

Our first real potatoes in your share are adirondack reds. These are great all-purpose potato with red skin and red flesh. No better excuse to turn on the oven than a raining cold day and a few potatoes to roast. More varieties to come in the next few weeks!

Renew Your Share for 2016

Many thanks to all of you who have signed up for 2016 already. Throwing your hat in with us now makes a huge difference for us as we plan our way towards another great season. Those who sign up now can take full advantage of our winter payment plan (not to mention its just done – and you don’t have to remember to do it later!). Your share is great value of fresh organic food that you know is grown well. Joining early allows us to work hard over the winter so we all can have the produce that makes our Maine summer taste so good. Click here for Brunswick Shares and here for Portland Delivered Shares

Pork for the Winter

Bacon, ribs, chops; need I same more?  We will have more info on how to order pork at CSA pick-up, shoot us an email or click here for the digital version.

What’s in the Share?

Sugar Dumpling Squash

Asian Greens

Lettuce

Arugula

Kale

Chard

Red Onions

Cabbage

Potatoes

Carrots

What’s in Upic?

Edamame

Flowers

Cherry Tomatoes

Tomatillos

 

The light is barely there at six a.m. It is always a surprise when this harvest day arrives each year. After a summer of rolling out the drive towards the fields in golden light we start this morning in September in the dark.  The crew with harvest barrels loaded and knives sharpened waits for the sun so we can see what we are cutting.  Work on the cusp of equinox is nothing if not satisfying.  We have made something out of another summer’s heat and rain. The big jobs are done for the year.  In the field everyone knows the tasks, we have common shorthand and jargon for crops, cutting styles and quantities. We don’t need to talk about what we are doing and that makes the work comfortable and more a part of us than something we do.

Renew Your Share for 2016

Many thanks to all of you who have signed up for 2016 already. Throwing your hat in with us now makes a huge difference for us as we plan our way towards another great season. Those who sign up now can take full advantage of our winter payment plan (not to mention its just done – and you don’t have to remember to do it later!). Your share is great value of fresh organic food that you know is grown well. Joining early allows us to work hard over the winter so we all can have the produce that makes our Maine summer taste so good. Click here for Brunswick Shares and here for Portland Delivered Shares

Pork for the Winter

Bacon, ribs, chops; need I same more?  We will have more info on how to order pork at CSA pick-up, shoot us an email or click here for the digital version.

What’s in the Share?

Acorn Squash

Asian Greens

Arugula

Kale

Chard

Yellow Onions

Peppers

Carrots

What’s in Upic?

Edamame

Flowers

Cherry Tomatoes

Tomatillos

 

 

Cool nights and not so hot days bring up my appetite. I like to eat. During the summer eating is something fun, a creative moment of cooking something to begin or end the day. When fall comes I am hungry. This has to be a physiological connection to the coming of winter and the need to put on some reserves or maybe repair and replenish from summer work. No matter what the case I feel it every year and I heed the call. Dinners get bigger and involve heavier dishes with ingredients like onions, butter and bacon combined with carbohydrates like squash and potatoes. I do love this time of year, for many reasons but the food…is the best.

IMG_0319First Squash

The weather cools down and we have starch to keep you warm. Delicata squash is our first of many winter squashes for this fall. Sweet with smooth flesh and tender skin, them are easy to prepare. Here’s link to our recipe page.

Edamame

These furry little soybean pods are finally ready in upic. Edamame are quick to harvest, you can make them with little effort and they are fun to eat for everyone. We add them to boiling water for 3-4 minutes, toss them in soy sauce and put them on the table with whatever we are having with dinner. If you have never eaten them don’t chew the pod. Drag the pod through your teeth and the beans will pop out. Here’s an extensive article on this great quick appetizer and a snarky video on how to make them (you can make them in the time it takes to watch…).

Renew Your Share for 2016

Many thanks to all of you who have signed up for 2016 already. Throwing your hat in with us now makes a huge difference for us as we plan our way towards another great season. Those who sign up now can take full advantage of our winter payment plan (not to mention its just done – and you don’t have to remember to do it later!). Your share is great value of fresh organic food that you know is grown well. Joining early allows us to work hard over the winter so we all can have the produce that makes our Maine summer taste so good. Click here for Brunswick Shares and here for Portland Delivered Shares

Pork for the Winter

Bacon, ribs, chops; need I same more?  We will have more info on how to order pork at CSA pick-up, shoot us an email or click here for the digital version.

What’s in the Share?

Broccoli

Peppers

Cucumber or Summer squash

Kale/Chard

Lettuce

Chickories

Carrots/Beets

Cippollini Onions

Delicata Squash

What’s in Upic?

Edamame

Flowers

Cherry Tomatoes

Tomatillos

 

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The sun has returned. This is today’s shot of the cucumbers and summer squash that were in the newsletter two weeks ago lost in the murky fog. This planting is just starting to yield and is much happier (as are we) with the bright days. The sunshine has also brought with it our cooking greens. Tatsoi and baby bok choi have been missing from our line-up but are back in aces this week.

We were able to fend off heat stroke and get a third of an acre of butternut squash out of the field and into the greenhouse where it will cure for the next 4-6 weeks. We pulled a respectable 7500 pounds which gives us a slightly better than average yield for this squash. We still have kombocha, delicata, sugar dumpling, and acorn to bring in over the next week as well. Get ready for the fall carbohydrates.IMG_0272

Renew Your Share for 2016

Many thanks to all of you who have signed up for 2016 already. Throwing your hat in with us now makes a huge difference for us as we plan our way towards another great season. Those who sign up now can take full advantage of our winter payment plan (not to mention its just done -and you don’t have to remember to do it later!). Your share is great value of fresh organic food that you know is grown well. Joining early allows us to work hard over the winter so we all can have the produce that makes our Maine summer taste so good. Click here for Brunswick Shares and here for Portland Delivered Shares

Pork for the Winter

Bacon, ribs, chops; need I same more. We will have more info on how to order pork at CSA pick-up, shoot us an email or click here for the digital version

What’s in the Share?

 

Broccoli

Baby Bok Choi/Tatsoi

Tomatoes

Arugula

Sweet Peppers

Cucumber

Tropea onions

What’s in Upic?

Flowers

Cherry Tomatoes

Tomatillos

 

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The last week of August is always a benchmark of sorts. Our last field plantings are going in and the big fall crops are coming out, or getting close. We just finished big seedings of greens like lettuce, spinach, kale and tatsoi and these crops along with radishes and salad turnips will be coming out of the ground in the last weeks of October as we wind down for the season. Planting now, we walk the razor between summer and fall and these crops get lots of sun and heat in September before slowing down considerably as we hit October, carrying their lovely flavors into the colder weeks. Our “big” crops of onions, winter squash and potatoes are all ready for harvest or very close. We began pulling onions this past week and have shallots and cipolinni onions curing in the greenhouse floor (except for the ones in you share this week).

Italian Summer

Fennel in your share this week along with its companions of peppers and roma tomatoes are a ready made meal. Chop the fennel and peppers coarsely and toss them with olive oil, salt and pepper before roasting at 425. Turn them after 20 minutes and add the romas, halved longways and roast another 20 until all are browning along the edges. Finish with some grated salty hard cheese (parm or percorino) and enjoy. The anise flavor of the fennel mellows and sweetens as it roasts, especially alongside the peppers. Add more tomatoes and saute some shallots, transfer it all to a saucepan with some ground beef or lamb and you have a great hearty chili as well….

Shallots

These small members of the onion family in your share are a wonder in the kitchen. Sweeter and stronger than onions (but without the tears when you cut them) they add great savory punch when minced fresh into salad dressings or subtle sweetness when simmered into your favorite dish. Try roasting them whole for a great addition to anything. Toss a few whole shallots that are the same size in several tablespoons of butter in a small pan over medium-high on the stovetop while you preheat the oven to 400. Turn them until they brown while the over warms them put the whole pan in the oven and roast until they are cooked through, 15-20 minutes. Add these into casseroles, top salads or just snack on their savory sweetness.

Renew Your Share for 2016

Time has come to sign -up for next year’s farm share. Throwing your hat in with us now makes a huge difference for us as we plan our way towards another great season. Those who sign up now can take full advantage of our winter payment plan (not to mention its just done -and you don’t have to remember to do it later!). Your share is great value of fresh organic food that you know is grown well. Joining early allows us to work hard over the winter so we all can have the produce that makes our Maine summer taste so good. Click here for Brunswick Shares and here for Portland Delivered Shares

Pork for the Winter

Nothing is more satisfying than a pork chop as you watch the snow fly… We will have more info on how to order pork at CSA pick-up, shoot us an email or click here for the digital version

What’s in the Share?

Shallots

Beets

Tomatoes

Salad Greens

Sweet Peppers

Fennel

Cucumber

What’s in Upic?

Flowers

Cherry Toms

Tomatillos

 
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