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).

IMG_7687We 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 Cabbage

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.IMG_7686

Shallots

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

IMG_7690IMG_7691With 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…

Carrots

Beets

Chinese Cabbage

Melon

Broccoli

Peppers

Eggplant

Shallots

Acorn Squash

What’s in Upic…

Edamame

Beans

Flowers

 

IMG_7661 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.

Pork

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.

Frozen Blueberries

We will have frozen berries for sale at pick-up for the next few weeks. They are $25.50 for a five pound box.

IMG_7582Edamame 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…

Tomatoes

Carrots

Cukes

Lettuce

melon

Chard/Kale

Eggplant

Peppers

Broccoli

What’s in Upic…

Tomatillos

Cherry Tomatoes

Edamame

Flowers

 

INGREDIENTS

  • Salt
  • 1 pound fresh or frozen edamame in their pods
  • Black pepper to taste

PREPARATION

1.
To boil: Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it generously. Add the edamame, return to a boil and cook until bright green, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain. To microwave: Put the edamame in a microwave-safe dish with ¼ cup water and a pinch of salt, cover partly and microwave on high until bright green, 1 to 5 minutes, depending on your microwave power.
2.
Sprinkle with a teaspoon of salt and a little or a lot of black pepper. Toss and serve hot, warm or chilled with an empty bowl on the side for the pods.
YIELD
4 servings
 

IMG_7416The light has turned this last week and we have started to process of bring in fall produce to cure. Onions and winter squash are our big fall crops aside from potatoes and these first two both have to cure in the dry heat of the greenhouse for a few weeks before we can share them with you. Plants, like us and keenly aware of the change in season and prepare themselves for winter in one way or the other. Onions are a biennial crop that grow to size one year and produce seed the next, continuing the process of reproduction that is the plants ultimate goal, one that we interrupt by eating them. We all know onions have layers and each layer is attached to a leaf. Our goal as farmers is to have onions with lots of strong leaves which will translate into thick layers and big bulbs. As the light changes the leaves begin to loose their vigor and the neck that separates the leaves from the bulb becomes soft. The top of the onion then flops over. This is the sign to us that the onion is no longer growing and the leaves are beginning to die back while the layers of the onion start to harden. This is called dormancy and for the plant its a process of storing energy for the winter so that the onion can make flowers and seed in the spring. For us it’s the process of transforming a soft, fragile summer plant into a storable winter food.

IMG_7412Our winter squash plants still look great and there is a lot of fruit out there. In the next couple weeks we expect the foliage to begin to die back and the squash will be ready for harvest and curing in the greenhouse. The dry heat of the greenhouse will pull some of the moisture from the fruit and concentrate the sugars, making squash that is bland when we harvest it into sweet satisfaction in a couple weeks. Unlike onions squash is an annual and goes from a seed to producing new seed in one season. This plant’s reproductive strategy is to produce a sweet fruit that mammals of all sizes will eat, exposing the seeds that rodents can then bring into their winter storage areas underground. Like us, rodents can be forgetful or greedy and some of these stored seeds, buried in the ground will still be around in the spring, sprouting into new plants.

 

Pork

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.

Frozen Blueberries

We will have frozen berries for sale at pick-up for the next few weeks. They are $25.50 for a 5lb. box…

What’s in the Share…

Tomatoes

Carrots

Cukes

Lettuce

Cabbage

melon

Fennel

Chard

What’s in Upic…

Cherry Toms

Flowers

 

IMG_7394Blueberry season has come to an end for us. It was a great success and like all new things, the steep learning curve was exciting and laid the groundwork for what we hope will be a great crop for years to come.  After hand raking this year’s plot a neighbor came with a machine rake and cleaned out the berries from the really weedy areas. This last fruit we drove up to Ellsworth last week and had cleaned and frozen on a large processing line that can deal with the “duff” from the weeds much more efficiently than we can on our small winnowing machine. These berries are coming back this week frozen and we will have them for sale in 5 pound boxes at CSA pickup.

PorkIMG_7400

We have a great group of pigs this year. Fed on grain from Maine Beer Company in Freeport and all the cull vegetables they could handle all of them look great. Order forms for our first round of farm raised pork will be available this week. 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.

Sweet Summer

We will be harvesting our first round of cantaloupe this week.  From the few we have sampled in the field it looks like a summer of regular rain has been good for this crop.  The only thing that rivals the taste of this fruit is the fragrance. Wow.

 

What’s in the Share…

Lettuce

Arulgula

Carrots

Peppers

Eggplant

Cucumbers

Melon

Tomatoes

 

 

Transitions are what we are all about here on the farm every year . Whether its the productivity of a day, measured in how well we move from one task to the next, or the timing of a greenhouse seeding that gives a harvestable crop just as another is fading. It’s that place between that makes or breaks us.   I am energized by these transitions, complete one thing, starting another. We have been feeling a little bit of fall in the air this week.  In between the walls of humidity and the cold fronts pushing the storms, there has been that crisp, dry air that rules the days of September and October.  Summer flew by this year but with my favorite season just ahead, I won’t really miss these hot days until February.

Tomatoes This TuesdayIMG_7374

We are moving into peak tomatoes this week and have a unusually large number of tomatoes seconds flats for sale today.  If you are thinking about making sauce or salsa this is your day.  Even if you are not going to pick-up your share today, come by and pick up a flat, 10 pounds for $10.

The End of Blueberries

It has been a quick season this year as the berries have slipped quickly from ripe to gone. We will be raking this week but have stopped taking new orders. All in all this new foray into our own native perennial crop was a success and we hope to add it to our annual list of offerings from this farm.

 Italiano Mindset

Eggplant, basil, tomatoes, arugula, and fennel in the share this week. Put them together and you have a trip to Italy courtesy of your local farm.  Any of these items go well with olive oil, lemon and fresh pepper. Fennel is usally the tough sell amongst these summer favorites.  Try shaving a little on top of your salad or temper and sweeten the anise flavor by roasting slices in butter.  We love to cut it into 1/4″ slices, dipping in egg and covering with breadcrumbs before roasting in ample olive oil until the fennel is soft and the breadcrumbs very brown.

What’s in the Share…

Kale/Chard

Lettuce

Arugula

Basil

Eggplant

Tomatoes

Scallions

Broccoli

Fennel

Carrots

Peppers

 

What’s in Upic

Flowers

Herbs

 

 

 

Blueberries are the big story this week.  Over the past day or two we pulled several hundred pounds from the plot we are leasing here at the farm.  Learning as we go, there is nothing like jumping into something new to keep our observation skills sharp, examining every part of the process, and making a finished product we are proud of.IMG_7328

Blueberries are different from the annuals we grow in the fields (understatement of the season).  This wild, native, perennial crop has been thriving on this farm for thousands of years and everything about it’s harvest and management is a learning experience.  The berry plants grow in clusters throughout the field, each plant covering several hundred square feet and sending up thousands of fruiting stems.   So one single plant is like a tree, with its trunk underground leaving only the tips of the branches for us to see above.

Our first day raking, we moved in lines, as this seems not only efficient, but what we are accustomed to in our production fields.   Raking in lines brought us through dense patches of fruit into other areas with dense patches of weeds.  During the cleaning process (it took a long time) we quickly learned there has to be a better way.   Our second harvest was very different. Walking onto the barren we sought out the single plants (called clones) with the best density of berries and just raked there, filling buckets at twice the rate of our first experience with really beautiful fruit.

IMG_7248After raking we have a mixture of berries, leaves, stems and weeds in our buckets. This mixture goes into a machine that helps us clean all of this unwanted flotsam from the fruit.  We are very lucky to have a neighbor with a machine we can rent.  Three or four people spend several hours running rough berries in one end and filling finished quarts on the other. While the machine has blowers and tilted conveyors to help this process, everything still has to move by on a slow belt for us to pull out the unripe, smashed and stemmy fruit before it goes into quarts.  Our harvest time to cleaning time ratio has been somewhere between 1 to 3 or 4, meaning we have been spending many hours squinting at berries as they go slowly by.

How to Order

We hope to rake this week and next, filling your orders placed be email, at pick-up, or online. Quarts are $8.50 and flats of 8 quarts are $64 (a quart is 1.7 lbs).  Orders for pick up on Tuesdays will be taken until noon on Mondays and orders for pick up on Fridays will be taken until noon on Thursdays.

Greens Take a Break

We have limited greens this week as we have fallen between a few successions on lettuce and kale. Hopefully this will allow all of you to clean out the fridge and get ready for our next plantings.

What’s in the Share….

Peppers

Chard

Carrots

Eggplant

Cucumbers

Tomatoes

Basil

What’s in Upic….

Beans

Flowers

Cherry Tomatoes  -in the greenhouse tunnel beyond the beans…

 

 

IMG_7223Tomatoes in July. Real Tomatoes. How odd that in a late year like this one we are seeing our first ever real tomatoes in in the month of July? You’ll find a mix of large slicers and heirlooms this week and they are just getting going so the volume and variety should increase over the next few weeks.

 

BlueberriesIMG_7228

We are raking our own blueberries this year ands will have the first to sample this Friday. Like in year’s past we will be taking preorders for delivery on Tuesdays or Fridays. We are working with a neighbor to rake and clean about five acres this year with the hopes of expanding the operations in years to come.  If you are interested in ordering them by the quart we will have more info in a late week update once we have started raking and have a better idea what to expect for timing and yield.

What’s in the Share….

Lettuce

Chard

Chickories

Carrots/Beets

Sweet Onions

Eggplant

Zucchini

Cucumbers

Tomatoes

 

What’s in Upic….

Peas-Snow and Snap (last week)

Beans

Flowers

Cherry Toms (just enough for field sampling…coming on slow but they are there)

 

July feels like august in more ways than just the temps. Our first asian eggplant is just getting going and we have just a enough to tesase you with. Leave the skin on this tender black eggplant and either throw it on the grill brushed with olive oil or slice it into thin coins and stir fry in a hot pan with very hot oil. Here’s a couple shots of eggplant and cucumber blossoms from this morning….

 

What’s in the Share….

Lettuce

Chard

Chickories

Carrots/Beets

Sweet Onions

Eggplant

Chinese Cabbage/Zucchini

Cucumbers

Jalapeños

 

What’s in Upic….

Peas-Snow and Snap

Beans

Flowers

Cherry Toms (just enough for field sampling)

IMG_7169

 

IMG_7024The competition is in the house. This is the first week where we have seen significant numbers of insect pests appear on the farm. It’s late for most of them and I can only guess that they were slowed down by the hard winter and cool spring. Over the years we have moved to planting large crops with particular pests that enjoy them later and later in the year. This generally works to keep these bugs at bay. Pretty simple system: each bug  emerges/arrives at the same time each each year. When they arrive and find no crop they either go elsewhere or starve. When these guys arrive later than usual it short-circuits our system. We’ll just have to hope these late sleepers are the lazy members of the family!

Right around the  cornerIMG_7022

Tomatoes, eggplant and peppers are doing very well and look to be some of our earliest showings for these crops ever. We have great-looking, ripening fruit and hope to start picking these crops in the next couple weeks.

What’s in the share this week…

Lettuce

chickories

zucchini

carrots/beets

kale/chard

What’s in Upic…

Snow Peas

Snap Peas

Green Beans

Flowers

 

 
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