September 2013


The Fall Equinox truly marked the end of summer vegetables.  We can’t usually say the first day of fall actually brings the first of fall weather, but this year it did (not counting that week during summer when we had fall temperatures). Often our first frost comes before the first day of fall, but this year we have not had our first frost yet.  It’s really nice to watch the vegetables run their course and not be stopped by frost.  This is particularly true of the tomatoes this year.  Usually the tomato plants are full of big green tomatoes when the frost kills the plant, but this season we harvested all of the tomatoes before the frost!  (maybe a first in 19 years) The eggplant plants and cucumber plants have given us the last of their fruits and the pepper plants are really winding down.  I can’t say that we will miss harvesting 11,000 – 20,000 tomatoes a week.  Our record was 21,100 three weeks ago!  We harvest them, wash them, count them, bag them.  We spend a lot of time touching those tomatoes.  It’s time for something else.  This week we are harvesting 8 acres of potatoes and all of the winter squash.  For the duration of the season you can look forward to cooking greens (kale and collards) along with hearty fall vegetables (beets, celeriac, cabbage, potatoes, sweet potatoes and carrots).  Ah, the beauty of seasonal eating.  As the weather turns cooler we turn to more comforting food; food that can easily be made into soups, stews and hearty baked dishes.  Good bye to the crisp, refreshing vegetables of summer.  Hello to fall and all that it brings to us.

Barb

Chioggia beet harvest at 7:00 am Monday.  The mornings in our valley are full of fog and mist.

Chioggia beet harvest at 7:00 am Monday. The mornings in our valley are full of fog and mist.

Chinese cabbage harvest Tuesday morning.

Chinese cabbage harvest Tuesday morning.

The last harvest of the roma tomatoes.  As you can see, big beautiful tomatoes are still hanging onto plants that are ready to call it quits.  Our job was to bring all of those tomatoes in.

The last harvest of the Roma tomatoes. As you can see, big beautiful tomatoes are still hanging onto plants that are ready to call it quits. Our job was to bring all of those tomatoes in.

Wednesday morning collard harvest.  A gorgeous fall morning!

Wednesday morning collard harvest. A gorgeous fall morning!

Wednesday afternoon squash harvest; pictured is acorn squash being picked up.  We load the squash into bins, load the bins onto a trailer and haul it to the shed where it is stored.

Wednesday afternoon squash harvest; pictured is acorn squash being picked up. We load the squash into bins, load the bins onto a trailer and haul it to the shed where it is stored.

We had a week of beautiful early fall weather.  The days are getting shorter which means our crew starts and ends an hour later.  This is nature’s reminder that the growing season will soon be coming to a close and fall crops will start to make an appearance in your shares over the coming weeks.

Jonnah

End of Season News:

Pumpkin Pick Sunday, October 6th

Storage Shares are still available

When is your final delivery?

Elisabeth and the Cambodian crew harvesting bok choy

Elisabeth and the Cambodian crew harvesting bok choy

Tomato bagging.  We are approaching the end of the tomatoes so enjoy this weeks bounty!

Tomato bagging. We are approaching the end of the tomatoes so enjoy this weeks bounty!

Monday morning salad mix harvest.  The Cambodian crew starts this job a dawn.

Monday morning salad mix harvest. The Cambodian crew starts this job at dawn.

Sometimes all we can do is laugh.  2915 watermelons was more than we thought we had out there, but with 23 people in the field harvesting, it only took us 2 hours.  Then it took 3 people another 3 hours to get them all loaded into bulk bins.  Every time we came across a split one we grabbed a chunk with our hands and ate it, juice dripping all over.  Not much style when it comes to eating watermelon while harvesting.

Barb

Peppers was also a big harvest this week.  We brought in 7159 of those!

Here are some highlights of our week in the fields.

Searching for watermelon amongst the foliage and tossing it to the person at the edge of the field who sets it down in a pile.

Searching for watermelon amongst the foliage and tossing it to the person at the edge of the field who sets it down in a pile.

Toss that melon carefully-don’t let it drop.

Toss that melon carefully-don’t let it drop.

Jesse and Clara picking up the melons from piles and counting every single one as they set them into the bulk bin!

Jesse and Clara picking up the melons from piles and counting every single one as they set them into the bulk bin!

Harvesting peppers.  Early mornings bring a mystical quality to our valley.

Harvesting peppers. Early mornings bring a mystical quality to our valley.

Eating with the Seasons

Wisconsin abounds with organic farms.  This cannot be said for all states.  Lucky you!  You live in a place where local organic produce is readily available year round.  Of course this means the produce available to you year round is what is growing at the time or has been grown and put into storage.  This is when it gets interesting.  We are used looking at a recipe and then going to the super market to get all of our ingredients.  What if we need peppers and tomatoes and green beans in January for our recipe?  Well the grocery store will have them but they will have been shipped from far away.  Eating locally means looking at the food we have available and then preparing our meal.  Wisconsin grows lots of vegetables that can keep all winter in a refrigerator or root cellar.  Those are the vegetables we include in our Storage Share.  There is also a vegetable bounty in the summer that one can take advantage of and preserve for the winter.  You can freeze, can, or dehydrate food.  Freezing is super simple and fast.  Of course you do need the freezer space.  Canning is a way to preserve food that only involves a small investment of jars and a canning kettle.  I mention all of this at this time because you are receiving a bounty of vegetables this week in your share.  You could start this week by putting away some food and enjoying it this winter. You can still come out for a tomato u-pick.  And you can sign up for a Storage Share and really embrace eating the way everybody ate just a few generations ago.  It’s fun, delicious and likely a challenge.  Go for it!

Barb

Storage Shares are still available!

The Storage Share includes two deliveries:

November 14th & December 12th

We include detailed storage tips on how to store your produce.

Each delivery plans to include:  15# potatoes, 5# carrots, 5# onions; plus winter squash, cabbage, kale, leeks, daikon radishes, beets, celeriac, rutabaga, turnips, brussels sprouts, winter radish & pie pumpkins.

The cost of the Storage Share is $175.  You can sign up by sending a check to Vermont Valley Community Farm LLC, 4628 County RD FF, Blue Mounds, WI 53517.  No need to fill out a sign up form if you are already a member; please update us if contact information has changed.  If you are not currently a member, fill out a sign up form and send it in along with your payment.

We consolidate our Storage Share pick up sites to 6 locations. The weather during the Storage Share deliveries can be very cold and snowy so we choose sites with heated facilities and easy parking so vegetables don’t freeze; members can more easily park and our delivery trucks have fewer sites to drive to in the event of snow.

We ask that you indicate which site you choose when you send in your payment.  If you have already signed up for a Storage share we will contact you to let you select a pick up site.

Goodman Community Center149 Waubesa Street Madison, WI 53704 

Community of Hope Church7118 Old Sauk Road, Madison, 53717

Near West Side – site to be announced

Orchard Ridge United Church of Christ1501 Gilbert Rd, Madison, 53711

Verona481 Todd Street, Verona, 53593

The Farm4628 County Road FF, Blue Mounds, WI 53517

If you want a Storage share we need your signup/payment by October 12th.

 

Tomato U Pick

Our Tomato U Pick Events have been so much fun! We still have two picking opportunities available!

CSA Members picking Romas last Saturday

Picking Romas last Saturday

CSA members weighing their Romas after harvesting

CSA members weighing their Romas after harvesting

So many tomatoes!

So many tomatoes!

Members Jude and father, Eric, hunting for the best tomatoes

Members Jude and father, Eric, hunting for the best tomatoes

 

Recipe of the week. Fresh Veggie Pasta Salad.

This recipe is great for lunch, dinner, a potluck or a picnic! Leftovers would make a nice lunch to bring to work or in your kids lunch box.

 

Dressing:

1/3 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

 

3, 4 or all 5 of these vegetables:

1 cup broccoli, cut into small bite-sized pieces

1 corn cob, the kernels cut off (about 2/3 cup)

1 medium sized kohlrabi, tough skin cut off and cut into small bite-sized pieces

1 red pepper, seeds discarded and cut into small bite-sized pieces

20 cherry tomatoes, cut in half

 

8 ounces Rotini spirals or Penne pasta (for gluten free version, Tinkyada brown rice spirals work well)

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

 

1) Cook pasta according to package instructions, drain and place into large bowl.

2) Meanwhile combine all dressing ingredients in a bowl or glass measuring cup and whisk together.

3) Blanch all vegetables except tomatoes for 2 minutes. To blanch bring water to a boil and turn off the flame (or use same water you cooked the pasta with) Submerge vegetables in water for 2 minutes using a metal strainer. *this step is optional but adds to the flavor and texture of the dish*

4) Add vegetables and dressing to bowl of pasta and stir until dressing evenly coats pasta. Add Parmesan cheese and stir one more time. Enjoy at room temperature.

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