Thursday, September 10, 2015

Rain falling, acorn squash and pawpaws

Hello from the farm, 
Ahhhhhhhh....rain is starting to fall. It has been so dry.  This week we've been continuing to water the fall crop seeds and seedlings. With about three weeks of near 90 degree weather, we are really grateful for the strong well that has never failed us when we needed it. There just is no substitute for rain water though, you can tell how much the plants like it.  This has been a season of No Moderation when it comes to the weather: six weeks of hot and dry and then six weeks of cool and wet and then back again.  The tomatoes had a great run and are just about kaput now. Thanks to the committed watering team, the fall seedlings are emerging and looking great, it's a wonderful sight to see!!  

 One of our favorite pictures of all time, capturing how we feel about the rain!

In ten years of squash harvesting, Elizabeth says that it's never been sweltering hot like it was this week: picking squash and taking water breaks!
Sure signs of fall. Here come the acorn squash. 

The pawpaw trees are ripening a lot of fruit this week, so they'll be putting on a nice show when you come for your veggies. 

A word from Taryn: 
Hello all!  This is Farmer Taryn writing to you about my first impressions on this lovely farm.  I am truly amazed by the amount of variety that is grown here and the kindhearted people that I am working with.  You are supporting a farm that gives great opportunities to people with disabilities, while having a good time!  I am wanting to keep the farm at a high standard, as Farmer Scott has for many of years.  Hoping to meet all of you soon!      
Say hi to Farmer Taryn this week
Abendessen Fresh Bread: Tomato Basil Sourdough this week for $5 a loaf.
When you buy a farm share you are supporting Goodwill and the farm program. When you donate to Homefields you are supporting the land and facility at the farm
Here is an opportunity to support Homefields and the land:

Picnic in the Fields  
Sunday, September 27 11:00 am to 2:00 pm
Join us in a celebration of food to preserve 14 acres of farmland.
Music, child-friendly activities, and a spirit of community!
 ADULTS: $25 in advance, $30 at the door YOUTH 13–17: $10 UNDER 12: FREE Drop-in whenever — Gates open at 10:30


Buy tickets at

A limited number of tickets may be available at the door. Questions? Email 
Suggestions for the Harvest: 
Acorn Squash: a wonderful taste of fall and a reminder that cool weather is on the way.  See recipes below.

Pawpaws: best to keep them in the fridge until they are soft so the fruit flies don't find them. Cut in half the short way and spoon out like eating a kiwi fruit.  Don't eat the seeds or skin. The pulp is good fresh or added to a smoothie. 
Beets:  Beets are back in town. We grow red, orange and striped beets, beautiful.  mmm, I used to love to eat these after my mother had blanched them and slipped the skins off and they were cooling on the counter.  Super nutritious, they can be roasted, grated for salad, boiled or steamed, then eaten hot or cold, and of course, made into pickled beets or used for pickled beet eggs.  Makes me hungry writing about them.
Sweet Peppers: wow, it's been a great season for these lovely peppers. They are slowing down now with the shorter days. Sweet peppers come in all shapes, colors and sizes.  Carmen, a long horn-shaped pepper is a perpetual favorite among your farmers.  We like to snack on them as if they were candy.
Tomatoes: these have also peaked and are descending:  tomatoes seem to stand for themselves without words of introduction, but here are some words anyway: delicious, great in sandwiches, BLTs, tomato & cucumber salad, cooked down for sauce, chopped in salad, fresh or canned salsa and more.
Storage Onions:  the red and white storage onions should keep for a month or two in cool dark storage.  
Eggplant: The Italian and Asian types differ only in shape and color, they are used in the same manner.  I like them sliced and grilled or pan fried with soy sauce, oil, miso etc until browned and crispy.  
Garlic: woohoo for our farm's garlic, so fresh and tasty. It goes really well in the tomato cucumber salad I talked about last week. 
Potatoes: well, that's the hardest we ever worked for potatoes and for not a lot of them unfortunately. We did get some, and for that we are glad. 
Scallions: We had a great run of scallions, but they are done now. These mild-mannered onion family folks give an easy onion flavor to salads, sandwiches, stir fries and more.  Or you could do the old classic buttered bread and sliced scallion treat: my grandparents talked a lot about enjoying them in spring.  
Chard: this cousin to the beet is appreciated for its leaves instead of its roots.  Use for salads, or as a spinach or kale substitute in cooking.  
Green/Purple/Yellow Beans: they are a bit mature this week, but should still be pretty tasty.  Older beans can be saved for vegetable soup, which is what we did growing with vegetables that were a little on the mature side. These beans are so amazingly good it almost puts frozen beans to shame.  The purple variety is beautiful--if heated they turn green, if used in salad their purple looks great.  To cook, bring to a boil in an inch of water or so, then turn down to three lines or so until tender. Yum yum!
 Watermelons: the watermelon plants have done their duty and given us some great melons.  Shareholders have told us that the Yellow Moon and Stars was not very flavorful, so we will not grow much of it next year.  Sorry it did not live up to its billing.  We may do a small test planting next year to see if it does any better second time around. 
Cantaloupes:  the cantaloupes had a fantastic run, but their time in the sun is done. Law Reh mowed down the spent and weedy patch with quiet glee.   
Cucumbers:  these are all done and and vines shredded to compost them back into the field 
Kale/Collards/Senposai:  these are surrendering to the hot summer weather as usual.  We like to fry these in a skillet with butter or coconut oil until crisp, add some onions and saute them as well--a superb topping for rice, fried eggs or stand alone too.
Cabbage: great for a cabbage and chopped peanut with vinegar salad. Simple and surprisingly good in spite of its simplicity. 
Garlic scapes:  these are the would-be flowering stems of garlic--soft, tender, easy to use for stir fries, diced for salad, really anywhere a mild garlic flavor is desired. We like to use it for pesto here at the farm. 
 The Pick Your Own Field:
There are amazingly nice flowers in the Pick Your Own Field. Feel free to pick abundantly. There are also green and ripe chili peppers, okra, tomatillos and Sungolds and other gourmet type tomatoes

General rules of thumb:

If plentiful, take a little more, if scarce, go easy on the crop

For herbs--pinch only the tops of stems so that they can regrow. 
Acorn Squash Bisque from Madison Herb Society Cookbook, serves 4

1 large acorn squash
4 Tbsp butter
2 leeks, chopped
1 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 Tbsp fresh thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup heavy cream

Poke several holes in squash with a fork and bake at 325 degrees until it pierces easily with a fork, about 45 minutes. Cut in half, remove and discard seeds, scoop out pulp and reserve. Melt butter in saucepan, add leeks and sauté over low heat 20 minutes. Place in blender or food processor with squash pulp, stock, thyme, salt and pepper; whirl until smooth. Return to saucepan; simmer over low heat 20 minutes. Stir in cream and heath through just before serving.

Acorn Squash Salad from Farmer John's Cookbook - Serves 4 to 6

2 medium acorn squash
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup minced fresh cilantro
6 Tbsp orange or tangerine juice
3 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp candied ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
4-6 handfuls salad greens (one handful per serving) washed, dried, lightly dressed with olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 375 F
2. Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Place the squash halves cut-sides down on a baking sheet. Bake until tender, 30 to 45 minutes depending on size. Cool completely, scoop out the soft flesh, and roughly chop. Place the squash in a bowl and set aside.
3. Combine the olive oil, cilantro, orange juice, maple syrup, ginger, salt and cayenne in a blender or food processor. Blend well.
4. Pour the dressing over the squash and toss gently. Chill for at least 1 hour to allow the flavor to combine.
5. Serve on a bed of lightly dressed greens.

Enjoying the sweet sounds of rain, 

Your farmers

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