Monthly Archives: November 2014

Storage share (Nov. 20/21, 2014)

DSCF8942-2 storage 2 boxes

Things you need to know about your winter share

* Your delivery will consist of two different boxes, labeled “A” and “B”.  Take one “A” box and one “B” box.  The boxes contain different vegetables.
* Please pick up your boxes on the day of delivery, during the normal hours for your site. Don’t count on picking up late or the next day. It will be very cold during the deliveries and the produce will freeze overnight at the unheated sites.
* Outpost members, please get your boxes on Friday.  Do not ask the Outpost staff to hold your boxes until Saturday; this is their busiest weekend of the year.
* Members at outdoor sites, please carefully put the blankets back on the boxes.  That keeps everyone’s produce in good shape.

Veggie List and Storage Info (Storage share, 11/20 and 11/21/14)

We hope you enjoy this shipment of veggies!  Strategize to use them well, as some will last longer than others.
* These vegetables are the most perishable: fennel, kale.
* These are the next-most perishable: Brussels sprouts, cabbage, leeks and onions.  Keep an eye on your butternut, potatoes and sweet potatoes.  The last two are susceptible to drying out.
* These will last the longest: Beauty Heart radish, beets, carrots, celeriac, garlic, parsnips and rutabaga.

Box “A”

Beauty Heart winter radish, 1.5 lb
Beets, 3 lb
Brussels sprouts, 1.1 lb
Carrots, 6 lb mixed colors
(orange 4 lb, yellow 1 lb, purple 1 lb)
Celeriac
Fennel, 1
Kale, 1 bunch
Leeks, 3 lb
Parsnips, 3 lb
Rutabaga, 1.5 lb
Savoy cabbage

Box “B”

Butternut squashes, 12 – 13 lb
Sweet potatoes, 7 lb
Russet potatoes (or mixed russets & reds), 5 lb
Yellow potatoes, 5  lb
Onions, 5 lb
Garlic, 4

Beauty Heart radishes (round, white with pale green shoulders and bright pink interior) – Refrigerate.  The interior color is lovely.  Slice thinly and add to salads, cook lightly in mixed vegetable medleys or cut into matchsticks and add to pasta salads.  We enjoy grated carrot and Beauty Heart salads all winter.
Beets – Refrigerate in a plastic bag.  Beets will store for two months or longer.
Brussels sprouts – Refrigerate in a plastic bag.  Eat soon.
Cabbage – Refrigerate.  Cut off chunks as needed.
Carrots, orange.  Refrigerate in a plastic bag.  Will keep for several weeks.
Carrots, yellow and purple.  These varieties are pretty AND they taste good. The purple carrots will turn your tongue green. That will get the kids interested.
Celeriac – Will store for months in your fridge.  Cut off chunks as needed.
Garlic.  Can be stored at room temperature.
Leeks.  Refrigerate and eat within three weeks.  Leeks are not a long-storage crop.  You may need to strip off one or two outer leaves to freshen the leeks before you cook them.
Onions: Store in a cool, dark spot or refrigerate.  Protect from light.  Exposure to light stimulates sprouting.  Refrigerate if you expect to hold for more than one month.
Parsnips (These look like rough white carrots.) – Refrigerate in a plastic bag.  Parsnips will store for two months but will darken in color.
Potatoes:  Can be stored at room temperature or in a cool spot, but must be kept in the dark so they do not turn green.  They will store longer if kept cool.  Around 40 – 50 F is ideal. I find these potatoes from Chad Malek are unusually thin-skinned.  This is great for cooking, but means they lose moisture quickly.  Keep them in the paper bag, then cover the bag with a cloth or a loose plastic bag to their moisture loss.
Rutabaga (round root, cream-colored with purple shoulders) – Cover and refrigerate.  Will store for several months.
Sweet potatoes – These are the Covington variety, and have developed excellent flavor and sweetness.  Store at room temperature, no lower than 55 F.  Keep them on your kitchen counter where it’s easy to keep an eye on them.  Cook promptly if they start to soften.  The roots come in a wide ranges of sizes and all are good.
Winter squash –  You will receive three to six squash, depending on size.  They are a mix of varieties: Metro, Waltham, JWS.  Store winter squash in a cool, dry place.  50 F is ideal.  Do not put in a plastic bag.  Inspect your squash frequently and cook promptly if you see any soft spots developing.  You can cook, mash and freeze the squash for future use.  I find that you can refrigerate cut raw squash for up to one week.  This runs counter to the accepted way to store squash, but is useful if you want to cook just half a squash at one time.  Try microwaving your squash for one to two minutes before cutting or peeling.  This softens the squash and makes large butternuts easier to handle.

What are you cooking for Thanksgiving?

We are creatures of habit when it comes to Thanksgiving.  Here are our plans so far: brined roast heritage turkey from Matt Smith at Blue Valley Gardens (Beth), Brussels sprouts with garlic-mustard vinaigrette (Steve), roasted sweet potatoes with garlicky yogurt dip (see below, Sophie), glazed butternut squash (Beth), crunchy carrot-Beauty Heart salad with sesame-seed dressing (Steve), homemade applesauce (Ari), cranberry sauce (friends), and apple pie (Sophie).  I’d like to add a raw kale salad, if I can get our neighbor to give us her recipe.  We love celebrating Thanksgiving and the end of harvest season!

Menu Ideas

There are so many great Thanksgiving recipes and menus online right now.  Many include veggies that you will receive in this delivery.  Here is a list of the recipe sites I rely on.  Each site has lots of recipes which feature vegetables.  Search any of these sites if you are stumped about what to do with your storage veggies.
* I enjoy the Food52.com site.  They have posted an entire section on Thanksgiving, including  13 dishes for feeding vegetarians on Thanksgiving.  I look forward to trying their recipe for Variegated Spiced Latkes, which combines potatoes, parsnips and sweet potatoes.
* The New York Times as a brand-new iPad app called Cooking.  It is good!  They post appealing recipes and recipe collections every day.  For example, we recently made Spicy Pan-Fried Noodles with the last of our scallions and peppers and it was excellent.  In my opinion, Melissa Clark is the best NYT food writer.  She’s practical and her dishes are always flavorful.  Mark Bittman and Martha Rose Shulman are other favorites.  The app and recipes appear to be free to the public, but I think you need to be a NYT subscriber to save recipes.
* Smitten Kitchen has posted new Pinterest boards for both Thanksgiving, Savory and Thanksgiving, Sweet.
* The Kitchn.  I found this site after wandering over from their Apartment therapy home-design site.  Good recipes.
* 101cookbooks.  Always has good vegetarian recipes.  The author has not posted this year’s collection of Thanksgiving recipes yet but I keep checking!
* Finally, remember that we have access to the entire catalog of Local Thyme recipes all winter.  Check them out for Thanksgiving ideas.

Garlicky Yogurt Dip

This dip is great with everything.  We enjoy it with roasted sweet potatoes or winter squash, raw carrot sticks, or lamb meatballs.  When short on time, I make the basic dip, but it is especially nice with any fresh herb.  I’ve prepared this with several olive oils but like it best with Spectrum organic extra virgin olive oil because it is fragrant and not bitter.

Basic ingredients:
1 medium clove garlic
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp paprika

Optional additions:
Lemon juice
Any finely-minced herb: parsley, cilantro, mint.  Start with 1 tsp.
Finely minced chives OR 1 small scallion, finely minced

1.  Grate the garlic clove into a bowl or a wide-mouthed pint jar.  Add the olive oil.  Stir and let sit for 5 minutes for the garlic to diffuse into the oil.
2.  Mix in the yogurt, 1/4 cup at a time.  Stir vigorously.  Taste after you’ve added 1/2 cup, so you can recognize how well the yogurt and olive oil taste together.
3.  Add the salt, paprika and any optional additions and stir well.
4.  Evaluate the flavor.  Add more olive oil and/or salt if the flavor is not ‘umami’ enough.

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Good bye! Stay warm!

This is the final week of our regular CSA season.
Weekly and purple EOW members, go get your last box!

We would like to thank each of you for joining our farm this year.  We appreciate your support and encouragement.  We hope you enjoyed the produce and the experience.  From our perspective, it was an excellent growing season.  Most crops thrived in the mild weather.  The broccoli, cauliflower and Romanesco were more productive than we have ever seen.  Tell us in the annual survey if you wanted that much broccoli, cauliflower and Romanesco. Really, we’d love to know.

This was our finest work crew ever. Longterm employees took new responsibilities, freeing Steve to concentrate on his own work. Several longterm Tipi people are moving on to new adventures in agriculture. We will miss Michael who is moving back to Missouri to start his own farm after working for us for three years.  It’s hard to imagine life without Clint, who is leaving after six seasons to learn more about seed production. We already miss David and Bri who are working in the organic certification industry in California. David worked for us for seven years, starting as a high school student.  A few years with us, and he chose the agronomy program at UW/Madison for his college degree.  It’s sad when people leave after working for us for many years, but we are thrilled when they stay in agriculture.  We are seeding the world with new farmers, and that is a wonderful, satisfying thing.  Have a great winter.  Beth and Steve

Final Details.

– Please make sure that everyone who participates in your CSA share knows the CSA has finished.
– Please return all empty CSA boxes this week. It’s best to unpack your box this week, and leave it behind.  It’s OK to leave empty boxes at your site during the next two weeks.  Just prop them up outside the garage if the door is closed.
– Our Local Thyme subscription is good for an entire year, so you have access to their website and recipes until spring. Use it this winter.  Contact me if you still want to register for their website.  It’s not too late.
– Storage share members, please read our 11/5/14 email about your upcoming delivery.
– Look for our produce through the winter at Willy Street Coop, Outpost Natural Foods, Basics Coop (Janesville), Health Hut (Brookfield), and at Whole Foods (Madison store).  We have a big supply of carrots, cabbage, leeks, onions, beets, celeriac, parsnips, turnips, rutabagas and winter radishes to wash and sell through the winter.

2014 survey and 2015 CSA registration.

– Watch for an email from us in the next few days, once we have our survey ready.  We are eager to hear your thoughts on this season.
– We plan to open 2015 CSA registrations within a week.  There will be an opportunity to register early at discounted rate.

Farm news: Winter descends.

We do not appreciate the sudden cold weather. We hoped for a few more weeks to wrap up our harvests and clean up the farm before winter. Oh well, the weather is not in our control. Next spring will be busy because our fall field work is unfinished. We hurried to bring in our final crops this week. Last carrots came in from the fields on Saturday, last greens on Monday, last Brussels sprouts on Tuesday, last leeks came in today.  Our crew hustled this week.


IMG_1548 final carrot row
Simone and Steve harvest the final row of carrots.  That was a relief.  It was still warm on Saturday.

IMG_0134 leek harvest 3
Leek harvest today was cold and rushed.  Our crew usually trims the leek tops and roots at harvest.  Not today; they just pulled them in as quickly as possible.  Anything still in the field could be ruined by tomorrow morning.  From left, Andy, Simone, Jon, Michael (on tractor in center), Steve (on tractor in background), Joel, Jory and Billy gather leeks.  Steve is undercutting the leeks to pop them out of the ground.

IMG_0075 Brussels indoors
We did our leek and Brussels sprouts prep inside this week.  It’s almost impossible to work on these vegetables outdoors at temperatures below freezing. From left, Tristan, Jory, Bee, Simone and Michael pluck Brussels sprouts from stalks.  In the back, Bonnie and Kerry weigh potatoes behind stacks of sweet potatoes and squash washed and ready for this week.  Everyone looks serious but that’s only because I had my camera out.  Group jobs like this are social and fun.

Your leeks this week need light washing.  Our outdoor water systems are shut down, and it was too crowded indoors to spray water about.

IMG_0214 semi of carrots
Remember the used semi that we bought for extra storage?  We filled the trailer plus all our normal coolers.  Steve is satisfied.  Please buy our carrots this winter; we can’t eat that much carrot soup.

Veggie list and veggie notes (Nov. 13/14, week #26, purple EOW)

Sweet potatoes, about 2 lb
Red potatoes, 3.5 lb
Brussels sprouts, 0.85 lb
Butternut squash, 1
Leeks, 1.5 to 2 lb
Beets, 2 lb
Parsnips, 1.5 lb
Lacinato kale, 1 modest bunch
A small pepper or two

We will have the next box ready for you … next spring!

Peppers –  These are mostly small Orano peppers.  Eat soon; they will not store for long.
Lacinato kale – Bunches are modest size.  This kale is not perfect, as expected by this time of year.
Brussels sprouts –  The sprouts are nice this year, but it has not been a very productive year for Brussels sprouts.
Leeks – As I mentioned above, you will need to wash your leeks.

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Final green EOW week (Nov. 6/7)

Green every-other-week (EOW) members, this is your final delivery (November 6/7)
Weekly members and purple EOW members, your final delivery will be next week (Nov 13/14).

Wrap-up for green EOW members

Thank you for being members of our farm this year!  We could not continue to farm without dedicated customers like each of you.  This has been an unusually good growing season.  We hope you have enjoyed eating your produce as much as we have enjoyed producing it.
A few details:
– Please read next week’s email for our annual survey.  Tell us your thoughts on this season.  We will incorporate your ideas into our plans for next year.
– Please return all your empty CSA boxes.  It is best to unpack your final box, and leave the empty box behind.  It will save you a trip to your site to return the box.  Please hunt through your house, garage, and car, and return any remaining empty boxes this week or next week.
– We expect to open 2015 registration soon for current Tipi members.  Watch for emails from us.

Photos of our farm for the Wisconsin Department of Ag

Tipi CSA member Jody Steele photographed our farm as part of a contract with the WI Dept of Agriculture (DATCP).  The goal is to gather photos representative of all types of farming that occur in Wisconsin.  Apparently they have an overabundance of cow and tractor photos.  DATCP chose two of Jody’s Tipi photos to incorporate into their portfolio.  Jody visited during celeriac harvest, which is very timely because we will pack celeriac for everyone this week.  Jody, thank you for sharing these photos with us.

tipi-3118 michael celeriac
Michael trims celeriac.  I warned Jody that celeriac harvest would look as though we are harvesting lumps of mud.

tipi-3130 celeriac in field
Fortunately, they clean up to look like an ancient roots.  The celeriac/celery fragrance is intense and wonderful during harvest.

tipi-3149 celeriac harvest2
Our storage crop harvests are group activities. From left in the distance, Michael, Joel, Clint, Bonnie, Billy, Karen and Simone harvest celeriac.  We undercut the roots with a tractor and digger, but there’s much work by hand to trim the tops and extra roots.

tipi-3123 celeriac crew joel
From left, Joel, Tristan and Billy harvest celeriac.

tipi-3143 celeriac harvest
This is one of the photos that the Dept of Ag chose. Tristan loads harvested celeriac into wooden bins. We will wash and sell the roots through the winter. Celeriac stores extremely well.

tipi-3224 DATCAP photo
DATCP chose this photo too.  This shows storage bins stacked on the right, plus our Deutz tractor and field disk.  Steve was disking fields the day Jody visited, turning the finished crops into the soil, and preparing the fields to seed to cover crops.

IMG_1520 moon over pack shed
Moon over the pack shed.  Our workdays end after dark now.  It won’t be long before our outdoor work is done.  We are racing to tuck away the remaining carrots and cabbage before temperatures fall dramatically next week.  Wish us luck.

Veggie list and veggie notes (Nov. 6/7, week #25, final green EOW box)

Brussels sprouts, on the stalk
Butternut squash
Celeriac, 1 or 2
Kale, 1 bunch
Frying peppers, about 4
Carrots, 2 lb
Onions, 2
Garlic
Broccoli OR cauliflower OR purple cauliflower, 1 small head

Next week’s box will probably contain red potatoes, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, leeks, beets, parnsips, a pepper, and (hopefully) some kind of leafy green.

Brussels sprouts – We are sending the sprouts on the stalk.  Pluck from the stalk soon to keep the sprouts from wilting.  Saves space in your fridge too!
If you are a new CSA member, please approach Brussels sprouts with an open mind.  Many of us grew up eating awful, overcooked Brussels sprouts.  These Brussels sprouts are completely different.
Here is our method to cook Brussels sprouts: Wash the sprouts and trim the cut ends. Cut an X in the stem end of large sprouts.  Cut a single slit in small or medium sprouts.  This does two things. It helps the Brussels sprouts cook evenly, plus it allows them to soak up any marinade or dressing.  Place sprouts in a pot with one inch of water in the bottom and steam until tender, 7 to 10 minutes.  If the sprouts are uneven in size, then set aside the smallest ones and add to the pot after the larger ones have cooked for a few minutes.  Don’t overcook them!  You can also oven-roast Brussels sprouts.  Here are a few dressing ideas for cooked sprouts:
– Sherry vinegar/olive oil/Dijon mustard/garlic/white wine/salt and pepper.  This is our favorite, especially when you combine the Brussels sprouts with slivered peppers and thinly sliced onions.  Delicious warm, cold, or at room temperature.
– Balsamic vinegar/olive oil/garlic/salt and pepper
– Lemon juice and zest/melted brown butter/poppy seeds/white wine/garlic/salt
Butternut winter squash – These are the Waltham variety.  It can be difficult (and hazardous) to cut these large squash.  To soften your squash before cutting, microwave it for 1 to 2 minutes.  This makes any squash easier to cut or peel.
Celeriac (knobby, round, bizarre-looking vegetable which smells like celery) – Flavorful celeriac is good raw or cooked. It is excellent in mixed roasted veggies or in soup. It’s especially good in cream soups, alone or mixed with potatoes. Grated raw celeriac is a great starting point for winter salads. Celeriac will store in your refrigerator for months. Cut off chunks as you need them. Peel before using.
Frying peppers – We harvested these last Friday, so use them quickly.

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