Farm Newsletter

Week #18; So many tomatoes

So many tomatoes.

Tomato Gossip

Tomatoes have completely dominated our week.

– We took thousands of pounds of slicing tomatoes to our small-batch processor in East Troy, to make into juice for next year.  Yeah!  Those tomatoes were of very good flavor so we expect the juice to be really good.
– Members visited during the past two weekends for plum tomato u-picks.  You’ve asked for more chances to visit the farm, so we created this new event and planted extra tomatoes to accommodate it.  The tomatoes were abundant and everyone went home happy, with plans to make sauce, salsa, dried tomatoes, etc.  For the record, people harvested twice as many tomatoes as they thought when placing their reservation.  The picking was easy!  We consider the u-picks a success and plan to repeat them next year.
– The tomatoes we picked for your CSA boxes are still good quality, good enough for fresh salads.  Soon, we will recommend that you cook your tomatoes instead of eating raw.
– We have another 5 lb bag for you this week. Don’t worry, we will taper down the quantities soon.

Veggie List and Veggie Notes
Week #18, September 19/20, 2019
– Weekly shares
– EOW/ green

‘Jester’ winter squash, 1
Tomatoes, ~5 lb, mixed slicing (~2 lb) & plum (~3 lb)
Bok choy, 1
Carrots, 1.6 lb
Broccoli, 1 medium head
Celery, 1 bunch
Poblano chiles (medium heat), 3
A few peppers, maybe 1 bell + 1 fryer + 1 Orano
Shishito peppers (no heat), 3 or 4
Walla Walla onion
Yellow onion
Basil, 1 or 2 sprigs

Next week’s box will probably contain carrots, winter squash, tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, onions, and more.

‘Jester’ winter squash – This is my favorite squash.  It’s a hybrid between sweet dumpling and acorn squash.  It’s the size of an acorn but with the speckling and delicious taste of sweet dumpling.  ‘Jesters’ do not store for long.  They are prima donnas.  Eat within two weeks, or sooner if you see problems developing.  Storage: At room temperature, on your kitchen counter where you can keep an eye on them.

Tomatoes – Tomatoes remain in good shape but their storage life is diminishing.  Store on your kitchen counter.  Watch carefully and eat soon.

Carrots – These are “summer carrots,” meaning that they were harvested during summer weather. They tend to be more strongly flavored than our “fall carrots” which mature under cold nights. We’ll have “summer carrots” for you this week and next week. There will be a gap and then our fall harvests will begin.

Celery – Our celery is more strongly flavored and more fibrous than typical grocery store celery.  Taste it raw then decide how you want to use it, raw or cooked.  This is one of our better batches of celery, which we pack in the CSA boxes just once per year.  We’ve pushed the planting date later.  We want to avoid summer harvests because the celery is tough if it matures during hot weather.  Harvest too late in the fall and insect problems accumulate.  Who knew celery is so finicky to grow?

Broccoli – The first fall broccoli!

Bok choy (large rosette with thick white stems and green leaves) – This Asian green is good for stir-frying or sautéing or in soup.  You can think of the stems and leaves as two separate vegetables.  The stems require longer cooking.  The leaves will cook almost as quickly as spinach.  Bok choy stores well, so feel free to pull off leaves as you need them, or use the whole head at once.  Refrigerate in a plastic bag or other container.

Basil – We remain happy with the new ‘Prospero’ variety, the one I wrote about a few weeks ago.  It’s holding up well against downy mildew.

Pepper ID

Clockwise from top left;
Shishito peppers (sweet) – From the Johnnys Seed catalogue:  “Heavily wrinkled fruits are thin walled, mild (no heat) when green and slightly sweet when red.  Popular in Japan where its thin walls make it particularly suitable for tempura.  Also very good in stir fries or sautés.  In Asia, fruits are always cooked green but they also may be used red.  Thinly sliced, the red fruits are excellent in salads and coleslaw.”
Poblano chiles (triangular, shiny; green or brown; MILDLY HOT) –  Poblanos are the creme de la creme of chiles.  They have lots of great flavor in combination with manageable heat.  Roast and add to soup or casseroles.  To reduce heat, remove the seeds and midveins.  These will go nicely in a stir-fry with the bok choy and red peppers.
Oranos (sweet) – Crisp, zesty snack pepper that can be used like a frying pepper too.
Red frying pepper (sweet) – So fragrant and sweet when roasted or pan-fried, try slicing thinly and adding to a stir-fry.  Excellent raw too.
NOT PICTURED; Bell pepper (sweet) – Most of you know how to recognize bell peppers.


Visit our 2019 Recipe Log or our 2018 Recipe Log or join our Facebook discussion group.

LOCAL THYME/ Comforting Classics
Roast Beef and Blue Cheese Sandwiches with Quick Pickled Onions
Cream of Winter Squash and Tomato Soup
Bok Choy and Carrot Slaw
Carrot Squash Puree with Sage Butter

LOCAL THYME/ Outside the Box Recipes
Winter Squash and Caramelized Onion Flatbread
Tomato and Pepper Shakshuka with Eggs
Bok Choy Sauerkraut
Beer, Ham and Cheese Chowder

LOCAL THYME/ Quick & Easy Meal
Chicken Chow Mein



Adapted from Half Baked Harvest

Takes 30 minutes
Serve 4-6

1/4 cup peanut oil
1 head bok choy, stems and greens thinly sliced, divided
1 orano pepper, seeded and diced
1 frying pepper, seeded and diced
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
8 ounces Chinese style egg noodles
1/2 cup tamari
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1-2 tablespoons sambal oelek (or other favorite garlic chili paste)
1/3 cup water
1 pound ground chicken or pork (optional)
1 Walla Walla onion, thinly sliced
Thinly sliced basil, optional

  1. In a large skillet over medium high heat, heat peanut oil. Add bok choy stems, peppers, ginger, and red pepper flakes. Cook until ginger is fragrant and peppers are just beginning to brown, about 8 minutes. Stir in sesame seeds and cook 1 minute more. Remove from heat, pour into a small bowl, and set aside. Don’t worry about wiping out the skillet. You’ll use it again later.
  2. Cook noodles according to package directions.
  3. In medium bowl, combine tamari, vinegar, maple syrup, chili paste, and water. Whisk to combine.
  4. Return skillet you used earlier to stove. Add ground chicken or pork and cook over medium high heat, breaking up and stirring often, until fully browned. It will take about 5 minutes. Add the sliced onion and cook just 2-3 minutes more. Slowly pour in tamari mixture and add the bok choy leaves. Bring to a simmer and cook until the sauce coats the meat, about 5 minutes. Stir in the noodles and half of the ginger pepper oil. Remove from heat. Serve the noodles warm with additional pepper oil. Stir in some fresh basil if you like right before serving.


Serves 4-6
Takes 45 minutes

2 tablespoons butter, olive oil or coconut oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 or 3 poblanos (as many as you received), diced
1-2 shishitos, diced
1-2 carrots, diced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cup diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 Jester squash, seeded and cut into bite-size pieces
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup peanut butter
Bok choy greens, thinly sliced, optional
2 cups cooked rice
Sriracha, optional

  1. In a large stock pot, warm butter or oil over medium heat. Add onions, peppers, carrots, cumin, salt and pepper. Saute for 10-15 minutes until well softened. Add tomatoes and maple syrup. Cook for 5 minutes until reduced slightly then add squash, broth and peanut butter. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook gently for 15-20 minutes until squash is tender. If using bok choy greens, add them at the very end and cook 2-3 minutes longer until wilted.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare your rice. Serve stew over rice with sriracha or other hot sauce.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Week #17; A big good-bye

Kerry sorts cabbage at harvest.  2010.


Longterm employee/ manager/ righthand woman Kerry Devlin has moved on to the next phase of her life.  After working for us since 2006, she has returned to school to study Construction & Remodeling, leaving a big gap at our farm.  In her 14 years with us, Kerry grew into being a manager, able to juggle employee crews, machinery and all the fine details of the 40 crops we grow.  We call it the ‘split brain’ ability – the capacity to problem-solve and manage many, many details at once.  

Kerry grew up while working for us.  Hired at age 22, she developed along with the farm during her 20s and 30s.  She was at my side as we grew the CSA from “Beth’s hobby” into over half of our farm’s sales.  Her quiet steadiness drew her coworkers’ respect and allowed her to develop into an effective leader.  She did not expect this.  As a shy person, she was nervous about managing people.  She grew into the job, gaining confidence as the years progressed.

Left; Kerry (foreground, on wagon) sorts and counts sweet corn at harvest.  The crew harvests the corn and places it on a conveyer belt for transport to the wagon.  2017.
Top right; Kerry (in yellow) arranges seedlings on the wagon in the correct order for transplanting.  2013.
Bottom right; Kerry (foreground) checks seedling depth and watering during transplanting.  2014.

What do you notice about Kerry in the photos above?
1. She is camera-shy.
2. In each job, she has positioned herself for maximum responsibility. During transplanting, everyone wants to ride the transplanter.  It’s easier and more social. Kerry recognized that the person walking behind the transplanter is doing the most important job, even though the work is harder and grubbier, crawling or crouching to be sure the plants are properly set.  Are the plants at the right depth? Is the water working? Are the rows at an even depth? Has the transplanter clogged with an old broccoli stem from last year?  You can see these complications while walking, but not while riding.

Top left; CSA packing crew (Georgia, Kerry, Noah, 2011.)  Kerry has been my righthand woman in running the CSA.  There are so many details and a lot of math and problem solving.  Together, we got all the details right.
Top right; Steve relied on Kerry’s judgement too.  In this photo, they strategize about laying row cover on spring lettuce, 2015.  
Bottom; We were thrilled that all three of our Tipi managers could be with us when we were honored as the 2016 Organic Farmers of the Year, for the midwest.  From left, Steve, Beth, daughter Sophie, son Ari, Kerry, Simone O’Donahue and Maggie Schley.

Now, what do we do?  Panic?  Of course not.  There’s a lot of talent on the farm right now.  We have many capable, longterm employees and managers.  Let’s recognize the experience and knowledge of Maggie Schley (22 years), Simone O’Donahue (20 years), Smitty Bietila (9 years), Billy Frain (7 years), Karen Nicholson (7 years), Jory Carlin (5 years) and Kristin Knoener (5 years). They know so much.  That’s not everyone, and doesn’t include the people who came and went over the years.  Kerry gave us six months notice, plenty of time to train replacements for each of her specialized jobs.  For example, we have a wonderful vacuum seeder for greenhouse flats that requires many fine adjustments.  Maggie is taking over that important spring job, adding it to her other responsibilities.  Our crew has stepped up.  By the time Kerry left last week, all her work was covered.  We hope!

During her final week on the farm, Kerry asked if she could take a crew to clean weeds out of our biggest greenhouse.  I said ‘Sure.’  Weeds grow under the benches, creating a nuisance and sowing a new generation of weeds inside the greenhouse.  I swung by later and found Kerry exiting the greenhouse hauling a huge pile of weeds.  “This is great.  Now the greenhouse is ready for spring,” she said.  Even in her final days, she’s thinking about how to help the farm run better.

Kerry, thank you so much.  We were lucky to have you as part of our farm for so many years.  You are going to be a wonderful carpenter.  Beth & Steve

#2 Grade Red Peppers

I write about pepper grading every year.  Returning members can say “yeah, yeah” and skip ahead.  New members, please read.
Many of the red bell peppers we send in the CSA boxes will be our #2 grade.  We’ve sent a mix of #1 and #2 grade so far this year.  We do this to avoid waste and to deliver good value to our CSA members.  The #2 grade peppers are excellent eating quality, but are not quite pretty enough to sell to our coop store customers.  As a result, we place a much lower value on these peppers.  This allows us to provide generous amounts of peppers over the course of the season.  We feel this is a good exchange, even if it means you occasionally open a pepper and find that it needs trimming.  Here are the reasons that peppers are downgraded from #1 grade to #2 grade:

  • They may have a minor blemish, or
  • They may have minor insect damage, or
  • They may be very ripe and beginning to wrinkle.  (These are especially sweet and delicious as they are fully ripe.  These cannot be sold to stores because their shelf life is short.  You will find that the texture is less crisp than a #1 grade pepper, but the flavor more than makes up for it.)
  • They might be partially red and partially green.
  • Others are just too small.

Eating quality is fine (or excellent) for the #2 peppers.  We throw away ALL peppers that we suspect have rot inside (although one may occasionally slip through in either #1 or #2 grade.) 

Veggie List and Veggie Notes
Week #17, September 12/13, 2019
– Weekly shares
– EOW/ purple
– Sampler/ moon

Tomatoes, 5 lb total, plum (>4 lb) & slicing (<1 lb)
Red potatoes, 3.5 lb
Red frying peppers, ~3
Maybe 1 Jimmy Nardello frying pepper
Red or green bell pepper, 1
Red OR yellow watermelon, 1 small
Romano beans, 1 lb
Zucchini OR cucumber, 1 – 2
Edamame soybeans, 1 medium bundle
Walla Walla onion
Yellow onion
‘Roulette’ OR ‘Habanada’ not-hot habanero chiles, 2

Next week’s box will probably contain carrots, tomatoes, peppers, onions, winter squash and more.

Tomatoes – You will get mostly plum tomatoes this week.  They are in good shape.  Store at room temperature (e.g. your kitchen counter) but keep an eye on them.  If you see signs of spoilage, use quickly.  They are ripe.

Red potatoes –  These beautiful red potatoes are from our friends at Driftless Organics.

Watermelon – This is the last melon of the season!

Romano beans – Take a look at last week’s newsletter for a description and cooking ideas.  This week’s beans are more mature than last week, making them perfect for braising recipes.

Edamame soybeans – See last week’s newsletter for information.  The edamame are more mature than last week, and will need longer cooking.  Don’t be concerned about yellow leaves.  It’s normal at this stage, as the plants divert resources from the leaves into the pods.

‘Habanada’ OR ‘Roulette’ chiles – You will receive one type.  Both are new varieties bred to have the aromatic taste of habanero chiles, with almost no heat.  Lo and behold, habaneros have a wonderful fruity flavor.  No one knew because the blazing heat of a traditional habanero sears your taste buds and you cannot taste the chile itself.   Snack on them to enjoy the flavor, or add them to any dish.  To reduce all chances of spiciness, remove the seeds and midveins.  ‘Habanada’ was developed through a collaboration between chefs and plant breeders.  Read more about its background story

Your ‘Roulette’ or ‘Habanada’ chiles are packed in your bag of beans, to help you identify them.

Yellow storage onion (left) versus sweet Walla Walla onion (right)

You will receive two onions from us this week, with different purposes. Here are their uses and how to tell them apart.  
Yellow storage onions are pungent, and (unlike Wallas) will fry and sauté nicely.  Their skins are tighter and darker yellow.
Walla Walla onions are sweet, wonderful in salad or for grilling.  Because of their high moisture content, they do not fry well.  Walla Wallas are a lighter shade of yellow, with sparse outer skins.  They tend to look ‘messy’ because they have few outer layers to shed when we clean them up for you.  In contrast, the outer skins of yellow onions flake off easily, taking all the soil with them, leaving clean, shiny skins.


Visit our 2019 Recipe Log or our 2018 Recipe Log or join our Facebook discussion group.

LOCAL THYME/ Comforting Classics aka Cooking 101
Tomato and Pepper Braised Romano Beans with Herb and Garlic Goat Cheese
Sweet Red Pepper Sauce with Capellini
Wholegrain Mustard Roasted New Potatoes with Salmon and Tomatoes
Tomato Bruschetta with Thyme

LOCAL THYME/ Outside the Box Recipes
Romano Bean, Potato and Meatball Stew
North African Roasted Vegetable Salad
Curried Chana Dal with Potato, Peppers and Romano Beans
Spanish Roasted Tomatoes and Peppers with Jamon

LOCAL THYME/ Quick & Easy Meal
Shrimp Edamame and Pepper Stir Fry



Takes 45 minutes.
Serves 4-6 (or more if served over rice).

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound favorite sausage, preferably a pre-cooked variety (I used Klement’s smoked sausage)
1 Walla Walla onion, diced
2 habanada or roulette chiles, diced
1 teaspoon Kosher salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cups chopped tomatoes
1 cup chicken or vegetarian broth
1 pound romano beans, cut into 1-inch pieces on the diagonal
1/4 cup heavy cream
Cooked white rice, optional

  1. In a large heavy skillet or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium high heat. Add sausages and cook for 5-7 minutes until charred on both sides. Remove to a cutting board and slice into 1-inch pieces.
  2. Turn skillet or Dutch oven heat down to low. Add onions and peppers along with 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt and pepper. Saute for 10 minutes until softened. Add tomatoes and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Add romano beans along with remaining salt. Partially cover and continue simmering for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cream. Add sausages back in. Taste and adjust seasonings as deserved. Serve in bowls or over rice!

Takes 30 minutes.
Serves 4-6.

1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1-2 green bell peppers, seeded and cut into thin strips
2 colored peppers, seeded and cut into thin strips
1 yellow onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon Kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound flank steak, cut into thin strips
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoon chili powder
1 pinch cayenne powder
2 avocados
1 cup shelled edamame (pods boiled for 4 minutes and then removed from shells)
1 lime, juiced
Sour cream or Greek yogurt, optional
Hot sauce, optional

  1. In a large heavy skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add peppers, onions, and garlic with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want the veggies to be softened and just beginning to char in places. Add steak along with cumin, chili powder, and cayenne. Saute 5 minutes longer, just until steak is cooked through.
  2. Combine avocado and edamame in a small bowl. Smash with a potato masher, pastry cutter or two forms until the two come together. Add lime juice from half a lime and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Taste and adjust flavors as desired. I used the juice from a whole lime but you may not want to.
  3. Warm tortillas on a skillet or in microwave and serve with a generous portion of both avocado edamame mash and fajita mixture. Top with sour cream or Greek yogurt and hot sauce if desired. Enjoy!


Takes 1 hour, 15 minutes (almost all inactive)

1/4 cup olive oil
5 pounds tomatoes, cored and cut into quarters or eighths depending on size
1 Walla Walla, cut into quarters
1 colored bell pepper, cut into large chunks
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Pour olive oil into a 9 x 13-inch pan. Add tomatoes, skin side down if possible. Nestle onion (it’s good if the layers fall apart a bit), pepper chunks, and garlic into between the tomatoes so they are even distributed throughout the pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Roast for 45-60 minutes until their is less juice remaining and the tomatoes even have a little browning on their edges. Let cool and then pack into freezer-proof mason jars or freezer bags for chunky tomatoes to use in winter soups, stews, or chilis. Or puree in your food processor or blender before freezing for a quick pizza or pasta sauce.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Week #16, Farm landscape vernacular

We had our house re-roofed this year.  The material choice was easy.  Metal roofs last for a long time, and avoid landfill-clogging asphalt shingles.  The color required thought.  Red, to harmonize with our cream yellow siding?  No, we have plenty of red farm buildings.  Golden brown?  Too dull.  Deep purple?  I would love that but we couldn’t get metal roofing in purple.  We settled on forest green, a look that I treasure, maybe because the first farmhouse Steve and I shared was white with a green roof.

I didn’t think about the emotional tug of this color combination until making this decision.  There’s a “vernacular” in the Wisconsin farm landscape.  The classic look is a light-colored farmhouse with a green roof, paired with red barns.  That’s what we have!  We’re not comformists, we’re not bound by tradition.  We just love this class Midwestern look.  It’s nice in the summer when surrounded by green fields but really stands out in winter.  In a white snow-covered landscape, the colorful buildings beckon as ‘home.’

We hired the Amish carpenters who built our pack shed.  I asked Raymond if they could re-roof our house.  He said, “Oh Beth, it’s going to be a year.”  We waited.  They’re in demand because they do a good job.  This younger crew did not sing as they worked.  The older crew who built our pack shed sang while they worked, and their music changed as they built the building around themselves.  It was a delight.   Beth

Our big red barn.  We couldn’t reach the peak with our lift and paint wand.  Drives me nuts.

Grape tomatoes in paper bags

The ‘Nova’ orange grape tomatoes are really, really good.

We continue trying to reduce plastic use, so we’re sending your grape tomatoes in a paper bag.  Why use a plastic clamshell if we can use a paper bag instead?  Watch out, these small bags are thin.  You’ll probably want to transfer the tomatoes to a container once home.  The Romano beans are in a paper bag again too.  

I asked a few weeks ago if beans in paper bags worked OK, and only got positive replies.  It’s been an easy switch.  We will have to return to plastic bags for heavy root crops (carrots, beets, etc) that will blow out the bottom of a paper bag.  In the meantime, we’ll keep using paper bags whenever we can.  Could you all let me know if they are problematic with any of the crops?  Beth

Veggie List and Veggie Notes
Week #16, Sept 5/6, 2019
– Weekly shares
– EOW/ green

Red watermelon
Slicing tomatoes, ~5 lb total
Romano beans, 1.7 lb
Edamame soybeans, 1 bundle
Kale, 1 medium bunch
Orange grape tomatoes, 1 pt in paper bag
Green bell pepper, 1
Colored bell pepper, 1
Orano snack pepper or yellow pepper, 1
Cucumber, 1 – 2
Walla Walla onion
Garlic, 1 bulb
Fresh dill seed

Next week’s box will probably contain tomatoes, peppers, onions, carrots, edamame and more.

Slicing tomatoes – The plants are mostly healthy, so the tomatoes should be OK stored on your kitchen counter.  Take them out of the bag so you can keep an eye on them.  Be strategic; use the ripest tomatoes first, or any that develop flaws.  Store slicing tomatoes resting on their shoulders, with the stem side down.  Plum tomatoes can be stored in any direction.

Romano beans – Romano beans are more robust and meaty than green beans.  They are excellent raw but really shine when gently cooked for a long time.  Pat has some good recipes below.  I notice that most people who love Romano beans are dedicated to a particular recipe.  Here are a few recommendations:
– Lauren asked me to remind you about last year’s African Peanut Stew recipe, which is easily adapted for this week’s veggies.  It’s an excellent dish for this time of year.  
– Former Tipi crew member Jon Fagan raves about Braised Green Beans with Tomato and Fennel Seeds (in previous newsletter, scroll down).
– My favorite Romano bean recipe (which I recommend every year but also look forward to every year!) is Sausages and Summer Beans with Tomatoes & Caramelized Onions.  
– Finally, here’s a 2017 quote from Tipi member Steve Rankin:

“You have finally sold me. I have never been a fan of Romano beans.  This week I have been sautéing them with various peppers and garlic, as well as the oregano from earlier this season.  They are especially tasty with poblanos.  Lots of black pepper and some soy sauce, which make the pan sticky. I deglaze the pan with wine and braise them in the wine. I’m sold!”

Edamame soybeans (bundle of green stems with pods attached) – These edible soybeans are a treat.  Pull the pods from the stem and wash well.  It helps to submerge the pods and rub them together.  Boil in water until the pods have split and the beans are quite tender.  Season with salt and pop the beans out of the pods into your mouth.
Storage:  Remove the pods from the stems promptly and refrigerate.

Fresh dill seed – We’re sending the dill to use with the Romano beans.  They are dill seed umbels.  The seeds are young, not dried.  You can use them to make a batch of refrigerator pickled beans or in a different bean dish.  Dill is also good in tomato soup.
Preparation:  Use the intact head when making pickles.  When cooking, strip the seeds from the umbel.  Lay on a cutting board.  Crush with the flat side of a large knife, to release the flavor.
Storage: Refrigerate.


Visit our 2019 Recipe Log or our 2018 Recipe Log or join our Facebook discussion group.

LOCAL THYME/ Comforting Classics
Romano Beans with Walnuts and Dijon Dressing
Summer Wind Roasted Tomato Sauce
Garlicky Greens and Cranberry Beans
Niçoise Salad Chickpea Bowl

LOCAL THYME/ Outside the Box Recipes
Dilly Beans
Kale, Tomato, Three Cheese Galette
Tomato Cucumber Salad with Watermelon Vinaigrette
Watermelon and Pepper Salsa with Sriracha

LOCAL THYME/ Quick & Easy Meal
Watermelon Gazpacho



Takes 40 minutes.
Serves 4-6.

1 cup salted water
1/4 cup quiona
1/4 cup favorite quick cooking rice (can also use a full 1/2 cup of either if you prefer)
1 bundle edamame soybeans, pods removed from stalks
1 pound romano beans, ends trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 orano pepper, minced
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons peanut butter
2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
1 tablespoon maple syrup
3 tablespoons olive oi
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 bunch kale, stems removed and thinly sliced
1 cucumber, seeds removed and cut into small pieces
1 cup peanuts, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons white and/or black sesame seeds

  1. Bring 1 cup salted water to a boil in a small stock pot. Once boiling, add quinoa and rice. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 18 minutes. After that remove from heat, cover the pot with a thin towel and then re-cover for 10 minutes.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, add edamame . Cook for 5 minutes and then rinse under cold water. Once cool enough to handle, remove the edamame from the shells. Set aside.
  3. Bring the pot back up to boiling and then add romano beans. Cook for 4 minutes and then rinse under cold water.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together garlic, orano, vinegar, peanut butter, soy sauce, and maple syrup until smooth. Gently whisk in olive and sesame oils until dressing comes together. Taste and adjust flavors as desired.
  5. Toss kale, cucumber, quinoa, rice, edamame and romano beans together in a large bowl with half the dressing. Serve in smaller bowls topped with peanuts and sesame seeds.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Week #15. Here come the tomatoes.

Now our tomato harvests begin in earnest.  Linda and Kerry harvest plum tomatoes.

Some of this week’s tomatoes, before weighing and bagging.

Let’s talk tomatoes

They are a big part of our lives right now.  We have transitioned from tomato planting #1 to our much bigger tomato planting #2.  You should notice a jump in quality, as this week’s tomatoes were all picked from younger plants.  As tomato plants age, the tomato flavor and quality decline.  This is typical with organic tomatoes; our options to control diseases are limited.  We, and the crew, and all of you will appreciate the switch to a new field.

We will have lots of tomatoes for you in September, weather- and disease-permitting.  This field is ripening late, mostly due to the cool spring weather.  We will pack many in the CSA boxes.  We expect to offer bulk plum &/or slicing tomatoes for sale to CSA members.  We’re also planning a members-only plum tomato u-pick in September, date TBD.  Watch for emails with more information about the u-pick and the bulk sales.

Progress with basil!

We host basil trials for plant breeder Adrienne Skelton of Vitalis Organic Seeds.  She visited last week to see how her breeding lines are faring.

Once again, we are battling Basil Downy Mildew (BDM), a disease that risks our basil crop most years. After years of struggle with BDM, we are making progress.  BDM showed up on our farm in 2010, shortly after it was discovered in the US for the first time.  Spores have to blow into Wisconsin each year – it doesn’t survive our cold winters.  The best tool in this situation is plant resistance.  There’s been a worldwide effort to develop resistant varieties, and we had interesting ones to try this year.  I planted varieties from Vitalis Seeds, from an Israeli breeding program, and from a program based at Rutgers University.  This year’s varieties are a big improvement.

Susceptible basil infected with downy mildew.  Look for the yellow and brown patches on the leaves.

The new ‘Prospero’ variety grown in the same field, but with almost no disease.  This is a big improvement!  This variety was selected in an Israeli breeding program.

Because of BDM, we have to plant multiple basil fields, then harvest the plants young.  Usually four or five basil plantings per year, with two harvests per planting, maybe three if we’re lucky.  You can have low levels of BDM in a field but it doesn’t explode until the canopy closes.  It’s the humidity.  We have to harvest the basil before the plants are touching each other.  Also, I scout our basil fields a lot.   If I find a small amount of DM, I cut the plants at the soil, put them in a plastic bag, and put the bag in the sun to solarize.

Harvesting young means the quality is excellent, but the plants don’t have a chance to bulk up.  As a result, we are unlikely to have bulk basil to sell to you folks.  It’s too precious and scarce and we need it all for the CSA boxes.  I will let you know if this changes with the new resistant varieties.  By next year, I expect to be able to sell bulk basil again.  Beth

Cucumber updates

We are transitioning between cucumber fields.  The top cucumber is from a field we just finished harvesting.  The scarring accumulates from bug damage and from handling the plants during harvest.  The cucumbers taste fine but you’ll want to peel these ones.  The pretty, unscarred cucumber at bottom is the first harvest from a new field.  

We experimented with direct seeding cucumbers this year, a way to avoid the effort of growing and transplanting seedlings.  Transplants are useful in spring; they let us get a jump on the season.  By summer, that’s less valuable.  We planted seeds directly, cultivated with the tractor to keep the weeds down, and now we have a nice small patch of fresh cucumbers to harvest.  We’ll do this again.

Get ’em while they’re young

Chance, Andrew, Ari, Riley and Owen.  Billy (at right) manages the group.

Our high school employees are finished for the season.  This is a good group of kids and we will miss their help.  We routinely hire four or five high school students to work over summer break.  It’s a good job for teenagers.  We limit their hours to 8 am to 12 noon, and send them home before it gets too hot.  It gets them out of bed in the morning, then they have the rest of the day to themselves.  Their work is more routine than our main crew, who handle a wide variety of vegetables with finesse.  The high school employees weed, pick peas, strawberries and  beans, and harvest many, many onions.

This group did something different.  One day, we were under intense pressure, with too much work and too little time.  We were faced with a choice of which crop to harvest, knowing that the neglected crop would be lost for good.  The high schoolers talked together, then approached us and offered to work in the afternoon too.  They saved the day, and are the primary reason that you got big bags of peas earlier this year.  No high school crew has done this.  We were touched and impressed.  Beth

Veggie List and Veggie Notes
Week #15, August 29/30, 2019 (Th/Fri sites)
– Weekly shares
– EOW/ purple
– Sampler/ sun

Sweet corn, 8 or 9 ears
Watermelon, yellow (most sites) or red (one site)
Tomatoes, slicing & plum, 4.75 lb total
Bell peppers, red or green or yellow, ~2
Cucumber, green or silver, 1
Walla Walla onion, 1
White onion, 1
Jalapeno chile (HOT), 1
Basil, 1 small bunch
Garlic, 1 bulb

– Some sites get a small lettuce, and some sites get an extra cucumber.
– Everyone gets a few specialty peppers, of one type: Oranos snack peppers OR Jimmy Nardello frying peppers OR shishito peppers OR a red frying pepper.  All the specialty peppers are sweet, although an occasional shishito will be hot.

Next week’s box will probably contain tomatoes, peppers, melon, onions, kale, carrots, garlic and more.

Sweet corn – This is the final corn delivery for the year. We hope you enjoyed it!  This delivery is a mix of yellow corn plus a yellow-and-white bicolor.  You might get one type or a mix.
Watermelon – Most sites get a yellow watermelon.

You’ll receive both a Walla Walla onion (left) and a white onion (right).  Walla Wallas are sweet, excellent for salads or grilling.  White onions are intermediate in pungency between sweet onions and yellow storage onions.  They will fry better than a Walla Walla but not as well as a yellow storage onion.  We’re sending these two types together because they have different uses, and you can tell them apart.

Each site gets one type of specialty pepper.  Clockwise from top left; shishito peppers OR Jimmy Nardello frying peppers OR Oranos snack peppers OR a red frying pepper.  All types are sweet, although the shishitos will occasionally be hot.


Visit our 2019 Recipe Log or our 2018 Recipe Log or join our Facebook discussion group.

LOCAL THYME/ Comforting Classics
Roman Chicken and Peppers
Corn and Pepper Frittata with Cheddar and Bacon
Pesto Baked Tomato
Cajun Kale and Corn Salad

LOCAL THYME/ Outside the Box Recipes
Jalapeño and Corn Studded Cheddar Polenta with Roasted Pepper Salsa
Grilled Corn with Miso Butter
Whole Wheat Pasta with Chunky Pine Nut Sauce and Marinated Tomatoes
Hamburgers with Romesco Sauce (or choose your fave veggie burger)

LOCAL THYME/ Quick and Easy Meal
Turkey and Bacon Sandwich with Lightly Pickled Vegetables



Serves 8-12 as a side.
Takes 40 minutes.

1 pound pasta, the type is your choice
4 ears corn, husks removed
1 cucumber or silver slicer, seeded and diced
1/2 Walla Walla onion
1 pound tomato, seeded and roughly chopped
1 jalapeno, diced
1/2 cup basil leaves, roughly chopped

1/4 cup mayo
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon white wine or white vinegar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  1. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil on the stove over high heat. Once boiling, add pasta and cook to al dente according to package directions.
  2. While pasta cooks, prepare your dressing by whisking together all ingredients.
  3. Drain pasta in a colander and let sit for a minute to lose some of the water, then add to a large bowl. Add dressing to noodles while they’re still warm and toss to combine. Set aside.
  4. Refill stock pot with salted water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add sweet corn and cook for 4 minutes. Meanwhile, chop your other veggies. Rinse corn under cold water to cool and then cut off kernels with a knife. Add cucumber, onion, tomatoes, jalapeno, corn, and basil to bowl. Toss to combine.
  5. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as desired.

Serves 4-6.
Takes 20 minutes, plus time to chill.

6 plum tomatoes, cut into large chunks or wedges (or 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved)
3 bell or sweet peppers, any color, diced
1 white onion, diced
1 cup (or so) pitted whole black olives

2/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup fresh basil, loosely chopped
1/4 cup minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram

  1. Place all sliced vegetables in a large bowl. Add olives.
  2. Whisk together dressing ingredients and pour over vegetables. Refrigerate 3-4 hours before serving.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Week #14, August 22/23, 2019

Our second tomato field is finally ready to harvest.  It was delayed by the cold spring weather, long ago. We’ve been waiting and watching for weeks, and are glad to move into a fresh field.  The quality is better (which we all appreciate) and picking is easier.  We are still harvesting from our early planting, and will continue until the new field is in full production.  

Please eat your slicing tomatoes quickly.  They are from the early planting, were picked ripe, and we know they will not store for long.  Eat your slicing tomatoes first this week, then your plum tomatoes.  Beth

Veggie List and Veggie Notes
Week #14
– Weekly shares
– EOW/ green

Sweet corn, 6 or 7 ears
Watermelon, orange or yellow
Tomatoes, plum & slicing, ~2.25 lb total
Bell or frying peppers, green or red or yellow, ~2
Cucumber, 1
Green & yellow wax beans, 1 to 1.2 lb
Walla Walla onion, 1
Basil, 1 sprig

Each site gets something from this list:
– a small globe eggplant.
– Silver Slicer cucumbers.
– Oranos (orange snack pepper).

Some sites get Jimmy Nardello or shishito peppers.

Next week’s box will probably contain melon, tomatoes, peppers, onions, lettuce and more.

Watermelon – Refrigerate these melons.  The orange ones are more perishable than typical red watermelons.

Tomatoes – Eat your slicing tomatoes first.  The plum tomatoes will hold up better.

FOR A FEW SITES THIS WEEK, Jimmy Nardello peppers (sweet, not hot) – We planted a small patch of these as an experiment, and we will share them among the sites are they are ready to harvest.  Here is the seed catalogue description.  “This fine Italian pepper was grown each year by Giuseppe and Angella Nardiello, at their garden in the village of Ruoti, in Southern Italy.  In 1887 they set sail with their one-year-old daughter Anna for a new life in the U.S.  When they reached these shores, they settled and gardened in Naugatuck, Connecticut, and grew this same pepper that was named for their fourth son Jimmy.  This long, thin-skinned frying pepper dries easily and has such a rich flavor that this variety has been placed in “The Ark of Taste” by the Slow Food organization.  Ripens a deep red, is very prolific, and does well in most areas.”  Can you see why we want to grow this one?

FOR A FEW SITES THIS WEEK, Shishito peppers (sweet, not hot) – We also have a small patch of shishito peppers to share as they ripen. From the Johnnys Seed catalogue:  “Heavily wrinkled fruits are thin walled, mild (no heat) when green and slightly sweet when red.  Popular in Japan where its thin walls make it particularly suitable for tempura.  Also very good in stir fries or sautés.  In Asia, fruits are always cooked green but they also may be used red.  Thinly sliced, the red fruits are excellent in salads and coleslaw.”

Everyone gets one of these.  From top left; Oranos snack peppers OR globe eggplant OR Silver Slicer cucumbers.

A few sites get one of these specialty peppers.  We’ll share them among the sites as they ripen.  Left; Jimmy Nardello peppers.  Right; shishito peppers.


Visit our 2019 Recipe Log or our 2018 Recipe Log or join our Facebook discussion group.

Four Bean Salad

Wax Bean and Tomato and Olive Salad

LOCAL THYME/ Comforting Classics
Light Vegetable Corn Soup
Four Bean Salad
Watermelon Basil Agua Fresca
Rigatoni alla Norma with Eggplant and Fresh Tomatoes

LOCAL THYME/ Outside the Box Recipes
Sweet Corn and Basil Lasagna
Wax Bean and Tomato and Olive Salad
Citrus and Spice Pickled Watermelon Rind
Keralan Braised Vegetables with Green Beans, Eggplant and Corn

LOCAL THYME/ Quick & Easy Meal
Simple Summery Pasta Salad with Corn, Tomato and Basil



Adapted every so slightly from Half Baked Harvest

Takes 15 minutes
Serves 4

Basil spring, roughly chopped
1 can (14 ounce) chickpeas, drained
4 ears grilled or steam corn, kernals removed
3 cups diced tomatoes, seeds removed
1 colored pepper, seeded and diced
1 cucumber, diced
1/2 Walla Walla onion, diced
1 cup cubed feta cheese
1 avocado, diced

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 Walla Walla onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice + the zest of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons honey
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and black pepper

  1. To make the salad, combine the basil, chickpeas, corn, tomatoes, and cucumbers to a large bowl.
  2. Make the dressing by heating the olive oil in a medium skillet over high heat. Add the onion and cook until fragrant, 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, honey , and red wine vinegar. Season with red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Pour the dressing over the salt, tossing to combine. Top the salad with avocado and feta.


Adapted from Bon Appetit

Takes 30 minutes
Serves 2-4

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound green beans, ends trimmed
1 onion, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large saute pan. Add garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
  • Add beans, onion, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Saute over medium heat, stirring every couple minutes, for 10 minutes. Some seasoning will stick to the bottom of the pan. After 10 minutes, add a tablespoon or two of water and scrape up any bits from the bottom of the pan. Simmer until reduced to a nice sauce, about 5 minutes more. Add additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email