Farm Newsletter

Week #22; Dismantling summer

In the home stretch.

It’s hard to believe but we only have three more regular-season CSA deliveries, including this week.  Let’s review our schedule.
October 17/18 (this week) = EOW/green
October 24/25 = final EOW/purple week and final Sampler/sun week
October 31/Nov. 1 = final delivery for Weekly shares and EOW/green.

Extension & Storage share members, I sent you a confirmation email on October 2 for each share.  That email has your Extension or Storage delivery date.

Dismantling summer

Skeletal cherry tomato plants

Frosty nights this past weekend finished off our tomatoes (a merciful end) and two of three pepper fields.  We built those fields just a few months ago, pounding posts for tomato trellises, pulling weeds around each pepper plant.  When the tomato posts are pulled, the skeletons of exhausted, frosted plants still stand, ready for mowing.  On the other hand, peppers remain vigorous and loaded with small young fruits that will not mature on cold-damaged plants.  Such promise!  But not in Wisconsin.

We hustled to bring in tender crops before the frost.  Sweet potatoes were a priority because they are so sensitive to cold temperatures.  We dug our final two beds last week and tucked them into a heated, insulated box.  We cure them at 85 F for a week to convert starches to sugar.  Tomorrow, we’ll drop the temperature and gives them lots of air circulation to set the skins. 

The crew loads freshly dug sweet potatoes into an insulated truck box.  

We hurried to strip pepper fields before the frost.  You’ll get a mix of green bell peppers and ones that are half green and half red.  We are out of time for those to turn fully red so let’s enjoy them now.  In the photo above, you can see that the tops of the plants are brown and wilted after frost on Sunday night.  Steve chopped the pepper plants down so we can get the field seeded to a cover crop.

This field has a nice stand of rye and hairy vetch cover crop.  The plants will keep growing until the ground freezes then will re-start growth in early spring.  The cover crop keeps the soil covered and anchored over winter, then enriches the soil in spring when we till in the fresh organic matter.

Even the bees are packed up and returned home to our beekeeper’s farm!

Steve surrenders!  Actually, he’s just pulling marker flags before tilling the finished sweet potato field.

Of course, we’re still harvesting fall crops.

Enjoy the Indian summer this week.  We sure will!
Beth & Steve

Veggie List and Veggie Notes
Week #22, October 17/18, 2019
– Weekly shares
– EOW/ green

Green cabbage
‘Nutterbutter’ butternut squash
Bell peppers, ~3, green or red/green
Purple or white cauliflower
Some sites get a 2nd cauliflower, some get broccoli.
Carrots, 2 lb
Parsnips, 1.5 lb
Yellow onion
‘Roulette’ not-hot habanero chiles, 3 or 4

Next week’s box will probably contain bok choy, peppers, butternut squash, Brussels sprouts, parsnips, ginger and more.

Green cabbage – This cabbage will last for a long time in your refrigerator.  Cut off chunks as needed.

‘Nutterbutter’ winter squash – We’re growing more and more of this early-season butternut variety.  It cures quickly and is ready to eat within three to four weeks after harvest, letting us deliver winter squash over a few months.

Bell pepper – Most of your peppers will be “suntan.”  That’s farm lingo for half red and half green.  We stripped the peppers before frost, knowing they would never mature to fully red.  Heck, it’s mid-October!

Purple or white cauliflower – These can be used interchangeably.  When cooked, the purple cauliflower darkens to an inky blue.  Still an intriguing color but no longer purple. 

Parsnips (These look like large white carrots) – Those long, white roots are not carrots, they are parsnips. The two vegetables are related.  When cooked, parsnips are sweet and starchy.  For the best flavor, brown them to caramelize the sugars.  Here are a few ideas for parsnip preparation:
– Caramelize the parsnips by roasting them in a vegetable medley.
– Parsnip fries are delicious: cut like French fries, oil lightly, place on a cookie sheet and roast in a hot oven until brown and cooked through.
– Try substituting grated parsnips in a potato pancake recipe. They brown beautifully and are very tasty.
– Steve loves pan-fried parsnips with onions and garlic.

‘Roulette’ chiles (small, shiny, bright red or orange) – This is the second time we’ve delivered this new variety 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.  I like these a lot.  Even a few of these chiles will flavor a dish.

‘Roulette’ chiles – these are flavorful and mild.


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

LOCAL THYME/ Comforting Classics or Cooking 101
Japanese Street-Style Cabbage Fritters
Braised Chickpeas with Butternut Squash and Cabbage
Veggie Packed Dal with Dried Apricot
Pot Roast with Parsnip and Carrot

LOCAL THYME/ Outside the Box Recipes aka Cooking 202
Chipotle Cabbage Pepper Slaw
Chili Roasted Winter Squash and Parsnip Bruschetta
Cumin and Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower
Cheesy Parsnip Soup

LOCAL THYME/ Quick & Easy Meal
Sesame Noodles with Carrots and Cabbage



Inspired by this James Beard recipe
Takes 2 hours.
Makes 6 cups of sauce.
Serves 8-10 over pasta.

6 tablespoons bacon fat (or neutral oil if you don’t have bacon fat lying around)
2 pounds ground lamb (pork or beef are fine substitute if you don’t have access to lamb)
3 carrots, finely chopped
2 parsnips, finely chopped
1 yellow onion, diced
3 roulette chiles, seeded and minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 cup red wine
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups tomato sauce (preferably homemade and frozen though store-bought is also fine)
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1 pound cooked pasta, for serving

  1. Add bacon fat to a Dutch oven and heat over medium high heat until smoking. Add the lamb and break up until it forms an even layer. Leave the meat to cook for 10 minutes without moving. It will brown significantly on the bottom. Don’t worry, this is where the flavor comes from. Stir and cook for 10 more minutes without moving.
  2. Add the carrots, parsnips, onions, peppers and garlic to the pot. Stir to combine and then don’t touch for 5 minutes. Again, browning is good. Saute for 5 minutes until vegetables are softened then add the tomato paste and thyme, and cook for 5 minutes more.
  3. Add the wine and deglaze the pan, scraping up the browned bits at the bottom of the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the liquid is evaporated then add chicken stock, tomato sauce, salt, caraway, pepper, and cumin. Cover the pot, reduce to a simmer and cook for an hour. Uncover and reduce until it has reached your desired consistency (thickened but still a little loose). Taste and add salt if needed.
  4. Serve over cooked pasta. My favorite is a fresh or Italian brand rigatoni. I like to use a little bit fancier pasta for this dish but you wouldn’t have to.

Adapted from Food & Wine

Takes 90 minutes, much of it inactive
Serves 6-8

1/2 cup hazelnuts
1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into cubes
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1/4 cup olive oil, divided, plus more for greasing pan
4 garlic cloves, peel and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon Kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 head cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 ounces mild white cheddar or Fontina cheese, shredded
1/4 cup water

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Once preheated, toast hazelnuts for 12 minutes, until fragrant. Coarsely chop and set aside.
  2. On two baking sheets, combine butternut and cauliflower with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Toss to coat and then sprinkle with garlic, 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Roast for 30 minutes until softened.
  3. In a large saute pan, heat the remaining two tablespoons olive oil. Add cabbage and season with remaining salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until wilted.
  4. Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with olive oil and transfer the cabbage to this dish. Top with roasted squash and cauliflower.
  5. In a medium sauce pan, heat milk until it just comes to a boil then reduce to low. In a measuring cup, whisk together cornstarch and water until it forms a sort of slurry. Whisk until warm milk until thickened, about 1 minute.  Add cheese and season with a little extra salt and pepper. Pour cheese mixture into baking dish and bake for 30 minutes, until bubbling.
  6. Turn the broiler to high. Transfer dish to the top rack of the oven and broil about 2 minutes, until exposed veggies are browned in spots. Sprinkle with the chopped hazelnuts and serve warm.


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Week #21, Gleaning party, vicariously

We are thrilled with how many of you came to the gleaning u-pick this year!

This is an unusually nice pumpkin crop.  It was not difficult to find a favorite to take home.  The pumpkins are thick-walled!  Sharpen your knives when it’s time to carve your jack-o-lantern.

Did you quote my email to your children, “Be cautious about wading into the largest puddles – some are very deep.”?  They took it as a challenge.  I think every child waded into every puddle and overflowed their boots.

As usual the carrots were a highlight.  The kids (and grownups) loved pulling them out of the ground.  So exciting.

On the other hand, the tomatoes were so sparse and the field was pretty gross by the time the u-pick came around.  Too much rain.  Kathy was a brave gleaner!

This photo should help you understand gleaning.  As kale grows taller, we harvest the bottommost leaves.  Look how much we harvested from this plant over the summer.  You were finishing the job for us.

Screen-printing t-shirts was a hit, as usual.  Many of you wore previous years’ t-shirts to the farm!

Grad student Solveig Hanson brought cooked beets for tasting and evaluation.  This is really special.  This is the fourth time she’s conducted a tasting survey at our gleaning party.  By now, she is asking us to compare beet lines that she selected with your input over the last three years.  That is so cool.

Karen and Monika did a great job clipping and lining up the pumpkins before everyone arrived.  We take the time to sort out the icky pumpkins, to give everyone a better chance of taking home nice ones.  Photo credits to Ari, me, and various families.  Beth

Veggie List and Veggie Notes
Week #21, October 10/11, 2019
– Weekly shares
– EOW/ purple
– Sampler/ moon

Sweet potatoes, ~3 lb
Green beans, 0.85 lb
Fennel with fronds, 1 or 2 bulbs
‘Carnival’ or ‘Jester’ acorn squash, 1
Carrots, 2 lb
Red/green frying or bell peppers, ~3
Orano snack pepper, 1 (orange)
Poblano chiles, 3 (green)
Yellow onion
Some sites get 2 cauliflower.
Some sites get cauliflower + broccoli.
Some sites get cauliflower + extra acorn squash.

Next week’s box will probably contain cabbage, carrots, winter squash, and more.

‘Beauregard’ sweet potatoes – Here are a few things we’ve learned about sweet potatoes:
– For best flavor, cook your sweet potatoes so they brown and caramelize.  We have a simple, favorite way to roast sweet potatoes.  We used to prepare sweet potato fries in the oven.  Now we just quarter the potatoes, rub with olive oil, dust with salt and place cut-side-down on a cookie sheet.  Roast in a 450 F oven without turning until soft.  The flavors will caramelize (like sweet potato fries) but preparation is simpler and the cooking time less exacting.  Slender sweet potato fries go from undercooked to overcooked in the blink of an eye.  Larger slices are less exacting, and therefore are easier.  Small sweet potatoes can be cut just in half.  Jumbos will need to be chopped into pieces.  Otherwise, they take a long time to cook.
– Store your sweet potatoes at room temperature.  They suffer chilling injury below 50 F.
– The sweet potatoes we grow require slightly longer cooking than ones from the supermarket, perhaps because they contain higher moisture so soon after harvest.
– Sweet potatoes are good at any size. We have cooked everything from tiny to jumbo and consistently find that all sizes taste good.

Fennel (large vegetable with a fat bulb and lacy fronds) – Fennel is a ‘swing vegetable’; it can be used raw or cooked.  Clean well and slice as thinly as possible for use in raw salads.  It is good simply prepared with olive oil, lime or lemon juice, salt and shaved parmesan cheese.  Cooking softens and sweetens fennel, and mellows its anise flavor.  Both the bulb and leaves are edible.  Here are ideas from Alice Water of Chez Panisse about how to use fennel:  ‘It’s strong anise characteristic seems to suit fish particularly well.  … We use fennel all the time.  We add the feathery leaves to marinades for fish and to numerous salads, sauces and soups and we use them as a garnish, too. … The bulbs are sliced and served raw in salads in various combinations with other vegetables, parboiled for pastas; caramelized and served as a side dish; braised whole; or cooked in vegetable broths & fish stocks.”

Poblano chiles (triangular, shiny; green or brown; MEDIUM HEAT) –  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.

We packed your poblano chiles in the bag of green beans, for easy identification.


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

LOCAL THYME/ Comforting Classics or Cooking 101
Carrot Winter Squash Puree with Sage Butter
Simmered Veggies in Green Curry Sauce
Teriyaki Noodle Stir Fry with Peppers, Green Beans and Garlic
Chili Stuffed Poblano and Sweet Pepper
Chicken Fennel and Onion Roast

LOCAL THYME/ Outside the Box or Cooking 202
Apple Cranberry Stuffed Acorn Squash Rings
Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Baked Sweet Potato
Green Beans with Olives and Mint
Roasted Poblano Buttermilk Dressing
Sausage and Fennel Hoagies

LOCAL THYME/ Quick & Easy Meal
Sweet Potato Poblano Posole with Pork



You definitely got the goods this week to make a double (if not TRIPLE) batch of this favorite pizza. I suggest you throw a party and scale this recipe up big time!

Takes 1 hour (not including time to make pulled pork), add an additional hour if you plan to make the dough from scratch
Makes 14-inch pizza that serves 4-6

1 batch pizza dough (your favorite or use my recipe below!)
2 cups peeled and cubed sweet potato
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup favorite BBQ sauce (I always use Sweet Baby Ray’s Original)
1 cup pulled pork (here’s one of my favorite super easy slow-cooker pulled pork recipes!)
1 red bell pepper (or red Italian fryer), seeded and diced
1 poblano pepper, seeded and diced
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 cups smoked cheddar cheese, shredded
For the pizza dough:
1-1/2 cups warm water
2 teaspoons active yeast
2 tablespoons honey
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons Kosher salt

  1. If you are making the dough from scratch, begin here. If not, skip to step 2. Combine warm water (but not hot!) with yeast and honey in a small bowl or measuring cup. Whisk to combine and let sit for 5 minutes. Combine flour and salt together in a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in water with yeast. Stir to combine but do not work the dough at all, just stir until all the ingredients are incorporated together. Let dough rest for 15 minutes. Turn out onto a well-floured counter and knead for 3-5 minutes until smooth and uniform dough forms. Grease or oil a large clean bowl. Add dough, cover with plastic wrap or a towel and let rest in a warm place for an hour or until dough has doubled in size.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  3. Combine sweet potatoes, olive oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl to evenly coat. Add to a large baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Once finished remove from oven and add back to small bowl. Set aside.
  4. Preheat oven to 525 degrees.
  5. Once dough is risen. Roll it out on a well-floured counter until it’s about the size of the baking sheet you used for roasting the squash. Transfer the dough to the baking sheet.
  6. Top dough with BBQ sauce leaving an inch border on all the edges. Add pork followed by butternut squash, peppers, onions and smoked cheddar.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly.


Serves 2 (as a meal) or 4 (as a side)
Takes 1 hour

1 head broccoli, cut into florets
15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
3/4 pound green beans
1 fennel bulb, cored and very thinly sliced
1/4 cup finely chopped fennel fronds
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley, optional
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
2 tablespoons sesame seeds (white, black or a combo)

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. On a baking sheet, combine broccoli and chickpeas with garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper and rosemary. Toss with your hands to evenly coat. Roast for 20 minutes, use a spatula to scrape pan and move everything around a bit. Roast 15-20 minutes more until chickpeas are crispy and broccoli is browned in spots.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil on the stove. Add beans and blanch for 5 minutes. Rinse under cold water until cool to the touch. Cut into bite-size pieces and toss with fennel and parsley in a large bowl. Sprinkle with a few pinches of salt and pepper.
  4. Allow broccoli and chickpeas to cool for 10 minutes then add to bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, vinegar and syrup. Sprinkle with a bit more pinches salt and pepper then the sesame seeds. Stir it all together, taste and adjust seasonings as desired.


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Week #20; Our first Food Safety review

From left; Beth; Michael Barta, Dept of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP); Steve.  Not in photo, Claire Strader of UW Extension.

We had our first, unofficial farm inspection under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).  “Unofficial” because DATCP offers elective visits with an inspector, a chance to examine our farm without the pressure of an official inspection.  The inspector promises to take neither notes nor photographs.  It’s strictly informational.  Our visit was with DATCP inspector Michael Barta, as well as Claire Strader of UW Extension, who attends these meetings to offer resource support.

FSMA is a big deal for vegetable growers.  It’s a federal law intended to prevent outbreaks of food borne illness like E. coli and salmonella on lettuce, melons, etc.  The final law was years in the making.  Steve and I took FSMA training sessions this past winter and came home with intimidating 2-inch binders of detailed information.

We made two important decisions related to food safety when buying our farm in 2001.  First, we knew we wanted a farm with a good underground water supply, and therefore invested in a deep irrigation well.  Using surface water (lake, river) for irrigation can contaminate your produce.  Second, we chose to avoid all raw manure because of the human pathogens it often carries.  Therefore, no livestock, no using the neighbor’s manure, only using soil fertility amendments that we know are free of human pathogens. 

The visit went very well.  Claire and Michael’s first comment on entering our pack shed was “This is so clean and well organized.”  What a great start!   It was the middle of a busy work day and I silently thought “Actually, this is pretty messy.”  We worked through Michael’s list of topics, eliminating surface water and raw manure as issues right away.  They looked at our coolers, pack shed, produce containers, toilets, and fields.  We talked a lot about hand-washing and hidden sources of germs.  They identified a few things that need attention.  We have to do a better job documenting food-safety trainings that we hold for employees.  Apparently, we need a back-siphon preventer on our well.  There are record-keeping details that need attention.  

Over the past month, I prepared as if this were the official inspection, writing up protocols, holding training sessions with the crew, re-thinking some aspects of our pack shed.  When in doubt, my motto is always “Stun them with over-preparation.”  Honestly, I don’t know how else to function.

Now Steve and I are going to kick back and have a cold beer to celebrate.   Beth

Veggie List and Veggie Notes
Week #20, Oct. 3/4, 2019
– Weekly shares
– EOW/ green

Satina yellow potatoes, 3.5 lb
Leek(s), 1 – 1.25 lb
Green beans, ~3/4 lb
Red frying peppers, 4
Green (or green/red) bell pepper, 1
Orano snack pepper, 1
Broccoli OR Carnival acorn squash (by site)
Yellow onion
Parsley, 1 bunch
Jalapeno (HOT)

No tomatoes!  They took a nose-dive because of all the rain.

Next week’s box will probably contain sweet potatoes, green cabbage, green beans, yellow onion, poblano chiles and more.

CauliflowerStorage: Cover and refrigerate.  Should store for up to two weeks.

Yellow potatoes – These are good all-purpose potatoes, grown by our friends at Driftless Organics.  You will receive one of these varieties: ‘Wega’ (oblong and waxy looking) or  ‘Malou’ (round and a little lighter color of yellow).

Green beans – These are some of the best beans of the year.  That’s typical as we move into fall weather.  Beans grow nicely with cooler nights and less stress.  We’ll have more beans for you next week.  Storage: Keep in the paper bag but cover the entire paper bag with a plastic bag.  It’s a good system.  Left in just paper, the beans will wilt in your fridge.  With the second layer, they don’t wilt, nor do they rot in contact with the plastic bag..  Alternatively, move them into a closed container of your own.

Leeks (look like big scallions) – We love leeks, one of our favorite fall crops.  These alliums have a milder flavor than onions.  Nonetheless, they can be used in recipes that call for onions.  To wash, split the leek lengthwise, from the green tops about halfway to the base, leaving the base intact.  Rinse well under running water, separating the layers to flush.  If necessary, split the leek further if soil has penetrated more than halfway down the leek.  Shake dry.  Leeks are generally eaten cooked.  They can be sauteed, steamed or roasted.  Intact leeks will store 2 to 3 weeks if covered loosely and refrigerated.  The outer leaves will yellow.  Just peel them off and discard.  The inner leek layers will be fine.

Carnival acorn squash (for a few sites) – Another beautiful speckled acorn squash.  Use soon.  They are good now but will not store for long.


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

LOCAL THYME/ Comforting Classics
Lemony Cauliflower Pasta with Bacon
Mashed Potato Puffs
Leek Sweet Pepper Crostini
Roasted Pepper and Tomato Soup

LOCAL THYME/ Outside the Box Recipes
Cauliflower Leek Blue Cheese Soup
Veggie Korma
Grilled Steak with Grilled Peppers and Leeks
Slow Braised Sweet and Hot Pepper Lentils

LOCAL THYME/ Quick & Easy Meal
Chicken and Cauliflower Paprikash



Adapted ever so slightly from the amazing Joshua McFadden Six Seasons cookbook

Takes 45 minutes
Serves 4 easily

1 pound potatoes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
3 red frying peppers, seeded and cut into juienne strips
1 leek (white and pale green parts only), cut in half lengthwise and sliced thinly
1/2 yellow onion, diced
4 ounces ham, diced, optional
8 eggs
1/2 cup finely diced fresh parsley
1/2 cup finely grated Parmsan cheese
Extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup whole-milk ricotta

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Put the potatoes in a stock pot and cover with water. Add a couple heavy pinches of salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until the potatoes are tender but not mushy, about 15 minutes. Drain. When cool enough to handle, cut into small bite-size chunks.
  3. Melt butter in a large heavy, oven-proof skillet (a cast-iron works great if you have one) over medium high heat. Add the peppers, leeks, onion and ham. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook until the bell peppers have softened but not browned, about 7 minutes. Add the potatoes to the skillet.
  4. Crack eggs into a large bowl. Add 1 teaspoon salt, many twists of black pepper, parsley, and the shredded parmesan. Whisk until the eggs are nicely blended. Pour the eggs over the veggies.
  5. Reduce pan heat to medium and let the eggs sit for 2-3 minutes then carefully slip the spatula around the edges of the eggs, releasing them from the pan (allowing more liquid to flow underneath). Let the new layer of egg cook a bit and then repeat the process a couple more times, about 4 minutes. The top will still be runny but much of it will be set.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk ricotta lightly with salt and pepper so it’s more of a fluffy consistency. Dollop heaping spoonfuls of ricotta over the eggs in six or seven spots. Transfer to the oven to finish cooking, about 5 minutes. Let the frittata rest and then serve warm in wedges.

Adapted from the Dining In Cookbook

Takes 20 minutes
Serves 2 for a meal or 4 as a side

1 pound green beans
1/2 cup roughly chopped almonds
1 jalapeno, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, divided
Pinch sugar
Kosher salt, divided
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon freshly  ground black pepper

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil on the stove. Once boiling, cook your green beans for 5 minutes then drain and rinse under cold water.
  2. While you wait for the water to boil, you can do a few other things. First toast almonds (either in the oven or on the stove). Then in a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons vinegar with jalapeno, garlic, a pinch of sugar and a pinch of salt.
  3. In another small bowl, combine yogurt, tahini, water, remaining vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt. Whisk until smooth.
  4. Once your beans have been blanched and cooled, heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat until it glistens. Toss the blanched green beans in there and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Cook over medium high heat, stirring every minute or two until most sides of the green beans are a little charred (about 10 minutes).
  5. Serve by spreading yogurt mixture over a shallow bowl and topping with green beans. Sprinkle with quick pickled jalapenos and almonds before enjoying. Season with flaky sea salt (or more Kosher salt) and more freshly ground pepper before serving.


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Week #19, Winter squash primer

We are pushing hard this week to gather all our winter squash and sweet potatoes.  There has been so much rain, and more is coming.  We have to get these crops harvested and safe in warm storage before the next storm.  Our squash and sweet potato crops look great now, but will decline if left outside in wet, chilly weather.  From left, Ben, Billy, Kristin, Jory, Linda, Smitty, Simone, John, Michio, Karen and Monika bring ‘Metro’ butternut harvest into the greenhouse.  In front, ‘Carnival’ acorn squash.

THIS WEEK’S ACORN SQUASH; ‘Festival’ (left) OR ‘Heart of Gold’ (right)
These are distractingly beautiful, with stripes and patterns in yellow, green, orange and white.  We used to grow green acorn squash but switched to the newer striped varieties because they taste better and the plants are more vigorous.  You’ll get one or two squash, of one of these types. 

Winter Squash Primer

We expect to have a steady supply of squash or sweet potatoes over the coming weeks.  Let’s review some basics about winter squash.

Expected life:  Some winter squash varieties are ready to eat soon after harvest, others store deep into winter.  This week’s acorns are cured and ready to eat.  Plan to eat these early varieties within two weeks of delivery.  Check the newsletter each week for storage information about that week’s delivery.

Storage:  Winter squash store best at room temperature with good air circulation.  No cooler than 50 degrees.  On your kitchen counter works.  Do not cover.

To make squash easier to cut:  Microwave on high for 30 to 60 seconds, depending on size of the squash.  This will soften the rind and flesh, making it much easier to cut.

Beth’s favorite simple preparation (acorn or butternut):  Winter squash are easily roasted in a 400F oven.  The goal is to get brown, caramelized edges.
– Split in half with a sharp knife.  
– Scoop out and discard seeds.  
– Run the squash briefly under running water, then shake off the excess water.  Place cavity-side-down on an oiled baking sheet.  The little bit of moisture seals the squash to your roasting pan.  The water soon evaporates, allowing the squash to brown and caramelize.  Caramelization really boosts the flavor.  
– Roast at 400F until easily pierced with a fork, 30 – 45 minutes depending on size.  Flip over while hot.  Add a little butter to melt and some seasoned salt.  Cut into wedges and eat.

Stuffed squash
Acorn squash have a central cavity perfect for stuffing.  Prepare your favorite fully-cooked stuffing, e.g. a rice or quinoa mixture.  Roast your squash as described below.  Preheat the stuffing.  Fill the cooked squash with stuffing, top with grated cheese and return to the oven until everything is hot.

Can you eat the rind?  Last week’s ‘Jester’ had an edible rind.  Rinds for acorns and butternuts are thicker.  It’s your choice whether to eat them or not.  Steve eats them.  I don’t.

Carmelized acorn squash.

Veggie List and Veggie Notes
Week #19, September 26, 2019
– Weekly shares
– EOW/ purple
– Sampler/ sun

‘Festival’ or ‘Heart of Gold’ acorn squash, 1 or 2
Broccoli, 1 or 2 heads
Carrots, 1.6 lb
Tat soi OR Swiss chard (by site)
Slicing tomatoes, ~3 lb
Orange grape tomatoes, ~1 pint
Bell pepper, 1, green, purple or yellow
Orano snack pepper, 1 or 2
Walla Walla onion
Yellow onion
Jalapeno chile (HOT)
Basil, 1 sprig

Next week’s box will probably contain potatoes, leeks, garlic, cauliflower (or broccoli), peppers and more.

Broccoli – Some heads may have small blackened areas.  Just cut them out of the head.  This is common after rainy weather.

Tatsoi (head with dark green leaves) – This bok choy relative has darker leaves and thinner stems.  Easily substituted for bok choy in recipes.

Slicing tomatoes – This might be our final tomato delivery.  At most, we’ll have a handful for you next week.  The plants have exhausted themselves after setting a record crop.  These tomatoes will not last long.  Eat or cook soon.

Basil – This is probably our final sprig of basil for you.  I wanted to send it with the (potentially) final bag of tomatoes.  We’ve sent tomatoes, basil, onion, garlic and jalapeño so you can make a small pan of sauce.

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

We have a bumper crop of onions this year, so we’re sending both a yellow storage onion, plus a Walla Walla again.  Let’s repeat the information I shared a few weeks ago about 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 or Cooking 101
Orecchiette with Tomatoes, Frozen Peas and Ricotta
Wilted Greens with Oyster Sauce
Acorn Squash with Cornbread Stuffing
Penne with Broccoli and Cherry Tomatoes

LOCAL THYME/ Outside the Box or Cooking 202
Pancetta, Beef, and Chorizo Chili with Sweet and Hot Peppers
Grilled Halibut with Wilting Greens and Chiles
Oven Fried Acorn Squash 
Spiced Yogurt Roasted Broccoli

LOCAL THYME/ Quick & Easy Meal
Spicy Stir Fry with Broccoli, Greens and Tofu




Takes 45 minutes
Serves 2-4

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 or 2 acorn squash
1 or 2 heads broccoli, cut into bite size florets
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 – 1 teaspoon Kosher salt

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Drizzle olive oil over two baking sheets. Cut squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Cut into 1/2-inch wide slices and divide evenly onto baking sheets. Add broccoli florets to each tray and toss the mixture gently with your hands to coat. Sprinkle everything with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes, removing half way through and tossing everything for even browning. After thirty minutes, add garlic, syrup and red pepper flakes. Roast 10 minutes further. Remove from oven, allow to cool, and try not to devour immediately.

Adapted ever so slightly from Dishing up the Dirt

Takes 1 hour
Serves 6

2 tablespoons coconut oil (or olive oil)
1 medium onion, diced
1 pound pork sausage
1 bunch chard or tatsoi (stems and leaves), thinly sliced, divided
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
4 cups diced tomatoes (either cored slicers or grape tomatoes would be fine)
15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
1 pound carrots, cut into 1/2 inch thick rounds
1/2 cup roughly chopped dried apricots
2 cups beef broth or water
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
Greek yogurt, for serving

  1. In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, warm the oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the pork, cooking it by breaking it apart with a wooden spoon until all the edges brown nicely (about 10 minutes). Add chard or tatsoi stems, garlic, jalapeno, and spices. Cook for a minute or two until the spices are fragrant. Add tomatoes and simmer, scrapping up any brown bits at the bottom of the pan, until the liquid has reduced a bit (about 15 minutes).
  2. Add the chickpeas, carrots, apricots and brother or water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered for 20 minutes until the carrots are tender and the stew has thickened. Remove from heat and stir in tatsoi or chard greens and vinegar. Stir several times to wilt the greens. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
  3. Serve the stew with yogurt and sprinkle with additional salt and pepper as needed.


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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.
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