Last chance to get a 2014 receipt.

Go to this link to send yourself a receipt for your 2014 CSA shares.  I plan to dissemble this feature next week, so please send yourself a receipt now if you need one.

Host a new Tipi CSA site in 2015?

We are still looking for someone to host a new Tipi CSA site in the Madison area.  If we find the right places, we might add two new sites.  We are open to working in a member’s garage or in a workplace.  Workplace sites are especially interesting because of the convenience they offer to members.  Read more here, and contact us if you are interested.

Farm news and photos

IMG_1297 lush cover crops
Would you believe me if I claimed this photo was taken in spring?  Ha!  The trees show the true season.  Our cover crops are so lush right now.

IMG_1252 ice on pepper field
Steve has irrigated our pepper fields through all the frosts, including last night.  Heat released as water crystallizes into ice keeps the plants at a steady 32 oF.  Sounds crazy, but it works.  That’s how we’ve had peppers for you during the last few weeks.  Now we are down to one remaining pepper field.  It is so difficult to let go.

IMG_1260 ice on pepper
By this morning, the plants were coated with a thick layer of ice.  See the yellow bell pepper under the leaves?  It was perfectly fine once the ice melted.

IMG_1264 ice on pepper plants
The ice can be gothic.  How ironic – our last summer field was the only one covered in ice.

IMG_1221 carrot harvest
Carrot harvest is a team effort.  From right, Steve steers the carrot harvester, Billy tends the harvested carrots, Tristan keeps the carrot tops flowing out of the harvester, and Joel picks up missed carrots.  In the background, Larry and Michael haul bins of carrots back to the cooler.  Simone is driving the tractor pulling the harvester, just out of the picture.

Our storage harvests are underway.  The warm, dry weather is a gift.  We are steadily stashing away celeriac, carrots, parsnips and turnips.  We’ll start on cabbage and beets soon.  These are important harvests for us.  Steve is nervous as he goes over the preparations.  “What if the harvester breaks?  What if the cooler fails once it’s full?”  This is very telling – Steve is not a nervous guy.  We have so much riding on these storage crops, which we count on selling all winter.  The big concern is that the weather will turn wet and we won’t be able to harvest the roots before the ground freezes.  It’s been many years since we left carrots in the ground.  That’s a virtue of our sandy soils.  Beth

Veggie list and veggie notes

IMG_1269 yukina clint
Don’t be frightened by the yukina.  They look big but shrink substantially when cooked.  Above, Clint holds a freshly harvested head of yukina.

Sweet potatoes, about 2 lb
Yukina greens, 1 large
Leeks, 1.5 – 2 lb
Russet potatoes, about 3.5 lb
Parsnips, 1.5 lb
Romanesco broccoli, 1 or 2 heads
Bell peppers, about 2
Onion, 1

Next week’s box will probably contain red cabbage, winter squash, broccoli, carrots, frying peppers, onions, garlic and more.

‘Beauregard’ sweet potatoes – Here are a few things we’ve learned about sweet potatoes:
– 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.  Cook thoroughly for best flavor and texture.
– Sweet potatoes are good at any size. We have cooked everything from tiny to jumbo and consistently find that all sizes taste good.
– We have a new favorite way to roast sweet potatoes.  We used to prepare sweet potato fries.  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.
Parsnips (tapered, cream colored roots) – 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, coat very lightly with oil, 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.
Yukina (large heads of dark green leaves) – This is my favorite fall green.  It is nutritious, delicious, a great combination of mustard-like leaves with crunchy stems.  Personally, I think it’s a better ratio of leaves to stems than bok choy.  These yukina look big, but the average weight is just 1.5 lb, which tells you they will shrink once cooked.   We usually steam and drain chopped yukina, then dress it with a cooked mixture of fried garlic simmered with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, a little sugar and a lot of paprika or hot pepper flakes.
See below for an interesting way to prepare yukina in the oven.

Spicy Roasted Yukina (or bok choy)

This is an interesting way to tackle any voluminous tender green like yukina or bok choy.  We made a batch and enjoyed it first as a hot dish, then as a cold salad.

1 large head yukina or bok choy

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1.5 Tbsp. sesame oil
4 Tbsp. soy sauce or tamari
1.5 Tbsp. rice vinegar
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. red pepper flakes (less if you don’t like spicy food)
2 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds

1.  Preheat oven to 400 oF.
2. Cut the yukina in half lengthwise.  Cut stems and leaves into ribbons.  Wash well and drain.  Shake well to remove excess water.
3.  Stir together all the remaining ingredients.
4.  Spread the yukina on one (or two) large cookie sheets.  Pour the marinate over the yukina and toss with your hands.
5.  Roast until wilted and tender-crisp, about 10 – 12 minutes.
6.  Toss again.  Adjust marinade to taste.  Serve.

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