Our newest tools

IMG_0562 new trailer2
Our own semi-trailer, parked next to our red box barn.

Steve is working to upgrade our root storage and washing before the big fall harvests begin.  Our winter root crops look abundant, more than we can fit in our current coolers.  Several years ago, we stored part of our carrot crop in a cold storage facility in Madison, but that created transportation hassles.  The solution?  We bought a used refrigerated semi-trailer that was ready to retire from the road.  It’s 53 feet long and can hold about 50,000 lb of roots in big wooden bins.  No more running back and forth to Madison to retrieve carrots to wash at the farm, then ship back to Madison.  I’ll post photos later this fall as we fill the trailer.

We are also in the midst of upgrading our root washing equipment.  This is a big deal for us.  We wash and sell 60 to 70 tons of roots through the winter, so our crew appreciates any improvements.  Our goals are to ease the physical labor involved, and to find equipment that’s easy to clean.  Our newest tool is a barrel washer from a Mennonite group in Pennsylvania.  We’ll use it to wash carrots and other roots.

IMG_0692 steve w mark reuter
Steve with Mark Roeters who sold us the new barrel washer. They caught up on gossip about who-bought-what new farm equipment.  Mark sells and delivers throughout the USA, so he knows everyone’s equipment.

Steve is very absorbed in these preparations.  Evolving plans for the new washing setup are scattered in our office and kitchen.  His gaze wanders back to the trailer, which keeps popping up in conversation.  “You know, that trailer will be great storage for our empty bins.  It will really free up space in the barn” or “I might add an extra layer of insulation, just in case.”  We don’t have much time before the weather turns cold.

Farm news and Veggie list (10/2/14, week #20, purple EOW)

Our cabbage-family crops are growing strongly.  Almost all our broccoli, cauliflower and Romanesco are harvested or will be ready in the next two weeks.  This is not normal.  Often, the cauliflower and Romanesco barely mature in time for our final CSA deliveries.  We’re glad to have these crops for the CSA boxes now, but we have to recognize that we will not have much broccoli, cauliflower or Romanesco in late October and early November.

Yellow potatoes, 3.5 lb
Romanesco broccoli, 1
(We’ll send a broccoli head too if your Romanesco is small)
Acorn squash, 1
Delicata OR Sweet Dumpling squash, 1
Leeks, 2 lb
Carrots, 2 lb
Frying peppers, mixed colors, about 3
Jalapeño chiles, 2
Cilantro, 1 bunch
Garlic

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

Romanesco broccoli (pale green conical head, possible tinged with purple) – This is one of our prettiest vegetables.  Look at it closely to appreciate its branched beauty and repeating spiral pattern.  It is called broccoli, but is closely related to cauliflower which it resembles in flavor and texture.  Like broccoli and cauliflower, it is fine eaten raw or cooked.  It requires cooking times intermediate between the two.  Don’t overcook it.  I usually steam it, then dress it simply with a butter-lemon-garlic-mustard sauce.
Acorn squash – Acorn squash are mild and benefit from browning the cut surfaces to bring out their flavor.  We like to cut acorn squash into slices, then roast or pan-fry the slices until they caramelize.  Acorn squash are also good for stuffing.  These are ‘Tip Top,’ our favorite acorn squash variety.  We have tested many varieties over the past few years, and settled on this one as the best.
Jalapeño chiles (small, dark green or red) – These are hot.

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