Thank you!

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Celeriac harvest on a lovely fall day.

This is the final box of our regular season.  Thank you Tipi members!  We truly appreciate your commitment to our farm.  We could not farm without you.

Many of you have signed up for continued deliveries with our extension and storage shares.  We will be in touch with more information as those deliveries approach.

We will open registration for our 2017 season within a few weeks.  Watch for emails from us.  In the meantime, you can continue eating our produce through the winter.  Our stored cabbage, carrots and other roots will be on the shelves at these stores: Willy Street Coop (Madison, Middleton), Outpost Natural Foods (Mequon and Milwaukee area), Basics Coop (Janesville), Whole Foods (Madison only), Good Harvest Market (Pewaukee), and Health Hut (Brookfield).

How was the season?  Our thoughts.

It has been a challenging year for us but you probably did not notice.  It was a good year to test our version of CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).  In the classic CSA model, you as members, would share in the risks of the farm. We operate a little differently.  More than half the crops we grow are intended for our store customers but are available to the CSA as needed, providing a reliable buffer in a poor season.  We dipped into that reservoir this year to make sure you got your expected value of good produce.  For example, beets, summer carrots, and leeks all had smaller harvests than expected so we put them all into your CSA boxes.  We were glad to have that supply at hand.

It was an unusually long growing season, with a record-early start.  We were in the fields planting radishes and spinach in mid-March.  The season extended with a mild fall, allowing us to harvest peppers right up to this week.  Humid, rainy days in August and September did not do us any favors.  The greatest effect was on our fall crops, then in their adolescent phase.  This is why we grow 40 different crops.  Each year, something will do poorly but something else will do well and take its place.  That’s the nature of a mixed vegetable farm like ours.

It was a good year for peppers and watermelons.  The greens and most summer crops thrived.  The sweet potatoes are terrific.  The cauliflower and Romanesco were late to produce heads but we are thrilled with how much we’ve had to harvest recently.

Our work crew was wonderful this year, both newcomers and old hands.  They were a joy to work with: smart, diligent, thoughtful, and kind to each other.  

Our field work will continue for another three weeks, as we bring in cabbage, carrots and other roots to store and sell through the winter.  It’s always a big effort, so we are preparing mentally and physically.  Steve has run through his checklist.  The carrot harvester is ready to go, with new modifications.  The wooden storage bins are all in good shape.  Steve and Roger are tightening up the coolers for winter.  We expect to have all the crops out of the field by mid-November.  Then we can slow down for a few months.  Our crew drops from 25 people down to five.  That’s enough people to prepare and deliver our winter crops.  In December and January we will mull over our 2017 plans so we can order seed.  Greenhouse work begins by early March, and everything flows from there.  Soon we will wrap up our time as the Organic Farmers of the Year.  It has been a very special year for us.

Thank you again for your patronage.  We are already envisioning changes and progress for next year.  Join in and give us your feedback.

Beth and Steve.

How was the season?  YOUR thoughts.

Now it’s your turn to share your thoughts.  Please complete our annual survey.  I sent the link in our 10/27/16 email, and look forward to poring over the results.  This is an essential part of the CSA model – we need to hear from you to make the CSA work for you.  

This week on the farm

We kept ourselves busy with farm maintenance, in anticipation of our big upcoming harvests.

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Our beautiful barn, before and after painting.  Roger completed the project in a day and half, with helpers, a lift, harnesses and an extended handle on his paint sprayer.  We almost made it to the roof peak.  The top gap will have to wait until a friend’s taller lift is available.

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Roger in the cage, with Billy steering.

Veggie list and veggie notes (Oct 27/28, 2016, week #24, purple EOW)

Red cabbage
Sweet potatoes, 2+ lb
Brussels sprouts, 0.6 lb
Kale, 1 bunch
Beets, 2 lb
Celeriac, 1 or 2
Yellow onions, ~2
Carrots, a few
A pepper of some sort
Jalapeños (HOT), 2
Baby ginger, 1 knob
Most sites get cauliflower (white or orange or purple) but we might pair it with Romanesco broccoli for some sites.

Sweet potatoes – These are the Covington variety. This is an especially tasty batch. Let’s repeat my newsletter information from a few weeks ago.
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.  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 will 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.

Brussels sprouts – The B-sprouts have taken their time sizing up.  Sprouts are small.  I’ve given you our usual cooking instructions below, but recognize that all of this week’s sprouts are small.
Here is our method to cook Brussels sprouts. Wash the sprouts and trim the cut ends. Cut an X in the stem end of large sprouts.  Cut a single slit in small or medium sprouts.  This does two things. It helps the Brussels sprouts cook evenly, plus it allows them to soak up any marinade or dressing.  Place sprouts in a pot with one inch of water in the bottom and steam until tender, 7 to 10 minutes.  If the sprouts are uneven in size, then set aside the smallest ones and add to the pot after the larger ones have cooked for a few minutes.  Don’t overcook them!  You can also oven-roast Brussels sprouts.  Here are a few dressing ideas for cooked sprouts:
– Sherry vinegar/olive oil/Dijon mustard/garlic/white wine/salt and pepper.  This is our favorite, especially when you combine the Brussels sprouts with slivered peppers and thinly sliced onions.  Delicious warm, cold, or at room temperature.
– Balsamic vinegar/olive oil/garlic/salt and pepper
– Lemon juice and zest/melted brown butter/poppy seeds/white wine/garlic/salt

Celeriac (knobby, round, bizarre-looking vegetable which smells like celery) – Flavorful celeriac is good raw or cooked.  It is excellent in mixed roasted veggies or in soup.  It’s especially good in cream soups, alone or mixed with potatoes.  Grated raw celeriac is a great starting point for winter salads.  Celeriac will store in your refrigerator for months.  Cut off chunks as you need them.  Peel before using.

Baby ginger – Wrap in a damp cloth or paper towel, and keep in the refrigerator in a plastic bag.  Eat soon; baby ginger is perishable.  It bruises easily so we gave it a light washing, and figured you could do the fine washing when you use it.

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Everyone gets one knob of baby ginger.

RECIPES FROM LAUREN

GINGER, TURMERIC & COCONUT SOUP
Takes 40 minutes
Serves 4-6

2 tablespoon butter
2 carrots, diced
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1/2 celeriac, peeled and diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
2 tablespoons minced ginger
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 cup white rice
3 cups chicken broth
1 can coconut milk
1 bunch kale (6-8 leaves), stems removed, leaves roughly chopped
1 teaspoon fish sauce
Lime wedges, to serve

  1. In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, melt butter.  Add carrots, onion, celeriac, jalapeno and ginger.  Saute for 5 minutes until fragrant.  Add turmeric and salt and saute 5 minutes longer.
  2. Add rice.  Stir for about a minute to combine rice and toast it gently.  Add chicken broth, bring mixture to a boil and reduce to a simmer.  Simmer until rice is cooked, about 15 minutes.  Add coconut milk, kale and fish sauce.  Simmer gently until kale is wilted, about 5 minutes.
  3. Serve with lime wedges.

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SWEET POTATO & BRUSSELS SPROUT TACOS WITH RED CABBAGE SLAW:
Takes 1 hour
Serves 4.

5 cups diced and peeled sweet potatoes
1 cup Brussels sprouts, left whole if small, halved if a little larger
2-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Pinch cinnamon

Red Cabbage Slaw:
2 cups shredded red cabbage
1 red pepper (bell or fryer), seeded and diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 limes, juiced
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar

Flour tortillas
Avocado
Sour cream or Greek yogurt
Hot sauce, optional

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and chop vegetables while you wait.
  2. Toss sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts with olive oil and spices in a large bowl to coat. Pour out onto a rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 40-45 minutes rotating occasionally.
  3. While the sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts roast, prepare the slaw. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.
  4. To serve, top warm tortillas with a spoonful or two of sour cream. Add avocado, followed by warm roasted vegetables and cabbage slaw. Add hot sauce if desired. Enjoy!
  5. Roast at 400 degrees for 40-45 minutes

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LOCAL THYME RECIPES

Comforting Classics

Cheddar Cauliflower Fritter 
Chinese Spiced Hot Red Cabbage
Slow Roasted Vegetables with Mustard Seed Vinaigrette
Creamy Celeriac Dressing

Outside the Box Ideas

Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Hazelnuts
Sicilian Braised Red Cabbage with Capers and Olives
Red Velvet Cake
Celeriac with Lentils and Hazelnuts 

Quick and Easy Meal

Sweet Potato Soup with Miso and Ginger

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One comment


  • The farm produce was fantastic! I experimented with some of the recipes provided, but found just preparing the veggies in simple ways was satisfying enough.
    Thank you Beth, et al, for the conscientious work you do and for the positive way in which you do it!

    October 27, 2016

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