Two groups. Two worlds.

We hosted two groups of 40 people in the last week.  Both groups are important to our farm.  Otherwise, they could not be more different.

We hired a labor crew of 40 Mexican and Central American guys to weed our carrot plantings.  This is the third year this crew has worked for us, generally just one or two days per season.  A group that size can accomplish a lot in six hours.  They are professionals.  

There is need in agriculture for migrant work crews.  Think about apples.  Orchards cannot employ staff year-round if they only need workers during a short harvest season.  Similarly, when we grow enough carrots to store and sell through the winter, we need extra help.  Our big carrot fields are planted in a short window, meaning the weeding window is also short.  Our regular crew takes care of weeding the rest of the year but this is too big a job when we are also harvesting like crazy.

Who chooses to work on a migrant crew?  To leave their home and travel for months, doing seasonal, physical work?  In our experience, it’s immigrants.  I am not saying that Americans won’t do this work.  Ninety-six percent of our regular crew are American-born.  Their work is just as demanding but why would they join a migrant crew if good work is available locally?  It’s strivers and hard workers and people with fewer options who take this work.  We rely on this contract labor crew, and respect them for their hard work.  Again, they are professionals.

“Immigrants, we get the job done.”  Hamilton, the musical.

NSAC visits

National Sustainable Ag Coalition (NSAC) annual meeting participants visited our farm on Monday.  Friend Harriet Behar (with umbrella) is a longtime advocate/force in the local organic movement.  She is a member of the National Organic Standards Board.

On Monday, we hosted a busload of organic policy wonks.  They were attending the annual meeting of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), held this year in Madison.  NSAC is an alliance of more than 100 local and regional organizations that work together to advocate for federal policies favoring sustainable farming and healthy rural communities.

These people are immersed in the alphabet soup of federal and state ag agencies, regulation, price supports, and natural resource conservation programs.  They do an important job of bringing farmer and grassroots voices into policy discussions that are usually dominated by big business.  They keep us informed about government proposals and actions that could affect our farming lives.  For example, when the US government released a 548-page draft of the Food Safety Modernization Act, NSAC boiled it down into a workable version that we could address.  They’ve got our back.

Our farm needs both groups to function.  One group on the ground, and in the soil.  The other group at their computers, watching out for us at the national level.  Beth and Steve.

Sweet potatoes!

Three weeks ago I showed this pair of photos in the newsletter and gushed about how much the sweet potato vines had grown in the intervening three days.  A few of you said “Really Beth?  Really? There’s hardly any difference.”

This photo was taken 16 days after the initial photo.  Now are you impressed??  We are.  Sweet potato vines are amazing. Beth

Veggie List and Veggie Notes
(August 10/11, 2017; purple EOW, sun SMP)

Sweet corn, 10 ears
Muskmelon, 1 large or 2 small
Slicing cucumbers, ~4
Silver Slicer cucumbers, 1 – 2
Tomatoes, ~2.5 lb
Red pepper, 1
Green beans, ~0.5 lb
Green leaf lettuce
Walla Walla onion
Basil, 1 robust bunch

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

Sweet corn – This week’s variety is called “Vision”.  It’s the same variety we sent two weeks ago.
Muskmelons – We pick muskmelons at field-ripe stage. However, Steve says they will be even better if you let them ripen further on your counter for a day or two. Watch for a slight ‘give’ when you press the blossom end of the melon (opposite the stem end). Check for fragrance too.  Eat or refrigerate when fully ripe.
Cucumbers – Our second cucumber field is very productive!  We’re sending 4 slicing cucumbers (dark green) plus one or two ‘Silver Slicing” cukes.  These smaller, white cucumbers must have some pickle genetics, as they are thin skinned with excellent crunch.  We’ll continue to send these in small quantities each week, as long as we have them.
Tomatoes – Your bag contains a mix of slicing and plum tomatoes.  Storage: Tomatoes retain their best flavor and texture when stored at room temperature, no lower than 55oF.  However, you should refrigerate your tomatoes if they are fully ripe and you don’t expect to eat them right away.  It is better to sacrifice a little flavor and texture than lose your tomatoes to rot.  Also, fully-ripe tomatoes are less sensitive to chilling injury.
Red Pepper – Some sites get one red frying pepper, some sites get one red bell pepper.
Basil – We’re sending a bigger bunch that usual this week.  As usual, store it at room temperature with the cut ends in a jar of water.  If you don’t expect to use it quickly, you can chop and freeze it.  I usually mix with olive oil to help hold it together.

Slicing cucumber (green) and Silver Slicers cucumbers (white)


Visit our Recipe Log, a list of all our 2017 recipes to date.



I never thought I could like gazpacho. A cold soup of pureed veggies? It sounded absolutely terrible to me. Then I had gazpacho with melon. Beth and Steve remember this transformative moment. It was a watermelon gazpacho I made for a dinner we had together. It was sweet, savory, bright and flavorful. It wasn’t just pureed vegetables. It was wonderful. This muskmelon gazpacho is equally interesting and even more simple. This is the kind of dish you can throw together quickly after a long day and feel refreshed. This is summer eating at it’s finest. Hope you enjoy!  Lauren.

Serves 4-6
Takes 50 minutes

1/2 head muskmelon, seeds removed
1 large cucumber, seeds removed
1 large red pepper, seeds removed
2 pounds extra ripe tomatoes, cored
1/2 Walla Walla onion
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil

    1. Roughly chop muskmelon (I just removed pieces with a spoon in odd shapes), cucumber, red pepper, tomatoes and onion. Place in a large bowl or stock pot along with salt and vinegar. Let sit for 30 minutes.
    2. Add olive oil and process until 90% smooth. You can do this several ways: blender, food processor, immersion blender. I mashed it with a potato masher first and then used an immersion blender.
    3. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve at room temperature.


We have entered the land of peak summer produce. There are melons, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet corn and so much more. The harvests are heavy and the eating is easy. With yummy summer veggies like this it’s important to just keep things simple. This pasta salad is as versatile as it is quick to make. I love the combination of tomatoes, sweet corn, cucumber, onion and basil, but you could easily add any cherry tomatoes, broccoli, or peppers you have laying around. Feel free to also use half the amount of noodles if you like more veggies than noodles in your pasta salad. Hint: a noodle with more nooks and crannies equals a better pasta salad. I love fusilli and orechiette.  Lauren.

Serves 8-12 as a side
Takes 40 minutes

1 pound pasta
1 silver slicer
1/2 Walla Walla onion
1/2-1 pound tomato, seeded and roughly chopped
4 ears corn, husks removed
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 7 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, corn and basil to bowl. Toss to combine.
    5. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as desired.
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