In Your Box
Brussels Sprouts- Break these off the stalks to store. To prepare clean off any dried leaves, rinse and cook.
Winter Squash – Butternut (light brown) or buttercups (ook like dark green buttons). These are our two favorite squash. Both are sweet and wonderful in pie, soup, mashed or in soup.
Leeks or onions
Baby brassica/brasing mix- for salad and/or cooking. We have been making great salads topped with grated carrots and turnips!
Winter Turnips- a white with bright purple (purple topped) or yellow with light green tops (golden) varieties.
Rutabaga – Great in stews, roasted or mashed. These have yellow skin with a pale dull purple top.
News from the Farm
It is week 20. This is the last CSA delivery for the regular CSA season and we cannot thank you all enough for letting us live out our dream as your farmers at Stoney Acres. This has been our best farming season (of 10!) and as eaters you have allowed us to grow in so many ways.
We are still quite busy for the next three weeks even as the main season CSA wraps up – we finished planting 2400 bed feet of garlic yesterday and harvested 70 bushels (about 3400lbs) of beets on Tuesday, and will continue to harvest root crops for the next two weeks. We are estimating that we will have over 500 bushels of root crops for extended season CSA shares, the winter farmers market, local schools and some rural grocery store over the course of the next 6 months.
Wonder what we do in winter? We are also planning a family trip to NYC and New England, lots of family time and some much needed rest. We have conferences to attend, lots of reading and paperwork awaiting us.
We also want to thank our amazing worker shares for 2015 and of course our farm crew. Hannah is at college once again, Jenny has graciously helped for the past 6 weeks, and Michelle is literally the backbone of the farm. If you see Michelle let her know that you appreciate her work, because she does not get to hear it enough (we do). She has worked so hard for your food and our family this season and hopefully will be back full-time and year round in 2016! If you want to visit us we have 3 more pizza nights, and will be at the farmers market all fall and winter.
Have a delicious week- Kat, Tony, Riley, Ted and Maple
Kat’s Kitchen Squash Sauce – Rinse squash, cut in half and remove seeds (you can bake them). bake squash cut side down at 350 degrees until very soft and aromatic, scoop our flesh, combine with 1-2 cups milk or broth to make aa thick sauce, add salt and pepper. This can be used in lasagna in place of sauce, on noodles or on pizzas. You can also freeze any that is left over easily.
Squash and Roasted Root Veggie Stew – Bake squash as above. While baking cut up 4-5 cups of root vegetables such as turnips, rutabaga, carrots, plus 2-3 leeks or 1 onion. Coat with oil and bake on bottom rack until starting to brown. Remove squash from oven, scoop out flesh, add 2 cups broth and 1 can coconut milk and blend. Add root vegetables and 1 cup cooked ham or chicken if desired. Salt to taste. Add 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice and 1 tsp smoked paprika or chili powder. Cook for 20-30 minutes (or in a slow cooker) for at least 30 minutes. Serve with crust bread or wild rice.
Roasted Brussels sprouts with toasted almonds (you can add carrots or beets) – break brussels sprouts off of stem, remove any brown leaves, coat lightly with olive oil. Roast at 400 until slightly soft with edges browning. If you have very a large sprouts you can cut them in half before roasting. While roasting chop almonds roughly and toast in a dry pan on the stove top for several minutes making sure to stir and not burn. In a small bowl mix juice of 1 lemon, 1 tbs mustard, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp black pepper, and 1 Tbs mayo (optional). Upon removing sprouts from oven, coat with dressing and toss with nuts. Serve or cool for a salad later
What We’ve Learned and What We Plan
Every year for both our own reflection and for the benefit of CSA members understanding of our farm we look back at the season, as it is drawing to an end. This year has been spectacular for us in many ways – our farm crew, our knowledge, media attention, community support, farm techology and weather have come together to put us in a place where we cannot be thankful enough for what we have.
We finally learned how to compost! That might sound funny but our attention to fertility, espcieally in compost production has been a game changer for our soil and crops. We have also learned more about soil fertility and ammendments that have allowed us to finally grow great broccoli, great beets, big cabbages and things that we have struggled with historically.
Farm technology- we made some big leaps in mechanization in the past year and it has been wonderful both in terms of reducing our toil (the measure we use to evaluate technology) and in allowing us to be better farmers – planting more salad mix, getting plant spacing perfect, direct seeding and experimenting with new fall crops. We are planning on another couple of mechanization leaps next year to aid in weeding – as we spend at least a third of our summers on our hand and knees.
A reckoning- this winter we are trying to plan out our next 10 years. We are looking at what makes us most happy, what best supports our family, how we can create the best jobs and retain the best workers, and how we can make our farm better (not bigger). We have already started this process but are trying to improve many of our systems, schedules, and investments to align with our broader values.
Community- One big step for this coming season is that we are trying to figure out how to deepen the sense of community around the CSA. We will be planning a meeting of “core” CSA members where we will bring together about 10-15 volunteer members who are interested in helping us figure out how we can better build community and meet the support needs for our CSA members. We are already planning a new CSA member mentor program (so new overwhelmed CSA members have an experienced person to call, email etc with questions) and pesto parties in which we will provide pesto ingredients (basil and garlic) to groups of 5-10 CSA members to make pesto together in their own homes. If you are interested in being in the core group please email or call us. We will plan an event in Athens or Wausau in Decemeber.
Weather is still the most important variable in our lives – sounds silly we know but our stress, our marriage, our happpiness, our crops, our pizza nights all rest on weather. This year’s weather has been phenomenal.
We value and love our neighbors and farm compadres. We are so happy the Red Door Family Farm is in the neighorhood and that we have grown amazing friendships with local like-minded farmers that allow us a peer group in farming. Farming can be lonely at times, difficult and difficult to talk about with non-farmers. Having great neighbors and friends to share with, to depend on, to have a beer with, and to learn with is a transformative process. This is hard to commicate effectly but this has made a huge difference and also creates a larger community which can attract more young, new, and excited farming folk.
We have some specific farmstead plans in the work including a mudroom (starting in a few weeks), a small packshed expansion, and some small things like better tool racks, wall mounted whiteboards (all over the farm), and in the future a truck we can pack boxes into while standing up! We are expanding our solar power to cover 106% of our farm energy needs in the early summer of 2016. We have a new great strawberry patch started for next year and will be replanting raspberries to try to get more fruit in shares in the future.
We will be expanding our Abbotsford/Colby Area dropsite for 2016 thanks to Brianna Hultman who will be transporting boxes from the farm (yippy!). The Local food as a movement is growing – we have been thrilled to work increasingly with The Red Eye, Sconnies, and DownTown Grocery this year and are so hapy that food businesses like Navieve Formagerie (a new cheese shop in Wausau) are opening – and you can get almost all your groveries at farmers markets and local shops. We are so hopeful for the future of food and agriculture in the region and our CSA members are the backbone of this!