Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Letter from John Krueger (After CSA and more details on what was in the stock up share)

Hi Everyone, 

I must confess that having written thirty farm updates this season I am not really excited about writing another one! But I wanted to give you the rundown on what you will encounter in your stock up shares. I have already begun to receive phone calls and texts with photos of strange, unknown vegetables. What is it and what the heck do I do with it? I can help with what it is and how it should be stored. As for how to prepare it -that’s what Google is for, n’est-ce pas

The share consists of a box and a bag. The box contains bags with 2 different types of fingerling potato and 3 bags with red skin, gold, and russet potatoes. One bag of onions with some heads of garlic, and a bag of sweet potatoes. Loose in the box is an assortment of winter squash, most of which you will likely already be familiar with. Acorn, butternut, buttercup, delicata, etc. There are two that you may find that you do not recognize. The first is called Autumn Frost and look like a squat butternut with a somewhat frosty or musty skin. It can be used the same as butternut. The second is a new variety called Tetsukabota. It is dark green, ribbed and round and has a very tough skin which makes it an excellent keeper. The flesh is deep orange and has sweet, nutty flavor. Johnny’s seed catalog describes it as “the squash of choice for the apocalypse”; and it could be that it has made a timely arrival (sorry if you are offended by the dark humor). All the items in the box should be stored in a cool dry place

The bag consists of various bags of root vegetables most with 2 types per bag. This may help you identify one item if you know what the other is: Parsnips with rutabaga, daikon with watermelon radish, carrots with beets, radishes with turnips. The only tuber that is not mixed with another is Yacon, a member of the sunflower family native to South America. It is brown and looks like a sweet potato, which is why we put it in the bag and not the box- so you would not confuse it with one. It is juicy and sweet and has a slight orange tint and carroty flavor. The sugar it contains is a fructo-polysaccharide which can not be metabolized and hence is good for dieters and diabetics. It can be cooked but I like it best chopped or grated raw into salads. It oxidizes and turns black quickly after peeling, so prepare it immediately before consumption or spritz it with some lemon juice. If you research it online, you will find that it has a long list of health benefits. It will keep for quite a few weeks in the fridge.

The bag also contains: Brussel‘s sprouts, Napa and green cabbage, spinach, salad turnips with tops and baby rainbow carrots with tops. There are also a few small heads of lettuce and either some fennel or some leeks. All the vegetables in the bag should be stored in the refrigerator in bags. If you are not going to use the turnips or the baby carrots immediately , you should remove and toss the tops(or eat them in the case of the turnips) as they will draw the moisture out of the roots and make them rubbery.

So that is all the wit and wisdom I have to impart to you for this season. Thank you all for your support and for enduring my strange sense of humor. I wish you all Happy Holidays and a safe and healthy winter. Here’s hoping that our next trip around the sun won’t be as challenging and bizarre as this one has been. 

Bon Appetit! 
Farmer John

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

This Week's Shares -- Wednesday, November 18, 2020 (Week 24) FINAL WEEK!!!

Veggie Share
Rainbow carrots
Sweet potatoes
Spinach (Premium Share 2 bunches)
Salad turnips
Butternut squash
Escarole or endive (frissee) (Premium Share)

Fruit Share
Cortlands (good for pies)
Golden delicious

Gray oyster



Thank you for a great season!

Monday, November 16, 2020

Letter from John Krueger (Week 24) FINAL WEEK!

Hi Folks, 

We have reached the end of the CSA season. I hope that you have enjoyed the produce we were able to provide this year. Every farming season has it’s unique challenges, mostly weather related. This year we had both the latest spring frost ever- May 18th and the earliest fall frost that I can remember- September 18. The September frost took us a bit by surprise as the forecast was for a low of 38 degrees. The cold snap in September was even more unusual since it was not a single night but rather four night in a row of sub-freezing temperatures. This gave us only four months of frost-free growing season. A long summer drought followed by excessive rain added another hurdle. This year, in addition to the normal weather issues, the pandemic added more challenges. We were stymied by a lack of manpower, as four of my regular workers were unable to arrive from Nicaragua (no flights). My crew of twelve worked close to eighty hours per week for most of the season and did a magnificent job. I am extremely grateful to my staff; without them I could never have been successful at farming. They work tirelessly and conscientiously and are always cheerful.

The final share is a bit heavy on roots and tubers. The cold nights have damaged many of the greens, except for the spinach and the kale. The squash will be butternut, or a variety called Autumn Frost, which is similar except in shape. We are finishing up the long, complicated rotation with the brassicas. If you did not receive Brussel’s sprouts last week, you will get them this time. Ditto for cauliflower. A few groups received both last week, and some neither.

Thanksgiving won’t be the same in this weird year, but it is still a time to give thanks. I want to thank the volunteers who came out to the farm, some multiple times, to lend a hand. I also want to thank the site hosts and core group leaders, who work so hard to make the program work with no or only meager compensation. And finally, thank you so much for your participation in the program and supporting our farm and local agriculture.

Stay safe! Be well!

The share for this week will be: Rainbow carrots, kale, cabbage, sweet potatoes, spinach, garlic, scallions, salad turnips, parsnips, lettuce, butternut squash, and daikon. The premium shares will also receive either escarole or endive (frissee) and a second bunch of spinach.

Farmer John