Week 24 Veggie Lovers Club Newsletter

Hi Veggie Lovers!

WEEK 24 is the FINAL PICKUP for 2020!

Team Laughing Stalks pickup Dec 15
Kicking Assparagus Crew pickup Dec 22

Here’s the link to the Pre-Order Form if you’d like to place an order.

Spoiler Alert: If you would like to keep your bag contents a surprise, you’d better STOP READING NOW!!

Your Week 24 Veggie Lovers’ Club bag contains:

Week 22&23 contents (Dec 8 was a large bag radish instead of fava and sunnies, pictured)

Shoots Medley, assorted types, 1/2 lb in a compostable clamshell
Russet Potatoes, unwashed, 4 lbs
Carrots, 3 lbs
Onions, 3 lbs
Cabbage, 1
Bonus: Assorted Squash and Pumpkins!

Don’t forget to bookmark our online Veggie Guide so all the veggie info is at your fingertips!

About your Veggies & Farm Update:

This final red bag is all about comforting staples! As you know (or have noticed) we don’t grow many storage potatoes. I haven’t even had potatoes listed for sale all winter as we lost a bunch to flooding and really only grow them for the main season anyway. But we also grow some Russets, or Mom does at least. We had more than we can eat and had hoped to get you some on the last week, so here they are! Mom’s Russets are beautiful and though they are coming to you unwashed, they are not very dirty and won’t take much scrubbing.

I don’t believe in channeling sub-par produce into our CSA. We worked on a large CSA farm and I noticed that “Put that in the CSA” got used as a dumping ground for sub-par production way too much for my liking. I KNOW our CSA members are our most committed, most loyal and understanding customers. That’s why we have offered our “Green Top” carrots (damaged by the flooding this year) for sale and used the regular carrots to finish out the weeks of the Veggie Lovers Club. The regular carrots had “greener than usual” tops this year anyway, it was a challenging growing season. You’re getting our top carrots, because our members get first dibs. (Though I’m well aware that you would be happy either way!).

(Side note that the “Green Top Carrots” are a really good value. We are selling them unwashed for around $1/lb which is less than half of regular price, they are not very muddy at all and most of them have a lot of useable non-green part. If you want some with your last pickup or on Dec 22 feel welcome to put in an order!)

Cabbage! I’m foregoing my personal stash because I would rather see them eaten and enjoyed than rotting in storage and me not being able to keep up with them and them going to waste/compost. They are keeping ok but have lots of grasshopper damage which is letting the rotten win!

(If most people saw what storage veggies look like before they are cleaned up for sale, they would be disgusted! “The rotten” is a real battle. It’s common to find huge gooey moldy messes in the storage bins. We go through our crops regularly in storage, which is ironic because they often decrease in value despite the increased labour and we lose some (shrink) in storage. Veggies in the winter tend to be cheaper but they should actually be more expensive.)

I am so proud of my onion boundaries this year! Seriously, we could have sold the whole crop while that onion food safety scare of the summer was going on. I said no many times and limited how many were going to market despite the high demand, and now you get a good portion to end the CSA year with. Can you make anything delicious without an onion? I don’t think so!!

And SHOOTS! I laugh and say that we are now in the business of selling packaging to people, but we truly are. Case and point: Halloween Candy. We are willing to pay MORE for something when it’s in a format we want. You could probably buy the equivalent in full-size chocolate bars for less than half of the cost of the entire box of “snack size” bars. Our shoots would cost $1.50 per unit less without the clamshell and locally-printed label. BUT– we are selling over 40 clamshells a week out of Chez Angela, which is exponentially more volume and sales than when we attempted to sell small bags of shoots there in 2018 (flop!!). For each clamshell sold the farm gets $10 and Chez Angela gets $5: It’s working well and we look forward to resuming it in February!

So, this week you get to try a “Shoots medley clamshell” and if you like it, make sure to find them in your favourite local bake shop again in February after our break. (We have decided against making the commitment to a Spring Shoots Program this year. That could change but I’m not opening registration until closer to the time as things have been really unpredictable this year and I don’t expect that to change with the symbolic flipping of a calendar page. Rest assured, if we decide to run a program you’ll be the first to know!).

Farm Update:

BREAAAAAAAKKK TIME!! The farm will be closed and I won’t be regularly checking messages from Dec 23, 2020 – Jan 31, 2021. We are really looking forward to it! This year has been emotionally heavy and I am SO EXCITED TO STAY HOME!!

I’m intending to give you a holiday card at the pickup, but if I forget I’ll pop it in the mail for you!

It feels like there should be something special in this final newsletter. So I’ll share a story which really illustrates why I love you and why I love what we do, and then I’ll share a secret that you can look forward to!

“Dancing is just as important as washing carrots, anyway”. – Teri Jenkins


Last year I identified my top 3 core values as Health, Community, & Lifestyle. I think about those values first and foremost. Prioritizing my health is huge, always, but especially right now. It means eating well but it also means being intentional about what I consume and how I spend my time.

Mental health matters, and it only takes me a small side step to recognize how critical my daily habits and practices are to my overall well being. (ie last Wednesday I broke, mired in technology/internet/cell service woes. I have wasted a lot of time lately struggling with technology. Like this weekly blog post. Every Tuesday morning I have to face writing a blog post which has become joyless due to our poor internet connection (has gotten worse lately). It often ruins my day before my day is even started. So this week, I took my awesome Monday afternoon energy and channeled it into this. It went better and I don’t want to heave my computer out the window. AND they are coming to hopefully fix the internet tomorrow!! Woo!!)

So this morning when I found myself getting carried away by the seriously good vibes on Skratch Bastid’s latest Rock the Bells mix, I embraced it. I danced up a sweat, I danced through the storms in my mind and going on in our society, and came to a place of joy and connection.

So it may have taken a little longer to get those carrots washed, but I was so filled with Joy during the process that I know they were washed with the love they deserve. (They’re SO SWEET!!)

I am so grateful for the opportunity to grow food for people, to put all of the love and care into what I do, and that the community we serve sees value in that. It takes people like you VALUING what we do for us to be able to do it. As far as veggies go, we can’t compete on price or efficiency, we know that. We put love and good intentions and mindfulness into what we do, and I’m endlessly grateful that you can taste the difference love makes and make supporting what we do a priority in YOUR family.

“Growing food for people” is how I describe what I do. I don’t say I’m a farmer or grower or market gardener. “Growing food for people” more accurately captures what is actually going on here. Inherent in it is the connection to our community, and the energy that goes into maintaining that connection. When folx are shocked that I recognize them after one or two pickups, I always shrug and reply, “It’s my job!” (& truly sorry if you’re one of the people who it took me a long time to recognize… I have had to really work on and practice that skill to be decent at it!). We are deeply connected to the food that we grow and we’re picky about who we share it with. You’re our people. At this point, the CSA feels like a big group of family that we share food with.

…If that doesn’t give you a big fuzzy warm feeling for the holidays!! It actually gives me chills: Like, I shiver all over in disbelief when I come to the present moment realization that we’re living out our dream life, and I’m here in this farmhouse kitchen writing to you about it. I don’t take it for granted for one second. We are so so grateful for you and for this community, please know that!

Thank you! We are deep in dreaming and plotting for 2021. A secret project that I am finally prioritizing this winter is publishing something. It will likely be a collection of writing, recipes, veggie info/tips, etc. I am taking some space during our break to turn this idea into reality as it’s been rolling around in my head for years. I’m not calling it a book, just “publishing something”. Definitely self publishing. But I hope to have it ready for the start of the next CSA season!

Thank you for being our people, for reading my weekly newsletters, for making us a part of your life!

Janelle loaned me this book, How to Think like a Monk by Jay Shetty. The first paragraph on this page really spoke to me about what we’re going through right now.

All the best as you navigate this totally weird holiday season, we’ll be thinking of you and all the hard decisions and suspended traditions.
Root in and it will make you stronger!


Welcome, Souris Shoots Friends!

Thanks to Buffy for having the idea to run a few weeks of Shoots in Souris (and also for being a wonderful human, someone I am proud to be connected to!). I wanted to say Hi to you all and share some of the places on our website where you can find more resources and recipes and information about the shoots (microgreens) you’ll be getting.

Microgreens are very high in nutrients and antioxidants, as well as high in flavour! We grow a number of different types at the farm, here’s a list with links to specific info about each one, including some recipes! (from our website’s “Veggie Guide“):

Pea Shoots | Buckwheat Shoots | Broccoli Shoots | Fava Bean Shoots | Popcorn Shoots | Radish Shoots | Spring Mix | Sunflower Shoots

Broccoli shoots are high in sulforaphane

FAQ: What do you do with them?

Shoots Salad, yummy yummy!

I get asked this all the time, the answer is simple: Eat them! We eat them with every meal in the winter. They are amazing with eggs, my favourite breakfast is a couple of fried eggs from our hens, topped with avocado, fresh shoots, and garlic hot sauce. They’re great on top of a soup or even mixed in – the other day I made pea soup but then discovered I was out of split peas so it was bean soup with pea shoots (and had more pea flavour than if I had used split peas!). We also make a lot of “whole foods bowls” around here, I made one recently with radish, broccoli, and chopped pea shoots as well as hummus, pickles, boiled egg, and chipotle-seasoned chicken. Of course, you can have them on any salad, they’re a great addition! In the winter I make coleslaw-style salads with heaps of fresh shoots as well as cabbage, carrots, kohlrabi, and any other root veggies I have on hand, even beets – these have great mouthfeel and crunch. Sometimes I simply include a handful of them beside our main course, they’re a burst of freshness and lightness!

FAQ: How long do they last?

If you keep them in the fridge completely covered, they last a REALLY long time. However, the nutrition content degrades with time, so I always say to eat them the sooner the better. We harvested them freshly for your order and so they will keep 2 weeks no problem. Generally, the smaller the shoot (with the exception of Buckwheat), the shorter it will last. I have a bag of Radish Shoots in our cooler for a trial to see how long they will keep, they’ve been there since Nov 4 and I would still eat them!

The biggest enemy of shoots is being too cold in your fridge, so if your fridge is prone to freezing make sure to keep them in a warmer spot. In most fridges the bottom or middle shelves are ok but not the top shelf (depends on your fridge AND how full it is). If they freeze they may look wet and slimy.

Another shoots enemy is moisture– so if you notice some condensation in the clamshell, open it up, fold a paper or cloth towel into it, and store them upside-down (so they shoots are sitting on the towel and it can absorb excess moisture). It’s inevitable that there will be some condensation in the container from temperature fluctuations in transit, so this step is likely important if you want them to keep!

A few other Tips from Teri:

  • I almost always chop my pea shoots before consuming them. I find they are hard to chew through otherwise. Most of the others are tender enough, but sometimes I chop them too anyway!
  • If you’re cooking them, use a light hand! When I add them to stir fries, I add them after it’s cooked on top. They’re very tender and will cook enough in hot food like soup.
  • Shoots are a nutritional powerhouse and so should be thought of as your winter greens rather than just a chef’s garnish. Shifting this perspective opens up opportunities for farmers like us to have some winter income!
  • It is very input-intensive to grow veggies in greenhouses in winter here in MB. It is just too cold and not enough sunlight (I’m not saying it’s not possible!). Our shoots are grown indoors in our pack shed without supplemental lighting, and even at that the “profit” is minimal — about $7/hr for our efforts, which doesn’t even include the overhead expenses like heating. We do it out of love for healthy food and a need in our own household for winter greens — plus we can’t see that heated space not have something growing in it! It’s helps offset some of our set expenses in the winter months. (For the record, $7/hr is high compared to our summer hourly income).
Your grower, Farmer Jon, in the shoots room in our shed packhouse!

Shoots versus Sprouts:

Some sprouts growing in my kitchen

This is a common point of confusion for people. “Shoots” and “Microgreens” are interchangeable terms… I get tired of saying “microgreens” all the time, and that comes with some baggage like they are something only chefs use, or too fancy for the average person. However SPROUTS are different. Think Alfalfa Sprouts – those curly whirl yummy crunchy things you’ve probably had. Those are grown in water by rinsing them multiple times a day. Shoots are grown in a soil medium and then harvested (cut). They are both very healthy and good for you, but Sprouts are considered a high risk food and so have stricter regulations regarding growing and selling them. In the past on another farm we grew sprouts in an approved commercial kitchen with a sanitation regime. Pregnant women and immunocompromised folks can consume microgreens without concern, but I know sprouts are a potential source of foodborne illness and so not recommended. (Obviously always weigh your health practitioner’s advice heavier than your farmers, so long as they know what you’re talking about, shoots not sprouts!).

I grow sprouts for our household consumption and I have a Sprouts Grow Guide on my Instagram Stories Highlights – there’s also one for Shoots if you like, and I’m happy to answer any questions you may have if you want to try growing some at home yourself!

On that note, I *try* to post lots of info about Shoots on our Facebook and Instagram (I prefer Insta and post more on there) so make sure you follow us on there for more shoots info, photos, and recipes!

Some Pea Shoots Recipes we love (and you can sub other shoots in many of these recipes!):
Pea Shoot Salad with Fresh Lemon Vinaigrette
Sesame Stir Fried Pea Shoots
Pea Shoot Soup
Pea Shoot Pesto
Pea Shoot Green Goddess Salad Dressing
Pea Shoot Risotto
Pea Shoot Garlicky Mayonnaise
Pea Shoot Green Smoothie
Pea Shoot & Ginger Grilled Carrot Salad

Finally, I just want to say Welcome to the Shoots Club, and we really hope you enjoy them! Connecting with the community we grow food for is important to me, so please don’t hesitate to reach out! I am best reached via email to sales@brownsugarproduce.com but you can send me messages on Instagram as well (winter only!). My cell is (204) 901-2800 but we barely have service here so email is preferred.

I like to say “we grow food for people” when asked what I do for a living. The “people” part being the key. That’s you! Thank you for supporting what we do and don’t hesitate to reach out!

Love from us!

-Teri, Jon, and Myrah Jenkins

Veggie Lovers Club Week 22&23 Newsletter

Hi Veggie Lovers!

Kicking Assparagus Crew pickup these bag contents Dec 8.

Here’s the link to the Pre-Order Form if you’d like to place an order.

Spoiler Alert: If you would like to keep your bag contents a surprise, you’d better STOP READING NOW!!

Week 20&21 bag contents

Your Week 22&23 Veggie Lovers’ Club bag contains:

Spaghetti Squash, 1 large
Shoots, Radish, 1/4 lb
Shallots, 3/4 lb
Onions, 2 lbs
Delicata Squash, 1
Carrots, 2 lbs Rainbow
Beets, 2 lbs Red

Don’t forget to bookmark our online Veggie Guide so all the veggie info is at your fingertips!

About your Veggies & Farm Update:

Please note: the shoots this week are different than what was given last week – bi-weekly is confusing! So everyone is getting a large bag of radish shoots.

Store your squash, onions, and shallots at room temperature, and your carrots, shoots, and beets in the fridge!

This is it for the Rainbow Carrots for this year. We are moving away from growing them as storage crops because all of the cultivars of that type are Imperator, ie the giant club carrots that we shouldn’t grow because of our clay soil (they are murderous to get out– it’s hard to put love into something that is breaking your back and wearing out your elbow joints!). The “rainbow” variety (the majority of our rainbow carrots, colour variation from white to orange) is a cross between Nantes/Imperator but still gets huge. Our regular carrots are Nantes Half Long: Nantes are the only carrots worth eating in my opinion! Colours are cool but taste is weighted more in my world! We will still grow the rainbow next year for baby bunches.

Next year Janelle will be growing in her own field near Plumas, which has a completely different soil type, so that will be interesting! She’s also getting married next year, she and Eric got engaged a few weeks ago! We’ve been getting together weekly on FaceTime to work on our seed orders and planning, as we will still be working together for some of the marketing. We don’t know what that looks like next year and won’t until closer to the time, but I imagine it will be similar to what we did this year. She will also have a CSA in Plumas so if you know anyone around there, let them know!

This is also the last of the Spaghetti Squash. And to them I say, Good Riddance! (Not a fan!! I think I forced us to eat one this year lol).

We’ve got some onions coming at you the final week of pickup as well. Generally, we’re pretty well scraping the bottom of the barrel at this point and don’t have too much left. We do have lots of carrots, including the green top ones which are priced very cheaply considering how little quality issue there is. Some Delicata and Celebration Acorn Squash. Pickles, Salad Dressing, Maple Syrup, Honey. And Shoots!

Man, I could eat Delicata Squash “smiles” (or fries) every day! I love them as a side dish with our meal or as a salad topping. Laryssa made a great salad with pomegranate seeds and Delicata Squash last time I was over for lunch (a long time ago!).

The small shallots are a great sub when you need something onion-y but don’t want to cut a big onion and have to store the balance in the fridge. You can also roast them whole. Next year we’re growing less of these and more of the really big purple ones that you got earlier in the season. I’m obsessed with them, they are so delicious!!

If you are stuck home waiting for test results, or because of illness with any member of your household, or travel outside MB, please do not attend the pickup. I am happy to deliver bags if need be. Transparency and honesty is the only way we’ll get through this together. There is no shame in following public health protocols, and I LOVE to help out so if I can help you stay home when you need to, great! (I can seriously also bring you some essentials from the store if you need them. Don’t hesitate to ask for help!).

Veggie Lover Pick of the Week

The McMillan fam!

Meet Jenn McMillan
Who else is in your household of veggie lovin’ eaters? My husband Zack and daughter Paxton
Veggie Lover Since: hmmmm… 2017? I actually can’t remember! Hellp Teri 🙂
Do you go for “surprise me” with the VLC bag or do you look ahead when Teri announces the weekly contents? I always look ahead so that I can order extra veggies haha!
Veggie that excites you the most: It changes with the seasons but right now it is definitely squash but Teri has converted me and the celeriac is a close 2nd.
Favourite Recipe: Chicken Pot Pie Soup is a favourite in our house right now (https://kaynutrition.com/chicken-pot-pie-soup/). 
What is the last food pic you took on your phone? A hot chocolate smoothie (a recipe from a friend!)
Describe your perfect pizza: Chex Angela pizza dough, pesto + tomato paste as sauce, prosciutto, local sausage, peppers, mushrooms and some cheese! Yum! 
Current fave song to cook to: Anything on a holiday playlist! I am a sucker for carols new and old. 
Happiness is to me: Enjoying the simple things in life with my family (and not letting my to-do lists get the best of me).

Visiting Baba’s garden, summer 2020

Teri’s note: Jenn & Zack own Rocked Community Fitness in Brandon, and they have been posting daily workouts since the beginning of the pandemic. Daily movement and focus on healthy habits really helps me, so if you are looking for something like this I highly recommend. They also have a podcast, “Stronger, Healthier, Happier: Create the Life you were intended to live” that I *just* found out about and I plan on listening to on my drive in today (I found it in Apple Podcasts). There is a community spirit to everything they do, and they are a dream team when it comes to getting stuff done. This fall they moved locations of their business, ON SCHEDULE, only to be shut down a few days later due to code red restrictions. I greatly admire these two and encourage you to look up their home workouts or podcast, and follow them on Instagram @rockedcommunityfitness or Facebook.

Farm Update: We recently announced that we are taking our regular farm vacation this year during Christmas and January. Between the shoots we are growing for your bags plus the volume for sale in Chez Angela, we have been kept busier than we want to be at this time of year. The rescheduling the last week of November was my final straw– I’m tired of communicating and rescheduling and all those logistics. The mental and emotional burden was a lot higher this year, as well as the physical one (extra lugging around tables, physical distancing supplies and sanitizer and masks and whatnot). Jon spends around 3 hours a day in the shoots room and I spend 6 – 8 hours a week delivering shoots and washing trays. We’re tired, and why else do you run your own business if not so that you can call the shots and take a break when you need it?

So, 2 more weeks of work for us and then we’ll snuggle in at home and rarely leave the farm for 5 weeks. I look forward to it so much! I actually really don’t enjoy going into town these days: Seeing you is the bright spot of it all though!!

I haven’t decided if we’ll run a Spring Shoots Program this year or not– I’m leaning towards not at this point, because I think it may just be easier to resume stocking the retail cooler at Chez Angela once we’re back at it in February. That way if there’s any disruption it’s not such a big deal. But I’ll keep you posted for sure!

That’s all for today folks! See you at the pickup tonight from 4 – 6 pm. So grateful for these relatively mild temps and good roads we’ve had this fall!

Take care and see you soon!

Teri 🙂

You’re Invited: Teri’s (online) Birthday BBQ!

April 26 Bastid’s BBQ in our greenhouse, with cookies!

Who needs something to look forward to??

I haven’t had to try very hard on this point this year because we joined Skratch Bastid’s Top Grillin’ VIP members club and have been enjoying monthly online zooms as part of his crew.

These monthly events have helped me immensely this year. It’s something to look forward to, a space for us to dance, connect with others, release emotions and to be a part of something. To share music with other fans and the man himself, Skratch Bastid. I’m a big fan!

So, for my birthday this year (turning 36 on Dec 3!), we welcome you to join us at the monthly online Bastid’s BBQ! **UPDATE: It is happening Sunday November 22nd from 2 – 5 pm (MB time, 3 – 6 pm EST Toronto time… and he often goes long, last month was 6.5 hours and we tapped out by hour 5!).

I am not hosting or organizing this event, so please keep that in mind! We also don’t have a great signal for live streaming and so we usually have to have everything else on airplane mode and only the video going in order to get things to work– so, what I’m saying is, We will likely be out of communication the whole time, but we’ll hopefully be present and enjoying the show! It would make my b-day to see some more familiar faces in the zoom room!

Our kiddo loves to participate in the dancing (and LBH she hears colorful language regularly!), but you may want to consider not having your kids present if that sort of thing isn’t your bag!

There are a couple of options for participation:

  1. Watch – and probably see us featured on the live video, definitely dancing it up with balloons and eating tasty BBQ. Available on all platforms (YouTube/Facebook/Insta, but recommend using Twitch!).
  2. Participate – Pay $10 USD and you can join the zoom room and see the live stream zoom participants the whole time (provided our internet works that day). There are also usually great music-related prize draws, too! & you don’t need to have your camera on if you don’t feel comfortable… but I highly recommend embracing that discomfort as we have: it is worth it for the REAL connection! (Make sure you go to “Manage Account > Subscriptions” after and turn off auto-renew if you only want to attend this month, otherwise you’ll be billed monthly!)
  3. Donate – Consider supporting Skratch Bastid, or any artist that YOU love with a donation. We all know it’s been a very hard year for those in the arts world who traditionally rely on in-person connection at shows to practice their craft. Kudos to Bastid for figuring out a way to keep the vibe going online, it’s been an anchor for us this year! His garlic hot sauce is my favourite, and there are a lot of great mixes available in his online store, too.
Teri, Skratch Bastid (Paul Murphy) and Jon at Bastid’s BBQ Winnipeg 2019. The BEST time!!

I hope you are doing well and finding ways to add joy and connection to your life through this difficult time. I find that this monthly event really helps me. I’ve also enjoyed doing home yoga with Nicole Barclay’s videos on YouTube here.

Regardless of whether you participate in my birthday, I hope you are doing well and taking care of yourself and those you love!

-Much love, xo Teri 🙂

Week 20 & 21 Veggie Lovers’ Club Newsletter

Hi Veggie Lovers!

Important Update Nov. 11: With the increased restrictions in our province, we have decided to shift to BI-WEEKLY PICKUPs. Please see the email you received last Wednesday Nov 11 for more info on this.

Another update Nov 23: I had a slight fever this morning and was rejected at the dentist’s office so had to get tested and we are now awaiting test results and isolating at home. This week’s pickup has been rescheduled to Tuesday December 1 – I will keep you posted if that changes at all!

Kicking Assparagus Crew will pick up Nov 24,DEC 1, Dec 8, Dec 22.

Here’s the link to the Pre-Order Form if you’d like to place an order.

Spoiler Alert: If you would like to keep your bag contents a surprise, you’d better STOP READING NOW!!

Your Week 20 & 21 Veggie Lovers’ Club bag contains:

Last week’s bag!

Cabbage, 1 medium
Pea Shoots, double portion (Nov. 17 – 0.5 lb) Buckwheat Shoots, double portion (Nov 24) – (moving forward you’ll get 2 different types instead of different double portions but we can’t adjust that until Dec)
Honeynut Squash, 4 small ones
Frozen Baby Dill, small bag
Garlic, 1 large head
Leeks, 1/2 lb bunch
Carrots, 3 lbs
Celeriac, 1 XL
Beets, Pink, 4 lbs (mostly large beets!)

Kicking Assparagus Crew pick this up Tuesday Nov 24 Tuesday December 1

Team Laughing Stalks also have a pickup that day, the contents will be posted in the next blog post, Week 22&23

Don’t forget to bookmark our online Veggie Guide so all the veggie info is at your fingertips!

About your Veggies:

Below I’ve included a blog post from the archives about storing veggies, which is super relevant for right now!

For your bag contents this week, you’ll want to store the leeks, celeriac, cabbage, carrots, beets, and pea shoots in a bag or container in the fridge, completely covered (sometimes I need to use 2 bags to cover the leeks!). The dill goes in the freezer until you’re ready to use it, and the garlic can hang out in a room temperature place (cold causes it to sprout).

We’ve been enjoying chopped salads with shoots, which Jon noted “have great mouthfeel”. I chop a mixture of cabbage, carrots, kohlrabi, celery, celeriac, green peppers and keep it in the fridge for a few days, and then add chopped shoots as well as salad add-ins like nuts, seeds, dried fruit, dehydrated veggies like kale chips, and our favourite dressing.

We also tried this great Beetroot Masala Dahl recipe last weekend and loved it. I’m not a fan of beets, so that’s really saying something!

Don’t forget to post what you’re making to Facebook or Instagram and tag me to be entered into our draw at the end of the program!

I am looking to hire someone to create a new website for us this winter. I have decided that I am not up to the task and would like to find someone within our membership to help me with this process, if possible! Let me know if you have this skill set and would like to help!

My general feeling is that almost everyone is completely overwhelmed with something or another right now, so I’m going to keep this short! (also skipping the “Veggie Lover Pick of the Week” due to nobody replying, which tells me it’s time for that to be done!). BUT — please don’t hesitate to reach out, even if you just need someone to talk to or share a laugh with. We’re doing well and we are so happy that we are able to keep the storage veggies and fresh shoots flowing into your households safely during this time! Please be in touch if you need any special accommodation, including contact-less home delivery – I care deeply about this community and I’m happy to go above and beyond to keep everyone safe!

From the BSP Archives: Storage Tips for Fall Veggies!

This is such a great topic for this time of year! Thanks to member Jane for suggesting that I revisit this topic right now. It’s extra relevant as we move to bi-weekly pickups and you have more veggies less often.

Also, just so you’re aware, we have a Veggie Guide on our website, where you can look up more specific storage recommendations for each different vegetable.  I have kept things simple and not talked too much about humidity or specific temperature because I realize most of you have option (a) fridge and (b) no fridge, but here’s a handy guide with more info if you’re really into this topic!

Storing your farm veggies at home!

Rule #1: In the fridge, in a bag or container to keep the air out! If you notice there is condensation inside the bag, it may help to poke a couple of holes in the bag which will help regulate humidity, or insert a paper towel (a great technique for shoots or microgreens).
Remember, your fridge is designed to keep things cold and to reduce humidity: it is basically a big cold dehydrator. If you stick veggies in there without protection, they will wilt very quickly!

Kale is one of the veggies that benefits from crisping

If Rule #1 fails, try Crisping:
When veggies wilt, they have become dehydrated. A simple rinse in tepid/lukewarm water (which helps to open the pores of the veggies and allow them to take on more water) allow to dry a bit, and then into a plastic bag/container/beeswax wrapper in the fridge for a few hours will work wonders on your veggies and often bring them completely back to life! This is called “crisping”, and is a technique used by farmers and produce retailers alike to keep veggies, especially greens, looking great. 

Rule #2: Some like it warm!

  • Squash: Warm & dry. If you store squash in the fridge or in a cold storage/high humidity environment, it will rot! Keep it in the house at 10 degrees or warmer. (10 is ideal, but warmer is preferable to cooler).
  • Cured Onions and Shallots: “Cured” means with dry skins as opposed to a fresh onion without the protective skin. They don’t need the cold and should/can be stored in a warmer environment.
  • Tomatoes: The fridge spoils the texture and flavour of tomatoes, they don’t go in the fridge!
  • Cured Garlic: Cold signals to garlic, “Hey! It’s spring, time to sprout!”, so it’ll make your garlic grow sprouts! A garlic keeper is great for garlic, mine is pottery and has a few holes in it and lives on my counter, you can pick them up nearly everywhere these days, but if you don’t have one a dish out of the sun will work just fine!
  • Potatoes don’t necessarily prefer being out of the fridge, I think they are traditionally kept out of the fridge because of space being limited.  If your fridge space is limited, cured (skins set) potatoes will keep just fine out of the fridge in a dark, cool place.

Rule #3: Beware Ethylene Producers and Ethylene-sensitive crops!
Ripe fruits like tomatoes, bananas, and avocadoes produce ethylene naturally. If you want to speed up the ripening process of tomatoes, you can place them in a paper bag with a ripe fruit. Some crops, like onions, potatoes, and carrots, are damaged by ethylene. Keep them away from each other! Probably the amount of ethylene you are producing in your kitchen having a couple of ripe things on the counter isn’t anything to worry about, but you definitely don’t want to store your ethylene-producing apples with your potatoes and carrots. Ever noticed fruits like apples and pears rot really quickly when they’re around ripe bananas? Ethylene is the reason!

Washed or Unwashed?
Our long-term storage veggies are stored unwashed. We put in some effort to make sure our carrots are harvested at the right maturity because it drastically improves their storage capacity. The lesson I learned the year we tried to store some baby carrots in the fall: They weren’t finished growing, so they grew white hairs all over and the tops regrew, which meant each one had to be scrubbed & trimmed, which is more effort than I’m willing to put in! Our storage carrots keep very well in our storage room all winter long with minimal sprouting, and we hope to have carrots year-round this year (we have always sold out in the past).
If I could, I would store all of our short-term veggies washed, as we don’t have a root washer at the farm and so when it gets too cold to use the hose and sprayer we are stuck washing at a sink. Each year we make some improvements and that one just hasn’t been able to happen yet, mainly because the small scale equipment isn’t super accessible, but also because we haven’t connected the water to our shed yet (long story). Washed veggies will keep for a few months in the fridge no problem, if you’re wanting longer term storage than that then I recommend you order your veggies unwashed (or if you want to save us some time: I give CSA members a discount when they take unwashed produce).

Thanks for being part of our Veggie Lovers Club, pandemic edition. Say what you will, it will be an unforgettable year, that’s for sure!

Take care, stay home, stay safe and don’t forget to do what you need to do to look after your mental health! See you at the pickup!

–Teri 🙂

Week 19 Veggie Lovers Club Newsletter

Hi Veggie Lovers!

Pickup is on for:

  • Tuesday November 10th from 4:00 – 6:00 pm at Stanley Park in Brandon (14th Street between Princess Ave. and Lorne Ave.)

COVID-19 protocols: We continue to be diligent about sanitation at the pickup and as we are getting your veggies ready. If you are experiencing any symptoms or have been exposed to a positive case or are awaiting test results or self-isolating/quarantining for any reason, please do not attend the pickup. We are happy to figure out a workable solution.

In storage veggie season (read: now!) we can also quite easily shuffle pickups around with advance notice. So, say for example, you only plan to come to town once every two weeks – we can make that work. Keep us posted if you want to do this or a similar option!

Weather, Pandemic, and Illness/Emergency are 3 things that we keep space for as far as rescheduling pickups: Please don’t hesitate to be in touch if you can’t make it to a pickup for any of these reasons (or really, for any reason at this point — We are down to 40 members and due to the climate right now I’m at maximum accommodation level!) We care about making sure that our community and pickups are safe for all involved. Thank you for doing your part!

Spoiler Alert: If you would like to keep your bag contents a surprise, you’d better STOP READING NOW!!

Your Week 19 Veggie Lovers’ Club bag contains:

Radish Shoots, small bag
Beets, (Red) 2 lbs
Potatoes, 2 lbs (Tri color Mix: Mostly all red, but also some Russian Blue and Charlotte varieties)
Onions, 3 lbs
Frozen Spinach, 1/2 lb

Don’t forget to bookmark our online Veggie Guide so all the veggie info is at your fingertips!

About your Veggies:

You’re scheduled to get another 5 more lbs of onions (2 lb and 3 lb) before the end of the program, and they will store very well in a dry warm place (they like room temperature over somewhere cool!). I held back onions from market in the summer when there was a food safety scare with imported onions: I don’t care for stormy weather friends who only pop up in a crisis. Now that we’re near the end of the crop I’m very glad for it and I hope you are too!

Jon noted that the potatoes are beautiful! I thought we got them all the first time we gave tri-color fingerlings, but I was wrong and we had enough harvest to do them again this week. You’ll get some of Mom’s Russet Potatoes at the final pickup, but no others likely as we grow very little. You were supposed to get cabbage this week but I needed to count it, so you’ll get that next week and again a second time before the end of the program: we are otherwise sold out.

This was probably the last week of washing veggies (beets, potatoes) outside thanks to the beautiful weather! Otherwise we wash indoors beside our kitchen sink. There’s 4 bags of carrots with my name on them ready for Wednesday! I also clean the trays from shoots production: I’m multi-talented like that! (But seriously, a large part of the work becomes washing stuff in the winter. We just got a long laundry wash tub that the trays fit in which is sweet!).

Do you ever make smoothies? I was thinking this week’s contents looks like my smoothie ingredients. We used to have them more often but then I realized it’s too much fibre for me… And I lost Myrah’s trust by making them too vegetable-y. Here’s a recipe for a Beet & Spinach Smoothie which looks like it’s got enough fruit to taste good!: Spinach Beet Smoothie

I use frozen spinach in all sorts of soups and stews and curries over the winter. Palak Paneer is one of our favourite dishes and we have it regularly: Here’s the recipe I use: Palak Paneer Recipe

On the farm…

Last week Jon and I finished setting the posts for the greenhouse that we’re covering next spring, in the last little sunny warm bit of the season probably. I really enjoyed learning how to mix and work with concrete, and we were really glad to get that job done as we thought we may have run out of time this year!

Jon also moved the chicken coop last week. We had a couple losses the week before, so decided that it was lockdown time for them. Three years in a row on November 24th we’ve had a mink arrive on the farm, so I am glad we are well ahead of that this year! The main portable coop is insulated and weasel-proof (we’ve never had a weasel, but they are the worst chicken predator, can fit in holes the size of a hot dog and will slaughter the entire flock in a matter of a few hours). Mink and weasels are in the same family, as are skunks, river otters, wolverines and badgers: Myrah and I signed out a book from the library about mustelids after seeing a skunk once on the way there! (The reason weasels kill everything is because they basically have to eat constantly to stay alive, so when they find a big stash of food they go for it, even if their eyes are bigger than their stomachs!)

Anyway… the hens and eggs will be safe and warm in this coop, and during the day it can be opened and they access a tunnel and also the old coop (around 10 x 10′ and with a man door, so we can visit them!). No more free ranging until next spring so we can secure on-farm egg production all winter!

Our Shoots for sale in Chez Angela has been going really well, which is really exciting to me! In the past we stocked small bags of individual types with little uptake. The size and packaging makes a difference and we have found that a 1/2 lb assortment in a clamshell has been really well received! Generally we like to run programs for these things to ensure that we have sales for all of our harvest, but we’ve been increasing production steadily twice a week for over a month now and they’re still selling out between deliveries! It means we have enough going on in the shoots production area that it’s actually making an impact on our winter income and our time. Jon spends about 2-3 hours a day looking after shoots and harvesting and seeding. I spend 3 – 5 hours a week cleaning trays. We’ve just gotten in shipments of all of our local seed in large volumes and so we’re all set to rock with this for the coming months. (You know, if it works out, which is the disclaimer on everything these days!).

Thanks for continuing to support our farm as we move into the later part of the season! Tuesdays truly refresh me, the Nov. 3 pickup in particular was filled with a ton of great conversation and catch ups with all of you. I love when there’s a bit more space to chat at the pickups, and I’m grateful for those of you who take the time to honor our relationship by sharing what’s been going on in your lives. This year some of you have welcomed new babies, battled cancer, learned how to teach remotely, lost loved ones and fur babies, started new jobs, decided to move away, grown your own gardens, moved a business, bought (and sold) a home, supported loved ones in hospital or care homes, experienced flooding, had friends or loved ones move away, become home schoolers, been brave on the front lines. The common theme is that we have all ADAPTED, despite what life threw us this year. Hearing your stories and your perspectives keeps me able to continue putting one foot in front of the other and see the positives of our community. I think we are all facing a lot more stress and challenges than ever before, and I’m proud of each and every one of us for doing what we need to to get through it. You are all braver than you know, I love and respect you very much!

If you aren’t able to chat at the pickups, you can always send me an email to catch up, I’m happy to hear from you anytime, but especially now!

Talk soon!

Teri 🙂

Week 18 Veggie Lovers Club Newsletter

Hi Veggie Lovers!

Pickup is on for:

  • Tuesday November 3rd from 4:00 – 6:00 pm at Stanley Park in Brandon (14th Street between Princess Ave. and Lorne Ave. *Please avoid parking on the East side of 14th Street whenever possible to allow space for residents*)

COVID-19 protocols: We continue to be diligent about sanitation at the pickup and as we are getting your veggies ready. If you are experiencing any symptoms or have been exposed to a positive case or are awaiting test results or self-isolating/quarantining for any reason, please do not attend the pickup. We are happy to figure out a workable solution.

In storage veggie season (read: now!) we can also quite easily shuffle pickups around with advance notice. So, say for example, you only plan to come to town once every two weeks – we can make that work. Keep us posted if you want to do this or a similar option!

Weather, Pandemic, and Illness/Emergency are 3 things that we keep space for as far as rescheduling pickups: Please don’t hesitate to be in touch if you can’t make it to a pickup for any of these reasons (or really, for any reason at this point — We are down to 40 members and due to the climate right now I’m at maximum accommodation level!) We care about making sure that our community and pickups are safe for all involved. Thank you for doing your part!

Spoiler Alert: If you would like to keep your bag contents a surprise, you’d better STOP READING NOW!!

Your Week 18 Veggie Lovers’ Club bag contains:

Last Week’s Bag

Spring Salad Micro Mix Shoots, small bag
Carrots, 2 lbs
Honey Boat Delicata Squash, 2
Shallots, 3/4 lb
Watermelon Radish, 1 – 2

Don’t forget to bookmark our online Veggie Guide so all the veggie info is at your fingertips!

Olivia the Brave Fundraiser

In memory of Olivia Baessler, daughter of our long time CSA members Crystal Malchuk and John Baessler. We were devastated to hear of this family’s loss and so I wanted to share the information for the fundraiser that has been created in Olivia’s memory.

Olivia the Brave Fundraiser store: https://olivia-the-brave.itemorder.com/sale
or donate directly via http://www.goodbear.ca/olivia

From the fundraiser website: On Thursday October 22, 2020 our precious Miss Olivia, only weeks away from her 5th birthday, passed away suddenly. In Olivia’s short life she accomplished so many incredible things that have deeply impacted anyone that knew her, her family and hundreds of families across Canada. The Olivia The Brave fundraiser was started to honor her beautiful spirit, provide support to her family in this time of need and give back through the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba to a special hospital, the Children’s Hospital of Winnipeg, that need specialized medical equipment to help other children like Olivia. With your support, 100% of all profits will be donated to the family and the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba. The store provides many clothing options to consider, including a few greens, which was Olivia’s favorite color.

About your Veggies:

“Honey Boat” Delicata! “Honey Boat” is the variety of Delicata that you are getting this week. It is supposed to be the best tasting Delicata and was developed by a breeder in Oregon State (we grew both this year so how to tell the difference is that the Honey Boat has a more dark color and bolder stripes, the regular one is light yellow and tends to be less fat). We’re sending you two because then you have enough for a larger dish, like this Delicata Squash Blossom Recipe. Everyone reports back that they LOVE the Delicata Squash, I’m so glad because they are our favourite as well!

Roast slices on an oiled sheet pan at 400F for 20 minutes (no flipping required, but you can if you want!)

Oh, Shallots, how I love them!! I have a few recipes/food prep items that I keep on hand most times in the pantry or fridge — eg Spicy Honey Vinaigrette dressing, homemade granola, homemade mayo, cooked pumpkin, turmeric rice, roasted beets, and now: Caramelized Shallots has been added to that roster! No recipe, just cook shallots in butter at a low temp until they are dark golden, sticky, and mind-blowing! I see the difference between shallots and onions clearly, there’s a little somethin’-somethin’ in shallots that makes them particularly delicious in this application. They taste GREAT with all the fall flavours right now too, squash and caramelized shallots is a favourite!

For more great whole food tips, make sure to follow my friend Buffy at @livingsimplymb on Instagram!

You’re getting a Watermelon Radish or two this week – they are mild and red on the inside! I like to include a few raw veggies in our lunchtime whole food bowls, or beside our meal. At this time of year it’s usually a pile of shoots or sprouts with a couple of veggie sticks. Watermelon Radish are also great added to roasted root veggies. In the summer my answer to “easy supper” is salad and in the winter it’s sheet pan bake!

“Spring Salad Micro Mix” is a blend of Broccoli, Radish, Clover, and Alfalfa Shoots. They are a mix we buy from Mumm’s Sprouting in SK. They are difficult to grow and likely Jon’s least favourite, however he told me yesterday that they turned out great this time and he was really happy about it!

A reminder about our Chopped CSA Challenge – Create something using at least 4 of the bag ingredients & share a photo of it with me for TWO entries into our gift bag draw at the end of the program! (Check out my submission from last week here!). I’ll be giving an entry to anyone who shares a photo of something they’ve made, as well as for being Veggie Lover Pick of the Week (past features will all be entered, too!), and basically any kind of outreach effort that you make to connect with us over our veggies right now! #stayhome #andcook #together !!

Farm Update:

The hens moved to level red lockdown this weekend, as we suffered 2 losses recently. We keep hens for eggs for our household and Mom’s household. This year I ordered point-of-lay (ie 5 month old) birds from Berg’s Hatchery in Russell. I wanted to make sure that we had a worthwhile flock going into the winter, and I knew that we would suffer some losses because the birds free-ranged all over the farm all summer, so I ordered 15 because I wanted to have 10 overwinter. We lost 2 right away, 1 to a friend’s dog, and then another 2 in the last week. Now that we’re down to 10 and it appears the local wildlife is ready for an easy meal, they won’t be allowed to free-range anymore until next summer. However they have a nice big insulated coop which is more than big enough, especially when we connect it to the old coop in the barn as Jon plans to this week.

(As far as what happened to the hens, it could be anything ranging from owls to coyote to mink. The girls range far this time of year and are often far in the bush and we have no idea where. They always come back at night, or they don’t! Harper is not really employed in the defense of hens and Slick Rick the Rooster can’t get out of the fence, so they are pretty much sitting ducks if something hungry comes along. It’s expected that we’d stop them free ranging at this point in the season, so not a big deal.)

Myrah had a great Halloween, complete with dressing up like a Princess, pumpkin carving, candy, and trick or treating. We stayed home but it was a lot of fun!

Veggie Lover Pick of the Week!

Meet Sharla Dillabough!

Who else is in your household of veggie lovin’ eaters?
My husband Josh (he’s the cook!)

Veggie Lover Since:
2018? Goodness I don’t remember! It’s been a few years.

Do you go for “surprise me” with the VLC bag or do you look ahead when Teri announces the weekly contents?
I always read ahead, I think I’m too much of a planner to not look ahead. Patience has never been my strongest suit.

Veggie that excites you the most:
Golden beets, delicata squash, popcorn shoots

Favourite Recipe:
Lately we are trying ‘butter duck’ in the insta pot. It’s an adaptation of butter chicken, but with some tweaks that include duck from the hunter and cook of our household. Last time we made it with Brown Sugar Produce tomatoes and onions. It was very good!

What is the last food pic you took on your phone?
Josh is the cook, and also the photographer when it comes to food in our household. I am terrible at keeping pictures of our creations.
I had to go way back to February in my phone to find one, back to Ecuador when we could travel (sigh) for food pics. Even then, my last ‘food pic’ consists of two frothy glasses of margaritas. I’m not sure this counts?
Prior to that I have freshly grilled coconut fish from our Ecuador trip. Delicious!

Describe your perfect pizza:
Gluten free thin crust with pesto sauce, grilled chicken, black olives, sundried tomatoes, spinach and feta

Current fave song to cook to:
Atlas by The Dip

Happiness is to me:
Summertime. Or Popcorn.
Must I choose just one?

Week 17 Veggie Lovers Club Newsletter

Hi Veggie Lovers!

Pickup is on for:

  • Tuesday October 27th from 4:00 – 6:00 pm at Stanley Park in Brandon (14th Street between Princess Ave. and Lorne Ave. *Please avoid parking on the East side of 14th Street whenever possible to allow space for residents*)

If at any time this fall/winter the weather prevents you from making it to the pickup, please send us an email and we’re happy to reschedule your pickup. Bags can be deferred to another week or often another day later in the week when I’m in town again, or occasionally delivered when it works.

Same with COVID-19: if you are experiencing symptoms or have been exposed to a positive case or are awaiting test results or self-isolating for any reason, please do not attend the pickup. We are happy to figure out a workable solution.

Weather, Pandemic, and Illness/Emergency are 3 things that we keep space for as far as rescheduling pickups: Please don’t hesitate to be in touch if you can’t make it to a pickup for any of these reasons. We care about making sure that our community and pickups are safe for all involved. Thank you for doing your part!

Spoiler Alert: If you would like to keep your bag contents a surprise, you’d better STOP READING NOW!!

Your Week 17 Veggie Lovers’ Club bag contains:

Last week’s bag!

Broccoli Shoots, small bag
Cabbage, 1 small
Celeriac, 1
Tomatoes, 2 lbs
Celebration Acorn Squash, 1
Onions, 2 lbs

Don’t forget to bookmark our online Veggie Guide so all the veggie info is at your fingertips!

About your Veggies:

We’re really happy with the Celebration Acorn Squash and will definitely be growing it again next year! I wanted to share this photo that member Kyla sent me after she ordered 60 lbs of squash last week. I mentioned that I like to keep mine on top of the cupboards, where it’s warm and dry and you have an easy visual if any are rotting, and she thought that was the best idea and so arranged hers on top of her cupboards too! Beautiful!! It makes me so happy to know that our squash will be both enjoyed visually and nutritionally for some time to come in Kyla and Joel’s house!

Kyla’s Squash

Last year when Chez Angela started taking some of our Onions for their cafe, the staff noted their strength: They make everyone in the back room cry! I love the hilarious image of everyone in the bake shop being “onioned”. I must admit, I rarely buy any produce and it causes me to be out of the loop with what store bought quality is like. Last winter when we were in California/Seattle/Calgary I remember being dismayed with the flavourless, spongy onions in the stores. (Also, I use a LOT of onion compared to regular people…. that and butter, we were always buying. And compost: I generate a lot of it! In the house, it’s 2 x 5 gallon pails a week– I cook from scratch nearly 100% of the time, and often start with less-than-perfect veggies. But it was really neat to uncover some things I didn’t know about myself on that trip: I am an onion-using, butter-loving, compost-generating being whose mental health immediately nosedives when she’s in a big city.)

(What was the point of that ramble?? Oh right, onions. Well, hopefully a story about onions will suffice for today. Read: ours are firm and strong. That is good, but it might make you cry! But so might big cities.
Hahaha, well, at least I crack myself up!)

I know Celeriac is not a favourite for everyone. It is for me! Last night we had some sausages roasted along with sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, and cubed Celeriac. It’s not bad that way but can come out a bit soggy in a sheet pan bake with other veggies. I do think it’s best in a soup, or mixed in with mashed potatoes. It’s even good raw! I love the spicy-can’t-put-a-finger-on-it celery flavour of this veggie. In fact, I’ve been obsessed with celery since whomever shared that sesame celery salad recipe in the feedback survey… I’ve really been enjoying huge amounts of it diced up in a salad with a tangy sesame based dressing. I’ve been adding julienned Celeriac into my ‘slaws for a double layer of that flavour!

Here’s that salad recipe: Celery Salad with Cilantro and Sesame
and my favourite Thai Coleslaw Dressing Recipe

(WOOHOO I got two links to work!)

If you’re tired of fresh Tomatoes, know that this is likely the end of them, and they can be easily frozen. Just wait until they’re fully red and ripe and then stick ’em in the freezer! When you bring them out again for use in soups, stews, sauces, etc the skins will just slide off when you run them under cold water. (& Why does it matter? For a lot of things, it doesn’t matter if you leave the skins on or not, but they can have an unpleasant texture and add a sour flavour to your dish. I don’t bother taking the skins off in my salsa for home use, but I DO remove them (& seeds) in my tomato sauce recipes as it’s impossible to balance the flavours otherwise – always a weird sour undertone. Apparently you can dehydrate the skins and powder them and they make a really great tomato thickener condiment…. Sounds like too much work for me!)

Who wants to play Chopped??
Reta, who is a good friend and has been a member since before day 1, loves the show Chopped. The basic premise is that chefs are presented with a “black box” of unknown ingredients that they have to create a meal, appetizer, or dessert out of. Reta told me that she thinks of the red bags like a Chopped basket, and I often find myself thinking about it that way too.

This year I’m embracing starting where I am rather than never starting because it isn’t perfect: Recovering perfectionist here! So, we could wait until I come up with some elaborate way for us to move forward, or I could just challenge you now, to a Chopped CSA Challenge! The rules are being made up as we go, but I’m going to prepare an entry this week and I encourage you to as well. Let’s say that the creation must feature at least 4 of this week’s bag contents, or any week moving forward. Email me a photo of your creation and I’ll include it in next week’s newsletter and enter you in the draw!

What draw?? The draw we’re doing at the end of this program for a big sweet gift basket of Brown Sugar goodies. I hope you can participate and get your name in the draw! Some fun ways to connect this fall as we #stayhome together. ❤

I’ll also enter ballots for anyone who shares a recipe with a photo of something they’ve made with our produce, so don’t hesitate to share! I love seeing what you’re creating with our veggies!

Farm Update:

Last week we reviewed the results of our soil tests with Laryssa. In addition to being our friend and co-worker and colleague (and one of the very few people in my bubble!), she also has her Masters degree in Soil Science. She knows her stuff in the way that people who really know their stuff can teach it and explain it and remove all the jargon. I so appreciate that, soil science is cool but not what drives my passion, so it’s amazing that we have someone who can guide us through the results and offer some insight. Basically, our soils are very healthy though will require some additional nitrogen before next year’s production. We have high organic matter and our pH is consistent with MB soils. There has been improvement in our soil since we started growing here 5 years ago. That’s our greatest desire, that we are improving the land we steward, so it was really rewarding to see the improvement!

This week we start our planning for next year. We are doing the planning with Janelle this year and helping her decide how much seed to order and what to grow. The final decision will rest with her of course as next year she’ll be managing her own plot of land near Plumas, and sharing marketing with us. Meaning that you’ll probably receive some of Janelle’s veggies in your 2021 CSA! A multi-farm CSA was a goal of mine when we moved here 6 seasons ago, it’s so amazing to see it finally starting to come to fruition with Janelle, and also Laryssa, in our lives!

Veggie Lover Pick of the Week!

Meet John Combs & Patti Campbell!

Veggie Lover Since:
The Beginning!

Do you go for “surprise me” with the VLC bag or do you look ahead when Teri announces the weekly contents?
Always check what is in the bag so I know what to order on top of the bag contents. The challenge for us is always showing a little control on the extra ordering. The two of us manage to eat it all with a little help from freezing for the winter.

Veggie that excites you the most:

Favourite Recipe:
Roasted veggies or spaghetti sauce

What is the last food pic you took on your phone?
We typically would take pics of people eating good food.

Describe your perfect pizza:
Thin crust with bacon, green pepper, mushroom

Current fave song to cook to:
Ed Sheeran is presently Patti’s “go to” singer

Happiness is to me:
We are always the happiest when we can spend time wth our family. If we are able to be together on a beach in Mexico that is happiness plus.

Thanks so much for all that you do to support us. I know that picking up veggies in a frigid snow storm isn’t what most people do to get their food, which makes you all a little extra special! Looks like it won’t be snowing this week, hopefully! I just checked the forecast. Augh!!

Take care and see you later!

Teri 🙂

Week 16 Veggie Lovers Club Newsletter

Hi Veggie Lovers!

Pickup is on for:

  • Tuesday October 20th from 4:00 – 6:00 pm at Stanley Park in Brandon (14th Street between Princess Ave. and Lorne Ave. *Please avoid parking on the East side of 14th Street whenever possible to allow space for residents*)

Spoiler Alert: If you would like to keep your bag contents a surprise, you’d better STOP READING NOW!!

Last week’s bag!

Your Week 16 Veggie Lovers’ Club bag contains:

Sunflower Shoots, small bag
Sunshine Kabocha Squash, 1 large
Leeks, 1 lb bunch
Kale*, small bunch
Gold Beets, 2 lbs

*The kale may be a bit wilty due to the cold temps we’ve been having overnight. It’s still perfectly useable and as this was probably the last chance for us to get it, we decided to go for it!

Don’t forget to bookmark our online Veggie Guide so all the veggie info is at your fingertips!

About your Veggie & Farm Update:

Wow it’s been cold the past week overnight! It’s brought some crops to an end and encouraged us to collect the last few out of the field. Last week Jon got the rest of the cabbage and kohlrabi out, and we harvested kale for your bags this week. The lacinato (black) and red are less hardy than the green and so it’s green that you’re getting. It’s a bit wilty because it was hovering around zero yesterday when we harvested it, but it’s perfectly suitable for cooking, and will be the sweetest of the entire year after withstanding those cold temps!

When I realized we were sending Sunshine Kabocha Squash and Sunflower Shoots, I thought we’d continue the sunshine theme and send you some Gold Beets this week as well! Gold Beets are my favourite of all the beets, they are less earthy than red beets, and I used them to trick a beet-hating ex into eating “vegetable soup” (Borscht) for years! I also like them raw in salads, either grated or I use the vegetable peeler to make beet ribbons. Just make sure to do it right before you serve it, or toss them in some acid (lemon juice/ACV) to prevent oxidation/turning black.

Sunshine Kabocha, and specifically at this time of year, makes the best squash soup ever in my opinion! Peeling is optional, so you can really turn around a soup really quickly.

I often keep cooked squash in the fridge for pumpkin spice lattes at this time of year. My recipe is pretty weird but Janelle says they’re the best she’s ever had and we find the ones at coffee shops waaaaayyyy too sweet for our taste. I just blend (in the Vitamix) strong coffee with butter, cooked pumpkin or squash, honey, and pumpkin spice to taste (for me that’s like, 2 T butter and 4 T squash, 1 tsp spice and 1 T honey — I’ve never measured and it’s always drinkable!). Cooked squash only keeps a few days in the fridge so make sure you’re moving through it within about 3 days (before it gets slimy!). It’s also great to add into sauces as a thickener, or other things you are mashing (it makes a great alternative topping for shepherd’s pie!).

For an easier time getting into squash, member Lynne recommends the microwave for about 3 minutes!

Leeks!! Our leek crop struggled this year and we’ve had to hoard them for our fall members. There’s not even enough to do them a second time in this quantity, so please savour them!
The great thing about veggie growing is that we get to try again next year with almost everything!

Jon and Janelle got all the posts placed for our new greenhouse, and it seems like we’re probably stalled on progress for winter now, as we need 4 hours around 10 degrees to set the concrete properly. No big deal as we decided to delay covering it with plastic until the spring anyway. It used to be at Patmore’s and we purchased it when they closed. The other half of it was used to create the existing greenhouse on the South of our shed. Eventually we will use it for season extension, ie growing crops earlier in the spring, as the other house is for transplants and so has a gravel floor. This one will have a soil floor but only one layer of plastic (ie so a “coldframe” or “hoophouse” rather than a greenhouse).

On the home front: Jon and Myrah are currently struggling their way through the first donning of winter gear to go outside. It’s not going well. I’m glad to be “busy writing in my office” so I can avoid involvement! It’s going to be a looooonnnnnnggg winter. She saw one snowflake fall this morning and was basically outside waiting for enough to fall so she could make a snowman!

Seasonal business life means that we devote nearly 100% of our efforts towards the farm in the main growing season, and then have a proportionally large amount of free time in the winter. Most of it is necessary for recovery from the summer, so the fall always begins with some hibernation, followed by combing through the house and getting rid of all the excess junk and grime that accumulates all summer. For instance, my office: My desk is clean 100% of the time so I can work, but behind me is an increasingly treacherous pile of clothes that Myrah has outgrown, storage, abandoned sewing and knitting projects, etc. And the ceiling plaster fell down 20+ years ago and has been replaced with plastic and duct tape since: So, this room will finally get renovated this winter. In 2016 I did the hallway and guest bedroom and stairs, in 2017 we did Myrah’s room, in 2018 I did both bathrooms and the kitchen, and last year we went to California. 😛

So, some home improvements are in the plans for this winter and most winters. I’ve been hibernating pretty hard lately and reading lots of books because I really miss reading but don’t have any space for it in the summer. I’m the kind of person who gets totally consumed by a book and won’t put it down until it’s finished. Jon has started piano lessons and bought a keyboard for that purpose. I’ve been going to yoga in Souris on Monday nights and hope to go this winter whenever the roads are favorable. It’s important to add some of the important things in when the veggies slow down, after saying No to everything for months and months!

Veggie Lover Pick of the Week

Meet Jillian DeCosse!

Who else is in your household of veggie lovin’ eaters? My husband Mike Swim and our daughter Ruby. 

Veggie Lover Since: Forever!  I sure loved spending a few weeks at my grandparents’ in the summer since one of the best activities was helping Grandpa in the garden (mostly snacking on carrots with the dirt freshly rubbed off).  Then, one of my first 4-H projects was “Horticulture” and my parents let me take the lead on the garden that year.  When I moved back to Brandon after university, Mike and I began doing a little gardening of our own as well.  Can’t beat fresh garden tomatoes afterall!  As life has evolved, thank goodness we found Brown Sugar a few years ago, as we have a hard time investing as much time and effort into our own garden as it would truly need to thrive. 

Do you go for “surprise me” with the VLC bag or do you look ahead when Teri announces the weekly contents?  Definitely sneak a peak and if I’m on my game, I start brainstorming meal ideas from there. 

Veggie that excites you the most:  I am excited each week, and am thrilled mostly with variety.  Early summer salads with greens and radishes and garlic scapes topped with Teri’s spicy honey vinaigrette… then bring on the Hodge Podge with baby carrots, potatoes, peas, and beans (a childhood favourite for Mike having grown up in NS) … then toasted tomato and cucumber sandwiches, yum yum!!… then settling into sweater weather with roasted squash and beets and soups of all varieties!

Favourite Recipe: This is hard to narrow down.  Lately, I’ve been devouring roasted tomato soup… paired with grilled cheese of course!

What is the last food pic you took on your phone?  I have a 1 year old… and she seems to be the star of my camera roll these days.  I do have a pic of her standing on her learning tower at the island “helping” with supper prep though!

Describe your perfect pizza:  Ahhhh pizza – so versatile!  Woodfired thin crust and topped with something like salty proscuitto, tomatoes, and mushrooms… or the thick and densely topped pizza with lots of cheese and ALL the toppings (except pineapple…). 

Current fave song to cook to:  Lately I’ve had the Arkells Campfire Chords album on repeat. 

Happiness is to me: Exploring, hiking, outdoors, sunshine, family, friends, hugs, laughter, and delicious food. 

Veggie Lover Ruby enjoying the fall leaves!

Thanks so much for continuing into the fall with our veggies and helping to spread out our workload! Remember that you can find our Mixed Shoots clamshells for sale in Chez Angela and Lady of the Lake right now (last week they sold out very quickly so we are increasing production now!).

Thanks and see you later… With long johns on!!

Teri 🙂

Week 15 Veggie Lovers Club Newsletter

Hi Veggie Lovers!

Pickup is on for:

  • Tuesday October 13th from 4:00 – 6:00 pm at Stanley Park in Brandon (14th Street between Princess Ave. and Lorne Ave. *Please avoid parking on the East side of 14th Street whenever possible to allow space for residents*)

Spoiler Alert: If you would like to keep your bag contents a surprise, you’d better STOP READING NOW!!

Last week’s bag!

Your Week 15 Veggie Lovers’ Club bag contains:

Radish Shoots, small bag
Celery, 1 head
German Butter Potatoes, around 2 lbs
Baby Carrots, 1 lb
Tomatoes, Roma, 2 lbs
Garlic, 1 head

Don’t forget to bookmark our online Veggie Guide so all the veggie info is at your fingertips!

About your Veggie & Farm Update:

I’ve been having major back-end troubles with the website for the past month. I can’t add links reliably without it crashing, so please visit the Veggie Guide if you want the storage info and more info about the veggies! (Ironically that link worked!) I will be re-doing the website this winter, it’s something I’ve thought about doing for a number of years and it seems necessary now. Bleh.

From 101 members and 3 pickup days a week down to 1 with 43 members! That’s a big difference for us and it’s so nice to have the load lightened. But also: Thanks for being in it for the long haul! Being able to spread out our work over a longer period of time makes what we do more sustainable for us, the farmers. The pace this August burned us out and we look forward to the steady predictability of the 10 week fall program. We usually have the contents worked out weeks in advance and so we can start working towards each week when the conditions are favorable, ie wash potatoes while the sun shines and clean onions while catching up on some favourite podcasts.

The last of the celery got harvested yesterday and it is going in this week’s bags. We are expecting some very cold nights coming up and so it was time to bring it in. The first year we were here we didn’t realize how cold tolerant celery is and we harvested it all ahead of the frost, which was super annoying as it took up every tub we had and all the cooler space, and then promptly rotted. Leaving it in the field is far superior! Yesterday I noticed even the damn grasshoppers are finally dead, though I had a battalion of hens following me out of habit.

Mostly German Butter Potatoes going in this week, but also some Bellanita yellow fingerling, because Teri didn’t weigh the harvest before she started bagging and I ran out. I was sure it was over what I needed but clearly not! I didn’t get around to ordering the seed potatoes I had planned to this spring and thank goodness, because we would have spent thousands of dollars on a crop that didn’t thrive this year anyway. Our German Butter were one of the worst flooded crops but they don’t look too bad despite. There is definitely scurf (rhizoctonia) on them, which is a fungus and looks like dirt stuck on the potatoes that you can easily scrape off with the back of a knife or a hearty scrubbing. Very common in MB unless you spray heavily with toxic fungicides (we choose not to).

As a rule we don’t grow many potatoes and definitely not storage potatoes, so if you are looking for some of those this fall, look elsewhere! In the past we bought in potatoes, but that ends up being a lot of heavy lifting and I just don’t have the energy for it this year. We have been disappointed with the quality specifically on that crop when buying from other growers. It is not worth our energy tending them by hand like we do, but they sure get beaten up by equipment, so the short term answer for us is to stop buying them in and save ourselves the heavy job! We have saved some spuds for the fall CSA but they won’t be going on the Pre-Order list as there is very little.

These baby carrots are special! It’s rare for us to have small ones like this at the end of the season. Mom planted them after the flooding in early July, which shows you the difference and the importance of succession planting! Our fall storage carrots are always planted around June 24. That is the proper amount of time to get them to full maturity by the end of the season which makes for the best storage capacity. So, the difference of being late planting by a few weeks makes baby carrots (we did have our storage carrots planted when the rains came, but we lost about half of them as the soil washed away). They are snappy and juicy and crispy with such a great flavour! If you’re like me, it’s nice to have something to stock on the lower shelves of the fridge for the inevitable snack raids throughout the day. Myrah loves these little carrots and will consume a few each day!

We had such a beautiful tomato crop this year, and there isn’t much left at this point! Our Romas are meaty and flavourful and hold a long time, even when red ripe. I like to slice them in half, add onions and peeled whole garlic and hearty glug of olive oil, and then simmer in a 9×11 cake pan until most of the liquid evaporates. Then I put that goo through the food mill and it’s SO GOOD. Can be used as either tomato soup or pasta sauce.

Radish Shoots are zippy and taste like radishes! If you’re not a huge fan then throw them into something cooked, you’ll barely taste them that way and still get the benefit of eating them. They make a great addition/sub for actual radishes in this dip recipe.

Just a reminder that you can find mixed variety clamshells of our microgreens in the cooler at Chez Angela and Lady of the Lake, available anytime those places are open! They’re also available from the pre-order form to come with your red bag.

A couple of recipes to share:

Celery Salad with Cilantro and Sesame – Shared by someone in the Feedback Survey! I look forward to trying this one this week. I frigging love celery, it’s one of my top 3 favourite veggies! (Squash-Beans-Celery!)

Recipe shared by Jane!

This celery soup recipe is a great way to use up a lot of celery!

The Covid Thing:

So, Jon woke up Sunday with a sore throat. We knew this could happen at any time, but I was crossing my fingers and toes (and taking action as far as limiting our activities and being a crazy freak about exposures) that it wouldn’t happen before Oct 9th, as last week we had a huge volume of veggies going out the door. Well, we made it! Barely. We expected to have to cancel deliveries this week, but we got our negative results back within 24 hours and so we decided to take precautions while preparing this week’s veggies but to go ahead with the pickup. (The alternative plan(s) could be (a) defer pickup to a day later in the week or (b) defer this week’s veggies to next week or (c) offer credit, or some combination of all of those options is likely where it would have settled, just so you know!).

Jon is very sick! I had mild symptoms Sunday but they went away by Monday. His settled in for the long haul and he hasn’t slept in 2 nights. We wore masks yesterday while preparing veggies and we will do the same again today. I’ve been brewing my Coldface Killah home cold remedy (find my recipe on our “Recipes” page) as fast as he can drink it and he’s been eating homemade soup and lots of microgreens. If we didn’t have the negative test result already I’d be really worried, so I’m super grateful we have it and so quickly!

I’ve heard the reports that testing takes a very long wait and then the results are taking up to 7 days to be returned, so I am grateful that our experience was ideal. I’m sure this is what they are working towards achieving for all Canadians and so I hope they do. It would be discouraging to have to wait so long and cancel your food deliveries unexpectedly, not to mention the stress of waiting and wondering.

It was either get tested, or stay home and wait 10 days for symptoms to resolve. I think we made the right choice, and so I encourage you to do the same and get tested right away if you develop any symptoms, as I know many of you have already this season. It’s not what we planned for Thanksgiving weekend and the unexpected nature of getting sick is always well… Unexpected! But for the sake of keeping our community safe, it’s important to follow current public health guidelines. I have been dismayed by a few people in our extended circles this season who selfishly and unnecessarily put others at risk by not being truthful about their isolation status. At the same time I’ve been impressed by other’s diligence and openness and we’ve worked through it together. Open and honest is the only way forward in a world where we prioritize loving each other, and that’s the world I want to see come through this!

So, get well soon Jon, but I’m so glad we can still get you your veggie allotment this week! If his sickness status makes you uncomfortable in any way let me know and we can defer your veggies from this week to another time. It’s disruptive to life catching a cold these days: but I was also thinking, what a shift to actually stay home and honor that you are SICK. I’ve read in every workplace manual “stay home when sick”, but also noticed that’s not what actually happens in practice. Most workplaces still expect you to come in when you’re sick: It will represent a huge shift in society when we listen to our bodies over our bosses. I hope we get there someday, this is a great step forward for sure!

I forgot to send the Veggie Lover Pick of the Week questions on last week, so nobody this week, but look forward to next!

Take care and see you at the pickup!

Teri 🙂