This is Week 16 of our CSA!
October 15th is the final pick up week for 16-week members. I sent an email on Wednesday about optional extensions, so if you didn’t get that then you are in it for the 24-week long haul! If you want to sign up for an extension until December 10th there are still spaces available, just email me or talk to me at the pickup!
Following October 15th, all of our summer members (including 8 week) won’t have weekly bags to pick up but WILL have access to our pre-order form for placing weekly Tuesday orders as you wish.
Your newsletter is complete below. I will have a few things for mini market today!
Mini market season is over when there is snow on the ground! Please PLACE A PRE-ORDER if you’d like some additional items this week!
For currently registered members: Placing an order does NOT affect your weekly bag contents, anything you order is IN ADDITION, not “instead” of what is coming in your weekly bag.
Here’s the link to PLACE A PRE-ORDER for the October 22nd pickup! – Order deadline is Monday at noon!
(As mentioned above, if you are a 16-week member, you will be able to place pre-orders for pickup on Tuesdays after your program ends if you wish. Our CSA delivery continues every week until December 10th– but our mini market is weather-permitting, so ordering is best if you want something specific. Also, I don’t haul squash around for fun so you have to order that if you want it!)
Spoiler Alert: If you would like to keep your bag contents a surprise, you should STOP READING NOW!!
The contents of the upcoming week’s bag are subject to change at the last minute, possibly without much notice, depending on harvest. It can be tough to estimate how much of a crop will be available before we actually harvest it freshly for your bag. So, this posting is meant to give you a good idea of what is in your bag, but just be aware that it may change and we will do our best to let you know if that happens! At the very least, the posting on the website will be updated prior to delivery with the actual contents for that week, so that you can check that you’ve received everything you are supposed to!
Your October 15th Veggie Lovers’ Club bag contains:
You can click the links on the items above to view more info about each veggie including recipe & preparation suggestions, season, storage tips, and lots more!
Don’t forget to bookmark our online Veggie Guide so all the veggie info is at your fingertips!
About the Veggies this Week & Recipes:
Wow!! Week 16 and the end of the summer program. Well, it’s VERY CLEAR that it’s not summer anymore. We had a fantastic Thanksgiving weekend at home. It was great for all of us, and especially because it gave Myrah a chance to get caught up on her sleep. We’ve been really busy lately and she’s been out of the house more often than not. This weekend showed us what Myrah can be at her best, and it was good timing because the struggle has been pretty big lately. It’s an overwhelming world out there!
You don’t always get what you want, you get what you need: This weekend was exactly that! Snow wasn’t my first choice, but the storm gave us the break we otherwise wouldn’t have had. This weekend would have been filled with all the crappiest jobs: pulling up irrigation lines, row cover, sunflowers, tomato cages, digging potatoes and harvesting leeks and radishes. Instead we ate pumpkin pie and pumpkin cheesecake and played in the snow and cleaned the house. So, we’re all rested up and feeling great to tackle all of the remaining fall jobs after the snow melts!
Sorry, you were supposed to get Pea Shoots this week but they aren’t ready in time!! It always takes some adjustment to the growing climate in the shed, especially when there’s a change in the weather. They need 1 more day that they don’t have! If you’re devastated and in the 16 week program, let me know and pop by on Oct 22 and I can have a bag of pea shoots for you!
The Celeriac is washed but will require additional scrubbing by you at home. Our winter wash station leaves much to be desired, and the better sprayer was buried under a mountain of snow! I wasn’t going to bother washing them at all, so you have Jon to thank that you’re not taking home an additional pound of muddy dirt this week!
I tried the Zombie Brain recipe! I tried it in the same way that I “try” most recipes: vaguely read it over, assemble most of the ingredients, and loosely follow the method. My results were Meh, but we have A LOT of really gorgeous celeriac this year and so I have lots of opportunity to try again! I will follow the recipe more closely the second time. Celeriac is one of my favourite veggies to eat pureed or mixed into soups and stews and mashed potatoes! I made fish cakes the other day and used grated celeriac in those.
Our Tomato crisis has abated. I sorted them again yesterday and there were minimal losses and things are moving along at a reasonable pace. We still have lots for next week if you want to order some, but there’s not much time left, so don’t delay much longer than that! We will be out of peppers and cilantro very soon as well. Just giving you a heads up in case any of you want to make one last batch of salsa or sauce! Mostly Romas left now.
This week I’m sharing a recipe from member Brad, who picked up a couple of bags of roma tomatoes last week from the mini market and seemed so excited about them that I had to ask what he was planning to do with them! Here I thought he was a Beefsteak guy. Brad says he takes the Romas, slices them in half, scoops out the seeds, then puts a thinly sliced piece of garlic in the middle and drizzles olive oil over them. Roast them in the oven until caramelized. I tried it this weekend and was impressed, they were very good! Here’s a similar version I found online to share with you: Rachel Ray’s Roasted Tomatoes.
Jalapenos freeze well, you can chop them however big you want them for your future recipe and just throw them straight in the freezer. They will keep a long time in the fridge too. I know not everyone is into hot peppers, so rest assured that they are considered a harvest bonus, and if you don’t like them just throw them in the trade bin and Mom will pickle them! She didn’t want to make 80 lbs of jalapenoes into pickles so I thought I’d send some out to you and save her a lot of effort!
The Peppers are gorgeous and have been stored in the cooler for a couple of weeks now but are no worse for wear. They’re almost all green: All of the varieties we grow ripen to red but there isn’t long enough in the MB climate most years to get all of them ripe, and the ripe ones are favored by every bug and rodent and pest. My colleague Stefan at Blue Lagoon Organics (near Winnipeg) calls a perfect locally grown red pepper “a gift” and I agree, and now always think of them that way when I’m lucky enough to get one! A delicious locally grown green pepper is a gift too! From us to you!!
Those Melons… They are pretty good, but I realized that I do not enjoy selling melons and I don’t really want to grow them again! I am never sure what they are like inside and I never feel secure that they are ripe and not over ripe. We also don’t really LOVE cantaloupe in this household. Do you? Let me know what you think/thought of the melons this year and if you really like them you might have to fight for them for next year!
The next section is the optional reading blog series I’ve been working on lately, but before I get into that I just want to say Thank You for supporting our farm this season, to all of you but especially to the 16-week members who have their last pickup today. I’m not going to get overly sappy about it because I feel like I’ll be seeing most of you again, either in the Shoots Program or next year’s program, or at a pickup this fall, or around in the community!
I DO plan to send out a feedback survey at some point. It’s usually out by now, but it’s good to mix it up and survey people at different times in the year. And you’ll be hearing from me right away with the Pre-Order form link each week if you’d like to place an order from now until December. So, thank you Veggie Lovers, take care, and I’ll see you tonight!!
Teri’s Ten Topics #3: Storage Tips for Fall Veggies!
Yes! This is such a great topic for this time of year. Thanks to my friend Shannon for suggesting this one! 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!
Part I: 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!
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 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!
What to Use:
There are so many options, so you can go as green as you like, but I will say that those mesh reuseable produce bags are NOT a good solution for many veggies. They don’t exclude air! I don’t really get it, but I guess if you need something to carry your lemons around in, they’re a good solution. How many people returned to market to tell me their bunched carrots wilted and then divulged this little tidbit. *Shakes head* Rule #1: KEEP THE AIR OUT!!
Beeswax wraps are great if you like them, (they are also the BEST jar opening assistance ever!), member Lynne prefers them for storing her celery and says it’s the best way she’s ever found. My usual technique at home is to reuse various single use plastic bags, or to use glass containers. I’m not here to sell you beeswax wraps or the next best Tupperware invention for veggie storage, people have been storing veggies for a lot longer than people have been profiting on making people feel like they have to buy something special just to eat real food at home. Don’t overthink it! Most of our items come already in a bag so that we are setting people up for success. We often skip bagging items in our CSA to save time and plastic, because we have a closer connection to those customers and can more easily pass on the message to put things in a bag!
Items with roots or stems attached can also be stored in a glass of water, preferably still in the fridge. I find this annoying and I almost always knock the damn glass over and then I have a mess. But you can store herb bunches well this way if you find it works for you!
Part II: How we store veggies at the farm!
This is one of our most frequently asked questions every fall, mostly by other growers and gardeners!
We have a temperature and humidity controlled storage room at Mom’s, which has shelving for pickles and preserves as well as 6 large wooden bins.
This year we have:
1/2 bin of russet potatoes
1-1/2 bins of beets
2-1/2 bins of carrots
1 bin of rainbow carrots.
A few years back we had most of the bins full of potatoes, but since anyone and everyone can grow potatoes more efficiently and cheaper than us, and few can top our awesome carrots, we switched to growing more carrots. Those are our “long term storage” veggies, which will be used past December for wholesale orders and for our members in our Spring Shoots Program (Registration is open now!).
Our “short term storage” is at mine and Jon’s farm in our cooler, which we just had my cousin move one of the condenser units for so we can use it past fall freeze up. Our CSA goes until December, so this reno will make life easier with less lugging back and forth from Mom’s. In the short term storage cooler right now there are a few hundred pounds of peppers, about 200 lbs of parsnips, 400 lbs of celeriac, a few hundred leeks, not enough cabbages, 80 lbs of jalapenos, a few hundred lbs of assorted beets, carrots, potatoes. Outside the cooler we have a couple thousand pounds of squash (stored upstairs and brought upstairs by tractor bucket, we’re not chumps!), about 1000 lbs of onions stored in mesh bags, and about 1000 lbs of tomatoes in crates (I wish I was exaggerating!), some shallots, garlic, and some of all the different pickles and preserves we have for me to fill fall orders for the CSA members with.
In our “outdoor storage” aka crops that we still hope to bring in this fall, we have (blanketed by a cover of snow!): colored beets, some German Butter Potatoes, about half the leeks, watermelon radishes, some spinach and kale, and about 500 lbs of carrots. If we don’t get there, it’s not a big deal as we have lots of beautiful crops in storage already, more than we anticipated actually!
For most items, we store them in harvest containers like rubbermaid bins or black bulb crates, plastic bags, or buckets. We have to manage our harvest containers very carefully as there are not enough for everything to be in bins, and we need crates for our weekly activities, and for the most part if a crop is just sitting in the cooler, a plastic bag with some holes poked in it works just as well as anything. You can totally geek out on veggie storage and do things like store carrots or leeks packed in sand: I’ve tried it and found it messy, annoying, not very effective, and it’s totally not suitable for our scale. For all intents and purposes, even if you invest in a large bag of carrots from us, your fridge is the best place to store them, in a plastic bag with a couple of holes poked in it to regulate the humidity inside the bag. Low-tech and effective!
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, but it’s going to be a big expensive project if it can happen at all). 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).
I hope this helps to answer any questions you may have about how to store veggies at home, as well as how we store them at the farm! Looking forward to finding out what you want to hear about next! Email me at email@example.com or send me an Instagram DM if you have a topic suggestion for next week!