Spoiler Alert: Stop reading now if you want to keep your bag contents a surprise!
Your Week 24 Veggie Lovers’ Club bag for pickup on Tuesday December 11th contains:
Carrots, 4 lbs
Beets, large, 3 lbs
Acorn Squash, 1
Pea Shoots, small tray – comes with a tray care sheet and you can grow them at home for a few weeks if you like! Or just cut them and compost the soil. Living fresh greens!
Spring Shoots Program Registration Now Open!
We are running a Shoots Program starting in March 2019: Registration is now open and all the details can be found on our website here! You are the first to know! I will reach out to our 16-week members next, and eventually our mailing list. So you have at least until then to think about it, just don’t wait too long as there are only 40 spaces!
We plan to run it a bit differently than last winter’s Pea Shoot Program, this year it will have more of a range of items, run for a shorter period, and is WEEKLY pickup. Make sure you read though the entire page before you sign up and let me know if you have any questions as you read it (because those edits I do help everyone!).
If you are reading this and not currently registered in our Veggie Lovers’ Club, you can still sign up for the Spring Shoots Program now if you want to! Anyone who voluntarily reads our newsletters counts as a current Veggie Lover. 😛
About the Veggies:
This is it! We made it all the way to the end and we didn’t have to give you just carrots the very last week. Sweet! CSA is such a fantastic way for our farm to sell our veggies because it allows us some control over when things are distributed. We have extremely little waste, thanks to you. We shuffled a lot of crops out quickly this fall, in the interest of getting them to you while they were at their peak, but I realize some of you may have cabbage or leeks or celeriac still kicking around in your fridge. I do! We chose to supplement the fresh veggie offering with Mom’s pickles and preserves this fall instead of buying in veggies from someone else or holding storage crops for later that we didn’t have huge amounts of. So, this very last week isn’t the most epic of contents, but it’s winter in Manitoba, and really, we should all be eating grated root veggie salads in the winters anyway!
We grew smaller trays of Pea Shoots for you this week! I thought that would be a nice way to go out, with a little living food plant that you can take home and snip pea shoots from over the next couple of weeks. The nature of Pea Shoots is that they are stressed, so there’s little you can do to screw them up. Even a seasoned houseplant-killa like me can usually manage a second growth of shoots. They don’t necessarily need additional light and don’t overwater them or they’ll mold. Letting them dry out between waterings or grow in a well ventilated area (near a fan) are usually good tips. Growing in a tray all squished together like that isn’t the natural habitat of the pea plant: Lack of space and low light forces them to “shoot” up (that’s what I mean by they are “stressed”, not that they are biting their nails and experiencing anxiety!). Otherwise there would be inches between them and they’d be leafy and too fibrous to eat.
Here’s our Pea Shoot_tray care sheet, which I will also send out in this week’s bag with your shoots. Many folks in last year’s Pea Shoot Program successfully got 2 or more regrowths of shoots, so you may have fresh greens until Christmas!
Holy crap, I just hit the local recipe motherload, and instead of choosing one recipe to share with you I’m just going to send you to Crampton’s Recipe Page: The Beets page is particularly exciting: https://cramptonsrecipes.com/category/beets/
Erin Crampton is a local food hero of mine. She started Crampton’s Market in Winnipeg years ago and it is now owned by the folks at T&T Seeds, where some of our seeds come from. Erin has an Instagram page you can follow (@erincramptonskitchen) and always shares great tips and seasonal recipes. I’ve been to this recipe page before, but not in a while and there are a bunch of new good ones. Check it out!
We are always short on Acorn Squash and so this year we grew more. A LOT more. You were supposed to get Sunnies this week, as some of you may have checked the listing the past couple of weeks and been expecting them. Well, Jon screwed up and so instead you’re getting another Acorn Squash. Stuff happens, and it was just a human error not a systems fail. We realized last Sunday when it was already 2 days too late to start them, which is annoying but there’s nothing we can do about it so instead: more Squash. I am hoping that news is greeted with a cheer and not a groan!
We don’t have very complicated systems. A series of white boards and smooth doors in the shed that we write planting schedules, CSA contents, and work lists on. It does the job most of the time! Jon was more distressed about his mistake than any of you will be, I am certain.
Results from the Shoots Survey I posted on Instagram Stories this weekend: About 1/3 of people don’t like Sunflower Shoots, 2% (1 person) don’t like Pea Shoots, and 1/3 of people don’t like Radish Shoots (I call BS on that one as most of the names weren’t people in our CSA!). Also learned that Instagram doesn’t save the results of surveys after they disappear. Oops!
Question of the Week comes from Sarah: Can you still eat the Acorn Squash after they turn orange (like a pumpkin)?
A: Yes! Acorn Squash will eventually turn orange. It is a sign that it is starting to over ripen and so you should eat it sooner rather than later. They are fine to eat (ripe) when they are green, especially now after months off the plant. Honeynut (that you got last week) also turn orange and they are short keepers also so eat them sooner rather than later. Eventually when they are too over ripe Acorn Squash’s flesh will get dry.
(Cue round of applause) WE MADE IT!!
This is the LAST of 24 weeks of delivery in the Veggie Lovers’ Club this year, and also wraps up 2018, the year we did 40 weeks of CSA (there was a 16-week Pea Shoot Program in winter). That’s pretty impressive in Manitoba! Jon and I used to work on a year round CSA farm in Nova Scotia, but going year-round is not a goal for us. The winter programs help offset our set operating costs in winter but they are not the most fun to execute: It’s nice to have a break from routine. We are looking forward to having some time off over the holidays.
This year was our toughest growing season yet on the farm due to high temperatures and lack of rain (and the domino effect of increased pest pressure it caused). There were a few times I wasn’t sure if we’d have enough veggies to fill the bags each week, especially as we moved into fall. The idea of sending people home with a $24 bag of carrots just doesn’t sit well with us. We have heard the stories again and again of CSA farms who send bags of zucchini week after week, and we don’t want to be that farm! So, with the addition of some of Mom’s pickles, we had adequate variety to make it to the end of the Club. In fact, with the addition of cabbage, sweet potatoes, and all the pickles, this year was the BEST variety we’ve ever had in the Veggie Lovers’ Club!
Our resilience is in our diversity of crops, and in our direct relationships with you, our customers. Thank you for such a great season!
So, what about next year?
We haven’t had a chance yet to sit down as a farm team and discuss next year’s plans, though that is always an important step in the planning of next year. Firstly, we need to determine who our team will be and then decide how the work will be broken down, including child care.
We WILL be running the Veggie Lovers’ Club again in 2019, and as of now I don’t anticipate any major changes. We will post all the details once they are decided and the number of spaces will be determined by how many salaries we intend to pay, i.e. if Janelle is coming back we will have more members than if she decides not to. YOU, 24 week members, always get first dibs on the available spaces, so you just need to watch for the relevant emails, which I usually send out starting on Feb. 1. Typically the month of February is reserved for members-only-registration.
The nature of the Veggie Lovers’ Club is that you are ALL special customers and so if you’re going to be away this winter and think you might miss registration, please be in touch before rather than after. Once we fill up I always save one or two spaces for people who missed it, but we have a limit in the program for a reason and so eventually if there were too many folks who missed it I’d have to bust out the dreaded “no”.
Teri’s Parting Words for 2018: A few of the things that are on my mind these days.
Be a responsible cyborg.
The phenomenon of people being addicted to their phones just seems to get worse all the time. I get it — why bother remembering some of those details when you can just ask Google? Technology is really awesome these days, but it still needs to be used responsibly. Use it to add richness to your relationships, don’t let it come between you and your fellow humans. Practice being mindful and present once in a while, especially at times when family is gathered.
Be kind, for those you meet are fighting a battle you know nothing about.
I remind myself of this one often. Usually right at the moment I’m about to fly off the handle about a discourteous driver or a rude person I’ve encountered. Then I check myself and remember the day I practically yelled the F word in the middle of a crowded McDonald’s after hitting some guys’ fancy sportscar with my door getting my kid out of the back seat. I was doing my best that day, but I wasn’t being a very exemplary human being. It happens. We’re here to help and support each other, not to criticize, judge, or make up our own stories. Be generous in your interpretations.
Listen to your body, and consider carefully what you put on the end of your fork.
After 8 years struggling to have a mysterious digestive issue diagnosed, this fall it got worse and I kind of retreated from reality about it for a while. When you feel crappy all the time it starts to get easier to ignore how the foods you eat are making you feel. I finally had enough and started a new elimination diet 2 weeks ago. I’m definitely not “cured” but eating this way I am feeling better than I have for some time.
What you eat is powerful. It can help you or it can hinder you, and we are faced with tough (unfair!) choices daily due to the prevalence of processed foods. These foods speak for themselves, loudly proclaiming their health benefits from their shiny packaging. You have to listen really close to hear the broccoli trying to be heard all the way in the produce aisle. There is no one diet that works for everyone, and your body will tell you what works and what doesn’t, especially when you feed it well.
(If you are interested in learning more about my wellness journey I am blogging about it at https://terijenkins.home.blog/)
Cultivate friendships and be part of your Community.
I recently listened to a great podcast with Radha Agrawal about this one, and I look forward to reading her book over Christmas. It proposes something that I have believed for some time: health is closely linked to being connected to a community. The whole time I listened to it I thought about how grateful I am to have such a great community of Veggie Lovers around us, many of which I now consider to be friends. I love running into you around town and I love watching your kids grow up, and I’m honored that you are a part of our lives. When you support local it supports you back in so many ways. The Veggie Lovers’ Club is about more than just good food. I love the conversations we share, I love getting to know you and your family, and I love that the food we produce is part of your family’s diet. We grow it with great intention and a lot of love!
The Lesson of the Pots:
So, this fall I took pottery lessons at the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba (AGSM). First of all, Jon had been telling me I needed a hobby for years and he was right. Pottery was the hobby I didn’t know I needed, and it came at the perfect time, when we were all struggling a bit with adjusting to the move indoors this fall. Cramming 4 cats and a toddler into our farmhouse was harder than expected, and having somewhere I could go to get away from it all and be around adults was just what I needed. I actually made quite a few friends through it and some pretty cool pots, too! There are a few life lessons that pottery taught me:
I. Don’t get too attached to anything. Your beautifully thrown bowl might not make it through the bisque kiln, or you could break it while trimming, or the glaze could run and stick it to the kiln shelf. Or you could break it at home after it’s finished. It all turns back to mud eventually and you can start again!
II. It’s important to know where you’re going and make a plan. And then write down how you got there so you don’t forget, in case you want to do it again!
III. Every piece of pottery has something that makes it unique and beautiful. Just like people.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for being part of our Veggie Lovers’ community this season!
Take care and talk soon, Veggie Lovers!