Week 24 Veggie Lovers’ Club Newsletter


Spoiler Alert: Stop reading now if you want to keep your bag contents a surprise!

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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.

santa2018

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!

Teri 🙂

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Week 23 Veggie Lovers’ Club Newsletter


Here’s the link if you’d like to place a Veggie pre-order!
You can place an order anytime before Monday at 5 pm for the coming week and not much changes as far as availability from week to week this time of year so you can order any day, including Tuesday, for next week’s pickup if you want!

We encourage you to make use of the Pre-Order form if you would like additional veggies, preserves, pickles, etc.  There will no longer be a mini-market at the pickup.

We always anticipate the very last week of pickup to be busier than average due to folks wanting to stock up, so if you can help us spread that out a bit and not everyone wait until the very last week to stock up, we greatly appreciate it! (This is less important if your items are not things we need to wash or are already packaged eg pickles, honey, quinoa.)


The contents of the upcoming week’s bag are subject to change at the last minute, possibly without much/any notice, depending on harvest. It can be tough to estimate how much of a crop will be available before we actually harvest or pack 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!

Spoiler Alert: Stop reading now if you want to keep your bag contents a surprise!

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Last week’s bag

Your Week 23 Veggie Lovers’ Club bag  for pickup on Tuesday December 4th contains:

Red Radish Shoots, small bag
Potatoes, 5 lb Adora Yellow from Grand Valley Strawberries
Squash, Honeynut
Onions, 1 lb
Pickled Beets, 500 ml

You can click the links above to view more info about each veggie including recipe & preparation suggestions, season when it is available, storage tips, and lots more!  Don’t forget to bookmark our online Veggie Guide so all the veggie info is at your fingertips!


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 week’s Red Radish Shoots are the first grown with the new seed.  I found some seed locally at The Green Spot from West Coast Seed that we used to do our trials this fall.  When we liked them and it came to ordering more seed, I chose to order from Mumm’s Sprouting Seeds in Saskatoon SK because they have a history helping us with our Pea Shoot production (when Jon was first starting out in NS).  Also because there was a mail strike threat and I thought keeping things in the prairies would make it arrive faster!  Lo and behold, Red Radish seed is not the same from every company.  These ones have RED LEAVES!  So they are even more beautiful than ever.

Mom’s Beet Pickles were made with love by Stephanie.  I helped one day but that woman is always making pickles!  Beet pickles are one of the easier pickles to make, especially because they can be made in the winter outside of the busy season.  That being said, “easy” is not a word I would associate with pickle making.  It takes careful work and attention to detail to do well.

The last of the Honeynut Squash and the Onions!

This week you are getting your “end of program stock up” on Adora (Yellow) Potatoes that we get from Grand Valley Strawberries in Brandon.  A couple of weeks ago you got 5 lb Red Potatoes, and next week you’ll get lots of Carrots and Beets and Pea Shoots to carry you into the winter.

And then we’re taking some time off!  Jon & Myrah head to Calgary next Wednesday, and that will be a nice break for me as well.  We are sticking near home for Christmas this year but hope to take a trip somewhere in Jan or Feb, before the Shoots Program begins.


 

We took some time off to celebrate my birthday (Dec 3) this weekend, and we both worked all day yesterday and then I had pottery class in the evening, so I’m using this week as my Newsletter Break.  Think of it as your birthday gift to me!  If you really miss it you can probably resume reading last week’s, it was a really really long one! (Now to get over to the shed and get to work, gonna be a busy day today!)

Talk soon!

-Teri 🙂

Week 22 Veggie Lovers’ Club Newsletter

Hi Veggie Lovers!

Your carrots and beets had to sit overnight in the non-cooler, so if they are a bit wilty they will recover in the fridge in the bag they come in.  For extreme dehydration of root veggies like carrots, you can stick them in a pitcher of water in the fridge for a couple of hours and they seem to perk up.

I was sick yesterday and can’t tell how I feel yet today so in the small chance I’m not at the pickup tonight, Mom or Jon will be there in the same van.  In fact, this time of year you can probably scarcely tell the difference between any of us, we are so bundled up!

Gala of Gifts at the AGSM Dec 1 & 2
I have been taking pottery classes this fall at the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba under the instruction of Marci Bomford, and I absolutely LOVE it.  They are having a sale this weekend that I am really looking forward to, lots of great artisans will be there!  Check their Facebook Page or Insta @agsmagram for all the vendors and daily schedules.

galaofgifts

Registration for winter session art classes is now open on their website also: https://agsm.ca


Here’s the link if you’d like to place a Veggie pre-order!
You can place an order anytime before Monday at 5 pm for the coming week and not much changes as far as availability from week to week this time of year so you can order any day, including Tuesday, for next week’s pickup if you want!

We encourage you to make use of the Pre-Order form if you would like additional veggies, preserves, pickles, etc.  There will no longer be a mini-market at the pickup.

We always anticipate the very last week of pickup to be busier than average due to folks wanting to stock up, so if you can help us spread that out a bit and not everyone wait until the very last week to stock up, we greatly appreciate it! (This is less important if your items are not things we need to wash or are already packaged eg pickles, honey, quinoa.)


The contents of the upcoming week’s bag are subject to change at the last minute, possibly without much/any notice, depending on harvest. It can be tough to estimate how much of a crop will be available before we actually harvest or pack 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!

Spoiler Alert: Stop reading now if you want to keep your bag contents a surprise!

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Your Week 22 Veggie Lovers’ Club bag  for pickup on Tuesday November 27th contains:

Carrots, 3 lb Rainbow
Beets, 2 lb
Pea Shoots, small bag
Squash, Spaghetti
Stephanie’s Crabapple Jelly, 250 ml
Sunnies from Week 21!

 

You can click the links above to view more info about each veggie including recipe & preparation suggestions, season when it is available, storage tips, and lots more!  Don’t forget to bookmark our online Veggie Guide so all the veggie info is at your fingertips!


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 in this week’s bag:

Last week’s sadness about no shoots is quickly forgotten in the excitement about double shoots this week!  Peas AND Sunnies this week and then we also got more Radish seed so those are coming up soon in your bags, too!  We hadn’t planned so many shoots in the Veggie Lovers’ Club but it’s been really nice to have something fresh and green every week, don’t you agree?

The recently reported Romaine lettuce E. coli illnesses, for the second year in a row, make me even more glad that our farm can produce fresh, safe greens all year round.  Shoots are very very safe, which is why we produce them and we don’t produce Sprouts.  (People call the Peas, Sunnies, and Radish SHOOTS sprouts all the time, but you’ll notice I never do, due to the differences).  The basic difference is that Shoots are grown in a growing medium and Sprouts are grown in a jar by rinsing multiple times a day in clean water.  The potential for contamination and illness is much higher with sprouts because of the growing method, which also means the CFIA has something to say about it, which is another reason we steer clear of growing them.  Jon has lots of experience doing it but if we were going to add that aspect to our business I would only do it in a certified kitchen space and after a voluntary inspection.

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Shoots Salad!  All 3 types plus an avocado and some nuts and seeds.  Delish!

The shoots we grow are totally safe.  Literally zero cow shit comes near them, ever (they are grown in a soilless growing medium that does not contain compost and they receive no supplemental fertilization in their short growing time). Buying from a small farm doesn’t guarantee you are always safe, but knowing the people who grow your food is a really big step in the right direction.  We care about you and wouldn’t want anyone to get sick!  To the point that all of our seasonal lettuce crop is washed in town water, which requires us to transport it to Mom’s farm post-harvest.  It was a step we took to ensure the safety of the food we produce and though it is a significant burden, we never cut corners on your safety!

 

Why don’t we grow lettuce in the winter?  First of all, you need to know those heated greenhouses near Winnipeg producing cukes and tomatoes in winter run in the millions of dollars!  We currently have a lettuce crop that has been growing for 6 weeks inside the shed (the shed we will be paying for for 23 more years!) and is no larger than my fist.  Plus it needs lighting and fertilization.  So, add up all the daily watering, plus the cost of lighting and heat (our hydro bills are over $1K/m in winter) and those are some mighty expensive lettuces for us to get paid fairly for all the effort.  Plus they don’t even taste like anything, especially when they’re grown that way.  Lettuce is 96% water, you’re basically eating water in the shape of a lettuce leaf, so why not eat a pea shoot and drink a glass of water for the same nutrition content and 90% less growing

winterbeets

Grated & ribboned beet salad with shoots!

time?!  Generally we would rather educate people than do ridiculous things to try to meet demand.  Consumer demand already drives too much ridiculousness, (like planting lettuce along a contaminated irrigation canal!) so we try to do what makes sense for us and build a market for it, which is why we are doing the Spring Shoots Program this winter! Lettuce is really overrated. 😛

 

Instead of lettuce in the winter, a bunch of shoots mixed with ribbons of root veggies steals the show!  I use a vegetable peeler to make the ribbons and I focus on beets only because Jon is allergic to raw carrots, but those would be great too, as would the addition of cabbage, celeriac, etc.  So much more nutritious than lettuce, too!

Spaghetti Squash I’m told is great for keeping blood sugar levels stable!  We are nearly out of them after last week, but there are still some listed on the pre-order form if you need to stock up before we close.  We sold out of a lot of our squash varieties last week, thanks to those who heeded my request that not everyone wait until the last week to stock up!  Thank you so much!  We are going to be completely sold out of everything except carrots and beets and shoots by Christmas.

A couple of years ago, we all of a sudden noticed an crab apple tree at Mom’s farm that we had never noticed before.  Lo and behold it produced some apples!  Janelle picked them this year on the day when they were perfectly at their peak, and Mom froze the juice with the plan of making some jelly.  Well, this is it!  I love preserves that can be made outside of the busiest part of the season like that.  The opportunity cost of making pickles in the busy season is my major stopping block: There is already a million other things that need doing and we are already over-extended at that time.  We tell everyone that the pickling ends when Mom retires!


Farm Update: Jon has been busy working on projects, like the greenhouse end walls and finally building a tool storage area.  We moved all the storage veggies out of our cooler and to Mom’s storage last week which means a bit more complicated logistics as we wrap up the CSA.  We’ve been doing some end of season cleaning in the shed and wishing for sun so we can hang out in the greenhouse!  Our hens are not enjoying the cold weather and so he is installing a window in their coop so they can get more light at least.  If they get really unhappy we will retire them for good, we don’t usually overwinter our hens as they arrive at our farm as retired from being egg layers at a livestock farm (read: they are already old when we get them).  We noticed that most kids’ cartoons and books have chickens and we think Myrah must think that everyone has chickens!

*Update Tuesday am: I finished most of your newsletter on Friday morning, before the really big story broke on the farm.  That day, Jon was home working and Myrah and I had a playdate in Brandon.  He was working in the barn and all of a sudden heard the chickens all distressed as well as the sound of an animal being killed.  If you’ve had cats even, you know what I mean by that!  He quickly went to see what was the matter and saw a cute little ferret face peek out of Skippy the Barn Squirrel’s house, which is located above the hens with wire mesh separating.  So, he returned with the gun and didn’t wait long and got Mr. Mink right through the head in one shot!

Now, don’t all the vegan activists start emailing me (that’s a real thing, you know!)– We don’t like killing any animal.  Jon is a farmer, not a hunter.  We have been present for many livestock deaths and a cleaning a deer, as well as our own chicken slaughter & processing, and Jon has shot a few skunks that tried to move into our buildings.  The first neighbor we got to know when we moved to this farm told the story of how on his farm they had mistakenly smoked the foxes out of a building on their farm– the foxes moved on, and then returned to kill all the chickens they had previously not bothered.  When Jim knew we had chickens and foxes living below the coop, he told us that story.  We heeded his advice and despite foxes existing in close proximity these past 4 summers, we haven’t had any trouble from them  (Their kits are ADORABLE, picture little wild puppy kittens running around!).

So, we generally believe in Live and Let Live.  My Dad encourages us to shoot everything that moves, but we don’t.  In fact, we have a metal grain bin with a hole in it that has turned into a very productive pigeon farm (Now to build a market for squab and pigeon eggs!).  The hawks and falcons have lots to eat around here, and I think actually they are well fed so we don’t have predatory birds bothering our hens, either.  We do what we need to do to protect our livestock and our pets, which are in an enclosure and unable to defend themselves.  But the gloves are off when we see a Mink, Weasel, or Marten.  Those are all in the remorseless chicken killer family, they kill just to kill beyond their own food needs.  I have no doubt in my mind that we wouldn’t have hens anymore had Jon not acted quickly like he did. We are so lucky he was there!  RIP Skippy.  (I think another squirrel has already moved in!)

Mom takes care of the restaurant orders most of the year, so this time of year that means washing carrots and beets and delivering on Wednesdays.  We also work to catch up our accounting in the winter and soon, if the catalogs arrive through the mail, will be doing our seed orders.  Mom was recently diagnosed with osteoarthritis and we are glad to know the cause of her resting back pain, and have already been taking steps to make things work for her.  Lifting is bad, but staying active is really important.  So it’s time for Mom to really retire from the heavy lifting!

Myrah ran into the living room this morning with Jon chasing her at full speed while she screamed… She had gotten a hold of the 1 kg bag of chocolate chips, and it was almost like she was yelling “start the car!!”.  The many hilarious things that interrupt my newsletter writing!


The Story of the Red Citron Seeds

A few weeks ago, we gave you some Citron Marmalade and I briefly explained what a Citron is.  Basically it is a heritage melon that is very seedy and hard to cut up, but a good source of needed Vitamin C in the winter as it was used by early settlers in this area, it stores well and is also known as “fodder melon” as it can be used as a water source for cattle.  Or you can add a heck of a lot of sugar to it and clear your schedule for a week and make some marmalade!

We got an email this fall from Kelly, who is an occasional caretaker for an elderly gentleman Les in Falmouth, Nova Scotia.  He procured a Citron out there and followed Mom’s recipes to make the Citron Preserve and Marmalade.  But Les was disappointed that they weren’t the red seeded variety he remembered.  So, we shipped him a few seeds for next year!

Kelly wrote me yesterday to say the seeds have arrived and Thank you.  I replied, “I’m so glad that Les is pleased. I hope he gets a bumper crop of red-seeded citrons next year, and I also hope he doesn’t enlist your help cutting them up because it’s terrible work! With a good knife and nice conversation it’s not too bad. I’ve always wondered why people like my Mom keep the tradition going, because they are definitely not the tastiest or the easiest fruit, but they were probably all the early settlers had and they were grateful for them! So it’s good they are still remembered. We are fortunate to have lots of bounty these days, maybe the citrons are a remembrance of earlier times when we didn’t have it so easy!”

So that’s Teri’s thought of the day today!


Spoiler alert… Here’s what’s coming the last 2 weeks of the CSA:

Week 23 Dec 4:
Radish Shoots, small bag
Potatoes, 5 lb Adora Yellow from Grand Valley Strawberries
Squash, Honeynut
Onions, 1 lb
Pickled Beets, 500 ml

Week 24 Dec 11:
Carrots, 4 lb
Beets, 3 lb
Pea Shoots, small tray
Sunflower Shoots, small bag


Thanks and see you at the pickup!

Teri 🙂

Week 21 Veggie Lovers’ Club Newsletter

Hi Veggie Lovers!

*Tuesday Morning Update: Jon and I made the call yesterday to delay the Sunflower Shoots crop that was supposed to be in this week’s bag until next week.  He has been adjusting the planting schedule all autumn long but the timing is a bit off this week despite his adjustments.  I told him it was no big deal because it is an opportunity for me to explain to you some of the challenges of farming!

Basically, when the daylight hours become shorter and the temperature cooler, it takes longer for Sunnies to grow (I know you all could figure that out!).  However, adjustments take up to 2 or 3 weeks because by the time you figure that out, it’s already to late for at least the next batch and possibly the one after that as well.  Another thing that makes it hard to know is that shoots grow quite exponentially at the end, they “jump”: Basically they sit there for over a week not looking like much and then turn into leafy Sunflower Shoots in the last 3-4 days.  The difference between harvesting today, when the shoots are JUST at the critical jump stage versus waiting a week and sending them to you then means probably 3 times more shoots in the bag next week.  So we chose to wait for a greater reward at a later date!

This is our first autumn growing Sunflower Shoots in the shed and so having this year’s growing notes will help us in future years.  Plus, we see you every week anyway: Times like this is when CSA is really convenient!  We can’t magically make some other shoots ready for your bags this week and so none this week but double next week!


Thanks to everyone for a near-perfect pickup last week!  I really appreciate in winter when there isn’t much to come home with me.  The van arrives home in pitch dark now and it’s really cold outside so if I forget or can’t find veggies in the dark van when I get home, they don’t make it!  (So many frozen onions I have found rolling around in the van over the years!) The veggies in your not-picked-up bag don’t always make it through my errand run after the pickup without freezing, either.  So, having everything go to it’s intended home the night of pickup is really helpful.

On the same note, I mentioned to one of you last week that I often don’t even try to figure out who missed when there are bags left.  This is partly because (1) it’s not part of the deal (as in, if you miss your bag you miss it, and I shouldn’t need to know who missed really), also partly (2) to respect people’s right to not make it to the pickup (because things happen, and I don’t feel like you should have to feel obligated to explain or email me to apologize if you miss, we are all grown ups here!).  I also don’t want any of you to think that I am mad or annoyed when you don’t pick up.  I try really hard to be more generous than that with our membership (because being generous with people means giving them the benefit of the doubt and not making assumptions).

For our efforts of bringing your not-picked-up bag back to the farm, we are often able to re-sell the veggies for another purpose or eat them ourselves.  Sometimes I share not-picked-up bags with people I run into on my Tuesday night errand run.  Sometimes, if I hear from members right away via email I am able to be in touch and they can still meet me somewhere in town Tuesday night (The Safeway parking lot happens regularly, don’t tell them or they’ll kick me out for distributing veggies in their lot, lol!).  I’ve done the occasional home delivery of bags when I know it’s someone who never ever forgets, but it’s not at all our protocol. Basically, if we all follow the “rules” of the program, it should allow me to be able to do the occasional “above and beyond” for our members, and the idea is that I want to.  We really like going above and beyond, but if our inbox is flooded with requests then our capacity to go above and beyond occasionally is limited.   The only thing that annoys me a bit is when I get an email 2 or 3 days after the pickup asking “what to do, forgot my veggie pickup!”  The answer at that point is, “don’t email me!”: Said in the most generous way possible!


Here’s the link if you’d like to place a Veggie pre-order!
You can place an order anytime before Monday at 5 pm for the coming week and not much changes as far as availability from week to week this time of year so you can order any day, including Tuesday, for next week’s pickup if you want!

We encourage you to make use of the Pre-Order form if you would like additional veggies, preserves, pickles, etc.  There will no longer be a mini-market at the pickup.

We always anticipate the very last week of pickup to be busier than average due to folks wanting to stock up, so if you can help us spread that out a bit and not everyone wait until the very last week to stock up, we greatly appreciate it! (This is less important if your items are not things we need to wash or are already packaged eg pickles, honey, quinoa.)


The contents of the upcoming week’s bag are subject to change at the last minute, possibly without much/any notice, depending on harvest. It can be tough to estimate how much of a crop will be available before we actually harvest or pack 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!

Spoiler Alert: Stop reading now if you want to keep your bag contents a surprise!

week202018

Last week’s bag!

Your Week 21 Veggie Lovers’ Club bag  for pickup on Tuesday November 20th contains:

Parsnips, 1 lb
Potatoes, Red – 5 lbs* Grand Valley Strawberries
Sunflower Shoots, small bag COMING NEXT WEEK!!
Squash, Assorted varieties, 1 each
Dilled Carrots, 500 ml

 

*In the final 4 weeks of the CSA we plan to send you only 5 lbs more of potatoes after this week and they are unwashed & will store all winter in your fridge or cold storage.  This is the last time we plan to send you Red Potatoes this fall.  See the bottom of this newsletter if you want to peek on the next 3 weeks’ contents!

You can click the links above to view more info about each veggie including recipe & preparation suggestions, season when it is available, storage tips, and lots more!  Don’t forget to bookmark our online Veggie Guide so all the veggie info is at your fingertips!


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 in this week’s bag:

img_3436

Steph and Jon harvesting parsnips, Sept 2018

Parsnips: We didn’t think there would be enough left to go in the bags again, but there was!  Probably at the detriment of my own winter food stores, but that’s ok.  Jon really loves parsnips but I could take em or leave em.  I know some of you make soup out of them, please share your recipe as I don’t have a favorite yet and I don’t like to share recipes I haven’t made myself!  It is often paired with apple or pear or spices which go well with the naturally spiced flavour of parsnips.

Jon washed half of them at Mom’s kitchen sink yesterday, that’s our winter wash station: it leaves much to be desired but it works and at least it’s warm and there’s hot coffee.  We don’t yet have the water hooked up in the shed and even if we did it would be a summer only option anyway.  Plus, we turned off the compressor for the cooler last week and the cooler immediately became 20C so we had to move all the veggies over to Mom’s winterized cold storage this week anyway.  It wasn’t my favourite, as we had assumed it would stay cool enough to keep the veggies in there at least until December!  It was mostly just seed potatoes and storage potatoes at this point anyway.  At least we didn’t have to move the squash!!  We’ve been spending more time over at the shed this year and so the average temperature is higher than it would have been last winter.  Long term we will install a vent or insulate the compressors so the cooler can hold temp even in the winter, but for now the easiest solution was to use the cold storage that is already up and running at Mom’s.

I made a really great squash cheese sauce for Myrah’s cauliflower last night, which she licked clean (as in, she didn’t eat one bit of the cauliflower but she loved the cheese sauce!)  Basically I made a roux of flour and water, added some stock, then some cheese, then some cooked squash I had on hand.  We use dye free cheddar cheese at home so it even looked the part of an orange cheesy sauce after the squash was added!  I tried to look up a recipe to share with you but all the quick searches revealed that most people use squash to completely substitute in recipes: There are tons of GF, Vegan, Dairy free versions of the recipe online.  So, rather than impose my squash sauce on you, I thought I’d just tell you about it and then you can look up the version that works best for your household.  Let’s face it, most of us are becoming more and more accustomed to navigating food allergies even if we don’t have them ourselves.  When I ask my dinner guests what they can and can’t eat it’s always a rare treat if they can eat everything!  The Christmas I made dinner for the vegan friends was hard.  It’s outside of my cooking comfort zone and also my nutrition beliefs.  (And I also cooked a turkey on the side for us carnivores!).  So, kudos to any of you who are not only cooking for your family but also navigating food intolerances, avoidances or preferences!

We’re running low on Squash now so this week we’re using some of the smaller kabocha, Red Kuri, and Buttercup for the bags, not everyone will get the exact same squash.  They are all suitable for most applications, and I’ve found the flavour of the squash to be incredible this year!!  Last week I made a soup with Winter Sweet Kabocha (the blue one), and I swear all I added was a sprinkle of salt and curry spice, stock, and cream and it was out of this world.  I told Jon at lunch time, this is ALL on that squash, not on me.

Delicata-Squash-macro-640If you have any Delicata Squash kickin’ around still, it is the shortest keeper typically so make sure you use it up sooner.  I HIGHLY recommend making the Delicata Squash “Smiles” (Loosely this recipe) but use a really good quality coconut oil (Not refined), and lots of it (4-6 T).  The coconut oil flavour combines with the squash and it tastes almost like candy!

IMG_0544Sunflower ShootsUpdate Tuesday: These will be delivered in next week’s bag as they are not quite ready today! Remember to budget time to rinse and de-hull your sunnies before eating them.  We remove as many hulls as we can easily but we could spend way more time than is reasonable doing it so instead we share the task with you.  It’s a good reminder to rinse them, too.
Another thing that’s good to do with your shoots is to check them a few days after you get them and remove any damaged or rotting parts that may be in the bag.  Especially with the sunnies, they can look fine when we cut them and inevitably, one or two stems turn to slime within a day or two.  If they are left in the bag the whole bag will turn to slime but if you remove them the rest of the sunnies will keep quite a while.

Dilled Carrots were made by Mom and I about a month ago, on a Nana Elaine Thursday.  My retired aunt lives in Brandon and loves Myrah and has been taking her once a week since September when Janelle went back to school.  It’s great for all involved as we get a daytime break, Myrah gets to see some different sights and people, and Elaine loves spending time with Myrah.  So, Mom and I get the credit for making the dilled carrots but it would have been a lot more difficult to complete without Nana Elaine! We have so many wonderful people helping us and looking out for us here, which is part of why we moved here to start our family.  We’re so grateful!

Screenshot 2018-11-17 08.46.40Our dilled carrots are made using the same recipe as our Dill Pickles, which are highly coveted by those who love them!  Mom’s pickles are made with love and care and great attention to detail.  They aren’t often part of our CSA, but we went to the trouble of making them this year due to anticipated variety needs at this time of year (read: we didn’t want to send you the same thing week after week).  We hope you enjoy them, and we will take the jars back when you’re done with them.


Teri’s Farm Update Bit:
The paragraph above inspired me to tell you more about our process.  The first year we did CSA we had each week planned out what we would be putting in the bags, so that we could take that and work backwards to build our planting schedule: You can’t put lettuce in the bags if you don’t start the seeds 8 weeks prior!  Plus, I thought maybe people would want to see an idea of what may come in the bags before signing up for a brand new program.  So, we did that and of course the plans were different than the actual execution, but we had a successful first year and figured out how many CSA members our farm could easily support at that time.  We increased the numbers a bit each year (50 in 2016, 65 in 2017, 80 in 2018), so this year was the most members yet, paired with the toughest growing season so far.  Despite that, this year we had the best variety of any year so far, and not once (until now) did we have any trouble finding items to put in the bags.  Each year we get a little better at growing and managing our CSA and crop planting schedule and streamlining efficiencies on the farm.

Things are a bit tighter this fall and we have sold through many of our crops, like Parsnips, Leeks, Onions, Sweet Potatoes, Celeriac, Colored Beets, Cabbage, etc.  It’s great to not have any trouble selling things and I’d rather have them already in your homes or bellies than still sitting slowly expiring in our cold storage.  Basically, the longer we store vegetables the more shrink we have (Shrink is the difference between what we harvest and what we sell).  The longer leeks & cabbage are in storage the more leaves need to be peeled back, the veggies on the top of the bins often dehydrate and wilt while in long term storage, rendering them “juice veggies” or compost, and there’s always an onion or two that rot, and new squash expiring all the time! (We are diligent checking them).  It means we will successfully be OUT OF STOCK by Christmas and so all the people I have turned away this fall saying we are sold out to remaining commitments (You!), I wasn’t lying to!

It’s hard to estimate exactly what we bring in and there always seems to be a little bit extra, until there isn’t!  Case in point, Parsnips: Mom said there *might* be enough to do 3/4 of a lb again in the CSA.  She washed them and between what I had in my storage we thought we might squeak by with just enough.  Then we found one more bag in Mom’s cooler!  So, we are able to send out one last pound to everyone.  But we are REALLY out now.  I knew things were going to be close this year and it’s always definitely on the radar that if we ran out we could end the CSA a week or two early and give people credit for next year, but we determined the last 4 weeks of shares yesterday and so we are going to finish this year filling all 24 bags of the best Veggie Lovers’ Club season ever!  A little less variety than was comfortable at the end, but it all worked out and since we had an inkling this would happen we have supplemented with making more pickles and preserves than we would typically want to include.

So, all that being said, I thought maybe some of you might want to see what is coming for the last 3 weeks of shares after this week.  We try really hard to keep the variety going from week to week, and though we don’t plan out the contents for the entire season ahead, we are always working ahead at least a week or two.  In fact, I do this so much this time of year because of shoots and planning that I can never remember what week it is!  Right now I am thinking forward to Nov. 27th as Jon is just planting the shoots for that week today and the red radish seed is still in transit via Canada Post from Saskatoon.  These are the kinds of things that shift our plans around!

SPOILER ALERT: Stop reading now and you won’t miss anything else in this week’s newsletter, I’m going to post the plan for the next 3 weeks of bags now, read on if you want to!:

Week 22 Nov 27th:
Carrots, 3 lb Rainbow
Beets, 2 lb
Pea Shoots, small bag
Squash, variety TBD
Crabapple Jelly, 250 ml
Sunnies from Week 21!

Week 23 Dec 4:
Radish Shoots, small bag
Potatoes, 5 lb Adora Yellow from Grand Valley Strawberries
Squash, Spaghetti
Onions, 1 lb
Pickled Beets, 500 ml

Week 24 Dec 11:
Carrots, 4 lb
Beets, 3 lb
Pea Shoots, small tray
Sunflower Shoots, small bag

Standard disclaimer, of course this could change before delivery so please refer to each week’s posting for the most accurate bag contents. 


Thanks, Veggie Lovers, see you at the pickup!

Teri 🙂

Week 20 Veggie Lovers’ Club Newsletter

Hi Veggie Lovers!

Whoa, last week was a bit of a gong show!  I can’t believe so many of you made it to the pickup.  Serves me right for being cocky about us tough Manitobans!  Fun fact: it’s incredibly hard and my least favourite thing to make a call about the weather in the winter.  When we lived in Nova Scotia I was managing a large CSA and nearly every week we would have to reschedule a pickup all winter.  It was actually pretty ridiculous and incredibly stressful, because it required not only heaps of communication, but huge amounts of rescheduling and the coordination of dozens, hundreds, of people (the farm team and the members).  Half the time we’d cancel delivery by making a call in the morning, the sun would come out in the afternoon and the roads would be just fine.  I know many of you are teachers, and I sure have a lot of respect for whomever it is who decides when classes are cancelled– and eventually we just made the rule that if school was closed, deliveries and pickups on this particular farm were cancelled, too.

Even if we had that rule in place here it wouldn’t have changed us being out on the roads Tuesday.  By all reports all day they were snow covered and slippery in sections but generally fine.  However, what happened is the temperature plummeted right at 4 pm when I was already en route.  In fact, I was carefully creeping along only going 70 kmh when I crested the hill on PR270 just before #1 highway… And despite that, me and Big Blue sailed right across both westbound lanes of the Trans Canada, as if we didn’t try to brake at all!  Rear wheel drive cargo van with no weight in it on a skating rink isn’t a good recipe.  And also, as it turns out, an uninsulated box which doesn’t stay above zero even with the heat running the whole pickup!  So, you’ll find us in our personal minivan this week.  Her name is Margarita and she’s a beauty of a brown 2005 GMC Safari with Brown Sugar decal stickers on the sides, and mud up to the windows!

So yeah… It’s never our intention that we or you be out picking up veggies when the roads are unsafe.  If you missed due to the conditions please be in touch so that we can get you your Week 19 bag this Tuesday.  We’re always happy to reschedule pickups if the conditions are unsafe to be out on the roads, so don’t hesitate to stay safe, even if we haven’t cancelled the pickup that day because things can change in an instant!


Here’s the link if you’d like to place a Veggie pre-order!
You can place an order anytime before Monday at 5 pm for the coming week and not much changes as far as availability from week to week this time of year so you can order any day, including Tuesday, for next week’s pickup if you want!

We encourage you to make use of the Pre-Order form if you would like additional veggies, preserves, pickles, etc.  There will no longer be a mini-market at the pickup.


The contents of the upcoming week’s bag are subject to change at the last minute, possibly without much/any notice, depending on harvest. It can be tough to estimate how much of a crop will be available before we actually harvest or pack 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!

Spoiler Alert: Stop reading now if you want to keep your bag contents a surprise!

week192018

Your Week 20 Veggie Lovers’ Club bag  for pickup on Tuesday November 13th contains:

Carrots, 3 lbs
Beets, Rainbow mix, 2 lbs
Acorn Squash, 1
Pea Shoots, large bag
Onions, Yellow 1 lb

You can click the links above to view more info about each veggie including recipe & preparation suggestions, season when it is available, 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 in this week’s bag:

Beets are my current favourite example of what a little persistence and the right recipe can do.  Full disclosure, I used to say we “didn’t prefer” them, but it’s actually more along the lines of, I would try to sneak them onto Jon’s plate when he wasn’t looking, and then he would offer them back to me, as though he was too full to finish them: We actually hated them.  I wondered what the heck people were doing with them.  And eventually, I figured it out, and now we love them.  Thanks to a few recipes that hide them well (Beet & Carrot Cake, Chocolate Beet Cake) Mom’s Ukrainian Borscht, and the discovery of: roasted beets, and that colored beets are the gateway beet (less earthy tasting than red ones), and that we LOVE raw beets.  Like, so much that I crave them now.  So, if you still don’t like beets (or any other vegetable), keep eating them and trying new things and you may find that you learn to love them!

If you’re stuck and don’t know what to try next, send me an email.  That’s what I’m here for!

Carrots: The last of the carrots from my place.  They are more knobbly than the ones grown at Mom’s place, but they are also a darker orange color, probably due to their struggle growing in our harder soil and slight nutrient differences between the two farms.  Yes, carrots have terroir too!

I’ve already said everything I can possibly ever say about Pea Shoots in my life, and compiled it all on our Pea Shoot Page, which is a great resource if you want some ideas of what to do with them!  As a general rule, I find that washing them and chopping them into small pieces is essential.  Think outside the box and use them anywhere you want a pop of fresh green: They are especially great atop hot soups and in raw beet salad.

If you really love shoots then keep reading for exciting new details about our 2019 Spring Shoots Program!

We never plant enough Acorn Squash, so this year we did!  I rarely even get to eat any they are in such short supply.  I’ve really been enjoying them, and I hope you have been too!

A kitchen hack I use a lot: Whenever the oven is on, it’s full!  That means if I’m roasting a squash then I’ve also got some beets in there as well, or if a chicken is cooking for supper then I roast some extra veggies to have on hand all week. Prepping twice as many roasted veggies only takes a few extra moments, and taking advantage of the oven being on means MB Hydro gets less of your paycheque: They already get way too much of ours!  If I’ve got beets already roasted then I’m much more likely to use them up where I can, in hummus, or in salads, or just frying them for a few minutes to heat them up.  Same with squash: If I’m only eating half, I still cook the whole squash and then I can use the cooked squash creatively over the next few days.  You’d be surprised the things you can hide cooked squash in – your morning oatmeal, mac and cheese, soups and stews, tomato sauce, pizza, even lattes!

img_4164

I really like this Pea Shoot and Roasted Carrot Salad!  We’ll put the recipe in your bags this week or you can Click Here to see it.

We don’t have a ton of Onions left but we hope to get them to you at least once again before the program ends, including this week.  We have sold out of leeks, parsnips, celeriac, cabbage, and lots more.  In your remaining bags there will be potatoes, beets, squash, carrots, some preserves, and a few other items to come in the next few weeks, as well as shoots every week if all of our plantings work out!


Spring Shoots Program Registration Now Open!

In 2018 our farm ran 40 weeks of CSA Programs!  That was a little bit too much and so I’ve been reluctant to figure out the details for next year’s spring program because of it.  However, thanks to the excitement of a few members for helping me pull through and sort out all the details: 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 on December 1, 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!).

Since I spent all of my budgeted time for this week’s newsletter on fine-tuning the details for this program, I’m going to skip the general farm update this week:  This is it!  Our update is that we have opened registration for our spring 2019 program and if it sounds like it will work for you then we hope you sign up!


Have a great week & see you at the pickup!  Hopefully it will be a bit nicer than last week.

Talk soon,

Teri 🙂

Week 19 Veggie Lovers’ Club Newsletter

Hi Veggie Lovers!

It’s not sounding or looking like it’s going to be very nice for the pickup this week!  I am not offended if you grab your bag and go when it’s cold and yucky out: I don’t blame you!  Watch out this week as it will be darker than last week and feel later than it is!

I woke up thinking it was Wednesday and I was disappointed to realize it’s the first Tuesday snow pickup…  But this is nothing!  Us Manitobans are tough.  But it’s relevant to mention our Snow day policy: If the highway is closed, we cannot come into town for pickup.  Otherwise we generally make it in.  If we decide the weather is not nice enough or the streets are unsafe for the pickup we will let you know via email asap (it would have to be a lot worse than today to affect our schedule).  If you are ever unable to make it to the pickup due to weather please send us an email as soon as you can – I know some of you live outside of town too!

On that note, please remember to let us know via email (sales@brownsugarproduce.com) if you’re not going to make it to pickup, even if it’s DURING the pickup window.  I can check my emails in between customers and so if I see you’re not going to make it, then I don’t have to wait for you.  Last week from 5:35 – 6:00 I waited for three people who never did turn up.  I don’t hold it against you if this happens — stuff happens, I know!– but I sure appreciate if/when you can let me know, especially in the winter.

**UPDATE Wednesday: I posted from the pickup location that the roads were terrible and urged anyone who hadn’t already left home to stay put and we can sort out another option.  If you didn’t pick up your bag last night due to the weather just send us an email and we can sort out connecting you with your bag!

We’ll take back the jars from the Citron Marmalade when you are finished with it!

Next week the pickup follows the Remembrance Day holiday Monday for some of you, nothing will change with our schedule for that fyi.


Here’s the link if you’d like to place a Veggie pre-order!
You can place an order anytime before Monday at 5 pm for the coming week and not much changes as far as availability from week to week this time of year so you can order any day, including Tuesday, for next week’s pickup if you want!

We encourage you to make use of the Pre-Order form if you would like additional veggies, preserves, pickles, etc.  There will no longer be a mini-market at the pickup.


The contents of the upcoming week’s bag are subject to change at the last minute, possibly without much/any notice, depending on harvest. It can be tough to estimate how much of a crop will be available before we actually harvest or pack 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!

Spoiler Alert: Stop reading now if you want to keep your bag contents a surprise!

week182018

Week 18 bag

Your Week 19 Veggie Lovers’ Club bag  for pickup on Tuesday November 6th contains:

Adora Yellow Potatoes, 3 lbs unwashed Grand Valley Strawberries
Spaghetti Squash, 1 large
Leeks, small bunch
Frozen Spinach, small bag (about 1/2 lb)
Sweet Potatoes, about 1 lb
Sunflower Shoots, very small bag

You can click the links above to view more info about each veggie including recipe & preparation suggestions, season when it is available, storage tips, and lots more!  Don’t forget to bookmark our online Veggie Guide so all the veggie info is at your fingertips!


LeekPotato

I had originally posted this recipe on Nov 5, 2015, so it’s fitting that I dug it up on the exact 3 year anniversary!  This was before the red bags and Veggie Lovers’ Club existed, it was even before we changed our logo (as you can see from the original logo on the recipe. We never did get a “cease and desist” order from The Rolling Stones but I half wished we did!).

The fact that this recipe was posted so long ago means it’s a really good one if I insist on sharing it again and again each year!  It is specifically “LEEK and potato soup” because it contains a lot of leeks, more than a lot of potato leek soup recipes.  We really like this recipe and lots of people who never make soup have made this one with great success!  The yellow Adora potatoes that are in this week’s bag are perfect for this soup!

A note on the potatoes from Grand Valley Strawberries: The Adora and Red Storage Potatoes we are selling on the pre-order form and putting in your bags this fall are from Grand Valley Strawberries in Brandon.  They are not organic and due to their harvest equipment you will/may find the occasional cut or bruise on the potatoes.  You can easily cut the damaged areas out, the bruises aren’t a big deal unless they have gone pithy inside in which case you do want to remove them.  Generally I find their potatoes to be on the large size so it’s not a big deal to have to cut a little bit off, as compared to scrubbing or cleaning up tiny potatoes!  Also we always send those out unwashed and I try to make note of that, but sometimes forget.
The quality on these potatoes is not quite the same as our potatoes, which we do all the work by hand, but it is not possible for us to grow enough potatoes for all the Veggie Lovers’ with our production area and methods.  We chose to buy the locally, Brandon grown non-organic potatoes so that we could support George and Barb and because it makes sense for us to source them from as close to home as possible.  A close friend was confused about “Grand Valley Strawberries” versus “Oak Valley Vegetables” (Certified Organic in Morden, MB), and it’s totally understandable to mix up one Valley name over another so I thought I should clarify!  (& we DID source some fingerling and baby potatoes from Dennis at Oak Valley Vegetables in the summer.)  Anyhow, if you’re ever confused or want to know where things are coming from and the production methods used just ask me, I try to be clear but from week to week it’s easy to get mixed up!

If you want to stock up on Potatoes for winter you can get your own bag from Grand Valley Strawberries, 40 lbs for $12 (call Barb or George at 204-728-8453 to make an appointment), OR they are listed on our pre order form for $20 (I’m totally transparent about the fact that we mark them up.  I have to pick up the bags, bring them home, unload them, store them, then take the order and bring the potatoes into town and get payment.  Fully worth ten bucks!).  No rush, you have until Dec. 11th to stock up! (That’s NOT that far away though!).

Spaghetti Squash and I have a sordid relationship.  I make fun of it, and how excited people get about it, and it just sits there, being it’s bland self, taunting me that it is Brandon’s Favourite Squash for another year!  We grew a buttload of these this year (remember, a buttload is more than a boatload but less than a craptonne), and I’m happy to finally see us put a dent in the supply this week!  People love this one, but Honeynut and Delicata are giving spaghetti squash a run for it’s money these days.  That makes me happy because they are smaller than spaghetti!  We’re giving you a big one this week so if I’m looking extra muscle-y at the pickup, that’s why!

There won’t be very many Sunnies in your bags this week but there will be some.  Some greens is better than no greens, and actually those radish shoots last week were scheduled for this week but arrived early.  SO- it all works out.  And from this week onwards we have something fresh & green growing for every week of the CSA until the end!

Feedback about the radish micros:
-“Now THIS is what they SHOULD be selling in grocery stores!!” (Kent)
-“Those radish sprouts are zingy!! The kid said they weren’t spicy (when she was eating the leaves) then didn’t want to eat the stem!” (Reta)
-I talked to a few others who said they really liked them!  Please let me know what you thought this week at the pickup, we’d like to start rolling forward the info for our winter shoots program soon and these will be a part of it (IF people like them!).

 

I froze the Spinach this spring when we had tons of it growing and our markets hadn’t yet started.  It is washed in town water that I hauled by the 5 gallon jug and has been frozen without first blanching because that’s not necessary for spinach (so it was placed raw into the bags and then the air taken out).  I always try to freeze lots of spinach for myself but I rarely get there and it’s never happened that I was able to freeze enough for Veggie Lovers’, so I’m pretty HYPED about it! (to use nephew Josh’s word and pretend Aunt Teri is still cool!).

You can add this spinach to anything cooked like soups or stews, curries, or put it straight into smoothies.  One time Mom got phyllo pastry and make spanikopita with our frozen spinach, it was really good!  My aunt makes this Spinach Dip which I look forward to eating at family get togethers (but if I make it at home I skip the powdered soup mix, that crap is CRAP and mostly MSG)- I usually make it in a pumpernickel rye loaf but next time I potluck I’m going to use a Chez Angela sourdough!

Side note: If you, like me, don’t do well on raw spinach, it could be due to it’s oxalate content, or the oxalic acid that it naturally contains.  About 1/3 of people don’t tolerate oxalates where they are in high levels like dark leafy greens, however as this spinach is frozen you’re going to add it to something cooked which decreases the oxalate content.  This is one piece of my gut issue puzzle that I was able to figure out this year, no thanks to my family doctor but big thanks to my own research and Dave Asprey.  For more info about oxalates click here.

Sweet Potatoes: There were enough to get everyone another small portion!  I left them unwashed, the skins are cured now but they will do better if they stay dry.  Keep them on the counter not in the fridge!


So I guess it’s winter now!  I’m ok with that.  Winter always represents a time for us to rest and recuperate after busy the growing season, not to mention a time to wipe the slate clean and start fresh.  We get to talk about what worked and what didn’t, areas that we’d like to improve for next year, crops that we’d like to drop or add, and how we plan to spread out the work.

It’s epidemic!
Any of you who know me even just from reading the newsletter occasionally know that I’m not a big fan of technology or computers.  But being on Facebook and Instagram and having an online presence and website is how we market our farm, it’s free and very effective though it does take a significant amount of time.  I secretly wish I could delete all the accounts and throw my phone into the creek!

I hate the way communication is going down the toilet.  Here’s an email I received last week, and I get about one like this every two weeks or so (we really don’t get very many emails thank goodness because when I used to be at the receiving end of a large CSA I would get ones like this daily):

SS_eg

(This one actually wasn’t so bad, there are capitals AND some punctuation!). Just because it says “Sent from my iPhone” on the bottom of your email doesn’t make it ok to send messages that don’t make any sense.  I know I’m an old fuddy duddy because I use my phone rarely and prefer to do most of my work on an actual laptop, but emails like this make me feel disrespected and I don’t want to answer them: Really, If you don’t have enough time to read your message over to make sure it makes sense then why should I spend MY time deciphering it?  I’m gathering some thoughts and info for a blog post about this sometime this winter and I plan to direct future Bad Emailers to it!  FORTUNATELY this wasn’t sent from a Veggie Lover and I have no complaints about any of the emails from this year’s Veggie Lovers.  So I’m going to reserve the long winded ranting for a future blog post, and just say thank you to this year’s members for communicating well with your farmers, we really appreciate it!

45092032_2129000520464232_1959420627974619136_nUpdate from Myrah: We had a great time trick or treating for the first time last week with some family who also have young kids (important when you’re the parents who only have an 18 month old and are clearly going to eat the candy ourselves!).  She didn’t know what was going on but she had a great time! Myrah turns 18 months old this week!  She is doing well, saying No (and all variations including Nah, No No No and Ny Ny Ny!) lots but also Shoes, Yeah, That (which applies to pretty much everything!) and Uh Oh.  She says Uh Oh and No a LOT.  Her favorite thing to eat right now is frozen strawberries and anything with beans in it, including Edamame.  She used to love the peek a boo books with flaps but she ripped off all the flaps and so we don’t have those kind of books anymore!  Our favorite bedtime story right now is The Cat in the Hat, The Cat in the Hat Comes Back, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and Veggies with Wedgies.  She LOVES books.  She loves running, especially upstairs in the shed, and her favorite job to do at the farm is shuttling squash around or taste testing.  She has one nap a day, usually for about 1 – 2 hours just after lunch and she sleeps great at night from 7 – 7 most nights.


See you at the pickup!  5 weeks of pickup remain after this week.

Teri 🙂

Week 18 Veggie Lovers’ Club Newsletter

DSCN0088Hi Veggie Lovers!

I heard back from a handful of you that you are happy with the pickup location so we’re going to stick with the park for the remainder of the program.  (That’s the least work option so it works great for me, too!)

I’ll be bringing any extra harvest of shoots that we have for the mini market today. The radish shoots are really nice and as soon as I get more seed we plan to include them in the CSA.


Here’s the link if you’d like to place a Veggie pre-order!
You can place an order anytime before Monday at 5 pm for the coming week and not much changes as far as availability from week to week this time of year so you can order any day, including Tuesday, for next week’s pickup if you want!

As we move into the fall season we encourage you to make use of the Pre-Order form if you would like additional veggies, preserves, pickles, etc.  In the coming weeks, we may bring a few additional items for a mini market if the weather permits.


The contents of the upcoming week’s bag are subject to change at the last minute, possibly without much/any notice, depending on harvest. It can be tough to estimate how much of a crop will be available before we actually harvest or pack 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!

Spoiler Alert: Stop reading now if you want to keep your bag contents a surprise!

week172018

Your Week 18 Veggie Lovers’ Club bag  for pickup on Tuesday October 30th contains:

Rainbow Carrots, 2 lb
Buttercup Squash, 1
Parsnips, 1.5 lbs
Shallots, small bag (3/4 lb)
Gold Beets, 1.5 lbs
Radish Microgreens*, small bag

*Added to the bags last minute on Tuesday at noon, we had a bigger harvest than anticipated!

You can click the links above to view more info about each veggie including recipe & preparation suggestions, season when it is available, storage tips, and lots more!  Don’t forget to bookmark our online Veggie Guide so all the veggie info is at your fingertips!


shallotsShallots are like mild, garlicky onions: You can use them anywhere you’d use onion.  They have a sweeter flavour when cooked and are often a good substitute for onion or garlic in raw recipes as they tend to be milder.  Shallots work particularly well in dishes using wine. Although shallots carmelize like onions, it is important to saute them gently. Browning over high heat is likely to turn them bitter, much like garlic. You can roast shallots in their skins until soft. Then peel, puree and use as a flavoring for soups or sauces.

Here’s a recipe for a Sherry Shallot Vinaigrette
Or how about this Raw Beet Salad with Shallots
Bon Apetit has a great recipe page with lots of shallot recipes!

We don’t grow a lot of shallots but we have enough to put in the bags once this fall, so enjoy!  They are also known as “multipliers” or “multiplier onions”, and there is a red one and a gold one (this is the gold/yellow one).  They take a long season to grow and are a lot of work to clean up due to their small size.  Myrah loves eating them raw which was less than helpful as she likes to “help” with whatever I happen to be doing, plus despite what the internet says they DO give you really really stanky breath.  So picture me struggling with a toddler who kept shoving shallots in her mouth as soon as I wasn’t looking and then breathing on my face.  But I breathed coffee breath back at her and I got to choose the radio station, so you win some, you lose some I guess!

winterbeetsIf you happen to have some sunnies around still, you can make this golden beet and sunflower shoot salad!  Grated gold beets, thin ribbons of pink beets (made with the vegetable peeler), and chopped sunflower shoots mixed with a splash of olive oil, lemon juice, and apple cider vinegar. It’s important to add the lemon juice and vinegar right away so the beets don’t oxidize (aka turn black). The combination of earthy and sweet beets with crunchy bitter sunflower shoots was awesome! Topped the salad with nuts, seeds and dried cranberries before serving.

ButterCUP Squash is a dark green round squash with a cup, aka a big butt on the bottom.  The flesh is bright yellow, buttery, and dense.  Use it for soups or other cooking, roasting, or sweet baking.  We rarely ever do anything other than just eat this one roasted whole because it’s Jon’s favourite (especially now that Delicata is the most popular squash around, that used to be his favourite but he’s just like me and will drop a favourite as soon as it’s no longer the underdog in need of his love!).  They store for a really long time and will keep at least until Christmas!

On that note, remember that you don’t have to panic if you feel like your house is slowly filling with squash one week at a time!  They will keep for a really long time so if you’re not keeping up that’s ok!  See my Week 16 Post for lots of ideas of what to do with squash.  Also, here’s a Squash Sign which shows all the kinds we grow so hopefully you can identify what you have at home if you’ve forgotten.  As a general rule, the Delicata will have the shortest keeping life so eat those ones first (though I know one of you kept one all the way until the start of the next year’s CSA!).  The rest of them should all keep until well into the new year if you keep them at room temperature in a dry place.  Really, your kitchen or somewhere in your house is preferable to your cool damp basement.  The #1 mistake people make with squash is keeping it in a cool damp place.  Don’t do it!  But do keep them close by so you can watch for signs of rot and then use them up quickly if need be.

If there’s a squash you love that we don’t grow, consider mentioning it to us!  But remember that it feels like no matter how many types we grow we never have just the right one.  We’ve streamlined things in the past few years and we’re pretty happy with our varieties.  We do not plan to grow butternut again, it takes a really long season– nearly too long for our climate– and a poor yield compared to varieties like Honeynut which we like much better!  Butternut remains the most popular squash in pop culture and I don’t know why, other than people have no imagination and the internet is sometimes just an echo chamber.  Give me a kabocha any day over bland butternut!

No, the pairing of Citron Marmalade and Chez Angela’s Lemon Swirl bread wasn’t on purpose last week, but what a fortunate surprise!!

Some notes on your items: No Par-rots this week folks (Week 14’s Parsnips and Carrots in the same bag)– we have bagged the rainbow carrots and parsnips separately so you don’t get them mixed up (because a white carrot looks pretty close to a parsnip!)  The parsnips were really muddy when we harvested them and so they aren’t as clean as they usually are, but for most recipes they get peeled anyway.  All of the bags I used for shallots were bags that were already used once and returned– Thanks!

We are aware of our plastic use on the farm but until there is a reasonable solution we don’t really have a lot of options.  If we skip it, you still have to put everything into  bags before it goes into the fridge anyway plus it would cause headaches for us getting things ready on the day of.  Paper just doesn’t cut it for most of our items, and biodegradeable isn’t the solution it sounds like it is. Anyhow, if anyone has any ideas or suggestions I’m open to hearing them, this is one realm (packaging) I don’t hear much feedback about but I am definitely aware of!  Farms I admire have found ways to cut down on plastic but so far nothing really resonates with what is possible for us.  For now, I am happy about the reuseable bags we use for the CSA program, they work really well for us.  And I’m happy we don’t give people boxes full of peas and beans mixed together, like one farm we worked on.


IMG_2141

Back before I needed to exclude Myrah from my office!  Check out that chubby face peeking around the corner.  As soon as she could climb up onto the couch this setup was all over.

Update from my new desk: All summer I have been climbing over a dresser to get to my “office”, which was really just a corner of the living room completely blocked off by various pieces of furniture.  My office has always been in the living room where it is most useful to me– we “Go to work” every day in the shed but even though the shed is only 100 feet from the house it can sometimes feel like it is miles away!  Because I just sneak in a few minutes here and there on the computer usually very early in the morning or during naps it makes sense that it be in the house.  When Myrah really got into pulling down books last spring I just packed a bunch of them away in crates and used them to build the wall that excluded her from my office.  A busy season solution that worked for a time but a change was long overdue.  And once I get it in my head that something needs to change I just have to do it!

Plus, I was complaining about Myrah finding ways to get into my office and get at my stuff and Jon expressed that he feels the same.  Of course!  But I was being really self-important and then realized that Jon needs some adult space as much as I do.

So, Mom looked after Myrah on Saturday night and Jon and I rearranged the house.  We decided to separate the two rooms that were combined as “living room” into two sides: Living room and Jon and Teri’s Studio, comprised of all the adult things we don’t want Myrah to get into but we still use on a regular basis.  And that means the former studio upstairs can finish filling in as a storage area, because it was going that way anyway and it was isolating and not suitable for spending time in.  Now we’ve got all the record players and DJ equipment in the same room as my office, so we can rock out and work at the same time, while Myrah enjoys her playroom behind the couch.  So far she’s not a fan of our clever new set up, but she can’t get at our stuff and so that’s an improvement.  It’s going to be a long winter and we’ve got to figure out a way to share the limited indoor space without killing each other!

On that note, we also skinned the greenhouse last week!  It is a really nice space when the sun is out and actually too hot to spend time in this time of year but it will be nice when it’s -40C outdoors and a sunny 20C inside! (It is unheated but you wouldn’t believe the power of the sun in an enclosed space, even in the dead of winter!)

Take care, Veggie Lovers, and have a Happy Halloween!!  See you at the pickup and for the next 6 weeks!

 

–Teri 🙂