A reminder to all share members that next week there will be no share deliveries! We will be back on for the remainder of the season starting the week of October 1st (I can not believe it is getting that close to October!) In the meantime, we are going to enjoy the last of the summer crops in this week's share. Once we return, we will be done with the tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, and moving on to winter squash, fall greens, kohlrabi, radish, storage onions, and lots more root crops.
I spent the weekend trimming and crating the red and yellow storage onions. The harvest was plentiful and there will be lots to for everyone in October. We will also be selling bulk quantities of yellow storage onions. Let me know if you would like to place an order. They are $4 per kg. We also still have a couple fall boxes still available, which will include some bulk onions. Fall boxes are $45.
Now that the onions are trimmed, the greenhouse is transitioning from onion curing to squash and pumpkin curing. This weekend I harvested the pie pumpkins plus two other varieties of squash. The remaining squash will be harvested later this week with the help of the students in the LEAF program at Norwell District High School. LEAF stands for Local Environmental Agriculture & Food and students earn credits while learning more about local agriculture and connect them with the various methods of food production. To learn more about the program, you can go here. The students will be joining for a morning where they will tour our farm, learn more about our ecological approach to farming, and then help us out with a farm task.
Our beets have done spectacularly well this summer. This makes me happy since the last couple years have been relatively poor beet crops. While I know not everyone loves beets, I think beets add some great beauty and nutrition to a meal. For those that aren't sure what to do with beets, check the links below. Topped beets will last for a long time in your fridge if you put them in an airtight container or bag.
Pink Beet Pancakes
Carrots and Beet Latkes
Beet, Ginger, Coconut Milk Soup
20 Beet Recipes
Brrrrrr! It seems it became fall over night! Although I think there are still some warm summery days in store for us. With the cool, damp weather the tomatoes and peppers are slowing down although we will still have both for a week or two. The fall greens, though, are thriving with the cooler temperatures and moisture. It won't be too long and we will be enjoying some arugula, spinach, baby kale, and more. I find all of these greens are at their finest in the fall and love to eat my fill before the cold days of winter make green salads a scarcity.
We had our 2018 organic inspection this past week and all went well. During the inspection, the inspector walks throughout the farm and verifies that the information we submitted in our annual application matches what they see on the farm. They also sit down with me and look our record keeping and paperwork. The records required for an organic grower are time-consuming but they make me a better farmer. I know, down to the kilogram, what I harvested from each bed and of each crop for every year. This information makes future decisions regarding planting to be based on facts rather than guesses. It's also pretty fulfilling to see the entire weight of all the vegetables we harvest in a given season - it's a lot!
I am super excited to be including cantaloupe or watermelons in your share this week! Melons are a tricky crop for us as they like lots of heat units and we don't always get enough. Some seasons I haven't even bothered to plant any because they aren't a guaranteed harvest. I decided to give them a try again this year and we lucked out with the weather. They are sweet and delicious and the cantaloupes in particular are plentiful. We lost many of the watermelon plants early in the season when we had a strong wind storm shortly after transplanting. The wind broke the tender stems of many of the plants but those that survived have produced some lovely watermelon.
As usual, our potatoes are plentiful and beautiful. Our soils seem to grow potatoes really well and we managed to avoid the major pests that can decimate a potato crop. Most people know what to do with potatoes but in case you are looking for some inspiration, check out these recipes:
Creamy Herb Potato Salad
Garlic Smashed Potatoes
Creamy Potato Soup
For many people, September feels like a major shift from the summer months. Time for cooler weather, pumpkin spice everything, and a back-to-school shift. For a market gardener, September still feels much like summer. There are plenty (if not more) harvesting tasks, the weeds are still present, and the last field plantings are happening. For the past 5 years I have homeschooled our two boys and 'school' doesn't look like much until well into October which contributes to September feeling a part of summer. This year, however, our oldest son Terran is heading off to Grade 8 at the elementary school in Mount Forest! And our youngest, Rowan is going to be attending a 1 day per week homeschool program at the Guelph Outdoor School. This past week has been filled with more back-to-school preparations that we've seen in many years! Thankfully, the heat has meant that I haven't felt compelled to break out the pumpkin spice.
We are currently offering a promotion on our 2017 honey: Buy 2, Get One Free! We still have a bit of stock from last summer that we need to move since storage space is limited. Honey has no expiration date and ours is still delicious and spreadable. We offer two sizes: 500g ($8) and 1kg ($15). Stock up for all your winter honey needs! Honey also makes great housewarming, Christmas, and teacher gifts.
You will notice that your carrots come topped this week. This current planting of carrots has been in the ground for a while and the leaves are becoming brittle and don't bunch well. Once this planting is harvested we will be back to carrots with tops. On the tomato front, we are still getting lots of ripe, beautiful tomatoes. The plants are showing signs of decline and more tomatoes are rotting on the vines. This is a sure sign that tomatoes will be slowing down shortly. I imagine we will have two more weeks of tomatoes before we say goodbye to these summer beauties.
The first of the winter squash are being previewed in your shares this week: Spaghetti Squash. It will be a few weeks until the rest of the squash appear but Spaghetti Squash are a fun early treat. I am pleased with the new variety I have tried this year. This particular variety is sweet and flavourful with a beautiful deep orange colour. At its simplest, spaghetti squash can be cut in half, roasted, the strands of flesh separated with a fork, and toss with sauce of your choosing. For more ideas, try these recipes:
Spaghetti Squash Boats [YouTube link]
Creamy Spaghetti Squash Casserole
Spaghetti Squash Lasagna
This is the busy time of the year for curing crops in the greenhouse. The garlic is being trimmed and packed away for storage and that has freed up space for me to harvest most of the storage onions. By the end of the week, all the storage onions will be curing in the greenhouse and soon appearing in your shares. And on their heels are the winter squash and pumpkins. We taste tested a spaghetti squash the other day and it was delicious. I tried a new variety this year which matured sooner and has a deeper yellow skin and flesh than the previous variety we grew.
We have had a fair amount of rain in the last week and this is knocking back the cucumbers, chard, and zucchini. The rain causes fungal diseases to proliferate and the plants just give up producing. We will have a few cucumbers in the trade-in bin this week and then the plants will be ripped out. The zucchini may hold on for another week or two but then they will be done too.
The kale has been infested with some late season flea beetles and grasshoppers which are making the leaves a poor quality. Once we get a frost or two, these pests will disappear and the leaves should improve. For now, we're going to take a week or two off bunched greens (except those with greens add-ons). Luckily, we have both salad mix and beets with lovely greens making an appearance in this week's share so you should still get your greens fix!
Sweet peppers are a favourite here in our household and I always try to roast and then freeze some for winter use. These frozen, roasted peppers make delicious dips and vegan 'cheese' sauces. At their simplest, peppers can be diced into salad, thrown into soups and stews, or eaten raw with dip. If you are looking for some additional ways to use them up, try these recipes:
Vegan Roasted Red Pepper Pasta
Roasted Red Pepper, Chicken, and Mozzarella Sandwich
Tomato and Roasted Pepper Salad
We are halfway through the CSA season! As always, the summer has flown by and we are approaching the harvesting of fall crops. But don't worry, we definitely still have a few weeks of summer crops to enjoy! Within the next week or two I will be planting some spinach, beets, lettuce, arugula, baby kale, mustard, and winter radishes. Once these are planted that's all the planting for the year! Well, except for garlic which we plant in mid-October.
The tomatoes are still going strong and the sweet peppers are making an appearance this week. Sweet peppers are a struggle for us each year - either the peppers barely ripen before the frost or they produce very few peppers. This summer the heat seems to be helping them along and the peppers are looking pretty great.
We are down to our last few frozen roasting chickens and we won't have more until July 2019. If you would like some, please place an order with me in person or via email. Most of the remaining chickens are between 5.5 to 7lbs and cost $5/lb.
Eggplants tend to be a love it or hate it vegetable but I think many people are just not sure what to do with an eggplant. A very simple use for an eggplant is to slice into 1/4" rounds, place in a single layer on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive and sprinkle with sea salt. In a preheated 425 degree oven roast for 15 minutes or until cooked through and lightly golden brown. We then use these slices on sandwiches, burgers, and wraps just like you would a tomato slice. You are also getting all the ingredients you need this week to make a great batch of ratatouille. Try one of the recipes below!
Chickpea Ratatouille Nicoise