Thursday, January 15, 2015

2014 Photo Review of CSA Shares

2014 CSA Picture Review

Want to see just what our Produce CSA is like? Here is a week by week look at everything our Large Produce Shares received. Our Small Produce shares almost always receive the exact same items, but in half the quantity. Don't think you can handle this much produce? Many of our CSA members can, freeze, or dehydrate throughout the season, that way they can enjoy all this bounty for the entire year, even in the depths of winter. 

Share 1

2 Heads of lettuce, 2 bags of mixed greens, 2 bags of Arugula, 
1 large bunch of Kale, large bunch of Catmint, and 3 stalks of Rhubarb

 Share 2

4 heads of lettuce, 2 bags of lettuce mix, 2 bags of arugula,
large bunch radish and turnips, 2 cucumbers, large bunch lemon basil, 2 bunches of kale, 4 kohlrabi

Share 3 

2 heads of broccoli, 2 heads of lettuce, 4 cucumbers, 4 kohlrabi, 2 bunches of kale, 2 bunches of Swiss chard, 2 bags of lettuce and spinach mix, 2 bags of arugula, italian basil and cilantro. 

 Share 4

2 Kohlrabi, 3 summer squash, 4 cucumbers, 2 broccoli heads, 2 lettuce heads, 2 bags of arugula, 2 bunches kale, large bunch of herbs including parsley, thyme and oregano

 Share 5

2 Large Broccoli heads, 4 small broccoli heads, 6 cucumbers, 8 summer squash, 1 large summer squash, 3.5 lbs of green beans, 1 large bunch turnips, 2 bunches green onions, 2 heads of spinach, 2 heads of lettuce, 2 lbs of green's mix, 2 bunches swiss chard, 2 bunches kale, 2 bunches herbs (catmint, lemon basil, italian basil)
Share 6

1 bunch turnips (full share only), 4 lbs green beans, 4 lemon cucumbers, 2 large zucchini, 8 summer squash, broccoli, snap peas, 2 heads spinach, 2 bunches kale, 2 bunches herbs (Italian basil, lemon basil)
 Share 7

Potatoes, Tomatoes, Tomatillos, Cauliflower,  Lemon Cucumbers, Snap Peas, Green Beans, Summer Squash, Cucumbers, Broccoli, Kale, Herbs
 Share 8

Onions, Jalapenos, Beets, Eggplant, Swiss Chard, Lettuce Mix, Kohlrabi, Radishes, Arugula, Tomatoes, Tomatillos, Lemon Cucumbers, Green Beans, Summer Squash, Cucumbers, Kale, Lemon Basil, Parsley, Dill.  

Share 9

Okra, Onion, Broccoli, Cabbage, kale, Green Tomatoes, red tomatoes, Peppers (jalalpeno, ancho, bell), Eggplant, Swiss Chard, Tomatillos, lemon Cucumbers, Green Beans, Summer Squash, parsley, dill, oregano, lemon basil, and Italian basil.

Share 10

Large bundle carrots, ground cherries, large bundle green onions, 2 bags of lettuce mix, 6 spears of okra, broccoli florets, onions, jalapeno, ancho and bell peppers, 4 eggplant, tomatillos, lemon cucumbers, 2 bags of green beans, summer squash, slicing cucumbers, 2 bunches kales, garlic chives, fill, Italian basil, and lemon basil

Share 11

Tomatoes, Tomatillos, Summer Squash, Eggplant, Okra, Peppers (Jalapeno, Ancho, Bell), Ground Cherries, Garden Huckleberries, Kale, Onions, Lemon Basil, Dill, Tarragon, Italian Basil, Parsley
Share 12

Arugula, eggplant, garden huckleberries, okra, kale, melon, onions, peppers, summer squash, tomatillos, tomatoes, catnip, sage, Italian basil, lemon basil.

Share 13

2 acorn squash, 2 delicata squash, 2 bunches of japanese turnips, 2 bunches of kale, 2 bags of ground cherries, 2 bags of garden huckleberries, 6 eggplant, 4 large sunflower heads for sunflower seeds, okra, peppers (ancho, jalapeno, anaheim), tomatillos, Swiss Chard, Tarragon, dill, Italian basil, and lemon basil. 

Share 14

2 watermelon, 2 spaghetti squash, 2 delicata squash, 2 pumpkin pie pumpkins, 2 melons, 2 bunches kale, 2 bags of lettuce mix, 2 bags of arugula, 4 eggplant, 2 kohlrabi, large bundle kale, jalapeno and bell peppers, rosemary, thyme, italian basil, and lemon basil. 
Share 15

2 butternut squash, 2 spaghetti squash, bell peppers, jalapenos, 2 watermelon, 4 eggplant, 2 cayenne, 1 bag of garden huckleberries, 1 bag of ground cherries, 2 bunches kale, 2 bags of greens mix, large bunch green onions, parsley and lemon basil. 
Share 16

2 heads of celery, 2 spaghetti squash, 3 delicata squash, 3 eggplant, 2 cayenne, 2 bunches of kale, beets, carrots, 2 bags of green's mix, 2 bags of arugula, ancho, jalapeno, anaheim, and bell peppers, parsley, Italian basil, and catnip.

Share 17
2 head of celery, 2 bunches of leeks, 2 spaghetti squash, 2 acorn squash, 4 eggplant, 2 bags of ground cherries, 2 bunches of kale, peppers (cayenne, jalapeno, anaheim, bell), 2 kohlrabi, lemon basil, italian basil, and tarragon. 

Share 18
2 Jac-O-Lantern pumpkins, 4 pumpkin pie pumpkins, large bunch of green onions, 2 bunches of kale, 2 bags of green's mix, a large Luffa, large bunch of parsnips, 2 heads of celery, jalapeno and cayenne peppers, eggplant, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme.

2014 CSA Share 14

2014 CSA Share 14

More fall favorites and a late summer one this week. We have more squash coming this week; and lots of greens including lettuce, arugula, kale, and kohlrabi.  We also have the long awaited watermelons.  We made a miscalculation and tried just starting these outside this year, but due to the late start to the season in general, they have been behind. They are here now and we brought back the Moon and Stars Watermelon which was our favorite last year.

Acorn Squash, Spaghetti Squash, Delicatta Squash, Pumpkin Pie Pumpkin, Watermelon, Eggplant, Green Onions, Kale, Kohlrabi, Lettuce Mix, Arugula, Cantaloupe Melons, Peppers, Kale, and Herbs


NEW THIS WEEK!  Our Watermelon are finally here! We brought back the Moon and Stars watermelon, which has a dark green rind with bright yellow moon and shaped spots on it.  We also have a small standard looking watermelon that is very tasty and perfect for our small shares who don't want to eat watermelon night and day.  

Pie Pumpkin

NEW THIS WEEK! These small pumpkins are ideal for pumpkin pie.  If you'd like to save this for a thanksgiving special, we'd recommend making the pie filling, and then freezing until the big day.  Of course you could always just have a pumpkin pie just because they are delicious!  


Spaghetti Squash

NEW THIS WEEK! The Spaghetti Squash is a very unique vegetable, a cross between string cheese and pasta, with a mild flavor.  When you roast the squash in the oven, cut it in half and roast flesh side down for 30-40 minutes at 450 degrees, you can then scrape the squash and it separates into spaghetti like strands of squash.  These can be then eaten with pasta sauce as a delicious meal!

Acorn Squash

These beautiful squashes are as good to eat as they are to use as a fall decoration.  The acorn is a rich squash that is ideal as a side dish along a nice roast chicken as part of a fantastic family dinner.  It can also be used to make a delicious soup.  Or by roasting with maple syrup can be a dessert like dish, which in Farmer Don's book means you get 2 desserts because a vegetable can't count as a dessert.

Acorn Squash Soup

Delicata Squash

The Delicata Squash is a variety of butternut squash.  It is an easily prepared vegetable, no need to peel this squash, with a rich taste that is ideal for Roasting or being caramelized.  The roasted squash recipe below is absolutely delicious and super simple!

Roasted Squash Recipe



 These are a mix of Cantaloupe, and the small melon with big flavor, the Charentais Melon!  We will have watermelons in the next few weeks so keep looking forward to that! 



Kohlrabi may be a new vegetable for some of you, but we promise it's one you'll be glad to try! The word Kohlrabi is German for cabbage turnip, and it can be eaten raw or cooked. We usually eat them raw, just peel off the skin and slice them like an apple and sprinkle with a little salt or dip in your favorite dressing and enjoy! They're also great raw on a salad, or roasted, or baked. Popular in Indian food, in dishes like Kohlrabi Curry.

Kohlrabi Curry

Roasted Kohlrabi

Butter-Braised Kohlrabi 


Lettuce Mix

This week we have a return of the lettuce mixes!  A combination of  green oakleaf, red oakleaf, green romaine, and red romaine. Enjoy some late fall salads this week, and pray for more sunny days to prolong these fall greens.  


Arugula is a pungent, peppery flavored green originating from the Mediterranean. Spice up any salad, sandwich, or pizza with some Arugula! For a pizza topping you can add it just before baking or immediately after. Also eaten raw, coarsely chopped in pasta in Italy. With salad--try it with some mozzarella cheese, pine nuts and sun dried tomatoes!


Peppers- Jalapeno & Bell

We have Jalapenos and Bell Peppers for everyone this week, as the season gets later we should see some of these peppers start changing colors.  We've heard that it also corresponds to an increase in the heat of the pepper, but not sure if there is any truth to that.  Let us know what you think! 



 We have a dark purple variety and a white variety, perfect for ratatouille or eggplant Parmesan. Raw eggplant can have a somewhat bitter taste, but becomes tender when cooked and develops a rich, complex flavor. The flesh is smooth and meaty, capable of absorbing large amounts of cooking fats and sauces, making for very rich dishes and making it a great meat substitute for vegan and vegetarian dishes!


This green became a favorite for us at the farm Farmer Don certainly came to love it.  There are many great ways to enjoy this super food, which is loaded with vitamins.  You can of course eat it raw, or throw it in a juicer.  We really enjoy throwing it in the cast iron with  butter, salt, pepper, and some red pepper flakes and sauteing for a few minutes for a great side to any meal.  It is also a great healthy snack when you bake them into Kale Chips.  

Kale Chips

Fresh Herb Bundle

We've got  bunches of rosemary, thyme, Italian Basil and Lemon Basil this week, enjoy!  

Can't use it all? Here's a simple How-To on drying your own herbs

Monday, January 5, 2015

Winter Farm Update 2014-2015

Winter Farm Update

It's been another unusually mild winter in Michigan, much like the winter we had two years ago. We had a snow storm around Thanksgiving, then it melted and we didn't see snow until New Years! But now we're locked in and in the single digits on the thermometer. 

We were very glad for the mild winter, because it made keeping the pigs longer much easier. The pigs took longer to finish this year, we had 3 males and 1 runty female. Our female, Penny, didn't reach her target weight (250 lbs) until right before Christmas! So we were very glad for the mild winter because it made loading them in the trailer much, much easier on dry ground rather than snow. 

To the left is a picture of our runt Penny, eating breakfast with some of our laying hens. You can see how we fence our hogs, we use plastic step in posts with fi-shock polywire rope and a portable solar energizer. Next year we're planning on having the pigs in the woods more, and we're hoping to find a breed with a shorter snout that doesn't root up the pasture as much. Otherwise it means we have to reseed our pasture every year. 

New this year, we build a run-in shelter! Most of the wood for the siding we got very cheap from an Amish sawmill north of us. We built this with Pippin in mind because even though he's almost a year old, he still can't get enough of his mother's milk! We still have to keep them separated if we want milk from Rosie, so Pippin has his own shelter and about 1/3 of an acre to himself. We milked Rosie this year in the Once-A-Day Milking Style, where you milk once a day and the calf takes care of the other milking. 

This worked wonderfully for us, less work, don't have to be on the farm all the time, and we can get away for a short vacation if we want and Rosie won't stop producing milk. Only one problem. We did it a tad too long. We should have separated them completely and weened him off before he was 9 months old, to help him kick the habit. Instead we kept on with the Once a Day milking and then tried weening him after he was 10 months old. He mooed and bucked and moaned for him mother for a solid week, then quieted down. Farmer Figgins left for a short vacation over the holidays, and we let the cows spend that time together, to see how he'd do, and if he'd drink her milk and keeping her producing while the farmer was away. Turns out, he wasn't done with milk yet. 

In a way it worked out for us, Farmer Figgins was able to take a vacation and Rosie kept producing milk when she got back, but, it means we also have to keep them separated all winter if we want milk for ourselves. Another negative we found to Once-A-Day Milking is that the cow often holds back quite a lot of her cream from us and saves it for the calf, which makes making butter and ice cream much harder. 

In the greenhouse we planted some cool season crops and have been enjoying fresh salads all winter, here it is January 5th and we can still get fresh greens from the greenhouse! We planted arugula, kale, lettuce heads, carrots, spinach, green onions, radishes, kohlrabi, and turnips. The carrots, green onions and kohlrabi are still not harvestable yet, but we've been enjoying the rest for some time now! To give them added protection from cold winter nights we put a row cover of agribon over the crops. 

Meanwhile in the barn, Rosie has a new set up for her stall. Using pallets again, we've built it so that she has a run-in stall from her outside pasture, which is about 1/3 of an acre. 

 We built Rosie a milking stanchion this fall too, Farmer Donnie based it off of a stanchion found online here and we adapted it to work for us. It's been working wonderfully, milking has never been easier! Then again, during the summer Farmer Figgins would milk Rosie in the pasture, not tied up to anything, so most anything is easier than that! 

As you can see, simply lead the cow in, close the boards next to her neck so she can't back up, lock them in place, then start milking! We had her A.I.ed with Swedish Red semen from Northstar Collective last week. We'll see in a few weeks if it took! We were hoping to inseminate her with Dexter semen, but had trouble finding a local source. Luckily, the Swedish Red is a similar dual purpose breed, though not a miniature cow. If it took, she'll be due in September, around when Pippin will be leaving us! We will only be keeping a 1/2 for ourselves, so if your interested in a 1/4 or a 1/2 of grass and milk fed, pasture raised beef, let us know! 

Now some of the older laying hens have been hanging around the barn at milking time to eat any grain Rosie drops. 

Or to steal any milk that the barn cats leave. 

 Last, but not least, we started a new layer flock in October. They are fully feathered out now and taking the cold well. We're trying out some new breeds this go around--Australorp, Buff Orpington, Speckled Sussex, Rhode Island Reds and more Ameraucanas this year! 

We'll be releasing our 2015 CSA information soon, check with us on the blog and facebook!