Wednesday, October 7, 2015

2015 CSA Share 19

CSA Share 19

Our Ionia drop-off this week is delayed until Wednesday night, due to an unexpected cow escape Tuesday morning. Feeding the animals early in the morning, Farmer Figgins went to give the cows hay and water, to find the pastures empty. A line in the far corner of their pasture lay drooping, far up above the rise of the hill and usually out of sight unless you climb the hill. Deer, or the cows themselves, had run through the line, breaking it. They tromped through the hay field, gorging themselves, then gone down the hill to visit the sheep and further down into the forest to visit the pigs. There Farmer Figgins found the exterior woven wire fence mashed down, large hoof prints continuing into the neighbors woods. The cows were loose in the wide world! 

She tracked them through the forest, behind neighbors houses and yards, to a fallow hillside north of the Shire, where she lost the tracks. Backtracking to the farm, she went out with business cards and the truck, giving cards out to neighbors asking them to keep an eye out for two wild roaming cows. She spotted meandering tracks on Castle Road, not far from the farm, that linked back to the fallow pasture north of the farm. Following them led to a tractor road between a fallow field and a cornfield, where they were lost. Farmer Donnie came home from work and the two joined up to drive and walk and run around the nearby corn fields and tractor paths. Thankfully, drivers and neighbors started seeing them on the roads, first a mile west, then a mile east back where the tracks had been found and lost. A neighbor finally called saying they were in his fallow field, back on Castle Road where the tracks had been lost. The cows wouldn't let either approach for awhile, even with a bucket of grain. They plodded tiredly away down the tractor road between enclosing cornfields, until Rosie could finally be swayed with some corn and haltered. From there, it was just a long walk back to the farm, with Pippin dutifully following his mother. When they came in sight of the farm, Rosie started mooing and making small bellowing nosies, she knew she was back home.  The fence is all repaired, the cows are unharmed, and these two farmers are much relieved. 

Fall is settling in here on the farm. The garden has been picked clean, with little beyond apples, herbs, and lettuce lamely trying to regrow under constant overcast skies left for next week's harvest. This will be our last produce share of the season, and we've got some old and new fall favorites to end the season on. 

We will also be sending in the first batch of our pasture raised pigs at the end of this week, so shareholders who have a Pasture Raised Pork Share can expect a call soon from the processor to discuss options and cuts. 

Large Share pictured: 8 anaheim peppers, 8 sweet peppers, 4 bell peppers, 2 jalapeño peppers, 2 lemon cucumbers, 16 apples, 2 lbs tomatillos, 2 lbs brussels sprouts, 2 lbs ground cherries, 2 bunches parsnips, 2 heads of celery, 2 bunches of herbs


New this week, this root vegetable is similar to a carrot but they have a sweeter taste, especially when cooked. Parsnips can be eaten raw, but more often are cooked. They can be baked, boiled, pureed, roasted, fried, steamed, mashed, used in stews, soups or casseroles. It's long tuberous root is cream-colored skin, and it used to be used as a sweetener before the arrival of cane sugar in Europe.

Parsnip Recipes

Brussels Sprouts

New this week, Brussels sprouts orginataed in Europe and are related to cabbages. They have high levels of vitamin C and K and potential anticancer properties. They are typically cooked by boiling, steaming, stir frying, sautéing, grilling, or roasting or even pickling. Just cut away any surplus stem and loose surface leaves, some cooks make a single cut or a cross in the center of the stem to aid the penetration of heat. Caution: overcooking can render the buds gray and soft, and then they develop a strong flavor and odor that is less than palatable. Common additions or toppings are parmesan cheese and butter, balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, bacon, pine nuts, mustard, brown sugar and pepper. 

Roasted Brussels Sprouts Recipe


New this week, Celery is used around the world for the crisp leaf stalks, though in Europe it is more common to grow it for its bulb. The leaves are strongly flavored and can be used as a flavoring in soups and stews or as a dried herb. Celery can be stored for up to seven weeks in the fridge. Celery, onions, and bell peppers are considered the holy trinity of Cajun cuisine, or, try celery, onions, and carrots for the base of a great soup! 

Ground Cherries 

This strange golden berry is related to the tomato plant, and is indigenous to the new world. It has a similar texture to the tomato, but in flavor is more like strawberry or pineapple. The fruit are rich in cryptoxanthin, and contain pectin and can be used in pie filling. They can be eaten raw and used in salads, you can add them to dessert, use as flavoring, made into fruit preserves, or dried and used like raisins. 

Ground Cherry Jam
Ground Cherry Pie


More apples this week, we believe they are Jonathan apples. You may notice some spots on these apples, this is just a mild mold from lack of ventilation. If you wash and peel these apples they are still good to eat! 

How to freeze apples 
Sour Cream Apple Pie


More tomatillos this week. We enjoy making a salsa verde out of these or for enchilada sauce with chicken or pork. They also go well in a pot of chili or soup! These are easy to preserve for another day, just take out of the paper-lantern like husk, wash and then freeze whole for later. 


We couldn't believe it but the cucumbers managed one last picking for our last share. We had cucumbers from the end of June till the beginning of October, not bad!


This week we have bell peppers, jalapeno, Anaheim, and sweet snacking peppers for everyone. 


This week we have parsley and sage for everyone.