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Week 8 Newsletter (August 10, 2017)

My interest is in the future because I am going to be spending the rest of my life there. – Charles Kettering

Earth Dance Farm

Week 8 crop list

  • Eggplant – all
  • Zucchini – all
  • Summer squash – all
  • Scallions – all
  • Potatoes – all
  • Thyme – all
  • Cucumbers – all
  • Peppers – all
  • Cabbage – all
  • Honey – all
  • Green beans – full
  • Romaine – full

Farmer Notes

  • Potatoes are just out of the ground and uncured – eat soon or keep refrigerated and dry
  • Italian (white) eggplant has sharp spines near the stem
  • Thyme pairs well with the potatoes and squashes and also tastes great with the honey and mustard in a salad dressing
  • Honey is raw (not pasteurized/boiled) and has excellent health benefits, but should not be fed to infants.  Please read our ‘crop of the week’ article
  • Peppers are debuting – single and full receive bell and banana
  • Scallions fried up with the new potatoes – omg
  • We have missed out on the last two rains and are irrigating full time again.  Sweet corn, melons and tomatoes are slow going with this cooler August
  • We have an intern change-up next week – summer interns Piper, Jo, and Jillian head back to college and will be sorely missed.  Alex and McKenna join the team with Tom, Samson and Norm.
  • Please return our ice packs and boxes
  • Wash all the produce before you eat it

Surplus produce

Most seasons we are blessed with an abundance of crops in our fields.  Almost every year there is at least a crop, or three, that is in synch with its field location and the weather pattern, and produces much more than we can give to our members.  We have been using the Salvation Army in Austin, the Rochester Women’s Shelter and ‘pick your own’ to neighbors and members as outlets to some of our surplus eggplant, cucumbers and summer squashes.  Our chickens are also the lucky recipients of these extras, and still more just gets put on our compost pile.  Growing up in an environment where food was a bit scarce and wasting was a sin, it has been a journey for me to just leave good produce in the field or to tilt that loader bucket onto the compost heap.  It is certainly a better situation to be in than to be scrambling for produce to put in the box!

I want to recognize that you, also, have been perhaps receiving more than you would like to of certain crops.  That being said, if you do not like radishes, then any number of radishes is too much.  Cabbages and radishes have come in quite a few of your deliveries and you will not see them for another 6 weeks.  I hope that you have enjoyed them and that you were able to experiment with some new recipes for cooking/preserving.  Presently, there is an abundance of summer squashes and cucumbers so I hope that you can do some pickling or canning if you find yourself with too many.  Sharing with neighbors can also be an option.  Eggplant is also in the prime of a lengthy season so we are delivering on a 2-week on, 1-week off cycle.

I hope that you are having a great summer and an enjoyable CSA season!!

~Norm

Crop of the Week: Honey

Honey bee pollinating a squash blossom

This week’s featured item is brought to you by the hard working honey bees of Earth Dance Farm. Not only do the several hives on the farm assist in pollinating our crops throughout the season, but in the process, they also create delicious honey. The honey you are receiving in your boxes this week is considered raw honey, because we do not pasteurize it or heavily process it like most honeys you would find in the supermarket. Raw honey is better tasting and better for you too. It can help counter pollen allergies, is a great natural energy source for pre-workout fuels or post-workout recoveries, is an antioxidant powerhouse, helps boost the immune system, and much more. Check out The Many Health Benefits of Raw Honey to read more about honey and to see comparisons between raw and commercial types.

Honey is a great addition to oatmeal, ice cream, peanut butter sandwiches, cereal, breads, pastries, cookies, pancakes, waffles, desserts, teas, coffees, and much more. It is important to note that as a safety precaution, infants under the age of one should not be fed any kind of honey. It can occasionally contain spores of a bacterium called Clostridium botulinum, which an infant’s immature digestive system cannot handle.

Let us know how you use this week’s honey, we would love to see and hear how it goes! Snap a pic and share it on Facebook or Instagram, or email it to us at norm.the.farmer@gmail.com. Enjoy your honey!

Meet the Farmer

Interns hard at work pickling cucumbers

How to Make Pickles

We have been fortunate on the farm this year with a great crop of cucumbers. To make use of the surplus left over after each week’s delivery, we have been practicing our pickling skills. So far, we have pickled over 12 pints of cucumbers and plan to do more in the coming weeks. Here is the recipe we have been using, try it out and let us know what you think!

What you need:

  • 2 1-pint Mason jars
  • Cucumbers
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 2 teaspoons dill seed
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons pickling salt or kosher salt

What to do:

  1. Pickles for long-term storage: bring a large pot of water to a boil and sterilize the jars and their lids by boiling them for a short period of time (just a few minutes should do). Do not let the jars touch the bottom of the pot for an extended time. They might melt. Refrigerator pickles: Wash the jars and lids.
  2. Wash and dry the cucumbers. Cut the ends off and then either leave them whole or cut them into spears or chips.
  3. Split the garlic and dill seed between the jars
  4. Pack the cucumbers into the jars as tightly as possible.
  5. Combine the vinegar, water, and salt in a small sauce pan over high heat and bring to a rolling boil. Pour the brine over the pickles, filling each jar to within 1/2-inch of the top and screw on the tops until tight.
  6. For longer storage, the lids need to pop down. If they do not, place the jars in a boiling pot of water for 5 minutes and remove the jars immediately. For refrigerator pickles, let them cool down and place them in your fridge.
  7. Try to wait at least 48 hours before cracking them open.

Enjoy your produce! Like and follow us on Facebook and Instagram @EarthDanceFarm!

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