Market Days and Open Farm Days

Erin Mitchell at the Fort Farmer's Market

Erin Mitchell at the Fort Farmer’s Market

Our season is officially underway! We have had our first CSA delivery and have been back at the Fort market for a few weeks.  It has been nice to have Erin’s ebullient help in our stand at the market.

Red-leafed, buttery  head lettuce

Red-leafed, buttery head lettuce

Our crops are looking great and as always, we have an abundance of head lettuce and salad mix available at the farm and at the market along with other wonderful spring goodies.

I am sure that we’ll be posting some ‘Open Farm’ days here soon, and today, we are having a short market day from noon – 2:00 pm!  We are open to everyone and we have washed salad mix, arugula, head lettuce, chard, kale, green onions, salad turnips, Tatsoi and fresh eggs available.

20140713_195325Stop out to the farm today to pick up some veggies or eggs or to visit and try some Thai Green Soup!

If you can’t make it out today, you can order with the form below and we will get your order ready for you.  (This form will update on Wednesday evenings or Thursday’s.  No pick ups on Wednesdays at this time.)

Week of June 15, Farm produce order form.

Let Summer CSA Season Begin!

High Tunnel Tomatoes

High Tunnel Tomatoes

20150602_114616Our summer deliveries start June 10 and 11!  We are excited to start harvesting and sending out boxes of delicious, certified organic produce.  Members should have all received at least 1 email regarding the start of the season by now and there will be more coming soon with details about pick-up and what produce to look forward to. The crops all look great and I am very excited about the berries and tree fruit that are loaded and look fabulous!

20150604_150715Our hens are all out on lush pasture and laying amazing organic and soy-free eggs with deep orange yolks. We have a beautiful flock of young ladies that are about to start laying soon, too!

We still have produce shares,and egg shares available for the season and we hope that you’ll join us! Sign up here or stop and visit us at the Fort Farmers market tomorrow to sign up or learn more about membership.

Spring and all that Mother Nature Brings Us

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Spring is always an exciting time for farmers.  After winter planning, it is time for field work and planting and hoping that Mother Nature is working in your favor. This season has presented a new challenge for many, though; the Avian Flu.  Our county has been one of the many across the Midwest that has been affected by this devastating virus.  It is a concern not only for the large chicken farms in our area, but for all chicken owners, including us.  At this time of year, our chickens would normally be frolicking out on lush, green grass, but for now, we are limiting their frolick time and hoping that the upcoming warm, dry weather helps the bird flu fade away.   I know that I would be devastated if we lost all or our birds and though we raise our chickens very differently, my heartfelt sympathy goes out to all of the farms that are faced with such a loss right now on a much, much larger scale than ours.  Although it is still early spring, there are plenty of weeds and trimmings from our high tunnel greens to feed to our hens and it is the green stuff that makes those yolks so deep orange and delicious!

Greens in the high tunnel, ready to go into spring boxes.   The white fabric covers the beds at night to protect tomatoes and peppers when the evening temps drop low.

Greens in the high tunnel, ready for spring  share boxes.  The white fabric covers the beds at night to protect tomatoes and peppers from cold nights.

After the cold, dark winter finally faded, we had some delicious spinach and other greens that sprung to life in the high tunnel as well as those pesky weeds.  The trimmings and weeds are loved by our hens!

For much of the spring we have been very happy to be delivering cold-sweetened spinach to The Black Sheep Restaurant in Whitewater and the Edgewater Supper Club in Jefferson.  We also look forward to putting some tasty spring carrots back on the shelves at the Health Nut in Watertown, Rivers Edge Market Jefferson and Fresh and Green Market in Oconomowoc!  The Farmer’s market in Fort will be starting up next weekend and although we probably won’t be at the first one, we hope to be there soon!

As the winter greens have been harvested and removed, we have been planting for our spring shares; spinach, salad greens, sautéing greens, radishes, salad turnips, Chinese cabbages, onions and much more.   As we harvest those greens in the next few weeks, we will be making way for the tomatoes and peppers that are already fighting for space.  We’re hoping that soon the nighttime temps stay above freezing and we can stop covering  and start trellising them!  My favorite tomatoes are planted in there and I can’t wait!

The next few several months will be continuous planting for summer and fall shares.  We still have room for more members and hope that you will join us for the summer season of certified organic sweet corn, tomatoes, broccoli, peppers, beans, peas, carrots, beets, squash and so much more!

Want Assistance Covering the Cost of Your CSA Share?

Standard share; week 20

Standard share; week 20

Partner Shares is a cost-sharing program that provides financial assistance to limited-income households for purchasing CSA vegetable shares. For eligible households, FairShare will contribute 50 percent, up to $300, toward the cost of shares from FairShare-endorsed CSA farms. Only on-farm produced shares are eligible.

FairShare can also process SNAP (Quest, EBT, Food Share, or food stamp) benefits to pay for CSA farm membership for any of our endorsed farms. Members wishing to pay for CSA shares using SNAP must complete a Partner Shares application to enroll.
The 2015 Partner Shares official annual application period is now open. The application deadline is April 1 (application to the program is not a guarantee that you will receive assistance). Assistance funds are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis, and slots are filling fast this year. Please submit your application early to ensure your spot in the program.
For more information visit Partner Shares online or contact Erika Jones, erika@csacoalition.org or 608-226-0300.
The Partner Shares Program is available in large part to the fund-raising efforts of FairShare through events such as Bike the Barns and Farm to Feast dinners  throughout the season as well as donations from generous individuals.  You can help by attending a FairShare event or by donating to this great program that makes it possible to put organic food on everyone’s tables!

Spring is a-Coming!

An August share

 

I mean it, too, it really is!  Although we still have 2 winter share deliveries coming up in February, we are getting ready to start planting seeds for our spring shares and onions and a few other things for Summer shares.

The membership sign-ups have been coming in and that gets us very excited to get to work.  We are looking forward to trying some new plants this year and re-planting some of the old favorites.

February is actually a pretty busy month for us.  As we get ready to plant, we also have the Organic Farming Conference to look forward to in La Crosse, FairShare workshops to attend, brochures to print and hand out and fliers to hang.  (Help us get the word out!!) We start taking applications for seasonal and year-round help as well as signing up our work-share members now and order our necessary equipment, irrigation supplies and other supplies so that we are ready to go when we start growing and delivering organic produce to our members.

We are looking forward to this season as we always do and hope that you will join us for the 2015 season!

‘Open Farm’ November 15!

Brussels sprouts in the field.

Brussels sprouts in the field.

Come on out to the farm and stock up on winter vegetables for your winter comfort foods!

Saturday, November 15, from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm, we are open to the public and we have lots of great veggies!   Sweet potatoes for the holidays and the best acorn squash that I have ever tasted.  The

Delicious carrots

Delicious carrots

carrots are sweet and crunchy and we also have spaghetti squash, butternut and delicata squash.  White potatoes, blue and yellow potatoes, plus leeks, onions, shallots.

Stock up on the last of the season’s broccoli and romanesco cauliflower  and the cold sweetened Brussels sprouts are definitely a comforting treat.  We have lots of cabbage and kohlrabi, too.

'Delicata' squash

‘Delicata’ squash

Aly Wheeler will be here with some of her beautiful ceramics and we will have some nice, hot coffee and treats.

We hope to see you tomorrow!

 

Butternut squash

Butternut squash

CLICK HERE FOR  A MAP TO THE FARM

Onions

Onions

Fall-sweetened broccoli

Fall-sweetened broccoli

Autumn’s Bounty

20141022_095555The harvest continues at the farm!  These past few gorgeous days have been so wonderful to work in, but I know those long, finger-numbing harvest days are just ahead.  It will be good weather for soups and stews soon and we have just the right vegetables here for you to make them!

Our summer CSA season has ended, but there is still a lot that we haven’t even harvested!  Much of our fall harvest is reserved for our Winter CSA shares but there is an abundance of some of our fall crops available for anyone to purchase.

As we shift gears for the winter, we are planning on several “Open Farm” days at the farm with lots of goods for everyone to stock up on.  Meanwhile, we have very fresh, certified organic produce available for you at the farm all this month.  We will be “open”  to the public this Saturday, November 1 from 10:00 – 3:00 pm. You are also welcome to pre-order and pick up anytime if you make arrangements to pick up ahead of time. Call 920-699-3658 or 920-988-5023.

Check out the list of produce that you have to choose from HERE.

Wrapping up the Season on the Farm

Standard share; week 20

Standard share; week 20

Wednesday morning harvest and afternoon packing crews.

Wednesday morning harvest and afternoon packing crews.

This was the final week of our summer CSA season.  It feels very strange not to be thinking about next week’s box and what needs to be done before that.  It also feels sad to think that all of our dedicated worker-shares are done for the season, too.  Next week, the farm will be quiet. Ugh.  We are going to miss everyone and we are eternally thankful to all of our members and workers for making another great season possible!

We have a new deadline for harvest now; the hard freeze.  We’ve had some frosty mornings, but nothing that a head of cabbage can’t stand…yet.  Last year, we still had some cabbage in the fields when the temps dipped to the teens and the cabbage looked like it was frozen beyond return.  A few upper 30 degree days were all it took to be restored.  What an amazing plant family those brassica’s are!  Last year, Matt and Casey were washing carrots outside when it was in the 30’s.  This year, we have a root tumbler to help with that. We also have a lot more carrots to wash!

Cabbage, Brussels sprouts, carrots, Romanesca, leeks and late potatoes are the big crops that we have left to harvest.  Most of that will occur in November after the storage areas have cooled down more.  After the fields are cleaned up and after the garlic is planted.  We will have all of these staples throughout the winter and available for anyone to stock up on.  Most of the greens that we have planted in the high tunnel and some of the less prolific cold-weather crops will be used for winter shares, but we may have some of those available from time to time, too.

Brussels sprouts in the field.

Brussels sprouts in the field.

If you would like us to send you an email when our winter farm market is “open” just sign up here:

Winter Produce 2014-2015

or email highmeadowfarmcsa@gmail.com and ask to be added to the mailing list.

Thank you to all of our CSA members, farmers market friends and farm customers who have helped us to have a great season of produce!

If it looks like a melon and rolls like a melon…

20140822_130215Does that make it a melon? Well, that is debatable.

There was a little friendly finger pointing going on here as to how seed for ‘Citron’ melons were ordered last winter because they were not on the original seed order list.  Checking back to our planting records, it appears that they were a gift from a fellow seed saver.  They were planted none the less and we assumed they would be, well, melons…the kind that you could eat.

They are beautiful.  Eye-catching and intriguing and also nearly i20140928_091850mpenetrable with a regular knife and once inside, they are hard, white and um, not very tasty.  So why do people cultivate them and save the seeds?  That’s what we would like to know.  We are puzzled about this and also determined to find either a use for them or good homes for them.  Someone, somewhere is looking for these, unusual heirloom specialties, I just know it and I am here to help.

Research tells us that they are ancestors of the watermelon and native to the Kalahari Desert of Africa and that there are records of cultivation of this plant dating back 4,000 years.  They are loaded with pectin and 20140928_101403for that reason they are used for making preserves.  Other than that, we have not found many recipes or uses for ‘Citron’ melons although today, my husband Mike may have made a new and important discovery; grilled ‘Citron’ steaks.

It’s possible that someone else has already tried this, but I admit being somewhat amused and impressed by his Sunday morning grilling adventure.  I was also surprised to find out what an improvement in flavor there was after they were grilled.  Grilling actually brought out a little watermelon flavor (undetectable when raw) and they held up well to grilling.  The texture was good, too.  Lightly salting them is enough to enhance the flavor.  We tried a piece with sugar and another with olive oil, but simply salted was both of our favorite.

One more thing that is worth mentioning is that the seeds are beautiful.  They are bright red and very striking in the white fruit of the melon.  I have a feeling that we will have a few of these melons left at the end of the season and although I don’t expect that we’ll save many of the seeds for replanting, I am considering other possibilities; jewelry, mosaics, trivets…winters can be pretty long here.

10636190_644599048981296_7193498613925020513_nOne melon that we will definitely be replanting next year is these exceptionally delicious cantaloupes.  The warm weather has extended their season into the fall and they are incredible.  I have been enjoying melon smoothies with lime basil and yogurt.  The smoothies are also delicious with fresh ginger and lime.  I have been freezing melon cubes to snack on and to use for smoothies well into the winter.  Give us a call if you would like to stock up on melons (either kind) before the season ends.  (We have a just few seedless watermelons left, too)