Wednesday, September 25, 2013

CSA Week #14

Quite a nice variety in CSA boxes this week and the first parsnips of the season. Apples continue to come and the frost has held off so fresh tomatoes and peppers keep coming!

Apples this week include the one pictured: Haralson, Red Baron and Cortland. You can find more about apple varieties at the Orange Pippin website.

In the Boxes: Parsnips, apples, yellow onion, acorn squash, garlic, German Butterball potatoes, beets ground cherries... peppers, parsley, basil, heirloom tomatoes and broccoli.

Link to the Week #14 CSA Newsletter

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Why Organic Apples?

This is a great article about organic apples. It's a quick read and share the reason why we grow only clean, chemical-free apples. A great read that came out the same week we started our 2013 Apple Shares!

Why I Only Eat Organic Apples, and Why You Should Too

"Apples are the single most pesticide-contaminated produce item available at the grocery store. If you had to choose just one item from your grocery list to buy organic, make it organic apples."

"As opposed to being full of poisons like Snow White’s apple, organic apple skins offer a boost of antioxidants—15 percent more than conventional."

CSA Week #13

The first winter squash made it to boxes this week. Peppers, tomatoes and ground cherries will slow down with this cool weather and stop all together after frost, so we'll enjoy them while we can!!

In the CSA Box: Acorn squash, fresh sage, heirloom tomatoes, ground cherries, muskmelon, basil, green and red bell peppers, red onions, garlic, apple mix and swiss chard.

Link to the Week 13 CSA Newsletter.

Apples in the boxes this week...McIntosh, Early Gold and Red Baron.

Tomatoes! Lots of sweet heirloom goodness.

Here's a sneak peek at the boxes getting packed for delivery. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Seasonal Cook :: Ground Cherries

Courtesy of © The Land Connection Foundation
GROUND CHERRIES: Tomato’s Sweet-Tart Cousin
What looks like a yellow cherry tomato hidden inside a little paper lantern, and tastes sweetly tropical with pineapple, mango, and vanilla notes? No, this isn’t a bad joke. It’s a delicious vegetable in the tomato family known as the ground cherry—presumably because they fall to the ground when ripe, and are about the size of a cherry.  Native to the Americas, ground cherries were an important food for Native Americans and the first European pioneers.  But they dropped out of sight with the rise of industrial food production because the fruits continually ripen, and need to be picked each week throughout the late summer and into the fall. This makes ground cherries great for gardeners and diversified farms, but not suitable for large-scale production since they can’t be mechanically harvested all at once. 

A Reemergence of a Tasty Treat
Today, ground cherries are enjoying a renaissance at farm stands and farmers markets. They are not a cherry, but are about the same size, and may be enjoyed raw, straight off the vine, sliced into salads or salsas, or cooked into pies, jams, chutneys and sauces. Thanks to their high pectin content, they are great in pies and jams, on their own or combined with other fruits.

Nature’s Bite-Sized Snack

Ground cherries have the same healthful properties as tomatoes; low in calories but high in nutrients including vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals, especially those associated with the color orange. Its vitamin A, C and niacin content rank it among the most nutrient dense for fruit with these nutrients.
The simplest and perhaps best way to enjoy this delicacy is to gently hold it between your index finger and thumb, near the stem-end. Apply gentle pressure and the fruit will pop out of its papery husk--straight into your mouth if you’ve positioned it correctly!

Ground Cherry–Peach Salsa


½ cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
1 ear fresh corn, grilled or boiled, and the kernels sliced off
½ cup ground cherries, husked and cut in half
1 medium to large peach, diced
1 teaspoon jalapeno or other pepper, seeded and minced
1 tablespoon mint leaves, cut chiffonade
1 tablespoon cilantro, rough chopped
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Juice of ½ lime
Salt to taste


Combine all ingredients in a bowl and toss well to combine flavors. Allow to sit at room temperature at least ½ hour, then re-season as needed. Serve at room temperature.

Seasonal Cook’s Notes: The many uses for this versatile fruit are limited only by your imagination. If left in their husk, they will keep for months in a well-ventilated spot in your cupboard.

The best way to enjoy healthy, seasonal produce is to buy it from your local community farmer. To locate the farmers’ market or CSA nearest you, or visit
Farm Fresh Now! is a project of The Land Connection, an educational nonprofit that preserves farmland, trains new farmers, and connects people with great locally-grown foods. This series is made possible with generous support from the Illinois Department of Agriculture.
(End of Article)
Farm Fresh Now! Secrets of the Seasonal Cook is copyright The Land Connection Foundation and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. All use of the articles and artwork in this series must be attributed to The Land Connection Foundation using the text provided above (all text and links before the End of Article line). 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Early September Photo Update

The field is still full and green, but there are many changes apparent. The cucumbers and beans have finished for the season. Beds where spring cabbage, lettuce and peas, as well as garlic and early potatoes were grown are now filled with a buckwheat cover crop.

The first fall frost is looming around the corner and that will bring more changes. The frost will bring a sweetness to root vegetables and kale, and help the remaining dry beans fully dry down.

Brussel sprouts are filling out, and will sweeten with frost.

The pack shed drying/curing area is full to the brim. There are red and yellow onions, and mid-season potatoes curing. Garlic, shallots, herbs and early season potatoes are cured and stored.

The winter squash is start to mature. September 10th we had our first harvest of acorn squash.

Our flint corn harvest has begun. (It may take a while, because with each ear we pick  we stop and say, "Oooo, ahhh....look at this one!"

The flint corn is grown for animal feed, and may also be used for hominy and corn meal.

CSA Week #12

Ooooo muskmelons! We sure like this variety, it's tasty. We are two thirds of the way through our delivery season and again you can feel the seasons shifting. The last cucumbers appeared in the boxes this week--we'll have to wait until next spring for those treats again! Late season potatoes are looking great and tasting delish. I can't wait to make a big batch of potato-leek soup!

Link to the Week #12 CSA Newsletter.

Filling the boxes...carrots, leeks, beets with greens, German Butterball potatoes,
Stuttgarter yellow onions, Hale's Best muskmelon...

...then add some sweet green and red bell peppers, hot jalapeno peppers, 
a yellow cucumber...

...and top it off with some delicious kale, parsley and tomatoes--
Valencia (yellow), Costoluto Genovese (red) and Black Krim.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Apple Shares Start Sept. 17th!

Check out our Apple Shares! Starting Sept. 17th you can receive 6 weeks of apple deliveries.

See the annoucement HERE.

CSA Week #11

Week #11 boxes are delivered!

In the Boxes: yellow cucumbers, tomatoes {Valencia/Costoluto Genovese}, German Butterball potatoes, green bell peppers, Dragon's Tongue wax beans, McIntosh apples, broccoli, yellow onions, garlic, rosemary and watermelons {some shares}. The watermelon pictured is Creme de Saskatchewan.

Link to the Week #11 CSA Newsletter.