Tag Archives: Watertown

CSA Sign-ups are Open!

Warm weather is on its way and we have begun our seeding for 2016!  Baby leeks are up and spring share crops are on their way!  Early spring shares will bring lots of salad greens, cooking greens, spinach, green onions, spring herbs, rhubarb and asparagus!  A few weeks after our spring shares end, our summer shares will start in June and the boxes will be filled with all of the vegetables of the spring, summer and fall season, right into October. Optional organic, soy-free egg shares will begin with the summer vegetable shares too!

We invite you to join us this season for another great year of FRESH, ORGANIC produce delivered to a location near you! To Join, go to our “sign-up” page.

Advertisements

Dreaming About Next Year’s Seeds

Gift certificates are available for the holidays or for any occasion.

Gift certificates are available for the holidays or for any occasion.

As the temps are dipping well below zero f., we are looking out the window and imagining rows of lush, green vegetable plants and  fruit trees loaded with apples and pears!  (I know, I shouldn’t write about farming before dinner.)

We are accepting memberships for 2014 and if you sign up before January 1, you can take advantage of our early-bird discount!  We also have some very nice gift certificates that can be used for an entire share for a loved one or for any amount towards one.  Gift certificates can also be used towards any produce purchase at farmers markets in 2014.

We look forward to starting seeds, planting and delivering fresh and delicious, certified organic produce to you again soon!

 

New Season, New Shares; Winter Vegetable Shares Available

A December Produce Share

A December 2012 Produce Share

I do remember long winters with no fresh produce…I mean really fresh, that is, but not for several years.  Growing winter hardy greens in our tunnels has us completely spoiled now.  Starting with a basic low-tunnel that we have moved annually and now our large high tunnel, that I think will be staying put for a while, we have been enjoying fresh greens year-round!   Salad, spinach and a large assortment of greens with their life energy still in them along with the crops that we keep in cool storage; winter squash, onions, carrots, potatoes, cabbage, and other root crops make winter something that I actually look forward to.  Knowing that our members will also be eating an abundance of fresh produce throughout the season adds another comfort.

November 2012 Winter Share delivery

November 2012 Winter Share delivery

The variability of Wisconsin winters make it hard to predict exactly how many days of harvest are possible, but even in extreme cold, sunny days will bring the heat up in our tunnels enough to inspire the sweetest spinach leaves that you have ever tasted to reach for the sky! Although I am not someone who loves the cold, it is very rewarding to be harvesting greens in a sun-warmed tunnel when it is only 15 degrees outdoors.  However, if the short winter days bring limited sun or loads of snow or ice, a veggie delivery day may need to be rescheduled around the weather, so for this reason, our winter-share members must be willing to be somewhat flexible on deliveries during the early months of the new year.

A February 2013 produce share

A February 2013 produce share

We know that not everyone has the ability to manage a large quantity of produce delivered in 2 large deliveries, so our winter produce shares are delivered over several weeks of the winter; all are “weather permitting”.  Winter share boxes have all of the produce that was in our past storage shares only delivered over several weeks throughout the winter with fresh greens in each box.  We plan on 4 deliveries November – December and 2 after the New Year.  (A warm winter may bring a bonus week, too!) As with every other CSA season, there are risks; we are growing a semi-outdoor crop under plastic and damage to that structure could affect that, but those risks are very small.

In addition to our produce share, we are offering a limited number of egg shares and we are also offering an opportunity to our hard-working farm employee Aly Wheeler to pursue her talents in creating pottery that adds another dimension to eating beautiful, organically grown food; beautiful tableware to present it on!  Aly is offering a community supported pottery (CSP) program that would help her find the funding to invest in materials to create her lovely art.  For more about Aly and the new CSP program, click here.

A February 2013 Produce share

A February 2013 Produce share

Because of the need for a heated location to deliver the produce to, we are limited in the number of delivery sites. Veggie pick-ups will be at the farm, at Café Carpe in Fort Atkinson and at the Health Nut in Watertown.

These are our proposed delivery dates.  I don’t expect many changes to the 2013 deliveries unless there is a snowstorm, but there may be changes in delivery dates or additions to the number of deliveries in 2014 as the weather dictates.

2013 Wednesday delivery dates (weather permitting)are:

Nov. 20 and Nov., 27

Dec. 4 and Dec. 18

2014 proposed dates are subject to change per conditions:

Feb. 12

Feb. 26

2013 Produce Shares Still Available! EGG SHARES SOLD OUT (And a Farm Update!)

Lots of veggies, sinking their roots into rich soil!

Lots of veggies, sinking their roots into rich soil!

Rain…sunshine…it’s all good!  The weatherman says possible frost warnings for tonight and that may not be so good, but we don’t have our tomatoes and tender plants planted outdoors just yet.We just sent out the last spring share delivery yesterday and we hope that they have satisfied everyone’s veggie cravings for a while!  It was really fun packing the spring boxes with gorgeous greens from the high tunnel each week.  It was also nice to have yummy salad and cooking greens to eat every day!Summer shares will begin mid-June.  We still have summer veggie shares available and bread shares are available, however, EGG SHARES are SOLD OUT!  Sorry about that, but there is a good chance that we will still have eggs available for individual sales through the season.  Please keep in mind that we also offer winter egg shares from November –April!In other farm news:  We have added an Oconomowoc delivery site  in addition to Jefferson, Lake Mills, Fort Atkinson, 3 locations in Watertown and the farm

It is so nice to see how green everything has become, our veggie plants are all doing well in the fields and the chickens are happy to be back out on lush grass!  Our bossy, “seasoned” layers that are now 15 months old are still laying eggs like pro’s and our sweet,  young pullets are just starting to lay eggs.  They are laying good-sized eggs, too!  Not many of them are the small pullet eggs that we usually get, but we will have pullet eggs available for those who like them for a short while.  (The pullet eggs are usually much smaller than the mature hen’s eggs are, but only for a few weeks!)

After the weather finally improved and the snow melted this spring, the work on our new barn finally started progressing.  Our old barn has been converted to our cooler, washing and packing area and the animals have been uprooted and are in need of a new location away from our work space! The new barn has access to nice pasture and it is nestled into a protected spot.

We have also added to our fruit orchard this year!  Mother’s day here turned out to be a great day for friends and farm members to come and help us add 100 red currant bushes,  25 Juneberries and more apple and pear trees to the orchard!  And everyone who helped did so willingly for a simple scrambled egg breakfast!  (The work crew had pie, though.)  This past weekend, we planted 10 more large cherry trees and more rhubarb plants and now we are done with the big trees for this year.  We are looking forward to adding fruit to our member’s boxes soon!  It is too early to tell if there will be much this year yet, but we are hoping.   The rhubarb and raspberries that we planted last year will be surely ready for shares next year.

If you missed the planting day and are feeling left out we do still have about 50 hazelnut’s that need to be planted (very small ones) and there are also some small oak trees to plant.  We have a few more white pines and Frasier fir’s that we need for now and would be happy to give them away to a good home!

1 of 4 spring share deliveries

1 of 4 spring share deliveries


3 of 4 spring share deliveries

3 of 4 spring share deliveries

An awesome and eager planting crew planting 100 current bushes on Mother's Day!

An awesome and eager planting crew planting 100 currant bushes on Mother’s Day!

They are setting the rafters on the barn; just before they were rained out by a 1.75" deluge.

They are setting the rafters on the barn; just before they were rained out by a 1.75″ deluge.

Finishing up with the cherry treen planting.  Blooming here is a semi-dwarf Golden Delicious apple tree!

Finishing up with the cherry tree planting. Blooming here is a semi-dwarf Golden Delicious apple tree!

Goodbye to Winter!

2013-03-18_17-26-39_713Or is that wishful thinking?  We have officially ended the winter season in our high tunnel this week, but the outdoor gardens remain under a heavy layer of snow and ice and are ready to see an end to wind chills and bitter cold.  What a winter this has been!  I feel like I have had the best of both worlds, though; lots of snow all winter long and a warm retreat into the tunnels on sunny days!

Our low tunnel has been direct-seeded with cool-weather spring crops that we are hoping will begin to grow soon into lush salads and greens our spring shares.  With the end of our winter share season and winter markets, we have joyously salvaged all the bags-full of spinach, Chinese cabbage, claytonia, kale, salad and other greens that we can use in our house and (with a bit of sadness) tilled everything that remained into the soil in preparation for transplanting our spring greens and early tomatoes soon.

The bagged greens that I speak of are tucked away into my refrigerator and I am determined to see that they are gratefully used by us while they still remain in prime condition!  I think that our taste buds have moved on from the roots and winter squash that have been sustaining us and onto the lighter and more vibarant greens that are now fueling my imagination.

Greens will actually keep for a pretty long while if they are properly prepared before storing and then stored under the right conditions, although a home refrigerator is not usually the best conditions to store greens, especially if they are “packed” into it, I am hoping that they will hold up for a few weeks with my extra care.  (*Preparation and storage instructions are included with all of our CSA produce shares!)

Warm spaghetti pasta with claytonia

Warm spaghetti pasta with claytonia

Last night we had a wonderful dinner of stir-fried Chinese cabbage and Bok Choy over spaghetti pasta that had fresh claytonia stirred into it.  What a perfect combination!  The simple duo of pasta and greens leftover were a delicious lunch today that really didn’t need anything else!

With a nice large bag full of spinach the night before and my new favorite toy; the tortilla press, we had delicious Spinach Enchiladas that were so easy and really delicious!  While the enchiladas were baking, I made a pot of Corn Soup to serve with them using some of the sweet corn that I had frozen on the cob (cut, frozen corn or fresh corn would be fine, too) and some frozen sweet bell peppers.  All of this cooking made it easy to talk my son into staying for dinner!  It’s always more fun cooking for company!

Spinach Enchiladas with Roasted Red Chili Sauce

Spinach Enchiladas with Roasted Red Chili Sauce

*A note about some of the ingredients:  For the sauce, I used Roasted Red Chili peppers.  I thought they were the perfect choice.  You can use other chili peppers or blends, but be aware of the heat units (HU).  These peppers had a 1,000 HU rating (some peppers can have up to 30,000 HU or more!)The sauce was pretty mild but very tasty.  I also purchase most of my spices in bulk form, these are usually the freshest.  Shopping locally in this area, you can ask for these spices at the Health Nut in Watertown, Basics Coop in Janesville or Willy St. Coop in Madison. If they don’t have them, they would probably order them for you!

 

Spinach Enchiladas with Roasted Red Chili Sauce

Enchiladas:

 

8-10 corn tortillas

1 lb. spinach (approximately)

1 onion, minced

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup low-fat ricotta cheese

1 cup grated pepper-jack cheese

Cilantro

Sauce:

¼ cup canola oil

2 Tbs. flour

¼  tsp. baking powder

¼ cup fire roasted chili pepper

1 pint tomato sauce

1 ½ cups water

½ tsp. ground cumin

¼ tsp. garlic powder

Rinse the spinach and spin or pat almost dry.  Chop coarsely.  Sauté onion over low heat until soft.  Add garlic and stir.  Add spinach and cook until wilted (3-5 minutes).  Stir in ricotta and Monterey Jack cheeses.  Warm a tortilla in a pan until it is soft.  Add a heaping spoonful of spinach mixture to tortilla and spread evenly across the center.  Roll tortilla up and set open side down in a 9 x 11” oiled pan.  Repeat to fill pan.

To make sauce, heat oil in a saucepan over med. heat, add flour, baking powder and chili powder. Stir constantly until the mixture is dark red, bubbly and thick.  Gradually pour in tomato sauce, cumin and garlic powder.  Add 1 cup of the water, stirring constantly until mixture thickens.  Add more water if needed.  Sauce should be a little thinner than gravy.

Pour sauce over enchiladas and top with a little grated Monterey Jack cheese.  Cover and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  Garnish with cilantro and serve.

Getting Ready for Winter

Standing in the kitchen at 5:00 pm and looking out at evening blackness is not something that I ever get used to.  Waking up an hour earlier has its ups and downs too and I have noticed that a few more hours of sleep help with the “ups’…but then there is the cold to deal with.  While I love being outside early in the morning, I have yet to find the perfect gloves to keep my fingers toasty while we harvest and wash the remaining root crops and cabbages for storage.  The weather forecast tells us that this is the week to get that all finished up; highs only in the 30’s next week and lows too low even for cabbage to stay out.

So far we have been very satisfied with our fall yields of storage crops.  The carrots are large and sweet, and the parsnips are perfection!  We had a great yield on our late-planted potatoes and look forward to sending them out in our winter shares.  The cool weather crops and greens have been incredibly sweet this fall.  They will be in the first winter boxes and we’re looking forward to bringing them to our next farmer’s market at the Center for Women’s Health in Watertown on Sunday, November 18!

Applying steamy compost to late-harvested fields

There is a lot of work to be done this week; we have been bringing in all of our irrigation, planting cover crops and garlic, adding compost to the fields and laying all of the equipment to rest for the winter all while harvesting our root crops and storage crops for the season.  We are also toying with the idea of adding a layer of plastic to our already planted high tunnel.  To do that requires a warm, calm day (Saturday looks promising!) and a crew of nimble-footed volunteers for a few morning hours.  I think that the thermal difference would be well-worth the effort as well as increasing sunlight by reducing the condensation on the plastic.

It is starting to look like rain out there right now so I am off to get done what I can before it arrives.  A rain-snow mix is predicted for today and then a warming trend for a few days.

We still have a few winter produce shares available!  Our 10-week winter share program begins on November 21 and includes a mixture of hearty storage vegetables and fresh greens and herbs!  Check out the description or call/email with any questions!

Spring Fever

I know it is incredibly cold out there, but the sunshine and the seed catalogs and everyone’s excitement about the new season has me anxious to start planting.  We are now accepting memership for the 2011 season!

Please visit the “Our Shares” page for information about this season’s shares and see “Join Us” to do just that!  We are looking forward to another amazing season of veggies, farm events and to seeing our farm friends again!  We hope that you will join us!