Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Fall "Crunch Time" is Here!

by Farmer Richard

Do you remember the three foot deep snowfall on October 29, 1993?  I do!  I remember harvesting carrots by hand in the melting slush of that snow, not fun!  We love the cool, sunny days of fall, harvesting roots to take us through late fall and early winter boxes and wholesale sales.  Planting garlic, horseradish and sunchokes for next year after first selecting our seed pieces.  Preparing fields for winter by chopping crop residue, composting and planting cover crops—have to get ready for a new year! We have a long “to do” list and time is quickly slipping away.  The reality we face is we need 2 to 3 weeks of dry weather to get everything finished! 

Austraian Peas already doing their job,
growing nitrogen fixing nodules!

Four weeks ago we were caught up, every available acre was composted and cover cropped, some 60 acres of very nice cover crops with the Austrian peas already producing impressive nitrogen fixing nodules on their roots.  They were planted into very dry soil, but came up nicely with the first rain.  But then it rained again, and again…  We’ve had 6.42 inches of rain in October alone.  We still have about 30 acres of fields that need to have cover crops planted and we have fields to clean up including removing plastic and tomato stakes from the tomato, eggplant, pepper and basil fields.  Last Saturday afternoon we started planting our garlic fields, but only got 2 beds planted before the end of the day…and then it rained another inch that evening!

Do you sense some urgency here?  Some nervous apprehension?  We do!  We can harvest greens and herbs in the rain or wet soil, but those crops are almost done.  The warm weather of September and October (still no frost) has sped up the maturity rate of all crops.  We did some late plantings of beets, red radishes, cilantro, baby bok choi, etc knowing they might be a gamble if it got cold earlier.  We’re harvesting those crops this week and many will be finished for the season by the end of the week.  We’re thankful to be able to continue these harvests this late in the month and we’ve saved huge amounts of time and the expense by not having to put covers over crops to protect them from frost!  We expect our first frost to be more of a freeze (lower than 25°F), but by the time we see that, all of the vulnerable crops will be out of the field.  Now that it’s getting colder, the soil isn’t drying out as fast as it does when it’s warmer.  With more rain in the forecast, we’re concerned we won’t see the two weeks of dry weather we need to wrap this season up. 

The harsh reality is winter is coming.  As I sit on the back porch writing, I can hear the coyotes howling on the hillsides.  I love it!  They too sense the coming winter!  But we still have that garlic field to finish planting, plus most of the burdock field, parsnips, carrots, radishes, turnips and rutabagas to harvest and almost 2 acres of sunchokes to both harvest and replant!  This fall is much different than last fall.  Despite the challenges we face this fall, we’re thankful to have such a plentiful harvest in contrast to the crop losses we had last fall.  When we had extra crew time last year, we gambled and planted extra sunchokes and horseradish, with hopes of having a really good harvest this fall to make up for some of last year’s losses!  Well, our strategy worked and these crops have done well and sales are good.  But we still have to harvest and replant so we can do it all over again next year! 

Rufino, Luis, Jose Antonio and Alejandro coming
to the packing shed with broccoli romanesco,
cauliflower and broccoli.
Earlier this week on Monday, we mudded out some more daikon radish and finished our first fall carrot field.  I only got stuck in the field one time while pulling out a load of carrots, but despite the mud the harvest went pretty well.  We also went through our last three broccoli fields to find the small heads that continue to grow off the sides of the plant.  The pieces aren’t big, but they are tasty!  The broccoli romanesco field looks great!  This crop will survive a frost as low as 20°F and will actually sweeten a bit with the frost so we aren’t in a big hurry to harvest them.  There are still Brussels sprouts coming too!  We’ve intentionally held off on harvesting them because we want them to have a few frosty nights to sweeten them up.  We plan to harvest cabbage before the weekend freeze-up when our temperatures are forecasted to be 27°F.  It can sometimes be colder in the valley, so we’ve already started preparing so we aren’t caught off guard.  Irrigation pumps, filter trailers, etc are all drained and put away for the winter.  Bins of firewood are in place and I am back on winter wood stove duty.  We have a beautiful fire burning in the fireplace as I write.   It sure helps to take the chill off on cold evenings. 

Some of our crew 'cracking' garlic to get ready to plant!
Or crew is anxious to return home to their families and they are waiting for our final decision as to when they can start booking plane tickets to go home.  While some crew members have asked and volunteered to stay late this year, others are anxious to make it home in time to be with their wives when the babies they’re expecting are born!  Others have fields of hay on their family’s farm waiting to be cut and baled.  There will be coffee and corn to harvest, and of course there are anxious kids counting down the days until their dad comes home.  It’s hard to predict when our workload will lessen, but we do our best to make estimates and work efficiently.  We are trying to make the most of our time, spending frosty mornings and rainy days cracking garlic for planting, cleaning garlic and onions, trimming root crops stored in the cooler, washing sweet potatoes, etc.  But the bottom line is that we need those dry, sunny days!  Wish us luck and lets hope Mother Nature offers us a brief reprieve with some nice weather!  

October 26, 2017 - This Week's Box Contents, Featuring Sugar Dumpling Squash

Cooking With This Week's Box

Can you believe Thanksgiving is only about 4 weeks away!?  Have you started gathering your recipes and planning your menu for the big dinner?  Brussels Sprouts with Ginger & Cranberries, Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Caramelized Apples,  Grandma Yoder’s Squash Pie . . perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself.  Well, you still have some time but I would encourage you to start planning for the big day! 

As the weather becomes more chilly, I’m more in the mood to eat some of these warm, nourishing foods like winter squash and sweet potatoes.  This week’s featured vegetable is the sweet little sugar dumpling squash.  Use this squash to prepare Andrea Bemis’s recipe adaptation for Autumn Spiced Pork Sausage & Kale Stuffed Squash (see below).  She used delicata squash in her recipe, but this will work with any squash that has a little cavity to put a filling into.  This recipe also makes good use of the tender kale in this week’s box.  The other squash in your box, either honeynut butternut or butterscotch butternut, is a great variety to bake or roast and both are naturally sweet & flavorful.  Melissa Clark has a tasty recipe for a Roasted Mushroom and Butternut Squash Tart featured at

Red Lentils with Winter Squash and Greens   
I’m excited to have so many different greens in this week’s box and I have a use for each one.  The tender bunched kale will go into the stuffed squash recipe, but I’m saving the spicy mustard greens to make a recipe we featured in our newsletter back in 2015.  It’s a recipe for Red Lentils with Winter Squash and Greens.  You’ll likely have enough butternut squash to make both the lentil recipe and the tart recipe mentioned previously.  I really enjoy this recipe prepared with the spicy mustard greens.  It makes a flavorful, nourishing meal and may be served with rice. 

Bok Choi Salad with Sesame Almond Crunch

The baby bok choi is going to be used to make the Baby Bok Choi Salad with Sesame-Almond Crunch featured in our June 2016 newsletter.  Trust me…it’s delicious! 

This recipe for Crushed Potatoes with Cream & Garlic is one of my simple go-to recipes for busy weeks. This recipe works well with the waxy potatoes like we have in this week’s box.  I usually just serve it with a seared steak or pork chop.  This week I think I’ll add roasted Broccoli and/or Cauliflower or Romanesco with Lemon and Garlic to this meal. If you’re going to eat garlic you might as well go big and put it in nearly everything!

I came across this recipe for Carrot Salad with Tahini and Crisped Chickpeas at Smitten Kitchen.  I think I’ll serve this salad with a roasted sweet potato for a simple vegetarian dinner.  Of course….there will be leftovers for lunch the next day! 

And once again we’ve reached the bottom of another delightful CSA box!  Next week we’re hoping to harvest Brussels sprouts and Tat soi for your boxes.  These are two of my favorite fall vegetables.  Even though we’re nearing the end of this year’s CSA Season, we still have a lot of interesting vegetables to include in your boxes!  Don’t forget that we change our delivery schedule a bit next week.  Please check your CSA calendar so you don’t miss any deliveries!

That’s a wrap for this week.  Have a good one!
-Chef Andrea

Vegetable Feature:  Sugar Dumpling Squash

Sugar Dumpling Squash
The world of vegetables is so diverse, and even within a category such as “winter squash” there are very different varieties.  This week we’re featuring the sugar dumpling squash, which has different qualities and characteristics in comparison to the two other squash we’ve featured this year.  Sugar dumpling squash is a variety that was developed out of collaboration between the University of New Hampshire and our friends at High Mowing Organic Seeds, an all-organic seed company in Vermont.  This variety is similar in shape to an acorn or festival squash, but is a bit more squatty and rounded.  It has yellow and green markings on the skin with a light yellow flesh.  The flesh is not as rich as a kabocha squash, but is very flavorful and sweet.  While they have been storing very well this year, they do have a higher sugar content which makes them less of a candidate for storing deep into the winter. 

Sugar dumpling squash is delicious when simply cut in half and baked until tender.  You can serve it with nothing more than a pat of butter and a little salt and pepper.  It also is a good squash for serving with a filling.  In late fall and winter I actually enjoy eating this squash for breakfast.  I cut it in half and bake it with apples, cranberries, and/or raisins in the middle and sprinkle it with a little cinnamon, a drizzle of maple syrup and sometimes I eat it with the toasted squash seeds on top.  You can fill it with any variety of fillings ranging from fruit to all vegetables, rice, meat, cheese, etc.  As I was thinking about the recipe I wanted to feature in this week’s newsletter, Andrea Bemis of Dishing Up the Dirt blog popped one right into my inbox!  Check out her recipe for stuffed squash featured in this week’s newsletter.  It was a perfect recipe that utilizes not only the sugar dumpling squash in this week’s box but also some of the onions and the tender kale. 

This squash variety also has tender seeds that toast up nice and crispy.  Last week Heidi Swanson did a very nice feature on her blog,, about toasting pumpkin seeds.  The process is the same whether the seeds come from a pumpkin or a squash.  She has step-by-step pictures and several variations for how to flavor and season them, one of which is included in this week’s newsletter.  If you’ve never saved the seeds from your squash, or don’t have a good process for doing so, I’d encourage you to give it a try this week.  You might as well take advantage of using as much of the squash as you can!  

Autumn Spiced Pork Sausage & Kale Stuffed Squash

Photo from Dishing Up The Dirt blog

Yield:  4 servings

2 medium or 4 smaller sugar dumpling squash
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 pound ground pork sausage
¾ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 small bunch of kale, leaves torn into bite sized pieces
½ cup dried cranberries, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes and then drained
¼ cup pecans, finely chopped
Drizzle of pure maple syrup (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.  Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds.  Set them aside so you can clean and prepare them to toast (an optional step, but highly recommended).  Drizzle the cut side of each squash half with a little olive oil and place each squash cut side down on a baking sheet.  Roast them in the oven until the squash is tender, about 25-30 minutes.  Cooking times will vary depending on the size of the squash.
  2. Heat a little olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until they are translucent.  About 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and continue to cook for about 2 minutes longer.  Add the pork, spices, salt and pepper and use a wooden spoon to help break up the meat.  Continue to cook, stirring occasionally until the meat is cooked through and no longer pink.  Add the kale leaves and continue to cook until the kale turns bright green and becomes tender, about 5-8 minutes longer.  Stir in the drained cranberries. 
  3. Once the pork and the kale are fully cooked, remove from the heat.  
  4. Divide the sausage mixture between the squash halves and sprinkle with the toasted pecans and a drizzle of pure maple syrup.  Put the squash halves back on the sheet tray and put them back in the oven just long enough to wam up all the ingredients.  Drizzle them with a little maple syrup just before serving. 

Andrea & Author’s Note:  If you have extra filling left over, put it in the freezer. You can use this filling for a future delivery of sugar dumpling squash or with the festival squash coming before the end of the season. This recipe was adapted from Dishing Up the Dirt.

Sweet Curry Squash Seeds

Yield:  1 ½ cups seeds (or however many seeds you get out of your squash!)

1 ½ cups winter squash or pumpkin seeds, well-cleaned, well-dried
2 tsps olive oil
2 tsp curry powder
2 tsp brown sugar
Fine grain sea salt

  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss the squash/pumpkin seeds with the olive oil and sea salt. Transfer the seeds to the prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until the seeds are deeply golden. A zap under a broiler is a nice finishing touch, but not necessary.
  3. Remove from the oven, allow to cool for a minute or two, and then stir in the curry powder and brown sugar.  Sprinkle with additional salt if necessary.
This recipe was adapted from Heidi Swanson’s blog, 101cookbooks. com.  Just last week she did a great blog post all about how to save and toast pumpkin seeds, but she does mention that all the techniques also may be applied to seeds saved from a variety of winter squash.  Her post includes step-by-step pictures and instructions as well as a few other tasty seasoning variations.  You may need to scale this recipe to whatever quantity of seeds you have available from your squash.  

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Sweet Potatoes

By Farmer Richard

Sweet potatoes are a tropical plant originating in South America. The remnants of sweet potatoes have been found in Peru dating back 10,000 years and there is evidence of cultivation in Central America at least 5,000 years ago. Cultivated sweet potatoes spread to New Zealand, Polynesia and Africa. Today, Uganda is the second largest producer of sweet potatoes behind China.  In this country, sweet potatoes have been traditionally grown in the southeast. North Carolina is the leading producer, with California in second and Louisiana and Mississippi also being significant producers. 

Southern farms ‘plant’ selected sweet potatoes taken from last year’s harvest pretty close together in a bed of sawdust or peat moss.  The tubers send up green shoots which are cut off (called slips) and sent to us in bundles of 25 each.  They don’t look very good when we get them, but if we get them planted promptly, most of them will grow! 

Sweet potato blossoms
Farmer Richard digging sweet potatoes at our Harvest Party!
Researchers continue to experiment with new varieties. A new variety is created by cross pollinating flowers and planting 2 – 4 seeds that a flower produces.  We continue to trial them when the slips are available to us.  Our favorite slip producer is New Sprout Organic Farms. This year they offered some new varieties that we trialed. As we dug them this year, we looked at ‘marketable yield’, like tuber shape, set (how many tubers per plant), and color, both inside and out. Varieties ‘set’ 6-8 tubers in a banana like cluster from the main stem.  If 5-6 grow to a nice shapely size, it will be a good yield.  If only 2 or 3 fill out and one a 4 pound jumbo, maybe not as good.  It may be a photo opportunity at our harvest party when a 40 pound child joyfully lifts out a 5 pound sweet potato, but those jumbo’s may intimidate other CSA members who may not know how to cook a ‘monster’ that size or know how easily it will reheat in the oven. So, we try to avoid the ‘monsters’ by planting some varieties closer together, like 8 inches versus 12 inch to keep them to a manageable size!  Every variety has its learning curve. And of course every year has different growing conditions, so varieties need careful evaluation over time!

Plastic bed ready for sweet potatoes!
Newly planted sweet potato slip
Around the world there are 1,000’s of different sizes, colors and shapes of sweet potatoes, from white to yellow and orange to deep purple. But, since they are a tropical plant, we are very limited in what we can grow in Wisconsin. First, we use a system of dark colored plastic on a raised bed to hold extra heat in the ground and the plastic limits the rain water to a plant that thrives on limited moisture. We are limited to the varieties that will mature in 90-110 day range. That eliminates the purple flesh and white flesh varieties that we have tasted and would like to grow, but only produce stringy ½ inch thick roots when we tried them.  Andrea wants to develop our own breeding program for them since no one that we know is working on that! While we may have limited options to choose from, some of the new varieties from sweet potato breeding programs from North Carolina and Louisiana do/may work for us. We have several new varieties this year that we could use your help in evaluating!  We need a certain level of successful yield of shapely, not too big not too small tubers, but we also value flavor!

Once we were limited to only ‘Georgia Jet’ variety that would produce sizable yield in the North, but oh so ugly! Then came ‘Beauregard’ which, if planted close (8 inches), yielded pounds but had limited numbers of nice “saleable” shapely potatoes.  The plus to Beauregard is that it had good flavor! Then we found ‘Covington’, gave it 12 inch spacing and we got a much higher percentage of shapely tubers but don’t forget the flavor! We like naturally sweet sweet potatoes without added sugar or even maple syrup. We like the deep orange flesh color which has higher lycopene. But, there are other factors to consider. Different varieties of sweet potatoes have very different levels of at least 3 sugars, sucrose, maltose, and fructose. Each gives us a different perception of sweetness and they have different flavor profiles.   The sugars also change during the curing process.  Curing, yes that is also very important!

Harvesting sweet potatoes

Because Sweet potatoes are tropical, they are a perennial and never stop growing, so when we harvest them, their skin is very thin and delicate and can come off or be broken with any rough handling.  We gently lift and pull the banana-like cluster by the stem from the soil.  Then each bunch is placed (with cotton gloves) into the crate that will transport it to the ‘curing’ room.  Curing is a process we put the sweet potatoes through where we hold them at a high temperature of 85-90°F with 90-95% humidity to thicken the skin and heel any harvest scrapes.  The curing process also concentrates and converts the sugars. We measure the sugar with a refractometer and with the older varieties we generally see a Brix (unit of measurement) of 3-6% directly out of the field.  After 7 days curing, the Brix level increases to 10-12%.  That is a sugar level that I think says “add only a little butter and it is delicious!”

So, our ‘from the field’ Brix test on our new trial varieties is quite interesting!  Our recent ‘standard’ ‘Covington’ came in at the usual 3-5%, but several of the new varieties came in at 8-10% Brix. Wow, if that doubles in storage we have a whole new ballgame!  However, I was very surprised to measure the Brix after 6 days of curing and found that two of the varieties that originally had high levels had dropped!  What’s going on!?  The best I can conclude is that it’s not just a matter of looking at total sugars in the potato.  It depends on which sugars are in the potato and their ratios.  Sucrose gives us a stronger sense of sweetness, so even if the overall sugars are lower in a potato with a high percentage of sucrose, it might be perceived as being sweeter than another variety that had a high Brix level.  The bottom line is we have to eat them and evaluate each variety individually.  Please help us evaluate these new varieties!  There are other factors that Brix readings cannot account for. Differing levels of the different forms of sugar also may lend different flavor qualities to the different potatoes.  Also, when doing the pre-curing Brix test, I noticed quite a difference in texture, like when in the garlic press to squeeze them for juice for the refractometer; some were soft and juicy while others were much firmer and dry. These factors may affect cooking time and you may consider one texture more desirable than another. We want to know your observations; even a simple email would be appreciated.

Chart of Farmer Richard’s Brix testing. He tested two potatoes from each variety, each of those test numbers are listed in the corresponding cell.
Variety Name
Pre-Curing Brix Number
6 day Curing Brix Number
Richard’s visual notes
Light Orange
Dark orange/tan skin & small, but good yield
Intense orange/ dark burgundy skin

Carolina Ruby

Orange/dark red/some rot

Can we develop our own regional sweet potato variety, absolutely yes! Do we need a global distribution network with unknown inputs and unknown or known consequences, absolutely not! We can eat the best from our region with known inputs and know how it affects our environment and our fellow human beings!

October 19, 2017 - This Week's Box Contents, Featuring Sweet Potatoes

Cooking With This Week's Box

After a year without sweet potatoes, we’re super excited to be sending sweet potatoes in your box this week!  Where do we start with cooking?  There are so many things we could make with sweet potatoes!  Don’t worry, we’ll be sending them for most of the remaining boxes, so you’ll have plenty of time to make all your favorite recipes and maybe try a few new ones!  This week we’re pretty busy with harvest so I’m keeping things a bit more on the simple side.  The Moroccan Sweet Potato Salad (See below) is pretty easy to make.  You just toss roasted sweet potatoes with a simple, but flavorful vinaigrette and eat it at room temperature.  I think I’ll roast a chicken and serve the Moroccan Sweet Potato Salad with the chicken and this simple recipe for Moroccan Couscous.   The currants and pine nuts in the couscous will go nicely with the sweet potatoes. 

We are finishing off our last crop of broccoli raab which will give me a chance to make Alice Water’s  Pizza with Broccoli Raab and Roasted Onions and Olives.  I think this would be good with a few little sautéed shrimp on top.  We need something to go along with the pizza, but we already have our greens on the pizza.  I think I’ll go with this simple French Grated Carrot Salad with Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette.  I like simple carrot salads for several reasons.  First, when the carrots are flavorful and sweet on their own, you don’t need to do much to them so keeping it simple is better. The other thing I like about carrot salads is that you can put the dressing on and it doesn’t get soggy like a greens salad does.  You know I’m a fan of taking leftovers for lunch the next day, and this type of salad works great for that purpose. 

Ok, we’ve done Moroccan and we’ve had a taste of France, now lets move into Indian cuisine!  I have pretty limited experience with Indian food, but am intrigued by the different styles of Indian cooking and the spices they use.  The food is much different than what I grew up with in the Midwest!  When I was in college, one of my neighbors in the dorm was from India and invited me to attend one of their traditional celebrations.  It was wonderful to experience their culture and I was overwhelmed by the delicious food they served.  In my feeble attempt to learn more about this cuisine and culture, I try to dabble a little with some of the easy adaptations as I build my comfort level and slowly learn more about this part of the world.  So that whole explanation leads me to this recipe for Indian Creamed Spinach.  Richard really likes creamed spinach, so I thought I’d try this variation.  The recipe calls for 16 oz of spinach, but the bag of spinach in this week’s box is only 8 oz.  You can either cut the recipe in half or use the green tops from the beet greens to make up the difference.   This recipe has a little heat in it, which can come from using either the jalapeno or guajillo in your box.  I’ll probably serve this with the leftover roasted chicken and some steamed basmati rice.

Recipe courtesy of
I think this is the week to make homemade Beet Chips! Any color of beet will work for beet chips, but the Chioggia beets are especially fun to prepare this way.  Most recipes just tell you to put the sliced beets on a sheet try, but I often put them on a rack on top of the sheet tray.  If you have a baking rack and can do this, it helps keep them get crispy.  These will be our Sunday evening snack that we’ll probably just eat with a simple sandwich as we’re making our plans for the crew.

What are we going to do with the squash this week?!  Well the honeynut butternut squash is an easy one.  These are so sweet and flavorful, you really don’t need to do anything more than to just cut them in half and bake them.  After they’re baked I usually just top them with a pat of butter, salt, pepper and occasionally a little bit of cinnamon or nutmeg.  This actually makes a very delicious breakfast item! 

This recipe for Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai with Cashew Ginger Sauce caught my eye, so I think I’ll give it a try this week.  I already used shrimp on my pizza, so I’ll probably substitute thinly sliced sirloin steak in place of the seafood.  This is a meal on its own!
I’ve had Fish Chowder on my mind lately.  The waxy gold-fleshed potatoes in this week’s box are perfect for this type of chowder. Serve a bowl of hot chowder alongside a fresh arugula salad with bread or crackers and you’re set. 

The last item in our box to use is the broccoli/cauliflower.  I love roasted broccoli and cauliflower, so I’m going to jazz up this concept this week with this Balsamic and Honey Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower. This will make a nice accompaniment to a seared steak or pork chop.

And that’s a wrap for this week!  What’s the next exciting vegetable coming up in the box?  Well, it may not be in next week’s box, but we’ll be harvesting Brussels sprouts before long!  That should give most of you something to look forward to this week.  I hope you have a good week and create some delicious meals!

—Chef Andrea

Featured Vegetable:  Sweet Potatoes

This week we’re excited to be packing sweet potatoes in your boxes!  Sweet potatoes are an important part of our fall and winter diets.  If stored properly you can eat sweet potatoes all winter! The ideal storage temperature for sweet potatoes is 55-65°F.  They can get chill injury if stored at temperatures below 55°F, so if you don’t have the perfect location to store them at their ideal temperature, it’s better to store them on your countertop in the kitchen instead of putting them in the refrigerator. 

Peanut & Sweet Potato Soup

Sweet potatoes are less starchy and more sweet and moist than a regular potato and have a wide variety of uses.  You can simply bake them whole until fork tender and eat the flesh right out of the skin.  They are also delicious cut into bite-sized pieces and roasted or cut them into wedges or thin slices and make roasted fries or chips.  If you’re going to do this, it’s best to put the wedges or slices of sweet potatoes on a rack in a pan.  If you do this, the air and heat from the oven can better circulate on all sides of the sweet potato making it more crispy and less soggy.  Sweet potatoes also make delicious, hearty soups and stews.  One of my favorite sweet potato recipes is for a Peanut & Sweet Potato Soup that we featured in a previous newsletter.  Another favorite sweet potato recipe is for Sweet Potato and Kim Chi Pancakes.  This is a recipe that was shared with me by a CSA member and I look forward to making it every year.  If you haven’t tried it yet, you really should.  Don’t be afraid to eat sweet potatoes at room temperature or even cold in salads such as the Moroccan Sweet Potato Salad (See below)recipe featured in this week’s newsletter.

Sweet potatoes can also be incorporated into baking.  Sweet potato pie is a decadent way to eat a vegetable.  If you’re going to make pie, consider this Sweet Potato Pie with Pecan Topping featured at   It’s delicious served with Bourbon Whipped Cream.  You can also use sweet potatoes to make biscuits, rolls, quick breads, cookies, bars, cheesecake and more! 

Sweet potatoes pair well with a wide variety of ingredients, which makes them so versatile in their use.  They pair very well with apples and pears as well as other root vegetables, bitter fall greens, dried beans and greens such as kales.  They also go very well with coconut, ginger, chiles, butter, cream, citrus and nuts of any kind.

This year we have several different trial varieties.  If you haven’t read Farmer Richard’s main article for this week, please take a minute to do so.  In his newsletter he discusses the different varieties we’ve grown.  We’ll identify the variety in each week’s newsletter.  We’re looking for member feedback about the different varieties so we can decide what to plant next year!  As we go through the remainder of the season, pay attention to the different varieties and let us know what you think! 

Moroccan Sweet Potato Salad

Yield:  6 servings

2 ½ pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
⅓ cup plus 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
¾ tsp kosher or fine sea salt
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sweet paprika
⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
⅓ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
⅓ cup chopped fresh cilantro
⅓ cup sliced almonds, toasted
  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 425°F.  
  2. In a large bowl, toss the sweet potatoes with the 2 Tbsp oil and ¼ tsp of the salt.  Transfer the sweet potatoes to a large rimmed baking sheet and spread them out in an even layer. (Set the bowl aside to use for tossing the cooked potatoes).  Roast the potatoes, stirring once at the midpoint of roasting, until they are tender when pierced with a fork but still hold their shape, 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the garlic, cumin, paprika, cayenne, lemon juice, and the remaining ½ tsp salt.  Whisk in the remaining ⅓ cup oil.   Add the parsley and cilantro and stir to combine.
  4. When the potatoes are ready, return them to the large bowl.  Add the vinaigrette and toss gently.  Add the almonds if you are planning to serve the salad within a few hours;  otherwise, toss them in just before serving so they stay crisp.  Serve at room temperature.  The salad can be made up to 2 days in advance, covered, and refrigerated.  Remove from the refrigerator 2 hours before serving.
This recipe was borrowed from Roots by Diane Morgan.

Coconut Pan-Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Yield:  4 to 6 servings

2 pounds of sweet potatoes
2 Tbsp coconut oil
Sea Salt, to taste
Maldon sea salt, for finishing
  1. Scrub the sweet potatoes, then peel and chop them into cubes a scant inch across.
  2. Warm the oil in an 8-inch or 10-inch sauté pan.  Add the sweet potatoes, turn them about to coat, and season with a few pinches salt.  Put a lid on the pan, turn the heat to medium-low, and cook for about 20 minutes in all, giving the pan a shake every now and then to turn the potatoes.  Taste a piece and if they’re not yet soft, continue to cook a few minutes longer or until they are tender and browned.  Serve with flaky sea salt.  
This simple recipe was borrowed from Deborah Madison’s cookbook, The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.  

2017 Autumn Meat Information

Our fall meat deliveries are coming up soon with the first delivery on November 9/10/11!  We do still have Beef & Pork packages available for our November delivery and quite a lot still available for purchase for delivery December 7/8/9

If you choose to include meat in your diet, we hope you’ll consider trying our meat products this fall.  We feel it’s important for anyone who eats meat to make informed decisions with their meat purchases, so in order to do that here are a few important facts about the meat we raise.

Certified Organic:  All of our animals, pastures and feed are certified organic by MOSA.  That means we do not use GMO alfalfa, herbicides, pesticides, growth hormones or antibiotics.
 Grass-Fed Red Angus Beef:  Our beef cattle are 100% grass-fed.  They graze our mineral-rich pastures during the spring, summer and fall.  During the winter we feed dry hay and haylege which were harvested from our pastures and fields this past summer and stored for use during the winter.

Pastured-Pork:  Our pigs spend their days roaming their pasture hillsides where they use their snouts to forage for roots and snack on wild apples, nuts, and other wild plants they find in the woods.  They also receive a certified organic grain blend twice daily as well as vegetable scraps from the packing shed.  They especially enjoy spinach, beets, tomatoes and squash.
Animal Welfare:  We place great importance on the humane treatment of our animals and offer them the utmost respect and care for their wellbeing.  We do our best to provide a natural, calm environment for them to live in where they do not experience stress or have limitations to their instinctual behaviors. 

Join Our Meat Club:  Enjoy the convenience of our meat club offering.  With one purchase you will sign up for 3 meat deliveries in November, December and May.  You can start at any time and in addition to the convenience of a one-time purchase, we’ve built in a 5% discount on your purchase!
Fresh, Frozen:  All of our meat is freshly frozen and delivered to your CSA site in a reusable, thick-walled Styrofoam cooler.  You can store your meat purchase in your freezer and enjoy it throughout the winter with peace of mind knowing who your farmer is and where your meat came from!
Ledebuhr Meat Processing:  Our animals are processed at Ledebuhr Meat Processing in Winona, MN.  They are a small-scale meat processing plant that is both certified organic and USDA inspected.  There is a USDA inspector in the facility who inspects every carcass individually.

Concerned about freezer storage space?  If you’re limited on freezer space, consider some of our smaller 15# & 25# packages.  This picture demonstrates the space a 25# package of meat would take up in a standard home refrigerator with a freezer on top. 
Additional questions?  If you have other questions we have not answered here, please feel free to call or email!

For more information about any of our packages, please see our order form website.