Week 16

IMG_2531Full Share (above)
Medium Share (above)
Small Share (above)

Happy Fall, members!

After a strange warm spell, it seems to be fall around here for sure! Yesterday’s harvest weather was cool and cloudy and felt like a late fall day, without a doubt. The boxes are quintessentially fall-like as well. They’re loaded with great beautiful and nutritious veggies-lots of oranges, purples, and greens for good health.


As the year is winding down we want to take another chance to thank all of our members, friends and family for their support this season! It’s been a long and at times very difficult one, but knowing we have you to work for and knowing we’ve had your support makes all the difference in the world. Thank you, members, we appreciate you! If you haven’t yet RSVP’d for the Member Harvest Party and Potluck, please do! If you’re on the fence and haven’t RSVP’d, go ahead and swing by. We’d love to see you, show you around the farm you’ve invested in for the season, and thank you in person. The party is Sunday October 5th. Harvest begins around 10 am, with the Potluck starting at 1:30. Feel free to come for just the potluck, just the harvest, some or all of the day.

We’ve got a special treat this week of the freshest potatoes you’ll ever eat. We spent the day on Sunday digging a few thousand pounds of potatoes at Threshing Table Farm, owned and operated by our friends Mike and Jody Lenz. They are expert potato growers, and have great equipment for planting and harvesting, so it made good sense to us to have them grow our potatoes this year. They turned out great, and we can’t wait for everyone to enjoy spuds that just came out of the ground!

Mike driving his tractor with the super-awesome digger implement. It cuts underneath the potatoes, shakes them loose, and deposits them on top of the earth. SO MUCH BETTER than the hand-harvesting we did last year!

What’s in the box this week?

Squash-about 4# of acorn-either carnival or jester-for small and medium shares, about 8# of chiriman for full shares
Potatoes-2 1/2# for small shares, 3# for medium and full shares
Carrots-topped this week, 1# for small shares, 1 1/4# for medium shares, and 1 1/2# for full shares
Mustard Bunches-one bunch per share
Thyme-1 bunch per share
Cauliflower-Purple of Sicily, one head for small shares (to even out last week) and one head for full shares
Collards-one bunch each for medium and full shares
Celeriac-3# each for full shares

Squash-Small and medium shares will get a squash from the acorn family this week. Your beauties may include Jester, which is creamy with green in the grooves, Carnival which has awesome spots and freckles of green, orange, and black, or the odd bright orange one with green spots-a spontaneous hybrid that showed up this season. Full shares get to enjoy Chiriman, a neat Japanese heirloom. Chiriman has been around since the Edo period, (1603-1867 A.D.) and is an increasingly rare heirloom. Since we really like to keep the old, special, and at-risk varieties of fruits and vegetables going, we decided to grow this squash every year. The flesh is quite sweet, and it stores well in a cool, dry space.

Potatoes-either Russet or Satina. Both varieties are delicious and can be enjoyed in all your favorite potato recipes.

Carrots-as the carrots spend more time in the field, growing, the tops become less attractive and more tattered, so we decided to top them this week.

Mustard Bunches-a tasty bunch of mixed mustard greens, full sized. Enjoy them in a stir fry, saute, or try this interesting, gluten-free and vegetarian Indian recipe from Food and Wine.

Collards-These giant beauties are back! Collards are incredibly good for you, boasting tons of soluble fiber and lots of Vitamins C, K, and A. Store in a plastic bag in your crisper.

Celeriac-Full shares get celeriac this week, and as the bulbs continue to size up all other shares will see them as well. This ugly duckling of the veggie world has a lovely, sweet celery-parsley flavor. You’ll notice how rooty and knobby they are, so peel them and give them another good rinse before cooking. Definitely try them in last week’s root vegetable roast recipe. They should keep for several weeks in a bag in the fridge.

Farm happenings this week:

IMG_1361Celeriac field. Note the leaves changing color in the background!
Celeriac bulb, before trimming
Chiriman squash after harvest, waiting to be cleaned
Michelle with piles of carrots to sort and bag!


Collard Greens with Bacon, a classic!


  • 2 bunches collard greens, stemmed
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 3 slices bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 cup homemade or low-sodium store-bought chicken stock


  1. STEP 1

    Working in batches, stack greens; cut crosswise into 2-inch-thick strips. Gather strips; cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces. Transfer to a large bowl of cold water; swish to remove grit. Transfer greens to a colander using a slotted spoon; let drain. Repeat until greens are free of grit.

  2. STEP 2

    Heat oil in a very large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and bacon; cook until onions are translucent, about 4 minutes. Add greens; cook, stirring, until greens begin to wilt and are reduced in volume.

  3. STEP 3

    Raise heat to high; add vinegar. Cook, scraping up brown bits from bottom of skillet, until vinegar has evaporated, about 1 minute.

  4. STEP 4

    Add stock; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, until greens are just tender, 12 to 14 minutes. If making ahead, refrigerate, covered; reheat over low heat.


Martha Stewart Living, May 2005


Sautéed Collard Greens with Raisins


  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/4 pounds (about 2 bunches) collard greens, stalks removed, leaves thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2 teaspoons white-wine vinegar


  1. STEP 1

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread almonds on a rimmed baking sheet, and toast until golden, about 8 minutes. Set aside.

  2. STEP 2

    In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add collard greens and raisins; cook, tossing occasionally, until collards are tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in vinegar. Serve sprinkled with toasted almonds.


Everyday Food, October 2007


All the best from all of us at Sleepy Root,

Brandon, Heather, Baby Root (only 6 more weeks!), Ben, Michelle and Frank!






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Week 15

IMG_2521Full Share (above)
Medium Share (above)
Small Share (above)

Hello Sleepy Root Members!

Where has the season gone? It seems like just yesterday that we were harvesting spring lettuces and radishes, seeding beans every other day, and scrambling to fight the rain and the weeds. Now we’re facing only three more boxes after this week is over! We’re seeing a steady progression into fall now-there’s some type of winter squash scheduled into every box from now on, we’ve taken down all the dead tomato plants, the greenhouse is getting closed up for the winter, and we find true fall and winter root vegetable crops like rutabaga and carrots in the boxes.

Brandon’s parents came out for a quick weekend visit from South Dakota again, and we couldn’t have enjoyed them more. Lois showed up with a home-made apple pie, (always a good idea!) they helped us harvest and pack boxes on Monday, and they even got our temporary greenhouse torn down. Thanks so much, Richard and Lois, we couldn’t have gotten through some of these weeks without you!

We’ve been having a big gopher attack this month, and it turns out that our fabulous new employee Michelle counts gopher-trapping among her many talents. Hopefully this will help reduce some of the damage that some of the squash and root crops are experiencing. It hasn’t been too serious of a problem yet, but we’d love it if the gophers would move over to the DNR land next door and leave the veggies to you guys!

A word about the boxes this week and next: We’re doing a bit of a shuffle with small share box contents for this week and next. Despite planting over 300 cauliflower for this fall, they are maturing in small spurts instead of all at once. This gradual maturation is a common characteristic of heirloom varieties and is a major reason why many larger commercial growers have turned to hybrids-they really need dependable harvest dates. Since we enjoy the ability to customize our boxes on a weekly basis according to what’s actually ready, tasty, and beautiful, we often choose to grow the heirlooms which can be superior in taste and appearance.

To make sure our small share members get the best chance of getting one in their box this season, we are including them on Thursday of this week and Tuesday of next week. The bottom line? Between this week and next small shares should all see a beautiful Purple of Sicily cauliflower in their boxes!

Another note-we were planning on putting the butternut squash in a later box, but the light frost we experienced last week caused a little bit of damage to them, as they have the most delicate skins of the squash we grow. What you might notice is a little bit of discoloration in the skin color, which often appears as if it’s wet. There is absolutely no damage to the squash’s flavor, but we wanted to get them out to you sooner rather than later since they’ll be more likely to soften sooner. If you keep them in a cool, dry place and eat them within a week or two they should be just fine. Butternut is one of the most beloved of all squash for their sweet flavor and abundance of meat, so we’d be surprised if yours sticks around that long! All the other winter squashes should keep like usual, so depending on storage conditions you’ve got months to enjoy them.

What’s in the box this week:

Kale-Redbor, Vates, or a combination of the two (1 regular bunch for small and medium shares, 1 large bunch for full shares)
***Note-Tuesday small shares get kale this week, and Thursday small shares get kale next week. Thursday shares this week will see Cauliflower (maybe broccoli depending on what’s mature) and then Tuesday shares NEXT WEEK will see the same***
Butternut Squash- 1 squash per member!
Rutabaga-roughly a 2# rutabaga for small and medium shares, 2 1/2# or larger for full shares
Radishes-1 bunch per medium and full shares
Carrots-1 1/2# bunches for all members!
Cabbage-1 head for medium shares
Baby Pac Choi-1/2# for full shares
Broccoli-1 1/4# for full shares
Peppers-2# for full shares

Kale-these frilly beauties are from our second succession, and will continue to produce throughout the winter. We’ve included Redbor which is a deep purple (go phytonutrients!), Vates which is a deep green, or a combination of both.

Rutabaga-the giant, ugly, misunderstood member of the root vegetable family.  They look like a lumpy turnip, but peel them, roast or mash them, and enjoy them with seasoning like butter, cream, thyme or rosemary and you’ll fall in love with these giant misfits! They have a taste that’s like a cross between a carrot and a potato, with a texture like a carrot or turnip. They’re also rather rudely known as Swedes as they were long a staple crop for poor Swedish farmers. When Heather and Brandon go to her adopted Larson family’s home for Thanksgiving and Christmas meals, mashed rutabaga is one of the most anticipated dishes on the table!

Cabbage-we continue to be in awe of the cabbage this year. The variety you’re getting is called Deadon. Terrible name, gorgeous vegetable. They have grown well, sized up nicely, and are stunningly colored with green and purple.

Baby Pac Choi-full shares will enjoy this delicate Asian vegetable this week. Some shares saw pac choi this spring, too. They enjoy the cooler weather of spring and fall, and are a welcome addition to the boxes this week.

Peppers-Full shares also get to enjoy the very last of the bell peppers this week. Goodbye, summer!

On the farm:

unnamedWatch out! Heather learned to drive the John Deere about 5 minutes before this photo was taken. What a trusting family! Richard and Lois are helping bring in the squash harvest.
Frank on the prowl for discarded radishes, one of his favorite treats.
Picking kale bunches
Boxes loaded up and ready to go to the warehouse of the Hungry Turtle Farmer’s Cooperative in downtown Amery. The co-op is who we and several other farmers hire to deliver our boxes in the Twin Cities twice a week.


Both of these recipes are from Nigel Slater’s famous vegetable cookery book, Tender. If you don’t have it, it’s probably the most valuable CSA member cookbook I can think of!

Perfect Mashed Rutabaga

Peel the rutabaga. Cut the flesh into large chunks and pile into a steamer basket or metal colander. Place over a pan of boiling water and steam for 12-15 minutes, or until tender. (Rutabaga will always have a certain amount of firmness to their consistency, but it should taste done). Put into a bowl and crush with a potato masher. Fold in some butter, salt and black pepper and beat hard with a wooden spoon.

A Slow Roast of Roots

This roast is one of the most pleasant ways to enjoy the goodies that are in your boxes this week and in the coming weeks. You will see celeriac, beets, rutabaga, and carrots in your futures, so keep this recipe around for the duration of the season!

Peel and chop an assortment of rutabaga, pumpkin or squash, carrots, beets celery root or turnips. Any root will do. Bring a large pan of water to a boil, add all the vegetables except the beets, and let them simmer for ten minutes. They should just take the tip of a knife. Drain.

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Warm up plenty of butter (5 tablespoons for every 4 pounds of veggies) in a roasting pan with a good glug of olive oil to stop it burning. Add the drained vegetables and beets, if using, turn them in the butter, and scatter with any herb you like (probably thyme or rosemary) and a few squashed cloves of garlic. Roast 45 minutes to an hour, until the vegetables are soft inside, crisp and golden without.

Spicy Reuben Chowder with Rye Croutons

YIELD: Serves 6

PREP TIME: 20 Minutes

COOK TIME: 30 minutes


for the chowder:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 cups andouille sausage, sliced (optional, tastes pretty great without meat, too!)

1 1/2 cups ham, diced

1 yellow onion, diced

3-4 cups shredded cabbage

1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3 cups chicken stock (*add more if needed, use veg stock if you’d like)

1/4 cup creme fraiche or sour cream

1/4 cup chives, green onions, or any other herb you like, garnish

Tabasco, garnish

for the rye croutons:

4 slices rye bread cut into cubes

2 tablespoons olive oil

pinch of salt and pepper


for the chowder:
In a large dutch oven, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion and let it cook for a couple of minutes until softened. Add the cabbage and cook until tender. Then add the andouille sausage and ham and brown for a few more minutes. Add the flour along with a little salt & pepper and stir. Let the flour cook out for a few minutes. Add the chicken stock to pot and bring everything to a boil, stirring constantly. Then reduce the heat to a low simmer and let cook gently for about 20 minutes. When you are about ready to serve, stir in herbs and creme fraiche. Serve in bowls and top with fresh herbs, Tabasco, and brown butter rye croutons!!!

for the brown butter rye croutons:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Place rye cubes on baking sheet. Pour olive oil over bread along with a pinch of salt and pepper. Bake for about 10 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside to cool.

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Week 14

 IMG_2516Full Share (above)
IMG_2514Medium Share (above) 
Small Share (above)

The return of the fajita box!

Well, members, as predicted we got a light frost out here in Amery and in preparation for that we picked all the sweet, bell, and hot peppers from the plants and you now have the fajita box! Luckily the cilantro made it through the frost in decent shape, so you’ve got peppers, onions and cilantro to form a really good base for fajitas.

We’ve been starting our fall clean-up, which includes starting the process of cutting all the winter squash off the vine, curing it outside for a week or so, and then bringing it all into the pack shed before a freeze hits. We’ve also started pulling plants out of the ground, pulling up plastic mulch and irrigation systems, and tidying up in preparation for winter. It’s an extremely big project to put a farm to bed for the winter, so it’s great that we have some nice weather to start early. Brandon also seeded some more winter greens for the final boxes, and we are keeping busy with general weekly harvesting, weeding, and maintenance. We’ve also been blessed with the addition of Michelle, a super-awesome mother of 5 who is helping us out part-time during the week. She’s an Amery native and we are so grateful to have her on board for the rest of the season!

A reminder that our annual member party will be a Work and Harvest Party on Sunday, October 5th. Feel free to come to some or all of the event, it should be a great time on the farm with fall walks in the woods, a tasty potluck and maybe even a fun market stand with items like organic, free-range chickens, maple syrup, and other local goods to take home. Stay tuned for details, but please RSVP so we know how much main course to make!

One more reminder-please return your gently unfolded boxes to your drop site each week. We’re starting to run low again, so if you all remember we should make it through the season. We’ve also had to throw away almost 2 dozen boxes this week because they’ve been ripped in the process of unfolding. We know they can be challenging to unfold, especially when they’re new and stiff, but please take care! Starting at $1.50 per box, this is a big expense for us that can be minimized with a little care on your part. Thanks so much for your help. We even talked Brandon into modeling the procedure for you in this video!

IMG_1298Sweet little bird’s nest in the squash
IMG_2519 Carnival Squash with Ben!


IMG_2512Meet your winter greens mix: from left to right, baby kale, hon tsai tai, green mustard, red mustard, and tat soi. 


Here’s what’s in the boxes this week:

Peppers (1# for small shares, 1 1/2# for medium and full shares)
Hot Peppers (2 for small and medium shares, 3 for full shares)
Onions (1# for all share sizes)
Cilantro (1 bunch for all share sizes)
Winter Greens (1/2# for small and medium shares, 3/4# for full shares)
Winter Squash (1 or 2, depending on weight, for all share sizes)
Cauliflower or Broccoli (1 head or 1#, medium shares)
Radishes (1 bunch, full shares)
Carrots (1 1/2#, full shares)

Peppers- The last of the year! An assortment of everything we’ve got, you’ll find sweet and bell peppers in your bag. Make some fajitas with these, the bell peppers, some of the onions and the cilantro. It might be one of your last (!) tastes of summer…

Hot Peppers- A mix of jalapeno and hungarian hot wax. These are loose in your box, so they should be easy to identify!

Winter Greens- A really neat winter braising mix that contains tat soi, red and green mustard, and kale. While designed to saute or stir-fry, they are still very tender and sweet so feel free to eat fresh like any other mixed greens.

Winter Squash-The first appearance of our winter squash! A sure sign of the transition to fall, your squash might be the lovely multi-colored acorn squash known as Carnival, or the more modestly colored yellow-orange acorn.

Radishes-Only in full share boxes this week, the radishes are a fun fall addition as they tolerate the cool weather well. We actually really like these shredded on top of our fajitas and tacos.


Moosewood Cafe Squash Pancakes

Our neighbor and Monday helper, Ben, told us about these pancakes which he’s been eating all week. We made them last night and ate them with our winter greens as a side salad. Delicious, thanks Ben!


4 cups winter squash, peeled and grated (I used a food processor to grate them to speed things up)
1 onion, grated
4 eggs
1/3 cup flour
1 tsp. salt
fresh black pepper


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Place enough oil or butter in the pan to coat. Spoon the pancake mix into the skillet, smoothing and flattening the mix so that it’s about 1/4 to 1/3 inch thick. Let cook on one side until browned, then flip and cook until the other side is browned. Place pancakes on sheet tray in oven to keep warm while you make the remaining pancakes.

Tastes great with a dollop of yogurt or sour cream on top and a big salad of winter greens on the side!

Quick Stir-Fried Winter Greens


  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. peeled and minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 lb. mixed baby greens for cooking, well rinsed and drained but not dried (see note above)
  • Pinch of kosher salt


Place a wide, deep saucepan over medium-high heat until hot enough for a drop of water to sizzle and then immediately evaporate. Add the oil, ginger and garlic and heat just until the garlic begins to sizzle, about 10 seconds.

Add the greens all at once and, using tongs or 2 wooden spoons, toss and stir to coat with the oil and seasonings. Cover and allow the greens to steam with the droplets of rinsing water until tender, 9 to 12 minutes; the timing will depend on the varieties in the mix. Season with the salt.

Transfer the greens to a warmed serving dish and serve immediately. Serves 2-4.


All the best from all of us at Sleepy Root,

Brandon, Heather, Frank, Baby Root, Ben and MIc


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Week 13

IMG_2508Full Share (above)
Medium Share (above)
Small Share (above)

Hello everyone! We hope this newsletter finds you enjoying the weather-the word is there are some BIG CHANGES coming around the corner. We think most of our Twin Cities members escaped the majority of the serious storms that swept though a few days ago. We had a lot of corn get blown down in strong winds, fortunately the hardest hit was the popcorn (thats right–there will be popcorn in the boxes this year!) and it can continue to dry out whether it’s on bent over stalks or not. This is likely the last week for sweet corn, anyhow, so we guess we should give thanks that what got damaged was on the way out anyways!   IMG_1283Blown over pop corn This week marks a pretty big transition for the produce–we (or more accurately, the cool weather and rain) are ushering out the high season summer crops of corn, tomatoes, eggplant, melons, basil and beans and beginning to see fall crops mature such as rutabaga, winter squash, onions, kale and collards, carrots, radishes and more. There might be a precipitous farewell to summer crops this weekend depending on how much frost/freeze we experience. Paul Huttner of our very favorite weather blog, The Updraft, is saying we may get a frost on Friday or Saturday. If that happens, we will be saying goodbye to the tomatoes, basil, peppers and eggplants. The good news is that it just might mean the beloved fajita box will soon make an appearance: lots and lots of peppers, whatever tomatoes are left, onions, and cilantro. Keep an eye on the weather and stay tuned to see what goes on in next week’s box. IMG_1269 Fall onions were harvested this week.  Brandon spreading them out to dry on mesh tables before storing. IMG_1276 IMG_1288Cool bug of the week, found in the swiss chard patch during Monday’s harvest. This week’s box has a fun assortment of produce, so without further ado:

Tomatoes (1 1/2# for small shares, 2# for medium shares, 2 1/4# for full shares)
Sweet Corn (2 each for all shares)
Shiso (1-ish ounces per share)
Baby Kale (1/2#, small shares only)
Snap Beans (3/4# for small shares, 1# for full shares)
Eggplant (1 each, medium shares only)
Cucumbers (1 each for medium and full shares)
Swiss Chard (1 bunch for medium and full shares)
Head Lettuce (1 head for medium and full shares)
Hot Peppers (2 each, full shares only)
Melon (1 each, full shares only)
Cauliflower (1 each, full shares only)

Tomatoes-These may or may not be the last of the season, depending on the weather! Enjoy them! Sweet Corn-Same story, sadly. Didn’t it feel like summer lasted for only a few days this year? What a cool, wet, strange growing season. Shiso-This super-cool, very beautiful Japanese herb is just too lovely for us to resist growing for you.  Requested a few years back by member Peter Kim, we have finally had a successful crop of this difficult germinator to send out. A staple of Japanese cuisine, shiso has an herbaceous and citrusy taste, and this variety has striking two-tone leaves:  green on the top and deep purple on the bottom. It’s best used raw, and a good rule of thumb is to slice it thinly and use in anything you’d use basil or mint for. It is also most famously used to give umeboshi plum paste it’s gorgeous color.  This great blog has lots more info and ideas! We’ve given you several recipes below as well.


Snap Beans-either the very fine haricots verts (albeit yellow) or the fat and wide romano bean. Cauliflower-This technicolor variety is called Purple of Sicily. IMG_2509 Melons-Although we tried our best to prognosticate our way into a great melon year, this season falls a little short of what I would call a true year-of-the-melon.  Not-so-hot weather and way way way too much rain has produced a short run of so-so melons whose sweetness was watered down.  Not bad by any means, but not great.  There’s always next year, right?


Japanese-style Shiso Pesto (and Pasta)


  • 1 ounce shiso leaves
  • 1/4 c. raw pistachio nuts
  • 1 tbsp miso paste (any type)
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • 1 lemon (juiced)
  • 1/2 c. olive oil

Pulse everything except the olive oil together in a food processor or blender until smooth. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil to make a smooth paste. Add salt to taste. Enjoy tossed with any shape of cooked pasta (soba noodles would be great!), diced raw tomatoes, and shrimp, chicken or tofu.  

Shiso Julep

So, summer may be on it’s way out, but say goodbye in style with a great take on the Mint-based Kentucky classic! julep_1490 Muddle 3 shiso leaves in a glass with 1 ounce lime juice and 1 ounce simple syrup. Add 3 ounces Maker’s Mark or any other fine Bourbon, shake with ice, and top with a bit of club soda.  

“Gazpacho” with Shiso Oil

from Ming Tsai



For the Gazpacho: 1  cucumber, peeled, and rough chopped 3 large red heirloom tomatoes, core removed and, rough chopped ¼ cup Wanjashan naturally brewed rice vinegar 1 tablespoon naturally brewed tamari 1 tablespoon Worcestershire 1 red onion, peeled, and rough chopped 4 cloves of garlic 1 jalapeño or other hot pepper, rough chopped 4 shiso leaves Kosher salt and black pepper to taste For the shiso oil: 1 small garlic cloves shiso leaves 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil dash of water if needed


In a blender combine the cucumber, tomatoes, rice vinegar, tamari, and Worcestershire blend to combine. Add  onion, garlic,  hot pepper, and 4 shiso leaves. Blend to combine. Check for seasoning.  Strain mixture. Chill well. Meanwhile, in a blender, blend together the garlic clove, any remaining shiso and extra virgin olive oil and season.  Serve in chilled martini glass and drizzle in shiso oil.  Garnish with sauté mini croutons. Have a great week, everyone! All the best from all of us at Sleepy Root, Brandon, Heather, Frank, Ben and Baby Root    



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Week 12

IMG_2502Full Share (above)
Medium share (above)
Small share (above)

Hello members and friends!

We hope this week finds you well-rested after a holiday weekend and ready for more abundant produce! Even though labor day signals the end of summer and the beginning of fall, we are still in the lovely throes of lots of corn, beans, tomatoes and basil. The boxes are full and fun, and now that we’ve got a friend and neighbor farmer helping out once a week, our Monday harvest day is a lot more humane. Thanks, Ben!

It’s time for our annual member gathering, and we think the fall will be a fantastic time for one this year! We have set the date for Sunday, October 5th, from 10 am to 4 pm. Our plan is to all work together to bring in the fall harvest for the first half of the day, and then enjoy a big potluck and farm fun for the second half of the day, with plenty of time included for guided tours and self-exploration. Please feel free to join us for all or part of the day-we’d love to see you whether or not you can help haul in the winter squash and fall root crops in the morning. We’ve set the potluck lunch-time for 1:30 pm. If you plan to attend, please RSVP via email to sleepyrootfarm@gmail.com so we can plan accordingly. We hope to see lots of you there! Member gatherings are a really important way for us to build our Sleepy Root community, and you all are so important to us! We’d love to be able to see you and thank you in person.

On the farm this week:

photoWe’ve never seen so many grasshoppers in a season! This little guy hitched a ride in the truck with us.
IMG_1247Brandon found this little beauty in the corn.

Now, on to what’s in the box this week:

Melons (1 for each share again!)
Sweet Corn (4 ears for small shares, 6 for medium, 8 for full shares)
Tomatoes (a whopping 3# for smalls, 3 1/2# for mediums, 4# for full shares)
Basil (1 bunch per share)
Edamame (1/2# for each share)
Hot Peppers (1 for small and medium shares, 2 for full shares)
Sweet or Bell Peppers (1 for medium shares, 2 for full shares)
Haricots Vert (green and yellow mix, 1# for medium shares, 1 1/4# for full shares)
Baby kale (1/2# for medium shares, 3/4# for full shares)
Cucumbers (1 for small shares, 2 for full shares)

Everyone is receiving melons again this week, we hope you are enjoying them. The crop is doing well and Brandon is happy that his prophecy that 2014 is the year of the melon has come true! All members are getting a good amount of corn, tomatoes and basil again. We’re sure that you’re all coming up with great ways to use these summertime treats, if you have a great recipe send it on to us so we can share with the whole Sleepy Root family.

A special treat for everyone this week is a little baggie of Edamame. These are fresh soybeans, and a staple of most Sushi restaurants. Don’t let their weird shape and hairy pod scare you, they taste great and were a big hit at our employee meal on Monday. They are a great little appetizer! See method for eating below.

Edamame_by_Zesmerelda_in_ChicagoEdamame pods

Another fun item in the boxes is baby kale. We plant these seeds densely, the same way we plant our lettuce beds, and harvest them in the same manner as well. We love having smaller, cut greens year-round but lettuces grown in our region this time of year tend to be aggressively bitter. Baby kale is a super-nutritious, tasty and gorgeous alternative. Eat this fresh and raw like you would any other baby lettuce mix, or feel free to saute or stir fry it like you would full-grown kale.

Haricots verts are back! These gorgeous, slender yellow and green French beans are delicate and tasty. A staple of fine dining, they rarely show up on the commercial market because they need to be harvested by hand and take quite a while to pick. Treat them like you would any green bean, and just appreciate how tender they are to eat. We’ve got a few recipes below for you to try.


Edamame, Sushi-house style



Sesame oil



Steam edamame in their pods for about 10 minutes, or until the beans are tender when you slip one out of the pod to sample. Place the edamame in a bowl, toss with sesame oil, and sprinkle with salt. Place an empty bowl on the table as well, for people to put their discarded pods into. To eat, simply slip the beans out of the pods with your fingers, or for even more fun, place the pod in your mouth, holding on to the tip, and pull between your teeth. The beans will slide out, and you’ll have a tasty bean treat with the seasoning of the sesame oil and salt. Discard pod and repeat.



Penelope Casas’ Garlic Green Beans (Judias Verdas con Ajo) 

Spanish cuisine is a favorite of mine, and Penelope Casas has written many definitive books on the food and wine of Spain. This recipe gets straight to the heart of what’s best about beans…

Author Notes: This technique looks embarrassingly simple, and it is. But it shakes up our habits, and with four ingredients, lets green beans become their best selves. Resist the temptation to add liquid. The beans will stew in their own juices, and their flavor will be completely undiluted. You could leave the garlic out, but its pushy sting will soften a little on the warmth of the beans. Adapted from The Foods and Wines of Spain (Knopf, 1982). 

Serves 4

  • 3/4pounds fresh green beans
  • 1tablespoon butter
  • 1clove garlic, crushed
  • Coarse salt
  1. Snap off the tops of the beans. Melt the butter in a skillet, add the beans, and cook them over a medium to medium-high flame, stirring, until they begin to brown.
  2. Lower the flame, cover, and cook 15 to 20 minutes, or until the beans are the desired tenderness, stirring occasionally.
  3. Mix in the crushed garlic, sprinkle with salt, and serve immediately.


Haricots Verts with Mustard Vinaigrette


Coarse salt

1/2 pound haricots verts trimmed

1/2 teaspoon finely chopped shallot

1 1/2 teaspoons red-wine vinegar

Freshly ground pepper

1/2 teaspoon grainy or smooth Dijon mustard

1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


  1. STEP 1-Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Prepare an ice-water bath. Addsalt to boiling water, then add haricots verts; cook just until beans are bright green all over, 1 to 2 minutes.

  2. STEP 2-Drain beans; rinse immediately with cold water. Transfer to ice-water bath. When chilled completely, drain; pat dry.

  3. STEP 3-Put shallot and vinegar in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper. Let stand 15 minutes. Whisk in mustard. Whisking constantly, pour in oil in a slow, steady stream until emulsified. Set aside until ready to dress beans; whisk before using.

All the best from all of us,

Brandon, Heather, baby Root, and Frank!


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Week 11

full 11 2014 full share (above)

med 11 2014 medium share (above)

small 11 2014small share (above)

Greetings, members!

This box is a great illustration of what it really means to be a CSA member. We’ve waited patiently through the early spring boxes, with lovely little lettuces and crispy radishes and delicate herbs, and now we’re on to the best phase of the year: peak season!

These are the boxes that illustrate just how important it is to remember that when you join any CSA, you are participating in the life of the farm for the entire season.

We all know what the weekly cost of a small, medium, or full share is, and while sometimes in the beginning of the season the boxes aren’t always “worth” that full amount if you were to buy the items organically at your local co-op, once we hit peak season your CSA boxes contain way more value in them than the weekly cost. All this is to illustrate that CSA members are special and unique because they have agreed to support a farm throughout the entire season, and understand that the value of their shares has to be evaluated over all 18 boxes.

We spent an entire day last week salvaging what Kuri, Kabocha, and Pumpkin we could from one of our squash patches. Vine borers had killed all the plants, and began eating away at lots of the fruits, so even though it’s earlier than we would normally remove them from the fields we cut every last one off the vine, inspected them for damage, and brought the good ones into the greenhouse for safe keeping.


IMG_1226Some vine borer damage in a Kabocha Sunshine winter squash.  Gross.

We probably lost at least half the crop in those families. The good thing is we plant squash in several areas of the farm, and plant a variety of families, some of which are less attractive to the little bugs. It is fun to see all of the squash we did get out of the attacked patch in nice rows in the greenhouse!

IMG_1230Our good friend and neighbor, Bob Johnson. We think we found a pumpkin the size of the little baby-to-be!
IMG_1232 Squash and pumpkins that we rescued from the field, curing in the greenhouse


Here’s what’s in your overflowing boxes this week!

Melons! (1 each for all share sizes)
Sweet Corn (4 for small shares, 6 for medium, 8 for fulls)
Tomatoes (2 1/2# for small shares, 3# for medium shares, 4# for full shares
Hot Peppers (2 each for all share sizes, Jalapeno, Hungarian Hot Wax, or a combo)
Cilantro (1 bunch for all share sizes)
Broccoli (about 1 pound for medium shares, 1 1/2 # for full shares)
Cucumbers (2 each for medium and full shares)
Sweet Peppers (1 for small shares, 2 for full shares)
Snap Beans (1# for small shares, 1 1/2# for full shares)
Zucchini (2 each for full shares)

Melons–they are here! The crop is looking great, and the quality is pretty awesome this year! Store these on your countertop to begin with. Once they start to emit a sweet melon smell, if they aren’t already, eat them right away or pop them in the fridge to enjoy later.

Some of the beauties you may find in your box

Cilantro-after a hiatus thanks to a lost succession due to rains, we have a lovely crop of cilantro ready for you. There’s so many things to do with it that we don’t even know where to begin. It’s great tossed into fresh salads, sprinkled on your breakfast taco, or made into a delightful chimichurri sauce or fresh salsa. 

Snap beans-the summer round of beans is also doing great! The plants are vigorous, healthy, and producing like crazy. Your beans may be yellow, green, or a combination of both. They might also be the broader, flatter Romano style bean or perhaps the thinner French-style Haricots, all depending on what’s ready when we pick them on Monday or Wednesday. All of the bean recipes we give you will work just fine for any type of fresh snap bean.

Some happenings on the farm this week:

IMG_1240 The coolest caterpillar ever, this little one will become a White-marked Tussock Moth.
IMG_1242Hot pepper id: the dark green ones at the top of the photo are jalapenos, the bright yellow-green guys are hungarian hot wax.


Romano Beans with Tomatoes (Fagioli a Corallo in Umido)


  • 1 to 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 green onions, white portion only, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 lb. very ripe fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced, or 1 can (14 oz.) plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped, with juices
  • 1 small dried red chili (optional)
  • 1 lb. romano beans or green beans, ends trimmed
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (optional)


In a saucepan large enough to hold the beans, warm the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the green onions and cook, stirring, until translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes and chili, increase the heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes reduce slightly, about 10 minutes.

Stir in the beans and season with salt and a few grinds of pepper. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the beans are very tender, about 30 minutes. Check frequently and add 2 Tbs. hot water if the sauce looks dry. (The dish can be prepared up to this point, cooled, covered and refrigerated, and then reheated gently the next day. It will taste even better the second day.)

Transfer the beans to a warmed serving dish and sprinkle with the parsley. Serve immediately. Serves 6.

Roasted Sweet Corn and Jalapeno Salsa


1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes

1 or 2 jalapeños (any other hot pepper will do)

1 ear of corn, shucked

1/2 small white onion, sliced about 1/4 inch thick (about 2 ounces)

4 garlic cloves, peeled

Salt to taste

1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar

1/4 cup water (optional)

1/3 to 1/2 cup chopped cilantro (to taste)

1. Preheat broiler and set rack 4 inches below. If your broiler and oven are separate, also preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with foil.

2. Place tomatoes and jalapeños on one of the baking sheets and set under broiler, about 4 inches from heat. Broil for about 6 minutes, until skins are charred and blackened in spots. Using tongs, flip over tomatoes and jalapeño and continue to broil for another 6 minutes. The tomatoes and chiles should be softened and cooked through as well as charred. Tip tomatoes and chiles, along with any juices in the pan, into a bowl and allow to cool.

3. Place corn on baking sheet and set under the broiler. Broil until you hear the kernels beginning to pop, 2 to 4 minutes. Corn should be nicely browned on one side. Flip over and broil for 2 minutes, or until you hear popping, on the other side. Remove from heat, allow to cool, then cut kernels from cob and set aside.

4. If using the same oven to roast the onions, turn heat down to 425 degrees. Break up onions into rings and place on baking sheet in a single layer. Add garlic and place in oven. Roast, stirring every 5 minutes, until onions have softened and are lightly browned and charred on edges and garlic is soft and browned in spots, about 15 minutes. If some of the smaller pieces of onion begin to char more quickly than others, remove them sooner.

5. Stem jalapeños and place with onions and garlic in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse until mix is finely chopped. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Transfer to a large bowl.

6. When tomatoes are cool enough to handle, core and discard skins (hold over bowl to catch juices). Place in food processor with juice and pulse to a coarse purée. Add to bowl with chopped onions, garlic and jalapeño. Add the vinegar, season generously with salt (Rick Bayless recommends a generous teaspoon), and stir in the cilantro and corn. If desired, thin out with water.

Yield: Makes a little about 2 1/2 cups

Advance preparation: This will keep for 5 days in the refrigerator and can be frozen for up to a month.

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Week 10

IMG_2489Full Share
Medium Share
Small Share

Hallelujah the rain keeps coming!  After having such a considerable dry spot it is nice to get a little continuous rain.  Harvest days are a little messier and everyones shoes and pants are a little wetter, but it sure beats moving irrigation lines multiple times a day.

This past week was Ben’s last week on the farm.  We are grateful for all his help and wish him the best of luck on his final semester of college! IMG_1193

Brandon’s parents also came out for a whirlwind 3-days of harvesting and packing boxes-we’re so lucky to have them and their help, especially since we are desperately seeking employees right now (hint!) and can use all the volunteers we can get! 150 boxes is a lot for two people to handle!

Tomatoes are starting to come on in full flush now.  You should be seeing increasing quantities of those gems over the next few weeks in your share.  Remember: your tomatoes will come in all sorts of different colors including green and white, they will usually be ripe or close to ripe when you receive them, so don’t wait too long to cut into them!

Sweet corn is on pause this week–the next succession will be making its way into boxes next week.  Melons are sooooooo close to being ready, it kills me that they weren’t ready enough for boxes this week.


Here’s what’s in the box this week:

Broccoli (roughly 1# per share)
Collard Greens (1 large bunch for full and medium shares, 1 small bunch for small shares)
Tomatoes (2# for full shares, 1 3/4# for medium shares, 1 1/4# for small shares)
Zucchini (2 each for full and medium shares, 1 each for small shares)
Basil (about 2 ounces per person)
Hot Peppers (2 each for full shares and medium shares, 1 each for small shares)
Bell Peppers (2 for full shares, 1 for medium shares)
Snap Beans (either capitano or soleil, 1 1/5# for full shares, 1# for medium shares)
Cucumbers (2 for full shares, 1 for small shares)
Eggplant (2 each, full shares only)

Peppers are starting to come in.  This week some members will be getting the little purple beauty bell pepper, and everyone will be getting the yellow, bananana-pepper shaped hungarian hot wax.  Below are pictures to help you i.d.  I love hungarian hotwaxes–they are the perfect hot pepper.  They can carry a kick but usually only have a medium heat and delicious flavor that adds a boost to any meal.  Unlike other smaller hot peppers its flavor always seem to blend in more than stand out.

Purple Beauty Bell Pepper
Hungarian Hot Wax Pepper


Grits and Greens Casserole


  • 4 slices bacon, chopped (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 16 cups chopped collard greens or kale, stems removed (about 1 large bunch, 1 1/2-2 pounds)
  • 2 cups water, plus more as needed
  • 1 cup grits (not instant)
  • 3/4 cup shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1/4 cup prepared salsa
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat an 8-inch-square baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Place bacon (if using) in a large Dutch oven. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until crispy, 4 to 6 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Pour off the bacon fat.
  3. Return the pot to medium-low heat; add oil, onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until fragrant and starting to brown in spots, 2 to 8 minutes (cooking time will be quicker if you started with bacon). Add 1 cup broth and salt; bring to a boil over high heat. Add collards (or kale); stir until wilted down to about one-third the volume and bright green, 1 to 2 minutes. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until tender, 18 to 20 minutes. Adjust heat during cooking to maintain a simmer, and add water, 1/4 cup at a time, if the pan seems dry.
  4. Meanwhile, bring 2 cups water and the remaining 1 cup broth to a boil in a large saucepan. Pour in grits in a steady stream, whisking constantly. Bring to a simmer, whisking constantly. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, whisking often, until thick, about 5 minutes. Combine 1/2 cup cheese, salsa and egg in a small bowl. Remove the grits from the heat and quickly stir in the cheese mixture until combined.
  5. Working quickly, spread about half the grits in the prepared baking dish. Top with greens, spreading evenly. Spread the remaining grits over the greens. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup cheese and the reserved bacon (if using).
  6. Bake the casserole until hot and bubbling, about 20 minutes. Let stand for about 10 minutes before serving.


  • Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 5, cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day. Bake at 400°F until bubbling, about 30 minutes.


Pasta with Greens and Tomatoes


  • 1 pound collard greens, (about 12 cups), stripped from thick stems, washed, dried and coarsely chopped (1/2-inch pieces)
  • 2 ounces sliced pancetta, or bacon, finely diced (3/4 cup), optional
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 cups diced tomatoes, (not drained)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 8 ounces medium pasta shells, (3 cups)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


  1. Bring 2 cups lightly salted water to a boil in a large wide pan. Add collards and cook until tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water and press out excess moisture. Set aside.
  2. Put a large pot of lightly salted water on to boil for cooking pasta.
  3. Cook pancetta (or bacon) in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, stirring often, until golden, 5 minutes. Drain; discard fat.
  4. Add oil to the pan and heat over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and crushed red pepper; cook, stirring, for 30 to 60 seconds. Add the pancetta (or bacon), tomatoes and water; bring to a simmer, mashing the tomatoes with a potato masher or the side of a wooden spoon. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until thickened, about 20 minutes.
  5. About 10 minutes before the sauce is ready, cook pasta in the boiling water, stirring often, until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking water and drain the pasta.
  6. Add the pasta, collards and reserved pasta-cooking water to the tomato sauce. Heat, stirring, until the pasta has absorbed some of the flavors, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon into pasta bowls, sprinkle with cheese and serve.



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