Week 13

IMG_2508Full Share (above)
 
IMG_2506
Medium Share (above)
 
IMG_2505
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.

IMG_2510Shiso

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?

Recipes

Japanese-style Shiso Pesto (and Pasta)

Shiso-Pesto

  • 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

13-gazpacho-0220.4603dddd4a67492268c66ae0db7b650d1138

Ingredients

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
 

Directions

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    

 

   

Late Winter Update

Good day to you all,

It feels like spring is officially on it’s way: day light savings has kicked in, the sun is higher in the sky and we seem to have lost about a foot and a half of snow cover over the last week! We at Sleepy Root are waking out of our slumber and are itching to get back outside and get our hands in the dirt.

 It’s been an active winter for us:  not only have we been planning for another season in which we hope to grow our farm business by 50%, we are seeking our USDA Organic certification this year. It’s a lot of work and big step in showing our commitment and dedication to the principles we hold to our members and our farming community.

We also had the happy event of our wedding in February! We were so grateful to have so many friends and family come out and celebrate with us for a beautiful snowy weekend at the farm.

Late Winter and Spring around here start getting busy pretty fast.  We will start growing our onions (all 15,000 of them!) the week of March 17th in trays in a neighbor’s greenhouse which should give us enough time to finish building our new greenhouse that we started last fall.  Once that is completed we will begin a steady stream of seeding transplants in the greenhouse at the beginning of April.  Once it warms up enough, and if it’s not too wet, we (hopefully) will be working the soil and seeding in the field by mid to late April.

Inline image 1

We are starting to fill up our CSA shares, so if you know anyone who is looking for a quality CSA or if you are a previous member who wants to renew for the 2014 season, please do so soon to secure your spot!  As usual we are adding a few new exciting varieties to the line-up of vegetables this season and have integrated feedback from members into our box plans including earlier tomatoes, more cherry tomatoes, and my personal promise of this being the year of the melon!  You’ll all be happy to know there will be considerably less eggplant this year as well.  Any more feedback or suggestions are always welcome.

We are still looking for two employees to come work with us this summer, if you know any one who might be interested in working on a small scale vegetable farm with organic practices feel free to point them to our website.

We are looking forward to another great season and hope you are all enjoying the warmer weather!

Best,

Brandon and Heather

Box 8

Hello all,

IMG_2233
Medium Share week 8
full share week 8
full share week 8

Another relatively cool week on the farm.  The tomatoes keep stacking up their green fruit one after another on the vine.  I keep expecting to go out and see a flush of red dotting the lower layer of the tomato aisles…but…not…quite…yet…but soon!  Until then, there has been enough of a trickle to give modest amounts to some members, but unfortunately not all.

In the box this week:

Onions: red zeppelin
Zucchini
Broccoli or Cabbage
Carrots
Romano Beans
Tomatoes or Tomatillos or Eggplant (small)
Kohlrabi (small)
Cut Lettuce (medium and full)
Mustard Greens: Scarlet Frills & Mizuna (medium and full)
Tomatoes/Tomatillos and Eggplant (full)
Cucumber (full)
Snap Peas (full)

Eggplants are also starting to come along in larger numbers and peppers are getting close to full size. Signs of the hail from a few weeks ago are still present on some of the crops.  You may notice some items in your box with a dent or two still.  The lucky ones who pulled the long straws and got tomatoes this week will see obvious signs of it.

Hail damage on tomatoes
Hail damage on tomatoes

We recommend eating those tomatoes sooner rather than later, as damaged tissue will start adversely affecting the tissue around it as it continues to ripen off the vine.  Simply cut the small affected portion off when preparing to eat.

We’ve started tilling in our earlier plantings and planting in cover crops. Cover crops are planted to help control weeds, add/hold nutrients and organic matter, and keep the soil from being bare for large periods of time when it can be vulnerable to erosion from rain.  Some of the cover crops we planted (this week it was buckwheat and clover) also function as attractors for pollinators and beneficial insects, giving them a healthy stock of pollen and nectar to feed on.  Pollinators are such a hugely important part of the growing system.  You may have heard the often-quoted statement that one out of every three bites from your plate would not be there if it weren’t for an insect carrying pollen from one plant to impregnate another.  Even despite the fact that bee populations dropped between a third and two thirds for many beekeepers across the nation last year, it is important to us to do what we can to make sure part of the landscape is dedicated to our tiny friends who do so much of the important work around here.  You can see/hear some bees cruising around our Phacelia cover crop patch here.

Our second patch of beans have started to come on. We hardly ever cook with beans on the farm because we eat so many in the field–one of the most snackable items on the farm. Some of you may have gotten

IMG_2227Romano beans from our first planting: originally those were supposed to be for restaurants, but cool soil temps this spring kept our member patch of haricot beans from having good germination. This batch has both green and yellow beans mixed in. They are excellent eaten raw or slightly cooked.  In fact, these babies are big enough you could grill them.  Marinate with a little olive oil, salt and herbs, grill along-side other delicious veggies and serve on a platter with a dipping bowl of aioli. Yum.

Medium and Full shares are getting a mustard bunch with the beautiful mizuna and scarlet IMG_2228frills.  Mustard greens seem to be one of the most usable/unusable produce items out there.  Too many a CSA-er has a yellowing bunch hidden with shame in the deep dark corner of their crisper.  It’s time to let go of your mustard fears! Sure they’re a little spicy, maybe you don’t want a whole salad of it, but a little mixed in adds some adventure. They are tough greens, you can cook them and they mellow a bit. Or maybe you’ve been looking for the perfect green to add to your grilled or broiled sandwich that can hold up under the heat yet still be tender.  A very diverse, assertive yet amicable leaf that can fit into almost any meal situation.    Enjoy!

IMG_2223
Filling up the truck during harvest. Harvested 95 pounds of beans on monday!