Full Share:  Zucchini, yellow squash, Salad mix, Slicing Tomatoes, Sungolds, Cucumber, Sweet Corn, Shishito Peppers, Poblano Peppers, Brussel Sprouts, Red Onion, and Garlic

Partial share:  Zucchini, Sungold Tomatoes, Cucumber, Sweet Corn, Shishito Peppers, Red Onion, Slicing Tomato, Brussel Sprouts.

Hello CSA members!

The past week, I feel like nature was sending me all sorts of signs to let me know Fall was quickly approaching.  The aphids showed up early, the yellow jackets have been down right ornery, and there were geese flying overhead in formation on Saturday on our way to market.  But before I could share “my” discovery, nature let the cat out of the bag.  Anyone who walked outside today could clearly feel for themselves that summer has shifted to Fall.   So much so, that tonight is predicted to be our first frost of the season.  Yep, late August….it’s amazing how fast the summer goes by some years.  We’ve taken the precautions of covering sensitive crops, and setting up irrigation to save the corn, albeit I’m not looking forward to the 3am trip down to the river to turn on the pump.

On the farm, we’re keeping our noses to the grindstone, knowing we have a few more big weeks before the work starts to taper a bit.  Our days of planting, weeding, irrigating, and harvesting have given way to days of just harvesting.  There is so much food that needs to come in for storage as well as the weekly CSA and markets, that at this time of year I begin to feel like a human forklift.   Farming starts to feel less like the art of growing, and more like “materials handling”.   My chiropractor would not approve.

One of the most exciting parts about this season has been how good the soil is starting to look and perform.  For those of you who have been following us on our journey, you know that we moved to our current location 5 seasons ago, and things did not go as smoothly as hoped.   Soil issues in certain areas affected our production, we were having to grow twice as much food as we needed just to account for losses and crop failures, and the process of figuring it all out was painful.  But in the end, we decided to actually move our entire production field, fencing and all, to a new spot on the farm.  And this is the first season where I think we can definitely say that it was the right decision.  Yields are up, crop failures are down, and crop quality has been good..   The most exciting part so far is that all of the carrot plantings look great….dare I say on par with our Ten Lakes Farm days.  And that’s big.  There are only a few times that Rebecca and I have really disagreed about things, which is surprising given we’re not only married, but also  business partners who spend all day together.  And if you don’t know Rebecca, you don’t know that she can be quite stubborn at times.  But there are only two decisions that I really regret giving in on over the years.  OK, make that three.  The first one is putting dark floors in the farm house, given we have two dogs and light colored soil.   The second is giving out sweet corn to our CSA our very first year, after it had frozen in an early frost. And the third is harvesting and selling the sub-par storage carrots at the end of last season.   Even though we told folks they were sub-par, I should have just tilled them in to the soil and called it good.  It’s a tough call, when you put a lot of work into a crop, and people are expecting it, to not have it turn out as one would like.   So, this year is a bit of a redemption.  There should be plenty of delicious carrots for the end of season “Stock-Up Sale” (October 4th this year, in case you want to mark in on the calendar)

With this change in weather, the farm is about to undergo a major transition.  While  there are lots of fall crops ready, we wanted to phase them in while recognizing that some summer crops may go away with the cold.  So, we are holding off on potatoes, in order to get you the last of the shishito and poblano peppers.  And lots of tomatoes, as they will start to slow down with the cold as well.   That said, the aphid pressure that took out our Brussel sprouts last season is yet again a concern, so we’re going to start harvesting them this week to hopefully stay ahead of the issue.  Oh, and the garlic is finally cured and ready to go!

As for recipes this week, I’m thinking the Brussel Sprouts may pose the biggest challenge?   They are good simply roasted, or sautéed with bacon.   Some folks use a balsamic or maple syrup glaze when roasting.   How about roasted with garlic? Or maybe one of these supposedly life changing recipes will suit your fancy?

See you at CSA pickup!

Todd and the Two Bear Farm crew.