Full Share: Shishito Peppers, Cauliflower, Sweet Onion, Sun Gold Tomatoes, Heirloom slicing Tomato, Cucumber, Huckleberry Gold potatoes, and Salad Mix.

Partial Share: Shishito Peppers, Cauliflower, Sweet Onion, Sun Gold Tomatoes, Heirloom Slicing Tomato, and Basil

Hello CSA members!

It’s week #16, and I am still really enjoying these cooler temperatures! This morning was our official first frost of the season, so in a weird way, it’s nice to get that over with. We knew it was coming, and we protected the crops that needed protection, so no real harm was done. The temperature read 29 in Stillwater and 36 in Whitefish, so with all the micro-climates around the valley, I bet more than a few people who live outside down probably saw frost as well. And honestly, it’s not unusually early for this corner of the valley, as we typically see our first frost in the end of August or first week of September.

As the season changes, I wanted to say a few words about one aspect of the CSA. The CSA serves as a journey through the growing season here in your home valley in Montana. One of the things I like about it is that it connects you to not only “what” can grow here, but also connects you to “when” it grows. This is called Seasonality. While this was a common concept not that long ago (because there was no other choice), the global food supply, refrigeration, and faster shipping has skewed our understanding about when and where our food is grown. We get used to having anything we want any time we want….BUT, we all know that every fruit and vegetable tastes best when it’s fresh and in its peak season. You can truly taste the difference. And so that is what our CSA is about. I know for some customers, you might want a steady supply of your favorites, like salad mix and carrots and tomatoes, and we try to do our best to get you lots of those. But there are also times when other crops are bountiful and those crops are scarce, and so we mix it up to give you what’s in its prime. So I hope you embrace that, and use it as an opportunity to try new vegetables and new recipes. And if you are disappointed there hasn’t been much salad mix and carrots as of late, don’t worry, they will return soon. In the mean time, try something new. Have you made that tomato and cucumber salad yet? Have you seared those shishito peppers for an appetizer? Roasted any cauliflower on the grill? I was discussing this with a CSA member the other day, and she mentioned that one of the things she enjoys most about the CSA is she doesn’t get to choose the items, and so therefore it challenges her to expand her cooking skills …and she enjoys that part of it. Given the onset of fall, if you haven’t been getting your fill of tomato sandwiches yet, it’s time to step it up!

Another thing that often gets mentioned to me (typically in reference to our global food system), is how our society is becoming increasingly disconnected from our food, and that the value that we offer as farmers is to not simply grow good food for people, but to help educate consumers on this topic. I usually respond “That sounds like two full time jobs, and my first one keeps me pretty busy 🙂 But aside from being a wise ass, I agree that it is sorely needed, and it is an opportunity for others to bring their talents to bear on such an important issue. So, I was super excited when one of our team (Hillary) at The Farmers’ Stand approached me with the idea of holding camps for kids out at the farm, and eventually starting an alternative school out here. I thought it was a perfect fit. What better way to make use of a fully organic natural landscape than to have young children playing in a healthy environment, learning about food, and hopefully becoming adults who have a real connection to agriculture and food production. As a first step, Hillary is seeking to gauge interest in such an idea...if you are at all interested, please follow this link to a quick questionnaire. I hope you’ll take a minute to fill it out!

Well, it’s time to get ready for Farmers Market! Get outside and enjoy the fresh air, and we’ll see you at CSA!

Todd and the Two Bear Farm Team