Best Practices for LotFotL CSA Members

  1. Only take what is listed after your name on the check list. You have now joined a community. If it is not listed after your name, it is intended for someone else.
  2. Call right away if something isn’t right. We cannot fix it if we don’t know about it. The sooner you call the higher your chance of optimum results.
  3. Consult your member account or the FAQ page on our website.  Your farmer needs to have time to grow your food.  You can help by looking for information on your account page or our website.
  4. Send helpers prepared. If you are having someone else pick up your box, make sure to give them all the information that they need. It is fine to ask them to do it, but make sure they know the size of the box they need and to consult the check off sheet.
  5. Set an Alarm. We all get busy and no one wants to miss out on their food.  Remember, unclaimed food is NOT returned to the farm, but donated at the end of the day on Thursday. Setting and alarm or using post it note reminders helps you to make sure your box gets picked up.

Spring Greens Ginger Soup

Ginger Spring Greens Soup with Noodles
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sesame oil
  • 1/2 bunch scallions or green garlic
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 2 cups vegetable broth or pork broth
  • red pepper flakes (a few shakes for flavor)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 head bok choy or 1 lb of any mixture of spring greens (arugula, spinach, radish tops, dandelion greens, etc)
  • 4 ounces ramen noodles (not instant)
  • Salt to taste
  • Toasted Sesame Seeds, for topping
Instructions
  1. In a stock pot, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Trim the ends off the scallions/or green garlic and chop. Cook scallions/green garlic, chopped garlic, and ginger on low to med heat, stirring occasionally for 1-2 minutes until the garlic and ginger is fragrant.
  2. Measure in the broth and water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. While broth is simmering, prepare your greens.  Take well washed greens and chop into strips (making for easier eating). If any of your greens have stems, you may choose to remove the stems and cut them into smaller pieces.
  4. Add the stems to the broth and cook for 5 minutes or until stems are starting to be tender. Follow with the leaves and cook for another 5 minutes more. Finally, stir in the ramen and simmer the soup until the noodles and greens are tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Taste and add salt as needed.
  5. Divide soup into two bowls and top with chopped scallion greens, sesame seeds, and red pepper flakes.  This soup is even better if it can sit for a day before you add your noodles, but delicious no matter what.

Delicious Pan-seared Parsnips

This recipe was passed onto to me by my uncle.  It is both simple and satisfying. And, it gave me a new appreciation for how good parsnips really are.  They get so sweet, you will think they are candy.

Delicious Pan-seared ParsnipsSFC_parsnips_labeled

  • 2-6 Parsnips: chopped into 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices (if parsnips is large you may want to split in in half length wise and then slice it).
  • Garlic: 2-4 chopped cloves
  • Oil (olive oil works well): enough to coat the pan

Heat the oil to med high.  Add the sliced parsnips cover and cook until soft and caramelized (watch your heat and turn it down if you need to). Stir as needed.  Let them get really nice and soft. Right before you take the parsnips off the heat add your chopped garlic and stir for about 1 minute.  Salt to taste and serve.

 

2015-The Year in Review

20151116_135353-1 (2)After 24+ weeks of hard work, both on the farm and in your kitchens, the 2015 CSA will officially end this Thursday. 2015 will be archived by us as a pretty good year, with mild weather, few diseases, and some marked abundances in production. We are anxious look at the member feedback in our survey results and get moving on year 2016.  While we have grown and raised at least 2 farmers to fruition (we will say goodbye to both Casey Lynn and Dan), we are eager to bring some new blood into the mix next year.  And most of all, we could not have done any of it without the support of our membership. Thank you for all of the energy that you put into making the LotfotL food community successful.

In a nutshell, it was a record year for broccoli, and we were able to get it into almost 1/2 the shares this year. This was the first year in recent memory, too, where our tomatoes never experienced late blight. Along with the successes, came the less than hoped for.  Some of the fall crops didn’t come out as strong as hoped. We will also remember the summer that wasn’t (did we ever even break 90 degrees?), the ravaging effects of Canada Thistle on all cropping, and the warmest fall so far on our new farm. Since the drought year of 2012, the night time low temps of summer have been far below what is required for good summer cropping. Incidentally, these temps seem to be just fine for our most troublesome weed: Canada Thistle. Not only did thistle and cool temps set back summer production of melons, peppers, and once again eggplant, but a resurgence of fall thistle took its toll on long standing fall roots, leaving celeriac, rutabaga, beets, and turnips conspicuously absent from fall shares. The fall shares looked more like spring ones, filled with spinach, arugula, salad mixes, and radishes. Though not ideal, we know that soon all that will be available locally will be root cellar crops, so we may as well enjoy the leafy greens while we can.

The 2015 member survey results have begun trickling in (fill out the survey today, so we can better serve your needs and the needs of our membership broadly in 2016). I’m happy to say that most of the responses so far, even when critical, are in good spirit, and do make substantial impacts on how we crop and pack shares. To those of us who do not eat potatoes all that often, our CSA must seem rather nuts for giving out potatoes as regularly as we do. Year after year though, potatoes rank in the top 3 of crops that members feel we gave the right amount of. The focus on more beets and broccoli early this year was a direct result of the previous year’s surveys. Next year’s push for more cauliflower (a super finicky, tough to grow crop) will be not only because we like a challenge and love eating cauliflower, but because of your feedback. Please do let us know how we did.

I can’t express enough how grateful I am to all of you for helping to fund our adventures in CSA this season. The results of this decision you’ve made have far greater benefits to the farming community of SE Wisconsin than just keeping our bills paid and your meals on the stove-top. Together, we have grown 2 more new farmers for 2016. Dan, our long time crew leader will be leaving in 2016 to begin his own agricultural enterprise on soon-to-be family land in NE Michigan. Casey Lynn, assistant extraordinaire,  will take on full time farm management at Farm290, the ingredient backbone for Pier 290’s restaurant on Lake Geneva.

While we will miss them specifically, there’s a new crop of future growers waiting in the wings to work with us. While with us, they’ll learned how to develop the chops, exercise decision-making tools, and burn into their core the work ethic needed to succeed in the world, as growers of food. Together we are not only growing LotFotL, and growing food for you, but we’re growing the next generation of farmers, so your children’s niece’s and nephew’s local food choices are abundant and diverse. To this end, 2016 starts this Friday, as we look forward to another season of considerable growth.

Thank you all,

Tim Huth
Managing Farmer
LotFotL Community Farm

Organic farming vs ORGANIC farming

As organic food gains in popularity and demand, we all celebrate that our society is increasing their awareness around food.  So what does organic mean these days and are there differences within that category?  The answer is most definitely YES.  So what does LotFotL mean when they say organic?

First of all, LotFotL is certified organic by MOSA.  MOSA inspects our farm annually to verify that we are farming in accordance with certain standards. These standards are put in place by the US government, giving everyone an agreed upon definition of what is acceptable and what is not. They look at everything from how many days you wait between putting down manure and harvesting, to what language we use in marketing, to requiring the farmer to track activity from the seed to the sale and in between. Certifying  helps to build trust between us and our customers and gives a starting place to grow our relationship.  But, there can be a big gap between the practices of one organic grower and another.  What pesticides does the farmer use?  How does the farmer protect, love, and nurture the soil?  These decisions are personal and are the things you learn by knowing your farmer.

One example from LotFotL would be our very limited use of organically approved pesticides.  Although there are  broad spectrum (wide range of bugs killed by) pesticides that are allowed in organics, we hesitate to use them. The producers of these botanical formulas brag about how many different species of “pests” are killed using these products. We do not agree that all bugs are pests and would rather deal with a smaller yield preferential than a destabilized ratio of predator bugs and problem bugs!

Vegetable growing can be very hard on the soil if the operator is not conscientious. The constant mechanical weeding on organic vegetable farms can weaken soil particle bonds, resulting in soil textures and consistencies that over time will be less advantageous for cropping. To reduce these impacts we utilize dairy manure as a great food resource for our soil. That’s right. We feed our soil cow poop! In spreading 10-20 tons of manure per acre in fall, we not only recharge a mineral and nutrient feedstock for the plants, but replenish the soil with carbon and other nutrients that are removed by vegetable harvesting. As the soil’s enzymes and bacteria break this material down, they leave behind the building blocks of humus, a thick goo that helps the soil hold together, and keep moisture nearby.  The tilth(looseness) of our soils would be lacking, had we followed the standard practices of simply applying pelletized chicken manure and trace minerals as needed.

What do these practices mean for your CSA experience with LotFotL? Well, for one, you should take heart in knowing that we are not out here depleting the soil, killing all the bugs, and upsetting the balances of the life process on the farm. Your dollars are not only spent on buying food for your family, but contribute to growing this brand of agriculture: a brand that puts the stability of the biotic community and health of the soil first and foremost.

Caring for the soil and the living community does require some sacrifices.  Some of the bugs we don’t kill with sprays make holes in leafy greens, or hang out in the cabbages and heads of lettuces. Our dedication to preserving the ecosystems of LotFotL might end up accidentally exporting some of our pests and predators to your homes on occasion, despite our best washing efforts.  We do our best to live in harmony as a participant in this system rather than dominate over it. In choosing a more eco-centric view, we have learned to live with a few holes in our greens and tolerate some green worms on our cabbage.

It is our hope that our customers will value the same things that we do.  Throughout the season, we make an effort to talk about how and why things are the way they are in our fields.  We try to celebrate the good the bad and the ugly(ish), while supplying our customers with high quality, delicious, fresh food.  But, we also want to educate about why the ugly (a worm in your broccoli) might be beautiful (saved habitat and healthier eco-system). We hope the time and energy that we put into our soils and the nurturing we give to the farm holds value for you as well.

Thank you for getting to know your farmer and the brand of organic that you have chosen.

 

 

LotFotL’s Winter Squash (carrots, turnips and leeks) Soup with Kalettes

Ingredients
  • 2 tsp olive oilwinter soup 2015
  • 2.5 C leeks, chopped
  • 3 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 carrot, cut into thin half-circles
  • 1 celery stalk, thinly sliced (or sub 3 napa cabbage leaves and a sprinkle of celery seed)
  • ¼ tsp dried chile flakes
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/8 tsp dried sage
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1/2 C tomato sauce
  • ¾-1 lb. butternut squash cubed (about 2½ cups)
  • 1/2-3/4 lb turnips cubed (about 2 cups)
  • 2 T Better Than Bouillon Organic Chicken Base
  • 1¾ cups water (enough to cover your ingredients)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 20 kalettes pulled from the stalk
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan set over medium heat.
  2. Add the leek and cook, stirring occasionally, until it starts to soften, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, carrots, celery, dried chile flakes, thyme, sage and salt. Cook until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in the tomato sauce and cook for one additional minute.
  5. Stir in the butternut squash, turnips,chicken base, water and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, partially cover the saucepan and cook until everything is are tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. Let the soup cool for 10 minutes, then transfer 2 cups of the soup to a blender. Puree until almost smooth, then stir the mixture back into the soup.
  7. Stir in the kalettes, keep soup covered and on low temp until kalette is tender. Add salt and pepper (if desired)
  8.  Best if this sits overnight to let the flavors come together.
  9. Serve with your favorite crusty bread and shredded aged white chedder cheese.

Grilled Cheese Casserole

Yes, you read that correctly. Grilled cheese. In casserole form! It’s even a great way to sneak some veggies to those picky eaters, but ssshhh! don’t tell them!!

It’s like regular grilled cheese, but WAY better!

Ingredients:
– Bread slices, amount will depend on the size pan you’re making
– Cheese(s) of choice (I used Gouda, Gruyere, and extra sharp cheddar)
– Vegetables of choice (broccoli would work amazingly, or any greens you have on hand)
– Kefir milk OR plain yogurt thinned out with milk
– Egg(s) (OPTIONAL)

Directions:

  1. Grease your baking dish of choice (I used a 12″ cast iron skillet) and preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Layer bread slices along the bottom of your baking dish, covering as much of the bottom as possible.
  3. Layer cheese slices on top of your bread, again covering as much surface area as possible.
  4. Layer vegetables or greens in top of your cheese layer.
  5. Layer MORE CHEESE on top of your vegetables or greens.
  6. Layer additional bread slices on top of cheese and vegetables/greens, again covering as much surface area as possible.
  7. Pour Kefir milk or thinned out yogurt on top, enough to coat the bread and soak in a little, but not so much that it’s soggy. This will prevent the bread from becoming too crusty.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes or until cheese melts.
  9. If you’re adventurous and you want to try it with egg(s), crack on the top and bake an additional 12 or so minutes, or until egg reaches desired doneness (personally, I prefer my yolks a little runny).
  10. Devour.

Week 18 Grocery List and Meal Planner

lacinato kale

lacinato kale

Lots of great veggies in the shares and even better recipes in our newsletter this week! Some of the features include Asian greens (with a seared steak salad

Spinach

Spinach

recipe), kale and spinach in small shares (with a wonderful smoothie recipe!), and broccoli, cauliflower, or romanesco in large shares (find a recipe for gratin involving one of all of these wonderful things in our newsletter). Regardless of what size share you signed up for, you’re sure to be delighted with this week’s offerings. Feel free to print off the Week 18 Grocery List and meal planner for your fridge and enjoy your veggies!

Roasted Tomato Ketchup

Ingredients:
several varieties of heirlooms

several varieties of heirlooms

  • 10 medium tomatoes
  • Coconut oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Pinch chili flakes
  • 3 star anise
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp ground corriander
  • 1 oz balsamic vinegar
  • Apple cider vinegar, to taste
  • salt and pepper
Directions:

1 Preheat the oven to 375F. Wash the tomatoes then cut them in half and place on a lined baking sheet. Lightly drizzle with coconut oil and a pinch of salt. Place in the oven and roast for 30 minutes or so, until the tomatoes are caramelised and fragrant.

2 While the tomatoes are cooking, heat some oil in a large pan and add the onions, a pinch of salt, black pepper, garlic, chili flakes, star anise, bay leaves, and coriander. Cook until the onions soften slightly – about 5 minutes. When the bottom of the pan gets dry, pour in the balsamic vinegar to deglaze the pan.

3 Once cool, remove the star anise and bay leaves and set aside for later. Place the tomatoes and cooked onions in a food processor and blend to form a puree. Using the back of a wooden spoon or spatula, press the puree through a mesh sieve back into the pan. (You can save the fibrous leftovers for a tomato-based soup or stew.)

4 Return the star anise and bay leaves to the pan, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until thickened (5-10 minutes). Season to taste. If it is not tangy enough, add 2-3 tsp of apple cider vinegar.

5 Once the ketchup has slightly cooled, pour into a clean glass container and store in the fridge for a week. It also freezes well.

Recipe supplied by Sarah Britton, mynewroots.org; Recipe retrieved from The Guardian