Near perfect summer weather leading into beautiful autumn weather

Farm dog Borci ponders why this patch of fall greens, turnips, and radishes looks and smells so good while Derek jots down some notes during weekly field walk.

Farm boy Gabriel isn't sure what these large fall storage radishes are but appreciates the variety of shapes, sizes, and colors and definitely wants to chew on one.

Notes From The Field
Continued almost-perfect weather
By Derek McGeehan
Last week we began harvesting our best-ever broccoli, two early varieties of fall cabbage, beautiful fennel bulbs, and some succulent kohlrabi. For much of this season when I've harvested nice-looking, tender, and large produce, I wonder where the crops found enough water to satisfy their demands. It really blows my mind how without any irrigation most of these fall crops seemed to fulfill their potential while receiving, on average, a half inch of rain a week during August and September.

Savoy cabbage forming a nice head of curly and crunchy leaves. Originally almost wiped out by flea beetles after transplanting, fall cabbage is now looking awesome. Best ever?
I think it has to do with many variables successfully coinciding: cooler than average temperatures, fields that face north, reduced tillage, organic matter in the soil. It is also eye-opening to think about how much water these plants actually need, which is not much, at least this season. During this same time period in 2011 we received 24 inches of rain, 20 more than this year. Somehow crops survived that deluge too, but not all made it through. I remember losing our broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, sweet potatoes, and probably others to Irene and Lee, but that only accounted for half of the 24 inches. Twelve more inches fell from purely wetter weather. Somehow we squeezed our September 24th wedding in there on a nice day, but with 2 inches of rain the night before, from just a passing storm. Is there a pattern to these weather extremes or is it just randomness? Surely we are thankful for the mostly good last 3 seasons, 2012, '13, and '14. The harsh long winter we endured over half a year ago fortunately killed off a lot of invasive crop-destroying bugs such as the harlequin bug. This pest loves to feed on the sap of plants just below the surface rather than eating holes in leaves the way caterpillars and flea beetles do. Without their profusion, our fall cabbage, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, and other brassica family plants are very happy and really flowing.
Expected Harvest
Prolific broccoli & return of fennel
By Derek McGeehan
Harvest #19 (Week A) should include winter squash, garlic, lettuce, kale, leeks, eggplant, heirloom tomatoes, Italian dandelion, Swiss chard, greens mix, collard greens, arugula, broccoli, hot peppers, and fennel. Some items could be a choice. U-pick this week should include dill, cilantro, herbs from the herb garden, and a flower bouquet.
Registration open for 2014 Winter CSA, 2015 Main Season CSA
By Derek McGeehan
Registration for the 2014 Winter CSA and the 2015 Main Season CSA is available for current farm members on the Member's Page of our website. To sign up, simply log in and click on the 'Join' button on the right hand side of the page and follow the few steps. The Winter CSA is a 6-week (for now) season extension CSA with cold hardy greens such as arugula, greens mix, lettuces, chard, chicories, and kale; root crops like radishes, turnips, kohlrabi, rutabaga, and beets; as well as certain storage crops like garlic, winter squash, celeriac, and cabbage. Harvests are very similar to those at the end of the Main Season, and will begin following the final week of the 2014 Main Season, and will run through the last week of December. Pick ups are on Tuesdays from 1-8 PM. The 2015 Main Season CSA should once again last 26 weeks from May to November. Prices for the Main Season, the 12th CSA season, remain unchanged, but we have removed the $5 discount for making one payment instead of two due to some confusion during the sign up process. When you sign up, a $200 deposit or full payment is due to secure your membership. Registration for non-members will begin later in the fall, probably in December. E-mail us if you have any questions.
Several ways to enjoy the abundant broccoli
By Linda Dansbury
In talking with Derek, it looks like we have a few weeks of broccoli coming and they are large beautiful heads. In addition to the most common cooking methods of steaming or boiling, or enjoying raw with your favorite dip, broccoli is delicious in other ways as well. Try it roasted alone, or with the addition of garlic and/or and other veggies. Roast until slightly tender and browned on the edges. Either zest a bit of lemon or squeeze a bit of lemon juice, mix and serve with or without grated parmesan cheese on the top. Yum! Or try Sauteed Leeks and Broccoli. Check out the website for a couple of salad ideas too and enjoy the delicious, nutritious and abundant broccoli.
An end of summer member recipe
By Linda Dansbury
If you are like me, you still have tomatillos in your refrigerator. We have received more tomatillos in this year's harvest than I can ever remember. Frankly I have been getting a little tired of making salsa. Although I am sure this winter I will really enjoy eating what I have frozen. Fellow CSA member, Carole Dicicco, sent me a recipe for Tamale Pie. I made it this past week and it is really good. It is adaptable to ingredients you like and/or have on hand. It also cooks in a single skillet resulting in very easy clean-up.
Remember, if you have any ideas, questions or recipes, please email me at
How did I enjoy my harvest this week?
By Linda Dansbury
I had a very busy work week, but I did manage to squeeze in some cooking. Here is how I enjoyed some of my harvest this past week:
Eggplant, tomatoes, onions, peppers - I made a large (double) batch of Caponata this past week. There are 2 recipes on the website for Caponata, which is basically the Italian version of the French Ratatouille. I actually prefer the flavorings of caponata because there are not many other dishes I prepare that have the briny flavoring that the capers and olives provide in this dish.

Tomatillos, onions, cilantro, hot pepper - Made the Tamale Pie sent to me by member Carole Dicicco. It was really tasty. I substituted the lima beans with green beans, because I had them from my own garden.
Tomatoes - had a tomato and mozzarella salad.
Spaghetti squash, tomatoes, garlic, Swiss chard - made the Spaghetti Squash with Sauteed Tomatoes and Basil that is on the website. I used parsley instead of the basil and added Swiss chard. I also sautéed a few shrimp. This made a very delicious meal.
I hope you are enjoying the transition from summer to fall veggies.
Tamale Pie
From Serves 4. Member Carole DiCicco sent this in and said she has used chicken as well as beef and corn in place of the lima beans. I used green beans when I made it, but one could also use edamame that was frozen from earlier in the season. Took about an hour and 15 minutes from start to finish.
1 cup masa harina
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper (optional)
1 cup boiling water
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 ounces ground beef
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 poblano chile, seeded & chopped; other chili peppers would be good too (more or less per your taste)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces tomatillos (about 8 small), chopped
1 cup frozen baby lima beans
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup (1 ounce) crumbled queso fresco cheese - feta is good too
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Preheat oven to 400° Combine the masa harina, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and ground red pepper, stirring well with a whisk. Add 1 cup boiling water to masa mixture, and stir until a soft dough forms. Cover until ready to use.
Heat a 9-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add beef to pan; cook 5 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Add onion, garlic, poblano chile, remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt, and black pepper to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until onion is tender, stirring frequently. Add tomatillos and lima beans to pan, and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
Add butter and baking powder to masa mixture, stirring until smooth. Dollop batter over filling, and spread into an even layer. Cover pan with foil; bake at 400° for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes or until crust is lightly browned around edges. Remove from oven; let stand 3 minutes. Sprinkle with crumbled queso fresco and cilantro.