2018 CSA ~ Week #3

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SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENTS:

The first two weeks of delivery went very well, with a few hiccups here and there. Just a reminder that the Site Hosts are not required to call you after the first two weeks, so remembering to retrieve your CSA Share will now be up to you. If you need to have your Site Host contact info relayed to you again, please call/email the farm office and we’ll be happy to help!

WHAT’S IN YOUR SHARE THIS WEEK:

  • Bunch of Beets
  • Bunch of Kale ~ Lacinato
  • Lettuce ~ 2 heads either Butter lettuce, either red or green
  • Bunch of Carrots
  • Bunch of Turnips
  • Spinach
  • Sweet Onion
  • Strawberries

SOME SITES ONLY:

  • Cabbage

RECIPES:

Glazed Turnips Recipe

Miso-Glazed Turnips

Spinach Balls Appetizer

Japchae~Korean Noodle Dish

Simmered Beet Greens w/Roasted Beets, Lemon & Yogurt

Bon Appetit’s Best Stuffed Cabbage

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Some of you will be receiving a Cabbage in your share this week and the rest of you will be receiving it soon. It will store in your crisper drawer for up to 2 weeks, or longer. When ready to use, remove any outer leaves that may not look good, and use in your favorite recipe. Great to make a slaw, or cabbage rolls, or add to salad or other stir-fry dishes. The beets will also keep in your fridge for up to two weeks or longer….be sure to remove the green leaves before storing, and store separately. The onion is a Walla Walla type, but we can’t call it that anymore…trademarked!! We like to call them Poodle Sweets or Noti Sweets, and its great in any recipe where a sweeter onion is called for.

Farmer Recipe Recommend:

I tried this recipe and I loved it. It’s a great compliment to salads, or as a side to other dishes! Plus they look so beautiful….quick-pickled-strawberries

Quick Pickled Strawberries

  • 1 lb. ripe but firm strawberries, hulled & halved if large
  • 1 1/2 cups white balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Kosher Salt

Place strawberries in a 1 qt. heatproof jar. Bring vinegar, sugar, salt & 2/3 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar and salt. Pour over strawberries. Let cool: cover & chill. Strawberries can be pickled 5 days ahead. Keep chilled.

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What a glorious day! In my mind, there is nothing better than waking to brilliant blue skies and the brightly shining sun. This is the weather we wait for during the long, cold, damp winters. Since it’s promising to be a hot week, we began our 7am start time, all gathering for morning circle a bit more sleepy eyed than usual, but at least we all made it! Started off the day to harvest your lettuce and kale, the more sensitive of the crops, to make sure they made it back to the cooler before the sun rose high, along with the temps.

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Jesse harvesting Spinach

Then on to the bunching! It’s a long time spent on knees, harvesting the root veggies one by one , to be gathered and rubber banded, making sure to keep accurate count for our delivery number. I love to go out to get some photos and to hear the crew laughing and sharing their week-end stories with each other….who went camping, who worked on their gardens, who went to  market. Mostly, I love the awesome energy these young folks bring to the farm…so positive, so forward thinking….our hopeful salvation for the future.

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Kevin bunching Turnips

One of my tasks for this week is to create a Farmer Profile form, so I can begin sharing their stories with you in the coming weeks ahead! 

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ODE TO THE ONION

by Pablo Neruda

Onion, luminous flask,
your beauty formed petal by petal,
crystal scales expanded you
and in the secrecy of the dark earth
your belly grew round with dew.
Under the earth the miracle happened
and when your clumsy green stem appeared,
and your leaves were born like swords in the garden,
the earth heaped up her power showing your naked transparency,
and as the remote sea in lifting the breasts of Aphrodite
duplicating the magnolia, so did the earth make you, onion
clear as a planet and destined to shine,
constant constellation, round rose of water,
upon the table of the poor.

You make us cry without hurting us.
I have praised everything that exists,
but to me, onion, you are more beautiful than a bird of dazzling feathers,
heavenly globe, platinum goblet, unmoving dance of the snowy anemone
and the fragrance of the earth lives in your crystalline nature.

We hope you will enjoy your share this week!

Linda and all of  your Winter Green Farmers

2018 CSA Season ~ Week #2

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SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENTS:

I would like to address the “Some Sites Only” for new folks, and as a reminder for past members. When we don’t have a harvest coming in out of the field to distribute to all members that week, we will share what we have with some sites, and then the next time we harvest that crop, we will make sure those that didn’t receive previously, will get that crop in their share. We keep excellent records of the harvest and distribution, so rest assured, you will receive your share!

A word about the Yum Yuck box at the delivery sites….this box is there for members to leave behind any produce they don’t care for, and for other members to take what they do like….it is not a compost bin to leave carrot tops or other items. This box stays behind until the following week, and that can get gnarly for the site hosts if its full of rotting veggies. Thanks for your help with this!

WHAT’S IN YOUR SHARE THIS WEEK:

  • Pac Choi (Bok Choi)
  • Bunch of Carrots
  • Bunch of Radishes
  • Kale ~ Winter Bor
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce ~ 2 heads of Red Oak Leaf
  • Pint of Peas

SOME SITES ONLY

  • Strawberries

RECIPES:

Spinach & Gruyere Souffle

Spinach & Cheddar Strata

Oven Risotto w/Kale Pesto

Green Peanut Butter Smoothie

Lemon Garlic Pan-Roasted Chichen Thighs w/Spinach & Snap Peas

Quinoa Confetti Salad w/Sugar Snap Peas & Toasted Pepitas

From the Winter Green Farm Boxnotes Archive circa 2008…..                                                                    recipe from the “Real Dirt on Farmer John” cookbook

Creamy Pac Choi Soup

  • 1 Tbsp peanut oil
  • 1/2 cup scallions, chopped & divided
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp ginger, coarsely chopped
  • 1 Pac Choi, chopped
  • 1 large potato, peeled & diced
  • 3 cups veggie stock or water
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp sour cream
  • hot pepper flakes

Heat oil in medium pot over Med High heat. Set aside some scallions for garnish. Add remaining scallions, garlic & ginger to pot. Cook, stirring, until fragrant (1 min). Add Pac Choi & potato. Pour in stock or water and add salt, pepper & hot pepper flakes to taste. Increase heat and bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer until potato is tender (about 20 min). Remove pot from heat. Stir in toasted sesame oil. Transfer soup to food processor or blender, and puree.  Serves 4

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It doesn’t get much better than this! While we welcomed the rain for the past few days, it is always wonderful to wake up to a sunny, blue sky day. We received over an inch of rain here on the farm, and it was much needed! All of the crops look vibrant and sated, and the whole farm feels fresh and clean. We’ll be back to irrigation before we know it!

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We’re excited to share this week’s box with you. The Pak Choi will keep unwashed in the fridge for a week, in a plastic container or loosely wrapped in a plastic bag. It is firmest and most tasty when used in a few days. When ready to use, slice stalks away from the base and wash, then separate the leaves from the stalk…add them at the end of your recipe. Enjoy raw or add to stir fries and soups. We had hoped to have a pint of strawberries for every member this week, but the rain squashed that dream….we had a lot of berries that succumbed to the moisture and had to be composted. Since we grow an everbearing variety, we will have more heading your way.

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You have a lovely bag of spinach in your share this week. It was a very muddy harvest, and although we did wash it already, we recommend washing it again before you use it. Spinach (Spinach oleracea) is an annual flowering plant in the Amaranthaceae family, and is native to central and southwestern Asia. Spinach is a rich source of iron, but notes rich as the myth of Popeye and his fantastic strength after eating it implied. That myth was brought about in 1870 when Dr. E con Wolf misplaced a decimal point in an article he wrote. In 1937, German chemists decided to  reinvestigate the findings and discovered the iron content figure was ten times too high and corrected the mistake. Spinach also contains Vitamins A, C, E, K and a fair amount of magnesium and several vital antioxidants. Spinach is a good source of folic acid, and in fact, this vitamin was first purified from Spinach. Nutrients are best obtained when Spinach is eaten fresh, steamed, or quickly boiled….so, eat yer Spinach!

We did also wash the radishes, but again with such a muddy harvest, best to wash them again before eating. They can be eaten raw, no peeling necessary, or store them in a damp towel in the fridge.

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Josh having fun packing your share this morning!

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Steve bringing in the early morning greens for Farmers Market tomorrow

We hope that you all have a lovely week and a wonderful weekend ahead….lots of graduations, wedding and school trips ahead, and not course the beginning of summer vacation soon! We’re glad our veggies can be part of all of the celebrations! Enjoy!

Linda and all of  your Winter Green Farmers

 

Welcome to the 2018 Season!

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SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENTS:

  • Please make sure to check off your name when you pick up your share! It  helps the Site Host know who belongs to any boxes left behind.
  • Half Share members…..if your name is NOT on the member check off list, it’s most likely NOT your week to pick up….please don’t take a box! Call the farm and we’ll sort it out with you.
  • Please transfer your veggies and leave the farm box behind…use the bags at the site if you forgot yours, and please help to refill the bag box the following week.

WHAT’S IN YOUR SHARE THIS WEEK!

  • Lettuce ~ Red Oak Leaf or Green Butter
  • Red Russian Kale
  • Strawberries ~ 1 pint
  • Carrot bunch
  • Turnip bunch
  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • Collard Greens

Recipes:

Creamed Collards with Peanut Butter & Chile

Shredded Collard Green Salad w/Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Cashews

Spicy Tuscan Kale and Ricotta Grandma Pie

Roasted Carrots w/Paisley Yogurt

Strawberry-Almond Cornmeal Cake

Welcome to the 2018 Season!

We’re excited to share the first delivery of the season with you all! It’s been a fun and exciting Spring…..Mother Nature has been more than kind to the farmers in our area this year, giving just what was needed, and not too much more. We’ve been blessed with good production in the propagation house, and we’re sure much of the success is due to Melissa and Shannon’s diligent attention there. The core crew persevered throughout the winter to complete the myriad of tasks necessary to insure that all runs smoothly.

We’re also excited that the full crew came on board this week……we are fortunate to have our longstanding crew return for yet another season, and welcome those who are new to our farm family this year. I look forward to introducing them to you, as well as sharing all of the changes the winter break has brought us.

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Back Row: Steve, Josh, Jeremy, Shannon, Emily, Levee, Erik, Joey, Shenoa                                    Front Row: Chris, Jesse, Jimi, Jordan                                

Thanks to everyone who came out to join in the annual Open House….though we weren’t large in numbers, we certainly enjoyed our time together to enjoy good food, good company and of course, a group hayride. The fields look healthy and strong, as do the  baby calves frolicking in the fields.

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I’m including a photo of “left behind” items….do any of these look familiar to you?

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Left behind at farm day….call/email if one of these belong to you!

I look forward to sharing news of the farm each week throughout the season, and I would welcome any suggestions you might have on what you would like to hear about in “your” Blog. We’ve come a long way from the original “Boxnotes” we used to prepare for our CSA members. This year I thought I would go back in time to peruse the old notes and see if there is any information that would be fun to share now, as well as some old favorite recipes! If you have a favorite foodie Blog that you would like to share, I’ll be happy to include recipes from there, as well as any favorites that you might have of your own!

Sugar Snap Peas need no explanation! We are excited to offer them in your share this season! The Turnips will keep well in the fridge if you store them dry, and unwashed, sealed in a bag or container. Cut the greens and store separately. These tender turnips can be eaten raw in salads, or cooked into stir fries or soups. Strawberries!!! I included a recipe that looks delicious, if they make it home that is!

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Collard Greens prefer to be stored unwashed, wrapped in a damp towel or hydrator drawer.  Best used fresh, but may last for up to a week. Just prior to use, swish in lukewarm water. For the Carrots, just cut or twist off the tops before storing in your fridge. No need to peel them, just scrub well before eating, as the peel has lots of nutrients. Eat fresh, or add to salads, soups, stir fries or stews. Red Russian Kale will keep well in the hydrator drawer of fridge for about a week. When ready to eat, wash leaves well. Remove stems from leaves by folding leaf in half lengthwise and stripping or slicing away thick stems.

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Red Oak Leaf lettuce is best eaten right away…the leaves are tender and delicious in any salad, or topped with tuna fish, chicken salad or lots of other veggies!

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We hope you enjoy the veggies this week….they’ve been long anticipated, and we’re pleased to be finally feeding you all! Thanks for choosing Winter Green Farm again this season….let’s enjoy it together!

Linda and all of your Winter Green Farmers

 

 

Spring! CSA Signups are in full swing!

CSA Signups are in full swing! It’s time to get your 2018 share reserved. If you have not received renewal or signup info, please do get in touch with Linda the farm office at   541-935-1920 or by email at folks@wintergreenfarm.com. You can also visit our website to renew or reserve  your share this season….www.wintergreenfarm.

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Cluster of Trillium just ready to burst out!

April Showers bring May flowers, April Showers bring May flowers….this has been my daily mantra for the last couple of weeks. As I watch the Long Tom River swell behind my house, I’m reminded that April can be a tricky month. Remember in 2008 when it snowed on Earth Day? So I try to awaken each day, look out the window and say to myself…Huh! It’s raining….as if it’s the most natural thing. No expectations, yet fully aware that anything can happen this time of year.

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I’ve had an adventurous morning! It’s calving season, so at morning circle, I asked Jimi how many calves we had so far. He held up his 4 fingers, saying we had 4 born just last night, bringing our total to 6 overall! That’s quite unusual, as we typically  have only one a day, or maybe two. I journeyed down to the far field for some photos to share. Then the fun really began. Jack and Jimi had just moved the cows to new pasture this morning. Jimi knew which cows had calved, but we couldn’t find any of the calves near their Mommas.

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We began walking the soggy field, searching for little ones. We finally found them in the farthest corners, where their Mothers had abandoned them for fresh, green grass. Since the calves are brand new, they aren’t privy to the “herd” mentality. They thought they were just fine cloistered under the blackberry brambles at the edge of the field. Thus began the comical dance of trying to convince them that they actually wanted to be in the other field, with their Moms. Back and forth we herded, first one, then the other, as they ran forward and then criss-crossed back behind us once again. With so much rain, it was quite a challenge for a newbie like me to keep my feet on stable ground, and keep my boots on, as they sunk and stuck in the mud puddles. I was fairly sure I would be going down at least once before the exercise was over.

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Jimi finally had to resort to carrying the calves out of the old field, into the new pasture where there Moms awaited, and greeted them with lots of mooing, as if to say “where have you been!” I waited and watched as Jimi administered the vitamins, and ear tagged each calf. I walked back to the office, wet and muddy, but with a smile on my face!

We also have a new bull on the farm! He is adjusting very well to his new environment, sharing this upper pasture with some farm buddies. He hasn’t met the ladies yet…that will happen later this summer.IMG_1178

Even with all of the rain, we have been getting lots accomplished on the farm. Melissa and Shannon have been rocking the greenhouse this year. Everything is looking so healthy and growing quickly. The transplants have been going out on a regular basis and new seeding is being done weekly, in the greenhouse and the fields as well for CSA.

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The crew “skinned” the Spanish Tunnels, putting on new covering and gutters this season. Most of the field house space is used to grow early crops for our Farmers Markets

 

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With a few days of dry weather a couple of weeks ago, we were able to harvest the last of our burdock for our wholesale markets. It was a little rough going to get them out but our crew persevered and made it happen.

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We’re going to be partnering with Wild Child Flower Company once again this season, as well as Fog Hollow Farm. Wild Child Flower Company offers a weekly Flower CSA and will supply you with a season of beautiful, sustainably grown bouquets.

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Fog Hollow Farm offers eggs and raises chickens, selling them whole, or in packets of pieces. Both Sara and Steve have worked on Winter Green Farm for many years and we totally support their ventures!

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We’re looking forward to a wonderful season ahead, and we hope you will be part of it!

Spring blessings from Linda and all of the Winter Green Farm crew.

National CSA Sign Up Day ~ February 23rd

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Hi CSA friends!

On February 23rd, we are joining with CSA farmers from across the country to celebrate CSA Day.  According to Small Farm Central (a network for small farms), the last Friday in February has been the most popular day of the year in the past to sign up for a CSA share across the United States!

This is an important time of year for our farm to get new members signed up because we are in the process of planning and making investments in seed and other supplies for a successful harvest in a few months.  Having some funding coming in at this crucial time takes some of the stress out of the equation. Of course you are also welcome to reserve your share at this time, and make other payment arrangements. Just knowing you’ll be sharing the season with us makes us just as happy!

You can visit our website to sign up, or call/email the farm office to reserve your share. We are attaching a “I support a local farmer” graphic that Small Farm Central has prepared for willing members to post to their face book page to help us advertise and to show that eating local and supporting local small business is important to you.

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For those of you who live in the Portland area, please come support the local Portland Area CSA Coalition farmers at the 2018 CSA Share Fair on Sunday, February 25th. Winter Green Farm will join in and be looking forward to signing up CSA members there.

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For those of you who live in the Eugene area (and any of you who are willing to come from the Coast and Fern Ridge areas as well), the “That’s My Farmer” team will be hosting the first Eugene CSA Share Fair. It will be held on Saturday, March 17th from 11-2pm. It will be an all ages event with farm animals to pet, a face painter, a magician, kids craft activities and a veggie costume contest! The local CSA farms will be present with their info for the 2018 season, as well as tasty seasonal treats to share with everyone. We ask for a donation to the Low Income Fund at the door, and offer a ticket to win a door prize donated by the attending farmers. We hope you will mark your calendars and make your way over to the First United Methodist Church on March 17th to participate!

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I’ll  have the Member Renewal forms in the mail to you by the end of the week…we’re excited about the new season and we hope you will choose Winter Green Farm again this year, or become a farm family member for the first time!

We look forward to feeding you this year!

Linda and all of the Winter Green Farmers

2017 CSA ~ Week 24 Final Week of CSA Delivery!

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SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENTS:

Final week of CSA Delivery! Please bring any stray CSA bins back to your delivery location either this week, or during the week, as we will be visiting all of the sites next Tuesday to retrieve the empty bins for the final time this season. Thanks for  your help with this!

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FILL  YOUR PANTRY THIS SUNDAY!

Even though the deadline has passed for pre-ordering, all of the farms will have  produce and wares for purchase at the event, so go on down to the Lane Events Center on Sunday to fill your pantry for the winter ahead!

WHAT’S IN  YOUR SHARE THIS WEEK:

  • Kale ~ Red Russian
  • Potatoes
  • Leeks
  • Onion
  • Parsley
  • Carrots
  • Beets
  • Swiss Chard
  • Winter Squash ~ Delicata
  • Apples
  • Strawberry Spread

RECIPES:

Garlic Butter Potatoes

Loaded Fried Mashed Potatoes

Winter Squash Pie w/Candied Pecans (gluten free)

Beet Ravioli w/Poppy Seed Butter

Carrot, Apple & Ginger Smoothies

Maple Delicata Pie

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What a wild week it’s been! We started out the week with lovely blue skies and mild temps….then things changed radically! The winds began to blow , and  the rains have continued to fall pretty much steadily all week. It rained so hard here yesterday, all of the gutters were overflowing, as they just couldn’t keep up with the onslaught.  Well, it is November, after all, and an El Nino year, once again….guess we can all expect more of the same for the months ahead. This mornings sunshine and blue sky is a welcome treat to finish out the week, and the season!

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The crew is slogging through the fields, and working even harder than normal, due to the fact that some of the fields are so wet we can’t get the trucks into them. That means that there are a lot of heavy bins to haul an even longer distance. Since rain gear is pretty worn out by this time in the season, there are layers of clothing set out drying in any warm, dry spot to be found, especially  in the crew kitchen, next to the little heater there.

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The remaining crew, wishing you a fond farewell……Porter, Chris, Alden, Shannon, Andrea, Kiegan, Chad, Jim, Josh,  Steve, Erik, Jeremy and Shenoa all say thanks and happy winter!

The cows made their transition into the winter barn this week, just in time to get them in out of the very soggy pastures, and the irrigation pumps have been taken out. Sure signs of the season ending, and winter’s fast approach.

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Jabrila visiting the crew for the last harvest, along with her daughter Noora, who is expecting her first child in January…..one of the best crops of the season!

This last delivery is always bitter sweet for us. While we are very ready for some downtime, time to rejuvenate our tired bodies and to clean up after a busy season, we’re also sad to end the CSA and the Farmers Markets for the season. We’ll miss weekly communications with members and long time market visitors, miss sharing news of farm life with you all, and hearing about the happenings in your lives. We hope that you have enjoyed the season with us, and have been satisfied and gratified by your weekly shares, hope that’s the food has nourished not only your bodies, but has enriched your lives by knowing you are supporting a farm, and farmers, who grow for you while sustaining the earth as best we can. Your support and participation enables us to continue on with this good work….we hope that  you will plan on sharing the harvest once again with us in the new year! Feel free to call/email to reserve your share for 2018!

Even though we won’t be driving the weekly delivery routes, we’ll be keeping busy on the farm with a myriad of projects (rebuilding pallets, cleaning barns and trucks, doing truck maintenance, filling wholesale orders and orders for our Burdock root. We’ll continue on at the Portland PSU and Hollywood Markets for a couple more weeks (PSU until Dec.16th and at Hollywood every other week until the 16th as well).

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Kevin and Kiegan making boxes for the Burdock order this week.

It’s also a time when we say farewell to a majority of our crew. Erik has taken on work with a local contractor, Andrea has begun a housecleaning biz called Clean Sweep Housekeeping (her number is 541-952-1071 if you need some help!), Kiegan is hoping to work with a local arborist. Shenoa will be working at a nursery that offers native plants. Jesse will be leaving for California next week, to visit family and go surfing. Emma will be milking cows and making cheese for a local Dairy. Most will be coming back to farm next season, for which we are all extremely grateful!

Steve will continue on, managing the Portland Markets, and the wholesale orders, as well as managing his own Fog Hollow Farm in Walton. Jeremy will help with the wholesale orders and also begin on projects, and Burdock orders as they come in. Chad is our project guy, and Jimi will be making sure the cows are bedded down each week, and fed the nutrient rich balage we created in the Spring. I will begin closing out the 2017 accounts, take a short holiday break, and then begin updating all of the CSA info for the new year! Farm owners Chris and Shannon will be closing out the season as well for the wholesale and markets, as well as bustling here and there doing whatever task needs doing.

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Jeremy setting up the processing room for the Burdock order this week. We inspect each root for quality, sorting out the #1 roots from the #2 roots and pack them for delivery.

We  hope that your winter will be amazing, and that your holidays full of love, laughter, good friends and family. We love knowing that our food will be part of those celebrations. Be well, be happy…..hope to see you next year!

Much love,

Linda and all of your Winter Green Farmers

2017 CSA ~ Week 23

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SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENTS:

NEXT WEEK will be the last delivery of the season! If you have any stray CSA boxes lying around, please be sure to bring them to the delivery site either this week or next please….the more boxes that come back to the farm, the less we need to purchase for the 2018 season. We really appreciate your help with this!

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FILL YOUR PANTRY! 

Today, November 10th, is the last day to pre-order for the Fill Your Pantry event which will happen on Sunday, November 19th. Click on this link to access the pre-ordering site: Fill Your Pantry Pre-Order

STRAWBERRY SPREAD AND TOMATO SAUCE!

The new Strawberry Spread is on the farm…if you have already ordered, I will be sending it out to you with your CSA share this week….if you would like to order, get in touch in the next week to have it brought with your last share next week! The cost for the Strawberry Spread is $4.50/jar and $50 for a case of 12 (10 oz jars). The cost for the Tomato Sauce is $7.50/jar and $85 for a case of 12 (24 oz jars).

WHAT’S IN YOUR SHARE THIS WEEK:

  • Carrots
  • Parsnips
  • Turnips
  • Kale ~ Winter Bor
  • Red Kuri Squash
  • Festival Squash
  • Green Butter Lettuce
  • Onion
  • Brussels Sprouts or Cabbage
  • Apples

RECIPES:

Coconut Red Kuri Squash Soup

Kale and Red Kuri Squash Salad

Red Kuri Squash Pie

Smokey Parsnip Crisps

Crunchy Turnip, Apple & Brussels Sprouts Slaw

Apple Fritter Rings

Welcome to the 4th week of the Late Season and your next to last share for the season! Next week will be your final share! It’s always a bittersweet time of year, and seems to have come so quickly. Many of the crew will be venturing off to do other seasonal activities, and our small “skeleton crew” will continue on through out the winter harvesting for wholesale orders, chopping and packing Burdock root, cleaning up the farm, and delving into projects. I’ll have a short break mid December and then begin preparing for the 2018 season! You can reserve your share for next year anytime…..

I have actually been off the farm since the end of last week, and most of this week,  visiting my Father in Arizona, who has been having some health issues. It was nice to be in warmth and sunshine for a bit, see some spectacular sunsets, and sit sharing old

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stories with my Dad. While there, my sister took me to one of her favorite places to eat. It’s called Joe’s Farm Grill.  I was so  impressed with it! It’s a very popular restaurant, and for Sunday brunch the line was out the door and down the sidewalk to the parking lot!

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The Farm Grill is one aspect of the Agritopia Farm. The farm has a commercial operation, growing row crops, citrus and stone fruit, date palms, and olives. They also have a CSA program, and a seasonal farm stand, as well as a Community Garden, where the community can come and grow their own food. They certified organic in 2013.

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Most of the food they serve in the extremely busy Farm Grill comes from the farm in season. The Farm Grill  is the original Johnson family home, which has been updated

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recently to make more space for indoor seating (it is Arizona after all!), but the outdoor original seating is still available and delightful. Situated under immense Tamarisk Trees,

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picnic tables encourage folks to “share” their meals and the folks that frequent the establishment are diverse. It all started when the Johnston family bought the property in the early 1960’s. Jim Johnston,  along with his wife, Virginia, built a home on the farm to

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raise their three young boys, Joe, Steve, and Paul. They grew Pima cotton, durum wheat for pasta, barley, field corn, sugar beets, milo and alfalfa. Steve and Paul studied agriculture and followed their dad’s footsteps, eventually taking over the operation of

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the farm. Joe became anengineer and worked in that field until starting a chain of coffeehouses in 1989 called “The Coffee Plantation”. As development moved closer to the family farm, it became increasingly clear that farming in the town of Gilbert might

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become a thing of the past. The Johnston family remained steadfast in the stewardship of the land they loved so dearly. They worked with land planners, builders and the Town of Gilbert to create Agritopia, a community that preserved agriculture in an urban-relevant way, and village life with vibrant, connected neighborhoods, commerce, education and open spaces. The Farm at Agritopia was carved out of the original farm, destined to be a permanent expression of the joy and timelessness that is family.

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In 2015, the Johnston family formed The Johnston Family Foundation for Urban Agriculture. The goals for the foundation are to keep a longstanding heritage of farming in perpetuity and to further demonstrate the importance of maintaining agriculture in an urban environment.

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There is a facility there called Barnone, where skilled craftsmen make and sell their handcrafted goods. Also associated with the whole foundation is the Agritopia residential community. By the late 1990s, when the town of Gilbert’s rapid growth meant suburban development near the farm, the Johnstons began brainstorming ways to preserve their land. Joe’s engineering expertise helped plant the literal and figurative seed of Agritopia.

IMG_0737Collaborating with a land planner, landscape architects, the Town of Gilbert, and community developers, in 2000, Joe spearheaded the evolution of the family’s vision for their farmland: a  present-day village that honors the farming traditions of the past. Today, all of the homes in the residential portion of the community have been built .The Johnston family still lives in Agritopia.

It was really fun to visit another farm, in another place, that is flourishing and spreading the lifestyle of organics & community living. If you ever visit Gilbert, AZ, I highly suggest you visit….be sure to call ahead to arrange a tour though…..I wish I had!

We hope you all have a wonderful holiday weekend and make delicious meals with your veggies & family this week!

Linda and all of your Winter Green Farmers