Week No. 19 – 2012 Season

Positive advice wanted to help us keep serving you in the 2013 season

Bill Clinton was in his first years in the White House. We watched him take office, as we set up housekeeping and farming in our new home in southern Wisconsin. I was driving to work every day at 4 a.m. to a daily newspaper and rushing home at 2 p.m. to get as much farm work done as possible before dark. Our four children were finishing up their home school work with Dela at the dining room table about the time I returned. And together, we were growing fresh vegetables to feed our family and our first 5, then 15, then 21 CSA subscribers in Janesville. Now, we’re looking back on so many things that have happened as we finish up our last two weeks in our 18th year practicing Community Supported Agriculture. It was our 10th year to serve subscribers in the Chicago area, where I still drive every Wednesday to deliver vegetables to subscribers. From a garden spade to a shed with a full set of farm equipment. From broken, empty dairy farm buildings to renovated space full of life. From a small plot of ground to 51 acres of diverse crops. Every one of our subscribers, every year we’ve been here at Scotch Hill has helped us keep improving. Now, more than ever, we need your help to keep farming organically, to keep reaching for sustainability. Please share with us ways you think we can do that. Two years ago in Milwaukee, for instance, our subscribers in the Washington Heights neighborhood helped us help each other. I’d been driving there each week to St. Sebastian’s school parking lot for 2 years. The group was paying about $150 more per season (above our on-farm pickup rate) for me to make that 200-mile roundtrip delivery. Yet in the third year, a group of 20 subscribers took turns once during the season coming to the farm and returning to Milwaukee with everyone’s vegetables. For this, they all got a $150 discount on vegetables for the season. This year, one in the group took an early retirement from his job and became the designated driver. Everyone else kicked in an extra $25 for his gas; they still realized a $125 discount. Friends ask him why he does this for the group. He replied, “You just don’t know Tony and Dela. If you did, you’d understand.” What this did for the farm was huge. A day of time for me to drive to delivery points 100 miles away adds up to about 200 hours of farm work a season. That’s the equivalent of 5 forty-hour work weeks I devote to our farm work. Do you know of someone in the Chicago area who could help in this way? Linking us could give a huge boost to our 19th year. Or perhaps other positive suggestions come to mind. We value your input and support. Please help if you can.

This Week’s Vegetables include:

  • Arugula and Mustard Greens
  • Red Norland Potatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Kale
  • Celery (a little frost burn on top, but still packed with strong celery flavor)
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Onions
  •  Cilantro (can be put in freezer bags – as is – and used later in winter)
  • Hakurai Turnips
  • Peppers (sweet peppers can be sliced and frozen – as is – and put into freezer bags for use late, dry the hot red pepper)

Photos of this share help you identify each variety and can be found by the website or Facebook


Cooking Tips for the Week

From Dela: Don’t over-cook kale or Brussels Sprouts. They lose their sweet flavor (derived from the frost and cold). Try Dela’s potato kale soup recipe. If you’d like to include sausage, we have a lamb-pork bratt ($8.50 per pound) that can be sliced into the recip Saute one chopped onion or leek in two TBSp butter with a chopped garlic clove and 2 TBSP chooped celery until just cooked and soft. Add 5 cups chicken or vegetable stock and two large potatoes cubed. Cook potatoes in stock until soft, then puree. Remove stems from a bunch of kale, chop and add to the soup 5 minutes before serving. Do not over-cook the kale or it will taste too strong. Salt and pepper to taste. Cooked sausage, ham or Scotch Hill Farm brats are a nice addition for a heartier winter soup. Also, hot peppers can be added if you like a spicy soup. Kale is one of nature’s best medicines. It’s very good for you!e.