Week No. 20 – 2012 Season

Local, organic farm makes friends for the Earth through you and CSA

Being a friend to a farm, is being a friend to the Earth. You – our subscribers – are our farm's best friends. Scotch Hill Farm does not exist without you and your support. Fifty acres we rent to rotate field crops with our vegetables would quite possibly not be certified organic without your support. Tony and Dela could not own and operate this farm without your support. Together, for at least 6 or 7 months out of a year, we know where our next meal is coming from. This - community supported agriculture - is what food security looks like. Together, we know that we spend our money locally, justly, ecologically. We plow $7,500 a month - about 90 percent of every penny we earn - back into our state and region in production and farm expenses. In this our last week of the regular growing season, we must begin planning for next season. We must secure land at $100 per acre ahead of time. We must order and buy $5,000 in certified organic and heirloom seed ahead of time. We must breed and feed our sheep and goats over winter. We must restore the nutrients that we have stripped from the soil in growing and harvesting vegetables, naturally, without chemical fertilizer, well ahead of next season. We must begin selling our milk soap and cool season crops in holiday sales to meet winter farm expenses. Please don't think your subscription and support are unimportant. We truly appreciate having had a chance to serve you this year. You befriended us in our most challenging of 18 years as a CSA farm. Thank you. Putting gardens and fields to bed – Caring for soil organically is a constant, year-round concern for us. Oat, wheat and prairie grass straw we use to mulch vegetable crop transplants deteriorate over winter and are worked back into the soil to feed the micro-biotic life in the soil. Horse, goat, sheep, poultry and pig manure – with the straw bedding from their stalls and roosting areas are spread over ground after we finish harvests. Small grains, hay and cover crops are planted periodically on every inch of the 51 acres we farm to help rebuild the soil and improve its tilth. I’m busy now removing drip tape irrigation runs from double-row beds of vegetables, some of them 400 feet long. I’m mowing stalks of plants killed by frost and freezing weather of recent weeks. I’m dismantling tomato vine structures of wire, baling twine and metal T-posts. I’m taking up black plastic mulch where we could not use straw mulches. Our harvests of straw this year has been strong, which should allow us to use less black plastic next year. All these tasks are time-consuming, and I could really use your help if you have time to volunteer. Call or email me if you’d like to help out. 608 897-4288 / 354-3243 / tony@scotchhillfarm.com

 

This Week’s Vegetables include:

  • Chard
  • Yellow Potatoes
  • Green Tomatoes
  • Kale
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Garlic
  • Broccoli
  • Chard
  • Turnips
  • Cheese from our goat milk
  • Carrots
  • Peppers

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

Cooking Tipsfor the Week

Baby Lima Beans and Swiss Chard Soup - From a Group Health Cooperative subscriber
Drain 2 cups dried baby lima beans (soaked in water to cover overnight) and pick over to remove and discolored beans or debris. Place a large, heavy soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat and add 1 lb. thick-sliced, center cut bacon, sliced into ½-inch strips. Cook until crisp and golden, then transfer to paper towels with a slotted spoon. Discard all but about 2 tablespoons of the rendered bacon fat in the pan and add 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Add 2 yellow onions coarsely chopped and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened about 5 minutes. Add 3 peeled and coarsely chopped carrots and cook stirring until softened about 3 minutes more. Add half of a bunch of Swiss chard, thick stems removed, leaves cut crosswise 1-inch wide, divided; and 5 garlic cloves, minced. Cook until the chard has wilted, about 3 minutes. Stir in the drained beans, 2 quarts low-sodium chicken broth, homemade or store-bought. Stir in 6 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped, or one 15-ounce can diced Italian plum tomatoes, drained. Stir in ½ cup finely chopped fre3sh basil. Simmer, partially covered, until the beans are tender, about 1 hour. Remove from the heat and let cool for 5 to 10 minutes.  You may want to lightly blend all or part of the soup at this point, but leave plenty of texture. Stir half of the reserved bacon and the remaining Swiss chard into the soup and cook until the chard is just wilted, about 3 minutes. Stir in half of 6 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, 2 teaspoons kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Ladle the soup into warm bowls and garnish with the remaining parsley and ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese. Pass the remaining bacon at the table for topping.