Dry Stretch Provides Opportunity

Dry Stretch Provides Opportunity

Last week we were able to accomplish a good deal of clean-up. The last few weeks have provided quite a variety of different weather conditions to work outside. We are grateful to have accomplished what we have.


Yes, we did receive a few inches of snow on October 14. Way to early!


Once the snow had melted and the fields looked dry enough, a variety of steps were taken to close out the fields. First, we harvested the seeds from the flowers that help to bring in good insects to eat the bad insects. First up were the Marigolds. The cool thing about Marigolds – I love harvesting their seeds from the dried up flower heads that are filled with a ton of long skinny seeds. Place in dry paper bag in a dry place and next year plant the seeds.


4 O’clock plants flowers dry up and produce a seed not a group of seeds like Marigolds. But you can still harvest the small black seeds and store in a dry place until next year.


After all the seeds were harvested, we mulched the plants with the mower.


Tilled the gardens.


The ground was wet from the snow and the rain over previous weeks which caused the tiller to plug with mud. So getting it unplugged employed a variety of techniques.


Once tilling was completed, we seeded the fields with rye grass for a cover crop. Thank you to our neighbors for the use of the seeder to speed up this job! See he’s going so fast my pic is blurry:) Yes, we do work past sunset at times and have been blessed with beautiful evenings.


We rolled the ground to get good seed to soil contact. The plants will begin to grow and will start re-growing just like your lawn in the spring.


We also worked on the popcorn harvest.


The boys used their Great, Great Grandpa’s corn sheller to harvest the popcorn seeds. The next step is shaking out the extra corn silks and corn “wings” to have seed that is free of natural corn “debris.”


In addition to all the garden work, we also have to work on rebuilding chicken pens, gates etc. Building skills together one job at a time.

Clean-up Continues

Clean-up Continues

The clean-up continues this week. The weather we have had has kept life interesting. Between rain, snow and freeze warnings, we have been able to keep pumpkins available for sale, cover up the carrots and beets that are still growing, winterize our chicken pens and keep some of the flowers I overwinter from freezing.

Here is a quick view of our week. Please keep farmers and their families and all who work in production agriculture in your prayers. This is a tough year to be farming for many reasons, one of the joys of farming is the harvest, but Mother Nature is not being kind. Thank you in advance.


The boys have put a lot of work into their pumpkin, gourd and squash stand. In addition to selling the pumpkins individually, they have a $25 and $50 package that would look nice on your front doorstep. Thank you for your support.



Yes, this did take all of Saturday afternoon to set-up. Pink pumpkins are being sold to support breast cancer research.


The boys also had fun bringing some fall cheer around the neighborhood. We all love the different colors and shapes of the pumpkins and gourds. We hope that they bring smiles to others.



This week’s freeze warning brought about some quick actions to provide the opportunity for carrots and beets to continue growing. This row cover provides frost protection, 75% light transmission. It is porous to water and self ventilating.


When it wasn’t raining we were trying to clean it all up. Pulling up the mulch and putting away the dripline irrigation system.


End of the Season

End of the Season

The end of the season rush is upon us, but Mother Nature continues to remind us who is in charge. We have had nearly 3 inches of rain this week with more projected in the next few days.


The sunflowers were harvested and fed to the chickens.

This weekend we were able to finish harvesting popcorn, ornamental corn, broom corn, gourds, pumpkins, potatoes, sweet potatoes and sunflowers. We were able to shred the stalks and vines in those fields, but unable to till and plant a cover crop due to rain on Monday and day length becoming shorter. So we are hopeful to accomplish this in the near future with continued storm clean-up alongside that.


The corn stalks were blown over during the tornado.

Corn Varieties
-We plan to test the popcorn this weekend to see how the moisture level is which will determine how well it pops.
-The ornamental corn ears need to dry more. If they mature appropriately, we will drop some off for you with the popcorn later this fall
-The broom corn miraculously was the only corn with no broken stalks after the storm. While it was blown over in the tornado, it started to grow upright a few days after which allowed us to use them for your corn shocks.


Some of these Sweet potatoes were huge. Yes, we worked past sunset a few nights in order to be able to harvest them before the rain. It makes for an adventure.

We were thankful for our potato digger that made the most of our limited time harvesting potatoes and sweet potatoes. While the piece of the machinery appears quite old, it works simply and functionally for us.


There were quite a few interesting gourds this year. But harvesting was hard work, and a break now and then was needed.

Gourds and Pumpkins
The remainder of the gourds provided quite the variety of beautiful color patterns and shapes – they were very entertaining to harvest.

Each time we finish an area of harvesting and clean-up, the feeling of accomplishment lightens our load and catapults us on to finishing the remainder of the fields.

As this year’s CSA comes to a close, we want to sincerely THANK all of you for being part of this year’s growing journey. We will miss our weekly conversations around food and life but look forward to when we see you again.

Garden Science/Math

Boxes of Produce

This list is prepared before we harvest your share. Some guesswork is involved! We do our best to predict which crops will be ready to harvest, but sometimes crops are on the list that are not in the share, and sometimes crops will be in the share even though they’re not on the list. Remember food safety in your kitchen when preparing, always wash your hands before working with your produce and always wash your produce before eating.

Black Seeded Simpson, Spinach and Kale – While this survived the frost, a few warm days would have sent these crops to the next level.

Cilantro – We had some Cilantro reseed itself, so here you go. This can be washed and then frozen in a bag and simply pull it out of the freezer to use in a recipe this winter.


Believe it or not the green beans survived the frost…the last of the season.

Green Beans – Well this crop is a crop that keeps on giving. The frost killed the top leaves but did not affect the green beans. You can also freeze beans to use later this winter in soup. Follow these instructions.

Sweet Savour Hybrid Peppers – They may be small, but they pack quite the taste. The beautiful and tasty tricolor fruit looks like hot peppers but eats like sweet peppers.


Serrano Tampiqueno Pepper – excellent for drying pickling, salsas, and stews.

Pepper, Hot, Serrano Tampiqueno – Heat-lovers, here’s another Mexican favorite used in a variety of dishes, from salsas to soups. Heat scale is about 3,00-0 Scovilles.

Carrots – No carrots this week. Look for some Fall carrots when we deliver your popcorn – our hopes are high, because carrots harvested in the Fall seem to have such a sweet flavor.

Kohlrabi – So glad that we were able to get a crop here at the end of the season.


We also harvested the remainder of the onions. I cut up onions each fall and freeze them so they are easy to use in hotdishes, soups etc throughout the year.

Onions –Yellow and Purple If you are feeling overloaded on onions, cut them up and spread them out and freeze on a cookie sheet or pan. Once frozen place in a container or a Ziploc bag for use throughout the year. I do this and am just coming to my end of frozen onions. This helps speed up my meal preparation. See how onions are grown in Washington.


Learning how to fix the potato digger with dad. Fixing machinery will always be handy to know.

Potatoes – Kennebec (brown oval with white flesh inside – baking potato), Norlands (red), Blue (versatile – great for fries or mashed), and Yukon Gold (brown more circular like a baseball with a more yellow buttery flavor – versatile good baked or cooked) are in your boxes this week. These should keep for a few months. Do not store with your onions.

Sweet Potatoes – Sweet potato enjoy this vegetable in so many ways.

Purple Cauliflower – love the color – check out this week’s recipe.


Butternut Squash – freeze your cooked squash in cupcake tins. Once frozen take out of the tin and store in the freezer until you would like to use it.

Butternut Squash – This is our family favorite of squashes. It is hourglass in shape. Here are a few recipes for Butternut Squash from Martha Stewart.

Carnival Squash – Carnival squash has variegated patterns of orange and green colors and is a hybrid of the sweet dumpling squash and the acorn squash. When cooked its texture is soft and melting with a fragrant aroma and its flavor; slightly nutty, buttery, and sweet with nuances of maple syrup, similar to that of butternut squash. This squash has contains potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin C, as well as, some calcium, magnesium, folate, omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids.

Delicata – Sweet delicata squash is ideal for a quick vegetable side — it doesn’t need to be peeled and roasts in just 15 minutes. Here is a recipe.

Here is a good breakdown of the different varieties with suggestions of how to use them.

Sweet Dumpling – Dumpling squash is best suited for cooked applications such as roasting, sautéing, baking, and steaming and it can be used in both sweet and savory preparations. Its lumpy exterior and small size make it difficult to peel and are most often cooked with their skin on. Similar to a potato and acorn squash, the skin of the Dumpling squash is edible once cooked, though often it is just discarded. Dumpling squash can be halved, cooked, and served as an ideal size for stuffing with meats, cheeses, grains, or other vegetables and it can be roasted and served as a stand-alone side dish.


Uchiki Kuri Winter Squash

Uchiki Kuri Winter Squash – This is a popular squash that has attractive orange-red skin. Yellow and creamy flesh is very sweet and nutty. It is a Hubbard type squash and sometimes also referred to as a baby red hubbard type since its appearance is like that of a petite hubbard. The word “kuri” translates to mean chestnut in Japanese, the main flavor profile found in the Red Kuri squash. It is a squash is a good source of vitamin A and vitamin C as well as potassium and iron. Hard-skinned Red Kuri squash can be difficult to peel and are most easily cooked in their skin. Split squash in half, scoop out seeds, and roast cut-side down until tender. Red Kuri can also be cut into wedges or cubes and roasted. The skin of Red Kuri once cooked is tender enough to consume so need not be removed prior to eating.


Moving pumpkins can get laborious, so changing it up and using it as an opportunity to practice football snaps makes it more fun.

Pumpkins – We hope you enjoy this fall ornament.

Gourds – Some fun and different shaped gourds this year.

Recipe of the Week

Chocolate Red Kuri Pumpkin Pie
Makes for one deep-dish 9-inch pie

Pumpkin Pie Filling
1 3/4 cups red kuri puree
1 cup  heavy cream
2 eggs
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
3/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg(optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Dark or milk Chocolate squares for garnish

Pie Crust
Cut together the following ingredients with a fork or pie cutter.
2 cups flour
1 cup Crisco
2 1/2 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Then mix together and add to the dry ingredients.
1 egg yolk
1/3 cup of milk

Check out this Martha Stewart video on making a pie crust.

1. Preheat your oven to 450°F (230°C) with the rack in the middle position.
2. In a large bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk until the whites and the yolks are homogenous, about 2 seconds. Add the remaining filling ingredients to the bowl and whisk well to combine. Make sure the eggs and cream are completely incorporated. Line a rimmed pie pan with the unbaked crust, then pour the filing.
3. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350°F (180°C) and continue baking for 45-60 minutes, or until the filling has set. Make sure the filling doesn’t boil, so if your oven it very hot, you can reduce heat to 325°F (160°C) after only 10 minutes. 10 to 12 minutes before the end, place chocolate squares on top of the pie and allow to melt. Insert a knife or tooth pick in the middle of the pie, if comes out clean, it’s done!
4. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Then serve at room temperature or chill in the refrigerator and serve cold.
Note: if you’re not familiar with red kuri squash, its bright orange flesh is easy to cook and tastes a bit like chestnut and sweeter than a pumpkin, so you don’t need to add as much sugar to your recipes.