Community-Supported Agriculture for the Upper Valley of New Hampshire and Vermont

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2014 Week 23 - the end

October 20 & 23, 2014

Hello CSA fans -

Our vegetable-growing season is coming to an end this week, with a heavy layer of white frost gracing the fields this morning. It’s been a spectacular year from my perspective - nearly perfect weather conditions, a great crew to work with, and our most bountiful harvest ever. I hope you feel the same! Thanks to each and every one of you for making Sunrise Farm possible for another season.

I’ll send an email around next week with more thoughts on the season and a request for thoughts and advice from you on how the season went from your perspective. Meanwhile, there are lots of details this week…

*Declining Balance. Most of you who have used the declining balance system for pickup-day purchases have zeroed out your balances, but if you haven’t, I encourage you to do so today. Our year-end sale on maple syrup, T-shirts, and frozen yoghurt continues. In fact, those tasty half-pints of frozen yoghurt are down to $1 each today.

*Chickens. We have three dozen un-sold chickens from this final batch, so feel free to pick one up if you’re interested. It’s a long way to the next batch, in June.

*Beef. We’ll have a beef pickup today for those of you who pre-ordered. Separate email to follow shortly.

*Winter shares. We’ll have winter shares available for sale through the end of the month. I sent a separate email about this a few weeks back - let me know if you’re interested in this, which is a box of veggies right before Thanksgiving and right before Christmas.

On to the harvest. We’ve done a pretty good job of moving through our mountain of vegetables over the past few weeks, so today’s harvest won’t be enormous. We’re setting it up slightly differently today - we’ll use our old “surplus table” system in which you take one of everything from the display area and then leave whatever you don’t want on the central table in the middle aisle. This gives you a chance to mix and match at the central table while also making sure that don’t have any leftovers at the end of the week. Here’s what we have in store:

*Onions, garlic, and shallots - 1 bag. We’ve already weighed these out for you to make life easier and more compact. The bags are heavy to shallots and onions and light on garlic, since I decided to hold back more of our garlic this year to plant as seed next week. The good news is that we’ll have 20% more garlic in the share next year, and you have plenty of other onion-family veggies in the meantime.

*Leeks. Also in the onion family, we’ll have a bunch of leeks for everyone. These will keep beautifully for a month or more in the crisper drawer of your fridge. I wash mine and put them in a plastic bag with the top un-sealed.

*Carrots, more of these lovelies. Same thing on storage, only close up the bag.

*Potatoes, a few. We went a touch too heavy over the past few weeks, so it’ll be a pound or so today.

*Lettuce: we have some beautiful baby heads that are protected inside the hoophouse this morning and should be perfect. Take 2.

*Mache. This is a favorite late-season green that is grown in France and Germany and is best after the first few frosts, which we’ve now had. It’s also called corn salad, rapunzel, or lamb’s ears, and it has lots of iron and potassium and B vitamins in it. It’s chewier than mesclun but with more flavor and excitement. Give it a try, either as a salad with a vinaigrette or dressed up with brie and apples in this recipe.

*Kale - we’ll probably harvest this loose-leaf and have you weight it out, since the leaves are growing slowly in the cold weather.

*Spinach - we have mountains, both growing outside and in our hoop houses. Take some to blanch and freeze!

*Green tomatoes - we harvested about 1,000 last Friday to beat the frost, and we’ll have them available today. You can either fry these up green or sit them on a windowsill and let them ripen over the coming weeks.

Frost permitting, we may have some cherry tomatoes, mesclun, and chard as well. I’m not yet sure about the raspberries, and the haricot vert are gone for good.

I think that covers the highlights - see you soon!

—Chuck

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2014 Week 22

October 13 & 16, 2014

Hello CSA fans—

I ran the irrigation Saturday night to beat the light frost, but last night was too cold for that. It dropped to 29F at field level, so we’ll see what the day holds once the sun comes up. That may have been it for the mesclun and chard, and perhaps the beans and raspberries. Too early to tell.

Overall, though, the bounteous harvest will continue this week and next.

*Greens: spinach in abundance, and hopefully arugula and lettuce, too.

*Greens, cookable: kale (3 types), tatsoi, maybe chard, and collards. Note that most of the collard greens have been pre-munched by the occasional caterpillar, which affects the appearance but not the flavor!

*Hearty fare: potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, garlic, leeks, shallots, celeriac

*Also: salad turnips, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, carrots, butternut squash, and delicata squash. The tomatoes should be OK since they are inside the sealed hoop houses.

In pick your own: tender haricot vert (green beans) and fall raspberries, hopefully!

A few other items: sales of winter shares and of bulk carrots and sweet potatoes are continuing - let me know if you are interested. Chickens are also available today, both frozen and un-frozen. This is our last batch of the year. (Pork, lamb, and beef is all sold out.)

We also have a few items on sale today as we start emptying out the barn for winter - maple syrup, frozen yoghurt, lamb sausage, and T shirts all are $1 off the usual price.

I expect we’ll be cleaning out the flower garden and pick-your-own area this afternoon, so see you soon!

—Chuck

PS: If today doesn’t work for you to pick up due to the holiday, email back to let me know, and I’ll switch you to Thursday this week.

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2014 Week 21

October 6 & 9, 2014

Hello Sunrise Fans—

I took advantage of the dry weather last week to start the fall mowing along the woods. During the summer, I try to leave weeds and natural growth around the edges of the farm to encourage birds, insects, and other wildlife. In some places this is just a narrow strip, while in others, like around and above the pond, it’s nearly half an acre in size.

While we have 2 hives of honey bees for pollination, I’m increasingly aware that much of our vegetable pollination is coming from other insects, especially bumble bees and solitary bees. I think that these un-mowed areas must be increasing the supply of these natural pollinators for our veggie operation. But now that the last flowers are gone from the asters and goldenrod, we have a narrow window to mow this back before the ground gets too soft from fall rain.

Fog rolled in this morning at about 4:30, protecting us from a seemingly certain frost and allowing me to roll over in bed for another hour or so. Which is good, because the harvest is big today! Here’s the likely rundown:

*Greens, raw: head lettuce, mesclun, spinach, arugula, cabbage

*Greens, cookable: chard, kale (3 types), tatsoi

*Hearty fare: potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, garlic, leeks, shallots, celeriac

*Also: salad turnips, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, carrots, butternut squash, delicata squash

In pick your own: tender haricot vert (green beans) and fall raspberries

We’ll see if we can fit all this into the barn! See you soon,

—Chuck

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2014 Week 20

September 29 & October 1, 2014

Hello Sunrise Fans—

What a week it’s been, weather-wise. Spectacular! I had occasion to drive through the Northeast Kingdom last week, picking up sheep to replenish our flock and start the breeding season. In truth, I was also leaf peeping, though in the big pickup truck with a wooden cage in the back and a bunch of baa-ing sheep, I was well disguised as a farmer on business. The foliage around Jay Peak and lake Memphremagog was near peak. I love the Vermont landscape so much at this time of year that I feel homesick for the place, even though I already live here. I’m not quite sure how that’s possible, but there it is.

The vegetable harvest continues near peak as well under sunny skies and warm temperatures. Most of the harvest will be similar to last week, with the addition of arugula, salad turnips, and baby beets. We’ll take a week off from cabbage while the red heads size up. Last broccoli of the year will be in the share today. Everything else will be similar to last year.

We’ve been part of a season-long cooperative training program with a half-dozen other farms in the area, giving tours and swapping ideas, and we’ll be off to Luna Bleu in Royalton this afternoon for the season-ending event. Rachael will be staffing the barn and available to help out or answer questions later this afternoon.

Finally, here’s a recipe sent in by one of you for delicata squash. It looks great!

See you soon,

—Chuck

PS: I’ll be sending a separate email shortly about or winter share offering in cooperation with my brother’s farm.

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