Below is a letter from the cousin of our Buffalo Street farmer. If you’re feeling inspired toss his a buck or two for running so far, and for Chris farming so hard:
As most of you don’t know, I’m going to run the Detroit Half Marathon on October 18. And rather than run for one of many big name charities, I’m going to run the 13 miles for cousin’s Buffalo Street Farm.
In return, cousin and I invite you to join us for a tour of the farm to see what you’re supporting after the race and for a sip of something at a local joint to celebrate (details to follow in a separate email).
On behalf of my cousin, the farm and a city that just keeps on swinging just like Irish Mickey Ward, thanks for considering.
A little bit of cooler weather might be slowing down some of the heat lovers (temporarily if the extended forecast is to be believed) but it is adding new vigor to some fall greens we’ve planted. Don’t worry, unless we have a freak early frost there should be eggplant, tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers for many weeks to come. Here are the items in your box this week:
Tomatoes from Fields of Plenty, Buffalo Street, and Food Field
Cherry Tomatoes from Food Field and Vinewood Knoll
Cucumbers from Fields of Plenty or Eggplant from Fields of Plenty, Buffalo Street, and Vinewood Knoll or Bell Peppers from Fields of Plenty
Collards from Fields of Plenty or Kale from Buffalo Street and Vinewood Knoll or Swiss Chard from Singing Tree
Onions from Buffalo Street
Greens Mix from Food Field (Tuesday Only)
Radishes from Vinewood Knoll
Apples from Food Field
Oregano from Singing Tree and Fields of Plenty
Squash Blossoms from Food Field (Friday only)
Tomatoes are my FAVORITE. This is a little poem/celebration I wrote on the blackboard at a farm I worked on a few years ago:
Give thanks to the Mother Earth from whom all blessings flow. Give thanks to the Sun, Moon and Stars. Give thanks to the rain and the creek. Give thanks to the soil and the hands that work it. For today is the day that the seed fulfilled its promise and renewed the faith. Today is the day of the first tomato.
I was feeling a little dramatic that day obviously, but that is still how I feel pretty much every time I bite into the first fresh tomato of the year. By the time we’re 4 weeks into tomato season it starts to seem a little less exciting. Here are a few of our favorite tomato recipes to help you power through all the juicy plenty coming at you this time of year:
A Big Tomato Sandwich
Roasted Peppers and Tomatoes Baked with Herbs and Capers
Pepper and Tomato Soup
Slow Roasted Tomatoes
Shell Beans and Summer Vegetables Stewed in their own Juices
Robust End of Summer Spaghetti
Thanks to everyone who came out to Fields of Plenty on Sunday for our member potluck. It was a great to see you all and share food with you. We’re halfway through the season and we hope you’re enjoying everything you’re getting in your box. Please share with us any concerns or questions you have, we’re always happy to have the input and to let you know more about your produce and how it is grown.
Here’s what is in your box this week:
Carrots from Buffalo Street and Food Field
Tomatoes from Buffalo Street and Food Field
Cherry Tomatoes from Food Field and Vinewood Knoll
Kale from Buffalo Street, Vinewood Knoll, and Food Field
Beets from Food Field (Tuesday Only)
Collards from Fields of Plenty and Food Field (Tuesday Only)
Cucumbers from Fields of Plenty (Tuesday Only)
Eggplant from Fields of Plenty and Vinewood or Red Peppers from Food Field (Friday Only)
Basil from Food Field (Friday Only)
Sage from Fields of Plenty and Buffalo Street (Tuesday Only)
Chives from Fields of Plenty
And we end up with a light box. A couple folks pointed out this week that the boxes were a little light (especially on Tuesday). Part of a CSA is rolling with the ups and downs of the season. But also part of a CSA is us telling you a little about what’s going on and why that might be.
Also rest assured that we keep track of the value of the boxes that go out, and if there is a week that is light we make sure that there is an extra big box to balance it out later in the season.
So this week, a problem on Tuesday was that Noah was having a well deserved camping trip vacation and his farm sitter couldn’t find the cherry tomatoes that were supposed to go in the boxes. On Tuesdays we pack the boxes about 2 hours before you come and pick them up, so our wiggle room to look for things and find substitutes is very limited- so the boxes went out without cherry tomatoes.
There are lots of ups and downs to the season that come from pests or weather. You can read a lot more about our policies on how we deal with pests here.
This week’s biggest problem was more an issue of planning though. To quote our weekly planning e-mail: “Uh-oh I have tomatoes and carrots and garlic too!” So rather than drown you in double doses of each, we went with the option to have lighter boxes this week in favor of more plentiful and diverse boxes later. If you would rather that we give you larger quantities of some items, by all means let us know! The most common complaints that a lot of CSAs get is that they get drowned in Kale one week and then Zucchini the next. We try our best to avoid that.
Being a cooperative helps us smooth out a lot of the ups and downs of the season, but every once in a while even that can’t help us out. We obviously hope we’ll make up for this light week later, but certainly continue to tell us when we get it wrong. This is our fourth year of doing this, and we’re always hoping that we’re getting better at it all the time.
CARROT TOP SOUP (Local Flavors by Deborah Madison) Serves 4.
1 bunch (6 small to medium) carrots, the tops and roots
2 Tbs. butter
3 Tbs. white rice
2 large leeks (or 2 purplette onions), white parts only
2 thyme sprigs
2 Tbs. chopped dill, parsley, celery leaves
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
6 c. vegetable or chicken stock or water
Directions: Pull the lacy leaves of the carrot greens off their stems (2 to 3 cups, loosely packed). Wash, then chop finely. Grate the carrots, or finely chop them. Melt the butter in a soup pot. Add the carrot tops and carrots, rice, leeks, thyme, and dill. Cook for several minutes, turning everything a few times, then season with 1-1/2 teaspoons salt and add the stock. Bring to a boil and simmer until the rice is cooked, 16 to 18 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and serve.
My mom is a CSA member of Mile Creek Farm in Dayton, OH and made this recipe for me a few weeks ago when I was visiting her. It’s pretty tasty!
Roasted Eggplant and Fennel Salad
You will need:
1 medium-sized eggplant
1 large fennel bulb
2 garlic cloves or 3 small ones, whole and still wrapped in skin
3 Tablespoons of chopped herbs, recommended: 1 Tablespoon dill, 1 Tablespoon parsley, 1 Tablespoon mint
1 Tablespoon chopped scallions
2 Tablespoons pine nuts
1 teaspoon cumin
1 dash paprika
Salt and pepper
¼ cup + 1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1. Preheat your oven to 400. Cut the eggplant into one inch cubes and add to a large bowl, toss with 1/4 cup olive oil and salt (large rock salt if you have it). Slice the fennel into thin frons by slicing it in half first and ensuring each slice has a piece of the core to hold it together, like you would slice an orange. Add this to the bowl of eggplant and toss with the paprika and cumin and the whole garlic. You may want to use more garlic than you’ll need to ensure the cloves stay wrapped in the skin. You will need the molten roasted garlic for the dressing later.
2. Spread the fennel, eggplant and garlic on a baking sheet or large roasting pan in a single layer, adding any extra oil on top. Bake for 20-25 minutes just as the eggplant and fennel are starting to brown. You will want to check it every so often and mix the vegetables around with a spoon.
3. While they are roasting, make the salad. Add the chopped herbs, scallions and pine puts to a large bowl. In a small bowl mix 1 Tablespoon olive oil, 1 Tablespoon sesame oil and 1 Tablespoon lemon juice with some salt and pepper and set aside.
4. When the eggplant and fennel are sufficiently slightly browned, take them out of the oven to cool. Take the roasted garlic and squeeze out each clove (2-3) into the oil and lemon mixture. It should have the consistency of a paste. Whisk vigorously with a fork and taste, adding more oil or salt if necessary.
5. Add the eggplant and fennel to the bowl of herbs and nuts and toss with the dressing.
The last few weeks have seen us farmers busily trying to get all our fall crops, such as beets, greens, and lettuce in the ground so we’ll have a continuous harvest throughout the rest of the growing season. Timing is critical this time of year. If we don’t a planting in the ground on the planned for date it can mean there might not be enough time for the plant to mature before the days get too short. In addition to planting, we’ve been juggling the usual tasks of weeding, cultivating and harvesting. Speaking of harvesting, tomatoes are finally here! So without further ado, this week’s share:
Eggplant from Fields of Plenty
or Cucumbers from Fields of Plenty (Friday Only)
Tomatoes from Buffalo St, Fields of Plenty and Food Field
Cherry Tomatoes from Food Field (Friday Only)
Kale from Food Field and Vinewood Knoll
Fennel from Buffalo St
Garlic from Buffalo St and Food Field
Carrots from Buffalo St and Food Field
Today I’m doing what I almost never do, and that is prioritize my farm work based on how stuff looks. That is because tomorrow night my farm (Fields of Plenty) will be a roll by on the 18th Annual Detroit Agriculture Network Garden Tour. Fields of Plenty and Food Field will be on the Central Bus Tour, Buffalo Street Farm will be on the East Bus Tour. Last I talked to the folks at Keep Growing Detroit, both still had spaces open, but not many so if you’d like to attend be sure to sign up soon!
Now on to what you’re eating this week:
Tomatoes from Food Field and Buffalo Street
Carrots from Food Field and Buffalo Street
Sweet Potato Greens from Food Field
Cabbage from Food Field (Tuesday Only)
Kale from Buffalo Street
Garlic from Buffalo Street and Food Field
Pears from Singing Tree (Tuesday Only)
Sage from Fields of Plenty (Tuesday Only)
Oregano from Fields of Plenty (Saturday Only)