Can you believe that we only have one more week of the CSA?? That’s right – next week is the last week for the 2016 Pekarek’s Produce CSA. Attached to this week’s newsletter is an end of the season survey. You can either fill it out and return it with your box next week, fill in the survey questions below.
Spaghetti squash has a fibrous creamy white flesh which resembles spaghetti when cooked.
It’s not sweet and can be eaten just as you would spaghetti – with sauces and cheese!
So how do you cook these? The simplest way is to cut the squash in half and scrape out the seed and stringy parts. Put the pieces cut side down in a pan with ½ inch water. Bake at 400 oF for 1 hour or until a fork easily pokes through the skin.
Not sure this is enough to make a meal out of? Check out this video…
Thank you to all of you who joined us on the farm tour this weekend. We had a great turn out even though the mud didn’t let us take any hay rack rides. We had a little mud before the tour, but we have a lot of mud now! This is the time of year where we basically plan to work in mud boots from now through the end of December. The cool weather has been a bit of a needed reprieve for the crew and the rain yesterday actually allowed us to catch up on a few things. We had a nice 1.40 inches out of the evening and day!
Carrots have been planted in one of the high tunnels. We are still waiting for them to come up. It’s one of those crops that you seed and then you wait for 2 weeks to see if they are going to grow – its agonizing! Cucumber plants in the greenhouse are getting taller and we will probably begin harvesting slicing cucumbers in the greenhouse in the next week and a half or so.
We’ve started to harvest fall crops this week – yummy! The pumpkins are beautiful! There are great sweet potatoes in the field.
Unfortunately the rain chased us out, so we’ve only just begun. Spaghetti squash is looking good – If you’ve never cooked it before, be sure to check out these instructions for spaghetti squash.
Today we want to say welcome to our new CSA members who are doing a one month trial with Pekarek’s Produce CSA. Thank you for joining our little group here and you have joined just in time to join us for the farm tour.
The Pekarek’s Produce Farm Tour is THIS SUNDAY from 2 to 5 pm. We will have a hayrack ride leaving from the shed at 2:15 and 3:30. We will also be taking a walking tour through the greenhouse, high tunnels, and packing shed. Please join us if you can on Sunday, September 11 at the farm (2447 Road O, Dwight, Nebraska). The farm is on Highway 15, 13 miles north of Seward, Nebraska or 19 miles north of I-80 at exit 379.
In farm news, the pumpkins look pretty nice in the field. They are extremely bushy, with large vines, so it is almost difficult to see the pumpkins themselves. Unfortunately it looks like our fall cauliflower has black rot – which basically takes us out of the cauliflower business this fall. The fall cabbage and broccoli, however is looking pretty good and I am hopeful that some of that really late zucchini and cucumbers that were seeded will make a crop. And as usual, we have been having a good time with harvest…
We spent a little time on the tractor with the roto tiller cleaning up this week, trying to get rid of the weeds and prepare some ground for new crops. We took the cultivating tractor out, just briefly, to get it broke into the farm. We have high hopes!
Finally, be sure to join us for the Fall CSA! Signup info is below.
It’s the last day of August and that means that we only have four more weeks (after today) of the 2016 CSA. We’ve enjoyed getting your feedback and meeting you throughout the season. We hope you all try to join us for the Pekarek’s Produce Farm Tour on Sunday, September 11 from 2 – 5 pm. It’s only two weeks away now 🙂
The big news this week is that we got our new potato digger working! It is a behemoth of a machine from the 70s that may have been sitting in the trees for years. It took a lot of banging with a hammer, using a blow torch, ordering some new parts, and plenty of trial and error, but we got it moving this week.
Sign up information for the Pekarek’s Produce Fall CSA here! There is also a membership form below. The CSA will include four delivery dates on November 8th, 22nd, December 6th, and 20th. You can pick up your CSA share from 4- 7 pm at Lincoln – Schilingbridge and Seward – Winter Wonderland. Pick up on the farm will be after 1pm.
The peppers just don’t care if we are ready to eat all of them or not. Check out this article below from cookitquick.org on how to freeze your peppers.
Bell or Sweet Peppers (Green, Red, Yellow, Orange, Purple)
Select crisp, tender peppers.
Cut out stems and cut peppers in half.
Remove seeds and membrane — save time by using a melon baller or the tip of a spoon to scrape out seeds and membrane.
Cut peppers into strips, dice or slice, depending on how you plan to use them.
Freeze peppers in a single layer on a cookie sheet with sides, about an hour or longer until frozen. This method is often referred to as “tray freezing.”
Transfer to a “freezer” bag when frozen, excluding as much air as possible from the bag. The peppers will remain separated for ease of use in measuring out for recipes.
Pour out the amount of frozen peppers needed, reseal the bag and return to the freezer.
Hot Peppers (including Jalapeno Peppers)
Wash and stem hot peppers. Package, leaving no headspace. Seal and freeze. It is not necessary to cut or chop hot peppers before freezing.
Caution: The National Center for Home Food Preservation warns, “Wear plastic or rubber gloves and do not touch your face while handling or cutting hot peppers. If you do not wear gloves, wash hands thoroughly with soap and water before touching your face or eyes.”
HOT TIP: If your mouth is burning from eating hot peppers, help put out the fire with milk and other dairy products.
To extend the time frozen foods maintain good quality, package foods in material intended for freezing and keep the temperature of the freezer at 0 degrees F or below. It is generally recommended frozen vegetables be eaten within about 8 months for best quality.
Alice was running short on time when I received my most recent CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box from Pekarek’s Produce so she decided to see if she could use almost all the produce in just one recipe. Here’s how…
1/2 medium or 1 small cantaloupe, cut into approximately 1/2 inch chunks
3 husked and washed ears of sweet corn with silk removed (pat dry with a clean towel or paper towels)
1/2 small jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely diced
2 tablespoon finely chopped yellow onion
2 tablespoons chopped parsley or cilantro
Juice of 1 lime
Combine all the ingredients except the lime juice.
Sprinkle the lime juice over the combined ingredients and mix in.
Refrigerate for about 1 hour before serving to let the flavors meld together.
If you’ve never eaten jalapeno peppers, go easy on them the first time. You may want to start with just a tablespoon or so, then taste and go from there.
I still had some cantaloupe, onion and jalepeno peppers left as I was about to leave town. I used these easy directions to freeze the onions and used a somewhat similar method to freeze the peppers. I still had half a melon left; but this fresh-from-the-farm melon was so tasty I simply cut it into wedges and served “as is.”
Recipe created by Alice Henneman, MS, RDN,University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension Educator. For more recipes and tips for fast, healthy and delicious foods, visit cookitquick.org
Well good news folks – it rained last night! What a wonderful feeling. It was a nice slow rain that should soak into the ground and not runoff. Its good for the crops and good for the crew because it takes a lot of the pressure off of irrigating.
Today we will be planting cucumbers in the greenhouse and carrots in the high tunnel.
Crops in the field are plugging along like they should be. Broccoli in the greenhouse looks nice. It looks like every zucchini and cucumber we seeded two weeks ago is growing. Pickling cucumbers are coming along nicely in the field and it looks like we should have those again by the weekend. The majority of the pumpkins look pretty nice, especially the warty ones, and we plan to start picking those in the first couple weeks of September. I love pie pumpkin season!
Weed control is one of our biggest challenges on the farm. It’s probably why we all have terrible allergies right now J So guess what we are doing about weeds? Well we do many things, including the traditional “Christmas Method” for weed control – “Hoe, Hoe, Hoe.” But the best way to manage weeds is to take care of them early, so we got a new tractor this week! Now before you ask, how that helps, know that this tractor is a small tractor. It looks more like a praying mantis than a tractor and I can lift the front of this tractor from a dead lift. Why do I lift it, you ask – because I can…
We haven’t come up with a name for the tractor yet, but it will be our cultivating tractor. All of the work done from the tractor happens under its “belly.” This means you can watch the work being done under your feet. Hopefully this will help us get to the weeds when they are very small, almost like a white thread in the ground, and keep the farm clean. More to come on the tractor, but if you can come up with a good name for this little guy, let us know.
Don’t forget, the Pekarek’s Produce Farm Tour is set for Sunday, September 11 from 2 -5.
We’ve had our first sign ups for the Pekarek’s Produce Fall CSA. If you are interested, please let us know. We will give everyone a paper sign-up sheet next week, but a phone call or email will work as well.
The article below is from Alice Henneman at cookitquick.org who made some yummy looking dill cucumber sauce. She took the cucumber seeds out, but I prefer to leave them in – I don’t notice any difference, and lets be honest… I like it as easy as possible.
Dill Cucumber Sauce is delicious served with fish and is a great way to use summer’s abundant supply of cucumbers. It is especially tasty with salmon. Or, use it for a vegetable dip or a topping for baked potatoes. Nonfat Greek yogurt adds calcium and helps keep the calories down.
This was the perfect recipe to use for the last of the cucumbers I received in my CSA box from my farmer, Pekarek’s Produce. It is one of my husband’s favorite recipes. He’ll eat any of the remaining sauce straight from the serving dish!
We finally did it – we set a date for the farm tour! We hope you can join us on Sunday, September 11 for a Pekarek’s Produce Farm Tour. The tour will run from 2 – 5 pm. We will have hay rack rides leaving from the packing shed at 2:20 and 3:20. We will also take you on a tour through the greenhouse, high tunnels, and packing shed. Bring your family, bring a couple friends, or make a new friend – this is your chance to see how your produce is grown, where it comes from and meet the crew. Be sure to wear your “farm clothes” – even if you think you can stay clean, you won’t. Trust me on this one.
Announcing – Pekarek’s Produce Fall CSA! This year we will be offering a fall CSA during the months of November and December. The CSA will include four delivery dates which we tried to schedule to go along with the holidays: November 8th & 22nd, and December 6th & 20th. The cost for the fall CSA will be $100. The produce you receive in the box will be somewhat dependent on successful cropping and weather, just as it is in the current CSA and will primarily include vegetables that will store well.
Although we will focus on giving you crops that will store well, I thought it might help to know what produce we had available during these months last year. So often, people think the produce stops sometime in September, but our goal is to have produce through the end of the year into January of the following year.
November offerings from 2015 included cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, radishes, salad mix, spinach, bell peppers, kohlrabi, orange and red beets, cucumbers, carrots, potatoes, and winter squash. December offerings from 2015 included broccoli, spinach, salad mix, turnips, red & orange beets, carrots, potatoes, and winter squash.
The number of fall CSA shares will be limited, with the first availability going to current CSA members who sign up. Sign up forms will be included with your CSA box next week and available online at pekaresproduce.wordpress.com