Edgewood Farm Organics Newsletter - Harvest and Growing our CSA Family

Happy Delivery Day!

First and foremost I want to congratulate our Farmer Paul for completing his very first Organic Corn and Beans harvest this week.  Wow.  Year three of his farming career and already he is trucking bountiful loads of OG grain.  HE’s a natural and ought to be mighty proud of himself, the rest of the Edgewood Crew is!  Paul is a brother, a friend and an empowering co-worker to me and the crew and quite frankly, he deserves multiple high fives and definitely some days off!   He and his wife are expecting their first child in early November so his timing is impeccable.  Thank you Paul!

The weather has been gorgeous with the start of the golden leaves, backed by blue skies and fall breeze, a bit like paradise I believe….  The warm dry weather ended yesterday with a chilly, drenching rain, soaking everything including myself.  This morning we were greeted with an eye-opener better than coffee, a 37 degree sunrise perked us right up!

In the field my solitary days are over, my friend Keri has returned from the wilderness and is here to stay until the end of October.  In one day we were able to pull all of the tomato plants as well as the T posts that helped trellis them!  Two sets of willing and hardworking hands can go a long way, she’s proving that to me daily.  The peppers faired last night’s extreme temperature dip and the cabbage, radishes and Brussel’s basked in the coolness.  I look forward to sharing these items with everyone to end the season with a bang.

*On Monday Keri and I ventured off to experience another farmer’s field.  PrairiErth Farm in Atlanta, IL called on volunteers to come down and help harvest potatoes.  They have a lot of potatoes in their field along with many other delicious and exciting items.  We helped them and in return they helped us.  For their winter CSA and farmer’s markets they rely heavily on the sales of storage crops, for example winter radishes, turnips and sweet potatoes.  This year, based on overplanting or just excellent germination rates, they ended up with root crops that they weren’t going to have time to harvest.  Keri and I saw this as an opportunity to supply Edgewood’s CSA with some unusual crops that I don’t have in my field.  We harvested potatoes for them and got paid in veggies for all of our members!  The box may look emptier but I assure everyone it is full, full of sustenance.  In the recipe section I will provide guidance on how to cook and process.

In preparation for next year we are planning to grow the Edgewood Farm Organics CSA and we are calling on our current members to help make this possible.  With the future addition of Farmer Jon and a few other willing and able crew members we feel that growth is possible and essential.  Our CSA community now is remarkable and I don’t know a single other farmer that was able to start off with over 25 members consistently in their first years of growing.  Thank you for hopping on the CSA train and experiencing every twist and turn along with me.  We want to encourage more Clarke employees to take a chance on Organic Agriculture and we also want to include other willing people that live in the Roselle/Saint Charles areas to ride along with us.   We are striving to grow from a 27 member program to a 75 member program.  Shooting for the stars some might say but we’ve done the research, ran the numbers, and confidently stand behind our own skills…..we are enthused to broaden our embrace and include more community members in this experience.

*Included in each box is a post card full of information concerning the 2017 CSA season.  Bring it home and share the info. with neighbors, family and friends!  There will also be a stack of cards at each drop off spot for others to explore and consider.  Help us grow our CSA family! 

 

What to expect in the box on October 13, 2016

Watermelon Radishes

Russian Red Turnips

Korean Daikon Radishes

Hot Peppers – Jalapeno, Aji Crystal (orange/yellow), Candlelight (the tiny red ones)

Garlic

*As always, wash produce before indulging.

 

Recipe Ideas

Pickled Watermelon Radishes

https://food52.com/recipes/33585-pickled-watermelon-radishes

What is a Korean Daikon Radish?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daikon

How to cook it?

http://www.heraldextra.com/momclick/recipes/the-warmth-of-a-winter-radish/article_86637d3e-3d30-11e1-b6b0-0019bb2963f4.html

https://hotcheapeasy.com/2014/11/01/buttery-roasted-winter-radishes-and-watermelon-turnips/

I hope everyone enjoys celebrating the season with this autumn delivery!

"There is no season when such pleasant and sunny spots may be lighted on, and produce so pleasant an effect on the feelings, as now in October." -  Nathaniel Hawthorne

 

“Grow, inspire, repeat.”

 

With kindness,

Edgewood Farm Organic

Edgewood Farm Organics Newsletter - Hello Fall!

Happy Delivery Day!

Our last delivery for the month of September is here and that feels like quite an accomplishment!  I am hoping to finish strong with the last day of CSA on October 27th and I will keep everyone posted if this changes!  For now, enjoy the seasonal flavors while they are abundant.

The weather feels like FALL!  Waking up in the early morning and grabbing a sweatshirt is what I crave and those days are here!  Last week the temperatures stayed around 80 degrees and the nights in the mid 60’s and this week the day temperatures are in the lower 70’s and the nights down in the 50’s and even dipping down into the upper 40’s!  The crisp cool mornings always bring back memories of Montana days, when hoodies and coffee were a daily ritual, almost all year long.  I could go on and on about the satisfaction of crisp, cool weather but I don’t want to jinx a good thing.

In the field I seeded new varieties of radishes and salad mix that will hopefully be ready for the last couple deliveries.  The bell peppers are experiencing a comeback and some are turning colors and are blemish free.  They will certainly make another appearance or two, especially after giving everyone a break from them!  The Brussels Sprouts are getting big and nearing maturity.  I am excited to add those to the boxes in a couple weeks; they were started in the greenhouse in March so it has been exciting to see them develop, regardless of the elements they faced this season.

In preparation for next year we are brainstorming ways we can systemize what needs to be done.  For instance, watering is a necessity, unless it is constantly raining which is a whole other matter.  Much time can be spent turning irrigation on or watering the plants in the greenhouse.  How can we eliminate the time it takes to water?  Drum roll please…..we can use timers!  The use of timers will cut down on our need to drop everything and drive over to the greenhouse and water, or walk to the other end of the field and turn the pump on and remember to turn it off.  All of this is eliminated with the use of timers. 

Additionally we are looking to create systems with the type of equipment we use and how we use it.  Many parts and implements that we use are inexpensive and old.  They were used “back in the day” when many farms were small.  Now folks are getting rid of these parts or quite often they are in piles in the back of garages and Morten buildings.  We want to parallel our field layout with our cultivating and planting equipment.  By creating these types of systems we ideally reduce weed pressure, reduce back pain, and increase our time available to put towards other necessary tasks.

 

As for the lil’ Russians they are officially in Halloween mode.  Timmy started out wanting to be Luke Skywalker but then Wal-mart brought him to the dark side……Darth Vader it is!  I have my heart set on being R2D2 but will need to get creative to pull that one off.  I really want to be R2D2 so that I can make beeping noises all night as my form of communication.  For those out there that aren’t familiar, R2D2 is a robot in Star Wars that talks in beeping sounds, not words. Maybe this is a sign that I need to get off the farm more or maybe it just means that R2D2 rocks!  Joe found a SWAT uniform, complete with handcuffs.  My mom had to hide the handcuffs so that they wouldn’t accidentally find their way into his school bag.  With Halloween still a month away there is a good chance they will change their costume preference before then, I will keep everyone posted as this evolves J

What to expect in the box on September 29, 2016

Radishes – French Breakfast

Butternut Squash – Plow Creek Farm

Sweet Potatoes – Plow Creek Farm

Garlic

Basil

*As always, we recommend washing produce before indulging.

*I plan to be at Garden Ave. by 1:30pm, then Lunt, then Campus by 3pm.     

Recipes

Cooking Radishes:

http://www.thekitchn.com/yes-you-can-cook-radishes-here-are-5-tasty-ways-tips-from-the-kitchn-219890

Exciting and “do-able” Butternut Squash recipes

http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_56092ff3e4b0dd850308096b

Easy Peasy Roasted Butternut Recipe with Garlic

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/229733/simple-roasted-butternut-squash/

Enjoy exploring the possibilities that lie within this box.  Soup season is officially here so grab the crock pot and dosey-doe! Do a little kitchen jig in honor of September and recognize the bounty it provided for us.

 

“Grow, inspire, repeat.”

 

With kindness,

Edgewood Farm Organics

 

Edgewood Farm Organics Newsletter - Conservation Teaming with Organic Agriculture

(Written Sept. 15th)

Happy Delivery Day Comrades!

Time flew by last week with a jam packed schedule.  I didn’t want to rush through a newsletter so here it is!  Thanks for waiting. 

The weather has been a rollercoaster to us all, whether in the farm fields, battling Zeka in Florida or holding down the fort back at Clarke’s home bases.  Wow.  This year shall be declared “the year of the insect invasion!”  I know we all are secretly or in my case, openly, hoping for an extremely cold winter.  The daily temperatures under 80 degrees and much cooler nights have been refreshing; the 90 degree days can hibernate until next summer please!  Heavy rain has held off in the Princeton area this week although there’s an 80% chance of thunderstorms tomorrow.

In the field, crops are growing, crops are dying.  That’s the cold hard truth about it all, and a very smelly truth at that.  Rotting tomatoes and zucchinis have an odor that greets me boldly and lingers on my hands until I have time to scrub it away.  The peppers are holding in there but worry not, I’m giving everyone a break from them this week.  The first planting of fall radishes are looking great and more are being planted as well as spinach and turnips.  I will attempt a few plantings of salad mix; the rabbits seem to be obeying the electricity these days.

In preparation for next year there is much to look forward to.  Young and aspiring farmers face many challenges; land availability is one of the greatest concerns.  Next year will bring many unique challenges but the fortune that faces us overpowers any of that.  We have regenerated, fertile, available land.

Next year 8 acres of our beautifully established prairie comes out of the Conservation Resource Program it’s been in for 10-15 years.  As farmers we naturally look at the land as possibility for growth.  The new land available is primo for agriculture production, at the same time it is a beautiful and thriving native landscape.  How can we incorporate the established landscape with our agriculture lay-out?  We were intrigued by the concept and possibilities of Conservation teaming with Organic Agriculture in a symbiotic relationship.  It turns out that there are passionate professionals fighting the good fight in this arena; Xerces Society to name one.

Visit the Xerces Society webpage, view their research, and listen to their lectures.  We contacted them with this objective in mind: we want to create prairie and plant management systems that support native insect populations, while also enhancing farm production through this reestablishment of essential plants, pollinators and beneficial predatory insects.

Currently, we are brainstorming, researching, sketching out maps, and reaching out to other farmers who share our outlook.  We know that next year we will have native prairie borders around the 8 aces of production as well as smaller strips in between beds and rows of beneficial flower varieties.  Ultimately we want to eliminate the use of pesticide sprays.  Organic or not, it is unnatural and we will rest easier knowing that someday we will not rely on any external, “chemical” inputs.  This type of farming will take several years to establish and reap the benefits of the beneficial insects and plants; we feel strongly about creating a system that not only works on our farm but is also something that we can share and promote to future farmers. 

What to expect in the box on September 15th:

Swiss Chard – thanks to Paul Fritz from Saint Charles.

Sweet Potatoes – from Plow Creek Farm in Tiskilwa, IL!!  Next year Edgewood will grow our own!

Patty Pans – one last last last harvest, until next year of course……

Spicy Salad Mix – arugula, spicy greens, and kale.  Garden/Lunt will be in the boxes, Campus on counter

Oregano – a special treat from Mom’s awesome herb garden!

*As always, wash veggies before indulging.

*I expect to be at Garden Ave. by 2:30pm, then Lunt then Campus by 3:30-4pm.

Recipes:

Sweet taters and Oregano

https://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=585024

Sweet taters, Swiss Chard and Quinoa

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/sweet-potato-swiss-chard-and-quinoa-gratin-11436

Curried Sweet taters with fresh greens and chickpeas

http://www.vegkitchen.com/recipes/curried-sweet-potatoes-with-chard-and-chickpeas/

Savor the taste of the seasons transitioning!   Fall is just around the bend……

 

“Grow, inspire, repeat.”

With kindness,

Edgewood Farm Organic

Edgewood Farm Organics CSA Newsletter

Written Aug. 31st, 2016

Greetings from Edgewood!

The weather is wet.  When it’s not actually raining, the intense humidity provides the effect of soaking wet rain.  This past week we’ve been in a cycle of exactly that, when the clouds are around it feels cool and refreshing and then WAM, the sun breaks through and the steamy blanket of heat wraps around us. The rain came down hard the past few days and with that flooding rivers and creeks, kayaking is not an option right now!  Looking ahead it looks like the holiday weekend will be full of sunshine….yeehaw!

In the field it’s been strategic timing to get in there and till beds in order to seed radishes and spinach. On Monday I found a break in the weather when the soil was dry enough to get in there and seed.  There’s been excessive rain, heat and sunshine so hopefully the seeds will germinate quickly.  There are a couple new varieties of radishes that I’m excited to try this fall, including an Easter Egg mix, with multiple colors and Champion variety, which will be orange.  The spinach should do well too as the temperatures begin to coolOver my veggie loving years I’ve tried many varieties of greens but fresh Organic spinach remains my absolute favorite.  Spinach salads to come, get excited comrades!

In the greenhouse the kale and late brassicas are germinating and if all goes well we will have a delicious crop to enjoy for our last couple deliveries.  Other than that the greenhouse is preparing for hibernation.  In fact, we are planning to double the size of the greenhouse for next year by extending a similar structure right off the existing one.  Doubling the CSA program = doubling the amount of space needed.

As for the lil’ Russians they rocked the Bureau County Fair last week. Thrilling rides, mud splashing demolition derbies, lemon freezes and an overall lack of sleep and excessive fun sums up the experience.  They created the term “fair-hangover!”  Back to school now they are discussing with their classmates their fair adventures, as the County fair is the most popular event around here.

Dove hunting opens on Thursday and Joe will partake in that, while Timmy will happily build Legos and indulge in Star Wars.  By the way, Timmy completed a 458 piece Star Wars Lego Ship in less than a week.  He worked on it after his school commitments were through each day, and then by Friday it was completed and I’ve never seen an 8 year old so proud.

*Next week Susan the baker/hummus creator will have classic hummus available as well as a black bean and garlic hummus.  Both recipes will use fresh OG garlic from Edgewood so I’m sure it will be amazing!

*There will be extra green Italian peppers for anyone that wants more, there will be two in each box.

*If anyone is interested in the last of the tomatoes of the season, I can sell them for an extremely low member price.  Email me if interested.  I don’t want to be the only one making sauce for the winter, and will include a winning tomato sauce recipe with purchase.

 

What to expect in the box on August 31, 2016

Swiss Chard

Peppers - One yellow bell each, plus other bells and Italian varieties in each box

Patty Pan – I’m not tired of these sweet squashes yet, hope everyone agrees!

Eggplant - from Plow Creek Farm

Jalapeno – one per box and they’re extremely hot

Dill – the entire plant, beautiful and useful!  It will be on counter for those at campus.

*As always, we recommend washing the produce before indulging.

There are both repeat and fresh goodies in this box!  Eat well and embrace the holiday weekend, maybe new friends will be made while these veggies are cooking over the grill…fresh organic veggies can win hearts, this I know!  Add some fresh goat cheese and local organic meat and those new friends are sure to stick around.  Happy Labor Day everyone!

 

“Grow, inspire, repeat.”

 

With kindness,

Edgewood Farm Organics

 

 

 

 

Edgewood Farm Organics CSA Newsletter - Thanks Mom!

Howdy CSA Comrades!

Delivery is on Wednesday this week, today! Please note we will do Wednesday delivery next week as well! September 8th we will go back to our usual Thursday pick-up. Thanks to everyone for their flexibility towards scheduling.

The weather, well, I forgot to include that thrilling information in the last newsletter. Rookie move. The weather has been something to talk about lately, with temperatures consistently in the low 80’s during the day and much cooler nights. What a treat it is when it’s not 80 degrees by 8am! The crisp early mornings are energizing after the warm blanket we’ve had wrapped around us. Fall weather is just around the bend.  In the field the tomato plants are preparing for their new home in the compost pile, as well as the cukes, zukes and patty pans. The winter squash are still doing well, I look forward to next year when we plan to devote a half acre to winter squash and pumpkins! I am directly seeding radishes, turnips, and spinach into the field on Thursday with The Planet Jr. Walk behind-seeder. I will capture some photos and video to attach to the website to show off the essential, antique equipment we have.

In the greenhouse I seeded more kale and hope this planting does better than the last. The insects are taking a toll on my plants and my mind, as soon as I think I understand the culprit a new species enters the arena. Wabbits, worms, beatles oh my! Perhaps I can seek out an entomologist for guidance…..

As for the lil’ Russians they are struggling to understand that homework is constant and it must be completed, almost every day. Their busy 8 and 11 year old schedules make it hard to fit homework in.  Far too many Legos to build and splashes to be made in the pond.  Their “super helper” skills may be missing these days but the void is once again filled by someone who is rocking it out with me! My Mom! Now that she isn’t juggling the constant daily needs, wants and whines of the boys she is able to get in the field, get dirty and get er’ done. CSA harvest and packing days rely heavily on her presence. I’m thankful for a Mom that doesn’t hesitate to help even when the work may be challenging and often seemingly, endless. Thanks Mom!

****Confessions and Reflections from your Farmer****

This is my 3 rd year as a vegetable farmer, and 2 nd year as a CSA grower. I want to be humble and transparent with everyone about the experience so far. My first year I had “bumper” crops across the board and only a small-town, very slow, farmer’s market to sell my produce. Then last year with a full-time employee, we had abundance and wide variety as well as record rain and weeds. Looking back on that year, the historical rains in June were overshadowed by the excellent health and diversity throughout the field. This year, the third year in production on this field, (and in my life) has been a whirlwind of discovery, climbing, stumbling and getting back up again and hiking forth. Fellow farmers have voiced that actually this is a common sequence. 1st year bumper crops, 2nd year strong and steady, 3rd year the learning “curve” or what I call mountain, steepens. The plateaus are nonexistent in this biz and that’s okay. That’s great in fact, farming will always evolve, and it will challenge us, and we will grow. Discovering that I share similar experiences as other farmers reassures and motivates me.  More immediately, I reflect on this year’s lack of Kale and Specialty greens, Carrots, and Beets. As well as the lack of diversity overall, for example last year we had unique offerings like fennel, chard and various herbs. Also, there’s a lot of repetition throughout this season.* I will note, when crops are bountiful in their season that is what we eat, we “eat in season.”  Summer = tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, etc. CSA thrives on the collective commitment we have with each other as well as the commitment to eat in season. I can take accountability for the lack of more exciting items or even staple items available, as I continue to force tomatoes into everyone’s lives, week after week. Fennel, heat-tolerant Head Lettuce or Swiss Chard would have been ideal to accompany these items! All I am trying to convey throughout this confession/reflection is that I notice where I am falling short and will continue my commitment to learning and improving for the remainder of this year and beyond.

What to expect in the box on August 24, 2016:

Potatoes – Austrian Crescent Fingerlings and German Butterball

Peppers – Bell and Green Italian Frying Peppers – no hot peppers so don’t be scared

Patty Pan – I love these things! Grill them or get creative.

Tomatoes – Red slicing, small cherry tomatoes, San Marzano paste tomatoes (the long shaped variety)

Garlic – this will store well on the counter or the fridge

Basil – This herb goes well with all of the above in my opinion

Recipe Ideas

Tomato - http://www.splendidtable.org/recipes/summer-tomato- pudding

Caprese Salad – http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/caprese- salad-recipe.html

Grilled Patty Pan Bruschetta - http://www.irenematys.com/#!grilled-pattypan/we270

Delicious Gratin variation - http://www.food.com/recipe/potato-green- pepper-tomato- gratin-101583

*I plan to be at Garden Ave. by 2pm, then Lunt, then campus between 3-3:30pm

*As always, we recommend washing the produce before indulging.

Have a blast swinging away on Thursday!

“Grow, inspire, repeat.”

With kindness,

Edgewood Farm Organics

Edgewood Farm Organics CSA Newsletter - Getting by with a little help from my friends!

Happy Delivery Day!

I hope the summer varieties satisfied everyone last week. The juicy watermelon, colorful beans and fresh picked sweet corn were enjoyed by the Edgewood crew over many tasty meals. I certainly aspire to growing sweet corn and melons like that in the near future! We are fortunate to have such a kind and welcoming farm community in Bureau County and I will keep my eyes open for more varieties from them during the next three months! Thank you for the bakery support too, Baker Susan obviously knows what she’s doing when it comes to cinnamon rolls but make sure to eat vegetables before indulging. Balance makes perfect.

The weather is warm, muggy and quite summer like; go figure….the rain was light this week, except for the numerous down pours experienced during delivery last Thursday. The forecasted moisture seems to be scattered so the drip irrigation is back on and the crops are drinking it up.

In the greenhouse the plants have been moved out into the “hardening-off” preparing to be transplanted into the field on Friday. The empty greenhouse tells me that I need to get in there and start more seeds for fall production.

In the field tomatoes and peppers are turning colors and ripening quickly. They are facing pressure from insects but there are still a lot of beautiful fruits that will shine in the boxes this week. The patty pan summer squashes are ready for delivery and the cucumbers and zucchini continue to produce so they will reappear this week as well. Many onions (although small) are ready for consumption and will compliment any squash or tomato dish. Winter squash are setting fruits, and I imagine the Delicata variety will appear in the box within the next month. Also in the field, carrots, beets, winter radishes and salad mix were directly seeded into raised garden boxes and will be a part of the fall harvest.

A few extra thanks must be given to some kind people that helped check a lot off the endless to-do list last weekend. My cousin and his friend helped me re-electrify with the electric fence in order to keep the rabbits out, they also helped mow, weed-wack and drink beers. Sweet success! A heartfelt thank you goes to my friend Keri for showing up on Saturday, with a broken toe, and weeding her heart out. The Brussels Sprouts are extremely grateful and looking great now that we can actually see them! Keri is helping me with whatever she can, and her awesome spirit keeps me charging forward with a positive attitude. We need more Keri’s in the OG farming world. 

What to expect in the box on August 4, 2016

Tomatoes – assortment of sizes and varieties

Peppers – 2 types of green bell peppers

Cucumbers – this may be the last time…..

Patty Pan Summer Squash – might be the only harvest we will get from these!

Onions – little baby onions

Sage – culinary herb

Recipe Ideas:

http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2006/07/patty-pan- squash-stuffed- with-cajun.html

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/tomato- onion-and- cucumber-salad- recipe.html

http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ingredients-fine- foods/45-things- to-do- with-fresh- sage/

http://easteuropeanfood.about.com/od/polishmaincourses/r/Polish-Stuffed- Kohlrabi-Kalarepki-Faszerowane-Recipe.htm

*For those that order bakery goods, they will be in the pick-up room with your name on it! Please give Jamie the money today before 2pm. Make checks payable to: Susan-Marie Elemendorf or cash is great too. All items are $2.00 each. Thank you! We will continue to do this and expand weekly options as long as we have folks interested!

* Always wash your CSA produce before eating. Although they are rinsed they still need to be washed before indulging.

*I plan to arrive at Garden Ave. by 3:00pm, then Lunt, then Campus between 4 pm.*

**** Special CSA member offer**** Please look for an email from me later today! We are ready to release a very special farm creation to all of our members; cinnamon rolls are great but I think we have something even more exciting! I will let the suspense build on that and send an email with informational attachments very soon. Have a great weekend everyone! Adventures with fresh food await!

“Grow, inspire, repeat.”

With kindness,

Edgewood Farm Organics

Edgewood Farm Organics CSA Newsletter

Happy Delivery Day!

Prepare for a box full of summer excitement; CSA Santa is coming to town! Have no worries, the elves forgot to harvest the yellow squash. Thank you for the responses to the “evite” for the Hoedown, if anyone didn’t receive the invitation please let me know. I apologize for the inconvenient timing for many of our members, this is a significant work in progress and I will narrow down a more appropriate “Hoedown” date in the years to come.

The weather has been quite a wild ride, thanks to El Niño, “Spanish for THE Niño.” (Yep, I just quoted the late great Chris Farley). We all survived the sizzling weekend heat in our own creative ways and now, well it’s still HOT. At least the nights are cooling down for some sweet relief and a weekly dose of intense rainfall has been consistent. I spent the weekend indoors canning many vegetables, and preparing Christmas gifts ahead of time. The German roots within deepened as I prepared my first batch of “traditional” sauerkraut, Christmas Katy Kraut I might call it! My family knows what to expect in December, mason jars filled with goodness.

In the field I am rolling with the punches and celebrating the small stuff. Sounds more cliché than it actually is. The tomatoes are facing a similar issue as last year and are experiencing blight and/or a plant disease. I spoke with a few other farmers in this area and they don’t seem too worried about it so I will follow their lead and bring everyone tomatoes for as long as the plants will give to us. On a healthier note, my favorite summer squash, the glorious patty pans, are almost ready! Grilled Patty’s are on the horizon! Also in the field, the tractor and tiller are ready and willing for the field. Carrots, beets, turnips and winter radishes need to be seeded into freshly worked soil, and soon. Fall Brassicas will be transplanted next week after we dominate the wascally wabbits this weekend, peaceful domination of course.

In the greenhouse the head lettuce is thriving and newly seeded Napa Cabbages germinated very well. I will continue to seed fall brassicas and lettuce to make sure we have a bountiful fall.  As for the lil’ Russians, they are off at Culture Camp exploring their Russian roots and cultures beyond.

Farmer Paul is up North, slaying the summer catch, and that leaves me to secure the roost for a week, accompanied by 12 chickens and 2 Labradors. Just when I thought farming couldn’t get any more secluded! ”Absence makes the heart grow fonder,” is ringing true. 

Enough farm jibber-jabber, let’s talk about the special summer delivery coming today! A huge thank you goes out to 3 farmers/growers that helped make this week extra tasty. Paul Fritz (egg delivery guy at campus), and two local Bureau County farms contacted me about veggie surplus available for wholesale price. I jumped on these offerings as they are all items I do not have abundance of myself, and I wanted to break up the cuke and squash monotony! All three growers use only organic methods to grow their produce, although not certified their products are clean and safe. Perhaps this is a future farmer’s co-op in the making. Farmers helping farmers grow……we might be on to something here!

What to expect in the box on July 28, 2016:

Green Bell Pepper

Tomatoes – Garden Ave. and Lunt will have tomatoes pre-packed, Campus will have ‘maters counter

Basil – in boxes for Garden Ave. and Lunt, and on counter for Campus

Green Beans – Paul Fritz, Saint Charles, IL

Sweet Corn: Lazy U Farm, Tiskilwa, IL

Eggplant – 2 varieties, Coneflower Farm, Tiskilwa, IL

YELLOW WATERMELON – Coneflower Farm

Recipe suggestions: Look up these simple ideas to use this week’s items:

Ratatouille - http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/ratatouille-108350

Grilled Corn - http://www.seriouseats.com/2013/07/the-food- lab-three- ways-to- grill-corn.html

Watermelon ideas - http://www.epicurious.com/tools/searchresults?search=yellow+watermelon

*For those that order bakery goods, they will be in the pick-up room with your name on it! Please give Jamie the money today before 2pm. Make checks payable to: Susan-Marie Elemendorf or cash is great too. All items are $2.00 each. Thank you! We will continue to do this and expand weekly options as long as we have folks interested!

* Always wash your CSA produce before eating. Although they are rinsed they still need to be washed before indulging.

*I plan to arrive at Garden Ave. between 2-2:30pm, then Lunt, then Campus between 3-3:30pm.

*Remember to pick the CSA box up or I’m sure others will gladly reap the benefits!

Enjoy a great weekend and wear that watermelon smile proudly!

“Grow, inspire, repeat.”

With kindness,

Edgewood Farm Organics

Edgewood Farm Organics CSA Newsletter - Get well soon Laura!

Happy Delivery Day!

First and foremost, I want to say, “Laura you are an amazing, strong and courageous woman! Keep on pushing through these unexpected forces. You are extremely loved and admired, we are praying for your healing and hoping that you are feeling our love embracing you!” I will continue sending Sue Stout funny pictures that she can share with Laura……and everyone else do their part to show a fellow CSA comrade how much we look out for one another.

Summer is certainly here and the spring weather that we thought was hot doesn’t seem so bad now!  The rain came down quick and hard last week, leaving the field very saturated and the muggy temperatures and lack of wind have done little to dry it out. The extreme heat that is on the near horizon is sure to dry everything and more! Personally I am planning on staying out of the crazy heat this weekend and taking the opportunity to begin canning some veggies for winter storage; a perfect excuse to stay in for a day. If planning on being outside this weekend make sure that it’s time spent in a pool, lake, pond, etc. Otherwise, stay inside and start canning as well! Our grandmothers would approve.

In the field, “Be vewwy, vewwy quiet...I'm hunting wabbits! KILL THE WABBIT, KILL THE WABBIT!!" At least that’s what’s going through my head. This is the first year that “wascally wabbits” have been an issue in the field. The main crops targeted, (now that they ate all the Chard), are the onions and low hanging tomatoes. They munched the tops of the onions and pulled them out of the ground, leaving tiny onions that won’t grow anymore. Timmy, my youngest brother was munching happily on “little baby onions” as we collected them, and I had to remind him often that we need to save them for CSA members! Enjoy the world’s smallest onions in the box this week.

On a brighter note, there are many green tomatoes on the vines, as well as gorgeous bell peppers that are truly weighing down the plants. Each box will find one bell pepper in the box as it was important to harvest some of the peppers that were hitting the ground. With the extreme heat on the way, the fruiting crops will be changing colors soon!

In the greenhouse, thanks to the help from the Gardeneers, there are many trays of head lettuce germinating! More brassicas were just seeded, in hopes of having plenty of kale this fall, and by the time they are ready to be transplanted into the field I will have all the wascally wabbits taken care of…..or at least my electric fence working properly.

The little Russians have been super helpers lately. Timmy is back in the farm game and making sure to taste all of the veggies before we put them in the boxes. He’s our new QC man. He only eats raw veggies, and lots of them, rest assure the veggies that go in the CSA box have been tasted and approved for delivery by Tim Clarke. Joe is the mowing master, whether it’s the little rider mower or the big tractor pulling the huge deck mower behind, he is getting it done. He stops for food breaks and to check on how everyone else is doing, other than that he is getting those grasses maintained! Good luck to Joe this week with the big baseball tournament. Go for the gold Joe!

*”I am creating an “Evite” for the Summer Hoedown to help make it easier on everyone and will send it out by the beginning of next week.

*Please collapse boxes when dropping them off, and I will always take plastic zip loc bags back for personal use.

* Always wash your CSA produce before eating. Although they are rinsed they still need to be washed before indulging.

* I plan to arrive at Garden Ave. between 2-2:30pm, then Lunt, then Campus between 3-3:30pm.

What to expect in the box on July 21, 2016

Kale – kale is still limited but local farmers markets are sure to have more if there isn’t enough in box

Onions - the wabbits harvested these prematurely. Tiny but delicious

Cucumbers - 2-3 varieties

Green Bell Pepper - 1 per box, needed to harvest the low-hanging ones)

Tomato - just a taste of the first, little ripened ones, before the wabbits got to them

Cabbage – possibly one little cabbage head

Garlic

*FreeBee Box: I know everyone is over the yellow crooknecks, and I am giving you permission to toss what you have left of those to chickens or compost! The newest variety of summer squash I am picking very small and tender. They are so delicious they can be enjoyed raw dipped in (organic)ranch! There are a few in each box but the rest will be at the pick-up location for those who want more.

*There will also be mint and/or basil for people to take if they please. I know that mint is abundant for many but for those that don’t have it readily available there will be some to take home. Dive into adventurous meal with family and friends this weekend, get the grill going, keep the oven off and remember to drink lots of water and other tasty beverages. The heat is on……

“Grow, inspire, repeat.”

With kindness,

Edgewood Farm Organics

Edgewood Farm Organics CSA Newsletter - Gardeneers CAMP!

Happy Summertime Everyone!

I hope the seasonal varieties are satisfying the taste buds and meal time adventures are expanding! The Edgewood crew experienced an adventure of a life time, and it all happened in three, eye-opening, inspirational days! We had the pleasure of hosting a group from Chicago, The Gardeneers, on the farm for an educational experience that will be cherished forever.

"Gardeneers are dedicated leaders who sustain school gardens — and empower students to enrich their knowledge of nutrition, connect with their community and become stewards of the environment."  

More info at http://www.gardeneers.org/  

The schedule was full of fun and learning, here’s a glance at each day:

Day 1:

  • Urban vs. Rural Agriculture
  • Conventional vs. Organic Agriculture
  • Greenhouse: Learning the process and importance of starting seeds in a greenhouse
  • Free time: swimming in the farm pond, a first time experience for most of the campers
  • Group Dinner: everyone, adults and campers helped make the farm fresh meal happen

Day 2:

  • Cheese and Bread Making Sessions at Flour House Bakery!
  • Global Food Crisis: Food! Discussion addressing food insecurity and equality
  • Organic Farming Production: Succession plant planning, crop rotation, etc.
  • Work in CSA field with Katy
  • Farm Ecosystem Discussion and Scavenger Hunt with Farmer Paul
  • Group BBQ, once again, a collective effort to create the meal!

Day 3:

  • Learning about Chickens and Bees!
  • Farm fresh breakfast!
  • CSA session:  Why it’s important to know your farmer!
  • CSA production:  Harvesting and packing the boxes
  • Closing session: Student reflections on The Life of a Farmer and the Experience at Edgewood

I could go on and on about my perspective of the camp, like I stated before it was absolutely life-enhancing. What is most important, I believe, is to share the experience from the Gardeneers perspective. Here is what the “campers” had to say as they reflected on their time at Edgewood.

When telling your friends about the farm experience, what new knowledge will you share with them?!

“Try new things!”

“Experience a farm before forming an idea or opinion about it!”

“Farming = a lot of time, commitment and isolation!”

“Farming = lots of work but also lots of benefits come from the effort and sacrifice.”

“Now we have a better understanding of what it takes to get Organic food into grocery stores!”

“The higher price of Organic food makes more sense after we experienced the process first hand.”

What surprised you the most?

“The potato process, learning that the little eyes become the sprouts and each seed potato planted can produce many potatoes from it!”

“I love the barn house and the Eco house!”

“I never knew people could get married in a barn. That’s really cool!”

“It was surprising how easy it was to make friends with other campers while we were on the farm.”

“Swimming in the pond was awesome!”

“I can’t believe that most of the corn and soybeans grown around here we can’t even eat!”

“I find it surprising that there are still really nice people in the world, like the Edgewood crew, willing to

share their land and time with us.”

What is one thing you will take away from this experience?

“The knowledge”

“The games- Ghost in the graveyard on the farm!”

“The amount of respect and trust people have.”

“Always be welcoming to others.”

“New skills.”

“Appreciate where your Organic food comes from.”

“The silence.”

These reflections are real and powerful. The teenagers apart of this inaugural education camp taught us invaluable life lessons, and for that I am eternally grateful. Despite the inequality they may face in their lives, they work hard, learn eagerly, and accomplish more than any teenagers I have ever met. They are the positive light in our future; I am confident that each and every one of them will conquer amazing feats in their time. Hopefully I will have the pleasure of employing some of them at Edgewood Farm Collective in days to come! “We are all in this together!” We all need to live that statement and consequently future generations will thrive and equality will grow.

Thank you for encouraging small-scale, Organic farming and specifically Community Supported Agriculture. I hope everyone will be able to make it to the Summer Hoedown; I want to express my gratitude by providing a fun farm-filled afternoon.

*Email me to confirm attendance at the Summer Hoedown, August 13th!  Feel free to email any specific questions or concerns about the event.

*Please collapse boxes when dropping them off, and I will always take plastic zip loc bags back for personal use.

* Always wash your CSA produce before eating. Although they are rinsed they still need to be washed before indulging.

In the box on July 14, 2016:

Potatoes – Austrian Crescent Fingerlings, German Butterballs

Cabbage – small and delicious!

Yellow Crookneck Summer Squash

Cucumbers – Suyo longs are the crazy, long variety and one of my faves!

Parsley/Cilantro

Purslane

Recipes:

“Grow, inspire, repeat.”

With kindness,

Edgewood Farm Organics

Edgewood Farm Organics CSA Newsletter - Crookneck Squash

(Pictured: Edgewood Farm Organics bee boxes are intentionally placed just a stone's throw from the CSA garden.  These honey bees help to pollinate the CSA veggies, this guy is headed for the flower of a yellow crookneck squash plant)

Happy Delivery Day!

Summertime is truly here along with fresh variety for our taste buds. The Edgewood crew had a blast celebrating Independence Day and hopefully the same goes for all of our CSA members! There is absolutely nothing wrong with a four day work week, congrats, the weekend is just around the corner!

The weather was relatively pleasant last week and the overcast days were a treat. Last year the fourth of July weekend was the first time we experienced sunshine in seemingly a month; this year I imagine most of us were totally fine with clouds overhead. By Tuesday the clouds had moved on and we were back to blue skies, and heat. Looking at the blue sky all day, I questioned the forecasted thunderstorms on the way. The storm was moving fast though, and by the middle of the night it swooped into Bureau Valley, leaving nearly 2 inches of rain in a short amount of time. The drip irrigation will not be necessary for a while, especially with the possibility storms brewing through Thursday.

In the field the variety of insects is increasing simultaneously with the variety of crops that are growing!  The main target victims are the cucumber, summer squash and tomato plants but with a little extra attention and care they will all be fine. The summer squash is producing prolifically, and the yellow crookneck variety is sure to please with this week’s delivery. On the grill they are amazing but please try a few pieces raw, the flavor is incredible. My favorite report from the field is the little tiny peppers forming and the many green tomatoes on the vines. Good fertilization and consistent watering will keep those plants maturing right along.

In the greenhouse trays are being filled with potting mix and seeds are on their way towards germination. Fall Broccoli, Cabbage and Cauliflower were started Tuesday and will be treats in the fall CSA boxes! 

Enough talk about work, CSA Summer Hoedown is happening!

When:  Saturday, August 13th is the date, 12 - 4pm is the time (or camp to spend the night)

Where: Edgewood Farm Collective - 17803 Backbone Rd, Princeton, IL 61356.  

Why: Come celebrate the growing season with us!

Who:  All you wonderful folks, your families, and friends of Edgewood.  

The culinary theme is Mexican cuisine and beverages for all ages will be provided.  All of the food will be sourced from Edgewood and other local organic farms!  We will tour the entire farm, indulge my brother Johnny in the history of this land, explore the field that supports your weekly box deliveries, harvest veggies to fresh from the field for our meal, and get to know each other and the farm as we indulge in fun! For the adventurous type, there are many great campsites to be found on the farm and we welcome families and friends to camp with tents or campers!

Please email me to confirm attendance, how many in your party (including any children attending), and if you plan on camping.  Don't hesitate to reach out to me with any questions/concerns.  Please RSVP with the info requested above by Monday Aug. 8th. to edgewoodorganicscsa@gmail.com.

**Princeton Pro-Tip: For those members that are “chomping at the bit” to get out of the burbs earlier on that Saturday for the Hoe-Down, the Princeton Farmer’s Market is from 8:30-1pm and our dear friends run the best coffee shop ever, The Flour House, on the north end of Princeton’s main street.

For delivery this week I plan to arrive at Garden Ave. between 2-2:30pm, then Lunt, then Campus between 3-3:30pm.

*Please collapse boxes if possible, and I will always take plastic zip lock bags back for personal use.

*Always wash your CSA produce before eating. Although they are rinsed they still need to be washed before indulging.*

What to expect in the box July 7, 2016:

  • Summer Squash – Yellow Crookneck
  • Cucumbers
  • Garlic
  • Kale – Lacanato, Red Russian and Curly varieties
  • Basil
  • Calendula Flowers – edible flowers, great for topping salads of all kinds or dry them for tea!

Recipe ideas:

Look online for Korean pancakes made with summer squash, the possibilities are endless!

Try this with the fresh cukes:

http://natashaskitchen.com/2015/08/08/creamy-cucumber- salad-recipe/

Happy meal adventures to everyone! Enjoy the new, fresh tastes and have a great weekend.

“Grow, inspire, repeat.”

With kindness,

Edgewood Farm Organics