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News and blog

Welcome to the blog.
Posted 3/1/2012 11:26am by Andy Watson.

Happy March!

I am adding a post about our eggs. We are receiving them from Keene Organics which is just up the road from us. Here is there website. http://keeneorganics.com/farm_fresh_pastured_eggs

Posted 2/28/2012 8:46pm by Andy Watson.

Hello Sprouting Acres Members, 

     We wanted to remind members that we added a pick-up location this year at 5110 Regent Street, which is just off of Whitney Way. We are adding more sites to make your pick up location more convenient. If you would like to switch from another location, please let us know.

Thanks

Posted 1/25/2012 12:43pm by Andy Watson.

Hello. Want to learn some cooking tips and get some great recipes? Then check out cooking classes at All Through The House in Stoughton. Andy has a few classes with a few spots available and there are other intructors as well. Hope to see you there. Check out the link below.

http://shopthehouse.com/id65.html

Posted 1/20/2012 9:57pm by Andy Watson.

Check out these stories and articles about why egg prices, especially organic, are much higher than conventional. I was also told once by an organic egg farmer that  if eggs were purchased by the lb. instead of per dozen, people probably wouldn't complain about paying $3-$5 for a dozen eggs, which is about a lb. of eggs. Plus, free range eggs have much more nutritional value than an egg from a chicken that is stuck in a cage for it's short life. The Mother Earth News article is great and the other one from Local Harvest helps explain what a grower ends up making after the chicken bills are paid. 

http://www.localharvest.org/blog/27856/entry/you_want_how_much_for

 

http://www.motherearthnews.com/Real-Food/2007-10-01/Tests-Reveal-Healthier-Eggs.aspx

 

http://www.rodale.com/organic-eggs

Posted 10/19/2011 10:26pm by Andy Watson.

Items In Your Box This Week:   

Garlic

Mixed Onions

Butternut Squash

Romaine Lettuce

Sweet Potatoes

Carrots/Parsnips

Red Potatoes

Sunchokes

Winter Red Radishes

Radishes

Tomato

Spinach

Herb: Thyme

The last box of the 2011 season is here. We hope you have enjoyed the last 21 weeks of produce and have enjoyed being members of our farm.  Thank you for choosing us to be your Farmers for the season. We wouldn’t have the farm without you. Thanks for all the great emails and posts during the season. We have had a lot of fun and feel like it was our best season yet. We could have done without the extended heat and humidity wave we had in August, but we pushed through it and had a great end of the season. It seems Mother Nature keeps following us each year and throwing some wrenches into our plans.

            You will be getting an email in the next few days with a survey monkey link. Please take a couple minutes and fill out the survey for us. We do read them all, and we do listen to what you have to say. You will be receiving an email in early January about the 2012 growing season as well.  If don’t want to wait until January or already know you will be joining up again, you may send us a check to hold your spot for next year. Just post date it 1/1/2012. We will not cash them until next year and it will hold your spot for veggies. $150 will hold your spot.

 

            Let us know if you have any questions or need any more suggestions with how to use the rest of your produce. Check out the storage tips on the back and thanks again for a great year. Also, check out www.shopthehouse.com if you are interested in cooking classes this winter in Stoughton. Andy will be teaching another few over the cooler months and they usually sell out fast.

 

            We hope you enjoy your last box!

Kelly Bratt & Andy Watson, Sprouting Acres

The invite below may sound familiar but no we didn’t forget to erase it from last week’s newsletter. It turns out that some of the hoophouse pipes that were originally delivered to the farm were the wrong size. By about 1/4”. The new pipes are now here and we are going to give it another try this Saturday. We would love as much help as we can get.  Here it is…..

 

If anyone is looking for a good way to spend Saturday afternoon, come on out to the farm and help us erect our new hoophouse. There will be plenty of jobs for everyone. Drilling, holding boards, connecting pipes, enjoying the nice weather, and then enjoying a home made meal by Andy, drinks included.  We hope some of you can make it. We will start around two and we stop  at five. Then eat. Let us know if you are coming so we can plan accordingly.  

 

Storage Tips

Autumn is the time for storage crops. You will be getting a few in the box this week.

Butternut squash should be stored in a cool dark place. A basement is perfect, but just in the pantry works as well. Butternuts actually get sweeter the longer the store. The smaller squash should be eaten in the next month or so.

Sunchokes should be kept in the bag they are in. They will last for months in the crisper as long as they are in bag. For freshness, they should be eaten in a month or so. Recipe to the left.

Sweet potatoes should be eaten in the next couple weeks or so. We dug ours late because of the season and did not have time to properly cure them for storage. They can stay in a paper bag in the pantry or basement until use.

Carrots/Parsnips should stay in the bag they are in. They can be stored in the fridge for a couple months.

Radishes, small ones should have greens removed, and stored in a bag for a week or two. The large ones,(loose in the box) are a different variety. They are winter radishes and will store for a month or so in a plastic bag in the fridge. They can be eaten just like a radish but they are much sweeter and great on salads or pickled.

Onions/Garlic should be stored in paper bags or mesh bags but kept away from light. If you want to slow down the onions and garlic from sprouting in late winter if there are any left, toss them into the fridge. For now, they can sit on a dark, cool shelf or in the basement.

Herbs can be kept in the fridge in a bag or hung up to dry. Once dried, toss them into a ziplock bag and then to pantry.

Our winter red radishes have bright fuscia-pink flesh. These are sweeter than most radishes & are stunning grated or sliced on salads. In China they are treated more like a fruit & eaten like an Asian pear.

 

Here is a recipe for pickled radishes from Mother Earth News…

Here is a general recipe that can be tweaked to your liking:

Quick Pickled Radishes 

1 1/2 cups radishes 

10 fl oz vinegar 

10 peppercorns 

2 teaspoons salt 

2 teaspoons sugar (optional, or use honey, stevia, etc.) 

1 small onion 

1 bay leaf 

Slice up radishes and onion. Bring vinegar, peppercorns, sugar and salt to a boil.  Place radishes, onion and bay leaf into a clean mason jar.  Pour vinegar mixture over radishes.  Refrigerate overnight.  Makes 1 pint.  So delicious! 


Sunchokes are a tuber in the sunflower family and once cooked, they have a mild artichoke flavor. They can be eaten raw as a snack or on a salad but they really shine when cooked. Here is a recipe

 

Roasted Sunchokes

Ingredients:
2 to 3 large sunchokes, sliced 1/4-inch thick
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 sprig of fresh rosemary, leaves removed
3 to 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and left whole

Preparation:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Scrub the sunchokes under cold running water and slice 1/4-inch thick. Add the sunchokes and garlic to a roasting pan or baking sheet and toss with the olive oil so the bottom of the pan and the sunchokes are lightly coated. Add more olive oil a tablespoon at a time if you don't feel like the vegetables are coated enough, but not too much; you don't want them swimming in olive oil. Sprinkle with the salt and rosemary. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the sunchokes are tender inside, like a potato.

Posted 10/12/2011 11:43pm by Andy Watson.

Items In Your Box This Week:   

Garlic

Mixed Onions

Winter Squash

Red Russian Kale

Pac Choi

Red Potatoes

Green Beans

Salad Mix

Radishes

Herb: Sage, Rosemary

 

Believe it or not, there is only one more week of veggies after this week. We will have another survey for you after the last box and we hope you take the minute or two it takes to fill it out. We read the survey and have changed our plantings and box contents to suit our members.

Potatoes are here! You will get them this week and next. The sweet potatoes are all dug and you will get a big bag next week. The sweet potatoes were dug late and not cured well enough to last too far into the winter so they should all be enjoyed in the next couple weeks. The beans this week are from Tim Zander, who also supplied us the corn and leeks. The beans are deep green and keep their color when cooked. They are delicious. Our yellow wax beans have flowers but the cold snap we had stunted them too far to produce any beans. The radishes this week are a few different varieties. Some of you have an Easter egg colored mix, some have a yellow variety.

            The farm is really beautiful this time of the year and it looks totally different than it did just a month ago. There is grass growing where the barn foundation resided, the silo is gone for good, the trees are absolutely gorgeous right now, the autumn rains have arrived, and we are winding down. If you didn’t know, the Tuesday Eastside Market will continue indoors starting next Tuesday. It will be inside the Wil-Mar Center on Jenifer St. in Madison from 4-7. We will have similar things that you will see the last two weeks of the season. We try to sell everything that we have left over and then we move on to our winter farming. We raise cold hardy salad greens for restaurants in Madison and surrounding area. You may see some of our stuff at the Yahara River Grocery Co-op in Stoughton as well.

            We hope you enjoy the box this week!

Kelly Bratt & Andy Watson, Sprouting Acres

 

If anyone is looking for a good way to spend Saturday afternoon, come on out to the farm and help us erect our new hoophouse. There will be plenty of jobs for everyone. Drilling, holding boards, connecting pipes, enjoying the nice weather, and then enjoying a home made meal by Andy, drinks included.  We hope some of you can make it. We will start around two and we stop at five, then eat. Let us know if you are coming so we can plan accordingly. Also, dress in layers, it’s supposed to be on the cooler side, which is perfect outdoor working weather. If you can only stay for a little while or have to show up late, we would still love to see you . 

Posted 10/5/2011 9:46pm by Andy Watson.

October is here, but early September weather is creeping back. We love it. It’s great for a final growth spurt for the fall greens and makes being outside even more enjoyable. We finally got a more widespread killing frost last week and the tender crops bit the dust. It’s that time of the year. We hope you enjoyed the summer bounty and hope you enjoy the nice fall produce to come.

            We were going to include potatoes this week but the delivery company wrote down the wrong pick-up date from the potato farm. So, they are dropping them off on Friday this week and you will see them in the last two boxes. We wish we had gotten them to you earlier but they were two weeks behind planting with the cool weather this spring, and had some rain issues during harvest time. We will look around this winter for another option for next year or we may grow a small amount of potatoes for early summer, then order more for fall.

            We have started harvesting sweet potatoes and you will get them for the next couple weeks. We are still harvesting parsnips, radishes, and fall greens. The Salsa Verde kit is an all in one package. Just follow the directions on the newsletter and you will have fresh roasted green salsa for your chips, chicken, or steak.

            We are looking for a few good helping hands constructing our new hoophouse. We will be putting up the structure on Saturday, October 15th around 2:00 and hope to be done around 5:00. We will provide refreshments during and some food as well. Let us know if you can make it. It’s fun to see it being built.

Kelly Bratt & Andy Watson, Sprouting Acres

Items In Your Box This Week:   

Garlic

Mixed Onions

Butternut Squash

Chard

Sweet Potatoes

Salad Mix

Radishes

Salsa Verde Kit:

     Tomatillos

     Garlic

     Onions

     Serrano Peppers

Winter squash should be stored in a cool place. A garage, basement or three season porch work great. Just keep from freezing. The butternut squash should last  a few months if you want to hang on to it for a special event or holiday.

 

You can use the radish greens for a sauté green if you would like. If you are not going to use them, cut them off so they don’t suck water out of the radish. Keep radishes in an airtight bag and they should last at least a couple weeks.

 

Root vegetables are made to last, sometimes through the winter. In the last box you will receive sunchokes which are a crunchy tuber that tastes like artichokes when cooked. They also will last in a bag in the fridge for months, like till next may. Traditionally people harvested root crops, placed them in sand or bags and then into a cold root cellar. Roots were the staples for winter, when other vegetables were not available like they are today.

 

Posted 9/29/2011 6:56am by Andy Watson.

Items In Your Box This Week:   

Garlic

Mixed Onions

Baby Kale
Acorn Squash

Delicata Squash

Romaine Lettuce

Leeks

Tomatoes

Cherry Tomatoes

Herb: Parsley                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            `                                                                                               

Raspberry Rotation 

 

Happy autumn! We got a great soaking rain this week that will help carry the fall crops through to harvest and build up the water in the soil for over winter. The weather this week made us feel like the gray days of winter were already here.  The balance of the sunshine and warmer temps these next couple days are just what we needed to remind us that it is still autumn.

            There are officially three more boxes after today’s box. We are firming up our potato delivery for next week and hope to have a good amount in the last two boxes. The variety will be a red potato and you will be getting a couple good sized bags. You will also be getting a lot of onions in the next three weeks. No need to use them soon. They will all store for weeks if not months. Just keep them in a paper bag, dark, and cool. A basement or cool area in the kitchen is sufficient. Don’t store onions by potatoes. The onions will release a gas that will spoil the potatoes. It is the time of the year for storage food.

The winter squash you are getting this week and last week are good to store but not for more than a month or so. The butternut squash that are coming next week are a storage variety. They should stay in storage easily for two to three months if kept cool. The garlic should also stay fresh in storage as long as the onions and with similar conditions.  You can always throw onions and garlic into the crisper in the fridge if you don’t have a suitable place to store. They don’t need to be refrigerated but can be. Enjoy your produce and the weather.

             

Kelly Bratt & Andy Watson, Sprouting Acres

 

The leeks are in the onion family and have a more subtle onion flavor. They are not sharp like onions and are pretty sweet. They are from the same farm where we got the sweet corn. We are looking at getting some late carrots from them as well. The leeks are long and hard to find a bag to store them in. Just cut them in half and put them into a grocery bag. Wrap them tightly and place in crisper. They should last for a couple weeks in the fridge. If they look dried out if you forgot to use them sooner, just peel off the outer layer and eat as usual.

 

To clean the leeks before eating, just cut them up, soak them in some cold water, then take the leeks out of the water. Just don’t pour the dirty water back over the leeks. 

Posted 9/21/2011 10:31pm by Andy Watson.

Items In Your Box This Week:   

Garlic

Celery

Watermelon

Bell Peppers
Acorn Squash

Salad Mix

Parsnips

Rosemary

Edamame Beans(edible soybeans)

Tomatoes                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      `                                                                                               

Raspberry Rotation 

 

Despite the rain and the cool weather, Bike the Barns went off without a hitch. We were host to about 500 bicyclists last Sunday for the event which raises money to help people who don’t have access to fresh organic vegetables. We heard from many riders who were very impressed with the farm and were very thankful for tours and opening our farm up for the event. We had a great time and would love to do it again sometime. Some of the yellow watermelon that is in the boxes this week (at some sites) is leftover from the event.

The demolition and excavating that went on at the farm over the last week or so has been crazy. We mentioned last week that the barn foundation and silo have been removed before the event and is now seeded to grass and ravel for more parking. We now have our new hoophouse site raised up over a foot with top soil that was removed from our pond area. The pond area was dug out deeper to hold more water so we can put some fish in next year and maybe sometime in the near future do some pond fishing. We are very close to getting the hoophouse project started and would love help getting it built.

            The frost last week hit our zucchini and summer squash enough to end it as well as most of the eggplant and basil. The tomatoes are finishing up outside but the hoophouse is still full of ripening fruit. We are purchasing some late season leeks, carrots and potatoes to help fill out the last few boxes. Winter squash starts this week and the rest will show up once it is properly cured. This helps the flavor and storage. We hope you enjoy your produce this week.

Kelly Bratt & Andy Watson, Sprouting Acres

 

The outside tomatoes are nearing the end of their season. The late season varieties tend to be cracked on top but are still very good. If you do get a cracked tomato, just try to use it in the next day or so.

 

The edamame beans are in the plastic pint container. Boil water with salt and toss in until beans pop out of the shell. Enjoy luke warm beans as an appetizer or toss and toss with soy sauce or just eat plain for a great snack.

 

The fall crops, spinach, winter squash, sweet potatoes, salad mix, radishes, and more are on their way.

 

We hope you have enjoyed the summer produce and hope you are ready for the fall varieties.

Posted 9/21/2011 10:01pm by Andy Watson.

Well, when we typed this, a frost on Thursday was in the forecast. We harvested what we could, covered what we couldn’t harvest, said goodbye to some things(like zucchini), and crossed our fingers that it was more patchy and not a full on “good morning, I’m frost, you’re a tomato? Now you’re dead” type of frost. We don’t mind the latter in late September and October, but the 15th of September? Come on Mother Nature, wasn’t a late frost good enough for you this spring? Oh, I can do it all again next year? Ok, that makes it all better. Ok, now I’m talking to myself. I’m done.

            The good news is, we have some warm weather next week, the salad mixes are coming along great. The spinach is putting on its first leaves, radishes are looking good, and the other fall greens are also looking great. Oh, and the winter squash is the best in 8 years. Fall harvest and fall clean up are already under way. We need to start pulling in the winter squash to cure in the hoophouse where the skin can harden. The sweet potatoes are coming out next week and need to cure so they get sweet.  The drip irrigation needs to be pulled in, plastic and fabric rolled up for next year. Vacant fields need a cover crop to protect the soil over winter. Garlic needs a home in the ground soon, hoophouse needs to be erected, tomato cages need to be moved out of the field and close to where they will reside next season. Phew….lets not talk about what needs to be done in the next 30 days.

            The really great news is that the old barn foundation is 99% gone, and will be leveled today. The new hoophouse location is getting leveled in the next week or so and it’s only September 15th. There’s the positive attitude.  

           

 

Kelly Bratt & Andy Watson, Sprouting Acres

If you get a tomato or two that are still a bit green, it’s because we had to pull them before the frost. They will ripen up just fine. Set them in a sunny window sill for a few days until they turn all red, and they soften up a bit. Remember, most tomatoes in the U.S. are shipped green because ripe tomatoes are just too fragile for machine picking.  Grocery store tomatoes are usually picked green, gassed with ethylene to make them turn more or less red, then refrigerated and shipped. Even if the tomatoes are picked ripe, they're refrigerated before they're shipped, and that's what kills them. If you like a crunchy tomato with a really dull green and white flesh, then don’t buy local. But if you really like tomatoes that are sweet, savory, tangy, tart, acidic, and just delightful, then buy local.


Still time to sign up for CSA with Sprouting Acres!April 15th, 2018

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