1746 Hwy 73 Cambridge, WI 53523 Google Map 608-469-2319
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News and blog

Welcome to the blog.
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.


Posted 9/10/2011 8:19pm by Andy Watson.

In Your Box This Week:
Garlic
Yellow Onions

Cucumbers

Cantaloupe
Zucchini

Bell Pepper

Summer squash
Eggplant

Beets

Roma Tomatoes

Tomatoes                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           `                                                                                               
Edamame Beans

Raspberry Rotation 

Brrrrrrr. It is a bit chilly in the mornings. It’s great working weather but it slows down the heat loving crops. The zucchini and cucumbers are fizzing out a bit. The diseases that tend to pop up on those crops early are just appearing now. It could be the weather, it could be the fertilizer, or it could be the varieties.  Either way,  we will be fertilizing again, choosing similar varieties, and hoping that Mother Nature is on our side next season.

            The salad mix and lettuces are looking great and should show up starting next week. The winter squash is going to be curing soon to toughen up the skins for storage. The watermelons are headed your way next week and look good. We had a great season for the cantaloupe, our best in at least two seasons. This is the last week for the cantaloupe. The onions are almost done curing and we have begun the tedious job of trimming the dried tops off. The garlic is done drying and ready for storage. Believe it or not, we will be planting garlic in just over a month for next season.

            We are preparing the farm for the Bike the Barns event that takes place in two weekends. We are waiting for a demolition crew to come out, hopefully today or tomorrow, to remove the barn foundation and demolished silo. We are working on creating a self guided tour for riders that want to stroll around the farm on their own. We are also hoping it will come in handy for our farm party and any future events. We hope it will be a great addition to the farm.

 

            We hope you enjoy your produce this week, and we hope you can get out and enjoy this beautiful weather.

           

 

Heirloom tomatoes have certain characteristics that make it easy to tell the difference from other non-heirloom varieties. Heirloom tomatoes are tomatoes that are past down from family to family. They are typically at least 20 years old but they all have to start being passed down sometime. Over time, some of the characteristics can change and become the farmer’s own variety. This is how similar looking and tasting tomatoes can have different names. Heirlooms tend to not be “pretty”. We have been conditioned to perfect grocery store tomatoes. Grocery store tomatoes tend to be pretty but pretty flavorless. What heilooms lack in beauty, they make up in flavor. Some characteristics of heirlooms are, bursts of color on the bottom, big cracks on the stems, and odd noses and scars. Just cut around the bad areas and enjoy.

Kelly Bratt & Andy Watson, Sprouting Acres


Posted 9/10/2011 8:14pm by Andy Watson.

In Your Box This Week:
Garlic
Mixed Onions

Cucumbers

Cantaloupe
Zucchini

Bell Pepper

Summer squash
Eggplant

Cayenne/Serrano Peppers (hot)

Tomatoes: cherry                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              `                                                                                               
Raspberry Rotation

Where did the summer go? Maybe it was just August that went fast.  Well, it went out with a bang as we celebrated Ruby’s 1st Birthday. Wade starts 4-k next week and is very excited and Kelly is back to school too. Goodbye summer.

            Other than the forecast for the next couple days, the weather has been great, especially for getting work done. Fall radishes, salad mix, arugula, spinach, and other greens are planted and already growing fast. The yellow wax beans are also on the fast track for a late September crop. The raspberry rotation starts today and you will see them soon. We are thinking of increasing the size of our raspberry patch next year so we don’t have to do so many rotations. We are also looking at doing some fresh salsas and maybe frozen berries for sale in the late summer and fall. Let us know if that interests you at all.

            We hope you enjoyed the sweet corn this summer.  We got some feedback and it sounded like it was good corn. We have been eating it as well and are enjoying it, especially Wade and Ruby. We will be continuing that next year with the possibility of purchasing more produce to help fill the boxes. On that note, we found out this week that our potato supplier has had a late season like the rest of us. They won’t be digging for a couple weeks which means the earliest we can get potatoes to the farm is late September or the 1st week of October. That means you will probably get 2-3 weeks of potatoes, which means you will get a lot in those last couple boxes. We will find out which of their three varieties will be done the soonest so you can get them quicker. We knew this might happen but the good news is that you will still get them, you will just have to wait a little longer. We may alter our production plans next year and plant one crop of early red potatoes and then purchase again in the fall. Enjoy your produce.

Kelly Bratt & Andy Watson, Sprouting Acres

If you are looking for some new ways to prepare your veggies, the Asparagus to Zucchini cookbook is a great addition to  any collection. We have them available for $16.00 and can have them dropped off at your pick-up location. It is filled with seasonal recipes that will help you get through those weeks where you just don’t know what else to make. MACSAC is the coalition we are in with a few dozen other farms. The cookbook was created to help fund the organization a few years back and is still its biggest source of revenue. You can find more out about it at their website, www.macsac.org. There have another cookbook in the works as well.

Just let me know via email if you would like one.  They are great holiday or birthday gifts.

Posted 8/24/2011 9:40pm by Andy Watson.

We lucked out with the weather for the farm party last weekend and it turned out to be a great event.  Thanks to all that made it and hope more can make it next time. We are planning on at least one more member work day, probably a weeding shift, before the Bike The Barns event. We are also looking for help possibly in late September erecting our second large hoophouse.  It is usually a fun time, it doesn’t take too long with lots of help, and I usually have a meal and drinks.  Look for it in the next few newsletters.  One other event that tends to be in October is garlic planting.  Look for those in the next few newsletters if that interests you.

            The zucchini are slowing down a bit but still productive. The first fall lettuce planting is up and moving along with the rain we got this week. Spinach is being planted this week as well as more lettuce mix and greens. The farm looks different almost every week as we pull out crops for storage and replant for fall.

            The corn this week is from the same place as last time. This time of the year he said it tends to have a greater chance for worms.  So, peel back the tip, take a look, and if in doubt, just cut the top inch or so off before cooking. Depending on how our 2nd carrot planting goes, we may be purchasing late fall carrots from the same farm.

            Last but not least, the silo is now a pile of rubble. The picture on the back is what it looks like now. We are working on getting the scrap aluminum and iron out and sold to help pay for the cost of the demolition. It was quite an event. Look for it on our website soon. It actually took less than 20 minutes from beginning to end, and we stood just about 25 feet from where the top landed.  Phase one of the foundation removal project is done and the next phase is in a couple weeks. Enjoy your produce.   

Kelly Bratt & Andy Watson, Sprouting Acres

 

In Your Box This Week:
Garlic
Mixed Onions

Cucumbers

Cabbage
Zucchini

Summer squash
Eggplant

Serrano Peppers

Tomatoes: cherry & mixed

Sweet Corn

Herb: Thyme 

Flower Rotation

Veggie Tips

The cabbage should be kept in a bag in the crisper. It will not spoil for quite a while.  If you want to use it in a few weeks, just peel off the outer leaves and discard.  They outer leaves protect the inside and keep it crisp.  Cabbage can be stored most of the winter if stored correctly. 

 

You can use any tomatoes for salsa. Heirlooms are just a bit juicier. Just squeeze out a little juice if you want less. The Roma tomatoes are on the way.  

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Posted 8/17/2011 9:54pm by Andy Watson.

Don't forget, you can learn to cook really great food from me (Andy) and many other instructors at All Through the  House in Stoughton.  Just visit www.shopthehouse.com for upcoming classes.  A few of mine are already sold out but we are adding more.  It's really a great way to learn how to cook a lot of what we offer in the boxes, learn new tips and tricks, and you get a discount after the class to shop around in the store. It's always good to see members, past or present, at the classes. 

Posted 8/17/2011 9:43pm by Andy Watson.

If you can't figure out what to do with all the zucchini, summer squash, eggplant, garlic, onions, tomatoes, peppers, celery and anthing else you want to make disappear, then try this out. It's sort of a bastardized ratatouille recipe. Get a large pot hot up with a good 1/4 cup of olive oil. Saute a couple onions, or six, until they just start to turn brown. Next toss in some cubed eggplant and cook for a few minutes.  How many?  I don't know. Just don't let them burn. Then toss in a few chopped up celery stalks, some chopped garlic, chopped peppers, and cook until they soften up. Finally add some chopped zucchini and summer squash.  There should be enough water in all the veggies to keep the pan from burning but you should turn it down to medium high heat.  Once it all looks like it is cooking down but not mushy, add a bunch of chopped tomatoes and a little tomato paste to thicken. Drop the temperature down to medium or medium low so the tomato doesn't burn. Throw in a splash of red wine vinegar, salt and pepper to taste, some chopped basil and you are done.  This is great by itself as a spread on crunchy bread, a pasta sauce, poured over chicken breasts, covered then baked until the chicken is done, or served over rice or couscous. Play with the recipe, experiment, have fun. It's hard to mess this one up. 

Posted 8/17/2011 9:38pm by Andy Watson.

August is flying by but the warm days and cool nights are helping us enjoy it more. Andy is trying to get as much plowed, disked, planted, weeded, and cleaned up before school starts since Kelly will be back at work.  Wade will start 4-K this fall (half time) and spend the rest of the time getting a good outdoor education at the farm.  This usually consists of riding his bike around in circles, digging for worms, digging holes in random fields, and swinging.  Soon he will start learning what firmness and color an eggplant should be when it is ready to be picked. Ruby will be 1 at the end of the month and will split her days at day care and at the farm. A new sandbox will be installed soon to help keep the two of them busy. First she has to learn to eat more veggies and less sand.

We hope to see you all out at the farm on Saturday for the shin dig.  The forecast is 50% in our favor of being nice, but as most farmers know, that doesn’t mean anything. That being said, unless there is lightning we are going to keep the party as is. We have lots of tents and greenhouses to stay dry under. If it rains the whole time, we will just have to eat more under the tents. Wear sturdy shoes or boots, bring an umbrella and/or rain gear to stay dry during the tour and tomato picking, and bring a vase or bucket to take home flowers if you would like to cut some. Check Facebook and the Website around 10:00 on Saturday just in case a real nasty storm is coming and we will set a rain date.                            

Sweet potatoes are starting to plump up and we decided to give you a sample of sweet potato leaves to cook. It doesn’t hurt the plant at all, and they make a great spinach substitute. There is a recipe on the back that is pretty simple. Let us know how you liked them. See you Saturday!

 

    Kelly Bratt & Andy Watson, Sprouting Acres

In Your Box This Week:
Garlic
Red Onions

Cucumbers

Turnips

Green peppers
Zucchini

Summer squash
Eggplant

Serrano Peppers

Tomatoes: cherry & mixed

Sweet Potato Leaves

Herb: Basil                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

Flower Rotation

Veggie Tip

For a mid-winter treat, cut the tops off of your celery and store them flat in a ziplock bag in the freezer.  When you are making soup or a stew this winter, just pull out a few leaves, chop them up and throw them in.

 

If you can’t decide what to do with all your zucchini, peppers, onions, garlic, celery and eggplant, check out the website for Andy’s great recipe.

Posted 8/12/2011 8:11am by Andy Watson.

Sprouting Acres will NOT be at the Downtown Market on Saturday August 14, 2011. We will be working at the farm instead this weekend.

Posted 8/10/2011 10:19pm by Andy Watson.

Annual Farm Shin-dig

 

What: Farm Party Potluck and Tour

 

When: August 20th, drop in anytime from 12-3

 

Where: 1746 Hwy 73, Cambridge, WI 53523

 

Who: Open to all members &workshares, their family and friends of family

 

*Bring a dish to pass and copies of your recipe to share. We’ll provide drinks and a main dish. Leave with some extra veggies. We hope to see you there!

 

 

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