February 5, 2022, Winter Share #4

The News from Windflower Farm

Winter greetings from all of us at Windflower Farm! Your fourth and final share of the winter season will arrive on Saturday, February 5th.

What’s in the share?

  • An Allium bag (yellow onions and red shallots)
  • A bagful of carrots, beets, red and purple turnips
  • A spinach bag
  • A fruit bag containing Ruby Frost and Empire apples
  • Sweet potatoes and potatoes in a bag
  • Celeriac loose in the box
  • And a jar of jam from our neighbor Deb’s Country Kitchen

To fill out this last box of the winter season, we reached out to organic farmers in our neighborhood. These are some of the people who will be a part of our more collaborative CSA in the future. Our friends Brian and Justine at Denison Farm provided the celeriac in this month’s share. Andrew Knafle at Clearbrook Farm helped with potatoes. Adam Hainer at Juniper Hill Farm helped with beets and carrots. And the Bordens provided the tree fruit. Everything else came from Windflower. Our friend Deb has a yard that contains berries of virtually every kind, including blueberries, Concord grapes, elderberries, red raspberries and blackberries, and makes hundreds of jars of jam each summer. She has made the jam in this month’s box. 

We know that turnips are not much in fashion these days, but you should know that they make for excellent soup stock. Most of their off-putting flavors are eliminated during the simmering, and they add a good deal to any broth, giving it a creamy texture. Here’s a link to a spinach-turnip-carrot-onion soup: https://www.eatingwell.com/recipe/252800/creamy-turnip-soup/

Celeriac should be part of every roasted root vegetable medley, adding color, texture and a delicious celery flavor. For something more interesting, try celeriac fritters. Peel the celeriac, cut into strips, deep fry, then serve with a little Dijon and mayonnaise. Numerous recipes exist; here’s one: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/celeriac-comte-fritters.

For several hours yesterday we harvested greenhouse spinach in full sunshine in temperatures in the upper 60s. A few hours in the sun does wonders for the spirit. During the nights this week, this space will have been well below freezing. Winter greens production is always risky in unheated greenhouses, and this has been a particularly cold winter. Twenty-one days in January were significantly colder than normal. But spinach is a hardy green, and you’ll get a bag of it this month. Soon we’ll be turning the heat on these very greenhouses. It will be time to sow the seeds that will become next year’s produce, starting with tomatoes, peppers and onions. 

We’d like to thank you for being with us this winter. We hope you’ve enjoyed your share. Please drop us a line if you have an idea that will help us improve future winter shares. You’ll hear from us about summer shares later this winter or in early spring. In the meantime, we hope you enjoy the rest of winter.

Best wishes, Ted and Jan

PS: Here is a note from Kristoffer Ross about your final grain share. 

Hello folks,

Your final winter Grain Share Item is a 1 pound bag of Oat Groats. They can easily be cooked into an excellent oatmeal or porridge, for which you can find directions on the ‘Grain Recipes’ page of our Website. Our sincere thanks for supporting our continued efforts to sustainably diversify our farm, and to the Blomgren Family for allowing us to partner with them. If you would like to order more products before the next CSA season, you can do so directly via hickorywindfarm.net, and they will be shipped to you affordably via USPS. Kristoffer Ross

PPS: Your pick-up time and location is noted below.

Central Brooklyn (1251 Dean St., 4:30 to 6:00)

Please note:

1. A friend, family member or neighbor can pick up your share for you if you are not able to make it to distribution. Please ask this person to sign-in under your name.

2. Site hosts are not obliged to save shares for members who miss the distribution window. Any shares leftover after distribution will be donated to community fridges or food pantries and will help other community members in need.

3. The farm is not able to send you a make-up share if you miss a distribution. The farm will send your shares on the distribution dates only.

4. The farm will send you a newsletter a day or two before distribution. Please save these two emails to your preferred contacts list: windflowercsa@gmail.com and tedblomgren@gmail.com and check your SPAM folder if our newsletter does not make it into your inbox.

5. Watch for updates from site hosts on social media. Many sites post updates about the share on Instagram and Facebook.

Distribution #2 – December 11, 2021

Winter News from Windflower Farm

Warm greetings from all of us at Windflower Farm!

What’s in your share?

  • Carrots, red cabbage and kohlrabi loose in the box
  • French Fingerling potatoes in a paper bag
  • A bag containing yellow and red onions, shallots and German Red or White garlic
  • A heap of sweet potatoes and two leeks loose in the box
  • Freshly picked Red Russian, Lacinato and Red Ruffles kales
  • Honey Crisp apples from Borden’s Orchard in a plastic bag
  • A jar of honey from Harry’s Honey House

If you’ve ordered shares of eggs or maple items from the Davis Farm or grains from Kristoffer Ross, please ask your site coordinator where these can be found. A note from Kristoffer and a link to one of his family recipes can be found at the bottom of this page, along with site addresses and distribution times.

What’s new on the farm?

It’s Jan’s birthday but she is still the first to be up and out. She loves this season. We are harvesting your kales today and she wanted to sweep the new snow off the caterpillar tunnel tops so that the sun could more effectively warm their interiors. Soon Andrea and Daren will arrive to help.

Andrea reminds me that the kales do not keep equally well. Red Russian has the shortest postharvest lifespan. It’s best used within days of bringing your box home. Then comes Red Ruffles, which should be eaten within the first week. And, finally, Lacinato (aka Toscano or Dinosaur) kale, which could last close to two weeks. Wash, spin and place in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator for best results. 

Even though the sun had shown for most of the morning, the snow didn’t melt, and it was cold inside the unheated caterpillar tunnels. Our first hour was spent sweeping snow off the harvest wagon, gathering knives and crates, removing row covers from the greens and picking up hoops. It took the five of us about four hours to harvest some 65 crates of kale, which was about all the time we had between when they thawed in the late morning and they began to freeze again in the early afternoon. 

Next month’s greens – spinach and Lacinato kale – will come from our larger snow-proof greenhouses. They are also unheated, but they stay warmer by virtue of their size and extra covering layers.

We have not spent much time on social media this year, but Nate just posted images from this month’s harvest to Instagram. You’ll find some bird’s eye farm shots from his drone and see Jan at work clearing tunnels. Find them here: Instagram.com/windflowerfarm/.

Daren prepared braised red cabbage this week. It’s something you could do, too. Sauté onions and garlic and then, when the onions are translucent, add chopped pieces of cabbage and cook until they are wilted. The dish can be added to any number of things or served as a side. Daren added chorizo to his to round out the meal. 

I made a potato-vegetable soup last week, and the hands down best ingredient was the French Fingerling potato you’ll find in this month’s box – dense and creamy. The carrots were a close second. Whatever you choose to do with your veggies, I hope you enjoy the second of your winter shares!

Wishing you and yours a happy holiday season, Ted and the gang     

PS. Here is a note from Kristoffer about this month’s grain share. 

Your Grain share item this month is a 1.5 pound bag of stone ground Oat Flour. Our family’s traditional Scandinavian pepparkakor (gingersnap cookies)have made their annual return, and Annie has been baking several batches to determine the proper flour ratio to replace all the wheat flour with oats. I must say that the results have been very popular! The recipe is on our website here:https://hickorywindfarm.net/pages/recipes. Enjoy your month, and if you celebrate, God Jul! 

PPS: Please mark your calendars for the two remaining distributions: January 8th, and February 5th.  

Your pick-up time and location is noted below.

Central Brooklyn (1251 Dean St., 4:30 to 6:00)

Please note:

1. A friend, family member or neighbor can pick up your share for you if you are not able to make it to distribution. Please ask this person to sign-in under your name.

2. Site hosts are not obliged to save shares for members who miss the distribution window. Any shares leftover after distribution will be donated to community fridges or food pantries and will help other community members in need.

3. The farm is not able to send you a make-up share if you miss a distribution. The farm will send your shares on the distribution dates only.

4. The farm will send you a newsletter a day or two before distribution. Please save these two emails to your preferred contacts list: windflowercsa@gmail.com and tedblomgren@gmail.com and check your SPAM folder if our newsletter does not make it into your inbox.

5. Watch for updates from site hosts on social media. Many sites post updates about the share on Instagram and Facebook.

Winter Share Distribution #1 – November 20, 2021

Winter News from Windflower Farm

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Windflower Farm! Thank you for purchasing a winter share – we hope you enjoy it!

Please mark your calendars for our four distributions on the following Saturdays: November 20th, December 11th, January 8th, and February 5th Your pick up time and location is noted below:

Central Brooklyn (1251 Dean St., 4:30 to 6:00)

Please note:

  1. A friend, family member or neighbor can pick up your share for you if you are not able to make it to distribution. Please ask this person to sign-in under your name.
  2. Site hosts are not obliged to save shares for members who miss the distribution window. Any shares leftover after distribution will be donated to community fridges or food pantries and will help other community members in need.
  3. The farm is not able to send you a make-up share if you miss a distribution. The farm will send your shares on the distribution dates only.
  4. The farm will send you a newsletter a day or two before distribution. Please save these two emails to your preferred contacts list: windflowercsa@gmail.com and tedblomgren@gmail.com and check your SPAM folder if our newsletter does not make it into your inbox.
  5. Watch for updates from site hosts on social media. Many sites post updates about the share on Instagram and Facebook.

What’s in your share?

  • Carrots
  • Russet potatoes
  • Yellow and red onions
  • Shallots
  • Butternut squash (some from Windflower and some from Daren Carroll)
  • German Red or White garlic
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Boc choy and Koji
  • Red Russian, Lacinato and Red Ruffles kales
  • Ginger (the last from Nate’s summer crop; freeze if not needed right away)
  • Honey Crisp and Empire apples (Borden’s Orchard)
  • Apple cider (Borden’s Orchard), packed separately

If you’ve ordered shares of eggs or maple items from the Davis Farm or grains from Kristoffer Ross at Hickory Wind Farm, please ask your site coordinator where these can be found. Attached, you’ll find a bread recipe from Kristoffer.

What’s new on the farm?

On this unusually warm Thursday, we harvested greens from five of our Caterpillar tunnels. A white-stemmed choy, a green-stemmed choy and a trifecta of kales, including Red Russian, Lacinato and Red Ruffles. Our winter greens are in unheated greenhouses, nevertheless, by midmorning, most of us were down to tee shirts. If the next four weeks remain mild enough, the greens in your December share will be the same. We are trying to reduce our use of plastic packaging. To that end, we’ve decided not to bag your greens. Everything in your box should be thoroughly rinsed before eating.

With all of the Medinas in Laguna Prieta, Mexico this winter, we are a small group, which is part of why we limited our winter share membership this year. Another reason is that the organic produce pipeline, like supply chains everywhere, is severely limited this year, making it hard to fill gaps in our production. The rainy 2021 season was difficult for everyone who farms. We have good quantities of the winter staples – squashes, potatoes, onions, carrots, beets, and sweet potatoes – and just enough of the crops that make it interesting – celeriac, leeks, kohlrabi, turnips, shallots. And, at least for now, we have heaps of very pretty greens. Your November and December shares will come almost entirely from Windflower Farm. Exceptions will always be noted in the What’s in your share? section. We have done a little horse trading with our organic farming neighbors in recent weeks, swapping some of our extra shallots, leeks, onions and sweet potatoes for the carrots, beets and potatoes that will help fill out your January and February boxes. You should expect to have a hefty box to carry home!

We hope you enjoy the first of your winter shares and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Best wishes, Ted      

Distribution #22 – Week of November 1, 2021

The News from Windflower Farm

Hello from Windflower Farm, where cold fall weather has arrived in earnest and we are celebrating the end of the farming season!

What’s in your share?

  • Garlic (2 large bulbs)
  • Ginger root
  • Lettuce
  • Kohlrabi
  • Koji
  • Mustard mix
  • Red Russian kale
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Leeks
  • Shallots
  • Eggplants or red cabbage

This week’s share is the last of the regular season. Thank you very much for being with us. The farm team and I hope that you’ve enjoyed your CSA experience. 

I’d like to extend a special thanks to the members of the core group in your neighborhood whose commitment make this CSA possible. I cannot express how much I appreciate their efforts to build community and help safeguard a small Hudson Valley farm and its people.

Nate, our oldest son, was in the first grade when we purchased our farm twenty-two years ago. He now works with Jan and me, side by side. A note from him about ginger follows. 

Take care and stay in touch, Ted

What’s new on the farm?

Hello! This is Nate with a note about the ginger in your shares.

We started growing ginger a few years ago, inspired by our friend Sue at Blue Star Farm. We order ginger seed stock from a farm on Hawaii’s Big Island, called Hawaii Clean Seed, also known as Puna Organics or Biker Dude. They say they live with the chaos of Pele, the volcano goddess. In 2018, the eruption of Kilauea brought them months of ash cloud, and lava to within a mile of their plantings. There was damage to their turmeric crop, and many days spent in what Biker Dude calls a “Trial by Fire,” but for the most part they were unharmed and undeterred. Since then, they’ve expanded their operation, but as demand for their stock has grown they’ve been importing from Peru, and so this year (and last year) we’ve been planting Peruvian Yellow Ginger. This variety has been doing well here.

The part of ginger usually used for eating is a rhizome, a below-ground horizontal stem with nodes that send out roots and leaves. A next generation of rhizome forms by budding in the following year, after a period of dormancy. One of these winters we may experiment with keeping a portion of our crop in dormancy, to see if we can produce our own seed stock next year. The challenge seems to be keeping them just warm and dry enough and preventing diseases.

Your ginger arrived on the farm in mid-March, as cut pieces of dormant rhizome. Daren and Connor helped me pot these in a soil mix on heated benches in the greenhouse, where they were kept to germinate over two to three months, producing shoots up to two feet high by June. The Medina family then transplanted them into a caterpillar tunnel and a low tunnel in the field. The Medinas also did an early season weeding, and I did a later weeding. In previous years I’ve added compost and hilled the soil, but did not this year and they seem to have fared fine without. We usually harvest in early October, using pitch forks to pry them loose, shaking off dirt, clipping roots and leaves, and washing not too long before delivery. As I write, the harvest sits in crates outside being rain-washed.

In our experience, the fresh ginger isn’t quite as spicy as the more aged ginger you would find at a grocery store, so you may want to use more in a recipe. It also does not store long, shriveling if unrefrigerated, and becoming rubbery after a week or so, so if you aren’t able to use it soon we recommend grating and freezing it, or, if you have use of a dehydrator, Victoria recommends dehydrating it and making it into a powder.

Apart from being enjoyed as spice, ginger has a good reputation for its health effects. The Herbal Medicine publication from the NIH tells us ginger helps inhibit oxidative damage, inflammation, nausea, cancer, and other ailments. It has been cultivated and used for over 5000 years, possibly originating around India and China.

It is fun to welcome a part of the tropics to the farm, and we hope you enjoy eating it!

Best wishes, Nate

Distribution #21 – Week of October 25, 2021

The News from Windflower Farm

Hello from Windflower Farm!

What’s in your share?

  • Garlic (2 large bulbs)
  • Ginger root
  • Green Romaine or red leaf lettuce
  • Tatsoi
  • Mustard mix
  • Radicchio
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Leeks
  • Sweet peppers

This week’s News comes from Daren Carroll, a member of our staff. Next week we’ll send your last Windflower CSA boxes of the season. You’ll get Daren’s squashes, more ginger, garlic and sweet potatoes, a whole lot of greens and more.

Don’t forget to sign up for our winter share here: Windflower Farm’s 2021-2022 Winter Share (wufoo.com)

Have a great week, Ted

What’s new on the farm?

Hi! This is Daren Carroll, guest-writing for Windflower Farm this week. You may remember my name mentioned earlier- I’m a long-time worker at the farm (14 years? 15? Not sure), and I also grew some of the butternut and delicata squash you have received (or will next week). I operate my own farm in my spare time- and as I like to joke with the Blomgrens, I now come into Windflower a few days a week as my “recovery days.”

I thought I’d share a bit about how I grow my winter squash. My interests have included history,anthropology, and agriculture, so I like studying pre-chemical revolution farming, when everyone was organic by default. So I went and studied how the Haudenosaunee (pronounced Hoh-deh-noh-SHAW-nee, listen here) grew corn, pole beans, and squash together. This is commonly known as a Three Sisters system. Most of upstate New York was farmed and hunted by the Haudenosaunee, so I figured their system would work best for the climate. Native Americans from Central America to Canada used this system, but it contains many variations for latitude and rainfall. Very few people use it on any scale larger than a garden, since it’s not friendly to mechanized planting or harvest techniques. I do almost all the work by hand. I adopted the spacing as recorded in Parker on the Iroquois, by Arthur C. Parker, written in 1968, who interviewed folks who had learned the pre-colonial techniques directly from Seneca practitioners in the 1800’s.

So, my butternut and delicata was grown in the partial shade of corn hills. Seven or eight corn plants are sown together in hills that are 6 feet apart in either direction. The corn enjoys full sun, and while the hills are a bit crowded, they’re still able to yield well. Squash is then sown or transplanted, one or two plants between every corn hill. Squash generally likes full sun, but by the time the corn is casting shadows in late July, heat stress can be an issue in squash- so, a little shade now and then is actually helpful for the plant.

For the corn, I grow an heirloom landrace called Hopi Blue. I retail some as seed online, wholesale some to Fedco Seed Company, and finally, I make all the grits and tamales I want out of the remainder. I selected an heirloom pole bean called Iroquois Skunk Beans (named for their coloration), which I retail as seed. The squash understory provides weed control for those other two crops, so it’s nice to cart off several hundred pounds of it, long after it’s already paid for itself. Not that I don’t charge for it- Ted and I have a trade deal going!

These final squash deliveries are paying off the Farmall 140 cultivating tractor I got from him. If you’ve followed the newsletter already, you know of Ted’s fun projects in building new cultivating tractors, or modifying the various “Gs” that have come to the farm. So I scooped up one of the retired clunkers of the fleet, the old 140 I used to clock a lot of time on, hilling Windflower potatoes. These 140s used to be the workhorses of many row crop farms across America, and now they get scooped up by organic farmers. The wheelbase is 6 feet, 1 inch wide, so I adapted the Seneca corn hill spacing around that so the 140 can do some of the early weed control. I largely manage it with a weekly wheel hoeing ‘til early July, when the squash takes over.

If you want to learn more wonky details about how I do the Three Sisters plot, I have a page about it on my website-  (https://gradentalunfarm.net/pages/growing-a-three-sisters-plot) The site is also my portal for ordering the corn and bean seeds, and the many garlic varieties I grow. I specialize in heirloom varieties from around the world, and also a few newly bred types from true seeds via flower pollination- which is rare, but still possible. I am a bit of a garlic nut, and that’s the main focus of the site, but you can learn more about the Three Sisters systems and the varieties I grow. Meanwhile- enjoy the winter squash and other veggies coming- I know I’m loving butternut season! 

My main page- https://gradentalunfarm.net/  

-Daren