Week 14 – Pekarek’s Produce CSA

Hello Folks!

It’s the last day of August and that means that we only have four more weeks (after today) of the 2016 CSA.  We’ve enjoyed getting your feedback and meeting you throughout the season.  We hope you all try to join us for the Pekarek’s Produce Farm Tour on Sunday, September 11 from 2 – 5 pm.  It’s only two weeks away now 🙂

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Week 14 of Pekarek’s Produce CSA 2016

 

The big news this week is that we got our new potato digger working!  It is a behemoth of a machine from the 70s that may have been sitting in the trees for years.  It took a lot of banging with a hammer, using a blow torch, ordering some new parts, and plenty of trial and error, but we got it moving this week.

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Potato Digger Working Hard

 

Sign up information for the Pekarek’s Produce Fall CSA here! There is also a membership form below.  The CSA will include four delivery dates on November 8th, 22nd, December 6th, and 20th.  You can pick up your CSA share from 4- 7 pm at Lincoln – Schilingbridge and Seward – Winter Wonderland.  Pick up on the farm will be after 1pm.

Your Farmers,

Ryan, Katie, and Crew


What’s in this week’s box?

  • Eggplant
  • Green Bell Pepper
  • Yellow Bell Pepper
  • Marcato Pepper  (Sweet, Red)
  • Cucumbers
  • Tomatoes
  • Onion
  • Roma Tomatoes*
  • Zucchini*

*Only in the Full Share

Fall CSA Membership Form

Freezing your peppers….

The peppers just don’t care if we are ready to eat all of them or not.  Check out this article below from cookitquick.org on how to freeze your peppers. 

Bell or Sweet Peppers (Green, Red, Yellow, Orange, Purple)

  1. Select crisp, tender peppers.How to tray freeze peppers for future meals.
  2. Wash.
  3. Cut out stems and cut peppers in half.
  4. Remove seeds and membrane — save time by using a melon baller or the tip of a spoon to scrape out seeds and membrane.
  5. Cut peppers into strips, dice or slice, depending on how you plan to use them.
  6. Freeze peppers in a single layer on a cookie sheet with sides, about an hour or longer until frozen. This method is often referred to as “tray freezing.”
  7. Transfer to a “freezer” bag when frozen, excluding as much air as possible from the bag. The peppers will remain separated for ease of use in measuring out for recipes.
  8. Pour out the amount of frozen peppers needed, reseal the bag and return to the freezer.

Hot Peppers (including Jalapeno Peppers)

Wash and stem hot peppers. Package, leaving no headspace. Seal and freeze. It is not necessary to cut or chop hot peppers before freezing.

Caution: The National Center for Home Food Preservation warns, “Wear plastic or rubber gloves and do not touch your face while handling or cutting hot peppers. If you do not wear gloves, wash hands thoroughly with soap and water before touching your face or eyes.”

HOT TIP: If your mouth is burning from eating hot peppers, help put out the fire with milk and other dairy products.

Storage Time

To extend the time frozen foods maintain good quality, package foods in material intended for freezing and keep the temperature of the freezer at 0 degrees F or below. It is generally recommended frozen vegetables be eaten within about 8 months for best quality.

Yummy Yellow Salsa from Cookitquick.org

Alice was running short on time when I received my most recent CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box from Pekarek’s Produce so she decided to see if she could use almost all the produce in just one recipe. Here’s how…

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Yellow Salsa – photo courtesy of Alice Henneman

 

Yummy Yellow Salsa (Print)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 medium or 1 small cantaloupe, cut into approximately 1/2 inch chunks
  • 3 husked and washed ears of sweet corn with silk removed (pat dry with a clean towel or paper towels)
  • 1/2 small jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely diced
  • 2 tablespoon finely chopped yellow onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley or cilantro
  • Juice of 1 lime

Directions

  1. Combine all the ingredients except the lime juice.
  2. Sprinkle the lime juice over the combined ingredients and mix in.
  3. Refrigerate for about 1 hour before serving to let the flavors meld together.

Alice’s Tips

  • If you’ve never eaten jalapeno peppers, go easy on them the first time. You may want to start with just a tablespoon or so, then taste and go from there.
  • I still had some cantaloupe, onion and jalepeno peppers left as I was about to leave town. I used these easy directions to  freeze the onions and used a somewhat similar method to freeze the peppers. I still had half a melon left; but this fresh-from-the-farm melon was so tasty I simply cut it into wedges and served “as is.”

Source

Recipe created by Alice Henneman, MS, RDN, University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension Educator. For more recipes and tips for fast, healthy and delicious foods, visit cookitquick.org

Week 13 – Pekarek’s Produce CSA

Hello Folks!

Well good news folks – it rained last night!  What a wonderful feeling.  It was a nice slow rain that should soak into the ground and not runoff.  Its good for the crops and good for the crew because it takes a lot of the pressure off of irrigating.

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Today we will be planting cucumbers in the greenhouse and carrots in the high tunnel.

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Crops in the field are plugging along like they should be. Broccoli in the greenhouse looks nice.  It looks like every zucchini and cucumber we seeded two weeks ago is growing. Pickling cucumbers are coming along nicely in the field and it looks like we should have those again by the weekend. The majority of the pumpkins look pretty nice, especially the warty ones, and we plan to start picking those in the first couple weeks of September. I love pie pumpkin season!

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Weed control is one of our biggest challenges on the farm.  It’s probably why we all have terrible allergies right now J  So guess what we are doing about weeds?  Well we do many things, including the traditional “Christmas Method” for weed control – “Hoe, Hoe, Hoe.” But the best way to manage weeds is to take care of them early, so we got a new tractor this week!  Now before you ask, how that helps, know that this tractor is a small tractor.  It looks more like a praying mantis than a tractor and I can lift the front of this tractor from a dead lift.  Why do I lift it, you ask – because I can…

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We haven’t come up with a name for the tractor yet, but it will be our cultivating tractor.  All of the work done from the tractor happens under its “belly.”  This means you can watch the work being done under your feet.  Hopefully this will help us get to the weeds when they are very small, almost like a white thread in the ground, and keep the farm clean.  More to come on the tractor, but if you can come up with a good name for this little guy, let us know.

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Don’t forget, the Pekarek’s Produce Farm Tour is set for Sunday, September 11 from 2 -5.

We’ve had our first sign ups for the Pekarek’s Produce Fall CSA.  If you are interested, please let us know.  We will give everyone a paper sign-up sheet next week, but a phone call or email will work as well.

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Your Farmers,

Ryan, Katie, and Crew


What’s in this week’s box?

  • Watermelon
  • Yellow Pepper
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Potatoes
  • Zucchini**
  • Pickling Cucumbers*
  • Green Bell Peppers*
  • Jalapenos*
  • Muskmelon*
  •      *Only in the Full Share
  •      **Only in Partial Share

Dill Cucumber Sauce

The article below is from Alice Henneman at cookitquick.org who made some yummy looking dill cucumber sauce.  She took the cucumber seeds out, but I prefer to leave them in – I don’t notice any difference, and lets be honest… I like it as easy as possible.

Dill Cucumber Sauce is delicious served with fish and is a great way to use summer’s abundant supply of cucumbers. It is especially tasty with salmon. Or, use it for a vegetable dip or a topping for baked potatoes. Nonfat Greek yogurt adds calcium and helps keep the calories down.

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This was the perfect recipe to use for the last of the cucumbers I received in my CSA box from my farmer, Pekarek’s Produce. It is one of my husband’s favorite recipes. He’ll eat any of the remaining sauce straight from the serving dish!

Dill Cucumber Sauce

  • Servings: makes about 4 1/4-cup servings
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons reduced fat mayonnaise
  • 1 cucumber (peeled, with seeds removed), finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients together.
  2. Refrigerate for about 1 hour to allow flavors to blend.

Alice’s Tips

Removing seeds from a cucumber with a measuring spoon
Removing cucumber seeds  with a measuring spoon
  • A quick way to remove the seeds from a cucumber is to cut it in half and scoop them out with the tip of a teaspoon-size measuring spoon.
  • You also might like to thin this sauce with a little milk and use it for a salad dressing.
  • Refrigerate sauce after it has been at room temperature for 2 hours, total time, and plan to enjoy any remaining sauce within 3 to 4 days.

Source

Recipe created by Alice Henneman, MS, RDN, University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension Educator. For more recipes and tips for fast, healthy and delicious foods, visit cookitquick.org

Week 12 – Pekarek’s Produce CSA 2016

 

Hello Folks!

We finally did it – we set a date for the farm tour!  We hope you can join us on Sunday, September 11 for a Pekarek’s Produce Farm Tour.  The tour will run from 2 – 5 pm.  We will have hay rack rides leaving from the packing shed at 2:20 and 3:20.  We will also take you on a tour through the greenhouse, high tunnels, and packing shed.  Bring your family, bring a couple friends, or make a new friend – this is your chance to see how your produce is grown, where it comes from and meet the crew. Be sure to wear your “farm clothes” – even if you think you can stay clean, you won’t.  Trust me on this one.

Announcing – Pekarek’s Produce Fall CSA!  This year we will be offering a fall CSA during the months of November and December.  The CSA will include four delivery dates which we tried to schedule to go along with the holidays: November 8th & 22nd, and December 6th & 20th.  The cost for the fall CSA will be $100.  The produce you receive in the box will be somewhat dependent on successful cropping and weather, just as it is in the current CSA and will primarily include vegetables that will store well.

November Farmer’s Market in Lincoln – 2015

 

Although we will focus on giving you crops that will store well, I thought it might help to know what produce we had available during these months last year.  So often, people think the produce stops sometime in September, but our goal is to have produce through the end of the year into January of the following year.

 

November offerings from 2015 included cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, radishes, salad mix, spinach, bell peppers, kohlrabi, orange and red beets, cucumbers, carrots, potatoes, and winter squash. December offerings from 2015 included broccoli, spinach, salad mix, turnips, red & orange beets, carrots, potatoes, and winter squash.

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We spend much of the year working in sweatshirts…. late fall sweet potato harvest.

 

The number of fall CSA shares will be limited, with the first availability going to current CSA members who sign up.  Sign up forms will be included with your CSA box next week and available online at pekaresproduce.wordpress.com


What’s in this week’s CSA box?

  • Cantaloupe
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Yellow Onion
  • Red Onion*
  • Eggplant
  • Sweet Corn
  • Cucumbers*
  • Potatoes*
  •      *Only in the Full Share

Your Farmers,

Ryan, Katie, and Crew

Week 11 – Pekarek’s Produce CSA 2016

 

Hello Folks!

This week we have been having some “fun” with machines.  We have two four wheelers on the farm that are essential to all of our humdrum daily operations like picking squash, zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, and almost anything with a small crew.  We also use them for pulling trailers, using small equipment and general gophering – which doesn’t sound very exciting, but is very important to keep things moving smoothly.

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The four wheeler’s are essential to this farm!

Well last week we had one four wheeler that we had to take to Beatrice to get a starter fixed and last night we spent much of the evening trying to figure out what to do with the other four wheeler that suddenly won’t start – we still have no answer.

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In addition to that we are trying to get a new potato digger running.  It’s a giant piece of machinery that is probably 15 feet tall, 20+ feet long, and 10 feet wide.  Currently we use a horse drawn potato digger that we modified to use with a tractor.  It digs the potatoes, dumps them on the ground, and then we walk, or crawl, behind to pick them up.  The new digger, in theory, digs the potatoes, shakes of some of the vines and dirt and then puts them into a bin so that we don’t have to crawl behind the machine on our hands and knees.  Well, we got it running this week, but this machine from the 70s needs a bit of work – hammers, chains, straps, and blow torches…. Looks like it should work, but apparently we are going to need a new belt too.  Needless to say, we’ve felt more like mechanics than farmers lately. Ryan says “I feel like a lousy mechanic.”

Most of our crew starts school tomorrow, so they have been getting ready for school this week and we already miss them.  On a plus note, we are starting to pick vegetables for the elementary, middle, and high schools with college not far behind.  There’s something rewarding about seeing a bunch of kiddos who like veggies.

Much of this week includes all the things that go with farming, but not the actual farming itself.  So in farming news… we’ve no-till seeded some zucchini and cucumbers for the fall, we had a great watermelon and cantaloupe harvest this week, tomatoes are producing like we hope for this time of year, and we’ve had some great sweet corn growth and are really liking this variety.  The greenhouse fan motor that died in the storms last week got fixed yesterday.

Your Farmers,

Ryan, Katie, and Crew


What’s in this Week’s CSA Box?

  • Sweet Corn
  • Watermelon
  • Tomatoes
  • Eggplant
  • Yellow Onion
  • Jalapenos

4-Ingredient Guacamole with Tomato

Alice over at cookitquick.org shared another recipe using those tasty Pekarek’s Produce tomatoes.  Check out the 4-ingredient guacamole recipe.

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1/4 teaspoon powdered cumin
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • 1 ripe tomato, diced
  • Salt (if desired)

Directions

  1. Mash avocado with potato masher, pastry blender or fork. I like to keep the mashed avocado somewhat chunky.
  2. Mix in cumin and cayenne pepper.
  3. Stir in tomatoes.
  4. Taste; add more cumin and cayenne pepper as needed. Add salt to taste, if desired.
  5. Enjoy. Tastes great served with corn chips. This recipes maintains the best color and flavor if eaten soon after preparation.

Week 10 – Pekarek’s Produce CSA

Hello Folks!

I made it back safely from Arkansas and Ryan survived a full week on his own.  I’m not totally certain that, given his 6 am to 10 pm work schedule, he would have noticed we were gone if it weren’t for the CSA J  I’ve had several reports that everything ran smoothly with the CSA while I was gone, so I’m thinking maybe I should leave more often.  If you are asking why I left in the middle of summer, I also work for UNL Extension in the School of Natural Resources and I went to Arkansas to participate in a National Ag Extension conference where received an Achievement Award and gave a presentation.

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So now, back to what’s been happening on the farm.  The big news is that in the last week we’ve received almost 2.5 inches of rain.  This is wonderful, as it gives us a little breathing room and we can hold off on irrigating for a little while!  It was a nice rain, no hail, but unfortunately, the fan motor on the greenhouse burned up in the storm as a result of lightening, so we are working on getting that fixed.  The nice rains also mean that it is time to cultivate… rain means everything grows, including weeds!

This week we cleaned out the greenhouse.  Those cucumber plants that have been growing on a trellis in the greenhouse are done producing fruits, but we picked an amazing 3,051 cucumbers off of just 60 plants in there, so we are extremely pleased!

We also transplanted all of the broccoli and cauliflower from the greenhouse.  That is the last batch of broccoli and cauliflower that will go into the field this year.  It’s a bit of a sign that fall is coming.  The other sign fall is coming is that we are losing all of our high school help next week.  We’ve been very fortunate to get a great crop of high school help this year and will be sad to see them go, but look forward to the returning and new fall help.

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Getting the CSA boxes packed and ready to go!

 

Tomatoes have gone into full swing of production over the last couple of weeks.  They were a very slow start for us this year, but we tend to think of ourselves as if we are in a marathon, not a sprint.  Our veggies may not be the first, but they will have a long season.

We have started picking on the watermelons in the last couple of weeks and will still be planting several crops in the coming months.  Just this week we seeded beets, carrots, green beans, and cabbage.

Be sure to take a cantaloupe this week!

Your Farmers,

Ryan, Katie, and Crew


What’s in this week’s bag?

  • Sweet Corn
  • Cantaloupe
  • Green Beans
  • Cucumber(s)
  • Bell Pepper(s)
  • Tomatoes