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Updates from the farm

Updates from the farm and city.
Posted 11/20/2017 11:56am by Jason.
WEEK 39 | Fall Week 9
SNEAK PEEK
 
 
 Whats in the box?! 
 
BUTTERNUT SQUASH, RED CABBAGE, CARROTS, GARLIC, SHALLOTS, LETTUCE
 
 Thanksgiving is here!  Deliveries will be moved up by one day; you will receive your share about 24 hours earlier than usual. 
 
We cannot accommodate any late orders this week. Please place any orders by 12PM (Noon) on Tuesday. 
 
If you are going to be away, and want to donate your share, please let me know sooner than later. We will be donating to Lakeview Pantry - They feed a large contingent of individuals, especially during the holiday season. 
 
 

 
 Whats available in our store this week?
 
This week we have:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
DON'T FORGET ABOUT OUR WHOLE ROASTED TOMATOES EITHER! THEY ARE PERFECT FOR SOUPS, STEWS, AND SAUCES THIS HOLIDAY SEASON. 
 
 Aaaaannnndddddddddd....... 
 
CHEESE!! If you still haven't tried this cheese, boy oh boy, you are missing out!
 
 
 
 
 
 
Aaaaannnndddddddddd.......
  
 
 
  
  
Brian & The Tomato Mountain Farm Team 
 
Posted 11/16/2017 10:25am by Jason.
 
 
Hiya folks,
 
Mushrooms are available for order to arrive with your Thanksgiving shares. Please remember that all mushroom orders must be placed by 5:00PM this Friday. 
 
Don't forget - We have loads of items available to complete your Thanksgiving feast! We also have insanely good Maple Syrup from McCluskey Bros, Honey from Ellis farms, Sunflower Oil from Driftless Organics, and of course, our premium Whole Roasted Tomatoes
 
 
 
 
 

 
 Whats available in our store this week?
 
This week we have:
 
 
DON'T FORGET ABOUT OUR WHOLE ROASTED TOMATOES EITHER! THEY ARE PERFECT FOR SOUPS, STEWS, AND SAUCES THIS HOLIDAY SEASON. 
 
 Aaaaannnndddddddddd....... 
 
CHEESE!! If you still haven't tried this cheese, boy oh boy, you are missing out!
 
 
 
 
 
 
Aaaaannnndddddddddd.......
  
 
 
  
  
Brian & The Tomato Mountain Farm Team 
 
Posted 11/15/2017 5:42pm by Jason.
 11/13/2017 CSA NEWSLETTER
 
Whats in the box?! 
 
LETTUCE, CHINESE (NAPA) CABBAGE, BUTTERNUT SQUASH, RED ONION, SHUNKYO RADISHES (medium and large shares will receive broccoli) 
 
 
 
 
MUSHROOM ORDERS MUST BE PLACED BY 5PM THIS FRIDAY
 
 
 
While I do have a pretty high stress threshold compared to most, and do well with a good amount of excitement, the truck breaking down last Wednesday night is not exactly the kind of excitement I thrive on. We were able to successfully (mostly) get a rental truck, load everything from our broken down truck to the rental, and get things delivered. I made a mistake or two on my CSA delivery route last Thursday afternoon- too many new and different things going on. Sorry to the folks I missed, and to Brian for having to clean up my mess. I hate making those kinds of avoidable mistakes.
 
The truck still isn’t fixed, not even sure what the issue is, though it’s very likely a serious engine gasket/seal that will cost at least a few thousand dollars to fix. We’re renting a truck again this week. I’ll be driving it down tonight. The silver lining in all this is that I’m learning lots about different trucks, and driving them. This may well set me up for a winter driving job that would have me doing expedited trips across the country to make a few extra dollars. I’ve always said that if I wasn’t a farmer, I’d be a truck driver. Most people don’t believe me, but I’ll probably be at least a part time driver of that nature this winter.
 
We have finally worked out our contract issues with Small Farm Central, the company we use to facilitate our online CSA ordering. After Thanksgiving, we’ll be ready to start working on the many details to get things up and running. We’re excited to finally offer customers a significant degree of choice. I’ve always said a CSA is not just a matter of giving people what they want, it’s also a matter of not giving them what they don’t want, and the new platform we’re adopting will allow for that. You’ll be able to choose a few things that will never be included in your box, and have them replaced with things you like better. Our availability and inventory, of course will dictate exactly how that plays out. There will be a learning curve for all of us. One can never predict all the scenarios and possibilities in advance. Trying out this new approach and working things out is the best we can do, and we’re very much looking forward to making it happen and improving your customer experience.
 
Oh yeah, we’re still doing actual farm work- harvesting carrots in the field and planting spinach in the hoops. 20 of 22 spinach hoops have been planted, and 26 of 32 carrots beds have been harvested. We harvested the last 2 fall hoops yesterday, Asian greens, making room to get the last 2 hoops of spinach planted. That will happen Friday. The 6 remaining beds of carrots in the field won’t get finished before the rain we’re supposed to get on Friday, but we should have an opportunity next Monday and/or Tuesday to finish. Everyone will be very happy to be done.
 
After that all we need to do is mulch the garlic in the field, and prepare to cover the hoops of spinach with row cover, to keep them warmer, so the spinach can grow a bit more, and to protect it from the temperature extremes that will be possible from late December through the end of February. As long as it stays fall-like, we won’t actually cover the spinach, but we will install the wire hoops that support the covers so they’re there when we need them.  
 
 
 
Posted 11/13/2017 2:21pm by Jason.
WEEK 38 | Fall Week 8
SNEAK PEEK
 
 
 Whats in the box?! 
 
CHINESE (NAPA) CABBAGE, LETTUCE, BUTTERNUT SQUASH, RED ONION, SHUNKYO RADISHES (MEDIUM AND LARGE SHARES WILL RECEIVE BROCCOLI)
 
 Thanksgiving is right around the corner! The week of Thanksgiving, deliveries will be moved up by one day; you will receive your share about 24 hours earlier than usual. 
 
If you are going to be away, and want to donate your share, please let me know sooner than later. We will be donating to Lakeview Pantry - They feed a large contingent of individuals, especially during the holiday season. 
 
 

 
 Whats available in our store this week?
 
This week we have:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
DON'T FORGET ABOUT OUR WHOLE ROASTED TOMATOES EITHER! THEY ARE PERFECT FOR SOUPS, STEWS, AND SAUCES THIS HOLIDAY SEASON. 
 
 Aaaaannnndddddddddd....... 
 
CHEESE!! If you still haven't tried this cheese, boy oh boy, you are missing out!
 
 
 
 
 
 
Aaaaannnndddddddddd.......
  
 
 
  
  
Brian & The Tomato Mountain Farm Team 
 
Posted 11/9/2017 12:57pm by Jason.

Hey again, members! 

I wanted to update all of you on how things are going, so far we are further along than we anticipated. We were able to get all of the shares to Chicago and started deliveries about an hour ago. 

For those of you who receive deliveries on Thursday afternoons / evenings, and those of you in our "Zone C" (most of the suburbs) that receive deliveries overnight on Thursdays... Your deliveries will not be affected by any delays. You can expect your delivery today (or overnight tonight) as usual.

For those of you who receive deliveries on Wednesday night, overnight (your share is usually waiting for you on Wednesday mornings)...

If you live South of Addison and East of Interstate 90, and / or South of Grand Ave, your shares will be delivered today / tonight. 

If you live West of Interstate 90 and / or North of Addison, your shares will be delivered tomorrow morning / afternoon. 

This is about 95% accurate. There are a few addresses (around the edges of the borders stated above - Avondale for instance) that do not fit into those parameters. 

If you reached out to me about a specific circumstance (going out of town, receiving your share in time for Sabbath, etc), I have taken care of all those requests. 

I hope this isn't to confusing. If you have any questions about where your delivery stands, or when it will be made, please do not hesitate to reach out. I will be out on deliveries but I do have mobile access. It would be best to text me at 312-607-5553. Please include your first and last name and I will respond as quickly as possible. 

Thank you all so much for your understanding, it is appreciated.

Brian 

Posted 11/8/2017 9:32pm by Jason.

Hi folks,

Well, I have a little bit of bad news... Our truck coming down this evening decided it'd had enough and sputtered out on the side of the road, not to far from the farm. We had hoped it was a quick fix, but that doesn't appear to be the case. Some of you may remember this happened a few months ago - We had it serviced and repaired at that time, it was just a blown radiator hose - Hoping this is a similarly manageable fix and nothing too serious. 

On the bright side, these cool temperatures mean that none of the produce will be adversely affected. We are having the truck towed back to the farm tonight, and we are working on getting a rental truck bright and early to get all the shares to Chicago.

I can't say exactly when shares will be delivered, but I can safely say that all shares will be delivered by Friday evening - I am working through the logistics of it all now. 

If you are able, please leave your coolers out as you normally do. 

If any of you have a scenario in which this delay will prevent you from receiving your share this week (going out of town on Friday afternoon, etc) please email me at support@tomatomountain.com, or you may text or call me at 312-607-5553. I will respond as quickly as I can. 

Please know we are doing everything we can and we'll get your veggies to you as soon as we can! 

Thank you all so much,

Brian & The Tomato Mountain Farm Team

Posted 11/6/2017 3:27pm by Jason.
WEEK 37 | Fall Week 7
SNEAK PEEK
 
 
 Whats in the box?! 
 
GREEN CABBAGE, LETTUCE, ONIONS, BUTTERNUT SQUASH, CARROTS, (SOME SHARES WILL GET THE LAST OF THE BROCCOLI)
 
 
We're doing a super easy Roasted Butternut Squash this week. Just a few simple ingredients and you've got a wonderful side dish!
 

 
 
 Whats available in our store this week?
 
This week we have:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 Aaaaannnndddddddddd....... 
 
CHEESE!! If you still haven't tried this cheese, boy oh boy, you are missing out!
 
 
 
 
 
 
Aaaaannnndddddddddd.......
  
 
 
Notes this week...
 
If you have been collecting our cardboard CSA, please remember to leave them out each week for us to pick up :) 
 
  
Brian & The Tomato Mountain Farm Team 
 
Posted 11/3/2017 11:21am by Jason.

 

Just a quick reminder that mushroom orders must be placed by 5PM today! 

This is also the last week we'll have collard greens and red russian kale - get it while you can!

 

ORDER MUSHROOMS HERE

 

 

Posted 10/30/2017 11:31am by Jason.
WEEK 36 | Fall Week 6
SNEAK PEEK
 
 
 Whats in the box?! 
 
GREEN CABBAGE, LETTUCE, RED GLOBE ONIONS, CARROTS, SHUNKYO RADISHES, WINTER SQUASH
 
 
Carrots are here! They are looking wonderful and taste even better! We're going with a super simple Roasted Carrots recipe this week - roasting really brings out the natural sweetness of the carrots. The recipe calls for dill or parsley, you can substitute rosemary, oregano, or thyme! 
 

 
 
 Whats available in our store this week?
 
This week we have:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 Aaaaannnndddddddddd....... 
 
CHEESE!! If you still haven't tried this cheese, boy oh boy, you are missing out!
 
 
 
 
 
 
Aaaaannnndddddddddd.......
  
 
 
Notes this week...
 
If you have been collecting our cardboard CSA, please remember to leave them out each week for us to pick up :) 
 
  
Brian & The Tomato Mountain Farm Team 
 
Posted 10/25/2017 5:30pm by Jason.
 10/23/2017 CSA NEWSLETTER
 
Whats in the box?! 
 
LETTUCE, ASIAN GREENS, ONIONS, BROCCOLI, SHUNKYO RADISHES, SQUASH, TOMATOES
 
 
 Late fall has arrived after an extended, warm early fall. We seem to have missed out on lots of leaf color, and went from green trees with warm weather to leaves falling off the trees and cold weather. Such is the variability of weather.
 
The extra warmth was good for us, extending our tomato season and sizing up our carrots/other root crops nicely. We are slightly behind getting winter spinach transplanted in our hoops. We did get another 3 hoops done yesterday, bringing our total to 8 hoops planted, leaving 14 to do. We do have plenty of other fall crops to keep the boxes full for at least another month, so we’re in no big hurry for hoop spinach anyway. Besides, it doesn’t taste particularly special and sweet until exposed to cold weather, with outside temps in the teens or less, so things are on track.
 
Carrots have sized up nicely. All we need now are a couple of good freezes to sweeten them up, and some dry weather to allow us to dig the them. The same goes for our beets and storage radishes. Everything gets sweeter and has nicer texture after experiencing cold weather. We’re harvesting cabbage today, red and green. After that, the only other things left in the field are leeks and broccoli. The broccoli will get harvested later this week and next week, and the leeks shortly after that.
 
The last thing we have to do in the field is plant garlic. After losing the majority of our garlic due to a 60 mph wind event last fall, that blew off the protective mulch, we have to start over and buy garlic “seed”, which is actually just garlic. I am very lucky to have an excellent organic farmer near me who grows great garlic, and sells it to me for an extremely good price. Not only will we have two great varieties to plant, we’ll probably have a little bit left over to give to CSA customers. We will plant 6 beds, or ¼ acre, and completely get back up to inventory of top notch garlic by next July. Behind tomatoes, carrots and winter spinach, garlic will become out 4th most “valuable” crop. You can be 110% sure that we’ll successfully mulch the garlic when conditions are NOT expected to be windy.
 
Otherwise, we’re somewhat consumed with our new project, switching over to our new CSA management platform, via Small Farm Central, that will dramatically change the landscape for all of us. CSA customers will have choices about what is, and is not, in their box. It will be easier, on your end and ours, to make customization possible. You won’t have to pick out your box every week. Instead, certain likes and dislikes for every customer will be built into the system. You can be sure to never get certain things you don’t want, and have them replaced with the things you like best.
 
You will also be able to change your box on a weekly basis. If you’ve told us you love kale, like lettuce a lot, and like bok choi a little, but that you hate radishes, you will never see radishes in your box, and you’ll have them replaced by kale, lettuce and bok choi, respectively, depending on what we have. If you change your mind one week and decide you want lots of winter squash to make pie rather than your standing top choice, kale, you can make that change as well, as long as we have the crop available. You’ll be able to see our inventory/availability list alongside our add-on list. The system Small Farm Central has established for all this seems simple and user friendly. I’m sure there will be some adjustments, glitches and growing pains along the way, but it should roll out a lot better than did Obamacare.
 
Finally, adds ons will be simpler than ever, an extension of the process outlined above. You will be able to add on more of what’s already in your box, and you’ll be able to add anything we’re offering from our trusted farmer friends, from grass fed cheese to maple syrup to honey to eggs to mushrooms to fruit and sweet corn in the summer…. We’re thinking of offering frozen fruit in winter. What do you think of that?
 
And what do you think of all this in general? It will be 3-4 times more expensive to make these changes/choices available. We’re counting on these changes to grow our customer base, and make people happier/more likely to stick around. You’ll even be able to cancel a few boxes/year, and have credits applied to your account. All these changes will be easier to make from the customer’s perspective, and easier to administrate from our perspective.
 
In short, we think it’s worth it to spend $20,000+/year, instead of the $5,000 we’re currently spending, to give people choices that increase satisfaction and save time, while making it easier for us to facilitate those choices. We have not raised prices in 8 years of doing our CSA, and have been planning on a 15% price increase (about what inflation has been over the last 10 years) even without these improvements.  From that perspective, we’re not charging much, if anything, for the extra cost these changes incur. This is because we believe they will make us more efficient, lead to higher customer satisfaction and help us become more profitable. 
 
 

SNEAK PEEK - Week 39 | Fall Week 9 + THANKSGIVING DELIVERY SCHEDULENovember 20th, 2017

WEEK 39 | Fall Week 9 SNEAK PEEK      Whats in the box?!    BUTTERNUT SQUASH, RED CABBAGE, CARROTS, GARLIC, SHALLOTS, LETTUCE    Thanksgiving is here!  De

Mushrooms open for orders + Honey, Maple Syrup, Whole Roasted Tomatoes!November 16th, 2017

    Hiya folks,   Mushrooms are available for order to arrive with your Thanksgiving shares. Please remember that all mushroom orders must be placed by 5:00PM this Friday.   

Tomato Mountain Newsletter - Week 38 | Fall Week 8 + MUSHROOMS OPEN FOR THANKSGIVING ORDERSNovember 15th, 2017

 11/13/2017 CSA NEWSLETTER   Whats in the box?!    LETTUCE, CHINESE (NAPA) CABBAGE, BUTTERNUT SQUASH, RED ONION, SHUNKYO RADISHES (medium and large shares will receive broccoli)&

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