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Updates from the farm

Updates from the farm and city.
Posted 9/20/2017 6:41pm by Jason.
9/4/2017 CSA NEWSLETTER
 
Whats in the box?! 
 
LETTUCE, FIELD GREENS (collard, chard, kale), ONIONS,  PEPPERS, FENNEL, TOMATOES, BOK CHOI (fennel not pictured) 
 
 
 
 
All the hot weather we’ve having now again reminds me how lucky we were this year to have such nice stretches of cool weather in August and early September. When it’s hot in July and August, when the days are long and the sun is high in the sky, working conditions can be unbearable, and crops are stressed to the limit. It looks like it will be very warm through the weekend, into early next week, with more seasonable conditions after that to usher in the middle of fall.
 
Tomatoes are loving this final burst of heat, ripening quickly in the hoops, moving toward their final harvests. Field peppers, as mentioned last week, have had a remarkable revival, and will be in the box this week and next. The drier weather has also been responsible for their recovery from what seemed like a total loss. Field and hoop greens aren’t happy about all this heat, but the longer fall nights, along with our diligent irritation practices, should keep them in decent shape. It will be close, though, for some greens with high temps forecast in the 80’s through next Monday.
 
Our beautiful broccoli planting is one crop I’m concerned about. It doesn’t like heat, and doesn’t last as long after harvest when it’s cut in hot weather. We’ll be working extra hard to get broccoli out of the field and cooled down as soon as possible after harvest to keep quality higher, and shelf life longer. In fact, we’ll have to keep an eye on all brassica crops (cabbage, broccoli, kale, cauliflower…), to keep them hydrated, as cool as possible, and harvested before they get too big and/or mature. Again, shorter days and longer nights will help us keep these crops in better shape than they’d be in June or early July, when we last harvested them.
 
We’re all pretty exhausted after another long season. This final burst of heat is making for a mad dash to the finish line, at least for the outdoor season. The fall/winter season is much more even keeled and easier to manage than the hot summer season. May through September is always hard to keep up with, whereas October through February presents a mellower and slower paced farming experience. March and April are often fairly busy as we’re gearing up for the big season. When we have cooler springs it’s a dream, when they’re hot, they remind us of summer.
 
Just a final reminder that our fall share begins next week. We continue to stay focused on becoming more professional, doing our best to offer the highest quality crops. Our add ons are expanding into new crops and products as well. We’re looking forward to a great fall and winter season. Thanks for your participation with our farm. 
 
Posted 9/18/2017 11:01am by Jason.
WEEK 30 | SUMMER WEEK 12
SNEAK PEEK
 
Whats in the box?! 
 
LETTUCE, FIELD GREENS (collard, chard, kale), ONIONS,  BELL PEPPERS, FENNEL, TOMATOES 
 
 
Our fall season starts next week! If you love greens, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, squash, carrots, spinach, beets, and all the other goodies that come this time of year, sign up now!! 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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.......
 
 
 
Aaaaannnndddddddddd.......
 
 
 
Notes this week...
 
THIS IS THE LAST WEEK OF SUMMER!  Fall season is available for signup! If you are a full-year or sustaining member, you are already enrolled for fall. 
 
If you are a seasonal member, click here to UPDATE YOUR MEMBERSHIP. From here you will be able to select and add the fall season. 
 
Any questions, just send me a message at support@tomatomountain.com or simply reply to this email 
  
Brian & The Tomato Mountain Farm Team 
 
Posted 9/13/2017 5:15pm by Jason.
9/4/2017 CSA NEWSLETTER
 
Whats in the box?! 
 
 TOMATOES, ONIONS, LETTUCE, PEPPERS,
WATERMELON!!
 
 
 
 
 
9/11/2017 CSA NEWSLETTERIt’s back to summer with lots of warm weather in store for much of the rest of the month. The cool down that just ended was perfect as it gave us to catch up on tomato harvesting and carrot weeding. The weeds would otherwise have overwhelmed the carrots, and many tomatoes would have rotted in the field.
 
And the dry pattern we’re in has allowed for a slight revival of our field peppers. I basically wrote them off a month ago as the plants looked horrible, and there were next to no fruits of even flowers (which lead to fruits) on the plants. Our most durable, cool tolerant varieties have bounced back somewhat, and provided a modest harvest. There will be peppers in the box this week, probably next week, and likely a few weeks after that as well. We’re relieved and excited to have a decent end of the season. It looked for awhile like a complete crop failure.
 
As you’ll notice, the peppers and their stems have a few blemishes which show the wear and tear of a tough season. Even so, they are solid and firm with good flavor. We’ll be careful to pick them with some color for better and sweeter flavor, but not fully colored, which would reduce their shelf life too much.
 
The torpedo onions in the box are on the verge of sprouting. They are not a long storage onion, and so should be used quickly. Be sure to keep them in the fridge, no bag necessary, to keep them in the best condition possible. Try to use them up in the next week or two, before they sprout. Even if they do sprout, they’re ok to use, but for best flavor, get to them sooner than later.
 
Our fall share is right around the corner and our fall crops look great, both in the field and in the hoops.  The aforementioned carrots will be in the box by the end of October. We planted so many this year that we’ll have to harvest them over a 6 week period, and give out as many as possible as early as we can. Still, we’ll have exactly the challenge we want- to have to figure out how to get the carrots in the cooler.
 
We’ll also have a good crop of beets this year. While our late fall harvest carrots are amazingly sweet, the beets top the charts for sugar content. You probably know that regular table sugar can be, and often is, produced from beets. Just like carrots, when beets are exposed to cold fall weather and freezes, they develop incredible flavor and sweetness. We love these fall crops that get better and better as the weather gets colder. We’ll also have Beauty Heart Radishes, which are also wonderfully sweet when harvested late in fall.
 
Field broccoli looks great, and there’s lots of it. You’ll see broccoli in the box starting the first week of October, when the fall share starts. This year’s cauliflower crops look very nice too. Our kale, chard, collard greens, cabbage, and bok choi are all in good shape and should be plentiful until freeze up, which usually doesn’t happen in earnest until late October. Lettuce will be in good supply from now through October.
 
Even tomatoes and peppers will linger into the fall season this year. The resurgence of our pepper plants, and the warmer drier weather we’re having now, means we’ll have peppers into October. The cooler weather we just had slowed tomatoes down a tad, but left some extra life/harvest in them that will extend the tomato harvest into October.  
 
Oh yeah, our winter squash planting looks great. We’ve got a nice planting of acorn and butternut squash, some of which we’ll give out between October and the end of the fall season, and some of which we’ll roast, blend, vacuum pack and freeze for the winter share. The warm and dry weather we’ve having now is perfect for ripening up these squash.
 
All in all, it should be a great fall season. If you are a sustaining, or full-year member, you are all set for the fall season. If you are a seasonal member, you may "Update Your Membership" and add the fall season to your account. If you have any questions, please email us at support@tomatmountain.com, Brian will be able to assist with any questions you have.  We’re looking forward to it and hoping our CSA membership grows. We hope you’ll tell your friends and maybe even get a few of them to sign up. 
Posted 9/11/2017 11:11am by Jason.
WEEK 29 | SUMMER WEEK 11
SNEAK PEEK
 
Whats in the box?! 
 
TOMATOES (lots of tomatoes!!), LETTUCE, ONIONS, PEPPERS (mixed assortment), WATERMELON 
 
 
We have so many tomatoes at home, spent the whole weekend cooking and canning... I know a lot of folks get anxious about canning - this Slow Roasted Tomato Sauce can be made in large (or small) batches and kept in the freezer, no jars required. This recipe is all about the slow roasting - it really brings out the flavor of the tomatoes and the garlic. Be mindful of how much water you add - you can always add more if you need. If you do add too much it just has to reduce for longer. Remember, you can add or subtract as you like - I did a batch with hot Italian sausage and peppers. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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! The monterey jack makes a killer grilled cheese sandwich! 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Aaaaannnndddddddddd.......
 
 
Aaaaannnndddddddddd.......
 
 
 
Notes this week...
 
Including this week, there are only 2 weeks left in the summer season. Fall season is available for signup! If you are a full-year or sustaining member, you are already enrolled for fall. 
 
If you are a seasonal member, click here to UPDATE YOUR MEMBERSHIP. From here you will be able to select and add the fall season. 
 
  
Brian & The Tomato Mountain Farm Team 
 
Posted 9/6/2017 6:06pm by Jason.
9/4/2017 CSA NEWSLETTER
 
Whats in the box?! 
 
 TOMATOES (lots of tomatoes!!), LETTUCE, RED GLOBE ONIONS, GARLIC, WATERMELON!!
 
 
August was the first month in a long time that was below average for temperatures. It’s been a couple years since that’s happened. August was so cool, in fact, that it made our meteorological summer (June, July, August) below average for the first time since 2009.
 
Extra cool weather is also ushering in the fall season. Mostly, we love that as it slows things down and helps us catch/keep up. We can close the hoop houses to capture and build heat during the day, to keep tomatoes warmer/ripening. Cooler weather also gives us time to weed our carrots. That is a bit of an anxious situation for me now. We planted lots of carrots this year, 40,000 row feet to be exact. Despite the fact we did flame weed over half of them, many weeds did still survive. It’s going to take well over 1000 hours of work to weed them. That is going to be extremely challenging and expensive.
 
The cooler weather also keeps fall crops in prime condition. We’ve got very nice looking broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, chinese cabbage, beets, bok choi, kale, chard, lettuce, collard greens, spinach, and radishes. The only crop we didn’t successfully sow is our sweet salad turnips. Kind of a drag but not so terrible as everything else looks good.
 
More watermelons in the box this week, next week, and probably the week after that too. Flavor is mostly great, and texture is decent. Melons like it hot and dry, so not the best year for them, but they turned out pretty well. We’ll do them in future years for sure. Two smaller plantings will keep them around longer, with higher quality.  
 
Mushrooms are the next crop on our add-on plate. I’ve been looking forward to these for some time for a few reasons. First off, mushrooms are great! They’re completely different from anything else- a whole different kingdom biologically speaking. One of my favorite farmer friends, Eric Rose, of River Valley Farm, grows them. He does a great job with Cremini, Shiitake, Button, and Oyster mushrooms. Buttons are fairly common, and oysters are a bit tricky, so we’ll focus on Creminis and Shiitakes.
 
Logistically speaking, as always, we’re putting crop quality and freshness on top of the priority list. Eric grows great mushrooms. Freshness is up to us. The problem is the time lag between getting orders from customers, and placing the order from Eric. He needs a few days to get our order together, so we can’t wait until Tuesday afternoon as we can for other growers we buy from. If we order “blind” like we did the last time we tried this, without knowing what customer’s orders will be, we’ll either not have enough, or we’ll have too many, so as to wipe out our profits. Neither scenario is good. You can help us. Here’s how:
 
We’re going to start off this project by allowing people to order exactly what they want, week by week, as we have with other add ons so far.  This is possible only because Eric has agreed to let us order on Tuesdays, two days later than his normal Sunday cut off, for Wednesday delivery to us at markets (where we’ll be getting the mushrooms), for the remainder of the outdoor farmers’ market season. This way, no product gets wasted. This is a bunch of extra last minute work for Eric, but he’s willing to do it short term to help us get this all established.
 
By the end of October, we want to transition to an arrangement similar to what we do with eggs, with a small and a large mushroom share. Tentatively, we’re thinking of charging $6 and $11 per week, respectively. We’ll probably offer the opportunity to get all of one type of mushroom, all of the other type, or a mix, which would be a set amount of each.
 
Please help us out by letting us know if you’ll want mushrooms, how many, how often, and if you think you’ll be interested in the regular mushroom share once market season is over and we won’t be able to do custom ordering. Again, this all facilitates freshness, quality, and shelf life.
 
Finally, it is good to note that if mushrooms get left in your refrigerator beyond their normal shelf life, they actually dry down very nicely, as if dehydrated, and work very well in soups or anywhere you’d use dried shrooms! On several occasions I’ve forgotten I had mushrooms in the fridge for a couple months. They dried out and worked great. I put them in soups and pasta sauces where they worked almost better than fresh mushrooms. As long as they’re not in plastic and can dry out (a paper bag is best), it’s easy to dry and use them this way.
Posted 9/4/2017 10:06am by Jason.
WEEK 28 | SUMMER WEEK 10
SNEAK PEEK
 
Whats in the box?! 
 
TOMATOES (lots of tomatoes!!), LETTUCE, RED GLOBE ONIONS, GARLIC, WATERMELON 
 
 
Can you believe it, Labor Day has arrived! We are going to try this Watermelon Caprese Salad today with our BBQ, looks delicious. A fun, new way to enjoy these farm-fresh melons.
 
 
 
 
 
Whats available in our store this week?
 
This week we have:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Aaaaannnndddddddddd....... 
 
CHEESE!! This week we are introducing 5 varieties of cheese from McCluskey Bros. (we have limited quantities of these products - once we have a better understanding of demand we will increase accordingly)
 
 
 
 
 
 
Aaaaannnndddddddddd.......
 
 
 
 
Aaaaannnndddddddddd.......
 
 
 
Notes this week...
 
Including this week, there are only 3 weeks left in the summer season. Fall season is available for signup! If you are a full-year or sustaining member, you are already enrolled for fall. 
 
If you are a seasonal member, click here to UPDATE YOUR MEMBERSHIP. From here you will be able to select and add the fall season. 
 
  
Brian & The Tomato Mountain Farm Team 
 
Posted 8/30/2017 8:30pm by Jason.
8/28/2017 CSA NEWSLETTER
 
Whats in the box?! 
 
 
TOMATOES (lots of tomatoes!!), KALE, COLLARD GREENS, SWISS CHARD, TOMATILLOS, WATERMELON!! 
 
 
Perfect late summer weather is what we’ve got as we head into Labor Day Weekend and the beginning of meteorological fall next week. We continue to get just enough rain, not too much or too little. Lately, the weather has been just about perfect.
 
As I mentioned last week, the drier weather of late has saved our watermelon crop which would have had serious issues otherwise. It was so wet for so long during the early stages of the crop that you’ll be able to tell things haven’t been perfect. Texture and flavor, however, have improved dramatically these last couple weeks as we’ve been checking for ripeness.
 
Smaller melons also tend to be a bit more finicky and the balance between texture and flavor is hard to get just right. Very few of our melons are super crisp and “tight” with respect to texture. Most small melon varieties tend to seem almost overripe from a texture standpoint even if the seeds aren’t totally dark and mature, as one expects in a watermelon. In the end, since the texture is rarely great in smaller melons, we’re mostly looking for sweet melons, and they’re not hard to find. Even melons with mostly tan/immature seeds are fairly sweet, with anything any more mature than that being very sweet, with good watermelon flavor.
 
We tried to pick the melons, on average, a little on the early side, as most are at least fairly sweet, and to avoid the overly soft, mealy texture overripe melons have. Some of you will certainly get melons that are fully ripe, and probably a bit softer in texture than you’d like. It’s difficult when we can only give out one melon/box. If there’s any sort of drink you like that’s made from watermelons, that would be the perfect solution for these melons. And for sure, somebody will get a melon that isn’t great. Let us know, and we’ll do what we can to make it up to you next week. We’ll have melons for a couple weeks. Next year, we’ll do 2 smaller plantings, to spread things out a bit, and have them in the box longer. They’re fairly easy and fun to grow, and way better tasting than store bought melons.
 
I’ve been extremely happy with the way our field kale and chard have been getting picked. I hope you’re all noticing and appreciating how well our crew has been at getting this done- better than I’ve ever seen on any farm, ever. When I go to get smoothie greens from the cooler, it’s just like I imagine things in my mind with everything nice sized, and very clean. It’s difficult to always harvest these greens at the exact right time. Certainly the cooler stretches of weather we’ve have help a lot. I’ve heard a few people lately say the box seems a bit boring, just tomatoes, onions and field greens. Aside from the onions, I think the crops are of exceptional quality. Hopefully you agree.
 
Tomatoes will be in full swing and plentiful for another month. Peppers were a crop failure, we’re sad and sorry- that’s how it goes sometimes. There won’t be much variety for a few more weeks, but fall crops are maturing nicely, with broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, spinach, carrots, beets, and radishes looking very nice. All will be in the fall box, which kicks off the last week of September.
Posted 8/28/2017 1:05pm by Jason.
WEEK 27 | SUMMER WEEK 9
SNEAK PEEK
 
Whats in the box?! 
 
TOMATOES (lots of tomatoes!!), KALE, COLLARD GREENS, SWISS CHARD, TOMATILLOS, WATERMELON!! 
 
 
I absolutely love this recipe for Caldo Verde, a spicy soup made with kale and chorizo. I make it all the time, and riff on it just as much. I've used spinach or collards instead on kale, and I often use hot Italian sausage in place of chorizo.  You may have to adjust the cooking time for the potatoes to become tender - the recipe says about 5 minutes, I have found this to take up to about 15 minutes or so depending on size. Just check them with a knife or toothpick. 
 
 
 
 
 
Whats available in our store this week?
 
This week we have:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Aaaaannnndddddddddd....... 
 
CHEESE!! This week we are introducing 5 varieties of cheese from McCluskey Bros. (we have limited quantities of these products - once we have a better understanding of demand we will increase accordingly)
 
 
 
 
 
 
Aaaaannnndddddddddd.......
 
 
Aaaaannnndddddddddd.......
 
 
 
Notes this week...
 
Including this week, there are only 4 weeks left in the summer season. Fall season is available for signup! If you are a full-year or sustaining member, you are already enrolled for fall. 
 
If you are a seasonal member, click here to UPDATE YOUR MEMBERSHIP. From here you will be able to select and add the fall season. 
 
  
Brian & The Tomato Mountain Farm Team 
 
Posted 8/23/2017 6:48pm by Jason.
8/21/2017 CSA NEWSLETTER
 
Whats in the box?! 
 
TOMATOES (mixed variety), MIXED FIELD GREENS (collards, chard, kale), RED ONIONS, WHITE ONIONS, LETTUCE
 
 
Summer is just about over and it feels like it. I’ll be curious to see the August climatological statistics, as it might be the first month in a couple years to be below average temperature wise. The wet weather is officially over for us, and we’ll have to irrigate for the first time in a long time by the end of this week. That is good news.
 
When it was very wet, during late June and July, many crops suffered. Most have pulled through and at least done something in terms of yield/production, but the peppers look horrible. There will be no more pepper harvest. We tried to help the plants recover from the fungal pressure they were under from all the wet weather and rain, by harvesting them and removing the burden of ripening so many green peppers to red, but the damage/inoculation was done, and the plants have nothing left to give. Ironically, the only plants that look good are the Jalapenos, which are probably the least popular from a customer/CSA standpoint. At least we’ll have them for our processing kitchen.
 
As I mentioned in a previous newsletter, we’re going to change up our tomato varieties a bit going forward. Less of the varieties that don’t taste great, or that aren’t as consistently successful, or that don’t make great tasting (and looking) products in our processing kitchen. We’re strongly leaning toward a hoop house or two of peppers next year, maybe two. As we get better at doing tomatoes, we realize that more isn’t always better, and that some insurance against crop failure for field peppers is a good idea. We can spray field peppers with a copper fungicide, but it isn’t always successful- if it rains a lot and washes the spray off as would have been the case for much of this season.
 
We are growing watermelons this year for the first time in years. They’re a small melon, so that we can get them in the boxes and not overwhelm people who don’t love them. Midwestern grown melons are among the crops that taste the best compared to those off the truck, from California or Georgia, or wherever. Again, the super wet conditions this year have affected melon quality and flavor. The few melons we’ve harvested so far have been a bit mealy as far as texture, looking overripe even though the seeds indicate that they’re not quite ripe yet (light seeds are not ripe, dark seeds are ripe). The flavor was good, quite sweet. The dry period we’re going through now may help them firm up and further sweeten up. They will be in the box next week.
 
We know that variety in the box is a bit shy this week. As usual, we’re not trying to be everything to everyone. It is sad and unfortunate that, for the first time in 25 years, our pepper crop is nearly a complete failure. They were only in the box once. We are being sure to give everyone lots of tomatoes, of as many varieties as possible. Field greens continue to be very nice too, and we’re happy with that.
 
Our fall root crops sowings of carrots, beets, and radishes, look very good. Fall brassica plantings of broccoli and cauliflower also look good. We did a somewhat unplanned sowing of field spinach yesterday, and I’ve got a good feeling that will turn out well. Our winter hoop spinach is always very good and popular, but we’d like to have some before that. Field spinach can be tricky, but there is usually a good window in mid October, when the frosts get a bit heavier, and the flavor of all the crops in this paragraph improve dramatically. 
 
Posted 8/21/2017 1:44pm by Jason.
WEEK 26 | SUMMER WEEK 8
SNEAK PEEK
 
Whats in the box?! 
 
TOMATOES (mixed assortment), LETTUCE, MIXED FIELD GREENS (collards, kale, chard), WHITE ONION, TORPEDO ONION. 
 
 
 
We're doing Roasted Tomatillo Salsa this week! It's really easy and only takes about 20 minutes all together. Serve it fresh or you can store it in the fridge for a week or so. You can also mix it up with some avocados for a really tasty treat!  We have tomatillos and peppers available in our store. 
 
 
 
 
 
Whats available in our store this week?
 
This week we have:
 
 
 
 
 
Aaaaannnndddddddddd....... 
 
NECTARINES (YUM!!!)
 
 
Notes this week...
 
LAST CALL FOR A FREE THYME PLANT! If you would like a free thyme plant and will be a member this fall season, please let me know as the deadline is this Friday. I have a list of everyone who has replied yes so far.
 
  
Brian & The Tomato Mountain Farm Team 
 

Tomato Mountain Newsletter - Week 30 | Summer Week 12 | LAST WEEK OF SUMMER!September 20th, 2017

9/4/2017 CSA NEWSLETTER   Whats in the box?!    LETTUCE, FIELD GREENS (collard, chard, kale), ONIONS,  PEPPERS, FENNEL, TOMATOES, BOK CHOI (fennel not pictured)    &nbs

SNEAK PEEK - Week 30 | Summer Week 12 + LAST WEEK OF SUMMER, SIGN UP FOR FALL NOW!!September 18th, 2017

WEEK 30 | SUMMER WEEK 12 SNEAK PEEK   Whats in the box?!    LETTUCE, FIELD GREENS (collard, chard, kale), ONIONS,  BELL PEPPERS, FENNEL, TOMATOES      Our fall seaso

Tomato Mountain Newsletter - Week 29 | Summer Week 11 + FALL SEASON PREVIEW - SINGUP NOW! September 13th, 2017

9/4/2017 CSA NEWSLETTER   Whats in the box?!     TOMATOES, ONIONS, LETTUCE, PEPPERS, WATERMELON!!           9/11/2017 CSA NEWSLETTERIt’s back to

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