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CSA Newsletter ~ Week 1

Posted 1/16/2013 12:18pm by Chris.
We're very happy to be kicking off our first ever CSA winter season share. Due to our planning and extra fall plantings of root crops and spinach in our hoop houses, we're proud to be able to offer a good supply of healthy, high quality, locally grown food throughout the winter. Only about a third of our CSA members who
spinach in the groundwere with us last summer/fall have signed up for our winter share, and we can only speculate why that is. What we're doing is so new and unusual that most folks just aren't used to the idea of local food in the Midwest in winter, let alone the fresh greens (spinach) we'll have in all but this week's box. We think these will be some of the most interesting boxes of the year as they'll include fresh greens, stored root vegetables, our jarred tomato products (look for our tomato-vegetable juice soon), and even a few frozen items we put away last year. 

And it's happening in the middle of the coldest month of a winter that has not disappointed as far as cold temperatures and snow go. First there was the mega blizzard that dumped well over a foot of snow on the farm, and then blew several more feet of snow back over every cleared/shoveled surface in sight. Since then, it's been quite cold--well below average with lots of nights in the single digits and below zero. While it hasn't been bitterly cold, with the exception of a few days, it has been below average and quite cold for about the last month. I understand that hasn't been the case in Chicago yet this winter, but that extra100 miles North makes quite a difference.

The cold is no problem for the spinach we've got in the hoop houses and we expect to have it in the rest of our winter deliveries. We probably could have gone out and harvested enough spinach for everyone this week, but it seemed best to let it grow a little more, maximizing its amazing sweet flavor and yield to insurecarrotsthe biggest and highest quality harvest we can over the long term. This winter is much colder than last year so the yield will be delayed, the flavor will be incredibly sweet, and the leaves will be extra thick. 

As for what is in this first box, there are root crops, including our amazingly sweet fall carrots and the last of the sweet Hakurei turnips. And there are alliums, including all but the last of our yellow onions andgarlic. The Medium and Large shares will receive the last of our cabbage left from the fall, while the Small shares are receiving an extra helping of carrots and a sweet treat.

Last but not least are our unique whole roasted tomatoes. For those of you who haven't seen these or don't remember, they are not literally "whole" tomatoes in a jar, but rather the whole (as in whole wheat) tomato, meaning no seeds or skins have been removed. [To actually keep the whole tomato intact we'd have to take several time- and money-spending steps that would affect quality in a negative way while using more resources and costing everyone more money. Those steps include blanching the tomatoes to remove the skins (the easiest and cheapest way), and adding calcium chloride, which serves to strengthen the tomato cell walls so that the tomatoes don't fall apart in the heating/cooking process as they otherwise would.] We don't want to process the tomatoes and reduce their overall nutritional value. The result of our minimal process is a roasted product that has slightly less water, and all the nutrition and fiber that only a whole product can provide.

Thanks for taking part in our first winter share offering. If you like what you see, we hope you'll tell your friends and neighbors. We still have the capacity/crops to support about another 100 customers for this winter season. Otherwise, we'll be taking our amazing spinach to farmers' markets. While that isn't all bad, it feels better to develop relationships with more CSA customers as these connections last longer and are more satisfying.
 

Chris Covelli
and the Tomato Mountain Farm Team 

Weekly Box ValuesSeptember 2nd, 2014

Below you'll find the values that we assign to all of the produce and other items delivered in your CSA box. We'll do our best to keep it current. The most recent box is on top, but you can scroll dow

CSA Newsletter, Week 26 | Summer 8August 28th, 2014

Slicing TomatoesGreen PeppersEggplant or Zucchini*Braising (Mesclun) Mix**Collard GreensParsleyGarlic

Crop CalendarAugust 22nd, 2014

Click the name of the crop to see some preparation tips and recipes. Crop Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec Arugula         x   x     &nbs

In the Box - Week 1
Tomato Mountain logo  
 
~ In the Box ~

Winter Week 1 
Tuesday, January 15 
 
 
 
Click item for more info
 
(Med & Lg only)
 
 
 
 
 
 
(Small only)
 
 
 
~ Recipes ~ 
whole roasted tomatoes unlabeled qt
Pure and simple, this unadorned and unlabeled jar of whole roasted tomatoes opens up a wide variety of possibilities for putting the taste of summer in your winter meals. For starters, check out the ideas and recipes here. If you can't use the whole jar at once (for instance if you're making this chocolate cake that calls for less than a cup...yes, I said chocolate cake!) you can freeze the rest in useful sized ziplocs or other containers. See Chris's notes about how he processes this to keep it "whole" and full-flavored. Save the jars and lids when you're done; give them a rinse and leave them for us on a future visit. The lids keep the rims intact, and we can sterilize and re-use the unlabeled jars...another small step in living up to our mission as a sustainable operation. 
 

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Tomato Mountain Farm ~ N7720 Sandy Hook Rd, Brooklyn WI 53521 ~ info@tomatomountain.com ~ 608.712.1585

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