Sunday, October 28

New this week:
Carrots, Parsley, Yellow Onion, Spinach, Tatsoi, Baby Boc Choy, Mustard Greens, Red Veined Sorrel, Sweet Potatoes, Pea Shoots,   

Dealer's Choice Steaks, Nitrate Free Bacon, Ground Pork, Ham Hocks 

Red Veined Sorrel should be used like a herb. It can be added to salads (I'd probably cut it in thin ribbons). It has a mild lemon-y flavor.

Sweet Potatoes are from Rootbound Farm, certified Organic. 
And remember, the new "Any Available Extra" column in the veggies tells us that if we have extra, send it to you! If we don't have any extra, we'll simply send the maximum ordered. Obviously, we can't always fulfill this request, but please don't let that stop you from asking!

Finally, here is this week's order form

+ Delivery for this order is WEDNESDAY. Expect us sometime between 4-7pm. 

+ Please complete this order by MONDAY night so we can order bread and harvest on Tuesday. 

+ Remember, you are ordering for two weeks. 

+ And please remember to set out a couple coolers so everything can stay crisp until you get home.  

+ Fruit and Veg storage tips and refrigerator organization

Pictured above: A few images from the Organic Valley Field at the Troyer farm in Guthrie, KY + a pink elephant I found on the trip. 
--Farm Update-- 

Organic Valley Field Day at Melvin & Linda Troyer's Dairy Farm 

This past week I (Justin) attended a "Field Day" sponsored by Organic Valley that was held at the Troyer Family Farm, an Organic dairy farm in Southwest Kentucky. It was two days of all things dairy, grazing, and cow and soil health. Plus I found a gigantic pink elephant outside a gas-station/pizza shop in Guthrie, KY! (There was a similar sized cow with pink sunglasses just down the road, too!)  

The Troyer's milk up 100 Fleckvieh dairy cows, an Austrian breed developed in the Alps and now widely adapted, on their 200-acre farm. While eight of their ten children still live on the farm, Nathan, Melvin and Linda's 23 year old son, does most of the farm work. They rotationally graze the cows, using a mix of permanent pasture and annual cover crop mixes that are grazed in an annual rotation with corn and hay crops. Additionally, they manage a "bedded pack barn" or "compost pack barn" (top picture above) in which the cows have an open loafing area. 

While the Toyer's do feed grain, I was particularly interested in their compost pack barn (we're considering one as a winter housing option), and grazing systems. On pasture walks we talked about annual crop mixes for grazing, renovating permanent pastures, and all the specifics of grass and legume varieties, of which I will spare you the boring details. :) Suffice it to say, managing 200 acres and 100 or so cows is a little bit different than our herd of 3 cows and 2 calves. Nevertheless, experiences like this--just stepping foot on an organic dairy farm, seeing it, smelling it, hearing it--is completely invaluable.

Finally, I heard a presentation by Mark Shepard, a kind-of big name in the permaculture/regenerative agriculture space. He talked about "silvo-pastures," which are managed tree and livestock systems. Meaning, animals are grazed under an intentional tree crop, usually for food or timber, like pine, chestnut, oak, pears, persimmon, etc.. The point of these mixed crop/grazing systems is to increase the productive potential of the same area of ground. But there are tons of other environmental and animal comfort benefits in these systems: shade is provided for grazing animals, soil fertility and wildlife usually increase, and water and wind can be more efficiently and effectively managed.

If I was complete afraid to turn the cows out in our blueberry patch, I'm less so now. It seems possible, and if it works, we'd cut down on tractor use, saving energy and my ear drums!     
As a reminder, Andre from Faul Riverside Farm, our poultry farmer who has been supplying those beautiful whole chickens, is raising a batch of Turkeys for you all for Thanksgiving! We will include whole turkeys for the Thanksgiving order period.
If there is one goal I have in sharing and writing about recipes with our CSA members it's that cooking should be simple, pleasurable, and most of all, that the good cooking-- really good cooking--is completely within reach for the home cook. The home cook has all the skill needed to provide nourishment for themself of their family. You absolutely do not need to go to the latest and greatest Michelin Star restaurant to eat well. You, your intuition, and your very own kitchen, humble as it may be (and I can attest to cooking in some pretty humble kitchens) can produce the food that feeds you on every level--physical, emotional, spiritual. 

It's within this context, and with this in mind that I recommend Samin Nosrat's "Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat." This cookbook came out a year or so ago and has recently been added as a Netflix mini-series. I've only watched one episode (the Fat episode, of course!), and it's beautiful, inspiring, and is in the direction of helping home cooks prepare exceptional meals at home. As Nosrat says herself, "Good cooking is in reach for everyone." Take a peek at her show or better yet, crack open her book and get cooking! 
Follow us on Instagram for more farm photos!
Your Valley Spirit Farmers! 
Caleb, Kelly, Judah & Rebekah Fiechter on the left. Joseph, Abbie, Ruth and Angus Monroe on the right.
And from Pink Elephant Farm & Kitchen, Jenny Vaughn and Justin Owings.
As a reminder, this is all new to all of us. Please feel free to reach out at any time with any and all questions or concerns. We want this to be a highly positive experience for all of us, and a big part of ensuring this is keeping the communication and feedback lines always open. Let us know what's going on--what you liked, what you cooked, how veggies are storing and holding up for you, etc.. 
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