July 30, 2018 | Volume 10 | Week 8/B
Summer CSA Week 8/B

Week 8/B Share:
(** see note, below )
Basil
Eggplant
Beans OR Blueberries OR Mushrooms
(River Valley)
Lettuce
Peppers
Potatoes*
Turnips: Hakurei
Zucchini/Summer squash

EOW will also receive:
Beets
Kale
Dear Members of Turtle Creek Gardens,

Resiliency--what does that look like at Turtle Creek? Janet shares her thoughts this week and poses a few questions, too.

*The potatoes you are receiving this week are certified organic, grown by our partner farm LOTFL
** NOTE: Pack list is subject to change due to weather or harvest conditions .
[ ] Indicates possible addition
Resilient Farming
by Janet Gamble

What comes to my mind when thinking about what resilient farming means today is the question: how do we as small farmers adapt to climate changes and market changes while conserving soil, water, and fertility? Family-size farms are experiencing market slumps in dairy, produce, and grain, for instance. Over 700 dairy farms have folded this year in Wisconsin. There are different reasons for this, such as tariffs, overproduction, and in the case of organic produce, the big players are filling the shelves of most grocery stores, leaving the small farms to hold on to existing markets and find a new entry point.

Many fields are unplanted across the Midwest due to extreme weather conditions, primarily fields that are flooded or too wet to make the crop insurance deadline for planting. So how do we as farmers cope with these barriers? The answers are not black and white nor simple. I do believe we have to be risk-takers, creative and nimble. We have to adapt to survive.

The market is always changing and we have to know our customers and what they want. The weather is always an issue, but what is certain is that the rain falls are heavier, the winds stronger, the storms more severe here in the Midwest and what we have come to expect for the most part has become unexpected. 
A year and a half ago we decided that we had to do some things to adapt as we experienced a slow decline in our CSA. Since then, we’ve experienced a slow decline across all our markets (wholesale, to grocery stores and restaurants). Our most stable market so far is the farmers market we attend in Shorewood, a suburb of Milwaukee. Though a farmers market is always precarious, for now it’s the backbone that keeps us going. 

Another interesting phenomenon has been that farms like ours are not growing everything any longer. We’re all scaling back as we grapple with labor issues and market decline. Turtle Creek has even scaled back and is purchasing more from other producers. It makes sense really: why does every farm need to grow everything?

At the Shorewood Farmers Market, the market managers have allowed me to represent at our table a multitude of farms with products that Turtle Creek doesn’t produce or we might not have available at the same time another farm would. We created a banner called Farm Collective, which includes logos from many of the farms we represent. We are transparent about where the produce comes from and how it’s grown. Most importantly, conversations ensue as our customers ask about what the Farm Collective is. My answer: this allows farmers to have a place in the market without the overhead of attending one. We can bring their produce to market for them and give them a market opportunity without the cost of having a full-blown booth.

It’s a balance to have enough product to meet demand and keep pricing affordable so that the market doesn’t tip one way or the other. We find this a solution to keep a balanced market and give some market access to other producers. We represent small producers who farm organically or use more sustainable practices such as the IPM (Integrated Pest Management) growers of Michigan. It’s a win-win for farmers and consumers.
Our decision to grow a new crop, hemp, was stimulated by the slumped market. Even though hemp is risky and the market unknown, it gave us excitement and tapped into our pioneering spirit to learn a new crop and an industry and develop a new market. It seems to work for us for many reasons, but when I think about the appeal from my philosophical view of farming, hemp is a medicine and complements vegetable production very well as it fits into our mission to grow nutritionally-dense food for health and humanity.

Weather has been challenging, to say the least. It has affected our economic bottom line for the past couple years. We’ve lost crops due to late springs and wet soils. So, we’re putting up more high tunnels—which are greenhouses, essentially—to give us space to get crops in that need the extra buffer from the elements. I think we’ll see more and more greenhouse production spread across the nation as we have the need to grow in a controlled environment.

I’m just beginning to feel that we have gotten out of the weeds with our planting and control of weeds, staying on track, etc. It’s taken about a month longer than normal to feel this transition. But now we move into the big harvest season—garlic and onions to start, which all need to be harvested, cured, and cleaned. This is just the beginning again.

So, circling back to our resilience and exploring our markets and what our customers want: please let us know your thoughts. What do you want these days from our farm? How can we better serve you? We’d love to hear your feedback.
Turnip & Green Pepper Bake
Ingredients:
2 T. olive oil
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 green peppers, julienned
2 small potatoes, slivered
1 turnip, slivered
¼ c. sun-dried tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 T. capers
1- 6oz can tuna, with juices
½ c. grated cheddar cheese, divided
1 egg, beaten
sea salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste

Method:
Grease a round baking dish and set aside. Preheat oven to 350F. In saucepan, heat olive oil and sauté onions until translucent. Add peppers, potatoes, and turnip and sauté until fork tender. Add sun-dried tomatoes, capers, and tuna; well. Remove from heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Spread half the vegetable mixture in prepared baking dish. Cover with one third of the cheese. Repeat layers. Drizzle egg evenly over the vegetables and cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes.

Yield: 2-4 servings
Recipe adapted from emmafrisch.com
Quick Green Beans & Couscous Salad
Ingredients:
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1½ c. Israeli (pearl) couscous
8 oz green beans (stem ends removed), halved crosswise
1 cucumber, quartered lengthwise, seeded, and sliced
1 c. crumbled feta (4 oz)
½ c. pistachios, toasted
¼ c. golden raisins
¼ c. red-wine vinegar
1 T. extra-virgin olive oil

Method:
In a medium pot of boiling salted water, cook couscous for 4 minutes. Add green beans, and cook until couscous is al dente and beans are crisp-tender, about 2 minutes more. Drain, and run under cold water until cool.

Transfer green beans and couscous to a large bowl. Add cucumber, feta, pistachios, raisins, vinegar, and oil. Season with salt and pepper; toss to combine.

Yield: 4 servings
Recipe adapted from: marthastewart.com
Chicken & Eggplant Stir-fry
Ingredients:
1 LB boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced
5 T. canola oil, divided
1 small eggplant, cut into ¾" pieces
3 jalapeños, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
⅓ c. white wine
¼ c. soy sauce
1 c. basil leaves, divided
4 c. steamed rice

Method:
In large skillet, cook chicken in 2 T. oil over medium-high until golden, 4 minutes. Transfer to plate. Add eggplant and 2 T. oil to the skillet; cook to soften, 3 minutes.

Stir in remaining 1 T. oil, jalapenos and garlic; cook 1 minute. Add ½ cup water, wine, soy sauce, chicken with its juices and ⅔ cup basil; simmer 3 to 5 minutes. Serve over rice with remaining basil.

Yield: 4 servings

Recipe adapted from: rachelraymag.com
Corn-Basil Muffins
Ingredients:
3 T. olive oil
2 t. crushed garlic
1 c. corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
¼ c. + 2 T. sugar
4 oz unsalted butter
2 eggs, room temperature
2¾ c. all-purpose flour
1 T. baking powder
2 c. milk
¾ t. salt
1 t. fresh ground black pepper
½ c. grated Parmesan cheese
¼ c. fresh basil, cut into thin ribbons

Method:
Preheat oven to 400°F. Prepare a muffin tin with nonstick spray or muffin papers.

In a skillet, heat olive oil and add garlic. Sauté about a minute over medium heat. Add corn and continue to sauté for 2–3 minutes, or until soft. Set aside to cool.

In a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs 1 at a time and mix until just combined. In a separate bowl, sift together all dry ingredients and then slowly add to the creamed butter followed by the milk. Stir until the mixture just comes together. Do not overmix—a few lumps are fine.

Fold in sautéed corn, grated parmesan and basil. Fill each muffin cup to the top. Bake 20–25 minutes. Muffins are done when tops spring back, edges are golden brown and/or a cake tester comes out clean.

Yield: 1 dozen muffins
Recipe adapted from edibleboston.com
Turtle Creek Gardens, LLC | 262-441-0520 |
Janet Gamble, Farm Manager: farmmanager@turtlecreekgardenscsa.com
Christi Ehler, Newsletter Editor: newsletter@turtlecreekgardenscsa.com