Hi there!

This morning it was 34 degrees at Wholesome Valley Farm and there was a thick blanket of frost on everything. This marks an abrupt end to summer vegetables like peppers, tomatoes, and eggplants. 

For the produce farmer, the season is not over yet though. For those joining us at the Farm Tour and Feast this weekend, you'll notice that the produce fields are anything but empty. 

Now, we are busy cleaning up and trying to prepare our soils for next year. Cleaning up means removing all the twine that supported tomato plants, pulling tomato stakes, plowing up the plastic mulch that is used to create weed-free rows, pulling up the drip irrigation, and getting ready for a cover crop.

Cover crops are interesting. The concept isn't new, but the practice isn't widespread, particularly in crop fields (where corn and soybeans are grown).

Cover crops are crops that are planted before winter with the intent that you plow them under the next spring. Some people call this "green manure" as the vegetative matter adds nutrients back to the soil. Some plants, such as legumes like peas and clover, have the ability to pull nitrogen to the surface of the soil and have it ready for next season.

Sounds like magic, right? Well why doesn't everyone do it? It's simple. Time and money. It takes a lot of time for us to get the fields ready for cover crops, all at the same time that you are trying to harvest other crops and get ready for winter food holidays.  

Timing is also very important. Not all plants will germinate this late in the season. For us, we are going to be planting hairy vetch and winter ryegrass, both very cold hardy and quick to germinate.  

If done correctly, next spring the plowing down of the green manure will add up to 120 lbs of nitrogen per acre (as well as many other important nutrients). Nitrogen is important for promoting green growth in plants, which allows them to trap more sun and nutrients.  

Beyond the price of the labor and time, the seed to do this isn't cheap. The planting rate is approximately 50# per acre, and a 50# bag of seed ranges from $175 to $200.  

For a farmer in conventional agriculture, this price and the work is prohibitive. The easier solution would be to apply synthetic chemicals like urea. Using urea at 46% nitrogen would require approximately 200 to 250 lbs per acre to get the "same results." At a cost of approximately $200 per ton, that means only $20 to fertilize that acre of land.  
Using Celeriac
Celeriac is a type of celery that is grown for the root as opposed to the stalks. The stalks are smaller than the other celery varieties, and the "hairy" root is full of celery flavor. 

You'll notice the short roots covering the sphere of celeriac. Don't be alarmed if they trap a lot of dirt. Our grower actually washes them with a pressure washer to try to remove as much as he can. It's a lot of work. 

Start by using a paring knife and peeling your celeriac. You'll notice when the soft core is separated from the more fibrous peel.  

This delicious vegetable can be used in place of celery in most any recipe, but it also lends itself very well to soup. Chef Parker Bosley taught me a trick with root crops years ago. It's all about being gentle and patient with the heat.

Here are Parker's steps to sweating root vegetables:
- find a heavy bottom pan, such as a cast iron skillet, stainless cookware, or enameled dutch oven. It is best if the bottom is flat. 
- Over low to medium low heat, melt butter in the pan.  
- Dice your vegetable to uniform size pieces. Stir into the butter.  
- Brush butter on a piece of parchment paper, cut to the size of your pan. Place this over top of the vegetables to gently trap in some extra moisture.  
- Occasionally stir the vegetables and return the parchment paper. Try not to develop any color (caramelization) on the surface of the vegetable. 
- Once soft, the vegetables are done. 

After sweating the celeriac, you can use it to make a celeriac puree or add chicken stock and start to construct a soup.  

For those in a hurry, the celeriac can be diced and added to a stew, such as a beef stew, for flavor and texture.  
FALL FARM TOUR & FEAST
As a reminder, this Sunday is the farm tour and feast at Wholesome Valley. Be sure to join your fellow Fresh Forkers for a day of fun. Learn more and RSVP HERE.

We hope to see you there. Chef Derek is busy prepping for the big meal, which right now just keeps getting bigger. To celebrate the cool days, Derek is firing up the 40 gal copper kettle to make a big pot of Chili over an open fire. Join us to fill your bowl and belly! 
FEATURED ITEMS
Dutch Apple Pie
Chopped apples, baked in a whole wheat crust, topped with a fall spiced, buttery oat crumble. Eat as is or warm a slice up in the oven for a few minutes. As always, top with a dollop of fresh whipped cream!

Large: $15.00
Small: $7.00


Fall Sugar Cookies

Topped with buttercream frosting these are like Lofthouse cookies but a million times better.

Four-pack: $7.00
One Dozen: $19.00
Fall Muffins
We are introducing new seasonal muffin flavors: Maple Pumpkin and Apple Oat. They we're a hit with the staff!

Maple Pumpkin 4-pack: $6.00
Apple Oat 4-pack: $5.00
Special Orders need to be placed & paid for in full by Tuesday at midnight to be delivered on this week's routes.
WINTER SHARE COUNTDOWN:3 WEEKS
The Winter Share starts the week after Summer ends -- first pickup is November 6 - 9.

More information available on our website
Winter Share Bag Contents Over The Years

BAG CONTENTS
THE MINI
Cabbage
Celeriac 
Kale
Green Beans
Concord Grapes





SMALL OMNIVORE
Cabbage
Celeriac 
Kale
Green Beans
Concord Grapes
Apple Cider 
Ground Pork 





LARGE OMNIVORE
Cabbage
Celeriac 
Kale
Green Beans
Concord Grapes
Apple Cider 
Ground Pork 
Ramen Noodles
Brussel Sprouts
Canned Peaches

SMALL VEGETARIAN
Cabbage
Celeriac 
Kale
Green Beans
Concord Grapes
Apple Cider 
Leeks
Grape Cider

LARGE VEGETARIAN
Cabbage
Celeriac 
Kale
Green Beans
Concord Grapes
Apple Cider 
Leeks
Grape Cider 
Ramen Noodles
Brussel Sprouts
Canned Peaches
VEGAN
Cabbage
Celeriac 
Kale
Green Beans
Concord Grapes
Apple Cider 
Leeks
Grape Cider

RECIPES
OUR FAMILY OF COMPANIES