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January 13, 2020

Coogan Farm shareholders, we are watching the weather for Saturday as it currently looks like there is a good chance for snow. If we need to reschedule the pick up, we will let you know by email and post it on our website.

This Week's Share

Right now the spinach and kale in the greenhouse and the high tunnel continue to look stellar. We hope the freak warm weather does not make them think it is spring and time to procreate,turning leaves less sweet as they direct all their energy into seed production. It was only two days of really unseasonably warm weather and colder days are on the way, so hopefully they will cool their jets and stay with the winter time program of vegetative production.

We made a deal with the wonderful Brookfield Farm (where I (Kerry) trained to become an organic farmer) and traded some of our parsnips for really nice sweet potatoes. These are of a really nice size for those who want BIG orange sweet potatoes and will be in the share this week.

These sweet potatoes will make super sweet potato toasts. Now I am not going to lie, sweet potato toasts are not the same as a fine chewy bread (believe me, I love good bread) but they do serve the purpose of a nutritious something to pile things on top of and they are really easy to make. Just slice sweet potatoes into slabs the thickness of bread and bake in a toaster, toaster oven or the oven until fork tender. Then put whatever you'd like on top. I'm a fan of nut butter and fruit.

 

Recipe of the Week: 

Root veggie egg nests

Ingredients: 
  • 1 tablespoon Butter
  • 1 cup grated sweet potato
  • 1 cup grated parsnip (you could also sub regular russet potatoes if you prefer)
  • 1 cup grated beets
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika or regular paprika
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 eggs

 

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Liberally grease a muffin tin with butter. This is important, to keep the eggs from sticking.
Add the grated sweet potato, parsnips and beets to a bowl. Soak in cold water for 10 minutes, then drain and dry. I used a salad spinner to remove as much water as possible from the grated veggies, then pat dry with paper towels. This will help them get crispy in the oven.
In a bowl, mix the grated veggies, olive oil, paprika and salt. Toss to completely coat.
Divide the mixture between six muffin tins, about 1/2 cup per muffin. Press the veggie mixture down and up the sides. The muffin tins will be very full, that's ok because the veggie will shrink in the oven.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until starting to get brown and crispy. Remove from oven, use a tablespoon to create an indentation in each nest. Crack an egg into each nest.
Return to oven and bake 8-10 minutes, until yolks are set. If you like a harder yoke, bake 12-15 minutes. Run a butter knife around the edges of each nest and lift out of the tins.

Credit: 
moshandnourish.com

In the winter, everything is possible.

The kale is still going strong!
The kale is still going strong!

Dear Friends,

 

That may have been the most un-January weekend I can ever remember having in January. I’m pretty sure it was close to 70 degrees on Sunday. While it’s always nice to have a brief respite from the cold, the unnaturally warm days can kind of confuse the winter greens. When the days get longer in the late winter, early spring the spinach will take advantage of the day light and start to grow more, but once it warms up both the spinach and the kale will take that as their cue that it’s time to reproduce. They will bolt, with means they will put their energy into shooting up a seed stalk and will no longer serve our purposes. Typically a warm spell in the winter means temps in the 40’s or maybe 50’s. Usually enough of a thaw for us to scrap the cow barn, let some fresh air into the greenhouse and call it a day. With temps in the 60’s it’s really hard to say what would happen. Fortunately the warmth didn’t stick around too long and we’re back, much closer to what we all expect. 

 

While we enjoyed a weekend in our t-shirts it’s back to business around here. Last newsletter I wrote about how since it’s the new year it’s time for us to really start to put our noses to the grind stone. I’m not sure that you could say we dove into the pool, but we certainly dipped our toes in the water. Before getting into the nuts and bolts of crop planning we decided to have a more in depth season review than we typically do. We also decided that since Hannah and Bonnie are such integral parts of our farm that we should include them in more of the planning phases. Having employees who are invested in the farm, who return season after season is such a valuable asset for the farm. They see things that we don’t see, remember things that we don’t remember and can offer invaluable input to our making decisions.

 

We sat around our kitchen table, drank some coffee and tried to hash out the season that was. What worked, what didn’t work. What we did well and what needs to be improved on in the future. Identifying areas in which we need to improve isn’t very hard to do. It is very easy to point out things that could be better, the challenge becomes identifying the things that not only could be better but that we have a realistic chance of actually addressing. We only have so much energy, so much money and so much time. We want to try and find the areas that the least amount of input can yield the greatest benefits. 

 

While it is admirable to try and fix all the big ugly problems, and sometimes the big, ugly problems are really what need fixing. It is easy to bite off a big problem, get bogged down in the details and accomplish nothing. Not only is your big problem still a problem but there are 6 little issues we could have addressed successfully for less effort than we spent failing to solve a big problem. It is a balancing act and one that we struggle with at times. It took us 5 years to buy a transplanter. We kept on putting it off and putting it off, addressing smaller issues because the transplanter felt like such a large undertaking. When we finally committed to it and bought our waterwheel, overnight an entire mountain of problems seemed to disappear.

 

You never know exactly how things are actually going to go. All we can do is our best. We try and be honest and reasonable. Looking at both our triumphs and our failures with a level headed, sober approach. It is easy to believe that we will just be able to fix everything.  In the winter, everything is possible. Every season offers us a fresh start, a blank slate. As we dream of spring, we dream of that perfect season, where none of the trucks break, all the plants grow beautifully and it only rains when we want. Until that season shows up though, we will continue to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. 

 

Your farmers,

Bonnie, Hannah, Kerry and Max

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