Digging Sweet Potatoes with our Horse Drawn Potato Digger
Digging Sweet Potatoes with our Horse Drawn Potato Digger

We tried the horse drawn potato digger to dig our sweet potatoes and it worked like a charm! The sweet potatoes are now curing in one of our hoop houses. They are different than any other vegetable because they need heat to get sweet instead of cold.

We are heading into the last few weeks of the 2013 Main Season CSA and I wanted to make sure everyone knew the last pick-up days and the date of the CSA Pot Luck:
Last Saturday Pick-up: October 5
Last Tuesday  Pick-up: October 8
CSA End of Season Pot Luck: Sunday, October 6 – (2:00-4:00 p.m.) Bring food to share, plates, cutlery and lawn chairs.  We will have horse drawn rides after the food.
After a backward cool spring it has turned into a bountiful year for the garden with record harvests of many crops. In our CSA, you as members, share the risk with us, the flip side is us sharing the bounty with you – so help yourselves to the “extras”.
Pick-your-own fall Raspberries will continue until the end of the season or until we have a killing freeze. We will be harvesting the first of the fall carrots on Saturday and they are the sweetest of the season. Yet to come are celeriac, rutabaga, parsnip, brussels sprouts, chinese cabbage and winter radish along with the full complement of squash and pumpkin. I have done a back search of some of the great recipes on our blog and linked to them for you to refer to. I think it is a soup time of year. When we give celeriac don’t be afraid of it’s ugly appearance, because it is truly lovely in soup. The Potato and Leek Soup #1 recipe also gives great directions for cleaning leeks. When the rutabaga and parsnip appear I always make Winter Warmer Soup. Even if you aren’t a fan of strong flavoured root vegetables, in this recipe they all blend together deliciously with a hint of ginger and lemon. These soups are always better the second day, after the flavours have had a chance to blend, so you can make them ahead and enjoy them later when you are too busy to cook! Pumpkin Honey is a lovely spread on pumpkin muffins. It has the consistency of apple butter with lemon/pumpkin goodness. Pumpkin Custard is one of Ken’s favourites. It is like a good pumpkin pie without the soggy crust. Keep in mind that any pumpkin recipe can be made with squash.  Kale Chips with Cashews are deluxe and also call for a red pepper. You can freeze peppers and use them in the winter in this recipe. No need to blanch them just take out the seeds and freeze. Chocolate Beet Cake is rich and moist and is also better the second day. I love the Roasted Beet – Arugula Salad. Really, I just love fall with the golden sunlight, harvesting the fruits of our labours and all the wonderful full flavours of the roots and greens. When the cold weather comes the starch in many plants turns to sugar and makes them deliciously sweet.
Ken and I are travelling to Vermont next week to attend 2013 Draft Animal Power Field Days, where Ken is giving a workshop on Horse Powered CSA. The apprentices will be running the show here at the farm. If you need to contact them please phone: 519-775-2670 for the pick-ups of September 24, 28 and October 1.
We have only 10 shares left in the 2013 Fall CSA. If any of you want to continue enjoying the rich tastes of the fall produce, and haven’t already signed up, now is your chance!

Cabbage in the CSA pick-up Room
Cabbage in the CSA pick-up Room

We have been busy harvesting. The onions are all out of the field and curing in two of our hoop houses. We dug another eight rows of potatoes last week and hope to finish the job next week. The horse drawn potato digger is working well and the yield of potatoes is good this season. We have had a bumper crop of peppers. They were a bit slow to ripen, but now are pouring in. We have missed frost on two nights so far and hope that it holds off for a while so we can keep on picking those beautiful red, yellow and orange peppers! We need to harvest the sweet potatoes before frost as well. The squash vines are starting to dye back. It is fun to see all the squash and pumpkins emerge, that were hiding under all the foliage. The outdoor tomatoes are finished now, but we will keep on picking the hoop house tomatoes.  The hoop house cucumbers have been removed to make room for a planting of spinach for the Fall CSA. Our haying is finally over for this season. We put the last of the second cut hay in the barn on Tuesday. It feels like the main season is wrapping up quickly!

Lots of Sweet Peppers
Lots of Sweet Peppers

Ken has had time to start training two of our Suffolk Punch horses. Sandy and Eli are both coming along well. I look forward to having a barn full of trained horses. Caesar is always happy to ride along on the sleigh during training sessions. The sleigh in the summer is a hard pull and helps keep the new horse under control. It is also a good way to get them used to the sound of something behind them, especially when the sleigh runners are on the gravel lane-way!

Ken and Caesar Training Sandy (on left)
Ken and Caesar Training Sandy (on left)
Sandy with her mother Suzie
Sandy with her mother Suzie


Once in a while the old tongues on our horse drawn equipment break and need replacing. Ken has cut out some blanks with his saw mill that can be used to make new ones. Bill has had the job of making two new tongues this week.

Bill Making Two New Tongues
Bill Making Two New Tongues


We have had some recipes forwarded to us by CSA members and are happy to pass them along!

From Vicci Coughlin:

I was happy to see the baby zucchini today and do this simple pasta recipe again, thought I’d pass it along.  It is from an early Jamie Oliver cookbook.

Baby Zucchini Pasta

This is a light, fragrant and very quickly made pasta dish using very firm baby zucchini, which hardly needs to be cooked at all.  The idea is to slice them as thinly as possible in an irregular fashion.  The big fat zucchini that are fluffy inside, won’t do for this recipe.

Serves 4

1/4 cup olive oil

1 clove finely chopped garlic

8-10 small very firm zucchini

juice of 1 lemon

1 good handful of fresh basil leaves, torn

1 pound of pasta

salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 1/2 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated.

Put the olive oil and garlic into a thick bottomed pan and set over medium-high heat and fry for about 30 seconds without colouring, then add your baby zucchini and toss gently.  After about 2 minutes squeeze in the juice of the lemon, add the basil and cook a little longer.

Meanwhile cook the past in boiling salted water until al dente.  Toss it with the zucchini to mix the flavours, season to taste and add the Parmesan to round all the flavours together- you may need a little extra olive oil to loosen it.  Serve with some torn basil and a sprinkling of Parmesan on top.

From Lisa Koivu:

Macaroni and Cheese
One large red onion
4 tbsp butter
4 tbsp flour
1 “pail” spinach
1 box whole wheat rotini or fusili
3 c milk
3 c grated cheddar cheese
To the cheddar cheese, add 2 tbsp flour and mix together. Set aside.
Bring water to boil and cook pasta according to directions.
Chop spinach.
During last 3 minutes of cooking, add spinach to the pot. Drain well once time has finished.
In a 8 c microwave dish, put the butter and the onion, finely chopped. Microwave on high for 5 minutes.
Whisk in 2 tbsp of flour to make a “roux”.
Immediately add milk.
Microwave milk mixture on high for five minutes. Then whisk. Continue to cook a minute at a time, until mixture has thickened (you want to watch it so it doesn’t boil over).
Add the cheese and flour mixture.
Combine the cheese mixture and the pasta in a large white casserole dish. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Optional: Add cubed cooked chicken or ham before baking.

Homemade Pasta Sauce
1 large red onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped finely or put through a press
3 quarts tomatoes, peeled and chopped.
1 sweet pepper
2 tbsp olive oil.
1 eggplant, or any summer squash, peeled and diced
3 basil leaves, chopped
1 pound cooked hamburg or sausage (optional)
In a large 5 quart pot, heat olive oil.
Add onions and garlic and pepper
Sautee for about 5 minutes or until golden, on medium-hi heat.
Add tomatoes and basil and salt to taste – at least one tsp.
Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, or until tomatoes are very mushy.
Cool for about 20 minutes.
Put the entire mixture through a food processor to puree.
After pureeing, add the hamburger if desired.
You could probably hide a lot of other veggies in there, depending on what’s available in the garden.

Crock Pot Stew
1 lb stewing beef, cut into bite-sized pieces and tossed with 2 tbsp flour to coat.
Savory and marjoram, as available
2 tsp salt or seasoning salt
3 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed or chopped
Amazing veggies from Orchard Hill – chopped into bite sized pieces. Could include, but not limited to, beans, carrots, summer squash, peppers, kale, chard….
Put the entire mixture in the crock pot and cook on low for 12 hours or high for 6 hours. If possible, stir well for the first hour to prevent flour from sticking to the bottom. Tastes better the second day.
Note: Sometimes I use an envelope of Lipton Onion Soup Mix when I make this in the winter, but I try not to resort to that with CSA veggies.