Entries tagged with “Agriculture”.

It is hard to believe it is CSA time again. We kept the same arrangements as last year, splitting a Harmony Valley Farms CSA with our friends – the Deckers. In case you forgot, a CSA is Community Supported Agriculture. Harmony Valley describes it as:

It is sometimes described as a vegetable co-op, a weekly box delivery, a vegetable of the week club, or a produce subscription program, but we refer to it as Community Supported Agriculture, CSA.Families or individuals join our farm to receive weekly or bi-weekly deliveries of the fantastic organic produce we grow here at Harmony Valley Farm. Whatever is ripe and delicious for the week, goes into the box: washed, chilled and carefully packed. Then we deliver it to a neighborhood near you, if you live in or near Madison, Mazomanie,Viroqua and Onalaska or La Crosse, Wisconsin or The Twin Cities .The variety and quality – ask our members – is unmatched! We support the community with great, organic food and the community supports us!


Community-supported agriculture (in Canada Community Shared Agriculture) (CSA) is a socio-economic model of agriculture and food distribution. A CSA consists of a community of individuals who pledge support to a farm operation where the growers and consumers share the risks and benefits of food production. CSAs usually consist of a system of weekly delivery or pick-up of vegetables and fruit in a vegetable box scheme, sometimes including dairy products and meat.

CSA #1

Box 1 contained:

  • Ramps
  • Chives
  • Parsnips
  • Rhubarb
  • Sorrel
  • Spinach
  • Sunchokes
  • Sauté Mix
  • French Breakfast Radish
  • Red Russian Kale
  • Willow or Dogwood
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Week 16 of Harmony Valley Farm‘s CSA (blog) contained the following:

  • Italian garlic,
  • Yellow onions,
  • Green top carrots,
  • Summer squash,
  • Cucumbers,
  • Tomatoes,
  • Green Bell peppers,
  • Italia or UW roaster peppers,
  • Green beans,
  • Edamame,
  • Tomatillo salsa pack,
  • Sweet Sarah cantaloupe
  • Mini Musketeer Melon,
  • Sweet corn,
  • Salad mix,
  • Amaranth, and
  • Basil


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<table border=”0″ align=”center”>
<td><img src=”/images/09csa15.jpg” alt=”” /></td>
Week 15 of <a href=”http://harmonyvalleyfarm.com/”>Harmony Valley Farm</a>’s <a class=”zem_slink” title=”Community-supported agriculture” rel=”wikipedia” href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Community-supported_agriculture”>CSA</a> (<a href=”http://www.harmonyvalleyfarm.blogspot.com/”>blog</a>) contained the following:
<li>Italian garlic,</li>
<li>Green Top carrots,</li>
<li>Summer squash,</li>
<li>Green beans,</li>
<li>Yellow Watermelon, and</li>
<li>Salad mix</li>
I enjoy reading about how others use their box and have enjoyed Simple, Good, and Tasty’s discussion about local food and their Harmony Valley CSA.  A recent post highlighted a more unique use of a CSA.  <a href=”http://simplegoodandtasty.com/2009/08/13/galactic-pizza-serves-pies-with-a-conscience”>CSA Pizza</a> is sold by Galactic Pizza, a local pizza joint.  The pizza aptly uses food from their weekly box, which happens to also come from Harmony Valley.

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Week 12 of Harmony Valley Farm‘s CSA (blog) contained the following:

  • Sweet Spanish onions,
  • Green Top carrots,
  • Amaranth,
  • Cauliflower,
  • Broccoli,
  • Salad mix or sauté,
  • Potatoes,
  • Green/yellow beans,
  • Zucchini/squash,
  • Cucumbers,
  • Chioggia beets,
  • Fennel,
  • Basil

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I was amazed at how difficult it was to find a recipe for Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam that used both real strawberries and real rhubarb.  Most just called for adding a strawberry jello packet in with your fresh rhubarb. That is great for an “easy” recipe but I wanted to use our CSA fresh strawberries and rhubarb.

I finally found a recipe that looked like it would work.   It called for a 1/2 bottle of Pectin which seemed like an odd way to measure something.  What if the bottle I bought came in a different size than the one they used? My wonderful wife was already at the store so I called and asked her to get a bottle of pectin. After much searching she finally found a box that had 2 liquid pectin packets in it.  And she purchased some jars.

I ultimately used the directions that came with the box (found online here).  It turned out quite well, even though I had to fudge along as we don’t own a true canner and it said to use one and talked about processing jam, etc.

I used:

  • 4 cups prepared fruit (buy about 1 qt. fully ripe strawberries and 1 lb. fully ripe rhubarb)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 6-1/2 cups sugar, measured into separate bowl
  • 1 pouch CERTO Fruit Pectin
Bring boiling-water canner, half full with water, to simmer. Wash jars and screw bands in hot soapy water; rinse with warm water.That was the part I forgot. I had put the jars into the dishwasher on the “sterilize cylce” so everything was really hot. But later I was forced to quickly boil a lot of water in separate pots. Pour boiling water over flat lids in saucepan off the heat. Let stand in hot water until ready to use. Drain jars well before filling.

Measure 2-1/4 cups prepared strawberries into 6- or 8-qt. saucepot; set aside. Finely chop unpeeled rhubarb. Place in 2-qt. saucepan. Add 1/2 cup water. Bring to boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 2 min. or until rhubarb is soft. Measure exactly 1-3/4 cups prepared rhubarb into saucepot with strawberries; mix well.
Stem and crush strawberries thoroughly, one layer at a time. Measure 2-1/4 cups prepared strawberries into 6- or 8-qt. saucepot; set aside. Finely chop unpeeled rhubarb.

Place in 2-qt. saucepan. Add 1/2 cup water. Bring to boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 2 min. or until rhubarb is soft. Measure exactly 1-3/4 cups prepared rhubarb into saucepot with strawberries; mix well.
Stir sugar into fruit mixture in saucepot. Add butter to reduce foaming. I didn’t use any butter. Bring mixture to full rolling boil (boil that doesn’t stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in pectin. Return to full rolling boil and boil 1 min., stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam with metal spoon. I didn’t remove the foam, it was a really thin layer and seemed like I was going to waste a lot of jam.

Ladle immediately into prepared jars, filling to within 1/8 inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with two-piece lids. Screw bands tightly. Place jars on elevated rack in canner. Lower rack into canner. Water must cover jars by 1 to 2 inches; add boiling water, if necessary. Cover; bring water to gentle boil. Process 10 min.  As I mentioned I had to quickly boil a lot of water in separate pots and then added them to our large kettle, which  works quite well as a canner.
Remove jars and place upright on towel to cool completely. After jars cool, check seals by pressing middles of lids with finger. (If lids spring back, lids are not sealed and refrigeration is necessary.)


I think it took longer than the 45 minutes that it suggested not including the 24 hour waiting period. Part of that was obviously because it was my first time making jam and also because I did it the hard way! It is quite delicious and we’ve almost eaten our first jar already!!

For those who might be interested:
Nutrition (per serving)
Calories 40
Total fat 0g
Saturated fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 0mg
Carbohydrate 11g
Dietary fiber 0g
Sugars 10g
Protein 0g
Vitamin A 0%DV
Vitamin C 2%DV
Calcium 0%DV
Iron 0%DV

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Our third CSA from Harmony Valley Farms (blog) included:

  • Asparagus,
  • Ramps,
  • Parsnip,
  • Sunchoke,
  • Spinach,
  • Salad mix,
  • Green garlic,
  • Egyptian Walking onion,
  • Spring radish,
  • Rhubarb,
  • Saute mix, and
  • Garden herb packs

The herb pack contained plantable rosemary, thyme, savory, oregano, sage, Giant of Italy Parsley, Basil, and Krausa Parsley.

I did some digging (pdf) and found that their Saute Mix is described as:

Sauté mix is a wonderful blend of sturdy greens, like spinach, tat-soi, arugula, mizuna, etc, that hold up well when cooked. They are very versatile, and have a wonderful flavor. They can be cooked as simply as sautéed in butter or olive oil with salt and pepper, or with bacon and shallots, or wilted in a hot pan with a light vinaigrette. I have used them in stir-fries, soups, stuffings, and as a simple side dish. Sauté mix can even be enjoyed as a hearty salad, and is perfect for hot dressings that would destroy delicate salad mix.

In this week’s newsletter (pdf) we got a good reminder that our “fortune” is very much tied up with the farmers as the frost impacted the farm:

This past Sunday morning’s frost set back our asparagus crop by about 2-3 days, so we had to reduce the amount included in your box this week. Our neighbor Elmer Beechy, another certified organic grower, has been supplementing our asparagus supply, but his fields froze as well. (Thanks go out to another neighbor, David Troyer, for his organic rhubarb, also supplementing ours.) The asparagus should be back on track with this week’s forecasted warmer weather. Thank you for your understanding & enjoy the tastes of spring!
Despite the 30 mph winds, we kept the strawberry fi eld covered too, with only a few casualties from the frost. In the places where the cover was ripped, the fragile blossoms blackened and won’t produce fruit but it looks like only a loss of 4-5 pints of berries! Big thanks to the Saturday crew who came out & battled the wind to protect the crops.

We look forward to more adventurous food!

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Our second CSA included:

  • Asparagus
  • Red Sunchokes
  • Ramps
  • Sorrel
  • Spinach
  • Parsnip
  • Arugula
  • Chives
  • Black Radish
  • Salad Mix

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We received our first CSA today from Harmony Valley Farms.  We are splitting it with our good friends – the Deckers.  So this (and most pictures) will be from our half of the share.

Here is what was in it:

  • Overwintered Parsnips
  • Red Sunchokes
  • Ramps
  • Sorrel
  • Overwintered Spinach
  • Rhubarb
  • Burdock
  • Chives
  • Black Radish

From Wikipedia:

A CSA consists of a community of individuals who pledge support to a farm operation so that the farmland becomes the community’s farm, with the growers and consumers providing mutual support and sharing the risks and benefits of food production. CSA’s focus is usually on a system of weekly delivery or pick-up of vegetables and fruit, sometimes dairy products and meat.

We are excited to see what else comes and to learn some new recipes!

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