CSA Week #14 - The Rise and Fall of Small Feat Farm

Farm Update

It seems as though the season has changed overnight. The morning air is cooler and a bit dryer, leaves are poised for their deep dive into the autumnal rainbow, the streets of Portland and Freeport are a bit more walkable…what a lovely time of year. This is our fourth Fall in Maine and I think it’s safe to say September is the reason we all continue to persist through the extreme climatic swings characteristic of coastal New England. Thank goodness it’s here!

It’s been a busy last few weeks as you may or may not have noticed by the lack of blog posts for weeks 12 and 13 of our CSA program. I (Joanna) first headed to Colorado for a bachelorette getaway in the Rocky Mountains. Then, for a good friend’s wedding, I made my way to Idaho, where Brian met me in Boise. To make the cost of the plane tickets worth it, we decided to stay awhile and escaped into the Sawtooth Mountains for a few days of hiking, camping, and relaxing with my parents in addition to attending the beautiful wedding. While we were anxious to get back home to the farm, the time away was deeply healing and rejuvenating. Sometimes, the best thing to do in times of chaos is to remove yourself from the situation. The physical space and change of pace can often be just the change in perspective you need to see past the bullshit and re-enter daily life with passion, motivation, and clarity. We’ve been back for a week, and with Virgo season in full effect, we are feeling good about the months to come.

 I’d say we clean up nicely!

I’d say we clean up nicely!

We tend to make long getaways a life practice. I don’t know what it says about our life choices that we often feel the need to run away for a long time (well, maybe I do but I’ll spare you those musings), but no one has ever described us as content homebodies. Since we met 5 1/2 years ago, our joint-journey has been a saga of cross-country moves, new projects, globe trotting, and absurd living arrangements. While we have certainly gained invaluable experience in many industries and lifestyles, we keep falling into the same hole every August: exhausted, unsure about the direction of our path, overcommitted, and defeated. Some might call this repeated experience a karmic pattern, others might call it insanity. All we know is it’s kicking our butts and we’re ready to take active steps toward a new path.

Small Feat Farm, as we originally conceived it, is not jiving with the values and lifestyle we are cultivating. After three summers, it feels like we have been trying to jam a very noble round peg into the square hole of our lives. Growing food for a community is one of the most honorable jobs, in our opinion. We are realizing, however, that that job is better suited for people who are more willing to stay in one place for the growing season or enjoy researching soil science, for example. Instead of trying to force ourselves into a position that is clearly not playing to our strengths, we have decided to aim our ship at a lifestyle that compliments our inherent attributes and passions.

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Drumroll, please…Come On Up to the Farm! We are launching a new project in collaboration with Caswell Farm and Barn & Table Catering this fall. It is a work in progress and there are many details to figure out for the future, but we are excited to announce Pizza Nights beginning this Sunday evening, September 16th, and continuing every Sunday through the end of October. This is just the beginning of place-based, community-building, family-fun events that we will be hosting under the new brand Come On Up to the Farm. Our vision for next year is to host a multitude of events on this historic property from concert series to workshops to movie nights to dance parties. The goal is to build a community hub where people in the surrounding area are welcome to hang, collaborate, and commune with neighbors and friends. Stay tuned for more information on this new project and Pizza Night details for the remainder of the year.

How does Small Feat Farm fit into this? It will be taking a different direction for the foreseeable future. SFF’s new mission is to grow food for events at the farm (utilizing the beautiful pizza oven) and FLOWERS for the community. That’s right! We will be transitioning to a flower farm! The flower CSA will stay (the vegetable CSA will be no more), and we will explore wholesale, farmers market, and pick-your-own options as sources of revenue. I will be the lead farmer and florist.

Brian, on the other hand, will be diving into baking as a skill and potential business venture. While opening his own bakery is a ways in the distance, Brian is committed to learning the ropes of bread-making (place TBD) and will be the resident sous-chef for events on the farm.

We are really excited about this new direction and hope it will bring us fulfillment, energy, and the opportunity to live our deepest passions! Thank you for your continued support!

 This week’s share!

This week’s share!

Week #14 Veggies, Herbs, and Suggestions

Cabbage - This variety is called Melissa and is a savoyed green cabbage. Savoyed means “crinkly,” essentially. This cabbage is great to chop very finely and make a variety of slaws or krauts. Salt is a great friend of cabbage’s as it draws the moisture out and softens the fibrous nature of this brassica.

Baby Kale - the kale plants have made a comeback from the hot and humid summer. Baby Redbor and Lacinato kale will be bunched and ready for your stirfrys, smoothies, and salads

Fennel - We love to roast fennel with leeks and peppers (add potatoes and carrots, too!). Drizzle some olive oil over the veggie mix along with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Bake at 425 degrees for 20-30 minutes depending on the size of the chunks you cut.

Leeks - Leeks are a fabulous addition to any roast, stir fry, or soup. To get the most out of their rich flavor on the stove-top, cut them into 1/8 inch rounds, melt a healthy amount of butter in a pan, and sauté the leeks for 5-10 minutes before adding anything else. An incredible potato-leek soup can be made by following these instructions, adding a few cubed yellow potatoes to the pot, covering the veggies with broth and adding in salt and pepper. Boil the mixture until the potatoes are soft, and then use an immersion blender to make into a creamy fall-time soup.

Red Onion - a distinctly spicier and crisper onion than the Ailsa Craig, a red onion is great in the pan or raw on a salad or slaw.

Tomatoes - Red slicers and sungold tomatoes are going strong in the field. If you have an excess of tomatoes, consider googling a method to can and store them for winter!

Peppers - The hot peppers are going crazy! If you haven’t tried making a homemade salsa or hot sauce, try this: Line a baking sheet with tin foil. Halve a handful of tomatoes, an onion, a mixture of peppers, and a few cloves of garlic. Place veggies on baking sheet and broil on low for 10-20 minutes until they start to blacken. Pull the pan out of the oven and use tongs to put the chunks into a food processor with a healthy dose of salt, lime juice, cumin, and cilantro (if you like it). Blend until desired consistency. Sometimes, it helps to squeeze the tomatoes before putting them into the processor to get rid of excess liquid that will make the salsa watery.

Garlic - This cured garlic should keep in a cool dry place for at least a month (but I don’t know anyone who can go that long without using delicious garlic just sitting in the cupboard).

Cinnamon Basil - Basil is a great companion to tomato salads, pesto, and pizzas.

Lavender - This herb can be dried and used as a tea or bundle of aroma therapy!