My Favorite Holiday!

Three Turkeys...

Three Turkeys...

Oh I can't wait!
Thanksgiving is so close I can almost taste it!  You will likely find it unsurprising that my favorite holiday is the foodiest one of the year.  Since Paul and I started dating, the main event is held at his parents house.  We, of course, are in charge of bringing the produce and the turkey.  This year, I'm so excited to have a turkey from a neighbor farmer and friend, Vanessa at Victory Garden Farm. 

In addition to being our favorite, it's also the best organized.  Paul's mom and I keep a binder of our recipes, timing, successes and failures to reflect on to improve each successive Thanksgiving.  We've learning that soaking your turkey in brine is a huge help to keep it moist.  The ginger squash is always a huge crowd favorite. And this year we need to half our stuffing recipe because last year people were too stuffed.

This is the first time in my life that I've kept records year to year of a celebration like this, and I have to say, for me it really adds something to the fun of it to be able to have such a clear recollection of the years before.  I totally recommend the Thanksgiving binder, especially if your mother-in-law will keep it at her house!

All our love,

Sara & Paul

Fall-tastic!

We LOVE this time of year!  It's our favorite foods, colorful trees, fuzzy slippers and warm woolen mittens.  And, life starts to slow down and we can look around to reflect on the season that's passed.  When I look around this year, I feel so incredibly proud of Paul.  He's an amazingly dedicated farmer with a true passion for this work.  He studies, researches, experiments, and fine-tunes our operation endlessly so that he can rest assured he's grown the best vegetables he possibly can.  We hope you can taste the dedication!  

All our love,

Sara & Paul

The ghost of carrots past

The ghost of carrots past

A Thanks for All The Help!

Shared Seasons Pride!    Left: Micaela & Carolyn = CSA pick up day lifesavers and total rock stars!     Right: Mel = newsletter recipe guru and S.S. test kitchen chef & Sara = person least likely to work on Thursday!

Shared Seasons Pride! 
Left: Micaela & Carolyn = CSA pick up day lifesavers and total rock stars! 

Right: Mel = newsletter recipe guru and S.S. test kitchen chef & Sara = person least likely to work on Thursday!

This year, we have had the most amazing help!  We owe a huge debt of gratitude to everyone who has supported, toiled, cooked, weeded, sold, planted, laughed, or guided us this year.

I am always overwhelmed to think about the wonderful people in our lives who lend so many helping hands.  So thank you first to our wonderful family - our parents and siblings are at the heart of everything we do, and of course we couldn't be doing anything without them.  

Thank you to our amazing workershares - who are now our family too because of the amazing years of sharing work and ourselves with each other.

Thank you to our incredible employees - you have lightened our loads and our hearts with your indomitable spirits.

Thank you to all our friends both in and outside of farming for teaching us and adding your own gifts to the farm.

Finally, thank you to all our customers, members, farmers market shoppers, chefs - when you support us, you support the community and our environment, and you are part of creating the world we want to live in together.
                                                                

Enjoy your veggies and have a great week!

Love from your farmers,
Paul & Sara

Shared Seasons Hosts Braise!

Guests Mel and Brian...

Guests Mel and Brian...

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On Saturday, September 30, 39 delighted guests visited our farm for a tour of our fields and a delish dinner made from our veggies!  Many of you have heard of Braise, which is located in the Walkers Point neighborhood of Milwaukee - chef Dave Swanson was on hand to create an amazing 3-course meal!

It was a gorgeous evening full of fabulous food, conviviality, and a sky full of stars and a waxing gibbous moon!  It couldn't have been more lovely.
 

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Farm Funnies & Friends of Bunnies

Wanted to share some silly pictures of the week, and a sweet story about Lola Rabbit.

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We received the following email this week:

"To the farmers:

Your fabulous women at the Brookfield market provide our backyard wild bunnies with carrot tops weekly. They encouraged me to send you a picture of Lola enjoying the carrot top bounty. Thank you so much.

Best regards,
Terrie and Allen C."


 Wanting to know more we asked the fabulous women who sell for us at Brookfield, and they explained that Lola comes all the way up to their porch to eat our greens straight from Terrie and Allen's hands!  Wow!  Now that's bunny love!!

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Tomorrow is laundry day!

Tomorrow is laundry day!

Japanese Paper Pot Transplanter

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A really fun thing happened this week, and the story all starts with one of our favorite new farm tools, the Japanese Paper Pot Transplanter!
 

Well, we buy our paper pots from a Wisconsin man, who imports them directly from Japan.  Well, two of the managers of the paper pot company wanted to tour US farms using the product, and low and behold, they wound up at our farm this weekend!  The same day, that a friend posted this video about the transplanter on my facebook page!  (Twilight Zone Theme Music Plays).   

Chicken Tales!

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Last week was too exciting, so here are last week's chicken stories.

1) Never say never!  One of our college friends was visiting the farm during our first seasons, and remarked that we should get chickens.  I replied by saying we'd never get chickens, and likely rolling my eyes.  This dear, sweet friend loves rubbing it in that we have chickens now, and sent me the pictures below:

(2014: Hey Sara, you should get chickens!!)

2) Possum Invasion!  Last week Wednesday, long story short, a possum entered the chicken coop at dusk.  Once I saw it, I started screaming my head off and expected the worst for my feather babies!  But, thankfully, it didn't harm any of the girls, and *graphic details omitted* now the possum is no longer a threat.

Do we wash the vegetables? An update!

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At many points, I've written about how much we wash the produce, mostly because that's one of my (Sara's) main duties at the farm, so I take the cleanliness of our produce seriously! (Or as seriously as I can take anything).

So, you may have noticed our peppers, eggplant, zucchini and cucumbers tend to be a bit sandy, and our basil is downright dirty!  Why?  We've started dialing down the washing on some vegetables in order to help their storage life for you.  We've found that leaving the skin unwashed and dry is actually improving the vegetables quality when it comes time to eat it.  And as for the basil, whoa, that stuff goes bad quickly enough as it is, but once it's washed, use it asap because it's going south!

So, sorry there's a little extra washing to do at home now, but it will pay off in yumminess, I know!

Also, while we do spend loving attention washing your produce, please wash and/or keep your eyes on what you're eating - it's all natural, so 100% of dirt, bugs, and grass are impossible to remove.

Enjoy your veggies and have a great week!

Love from your farmers,
Paul & Sara

Our pepper plants are going CRAZY! In a good way.

Our pepper plants are going CRAZY! In a good way.

Feel Good About the Ecological Benefits of Buying Organically Grown!

If anyone tells you that the hippie, dippy farm you buy produce isn't changing the world, tell them that this is a good place to start!  The word is out that feeding the world though small, organic farms is possible.  Here are some things we do at our farm, that you can feel really good about!

1)  We don't use petroleum (synthetic) fertilizers.  We add nutrition to the soil with compost, manure, and planting cover crops.  Synthetic fertilizers are a problem because they often run off fields and pollute waterways.

2) We don't use any herbicides or non-organic pesticides.  We use weeding tools and our hands to get rid of unwanted plants in the field.  To manage pests, we mostly use physical barriers (row cover) to keep pests out, and occasionally use organic approved pesticides.  Again, herbicides and pesticides can pollute water. Both strong herbicides and pesticides can create resistant super weeds and super bugs that are a problem for everyone.

3) We don't use GMOs.  We'll leave the detailed debate for another newsletter article, but in the end, we feel that avoiding GMO crops is better for the environment as well as farmers and consumers.

Enjoy your veggies and have a great week!

Love from your farmers,
Paul & Sara

Week 8, it's so great!

Ok, so I can't get over how amazing our new tomato hoop houses are.  Last week was the first week tomatoes made there appearance for CSA this year.  Can you guess when the first tomato made it to CSA in our 2014 season? 

In 2014 the first tomato made it to CSA on August 20th, a full 3 weeks later than we were able to bring tomatoes this year!  And look at these babies growing:

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I hope you enjoy this time of year as much as I do, because I find these vegetables define the tastes of the season for me.  From cucumber salad to zucchini bread I know that the world around me is in the middle of a beautiful Wisconsin summer, and I like to imagine our produce going to picnics, and potlucks, and being shared with friends and neighbors.  

Did you know?  "Komatsuna", roughly translated from Japanese, means "best Shared Seasons week ever"?  True story.  :D  Either that, or BIG leafy spinach monster!  Our Japanese is soooo rusty from having never learned it.  ;)

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Why am I so tired?

It's July!  This week I looked around, let out a deep sigh, and asked the question I ask every year right around this time, "Why am I so tired?"  Then of course, I remembered, it's July!  Why would July be such a busy month for us at the farm?  It's the time when all things at the farm come together - there is still greenhouse seeding, planting, and lots of weeding in addition to all the harvest, washing, packaging, and markets.  In the spring, there's not the same demands of weeding, harvest, and markets.  In the fall, the seeding, planting, and weeding time has passed.  But now, there's everything do to!  

So, when you see me and I say I'm happy but tired, you'll understand why! :)

Enjoy your veggies and have a great week!

Love from your farmers,
Paul & Sara

Out Standing in Our Field

This photo shows our latest planting in the field, including beets, cabbage, greens, fennel, and broccoli.

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It also shows our small, moveable irrigation system.  It's a set of six sprinkler heads on poles that connect to a hose.  Since we've had so much rain, we haven't had to do much irrigation this year, but when the plants are newly planted, we have to make sure they get watered to thrive in their new home.  And did you know that our irrigation is run from the energy from solar panels!?  And that the irrigation water is from an artesian well!?  Yes, our vegetables are grown in a hippie wonderland!  :)

Enjoy your veggies and have a great week!

Love from your farmers,
Paul & Sara

Another look at the field.

Another look at the field.

Why do we have peppers this week?


This year we've had great success using our greenhouse to get plants started early, and to bring you produce like beets and cabbage earlier than ever before, but what's up with those CRAZY early peppers?  This hot weather and good amount of rain has pushed our pepper plants to start producing, but instead of several small peppers starting on a large plant, we're getting one big pepper on a small plant.  This isn't good for the future of the peppers, so to save them the stress, we harvested these early peppers to give the plants a chance to grow into themselves more before popping out more baby peppers.  

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Basil Tips!

How's your basil plant doing?  Mel's is HUGE!  If you want it to grow nice and tall, remember to "pinch" back the plant when it flowers - just take the section of the leaves below the flowers and cut back! The plant will continue to thrive, and you can grow a whole basil bush out of just one plant!  :)

BeBop arrives...

Hope you enjoyed your first week of CSA Veggies!  
I know it's a huge relief for us when the fresh veggies come into season and we can wait to eat out of the freezer again until next year!  There's just nothing like the first greens of the summer to me!  

As you may have noticed, last week we did purchase a new delivery van!  We are thrilled to have something bigger and boxier to carry the produce in.  It makes loading and unloading so much easier - both because we can use a dolly and we don't have to play Tetris to get everything to fit for the trip.
 

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The new truck's name is BeBop.  We like to name our vehicles, first for added personality and second because it's functional when communicating which vehicle we're talking about.  For instance, our silver van is named Manny Van because we decided it looked like a Sea Manatee, therefore it's a Van-atee.  The name BeBop comes from the the wedding of two ideas - that I thought the truck looked like a turtle, and Paul thought we should name it "Beast".  Somehow melded together in Paul's mind, he rememebered the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' character, BeBop, and the truck was named!  (I promise, we only think about these pressing issues during our lunch breaks!)   :)

Enjoy your veggies and have a great week!

Love from your farmers,
Paul & Sara

Welcome to Summer Veggies '17!

We are so thrilled to be back in the field for another season of growing great veggies for you and your families!  

Our farm in Fredonia is continuing to be a beautiful delight, and  so far we are off to a wonderful summer.  We have a wonderful crew of employees and workershares this year who have gotten us off to a great start in getting planting, weeding, and most impressively our two new hoop houses built and filled with tomatoes!
 

Paul has been longing for hoophouses like this since before we started Shared Seasons, and so it's a it's a dream come true for him!  This will hopefully mean that our tomatoes start producing a little earlier and that they are protected from the frost for longer into the fall.

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We also are investing in a new delivery van for this season, so keep your eyes peeled for the 16 foot box van!  It should be hard to miss!

Our feather babies (aka the chickens) are doing great and clucking right along.  I just wish they all had a name!   If you have any name suggestions for the flock, pass them along, please.

Enjoy your veggies and have a great week!

Love from your farmers,
Paul & Sara