Keep farming, feed people, build community
October 2, 2023
Notes From the Farm
The sun is shining on the farm, and it is much needed to help dry us out after nearly four more inches of rain fell on the fields between Friday and Saturday. That rain along with the colder temps last week put an end to the cherry tomatoes in the U-Pick field, which is now closed for the season, though you are still welcome to walk about and harvest any last bits you can find. We’ll begin to clear out the rest of our field tomatoes this week but we do still have tomatoes and cherry tomatoes growing in the tunnels, which will allow us to extend the harvest a few more weeks. If you haven’t yet put the cabbage from recent weeks to use, we’ll have beets and fennel in the harvest this week that partner perfectly with cabbage in salads, slaws, stir fries and fermentations like sauerkraut or kimchi. Check out the recipe ideas in the section below. More kiwi berries are coming from Clover Nook Farm in Bethany this week as well. They are ripe when soft, so be sure to feel them and ensure they are not firm before eating.
Thanksgiving is not far away, and once again this year you can secure a CT grown turkey from Ramble Creek Farm, with pickup here at Massaro on Monday, November 20, 12:30-5:30pm. Click the link to reserve your turkey now.
Our 6-week fall CSA extension is on sale now. It begins in November, immediately following the end of our summer CSA, and continues in to December after a one-week Thanksgiving break. Sign up online through our GrownBy store or mail/bring payment to the farm; $180 for on-farm pickup, $204 for District pickup. Pickup will be available on Wednesdays at District in New Haven, and Fridays at the farm. There will be no Tuesday pickup at the farm. We downsize a bit for the fall and winter so space for the fall CSA is limited.
Here is a list of upcoming events and workshops on the farm:
- Big Green Truck Pizza will be here from 3-6pm this Tuesday, October 3.
- Cooking demos lead by Caty Poole are set for 10/3 and 10/10. Each cooking demo will begin at 6pm, and will take place in the barn or learning garden pavilion, depending on conditions. Click here to register.
- Our final beekeeping workshop of the season is on Tuesday, October 3 at 2pm. This workshop will take place in our bee yard. Click here to register.
- Join Chris Loscalzo for a bird walk through our Nature Trail on Sunday, October 15 at 9am. Chris will take you on a guided walk through our trail pointing out native birds along the way. All ages are welcome to participate in this free event. Be prepared to walk on uneven and wet ground, and bring your binoculars if you have them! Click here to register.
- Come to the farm for family movie night: Hocus Pocus, a spellbinding halloween classic; Saturday, October 21, 5:30pm; movie starts at dusk. Click here to register.
Our friends at Sub Edge Farm are offering a limited number of heritage breed whole hogs raised in their forest and pastures.
This is an economical way to fill your freezer with humanely raised pork! Click here for more info and to order.
-Farmer Steve and our Farmers: Alyssa, Alanna, Aloe, Cass, Cierra, Kate, Kayla, MC, Sophia
This Week’s Anticipated Harvest:
Lettuce, Collards, Beets, Fennel, Tomatoes, Peppers or Eggplant, Radishes or Salad Turnips,
*from Clover Nook Farm
Closed for the season
No fruit next week
Final fruit to be distributed the week of 10/16
Big Green Truck Pizza
Big Green Truck Pizza will be at the farm from 3-6pm on Tuesdays once per month:
- Tuesday, October 3
They’ll be parked in the parking area, making a variety of their favorite pies for you to choose from. Payment can be made to Big Green Truck here with cash, venmo, or paypal.
CSA parking area/pickup images
See images below for an overhead view of the pickup areas at Massaro and at District.
Recipes and Cooking Ideas
Cabbage, Fennel & Beet Slaw
adapted from bbc.co.uk
- 2 small fennel bulbs, shredded
- ½ small cabbage, shredded
- 1-2 medium beets, peeled and shredded
- 4 scallions, chopped
- 6 tbsp sour cream or greek yogurt (for vegan option, replace with cider vinegar and dijon mustard)
- 3 tbsp nigella seeds (optional)
- salt & pepper to taste
- Combine all the vegetables in a bowl with the sour cream and nigella seeds.
- Stir and serve.
Bare-Naked Cabbage Sauerkraut
- Kitchen scale, ideally digital
- Cutting board and chef’s knife
- Large mixing bowl
- 1-quart (L) wide-mouth canning jar or similar sized jar
- 4-ounce (125 ml) canning jar (jelly jar) or fermentation weight of your choice
- Wide-mouth plastic storage cap or airlock lid of your choice
- 1 medium medium head fresh green cabbage, 2 ½–3 pounds (1 kg)
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) iodine-free salt (fine-grain)
- SET UP: Gather Supplies and Set Up Scale. Round up all your equipment so it is on hand as you work your way through the recipe.
- You don’t want to include the weight of your bowl in your measurements, so either zero out the scale or write down the weight of your bowl.
CHOP: Slice Your Cabbage
- If you are adding any seasoning to your sauerkraut, now is the time to sprinkle it into your bowl.
- Discard the limp outer leaves of the cabbage, setting aside one of the cleaner ones for use during step 5, SUBMERGE.
- Quarter, then slice cabbage crosswise into thin ribbons. I leave the core in because I find it helps to hold the layers of cabbage together making the slicing job easier. There are many ways to slice that cabbage as reviewed in this post.
- Add sliced cabbage to your bowl until weight of cabbage is 1¾ pounds (28 ounces, 800 grams).
SALT: Create Your Brine
- This is the fun part. Salt will put the moisture out of the cabbage cells to create a brine in which the salt loving bacteria grow and proliferate while the bad bacteria die off.
- Sprinkle the cabbage with one tablespoon (15 ml) of salt.
- OR… Be a Fermentation Ninja! Measure Your Salt Like a Pro
- You’ll want to be working in grams for this. Your scale should read 800 grams, which is the amount of sliced cabbage you added to your bowl. You need to add 2% salt. For 800 grams, that is 16 grams of salt. Sprinkle salt into your bowl of sliced cabbage until the scale reads 816.
- Mix well until salt is evenly dispersed.
- Once the salt is dispersed, you can let the salt work on its own. At this point, I usually leave the salted cabbage sit for 10-15 minutes while I clean up the kitchen. (When you come back, you’ll see the cabbage glistening with moisture and find that it requires very little massaging to create the brine.)
- Massage your salted cabbage with strong hands until moist, creating the brine. The mixture will wilt, shrink in size, and start to “squeak” as your work it.
- Work it until you see a 2-3 inch puddle of brine when you tilt the bowl to one side. If little or no brine is being created, see this post for some tips.
PACK: Pack Mixture into Jar
- Grab handfuls of the salty, juicy cabbage mixture and pack it into your quart-sized (liter) wide-mouth canning jar, periodically pressing the mixture down tightly with your fist or a large spoon so that the brine rises above the top of the mixture and no air pockets remain.
- Be sure to leave at lease 1 inch of space between the top of the cabbage and the top of the jar. Because we weighed out just the right amount of cabbage to fit in your jar, this should happen automatically.
- Pour any brine left in your mixing bowl into the jar and scrape out any loose bits stuck to the sides of the bowl or to the side of your jar.
SUBMERGE & SEAL: Hold Ferment Below Brine
- Now, it’s time to make sure your fermenting mixture is in a safe anaerobic (no air) environment. This means that you need to keep the cabbage mixture submerged in the brine while it ferments, especially during the first 5-7 days.
- Take that cabbage leaf you during the SETUP step, tear it down to just fit in the jar, and place it over the surface of the packed cabbage. Forgot to save a cabbage leaf? No problem. You can fold a narrow piece of parchment paper to size or even cut an old plastic lid to size.
- Place the 4-ounce jelly jar on top of the cabbage leaf, right side up with its lid removed. In this picture, I am using my favorite weight, the PickleHelix by Trellis + Co. with a link to it right above this recipe.
- Lightly (to allow for escape of CO2 gases), screw on the white plastic storage lid.
- I like to label my jars using green or blue painter’s tape and a permanent marker. I note the flavor of sauerkraut I made and the date I started fermenting.
Ferment: Ferment for 1 to 4 Weeks
- Time now for the friendly bacteria to transform salty cabbage into tangy sauerkraut.
- Place your jar of fermenting sauerkraut in a shallow bowl (to catch the brine that may leak out during the first week of fermentation), out of direct sunlight. Ideally, wait for 1 week before opening to sample.
- For what to expect as your sauerkraut ferments, see SALTY Cabbage to SOUR Sauerkraut: Fermentation Signs to Monitor
- Should the brine level fall (very unlikely) and remain below the level of the sauerkraut during this first week,
- dilute 1 Tbsp of salt in 2 cups of water
- and pour some of this brine over the sauerkraut (removing the little jar first) until it just covers the mixture. Put the little jar back in, screw the lid on lightly and let fermentation continue.
- Don’t worry if the brine disappears after the 7- to 10-day mark. By this time, you’ve created a safe environment in which the bacteria that would cause mold or slime has been chased away by the beneficial bacteria produced during the fermentation process.
- You can ferment your sauerkraut for up to 4 weeks. The longer you ferment it, the greater the number and variety of beneficial bacteria that can be produced. One study shows bacteria levels peaking on day 21.
STORE: Store in Refrigerator for Up to 1 Year
- After your sauerkraut has fermented to your liking, it’s ready to go into the refrigerator to then be effortlessly added to any meal or dish.
- Rinse off the outside of the jar. You can take the little jar – or whatever fermentation weight you used – out. Clean the rim if necessary (sometimes it can get sticky from the brine that overflows), and screw the lid back on tightly. If you used an airlock lid, clean that up and save it for another batch of sauerkraut.
- Add to your label how long you fermented your sauerkraut.
Notes and Tips
- You can use any variety of cabbage in your sauerkraut: green, red, napa, or savoy. However, for your first few batches of sauerkraut, you might want to use standard green cabbage. It ferments fabulously, which is one more way to guarantee success, and it gives you a baseline to gauge how future batches are fermenting.
- Cabbage is available year-round in most markets, enabling you to make sauerkraut throughout the year. Specific varieties of cabbage fall into two broad categories: summer and winter. Summer cabbage is sown in early spring and harvested throughout the summer. Summer cabbages grow faster and tend to have thinner leaves and overall lower moisture content. Winter cabbage is usually sown in late summer and harvested in late fall. Winter cabbages grow slower and have thicker leaves and higher moisture content, making winter cabbage ideally suited for sauerkraut. Farmers usually wait until there have been a few light touches of frost to harvest winter cabbage. Cabbage reacts to cold conditions and frost by producing sugars, making it taste rather sweet.
- Choose cabbage heads that seem heavy for their size, an indication of freshness. The tighter the cabbage leaves, the easier the head is to slice.
- Sugar levels in your cabbage can vary quite a bit depending on variety and growing conditions. The sweeter the cabbage, the greater the depth of flavors obtained, and the better fermentation unfolds. Taste a few slices of the raw cabbage, staying away from heads that taste bitter.
- The fresher the cabbage, the more brine it will create. Most cabbage is grown in the fall, stored throughout the year, and shipped to the stores as requested. During storage, it dries out. This loss of moisture means the cabbage can create less brine. Cabbages that are light for their size, with outer leaves that are wilted, brown, or excessively torn, could be older. Check the bottom of the cabbage to be sure the leaves are not beginning to separate from the stem, an indication of age.
CSA Pickup Instructions and Reminders
Reminder emails from GrownBy: GrownBy sends reminder emails ahead of your CSA pickup day each week for our 20-week subscribers, and uses a default of picking up alternating weeks, beginning with either week 1 or 2 for our 10-week subscribers. We know that many people switch pickup days as needed, and have a different pickup plan than the alternating weeks. As a result, you may receive some reminder emails that don’t match with your pickup plan or changes. Know that we are working with GrownBy to make adjustments to the auto reminder emails. Thank you for your continued patience and understanding on this.
On-Farm Pickups – Tuesdays 2:30-6:30pm; Fridays 12:30-5:30pm
- Come on in to the big red barn: Park in the parking area on the north side of the barn, walk down the steps and and enter the barn through the east barn door entry. Our harvest will be set out in bins with instructions for you to select and bag your own produce. Staff and/or volunteers will be there to help you as needed. Please bring your own bag or box.
- Please note that we will no longer be offering the drive thru pick up option. We will make up a few bags in advance for a quick pickup option for those who might need it.
- There is a handicap parking spot and an additional accessible spot next to the entry/exit on the south side of the barn.
- ALWAYS DRIVE SLOWLY at the farm – there is often programming here for kids, and the farm family with young children live here.
- When U-Pick crops are available, we recommend doing U-Pick first, then picking up your CSA when you are done. See map.
Delivery to District – Wednesdays, 3:30-7:30pm
- Located at 470 James St. at State St.
- Go to Door 004 for District Athletic Club (see map).
- CSA boxes will be stacked through the door and down the hall in the gym kitchen area.
- Pick up time is 3:30-7:30pm on Wednesdays.
- Take only one box of produce unless otherwise indicated, all boxes will be the same. Return your box each week and pick up a new one.
Egg CSA Subscriptions
- Pickup along with your vegetables on your regular pickup day and location.
- Massaro Farm Egg cartons can be returned to us as long as they are in good, clean condition.
- Comes from High Hill Orchard in Meriden.
- Typically begins in early July once blueberries are ready to harvest.
- Pickup along with your vegetables on your regular pickup day and location.
Farm Store – for on-farm pick up only; not available for New Haven delivery
- Our eggs, honey and tomato products will be available each week as long as we have them. Purchase at pickup along with your produce.
- Products from our partner farms and local vendors may be available as well.
Communications: We send out a weekly CSA newsletter during the harvest season, and additional messages throughout the year. Please read them. There is often helpful information in them, or important updates that might answer questions you have. We also share news, stories and photos on facebook and instagram.
If you have a question, request, feedback, or need to be in touch for any reason, emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org is the best means of communication. This email is checked regularly, and we do our best to respond quickly. We’d love to talk with you when you are here on the farm and we can usually be found around the barn during CSA pickup hours, so grab our ears, pick our brains, chat us up or tell us what’s on your mind!
Bags: Please bring a reusable bag or box to take your produce home in. We will have compostable bags available for you if needed.
What if I miss a week?: If you are not able to make it to the farm to pick up your produce on a given week, you are welcome to have someone else pick up it up for you. Simply have them come to the farm or District on your behalf. Any produce that is not picked up will be donated, so know that it is put to good use! If you do miss a week, please understand that you are not entitled to additional produce on another week.
Produce Donations: Part of the farm’s mission and commitment to the community is to donate produce to local hunger relief organizations, which is more important than ever right now. To make this happen, we harvest additional produce for donation on CSA distribution days. Any produce not picked up by our CSA members is added to that donation. Thus, if you can’t make it one week to get your vegetables, know that your produce will go to people in need and is never wasted.
Want more of our produce?: As our harvest allows, we will offer additional produce for sale at the farm. If you don’t see something you want available in the store, please do let us know when you are here and we’ll see if we can offer it. We will be at the Q House market at 197 Dixwell Ave in New Have on Wednesday afternoons from 3-6pm and some weekend markets again beginning in late July.
Payment plans, and final payments: If you signed up through GrownBy for weekly or monthly payment plans, your card will be charged automatically. Please make sure your card is up to date. If you paid by check and you still have a balance for the CSA, please send in your final payments, or email your payment plan to: email@example.com.
(203) 736-861841 Ford Road, Woodbridge, CT