Stuck In A Rut...Season

7:11 PM Adrian 0 Comments

It's that time of year...the leaves are almost gone from all the trees, and our stands of forest out here are thin and bare.  The cold season comes heralding an age of new perspectives.  We're looking at the skeleton of the woods as it returns to dormancy during the coming months.  The corn is cut and threshed from off the ground, and we now see the shape of the land for what it really is.  Bird song is heard less and less, while we see large raptors such as hawks and bald eagles a whole lot more.  And the deer...oh, the deer!  It is time for their rut season.  They pass through much more often nowadays, commonly seen at sunrise and sunset in small groups.  Their increasing presence is breathtaking. 

Their increasing presence is also a big pain in our collective butts.  Ever seen the heart eaten out of a perfectly beautiful head of lettuce?  Damn those deer!  Sometimes we don't care how pretty they are, or  how much we respect them otherwise.  They can be a devastating effect on our crops.  On the plus side of things: deer taste delicious.  Some efforts may be taken here this winter to do some deer hunting when the season opens, and perhaps we can teach them to steer clear of us a bit while also feeding ourselves with local venison.  Right now, our property to them is seen as this idyllic oasis, free of guns and bows, lushly covered with the most delicious and nutritional food a deer can find at this time of year.  They love to munch on our lettuces especially.  If we have lettuce in large amounts, they will practically leave everything else untouched, but we have also found signs of them dining on beet greens, spinach, pea shoots, chard, and even various Brassica/Cruciferous sprouts.  Some mornings we come out and our plants look perfectly cropped, like a lawn mower came through and chopped off all their tops and we think to ourselves "hmmm...only the cold, calculated methods of some white-tailed killer could be responsible for this mess."

But still....I deeply enjoy those quiet times at the crack of dawn, glimpsing them grazing on a foggy morning.  I sure would hate to see them ALL go....

It's not only the deer that are plaguing us.  With Grant Wood Market cancelled, we are still trying to figure out where we are going to sell all this food!  We spent the last few months growing tons and tons of food expecting to sell it all to our faithful Iowa City customer base.  We are officially (kind of?!) going to appear at the New Bo this weekend.  At least we're trying to!  We received a strong invitation from New Bo, then when we gave them the official "yes" we heard no response back.  So it is sort of up in the air, though we think you can expect to see us there (if you're attending, that is.)  We are very interested in the Mt. Vernon market, it sounds as if they'll have us.  We are also still fond of having our classic Farm Stand in front of Derek's house, although we'll be sorely missing having a spot somewhere downtown!  We are looking into that as well.  We've received many suggestions from folks, all of which have been very helpful.

In other news...our Iowa City Farmer's Market downtown CSA pickups, as some of you may know, are ending this week!  As a matter of fact, they end today!  If you are a Fall CSA member please contact us immediately to switch to a new pick up date.  They will be the following:

-Tim's Daycare/Kirkwood School for Children.  Fridays.  1107 Kirkwood Court.  Pickup lasts approx. 4:30 PM-5:30 PM.  Please email us if this pickup works for you.

-Derek's House.  Saturdays.  1003 Ginter Ave.  Pickup at about 2 PM, subject to change throughout season.  Please email us if this pickup works for you.

Note: We may be able to provide a Saturday morning pickup if we have enough people who absolutely need it.  Shares would be dropped off at Tim's Daycare on Friday and stay overnight for you to pickup on Sat. morning. 

Garlic planting has started, and continues!  We're a little late on it, and the rush continues to get it in the ground before the end of November!  We've still got a lot left to go.  If you're interested in helping and learning about garlic planting contact us!  We could use a few volunteers here and there!

Anyways, I should add "sorry" that this newsletter is a day late.  Many of you have already picked up your share today and it'll be a total surprise this week for you Wednesday people.  But don't worry Saturday people (soon to be other-day people), we've got a preview for you!  Either way, we have a LOT of stuff for you this week, along with some new things you didn't see previously!

Enjoy the Fall CSA fare while it lasts.  See you at market!

On the table this week:

  • Mixed Baby Kales
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Hot Peppers
  • Garlic
  • Spring Radishes
  • Potatoes
  • Turnips (Red, White, Gold, or Purple Top)
  • Winter Radishes
  • Daikon Radishes
  • Bok Choy
  • Beets
  • Winter Squash
  • Yukina Savoy (Tat Soi)
  • Head Lettuce
  • Broccoli
  • Cilantro


Aztec Couscous (

Couscous takes on a Latin flair with black beans, corn, jalapeno, cilantro, and cumin for a tasty vegetarian side dish.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes


  • 1 cup couscous
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1 to 1-1/4 cups water
  • 1-3/4 cups black beans or 1 (15-ounce) can
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 3 Tablespoons roasted garlic olive oil
  • 3 to 4 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

Place couscous, cumin, and salt in a large heatproof bowl or storage container and pour 1 cup boiling water on top. Cover tightly and let sit until all the liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes. If the couscous is not quite tender, add an additional 1/4 cup of boiling water, cover, and let sit for a few minutes longer. Fluff up with a fork.

Toss in the black beans, corn, red onion, cilantro, and jalapeno. Mix in the olive oil and enough lime juice to give the salad a puckery edge. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Yield: 4 servings

Recipe Source: Lorna Sass' Short Cut Vegetarian : Great Taste in No Time by Lorna Sass (Wm Morrow)

Beet Risotto  (

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth, heated
  • 1/2 recipe Basic Roasted Beets, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper


  1. In a heavy medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Cook onion, stirring often, until golden brown and soft, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add rice; stir to coat. Stir in wine; cook until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup broth; simmer, stirring, until almost all is absorbed. Add remaining 2 1/2 cups broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until liquid is absorbed before adding more, about 25 minutes total.
  3. Stir in beets, butter, and Parmesan; season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Baby Kale, Mozzerella and Egg Bake (www.kalyn'

(Makes 6 one-dish meal servings; recipe created by Kalyn.)


  • 5 oz. mixed baby kale or chopped kale leaves
  • 1-2 tsp. olive oil (depending on your pan)
  • 1 1/2 cup low-fat grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced green onion
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 tsp. Spike Seasoning (optional, but good.  You can use any seasoning blend that tastes good with eggs instead of Spike.)
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste



Preheat oven to 375F/190C.  Spray an 8 1/2 inch by 12 inch glass or crockery casserole dish with olive oil or nonstick spray.  

Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the kale all at once, and stir just until the kale is wilted, about 1 minute for baby kale or 2-3 minutes for chopped kale.  Transfer the kale to the casserole dish, spreading it around so all the bottom of the dish is covered.  Layer the grated cheese and sliced onions on top of the kale.

Beat the eggs with Spike Seasoning (or other seasoning mix) and salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.  (I use only a tiny pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper.)  Pour the egg mixture over the kale/cheese combination, and then use a fork to gently "stir" so the eggs, kale, and cheese are evenly combined.

Bake about 30-35 minutes or until the mixture is completely set and starting to lightly brown.  Let cool about 5 minutes before cutting.  (The egg bake will settle down some as it cools.)  Serve hot.  This is good with light sour cream.  I also like a little Green Tabasco Sauce sprinkled on the top.

This can be cut into individual servings to keep in the fridge and microwaved for a quick breakfast during the week.  Don't microwave longer than 1-2 minutes or the eggs can get slightly rubbery.
 Please tell us if you can't identify something on the market table, don't know what to do with a particular item, have a food allergy we should know about, or if you have other questions or comments. We love to hear from you! 


Wet Weeks and Garlic Crackers

7:55 PM Adrian 0 Comments

Looking back at the last couple weeks, it appears as if we're making up for all the rain we've missed during this summer's drastic drought!  The weather has been wet, and it's been more than welcome.  Our water table could use some more soaking to recuperate from this era of general dryness that's plagued us since the winter.  Sure, last winter was mild and nice...and we sure milked it for what it was worth, stretching our season extension all the way up 'til New Years Eve.  But the lack of snow we experienced means depletion of our underground reservoirs; snow melt is a great contributor to these, as well as natural and drilled wells.  We can only ask for a more normal winter with plenty of snow, in spite of warmer weather having its perks.  Colder temperatures and more freezes this winter would be welcome too...hard freezes give us some help keeping bug numbers down for the coming spring!  This spring season was a farm pest extravaganza.  There is more rain to come on Thursday and we hope it continues being wet!  It would also be a great boost for our plants going into the cold season in general.

Fall CSA keeps chugging along!  We are still bringing tables overflowing with produce to our markets, and we still have tons of food we send twice a week to the New Pioneer Co-ops.  This fall has been an amazing harvest, surpassing our rounds earlier in spring.  Last Saturday was our last 8th Ave Cedar Rapids Market, but the Iowa City Downtown market still continues for a couple weeks here.  We also finished up a big Iowa Valley Food Co-op order last week.  We've really been enjoying selling through them to a customer base we normally don't reach, and we will continue doing so through winter...if you're interested, visit  or click the zucchini squash blossom picture under "Iowa Vally Food Co-op."  To buy from the Echollective or anyone else through IVFC, you must become a Co-op Member first.

Grant Wood Farmer's Market starts soon, although we have heard through the grapevine that if they don't get enough vendors, they will not run this winter!  This is a big bummer for us.  We would have to look into a different drop-off site for our Fall CSA shares, which we will be in touch with our Fall CSA members about.  Nothing's decided yet.  Investigation of  the Mt. Vernon Farmer's Market and Tipton Farmer's Market is underway for potential winter vending places.  We are also thinking about selling right in front of Derek's house on Ginter Ave. in Iowa City...and having CSA pickups there.  That way we could still stay very accessible to our Iowa City customer base!

We are also entering Garlic Planting Season!  In past years, this has comprised of our notorious fall Garlic Parties.  All of us (and whoever shows up) get seated in the chilly barn clustered around 6 gallon buckets with open onion bags, cracking open entire bulbs of garlic and throwing fat cloves into them for planting.  For hours.  And days.  It's an arduous process, resulting in tired hands and blisters that serve nothing more than to protect you against yet more garlic cracking.  Then when garlic cracking is over, you just have these useless blisters.  Anyways, we have obtained a contraption that wards against all of that: a garlic cracker!  Grant Schultz, our farming compadre who brought us this impressive apparatus, had only the following comment in regards to how it works: "It's complex, and has lots of moving parts."  Watching it in action, that's practically the exact same conclusion I came to.  It does a lot of stuff and cracks a ton of garlic, way faster than 6 people seated in the barn could, and it's a process I don't understand even when witnessing it.  It is all very voodoo to me.  But oh well, the job get's done, and it gets done faster!

So we are on our way to garlic planting.  A couple of fields have already been furrowed and tilled for garlic next year, where we will lay out each individual clove, give it protective mulch, and let it sleep through winter until spring.  Now that we've got the machine working...we've just gotta get "crackin'!"

We've got a great spread this week!  First time we are featuring a plentiful helping of mizuna.  You've seen it before in braises and salads, we thought the Asian green could stand on its own two legs for once.  It is plenty succulent, mustardy and delicious!  We will also provide mizuna recipes.  We hope you enjoy. 

See you at market!

What to expect:

  • Mixed Baby Kales
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Garlic
  • Spring Radishes
  • Winter Radishes
  • Daikon Radishes
  • Turnips
  • Head Lettuce
  • Bok Choy
  • Potatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Broccoli Raab
  • Winter Squash
  • Tat Soi Bunch
  • Mizuna


Mizuna Salad with Aged Gouda & Roasted Portabellas adapted from
  • 3/4 pounds sliced portabella mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 10 cups mizuna, (or other spicy green such as arugula or watercress) washed, dried and torn or chopped for a salad
  • 1 cup coarsely grated aged Gouda cheese

Preheat oven to 425°F with rack in middle.
Toss mushrooms with 3 tablespoon oil and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a bowl. Roast in 1 layer in a 4-sided sheet pan, turning once, until golden-brown and tender, about 15 minutes. Cool mushrooms.
Whisk together vinegar, mustard, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and remaining 5 tablespoons oil in a bowl until combined. Toss mushrooms, greens, and cheese with enough dressing to coat.
More Mizuna ideas from The Kitchn
I like it all sorts of ways; it's not as peppery as standard mustard greens so it goes into more things and can be used as a garnish/accent as well as a main ingredient.
It's a good soup ingredient: I make a lot of veggie soups using leeks or onions, a green vegetable, and a starchy vegetable. My favorite combination with mizuna is sweet potato (preferably Japanese sweet potato, but anything works) and onion.
It also holds up a better than lettuce so it's good in salads that need to keep for a few hours or even overnight. I sometimes add it or radish greens to pickled cucumbers. It's good in potato salad, too.
One thing I've done with mizuna:
Heat 3 T olive oil on high, then throw in 1-2 cups thinly sliced summer squash and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring a bit. When somewhat cooked, add 3-4 chopped garlic cloves and a bunch of roughly chopped mizuna, with salt and pepper. Grate a hard cheese (ie Parmesan) to finish off the dish.

Butternut Squash Pizza with Gruyere and Arugula (
serves 4-6
Print this recipe!

  • 1 recipe Best Pizza Dough
  • 24 oz peeled and cubed butternut squash (from about one 3lb squash), roasted at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until very tender
  • 6 oz freshly grated Gruyere cheese
  • sea salt
  • red pepper flakes
  • 1 bunch arugula

Prepare dough according to recipe directions.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Take half of the butternut squash cubes and puree them in either a food processor or high speed blender until smooth.
Roll dough out into a large circular or rectangular shape (I always go the rectangular route!). Top dough with pureed squash, then sprinkle on cheese. Top with the remaining butternut squash cubes, a sprinkle of sea salt and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes.
Bake pizza for 15 minutes until bubbly and crust is done. Immediately top with arugula and another sprinkle of sea salt. Let cool before slicing.

30 minutes (not including time to make and prepare dough)

Open-Face Watercress and Winter Radish Sandwiches with Horseradish Cream (
  • light rye, sliced thin (or firm white bread)
  • Organic Valley Whipped Butter, softened
  • Beauty Heart radishes, peeled and thinly sliced (or other winter radishes)
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Organic Valley Heavy Whipping Cream
  • horseradish root, Freshly grated (or well-drained prepared horseradish)
  • Lemon juice
  • Watercress sprigs
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. Generously butter the bread slices. (To be fancy, you can slice off the crusts first, but that’s not necessary.) Cover buttered surface with sliced radishes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Use a very sharp knife to cut them into squares, triangles or halves.

2. Whip the cream until medium-firm peaks form. (See Whip Tips for instructions, but do not add the vanilla or sugar.) Sprinkle horseradish to taste (go easy--you won’t need much, especially if it’s fresh) and a few drops of lemon juice over surface of whipped cream; fold in gently. Place dollops of horseradish cream over sandwiches. Top each with a tiny bundle of watercress sprigs. Transfer sandwiches to a fancy platter. Serve immediately or chill before serving.
Please tell us if you can't identify something on the market table, don't know what to do with a particular item, have a food allergy we should know about, or if you have other questions or comments. We love to hear from you!


The Gems of Fall: Root Crop Season!

8:36 PM Adrian 0 Comments

 Hello everyone!  For all of you Fall CSA folks, boy, do we have a great CSA line-up for you this week!  Just wait 'til you scroll down to see our list!  We've got for you an earthy selection of root crops, accented by a medley of fresh, leafy greens that we don't typically offer. 

Fall is the time for showcasing an entire range of colors and beauty possible in vegetables that are frequently overlooked at in the store.  For example: the humble turnip.  Turnips come in an array of colors.  There's the standard Purple Top, but we also grow ruby Red turnips, Gold turnips, and even the dainty yet tasty White variety.  Maybe you felt risky one day, ventured to the Co-op and bought yourself a turnip or two, and felt well-versed and worldly after wearily figuring out how to incorporate it into your meal somehow.  Then you forgot about it.  But turnips can be easier to prepare and integrate into meals than you'd imagine.  For all of you, especially those dedicated vegans out there, turnips are one of the highest sources of proteins you can find in a vegetable!  Turnip pastes are pretty delicious and simple to make: pastes are self-explanatory.  Eat the paste on your favorite sandwich!  You can easily find online the most basic turnip roasting recipes which, in my opinion, are the best way to prepare these roots.  Also, check out our scrumptious "Turnip Fries" recipe from an earlier newsletter this season!

We also have our wonderful lineup of radishes, both spring and winter!   In the last newsletter I told you all about winter radishes, the larger, more hefty, down-to-earth version of your light and crisp spring breeds.  Winter radishes come in a startling spread of colors.  Watermelon and Beauty Heart radishes have bright red, succulent-looking insides when you slice them open, looking very much like a cut-open watermelon (hence the names).  The skin on the outsides can range from a palish-green and white to more vivid rosy pinks and purple blushes, making one recall a beautiful fall sunset.  The intense Spanish Black radish, on the other hand, lives up to its name with a remarkably dark skin.  Spanish Blacks are notably more bitter, and this is actually due to this particular kind of radish's high nutritional content.  It is an excellent source of fiber and vitamin C, as well as boasting anti-cancer and anti-toxic properties, especially against hepatic cancers.

Our D'Avignon French Breakfast radishes have long been pulled since the last few times we've added them to your shares, but now we've got our other Spring varieties, the Easter Eggs and Cherry Belles, to follow in.  A hearty bunch of Easter Egg radishes looks simply mouth-watering and could almost be the vegetable equivalent of a gum ball machine!  They are perfectly round, coming in a variety of contrasting colors: purple, white, pink and rose.  Also relating to gum ball machines, sometimes you can't help yourself and it's hard to stop poppin' these radishes in your mouth once you get started.  Cherry Belles are similar, though they are our standard red, round radishes and come in one uniform color.  These two varieties are noticeably less tart and hot than the French Breakfast (which are my favorite!), though from my experience, they can be just as addictive after biting into that first one.

Last but not least, the lean-and-spicy Daikon!  An Asian icicle radish variety that is the biggest, the longest...and the hottest!  We pulled our record largest Daikon out of the ground today, it was at least two feet long!

Find us at the Farmer's Market and you'll get to see the entire spectrum of root crops before you!   We've been filling up baskets with turnips, spring and winter radishes respectively to put on our table, and the result is a quite astonishing display of those root crops the average shopper tends to overlook.  We hope you take a minute to take in an eyeful, and give these delicious and healthy veggies a chance.  Here at Echollective, it's one of the most beautiful things about Fall: all the colors!

Along with beautiful roots, we've got some special greens this week to accompany your vibrant root selection: Broccoli is back on the table after a little vacation!  A little bit of patience and a lot of rain has given us a lot of florettes recently.   You can also get a taste of some Broccoli Raab (a.k.a. Rapini) and we are happy to give to our CSA members, for the first time this year, a generous bunch of Yukina Savoy!  (Yukina Savoy is a larger, denser relative/version of tat soi.)  We'll provide some recipes for you to enjoy with these veggies in the coming week!

We're sure you'll enjoy the selection this week...see you at market!

CSA This Week!:
  • Kale
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Yellow Zephyr Squash
  • Garlic
  • Spring Radishes
  • Winter Radishes
  • Red, Purple Top, White, or Gold Turnips
  • Daikon Radishes
  • Bok Choy
  • Arugula
  • Head Lettuce
  • Broccoli
  • Tat-Soi Bunch (Yukina Savoy)
  • Broccoli Raab (Rapini)
  • Winter Squash


Moroccan Yukina Savoy and Red Quinoa Skillet (Gluten-Free!) (

  • 1 lemon – juice and zest
  • 1 T paprika
  • 1 T ground cumin
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 ½ c. carrots, chopped
  • 2 cans white cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 bunches yukina savoy or 4 c. of another green (bok choi, spinach, kale…)
  • 1 c. dried apricots, chopped
  • 1 c. red quinoa
  • 3 c. gluten-free vegetable stock
  • 1 handful of chopped parsley

1.  Place the red quinoa in a bowl of water and soak while preparing the next four steps.
2.  Combine the paprika, cumin, salt, and pepper in a small bowl and set aside.
3.  Zest the lemon, juice it, and set them aside separately.
4.  Chop the onion, carrots, yukina savoy, and set them aside separately.
5.  Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat and sauté the minced garlic until it’s lightly browned.  Add the onions, lemon zest, and apricots and cook until the onions are soft.
6.  Drain and rinse the red quinoa, and add it to the skillet.  Then add the lemon juice, carrots, cannellini beans, spices, and chicken stock.  Raise the heat, bringing the mixture to a boil, and stir for 3-5 minutes.  Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 20 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.
7.  Add chopped yukina savoy, or greens of your choice, stir to combine, and cover for 5 minutes or until the greens have softened.
8.  Keep covered, remove from heat, and let it sit for 5 minutes.
9.   Gently stir, serve, and garnish with parsley.

Serves 6

Broccoli Raab & Orzo Salad (



  • 1/2 cup orzo, preferably whole-wheat
  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe (about 1 pound), trimmed and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add orzo and cook 3 minutes less than the package directions. Add broccoli rabe; cook 3 minutes more. Drain in a colander and gently press out as much water as possible.
  2. Heat oil in the pot over medium heat. Add garlic; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add oregano, salt, pepper, the broccoli rabe and orzo. Cook, stirring, until heated through, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in feta and lemon juice.


Per serving: 192 calories; 10 g fat ( 2 g sat , 6 g mono ); 8 mg cholesterol; 20 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 8 g protein; 6 g fiber; 288 mg sodium; 247 mg potassium.
Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (61% daily value), Vitamin C (45% dv)
Carbohydrate Servings: 1
Exchanges: 1 starch, 1 vegetable, 2 fat

Daikon Radish Stuffed Flatbreat/Mooli Paratha (



  • 2 cups wheat flour (add)
  • salt
  • 12 tsp chili powder
  • 12 tsp cuminseed (jeera powder)
  • 2 tbsps oil
  • water (grated radish for kneading the dough will be explained)
  • 1 radish (diakon, grated after grating squeeze out the water/juice use it for kneading dough)
  • 12 ajwain (indian stores optional)
  • 14 turmeric (powder)
  • 12 tsp jeera (powder)
  • 12 onion (grated juice squeezed out discard)
  • salt
  • 14 chili powder
  • 2 tbsps cilantro leaves (finely chopped)
  • oil (frying)


1  Make up the dough using the water (as much as you need from the radish) Discard any left over water.
2  Leave the dough covered in a warm place to rest for half an hour.
3  Add salt to the grated radish.
4  After 15 mins squeeze out more water and discard this.
5  Then to the dry grated radish add the rest of the filling mix.
6  now make small balls of the dough a little bigger than an egg.
7  Flatten them out, dip in dry flour and roll them out using a rolling pin to a teacup saucer size.
8  Make smaller balls of the filling mix about the size of an egg yolk and place each filling ball in the center of the dough soucer.
9  Gather the rest of the dough around it so that the dough complety covers the filling.
10  Dip it in dry flour and roll it out again theis time bigger than a saucer.
11  Heat a tsp of oil in the frying pan.
12  Add the bread and shallow fry on each side until brown spots appear.
 Please tell us if you can't identify something on the market table, don't know what to do with a particular item, have a food allergy we should know about, or if you have other questions or comments. We love to hear from you! 


Pre-Freeze Scramble

8:12 PM Adrian 0 Comments

It's a cold, clammy day today, and we've been staying warm to keep our hands nimble from the numbness as we wash our usual loads of kale, bok choy, and spinach bunches.  But it is surely raining!  A steady yet ample drizzle has been passing over us for the past hour or so, about to end soon.  The ground isn't exactly soaked, but it is definitely wet.  I nice end to the period of dryness we've been enduring.  Not as bad as the full-blown drought of summer.  More rain is on the horizon according to most weather stations, telling us to expect a thunderstorm here Saturday.  It'll be nice to have that boost of water for our veggies as we head on into the colder days!

Speaking of colder days, we are hard at work right now to prepare for them.  Two sets of hoop-house "ribs" are already up in our field, only needing plastic and ties to stretch over them to protect the seedlings there.  Amongst the plants we will be caring for in our season-extension "caterpillars" will be radishes, red choy, bok choy, asian greens; red russian, white russian, and beady's kale varieties; and a whole plethora of other "brassicas", a.k.a. "members of the cabbage family" (also called the "mustard" family).  If you already don't know the extensive list of vegetables which fall into this single family, you would be surprised!  They are: turnips, radishes, broccoli, cabbage, kale, broccoli raab/rapini, arugula, bok choy/napa, most asian greens, mizuna, mustard greens, and collard greens.  In addition to brassicas we may, most likely, cover some lettuces, cilantro, and spinach like we did least year.

This past Saturday was a wild day trying to make do in the face of the low temperatures predicted that night.  We were already wary considering Friday night was forecast to only get down to the 30's in Mechanicsville, but instead it hit way below at 24 degrees!  Most everything seemed fine, though our D'avignon French Breakfast radishes turned to jelly in the ground, our beets looked deflated, and broccoli showed some freeze burns on the leaves.  Minor damage, though unexpected.  The following Saturday night was predicted to be the same: low of 24.  We rushed to pull as many of our huge turnips and storage radishes from the ground, picked four cases of kale bunches, boxed them all up along with our winter squashes, and pulled our biggest and best bok choy heads from the fields (a difficult process, considering most all our bok choy heads by some luck look amazing this year!) stacking everything in the barn and expecting all else to go to hell that night.  We had a very strong epiphany: We have a LOT of food!  We also stayed up 'til past dark getting what we could covered, especially the youngest seedlings we would need to sell through the winter.  Of course, it only got down to 30 that night, and everything was fine.  But hey, now we have quite a bit of food right in our barn, ready to go!  We can now just whip up some turnips or choy for CSA or Co-op orders.  And it's nice to have some cold weather infrastructure set up ahead of time.

The PFI Field Day was a success!  Many people showed up and (I think) were kept entertained and busy.  Everyone sitting in our kitchen and dining area eating a farm meal seemed satisfied and there was a lot of conversation.  Garlic production and season extension was discussed by farmer Derek, the farm-made hoophouses were exhibited, and connections were made in a large farm-wide tour.  Additionally, farmer Will got to showcase his pigs and mushroom structure, and grazed over several topics pertinent to the mushroom growing business as well as explaining how pigs can be helpful to any organic farm.

Fall CSA continues!  We hope you are enjoying it so far, and we have five great weeks to go.  As I said before....we have a LOT of food.  Plenty!  So we think you'll enjoy the selection for the times to come.  New this week are Winter Radishes!  Fresh from the field.  They are the hearty, beefy, more substantial relative to the light tart spring radish.  They are also called "storage" radishes because they are bred more for long-term storage and use throughout the winter. More akin to turnips, these two easily get mixed up; but the winter radish still brings on the heat you know and love in a radish, unlike turnips.

See you all at market!

CSA this week:

  • Kale
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Zucchini
  • Garlic
  • Spring Radishes (French Breakfast, Easter Egg, or Cherry Belles)
  • Potatoes
  • Red Turnips
  • Purple Top Turnips
  • Winter Radishes (Watermelon, Black Spanish, or Beauty Hearts)
  • Daikon Radishes
  • Bok Choy
  • Beets
  • Winter Squash
...and possibly more!


Winter Radish Slaw (

  • 2-3 winter radishes, grated
  • 3 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 cup carrots
  • 1/2 cup onions (leeks would work)
  • Lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil 
  • Finely chopped herbs of choice (mint, parsley, cilantro)

 In a bowl toss together radishes, cabbage, carrots, onion, lemon juice, oil, herbs, salt and pepper to taste.

A watermelon radish; a colorful example of one of our winter radish varieties.

Turnip Soup with Greens (

  • 1 pound bacon, cut into ½ inch dice
  • 2 cups onion, cut into ½ inch dice
  • 2 cups potatoes, peeled, cut into ½ inch dice
  • 2 cups turnips, peeled, cut into ½ inch dice
  • 4-6 sprigs thyme or 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup greens, torn
  • 1 cup cream
  • salt and pepper
In a large sauce pan over medium heat, add bacon. Cover and cook slowly until fat renders, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat.

Return pan to medium heat, add onion and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes. Do not brown.

Add potatoes and turnips to cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Add thyme, enough water to cover, bring to a boil, and reduce. Cook at brisk simmer for 15-20 minutes until tender.

Meanwhile, cook torn greens in butter or some of the bacon fat over high heat until wilted. Reduce and cook over medium-low heat for 1-2 minutes. Add greens to soup and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Add cream, salt, and pepper. Remove bay leaf or thyme and serve.

If soup becomes too thick, thin with broth, water or cream.

From: Don
Serves: 4

 Texas Caviar (
  •  2  15-oz. cans black-eyed peas,
       drained and rinsed
  •  1⁄4 cup roughly chopped cilantro
  • 1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1⁄4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 serrano chile, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
  • 1⁄2 red bell pepper, cored, seeded,
       and finely chopped
  • 1⁄4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper,
       to taste

1. Combine first 8 ingredients in a bowl; season with salt and pepper.
2. Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight. Serve on top of lettuce leaves.


 Please tell us if you can't identify something on the market table, don't know what to do with a particular item, have a food allergy we should know about, or if you have other questions or comments. We love to hear from you! 


Fall CSA Begins; PFI Field Day Thursday!

7:37 PM Adrian 0 Comments

Greetings all.  The cold season slowly approaches!  Days are noticeably shorter.  Very soon...winter will be at our door.  Time for sweatpants, gloves, coveralls and sturdy boots.

Fall CSA will have its first pickup tomorrow!  We'll be happy to see some returning faces from Summer CSA, as well as some new folks to join our lineup.  We're excited to continue growing into colder times.  If you still have any questions, see any loose ends, or are mystified by our Fall CSA, please contact us so we can help!

 As warm weather diminishes, and days shorten, this gives some of our member farmers some time to focus on other farm-related projects.  Work has begun anew on a large combo chicken coop/tractor, which will house chickens that can aid with soil amending and pest control, as well as give us some eggs!  Yum.  Farmer Will is turning to focus on the more business aspects of mushroom production, and the possible start of an Eastern Iowa Mushroom Co-op this winter.  And it's been some time since an update on some of the farm's little-known residents, the pigs Merlock and Dr. Caporkian.  They are BIG!  We've been feeding them organic veggies and all sorts of goodies.

Coming up this Thursday is the Practical Farmers of Iowa Field Day!  Running from 10 am to 4 pm, and the description is as follows:

"See a wide range of equipment, tools an plant varieties used to harvest food all year, and learn about crop coverings, from simple and homemade to expensive and complex. Hear about plant variety selection and how different growing and handling techniques are used to harvest produce year-round.  Garlic is one of the farm's largest crops; learn about planting preparations, and purchase seed stock.  Several hoophouse pipe-benders will be on display; bring your own pipe to bend into hoops!  A simple farm-fresh lunch of Echollective produce will be available; free-will donations accepted."

To you Fall CSAer's: See you tomorrow for your first veggie box!  Take care!

On the table this week:

  • Kale
  • Peppers
  • Zucchini
  • Garlic
  • Salad Mix
  • Radishes
  • Potatoes
  • Daikon Radishes
  • Bok Choy
  • Winter Squash


Whole-Grain Spaghetti with Garlicky Kale and Tomatoes (



  1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Reserve ¼ cup of the cooking water, drain the pasta, and return it to the pot.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ⅛ teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the kale and cook, tossing frequently, until tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook, tossing frequently, until the tomatoes begin to soften, 1 to 2 minutes more.
  3. Add the kale mixture, almonds, pecorino, and reserved cooking water to the pasta and toss to combine. Serve with additional pecorino. 

Kyle Bailey’s Butter-Poached Radishes (

  • 1 bunch French breakfast radishes (about 3/4 lb.), greens and bottoms discarded 
  • 3 tbs. unsalted butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 dashes raspberry wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp. fresh tarragon

(1) Depending on size, halve or quarter radishes lengthwise. Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet until melted. (2) Toss in the chopped radishes and season with salt and pepper. Sauté over low-medium heat until they become translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the raspberry wine vinegar and sauté approximately another minute until the radishes turn a vibrant pink. Add the vegetable stock and the remaining tablespoon of butter and cook for another minute to glaze the radishes. (3) Remove from heat and tear fresh tarragon leaves directly onto the radishes. Season with salt and pepper, and serve as an accompaniment to roast chicken, pan-seared duck breast, or meaty fish like striped bass.

Please tell us if you can't identify something on the market table, don't know what to do with a particular item, have a food allergy we should know about, or if you have other questions or comments. We love to hear from you!