CSA Summer Week 17

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It seems fitting that I’m writing the last newsletter of the summer CSA while it is snowing outside my office window. Not only is it snowing, but it has been for the past 3 hours. This is no first snow of the year that lasts for 30 seconds, this snow is legit. It is definitely time to switch gears and get this farm cleaned up before this stuff starts sticking!

Here at Heritage Prairie Farm, we try to conduct all of our business according to our Core Values. You can read all about them on our website at http://www.heritageprairiefarm.com/core_values.htm . Our first and foremost core value is “Have An Attitude of Gratitude”. I’m sure I’ve wrote about this before. Last winter the General Manager and I spent a great deal of time writing and researching what our Core Values should be. I think the “gratitude attitude” would probably be both of our favorites. I’m not going to lie, I’m not perfect at it. I have frustrating days at work just like everyone does. But one thing that always seems to ground me is our CSA. Our CSA is a direct-connect to the surrounding community. It provides our authenticity and integrity. It is the essences of what I believe about food.

A lot has changed since I started the CSA back in 2010. Our business has grown and matured (and I would like to think I have too). Our products are available in stores across the Midwest. Our events are enjoyed by thousands of guests each summer.  Our pizza nights are wildly successful and incredibly well reviewed by our community, and I have the pleasure of overseeing all of this. I literally get sit down with my team, plan menus and craft growing plans to create great meals eight months in advance. For a cook turned farmer, it’s got to be one of the best jobs out there. I am very grateful for it. But when I really think about all the great things we do, the one that still resonates with me the most is our humble CSA.
Providing high quality, organic food that is consciously and lovingly grown for families and individuals in my community is one of the greatest privileges I have ever had. I’m so proud of all of you for living your life this way. For eating what you believe in. It’s a true honor to know that we provide you and your families with great nutritious food that I know you care about and respect. I can’t say enough about it. If only the rest of the world had an idea of how great this is. I’m truly grateful for this opportunity.
So I will close this year’s CSA newsletter the same way I did back in my first CSA season of 2010.

I thank you with a heart FULL of gratitude! See you next season!

-Farmer Nate and the Heritage Prairie Farm Family

P.S. We will still have limited availability of produce and a bunch of our very first batch of Pasture Raised Pork – raised here at the farm – for sale at our farm market that will be open each Saturday starting in November! Don’t be a stranger this winter!

Veggie Forecast ( this week may vary a lot due to the cold temps,
this is what we’re shooting for)
Lettuce
Escarole
Green Tomatoes
Butter Chard
Rainbow Chard
Garlic
Beets
Celery Root
Kale
Roasted Chicken with Celery Root and Onion
  • 1 whole chicken, patted dry
  • 1 large red onion, cut into 1/2 inch wedges, root end left intact
  • 1 medium celery root, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch wedges
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 4 tsp. lemon zest
  • 4 tsp. lemon juice
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Season chicken inside and out with salt and pepper. Tuck wing tips underneath chicken and tie legs together with kitchen twine. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and roast 20 minutes.

  2. Remove sheet from oven and arrange onion and celery root around chicken, turning to coat with drippings. Top vegetables with red-pepper flakes and season with salt and pepper. Roast until vegetables are tender and juices run clear when chicken is pierced between breast and leg (an instant-read thermometer should read 165 degrees when inserted into the thickest part of a thigh, avoiding bone), about 30 minutes, flipping vegetables halfway through. Let chicken rest 10 minutes before carving. To serve, sprinkle chicken and vegetables with lemon zest and juice.
    Source: http://www.marthastewart.com/868724/roasted-chicken-celery-root-and-onion?czone=food%2Fproduce-guide-cnt%2Fproduce-guide-fall&gallery=274202&slide=868724¢er=276955

News From the Farm

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The Fall weather has definitely arrived! While most of us enjoy the cool breeze autumn brings, this weather makes us want to curl up with a warm beverage and a book, or just a blanket for a cat nap! Here on the farm, our minds are on the Fall CSA about to start, and the “buttoning-up” of the farm – a successive process that takes several weeks and allows us to keep the farm running as a farm during the winter. It’s very exciting to be able to function as a four-season farm – to experience plant growth even in the dead of winter – thanks to our greenhouses.
We’re also looking forward to our Friendsgiving Farm Dinner Saturday, November 9th. If you haven’t purchased tickets yet, there are some still available, which you can purchase online as well as view the menu here.
Winter Farm Store Hours

The Heritage Prairie Farm Store will be resuming it’s winter store hours starting November 2nd. The store will be open Saturdays from 9am-2pm. Until then the current Fall Store hours will be in effect: Wed-Fri 10am-6pm,
Sat 9am-4pm, Closed Sun-Tues.

Farmers’ Market – CALL FOR VENDORS 

Saturdays on the farm, 9am-1pm
Join us for our weekly farmers’ market – our farm store will be open and we will showcase several food vendors, sustainable vendors, handmade goods vendors, and holistic health vendors. WE ARE CURRENTLY LOOKING FOR VENDORS to take part in our winter farmers’ market. We have a heated back barn, and a greenhouse with a concrete floor for vendors to set up in during the winter months. Please ask for more details by emailing: info@heritageprairiefarm.com.

Kombucha & Jamaican Ginger Beer Class with Mary’s Wholesome Living

Wednesday, October 23rd, 6:30-8:30pm
Join us for a double dose of energy and a chance to experience the probiotic and digestive benefits of these two get elixirs. This will be a hands-on class teaching you how to make the pungent drink made famous by British soldiers in the 17th century, Jamaican Ginger Beer (non-alcoholic), along with the modern marvel, and very popular, Kombucha. Tickets are available online at www.maryswholesomeliving.com.
Download the promotional flyer here

Artisan Craft & Food Fair
Saturday, Nov. 23 – 9am-2pm; Sunday, Nov. 24 – 10am-2pm
Join our 3rd Annual Artisan Craft & Food Fair! Vendors set up in our historic farmhouse the weekend before Thanksgiving.Visitors can get a head start on their holiday shopping, and get food items for their family get-togethers.
If you are interested in being a VENDOR, please get in touch with us, let us know what you would like to sell (we would love some more homemade food vendors!), and we can send you an application! All inquires can be sent to info@heritageprairiefarm.com.
Download the fair flyer here

November Farm Dinner – “Friendsgiving”
Saturday, November 9th – 6:00pm
Celebrate with Heritage Prairie Farm this November as we give thanks for our farm friends at our Friendsgiving Farm Dinner. Mark your calendars to join us on Saturday, Nov. 9th starting at 6pm for a modern take on the Thanksgiving dinner. We hope you can join us.

News from the Farm

 
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Our fields are not only the beds for harvesting our crops, but constant inspiration
to us everyday because of the effortless, natural beauty of the veggies they produce.
The stunning colors and perfectly symmetrical shapes Mother Nature produces is simply unmatched. We are blessed to share our fields as the backdrop to our wedding couples’ most special  day, or with our farm friends during our Farm Dinners, or with the community through our Community Supported Agriculture program.
Even though eating those veggies is the best part, take a moment to enjoy
their beauty before digging in.

Farmers’ Market – CALL FOR VENDORS 
Saturdays on the farm, 9am-1pm
Join us for our weekly farmers’ market – our farm store will be open and we will showcase several food vendors, sustainable vendors, handmade goods vendors, and holistic health vendors. WE ARE CURRENTLY LOOKING FOR VENDORS to take part in our winter farmers’ market. We have a heated back barn, and a greenhouse with a concrete floor for vendors to set up in during the winter months. Please ask for more details by emailing: info@heritageprairiefarm.com.

Kombucha & Jamaican Ginger Beer Class with Mary’s Wholesome Living

Wednesday, October 23rd, 6:30-8:30pm
Join us for a double dose of energy and a chance to experience the probiotic and digestive benefits of these two get elixirs. This will be a hands-on class teaching you how to make the pungent drink made famous by British soldiers in the 17th century, Jamaican Ginger Beer (non-alcoholic), along with the modern marvel, and very popular, Kombucha. Tickets are available online at www.maryswholesomeliving.com.
Download the promotional flyer here

Artisan Craft & Food Fair
Saturday, Nov. 23 – 9am-2pm; Sunday, Nov. 24 – 10am-2pm
Join our 3rd Annual Artisan Craft & Food Fair! Vendors set up in our historic farmhouse the weekend before Thanksgiving.Visitors can get a head start on their holiday shopping, and get food items for their family get-togethers.
Download the fair flyer here

November Farm Dinner – “Friendsgiving”
Saturday, November 9th – 6:00pm
Celebrate with Heritage Prairie Farm this November as we give thanks for our farm friends at our Friendsgiving Farm Dinner. Mark your calendars to join us on Saturday, Nov. 9th starting at 6pm for a modern take on the Thanksgiving dinner. We hope you can join us.

CSA Newsletter

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Now that fall is officially here, its time to get the farm ready for winter – and time is of the essence. October is a crazy weather month. I have memories of trick-or-treating as a child through the snow. I also remember planting garlic during the last week of October while it was over 80 degrees out. As it stands today, the high is in the mid to upper 70′s. Within the next five days we will see temps in the upper 30′s! My point is, you never know what weather October is going to bring. So, this farmer’s plan is to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
How does one prepare for the winter on a vegetable farm?
The most important thing is to get the fields clean as soon as possible. This is hard as we still have a couple weeks of the CSA left, which means I need to leave vegetable out there to harvest. The end goal with the field is to harvest as much as possible, remove any crop or weed residue – stalks and stems – spread compost, and till. This year I am hoping to get a head start on next spring by making all our plant beds. We plant on what’s called a raised bed system.  Our beds are 30 inches wide and our walkways are 12 inches wide. Our beds are about 3 inches above the level of the walk ways. There are many reasons we do this including root development, water retention, and flood protection. But there is only one way to make our beds – by hand. We hand dig all of the beds and smooth them out with rakes to make a level planting surface. By doing this process in the fall, we can ensure an on-time start in the spring. This year we got pushed way behind schedule due to how wet the ground was in the spring. We cant work with wet soil. Not only does soil have to be relatively dry on the surface, it has to be workable 6 inches below the soil surface in order to be able to till. If the beds are pre-made, we only need the top 1/2 inch to be dry to push a seed into it, and the top inch to be dry to transplant. I know it seems crazy to be thinking so much about next April now, but that’s farming.
The other winter-prep project is moving the greenhouses. While we have been enjoying the tomatoes all summer and fall, we have been prepping and growing the winter crops right next to them. In the coming weeks our lettuce heads, chard, kale, spinach, mustard greens, arugula, and radicchio plants will be ready to harvest. We will then move our greenhouses on top of them so we can continue to harvest from them all winter long!
Hope you are enjoying your fall, and your veggies!
-Farmer Nate and the Heritage Prairie Farm Family

Veggie Forecast
Escarole
Salanova
Baby Kale
Tomatoes
Micro Mix
Lettuce Mix
Beets
Peppers
Beans
Cilantro
Squash

Garlicky Summer Squash and Fresh Corn

Prep time: 15 mins.
Cook time: 15 mins.

Ingredients:
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 ear sweet corn, kernels cuts from cob
2 cups yellow squash, sliced
2 cups zucchini, sliced
1 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
2 tbsp. butter
salt & pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, and cook the onion and garlic until slightly tender. Mix in the vegetable broth and corn kernels, and cook until heated through. Mix in the squash and zucchini. Cover, and continue cooking 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until squash and zucchini are tender.
2. Mix the parsley and butter into the skillet with the squash. Season with salt and pepper. Cook and stir until butter is melted, and serve hot.

Source: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Garlicky-Summer-Squash-and-Fresh-Corn/Detail.aspx?evt19=1

Summer CSA Week 14

 

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Last week I wrote about how busy things are this time of year and how I feel summer has just flown by. While this week was no less busy I did manage to take some quite time to myself, about 3 minutes to walk the field with no agenda. Normally on a field walk I am looking for specific things like plant health, weed pressure, germination rate ETC. This time I was just there to enjoy the company of my plants, something I don’t do enough. While walking past the baby Salanova head lettuce I was stuck by its beauty. This is not an uncommon thing as I absolutely love vegetables and think their beauty is unsurpassed, but what really struck me was how much effort this plant did to look so beautiful. The reality is the plant did absolutely nothing to be perfect. It just existed. It just “is”. It didn’t have to try to be anything, it just was.

So, I started to think about this head of lettuce further. What do I have to learn from this beautiful being? Here I am, a relatively young guy trying to be the best me that I can be. I read books, I work out (sometimes) I eat good food, I cultivate great relationships, and I do a whole host of other things in an attempt to better myself. Yet I often feel as if I’m not doing enough, or not doing the right things at all. How is it that this small plant can essentially do nothing and achieve near perfection and I, with all of my good intentions consistently fall so short? It took a seemingly unrelated conversation with a coworker to show me the answer. The answer is the Ego.

All of us have an ego, some more than others. The ego is not ones true self, but one’s self-image of themselves that is influences by labels, definitions, analysis, judgment and pressures. One’s ego is not only created by the individual, but it is also influenced by the outside world on a conscious and sub conscious level. The beauty of the Salanova lettuce is that, being a plant and all, it has no ego. It does not judge itself or others. It does not analyze every situation it is faced with. It doesn’t live its life trying to adhere to some definition, and it certainly doesn’t care what you want to label it – call it Salanova or call it gobbledygook; it’s going to be exactly the same. So, imagine how close to perfection we reach if we shed our ego. After all, humans are just as much a part of nature as Salanova head lettuce.

I will take this lesson forward with me as I continue to be the best me that I can be. When I start to wonder why I don’t feel like I am achieving my best potential I will remember how the Salanova lettuce got to reach its highest potential; by not caring about, or being influenced by labels, definitions, analysis, judgment and pressure. The truth is, I already am the best me that I can be. I just have to strip way the junk that is in the way of my perfect self, to really let it show!

On that note, from one perfect being to another, I wish you happy eating and happy life.

Enjoy those veggies this week.

-Farmer Nate and the Heritage Prairie Farm Family
 

Vegetable Forecast (about as reliable as a weather forecast)

Mixed heirloom cherry tomatoes

 

Large heirloom tomatoes

Cucumbers

Green Beans

Summer Squash

Dandelion Greens

Cilantro

Chard

Head Lettuce

Radicchio

 

Sort-Of Frisee Lardon

I’ve taken my favorite bistro salad-frisée, poached egg, and bacon-and turned it into my favorite sort-of sandwich. Large chunks of bacon, rustic hunks of toasted bread, peppery greens, and scoops of soft-cooked egg tossed together with a warm mustard-sherry dressing will satisfy the Francophile in you.

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces bacon, preferably applewood-smoked, sliced off the slab into 31/2-inch-thick strips

For the Croutons:

  • 1 1-pound white sourdough loaf
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 5 extra-large eggs
  • 1 medium head (about 8 ounces) radicchio leaves, removed and torn into large pieces
  • 1 medium head (about 4 ounces) frisée, center core removed, pulled apart into small bunches
  • 1 large bunch (about 4 ounces) dandelion greens, mizuna, or arugula, tough stems removed

For the Vinaigrette:

  • 1/2 cup bacon fat (if you don’t get enough rendered fat from frying the bacon, add enough olive oil to make up the quantity)
  • 1-2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1/4 cup sherry-wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

For the Bacon: Cut each strip of bacon into 4 pieces. In a skillet over medium-low heat, cook the bacon until cooked all the way through but not crisp. Drain it on a paper towel, and reserve the fat.

For the Croutons: Cut the loaf of bread in half and reach in beneath the crust to pull out 1 1/2-2-inch pieces of bread. Place the bread chunks on a baking sheet, drizzle them with the olive oil, and toss well. Toast them in the oven for about 15-20 minutes, until they’re lightly browned, shaking the pan occasionally to ensure they’re evenly baked. When the croutons are cool enough to handle, rub them with the garlic clove and set aside.

To Cook the Eggs: Place the eggs in a medium saucepan with water to cover. Bring them to a boil, then turn down the heat to a low simmer. Simmer the eggs for 5 minutes, then plunge them into a large bowl of ice water for a minute or so. Take them out as soon as they’re cool enough to handle.

In a huge bowl, toss to combine the radicchio, frisée, dandelion greens, toasted bread, and bacon.

To Make the Vinaigrette: In a medium-sized skillet, over medium heat, warm the bacon fat (and olive oil, if necessary). Add the shallots and cook them for 2-3 minutes, until they just begin to sizzle. Whisk in the vinegar, salt, and pepper, and cook for about 1 minute. Whisk in the mustard, and cook another 30 seconds. Remove the vinaigrette from the heat, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Pour most of the vinaigrette over the salad, and toss well to combine. Cut the top 1/2 inch off the eggs and, using a spoon, scoop them out of the shells in large spoonfuls into the bowl. Pile the salad onto 4 plates, and drizzle the remaining vinaigrette over each.

Adapted from Nancy Silverton’s Sandwich Book: The Best Sandwiches Ever – From Thursday Nights at Campanile by Nancy Silverton and Teri Gelber (Knopf, 2002). Copyright 2002 by Nancy Silverton and Teri Gelber.

 

Summer CSA Week 13

 

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Wow! I cant believe that it is already mid-September. In fact, we are now entering the last week of summer. I always have mixed emotions this time of year. I’m usually ready for a break, but not willing to let go of warm weather and fresh veggies. This year has been no exception – summer has flown by so quickly! In the past two weeks alone we have completed construction on our MicroGreens’ greenhouse, grown over 400 pounds of micros, harvested a few hundred pounds of honey, moved beehives to new locations, finished fall plantings, enjoyed pizza night, a farm dinner, and celebrated five weddings here at the farm. And, we’re not even done, we have another wedding tonight and one tomorrow night!
This is all on top of our normal day-to-day operations.
We have never been busier and I couldn’t be happier about it.
This is not your average veggie farm and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Where else can you come to one place and enjoy all these beautiful things?

One of my favorite parts of the past two weeks was the Heirloom Farm Dinner. It was a celebration of all things heirloom in the vegetable world. It was quite nice for me because as a chef and a farmer, I’m always speaking to the fact that our recipes don’t start in the kitchen. Our food preparation for any given meal starts in the soil. But you can take that philosophy a step further when you think about heirloom vegetables. When you eat heirloom vegetables, you are taking part in a tradition that goes back decades, if not centuries. For instance, we grow the Juane Flammee tomato that was passed down for generations in the Norbert Parreira family in Heliner France, until it was brought over to the United States nearly 20 years ago for us all to enjoy. There is also the Riesentraube tomato- this small red cherry tomato was original grown in east Germany but found a new home about 175 years ago in Pennsylvania Dutch country and has been grown there ever since.  This week you will all get to try some of these tomatoes and take part of the tradition that farmers and growers and been enjoying for years!
Enjoy those veggies!

Vegetable Forecast (about as reliable as a weather forecast)
Heirloom Tomatoes
Cherry tomatoes
Cucumbers
Summer Squash
Green Beans
Fennel
Lettuce Mix
Chard
Basil
Beets

Heirloom Tomato Soup with Garlic Croutons

Source: Wall Street Journal

Active Time:  20 mins.
Total time: 1 hr.
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
3 lbs heirloom tomatoes, cored and chopped
1/4 loaf day-old focaccia, cut into large cubes, plus 1/4 loaf, cut into small cubes
7 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced, plus 2 cloves, halved
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

What to do:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, toss tomatoes with large bread cubes, 4 tbsp olive oil, vinegar and slivered garlic. Season liberally with salt and pepper and set aside to let tomatoes marinate and bread soften, at least 30 mins.
2. Meanwhile, make garlic croutons: Heat remaining olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic halves and cook until fragrant, 2-3 mins. Remove from heat and toss garlic oil with small bread cubes, then spread bread out on a baking sheet. Bake until bread is crisp, 10-12 mins. Set croutons aside.
3. Make tomato soup: Transfer tomato-bread mixture to a blender and pureé until smooth.
4. To serve, divide soup among 4 shallow bowls and garnish with croutons.

Adapted from “Ethan Stowell’s New Italian Kitchen” by Ethan Stowell and Leslie Miller (Ten Speed Press).

News From the Farm

 
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Only ONE pizza night remains – mark your calendars! Adam Sean, the Chicago Magic Man, will be here to amaze one and all  on Sept. 26th.
Time to think about the holidays – our Artisan Craft & Food Fair is coming up the weekend before thanksgiving, see the details below in the newsletter! If you are interested in being a vendor, contact Katie Drum by emailing katie@heritageprairiefarm.com.
Heritage Prairie Farm Pizza Nights 
Thursdays – Sept.  26th – 5-9pm
OnlyONE pizza night remains! We will have the Chicago Magic Man, Adam Sean, performing throughout September, and we will be celebrating our final pizza night Sept. 26th. Come experience our full farmstead-inspired pizza menu, as well as a build your own pizza option.

View our signature pizza menu by visiting our website.

Thursday, October 3rd – 6:00pm
Join us as we celebrate the start of fall with our finale of the 2013 farm dinner season with our Farm Roots dinner! The menu will pair the best of root vegetables with meats and sauces to delight the pallet.
Canning Class with Mary’s Wholesome Living

Wednesday, September 25th, 6:30-8:30pm
Have too many tomatoes to use now, but don’t want to throw away those little beauties? Join us and Mary’s Wholesome Living for a tomato canning class! Tickets are available online at www.maryswholesomeliving.com.
Download the promotional flyer here

Fox Valley Holistic Heath Celebration 
Sunday, September 29th, 10am-4pm
Come browse more than 60 exhibitors promoting health and wellness by selling products or sharing knowledge outside the Soup to Nuts alternative grocery store in downtown Geneva at 716 W. State St. (Route 38/Roosevelt Rd.). Admission is FREE and prizes will be awarded at the door and throughout the day through raffle from various vendors. Heritage Prairie Farm will be there selling our famous Bron’s Bees raw and infused honey! Mark your calendars to stop by our booth!
Download the promotional flyer here

Artisan Craft & Food Fair
Saturday, Nov. 23 – 9am-2pm; Sunday, Nov. 24 – 10am-2pm
Join our 3rd Annual Artisan Craft & Food Fair! Vendors set up in our historic farmhouse the weekend before Thanksgiving.Visitors can get a head start on their holiday shopping, food items for their family get together, or drop by for our Turkey Pick-up on Sunday, November 24th. For more information on reserving a holiday turkey visit http://www.cavenyfarm.com/.
Farmers’ Market – CALL FOR VENDORS 
Saturdays on the farm, 9am-1pm

Join us for our weekly farmers’ market – our farm store will be open and we will showcase several food vendors, sustainable vendors, handmade goods vendors, and holistic health vendors. WE ARE CURRENTLY LOOKING FOR VENDORS to take part in our winter farmers’ market. We have a heated back barn, and a greenhouse with a concrete floor for vendors to set up in during the winter months. Please ask for more details by emailing: info@heritageprairiefarm.com.

News From the Farm

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We have only three pizza nights left! Make sure to mark your calendars and make it out here for all of them. Adam Sean, the Chicago Magic Man, will be here to amaze one and all, and Cpt. Captain to rock it out at our final pizza night! See you there!
Heritage Prairie Farm Pizza Nights 
Thursdays – Sept. 12th, 19th, & 26th – 5-9pm
Only THREE pizza nights remain! We will have the Chicago Magic Man, Adam Sean, performing throughout September, and local band Cpt. Captain will be celebrating our final pizza night Sept. 26th. Come experience our full farmstead-inspired pizza menu, as well as a build your own pizza option.

View our signature pizza menu by visiting our website.

Thursday, October 3rd – 6:00pm
Join us as we celebrate the start of fall with our finale of the 2013 farm dinner season with our Farm Roots dinner! The menu will pair the best of root vegetables with meats and sauces to delight the pallet.
Canning Class with Mary’s Wholesome Living

Wednesday, September 25th, 6:30-8:30pm
Have too many tomatoes to use now, but don’t want to throw away those little beauties? Join us and Mary’s Wholesome Living for a tomato canning class! Tickets are available online at www.maryswholesomeliving.com.
Download the promotional flyer here

Fox Valley Holistic Heath Celebration 
Sunday, September 29th, 10am-4pm
Come browse more than 60 exhibitors promoting health and wellness by selling products or sharing knowledge outside the Soup to Nuts alternative grocery store in downtown Geneva at 716 W. State St. (Route 38/Roosevelt Rd.). Admission is FREE and prizes will be awarded at the door and throughout the day through raffle from various vendors. Heritage Prairie Farm will be there selling our famous Bron’s Bees raw and infused honey! Mark your calendars to stop by our booth!
Download the promotional flyer here

Farmers’ Market 
Saturdays on the farm, 9am-1pm

Join us for our weekly farmers’ market – our farm store will be open and we will showcase several food vendors, sustainable vendors, handmade goods vendors, and holistic health vendors.

News From the Farm

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We are right in the middle of our Wedding season here at the farm, and since we know some of you have yet to experience a wedding on the farm, we’d like to share 2013 wedding highlights with you!

Thanks to Esenam Photography and Stephanie Maurie Photography for these photos.
Elburn Family Summer Fest
Saturday, August 24th, 9am-2pm
Join us on the farm for some good wholesome fun for the family! Free events include a yoga class, bouncy house, the Magical Balloon Man, wine tasting, wellness screenings, and face painting!
Download the promotional flyer here

Pickling Class with Mary’s Wholesome Living
Wednesday, August 28th, 6:30-8:30pm

Summertime picnics, barbecues, hot dogs, hamburgers and the perfect accompaniment – an ice cold crispy dill pickle to go with all of the above. Can you hear the crunch? Are you puckered up yet? This class teaches you the basics of pickling. In this hands-on class you will learn how to make crisp dill pickles with just the right combination of ingredients. Not too sour, not to salty, but just right.

Farmers’ Market 
Saturdays on the farm, 9am-1pm

Join us for our weekly farmers’ market – our farm store will be open and we will showcase several food vendors, sustainable vendors, handmade goods vendors, and holistic health vendors.

Heritage Prairie Farm Pizza Nights 
Select Thursday evenings June-September 5-8pm
We are very excited to offer wood-fired pizzas throughout the summer on Thursday nights. We will have the Chicago Magic Man, Adam Sean, performing throughout August. Come experience our full farmstead-inspired pizza menu, as well as a build your own pizza option. For a full list of pizza night dates visit our website.
Thursday, September 5th – 6:00pm
Join us as we celebrate the best heirloom vegetables paired with fine meats. Always a popular farm dinner, tickets are already limited, so make your reservation soon! There will be no pizza night September 5th due to the Farm dinner. 

Purchase tickets & view the menu here.

Summer CSA Week 9

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Last week we talked about the importance of this time of year for planting, but that’s not the only part of our business at a critical time right now. Besides being in the middle of our events season, our bee keeping is also at the height of its season. This is the time of year is when we harvest our honey. Throughout most of the year, bee keeping is a pretty low labor activity. We normally just suit up a couple times a month, head out to the apiaries, check on our hives and make sure everyone is happy and healthy. We make adjustments now and again, and address issues as they come up to avoid any big issues at hand. But when it comes time to harvest, we get very busy for a few weeks.
The harvesting process will start next week; we suit up and open each and every hive. We make our normal inspections and then asses our harvest. We only take full frames of honey that the bees have fully capped with wax. If the bees haven’t yet sealed it, that means it’s not yet ready. We inspect each frame of honey, and break apart wax in any area that the was is over developed. We do this because the bees create a substance called propolis, which is like the bees’ super glue. They use it to seal up their hive and adhere all the frames and supers of the hive together. Breaking this apart is very time consuming. By doing this in the beginning, we can save time on the actual harvest. After our inspections and prep work, we wait a whole week before coming back for harvest.
The next week, after the bees clean up any mess we made, we come back to harvest. Normally we work very slowly with the bees, but when it comes to harvesting, we want to work as fast as possible. Imagine a giant animal that is 100,000 times larger than you comes to a home you share with 50,000 others. Now imagine this animal pours smoke into your home, causing mass confusion all around, and rips the roof off of your house and takes the food you’ve spend all year collecting. I bet you would be pretty unhappy. This is what happens to the bees during harvest. Now that I write this, I kind of feel guilty about the whole process, but life on the farm isn’t always easy and this is where good food comes from and how it’s produced. Since the bees are usually not that happy with us, we work as a team to harvest as much honey as fast as possible and we hope we don’t have any holes in our bee suits!
Then the extraction process begins as we remove all the honey from the honey comb. This process can also be very time consuming. It’s also one of the stickiest and tastiest jobs on the farm. We always make sure that we only take the excess honey in the hive and leave plenty for the bees to live off of. Even though we sell honey, our top priority when it comes to bee keeping is having strong, healthy hives. After all, those bees and their cousins are responsible for about 80% of the pollination of most of the fruits we eat and seeds we grow for our vegetables and feed to our animals. So keep that in mind while enjoying your veggies this week. Appreciating the whole cycle of mother nature while you eat can feed more than your body, it will feed your soul as well!
Enjoy those veggies!

Vegetable Forecast (about as reliable as a weather forecast)
Basil
Sungold Tomatoes
Swiss Chard
Summer Squash
Beets
Red long of Tropea onions
Green Beans
MicroGreens

Cabbage

Swiss Chard with Tomatoes and Potatoes
from Authentic Mexican by Rick Bayless
Our thanks to Robin for the recipe and her suggestions!

1 Tblsp. lard, vegetable oil or butter (I used butter but will try bacon drippings next time serving for breakfast)

1 small onion, thinly sliced

Fresh hot green chiles, stemmed, seeded, deveined and thinly sliced (1 chile serrano or 1/2 chile jalapeno) **I used a small poblano, my favorite

1 ripe, medium-small tomato, boiled (about 12 minutes) cored and peeled
2 med-small (about 8 oz. total) red skinned potatoes, cut in 3/4 inch dice

1/2 cup any poultry or meat broth, plus a couple extra Tablespoons if necessary (I used beef broth)
4 leaves epazote (I used about 1/4 tsp dried epazote)

Salt, about 1/2 tsp.
1/2 bunch (about 4 oz.) small Swiss chard, stems cut off and leaves sliced crosswise in 1-inch strips

1. In a medium saucepan, heat the lard, oil or butter over medium heat. Add the onion and chile and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is lightly browned, 7 to 8 minutes. Roughly chop the tomato, add it to the pan and cook for 3 or 4 minutes longer to reduce the liquid a little.

2. Stir in the potatoes, broth, epazote and salt. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Check the amount of liquid. If most has been consumed, add a little more broth; or, if it is very soupy, quickly boil it down, uncovered, until about 1/4 cup is left.

3. Mix in the chard, cover and cook over medium hear until the greens are tender, about 3 minutes. Uncover and taste for salt. There should be enough tomatoey broth to coat the vegetables.  Serve right away.