What the heck is this tool?

Hello Friends,
Welcome to Farm To Table Weekly where health is valued, community matters, and simple home cooking is replacing commodity foods.
What the heck is this tool?--Tarps at LVFarm
THE WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 23 IS THE LAST WEEK OF CSA PICKUP
The farm is changing so much every day right now. We are clearing out beds for the season and covering the fields with tarps. We are using the warm sunny days to heat up the soil and help the weed seeds germinate. We send our soil tests for the year telling us how much compost to add this fall. In mid-September through early October we remove the tarps, kill the weeds with a flame weeder, and amend the garden beds as needed with compost and then recover with a tarp until April.
The tarps don’t look like an exciting tool. They aren’t like the flame weeder (it’s like training to be a ghostbuster with a giant backpack full of propane) or the underbar cutter on the tractor (cuts UNDER garlic and carrots to make them easier to harvest). And they certainly aren’t exciting when we are pulling them...they are not that heavy unless they are wet or muddy...spoiler...they are always wet and muddy.
But what the tarps DO is amazing. How often do you see bare, smooth ground (like a garden) in nature…..never right? And as organic farmers we are working with natural systems, not against them. It turns out the Earth is pretty smart. Covering bare earth with quick-growing weeds protects it. So, as organic vegetable growers one way we can take care of the soil and mimic a natural system of keeping the ground covered is by pulling tarps at the end of the season. It protects the soil during the many freeze and thaw cycles the farm will go through Oct-April and creates the perfect ecosystem for soil microbiology in our long winters. Tarps also help the soil to warm up sooner in the spring. The top dressing of compost in the fall gives the soil microbiology a boost in the spring.
These humble tarps are a huge part of us practicing minimal tillage in the fields (and no-tillage in the tunnels). Pretty cool stuff, right?
We are really excited about the way our ‘summer’ crops are producing this year in early September. Our average first frost date is September 10th, and not only are we having warmer days than usual, but the nights are also MUCH warmer than usual for this time of year. The eggplant, tomatoes, and peppers are all cranking out fruit. Despite the warmer-than-usual weather, the cucumbers and zucchini have both significantly tapered off for the season. 
This week we are excited to have both bundled beets and bundled carrots in the boxes. The tops on both of these are extra gorgeous. The beet tops are perfect for sautéing, and the carrot tops are perfect for a pesto or adding to salad dressing (I like to blend them into a simple vinaigrette). 
Your carrots and beets would be delicious roasted as part of a sheet pan meal. And we have all the ingredients to make a dinner’s worth of homemade pasta sauce. A super simple sauce made with super fresh ingredients is so delicious. 
Don’t forget about the LVF Sheet Pan Challenge---enter for a chance to win a $50 harvest box!
How it works:
Join the LVF FB Community Group
  • Make a Sheet Pan Meal with something from your Veggie Box
  • Post a Photo in the LVF FB Community Group
  • Use hashtag #LVFsheetpan
Not on facebook? No problem! You can send your entries to us via email; info@lowervalleyfarm.com
*****
Partial shares get all the same veggies  in ½ – ¾ amounts.
*note for partial shares. Some partial shares will get a delicata squash due to low squash yields this season. 
The delicata is DELICIOUS! (full & partials - spoiler...delicata coming week 19!)
Veggie Box week 18:
  • Carrots with tops
  • Beet Medley with tops
  • Lettuce Mix
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Tomatoes-mix of Heirlooms and Mini Slicers and Romas
  • Bell Peppers
  • Watermelon Radish
  • Baby Fennel
  • Basil-last of the season!
  • Sweet Onions
Recipe of the Week: Quick & Fresh CSA Pasta Sauce
(Adapted from feastingathome.com)
Ingredients:
½ an onion- diced
1-2 cloves LVF garlic (or 8 garlic cloves non LVF garlic) , rough chopped 
       3 T. olive oil
2 lbs juicy ripe tomatoes, rough chopped (about 6 cups chopped, save juices)
Romas, Heirlooms, or a mix of both will be great.
¼ c. red or white wine
1 t. kosher salt
½ teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
8– 10 basil leaves, torn (for topping)
Directions:
  1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat.
  2. Add chopped onions and saute 2-3 minutes until tender. Turn heat to medium. Add rough chopped garlic. Saute for a few minutes until garlic is fragrant and golden.
  3. Add chopped tomatoes and all their juices and seeds. Turn heat up to medium high.
  4. Add wine and bring to a simmer. Simmer 5 minutes until tomatoes begin to break down.
  5. Stir in salt and pepper.
  6. Serve over pasta or steamed spaghetti squash.

Ton of recipes in CSA Resources this week if you are looking to change up your cooking routine.  The cooler weather is a great time to turn on the oven and try something new!
Have a great day,
Jay, Mandy, and the LVF Crew