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"I was thrilled with the quality of the fruits and vegetables we received! The produce was ALWAYS fresh and tasted amazing! It was a special treat each week to see what came in the box and then to have the recipes and tips to store/care for it was so helpful.  The plus share was such a bonus – I never thought I would like fermented vegetables until I skeptically tried the Curtido….I fell in love!"  - Angel Hohenstein

"Quality, quality, quality! I can’t believe it....makes me wonder what I’ve been eating all this time! After trying two things, it’s a game changer for my house."  - Anna Connolly

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Welcome to the blog.
Posted 1/11/2018 9:42am by Stefanie Jaeger.

Hi all from Yoman Farm!

It is a really beautiful morning with sunshine and sparkles on top of the snow, a benefit of the extremely cold weather. I realized how much the weather affected me in December when I thought about this letter.

In late November I had a waterline to the barn dug deeper into the ground to protect against freeze only to have it freeze up now somewhere else along the process from groundwater to horse water. Then in early December the warm days and evenings allowed me to put up a walk-in cooler in the shade of some spruces at my farm for storing vegetables.

After that, I went to North Dakota to hunt pheasants and discovered a lot of areas of reserved habitat we hunted in the past were gone, either due to drought or low prices. Farmers were digging out trees (shelter belts in North Dakota), haying conservation lands or even burning cattail swamps to create more arable land next year. This concentrated the pheasants but it was also disheartening to see trees removed from North Dakota…  

I returned home and few days later with warm ground and then snow cover, had a boarding horse slip and break its leg. That was a sad day because horses are not able to heal from such a fall without extreme levels of care and restraints. We buried it before dawn the next day and the herd stood around the hole in the flood light of the back hoe but other than that scene, the 24 hours was a sad series of new experiences for me.

The upside to this cold weather is that I think we are going to have lake ice this year and hope that the ice caves on the opposite side of the peninsula from my farm become accessible soon. The picture below shows the result of waves and freezing temps along the shoreline above the sea caves last year.

— John  

Posted 12/15/2017 3:11pm by Stefanie Jaeger.

South Shore Meats Response to CSA Shareholders   

First off, let me praise all of you who participated in the online CSA Survey. Without your participation in a chance to critique what we do we really have few other opportunities to improve and mold our business and refine how we offer and deliver our products. And let me add, no Olympic Stars or professional athletes ever got to be the best in their sport without taking it “on the chin”, as it were , from their coaches, AND their teammates. Thanks to all of you for venting, as well as praising.  

 


Here are some statistical numbers gleaned from this year’s  Summer Shares Survey:

  • Some 35 of you took part in the survey.
  • Were you satisfied with the quality? Big Score Here- Nobody was dissatisfied! Hoorayyy! The VERY Satisfied to SOMEWHAT satisfied ratio was 4:1. Hooray! Again. But I personally would like to know the little details that resulted in those who were not Very Satisfied. I would welcome those details.
  • Overall satisfaction with your Meat Share. Of the 34 of you who answered this one, only 1 said they were not satisfied, 3 were “Somewhat” satisfied and the balance (30) were Very Satisfied. Hoorayyy! And thank you for the Kudos, very much. The 1 who was Not Satisfied was Not Satisfied with the “convenience” aspect, but was obviously Okay with Quality and Value. I would really like to know more about the “convenience” aspect. I respect your willingness to tell us it was inconvenient for you BUT, would like to know the details, if you have a mind to. Maybe there is something we are not aware of and maybe some others experienced the same “inconvenience” issue but decided not to bother us with it. I can deal with critiques. Tell me about it. Please.
  • Quantity of the products in your share (too much/not enough/just right) is the next question in the survey. It might surprise you but 64% of you got “Just (the) Right Amount” while 35% got either too much or too little. From our perspective the 13.6% who got too much lucked out. I would hope you were able to freeze it or refrigerate and use it for another meal or two. Those who got too little (21%) I am sorry. Maybe you are a larger family group and maybe you got the Mini-Shares and would be better off ordering the Full Share. Here is where we all learn something valuable: trying to meet exactly every family’s meal needs is next to impossible unless we sit down , one-on-one and define the family size and therefore the proper amount of foods needed to have “just the right stuff”. That’s why we put in Question #7-How Big is your Household? We have begun examining the “average” household size of our customers and varying meat amounts to match “portion size” based on family size. Perhaps that is something we should have been doing already, but maybe now when you sign-up for the next season we can collect that on your application and make recommendation for the appropriate size of the family.
  • Describe how we can improve. Here we go.  I am disappointed ONLY 17 customers took the plunge. However, those 17 who can ”tell it like it is”, Kudos and more to you. I admire your willingness to open up with the facts as you see them. Let me make a few comments back at you which might be helpful in the future:
    • If you don’t eat a particular meat or your doctor has restricted your diet perhaps you should feel free to tell us this when you sign up. We can perhaps work out a means to meet your needs.
    • If the week’s blurb says you are supposed to receive products A, B and C and your meat box is missing any of these PLEASE email CSA manager and we will fix that. And if that doesn’t work, you can email me. My address is at end of this report.
    • Pick-up site has too narrow a window. You know, we informed you ahead of time. Perhaps you should communicate with the CSA Manager if you are having issues making it to the Drop Site and we can try and figure out a solution.
    • Red meat: We are aware the medical community has encouraged “eat less red meat” and we know it’s based on scientific findings that are correct. We also know that these findings were determined many years ago using “conventional finished meat” processes and NOT from Grass-fed animals. Search “grass-fed beef health facts” online and read on to learn all about the differences.  We think, no, we know, we have more healthful product, and better tasting too. We’ll work on some additional educational resources for you all to help answer some of these questions.
    • Confusing choices of shares? That’s why we have our website www.bayfieldfoods.org  and put your mouse over Buy CSA Boxes. A long list of various types of boxes will appear. Just click on them one at a time and learn what they’re all about. We’re striving for no hidden messages. Just plain, simple explanations. If you need more info or if you're confused by a specific part of our website, email csamanager@bayfieldfoodproducers.org.
    • More Roasts, less ground beef, less steaks, less pork, more chicken, and so forth. Folks, we hear ya’. We have been doing this now since 2010, 7 years. We know we can’t please all the people all the time. We try to put together our Meat Share boxes, Full and Mini, to give you an equitable balance of our products-beef, pork, chicken, lamb and fish. Do we get it right most of the time? I think so. If we mess up, we’re only human. Please let us know so we can right our wrong. If we are meeting your needs….too much and you don’t have storage room, let us know and see if we can adjust your subscription. And, there’s always the option to donate to a needy cause ‘cuz there’s some homeless folks out there who dine at soup kitchens. 

 

That’s it for a review of the Survey and how your input is helpful to us. As the man says, “Keep those cards and letters comin’ folk.” You get to vent. We learn how to better serve you. I owned and operated a Computer Renaissance franchise store from 1994 to 2008 and we were very successful. I always reminded my teammates to remember, “The customer’s right the first thousand times.” Well, this carries over to our CSA as well. We always have learning points when we get the surveys back and today is no different. If you’re disappointed in anything we do, Please!, tell someone. Our CSA Manager is a good place to start.

Thanks for your business and enjoy your Christmas and other Holidays Season.  

 

Toby Griggs South Shore Meats Committee (Chair)

The Griggs Cattle Co.

Lake Superior CSA

Bayfield Foods Cooperative

tgriggs@cheqnet.net

Posted 12/4/2017 2:11pm by Stefanie Jaeger.
Posted 11/13/2017 3:34pm by Stefanie Jaeger.
Posted 11/3/2017 4:57am by Stefanie Jaeger.

We are hiring for our CSA Manager position! This is part time with seasonal fluctuations. Email csamanager@bayfieldfoodproducers.org with a cover letter and resume if you are interested.

Check out the job description here! 

 
Posted 10/30/2017 10:20am by Stefanie Jaeger.
Posted 10/26/2017 5:09pm by Stefanie Jaeger.
Greetings from Bayfield Apple Company!
 
A big thank you to all of our LSCSA fruit share customers, as this is our last fruit box of the 2017 season!  It has been a good year for fruit and an exceptional one for apples!  Bayfield apple orchards should have apples well into November this year.  
 
In your box this week, you will find two quarts of cider and one bag of Cortland apples.  At the Bayfield Apple Company, we have been pressing fresh cider weekly, so we hope you enjoy this autumn treat.  If you notice a difference in flavor with BAC cider vs. many other apple ciders, it most likely is the pasteurization process we use.  At the BAC, we use a cold pasteurization process, instead of the typical heat pasteurization that is widely used at orchards. We use a UV machine that the cider passes through, minutes after being pressed.  The UV lights on our pasteurization machine kill any unwanted bacteria, but preserve all of the delicate flavors present in our cider.  Another plus to a cold pasteurization process, is that our cider can be fermented into apple wine, hard apple cider, apple jack - any treat the home brewer would like to turn it into!  I have enjoyed some delicious homemade apple-cranberry hard cider (made by my husband the homebrewer) with BAC cider - it was the perfect treat to share during the holidays!  
 
The Cortland apples in your box have just ripened up in the last week (later than usual this year) and are ready to be enjoyed!  My two personal apple favorites are Cortland and Haralson apples - the sweet/tart combination and the crunch in both of these apples are SO good! If you are more of a sweet apple type, you may want to use these Cortland apples in baking - they are one of the BEST for baking with, as they are so firm, they will retain their shape in pies, strudel and treats of all kinds.  I have always gotten compliments when baking with Cortlands!
 
Here is a simple recipe that involves the best kitchen tool for busy people, a crock pot!  To make your own apple butter, take a look at how easy this is! The Cortland apples and BAC cider in your box this week are perfect for use in this recipe.
 
 
 
CROCK POT APPLE BUTTER
 
INGREDIENTS:
  • 16 cups cored and chopped apples, do not peel
  • 2 cups apple cider 
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
 
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Combine apples and cider in crock pot.
  2. Cover and cook on low heat for 10-12 hours.  (Your house will smell amazing!)
  3. Puree in a blender or food processor and then return the mixture to the crock pot and add sugar, cinnamon and cloves.
  4. Cover and cook on low for 1 hour.
This apple butter will keep for several weeks in your refrigerator or can be frozen in freezer containers.
 
Many thanks to all of our wonderful fruit share customers - see you all next year!
 
Missy & the crew at the Bayfield Apple Company
 
 
 
Posted 10/23/2017 10:33am by Stefanie Jaeger.

Greetings From Great Oak Farm!

Fall on a produce farm is like the grand finale of the season, an exciting time that is always worth the wait. The storage crops – many buried under the ground or hidden from view beneath large canopies of broad leaves – lie waiting to surprise us with their bountiful colors and shapes, and we farmers are waiting too. Waiting like sprinters that have stepped up to the line – poised, focused, prepared, ready to burst into motion when the time is right. Waiting anxiously for the fall carrots and beets to grow as long as possible before harvest, waiting for the frost to sweeten the fall crops juuust enough but not let them freeze, waiting for the root cellar to cool enough to keep the harvest through the winter. Then, when the time is right, the fields are dry enough, or the freeze is coming, we spring into action and sprint to the finish. But there are many legs to this annual race against winter, so we stretch, plan together, and get back up to the line to wait for the next heat to begin.    

This season here at Great Oak Farm, we’ve spent a lot of time waiting for parts, or tractors to come back from the shop ready for field work again. As I write this, both of our field tractors are unfortunately in the shop – one needed an engine rebuild and the other hydraulic repairs. Perfect timing. My fingers are crossed that we will get at least one tractor back this week as we race the waning daylight and waves of fall harvest come closer together as they crash upon our shores. Thankfully, we are able to rent our neighbor’s skidsteer to help move bins of produce from the field and into storage. It’s times like these that remind me of the subtle but mighty power of community, of helping our neighbors when they need a hand and we are able. Fall is also an important time for reflection about how the growing season went. Overall, despite the cool summer and steady rainfall, most crops did better than expected, and the weeds didn’t get out of hand (well, most of the weeds anyway!) The warm summery weather in September/early October was well received by many crops, and I could almost watch them grow and ripen in the field from day to day. Unfortunately our largest planting of broccoli – the fall planting – did not fare so well in the heat (nearly 90 degrees in late September!) and all flowered prematurely instead of making heads, so you may have noticed less broccoli in your boxes this fall compared to last year. As far as what has been (or has not been) in your boxes this summer, we’ve also tried to follow through on your feedback from last year’s survey. One standout request was more sweet corn and green beans, so I hope those extra quantites of corn and green beans have been well received. We will be sending out surveys soon for this summer’s boxes - PLEASE take a few minutes to fill them out and let us know what you thought of your boxes this season. We carefully read each and every survey - including all of your comments and suggestions – and welcome your reflections on the meat, vegetables, fruit, and plus items you have gotten in your boxes over the season. Let us know what you liked, and what we can do better. Once the results are all in, we’ll compile the data and send each of you a summary. Meanwhile, enjoy the final box of the summer season and the last gorgeous days of fall colors and warm sunshine!

We’d love to keep you stocked with veggies and meat through the fall holiday season and into the winter with our winter shares that start on Nov 1st – we’ve got mini and regular sizes available for both meat and veggie boxes this winter. There are also plenty of special orders available, from one-time boxes of meat to a case of carrots or other produce - check out the website for details.

We farmers continue to be humbled by your support, and are deeply grateful for your steadfast commitment to eating locally and seasonally with us. Together, we’re rebuilding a robust and resilient regional food system, one bite at a time.

Yours in community – Chris Duke, Great Oak Farm