Tuesday, November 18, 2014

LAST Big Red Farm Stand of 2014, Wednesday November 19, 1-4pm

Chilly morning mist over the Brassica field
Hello friends,

We have arrived at the last farm stand of 2014.  We will be closing at 4pm, so that we can get packed up while there is still some daylight.  However, we want to make sure folks get veggies if they want them, so if you'd like some stuff but can't get to Pop Hall before 4pm, please send us an email at and we will be happy to pack your order for you and arrange a pickup.

What about next week, you ask?  Well, instead of the special-order system we used for Thanksgiving week last year, we're joining forces with Cherry Grove Organic Farm and other area farms for a special Thanksgiving Farmers Market taking place at the Presbyterian Church of Lawrenceville on Tuesday, November 25, and we very much hope you'll attend!  See below for details.

As the season draws to a close, we remember that the Big Red Farm is a community farm, and we couldn't be successful without the help and support of our community.  Thanks to everyone who read the newsletter; who bought, cooked and ate BRF produce; and who came out to an event at the farm.

There's no community farm without a community!
There are also a number of people who should be thanked individually for their crucial contributions to the success of the 2014 season, and here they are in no particular order:  Sue Anne and David Morrow, a.k.a. Nana and Grandad, spent many Wednesday afternoons with the farm toddler, freeing us up to sell veggies without chasing her all around campus.  David also, along with Bill Flemer and Dave Olsen, helped tirelessly with many technical projects around the farm, both mechanical and carpenterial.  Our summer interns Shubhankar, Geena and Libby, as well as summer volunteers Zach Connell and Deborah Olivier, helped us stay more or less on schedule with summer work; in particular, Deborah's daily early-morning weeding sessions this summer are the reason we had any beets and onions at all.  Local chefs Chris Voigtsberger (at Acacia) and Marilyn Besner (at Wildflour Cafe) incorporated BRF produce into their menus this season, helping us to expand the wholesale side of our business.  Lawrenceville Science Masters Reuwai Hanewald and Jennifer Mayr once again made the farm an important part of their classes, with students doing hands-on projects related to soil science and food production.  Finally, many thanks are due Gary Giberson and Roger Bonner, of Sustainable Fare, for featuring farm produce in the Lawrenceville School's dining halls, thus further integrating the Big Red Farm into the daily life of the school community.  Our heartfelt gratitude goes to each of these folks.  We couldn't do it without you!


This year, the Big Red Farm is donating end-of-season produce to a Thanksgiving Farmers Market and Bake Sale, organized by Lawrenceville Presbyterian Preschool and benefiting the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen.  The market will be held at the Presbyterian Church of Lawrenceville (adjacent to the school campus) on Tuesday, November 25, from 12:00 to 6:30pm, and will feature fall veggies from several local farms, as well as baked goods donated by area restaurants and LP Preschool parents.  There will also be musical guests and kids' activities, and all of the proceeds from the market will go to T.A.S.K. and the LP Preschool scholarship fund.  We plan to get our Thanksgiving dinner produce there, and we hope you will too.  Find complete details on the LP Preschool website.


As you've probably noticed, the nights (and some of the days) have gotten very cold lately.  At this point in the season, we are assuming we will have a frost most nights, and the only things left in the field are plants that can tolerate at least a light frost.  Cabbage and broccoli are mostly unfazed by cold temperatures, and our kale, celery, chard and lettuce made it through the first several frosts of the fall.  Unfortunately, now that we're having nighttime temperatures in the twenties, the kale, celery and chard are quite frozen, and we won't be seeing any more of them on the farm stand table.

Fall's last lettuces
Lettuce has a slightly more complicated relationship with frost.  Most lettuce varieties, especially those grown in the cool temperatures of spring and fall, can withstand even a moderate frost with minimal damage, provided that we don't harvest the heads while there is actually frost on the leaves.  With a good sunny day, we hope to harvest lots of delicious cold-weather lettuce for you.  You may notice a small amount of cold damage on a few leaves, but we hope that will be the extent of it.

Of course, the potatoes, garlic and winter squash already safely stored in the barn and hoophouse hasn't suffered from these chilly nights, and will be just as tasty as ever.  We still have lots of winter squash, and this week we'll have all varieties at the stand: Butternut, Acorn, Delicata, Sweet Dumpling, Autumn Crown, and a new one: Long-Neck pumpkin.

Long-Neck Pumpkin
Long-Neck Pumpkin, a parent species of the modern Butternut squash, is my personal choice for making Thanksgiving pumpkin pie.  Long-Neck pumpkins boast a huge amount of flesh with only a small seed cavity at the bottom, share the excellent flavor and texture characteristics of a Butternut.  This is also an heirloom squash variety, meaning that it will grow true to type from seed, so if you're a gardener (even a container gardener), be sure to save the seeds for next year!  This is the community farm version of the proverb about teaching a man to fish: Give someone a pumpkin pie, and you feed her for a day.  Give her a Long-Neck Pumpkin, and you provide her with the materials for pumpkin pie in perpetuity!  What could be better?

Butternut Squash Galette

In recognition of all the Butternuts in the barn, this week's recipe features this most versatile and popular of squashes.  The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook's savory squash galette makes a show-stopping vegetarian entree; hearty and impressive enough to take center stage at Thanksgiving dinner if you're not a turkey person, but also, with a little advance preparation, quite doable for a family weeknight dinner.  {Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Galette}

Bulky(er) yarns

In addition to the ever-shortening list of produce, we do still have handspun yarn from the Big Red Farm sheep flock!  This week I will be bringing a few new skeins of heavier-gauge yarn, in addition to the finer yarn from earlier in the season.    

This week we hope to have the following available from 1pm to 4pm under the Pop Hall portico:
  • Broccoli - $3.00 lb (limited quantity)
  • Green Cabbage - $2.00 each
  • Garlic - $1.00 bulb
  • Lettuce - $2.00 head
  • Potatoes - $3.50 quart large, $5.00 quart "fancy"
  • Autumn Crown Pumpkins - $2.00 small, $3.50 big(ger)
  • Long-Neck Pumpkins - $1.50 lb
  • Winter Squash (Butternut, Delicata, Sweet Dumpling) -- $1.50 lb


The farm stand is located under the front portico of Pop Hall, facing the Bowl.  Enter campus by the main gate on Route 206 (opposite the Lawrenceville Post Office and Craven Lane) and bear right into the circle. Bear right again at the fork in the road and continue straight until you see the Farm Stand signs.

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