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2017 CSA Season News

Rolling Acres Farm and Fork Tail Farm are gearing up for the 2017 growing season! This will be our 4th year at First United Methodist Church and we are excited to see all the members of our extended family and meet new ones.

We will be having a short meeting at the church on Sunday February 26th at 12:00 p.m. in room 112 to meet with you for sign up. We will also to talk about some changes we are making to our schedule. If you cannot make it, we will send out a detailed email to inform you of the changes.

Amber and I continue to attend workshops, conferences and webinars to build on our knowledge and skills. We have some new veggies we are going to try this season as well as the all time favorites.

The website is being updated to accommodate our changes and to make it more convenient for you to order online. It is nearly finished; our webmaster is awesome!

See you Sunday February 26th at 12:00 p.m.

By | 2017-02-16T18:40:40+00:00 February 16th, 2017|Posts|0 Comments

CSA Season is Right Around the Corner!

So, here we are on February 18th and we will be having 60 degree temperatures! I have managed to have Kale, Asian Greens and Salad Turnips growing all winter. My goal last year was to grow for 10 months. Now I can say that I have grown year round. Wow!

I hope this email finds everyone in good health and ready for fresh organic veggies starting May 1st. Amber and I have been planning the production this winter and are ready to start a new year. We have been attending workshops and conferences to hone our skills and feel confident that once again, we can bring you healthy and nutritious produce.

Amber has taken on a new role in her community of Avoca as the Main Street Development person so I will be seeing less of her at the farm this growing season. This job is a good opportunity for her to get to know her community better and to help influence how a small town can survive.

Attached you will find this year’s brochure. You will notice that we are using the same pictures as last year. They worked well for us so we decided, why not.

The website is being upgraded and you will soon be able to order on line if you wish. There are a couple more glitches that need to be worked out but we are working with Paypal in order for you to be able to make payments if that better suits your budget.

I will be at the church on March 13th handing out brochures and signing up members. If you know of anyone who is interested, please share this email with them or have them stop by on the 13th.

On April 9th there will be a  50th Anniversary Celebration for United Methodist Ministries from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the church where we will also have a table. I might even have some produce for sale if you are interested. Please plan to attend this event and have some food and garden fun.

It will be good to see you all again this year. You are definitely a part of our family and once the season starts it will take some time to catch up.

If you have any questions, please call or email me.
Peace and Health, Denise and Amber
Rolling Acres Farm
By | 2016-10-14T08:15:09+00:00 March 3rd, 2016|Posts|0 Comments

Famous Pumpkin Chili

As with all recipes that claim to be “famous,” the more-apt title might read “regarded.” Still, it is one of two dishes* for which I allow my husband to make an unholy mess in the kitchen. We make it annually for our fall party, and forty of our closest friends affirm it is amazing. He always uses steamed pie pumpkin, but any steamed and pureed winter squash will do the same for the texture, and add an extra flavor dimension.

  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2-4 flavorful peppers (ideally poblanos, otherwise whatever flavorful pepper(s) I can get my hands on – no more than 1 jalapeno though)
  • Butter/olive oil/bacon fat
  • 2 lbs. ground beef
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • ~6-8 diced fresh tomatoes
  •  18 oz. pumpkin (or other winter squash) puree
  • 15 oz. dark red kidney beans
  • 15 oz. light red kidney beans
  • 15 oz. pinto beans
  • 1 Tbsp. cumin
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1.5 tsp. piminton
  • 1 tsp. dried cilantro
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste

Sauté onion in butter (and/or bacon fat if you have it) in skillet until translucent. Add diced peppers and then pressed garlic and continue to sauté another 5 mins. or so. Add in ground beef and simmer until beef is browned. Once beef is browned, add in chicken stock, diced tomatoes, beans, pumpkin puree, and seasonings. Cook until hot and thickened, allowing flavors to meld together (about an hour and a half). If it is too thick for your liking, just add more stock ½ cup at a time, allowing it to cook another 15 minutes in between additions until you have the desired consistency.

For vegetarian, skip the beef, use only butter and olive oil to sauté, and use veggie stock rather than chicken.

*The other dish is his cream cheese pastry dough, and the two kinds of holiday cookies he uses it for. Cookies are great, but the leftover dough is AWESOME for wrapping beef wellington or topping chicken pot pie bakes in ramekins. He has a sweet tooth, but I’m a savory girl.

By | 2016-10-14T08:15:09+00:00 February 16th, 2016|Recipes|0 Comments


Fall share #4

That went fast! If you think spring cleaning is a thing, you should see how farmers do fall cleaning. Every bit of fruit left on a vine is dozens of potential volunteer plants the following year, so we have stripped down and you get the extra benefits. This is our fall sendoff, and if you didn’t get a bounty box, it may be the last time you see us in 2015. Goodbyes are hard, so let’s just say “see you in the spring.”

Your Share This Week

One more Slicer Tomato. It’s so hard to say goodbye!

The small tomatoes can offer each member another ten. Try not to countdown as you eat them because THIS IS THE LAST!!!

Peppers have some color, but you are getting your choice of seven this week because it includes a lot of unripened greens. Conduct a kitchen counter science experiment to see if you can get them to turn. Or use them in a chili!

Green head lettuce and radishes hold the promise of another delicious salad. The LAST SALAD.

Snag-a-squash includes varieties like buttercup, butternut, grey kabocha, hubbard, and pie pumpkin. These will store well, but you can also steam and puree them for the freezer. We love to use winter squash and pumpkin puree in our winter chilis. It tones down the spice and makes the texture super velvety.

Garlic is also essential for chili. Have we convinced you yet?

Last week the large shares got them, this week everyone gets to try the kalettes. These are a cross between kale and Brussels sprouts, so you are basically getting an intsy head of kale. We suggest tossing them with olive oil, sprinkling a few pinches of kosher salt, and spreading them on a baking sheet for about 10 minutes in a 450 degree oven. They make a yummy crunchy side that goes great with grilled protein.

Larges are still special, getting napa cabbage and Brussels sprouts. Remember that cabbages store remarkably well in the crisper, so feel free to enjoy these a couple of weeks from now when, *sniff*, when you realize it is OVER!

One more farewell flower, and some parsley and sage to drown out the taste of your own tears. Au Revoir!

News from the Farm

Wow, Amber only gave me a tiny space for my wrap up! Oh well, I am at a conference in eastern Iowa and only have time to say farewell until next time. We will see those of you that ordered turkeys and bounty boxes on November 23rd otherwise it will be next spring that you will hear from us. Or rather late winter when it is time to sign up again.

We hope you had a great fall and that our winter will be mild but with snow. I want to get out my xcountry skiis sometime!

Take Care and Stay Healthy,  Farmer Denise and Farmer Amber

By | 2016-02-16T13:09:52+00:00 February 16th, 2016|Posts|0 Comments

Oven roasted finger sweets

This week’s share is perfect for the roasted root vegetable medley recipe we have shared with summer members. But here is a slightly varied us with a particularly fall flavor.

  • Fingerling potatoes, small ones kept whole and larger ones cut to the size of the smaller ones
  • Sweet potatoes, peeled and cut to the same size as the fingerlings
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • dried or fresh herb, such as rosemary or thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss potato pieces with oil, salt, pepper, and herb in a bowl and lay on a baking sheet. Roast for one hour in center oven rack. Check after about forty minutes and stir around or shake. They should get soft before browning, but do not let them burn.

By | 2016-10-14T08:15:09+00:00 February 16th, 2016|Recipes|0 Comments


Fall share #3

Frost finally hit, but none too hard. The high tunnel goodies are a bit diminished, but not altogether gone. The outdoor plants are of the variety that will appreciate the extra chill and use it to develop their sugars and taste even more delicious when they come to you. The beauty of eating seasonably is appreciating this ephemera. Tomatoes are still here, but not tasting exactly like they did in August. Still, tasting amazing because it is a fresh tomato in November! And brassicas that were perfectly delectable in the summer are getting an extra jolt of flavor from the frost. Take the time to appreciate that even if we give you the same item as last week, you never eat the same thing twice.

Your Share This Week

Two Slicer Tomatoes because TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

The small tomatoes are still plentiful enough for you to get fifteen.

Peppers are down to three per member. Color developments are slowing waaaaay down.

Green head lettuce and salad turnips will make a perfect preface for your evening meal. Large shares get some extra

This is some of our most gorgeous broccoli yet! A third-pound of florets for everyone

Two starches this week: sweet potatoes and fingerling potatoes!

So good for you, garlic brings the flavor.

Large shares get both, but everyone else can choose between apples or kohlrabi. Try not to hurt anyone’s feelings in your selection!

Large shares are also getting a bag of kalettes (these are teeny tiny kale heads that are extra sweet and flavorful) and Brussels sprouts. Try not to be jealous, small shares! Roast or saute them together!

With el dia de los muertos coming, the last of the marigolds from the low tunnel. Use them for your altar or just for some fall color.

News from the Farm

Whew! We again missed a hard frost – we can continue to harvest and deliver produce! I looked at the temperature for this day a year ago – the low was 23*. Brrr…… I hope we don’t see that temp for a while yet.

This has been an exceptional year and we hope we haven’t set you all up for  years when the produce may not be as bountiful. I marvel each day I go out to the field and see things still growing. In some ways it is a little disconcerting to think that this may be the coming trend.

As I was packing the apples today I noticed that they are definitely past the crunchy, crispy stage and will be wonderful made into applesauce or eaten as a baked apple. I can always sense the smells of apple and cinnamon wafting through the house.

We are putting the finishes on our greenhouse. I am anticipating the spring when we can plant our seed for next year’s production. There are challenges with greenhouse management so I will once again be stretching my brain cells to understand what I need to know and to learn to be a good manager.

Truthfully, I am looking forward to slower more reflective time. The winter season will give the soil and our bodies a rest from intense activity. There will be many activities for Amber and I attending conferences and workshops on issues ranging from growing produce to how to market said produce.

Today is a gray, slightly cool day and it makes me think about the sunshine of the past summer and what an interesting year it has been. One more more week and we will be officially say goodbye to the Fall Share. We will see those of you who have ordered turkeys and bounty boxes on November 23rd.

Until Next Week……..

By | 2016-10-14T08:15:09+00:00 February 16th, 2016|Posts|0 Comments

Roasted Vegetable Marinara

Some people have the number of vegetables, the counter space, and the time to do full on canned marinara. I have never been one of those people, but that does’t mean I let extra tomatoes go to waste. This sauce is easy to make in small batches (and includes a number of shortcuts like leaving the skins on and not fretting about the tomato seeds), freezes in a bag for single serving use, AND can make use of any water-heavy vegetable you have on hand. Basically it’s awesome and versitile and you can use it now or later and that’s why we love it. But you have to forgive the lack of measured amounts. It is mostly based on how much there is, how much you want, and preferred taste. Deep breath, and go with it. You will be so glad you did when you are thawing it out in January

  • Tomatoes (big and cherries, any size, core and slice the big ones in half and squish out as much of the seeds as you can, keep the cherries whole)
  • Peppers, seeded and diced
  • Onion, skinned and chopped
  • Basil leaves
  • Garlic cloves, minced
  • Kosher salt (pinch or so)
  • Any other mild water-heavy veg like eggplant, squash, zucchini. We’ve even done carrots which adds a great fire, but makes it much thicker than traditional marinara. Just chop them up, peeling if you aren’t into their peels. I especially encourage peeling eggplant.
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Other fresh Italiany herbs as desired
  • Sugar, if you like it sweet (no more than a tablespoon)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Toss all the veggies MINUS the basil and herbs into a 9 x 13 baking dish, or a couple if you are using a lot, and drizzle with olive oil, balsamic, and sprinkle with kosher salt to taste. Put the pan(s) in the oven for 30-45 minutes, at least making sure the tomato skins have burst. The longer you cook, the more fragrant, richer, and thicker it will become, but you’ll have to stir a bit more frequently to keep everything just roasted and not charred. Dump the whole roasted mess into a food processor or blender and add the basil leaves (sugar and other fresh herbs if you are so inclued), puree until thouroughly mixed, and either use right away or pour into freezer storage containers to enjoy anytime. If you think it isn’t thick enough, you can always strain out the juice before pureeing and then add it back in incrimentally until you get the desired thickness. Or you can add a can of tomato paste.

By | 2016-10-14T08:15:09+00:00 February 16th, 2016|Recipes|0 Comments


Fall share #2

Halfway through the Fall Share and you are still getting plenty of summer vegetables! Oh, the wonders of season extension. This week we are encouraging you to take the abundance of tomatoes and peppers and make a sauce for later use in winter. Right now we are riding a wave of extra storage time, so stock up, little ants! You don’t want to be like that grasshopper!

Your Share This Week

Three Slicer Tomatoes help with the recipe. Large shares also get a purple Cherokee heirloom for extra flavor and variety.

The small tomato variety-grab still includes mini romas, pink bumblebee plums, yellow pear, and sun gold cherry, black cherry, and five star grape. Select twenty of these for your sauce.

Peppers let you choose the type of kick you add to your sauce. We are letting you pick four this week.

This week you get a choice between endive or radicchio for your green.

Large shares can mix theirs with a nice green head lettuce.

I don’t know about you guys, but I think the aforementioned greens really really want to be mixed with these gold and ruby beets. I suggest peeling and roasting the roots, chopping them up, and either mixing them in with your greens warm with chevre (so it gets all melty and like its own salad dressing, mmmmm) or cold and adding some oil and honey.

Your fall favorite/winter storage item this week is a choice between red curi or hubbard squash.

Garlic is also needed for the recipe.

They are great roasted, baked, boiled, fried, or sautéed AND they have the fun of looking like body parts: fingerling potatoes!

Everyone gets some basil to use in the recipe, and another flower while they last.

News from the Farm

This morning we are putting the plastic cover on our greenhouse. This is quite a big step for our farm – we can now start all of our seeds in a big, well-lit space. Over the past few years we have started all of our seeds under grow lights in a small space in our barn. Last fall we bought and dismantled a greenhouse in Council Bluffs to be rebuilt on our farm. The structure was 80 feet long. Amber and Jeremy bought one half and Larry and I bought the other. Hopefully next spring we will be putting their hoophouse together. A greenhouse, as many of you know, is a heated building. The hoophouse is unheated and seeds are usually planted in the ground.

I hope you get a chance to make the recipe that Ambe has provided for you. We have made this, put it in bags and stored it our freezer for future use. It is the best pizza sauce or the starter for a basic spaghetti sauce.

We had a much needed soaker rain yesterday. I got the garlic planted and we got rye seed on some of our bare ground. This is called a cover crop and helps with erosion over the winter. We are not always lucky to have a good rain follow our seeding efforts.    Until Next Week………….

By | 2016-10-14T08:15:09+00:00 February 16th, 2016|Posts|0 Comments

Sweet Potato black bean chilli

Farmers get pretty excited when a new variety is fresh for the year, and we have been waiting for sweet potatoes since we planted them in May. This was the first new recipe we tried, and we wound up making it three times in two weeks (once for the Afghani delegates that visited the farm, who proclaimed it perfectly spiced).

  • 2 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp. chili powder (seems like lot, but trust me!)
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne (or one chopped fresh if you like it really spicy)
  • 2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, OR fresh tomatoes from your share chopped up (the skins won’t matter if you leave them on, but do seed them)
  • ¼ cup brewed coffee
    2 tbsp honey
  • salt and pepper
  • shredded cheddar for topping, if that is your fancy

In a large dutch oven on medium heat, saute the sweet potatoes and onion in the oil until crisp tender. Add the spices and garlic and cook one minute longer. Add beans and tomatoes, coffee, honey, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Once it is boiling, reduce heat to a simmer and cover for 30 minutes. Serve with shredded cheese, or without. Add thyme as a garnish.

By | 2016-02-16T12:57:20+00:00 February 16th, 2016|Recipes|0 Comments


Fall Share #1

As a first frost threatens us, we welcome you to the Fall CSA! Your support of our farms  means you get access to organically-grown vegetables each week, and we get to use your advance payment to purchase seeds for next year and equipment to assist us in our endeavors. It really means so much that you put your trust in our farms – our families appreciate it.

Each week we will strive to give you seven different vegetable varieties. Some will be perfect for fresh eating, some for longer storage if you can’t get to it this week. We also want to provide an herb or other flavor-enhancer, and a flower while they are safe from frost). We will give you advance notice (in the form of this very newsletter) of what to expect, and it will include recommendations for use and storage, plus a recipe and news from the farm. Our CSA philosophy is based on farmer-consumer interaction, so please give us feedback by email or in person at pickup, or tag us on Facebook (you can find and “like” both our farms there). We are looking forward to sharing the season with you!
Your Share This Week

There was just enough summer left to ripen two Slicer Tomatoes for everyone! You can use fresh tomatoes in this week’s recipe if they aren’t destined for a BLT.

The small tomato variety-grab includes mini romas, pink bumblebee plums, yellow pear, and sun gold cherry, black cherry, and five star grape. Select fifteen of these beauties, and add them to the recipe if you like!

Pick-a-Pepper (which is actually Pick-Three-Peppers) includes cayennes, poblanos, sweet banana, carmen, various bells, and lunchbox.

Choose a head of either green or red lettuce.

Any lettuce salad would enjoy the addition of these cute red Rudolph radishes.

Everyone gets a hefty two-pound bag of sweet potatoes for this week’s recipe!

Garlic is also needed for the recipe.

Large shares get a bit more than everyone else, and this week they get two brassicas: broccoli and kohlrabi.

Everyone gets some thyme to compliment the recipe, and a pretty “welcome to fall” flower.

A few words about your fresh vegetables

Everything you enjoy in your CSA share was grown in a certified organic high tunnel or elsewhere on the farm which has practiced organic methods for over thirty-five years. Everything has been harvested in the last two days, so your foods are full of those beneficial phytochemicals you’ve heard tell of. Make sure to wash items before preparing or serving, as we keep the healthy soil on them to ensure they stay fresher as they make their way to your table. If you’d like to assist us in our mission to use as little disposible items as possible, save any plastic bags and clamshells you get from us and return them washed for reuse. We will give you a farm-fresh high-five for your trouble. Large bags or coolers are a great way to get your haul home, so bringing one or two of those will surely make your pickup days a little easier. Especially as the weather heats up, make sure to properly store and cool your veggies when you get it home. And please do share your successful uses of our produce with us! We love to get new ideas and hear how you are enjoying your membership.

News From the Farm

Hello again! Welcome to those of you who are just joining and welcome back to those of you who have been with us throughout the season.

Great news – we were spared the frost so we will continue to get those frost sensitive crops like tomatoes and peppers. That’s good news if you aren’t tired of them by now. I know I am going to enjoy continuing to eat them.

I believe I will finish planting today. I will do one more planting of the salad turnips for your enjoyment – most likely in the Bounty Boxes we are offering for Thanksgiving.  We are still giving you time to get your Thanksgiving order in, but be quick or you will miss out on a wonderful fresh turkey for that Thanksgiving table or if you chose, you can freeze on for your Christmas table.  Until Next Week……

By | 2016-10-14T08:15:09+00:00 February 16th, 2016|Posts|0 Comments