Fern Creek CSA–Week 9

newsletter with photoBringing In the Sheaves…

Mark brought in the Walla Walla onions from the field after a week of drying in the sun. They are finishing up on racks in the room behind the Market. As he carried them in, the refrain for an old-time gospel song came to mind. I thought of it  later, when we talked about the satisfying work of bringing in crops that will feed you and us into the fall and winter.

We grew up understanding that “sheaves” were bundles of grain, but also assuming that the song was mostly about evangelism rather than an actual harvest. Because in the 21st century we can, Mark googled the song and this is what we learned: The lyrics, written by Knowles Shaw in 1874, came from Psalm 126:6, “Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.” The song is about hope, about sowing seeds of kindness all day long, in sunshine or shadow, when fearful or in grief.  If you do, the refrain suggests, you will eventually come rejoicing, bringing in sheaves from the good harvest sown.

I also appreciate what the Psalmist likely literally meant to say–that is, go on with the life-sustaining work of sowing seeds even when you feel hopeless, grief or despair. The faithfulness of God who is present to and in all creation will cause our work, even when sown in sorrow or fear, to bear fruit. Eventually we will come in from the field rejoicing, harvesting nourishment for the year.

We may well hum and sing this song a lot in the next couple of months as the stored onions get followed by dried beans, the fermenting of cabbage and cucumbers, the canning of beans, peaches, and pickled beets, the storing of popcorn, potatoes, and an assortment of winter squash.

If, as Don Quixote says, that all sorrows are better with bread, surely sorrows are also better with the evidence of God’s sustaining love represented by pantries and cellars full of food grown, harvested, and preserved from the fields of our local farmers, and our own back yards.

Bringing in the Sheaves
Sowing in the morning, sowing seeds of kindness,
Sowing in the noontide and the dewy eve;
Waiting for the harvest, and the time of reaping,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.
Bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the sheaves,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves,
Bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the sheaves,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.
Sowing in the sunshine, sowing in the shadows,
Fearing neither clouds nor winter’s chilling breeze;
By and by the harvest, and the labor ended,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.
Going forth with weeping, sowing for the Master,
Though the loss sustained our spirit often grieves;
When our weeping’s over, He will bid us welcome,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.


New From the Field

Fortex Beans

So I’m banking on the fact that a good number of you don’t read the newsletter, or don’t remember it when you come to the Market… As I said a couple of weeks ago, my absolute favorite summer squash is a Tromboncino, and I’m thinking some of you find the unfamiliar nature of it intimidating and leave it, meaning Mark and I have one for breakfast with our eggs every other morning… Similarly, if I was only going to grow one bean, it would be the Fortex bean, but it’s a bit unusual, so I won’t mind if some of you pass them over on the Pick Two shelf, either being overwhelmed by how long they are, and perhaps by the fact that you also pick up yellow and later green beans every week!

The Fortex bean is an Italian heirloom and one of the first pole beans to arrive in the fields and the last one to leave. Each bean can grow to nearly a foot long (we harvest them between 8-12 inches), and they twist a bit as they grow, making them beautiful and a bit whimsical. They are stringless, which contributes to their tenderness. I cook them in all the same ways I cook other beans, though I also eat a few raw, especially when I’m out in the field working and want a fresh tender crunchy snack.



Fennel is a bulbous vegetable with wispy fronds that look a bit like dill. You can use the wispy greens in salads, omelets, or stir-fries, but the bulb is the main attraction. It tastes a bit like anise, and indeed, Anise is the seed  that comes from the fennel plant, though what we grow is grown for the bulb. The bulb offers a much milder version of the licorice flavor of anise–and while I don’t like licorice, I love fennel! Slice the bulb very thin (a mandoline slicer works best if you have one) and roast the pieces with other vegetables to add a wonderful and unique flavor to. Or sauté slices with other vegetables or add to soups and stews. For a summer salad that uses fennel, check out this fresh fennel and lemon slaw from thekitchn.com, or try the blistered beans and fennel recipe below.  You’ll often have an option to choose fennel throughout the season as they ripen, so eventually, take one from the Pick Two and give it a try.

Fingerling Potatoes

These potato seeds came to us a couple of years ago by way of Deb Mulkey. She gave us four lunch sack size bags of potatoes in the fall to save for spring planting. They produced a wonderful tender bounty last year, and we saved some for this year’s crop. Fingerlings are stubby, finger shaped potatoes that are fully mature at this size, and not to be confused with new potatoes. Because of their size and relative expense compared to other potatoes, they tend to be halved and roasted and served as a side dish, or used in a salad–something that highlights their size and tenderness. Toss with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and rosemary and roast until tender. Be prepared for a spectacular treat.


Anticipated in the Market

Kale & Fortex Beans

Kale & Fortex Beans

Romano Gold (Yellow) Beans
Walla Walla Onions
Fingerling Potatoes
Muir Lettuce
Red Plums or Chehalis Apples
Crookneck Squash
Tromboncino & Patty Pan
Zucchini Squash
Chard or Collards
Mint & Sage

Pick Two
Scarlet Runner & Fortex Beans
Extra Greens

Recipes of the Week: Featuring Beans

beansLast year I posted a recipe for Blistered Beans & Fennel. It’s work reminding you about it, as it’s one of my favorite ways to cook with fennel.
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Cook’s Country sent me an unasked for magazine, and  I figured so long as I gave them credit, I could share their method for roasting beans. It’s a good way to roast green (or yellow) beans so they don’t get leathery and turn a drabby green gray in the roasting.

This is Cristin Walsh’s approach from Cook’s Country:
Preheat the oven to 475 and adjust the rack to the lowest position.
Combine about 1 1/2 pounds of beans with 1 1/2 Tbsp. EVOO, 3/4 tsp. sugar (for browning), 3/4 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Distribute on rimmed baking sheet.
Cover sheet tightly with aluminum foil and roast for 10 minutes. Remove foil and roast another 10 minutes, or until beans are spotty brown, stirring about half way through.

To spruce up, here’s a compilation of some suggestions mentioned in Walsh’s article:
Whisk together 1/4 c. EVOO, 1 tsp. Dijon mustard, lemon or lime zest (and the juice from said lemon or lime),  1/4 c. torn fresh mint leaves or 2 Tbsp. chopped basil leaves. Toss and stir into beans.

Top with toasted hazelnuts or almonds or toasted pinenuts. Optional, add crumbled goat cheese or coarsely grated Percorino Romano cheese.




  • Aw, love the reminder about reaping what you sow. Thanks friend!

    On our honeymoon, we had fingerling potatoes at the Edenwild Inn (on Lopez Island) that were INCREDIBLE. I don’t know how they roasted them, but they were seriously one of the best dishes I have ever eaten. We went back for them at least twice more. Glad you’re growing them!!

    • Thanks, Emily. And yes, I’m looking forward to roasting and eating some of these wonderful little potatoes!

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