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Trogg’s Hollow Newsletter

September 15 2016

this week at trogg’s hollow

by: Momma Marcy

It may be the third week of September, but the vegetables are keeping us pretty busy. The kids and I spent the better part of today picking tomatoes and it feels like we hardly made a dent! Plus the cucumbers are finally cucumbering! FINALLY. Welcome to the party guys. So yeah, we’re not bored.

We’re also getting the field ready for fall planting - tilling beds and prepping the new high tunnel, as well as mentally readying ourselves for the task of covering beds (I admit, not one of my favorite tasks).

Our farm stand continues to be open Friday through Monday, with Apples (!), Raspberries, tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers. Tell your friends!

Mark your calendars, because our September Autumnal Equinox event is coming up - Saturday the 24th! It starts at 5, and we’ll be making cider!

we’re at Both the Rockford City Market and Huntley Farmers Market Friday and Saturday. This week we’ll have Tomatoes, peppers, Apples, raspberries, grains, and flowers! Please note, the Rockford City Market has shortened hours for the rest of the season, closing at 7:30 instead of 8:30!

Stay groovy

Momma Marcy

Special Notes for Apple Shareholders from Earthfirst Farm:

Welcome to Earth First Farms 2016 Organic Apple CSA!

Every year, it seems like the first week of apples is just out of reach. You know the feeling, when you are so eager for something to start, that it feels like it is always forever-and-a-day-away. Well, it's finally here, folks! Your first share is about to make it's way from Michigan to your door. We hope you, your family and friends are excited and ready to taste your way through the apple season.

Before we get started, we want to say thank you for your support and grace as we continue through the season. It takes individuals like YOU, consciously choosing to support your growers through Community Supported Agriculture, to push the local, organic food movement forward. Just knowing that our customers, who quickly become friends and family, are willing to wade through the good times and bad, makes what we do worth it.

This season we are bringing 6 unique apple varieties to you. Each with their own story, their own flavor, their own texture. Some soft. Some crisp. Some sweet. Some tart. Some perfect for baking. Others perfect for saucing. And others, well you just try to make it a few days before you eat every. single. one. It is a joy and an honor to introduce and reacquaint you with some of our favorites. Enjoy!

So, without further ado, we introduce to you the Paula Red apple.

About the apple:

Our first apple variety of the season is the Paula Red. Often mistaken for McIntosh at the farm stand, our “Paulas” range in color from almost purple to a bright red that fades to pale green. The interior bright white flesh may lack the satisfying snap of a honeycrisp, but this apple serves as an announcement that fall has truly arrived. We dare you to whip up a batch of applesauce or a crisp with this special apple. When you do, sit back, relax and enjoy the full flavor punch this cousin of the McIntosh is sure to have. Heads up - if it's crunch you desire, be patient, the crunch is coming.


Named for Pauline, the wife of Michigan orchardist Lewis Arends, Paula Reds are not quite as tart as their parent McIntosh, making them perfect for cooking down slowly into a mouth-watering applesauce.  

When we make applesauce with the Paulas, we don’t add any sugar or liquid at all – just core, dice, peel if desired, and pop them in a heavy-bottomed pot on low heat. It’s important to stir and check them regularly to stop cooking at the right time for optimum texture and flavor.

Check out Tom's Super-Simple Applesauce recipe on our website for more details. Don't stop there either - you'll find many more of our favorite recipes to try!


Please store your apples in the refrigerator!  Apples are very sensitive to heat, and they will start to break down very quickly at room temperature. At the very least, these early apples will become mushy and soft (fine for applesauce, not great for anything else); at worst, any little blemish will start to expand and pretty soon what started out as a pinprick will be a bruise that covers half the apple.

Last but not least, put September 24th on your calendar for our Annual Harvest Party. More details to follow, but it is sure to be a fun and memorable time!


Mixed veggies prepped for winter share preservation.

important notes!

  • Sustainable shares only this week

  • September Farm Event coming up Saturday the 24th

upcoming events

please spread the news

  • September 16 - Rockford City Market 3:30-7:30 PM (new hours) through September 30 - Water and Market Streets

  • September 17 - Huntley Market  8Am-1PM through October 8 - Huntley Town Square

recipes from Momma Marcy

The Tomatoes, they continue. I don’t do much with them right now above and beyond just eating them (and i made some pretty great Jam from some of the cherries), but you know, I get that you guys have a lot of them and we keep giving you more. Lucky ducks. So here’s another recipe to keep you using those tomatoes before they go away for good!

Tomato Cobbler with Cornmeal-Cheddar Biscuits

  • 3 1/2 to 4 pounds cherry tomatoes

  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil

  • 2 medium red onions, peeled and thinly sliced

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1/4 cup red wine (or 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar)

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

For the biscuits:

  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

  • 3/4 cup cornmeal

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter

  • 1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese, divided

  • 3/4 to 1 cup buttermilk, plus extra to brush.

Heat the oven to 375°F with a rack placed in the middle of the oven.

Pick the stems off of the cherry tomatoes and rinse them under running water. Larger tomatoes can be sliced in half, but I generally just leave the tomatoes whole.

Warm the olive oil in a 12-inch cast iron or high-sided stainless steel skillet over medium-high heat. When warm, add the onions and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Sauté until the onions are very soft and tender, at least 10 minutes, or if you have the patience, lower the heat and continue cooking for another 20 or 30 minutes to caramelize the onions.

Stir the garlic into the onions and cook until fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds. Pour in the wine (or balsamic) and cook until the wine has mostly evaporated. Stir in the flour and cook until the flour is paste-like. Remove the pan from heat. Stir in the cherry tomatoes and 1 teaspoon of salt, carefully stirring and folding until the onions are evenly mixed with the tomatoes.

To prepare the biscuits, combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to combine. Cut the cold butter into chunks and scatter it over the flour. Pulse a few times until the butter has been cut into pea-sized pieces.

Transfer the flour-and-butter mixture to a bowl and stir in 1 cup of the cheddar (reserve the other 1/2 cup for sprinkling over the top). Form a well in the middle and pour in 3/4 cup of buttermilk for firmer biscuits, or 1 cup of buttermilk for looser biscuits. Use a spatula to gently stir the buttermilk into the flour; continue stirring until all the buttermilk has been incorporated and no more dry flour remains. (Alternatively, you can make the biscuits entirely in a bowl and use your fingers or a pastry cutter to cut in the butter.)

Drop the dough over the tomatoes, making 7 to 8 biscuits. Brush the biscuits with a little buttermilk. Place the skillet on a baking sheet to catch drips, and then transfer to the oven.

Cook for 55 to 60 minutes, until the tomatoes are very bubbly and the tops of the biscuits are nicely browned. About 10 minutes before the end of baking, sprinkle the tops of the biscuits with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheddar.

Remove from the oven and let the cobbler rest for at least 15 minutes before eating. Leftovers will keep for about a week.

Respectfully borrowed from thekitchn

what’s in your share?

by: Farmer Trogg


  • Cucumber

  • Hot peppers

  • Bell Peppers

  • Rutgers Tomatoes

  • Peach Tomatoes

  • Brandywine Tomatoes

  • Sun Gold cherry tomatoes

  • Valencia/Jaune Flamme Tomatoes

  • Tomatillos

  • Ground Cherries

  • Chives

  • Basil

  • Radishes

  • Garlic

special announcements

by: Farmer Trogg

Good morning to everyone!

So yeah, I’m writing this before going out into the field.  Seems like it will be another nice day - not too much sun and mid-70s to 80.  Sure has been like this a lot lately.  

Sorry for missing the newsletters over the last few weeks.  We have been swamped out here.  Between harvesting one of the best tomato crops since 2012 and preserving the abundance for winter shares we have our hands full.  We’ve also had some off the farm things taking up our time as well.  

In mid-August I was elected Chair of the governing board of Band of Farmers, a Chicagoland CSA Coalition.  It was a surprise, to say the least.  Since then I’ve been trying to meet with the other executive board members and organize business for the organization.  

Beyond all that, we have been trying to finish up the high tunnel so we can have it ready for the cooler temps.  We’ve also been prepping winter beds that will have low tunnels over them.  All this is so we can have those veggies for late fall and winter shares.  

One thing I do want to mention is about peaches.  We heard from several folks that the second trip peaches were not up to the quality we usually expect.  I actually thought it was just me but after getting some emails and facebook messages Momma Marcy started to make some calls about the situation.  

As you all know, due to the 12”+ of rain that southern Illinois received the weekend before our second trip, Rendleman Orchard did not have the peaches we needed available.  We contacted another orchard, Flamm, in the area to fill the order.  They did have peaches that were ready to be shipped to grocery stores for retail sales that they sold to us.  

Well, after many discussions, with both Rendleman and Flamm, and several of you, we have determined that it was neither the variety of peaches nor the storage methods that turned the peaches.  It seems to be that some of the peaches were just not good while others were as wonderful as usual.  

While I’m not thrilled with the peaches I got, as a grower I understand that sometimes the veggies/fruit just turn out not as good.  I guess after nearly 10 years of making these trips for these amazing peaches, getting a batch that is not the high quality we expect isn’t the worst thing.   Both Rendleman and Flamm Orchards are very apologetic.  So are we.  

Please know, next year when we go for peaches, we will be ordering from Rendleman Orchard as usual.  If there is another issue with getting their peaches we will notify everyone as soon as we know.  That way if anyone wants to cancel their order the may do so.  

Ok, that’s all for now.  Except to remind everyone that our last farm event of the year is next Saturday, the 24th of september.  We will be pressing apples for fresh cider, doing hay wagon rides, listening to some great music, and having a large bonfire.  Of course, as usual we’ll have a great pot luck.  

Hope to see everyone soon.

Farmer Trogg


Beautiful chillis!


Flame weeding the winter beds.

Trogg’s Hollow, 11577 Poplar Grove Rd., Poplar Grove, IL  61065

troggshollow@troggshollow.com                   872.222.5584

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