The Rathgeber Thymes- Blog

Week 13: Getting Better all the Thyme

Hidey- Ho! 

Thank you to all y'all who took the time to complete the Mid- Season Survey. Yes yes.. we still technically have ten more days to collect responses before drawing any major conclusion from these data. However, the information we've gotten from the 17 of you who have given us feedback has been monumentally helpful-- and we're not going to wait any longer to implement some of the things we can do to serve you better. 

One CSA member remarked (and honestly, I've been kind of mulling on this too over the last season) is that if you do your meal planning over the weekend, it's kind of hard to accommodate the veggies you learn will be available on Sunday night or Monday afternoon. I agree, this would be awesome. 

While I can't give you the set-in-stone share intel any earlier.. Dustin and I generally do have an idea of what is likely to appear in your boxes a week in advance. Thus, were going to start giving you that information for all your meal planning needs, with the understanding that these forecasts (as I am calling them) are subject to change and in the event of a major weather snafoo might be not that helpful. But for the most part, we can give you something to go off of when making your meal plans and shopping lists. 

See! We're already operating better. So thank you to everyone who gave us the feedback to help us do that! We couldn't do this without you (seriously!). 

What's in the share boxes this week?

  • Golden Potatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplant
  • Bell Peppers
  • Cipollini Onions
  • Sweet Peppers

What am I making this week?

  1. Spiced Peppers and Eggplant
  2. Mustard Roasted Potatoes
  3. Savory Peach and Cucumber Salad
  4. Caramelized Onion Jam

*The Forecast for Week 14 Delivery: Crops that like it hot are thriving rn (as you can probably imagine), so next week's share will likely have the following items: Peppers, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Cherry Tomatoes, Green Onions, and Honeynut Squash. 

*Subject to change a little 

Week 12: CSA Anything

Hi Everyone!

My! What a fantastic weekend, huh?! In case you missed it- I should let you know that the first annual Rathgebers' Garten CSA Member Potluck was a HUGE SUCCESS! To be clear: this wasn't your ordinary Bloomington potluck, no no... Imagine a land where the drinks were plentiful, the weather was beautiful, and the potluck contributions were a delight for the eyes and the tastebuds! Well, friends- this land is real; and it appeared at my house this past weekend. We had so many great contributions from our CSA fellowship! Breanne's Baba Ganoujj, Patrick's Super Spicy Jalapeno Poppers, Beautiful galette (with perfect crusts, mind you) made by Iresema and Mandi, Matt and Sarah were total ballers and came to a potluck where they weren't sure if they would know anyone-- and brought delicious Blackberry Melon Caprese Mini Skewers (which were very cute and refreshing). I was told that my Watermelon Shrub cocktail wasn't gross (yet, I am still not convinced), and Charlotte made an amazing fruit salad for dessert (which was also my breakfast Sunday morning). I am going to work on getting some recipes out to everyone so that we can relive, or imagine the fun for many years to come! But in the meantime, you should know...

What's in your CSA bag this week?

  • Red onions
  • Valencia Onions
  • Eggplant
  • Cabbage
  • Yellow and Red Tomatoes
  • Assorted Bell Peppers
  • Honeynut Squashes
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Sweet Corn

What am I making this week?

  1. Leek, Chard, and Sweetcorn Flatbread
  2. Spicy Squash Salad with Lentils and Goatcheese
  3. Skinnytaste Turkey Stuffed Peppers
  4. Tomatoes Nicoise
  5. Free Form Onion Tart

Also, keep an eye out for the CSA Mid-Season Survey! It should be coming to your inbox in like, 30 minutes. 


Week 10: Burning the Midnight Foil

Greetings from Duluth, Minnesota!!

 Oddly this is the second Leif Erikson momument we've visited this year..

Oddly this is the second Leif Erikson momument we've visited this year..

Maybe it is my lingering hangover talking, but I could really go for some Potato Ole's right now. Granted, this is not usually the type of thing you would want to start off a blog post which you are writing on behalf of a small, organic, local farm who has the most gorgeous produce ever. Even more so, neverminding the fact that the (extremely unhealthy, I'm guessing) fast food chain, Taco John's is not as popular in the Indiana Midwest area where my readership mainly resides, as it is in the Minnesotan Midwest area which is where I happen to be at the moment. So, if you are a sensible person, you may have just asked yourself,"What?! Potato Ole's?!" in a disbelief/disgust combo platter of emotions. Allow me to explain: Potato Ole's are essentially deep fried Tater Tots which, instead of being shaped in the cylindrical nugget form, are instead shaped like coins allowing greater surface area exposed to the hot oil when fried, and a greater crust to tot ratio than what is typically offered with the cylindrical nugget method. 

This is all to say, that yes, I have been on a Minnesotan specific food bender since Friday-- and thank god Chris and I are leaving for our backcountry camping trip later this afternoon cause this is just not responsible behavior. On the three day backpacking leg of our trip we will be returning to our mostly sensible eating habits as we explore the North Shore of Lake Superior on foot. 

 The local fare

The local fare

Which brings me to the topic at hand: foil pouch dinners! We used to call them 'hobo; dinners growing up, which (if I'm being honest) seems both inaccurate and to be romanticizing the pernicious epidemic of housing insecurity faced by millions of Americans... But the more appropriately named 'foil pouch dinners' are as easy to make as they are delicious and simple for those camping and not. 

The process is as follows: cut whatever vegetables and protein you have at the moment into larger chunks and place on foil. Second, drizzle a olive oil and add whatever aromatics you like. Then you burn down the coals of your campfire, or use the coals which still linger after you've grilled your tofu skewers, or brats, or steak whathaveyou and throw upon the grilltop or on the coals (if you're okay with some burned bits) until you smell the aroma of your cooking protein, and the juices bubbling up run clear. My favorite flavor combo for foil pouch dinners are onions, peppers, potatoes, sausage, squash/zucchini and red pepper flakes, and fennel seeds. But honestly, I never had a foil pouch dinner combo that I didn't like. So be creative!!

What is in the CSA this week?

  1. Tomatoes
  2. Honeynut Squash
  3. Cipollini Onions
  4. Eggplant
  5. Bell Peppers
  6. Watermelon
  7. Ground Cherries

What am I making this week?

  1. Honeynut Squash Risotto
  2. Ground Cherry Vinegrette
  3. Watermelon Salad with Feta and Mint
  4. Tomato and Feta Galette


Week 9: Extend the life of your veggie bounty

Hi All, 

This past weekend I had the immense pleasure of hanging out with a few friends of ours who are also CSA members (you know who you are ::winky face::) and naturally the conversation shifted to how to store your veggie bounty to extend the life of your produce and hencely (yes, I know that's not a word but it just feels so right!!) reduce food waste. You know typical summer Saturday pool deck, conversation...


Anywhoo, I learned quite a few things which I thought I should pass along to you as well. First, when you get heads of lettuce, you can prevent leaf lettuce from wilting/ getting mushy if you just trim off the brown stem every so often. You can take this one step further and place the leaf lettuce upright in a mason jar with a tiny bit of water in the bottom and wrap the leaves with a very lightly misted paper towel (which you can compost). Yes, I know this sounds like a lot of fuss. But if you are the type of person who isn't all about that big salad lyfe, this is a game changer. The aforementioned method also works for fresh herbs and other leafy greens too. And another thing: I  learned that if you wrap your celery tightly in foil and place it in the fridge, it preserves it for a few weeks beyond the typical bagged celery thrown in the fridge business that I have been very guilty of doing.  

Also, two reminders. First, the CSA member potluck is on Saturday, August 4th at 6pm. If I have your email on the CSA mailing list, you should have gotten an invite on from the event I made on facebook. The gist is: we are going to meet at my house, I will provide beverages and protein options for vegans and non-vegans alike, and you all bring your favorite sides, condiments, desserts, or snacky things and have a great time. Dustin will be just finished with his biggest market of the week, so likely he will not be able to attend. Kiddos of all ages are welcome! Please don't judge the state of my garden. 

Second, we are going to send you the CSA Mid-Season Survey. Keep an eye out for a link in your email inbox early next week. If you care to share the survey link with another person in your household, we would appreciate all of the feedback from those who we serve. Y'all have no idea how valuable your thoughts and insight are to the success of our program! 

What's in your veggie shares this week?

  • cabbage
  • tomatoes
  • sweet corn
  • red potatoes
  • eggplant
  • sweet peppers
  • cantaloupe
  • leeks

What I'm making this week

  1. Summer Veggie Galette
  2. Sauteed Kale
  3. Sweet Corn Fritters
  4. Summer Minestrone
  5. Prosciutto wrapped melon 

Choose Your Own Adventure Cooking

Hi y'all!

Chris and I have started this new thing to save a little cash, decrease how much food we are wasting, and get out of our cooking rut. Err.. Maybe I should back up and tell you, that during a typical week, Chris and I sit down over the weekend and create our meal plan for the next 5-6 days- effectively, Monday thru Friday. Under this system, the CSA veggies informs the menu, the menu informs the shopping list, which ultimately kind of falls apart when the inevitable unexpected meeting, or late night at the office pops up, or something weather related. So then, we have the ingredients for things that we didn't cook just kind of sitting there-- and we end up making a freezer pizza(!!!), going out to eat, and my half pan of butternut squash black bean enchiladas gets thrown out because I had them for lunch, and god forbid one has something for dinner that one had for lunch, amiright?


Forgive me if this is already a thing which most smart efficient people already do..To me, this is groundbreaking, so just bear with me for a second.... Under the improvisation cooking system, Chris and I plan meals for three of the five days, plus one get-rid-of-leftovers day, and day and a clean out the fridge dinner day (i.e., dinner improv). The clean out the fridge day only has one rule- one needs to make something out of the stuff one already has on hand. There can be no- running out to the store to quick buy a few things, that's the only rule. Por ejemplo, last night Chris and I made the most delicious southwest black bean burgers with sauteed carrots, poblano peppers, toasted cashews, onions, garlic, feta cheese, barley, roasted corn, and three teaspoons of southwest seasoning. We didn't have burger buns, so we used just regular ole' bread, and we used a cucumber dill sauce from the night before as the main condiment. It was totes delightful. I used this recipe to help me cobble together what I had into burger form without it being too moist nor too dry. I highly recommend! 

The trick to improvisational cooking is to seek out recipe guides or collecting many recipes around a certain topic and picking and choosing what you like the best. Quick recipes which naturally lend themselves to improvisation include salads, pasta, soup, pizza, sandwiches (including vegetable-based patties such as the aforementioned black bean burgers). If you are a NYT subscriber, you can find these 'Cooking Guides' as a appendix to the recipe section. If you aren't, you can generally find cute infographic/ guide on the topic of making x by doing an image search for 'x cooking guide.' I also realized that one of my favorite cookbooks, How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman has several of these guides/ tables of variations for any curious cook. Let me know if you want to borrow it, and get some inspo for your next improvisational feast. 

What is in your CSA shares this week?

  • Kale
  • Garlic
  • Red Onions
  • Red Potatoes
  • Bell Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Eggplant
  • Green Beans
  • Sweet Corn

What I'm cooking this week:

  1. Corn Stock
  2. Green Bean Stir-Fry with Peppers Onions and Potatoes
  3. Smoky Baba Ghanoush
  4. Peach and Tomato Salad
  5. Kale Quinoa Fruit Salad (I kind of just use whatever fruit/nuts/ vinegrette I have on hand) but here is a link where  you can get the general idea




Week 7: It's Cornplicated...

Hi All, 

Keeping it short this week because I need to facilitate some activities of my own self care. It's been a week, and I'm feeling as haggard as the mass of hair pulled out of the drain. Don't worry! I'll be back next week with my zaney meditations on food, cooking, farms and community. But in the meantime, check out the laundry list of goods you're getting in your shares this week (reminder: shares arrive on Tuesday this week!) and think about all scrum-diddily-umptious things you can bring to your next potluck or party. I have provided a few of my favorite staple recipes below, make sure to @ us on instagram because food pics are always appropriate. 

What's in this week's share:

  • broccoli
  • cabbage
  • tomatoes
  • carrots
  • basil
  • poblano peppers
  • little cucumbers
  • yellow summer squash
  • zucchini
  • sweet corn
  • green beans

What am I cooking this week?

Week 3: Great Es-Scape-tations

I have a confession to make. Last year I didn't use my garlic scapes. I know. I know. I had every intention to pickle them, or add them to a quiche, or make pesto. But, at the end of the day- I didn't pass muster on these alliums. 

But this year, I come prepared with the NYT Green Garlic Toast recipe that is so quick and easy (and delicious, apparently) that I have exactly zero reasons to default to my wasteful ways. 

For the sake of getting this out there quickly I've provided a list of your scheduled produce below. 

What is in the CSA share this week:

  • kale
  • chard
  • beets
  • sugar snap peas
  • zucchini
  • radishes
  • garlic scapes
  • baby carrots
  • oregano
  • fennel

This week's Cardinal To Go Cocktail: TBA

I will be sure to fill you all in on how it went with the toast. Not because I doubt that butter, garlic, cheese, and crusty bread could be anything BUT amazing- but because I need some garlic accountability. What are your plans with your garlic gifts this week?!

I is good boy: A day in the life of Baloo, Lead Farm Dog Specialist


It's an exciting week for the Rathgebers' Thymes! This week marks the first installment of the Rathgebers' Thymes blog posts as written from a notable farm and wildlife contributor, Baloo! Our notable Lead Farm Dog Specialist offered to share a day in the life at Rathgebers' Garten for you with his helpful tips on where to find the best drinking puddle and possum carcasses in the area! Our usual contributor (Mallory) will be back next week as we prepare for the first CSA deliveries a mere 15 days away!  More soon!!

Hi. Hi hi hi hi hi. 

I is Baloo. I farm dog with Dustin. Dustin is hooman, though. This important distinction.

I is good for most part. Them chickens like me, but I not so popular with the rabbit-folk.  Win some, lose some- I guess. 


When roosters not sleep and sun behind trees, I must start my smell checks of farm. Smell rounds must are done by Lead Farm Dog Specialist. Me sniff for possums, raccoons, rabbits, and deer- critters who eat veggies not welcome on my watch. 

I run alongside Dustin when he drives machine horse to plant rows. I catch him, sometime he catch me. 

Dustin spend time digging in plant rows. Must be gopher to make hooman dig so much in plants. I help smell for gophers but I not understand what need for so much digging. Dustin pick veggies and give to machine horse. 

When most hot, Dustin and I race to far house for food. I choose crunchy brown circles and gallon of puddle water. It been good year for puddle water- strong notes of table scraps and compost. 

When we go back to farm, I smell for dead possum- a decadent treat for Lead Farm Dog Specialist. I is hungry just thinking about possum.

When sun behind hill, Dustin and I work in dog den. Dustin splash in water, and put veggies in cold, dark room. I check shoes and floors for smells to keep perimeter critter free. 

Long day for Lead Farm Dog Specialist. I go dog cave for sleep. Me have so much energy, but need sleep so is good dog and do smell checks again. 

Farm life is best life for me, I do good job. I is good boy. 

Meet our Team: Mallory the Veggie Consierge


Now that the seedlings in the greenhouse are on their way to adolescence- it's a good time to point out some of Rathgebers' Garten Team that bring the farm to the table for our wonderful customers and fellow community members.  

Enter, our CSA Hype-woman/ Farm Hand & Web Developer: Mallory Rickbeil. 2018 marks her second year on the Rathgebers' Team, and first season as the self-appointed brand manager. When not working for the CSA, Mallory serves as a Purdue Extension Community Wellness Coordinator for Greene, Owen and Clay counties.

Mallory and Dustin met during their first season working with the Linton Farmers' Market as a Market Bucks Program Manager and first-time vendor, respectively. Dustin soon became Mallory's 'go to guy' for the world's most delicious lettuces, baby carrots, paste tomatoes, and Honeynut winter squash. At the end of the 2016 Farmers' Market season, Mallory felt compelled to grow her agribusiness management skills and develop more opportunities to support her programming areas that do not otherwise have sources of revenue. Mallory reached out to Dustin to see if it would be possible to collaborate on a CSA program in Monroe and surrounding counties... And, the rest is history... 

In the weeks leading up to the beginning of CSA season you will find Mallory hustling for shares and working with Dustin to get a sense for what vegetables to plant in the oncoming year. So far, her suggestions that Dustin plant Calendula flowers, pinto beans, and patty pan squash have been commercial failures as far as market sales are concerned. However, she remains committed to the idea that popcorn would be 'very popular' among the customers despite only having her undying love for the popped snack as evidence of this emergent market trend. 

During the growing season, Mallory is responsible for writing the weekly newsletters, driving the produce between the farm and the drop off locations, styling and taking pictures of the weekly bundles, sharing healthy recipes, and getting feedback from the customers on how the CSA can best meet their needs. 

To this day, the delivery fees for a Rathgebers' Garten CSA support the programs Mallory facilitates through her work. In 2018, the revenue gleaned from the CSAs will proudly support a youth garden for afterschool kids, community meals for local food pantries, and promotional materials for the Market Bucks program. "Our CSA customers should know that their support of the CSA business model not only enriches the community in the conventional way that supporting local small farms do-- but, also in a way that strengthens the fabric of the community and helps engage a new generation of young farmers, gardeners, and vegetable connoisseurs," Mallory said/quoted herself in the third person.  

Mallory is pictured above with her partner, Chris who makes amazing things with the bounty of vegetables/ serves as her copy editor from time to time. They live in Bloomington with their two spoiled cats.