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Week 1, 2011
We are a small family of farmers. Adam and I are newly wedded after building the Small Family Farm for 5 seasons together. After 5 years of pulling thread-like weeds out of an ocean-like field and safely planting baby-like plants into a Chicago-like landscape and harvesting meager-like crops from our endless-like efforts we decided that there were no more knots left to tie. We had ‘bought the farm’ and we were in it for the long haul. We took our calloused hands and locked them together. From the day that we moved onto this farm, I’m not really so sure that either of us knew quite how much work it was going to be or how much we were going to love it. It sometimes feels like we were meant to be here doing this together and as though there are forces beyond us that keep us here.
Adam and I (Jillian) also have a good ‘wife’, we like to joke; she would be my 55 year old mother. My mother, Momma Jane they like to call her, is the best farm wife a young farm couple could ever ask for. Adam and I are workaholics who take better care of our chickens, greenhouse and machinery than we do our own bodies most days. Come summer time the laundry would pile up, the grass would grow long in the yard and the phone may never get answered if it wasn’t for Momma Jane. When Adam and I come stumbling into the farm house on a mid-June night with our hair awry and our dirty work jeans stained brown at dark there is always a warm supper waiting for us, a clean pile of laundry on the edge of the bed and the fresh smell of clean cut grass in the yard. In all honest truth, we would not be where we are today without the touch of Momma Jane.
But while Momma Jane is working on building her own house 500 feet away from ours, we are working on starting our own family. You may know me as the fierce, independent and brave young pioneer woman, but I am a woman after all and the maternal pull has finally won me to her side. Adam and I are expecting our first child on December 3rd of this year. This season will be transformational for this small family in more ways than one. We are very excited about the new life ahead of us to care for and nurture. We suspect that nurturing life will come naturally to us as we spend most of our time nurturing life along already.
It takes more than just the Small Family trio to make this ship sail, however. Because of our new expected arrival and the increased challenge of the season we decided to hire our first full time worker. Adrianne Orso spills her river of sweat into our 7 acres of vegetables also. She’s my right hand woman every day of the week and I give thanks for her level of passion and commitment to this work every day. Adrianne and I also work with over 13 worker-shares who come out to the farm each week on a routine schedule and invest 3 hard-working hours of their lives into our food-producing landscape in exchange for their CSA share. We absolutely LOVE our worker shares, value their commitment and greatly appreciate their help!
It takes a village to raise a small family farm. You are an integral part of this village and we thank you for your support! We thank you for your investment of faith and trust and hope in clean food, locally supported economies, and ultimately in bowed heads at a dinner table giving thanks for family and farmers and really, really good food.
Sooo....What's in the Box???
Asparagus- We do actually buy this asparagus from an organic neighboring farm of ours. It simply is not spring without Asparagus! Store Asparagus in your fridge standing up in a bowl of water, it will suck up water through the bottoms of its stems and remain hydrated.
Radish- Most members received french breakfast radishes which are longer shaped and are white on the bottom and red on the top. Towards the end of the harvest we picked our last 20 bunches or so out of the Cherry Bell Radish section which are rounder and bright red.
Lettuce- The leaves are so tender and they rip easily when they're quite this tender. This field-grown lettuce looks amazing! I'm craving salads, how about you? Lettuce will store best in a plastic bag in the fridge to keep it from wilting. You may have received an oakleaf head of lettuce, romaine lettuce, red leaf buttercrunch, green leaf buttercrunch, or red-leaf lettuce. We harvested quite a collection of varieties!
Pac Choi- This is a form of Chinese cabbage that works great in stir fries or your favorite oriental recipes. Pac Choi is very hard to grow in the early spring as the flea beatles want to attack it an chew on it's leaves. We fooled them by growing it in the greenhouse this year. Boy, did we fool them! This stuff looks amazing! See one of Mama Jane's Recipes below.
Spinach- The first picking of the season and it is succulent as ever! I wonder what life would be like without spinach like this? Mmmmmm! No need to tell you how to store it because I know it won't last long. This spring we put a row-cover over our spinach beds to warm up the soil and speed growth on the spinach. When we finally took the row-cover off when it was starting to get hot, we had three really windy days that caused some rather considerable wind damage on the spinach. Some leaves have little white marks on them and that is from the wind. The majority look wonderful!
Shallots- Believe it or not, these were harvested last July and kept in our cold root cellar storage all winter long. They keep for an impressively long time. These are in the onion family and are a gourmet substitute for onions. Store in a cool, dark and dry place-like your fridge. Because they have been in cold storage for so long, if you transfer them to a warm countertop they will sprout!
Oregano Plant- These little plants are potted in a biodegradable Dot-Pots. You can plant the whole pot right into the ground! It's an organically certified product and actually adds organic fertilizer as it breaks down. We don't supply you with any perennial herbs throughout the summer, so we figured you could plant one of of your own. Oregano will slowly spread over the years and come back year after year. It is winter hardy so you don't need to dig it up and bring it in for it to survive the winter outside.