Small Family Farm CSA

We Dig Vegetables

 

August Fifth

To some people a bunch of kale is just a bunch of kale.  A bag of green beans is a bag of green beans and the meaning ends there.  A head of lettuce is a head of lettuce.  Tomato-Tomáto.  Potato-Potáto.  Right?  Well…maybe not.kathyThere's Kathy sporting her awesome Small Family Farm Worker Share T-shirt on a harvest morning. We're finishing up the collard harvest here.

Recognizing the difference maybe be subtle at first like learning to detect the sweetness in a head of cauliflower.  Cauliflower is not sweet like a doughnut.  Celery is not sweet like a candy bar.  Carrots are not sweet like soda pop.  Training your pallet to taste the difference between a vine-ripened, locally grown tomato and an off-season tomato ripened by ethylene gas in the back of a semi and shipped 1500 miles across the country tastes different, and there simply is no argument to be had about that.  

The differences between the vegetables in your CSA box are also visible.  Some of these vegetables are shaped differently.  The celery might be darker in green color, the cauliflower may not always be as snow white, the peppers may be a little more free-form and the dill might be starting to flower.  I have seen prejudices with vegetables that make me sad.  But I remember that change is not always easy for any of us.  It seems to be human nature to desire continuity, consistency, and familiarity with much comfort derived from regularity.  Unfortunately for us all, the standards in appearances have been set too high. 

I feel encouraged by the CSA member who signs up for a CSA share and goes out on a limb to try something new.  I feel inspired by the CSA member who renews their membership a second year even though the first season was challenging for them, and I feel down right joyful for the person who learns to love and appreciate new vegetables that previously had been un-noticed.  The returning members who learn to incorporate more greens, cucumbers, celery and other alkalizing vegetables into their diet after previously overlooking them on the market tables.

The differences between grocery store vegetables and the vegetables found in your CSA box don’t end with taste, shape and color.  Their smells are even stronger.  This morning we were sniffing melons to determine ripeness.  We were harvesting Dill and appreciating the pungency and even the garlic and onions smell like the fresh, organic earth they have just been uprooted from.  I believe that learning to intuit the difference with our senses in our fresh produce at the very least and not letting the price tags on the Walmart, Kwik Trip and Woodmans price-rails determine what we eat this week can drastically improve our health.  Look for the cheapest price in gas, sure, but not in your food. 

I will even take it a step further to argue the point of an emotional, moral or spiritual difference if you will between our vegetables and vegetables shipped in from Califlornia or otherwise.  This food is handled by people who really love their work.  The soil it was grown in was worked by people who care about soil health.  These vegetables and this farm are the product of one small community of people who taste, see, smell and believe in a really big difference between locally grown, organic vegetables and supermarket vegetables. 

Sooo...What's in the box????

Honeydew Melon-  This is a melon variety called Diplomat.  It has a greenish-yellowish outer rind color but has a green flesh when fully ripe.  These melons will ripen off the vine a little.  If your outer rind looks a little green-ish, you could let it sit on the counter for a day or two before cutting into it.  They are delicious even if the rind is somewhat green, so is the flesh!  

IMG_0877Our really amazing Friday morning Worker Share crew picking pickling cucumbers.

Celery-  Wow, what amazing heads of celery!  This is the best celery this farm has ever grown!  Local celery is a little more fiberous and has a little stronger celery flavor when compared to California celery, but you've got to give us a little credit here.  Celery is hard to grow, folks!  It has high water and calcium needs.  We're figuring out how to grow this tricky crop, and watering it more frequently is key!  We love how crunchy and swee it is!

Broccoli-  Such beautiful heads of broccoli this week!  Sadly this will likely be the final giving of broccoli until our Fall Successions of broccoli come on again in another 5 weeks or so.  Get your broccoli love in!

Slicing Cucumbers-  Four to 5 Slicing cukes per member this week.  We just finished harvesting from our first succession of cucumbers and started harvesting fresh cucumbers from a second succession.  Plenty more cukes on the way!  Refrigerate your cukes for the best storage in your crisper drawer. 

Picking Cucumbers-  Each member received about 8 picking cukes.  These little guys are for making refrigerator pickles.  See our recipe below!

Summer Squash, Zucchini, Patty Pans-  The squash plants are waning in production a little in the heat of the summer here.  About 2 per member this week.  So nice to have a little squash each week to add to your summer cooking!

Garlic-  A nice bulb of German Giant garlic for everyone again this week.  This garlic is not completely cured down just yet.  Leave it on your countertop for a couple more weeks if you don't think you'll get to eating it right away.  Or just use it as it is!  

Hungarian Hot Wax Pepper-  This is the longer, lime-green colored hot pepper.  Hungarian Hot Wax are also called "bananna peppers".  Despite it's big name, these are among the most mild of all hot peppers.  Technically they are considered a hot pepper, but they are not usually hot.  Although sometimes they are!  

Jalapeno Pepper-  These are the smaller of the two hot peppers.  The jalapenos are a darker green hot pepper with a bit more kick than the Hungarian Hot wax.  

Eggplant-  You may have received a standard looking eggplant or you may have gotten one of the longer, skinnier Japanese eggplants.  Both have their up sides!  I am an eggplant convert.  I never used to know what to do with one, but after years of talking about delicious eggplant recipes in the fields with our helpers, I am inspired and no longer have fear of cooking with it.  Do not be afraid!  Every vegetable is delicious if you find the right recipe for it and have an open mind! 

Sweet Pepper-  We did our very first sweet pepper harvest of the season this week.  We harvested about 200 sweet pepper and packed 300 boxes, so not everyone received a sweet pepper, sadly.  Plenty more peppers coming into season, it won't be long before everyone is getting several!  We like to pick our sweet peppers with color.  Some are red, yellow and orange.  Some varieties are the carmen varieties that are sweet, but grow long and slender and shouldn't be mistaken for a hot pepper.  

White Onion-  A white onion for all, freshly plucked from the good earth!

Green Beans-  A hefty 1.10 lb bag for everyone this week.  We had a blast harvesting these little guys.  I love to snack on them raw during harvesting.  

Dill-  These dill bunches were starting to flower and the flowers are nice to add to your pickling jars for flavor and estetics.  

Lettuce-  Either a red or green leaf head of lettuce for everyone this week!  Stores best in a plastic bag in the fridge.  IMG_0886Onion harvest is underway. Here is Farmer Adam showing off some of the goods!

Collard Greens-  A smaller bunch of collard greens this week.  The collard plants were showing some flea-bettle damage, so we really had to toss most of the leaves and just harvest the centers of the plants to get nice looking bunches, but we thought it was time to give collards again.  

Tomato or Cherry Tomato-  Tomato production is starting to pick up.  Next week we're planning to give a nice quantity to everyone!  You may have received a slicing tomato, a few roma tomatoes, or a small container of sun-gold cherry tomatoes.  The sun gold cherry tomatoes are orange when ripe.  We pick our tomatoes with a blush, so let your tomatoes sit on the counter for a day or two to let them ripen if it is on the unripe side.  They will still have a wonderful flavor if you don't put them in the fridge.  We really only put our tomatoes in the fridge if they are in danger of becoming over-ripe and if you need to buy yourself a little more time before you eat it.  

NEW!  Adam's Best Guess for Next Week!  

Disclaimer:  This is only our best guess from what we see up and coming from field walks.  Next week's actual box may look slightly different from this projection.  
 

Recipes-

Honey Lemon Refirgerator Pickles

Toasted Garlic Green Beans

Collard Greens and White Bean Quesadillas

Greek Yogurt Cucumber Sauce (great served with the Eggplant Recipe below;)

Crispy Fried Eggplant Bengali Style

July Twenty-Nineth

We are at a shifting point in the season now.  The weather is in the upper 80’s and 90’s, the calendar soon turns over to August and the first of the tomatoes are plucked from the vines.  The sweet corn is tasseling, the peppers are anxiously awaiting their first blush and the green beans are more than three inches long.  We are nearly at our half-way point in the Summer Share delivery cycle.  IMG_0828Jillian and Adam pause for a quick snapshot during red cabbage harvest.

Our Spring and Summer broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage plantings are about over.  Crops like green onions, kohlrabi, peas, strawberries and scapes become a faint memory while we happily skip our way into green bean, melon, sweet corn, sweet pepper, eggplant and tomato season.  These are the crops you sort of wish that you could receive every week for the full 20 Weeks of the Summer Share CSA season, but only really last for a sweet, hot bit.  Soon we will be able to harvest potatoes while continuing with celery, beets, carrots, onions, garlic, summer squashes and cucumbers.  Our heat-loving plants will thrive until the days get shorter, frost threatens and temperatures start dropping (but let’s not think about that just yet;). 

I still find it refreshing how the summer heat gives us watery crops that help cool us down, thin our blood and clean us out.  I almost find it a little humorous how nature gives us hot peppers and acidic tomatoes in the heat of the summer.  Perhaps this is the time of year we can tolerate these crops best while we’re moving and sweating the most.  Nothing makes 87 degrees feel colder than biting into a jalapeno!  And in the season where we seem to be the most busy with the least time to cook, snacks like cucumbers, carrots, and celery sticks are a plenty! 

When I go off into a fantasyland about myself, I live on some high mountaintop where the air is cool and dry and the breezes are many.  I live in a little cabin amidst a pine forest eating fruits and meat and drinking spring water.  Truthfully, what keeps me here living in the Midwest, tolerating these excruciating summers with temperatures reaching to 90 degrees, is the tomatoes.  I live for tomato (okay and sweet red pepper) season on this farm.  I feel a sense of urgency to eat, freeze, dry and can as many tomatoes in peak tomato season as my little French/German/Irish  heart can handle.  I feel so excited and honored to be eating our way through a peak Midwestern growing season with you.  Not quite a mountaintop, but a damn good substitute. 

Sooo...What's in the Box???

Red Cabbage-  We were very happy with the size of these red cabbages.  Red cabbages usually do not grow very large.  They are normally a very tight, compact little head.  Shave red cabbage thinly into salads or have fun with it in a dish featuring red cabbage.  IMG_0817Adam and Jillian harvesting red cabbage.

Celery-  Wow, what amazing heads of celery!  This is the best celery this farm has ever grown!  Local celery is a little more fiberous and has a little stronger celery flavor when compared to California celery, but you've got to give us a little credit here.  Celery is hard to grow, folks!  It has high water and calcium needs.  We're figuring out how to grow this tricky crop, and watering it more frequently is key!  

Green Top Beets-  Green top means that the greens are still on top.  You can cook with your beet greens like you would cook with swiss chard or spinach.  If you plan to keep your beets, remove the tops and the roots will store for months in the fridge!  Our kids love beets because they're sweet!  

White Onion-  Because what would a CSA box be without an oinon?  

Cucumber x 5-  Another generous week with cucumbers.  You may have received a standard green slicing cuke and/or some white cucumbers.  The white cukes were a new variety that we tried this year for fun.  We learned that we really need to peel the white cukes before eating them because we didn't love the flavor of the skin.  We're also picking our cucumbers a little younger this year than we have in previous years.  Cucumbers keep better when they are more rounded out or more bloated looking, but we found that the seeds get too big and their flavor isn't as nice.  The down-side to picking them younger is that they don't seem to keep as long.  

Lacinato Kale-  Huge and amazing bunches of Lacinato kale!  What a fantastic kale year!  

Eggplant-  You may have received a standard looking eggplant or you may have gotten one of the longer, skinnier Japanese eggplants.  Both have their up sides!  I am an eggplant convert.  I never used to know what to do with one, but after years of talking about delicious eggplant recipes in the fields with our helpers, I am inspired and no longer have fear of cooking with it.  Do not be afraid!  Every vegetable is delicious if you find the right recipe for it and have an open mind!  

Jalapeno Pepper-  One more of these hot babies.  Pizza.  

Lettuce-  One small head of lettuce for everyone this week.  We've been noticing quite a bit more deer damage on our lettuce crops this year than we have ever noticed in previous years.  We have lost over half of our lettuce plantings this summer.  We're going to start taking them smaller before they're all eaten up!  

Summer Squash, Zucchini, Patty Pan-  Four items per member this week.  Our little family is having no problems at all using up the summer squashes.  We're grilling them, making soup with them, putting them on pizza (we make home-made pizza a lot;)  and putting them into fritattas.  The possibilities are endless with summer squashes!IMG_0833Wow! Week 9 Bounty!

Broccoli x 2 or Broccoli + Cauliflower-  We are hoping for one more week of broccoli.  Next week will likely be our final giving of broccoli and cauliflower until our fall pantings come on.  Enjoy the last of our broccoli and cauliflower recipes while you have them!  

Sweet Basil-  Beautiful bunches of sweet basil!  Basil does not like to be refrigerated!  The best way to keep basil is to put it in a cup of water like you would with fresh cut flowers.   It will keep best at room temperature like that.  It is still a fresh cut herb and basil is highly perishable, so we recommend using it up asap!  Pizza?  Pesto?  Pasta?

NEW!  Adam's Best Guess for Next Week!  

Disclaimer:  This is only our best guess from what we see up and coming from field walks.  Next week's actual box may look slightly different from this projection.  
Broccoli, Red Cabbage, Beets, Green Beans, Pickling Cukes, slicing cukes, summer squash, zucchini, patty pan, celery, onion, tomatoes, dill, collards, peppers?, lettuce?

Recipes

The dinner table is fine place to be thankful.  In our ever-quickening lives with so much to do, so much to remember, and so many commitments to meet, it is a short and brief pause in our day that gives us an opportunity to be present with the ones we love the most.  The dinner table is our daily gift of peace and center and home to share a meal with the person or people we value most in our lives.  In the clearing of the mail and the art projects and the remnants of our day off of the table, we make room for each other and a meal prepared with love.DSCN0749Waiting on all of these beautiful peppers to start turning colors!

In our home, mealtime is the glue that keeps us together.  There is argueably no busier home than a farm family’s home in peak season.  The days are so long and the chores are so many that we could easily eat on the run or snack heavily to keep our bodies fuled, but no matter the craziness of the day, I feel very protective of the dinner table.  I defend the family meal with the loyalty of family itself.  No matter what, everyone comes into to eat together for dinner. 

At our house we give thanks.  We take turns saying something that we’re thankful for before we begin eating.  Sometimes it is as simple as the rain or a nice carrot harvest or the food in front of us, and sometimes it is for eachother and for our health, but there is always something to be thankful for.  I imagine every family has their prayer or their moment of silence or a pause of some kind before their meal and I see great value in this. 

I would also say that people who show gratitude are probably happier people.  Simply taking a moment to awknowledge a person or a job or the beautifully prepared food in front of you will help you count your blessings as a practice making you a more present, thankful and content person to be around.  I’m feeling especially joyful this time of year when you would expect it least from me at the peak of the season with shortening nights of sleep and lengthening lists of things to do.  But who wouldn’t be extatic at the promise of ripening tomatoes on the vine?  Wouldn’t it bring an extra bounce to your step knowing that sweet corn and cantelope are soon to come into season?  Doesn’t the sound of red, sweet peppers just make you giddy?

I really wish I could just stand in the kitchen and cook all day.  I wish I could handle these fresh vegetables all day in the kitchen and compliment their flavors with herbs and flame and oils and nuts and locally raised meats.  Just cooking brings me joy, much less feeding my family the fruits of our labors.  And in sitting down together amidst the chaos of our lives I find a calmness at supper that fills something more than my belly, but I think also my heart.  Consuming these vegetables and watching our children consume them bring me wholesome gratitude and unbounding happiness that justifies, reinforces and strengthens our decision to become farmers. 

Sooo...What's in the Box???IMG_0725Amy and Kelsey sporting Fennel Frawns after Fennel Harvest

Broccoli x2-  Two beautiful heads of broccoli for all!  We're still so amazed at how nice our summer broccoli is looking at peak season.  The cool nights are allowing them to grow nice and big out there and reducing the stress on them.

Cauliflower-  Nice tight heads of white globes.

Celery-  We love growing celery!  Celery is a notoriously difficult crop to grow with it's high water needs.  Local celery usually has a stronger celery flavor, a little more fiberous with more of the greens still attached.  This is a difficult vegetable to compare to California grown celery that is paler in color with a higher water content.  Use your local celery for soups, salads, stocks or for eating fresh with ants on a log;)  You can also add some to your egg salad, tuna salad casseroles or whatever you're making!

Cucumbers-  A hefty 5 cucumbers per member this week!  We're expecting a much smaller cucumber giving next week.  Most of our cucumbers came in one big flush these last couple weeks, we're expecting them to pick up again and we also have another succession of cucumbers coming up!  Make cucumber salad!

Green Top Carrots-  The carrots this week have their greens still attached!  You know a carrot is fresh when it still has it's greens attached.  You can cook with your carrot greens like you would parsley.  Parsley and carrots are in the same family.  The umbeliffera family that also includes dill, fennel, celery and parsnips.  It's fun to learn the relatives of your favorite vegetables!  

Zucchini, Summer Squash and Patty Pans-  Four nice squash per member this week!  One of our members told us about the Food Networks "50 Zucchini Recipes" linked below if you're looking for fresh ideas!

Fennel-  A nice fennel for everyone this week.  We have a really wonderful recipe for cream of Broccoli Fennel Soup recipe listed below, one of our favorites!

Cilantro-  For the cilantro lovers out there, this is for you!  We harvested cilantro on Monday morning after plenty of rain over the weekend.  Cilantro really doesn't like to be harvested wet because the leaves get slimy.  Usually we don't wash cilantro because it doesn't like to get wet, but we did have to wash it this week because it was so muddy at harvest.  Try to use your cilantro quickly if you can!  

Curly Green Kale-  The green curly kale is looking stunning as ever.  Have you found your favorite Kale recipe yet?

Lettuce-  One head of either red or green leaf lettuce.  This is another vegetable that we are so thrilled to still have in the peak of the summer like this.  Usually lettuce gets tougher and bitter in the summer heat, but not this year!  So nice to still have greens in late July!

Green Onions-  Another nice bunch of scallions for your everyday cooking!IMG_0730Green onions and their beautiful greens freshly cut!

Hungarian Hot Wax Pepper-  This is the longer, lime-green colored hot pepper.  Hungarian Hot Wax are also called "bananna peppers".  Despite it's big name, these are among the most mild of all hot peppers.  Technically they are considered a hot pepper, but they are not usually hot.  Although sometimes they are!  

Jalapeno Pepper-  These are the smaller of the two hot pepper.  The jalapenos are a darker green hot pepper with a bit more kick than the Hungarian Hot wax.  

Japanese Eggplant-  We harvested 200 Japanese Eggplants and we pack 300 boxes, so cross your fingers and hope you get one if you were hoping you would!  

NEW!  Adam's Best Guess for Next Week!  

Disclaimer:  This is only our best guess from what we see up and coming from field walks.  Next week's actual box may look slightly different from this projection.
Broccoli or Cauliflower, red cabbage, celery, beets, garlic, swiss chard, lettuce, basil, summer squash, zucchini, patty pans, cucumbers, jalapeno pepper

Recipes- 

50 Zucchini Recipes!  (Food Network)

July Fifteenth

Even with plenty of rain on the farm this summer (so far), there comes a time each season when irrigation becomes an un-avoidable job.  Farmer Adam is our irrigation specialist.  Last Fall he advocated to the board (me) that our farm was due for advances in our irrigation set up. Onion_BedsThe Onion Beds

Our vegetable fields are across the road from the farm buildings and the well on our farm.  Since the water was on one side of the road and the vegetables were on the other side of the road, we were running garden hoses across the road to slowly fill tanks at a 6gpm (gallons per minute) rate to pump water out of.  The drought of 2012 got the gears in our brains turning and reminded us that not every year will be like the one we’re having now with plenty of rain.  We also were learning that some of the crops we plant in plastic mulch weren’t getting rain to the plant’s roots when it rained.  We needed to get water into drip-line hose underneath the plastic to get water to the plant’s root system. 

We considered digging an irrigation water well but were frightened away from this endeavor by the cost of such a project.  Farmer Adam discovered that we could “upgrade” our well with a larger pump capable of nearly tripling the amount of water we had access to in one time frame.  We are now able to pump 20 gallons per minute through a 1 ¼ inch line coming up from the well.  We also got permission from our Township to dig a waterline underneath the road so that we now have a spigot for filling our tanks on the other side of the road (no more garden hoses;). 

While I really tried to get Adam to write this Newsletter, I’m going to go on even further about something I know very little about.  I know that Farmer Adam is able to water our entire onion field (or 1/3 acre) in about two hours.  That is ten beds of onions that are 250 feet long with two lines of drip tape per bed.  This is an example of a project that used to take several evenings of moving hoses around, waiting for tanks to fill and hoping the cars driving over the road didn’t pop holes in our garden hose.  Now we simply have more water.  A 6-8 hour project turned into a low-stress 2-hour project. 

Each winter we use the “off season” to look at where some of our major in-efficiencies were.  We think about the ways we can re-invest in the farm and improve upon the projects that take the most amount of time and labor.  Upgrading our well from a 1.5 to 5 hp pump and putting a spigot across the road became a worthy investment very quickly.  We feel lucky that we have had regular rain so far this season as this project has just finally come to a close.  Adam eagerly irrigated the celery and onions promptly once the project was complete.  Now we only need to get our yard cleaned up after all of this digging that has been going on!   

Sooo...What's in the Box???

Kohlrabi-  A white or purple kohlrabi for everyone this week.  
Broccoli or Cauliflower-  We're so pleased that the broccoli and cauliflower are keeping so well in the field, even with the summer, July heat.  We've never had such nice summer brassicas before!  

Carrots-  Yeah, finally the carrots are here!  You know a carrot is fresh if the greens are still on it.  Carrot greens are like parsley.  They can be used in stock or juicing with your carrots as well if you're a bit more cautious of using them like parsley.  

Peas-  A smaller giving of .27lbs of peas per member this week.  There were more snow peas mixed in with the snap peas this week.  Snow peas are also an edible pod.  Use them in stir fry, snacking, with dip or cut up on salads.  Yum!  This will the final giving of peas for the year.  

Cucumbers-  What?  Cucumbers sure hit with a bang this year!  The first Cuke giving of the year and we're sending 6 per member!  You should have received some of the standard green cukes and also some of the white cukes.  

Zucchini, Yellow Straight Neck and/or Patty Pan Squash-  A steady and strong squash week.  4-5 squash per member this week.  Summer Squashes are so versatile in their uses.  They can be used to make sweet deserts or in savory dishes for dinner.  They are mostly water and don't have a lot of flavor on their own, they can be seasoned however you like and prepared 100 different ways!  Check out a few on our recipes below.  You can always search the recipe section of our website for archived recipes for summer squash and zucchini as well.  

Swiss Chard-  A hefty helping of this succulet summer green.  The greens on the swiss chard are looking so lovely this year!  Week_7_2015This Week's Offerings

Lettuce x 2-  Two very nice sized heads of lettuce for everyone this week.  We tried to give everyone a red and green lettuce this week.  

Strawberry Pints-  This is the final giving of strawberries for the year, sadly.  Strawberries are a very time-consuming harvest so we are feeling a bit releived that they are on their way out.  Remember that strawberries are highly perishable, especially if they have gotten wet.  We're hoping these berries travle well even after being harvested during a wet week.  Eat them up quick!

Green Onions-  A staple in every dish.  Use your green onions all the way up to the tip in every dish!

NEW!  Adam's Best Guess for Next Week!  

Disclaimer:  This is only our best guess from what we see up and coming from field walks.  Next week's actual box may look slightly different from this projection.
Celery, Carrots, Lettuce, bunching onions, garlic, broccoli/cauliflower, cucumbers, zucchini, summer squash, patty pan, kale, and maybe red cabbage?

Recipes

July Eighth

This is our tenth season running our CSA, filing schedule F and really making a go for it as farmers.  We’ve survived two seasons with serious droughts and two seasons with floods.  No season has been quite like this one as of yet.  This season has been mild, comfortable, and almost text book perfect.  Farmers really love to complain about things, especially if there is too much rain or not enough rain.  But this year…terrific. potato_fieldCultivating the potato field. THe potatoes are flowering now and looking beautiful!

Probably I shouldn’t say these words just yet.  Maybe I’m jinxing the season now and next week we’ll get hammered with golf-ball sized hail.  The season is far from over and there is still plenty of time for flood or drought, but I’m counting my blessings here.  The rains have been wonderfully timed averaging about 1 inch per week which is exactly what we want.  There have been breezy days with sunshine and heat, but it hasn’t been extreme.  Even the insect pressure this year has been mild with some of our annual pests such as the flea beetle, cabbage looper and the cucumber beetle.  We are still seeing these pest, but in more manageable numbers. 

This farm grows over 60 different varieties of vegetables and it is difficult to raise 60 different things and do it all well each year.  Every crop has its temperament and its special needs.  We are seeing some disease on our brassicas and deer damage on some of our lettuce crops.  All the rain is also helping the weeds grow.  The sweet potato slips arrived late and potato plant germination this year was a little poor, but since I’m counting my blessings here, all things considered, the fields looks amazing. 

Farming is inherently a very risky business.  It is interesting that we’ve chosen farming as a vocation since Adam and I are both the type of people to play on the safe side.  We’re not exactly the risk-taking kind when it comes to the health and safety of our family, but for some reason, year after year, we play our cards in the game of farming and we’re learning to play them wisely.  We are taking precautions against drought by upgrading our well so we have the capacity to irrigate in the event of drought.  We do what little we can to protect the farm from erosion in the event of a flood by contouring, seeding clover in driveways and mulching on what crops we can. 

This season has also been pronounced in that we have had plenty of really great helpers on the farm.  We have returning worker shares and employees who are competent and work enthusiastically and joyfully.  We have returning CSA members in greater numbers who see the value in knowing their farmers and where their food comes from and how it was grown.  The inherent beauty of the CSA model is such that we are sharing the risks and the blessings of the season together.  We are sharing the experience of the season and are eating together our way through a relationship of trust and transparency and really good food.  

Sooo...What's in the Box???

Green Cabbage-  Another fine head of green cabbage.  Our Spring variety of green cabbage is called Quickstart which is a more tender salad-type cabbage.  The heads aren't as compact as a storage type variety, but are extra crunchy and make great for eating raw in coleslaw or cooking too if you prefer to use it that way.  

White Kohlrabi-  These kohlrabis are a very nice size and are still very tender on the inside.  Kohlrabi makes for nice veggie snack sticks if you peel off the outer layer and cut the inside up into dip sticks and eat with a home-made veggie dip.  

Cauliflower-  Very nice heads of cauliflower for everyone this week.  Cauliflower is a notoriously difficult crop to grow, especially in the Spring and Summer as it really does not tolerate heat very well.  We have been very happy with the size and volume of cauliflowers we have been harvesting this year.  They have a nice sweet flavor to them we noticed.  These are also nice if broken into floretts and dipped in that Sour Cream Veggie Dip.  

Zucchini and Summer Squash and Patty Pans-  Yep, it's starting.  One of our worker shares, Kathy, says that since now it's zucchini season, it's time to lock your car doors.  You never know when someone is going to stick a bag of zucchini in there.  In case you don't have a lot of gardening experience, zucchini is a very prolific plant that is very generous with its fruits.  You can expect to find plenty more zucchini, summer squash and patty pans in the next several CSA boxes.  Dig up your favorite recipes!  

Green onions-  Because we can all use onions every day.  

Peas-  Peas are a very time-consuming harvest, so it is very impressive that we were able to give a .79lb bag of peas to 300 people.  Imagine how long it takes to pick 237lbs of peas.  That's a lot of little hands a lot of hours and a lot of silly conversation going on while picking.  Enjoy these peas, we put a lot of love into picking them for you!  

Green Top Beets-  We call them "green top" because they come with their greens still growing on top of them.  The beet greens can be used in cooking a lot like swiss chard.  Beets are in the same family as swiss chard.  They will keep best in a plastic bag in the fridge.  green_tomatoesGreen tomatoes hanging on the vines. It will be another 3 or 4 weeks before we have tomatoes.

Red Curly Kale-  A hefty bunch of red curly kale for everyone.  These red kale bunches would make great kale chips.  Kale keeps best in a plastic bag in the fridge.  

Lettuce-  Either a red leaf or green leaf heat of lettuce for everyone this week.  Keeps best in a plastic bag in the fridge.  

Garlic Scapes-  Use the part of the scape up until the light yellow nodule.  Everything below the nodule is tender and delicious! Use garlic scapes anywhere that you would normally use garlic.  The flavor is less potent than garlic, so you can feel free to use more by volume than you would use for garlic.  

Strawberries-  One quart of flavor-bursting strawberries for everyone this week!  Strawberries are extremely perishable.  They don't keep well, so we recommend eating them up as soon as possible.  

NEW!  Adam's Best Guess for Next Week!  

Disclaimer:  This is only our best guess from what we see up and coming from field walks.  Next week's actual box may look slightly different from this projection.
Garlic Scapes, Peas, Lettuce x2, Cucumbers, summer squash, zucchini, kohlrabi, broccoli or cauliflower, carrots, swiss chard, strawberries, bunching onions.  

Recipes

Massaged Kale Saladnwith Mango, Avocado and Hazelnuts (or sub the mango with whatever fruit you have in the kitchen such as apples, peaches or strawberries)