Small Family Farm CSA

We Dig Vegetables

 

October Fifth

Saving Seed

Do you ever wonder where a farm like ours gets seeds?  Where do they come from, what companies sell them?  Are they organic?  How do we choose which crops and varieties of each crop to grow?  Selecting seeds is a process and it takes up a couple weeks our time in the winter carefully choosing varieties, getting the orders placed and logged into our spreadsheets.   I still find it to be amazing that we can sit in the comfort our living room in January and pick and choose which varieites to grow.  The little packages come in the mail one by one and so much potential comes from these little envelopes that come in the mail.DSC 0139

There are just a few seeds that we do save on the farm.  We save our own garlic, shallot and a third of our potato seed.  We have been growing and saving our own garlic seed for over 11 years.  In 2005 I was working for Adam’s brother and took payment for part of my work in a few 5 and 10lb bags of garlic seed.  I still remember the moment when I took the sacks of seeds into my arms.  I remember the weight of them.  It was like taking responsibility for a child.  Now I had to do something with those seeds and take care of them. 

We primarily grow 5 basic varieties of garlic seed now.  Three of those varieites have been with us since the start of the farm.  Armenian, German White and Asian Tempest are the hardy hardneck northern varieties that we have kept with us since the beginning.  Year after year these varieties have proven themselves to us, staying true to their genes and yielding consistently beautiful garlic.  We have eliminated a couple different varieties of garlic and have taken on a couple new ones as well.  We also grow Russian Giant and Metechi that are a Marble Purple Stripe. 

Saving your own seed feels empowering.  It is like a renewable resource on our farm comparable to solar energy or collecting rain water or storing vegetables in a root cellar.  It feels sustainable.  There are years of Small Family Farm history now woven into these seeds.  There are stories that we now have associated with each variety.  We have begun to know their moods, flavors, growing patterns, and little quirky things about each variety that we either love or tolerate.  Some people even say that with each year you save your own seed on your farm, that seed variety improves itself to your soil type and your latitude on the globe. 

We also happen to really love eating garlic.  Garlic is loaded in anti-oxidants, is good for boosting your immunity and has a long list of medicinal properties and health benefits.  It is a strikingly attractive vegetable, stores very well and is possibly the least perishable crop we grow.  Garlic is an extremely time consuming crop to cultivate with many steps throughout the year in the growing process that are crucial and must be done in a timely way.  This is why when you see it in stores it has a high price per pound.  Garlic is planted in the Fall and we plan to begin planting garlic around the end of October.  

We plan to give garlic again the last two weeks of Summer Share deliveries.  It will also be given in 1lb bags in the fall shares.  We are honored to share this specialty crop with you.  Thank you for being part of the story.

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

Butterkin Squash-  These are the beautiful, creamy yellowish/orange-ish colored squash at the bottom of your box.  Butterkins are a new variety of butternut are a wonderfully smooth and creamy squash with a dark orange flesh.  Cut them in half, scoop the seeds out and lay the squash cut-side down in a 9x13 pan with about a half inch of water at the bottom of the pan.  Bake them for about an hour at 350.  After one hour, you will be able to scoop out all of the yellow/orange flesh.

Red Potatoes-  3lbs of red potatoes per member this week.  While we were able to get these guys dug with the bed lifting machine, the soil was still terrifically muddy and we had a hard time getting all of the mud off of them.  You’ll have a little cleaning project ahead of you before you cook these.  Most of them had really good size and consistency.  They say that dirty potatoes keep better than clean ones, so we justify not washing these guys!

Yellow Onions-  A yellow onions to keep your home smelling like a home!  They’re all cured down by now and we’ll continue to shell them out until then end of the season!

Jalapeno Pepper-  One of these little guys per box.  Jalapenos turn red as they ‘ripen’ near the end of the growing season.  We’re nearing the end of the hot pepper season, possibly one more week still to go on these guys.  You may have received a red Jalapeno.

Sweet Green, Yellow, Orange or Red Bell Peppers-  Five bell peppers per member this week.  You may have received red, orange, yellow or green peppers this week. We are also nearing the end of the sweet pepper season.  We’ll continue to pick them as long as the frost holds off.  We started picking them a little more aggressively, even if their color hadn’t turned completely.  They have slowed down considerably with the amount that we are getting.  Enjoy them while they last!  Hopefully one more week to go on these guys!

Lunchbox Sweet Peppers-  Everyone received about 1-2 of these little, small sweet peppers that could be mistaken for a hot pepper, but they are not hot.  They usually come in red, yellow and orange colors.  We grew these little guys last year for the first time and totally fell in love with them!  Eat these for a snack raw, or cook with them like you would any other sweet bell pepper.DSC 0141

Brussels Sprouts-  A very fun fall vegetable!  We leave the Brussels sprouts on the stalk because it’s so much less work for us to not have to pick them all off for you.  Plus, it’s fun for you to see how they grow!  We worried that we had a near crop failure on the Brussels this year.  So very many of them had rotten or black sprouts at the bottom of the plants that we had to snap off.  We tried very hard to clean these up for you as best as we could, but there are still sprouts with some small black freckling.  This has everything to do with so much moisture this year.  You’ll have to sit with a paring knife and peel away a couple of the outer layers on some of these before you eat them.  We like to just steam them and then toss them with butter, but I have seen some wonderful recipes where they are roasted in the oven coated in a little oil and salt.  Try whatever sounds good to you!

Red Beets-  Approx 1 lb of red beets per member this week.  They varied in size quite a bit, so you may have received just a couple large beets, or a handful of small to medium ones.

Green Curly or Red Curly Kale- One bunch of green curly kale for everyone this week to make sure you have plenty of greens in your cooking!

Broccoli and/or Cauliflower-  You may have received just one broccoli or cauliflower or you may have received two of them.  If they were smaller in size, we were able to put two in the box.  About 2/3 of the members received two pieces of either broccoli or cauliflower per box.  We recommend using up your broccoli or cauliflower as soon as possible.  These are highly perishable items and with all of the moisture this year, we were noticing that the broccoli has not been holding up as well.   

Red Leaf Lettuce-  One or two heads per member this week, depending on the size.  Lettuce keeps best in a plastic bag in the fridge to preserve moisture.

Next Week's Best Guess:   carrots, red cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, sweet potatoes, celeriac root, diakon radish, sweet bell peppers, winter squash, leeks, rutabaga

Recipes

Squash Hash with Kale and Baked Eggs

Roasted Shrimp and Broccoli

Butternut Squash Lasagna

Broccoli with Orange Sauce

Mashed Cauliflower with a Kick

October Twelfth

October Twelfth marks the 19th Summer Share delivery out of a 20-Week Summer Share delivery season.  We most certainly have not thrown in our towels yet.  There are still loads of work left to be done on this farm even after the Summer Share deliveries have ended.  While we do see the light at the end of the tunnel, we need to stay strong until the bitter end.DSC 0154

There are still potatoes to dig, sweet potatoes to lift, tomato trellising to take down, plasic to rip out of the fields and garlic to plant and mulch.  There are beds of storage carrots to dig, beets to dig and celeriac root to dig.  All of these crops mentioned need to be harvested, washed and then put into storage.  Many of these items will ship out in the Fall Shares and Thanksgiving Shares in late October into mid November. 

We are dreaming of a slower pace where we will soon enough be driven indoors due to the ground being frozen solid.  The first frost finally fell on the farm on Friday night, October 7th, in a few of the low-lying places on the farm.  We were ready for it.  It was a miracle that somehow the peppers, just a meer 50 feet higher in elevation did not get frosted on!  We were able to squeeze one last harvest off of the pepper patch this week for the Week 19 boxes.  It’s hard to remember a year where the frost waited quite this long to come to town. 

I will miss the season.  You might think I would not.  When the season ends it must feel a little like sending your grown children out into the world.  I would think a parent would feel overwhelmed with mixed feelings of sadness, pride, joy, relief, excited, hopeful and tired?  Or is tired the feeling I should own as I am still very much in the throws of raising small children and also still in the thick of harvest season. 

I will also miss the friends.  The people who come out to the farm have become some of our closest friends.  Truly.  They demonstrate such loyalty to both the farm and to Adam and I.  The worker shares, sitter-shares and the paid employees all together show up faithfuly day after day, and week after week with new grace and excitement to share.  There is such a beautiful display of community in action that I am motived by many of these people and feel less and less of a need to motivate them when they arrive.  The life experiences we share are rich and meaningful and I long for the same comradary in the winter months. 

But the earth continues to spin around the sun and the leaves fall and the children grow up.  Meals have been shared, lessons have been learned and compost happens.  We will soon be warming our toes by the fireside and flipping through seed catalogs and dreaming of the first harvest day in June with friends returned. 

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

Pie Pumpkin-  These are the bright orange little pumpkins at the bottom of your box. Pie pumpkins keep wonderfully well just sitting on your counter or in a dry, 50-60 degree room.  To cook them up, cut them in half, scoop the seeds out and lay the squash cut-side down in a 9x13 pan with about a half inch of water at the bottom of the pan.  Bake them for about an hour at 350.  After about an hour when the squash feels very soft to the touch from the skin side, you will be able to scoop out all of the flesh.DSC 0165

Sweet Potatoes-  3lbs of cured sweet potatoes per member this week.  Once these guys are dug, they need to sit in a 85 degree room with 100% humidity for about 10 days.  While we were able to get these guys dug with the bed lifting machine, the soil was still muddy and we had a hard time getting all of the mud off of them.  You’ll have a little cleaning project ahead of you before you cook these.  Most of them had really good size and consistency.  They say that dirty potatoes keep better than clean ones, so we justify not washing these guys!

Leeks-  Leeks are in the same family as onions.  You can use a leek in your cooking like you would use an onion, but they are great in soups, like potato leek soup or sautéed into any of your favorite fall dishes!  Use all of the white part all the way up the stalks. 

Jalapeno Pepper-  One of these little guys per box.  Jalapenos turn red as they ‘ripen’ near the end of the growing season.   You may have received a red Jalapeno.  This is the final jalapeno giving. 

Sweet Green, Yellow, Orange or Red Bell Peppers-  Just one last pepper of the year.  Pizza toppings?

Lunchbox Sweet Peppers-  Everyone received about 1-2 of these little, small sweet peppers that could be mistaken for a hot pepper, but they are not hot.  They usually come in red, yellow and orange colors.  We grew these little guys last year for the first time and totally fell in love with them!  Eat these for a snack raw, or cook with them like you would any other sweet bell pepper.  Some of them may be green this week.

Rutabaga-  One rutabaga per member this week.  If you’re new to cooking with this vegetable, don’t feel intimidated!  They’re wonderful if you just peel them, and then boil and mash them like a potato and toss them with plenty of butter.  Rutabaga are also wonderful cubed into a soup.  They have a very pleasant, mild flavor once cooked.  In the same family as turnips or radish or other brassicas. 

Carrots-  Approx 1 lb of carrots per member this week. 

Spinach- .33lbs of spinach per member this week.  A wonderful fall cooking green that is so very versatile in the kitchen!  We thought they were sweeter since they have been frosted on now. 

Broccoli and/or Cauliflower-  One piece per member this week.  This is the final giving of broccoli and cauliflower for the season!  We had a great run on them! 

Diakon Radish-  These are the long, white root in the box.  Diakons have a very smooth flavor with none of the spicy-ness of a spring Cherry Bell radish.  Diakons are traditionally used to make kim chi, but they are also wonderful just coined onto a salad or cut into veggie sticks and eaten with your favorite veggie dip.

Parsnips-  These are the long, white or cream-colored roots that look a little like a carrot in your box.  The parsnips are great in a roasted root vegetable dish with almost any other roots you love, or they are great sliced into a potato parsnip gratin.  Stores best in a plastic bag in the fridge and they will keep for months!

Red or Green Cabbage-  We tried very hard to give everyone a red cabbage, but we ran out of reds and moved onto the storage green cabbage.  This is likely the final cabbage of the season. 

Celeriac Root-  Yes, these win the prize for the ‘Most Unusual Vegetable’.  Celeriac Root are in the same family as celery, but they are especially cultivated so that the roots of the plants grow large instead of the stalks.  You can also use the celeriac greens in a soup for added celery flavor, but they don’t have as much of the crispness and crunchiness that celery has.  Peel your celeriac root and boil and mash it with potatoes for a wonderful celeriac mashed potatoes dish.  If you don’t intend to use it soon, cut the greens off of the root and store the root in a plastic bag in the fridge to preserve moisture.  They keep for months! 

Next Week's Best Guess:   carrots, sweet potatoes, celeriac root, diakon radish, purple top turnips, parsnips, winter squash, leeks, spinach, cherry bell radish

Recipes

Gingered Sweet Potato and Carrot Soup

Potato Leek Soup with Celeriac

Hottie Black Eyed Peas with Kale and Ginger Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Apples

Parmesaned Sweet Potato Fries

June Fifteenth

The beginning of the season returns like an old friend.  The warm air feels like an embrace and the rain feels like renewal.  I love the rhythm and structure the harvest and delivery season provides.  There are designated harvest days, designated delivery days, designated planting and weeding and catch-up days.  We even have designated laundry and family days again (well sort of). IMG 2537

My own personal schedule shifts somewhat dramatically as well.  I am a mother of two small children ages 1 and 4 and in the off season I am their Full-time mother and homemaker, while handling much of the marketing, administrative and day-to-day tasks associated with running a business, all in the interim and after bed time hours.  In many ways it feels like we make our life in the off-season and make our living during the CSA season.  I constantly, that is daily, feel torn between being there for our children and wanting to be a hard-working farmer.  As I imagine that many working parents share this same feeling, I digest it aloud with you now. 

I deeply value this time of year.  The summer months are our busiest, most fruitful and yet most challenging time of year, but I absolutely love it.  I am working in the fields every morning thanks to childcare helpers that come in early to watch our girls.  I walk out the door feeling both guilty and free.  I work hard, have fun and keep a strong pace while I’m in the fields, and I feel like I’m exactly where I am supposed to be.  When I return at lunchtime I can flip the switch and resume the mommy roll immediately after stepping in the door.  At that time I feel satisfied, guilty again, and somehow more patient and loving than I was before I left. 

In the afternoons, I am mommy again.  Depending on the tasks of the day, I may feed the chickens and water in the greenhouse with the girls by my side.  I may help in the packing shed with them.  I may even get them really excited to go and harvest something like asparagus or strawberries for as long as they can enjoy and then tolerate the task.  We may even help weed or transplant for a bit.  And there are days where we just do laundry and make dinner or make a town run together in the afternoon.  I feel guilty when I work with them (I think guilt a big part of parenting, right?) and I feel like we achieve balance again when we hit the library or Kickapoo River instead of the vegetable fields.  When we work I tell myself I am modeling work ethic and they are learning our trade.  When we play, I tell myself I am modeling balance and how to re-connect as a family. 

These newsletters won’t all be about me, I promise!  As a practice I try to refrain as much as possible to exposing too much of our personal lives.  But I think you might find it somewhat interesting, if even for one insignificant newsletter, to know some of the heart and feelings behind the farm wife who belongs to the partnership that keeps this farm alive.  

In a future newsletter sometime I’ll tell you all about Adam.  Adam is my loyal, hardworking husband who is so much more than he seems.  I am thankful for him and his incessant commitment to the farm; and his late night and early morning field walks, cultivation or pest control.  I am thankful he is farmer enough for the both of us during this tender time of our lives when our children are still so very young and small.  I am thankful he works so hard and helps to make all of this possible for you and I. 

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

Asparagus-  I have to admit, we buy the asparagus!  It comes from a friendly amish neighbor of ours, Elmber Beechy who has 18 acres of Certified Organic Asparagus.  This is the only item we ever buy from another farm in your CSA box, everythign else that you will receive this summer will be grown on our farm.  We haven't had the field space to devote to planting a couple of acres of asparagus, so we're happy to buy it from Elmer.  He and his 15 children do such a nice job, don't you think?

Herb Packs-  Every herb pack contains one sage, thyme, oregano and flat leaf parsley plant.  We suggest planting these guys outside somewhere in full sun or in cute little planter pots set either outside or in a window with excellent sunlight.  Sage, thyme and oregano are perennials and they will over-winter wherever you plant them and spread from year to year if you let them.  They will also do fine in a partial-sun area.  The basil really does need full sun to thrive.  Plant them all at least one foot away from one another in fertile soil and enjoy fresh herbs for your cooking all summer long!

Pac Choi-  Pac Choi is an Asian vegetable in the brassica family that these little, tiny bugs called flea bettles love to eat.  Flea bettle damage is very common in organic production of brassicas, but we do our humanly best to control this insect as biologically and organically as we can.  We cover our beds of pac choi with a white floating row cover called Remay, but the bugs still do a little damage to the leaves.  We think the damage is very minimal on these and they look great!  They are nice, crunchy heads that make a wonderful Asian style salad too, not quite as jumbo as they were last week.  See our recipe below!  Also keeps best in a plastic bag in the fridge to preserve moisture.

Cherry Bell Radish-  Wowzers!  These are some beautiful radishes!  They are large, but they are not woody!  Did you know you can eat radish greens?  Yep, use them in salad, stir fry or whatever creative way you can think of to incorporate more greens into your diet!  

Rhubarb-  Another nice .5 lb per member this week.  Not quite as much hail damage on the stalks this week.  We still tolerated a little more spots on the rhubarb than what we would have liked to.  But we're thrilled just to have rhubarb in the boxes this week as this is the first year we have grown and harvested our own rhubarb and had enough to offer in our CSA boxes.  We can hope for better next Spring. IMG 2521Shallots-  About a half pound of shallots per member.  These little puppies were over-wintered from last season.  Shallots are in the allium, or onion family and they are wonderful minced up and used most commonly in sauces, dressings and marrinades, but you could just use them like onions if that's easier!  These guys kept so well for us all winter because of cold storage.  If you don't think you'll use them right away, keep them in the fridge!  

Purple Kohlrabi-  Yes!  What gorgeous kohlrabis!  These are the round, purple vegetable in your box.  Be sure to peel your kohlrabi, if you are new to preparing this vegetable.  The insides of kohlrabi are crisp like an apple.  We thought these even tasted quite sweet!  They are great if cut into chip-sized pieces and eaten with your favorite veggie dip.  My dad alwasy loved to just cup them up, sprinkle them with a little salt and snack away.  The greens of your kohlrabi are also edible, use them like you would use Kale in cooking.  Kale is in the same family as kohlrabi (a brassica).  

Cilantro-  One of my favorite herbs.  We don't wash cilantro because once you get it wet, the leaves will deteriorate quite quickly.  So you might want to give it a rinse just before using it.  Cilantro is a powerful detoxifying herb.  

Alkindus Red Butterhead Lettuce-  One beautiful head of red buttercup lettuce per member this week.  Enjoy these tender buttercrunch lettuce heads that we can all enjoy in the Spring.  Once the temperatures start to get hot, we are only able to grow your standard red and green leaf lettuce varieties that are heat-tolerant so they don't bolt on us right away, but they're never quite as tender and delicious as the butterheads we enjoy in the Spring.  Have fun with em!  

Pea Shoots-  We probably planted our pea shoots a little too early this year.  The idea was to give young, tender pea plants, but these guys are looking a little more like mature plants.  The stems are a little tough, so pluck the leaves off of the stems and toss the pea leaves with your salad for a flavor that resembles actual peas!  

Green Garlic-  This is the long-stemmed veggie that looks a little like a Leek.  Green garlic is really an in-mature garlic plant that we pull up early for the first few CSA boxes.  Slice it up and use it like you would use garlic in almost anything you're preparing.  It is edible from the white tips all the way up the stalk.  Great added to almost anything you are preparing with a more mild flavor than cured garlic!  

Spinach-  A .33 lb bag of Spinach per member this week.  A slightly heavier giving than last week.  We get to enjoy wonderfully tender spinach in the Spring, as spinach is a cool-weather loving plant.  The Spinach will be missing from the boxes from here on out until it returns in the cool Fall CSA boxes.  

Next Week's Best Guess:

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.

Lettuce Head X2, Purple and White Kohlrabi, Salad Turnips, Dill, Celeriac Root, Green Garlic, Strawberries, Green Curly Kale.  Maybe?:  Summer Squash, Peas, Broccoli, bunching oinons

Recipes

Spicy Chicken Lettuce Cups-  Thanks Anna for sending this one to us!  

Kohlrabi Slaw

Rhubarb Crumb Bars 

October Nineteenth

Storybook Farm

Once upon a time, in a more dreamy, romantic and adolescent part of my life, I fantasized of having a Small Family Farm of my own.  The kind with a big garden and chickens running around and animals grazing in the pasture on the hillside.  Perhaps the seeds were planted in all of the “Old Mcdonald had a Farm” and “Mary had a little Lamb” farm-based children’s songs.  Or maybe the image was created when I was read “Charolett’s Web” or “Little Red Hen” or “Big Red Barn” as a child.  And somehow, through a compilation of the millions of formative and influential experiences of my life, it came true.DSC 0148

It didn’t all just happen to me like a storm happens to a field.  I had to work for it.  We had to work for it.  And with each waking hour of our lives, we took action to make sure we had the red barn and the fenced hillside and the tillable acreage for the big garden.  We’re finally living the dream.  It’s so interesting to me to sing these same songs to my children and read these same books to them.   The glorification (and at the same time simplification) of farm life in these songs and stories is fascinating to me to observe from the perspective of the now farmer and mother.

There is a part of me that prefers the storybook version of farm life.  I wish I could climb inside these cozy little books and live there.  I want the watercolor version.  But I suppose that now it my new selfless agenda to foster and share these beautiful images, songs and stories with my girls and help to create for them impressions that are just as meaningful and influential. 

The type of farm in the storybook is played upon in marketing artwork on the package of a pound of butter or a gallon of milk.  It’s a drive-by image of a special, far-off place.  A never-never land or a place you’ll only ever get to dream of.  Especially in the last 60 years of farming where farming, in actuality, has become the image of one man on a tractor.  In recent history, farming became a quiet and lonely profession.  It isn’t really even called farming so much anymore as it is called “Agri-business”.  Sadly, the image and the reality of the small scale and diversified family farm faded into the corn labyrinth. 

This isn’t as sad to me as it once was.  Because I know the story isn’t over.  I used to feel very enraged by the confinement beef, hog and poultry operations.  I used to feel anger by the fact that processed food was winning consumer spending dollars.   I was once frustrated that organic food was hard to find.  People used to think it was cute when I said I wanted to be farmer. 

But I have you as proof.  You and I are the living and breathing body of change.  We are one small group of 450 families that opened up our pocketbooks and voted for change.  We are part of the reclamation of the small family farm.  We decided together that local and organic food and farming is important and necessary.  The organic farming ‘industry’ is growing steadily by more than 10.8% each year.  We are part of it.  Even the very fundamental and childish or more intuitive parts of ourselves know that this is the true way.  The Small Family Farm is not exclusive to children’s books.  It is very much alive and well on Salem Ridge Road.  I’ve said it before and I would love to say it again, it is because of your spending choices that our farm exists.  Thank you for a great season! 

Sooo….What’s in the Box???

Sunshine Squash-  These are the bright orange/red squash at the bottom of your box.  Sunshines are hands-down, my favorite variety of squash!  They have a rich, thick and creamy bright orange flesh that is so deliciously sweet.  These squash are heavy with a generous quantity of food inside each one. DSC 0134

Butternut Squash-  Another butternut!  You scored on this box!  Two squash this week!  Butternuts and Sunshines mean you hit the lottery folks! 

Sweet Potatoes-  3lbs of cured sweet potatoes per member this week!  Once these guys are dug, they need to sit in an 85 degree room with 100% humidity for about 10 days.  While we were able to get these guys dug with the bed lifting machine, the soil was still muddy and we had a hard time getting all of the mud off of them.  You’ll have a little cleaning project ahead of you before you cook these.  Most of them had really good size and consistency.  They say that dirty potatoes keep better than clean ones, so we justify not washing these guys!

Leeks-  Leeks are in the same family as onions.  You can use a leek in your cooking like you would use an onion, but they are great in soups, like potato leek soup or sautéed into any of your favorite fall dishes!  Use all of the white part all the way up the stalks. .

Turnips-  One large turnip per member this week.  If you’re new to cooking with this vegetable, don’t feel intimidated!  They’re wonderful if you just peel them, and then boil and mash them like a potato and toss them with plenty of butter.  We mashed ours with butter.  Turnips are somewhat similar to a rutabaga and are also wonderful cubed into a soup.  They have a very pleasant, mild and sweet flavor once cooked.  In the same family as rutabaga or radish or other brassicas.

Carrots-  Approx 1 lb of carrots per member this week.

Spinach- .50lbs of spinach per member this week.  A wonderful fall cooking green that is so very versatile in the kitchen!  We thought they were sweeter since they have been frosted on now.

Swiss Chard-  One cute little bunch of Swiss Chard per member this week.  The final Swiss Chard harvest of the season.  There wasn’t a lot left out there, so the bunches were on the small side, but still very nice to still have cooking greens this late in the season. 

Diakon Radish-  These are the long, white root in the box.  Diakons have a very smooth flavor with none of the spicy-ness of a spring Cherry Bell radish.  Diakons are traditionally used to make kim chi, but they are also wonderful just coined onto a salad or cut into veggie sticks and eaten with your favorite veggie dip.

Parsnips-  These are the long, white or cream-colored roots that look a little like a carrot in your box.  The parsnips are great in a roasted root vegetable dish with almost any other roots you love, or they are great sliced into a potato parsnip gratin.  Stores best in a plastic bag in the fridge and they will keep for months!DSC 0151

Celeriac Root-  Yes, these win the prize for the ‘Most Unusual Vegetable’.  Celeriac Root are in the same family as celery, but they are especially cultivated so that the roots of the plants grow large instead of the stalks.  You can also use the celeriac greens in a soup for added celery flavor, but they don’t have as much of the crispness and crunchiness that celery has.  Peel your celeriac root and boil and mash it with potatoes for a wonderful celeriac mashed potatoes dish.  If you don’t intend to use it soon, cut the greens off of the root and store the root in a plastic bag in the fridge to preserve moisture.  They keep for months!

Garlic-  Once adorable little garlic in each box.  The garlic variety is Metechi and it is a great storing variety.  You’ll need to eat your garlic to boost your immunity as the cold season is approaching! 

Recipes:

Parsnip Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

Roasted Root Vegetable Stew with Parsnip, Rutabaga, Carrot and Celery

Crockpot Beef and Sweet Potato Stew Recipe

 

June Twenty-Second

The Summer Solstice brings long days, warm nights and moderate temperatures.  Nothing welcomes the summer months like strawberry harvest!  We have been picking our berry patches with fervor and loyalty making sure to keep up with the every-other-day picking with as much persistence as we can manage as to make sure none of those sweet berries go to waste!  How wonderful it is to be eating the tender buttercup lettuces, sweet strawberries and even the crunchy kohlrabis and salad turnips to keep our meals refreshingly local. IMG 2559

We have about a half acre of strawberries on the farm this year.  If you have trouble imagining what a half acre of strawberries might look like, imagine half of a football field covered in tiny little red berries glowing in the sunlight and blanketing the ground with succulent red globes.  Strawberries are a very time-consuming harvest, but we know that everyone loves to eat them and they are a true jewel to find in your CSA box when you open it up. 

A strawberry patch will produce well for about 3 years.  Our current management plan is to always have a fresh a strawberry patch that is no more than two years old.  Strawberries produce well from about mid June through early July, so we are hoping for three good weeks of Strawberry offerings in our CSA boxes, but we’ll see what happens, maybe longer, hopefully not shorter!  Strawberry plants are mowed down in mid to late summer and then covered with a blanket of straw before winter sets in to protect the plants root system from the harsh winter.  In the Spring we rake back the mulch off of the plants again so the plants can begin sending out new growth and making blossoms that ultimately yield the season’s fruit. 

Remember that this Saturday we are hosting our You-Pick Strawberry Harvest, Farm Tour and Potluck.  Bring out the kids, the Frisbee and a dish to pass to the farm on Satuday from 2-6pm.  We want to share this wonderful experience of strawberry heaven with you.  We have more berries than we are even able to pick, so we would love your help!  We are selling them for $3/lb for the U-Pick and will also have extra berries available for purchase on Saturday.  It’s a little like being in a Rainbow fantasy-land out there and the weather will be fine for your adventure spirit.  The fields are looking great and we would love to show you around your farm! 

This week we plan to begin trellising tomatoes, keep up with the strawberry harvesting as well as the beginning of zucchini and summer squash harvest.  This week also marks the beginning of our Summer broccoli that is always a hit.  With such warm temperatures, many of these harvests need to happen every other day which makes for a very full week managing the harvesting and weeding of something every day.  But there is so much excitement (and a little exhaustion) that comes along with this bounty.  We can watch the diversity of our CSA boxes shift somewhat now from tender Spring greens to some of our favorite summer time fruits!  Welcome Summertime! 

Sooo….What’s in the Box????

Lettuce Heads X 2-  We had one Red Leaf Buttercup lettuce per member and one Green Leaf Romaine head lettuce per member this week.  Lettuce keeps best in a plastic bag in the fridge to preserve moisture.   IMG 2548

Kohlrabi X 2-  We harvested both purple and white kohlrabi this week.  Both kohlrabis are white on the inside.  We noticed that the kohlrabis have a mild sweet flavor this season!  Remember that the leaves of the kohlrabi are edible and can be used like kale. 

Salad Turnips-  Our Salad turnips were planted a little too close together so they are all a little on the small side this year.  We have a thick stand of salad turnips.  These little guys are a very smooth texture and are wonderful coined onto a green salad.  The turnip greens are edible if you can find yourself a fun recipe. 

Yellow Summer Squash or Zucchini-  For our first Summer Squash/Zucchini harvest of the season, we were able to pick enough squash to give everyone one squash.  This is a nice beginning to what will be an bountiful harvest.  The plants look like they’re ready to start cranking!

Strawberries-  Yes!  Strawberry Quarts!  Fresh, ripe Strawberries are extremely perishable, so be sure to eat these guys up asap.  If you must wait to eat them, be sure to keep them in your refrigerator as cool as possible as strawberries do not keep well at room temperature. 

Dill-  A small bunch of dill this week.  Dill is wonderful on fish, in potato salads, in egg salads, in soups, and even minced up and tossed with green salads.  If you have a little extra dill, lay it out on a dehydrator tray or on a try in your oven on low heat overnight until it is dry enough to crumble into a jar.  Dill is wonderful dried and used in small amounts in any dish that may call for a bit of dill. 

Green Garlic-  This is the last giving of green garlic.  Next week we will have garlic scape bunches for everyone.  Do you know what a garlic scape is?  Get ready to find out next week if you don’t already know what it is! 

Peas-  A very small first giving of peas, but the plants needed to be picked none the less.  We can expect at least two or three times this amount of peas for next week. 

Green Curly Kale-  A most excellent green curly kale harvest this week!  The leaves looked beautiful and were also very crispy and tender as well!  Kale keeps best in a plastic bag in the fridge to preserve moisture.  

Celeriac Root or Broccoli in some boxes-  We had some over-wintered celeriac roots.  These are a very ususual vegetable that is a specialty cultivar of celery plant.  The roots are cultivated to grow large.  Celeriacs are great peeled and boiled and mashed with potatoes.  Celeriac can also be grated raw into a slaw, egg slad or potato salad.  We only harvested 20 broccoli for our first harvest and put them in boxes until we ran out of them.  More broccoli for all boxes next week!

Recipes

Kale Mushroom and Dill Triangles

No-Bake Strawberry and Cream Cheese Pie (Jillian's Favorite!)

Layered Lettuce Salad (grate your kohlrabis on this salad and layer in your coined salad turnips as well!)  Get creative with this one!