Small Family Farm CSA

We Dig Vegetables

 

June Twenty-Nineth

Wow, what a weekend!  We had a very eventful Saturday and Sunday on the Farm!  Saturday was our Early Summer Strawberry Pick, Farm tour and Potluck on the farm.  We had a modest turnout for the Strawberry Farm Tour and Potluck (I think next year we will have Vanilla Ice Cream on hand and offer a free pint of Strawberries for members) and a spectacular turnout for the Bike the Barns on Sunday!  We had the farm all cleaned up, the wagon hitched to the tractor and our clean clothes on!  The weather was fine and spirits were high! IMG 2594

Sunday’s Bike the Barns event was a very well attended event celebrating local area farms (like ours!) and also a fund raising event for the Partner Shares program that Fair Share organizes.  The 53-mile Bike Ride began in Viroqua and the first water and snack stop was at our farm.  We offered wagon-pulled farm tours, strawberries, strawberry picking, and there were GoMacro bars and OV Fuel Drinks available for the riders.  The riders then rode on to Knapp Creek Farm, another CSA Farm several miles away where there was an all-organic lunch served featuring local area produce and farms.  After lunch, the riders trekked over to Nordic Creamery for a little local ice cream and cheese and then biked 10 miles of head-wind back to Viroqua to finish off the day evening with Turtle Stack Beer, WiscoPop Sodas, Maple Lattes from Kickapoo Coffee, Music from a few local area musicians, and finally another delicious meal served up by Rooted Spoon Culinary for dinner showcasing, again, all-organic and veggie-filled dishes loaded up with veggies donated by several of the areas organic vegetable farms.

Whew!  We were busy this weekend, folks!   There is nothing that fuels our fire so much as to see so many people so passionate about eating local, organic and fresh vegetables and to have them come out and celebrate food justice and sustainable farming.   The Bike the Barns Driftless Ride raised thousands of dollars for the Partner Shares program that helps low-income families afford CSA Shares from dozens of area CSA farms. 

There was a videographer at each farm stop interviewing the farmers.  Mike from Use Your Words Videography was asking us questions about the Partner Shares Program and our role in the program, what a CSA Farm is, and why we think it is so important for people to buy and support local, organic farms.  Why is local so important?  While I felt like I struggled a bit answering his questions on camera with my four year old on my lap, I know in my heart why local is best.  The food is fresher than anything available in a grocery store.  Organic farms help keep our communities water, soil and air clean.  Organic farms are local families that support our local economy.  The money stays in our state and keeps our state’s financial health strong.  Local farms provide work for local people.  Local farms are operated by people we know and trust.  Maybe your child or you or your cousin works on a local farm and learns about where and how food is grown by their experiences on a farm.  I am a living example of this. 

This farm is important because we are a living, breathing, and eating community.  Without this farm and others like it, what would our food system look like?  Food does not need to be imported from the other side of the country or the other side of the world needlessly using precious oil to transport food ridiculous distances.  Our food autonomy is at steak here.    We are perfectly capable of growing food right here at home where the soil is healthy, it actually rains, and there are people who want it grown at home.  People like you!  You are part of the living example of why local food and farms are important.  I feel endless gratitude and empowerment from our community of friends who help nurture this movement along.  We wouldn’t be here without you! 

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

Strawberriy Quarts-  Another wonderful week of Strawberries!  Strawberries are extremely perishable!  We recommend eating these guys up ASAP and do keep them refrigerated if you need to keep them a day or two before eating them.  

Garlic Scapes-  What is a garlic scape?  The scape is the garlic plant's attempt to make a seed head.  They shoot up these scapes, and if left on the plant, the small nodule toward the top of the scape would swell and bloom into a flower or seed head, but we are sure to snap them up good and early so the garlic plant puts more effort into making a larger garlic bulb, and not into growing out the seed heads.  The garlic scapes also happen to be delicious if diced up into almost anythiung you're cookinug.  They're great used like you would normally use garlic in almost any dish with a seasonal look.  Have fun!IMG 2599

Green Cabbage-  The green cabbages were looking great, so we got them while they were still small and quaint.  Green cabbage is great for slaws or egg rolls!  Cabbages will keep for a few weeks in your fridge, but don't plan to hold onto them too long as you'll need that room in your fridge for next week's giving of veggies.  

Purple Kohlrabi-  We tried a new varity of purple kohlrabis this year called Kosiak that we really love!  We have never had such great looking and tasting purple kohlrabis before at this stage in the season.  Peel them and use them as veggie sticks for your favorite home-made veggie dip or hummus!

White Kohlrabi-  More white kohlrabis as well.  Remember that the greens on your kohlrabis are edible like kale leaves.  Kale and Kohlrabi are in the same family of plants, the brassicas.  

Broccoli-  Either one large or two small heads of broccoli per member this week.  For some reason, or early summer successions of broccoli are not turnung out quite as we had hoped.  We had to harvest many of them smaller because they were showing signs of heat stress.  Broccoli is a cool weather loving plant, and we do our best to choose heat-tolerant varieties, but we never can tell what they're going to do in the Spring.

Swiss Chard-  Goorgious bunches of Swiss Chard.  If you're new to this green, this is NOT rhubarb.  Many people who are new to this plant commonly mistake it for rhubarb.  Swiss Chard is in the same family of plants as spinach and beets.  Chard has an earthy flavor, one that I have grown to love and appreciate over the years;)  The stems are edible as well and make a nice addition to a stir fry!  Chard comes in red, pink, orange, yellow and white.  Fun colors to eat!  

Green Onions-  Green onions are edible from the bottom on the white stalks all the way up to the tops of the greens.  These guys are still quite young and tender.  Such a fun early summer treat to hold us all over until actual full sized onions are ready for harvest in late July or early August.  

Rouxi Green Lettuce-  These are the smaller, lime-green colored lettuce heads with leaves shaped like oakleaves.  The Rouxi are meant to be a smaller, more compact head.  

Romaine Lettuce or Red Leaf Buttercup-  Either a Romaine Lettuce head or a red leaf buttercup head for everyone.  Lettuce keeps best in a plastic bag in your refrigetrator to preserve moisture.  

Snap Peas-  .75lbs per memeber!  A wonderfully generous giving of peas for everyone this week!  We're very happy about this!  Fresh snap peas are wonderful snacks, cut up on top of a seven layer salad or even in stir frys.  

Zucchini and Summer Squash-  The beginning of the summer squashes!  There were between 3 and 5 squash per member this week depending on the sizes.  Squashes acutally keep best at about 50 degree storage, so a refrigerator is not necessarily ideal storage for them.  If there is no room in your fridge, they sometimes keep well on the counter.  Either the fridge or the counter, but neither is actually a perfect storage temp for them.  Luckly these are versatile little vegetables that I'm sure you'll find many uses for so they won't be laying around for too long;)  

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, strawberries, kohlrabi, zucchini and summer squash, fennel, peas, maybe cabbage, maybe broccoli, kale or collards, maybe cucumber, garlic scapes, bunching onions, 

Recipes

Kohlrabi, Berry and Fennel Salad

Swiss Chard Tamales

Savory Zucchini Chard Muffins

Garlic Scape Pesto

Lettuce Wraps

 

July Sixth

Okay, so every week you open up your CSA box, and the most prominent color in your box is, well, green!  Yes folks, GREEN!  Green is the color we see everywhere out there when we open up our door and step outside.  Nature is smothered in the color and offers the most edible volumes in this color.  There are more edible greens on the planet than there are foods available in any other color.  This is nature’s way of telling us, EAT YOUR GREENS! IMG 2621

When we walk into a supermarket there are many other colors and shapes of food that we humans have managed to cultivate and process and package, and the poor leafy greens get one measly corner on the shelves of the produce aisle inside these giant stores filled with “food”.  There has been much nutritional advice out there about eating the full rainbow, and I do believe that there is a lot of value and merit to this idea, but the poor greens receive far too little attention and importance and we become quickly bored with the color amidst all of the colorful food marketing out there.  The other colors of the rainbow usually have a higher sugar content than the greens, are a little tastier and ultimately win our spending dollars for this reason.  So I am here today to try and speak for the greens! 

The tomatoes are still a month away and our colorful sweet peppers, melons and sweet corn are also a few weeks away as well.  But for now, you find Collard Greens in your box and you are passive about them.  I am hopeful that we can use this time of greens bounty (while we bide our time waiting for tomatoes and sweet peppers) to make better friends with the color, learn to honor it and embrace the deep nutritional importance of the color. 

I have done some traveling in my short life and have lived in places where eating raw greens was a cultural no-no because of the questionable sources of water used to irrigate and then wash the greens.  We are blessed to live in a part of the world where we have clean, potable water and eating raw green salads is actually something of a privilege.  There are many places on the planet today where if you wish to eat green foods, they must be cooked to death to ensure you don’t get salmonella poisoning or exposure to some other kind of bacteria that would make you sick. 

I pulled this little piece off of Dr. Mercola’s Website:

Green foods and vegetables contain an array of antioxidants and other disease-fighting compounds that are very difficult to get anywhere else. Plant chemicals called phytochemicals can reduce inflammation and eliminate carcinogens, while others regulate the rate at which your cells reproduce, get rid of old cells and maintain DNA. Studies have repeatedly shown that people with higher green vegetable intake have:

-Lower risk of stroke, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s disease and heart disease

-Higher scores on cognitive tests

-Lower risk of certain types of cancer, eye disease, and digestive problems

-Higher antioxidant levels

-Reduced risk of kidney stones and bone loss

-Lower biomarkers for oxidative stress

Further, if you eat your veggies raw, you'll also be receiving biophotons, the smallest physical units of light, which are stored in, and used by all biological organisms -- including your body. Vital sun energy finds its way into your cells via the food you eat, in the form of these biophotons. They contain important bio-information, which controls complex vital processes in your body. The biophotons have the power to order and regulate, and, in doing so, to elevate the organism -- in this case, your physical body -- to a higher oscillation or order. Generally, the more sunlight a food is able to store, the more nutritious it is.

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/04/08/eating-sprouts.aspx

Without any further ado, Happy Greens Eating! 

Soooo…..What’s in the Box????

Green Cabbage-  Cute little heads of green cabbage for all this week!IMG 2629

Lettuce x 2-  A Green Leaf Head and a gorgeous red oakleaf variety.  Use your lettuce leaves as wraps this week and fill them with rice, meat or other sautéed vegetabels. 

Strawberry Pints- The final giving of Strawberries, sadly.  We’re always a little sad when they go out of season, but so many other fun things to look forward to. 

Kohlrabi-  Either a white or a purple kohlrabi.  We can look forward to more kohlrabi in the fall.  Peel your kohlrabi and slice up the crunchy insides into veggie sticks for a healthy snack. 

Fennel-  Fennel is in the umbelifferae family along with carrots, parsnip, dill, parsley and celery.  It is an aromatic vegetables that has a licorice flavor when eaten raw that almost entirely disappers once cooked.  The frawns of the fennel are edible but used more commonly as garnish.  Slice your fennel bulb lengthwise and cut out the core at the base of the plant.  Slice up your fennel in whichever way your recipe calls for. 

Peas-  .74 lbs per member this week.  Peas may be out of season for now.  Peas are a cool-season plant that starts to slow down in the heat of the summer.  It sure was nice having peas back for a while!

Basil-  Small little bunches of basil.  We wanted to give an herb this week and we noticed that the basil was wanting to make seed heads, so we gave the plants a trim.  Basil does not keep well once it has been washed, so we did not wash the basil.  It keeps best in a vase on the counter like cut flowers.  Never refrigerate basil as it will turn black in temperatures in the 30’s.  

Summer Squash and Zucchini-  4-5 fruits per member.  The summer squash plants are very generous.  We can look forward to several more weeks of summer squash givings, so dig out your favorite squash recipes!  They have a very mild and agreeable texture, so they are easy to sneak into almost any dish you are preparing. 

Cucumbers-  2-3 cucumbers per member.  So excited about cucumbers coming into season!  Make cucumber salad, cucumber water or even cucumber smoothies!  They keep best in the fridge, or closer to 50 degrees like squash. 

Bunching Onions-  Another fine week of green onions for your everyday needs!

Garlic Scapes-  Funky garlic scapes for dicing up into almost anything you are preparing.  Garlic scapes have a more smooth, mild and less pungent and spicy flavor once cooked than cured garlic.  Enjoy this seasonal delicacy while it lasts!  Probably one more week of garlic scapes. 

Collards-  A southern green in our northern state.  Collards can be subbed into any of your favorite greens recipes.  Use them in soups, fritattas or just sautéed with onion and garlic scapes.  Collards have a more smooth texture and hold together very nicely in cooking.  Try collards insead of swiss chard in that Tamale recipe from last week.  I know I’m going to! 

Asian Eggplants or Broccoli as bonus items-  There were 100 Broccolis to distribute and 85 asian eggplants to share while we packed 310 boxes.  We stuck them in boxes with smaller cabbages or boxes coming off the line that still had room in the top to stick them in.  Lotts more broccoli next week and eggplants are just coming into season, so more of those on the way as well!

Next Week’s Best Guess:

Kale, Green Onions, Garlic Scapeas, Zucchini, Summer Squash, Cucumbers, Parslely, Beets, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Lettuce, and maybe fennel or eggplant. 

Recipes-

Summer Squash and Zucchini Salad

Cucumber Salad

Fennel Cucumber Salsa

Spring Salad with Fennel and Orange

Southern Style Collard Greens

Greens Smoothie

Does anyone out there have a fantastic Collard recipe to sahre the love?  

July Thirteenth

What a wonderful season it has been!  The temperatures this summer have been mild, the rains have been regular and plentiful and the quality of the produce has been superb.  In all of our short 11 years of farming vegetables, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen so much regularity and consistency in the rain department.  An easy and soft inch per week has blessedly fallen on our farm with much gratitude to follow.  With the effects of climate change always looming overhead, there is an air of discomfort when we check the forecast.  I suppose that this may have always been the case for farmers, but somehow it feels very immanent at present day.   Even in a text book summer such as this, I remain skeptical. DSC 0131 1

Each day, week and month passes by and we survive.  We even thrive and grow and remain remarkably hopeful and optimistic, because what other options do we have? We sow our seeds, set down our roots and keep to it.  We are devoutly loyal to keeping our sweet little 21 acre farm in organic production.  We do our part to keep the air, water and soil clean on one little patch of the crust of this earth.  We keep our heads down and our hands moving and by the grace of the community and (and the weather patterns) we succeed at producing enough vegetables for a 310 member CSA program year after year.  And our gratitude swells. 

Our farm has survived two FIMA recognized flood seasons, one serious drought year and a couple other years of extended drought periods that were manageable, but difficult.  We have some built-in protection against drought with an irrigation system.  We chose to build or little farm on top of a ridge as to assure some protection against flooding.  We are always working to improve our grass water-ways in low spots of the fields to reduce erosion during heavy rainfall.  But short of a removable dome that we sometimes wish we could place over our farm, our vegetables are stark naked out there standing in the rain, wind, frost and hail when severe weather arrives. 

I mostly refrain from talking about subjects such as ‘climate change’ and ‘severe weather’ in these newsletters, partly because I know that ‘climate change’ is a political subject that some people are still trying to deny and also because I don’t want to jinx ourselves by mentioning severe weather and ultimately calling its name.  Tonight as I write this newsletter the winds are blowing strong.  There are two huge willow trees next to our house that are humongous and probably should be taken down by professionals.  When the winds on this ridgetop blow fiercely, it puts a kind of fever and anx into a person.  I’m feeling a little more bold in this moment. 

The glaciers are melting, the monarchs and honeybees are disappearing and weather patterns everywhere are changing.  I remain saddened, but remarkably resilient and optimistic to this information.  I find it helpful to be reminded, but also to forget periodically to stay strong.  I remind myself that I am doing my small part by reducing the carbon footprint on the food that my community eats.  You are taking part as well by buying or working for the food that is produced by conscientious farmers and eating this food with a low carbon footprint.  Let’s all buy local food whenever possible even if it costs more.  Let’s not forget the big picture, and in the same breath, let’s be thankful together for this (so far) absolutely beautiful growing season! 

Sooo….What’s in the Box????

Broccoli-  The broccolis really ranged in size quite a bit this week.  Some were smaller and some were quite large.  Summer broccoli is always a bit more difficult to grow because broccoli really performs well in the cool season, so the hot weather stresses the plants out a bit and causes them not to reach their full potential. 

Cauliflower-  The Cauliflower also ranged in size quite a bit this week.  Some were large and some were smaller.  Cauliflower also performs best in the cool season, so the hot weather stresses them out a bit and causes some of them not to reach their full potential. 

Slicing Cucumbers-  4-5 Slicing cucumbers per member.  Cucumbers prefer a 50 degree storage temp.  Depending on the temperature of your home, the countertop could be a fine place to keep them for the week until you get more next week!  The fridge could work too, but still not the ideal storage temp. 

Pickling Cucumbers-  5-6 Pickling Cucumbers per member.  You can eat these like regular cucumbers, or make a quick batch of refrigerator pickles and enjoy later!  See our recipe below!

Zucchini and Summer Squash-  4 Squash per member.  Dig out those favorite summer squash recipes the get creative.  They’re just starting to crank now!DSC 0142

Lettuce x 2-  One Red or Green Leaf Lettuce and one Red Oakleaf Lettuce per member.  The lettuce is still so tender and wonderful.  We are having salads for dinner a lot at our house these days!  Keeps best in a plastic bag in the fridge to preserve moisture. 

Bunching Onions-  The bunching onions are still looking amazing.  One more week of green onions before we move on to harvesting full size white onions.  Yum!

Garlic Scapes-  This is the final giving of garlic scapes.  We will begin harvesting fresh garlic next week so we can look forward to that!

Red Curly Kale-  Very nice bunches of red curly kale this week for your regular dosage of cooking greens!

Flat Leaf Parsley-  Cute little bunches of flat leaf parsley.  Parsley is loaded with anti-oxidants, so don’t let this major health food go to waste!

Green Top Beets-  Beets pulled fresh out of the ground with their greens still attached.  The greens on your beets are a bonus item in your box this week.  Don’t let those greens go to waste.  If you want to keep your beets a little longer, cut the tops off of them and store the roots in a plastic bag in the fridge and use up your greens right away!

Fennel or Eggplant-  These were the two items that we had small numbers of.  Only 150 fennel and almost 150 eggplant.  We tried to make sure there was either a fennel or an eggplant in every box.  The long and skinny eggplants are the Japanese Eggplants. 

Next Week’s Best Guess:

Cabbage, Broccoli, Cauliflower, cucumbers, pickling cucumbers, summer squash, zucchini, bunching onions, carrots, swiss chard, celery, eggplant?, hot peppers, garlic

Recipes

Kale Salad with Poppeyseed Dressing

Honey Lemon Refrigerator Pickles

Beet and Goat Cheese Pizza with Cauliflower Crust (or whatever crust you want to use;)

Zucchini Fritters

Cucumber Ranch Salad Dressing

 

July Twentieth

Summer feels like it’s finally here!  The heat it on and the forecast is calling for temperatures in the middle 90’s this week!  I even heard the first cicadas of the season a few nights ago.  The harvesting is heavy and the work load is even heavier!  We have been busy trying to keep up with seeding fall lettuce, transplanting fall broccoli and cabbage and all the while maintaining many of the every-other-day harvests such as broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers and summer squashes. DSC 0143

We feel thankful for the dedicated and hard-working crew we have here this summer.  Working on our farm we have one full time employee, Andrew, who faithfully shows up for work every morning ready and willing to give it his all.  He has a keen interest in berry production and says he wants to be a farmer too one day.  He is passionate about farming and growing local food and we feel thankful for him these days.  We also have Joe and John who are part time workers.  Joe has been with our farm for 7 seasons now.  He’s an old friend, a young father, and a spectacularly hard working person with a dedication to growing local and organic food and sustainable living practices.  And new this year we have John!  John is a musician at heart, a back-to-the lander living in a Yert just south of Viroqua.  He is totally green to working on farms, but he has taken to the task in an impressive way. 

Also helping us get the work done are the truly amazing array of Worker Shares we have on our farm!  We have over 30 people who work a 3.5 hour shift each week in exchange for their CSA Share.  These 30 people come out to the farm every week, rain or shine and uphold a commitment to the farm as a working CSA member.  They bring with them fresh energy and a strong interest in participating in the growing of their own food.  They bring their interesting stories and backgrounds, their interest in organic farming and a beautiful passion for participation on a local CSA farm.  These folks all come in turn like a carousel spinning around and around.  The music playing in the background is the sound of our conversations, the chard stems ripping and the weeds being pulled.  I cannot express to you accurately how deeply grateful we feel for our worker shares and their help on this farm. 

Farm work is hard work.  It’s bending and lifting and kneeling and crouching.  There is a little sitting involved from time to time, but mostly bending and lifting coupled with lots of carrying and hauling.  We’re out there in the elements.  Sometimes it’s hot.  Sometimes it’s tedious.  Sometimes it’s muddy and slippery or raining and drippy.  It’s the kind of work that builds character.  Lucky for us, the kinds of people that are drawn to helping on a farm are the hardy and strong.  We attract the robust and resilient type unafraid to do hard things. 

In the heat of the summer we feel tired.  We sometimes even feel exhausted.  We feel tested and tried.  But in some ways it feels good to be tired.  It feels good to hit the bed mattress and fall asleep within a couple minutes.  It feels good to walk out of the field after a long days work and feel like you used your body.  We feel the sun on our skin and the wind on our cheeks all day.  Sometimes it’s a little harsh, but what makes it all worthwhile is the people we spend those hours with and the comfort in knowing that we will eat good, clean food for supper and we know exactly where it came from. 

Sooo….What’s in the Box????

Cabbage-  Either a green or a red cabbage this week.  We predominately harvested green cabbage, but began cutting red cabbages when we got a little low on green.  Very nice, full and dense heads of summer cabbage this week!

Broccoli-  A nice head of broccoli for everyone this week!

Cauliflower-  Amazing looking cauliflower for this time of year.  Cauliflower is a cool weather loving plant, and they don’t always perform well in the heat of the summer, but most of these looked really great this week! 

Cucumbers-  A great cucumber year, eh?  A hefty 7 regular slicing cucumbers per box this week!  Bust out your favorite cucumber recipes this week!  Truly sharing the bounty now!  Cucumbers prefer 50 degree storage. 

Pickling Cucumbers-  Another heavy harvest for this week.  Think our strong crew out there hauling cucumber bins all day!  7 picking cucumbers should be enough to fill a couple quart jars for refrigerator pickles.  Yum!  Use them up quickly for the freshest and crunchiest pickles! DSC 0156

Summer Squash and Zucchini-  5-6 nice Summer Squash and Zucchini this week.  Another heavy harvest that we stay faithful to harvesting every other day.  Summer squash and zucchini also prefer 50 degree storage. 

Bunching Onions-  This is the final week of green onions.  Enjoy them while they last!  Use them all the way up to their tips!  We can look forward to white onions next week! 

Green Top Carrots-  Carrots freshly dug with their greens still attached!  What a treat it is to eat carrots that are so fresh out of the ground that they still have their cute little white root tips and dark green tops on them.   Carrot greens are edible and can be used like parsley.  Carrots are in the same family as parsley.  Check out our carrot top pesto recipe! 

Swiss Chard-  Succulent and deliciously tender Swiss Chard bunches this week!  Don’t forget to make good use of your chard stems, they make a nice addition to a stir fry, your muffin recipes or even pickle them!  Get creative in sneaking veggies into everything you make!

Green Leaf Lettuce-  We’re down to just one head of leaf lettuce per box this week.  Another week or two of lettuce and then there may be a dry spell for a bit during the mid summer heat spell that usually makes it too hot to grow lettuce anyways.  We won’t miss it with all of the other wonderful veggies filling the boxes!

Eggplant-  We harvested some standard eggplants and some Japanese Asian eggplants this week.  You may have received either one of those.  Eggplants prefer 59 degree storage as well. 

Hot Peppers!  -  The little green one is a Jalapeno pepper that may pack some heat.  The little lime-green one a Hungarian Hot Wax pepper that is better known as a ‘banana pepper’.  The Hungarian Hot Wax are of the most mild in the hot pepper family- but can occasionally be a little hot.  If you’re a little wimpy on hot peppers like me, you’ll like this one!

Next Week’s Best Guess:DSC 0152

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, Cucumbers, pickling cukes, summer squash and zucchini, white onion, carrots, lacinato kale, lettuce, eggplant?, garlic, celery, basil, red cabbage?

Recipes

Chard Stalk Hummus

Carrot Top Salsa

Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Casserole 

Cold Cucumber Soup

July Twenty-Seventh

The Small Family Farm is truly a family farm.  We’re a mom and pop sorta place with little kids running around in the yard while the crew is working in the fields.  Sometimes you hear children laughing or crying while pulling weeds or garlic.  We’re a husband and wife operation with a small crew of paid employees working alongside an entourage of worker shares.  We’re young and ambitious and living the dream.  Without any one of these teeth in the gear, the Small Family Farm wouldn’t be spinning around the sun time after time, year after year. DSC 0138

My loving, loyal and amazingly hardworking husband deserves more credit than he receives.  He’s a pretty quite fellow that you would have to spend years working alongside to really know who he is.  He has lots of hidden talents like kicking butt at bowling or ping-pong and playing guitar when you didn’t even knew that he has ever played any of these things because he rarely leaves the farm or picks up his guitar anymore.  He has a great poker face and is remarkably good at poker and euchre.  He’s much better than me at making bread and raspberry pie.  He’s the farm’s IT guy and can solve almost any computer problem that may arise.  He’s mister cool, calm and casual all the time.  Patience is a strength of his.  I sometimes think he can even predict the weather, but he reminds me fairly regularly that he cannot.  

I give him major kudos for being an increasingly impressive farmer.  He took an interest in soil health, cultivation and pest and disease control a few years back which have all completely transformed the farm.  Because we can now mechanically cultivate many of our crops, we can keep most of them out of the weeds and managed and it is Adam that does the farm’s mechanical cultivation.  Farmer Adam studies the field tests.  By “studies”, I mean studies.  He’s buddies with the Soil Agronimist at Organic Valley and calls him on the phone with no hesitations frequently.  Adam stays up late researching the mineral and nutrient needs for most vegetable crops on the computer while most people are checking their social media.  Adam doesn’t do social media.  He even knows just what OMRI listed sprays to use to organically control the pests on our farm that have historically destroyed entire crops.  He even takes preventative measures to help control the spread of inevitable diseases that strike almost yearly. 

Oh, and did I mention irrigation?  Adam also single handedly manages all of the irrigation needs on the farm.  He’s the one who knows where to lay the lines and how and when to hook everything up and keep up with the crop’s water needs.  He’s a total nerd.  But I think he’s cute.

Adam is also the one who regularly does field walks.  He takes the time to just walk around the farm and look at everything.  Adam noticed on this last rainy Saturday afternoon field walk that the raccoons had gotten into our first succession of sweet corn.  He noticed that the whole first planting was completely wiped out.  He is also the very same guy who took action on this very rainy Saturday afternoon and set up the electric fence (in the rain, did I mention) that we put up around the sweet corn every year to keep the raccoons out.  He did it alone, and he did it for us.  It took him into the evening to complete.  He was out pounding t-posts into the muck while I made chicken, mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli for supper in the dry house while watching the kiddos.  At supper I was thankful for Adam and for sweet corn and for this crazy little farm of ours. 

Sooo….What’s in the Box????

Melon-  One melon per member this week.  The melon variety is Dewlightful.  They are a green-fleshed honeydew melon.  Most of these were very ripe, so enjoy sooner rather than later!

Broccoli-  A nice head of broccoli for everyone this week!DSC 0130

Cauliflower-  Amazing looking cauliflower for this time of year.  Cauliflower is a cool weather loving plant, and they don’t always perform well in the heat of the summer, but most of these looked really great this week! 

Cucumbers-  A great cucumber year, eh?  A hefty 7 regular slicing cucumbers per box this week!  Bust out your favorite cucumber recipes this week!  Truly sharing the bounty now!  Cucumbers prefer 50 degree storage. 

Pickling Cucumbers-  Another heavy harvest for this week.  Think our strong crew out there hauling cucumber bins all day!  9-10 picking cucumbers should be enough to fill a couple quart jars for refrigerator pickles.  Yum!  Use them up quickly for the freshest and crunchiest pickles! 

Summer Squash and Zucchini-  2-3 nice Summer Squash and Zucchini this week.  The plants slowed down in production a little, but we still stay faithful to harvesting every other day.  Summer squash and zucchini also prefer 50 degree storage. 

White Onions-  The first week of real, whole onions.  We did our best to pretty these up a tad.  So nice to eat onions right out of the ground like this! 

Green Top Carrots-  Carrots freshly dug with their greens still attached!  What a treat it is to eat carrots that are so fresh out of the ground that they still have their cute little white root tips and dark green tops on them.   Carrot greens are edible and can be used like parsley.  Carrots are in the same family as parsley.  Check out our carrot top pesto recipe! 

Lacinato Kale-  Lacinato kale also goes by Dinosaur Kale or Tuscano Kale (an heirloom variety of kale originally from the Tuscany region in Italy).  This variety seems to be all the rage these days.  It has a very deep green color and a smooth texture that is nice for adding to soups or anything!

Green Leaf Lettuce-  We’re down to just one head of leaf lettuce per box this week.  Another week or two of lettuce and then there may be a dry spell for a bit during the mid summer heat spell that usually makes it too hot to grow lettuce anyways.  We won’t miss it with all of the other wonderful veggies filling the boxes!

Garlic-  The first week of green garlic!  You’ll notice as you go to peel the green garlic that the membrane that is around each clove that is usually paper thin is still a much thicker, living layer on the garlic.  Go ahead and still peel this away, but know that it’s a little harder to detect since this garlic isn’t cured down just yet. DSC 0141 1

Celery-  Okay, so local celery is no comparison to California Celery.  I don’t know what they do to that stuff to make it so crunchy and light green and contain so little leaf.  But I’m here to tell ya folks, this is what local celery looks like!  It’s even a pretty good year for it with all of the rain that we’ve had.  The stalks are pretty juicy.  Local celery has a stronger celery flavor.  Don’t forget to use the greens in your cooking, salads and soups! 

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.

Red Cabbage, Melons, Broccoli, Celery, Summer Squash, Zucchini, Cucumbers, sweet corn, beets, Eggplant, Green Curly Kale, White Onion, Basil, Hot Peppers

Recipes-

Carrot Top Pesto

No Noodle Zucchini Lasagna

Garlic and Herb Roasted Zucchini and Summer Squash with Fresh Mozzarella Balls

Cucumber Water

 Cucumber and Celery Salad with Tuna