Small Family Farm CSA

We Dig Vegetables

 

August Eighth

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Perhaps one of the most beautiful things about the farm is the people. We package up these colorful, cute and tasty little boxes that are lovingly and quite strategically tucked together with care.   And when they are finally delivered, all you get to see and experience are merely the vegetables themselves lying naked and alone in the box. But what you don’t know, or have possibly forgotten, is that there are faces on this food. There are stories in their cell walls.

The production of vegetables is inherently social because of the impressive amount of labor hours that go into bringing them into fruition. Without the dozens of people who bring their two hands to the farm to pick the cherry tomatoes, green beans, carrots, basil, cucumbers, zucchini, tomatoes, ect, we wouldn’t be able to manage the bounty any other way. The hours and hours spent doing this kind of work alongside friends builds a kind of relationship, sort of like a community, slowly but definitely. Steadily, these people become our friends and we become theirs. We share our stories with one another while we’re out there. We express to each other our dreams and reflections and ponderings while pitchforking garlic or harvesting kale bunches or weeding carrots. It feels comfortable and natural and casual.

While working on the farm, we literally wear our worst clothing-quite opposite to ‘town’ attire. Everyone out there is wearing their jeans with holes, their old thread-bare t-shirts or retired flannels with frayed cuffs and missing buttons. We’re in our muck boots, sun hats and work gloves. We look and unconsciously feel like we’re tough. It brings out a kind of crudeness in a person to dress in this way. One feels raw yet humble in nature to be crawling on the ground to weed or squatting to harvest or bending low to hunt for cucumbers. Conversation and movement pair so well together that it feels almost like dancing. Talking feels easy and when you have the rest of the day ahead of you, there is always time to tell the long version of your story.

Some people come here because they crave this kind of work. I know I did. I find it interesting how many people come to help on the farm from the world of academia. The heady and educated and worldly are drawn in. The people who have spent much of their lives inside buildings or behind books or screens or using pencils and computers as their primary tools are the ones who come running to the farm. The farm feels like a retreat to some, even if it is for just one morning a week.

And who isn’t comforted to be surrounded by so much bounty? It’s like a Festival of Food, week after week! It’s a Harvest Parade! It is a social gathering around food that feels so ancient and primal. We are a bit of a motley crew, but we pull it together for the sake of supper. We go home tired and dirty and we prepare our dinners with memories from the fields.

CSA originated in Japan in the 1960s. The Japanese word for CSA is Teikei which translates to “food with the farmer’s face on it”. Teikei also means “cooperation”, “linking up”, or “joint business”.   But I love how the word embodies community. Our faces and stories are inside these vegetables as much as anything else. Can you see them? Can you hear them?

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

Broccoli-   Some of the nicest looking broccoli that we have grown yet this year. Many of the heads were nice and large this week. A lucky few received a cauliflower as well if the broccoli was small.

Sweet Corn- 6 Ears of Sweet corn per member this week.   Sweet corn is best eaten as soon as possible once harvested from the plant. If you must keep it for a few days, be sure to keep it in the refrigerator and keep it cold to preserve it’s sweetness and crispiness. The ears aren’t huge, but for the most part they look good and the flavor is excellent! We’re still keeping the coons out of the patch pretty well!

Eggplant or Cherry Tomatoes or Sweet Bell Pepper- Because eggplant plants don’t necessarily crank out eggplants, we supplemented with cherry tomatoes or a sweet bell pepper. It’s a bit of the luck of the draw on this one. The cherry tomatoes are the sun gold variety of you got these and they ripen orange. Don’t wait for them to turn red because they won’t! We love this cherry tomato variety because of how wonderfully sweet they are!   The remainder of members received a sweet bell pepper.

Green Beans- This was the first green bean harvest and it was smaller. The first picking usually yields tender and crispy beans. We can look forward to more beans in the coming weeks. .4 lbs per member.

Summer Squash and Zucchini- 3-4 squash per member. Summer Squash are the yellow ones and zucchini are the green ones. Zucchini and summer squash actually keep best at 50 degrees. Some people will set them out at room temp and some will keep them in their fridge since most of us don't have the luxury of a 50 degree storage area. Wherever you decide to keep them, don't try to keep them long, because if zucchini is known for anything, it is its generosity! Squash harvest will go for another month or so, so I hope you’re finding ways to use it up!

Lettuce- Red leaf lettuce heads. Lettuce this time of year is tricky to grow, so we’re happy to have these to share! Keeps best in a plastic bag in the fridge.

Cucumbers- 7-8 Cucumbers per member! Woah! Cucumbers are still hitting with a bang. It’s time to try out your favorite cucumber recipes that use a few of them. Think cucumber soup, tzatziki sauce, pickles….. My kids eat one for a snack!

White Onion- One nice and big white onion for everyone. Will keep just fine on your countertop.

Curly Red Kale- This is the most kale we have ever given in one CSA season. Lots of kale this year! But the members we talk to have told us that they love the kale and they don’t have trouble using it up. Let us know if you’re feeling overwhelmed with kale!

Tomatoes- 4.5 lbs. We grow a wide variety of tomatoes each year. About 12-15 different varieties. Some are romas (the longer more pear-shaped varieties with less water that are good for making sauce), yellow slicers, red slicers, tie-dye slicers, and the infamous herilooms that are slowly coming into season. Heirlooms usually ripen a little later in the season since they are a larger tomatoes and are not hybridized for early production. You are likely to receive a very wide selection of tomatoes over the tomato-growing season with a wide variety of colors. We recommend leaving tomatoes out at room temperature to ripen naturally. Remove them from their plastic bag and set them out on your counter or windowsill so they don’t get funky in the plastic bag and mold or rot on you. We pick tomatoes with a ‘blush’. This means that we pick anything that has any early signs of red or pink or color. Once a tomato begins to blush it will ripen fully off the vine and this still qualifies as a vine-ripened tomato. Their flavor will be much better if you just let them sit on the counter to ripen. We do not recommend putting tomatoes in the refrigerator at all, ever, unless they are nearly over-ripe and you need to buy yourself some time before you get a chance to use them up before they go bad. Refrigerators seem to suck flavor out of tomatoes as well. For the full experience, let them ripen on the counter!

Basil- Gorgeous bunches of basil this week. It is still so tender and delicious this time of year and pairs well with the tomatoes and eggplants that are finally in season. Tomato basil soup? Caprice salad? BLT’s with basil?

Carrots- One pound of the famous Small Family Farm carrots per member this week. They are so sweet and so fresh their hearts are still beating! They keep best in a plastic bag in the fridge.

Garlic- A delicious, fresh garlic blub that is not fully cured. Notice that there is a thick membrane around the cloves of garlic that is usually paper-thin. This is because the garlic is still very fresh and is not fully cured. This garlic will keep for months if left out on the counter, but I’ll bet you’re planning to use it up sooner than that!

Next Week's Best Guess: broccoli, sweet corn, beets, cucumbers, summer squash and zucchini, tomatoes, onions, celery, collards, melons, sweet peppers, Hungarian hot wax pepper, red cabbage?

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