Small Family Farm CSA

We Dig Vegetables

 

Small Family Farm
Below are current issues of The Weekly Dig Newsletter, from Jillian Varney, owner of the Small Family Farm. Stay up to date on what's happening on the farm!

August Seventeenth

Harvesting all of this bounty feels like a gift.  It is not entirely a gift because we have to work very hard and put in countless hours on tractors and on our hands and knees doing field work to extract this volume of food from the dark, mysterious soil.   But it is a gift in that there are mysterious and magical forces at work that are cooperating with us to make all of these flavorful orbs ripen into colorful and fragrant shapes of enzyme-rich food.  Magical things like seeds and thunderstorms and soil chemistry and seasons and communities.  Farmers are probably more like magicians than just equipment operators and field crew managers.DSC 0155

It is really a wonderful feeling to be surrounded by so much bounty and excess and abundance.  Why shouldn’t I be whistling while I work and hopping around as happy as a leprechaun?   Well, the truth is that I am very happy, but I struggle at times when we are all so very tired and even exhausted, to remember everything that we have to be thankful for and to remember all of the reasons why we are so lucky and blessed.

Our family has built in a small ritual to help us remember to vocalize and become conscious of our gratitude.  Before we share a meal, we sit together at the table and hold hands and take turns saying something that we’re thankful for.  On an average day we are thankful for the food on our plates, our health, our family, our friends.  Sometimes we are thankful for the rain or the sweet corn or the breeze or for friends joining us for a meal.  We’re not a particularly religious family, but we do consider ourselves spiritual.  And this little custom is a practice that grooms the spirit.

I recently heard a saying, “We are not thankful because we are happy, we are happy because we are thankful”.  When gratitude aught to be woven into our speech, actions and words, if we forget or are having an off day, having a built-in time of your day to offer a few words of gratitude seems like a healthy reparation.  When better of a time than when our families are sitting together at the table for a few minutes amidst our hectic lives?  Why not speak it aloud before your meal that you invested your valuable time and love into while chopping and dicing and sautéing and stirring your daily meditation into. 

I am hopeful that these little packages of vegetables are as meaningful to you as they are to me.  I am hopeful that you feel a connection to something larger than yourself when handling these pieces of transformed mineral and matter.  I assure you that we are investing love, sweat and tears into them.  There is community and laughter and adoration inside them.  They have been handled by people who appreciate a connection to food and earth and kinship. 

So when you sit down for your meal tonight, raise your glass to the farm.  Bow your head to your family.  Reserve a moment of silence for the magic and mystery that lives inside every carrot and tomato and green bean.  Begin a habit of offering thanks for your food, your house, your family, your health.  Gratitude is contagious and it has a way of growing upon itself like it’s own living thing.  Cheers!

Here is a link to an inspiration piece by Michael Perry I stumbled across a few weeks ago on Gratitude if you have a few extra minutes to sit at your computer and read more:  http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/columnists/michael-perry/michael-perry-gratitude-is-renewable-energy/article_acee74f3-5949-5005-9620-1027f7997eef.html

Sooo…What’s in the Box???

Honeydew Melon- Dewlightful is the name of this melon and we found it to be just that.  These are delicious and juicy and everything you would want out of a honeydew melon.  They were harvested on a wet morning, so they were a touch on the dirty side.  Give your melong a little rinse before cutting it up.  We didn’t have the time to wash these with all of the other harvesting and washing on our plates this week.  DSC 0164

Broccoli-  Very nice broccoli heads for everyone this week!  This is some of the nicest summer broccoli we have ever grown!

Summer Squash and Zucchini-  We’re down to harvesting the very last of the Summer Squash and Zucchini this week.  Probably this will be our final squash giving of the year.  Summer squash and zucchini also prefer 50 degree storage.

White Onions-  Another week of  whole onions.  The onions are all harvested and layed out and looking beautiful on the curing tables in the greenhouse. 

Hungarian Hot Wax Pepper-  These peppers are also known as 'Banana peppers’.  They are most commonly seen lime green or a yellow-ish color.  When they are ‘ripe’ they turn orange or red which sometimes makes them a little sweeter.  Hungarian Hot Wax, despite their intimidating name are amidst one of the most mild of all hot peppers out there.  For a Woose like me, they’re perfect!

Jalapeno Pepper-  One of these little guys per box.  Jalapenos pack a little more heat than the Hungarian Hot Wax peppers.  We recommend wearing gloves if you go to cut these up!

Thyme-  Beautiful bunches of Thyme for everyone this week.  We don’t expect that you’ll be able to use all of this thyme in one week, so lay the bunch out on a tray and dehydrate what is left over after using what you can fresh.  Once the thyme has been dried in your dehydrator or your oven on very low heat, strip the stems and store the dried herb in an air-tight mason jar with a tight lid.  Enjoy dried thyme from the farm this winter and think of us in January! 

Sweet Corn-  4 Ears of sweet corn per member this week! Those nasty raccoons are getting into our sweet corn rows even though we are so very faithfully keeping an electric fense around the corn every night and keeping the fence line trimmed down so it doesn’t short out from the weeds growing into it.  We were able to salvage 4 ears per member this week.  Even the birds were landing on the tips of the corn trying to get their share, we even had to snip off the tips of a few of the corns here and there.  Sweet corn needs to stay very cold in order to keep it’s sweetness.  Sweet corn does not keep well outside of the refrigerator, despite the fact that you see it being sold by truck farmers in parking lots outside of refrigeration.  Eat it up ASAP for the best flavor!  The sugars turn the starches very quickly once it has been picked!  One more week of sweet corn yet to come if we can keep the coons away!

Sweet Bell Peppers-  One or two sweet peppers per member this week.  You may have receveived either red, orange and/or yellow peppers this week.  Most of them were red peppers. 

Lunchbox Sweet Peppers-  Everyone received two 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!  Our 4 year old thinks we grow them just for her, but she wasn’t around when we picked all of these to share with you.  Eat these for a snack raw, or cook with them like you would any other sweet bell pepper. 

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 juicy and sweet!  Local celery has a stronger celery flavor when compared to our usual California Celery.  Don’t forget to use the greens in your cooking, salads and soups!DSC 0136

Green Lettuce-  Small heads of green leaf lettuce for everyone this week.  We had to harvest them small because they were starting to bolt on us.  Lettuce does not grow well in the heat of the summer and will quickly bolt in hot summer heat.  So we took them small at the first signs of bolting.  I love lettuce during tomato season for BLT’s!

Tomatoes-  The beginning of the tomatoes!  We were able to give everyone 4.5lbs of tomatoes this week.  We pick any tomato with a ‘blush’ or any shade of red, yellow or orange.  We grow many different kinds of tomatoes and some are romas, some are heirlooms and some are standard slicing tomatoes.  We grow many different colored tomatoes as well.  Don’t wait for your tomatoes to all turn a bright red color, some of them ripen pink or yellow or orange.  You will know when they are ripe if you give them a very gentle squeeze and they are soft and not firm anymore.  Do not put your tomatoes in the fridge as their flavor with diminish.  We recommend leaving your tomatoes on your countertop to ripen if they are slightly under ripe.  Only if they are very ripe and you are in danger of loosing them should you put them in the fridge if you can’t eat them up promptly.

Green Beans mixed with Dragon Tongue Beans-  One pound of beans per member this week!  We planted a row of green beans right next to a row of Dragon Tongue Beans.  The Dragon Tongues are a larger, more flat type bean that is yellow with purple streaking.  The purple color will go away once the bean is cooked.  We tried to give everyone a mix of both types of beans. 

Carrots-  One pound of carrots this week per member.  We snapped the tops off of the carrots this week because the tops of the carrots are starting to dye back and it made it a little easier for us to wash and bag them rather than sit in the fields and bunch them with their tops on.  Still very fresh carrots harvested on Monday morning by loving hands. 

Next Weeks Best Guess:

Sweet Peppers, tomatoes, onion, carrots, watermelon, sweet corn, eggplant, hungarian hot wax pepper, jalapeno pepper, garlic, green beans, romanesco?, lunchbox peppers, oregano?, romanesco?

 Recipes

Panzanella (Thank you, Danielle, for all of your awesome recipe suggestions!)

Vinaigrette Green Beans

Blue Moon Celery Salad

Green Beans with Tomatoes (Spanish Style Green Beans)

Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole with Gruyere (feturing Carrots and Celery)

August Tenth

Here in the depths of summer we lie.  Our schedules are busy, the days still feel long and hot and our brains feel a little foggy from all of the heat and activity.  On a farm, farm families are busy keeping up with the daily harvesting, weeding and planting.  We’re focused on the farm and the thought of a vacation is months away.  We watch our friends and family around us take camping trips and vacations and we are reminded of how different we are from a modern day family. IMG 2728 copy

The sacrifices are real, but the rewards are rich.  We spend our weekends preserving the bounty and inviting family to come and see us instead.  Rather than journeying away from the farm, we journey deeper into our very grounded family unit and the full experience of summer on a farm.  The intimacy we experience with the plants and animals in our surroundings on this little piece of earth is rich.  We get a day by day visual of Day Lilies opening and closing and then falling off.  We are literally watching the peppers turn red.  We watch the raspberry patch ripen and the young pullet hens begin to lay eggs that we raised from day-old chicks this Spring. 

We don’t go far distances in the summer, but our roots grow deeper.  We find a wholesomeness and feeling of fulfillment in the stillness and quietness on our home and farm.   And while our children are still very small, we see the value in creating a soild foundation and family routine that honors home-made meals, work routines, food preserving and naps for the wee ones.  We are secretly envious of all of our friends (with older children or no children) who are traveling and camping and getting away this summer, but we store up our urges to travel and see the world for a more still and quite time in the off season. 

The farm is a living a breathing beast that requires close attention and care.  We are thankful for a shift now as the cucumbers and summer squashes slow down and the tomatoes and sweet peppers are about to pick up.  The melons are amazing and bountiful and the sweet corn seems to get better and better every year.  The fruits of our labor and loyalty are paying off and feeding us all well!  Fall is just around the corner!  

Canary Melon- The Canary Melons are a bright yellow rind with a yellow/green flesh that is crunchy and sweet.  The Canary melons have been confused for spaghetti squashes in the past.  The canary melons are not a spaghetti squash. 

Broccoli-  Very nice broccoli heads for everyone this week!  This is some of the nicest summer broccoli we have ever grown! 

Cucumbers-  The cukes are really slowing down now.  We were down to giving just 2 cukes per member this week!  This was very likey the final cucumber giving. 

Summer Squash and Zucchini-  3 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-  Another week of  whole onions.  These are more of the ‘rustic’ onion look.  We snagged these off of the curing tables, but we didn’t take the time to peel them back this week to make them look pretty. 

Hungarian Hot Wax Pepper-  These peppers are also known as 'Banana peppers’.  They are most commonly seen lime green or a yellow-ish color.  When they are ‘ripe’ they turn orange or red which sometimes makes them a little sweeter.  Hungarian Hot Wax, despite their intimidating name are amidst one of the most mild of all hot peppers out there.  For a Woose like me, they’re perfect!

Jalapeno Pepper-  One of these little guys per box.  Jalapenos pack a little more heat than the Hungarian Hot Wax peppers.  We recommend wearing gloves if you go to cut these up!

Fennel-  Fennel bulbs.  The bulbs are most commonly used in fennel, but many people do like to cook with the stems and frawns as well.  The frawns can be added to salads for flavor or garnish. 

Dill-  Sure, just when cucumbers are coming to an end, we give Dill!  Lickily, Dill goes well with more than just cucumbers!  Or, if you lay it out on dehydrator trys, you can make your own home-made dried dill.  Once it is dried, store it in a mason jar with a tight lid to preserve freshness. 

Sweet Corn-  5 Ears of sweet corn per member this week!  Boy are they delicious!  Sweet corn needs to stay very cold in order to keep it’s sweetness.  Sweet corn does not keep well outside of the refrigerator, despite the fact that you see it being sold by truck farmers in parking lots outside of refrigeration.  Eat it up ASAP for the best flavor!

Eggplant-  You may have received either one standard eggplant or one Japanese (or Asian style) eggplants.  Eggplant also keeps well in a 50 degree storage area.  You choose, the countertop or the fridge? 

Basil-  The basil wanted to be harvested two weeks ago when we didn’t quite have the time to get to it.  We harvested generous bunches this week, but the plants were starting to flower.   Just pluck the good leaves off of the stems and make pesto!  We made up for in quantity for what we lacked in quality here on basil this week.  Basil will turn black in the refrigerator and it keeps well stuck in a vase like fresh cut flowers. 

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 juicy and sweet!  Local celery has a stronger celery flavor when compared to our usual California Celery.  Don’t forget to use the greens in your cooking, salads and soups!DSC 0136

Green Curly Kale-  Nice bunches of kale for your cooking green fix for the week.  Curly green kale makes great kale chips!

Tomatoes-  The beginning of the tomatoes!  We were able to give everyone two tomatoes this week.  We pick any tomato with a ‘blush’ or any shade of red, yellow or orange.  We grow many different kinds of tomatoes and some are romas, some are heirlooms and some are standard slicing tomatoes.  We grow many different colored tomatoes as well.  You will soon be receiving bags of tomatoes with a mix of different kinds and colors.  Do not put your tomatoes in the fridge as their flavor with diminish  We recommend leaving your tomatoes on your countertop to ripen if they are slightly under ripe.  Only if they are very ripe and you are in danger of loosing them should you put them in the fridge if you can’t eat them up promptly. 

Green Beans-  When we picked the green beans on a wet and dewey morning, some of them were getting put in their bins wet.  Green beans do not like to be wet or dirty, but these were both a little wet and a little dirty.  We also do not wash green beans because they don’t wash easily and don’t like to be wet and it would be very difficult to get them all dry before we stuck them back in the cooler.  Wash these guys right before you eat them!  We’re hoping for another nice giving of green beans next week. 

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.

Honeydew, Melons, Broccoli?, Celery, Summer Squash, Zucchini, sweet corn, Eggplant, White Onion, Hot Peppers, green beans, sweet peppers, tomatoes, swiss chard, carrots?, 

Recipes

Cucumber Melon Salad

Sweet Corn and Coconut Milk Chowder

Toasted Garlic Green Beans

Fennel Cucumber Salsa

Cream of Broccoli and Fennel Soup 

August Third

This is it.   These are the glory days!  These are the CSA boxes we dream of all year long.  Sweet corn, melons, celery, garlic and the beginning of peppers!  Sweet peppers and tomatoes are just around the corner and the harvest is heavy.  The days are long (although they are waning) and humidity and temperatures are high!  The farmers and the farm helpers are all weary and tired.  And it is only Week 9!DSC 0134

I have enough years of farming experience under my belt now that I know the tides.  There are the low, calm waters of the Spring time.  There are the rising and quickening waters of the early summer months.  There are the rocky, choppy and high waters of the late Summer months.  This is the time of year when everyone is hot, everyone is working hard, and everyone is tired.  We’ve been on this boat for a few months now and we’re getting a bit sea-sick.  But we got on this boat and it’s sink or sail!

I believe a true test of character can be made in August.  Or possibly character building happens in these months.  Either way, those who survive a season on a working farm such as this certainly walk away from the experience changed and improved.  Lucky for us we all get to eat like Kings and Queens on the highest quality organic produce around while we work our tails off, smell like sweat and wear rags and sunburns .  I often remark that we ‘survive’ the season.  It sometimes feels like a survival game out here when total sleep hours are below recommended levels, quality family time takes the back burner and the fever to preserve the bounty and stuff as much of summer into canning jars and ziplock bags as possible makes a disaster of your home. 

I try to keep a vase of fresh-cut flowers on the kitchen table at all times.  My four year old is very helpful in this way.  Taking the time to actually pick the flowers and then put them in water is a ritual that somehow helps me feel grounded this time of year.  I’m a relentlessly pragmatic person and taking the time plant, weed and then harvest flowers when there are millions of other things to do on a farm used to feel like a waste of time to me.  But watching my four year old pick them and sing her little songs and talk to them while she picks them helps me live in the moment.  Mostly we grow flowers for her because she loves picking them so much.  But if I have learned nothing from parenting so far, I have at the very least learned how to slow down. 

The summer months are laborious, arduous and down right demanding at times.  But it’s the melons and the sweet corn and the fresh cut flowers on the kitchen table that help us get through it.  It is showing up every morning alongside our friends and sharing the experience with our community that makes it not only tolerable, but meaningful.  We’ve got something pretty good going here and if it wasn’t hard to do, we might not walk away from the fields at the end of the day feeling the satisfaction with a sprinkling of humility that we do.  My father always used to say you gotta “Make hay when the sun shines.” and my mother used to say you can “Sleep when your dead”.  And look where that advice got me!  

DSC 0131 

Because I can't figure out how to include a caption beneath the photos each week anymore, we put up a new High Tunnel pictured here.  This High Tunnel was funded by a USDA grant incentivising season extension.  If we can get a little good soil and compost spread in there before fall rolls around, we plan to seed winter spinach in there.  

Sooo….What’s in the Box????

Ananas Melon-  Correction:  The soft, green fleshed melon in last week’s box was an Ananas Variety melon, not a honeydew.  There is another Ananas variety melon in this week’s box.  The rinds look a little greenish or sometimes yellowish with lots of small cracks like a cantelope rind if you’re trying to determine which variety is which! 

Cantelope Melon-  Everyone should have also received a canteope melon that has an orange flesh on the inside EXCEPT for about 30 people who did not receive a cantelope, you received a Canary Melon.  The Canary Melons are a bright yellow rind with a yellow/green flesh that is crunchy and sweet.  The Canary melons have been confused for spaghetti squashes in the past.  The canary melons are not a spaghetti squash.  Everyone will receive a Canary Melon next week!

Broccoli-  Very nice broccoli heads for everyone this week!  This is some of the nicest summer broccoli we have ever grown! 

Cucumbers-  The cukes are really slowing down now.  We were down to giving just a few cukes per member this week!  Maybe one more small giving of cucumbers next week, but they’re really slowing down now!

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-  Another week of  whole onions.  We did our best to pretty these up a tad.  So nice to eat onions so fresh and tender like this right out of the ground!

Red Cabbage-  Very nice heads of red cabbage for all this week! 

Hungarian Hot Wax Pepper-  These peppers are also known as 'Banana peppers’.  They are most commonly seen lime green or a yellow-ish color.  When they are ‘ripe’ they turn orange or red which sometimes makes them a little sweeter.  Hungarian Hot Wax, despite their intimidating name are amidst one of the most mild of all hot peppers out there.  For a Woose like me, they’re perfect!

Jalapeno Pepper-  One of these little guys per box.  Jalapenos pack a little more heat than the Hungarian Hot Wax peppers.  We recommend wearing gloves if you go to cut these up! DSC 0129

Cilantro-  A nice bunch of cilantro for everyone!  Remember, we don’t wash our cilantro becase it tends to get slimy after it has gotten wet.  Cilantro isn’t a fantastic keeper either way, so go ahead and use it up as soon as you can! 

Sweet Corn-  6 Ears of sweet corn per member this week!  Boy are they delicious!  Sweet corn needs to stay very cold in order to keep it’s sweetness.  Sweet corn does not keep well outside of the refrigerator, despite the fact that you see it being sold by truck farmers in parking lots outside of refrigeration.  Eat it up ASAP for the best flavor! 

Eggplant-  You may have received either one standard eggplant or two Japanese (or Asian style) eggplants.  Either way, it was a great eggplant harvest!  We recommend busting out your favorite eggplant recipes.  Try Eggplant Parmesan or Babba Ganouj (a smooth and creamy Middle Eastern Eggplant dip with Tahini).

Garlic-  You’ll notice as you go to peel this ‘green’ garlic that the membrane 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.

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 juicy and sweet!  Local celery has a stronger celery flavor when compared to our usual California Celery.  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.

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

Recipes

Grilled Eggplant Provolone

Baba Ganouj (Middle Easter Eggplant Spread)

Cool Toddie (Cucumber Smoothie or Drink)

Corn Salsa

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

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