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!

June Eighth

The Small Family Farm is a dream come true.  We are everything we set out to be 10 years ago.  A sustainable, diversified, small family farm.  The dream to become farmers is deeply rooted in the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) movement.  A farm enveloped by the community, transparent and engaged within the community and a farm that nurtures the bond between the culture around where the food is grown and the people connected to the farm who eat the food. IMG 2503

Congratulations to you, the community member who believes that there is more to food than just the sticker, the store and the price tag.  This food has a face and a story behind it that makes eating it, buying it and preparing it somehow more meaningful than many of the foods we eat today.  The people who partake in growing these vegetables use extra ingredients like love, passion and a commitment to sustainable agriculture. 

Farmer Adam and I “bought the farm” in 2007.  We carry the mortgage and take care of the administrative work behind this production, but in no way are we to take all of the credit for the flourishing and thriving farm it is today.  Adam and I are just two teeth in the gear.  All of you and the many helpers who work on this farm are also teeth in the gear.  Together we all make it work and spin round.   So thank you, at the very beginning, for investing in a movement that prioritizes local, sustainable, organic, and fresh food with true meaning behind it in your lives. 

We hope that through your weekly newsletters you will feel that you are part of the family farm.  We want you to think of us as your farm.  We want you to come here if you can.   We want you to wash these vegetables in your home, at your sink, and chop them with your children or your friends and think about and talk about where they came from.  We want you to help us write our story and for the effects of this experience to be far-reaching.  Culture everywhere is built around food.  Food is part of our national and local identity.  It defines us in many ways.  Even many of our most meaningful memories take place around food.  Birthday parties, dinners with friends, and holidays all center on the foods we prepare to share with the people we love.

The identity and the image of this country does not need to be golden arches, Kentucky Fried Chicken and the little red hat on the Pizza Hut sign.  I believe that our identity lies within the meals we prepare at home and that we can reclaim our image and regain a certain freedom at the same time from mass-produced food made from the cheapest possible ingredients.  We can re-learn how to feed ourselves from scratch, from the farm, from whole-food ingredients. 

Cook tonight for someone you love and know that the food you are preparing came from a place that cares deeply about the nutrient density of the food, the health of the soil and also the health of the community around that food.  Bon Appetite! 

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?

French Breakfast Radish-  We still wonder, even after all of these years of growing French Breakfast Radishes, do the French eat these for Breakfast?  Either way, we sure to love them!  They're a longer shaped radish with white tips.  Radish greens are edible and can be used in salads.  IMG 2504

Green Buttercup Lettuce x 2-  Our poor Buttercup lettuce was affected by a few minutes of hail that we had in late May.  The haill caused some shredding of the outer leaves, but we removed most of those leave and we have smaller buttercups here that are delectible.  Buttercups are by far, hands-down the best lettuce you will ever eat.  So smooth and tender and we just love eating every morsel of it!  Two smaller heads per box.  Be sure to keep your lettuce in a plastic bag in the fridge to preserve the moisture.  

Pac Choi-  Pac Choi is an Asian vegetable that these little, tiny bugs called flea bettles love to eat.  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, large, crunchy heads that make a wonderful Asian style salad too.  See our recipe below!  Also keeps best in a plastic bag in the fridge to preserve moisture.

Spinach-  About .26lbs of spinach per member.  We were hoping to give twice this amount of spinach per member, but the hail that I mentioned earlier shredded over half of our harvest in late May.  The re-growth looked great and we tolerated more ripping in this harvest of the leaves than we usually would.  Still enough spinach here for nice salad or two! 

Shallots-  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!  

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.  It it 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!  

Rhubarb-  A half pound of rhubarb per member.  These guys were also damaged by the hail I talked about earlier.  They sufferend some bruising on the stalks.  Who knew that just a minute or two of hail could do so much damage?  Your vegetable farmers!  

Pea Shoots-  The entier bunch of pea shoots we sent you is edible!  The tendrils, the stem and the leaves.  You can chop this up and toss it with a salad and they will taste like peas in your salad.  Also keeps best in a plastic bag in the fridge!  

Herb Pack-  Every herb pack contains one sage, thyme, oregano and basil plant.  We suggest planting these guys outside somewhere in full sun.  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!

Recipes

Spinach and Garlic Vinaigrette

Sesame Ginger Pac Choi Salad

Sweet and Spicy Stir Fry

Green Garlic and Asparagus Pizza

 

 

January First, 2016

A new year arrives like the birth of a new child.  So much potential lies in these days ahead, so pure and innocent. The change is like the promise of everything that is tender and new, so much hope lies within the future.  So much promise.  In the world ahead of us with a seemingly changing climate, there is some discomfort in the air.  The new year is like a clean, virgin, blank slate, but it seems to have some warping around the edges.  What does a new year, a 2016, look like on a local, organic, small-scale vegetable CSA farm? strega nona

Well, if I have learned nothing from farming, I have learned to become an optimist.  I have learned to order my seeds, prepare my bed and sow.  I say a little prayer to the Bella Luna and send three kisses off to the Full Moon as Strega Nona did as her “ingrediente segreto”.  Year after year we plan and improve and believe.  We believe that the work we are doing is important, necessary and in harmony with the ecosystem we live within. 

We are entering our 11th year as CSA farmers.  The CSA is the most important part of our farm and is also the style of farming and community engagement that we are most passionate about.  We are excited about the lessons we’ve learned as farmers.  We’re excited about new seed varieties we plan to try, soil health and improvement and also for the food, of course, that we plan to grow and feed to our friends-all of you!

Lucky for us, winter offers your farmers a luxurious break.  A physical and mental break from the stresses of a farming season.  It creates a space where one season comes to a definite end and another will come to a true beginning.  This is it.  This is the beginning.  The beginning of a new year.  We have updated our 2016 pricing and even the shopping cart on our website is new where we can now accept credit cards and paypal on our home site.  The Early Bird Discounts are in effect through April 1st, but we love to see folks sign up as early as they are able so that we can mange the bulk of our book-work associated with the flush of new Sign Ups coming in when it’s cold outside and we’re not so busy with transplanting and cultivating and other fun farming jobs that we would much prefer to be doing in May! 

Join us in a new season.  Let’s all vote together for local food.  Let us reduce the fossil fuels that are used to transport vegetables across the country.  Let’s try new vegetables.  Let’s try new recipes and meet new people and convene in this way.  Renew your membership in our CSA.  Tell your friends to join a CSA.  Eat more vegetables.  Visit the farm.  Bring kids to the farm.  It’s time for resolutions.  This is a really wonderful place for growing and we really want you to be a part of its future.