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 Sixteenth

I must be honest, the second half of the CSA delivery season is my favorite.  I love the Spring and early Summer months because of the cooler weather, succulent greens and the new-ness and uniqueness of the vegetable offerings, but my true loves are the in-season tomatoes, sweet corn and melons. DSC 0348

The green beans, sun gold cherry tomatoes and the sweet corn (oh, the sweet corn) make life richer somehow.  We eat like kings and queens when the tide is high.  Usually, this time of year, we are desperately trying to find room in the CSA boxes for the melons amidst all of the other items.  Watermelons, honeydews and cantelopes will soon be here.  We are very much so hoping that next week, Week 12, will be our first melon offerings.  This Spring when we transplanted all of our melons, we had some very cool, wet and damp weather that caused all of our melons to ‘dampen off’ shortly after transplant.  Quickly after noticing that this was happening, we had to rush-order a whole new lot of melon seeds, re-seed them and then re-transplant them which set our usual projected melon harvest time-line almost three weeks behind schedule. 

But the melons are out there.  They look beautiful and healthy and the plants are showing signs of dyeing back now and the harvest will begin soon.  For now, we’re enjoying the Bodacious Sweet Corn.  I love the names of the Sweet Corn varieties.  This week’s offering is truly called ‘Bodacious’.  Some other variety names are ‘Incredible’, ‘Ambrosia’, and last week’s variety was ‘Trinity’.

This year we set up four lines of electric fence around the sweet corn to keep the raccoons out.  Last year we had just three lines of electric fence wire, but the raccoons still got in and destroyed a fair amount of our mid-season corn.  So far this year, with the rotation moving the sweet corn farther away from the tree-line and the four lines of electric fence, they haven’t gotten in yet!  Farmer Adam faithfully puts the battery that we use to keep the fence hot with on the trickle charger every day and he re-connects the fence each eveing with a freshly-charged battery.  He even told me that every day he tests the fence with his own hand and a blade of grass touching the fence to make sure it is giving a good shock.  Now that is commitment! DSC 0355

We are expecting to have two more weeks of sweet corn in the CSA boxes as long as everything goes as scheduled.  We know those raccoons are congregating in the fields every night planning and sniffing and scheming to find a way in, but we’re keeping them out!  Our plan was to give everyone six ears in each box.  Last week was eight, this week 5 and we’ll see what next week brings. 

The tomatoes are starting to kick into production.  Every two days we head out to harvest again and each time we harvest it seems like we double what the previous harvest has been.  Late August may be a tire-some and heavy time of year, but the foods that come into season are some of my personal favorites.  We can also expect green beans for the next few weeks as well.  Bon appetite!

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

Swiss Chard-  Lovely bunches of swiss chard this week.  The chard is still looking so nice in the mid-summer months.  Remember to cook with your Swiss Chard stems as well!

Head Lettuce-  Either a Red Leaf or a Green Leaf lettuce head.  Again, we're harvesting the lettuce heads a little early because they're showing signs of heat and water stress.  Peak season lettuce can be hard to come by, so this is still a little treat.  We made BLT's one night last week.  

Sweet Corn!-  Five ears per member.  Did you know that minute sweet corn has been harvested it begins to loose some of it’s sweetness?  Yes, the sugars turn to starches and the flavor decreases by the hour.  We highly recommend keeping your sweet corn in the refrigerator and eating for supper TONIGHT to maximize the aweseome flavor it has!  Some of the corn did have worms in it.  Yes, worms are gross, but this is organic corn folks and there isn’t much we can do about it.  Just take a knife and cut those spots or the tip off if you find one.  We don’t want you be alarmed, because they’re in there!  Farmer Adam did a fantiastic job keeping the sweet corn fence electrified at night and keeping the coons out.  We sometimes loose huge numbers of corn to the raccoons.  This year we’re keeping them out so far!

Cucumbers-  4-5 Cucumbers per member this week.  Cucumber production is on a down-turn as cuke season closes in.  But we're happy to still be sharing them as they are a delight to have freshly sliced on the table at every meal!

Celery-  One more week of celery.  We understand it's hard to know what to do with all of this celery, but celery season is coming to an end soon here!  Some of the celery were showing signs of decay in the centers of the hearts so we cut them off at the base to remove any decay we found in the center of the plant and then re-bunched them.  It was a shame to think about losing so many of those plants!  Check out a new, fun recipe for celery that one of our members shared with us this week!  

Pickling Cucumbers-  Five pickling cukes this week.  We're working on getting them picked a little smaller, but it sure is hard to keep up with the pickling cuke harvest demands with all of the other harvests going on.  Fun to stuff these guys in a jar.  Does anyone have a simple refrigerator pickle recipe they love and want to share?  Send that to me!  

Hungarian Hot Wax Peppers-  One Hot Pepper per member this week.  The Hungarian Hot Wax pepper has a spicy name, but they are quite mild on the spectrum of hot peppers.  They can be a bit of a mixed bag.  One Hungarian Hot Wax pepper could be very mild with little to no spice, and the next one you try could have a surprising amount of kick.  Give them a little nibble before cooking with them to gage how much to use in your dish.  

Red Beets-  About three beets per member this week.  The red beets have truly been lovely to cook with this season.  The nice thing about beets is that they will keep for a fantastically long time if kept in the fridge in a plastic bag.  But, if you're like me, you won't be able to hold onto them that long without devouring them first.  DSC 0352

Zucchini and/or Summer Squash-  Two squash per member this week.  The squash production is waning a bit now.  We are finding that they squash are not keeping as well as they were at the start of the season when the plants were young and fresh.  Now that they plants are at the end of their life, the fruits are not keeping as well.  We recommend trying to maintian that 50 degree storage temp that they were kept at at the farm or eating them up asap!

Tomatoes-  1.8 lbs per member this week.  The tomato production is picking up a bit now, but we're still not swimming in them.  A little warm weather and sunshine would be helpful in getting those tmoatoes to ripen.  Now, you must know that we pick tomatoes in the early stages of 'blushing' and ripening.  We recommend leaving your tomatoes out on your countertop to ripen.  They will slowly ripen over the course of a week.  We need to pick them at this stage of ripeness if they are to survive the shipping and handeling.  We would much rather give you under-ripe tomatoes than smooshed tomatoes.  If you leave them out at room temperature, it will not affect their flavor, they will still be considered vine-ripened tomatoes.  We also recommend not putting your tomatoes in the fridge unless they are fully ripen and you need to refrigerate them to buy yourself some time before you are able to eat them.  Putting tomatoes in referigerators usually sucks the flavor out of them.  Enjoy!  We're hoping for a larger giving next week!

Onions-  Two smaller onions per member this week.  The onions were a little smaller this year as we had to harvest them earlier than usual.  Onions are partially cured, but they will keep well on your countertop or in your fridge.  

Green Beans-  Half Pound per member this week.  We're expecting a larger offering next week for sure!  

Eggplant-  You may have received either one standard Black Beauty Eggplant or you may have received one long and skinney Japanese Eggplant.  Eggplant prefers a 50 degree storage area which can be hard to come by.  They sometimes get a bit wilty in the fridge and the countertop is a tad too warm, so we recommend using these up sooner rather than later because they’re not awesome keepers.  More next week!

Red Cabbage-  A hearty, solid head of red cabbage per member this week.  We'll take a little break from offering cabbages for a week or two after this.  

Next Week's Best Guess-  Eggplant, onion, hot peppers, tomatoes, sweet corn, green beans, beets, kale, oregano

Recipes-

Marinated Celery Salad with Chickpeas and Parmesan

Swiss Chard and Tomato Fritatta

Zucchini Bread Pancakes

Savory Zucchini Chard Muffins

Sweet Corn and Coconut Milk Chowder

August Nineth

Pre-maturely, we named this farm the ‘Small Family Farm’ way back in the Spring of 2007.  We knew we wanted to be a family farm, we knew we would always remain small and we wanted to epitomize everything it meant to be a ‘Small Family Farm’.  We wanted the kids and the fields and the barn and the tractor and the clothesline.  We had a highly romantic ideal backed with a strong work ethic and a focus that let nothing stand in our way.  We had a lot to learn then.  And we still do. DSC 0351

The family aspect of running a farm, we have been learning, looks very beautiful.  We have blond haired little angels running barefoot across the fields.  We have home-cooked sit-down dinners holding hands as a family.  We have other people’s children coming and going and breathing life and community into the farm.  We have literally a family of friends and community that is our worker and worker-share base of helpers.  But we also have the dark side of the moon- as every family does.  We have the tantrums and the deadlines and the stress and the aches and pains.  I don’t want to create too perfect of an image for you.  This is real life! 

The children, though,  have drastically changed my role in this farm.  Becoming a mother has transformed me from being the primary farmer, tractor-operator and field crew manager into more of a farm worker.  While farmer Adam, father and husband, has been slowly assuming more and more of my past responsibilities.  He quit his off-farm job in 2014 when our second child was born and the farm has been thriving ever since.  I struggle some days with a loss of identity with taking more of a passenger-seat role in the fields due to my family and motherhood responsibilities and personal expectations. 

I’ve been keeping a little secret from you all.  I’m 22 weeks pregnant with our third child due in mid December.  While I very much so wanted this, I still struggle with the meaning of it and the implications.  Growing our family will mean more work for Adam and I both in the short term as we raise our very young family into more middle-sized people with more independence.  I will still do the lion’s share of taking care of an infant with honor and gratitude.  But in this stage of our lives, which I’m sure I will look back on fondly one day, I still have to remind myself daily that I am a farmer too.  I watch Adam doing a fantastic job at running the crews.  I make dinner while he does the tractor work.  I give the 2 year-old the nap while he takes the crew out to harvest cucumbers.  I stay up late folding laundry and picking up toys while I let him rest his bones from lifting heavy bins all day and shouldering the weight of this operation. 

I am the farthest thing from a sub-servant wife (and my husband has never treated me so).  I am a feminist.  I am a professional, non-traditional woman.  I am so much more than a mother.  But I do have to actually say it to feel it some days.  I am playing a role in our family that allows our family and farm to function at it’s best.

It’s ridiculous.  I know.  But if you’ve never had children or your children are grown-you may not be able to empathize or identify or remember how thick the veil of motherhood really is.  Especially when they are very young.  It is encompassing.  It is the reason many people do NOT have children. It is TONS of work.  Hard work.  Constant.  And extremely time-consuming, no matter how you do it.  The responsibility is heavy.  Much like running a farm this size. 

But, I’ve always been the sort of woman to take on more than I should.  I’ve always been able to follow up with more strength and courage than I knew I had.  I also have a work-aholic nature that the children do help soften now (they slow me down whether I like it or not).  And resting and sleeping inside me is a full-time farmer.  I look forward to the day when we reach the top of the bell curve and our family life and our work may actually become easier again.  But for now, it's full force ahead!parsnip

Soooo…..What’s in the Box????

Sweet Corn-  8 ears per member this week!  And boy oh boy is it sweet!  Did you know that minute sweet corn has been harvested it begins to loose some of it’s sweetness?  Yes, the sugars turn to starches and the flavor decreases by the hour.  We highly recommend keeping your sweet corn in the refrigerator and eating for supper TONIGHT to maximize the aweseome flavor it has!  Some of the corn did have worms in it.  Yes, worms are gross, but this is organic corn folks and there isn’t much we can do about it.  Just take a knife and cut those spots or the tip off if you find one.  We don’t want you be alarmed, because they’re in there!  Farmer Adam did a fantiastic job keeping the sweet corn fence electrified at night and keeping the coons out.  We sometimes loose huge numbers of corn to the raccoons.  This year we’re keeping them out so far! 

Celery-  Still stunning and amazing heads of celery coming strong.  We probably have a couple more weeks of celery offerings befor the celery stops coming.  Enjoy it while it lasts!  Make celery soup, celery and peanut butter sticks.  Celery salad.  Live it up!  Don't forget to use your celery greens in soups, salads stocks or however you can get them into your tummies!

Red Cabbage-  Red cabbage keeps spectacularly well in the fridge in your crisper.  It can be a little bit trickier to figure out what to do with, so check out our loved Warm Red Cabbage Salad below!

Eggplant-  The first eggplant offering!  You may have received either one standard Black Beauty Eggplant or you may have received one long and skinney Japanese Eggplant.  Eggplant prefers a 50 degree storage area which can be hard to come by.  They sometimes get a bit wilty in the fridge and the countertop is a tad too warm, so we recommend using these up sooner rather than later because they’re not awesome keepers.  More next week!

Cauliflower or Broccoli-  Either one Broccoli or Cauliflower this week.  Broc and Cauliflower are coming to an end again here until our later successions kick in.  Such nice broc and cauli this summer!  

Lettuce-  Either a red leaf or green leaf lettuce this week.  Smaller heads this week as lettuce doesn’t tolerate the heat well, so we grab it early before it wants to start to bolt.  More lettuce on the way! 

Carrots-  Another handsome offering of 1lb bags of carrots this week.  We chose not to give the carrots with the greens still attached this week to save time bunching them in the fields.  Still very freshly dug for you!  So excited to have carrots again!

Slicing Cucumbers- 7-8 Cucumbers per member this week.  Cucumber production will really take a plummet after this week.  They had their peak and the plants are producing a lot less now.  So make your favorite cucumber recipes now before cucumbers slowly drift out of season. 

Thyme-  Fragrant, delightful and hearty Thyme!  If you can’t use it all fresh, we recommend laying it out on a tray to dry in a dehydrator or warm oven with the door open for several hours until it is dry and crispy.  Strip the leaves from the stem and enjoy your own home-made dried thyme in the winterthyme;) 

Tomatoes-  Finally!  They are starting!  This is the first offering of tomatoes.  2 tomatoes per member this week to get us started.  But they are gorgeous and well received!  More next week.  Hopefully lots more! 

Summer Squash and Zucchini-  Just two squash per member this week.  Squash production is also waning fast.  We’re still picking them because they’re still coming, but I wouldn’t expect them to last too much longer. 

Pickling Cucumbers-  Just three pickling cucumbers per member this week. These guys are a bit of a pain to harvest and catch while they’re still small.  We have been giving some that are a little on the larger size for a pickling cuke, but this is what we had time to squeeze in and gather amidst all of our other harvesting we’re trying to keep up with. 

White Onions-  One white onion!

Next Week's Best Guess:  Sweet Corn, Red Cabbage, Celery, Cucumbers, Onion, Zucchini and Summer Squash, Tomatoes, Eggplant, Hot Pepper, Chard or Kale, beets

Recipes

Warm Red Cabbage Salad

Blue Moon Celery Salad

Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole with Guyere featuring Carrots and Celery

Eggplant Curry

August Second

Here is a guest Worker-Share Perspective Article from a first-year Worker Share member, Megan from Viola, WI! 

My name is Megan, I am a worker share at Small Family Farm CSA.  I work Thursday mornings at the farm and I love that every Thursday morning is different!  My family and I are new to this area and we are thoroughly enjoying settling in and beginning the process of putting down literal and proverbial roots.  I was fortunate enough to hear about the worker share program through a full time farm employee, and knowing my husband and I's first garden season here would not produce what we would like to have available to us, I decided to take advantage of the worker share program as a way to supplement our own garden produce.DSC 0356

I have been fortunate enough to always have had exposure to gardens and garden produce.  As a child both my parents were passionate about the role a garden played in providing for our family.  Of course if you would have tried to tell me then that one day I would describe my experience in our family's garden as fortunate, I'm sure I would have rolled my early and late adolescent eyes at you! 

I developed my own interest in gardening in my twenties starting by planting flowers, moving into herb garden beds, and finally into small garden plots which expanded every year to accommodate more and more veggies and a desire to cook and feed myself and husband a balance of good, healthy, wholesome food.  My parents may have not fully realized it at the time, but through our work in the garden they inexplicably taught me about hard work, the benefits of such work, the role sun, rain, and temperature has on our food, the importance of each of the seasons, and the value of homegrown food.  These experiences later fostered in me feelings of confidence when I dug my own gardens, planted seeds, cared for plants, and later accepted with thanks the fruits of these plants; often turning them into pint upon pint of homemade salsa, pizza sauce, dilly beans and the like to be enjoyed months down the road.  By subscribing to Small Family Farm CSA you show an interest in these things as well; the role the weather plays in the food available to you each week, seasonal eating and the confidence gained in handling, preparing, and eating of a generous variety of vegetables.  Would I have purchased, known how to prepare and enjoyed eating a crisp, sweet kohlrabi on my afternoon salad if it hadn't been in my CSA box?  Probably not.  In this way we all continue to grow through these experiences and this connection to the land, seasons, and our food.

Growing, preparing, and preserving the food of my family gives me a sense of pride, satisfaction and accomplishment which I also see reflected in my fellow worker shares, the full time employees at the farm and Adam and Jillian.  I know this mentality must also be reflected in everyone who subscribes to the Small Family Farm CSA as well.  Not everyone has the space, interest or passion to garden and that is okay.  However, knowing where our food comes from and joining in that process to the best of our ability, perhaps through educating ourselves about seasonal produce, shopping at the farmer's market or joining a CSA gives us a more well-rounded, enriched connection to our food, our surroundings, our community, and each other.  This experience has a value difficult to find on a traditional grocery story shelf and I, for one, am happy and proud to be part of it.DSC 0349

Soooo….What’s in the Box?

Green Top Carrots-  Glorious, beautiful, and sweet carrots!  We had a lot of fun cleaning these guys up for CSA boxes.  A little work to clean up the tops, but they are fun to see in the whole form like this.  Did you know the greens are edible like parsley?  Carrot top pesto! 

Green Onions-  We didn’t think there were quite enough green onions left out there for another CSA giving, but we had almost exactly enough.  Next week will be the beginning of standard, white onions! 

Broccoli-  Handsom heads of broccoli for everyone this week!  Stunning.  Keep them very cold and get them home and into your fridge if you want them to last.  We go to great lengths to get broccoli hydro-cooled as quickly as possible after harvest and then it is lovingly iced immediately after being hydro-cooled and rushed to the walk-in cooler.  Follow our tradition with broccoli and cauliflower and keep it cold to keep it fresh! 

Cauliflower-  And we’re not sure we’ve ever had such gorgeous summer cauliflower.  Ever.  This is really fun!  Same as broccoli, keep it cold to keep it fresh!  We keep some of the outer leaves on the broccoli and cauliflower to protect the heads turning transport.  You can also eat those greens if you’re really a greens-user.  The greens are actually more nutritious than the broccoli and cauliflower itself.  Use like kale or collards. 

Metechi Garlic-  Metechi is the name of this variety.  We only grow hard-neck varieties here in the ‘north country’ that over-winter well.  Fresh, raw garlic like this has a thick, juicy membrane around each clove of garlic that is surprisingly thick.  After garlic has been cured it has a paper-thin layer around each clove, but this garlic is still very fresh and new.  Farmer Adam peeled some of the dryer, more un-attractive layers of garlic off of the outer bulbs so your garlics really look clean and glow for you when you pull them out of the box.  The plants grow to be a few feet tall, but we cut them down before curing.  Enjoy! 

Celery- Wow!  Another week of this amazing celery.  Local celery that finally puts California celery to shame.  This stuff is GREEN folks!  And it has flavor!  Local celery has a bad rap for being a little tougher, greener, leafier and having a stronger celery flavor.  But I'm going to ask you think about this vegetable in a whole new way.  We're not pumping it full of water like they do in California, it is grown locally (and that's a big one!), and it is grown in nutrient rich soils on a farm you know and love.  Also, the greens can be used in soups, stocks, salads or however you can get creative with them.  Local celery does have a stronger celery flavor than California celery, but let's view that as a 'plus' for local celery, and not a 'negative'!  We had "Aunts on a Log" for a snack a couple times already this week!  Have fun! 

Zucchini and Summer Squash-  4-5 per member.  Zucchini and Summer Squash production is waning.  We are still harvesting every other day, but the plants are slowing down now.  We can still expect another week or two of squash, so we hope you’re not squashed out just yet.  Don’t forget that it is very, very easy to just chunk or grate zucchini and summer squash, stuff them into freezer ziplock bags and freeze without blanching or any other prep. 

Cucumbers-  6-7 Per member.  Cucumbers are still going very strong.  A heavy harvest, but a lovely one!  All winter long I dream about eating cucumber, so this year we are getting our fill of them at our house.  Cucumbers and summer squashes both prefer a 50 degree storage temp.  So you may notice that they don’t keep perfectly in your fridge because it is probably a little too cold in there for them.  Don’t plan on holding onto them for too long!  More coming next week!

Pickling Cucumbers-  7 picklers per member.  This should be enough to fill a couple quart jars with.  Fresh picked picklers picked a little larger than what we would normally like to pick them, but we’ve been so busy keeping up with the other harvests on the farm, these took the back-burner.  Do you love pickling cukes?  Let us know! 

Curly Green Kale-  Because life with Kale in it is much better! 

Basil-  Basil prefers to be stored in a glass of water much like fresh-cut flowers.  Refrigerators will turn basil black if they are stored too cold.  Basil is a heat-loving, sun-loving plant and it is not a long-lasting herb.  Remember that you can always pluck the leaves from the stems, lay them out to dry in a dehydrator or low temp-oven and have your own home-made dried basil this winter.  There is also enough basil here to make a small batch of pesto, so take advantage of that opportunity! 

Lettuce-  One or two small heads of lettuce per member this week.  Peak-season lettuce is hard to grow, so even though we may be tired of lettuce, we can at the very least appreciate how difficult it is to get summer lettuce.  

Next Week's Best Guess-  Red cabbage, carrots, sweet corn, cucumbers, zucchini, summer squash, white onion, celery, red leaf lettuce, broccoli or cauliflower, herb.  

Carrot Top Pesto

Chef T's Basil Pesto-

Honey Lemon Refrigerator Pickles

Zucchini Fritters

Zucchini Breakfast Casserole Recipe

July Twenty-Sixth

Don’t worry about us, folks!  The farm is surviving the storms!  In case you haven’t heard or your micro-climate was not getting the weather the farm was getting, we received about 6 inches of rain between Wednesday and Friday.  It was the beginning of a very mucky garlic harvest on Thursday while continuing to pull garlic in the rain on Friday morning and afternoon. DSC 0362

The major damage from the ‘flood’, hail and high winds were the tender onion plants taking a beating and looking pretty roughed up, some broken branches and plants in the Pepper patch and the leaning of the poor sweet corn that keeps getting knocked down, but miraculously stands back up to the fight every time!  We also had a few fallen trees in our yard, topsoil loss and branches scattered everywhere in the yard around our home.  Quite the winds on our Ridgetop here!

Despite the storms, we were able to begin the garlic harvest on the farm.  We were pulling muddy root-balls out of the ground fairly easily, slowly and steadily.   The farm smells like garlic for a mile around as we trim the stalks and leaves in the field and through the process of breaking all of those plant cell walls in the slicing and trimming, there is a lot of garlic juice in the air.  We fill bins of semi-cleaned garlic stems and stack them in blocks in the greenhouse to allow the garlic to “cure”.  Garlic needs a minimum of three weeks to cure in a dry and well-ventilated area in order to dry down properly for storage. 

Amidst the garlic push, we are keeping up with our every-other day harvests like cucumbers and summer squash.  Cucumber harvest is hitting with a bang we’re harvesting literally truck-loads of beautiful cucumbers.  We’re getting a short reprieve from the every-other-day broccoli harvest.  Fall Carrots have germinated nicely and we’re even starting to seed some of our fall spinach already.  The crew has been keeping up with the transplanting of fall brassicas like fall broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and kohlrabi.  Never a dull moment on the farm! SFF AdamJillian 2017 215 rt

We’re trellising tomatoes and waiting patiently and anxiously as the plants blossom, set fruit and swell.  Some tomato varieties have loads of green tomatoes already hanging all over them.  We’re still a few weeks away from the beginning of tomato harvest though-it’s a painful waiting period, I know!  Even the poor pepper plants-that much prefer a sunny, hot and dry growing climate have been toughing out all of this wind and rain and have small green peppers and blossoms all over them.  Sweet bell peppers might be my personal favorite summer time vegetable! 

The farmer’s bodies are tired and weary.  We’re getting sleep, and barely enough some nights.  I am constantly worried about Adam so that he is eating enough food and drinking enough water.  Farmer Adam is shouldering the weight of the strict vegetable farm harvest, planting and cultivating schedule these days.  He is the orchestrator of this symphony of food that we are experiencing these days.  But don’t worry, I’m taking good care of him!  We hope you’re enjoying the bounty!  

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

Green Quickstart Cabbage-  Another head of gorgeous green cabbage per member this week.  Coleslaw, egg rolls, borscht?  

Green Top Beets-  We call them "Green-Top" beets because we harvest them with their greens still on them.  The greens are deliciously edible and can be used like swiss chard or kale in your cooking.  We found these beets to be wonderufuly sweet!  Enjoy!

Summer Squash and Zucchini-  About 4 squash per member this week.  The plants are still producing heavily and steadily, so no fear of summer squashes leaving us just yet;)  

Cucumbers-  Holy Moley!  9-10 cucumbers per member this week!  Wow!  The cucumber production is in high gear and we're loving every moment of it!  We've been missing this alkalizing, cooling and watery plant for all of those long, cold months of winter.  Eat as many cucumbers as you can so you don't miss them when they're gone again!

Green Curly Kale-  I think my life is a little cherrier because I have kale in it.  Have you ever thought about what life would be like without kale?  Just not the same!  So we're offering this to kale to keep you cheery and healthy and happy!  Kale chips are an easy, fun and simple way to get kale into the bellies of your family members if you struggle with this one.  

Celery-  Yes, gorgeous, succulent celery that finally puts California celery to shame.  This stuff is GREEN folks!  And it has flavor!  Local celery has a bad rap for being a little tougher, greener, leafier and having a stronger celery flavor.  But I'm going to ask you think about this vegetable in a whole new way.  We're not pumping it full of water like they do in California, it is grown locally (and that's a big one!), and it is grown in nutrient rich soils on a farm you know and love.  Also, the greens can be used in soups, stocks, salads or however you can get creative with them.  Local celery does have a stronger celery flavor than California celery, but let's view that as a 'plus' for local celery, and not a 'negative'!  We had "Aunts on a Log" for a snack a couple times aleady this week!  Have fun!  

Red leaf or Green Leaf Lettuce-  One tender and beautiful head of lettuce per member this week.  Keeping the greens a coming;)  

Green Onions-  The green onions are coming to an end, so we may start giving regular onions next week.  

Flat Leaf Parsley-  Parsley for our herb offering this week.  Parsley is so versatile, you could sneak a little of it into amost any dish for flavor and a health boost.

Green Garlic-  Freshly plucked out of the earth after a nine month slumber, these sleepy garlics are still waking up, or are just being born!  Fresh, raw garlic like this has a thick, juicy membrane around each clove of garlic that is surprisingly thick.  After garlic has been cured it has a paper-thin layer around each clove, but this garlic is still very fresh and new.  We tried to pretty them up a bit for you so they look shiney and white.  The plants grow to be a few feet tall, but we cut them down before curing.  Enjoy!  

Next Week's Best Guess-  Summer Squash and Zucchini, Cucumbers, Pickling Cucumbers, garlic, celery, carrots, green onions or onion, broccoli or cauliflower, lettuce, collards, and maybe a few asian eggplants ready to share, curly parsley.

Recipes-

Cucumber and Celery Salad with Tuna

Cucumber Ranch Salad Dressing

Chunky Celery Soup with Wild Rice-

No-Noodle Zucchini Lasagna

July Nineteenth

Worker Share Perspective Article by Anna Jahns  (She's the one in the picture on the right)DSC 0129

What is your involvement in the Small Family Farm? Employee, Worker Share,

other?

Worker Share (Friday mornings!)

How did you first find out about/Start working at Small Family Farm?

A poster at the Viroqua Food Co-op!

How long have you been helping at the Small Family Farm?

This is my third year.

What is your favorite kind of work to do at the farm?

In general I prefer field work, but packing potatoes is kind of fun.

Why do you like coming to the farm? What keeps you coming back?

I like working hard as part of a crew of interesting, committed people.

What was the most surprising thing to you about SFF/Working at Small Family

Farm?

I was pleasantly impressed by what good business-people and managers Jillian and Adam are.  Running a successful CSA, especially with a lot of different worker share/employee crews, takes a lot more knowledge than just how to grow tasty vegetables.  They obviously have all aspects of their business down, and are great at managing people, too!

What is the hardest part about working on the farm?IMG 2980

Waking up early on my day off!  But once I get there I’m always glad that I did J

What do you do when you’re not at the Small Family Farm?

I work in natural resource management, so a lot of what we do isn’t so different from work on the farm, in terms of actual tasks if not the end goal.  It is nice to take a break from having to plan and orchestrate activities and just get told what to do for a few hours a week!  And for some inexplicable reason getting paid in veggies feels at least as good as working towards that paycheck!

Tell us more about your experience? What is a day of work like? What does a

season feel like to you?

Everyone arrives at 8:00, and Farmer Adam comes out to greet us, usually with a coffee mug in his hand.   “Good morning!  Welcome to Small Family Farm!”  This is usually quickly followed by something like, “Today we’re going to weed carrots!”  And then he steers us out to the carrots, reminds us what we’re doing, tells us how he wants them weeded (are we using our fingers? Hand hoes? Stand-up hoes?), and we all set to work.  Conversations start and stop as we leapfrog our way down the row – always remembering to put the work first (if we don’t, we’ll be reminded by Adam or each other)!  After the babysitter gets settled in, Jillian comes out to join us, which usually provides an extra influx of energy!  Her competitive nature and attention to detail mean that she can get more done, and more quickly, than most of the rest of us.  She corrects us when we’re doing something ineffective, or harmful to the desirable plants.  She reminds us to use two hands to go faster!  She also sings a really great little ditty to keep our spirits up along the way.  After a while, we might move to the other side of the farm and weed another crop, or pick some peas, starting new conversations with whomever winds up next to us in this new row, and I’m hoping just once to get my harvest bin filled before Jillian does!

This is how I think of my mornings at the farm in retrospect, but it is rarely that idyllic in the moment.  Sometimes we are pulling garlic in the pouring rain, and in shaking the mud off the bulbs we get it caked in our faces and hair and have to leave our clothes out in the sun for a week until the scent fades.  Or the ground is baked so hard and dry that a jackhammer seems like an ideal weeding tool.  Sometimes it is 90 degrees and we are hauling armloads of heavy mulch or trellising and wishing we’d brought bigger water bottles.  Sometimes in the fall the sun is just barely coming up and we are barehanded, picking spinach with the frost still on it, trying to work fast enough to un-numb our fingers (but yeah, Jillian is still faster).   I’ve worked in land management for over a decade, and I recognize the same pattern of morale on the farm as in every other job I’ve held that is tied to our Midwestern seasons.  August is always tough.  The days are getting shorter, but everyone’s bodies and minds are exhausted from cumulative months of short nights.  It’s hot.  It is crunch time – this is the last push before the fruits and flowers ripen, and it doesn’t seem like there’s enough time to get everything done.  Backs are sore, and the heavy harvest lifting hasn’t even started yet.  The excitement of getting to chat with new coworkers and old friends has faded, and folks might be starting to get tired of one another.  DSC 0370

And then – suddenly – the sun is lower, the nights are cooler, and there is delicious produce surrounding us on all sides!  How can you not be cheerful while filling tub after tub of red and orange peppers?!   Or anticipating that sweet, sweet day when it is finally time to get after the brussels sprouts?!  Except… sometimes even that part is hard.  Last year our area get hit by storm after storm, so that we were wearing rubber boots in the fields nearly every week.  By the time harvest rolled around, we were digging rotten carrots out of the ground, or having to toss moldy peppers off to the side.  It was discouraging, knowing that we had done so much right earlier in the season, and now we had to work extra hard to eek out just barely enough of the final product.  Adam and Jillian tried hard not to let their concern and disappointment show – but after working alongside them for months, we all know how much of their hearts and souls they put into growing each crop, and their concern was for much more than just their business and livelihood.

While I’m working hard each day, or when I think back on it after the fact, I always see myself as someone who shows up for a few hours, plays in the dirt, does what I’m told, and gets to take some vegetables home.  While I’m pulling weeds, or later on chopping up a salad, I don’t really feel that glow of “belonging to my CSA” that I thought I was supposed to.  When I think of it like this, though, as a whole season, it becomes clear to me that I really do have a connection to the people and the place.  We haven’t even hit the doldrums of late summer yet, and I’m already thinking with sadness of that last fall day of packing away the sweet potatoes and leaving Small Family Farm for the winter.  

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

Broccoli x 2-  Two beautiful heads of broccoli per member this week.  Wow!  We are so happy to share these!  Broccoli keeps best if kept very cold.  We worked hard to get these picked, cooled and iced as quickly as possible when bringing them in from the field.  We recommend picking up your box and rushing your broccoli home to a safe place in your refrigerator!  There is nothing more sad than yellowing broccoli from getting warm!  Also keeps best in a plastic bag in the fridge to preserve moisture. Tomato Rows

Cauliflower-  Also a beautiful and stunning head of cauliflower per member this week.  Similar to the broccoli, rush your cauliflower home and into its safe place in the fridge.  So many fun recipes for cauliflower these days as a low-carb substitute for bread, potatoes and more!  Have fun with it!  There were probably ten boxes at the very end that received three heads of broccoli and no cauliflower.  

Green Top Beets- By "green top" we mean that they still have their greens attached to them on top;)  Did you know that beet greens are deliciously edible?  Yep!  You can use them in your cooking like you would spinach or swiss chard.  Our girls love beets boiled then peeled then cubed and tossed with butter.  

Green Cabbage-  It's always very exciting for the first week of offering cabbage each season.  These Quickstart cabbages aren't as dense as a storage type cabbage, but are all of the crispiness, greenness and lovliness that we look for in cabbage.  We sometimes leave an outer layer or two for protection on the cabbage, so feel free to snap off a couple of those outer leaves that may be not as tender as the inner leaves.  Should keep well in the fridge for two weeks.  

Summer Squash and Zucchini-  6-7 Squash per member this week.  Zucchini and Summer squash are producing well, be sure to get all of your kabob recipes, spiralizer recipes, and zucchini bread recipes out because it's high tide for summer squash and zucchini.  Remember that it can also be grated, stuffed in a freezer ziplock bag and frozen without blanching.  It could also be sliced, ziplocked and then frozen.  Squash is very easy to freeze if you just can't keep up!

Cucumber-  It's starting!  Two cucumbers per member this week.  A great way to help keep you cool!  Cucumbers in every box next week! 

Green Onions-  Still another week or two of green onions to hold us over.  It's fun to watch them get a little bigger each week as we harvest them!  Remember that you can use these guys all the way up to their tips.  We'll continue to harvest green onions/scallions for boxes for the next couple weeks to hold us over until the real onions start maturing! 

Swiss Chard- We plant a rainbow of chard colors including pink, red, white, orange and yellow.  As we harvest, it is usually the luck of the draw.  Your bunch may be a nice mix of colors, or it could be all white or all red.  It's hard to say!  The flavors are all the same, but the colors the leaves impart during cooking vary.   

Peas-  Sadly this is the final giving of peas for the season.  A half pound of peas per member this week.  We had a very nice run on peas this year with lots of helping hands to get them picked!  Thank you to all of the loving, patient and dilligent pea pickers on the farm!  

Green Leaf Lettuce -  You may have received one or two heads, depending on if there was space left in your box!  Summer lettuce is coming to an end 

Mint-  Cute little bunches of mint this week as our herb offering.  Likely won't keep long, ut best to keep like fresh-cut flowers in a vase in the kitchen or in a plastic bag in the fridge.  Use up quickly by either making tea or chopping it into a tabouleh salad.  

Next Week's Best Guess-  Cabbage, Beets, carrots, cukes, squash, celery, kale, lettuce, bunching onions, garlic, parsley, 

Recipes

Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls Casserole

Gluten Free Chocolate Beet Cupcakes

Beet Borscht

Beet and Goat Cheese Pizza (Beetza)