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July Twentieth

Ode to the Worker Share

On this farm we started a worker share program a couple years ago that started out quite loose and without structure.  “Worker Shares” were invited to come to the farm whenever they could make it out in an effort to work 3 hours a week in exchange for their CSA box.  In the beginning this program wasn’t quite as popular as I had hoped and I hadn’t really asked for structure the way we depend on it now for its success.  Today on the farm we have 13 ‘Worker Shares’ that come to the farm every week, same time, same day, same place no matter the weather conditions, and on harvest days like today, I am eternally grateful.Dirty_WorkersJillian, Adrianne and Shiori dirty from a hard days work in the field on Monday!

As I approach my third trimester in pregnancy and my ability to climb the hill at my usual pace slows, my ability to lift full bins of cabbage and my enthusiasm to drive the truck full of bins to the field to harvest in extreme heat wanes, I am eternally thankful for my helpers.  My body is using up most of its energy for baby making and I’m left with some skilled hand work in the field and the ability to orchestrate and lead workers when they arrive.  What makes this program unique is that we have a very wide range of age, experience level in farming/gardening and personalities.  Some of our workers are in their mid-sixties, some of them aren’t even 16 and some of them are just down-right gung-ho 20, 30, 40, and 50-somethings that love to be outside, stick their hands in the earth, feel the sun on their cheeks and watch their food grow.  I love it! 

But it’s their respect and loyalty to the program that means so much to me.  It’s their genuine interest that brings them here and it’s their own personal levels of perseverance that keep them showing up each week on time and on schedule-all for a ¾ bushel box of produce grown on our farm.  I know she’ll never read this newsletter, but Barb Perkins, owner of Vermont Valley Community Farm, is largely to credit for my inspiration to create and organize this program.  Her leadership skills, her confidence, her strength and no-B.S. attitude are what kick-started the success of this entire season’s worth of work. 

(Adrianne, don’t think I’ve forgotten about you.)  Adrianne is our one and only full time employee who works harder than anyone on this farm, including prego-ol’ me.  Well, maybe Adam (my husband) works harder-maybe.  Adrianne is my right-hand woman who is my constant companion, friend and rock-star helper on the farm.  She is willing to work no matter the weather conditions, no matter how much lifting is required and no matter how new she is to each task we tackle or how dirty the job. 

So 'Thank You' Worker-Shares.  I appreciate you!  Adrianne, you rock!broccoliA bird's eye view of the broccoli

Sooo, What's in the Box?

Kohlraibi-  Finally the last giving of spring kohlrabi. You'll see more of these guys in the fall when the weather cools off again.  Remember that you can eat the leaves on kohlrabi if you hate to see them go to waste.  Kohlriabi will keep in a plastic bag in the fridge for over a month.   

Beets-  Beautiful 'Early Wonder Tall Top' Beets.  We always harvest the beets with their leaves on.  Beets are in the same family as spinach and swiss chard so you can cook with them like you would any cooking green. 

Celery-  Wisconsin-grown celery is very diffferent from California-grown celery.  It has a bit of a stronger celery flavor and it's stalks aren't quite as juicy and succulent at California celery.  You can use celery leaves in soup stocks and chop fine into fresh salad for extra flavor.  The leaves can also be dried and dehydrated for soupl flavoring later on. 

Broccoli-  Another big week of beautiful broccoli!  In the intense heat, the broccoli isn't holding in the field the way it does when it's cooler outside.  But they still look delicious!  Broccoli prefers very cold storage in a plastic bag in the fridge. 

Summer Squash, Zucchini and Patty Pan-  I sure hope every week's squash harvest isn't as big as this weeks harvest because we're becoming slaves to the zucchini patch now.  The patty Pans are the white, space-ship shaped squash.  Summer squashes will keep best at around 50 degrees.  Sometimes they store a bit better on your counter top than they do in the fridge.  They can become wilty in the fridge from the refrigeration.

Cucumbers-  A cucumber or two for everyone this week.  Cucumbers are just starting to come on now, and at the perfect timing!  Cucumbers are here to help us beat the heat!  Cukes store best at 50 degrees and refrigerators can make them get a bit wilty.  

Bunch Onions-  Finally some green onions to hold us over.  Remember to use the greens as well in your salads and dressings.  

Lettuce-  A couple heads of lettuce for everyone again this week.  Remember that lettuce will store best in a plastic bag in the fridge.  It will become wilty if not kept in a bag to preserve moisture.  

Collards-  A southern cooking green and a fantastic addition to any meal.  Rip collards into a quiche, tear into a soup or simply sautee with garlic and oil and enjoy.  

Flowering Dill-  Dill also has cooling properties.  If you don't think you can use it all up while it's still fresh, hang it to dry or stick it in your dehydrator to become dry and then crumble it into a jar with a tight lid for storage.  Use dill in dips, soups, marrinades and dressings for added flavor.  

Next Week's Guess:  Zucchini, Summer Squash, Patty Pan, Cucumber, Lettuce, Broccoli, Celery, Green Garlic, Cilantro, Red Cabbage, Swiss Chardearly_july_fieldBeautiful Brassicas


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