August First

It takes a very special kind of person who succeeds in farming.  The lifestyle is such that it demands more from you on a daily bases than what you have to give.  Your job is to keep things alive, be it animals or plants.  In an ideal world, a good farmer would have compassion for the animals she raises, the plants she sows and the people who help her on her farm.  Farmers need to be of the incredibly hardworking kind.  The kind that would rather check the weather every few hours than the score to the game.  Farmer's need to learn to accept tragedy with grace for it is a likely to be frequent.  They must know how to persevere through hours if not days or weeks of uncomfortable weather or working conditions.  They need to be the kind of people who know how to invest and spend their money wisely and carefully for the future is always uncertain and the market will always fluctuate.  wk_9_2012The Week 9 Bounty!

To be a woman and a mother and a farmer takes another kind of person.  She must be half crazy, widely unconventional and curiously different.  With her new child she must then learn to be endlessly unselfish, eternally patient and spontaneously creative. She soon learns that her needs are met last after the needs of her child then the needs of her farm and the living things she keeps alive and then herself.  In the short time that I have known parenting, I have learned to trust and depend on my spouse, my friends and helpers to help me because I cannot do everything anymore.  Even though I try to sing to the baby, harvest and bunch parsley and make sure everyone elses' bunches look to meet the quality standards I cannot keep all flames burning evenly at once.  I observe that my left bicep has doubled in size from holding a child, my singing skills have improved slightly and my ability to multi-task, while previously a strong suit of mine, has only become a sharper tool in my box.  

There are likely mothers out there that would shake their head at me.  They would see me on the tractor transplanting with the babe strapped to my chest or advancing the babe every 40-50 feet or so down the vegetable rows while I harvest or weed, or tote the babe along in the stroller or sling for an 8 or 9 hour work day with a couple naps in between.  Some might say she shouldn't eat the dirt or get her clothes so dirty or be exposed to so much sunlight.  Others might say she should spend more time away from her mother, she shouldn't spend so much time in the fields or she should have more toys to play with rather than carrots, cucumbers or kale leaves.  I don't know what I would say to mothers like this other than to remind them that I am in fact a mother and a farmer.  I am not simply a farm wife that cooks, cleans and raises children under a roof.  

Despite all of my worries about parenting and farming together, we go to bed every night and the work is somehow getting done.  The bills are getting paid and the world is still turning on its axis.  There hasn't been any major calamity, the child is growing up and the CSA boxes are getting packed.  To my surprise the season is going quite smoothly.  I have found that the community of people around us also love our child and wish to see the farm prosper.  The weight of being a mother and farmer is heavy and it is true that a rare breed of a woman is up for the task.  The difference is that when the day begins and when I'm ready to walk out the door, I must now remember to pack a stroller, a daiper bag, a variety of toys, a sun hat for the baby and myself and the beach umbrellea we use to keep her shaded.  Just when I thought that my life was already too complicated, I humbly admit that it was not.  

Sooo, What's in the Box???

Scarlet Nantes Green top Carrots-  Beautiful orange carrots.  Top and store in a plastic bag in the fridge.  

Broccoli-  Rememer that our broccoli is behaving quite strangely this summer.  These broccoli successions are maturing much later than planned for and are showing obvious signs of bolting.  We deducted that there is still plenty of food value here and that it is better to send the broccoli than for all of our efforts to be for not.  Use the broccoli as quickly as possible.  lemoncukesLemon Cucumbers

Eggplants-  An eggplant for everyone this week again!  We sent some long and skinny asian-type eggplants and we sent some of the traditional round eggplants.  They are similar in flavor, but their shapes are different.  Eggplant prefers storage at around 50 degrees.  Refrigerators are not the ideal storage for eggplant.  You might even want to leave it on your counter if you plan to use it up quickly.

Cucumbers-  We had a new pair of hands helping us this week on the packing line.  Each member received 5 cucumbers.  At the beginning of packing some folks were only getting one lemon cuke and at the end of packing, some folks were getting several lemon cucumbers.  The distribution of regular slicing cucumbers and lemon cucumbers was not exactly even.  I appologize if you received several lemon cucumbers in your box.  Cucumbers also prefer 50 degree storage.  Don't leave them in your fridge too long or they may become wilty looking.

Summer Squash, Zucchini and Patty Pans-  While the squash plants look very healthy, for some reason the squash production is down.  We were still able to give everyone at least three squash.  Remember that squash also prefers 50 degree storage as so many of our heat-loving summer vegetables.  

White Onion-  A nice round white onion for everyone.  The onions can be stored on your counter at room temperature out of direct sunlight.  

Sweet Corn-  Thanks to Ebon and Mugzie (our two fierce farm dogs who have been guarding the sweet corn patch every night), we have SWEET CORN!  The ears are sweet and large and delicious!  Please excuse the bugs!  In organic sweet corn production, worms are part of the game.  In order to stop the bugs from getting into the corn we would have to walk down the rows and spray each corn silk with oil to stop the bugs from getting in.  This method is extremely time consuming and an unviable option for us.    We ask the end user to cut the tips off before you eat them.  

Tomatoes!  The moment that we have all been waiting for!  Tomatoes are making their debut for the 2012 season.  Each member received a either a half pint of cherry tomatoes or an actual tomato.  Our first tomato harvest was small, but we promise that there are still many, many more pounds of tomatoes on their way!  If you're new to our CSA, you will notice that we harvest our tomatoes "with a blush".  This means that we harvest anything that is showing any kind of ripening blush.  Once the tomatoes begin to blush, they will ripen off the vine just as nicely as they would ripen if they had been left on the vine.  We need to pick them before they are too ripe or too soft that they still have some amount of firmness to them so they can handle the shipping.  We don't want to try to ship fully ripe tomatoes and end up sending you tomato sauce instead.  LEAVE YOUR UNRIPE TOMATOES ON YOUR COUNTER TO RIPEN.  If you put your unripe tomatoes in the fridge, they may not ripen at all.  Tomatoes prefer 50 degree storage temps as do the cucumbers, summer squashes, peppers, eggplants and more.  Some of the tomato varieties are yellow, pink, orange and red when they are ripe.  If you want to know if your tomato is rully ripe, give it a very gentle squeeze.  

Hungarian Hot Wax Peppers-  These are also called Bananna peppers.  Some people tell me they're hot, some people tell me they're not.  Sometimes it's a surprise.  Technically the Hungarian Hot wax are considered a hot pepper, but they are the most mild of all hot peppers.  

Jalapeno Hot Peppers-  These are the little green peppers probably rolling around the bottom of your box.  The Jalapeno peppers are hot, I assure you this!  If raw hot peppers don't appeal to your cooking style, you could dry them in your dehydrator, blend them into a powder and have a home-made hot-pepper seasoning using the seeds and all.   

Basil-  We did our best to be very generous with the basil this week.  Basil will turn black from refrigeration!  Do not stick the basil in your refrigerator!  Basil does not keep well at all when fresh, but you can put it in a vase or cup of water and store at room temperature with it's stems submerged in water.  If you don't think you'll make pest or use up all of your basil right away, it's very easy to pluck the leaves from the stems and dry or dehydrate the basil for winter storage.  It smells so good even when it's dry!

Curly Green Kale-  The kale looks beautiful this week!  Minimal damage this week from flea beetles.

Lettuce-  To our surprise, we had enough to give everyone two heads of lettuce.  Some heads were smaller than usual, but in this heat it's better than nothing!


 Eggplant Parmesan Stacks