June Sixth

Once upon a time, it was a young girl's dream to be a farmer.  Raised in a river-city in the heart of the midwest, she was born to a German-Irish family that instilled a rip-snapping work ethic, wrinkle-ironing social manners and a lick-your-plate-clean sort of appreciation for food into her that she would keep until the day she died.  She dreamed of a strong man to admire her, children to help her hang her laundry and bushels of home-grown food around that needed canning and drying for the witner.  She was a young, naieve, ramantic that wanted to epitomize a small family farm.  She wanted it to happen in a place where she could pour her seemingling in-exhaustable amount of energy into.  She wanted a canvas in which to paint her life. Week1A nice looking spread for what is only just the beginning of a long and beautiful friendship

This farm began as a dream, as all things do.  It existed entirely inside my head for a very long time until the genie was let out of the bottle in the Spring of 2007.  My now-husband and I thought it would be fun to live in the country, start a little farm and have a little piece of land that we could call our own.  After watching several friends of ours try the same thing and eventually burn out and find jobs in town, we were still crazy enough to think that we could do it.  My mother, "Momma Jane" came along for the ride because she shared a similar dream to live in the country, escape the bustling city and attempt to turn the page on the book of her life.  I had 6 years of farm-hand and internship experience under my belt, Adam had two years experience working on his brother's farm where we met, and Momma Jane didn't know much about farming but was born and rasied in Iowa...  She had enough faith in the idea that she hopped aboard our ship.  We came here as a trio, finding strenth at the dinner table over some of the most incredible food we've ever eaten on nights when we could barely hold our heads up after dark.  

Filled to the brim with excitement and passion, we started out out doing everything the long and hard way with very little machinery.  We tired our bodies pushing wheel-barrel after wheel-barrel full of compost to spread on the depleated earth.  We seeded, transplanted, cultivated and harvested everything by hand.  We spread mulch to feed the soil as well as rock minerals and tested our soils to watch our efforts imporve the chemistry and balance.  Our bodies hardened as we worked on our hilly ridge, our CSA customers started coming back to us year after year and our market stand spread was starting to look pretty damn good.  

On the 5th season, it was finally clear that our efforts were paying off.  We weren't going to loose the farm, we able to purchase some machinery and makr some improvements on our ancient house.  We had discovered that we genuinely loved this life and were willing to work as hard as we needed to to keep it.  We were acquiring more machinery piece by piece as the years went by to lighten our load.  We now do most of our transplanting, seeding, cultivating and some of our harvesting using machinery, preserving the life of our spines, knees and drive for what we do.  While vegetable farming is still incredibly intensive work that requires constant attention and care, we have discovered ways to intelligently and practically handle the work load, rather than struggling to put out fires.

Last fall we gave birth to our first child.  She is now 6 and half months old.  She's learning to suck on the stem of a chard leaf, become amazed by a purple clover growing in the field and entertained by the moving branches of a willow tree.  As we watch her develop and become soothed by the calming sounds of birds and wind, we frequently feel that we've made the right decision for the path of our lives.  By some miracle, Momma Jane is still with us.  She still lovingly prepares nutritious meals for us with vegetables and meat that we stock the root cellar and freezer fullnof.  The four of us are becoming something that resembles a true small family farm.  


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

Asparagus-  Because of such an early, warm Spring, the Asparagus has had its day in the sun.  The Asparagus came very early this year, and because of another little dry spell that we're in, it's coming along very slowly these days.  We were hoping for a little more per box this week and for slightly better quality, but I guess that we roll with what mother nature provides us with.  box_packingAssembling the first CSA boxes of the season!

Overwintered Shallots-  These golden beauties are actually from last summer.  We harvested them last August and kept them in cold storage until now.  Shallots are wonderful in sauces and dressings, but you can also cook with them like you would use an onion.  

Radish-  You may have received the round, red cherry-bell radish, or you the longer french breakfast radish with the white bottoms.  We noticed that the radishes this spring are especially tasty and are not too spicy.  The greens are edible, although the greens on spring radishes are always a little holy from the heavy insect pressure in the spring when it's warm.  If you're feeling like you want more cooking greens, you can feel free to cook 'em up!  Stays crisp when floating in a bowl of water in the fridge with tops removed.  

Pac Choi-  A wonderful asian vegetable.  These are excellent in Stir-Fry.  We started these guys early and grew them in-ground in the greenhouse.  We avoided some of the insect pressure by monitoring them in the greenhouse.  See a couple recipes below!  Stores best in a plastic bag in the fridge.  

Swiss Chard-  Beautiful spring Swiss Chard!  Swiss Chard is a colorful and tasty cooking green.  If you're not familiar with it, it is a member of the spinach and beet family.  It has an earthy flavor that mellows out when cooked.  We like it on pizza in place of spinach, in quiche or egg bakes or just sauteed with onions and garlic.  The stems are also edible and add a nice texture to your dish.  Keeps best in a plastic bag in the fridge.  

Lettuce-  Some small-ish heads of lettuce.  Our first lettuce crop was slightly damaged by our new cultivating method.  We're refining our technique and we think that future planting of lettuce will show less damage.  We promise that there is lotts of lettuce coming!  Pretty soon you'll be trying to think up new ways to use lettuce!  Keeps best in a plastic bag in the fridge.  

Basil Plant-  Everyone knows that basil is best when picked fresh.  After basil has been picked, it almost always races down hill and is best if used within a couple hours after harvesting.  We will be picking lotts of basil this summer, but we will never be able to get it to you within a couple hours.  If you have a fertile place in the yard, plant your basil plant, pot and all, right in the ground.  It will need to be planted into more soil.  If you don't have a yard, fill a medium-sized pot with fertile, organic soil mix and bury the base of the plant into the pot.  Basil likes lotts of sun.  If it starts to produce a seed head, snap the seed head off for more leaf production.  


Pac Choi Stir Fry

Swiss Chard Fritatta


Watch this Video on how to properly break down your box!