Small Family Farm CSA

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June Twelfth

We find ourselves in another wet week on the farm with more rain in the forecast.  We’re a little more hopeful this week because warmer temperatures will remain steady throughout the week providing our plants with the warm, humid and moist weather they will thrive in.  We’re getting a little behind on our tractor work because it has been so difficult getting the tractors into the fields when it is so muddy.  We have been pushing our limits a little this Spring and have been doing tractor work in soil conditions that are much more moist than what we would normally prefer.  We have even resorted to planting some of our winter squash by hand, which we have not done in several years. remayCovering all the squash with row cover or remay to protect it from the bugs and encourage growth.

We are feeling nearly caught up on planting so far.  We have all of our warm-weather loving plants like tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, cucumbers, zucchini and melons planted and growing strong.  We were even able to get the last of our sweet corn transplanted last week as it was beginning to rain on us while we were finishing the job.  So far we have just been thankful for no erosion or damaging storms.  Plenty of rain and moisture (and a little more than we need) are leaving us with muddy and mucky field conditions.  The workers leave the fields with boots full of mud, mud on their faces from scratching their noses or wiping their brows, and the knees of their pants caked in mud.  I suppose that if we stay too clean, we aren’t having enough fun out there. 

The weeds are fighting a good battle this year.  With so much rain, we are noticing that the weeds are growing a little faster as well. The fields still look pretty sharp, but this week we plan to do a lot of weeding! 

It can be difficult for me to go back in time to one of the first times I began eating food fresh out of a garden, any garden really.  I have a hard time recalling one of the first times I purchased local or seasonal food from a Farmer’s Market or Co-op.  But something that I have forgotten is what that food looks like to a new pair of eyes. 

I wanted to say that the produce you will receive from our farm this summer may look different from the produce you are accustomed to buying at the grocery store.  We will grow new varieties of many of these vegetables that you have never seen before.  Also, now with so much rain and moisture, even as we do our best to wash all of the vegetables thoroughly, there may be more soil splashed on the leaves of the produce than what you are used to seeing.  We are trying our best to get everything very clean, but with so much rain splashing soil into the heads of the lettuce and onto the leaves of the arugula and spinach, you may have to do a little extra washing in the kitchen this week.  

I have certainly noticed that the rain and cooler weather makes for very succulent, tender and juicy vegetables!  The heat and dry weather can make the crops more pungent and sharp in flavor and can cause the leaves to become tougher.  We will see a little of this in our summer successions of lettuce.  I challenge you to embrace this CSA experience for all that it is.  Surely these vegetables will encourage you to grow in your culinary experience and also in your personal expectations of what fresh produce should look and taste like.  Rock on! 

Sooo, What's in the Box???

Asparagus-  The final giving of the most amazing Spring vegetable ever.  Asparagus loves to be stored standing in a little water in the fridge.  Or you could wrap a moist paper towel around the ends of it to keep it fresh if you won't use it right away.  Asparagus likes to drink a little to stay fresh.  

Overwintered Shallots-  The final giving of these overwintered shallots as well.  These little guys have been in storage in our root cellar since last September.  Use them up soon, or store them in your refrigerator in a cool and dark place to keep them from sprouting.  Shallots are great in sauces and dressings, or just use them like you would an onion.  

Cherry Bell Radish-  These are the red, round radishes.  You can cut the tops off the radishes and float them in a small amount of water in the fridge to keep them fresh, or for snacking.  Save the greens for one of your favorite greens cooking dishes.  

French Breakfast Radish-  These are the radishes with the white bottoms and the red tops or shoulders.  Use the greens in salads or for cooking!  

Pac Choi-  The final giving of our Spring Pac Choi.  The leaves are a little holey again, but this is the nature of organic Pac Choi in the Spring time.  We will attempt to grow it again in the fall when the flea beetle pressure has gone away.  

Spinach-  A modest giving of fresh spinach, but young, tender leaves none the less.  This is another Spring gem!  Use Spinach fresh in salads or use it in cooking or on top of home-made pizza.  

Swiss Chard-  This is the colorful leafy green bunch with the stems that look like rhubarb.  Swiss Chard is in the same family as spinach and can be used in cooking much the same way as spinach.  The stems are edible as well.  We will be giving swiss chard many times this summer, so I encourage you to make friends with cooking greens.  Many families find that receiving cooking greens each week is a wonderful part of belonging to a CSA farm.  Try some of our recipes that we share with you.  harvestHarvesting Arugula

Lettuce Heads-  We shipped a wide variety of lettuce this week.  Some folks received a crunchy green romaine, some received the classic red leaf lettuce, and some received a red or green buttercrunch lettuce.  All of the lettuce varieties this week are so tender and wonderful.  Remember that you may have to do a bit extra washing, leaf by leaf, of your lettuce this week because a little more soil may have splashed onto the leaves.  

Thyme Plant-  This is the same thyme that you would use as an herb in your cooking.  This is a perennial plant (meaning it will come back year after year) if you have a sunny place to plant it outside and can give it a permanent home.  Or, you could put it in a pot with plenty of your favorite organic soil mix to feed it and grow it in the house.  The paper pot we shipped the plants in are biodegradable.  You can just plant your little plant right into the soil-pot and all!  Thyme needs plenty of sunlight and water to grow.  

Arugula-  Thisi is the bunch of greens with a red rubber band around it.  Arugual is a unique flavor of a green.  It is wonderful when mixed in with salad greens to make a salad, or it is great wilted and served on top of hot pizza, with hot potatoes and sausage, or with a hot sweet and sour dressing.  Arugula is a favorite for many!  Store in a plastic bag in the fridge.  

Recipes

Chard Cheese Bake

Sweet Radish Relish Recipe

Wilted Spinach Salad with chopped Radish and Shallots

Pac Choi Stir Fry

Linguini with Arugula, pin nuts and Parmesan Cheese