June Twenty-Sixth

We farmers are dirty folks.   The earthy kind.  We do our best to keep our minds and carrots out of the gutter, but these days we’ve got the “F” word on the mind.  Now that we’re parents of a little girl, we try not to use bad words anymore.  Not the one you’re thinking of.  The 5-letter “F” word that comes after 2, 3, and 4+ inches of rain at one time.  I’m not even going to say it, but you know what I’m talking about, right? Box_PackingPacking Boxes on Tuesday afternoon!

It’s been a wet and soggy week on the Small Family Farm.  It has been feeling a little like we live in a tropical climate with hot and humid days and rain every night.  The rain keeps coming and the forecast keeps showing more and more rain.  We’ve survived two flood seasons and one drought on this farm already and haven’t missed packing a single CSA box over the years.  While we’re not excited about the idea of surviving another flood year; we get what nature gives us and we have the confidence and skill to plug through.

So far so good!  We aren’t seeing any blights or diseases on the leaves of the plants that come from too much moisture sitting on the leaves for too long.  We haven’t seen anything rotting away yet or any carrots in the ditches.  The warm weather and the winds are here to dry everything out quickly, provided we are granted with a reprieve from the rains long enough that this can happen.  We are seeing a fair amount of erosion of topsoil at the bottom of our hilly farm, but nothing so far that is irreversible.  This week we continued to plant some of our broccoli, cauliflower and sweet potatoes by hand-a job we don’t regret mechanizing. 

The workers keep showing up for work in the morning with smiles on their faces and the best of the Midwestern bounty is yet to come.  The peas are covered in white blossoms and the honey bees are hard at work.  Even the freshly weeded pepper plants are showing us their finest flowers.  We’re uncovering the row-cover from the summer squash, cucumbers and melons and things are looking good in cucurbit land.  Spirits are high and the CSA boxes are getting a little heavier each week.  With a little help in hopes and prayers on your end, we might just make it out of this long, wet, Spring (I mean Summer now!) alive. 

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

Strawberries-  Strawberries are highly perishable, especially fresh, local Strawberries picked at the peak of their ripeness.  So eat them up soon, the won't keep long!  They're a bit on the dirty side from 1.5 inches of rain on Monday night.  We don't wash Strawberries because they don't like to be washed before shipping.  You'll have to do a little cleaning on these yourselves.  Enjoy!

Kohlrabi-  These are the sometimes called a ground apple.  You peel the outside, tougher skin off with a pearning knife and the inside texture is similar to an apple, and the flavor is very mild.  It is in the same family as cabbage and kale and broccoli, so a slight resemblance to cabbage in flavor.  The leaves that we left on the kohlrabi are edible.  Use your kohlrabi greens like you would use your favorite cooking green or like kale.  Peel your kohlrabi and dice it up and eat it raw like veggie sticks with your favorite dip or ranch dressing.  

Fennel-  Fennel is in the same family as celery, believe it or not.  It is used in cooking sometimes like you would use celery.  The white bulb part is used the most in cooking.  When eaten raw, it has a flavor similar to licorice, but once it is cooked, it has a very mild and smooth flavor that is hardly noticeable.  You can chop your celery and use it to flavor a roast, sautee it with onions or shave it very thin on top of salads if you like to eat it raw.  The fern-like leaves can be used for garnishing or flavoring.  They also have a licorice flavor when used raw.  

Rainbow Swiss Chard-  Our second giving of chard this summer.  The stalks are edible as well as the leaves.  The stalks look like rhubarb, but the flavor is nothing like it.  Swiss Chard can be used in any way that you would cook with spinach.  It is not necessarily used raw very often, it is mostly a cooking green.  Are you getting any better at cooking with greens yet?

Broccoli Florettes-  Another modest giving of broccoli florettes.  Because of the stress of the cool, wet spring our broccoli starting buttoning a little earler than it was supposed to.  So we're giving handfuls of florettes to hold us over until our next successions come on.  This Fall, in the cooler weather, we promise to show you the awesome broccoli that we know how to grow!puddleFarm kids play in puddles

Garlic Scapes-  So garlic scapes are actually the garlic plants attempt at making a seed head.  We go through the rows and snap the scape off of each plant so that the plant knows to put more of its energy into making a larger garlic bulb underground, rather than trying to put its energy into making a seed pod above ground.  It just so happens that these scapes are delicious to eat.  Usually we eat the round part up to the light green colored nodule.  Garlic scapes can be chopped up and used just like garlic.  

Radicchio-  These are the tiny little lettuce-like looking things in the box.  They are dense like a tiny little cabbage head with ruby ready veins.  They're a bitter green that is usually shaved thiny into a salad.  They are a an italian vegetable (hence the name) and are also wonderful chopped up small and incorporated into pasta dishes.  Have fun with it!  

Lettuce x 4!!!-  Holy Lettuce man!  Joe Orso who works on the farm says, "I've seen lettuce before, but this is redicu-luttuce!".  We had some good laughs this morning picking lettuce.  A bumper crop you might say.  The outer leaves on some of our romaine and buttercup lettuce were shredded a little from the pounding rains, so we peeled them back to just the hearts on some of the heads.  It might be time to have lettuce for every meal this week!  See some recipes for home-made salad dressings below!  The lettuce will surely need a bit of extra cleaning this week from all of the rain and soil getting splashed up into them.  

Dill-  Amazing looking dill this week!  If this is more dill than you know what to do with, you can always dehydrate your dill and crumble it into a jar and use it as dried dill this winter.  Dill is wonderful used fresh in a home-made ranch dip or sour-cream dip.   Dill in egg salad, potato salad, salad dressings.  Dill has wonderful cooling properties in all of this heat!  

Flat Leaf Italian Parsley-  Parsley is a very versatile herb.  You can sprinkle a little fresh parsley in anything you're making this week.  We love to make Taboli when we have a lot of parsley.  But this first giving of parsley is modest, so love it's fresh flavor!  Parsley is also one of the healthiest and most cleansing plants that we grow.  It is one of the most under-appreciated herbs around.  Extremely high in anti-oxidants and chlorophyll.  


Oriental Salad Dressing

Shaved Fennel Salad

Cream of Broccoli and Fennel Soup (Yummy!!!)

Baked Radicchio and Mozzarella Pasta