Small Family Farm CSA

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July Second

You know us farmers.  We love to complain.  We always have something to gripe about like how it’s too wet or too dry or too hot or too cold for the crops to grow.  The buy price is too high, the sell price is too low.  There needs to be just enough of an imbalance in our lives that we feel unsettled enough to keep the drive on.  Farmers are motivated by pressure.  Usually we perform quite well under pressure and even thrive in some ways when under it. pea_harvestMany hands make light work for pea harvest!

It’s not too often you’ll hear us say that “everything is just fine” on the farm when asked “How are the crops”?  We’ll tell you everything is just fine if it looks like you’re really not interested in the full answer or if we’re really not interested in talking about it anymore.  But if you catch us coming in for the night and we look like we’re up for the conversation, you can get an earful.  Especially on a CSA farm.  We don’t just reference the corn or the hay or the cows, we have about 40 different crops we’re paying attention to and some do better than others, so we always have something to say. 

Some crops love the heat and humidity, while others will barely tolerate temperatures above the 70’s.  Some love plenty of rain while others will split their fruits and rot their roots if there is too much of it.  On a CSA farm with so many different kinds of crops that we grow, it’s really interesting watching plant behaviors in relation to the weather patterns we get. 

Yes, we’re seeing some bacteria and fungus diseases on our peppers, carrots, and celery.  Yes, the cauliflower and broccoli are not loving that it’s getting hot outside.  We’ve had soil erosion from all the rain and the weeds are a little intense at times this season from so much moisture, and we’re so busy that we can barely find time to check e-mail, do laundry or get a decent night’s sleep, but I have something surprising to say; it has been a really wonderful growing season so far!  The crops look great!  Everything is going fairly well…so far! 

Maybe famers never say this because of the “so far” factor.  The “knock-on-wood” factor.  Because if we say everything is going 'great', tomorrow it will all fall apart.  I knew farming was a gamble when I entered this life, and lucky for me it has been a good bet.  The CSA experience is a bet and a gamble for you as well.  You gave us your food dollars before the season even began and we’re really excited to share the fruits of our labors with you this summer.  I think it’s going to be a great year of stuffing those ¾ bushel boxes all the way full!  

Sooo, What's in the Box???

Green Cabbage-  These cabbages are still very young and tender and perfect looking.  We thought they looked a perfect size for a CSA box.  If they get too big it can be hard to fit them in the box with all of the other items to share.  

Purple or White Kohlrabi-  The kohlrabis are such a nice flavor this summer, with all of the moisture they are very crunchy and mild.  Don't forget to use the greens of your kohlrabi and cook with them like kale.  

Turnips-  Probably the final giving of Salad turnips.  Remember to use your turnip greens when cooking your eggs in the morning!  scape_harvestScapes look so cool when growing on the plants!

Fennel-  Fennel tastes a little like licorice if you give it a good sniff and elect to eat it raw, but if you're not a huge fan of the lacorice flavor, I suggest cooking with it.  It can be used like celery in your every day cooking if fennel is new to you and you're not sure what to use it for.  Adrianne, who works on the farm, says she loves to caramelize it in butter, and with onions and garlic if she has it.  It is wonderful if oiled and grilled or roasted.  Use the ferns for garnishing.  Fennel is one of those vegetables that you will learn to love if it new to you.  I promise you will learn to love it.  I'm madly in love with it and I don't love the licorice flavor.  

Garlic Scapes-  These little guys are all of the garlicky goodness you love from fresh garlic, but without the heat, spice and bite.  They are like smooth, tender, mild garlic babies.  Use them like you would garlic, but in larger quantities.  Use up to the little nodule.  These guys will keep in a plastic bag in the fridge for weeks.  The tips might yellow a bit, but the stems stay crunchy.  

Broccoli or Cauliflower-  A wild ride with the broccoli and cauliflower this week.  Some nice sized broccoli heads, some gots handfulls of florettes, some got cauliflowers.  These crops perform a little funny when under the stress of summer heat, so we get them while we can.  

Snap Peas-  A huge giving of snap peas this week.  A bag weighing .83lbs per member!  This tops all other pea harvests in the history of the Small Family Farm.  Gotta love peas!  

Summer Squash, Zucchini and/or Patty Pans-  The beginning of the squash!  If you haven't heard, these plants are generous!  It's a labor-intenseive harvest, but squash is bountiful!  Use them up as there will be more summer squash, zucchini and patty pans in your future!  These guys prefer 50 degree storage, so they might get a little wilty from your fridge.  A cool kitchen countertop could be better.  

Red Leaf, Green Leaf and/or Romaine Lettuce x 2-  Another two heads of lettuce per member this week.  Abundant lettuce harvest!  Keep your greens in a plastic bag in the fridge.  Still muddy head lettuce again this week from plenty of rain.  Be sure to wash your greens and spin them dry well before indulging.  

Sweet Basil-  To top the box off with a beautiful bunch of sweet basil!  Basil keeps best like fresh cut flowers in a glass of water.  Basil will turn BLACK in your refrigerator!  It does not like to be cold.  If you don't think you'll get to use it in time, you could pluck the leaves from the stems and dry them in a dehydrator.  We recommend using them fresh for a small batch of pesto!  


Garlic Scape Pesto

Caramelized Fennel and Onions

Cream of Broccoli and Fennel Soup (I love this recipe)  

Zucchini "Pasta"