Small Family Farm CSA

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June Fourth

Welcome to the beginning of the 9th CSA growing season on the Small Family Farm.  We’re honored to have you as a part of the growing season and to have your support, trust and faith as we gamble through yet another season as farmers, against the dealer of all dealers, the sky.PigsOur four little pigs spooning for their afternoon nap in the sun.

The sky dumped a generous 8.5 inches of rain on our farm this last Sunday.  I spent the afternoon in a nervous fit walking from the living room window to the computer to check the radar to the kitchen sink to finish dishes, then back to the window, then back to the radar, then more nervous cleaning.  It just kept raining.  For three hours.  Heavily.  I watched the red blobs move across the computer screen, or seemingly not move across the computer screen.  For me, storms like these are torture.  Months of work and focus and planning and input and can wash away in minutes.  It’s like getting into an accident; years of your life can be lost in one moment’s time. 

Luckily, if farming teaches you anything, it teaches you patience and tolerance and optimism.  It’s good priming for parenting!  If you can’t learn that from it, you’ll stay a nervous wreck at the living room window, standing behind the glass with fear in your eyes.  Sometime you gotta just put your slickers and boots on and get out there and assess the damage.  I’m still a young woman and parent myself trying to learn these life lessons, some of them the hard way!  The storms passed on Sunday night and I was surprised at how well I slept after it all.  It’s funny how Adam and I take turns being the nervous wreck on the farm.  One of us needs to be the strong one, while the other one is sure it’s all over. 

Adam is my husband.  He loves it when I write about him in the newsletters.  I can’t get him to write them, it’s always me who stays up after he and the baby are asleep journaling the week’s happening’s for you to read.  Our baby, Ayla, isn’t really so much of a ‘baby’ anymore.  She’s two and half.  Between Ayla and the farm, Adam and I are bound to earn some kind of Saint status by the time it’s all over.  We are even expecting our second child in November of this year.  We thought that we were already really hard workers, but somehow we’re going to become even harder workers!  Or maybe just more efficient, better at communicating and better at a new thing that I don’t know what it is!  Really exciting! 

What I love about the CSA model is that there is still a really large number of you reading this (hopefully) who are new to the CSA model.  You’re signed up for a CSA farm for the first time, excited to try to new things.  You’re excited to eat locally and within the seasons.  Maybe you’ve even been thinking about doing this for a few years.  I’m really excited for you and the potential this experience could have on your life!  Equally, we are honored in a special way by the returning family of CSA members who are becoming ‘seasoned’.   You are the marinade.  You are the cream.  You are the blessing.  For without you, this farm would have no depth.  We are excited to learn and grow with you all this season!  Welcome! 

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

Asparagus-  Asparagus is one of the very few vegetables that we do buy.  Everything else is grown on the Small Family Farm.  We have a nearby Amish friend with about 20 acres of certified organic Asparagus.  Asparagus is a Spring Gem that we didn't want you to miss out on.  Enjoy!remodelA peek into our newly remodeled packing shed. New tin on the walls. A new floor drain and concrete floor for our washing area. A garage door will soon go up where this opening is to keep the birds out. Fun!

Dutch Yellow Shallots-  These little baby onions are amazing.  They were harvested last Summer and were overwintered in our Root Cellar.  Shallots are commonly used in sauces and dressing recipes.  Or use them like an onion in your everyday cooking if no sauce or dressing recipes call out to you.  These guys have been in storage since last Summer, so don't expect to keep them too much longer.  Store in a paper bag in your fridge for up to two weeks.  

Radish-  Cherry Bell Radishes.  These radishes are not too sweet and not too mild.  They're about what you would expect from a radish with a touch of radish spice.  The greens on these radishes look wonderful as well this year with minimal insect damage.  Use the greens in a cooking greens recipe.  Don't let these early Spring goodies go to waste!  

Pac Choi-  The Pac Choi is the item with the thick white stems and the rounded green leaves attached.  The pac choi is commonly used in Stir Fries as it's white stalks stay crunchy even through a light sautee.  It is also wonderful raw when used in making an asian salad.  Store in a plastic bag in the fridge.  

Spinach-  These spinach leaves are so beautiful!  The Spinach leaves are very young and teder and were picked and washed by hand carefully and lovingly.  You won't find Spinach like this just anywhere.  

Lettuce-  The lettuce heads are still a bit small With a cool Spring like what we've had, the lettuce was growing slower.  You may have received a small green romaine, a small red buttercrunch lettuce or a lime green colored green-oakleaf lettuce.  

Arugula-  The arugula is a bitter green that can be used incorporated into salads, wilted on top of pizza, sauteed with a little bacon, folded into a wrap or baked into a fritatta.  Arugula is a special green that is only around in the cool Spring and Fall.  We may not see this little gem again until October.  Get your favorite cooking green recipes out, lotts more greens where these came from coming soon!

Farm Fresh Atlas-  These Atlases are put together by REAP.  They sent us quite a few copies to hand out so we thought we would share one with you.  Look for your Small Family CSA Farmer's in there.  


Crunchy Pac Choi Cinger Salad

Pasta Salad with Goat Cheese and Arugula

Small Family of Friends, Cookers and Eaters,

A slumberous winter of record-breaking lows, awesome storms and copious precipitation has your farmers anxiously awaiting Spring.  In my adult life, I cannot remember a winter so solid, so unsympathetic, so chilling.  We are spending our late-winter days tabling at events, putting out fliers and finding creative ways to spread the good word about our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Farm.  We’re excited for a new year!  We’re rested, energized and hopeful!packshedremodelConstruction on the remodel of our packing shed has begun to bird-proof and keep cool for safer post-harvest handling.

It’s hard to believe that it all begins next Monday.  The first week of March is when we start seeding our onions, leeks, shallots, celery, and celeriac root.  Shortly after that we’ll begin seeding our parsley, swiss chard, and the first successions of broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, and so on.  Adam will soon be waking in the night again, not to sound of a crying baby this time, but to the alarm clock reminding him that it is time to stoke the greenhouse fires again.  Faithful and loyal to the time-sensitive and temperature-precise process of tending to the greenhouse fires, farmer Adam is perfect for the job.

Even though the low tonight is 5 degrees, we’re thinking Spring.  It’s hard to imagine that in just a few short months, we’ll be harvesting fresh-cut heads of lettuce, hand-picked spinach and crunchy radishes.  We’re here to ask you to think Spring as well and consider renewing your CSA membership in the Small Family Farm today!  We’re very excited about the upcoming season, and although I’ve said this before, I believe this will be our best year ever.  Each year our farming systems become more refined and our techniques polished.  With 8 growing seasons under our belt while running a CSA farm that comprises 90% of our production, we’ve made it through the brush. 

In 2013 our farm fed over 200 families all summer long.  We expanded our thriving worker share program to nearly 20 helpers, where local families come out to the farm and participate in the growing of their own food.  We employed two hard working folks, Joe and Todd who will be returning to the farm to grow with us for the 2014 season.  We hosted several farm-tours and pot-lucks where we invited all of you and your friends and members of the surrounding communities out to our community farm where we shared knowledge, food and a preservation of a family farm in a time where they are rapidly disappearing. 

In this last week of February with temperature highs only in the teens, we wish to send you a feeling of warmth, one that inspires you to think about where your food will come from in the 2014 growing season.  Imagine that your food will be grown by the Varney family and friends of from a small farm in La Farge, WI.  Notice that we are now offering Every-Other-Week Shares for the smaller families out there or for folks who are new to CSA. 

We look forward to growing with you in the 2014 season!