Small Family Farm CSA

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June Tenth

Maybe you’ve heard, but farming is a lot of work.  It is not only time, but serious labor as well-particularly organic vegetable farming.  The little box of vegetables you pick up each week is not just a little box of vegetables; it’s a little box of love.  If you love something, you put blood, sweat, tears and lots and lots of time into it.  These vegetables are the product of an impressive work done by one small family and a community of helping hands.  A community of people comes together like a dance, all in turns and shifts to a rhythmic, seasonal pulse.  I find it very not only remarkable but beautiful as well. kaleharvestA hard-working bunch of folks having fun and harvesting Lacinato Kale.

You might have wondered how these vegetables are different from the vegetables on the shelves at Woodmans or Wal-Mart or Hy-Vee?  They have organic vegetables and so do we?  Organic is organic, right?   We beg to differ.  You’re not just getting vegetables clean of synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, and insecticides.  They’re better firstly because they are fresh.  Fresher than any food you’ve probably eaten in over 7 months.  We harvest everything just one or two days before you receive them.  The flavor of these vegetables alone will speak for freshness.  Their smell is even different.  They smell like the vegetable they are supposed to be, not like a grocery store shelf, not like the back of a semi or like a walk-in cooler in giant store. 

Your farmers pay closer attention to the macro and the micro nutrient levels in our soil than many farms see necessary.  Every teaspoon of soil is a living community made of up carbon, nitrogen, minerals and microorganisms.  We care about this.  Because we apply trace minerals to our soil such as boron, manganese and zinc and more that means that these trace minerals are present in your food which makes you healthier, something that many large, agribusiness farms especially in the corn and soybean field, never bother to amend. 

Many of us come to eating organic food because we want safe food for our families.  We’re concerned about things like antibiotic resistance, artificial hormones, the unknowns of GMOs and big agrochemical exposures.  We don’t want these things in our food so we buy organic.  But what makes your CSA farm experience so much richer is that while you can put your heart at ease in terms of safety, you are getting the local value.  You’re putting a percentage of your food dollars right back into the community.  Much of the money you give the farm then gets circulated again and again back into the community.  You’re not only improving your own personal health, you’re helping to improve the health of your community. 

As a parent of very small children, I find perspective wonderfully helpful.  At times I am only thinking about our family and our health and the chores of the day.  But it is beneficial to remember that our actions are not limited by the walls of our home.  Where we shop, what we say, who we show kindness to and what we fuel our bodies with go so much farther beyond the dinner table than we can imagine.  I applaud you for the simple decision to not only eat extremely fresh vegetables this summer in little surprise-like seasonal bundles, but also for the impact that this decision has on your community as well.  

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

Pac Choi-  Another beautiful giving of these amazing pac choi plants.  They make a wonderful raw salad or a great addition to a stir fry.  They will keep best in a plastic bag in the fridge.  

Asparagus-  This is the only item that we will buy for the CSA boxes this whole summer.  We buy it from an oranic amish farmer we know who as 18 acres of asparagus.  Imagine that!  Asparagus likes to be standing up in a little water in the fridge or on a damp towel/cloth to keep the stems hydrated.  I recently learned that instead of cutting off the bottom two inches of the asparagus stems before you cook with them, you can use a potato peeler and peel off the outer woody part around the base of the stem and still be able to eat the whole spears.  

Cherry Bell Radish-  They cherry bells sized up very nicely this week.  I think they have the perfect amount of kick to them.  They're not really spicy, but they're not plain either.  Use the greens on your radishes for salad or cooking!  

Hakurai Salad Turnips-  Slice these turnips thinly onto a salad, cut them into chunks and eat them with a veggie dip or cook with them.  They are wonderful raw, much different from a more dense fall turnip.  The turnip greens can also be eaten.  I like to sautee the greens with a little onion and scramble them with eggs in the morning.  

Lacinato Kale-  Also called Dianosaur kale or Tuscano Kale.  This is some of the most gorgeous Lacinato kale I remember harvesting.  The leaves are almost perfect and free of bug damage.  Kale keeps well in a plasit bag in the fridge.  Strip the greens from the stems and use them for cooking.  

Spinach-  Am impressive .69lbs of spinach for everyone this week.  A very nice harvest!  aylakaleI can say that I have never harvested kale in a red dress before, that this girl has! That's our Ayla helping out.

Head Lettuce-  You may have received a tender red or gree butterhead lettuce, a green oakleaf lettuce or a romaine lettuce.  Several varieties are coming into maturity.  

Arugula-  Arugula is wonderful mixed into salad, wilted onto pizza or even cooked with eggs.  

White Kohlrabi-  Kohlrabi reminds me of my dad.  You can eat the Kohlrabi leaves and use them like kale; they're in the same family as kale.  Use a potato peeler or a pearing knive and peel away the tough outer layer of the kohlrabi and enjoy the crunch insides!  

Herb Pack-  A four-pack of sage, oregano, thyme and parsley this week.  You can give these herbs a space in your garden and plant them outside in full sun and fertile soil.  Be sure to give them plenty of water at transplant.  You can mulch around them if you really want to baby them and that will help keep the weeds down and moisture in the soil. You can also plant each one into their own pots and keep them in a sunny window or on your deck.  The sage, oregano and thyme are very winter hardy and will come back next Spring if you plant them in ground.  

Overwintered Shallots-  Over-wintered means that these little guys were harvested last August and have been stored in our Root Cellar all winter long.  We've been keeping them to share with you in the first box.  Shallots are in the onion family, and are used minced into sauce and dressing recipes.  Try making your own home-made salad dressing!  Store these in the fridge if you don't think you'll use them right away!  Can also be used like an onion.  


Sauteed Kale with Walnuts

Kale with Apples, Currents and Warm Pancetta Vinaigrette

Five Tasy Ways to Prepare Kohlrabi from the Kitchn

Crunchy Pac Choi Ginger Salad

Spinach Linguini with Walnut-Arugula Pesto