Small Family Farm CSA

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August Fifth

To some people a bunch of kale is just a bunch of kale.  A bag of green beans is a bag of green beans and the meaning ends there.  A head of lettuce is a head of lettuce.  Tomato-Tomáto.  Potato-Potáto.  Right?  Well…maybe not.kathyThere's Kathy sporting her awesome Small Family Farm Worker Share T-shirt on a harvest morning. We're finishing up the collard harvest here.

Recognizing the difference maybe be subtle at first like learning to detect the sweetness in a head of cauliflower.  Cauliflower is not sweet like a doughnut.  Celery is not sweet like a candy bar.  Carrots are not sweet like soda pop.  Training your pallet to taste the difference between a vine-ripened, locally grown tomato and an off-season tomato ripened by ethylene gas in the back of a semi and shipped 1500 miles across the country tastes different, and there simply is no argument to be had about that.  

The differences between the vegetables in your CSA box are also visible.  Some of these vegetables are shaped differently.  The celery might be darker in green color, the cauliflower may not always be as snow white, the peppers may be a little more free-form and the dill might be starting to flower.  I have seen prejudices with vegetables that make me sad.  But I remember that change is not always easy for any of us.  It seems to be human nature to desire continuity, consistency, and familiarity with much comfort derived from regularity.  Unfortunately for us all, the standards in appearances have been set too high. 

I feel encouraged by the CSA member who signs up for a CSA share and goes out on a limb to try something new.  I feel inspired by the CSA member who renews their membership a second year even though the first season was challenging for them, and I feel down right joyful for the person who learns to love and appreciate new vegetables that previously had been un-noticed.  The returning members who learn to incorporate more greens, cucumbers, celery and other alkalizing vegetables into their diet after previously overlooking them on the market tables.

The differences between grocery store vegetables and the vegetables found in your CSA box don’t end with taste, shape and color.  Their smells are even stronger.  This morning we were sniffing melons to determine ripeness.  We were harvesting Dill and appreciating the pungency and even the garlic and onions smell like the fresh, organic earth they have just been uprooted from.  I believe that learning to intuit the difference with our senses in our fresh produce at the very least and not letting the price tags on the Walmart, Kwik Trip and Woodmans price-rails determine what we eat this week can drastically improve our health.  Look for the cheapest price in gas, sure, but not in your food. 

I will even take it a step further to argue the point of an emotional, moral or spiritual difference if you will between our vegetables and vegetables shipped in from Califlornia or otherwise.  This food is handled by people who really love their work.  The soil it was grown in was worked by people who care about soil health.  These vegetables and this farm are the product of one small community of people who taste, see, smell and believe in a really big difference between locally grown, organic vegetables and supermarket vegetables. 

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

Honeydew Melon-  This is a melon variety called Diplomat.  It has a greenish-yellowish outer rind color but has a green flesh when fully ripe.  These melons will ripen off the vine a little.  If your outer rind looks a little green-ish, you could let it sit on the counter for a day or two before cutting into it.  They are delicious even if the rind is somewhat green, so is the flesh!  

IMG_0877Our really amazing Friday morning Worker Share crew picking pickling cucumbers.

Celery-  Wow, what amazing heads of celery!  This is the best celery this farm has ever grown!  Local celery is a little more fiberous and has a little stronger celery flavor when compared to California celery, but you've got to give us a little credit here.  Celery is hard to grow, folks!  It has high water and calcium needs.  We're figuring out how to grow this tricky crop, and watering it more frequently is key!  We love how crunchy and swee it is!

Broccoli-  Such beautiful heads of broccoli this week!  Sadly this will likely be the final giving of broccoli until our Fall Successions of broccoli come on again in another 5 weeks or so.  Get your broccoli love in!

Slicing Cucumbers-  Four to 5 Slicing cukes per member this week.  We just finished harvesting from our first succession of cucumbers and started harvesting fresh cucumbers from a second succession.  Plenty more cukes on the way!  Refrigerate your cukes for the best storage in your crisper drawer. 

Picking Cucumbers-  Each member received about 8 picking cukes.  These little guys are for making refrigerator pickles.  See our recipe below!

Summer Squash, Zucchini, Patty Pans-  The squash plants are waning in production a little in the heat of the summer here.  About 2 per member this week.  So nice to have a little squash each week to add to your summer cooking!

Garlic-  A nice bulb of German Giant garlic for everyone again this week.  This garlic is not completely cured down just yet.  Leave it on your countertop for a couple more weeks if you don't think you'll get to eating it right away.  Or just use it as it is!  

Hungarian Hot Wax Pepper-  This is the longer, lime-green colored hot pepper.  Hungarian Hot Wax are also called "bananna peppers".  Despite it's big name, these are among the most mild of all hot peppers.  Technically they are considered a hot pepper, but they are not usually hot.  Although sometimes they are!  

Jalapeno Pepper-  These are the smaller of the two hot peppers.  The jalapenos are a darker green hot pepper with a bit more kick than the Hungarian Hot wax.  

Eggplant-  You may have received a standard looking eggplant or you may have gotten one of the longer, skinnier Japanese eggplants.  Both have their up sides!  I am an eggplant convert.  I never used to know what to do with one, but after years of talking about delicious eggplant recipes in the fields with our helpers, I am inspired and no longer have fear of cooking with it.  Do not be afraid!  Every vegetable is delicious if you find the right recipe for it and have an open mind! 

Sweet Pepper-  We did our very first sweet pepper harvest of the season this week.  We harvested about 200 sweet pepper and packed 300 boxes, so not everyone received a sweet pepper, sadly.  Plenty more peppers coming into season, it won't be long before everyone is getting several!  We like to pick our sweet peppers with color.  Some are red, yellow and orange.  Some varieties are the carmen varieties that are sweet, but grow long and slender and shouldn't be mistaken for a hot pepper.  

White Onion-  A white onion for all, freshly plucked from the good earth!

Green Beans-  A hefty 1.10 lb bag for everyone this week.  We had a blast harvesting these little guys.  I love to snack on them raw during harvesting.  

Dill-  These dill bunches were starting to flower and the flowers are nice to add to your pickling jars for flavor and estetics.  

Lettuce-  Either a red or green leaf head of lettuce for everyone this week!  Stores best in a plastic bag in the fridge.  IMG_0886Onion harvest is underway. Here is Farmer Adam showing off some of the goods!

Collard Greens-  A smaller bunch of collard greens this week.  The collard plants were showing some flea-bettle damage, so we really had to toss most of the leaves and just harvest the centers of the plants to get nice looking bunches, but we thought it was time to give collards again.  

Tomato or Cherry Tomato-  Tomato production is starting to pick up.  Next week we're planning to give a nice quantity to everyone!  You may have received a slicing tomato, a few roma tomatoes, or a small container of sun-gold cherry tomatoes.  The sun gold cherry tomatoes are orange when ripe.  We pick our tomatoes with a blush, so let your tomatoes sit on the counter for a day or two to let them ripen if it is on the unripe side.  They will still have a wonderful flavor if you don't put them in the fridge.  We really only put our tomatoes in the fridge if they are in danger of becoming over-ripe and if you need to buy yourself a little more time before you eat it.  

NEW!  Adam's Best Guess for Next Week!  

Disclaimer:  This is only our best guess from what we see up and coming from field walks.  Next week's actual box may look slightly different from this projection.  


Honey Lemon Refirgerator Pickles

Toasted Garlic Green Beans

Collard Greens and White Bean Quesadillas

Greek Yogurt Cucumber Sauce (great served with the Eggplant Recipe below;)

Crispy Fried Eggplant Bengali Style