Small Family Farm CSA

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June Thirteenth

The farm is off to a wonderful beginning of a new season. ‘From the road’ everything looks amazing. If you drive by the fields the rows of onions, potatoes, sweet corn, cucurbits and brassicas all look so young and clean and full of potential. With a late start to this growing season, we have almost never seen the plants take off so fast and so well. The rains have been regular and soft…so far. Even the winds haven’t been to damaging-which they sometimes can be on the top of this ridge. The heat wave we had in late May worried us a bit, but didn’t last too long to stress out many of the plants.DSC 0039

If you take a closer look, the fields could use a good mowing around the edges and the weeds are starting to catch up in some areas to the crops. We’re fighting a good fight and aren’t at risk of loosing any plantings to weeds. But most importantly of all, we have an incredible crew of helpers to get all of the work done! The farm employs 1 full time employee and 6 part-time employees. We also have 30 ‘Worker Shares’, which are people who come out to the farm and work a 3.5 hour shift each week in exchange for a Full Summer Veggie Share. And if that’s not enough, we have 5 different childcare/babysitters that come in tandem and help with our kiddos. I am always amazed at the number of hands it takes to make a farm like this run smoothly. That’s a lot of pairs of hands working on a little farm hidden in the hills along the Kickapoo River.

The strawberries are starting on the farm. The children and babysitters have been frequenting the patch around snack hours. Strawberry season always comes joyfully because we are happy to be eating strawberries again, but it also brings an intensity along with it because strawberries are so highly perishable and they need to be picked every two days to prevent them from going bad and need to be rushed down to the cooler and kept cold so they don’t spoil. We hope to be putting strawberries in the Week 3 and Week 4 boxes. This year we are down to just one Strawberry Patch (about 1000 plants) where as in previous years we had two patches (2000 plants). So we do have half as many strawberry plants to pick from this year. But that means that all berries will go to CSA and we won’t sell any extra on the side to Co-ops.

We also spied our first summer squash of the season which also bring excitement because squash is so plentiful and versatile to use in the kitchen, but it also means that we will soon be needing to harvest summer squash and zucchini every two days and will need to budget this harvest into our busy schedule. I’m still watching for the first pea flowers because sugar snap peas are a Spring favorite which only last a few weeks before they come and are gone again.

This week tomato trellising will go up as the tomato plants already looks tall enough that they will need the added support. We will spend the rest of the week mulching tomatoes, playing catch-up with weeding and now harvesting strawberries. I feel thankful to do this work alongside a community of enthusiastic helpers that breathe fresh new life into the farm. I feel thankful for the delicious looking produce and to be eating fresh, local vegetables again from the farm. The humble radish and even its greens earn an honorable place at the dinner table in our early Spring meals.

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

Pac Choi- This is the large, asian vegetable at the bottom of your box. These are deliciously crunchy. If you're new to this vegetable, give it a try in a scrumtious asian salad with toasted sesame oil, slivered almonds, toasted ramen and sesame seeds! The stems (my favorite) and the greens are edible. Keeps best in a plastic bag in the fridge.

Lettuce- Red buttercrunch lettuce or green oakleaf lettuce. These are such a wonderful Spring treat. Lettuce like this only grows in the cool weather of the Spring and Fall. In the summer months you'll only be getting red and green leaf lettuce, but these butterheads sure are a treat! Enjoy!

Cherry Bell Radish- A beautiful radish harvest! Standard bunches of 11-12 or more radishes per bunch.  French Breakfast Radishes to come next week. The greens on radishes are even edible!

Arugula- This arugula is a little more mature than we wanted it to be, but still perfectly harvestable. It can be difficult to manage the timing of every vegetable perfectly to come into season on the exact week we want it to. Arugula is wonderful wilted on pizza with feta cheese!

Asparagus- This is the one item that we do buy each season for our members. It comes from a neighboring amish farm that produces organic asparagus. Fresh picked this morning!

Herb Packs- We aimed to have each pack with mint, oregano, basil and rosemary or sage. Some of the rosemary plants did not make it through transplant, so we had to substitute basil. Plant these out in their own little pots or plant them directly in a space in your yard that you can keep weeded for fresh herbs to harvest this summer.

Spinach and Pea Shoots- Nearly a half pound of spinach per member this week. We also added a few pea shoots to the top of each spinach bag. The leaves and the tips of the pea shoots are edible and offer a light sweet pea flavor when torn into a salad. The main stems of the shoots could be chewy, so just don't use that part!

Shallots- These guys were actually harvested last summer and were kept in storage all winter long in our cooler so that we could give them to you this week. Shallots are wonderful in sauce, dressing and marrinade recipes. But if you're short on time to make home-made dressings, you can also just use them like an onion. Keep them in your fridge until you use them, they will sprout if left out on the counter. We recommend using them sooner rather than later. I encourage you to try making your own home-made salad dressings for all of the lettuce and salad vegetabels coming up!

Salad Turnips-  These are the white radish/turnip looking bulbs in your box.  About 4 turnips per box.  We found that these had a sweet flavor to them.  Use a mandolin and shave them onto a salad.  Such a lovely Spring treat!

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Next Week's Best Guess:  Strawberries, lettuce x2, kale or chard, french breakfast radish, hakurai salad turnips, kohlrabi, rhubarb?, bunching onions, cilantro


Glazed Hakurai Salad Turnips with Greens

Sweet Radish Relish

Wilted Spinach Salad with Chopped Radishes and Shallots

Arugula-Prosciutto Pizza

Local Thyme Recipes By Patricia Mulvey


5 Greens Gumbo Z’herbes

Salmon with Shaved Asparagus and Radish Salad


Almost No Work Baked Asparagus Spinach Risotto

Asparagus with Tapenade Vinaigrette


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