Small Family Farm CSA

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August First

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The electric fence Farmer Adam put up around the sweet corn is a success. It has been successfully keeping the raccoons out so far. Although there is (quite mysteriously) a very small amount of damage each night. Perhaps there is a very sneaky little baby raccoon, maybe the runt of the littler who is just small enough to skinney underneat or just light enough to jump over or just hungry enough to make the dive through. Whatever the case, our losses are minimal so far.

It is interesting to me how each season brings it’s own challenges with pests or diseases or wildlife. There is no perfect season for all crops-it is only the degree to which there are losses. This season has been notably light with insect pressure. We’re seeing remarkably low cucumber beetle and squash bug pressure so far. Even the relentless flea beetles are mysteriously absent. The cabbage moth and potatoe beetles are present but minimal. But we have a new pest that we have somehow gotten lucky with in the last 12 years that has finally discovered our delicious vegetables- deer!

The deer are favoring our sweet potatoe plants, the beets and our green beans and edamame. There was deer pressure in the snap peas this spring and a few carrot tops here and there, but they are returning night after night for the sweet potato leaves. Because this is a new problem for our farm, we don’t have any systems in place for keeping them at bay. We’re trying to keep our lazy ol farm dog, Mugzie, sleeping outside at night (rather than on the couch in our house-ugh!). But Mugzie might have poor eyesight or he just isn’t roused by the deer, because we don’t see him chasing them off ever.

Our farm sits atop an open ridge with very little woods for wildlife to creep out of. The deer and the raccoons must make a bit of a trek and be in a very brave mood to want to stand out in our open fields. But they tend to get up quite a bit earlier in the morning than we do, so I guess their tactics are working.

While keeping wildlife at bay is part of the battle on the farm, we are also starting to need rain. Our clay soils are beginning to harden into a rock-like consistency that usually just melts into a fluffy loam after an inch of rain. Irrigation is always the back-up plan but garlic harvest and onion harvest have been keeping the farmers and the crews running at top speed to get everything done before the windows close.

Encouragingly, melon harvest is looking promising. The watermelons and musk melons on the farm have never looked so good! We’re hoping that when we start harvesting they taste and hold as good as they look from the end of the row. Tomato harvesting is picking up, the bean plants are covered in flowers and I even spied an early ripe sweet pepper.

Nobody ever told me that farming was going to be easy. But with all of you CSA members at our backs we can handle the curve balls a little better!  Help us pray for a little rain this week.  (But don't pray too hard!)

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

Cauliflower- Organic cauliflower in the heat of the summer can be a tricky one to grow. These aren’t the largest or the most beautiful we’ve ever grown. They varied in size quite a bit. Some were large and some were small and we tried to make sure everyone got either one large or one small and one broccoli. I love how cauliflower has become all the rage in the gluten-free world. It’s such a versatile vegetable!

Sweet Corn- 5 Ears of Sweet corn per member this week.   Sweet corn is best eaten as soon as possible once harvested from the plant. If you must keep it for a few days, be sure to keep it in the refrigerator and keep it cold to preserve it’s sweetness and crispiness. The ears aren’t huge, but for the most part they look good and the flavor is excellent! So far we’re keeping the coons out of the patch pretty well!

Eggplant or Cherry Tomatoes or Sweet Bell Pepper- Because eggplant plants don’t necessarily crank out eggplants, we supplemented with cherry tomatoes or a sweet bell pepper. It’s a bit of the luck of the draw on this one. The cherry tomatoes are the sun gold variety of you got these and they ripen orange. Don’t wait for them to turn red because they won’t! We love this cherry tomato variety because of how wonderfully sweet they are!   The remainder of members received a sweet bell pepper.

Celery- This has been a tough year for the celery field. Very few local farms even try to grow celery because it is a very tricky crop to grow. It has very high water needs and prefers a silty-loam soil and high calcium. We don’t always have the perfect soil conditions for it depending on which field it gets planted into with our rotation from year to year. This year we’re starting to take them small like this because many of them are showing signs of some kind of disease. We decided to start giving them small, rather than leaving them out there longer to just go bad. Hopefully three more weeks of celery givings.

Summer Squash and Zucchini- 3 squash per member. Summer Squash are the yellow ones and zucchini are the green ones. Zucchini and summer squash actually keep best at 50 degrees. Some people will set them out at room temp and some will keep them in their fridge since most of us don't have the luxury of a 50 degree storage area. Wherever you decide to keep them, don't try to keep them long, because if zucchini is known for anything, it is its generosity! Squash harvest will go for another month or so, so I hope you’re finding ways to use it up!

Lettuce- You may have received 1 red leaf or one green leaf lettuce this week. We harvested some red leaf lettuce and some green leaf lettuce. You may have received either variety. Keeps best in a plastic bag in the fridge.

Cucumbers- 6 Cucumbers per member! Woah! Cucumbers are still hitting with a bang. It’s time to try out your favorite cucumber recipes that use a few of them. Think cucumber soup, tzatziki sauce, pickles….. My kids eat one for a snack!

White Onion- One nice and big white onion for everyone. Will keep just fine on your countertop.

Curly Green Kale- We wanted to give swiss chard this week but the plants are slow to regenerate after damaged leaves from a previous storm. We’re hoping to give swiss chard next week.

Hungarian Hot Wax Pepper- These are probably the most mild hot pepper of all the hot pepper varieties. For a whimp like me, they are still plenty hot. Although they’re a little funny, because I have also eaten some that had almost no heat at all. They are also called banana peppers by some. These are the lime green, small pepper in your box. Later in the season they ‘ripen’ more orange and red in color, but for now they are still lime green;)

Carrots- One pound of the famous Small Family Farm carrots per member this week. They are so sweet and so fresh their hearts are still beating! Looking forward to more carrots coming-probably next week!

Next Week's Best Guess: broccoli, sweet corn, carrots, cucumbers, summer squash and zucchini, tomatoes, garlic, onions, celery, lettuce, basil, melons, swiss chard

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