Small Family Farm CSA

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July Twenty Fourth, 2019

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Many of our fondest memories in life are those centered around food. We gather for family picnics in the park in the summer. We think of potato salad, garden salsa, veggie platters, the smell of the grill and deserts featuring seasonal berries and fruits. Holidays, birthdays, and even the regular old Sunday night family dinner at home are all made special and sacred by the dishes, salads and cakes we share to celebrate them.

I wouldn’t consider myself a fantastic cook. Certainly I am no chef. But I do cook and that makes me a cook, I assume. I prioritize the family meal, yes even I-one of the busiest people on the planet, carve out time in the day to prepare a home-made meal each day. Being 20 minutes from town, we don’t have the option of ordering out or just “picking something up” after a busy day. I also can’t seem to bring myself to buying prepared food when I live on a farm with virtually everything at my fingertips. It would feel too much like I was cheating or being wasteful. I’m a bit of a purist in this sense, for better or worse. I have an array of quick meals that I keep in the queue for whipping something up when time runs short.

Keeping the home-made meal routine and consistent provides a kind of comfort and security in our home that I never under-estimate. When the day is waning and the workers are going home and the play dates have ended, the children often become calm again once mom is in the kitchen cooking. They know that soon we will all be together again, sitting around the table to give thanks, share food and even share a moment together after a day of being dispersed and focused on our work.

Feeding my family feels empowering. I feel inspired by the freshness of the ingredients I have to work with. I know that my hands, and the hands of my fellow community members, worked together to grow this food. I grow my confidence in the kitchen by simply trying new recipes and learning to cook with and eventually like vegetables that intimidated me initially. Nothing affirms the choice to cook home-made meals more for me than watching my children eat plates full of these colorful plants and then ask for more.

I feel that you deserve, equally as much as I do, to feel the same pride, empowerment and inspiration as I feel. I’m out here on this farm with my hands sunk down in the very soil that this food is grown in. But you are just a politically, agriculturally and literally involved as I am. I wish to applaud you, in no cheap or insincere way, for your food buying choice. Choosing to become invested in the transparency of where, when and how your food was grown is profoundly important. Bigger than you may even realize. For I feel there is a global effect to your choice. You made the choice to know who is growing your food, that it was grown on a small family farm and that it was free of chemical residues. You bet against monster of the industrialized food system.

I say cook on. Maybe the world can be transformed into a more spiritual, wholesome and nurturing place by the reclamation of the humble home cook. We can change the health of the economy, the ecosystem, and the neighborhood by simply staying in our kitchens. We don’t need the inferior experience of eating out-which is never as good as what we make at home. We need people in their homes, making food for people they love, strengthening their communities and supporting the agricultural methodologies that we know are right and true. The home cook is voting for something by simply cooking dinner using ingredients that come from pure and clean sources. Cook on!

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

Green Top Carrots-  Only durring the summer months do we get to see carrots with their greens on!  This is a fun seasonal treat.  Carrot greens look and taste a lot like parsley.  Did you know you could eat carrot greens?  Carrots are in the umbelifferea family of plants, the same as parsley, celery, parsnip. dill and fennel.  I just love the little white roots that are still connected to them.  You know they are fresh!  

Summer Squash and Zucchini-  2-3 squash per member this week.  Remember that these two squashes can mostly be used interchangably.  The color is the big difference between the two.  They do have subtle textur and obvious shape differences, but flavor is almost exactly the same.  Squash prefer storage temps around 50 degrees.  The fridge is almost too cool and the counter is too warm, so you migt just have to pick your preferred storage location and go with that.  Squashes are SO versatile!  You can spiralize them into noodles, you can grill them, you can bake them, you can steam them, sautee them.  There are probably hundreds of different ways to prepare them and nature offers them in abundance this time of year, so have fun!  

Cucumbers-  6-7 Cucumbers per member this week.  Cukes are hitting hard right now!  Cucumbers also prefer storage temps around 50 degrees.  The fridge is a little too cool and the counter is a little too warm, so pick your favorite place to grab them so you'll use them up!  Cucumbers are here to help cool us down in the heat of the summer.  My favorite cucumber salad recipe is below.  

Celery-  Some of the celery was cut and buched again this week.  The cut bunched were bagged and the whole heads were not.  We do recommend storing your celery in a plastic bag in the fridge.  Local celery is much different than California celery.  Local celery is usually much darker green, has a stronger celery flavor and is not as watery and juicy as California celery.  We find that it is still wonerful in your egg salads, potato salads, soups and just about everywhere else.  Celery greens are also edible!  Celery greens can be used in soups, salads or however you might like to sneak them in!  Celery is maybe one of the most healthy and nutritious plants we grow being very high in vitamins A, B1, B2, B6 and C.  It is also high in potassium, is known to lower blood pressure and also is detoxifying.  

Green Onions-  The is likely the final giving on green onions.  Soon we will be harvesting white onion bulbs to share with you.  

Green Curly Kale-  Kale to keep your greens intake high!  A great way to make kale disappear quickly is the generously coat it in oil and make kale chips!  If you have a kale recipe that turned you into a lover of kale, please share it with me so I can spread the love with the group!  I'll keep posting our favorties as well!

Green Leaf Lettuce x 2-  We feel lucky to still be harvesting lettuce even in the heat of the summer like this.  Try using your lettuce leaves as wraps and fill them with all of your favorite taco fillings!  

Cilantro-  The cilantro looked perfect just before the big storm we had last Thursday night.  The pounding rains really did some damage to the leaves.  This harvest took several times longer than it would normally have taken because we were picking out bad leaves.  We're very sorry if your cilantro bunch looked less than perfect, please excuse the compromise on quality.  You can blame the pounding rains last Thursday.  We know how much everyone loves cilantro, so we decided to take the extra time to harvest it so we could still share it with you.  Hopefully you can still find some good use for it.  We also recommend using it up quickly becuse it probably won't store as well due to the compromised quality.  

Cauliflower- 1-2 Cauliflower per member this week depending on size.  Cauliflower season is about to come to an end for a bit.  So love up your cauliflower while you have it!  

Garlic Scapes-  This is the final giving of garlic scapes for the season.  Soon we will be pulling up the full sized heads to share with you.  Remember that you can use the entire scape if you so desire, but the most commonly used part of the scape is from the blunt end up to the little nodule that can be diced and used like regular garlic, although much more mild than actual garlic cloves.  

Eggplant-  There were only about 200 eggplants at our first harvest, so unfortunately, not everyone got one.  We tried to stick them in the boxes that had room for them.  We hope that if you love eggplant, you got one, but if it's not your favorite veggie, you're not missing it.  Soon we should be sharing with everyone!  

Next Week's Best Guess-  Lettuce, cucumbers, summer squash and zucchini, onion, broccoli, garlic, basil, beets, celery, swiss chard, green cabbage

Cucumber Salad

Asian Spicy Sesame Cucumber Salad 

Lemony Cucumber Cream Cheese Sandwiches

Nacho Kale Chips

Cauliflower Dirty Rice with Celery

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July Seventeenth, 2019

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Much to the chagrin to visiting guests (and my own parents), we do not have air conditioning in our house. The door to the farm house opens and closes several times each hour. The kids are always running in and then back out again. Neighbors, workers, and visitors of all kinds are visiting the HQ of the Small Family Farm. Besides, if we came into an air conditioned building for our lunch hour, we might never want to go back outside!  We feel acclimated, adapted and seasonally attuned~if you will.

The helpers on our farm deserve a little extra recognition this time of year. The people who are drawn to working on farms like ours are usually seeking something more than just a paycheck. They seem to be seeking a life experience that brings them closer to nature and seasonal rhythms, closer to the source of their food or because they love the athleticism of farm work and that they get to work outside and with plants. I think back to when I was a journeying “farm hand” myself straight out of the city in my late teens and early twenties. I was certainly seeking something different than what I grew up with- a quieter, calmer place.

We have moved much more to hired help this summer than in previous years. The number of Worker Shares we had this summer was down and we had also opened up a couple more acres to cultivate and we knew we needed the extra help. We have a vibrant crew of 8-9 twenty and thirty-somethings with unique stories and paths that brought them here to this farm. But no matter their history, they all have something in common, they like to work hard and use their bodies. They also share many common values around food, healthy eating and life-style.

My brother and his wife run marathons and triathalons and ironmans. While I may never run a marathon or enter a triathalon or ironman, I feel there are similarities between farm workers and triathaloners. Is that fair to say? I think so!  Farm work asks your body to persevere through physical exercise, motion, and uneven terrain out in the elements. To be a farm worker you must be willing to be uncomfortable more often than comfortable, physically challenged and willing to push yourself when it gets hard or hot or heavy. As the years go on, we are getting more and more mechanized in ways that require people less and less to have to do too strenuous of jobs. But even with the machines to help with various jobs, we still haul a lot of weight.  Some people count their steps each day- I have often thought it would be very interesting to calculate the average number of steps we take in a day.  It would have to be miles!  The marathon farm worker has a season-long run.  

In the heat of the summer like this the farm helpers, Worker Shares too, deserve a round of applause. They must pick the zucchinis, summer squash, broccoli, cucumbers and garlic scapes and soon tomatoes in the heat of the day. They know it’s hot, and the day is definite, and the personal rewards at the end of the day or season are worth every moment of it. The feeling you get when you walk down out of the field at the end of the day is satisfaction. Your hands are dirty, your clothes are torn, your hair is a mess and your hungry, so hungry because you’ve worked up a very healthy appetite.

What I feel when I walk down out of the field at the end of the day is mostly satisfaction (mixed with a little worry about how much there is still left to do out there). I feel tired and satisfied all at once, probably the way a panting dog must feel after a good run-a little drippy, maybe, but in my element.  I also feel tremendously thankful for the help and the people who come to this little farm and help make it a real live functioning, productive community farm.  It takes a very special kind of person to want to out here doing this kind of work.  Luckily, we have a lot of fun doing it together!  

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

Green Top Carrots-  Only durring the summer months do we get to see carrots with their greens on!  This is a fun seasonal treat.  Carrot greens look and taste a lot like parsley.  Did you know you could eat carrot greens?  Carrots are in the umbelifferea family of plants, the same as parsley, celery, parsnip. dill and fennel.  I just love the little white roots that are still connected to them.  You know they are fresh!  

Kohlrabi-  It is getting late in the year for kohlrabi, but I'm hoping you have learned to love it by now.  We will be taking a break from kohlrabi for a while until Fall.  You will see kohlrabi in your boxes again in the Fall.  Remember to use your kohlrabi greens!

Cauliflower and/or Broccoli-  One or two heads per member this week.

Summer Squash and Zucchini-  4-5 Squash per member this week.  If you haven't dug up your old favorite recipes for zucchini and summer squash yet, now is the time to dust them off and get to work!  Remember that these two squashes can mostly be used interchangably.  The color is the big difference between the two.  They do have subtle textur and obvious shape differences, but flavor is almost exactly the same.  Squash prefer storage temps around 50 degrees.  The fridge is almost too cool and the counter is too warm, so you migt just have to pick your preferred storage location and go with that.  Squashes are SO versatile!  You can spiralize them into noodles, you can grill them, you can bake them, you can steam them, sautee them.  There are probably hundreds of different ways to prepare them and nature offers them in abundance this time of year, so have fun!

Celery-  So these are the early birds for celery.  We harvested these heads and bunched them.  The trimmed bottoms do oxidize and may turn brown, but you can just trim that off and they should be fresh and white again.  We bagged the celery because celery looses moisture and becomes wilty fairly easily once the bottoms have been trimmed.  Keep it cool.  Local celery is much different than California celery.  Local celery is usually much darker green, has a stronger celery flavor and is not as watery and juicy as California celery.  We find that it is still wonerful in your egg salads, potato salads, soups and just about everywhere else.  Celery greens are also edible!  Celery greens can be used in soups, salads or however you might like to sneak them in!  Celery is maybe one of the most healthy and nutritious plants we grow!

Green Onions-  Beautiful bunchs of green onions.  Maybe another week of thees to hold us over until we are able to harvest the first of our fresh bulb onions to share!  Use them all the way up to their greens!

Snap Peas-  A much smaller giving of snap peas this week.  This was the final giving of snap peas, sadly!  I never like to see them go!  Enjoy every bite!  

Garlic Scapes-  These adorable scapes are actually the garlic plant's attempt at making a seed head.  The garlic plant sends up a little nodule that would grow and swell into a bulbous roud head with small garlic 'seeds' inside.  But we snap them off early to tell the garlic plant to put more of it's energy into making a larger garlic bulb below ground and not to bother putting energy into making a seed head.  It just so happens that they are delicious to eat!  We chop up the scape from the base of each stalk up to the tiny little nodule.  Everythig above the nodule is just a little tougher and chewier to eat, so not as ideal for cooking.  Use garlic scapes in your cooking like you would garlic in almost any dish!  

Red Curly Kale-  Red curly kale for your kale chips, soups, salads or however else you can dream up using them!  

Lettuce x 2-  We tried to give everyone a head of red leaf lettuce and a head of green leaf lettuce.  We came up a little short on red leaf, so some people got two heads of green leaf.  Summer lettuce is a little thicker than Spring lettuce.  I much prefer Spring lettuce, but I'm still very happy to be eating salads and will take the thicker lettuce over no lettuce!  

Flat Leaf Parsley-  Parsley is surprisingly hard to grow!  We're going to try to keep giving parsley, but it doesn't tolerate being harvested off of too many times before the plants want to bolt.  Next weeks's herb will be cilantro, so we'll have to wait a minute for another parsley giving.  A nice addition to your salads, soups or try making a pesto with your parsley and carrot greens!  Can you tell that parsley and celery are related?  Their leaves look very similar, but taste very different!  

Recipes

No Noodle Zucchini Lasagna

Carrot Top Pesto

 Zucchini Pizza Crust

 Chickpea Salad with Cumin and Celery

Fresh Veggie Spring Rolls with Spicy Curry Dipping Sauce

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July Tenth, 2019

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All too often in life we long for all that which we do not have in front of us. We wish for our children to be older, for winter when it’s too hot, for summer when it’s too cold. We wish for tomatoes in the Spring and Strawberries in the Fall. We live in terms of tomorrows, yesterdays and somedays. But I am learning to, and it is a constant practice, to live in the now.

I too am guilty of longing for the fruits of the farm that are not yet here. My mouth literally waters when I think about Sun Gold Cherry tomatoes. My kids are so excited for fresh carrots that they are pulling them up even thought they are still as thin as pencils. I have paid ridiculous money for a cucumber in the winter. I have hunted the fields for the last remaining melon laying out there trying to eeek out the season one more day. Now it is Strawberry season and I feel as happy as a lark.

Being part of the production on the farm is helpful in exercising patience. If I can see that the cucumbers are flowering and setting fruit, I can wait a little longer. If I can weed the carrots and beets, I can rest easy and wait quietly for them. If I can watch the sweet corn grow, I can know in my heart that it is coming. Anxiousness is never helpful, but patience is.

While so many greens in our boxes this time of year may feel overwhelming in the moment, I challenge you to remember those dreary March days when you would have done anything for a leaf of spinach, tender Spring lettuce or even the humble kohlrabi greens. We can always go to the grocery store if the urge is too strong or if we find a recipe that simply can’t wait, but it is never truly satisfying. I feel like I’m cheating when I buy vegetables out of season. I feel like I’m not honoring the seasonal rhythms or even what my body may be needing to feel more seasonally attuned. Greens are abundant in the Spring because it is a time for cleansing from the winter of heavy, warming foods. Summer offers cooling, watery cucumbers and tomatoes, and melons. Fall gives us the sweeter, starchier foods that are meant to sustain us through the underground-root-ier winter months.  Now is the time to be eating our greens.  Look around you!  There is GREEN everywhere, I think we are maybe supposed to be eating green.  

This past weekend I made a simple vegetable dip with mayo, sour cream and dill. I peeled a few kohlrabi and broke apart a couple broccoli heads. We ate simple, crunchy and fresh. I have a tendency to over-complicate dinner or lunch. I often feel like I haven’t done a good job if I haven’t spent a couple hours in the kitchen making dinner. But what is so lovely about summer foods is that they are simple. Dinner in the summer can be heavy on raw foods when it’s too hot to cook too much anyways. We can spend hours in the house making squash bread and apple pie in the Fall when we’re trying to warm the house up. For now it can be shaved fennel on salad or strawberries and cream.

Living truly in the now for me means enjoying every morsel of the sweet peas. I must appreciate the uniqueness and the fennel and the earthiness of the swiss chard. Swiss Chard and I are old friends-but I do have to try a little harder to love swiss chard. It is very easy to love the sweet fruits and vegetables, but I have slow myself down to appreciate swiss chard. I have to remember that it is somewhat difficult to grow, it is highly nutritious and that once I have committed myself to preparing it in some delicious way, I always enjoy it and feel thankful.

If not for your CSA share, you may not buy many of the vegetables you receive in your box. You may not plant them in your garden. You signed up for a CSA box because you wanted more diversity in your diet and you wanted to try new things and eat more vegetables. So here it is! I invite you to pause and enjoy this day. Soon enough the tomatoes, sweet peppers, green beans and melons will be here and we will enjoy their richness so much more because we had to wait so long and we were so loyal and patient.

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

Green Cabbage-  This variety is called Quickstart.  It earns it's name well.  Quickstart early cabbages are a lighter, airier, fluffier head of cabbage.  They aren't as dense as the storage varieties, but they get us through just!  You can make egg rolls, coleslaw, cabbage rolls or sauerkraut.  Check out the unstuffed cabbage rolls recipe that's much easier than rolling up the cabbage rolls but still contains all of the same ingredients!  

Cauliflower-  Summer Cauliflower is harder to grow.  Some of the heads we had were huge and some were on the smaller side.  We tried to size up the other items in your box to make it all even out;)  

Broccoli-  Summer Broccoli is also harder to grow, so we can be thankful for these moderate heads.  They varried in size quite a bit this week.  Some were larger and some were smaller.  

Kohlrabi x 2-  We gave everyone a white kohlrabi and a purple kohlrabi this week.  All kohlrabi are delicious, no matter their skin color.  Just peel them and enjoy their crunchy, juicy insides.  Always rememer you can use your kohlrabi greens like you would use kale if you want more GREEN in your life!

Lettuce x 2-  Two beautiful heads of lettuce per member this week!  Everyone received a red leaf lettuce head and a romain lettuce head.  The romain lettuce is somewhat of a rare seasonal treat as well.  Romain does not love the hot summer months so we really only grow it early and late in the season as well.  Romain is great in a Ceaser salad with a home-made cesar dressing, chicken, crutons, and parmesan!  Romain leaves can also be used to make wraps.  Use the romain leaves like a tortilla and wrap up hummus, shredded meat, cheese, beans, or whatever you like on the inside!  Romain also holds up well in a home-made 7-layer salad!  

Sweet Peas-  SUCH a TREAT!  How I do love sweet peas!  Almost a full pound per member this week!  Imagine how long it must have taken us to pick all of these peas for everyone!  These are terrific for snacking, adding to stir frys or slicking up on top of a salad.  Don't let a single pea go to waste!  Such a treasure and seasonal treat!

Swiss Chard-  Some people love Swiss Chard.  Some claim they don't love it.  I confess, I have to try a little harder to love it myself, but I find really fun and creative ways to get it in my families bodies!  Think of it like spinach (and everyone loves spinach) and you'll find ways to use it!  I blanche it and puree it with ricotta, egg, onion, garlic, and herbs and stuff it into pasta shells with cheese and pasta sauce to make one of my personal favorite dishes, Spinach Stuffed Shells (or we could call it Chard Stuffed Shells!)

Strawberries-  Quarts!  Remember that Strawberries are extremely perishable!  Use them up quickly to keep them from going bad.  Get them into referigeration until you have had a chance to use them up-if they even make it home!  Strawberries go remarkably well with dairy, like cream cheese and whipped cream, if you do that sort of thing!  

Garlic Scapes-  These adorable scapes are actually the garlic plant's attempt at making a seed head.  The garlic plant sends up a little nodule that would grow and swell into a bulbous roud head with small garlic 'seeds' inside.  But we snap them off early to tell the garlic plant to put more of it's energy into making a larger garlic bulb below ground and not to bother putting energy into making a seed head.  It just so happens that they are delicious to eat!  We chop up the scape from the base of each stalk up to the tiny little nodule.  Everythig above the nodule is just a little tougher and chewier to eat, so not as ideal for cooking.  Use garlic scapes in your cooking like you would garlic in almost any dish!  

Green Bunching Onions-Bunching onions are only available on our farm for about 5 weeks in the early summer like this.  They are such a nice treat to hold us over until true onions are ready for harvest.  Remember that you can use these guys from the bottom of the white part all the way up to the very last tip of the green onion if you like!  The greens make a nice garnish or sprinkle on top of almost any dish!  

Fennel-  This is the final giving of Fennel for awahile.  Fennel is such a fun early summer treat!  Fennel has a mild licorice flavor when eaten raw.  It is lovely shaved very thinly onto a green salad or featured in it's own raw fennel salad.  Or, if you don't love the licorice flavor, just sautee up your fennel like it's an onion and add it to any stir fry, italian dish of pasta or even soup or egg bake.  You can sneak these guys into almost anything!  They're in the celery/carrot/parsley (umbelliferae) family, but they don't taste anything like celery, carrots or parsley. They have their very own unique flavor and texture!

Summer Squash and/or Zucchini-  It begins!  Summer squash and zucchini will begin to produce now and will generously offer bountiful harvests if we are lucky.  Dig up your favorite zucchini and summer squash recipes, dust them off and have fun!  These two can be used almost interchangably.  Their textures vary a little, but they are very similar and can be used interchangably in most dishes.  Summer squashes prefer storage at about 50 degress.  The counter is a little too warm and the fridge is a little too cold, so you migh thave to pick your zone for keeping these guys.  They are best when eaten fresh, so don't be conservative when using them up!  I'll do my best to share as many of my favorite recipes as I can.  If you have a tried and true one, feel free to share it with me and I can post it next week!

Next Week's Best Guess:  Sweet peas, summer squash and zucchini, lettuce, kale, parsley, kohlrabi, garlic scapes, bunching green onions, cauliflower and or broccoli?, cucumbers?  Carrots or beets?

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Recipes

Savory Zucchini and Chard Muffins

Spinach Stuffed Shells (or Chard Stuffed Shells-one of my all time favorite foods!)

Swiss Chard Fritatta

Quinoa and Chard Cakes

Zucchini Fritter with Pistou

Garlic Scape Pesto

Cream of Broccoli and Fennel Soup (This is Good!)

July Third, 2019

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The farm is a beehive. It is a hustle and bustle of people, warmth, harvest and activity. The season is young, the energy is high and everyone is excited to be working together! It has been a wet beehive, but a humming, strumming buzzing hive between storms none-the less. If the sun is out, so are we. If a storm rolls in, we run for cover and look for work in the packing shed or greenhouse.

Our work crew this year consists of 8 employees. Some of them working two days a week and a few of them working full time.   We also have a vibrant Worker Share crew of about 17 people who come out to the farm and work a 3.5 hour shift each week on their designated day in exchange for a CSA Share. Adam and I are the constants that are here all the time-in the know and on the ball. The worker share members make it fun for those of us who are here every day. They bring fresh conversation topics and fresh enthusiasm for the days work.

The beehive this time of year is full and a little crowded and we sometimes are bumping into one another. We go out into the fields and harvest as much as our little legs can carry and then we haul it back to the hive again, unload and then repeat. The harvest is getting heavy and full. Soon the zucchini and summer squash harvest will be every other day. Soon thereafter the cucumber harvest will be every other day. We are currently harvesting broccoli every other day as well.

The strawberry patch harvesting adds an element sweetness and also intensity to the farm. The strawberry patch would ideally be picked every other day if we could keep up with it! Strawberries are highly perishable when they are ready to be picked, should be put into the cooler immediately and should never be picked wet. Strawberry season is one of my favorites, but it is also one of the busiest times of year! We fell behind a bit on picking over the weekend because it was so wet and we had our Strawberry Picking event that kept us busy. Several families made it out to the farm and each family picked a few quarts of strawberries to take home.

I will speak for myself when I say that the busier I am and the harder I work, the happier I am. At times the stress will feel heavy and burdensome, but when it passes, it always feels like it was worth it when the purpose for the work is meaningful and fulfilling. Relaxing never feels relaxing unless you’re tired and you’ve put in a good days work. Like the worker bees, we get to snack on sweet peas, strawberries and succulent greens to keep us fueled. We are also fueled buy the buzz of the community. Doing this work together, coming and going, playing and resting like a grand symphony feels beautiful. It feels sustaining. It feels like the community I longed for and dreamed of and aspire to. The workers are paid and fed. The subscribers are paying and fed. The farmers are both paid and paying-happy. No one is getting rich except in what we feel when we realize what we are all a part of. No matter your roll in the hive, you are part of it.   And it is buzzing.

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

 Sugar Snap Peas-  .66lbs per member this week.  We had to share a little of the harvest with the deer this season, but we thought that .66lbs per member was a decent first picking.  We're hoping for a few more weeks of offering snap peas!  Such a wonderful, healthy snack food!  A great addition to salad too!

Broccoli or Cauliflower-  Broccoli and Cauliflower are tricky to grow in the heat of the summer, so let's call this harvest a success!  We're so happy to share this harvest with you.  Hang tight, we'll show you what wonderful, large broccoli we're capable of growing in the Fall when the cooler weather returns!  

Strawberry Quarts-  We weren't sure if there would be pints or quarts this week, but we had enough to offer quarts for everyone this week!  They were picked between rain storms, so we hope they hold up okay. We recommend eating up your strawberries quickly.  They are so very perishable and won't keep long in the fridge.  They should be refirgerated until you've had a chanc to eat them up.  Check out my all time favorite strawberry cream pie recipe below.  Save every berry for this pie and you won't be sorry!

Garlic Scapes-  These adorable scapes are actually the garlic plant's attempt at making a seed head.  The garlic plant sends up a little nodule that would grow and swell into a bulbous roud head with small garlic 'seeds' inside.  But we snap them off early to tell the garlic plant to put more of it's energy into making a larger garlic bulb below ground and not to bother putting energy into making a seed head.  It just so happens that they are delicious to eat!  We chop up the scape from the base of each stalk up to the tiny little nodule.  Everythig above the nodule is just a little tougher and chewier to eat, so not as ideal for cooking.  Use garlic scapes in your cooking like you would garlic in almost any dish!  

Lettuce Heads x 2-  Still a very nice lettuce season is under way!  We hope you're eating as much salad these days as we are!  Tis the season!  Taco salads, egg salads, tuna salads, chicken salads, layerd salads.  It's salad season!  During all of these heavy rains that we have been getting, a lot of soil is splashed up inside the heads.  We recommend cutting out the core of the head from the bottom and then washing your lettuce one leaf at a time to make sure there isn't any grit hiding down in the crevaces of the lettuce leaves.  I do not loving a gritty salad, myself!  Salad spinner the leaves for a nice, clean and dry bowl of succulent greens!  

Green Bunching Onions-  Bunching onions are only available on our farm for about 5 weeks in the early summer like this.  They are such a nice treat to hold us over until true onions are ready for harvest.  Remember that you can use these guys from the bottom of the white part all the way up to the very last tip of the green onion if you like!  The greens make a nice garnish or sprinkle on top of almost any dish!  

Fennel-  Fennel is such a fun early summer treat!  Fennel has a mild licorice flavor when eaten raw.  It is lovely shaved very thinly onto a green salad or featured in it's own raw fennel salad.  Or, if you don't love the licorice flavor, just sautee up your fennel like it's an onion and add it to any stir fry, italian dish of pasta or even soup or egg bake.  You can sneak these guys into almost anything!  They're in the celery/carrot/parsley (umbelliferae) family, but they don't taste anything like celery, carrots or parsley. They have their very own unique flavor and texture!  Enjoy this treat!  

Hakurai Salad Turnips-  These salad turnips are sizing up nicely!  Continue to use your salad turnips in a stir fry, on salads or caramelized to your liking.  Remeber to use their greens as well-they're very mild and neutral once cooked.  

Kohlrabi-  Another kohlrabi per member again this week!  The Kohlrabi greens can be used like kale!  We recommend peeling off the tougher, outer layer of the kohlrabi and slicing up the inner bulb like you would an apple wedge for snacking, match-sticks for a salad or grated into a slaw!  Germans put it in soup.  The possibilities are endless!  Kohlrabi is very neutral and easy to get along with;)  

Green Cabbage-  Wow!  This variety is called Quickstart.  It earns it's name well.  Quickstart early cabbages are a lighter, airier, fluffier head of cabbage.  They aren't as dense as the storage varieties, but they get us through just!  You can make egg rolls, coleslaw, cabbage rolls or sauerkraut.  Check out the unstuffed cabbage rolls recipe that's much easier than rolling up the cabbage rolls but still contains all of the same ingredients!  

Next Week's Best Guess:  Peas, strawberries, fennel, garlic scapes, lettuce, summer squash and/or zucchini, green onions, broccoli and/or cauliflower, cabbage?, swiss chard, kohlrabi, hakurai salad turnips?

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Recipes

Strawberry and Cream Cheese Pie (No bake)-  Jillian's all-time Favorite!  You GOTTA make this!  

Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Casserole-

Shaved Fennel Salad with Snow Peas and Mint

Baked Ziti with Italian Sausage and Fennel

Home Made French Dressing for Salads

Miso Glazed Hakurei Turnips

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(We thought it was the deer eating our carrot and beets, but then we discovered it was actually the Children!)

June Twenty Sixth, 2019

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The summer solstice seemed to get the message across to the fireflys that it was now okay to come out in full force. These gorgeous summer evenings twinkle with the magic that they embody due to their presence. The monarchs are finally ubiquitous while temperatures shyly creep into the 80’s. This has been one of the more pleasant Springs of memory. I feel hopeful that the Summer will be equally as mild.

Much of the produce in our country comes from more airid, temperate, and dry states like California. Plants feel stress when it’s too hot, too wet or when it weather patterns fluctuate too drastically or too often. Here in Wisconsin, we are blessed with the gifts of rain, seasonal changes and restful winters, but as a trade-off we are given a shorter growing season, too much rain at times and the looming possibility of frost in the Spring and Fall, and a very hot stretch of weather over the peak season. And while a droughty season or two is worrisome, it does make vegetable farming a little easier in some ways. Dry weather is a favorite of ours. If we can control how much water plants get and how often they get water, we can work to create a more ideal growing condition for the plants. Additionally,. some plants would rather only have water at their root zones and not on their leaves. If a plants leaves are too wet for too long, rot and disease arise.

Plants do not actually love the hottest part of the summer. Contrary to what many people think, all of our Midwestern summer crops would all perform just fine if temperatures never rose above 80. They need sunlight, water and warmth, but not intense heat. They feel stress in the same way you or I would feel when standing out all day under the hot sun.

We are hopeful for a nice stretch of dry-ish weather now as Strawberries come into season on the farm. The children are picking a few strawberries here and there that are ripening around the edges as the season begins, but we are about to start picking the strawberry patches every other day starting this week. There will not be berries for this week’s box as they are only just beginning, but there will undoubtedly be berries for Weeks 5 and 6 (and maybe longer?). Strawberries are extremely perishable and do not handle well if picked when wet.

Strawberries are coming on a week to ten days later this year on our farm than in the last few years. We do grow a variety of strawberries called Darselect that has done well for us in the past. Darselect is a later maturing variety which is also why our strawberry season is just beginning and while some farm’s strawberry season is just ending. Darselect has all the loveliness that a local, seasonal strawberry is capable of possessing and they have been larger berries in the first season of production on a new patch.

Consider coming out to the farm this Saturday for our Strawberry Social! We may open up a part of the strawberry patch for picking (for $3/lb) between 3 and 4pm. There may be just a limited number of quarts to pick per family. We will have a wagon ride tour of the farm between 4 and 5pm and then a potluck dinner in the packing shed of the farm between 5 and 6pm. We will have vanilla ice cream for any berries you might pick for after the potluck. This is a great opportunity to come out to the farm and check out the fields, facilities and farmers. Come and ask us questions, play in the yard and visit your farm!

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

Kohlrabi x2-  We had enough large kohlrabis to give everyone two this week.  There were mostly white kohlrabis, but there were some purples.  Some people may have received two white or one while and one purple.  They are both the same on the inside!  Just peel away the tougher outer layer and you'll find that they're white and crunchy on the inside and all have the same deliciousness!  Don't forget that your kohlrabi greens can be used like kale.  

Lettuce x2-  Two heads of tender, Spring lettuce this week.  You may received either a green oakleaf, red oakleaf or buttercup lettuce.  They are all fabulously tender and wonderful for salads.  I just LOVE these early Spring lettuce varieties.  They don't stand up to the summer heat well, so we don't offer them in the Summer months.  Soon we will be sending some romaine or red leaf lettuce or green leaf lettuce.  These tender oakleafs and buttercups are a special cool-weather treat for us all.  

Lacinato Kale-  Humongous bunches of Lacinato kale this week!  Lacinato Kale is also known as Dinosaur Kale or Tuscano Kale.  It is one of the more trendy varieties of kale these days.  It is actually an heirloom variety.  Lacinato has a darker green color than other varieties of kale which makes it more nutritous as well.  It has a smoother texture.  It originates in Italy-like so many wonderful things do!  

Dill-  The aromatic Dill!  One bunch of Dill per member this week.  Dill can be minced into a salad.  It can be used in egg salad, potato salad or with salmon.  Get createive.  We only send Dill a few times out of the year, so have fun with it!  It coudl also be dried and used in the winter if stored in a glass mason jar with a tight lid.  We recommend un-bunching it and laying it out on the tray of a dehydrator if you plan to dehydrate it.  

Hakurai Salad Turnips-  More generous bunches of these lovely Hakurai turnips this week.  They're a little larger than last week as well.  Hakurai salad turnips will make you fall in love with turnips if you thought you didn't love them.  One member called them the "gateway turnip".  They will revolutionize how you fell about turnips, I promise!  They're wonderful shaved thinly over a salad, eaten raw like radishes or you coudl have fun and add them to a stir fry or glaze the with their greens on.  Don't forget to make use of their greens as well!  

Broccoli-  About 1 pound of broccoli per member this week.  We were worried about our broccoli this Spring, but it is turning out to be a decent harvest after all.  Early summer broccoli heads have been traditionally smaller on our farm.  But our late-season head are typically larger.  Delicious and welcome no matter the size!  

Green Onions-  Our first green onion harvest of the season.  Finally!  These guys can be used from the base of the plant all the way up to the tips of the greens.  The green part of the onions makes a nice garnish to a soup, egg dish or even sprinkled on a salad.  Use them up!  

Next Weeks Best Guess:  Green onions, garlic scapes, lettuce x 2, kohlrabi, broccoli, swiss chard, turnips, strawberries (hopefully!), peas, zucchini and/or summer squash

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Recipes

Lemon Dill Dressing

Creamy Dill Chicken Salad

Dill Dip  (Great for Chips or Veggies)

Hakurai Turnip and Apple Salad

Kohlrabi Oven Fries

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