Small Family Farm CSA

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Below are current issues of The Weekly Dig Newsletter, from Jillian Varney, owner of the Small Family Farm. Stay up to date on what's happening on the farm!

August Twenty-First

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The farm is dry. The dryness is something we openly asked for earlier in the season. This lovely, sunny, dry weather has been wonderful for drying down our garlic and onions in the greenhouse and dry storage room. We are now beginning to harvest and dry down the first of our winter squash harvest. It is wonderful for getting work done in the fields for either harvesting or weeding. But we’re starting to get a little nervous now as we’ve had such a long stretch of dry weather and many of our late summer and Fall crops are beginning to get thirsty!

I will now ask for a long, slow, soft rain (as if you can deliver that for us;). Just one for now would be great! About an inch. Maybe 1.5 inches;) Two inches max! Our potatoes and sweet potatoes will need a litle rain in order to size up, fall seedings of carrots, beets, radish spinach and recently transplated lettuce would also like a drink in order to thrive. We are beginning to talk about irrigation and running new drip irrigation lines to the crops that need it the most. No real chance of rain lies in the forecast.

While we wait for rain, we are harvesting many of our favorite summer vegetables like sweet corn, melons, green beans, tomatoes, sweet peppers, cherry tomatoes, and carrots! The boxes this time of year are probably my favorite boxes of the season. Folks, these are the boxes we live for. We spend all winter dreaming of vine ripened tomatoes, fresh picked sweet corn and juicy, local melons and there is no time like the present to fall in love with them all over again!

I find it interesting how nature and the seasons give us all that we need in the season that we are in. We are offered juicy, crispy, sweet and colorful foods in this warm season when our bodies know that it’s time to load up on sugars to keep our energy strong for the harvest, stay hydrated and eating healthy! I also love how summer foods are convenient and quick to prepare.  BLT’s are a favorite quick summer meal. I also love sweet corn, steamed green beans, fresh salsa and chips, and snacking on raw carrots, cucumbers, celery, cherry tomatoes, and sweet peppers! A little hummus with a pile of raw veggies goes a long way.

This week we will stay busy harvesting more green beans, catching up on some much needed weeding projects, laying irrigation lines and harvesting more melons for next week’s CSA boxes. We are excited to start giving cantelopes and honeydew melons next week. The CSA boxes are getting very heavy now! We recommned not using the handles on the sides of your box to carry them, but to carry them from the bottom of the box as the handles can rip very easily when the boxes are this heavy. Very bountiful, full and HEAVY boxes this time of year! We’re so happy to be sharing all of this lovely, seasonal, organic fresh food with you! Thank you for valuing fresh, local and organic vegetables in your lives!

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

Yellow Watermelon-  One beautiful, juicy and sweet watermelon for all this week!  We love these because they fit in a CSA box so nicely.  Watermelons keep best in the fridge until you get a chance to use them up.  

Canary Melon (or Cantelope)-  The Canary melons are a yellow melon with a harder rind.  We love these melons because when they're fully ripe they have such a sweet flavor.  Do not mistake your Canary Melon for a spaghetti squash.  Keep your melon in the fridge until you get a chance to use it up.  We ran a little short on Canary Melons and supplemented cantelopes for those who did not get a Canary Melon.  Cantelopes can sit on your counter until you get a chance to use them up.  A cantelope will smell ripe when it is ready to eat.  

Sweet Corn-  5 ears per member this week.  Sweet corn needs to be refrigerated unti you are ready to use it.  Sweet corn is best eaten as soon after harvest as you can.  We recommned using it up right away for best flavor!  We will have one more week of Sweet Corn Harvest to share with you next week.  We were hoping for larger givings of sweet corn this year, but the yields weren't as expected this year.  

Cuccumbers-  4 Cukes per member this week.  Cucumbers are waning in production now.  The cucumbers we are picking are the last flush and aren't as perfect looking as the early season cucumbers.  We anticipate anohter week or two of cucumbers left in the season.  

Tomatoes-  5.24 lbs of tomatoes per member this week.  We pick tomatoes with a "blush".  A blush is anything with any early signs of color.  We need to pick tomatoes this way because the plants need to be picked every two days to keep the fruits from ripening too quickly on the vine.  If the fruits become too ripe, we won't be able to ship them without them turning into tomato sauce in your box!  Leave your tomatoes sitting on your counter outside of the plastic bag we ship them in to ripen.  When tomatoes are put into the fridge the ripening process stops.  Refrigerators (and I don't understand the science behind this completely) suck the flavor out of tomatoes.  Your tomatoes will be more flavorful if left on the counter to ripen.  We only recommend putting tomatoes in the fridge this summer if you need to buy yourself some time and you have too many tomatoes getting too ripe on you.  Use these guys up!  Another generous giving coming up next week!

Cherry Tomatoes-  1 Quart per member.  We have never given such large quantities of cherry tomatoes before, but there is a first time for everything!  Probably the best tasting tomato in the whold world are these tomatoes!  Remember that these ripen orange and are fully ripe when they are a nice and bright orange.  

Carrots-  1 lb per member this week.  Carrots are always welcome as a healthy snack, with dip, in a stir fry or any way that you fancy!

Green Beans- 1.24 lbs per member this week.  The bean bags this week had a mix of green beans and also 'Dragon Tongue' beans.  Dragon Tongues are a Dutch Heirloom variety that is a yellowish bean with purple streaking.  Unfortunately, the purple streaking in these dragon tongue beans goes away once the beans are cooked.  It's sort of like magic!  

Eggplant-  Either a standard eggplant or a long and thin Asian eggplant.  Eggplants can be a tricky vegetable to become acquainted with if you don't already love them, but if you find the dish that makes you a believer, I know you can learn to love eggplants!  They do prefer a 50 degree storage temp zone.  So you'll have to use them up quick before they begin to go bad on either your counter or in your fridge.  They're so much better fresh!  

White Onions-  2 white onions per member this week.  Onions should keep on your counter at room temperature until you get to using them up!

Sweet Peppers or Broccoli-  We had equal amounts of broccoli and sweet peppers this week, but no enough to give everyone both.  You may have received either broccoli or sweet peppers.  We're hoping the sweet peppers will start to come on soon here.  

Collards or Kale-  The Collards didn't really look all that great this week.  We gave small bunches and the leaves really weren't looking the best, but we really wanted to go through and clean the plants up in hopes that the plants make a rebound for a nice Fall harvest.  Collards are another one that can be really lovely if prepared right!  If you did not receive Collards, you did receive a small bunch of Curly Red Kale.  We wanted to get something leafy and green in the boxes this week.  

Jalapeno-  The Jalapenos are the smaller, green pepper in your tomato bag.  Jalapenos will 'ripen' red, so a lucky few may have received a red Jalapeno.  Red ones can be a bit sweeter.  

Hungarian Hot Wax Peppers-  These peppers are one of the most mild on the spectrum of hot tomatoes.  Technically, they are a hot pepper.  I have cut into many hungarian hot wax peppers and some have been surprisingly spicy, and some have been hardly spicy at all.  They are usualy a lime green color and are also called 'bananna peppers'.  But these peppers 'ripen' orange to red, so you may have received one that was orange or red as well.  They would be in your bag with your tomatoes.  

Next Week's Best Guess:  cantelope, watermelon, tomatoes, sweet peppers, broccoli?, hot peppers, beets, sweet corn, cucumber, green beans, onion, garlic, eggplant, cherry tomatoes

Recipes-

Crisp Cucumber Salsa (Yum!)

Tomato, Onion and Cucumber Salad with Kalamata Olives and Feta Cheese

Eggplant Parmesan Stacks

Pico De Gallo (Fresh Salsa)

Fresh Green Bean Casserole

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August Fourteenth, 2019

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Growing sweet corn on the scale that our farm grows sweet corn is no simple task.  We're not big time sweet corn growers, but we are certainly growing it on a scale that is larger than most.  That sweet smelling corn travlels through the night breeze and draws in the racoons like they're hypnotized.  They are crafy and quick and entire families of them can destroy a sweet corn harvest for a farm like ours in just one night.  
 
Sweet corn is tranplanted on our farm.  We start sweet corn in trays in the geenhouse in May and water care for them while they germinate.  Birds, mice and chipmunks seem to know there is sweet corn growing beneat the soil in our trays in the greenhouse in the Spring and we need to keep the trays covered with a floating row cover just to keep the seeds protected until they have germinated.  Once the sweet corn transplants are a couple weeks old, we transplant them out in the fields at 6 inch spacing.  Transplanting sweet corn is not something many farms do unless they have the time, labor and are serious about growing sweet corn!  We know how much you love it, we value our field space and if we're going to put all the effort into growing sweet corn, we want it to turn our right!  We want the plants to be at the correct spacing (not too crowded and not too far apart either!  
 
Once the sweet corn patch begins to tassel out in July, we set up an electric fense around the patch to keep the racoons from sampeling and scampering through the field.  We use electric wire that goes around the entire patch four times.  We electrify the wire using a deep marine battery that needs to be hooked up every night to the wire to keep it hot.  In the mornings, farmer Adam goes out to un-hook the battery from the fense as to not drain the battery too quickly by running it 24 hours out of the day.  Every few days he brings the battery down to the shed to trickle charge the batter back up during the day time to make sure the battery has plenty of juice for the night time protection.  
 
We have had several years of good success using this method.  It does require keeping the sweet corn fense trimmed so that any weeds or grass growing up under the wire wont short out the wire.  We have had years where racoons have cunningly found their way in in some un-even ground or who have bravely charged through the fense (who knows how they get in!) but so far this season we are having good luck with our efforts!  We hope to have a hefty giving of sweet corn to share again next week that will likely be even bigger than this week's offerings.  It seems like some corn is maturing a little earlier than we thought it might, so we might have a big week next week, and then a lighter giving of corn the following week.  
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Soooo....What's in the Box?

Yellow Watermelon-  Wowzers!  What a melon!  We like these melons because they fit inside a CSA box and they don't take up the entire CSA box either!  They have everything a melon should have: seeds, crispyness, juicyness, and flavor!  

Sweet Corn-  6-7 ears of sweet corn per member this week.  We're hoping for an even more generous giving next week!  We're doing a good job of keeping the raccoons out of the sweet corn fense with our 4 strands of electric wire surrounding the fense.  Sweet corn is best eating within hours of harvest.  It should be kept in the fridge until you get to eating it up!  For best flavor and texture, we recommend eating it up as soon as possible!  Enjoy!

Zucchini and Summer Squash-  Yes, the Zucchini and Summer squash harvest is waning.  Can you tell since you're only getting a couple now!  We may only have a week or two of squash to share.  They come on strong, and it gets a little intense there for a bit, but we'll miss them when they're gone, I know I will!  

Tomatoes-  While summer squash may be phasing out of season, tomatoes are phasing in!  1.65 lbs per member this week which is a modest first giving.  We pick tomatoes with a "blush".  A blush is anything with any early signs of color.  We need to pick tomatoes this way because the plants need to be picked every two days to keep the fruits from ripening too quickly on the vine.  If the fruits become too ripe, we won't be able to ship them without them turning into tomato sauce in your box!  Leave your tomatoes sitting on your counter outside of the plastic bag we ship them in to ripen.  When tomatoes are put into the fridge the ripening process stops.  Refrigerators (and I don't understand the science behind this completely) suck the flavor out of tomatoes.  Your tomatoes will be more flavorful if left on the counter to ripen.  We only recommend putting tomatoes in the fridge this summer if you need to buy yourself some time and you have too many tomatoes getting too ripe on you.  

Cherry Tomatoes-  1 pint of Sun Gold cherry tomtoes for everyone this week!  Sun Golds are my personal favorite tomato of all time!  They are so sweet and delicious!  These tomatoes ripen orange, so allow them to sit on your counter until they are a bright and shiny orange color and enjoy any way that you wish!  Check out my favorite cherry tomato tart recipe below that is AMAZING!  I highly recommed making this recipe at least once this season with your cherry tomatoes that you receive in your box!

Green Beans-  A generous 1.1 lbs of green beans this week.  We had a nice crew to pick beans with us this week!  We are so very thankful for all of those loving pairs of hand that so tediously worked with us to get all of these beans picked for us all to share!  That's a lot of hours picking beans!

Cucumbers-  4-5 cukes per member this week.  Cucumbers are beginning to wane in production as well.  They're looking a little less perfect as the season goes on, but we're so thankful that we all still get to eat this lovely seasonal treat!  

Carrots-  1 lb per member.  We topped them this week to save time.  Carrots are alwasy welcome in many dishes on the dinner table!  I trust you won't have issues using these up!

Celery-  The final giving of celery for the season!  Celery was lovely while it lasted, but all good things come to an end!  Remember that you can use your celery leaves in making stock with your veggie scraps.  I recently learned about how healing celery juice is.  If you're not sure what to do with your celery, juice it!  Anthony Williams write The Medical Medium which is all about the healing effects of driking celery juice daily.  Check out this website:  https://www.medicalmedium.com/medical-medium-celery-juice-movement.htm

Lettuce-  1 head green leaf lettuce per member.  Some of the heads were nice and big, but many of these heads of lettuce were quite small.  As I have mentioned before, growing lettuce in the heat of the summer like this is tricky!  We're thankful for even a smaller head this week!  

Onion-  1 white onion per member this week.  Onions are welcome in almost any dish!  

Eggplant-  1 Standard or asian eggplant per member this week.  Eggplants are so versatile and such a fun seasonal treat that doesn't last long!  

Jalapeno-  Yes, these are hot!  1 per member this week.  Jalapenos are spicy and you may be able to recognize them as the smaller green pepper floating in your bag with your tomatoes.  

Hungarian Hot Wax Pepper-  These peppers are one of the most mild on the spectrum of hot tomatoes.  Technically, they are a hot pepper.  I have cut into many hungarian hot wax peppers and some have been surprisingly spicy, and some have been hardly spicy at all.  They are usualy a lime green color and are also called 'bananna peppers'.  But these peppers 'ripen' orange to red, so you may have received one that was orange or red as well.  They would be in your bag with your tomatoes.  

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Recipes-

Cherry Tomato Tart

Eggplant Curry

Grilled Eggplant Ratatouille Muffaletta (grilled eggplant and veggies served on bread)

Teriyaki Green Beans with Cashews

 

August Seventh, 2019

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Week 10 marks the half-way point of our Summer Share deliveries. It’s hard to believe that it is half way over already! But the fun is just beginning, if you ask me! I feel a little guilty confessing that farmer Adam brought the first ripe watermelon down from the fields this weekend to cut into to see if the melons are ready. We enjoyed a sweet, crisp and just slightly under-ripe melon that the kids inhaled. Sweet corn, tomatoes, cucumbers and so much more! The sweet flavors of summer are upon us!

The first tomato harvest of the season happened this Monday. Just one bin of blushing tomatoes and a few pints of Sun Gold cherry tomatoes to share with those who did not get broccoli in this week’s box. The first Sweet Corn harvest was modest, but these ears needed to be picked. We’re exited to start sharing sweet corn in the next few boxes! We also planted A LOT of melons this year, so we’re really excited to start sharing melons as soon as we feel they’re ready for the first big harvest.

The smell of corn pollen, flowering dill, the lightening shows and the cicadas are all emblematic of summertime on the farm. The tan on my skin, the ache in my back and fatigue in my legs from cucumber harvest tells my body that it is summertime on the farm. Quick dinners of steamed green beans, cucumber salad and hamburgers on the grill tell my tummy that it is summertime. The crickets chirping, the law mower humming and the tractor put-putting along up and down the road tell my ears that it is summertime.

We have seeded Fall radishes, Fall spinach and Fall lettuce. It is getting late in the year to still be planting crops, but a CSA farm like our is still thinking months ahead. We’re already closing in on the final plantings for the year so we can spend less time working ground, and more time cultivating and harvesting. I have even noticed a slight difference in the day length finally. We’re still struggling to get the kids to bed at a ‘decent’ hour, but somehow we are getting the rest we need to get up and do it all over again each bright and sunny morning.

Your farmers are feeling thankful for this very nice stretch of dry weather. We are working on finishing up garlic harvest and in the middle of onion harvest. Garlic and onions both love dry weather for ‘curing’ in the greenhouse. This dry weather should be very helpful in making sure the garlic and onions dry down quick and that they will store well. The projected storms that were supposed to hit us on Monday night passed us by to the South. Just a little sprinkling was enough to water our recent seedings and soften the soil for some germinating beets from last week.

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

Red Cabbage-  A heavy and dense head of red cabbage for all.  Will keep nicely in the fridge for a bit until you get to using it up!

Green Top Beets-  We call them "green top" because they still have their greens on top of them;)  Cut the stems and leaves off of the beets and store the beets in a plastic bag in the fridge.  Store the greens in a seperate bag in the fridge to preserve moisture until you get to using those up.  Some people love beet grees just as much as chard or spinach, don't forget to use those!

Green Curly Kale-  Because keeping you stocked up on your greens is so important!  

Zucchini and Summer Squash-  Three squash per member this week.  The plants are starting to slow down now.  

Sweet Corn-  Just three ears per member this week.  We're hoping for a larger harvest next week and for a few weeks still after that.  Sweet corn is best eaten as soon as possible once it has been harvested, we recommned eating it as soon as possible.  If you don't plan to eat it right away, store it in the fridge to keep those sugars from turning into starches.  You might think sweet corn is just fine at room temp since you see it at roadside stands.  But it will quickly go bad if left out at room temp.  Eat it up!  

Green Beans-  .73 lbs of green beans for everyone this week.  A summer staple.  Steam them, toss them with a little butter and salt, and you've got a dinner side!  

Cucumbers-  Holy Cucumbers!  8-9 cucumbers per member this week!  Woah!  Summer offers these in abundance this time of year when it's time for is all to chill out with a cucumber!  

Flowering Dill-  If you don't think you can use all of this dill fresh, lay it out on dehydrator trys and dry it quickly.  If it dries down quickly in a dehydrator or on a sheet pan in your oven, it will stay very green and still have a lot of it's flavor in teh winter.  Once it is dried down, store it in a mason jar with an air tight lid.  It is wonderful fresh tossed with your beans, cucumbers, salads or however you like!  

White Onion-  For everyday use!

Garlic-  Freshly harvested garlic!  When fresh like this, the little membrane around each garlic clove inside the bulb that is normally paper thin, is a thicker membrane.  Remember you peel your cloves, but know that that membrane that you will be peeling off will be a couple millimeters thick.  Fresh garlic does not need to be stored in the refrigerator.  Savor the texture and flavor of freshly pulled garlic like this that only comes but once a year!  

Eggplant-  Either a standard eggplant or 1-3 asian eggplants.  Eggplant is similar to cucumbers and summer squashes in that it prefers storage temps around 50 degrees again.  The fridge is a little too cold and the counter is a little too warm.  This would be a good one to use up sooner rather than later for this reason!  Enjoy this rare-ish seasonal treat in your favorite fashion!  We love eggplant parmesan, battered and fried eggplant, 

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.  

Broccoli or Cherry Tomatoes or Regular Slicing Tomatoes-  There was just a little broccoli and the first picking of tomatoes to share, so we dividied up the harvest amongst boxes.  More tomatoes coming in future weeks now!

Next Week's Best Guess-  Summer squash, zucchini, cucumbers, onion, sweet corn, melon?, eggplant?, green beans, carrots, lettuce, celery, tomatoes.  

Recipes

Grilled Eggplant Provolone

Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole with Guyere featuring Carrots and Celery

Cucumber Salad with Chili and Roasted Peanuts

Cool Toddie Cucumber Drink

Warm Red Cabbage Salad

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July Thirty-First, 2019

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Do you ever wonder how we do it? How does a young family with three little kids and a handful of employees run a farm like this? We’re sort of like wizards, witches and alchemists out here turning soil and seeds into juicy and crunchy fruits and roots.

The truth is, it aint easy. It’s down right stressful, to be honest. I do my best in these newsletters to talk about the beautiful, the awesome and practical parts of the farm. I want you to believe in the magic and wonder of it all. But since we’re all adults here and this is no sci-fi, I’m not fooling anyone. Farming is a dance with mistress Nature who is moody and whimsical. She is unpredictable and fierce and governs over our every decision. Additionally, with all of you waiting and watching for your weekly box of treasures, it puts a little pressure on.

I could depict the stress level of a farmer with a simple bell curve. It starts out slow and easy and smooth. Tension and responsibility rise with the tide of the summer season peaking out around mid August sometime. Then it slowly turns and tapers back off with the first signs of cool weather in the Fall. We are still very busy up until Thanksgiving, but there is a flickering light at the end of the tunnel that feels warm and promising. Winter is when the curve drops back down to an enviable low level of strain.

Talking about the stress a farm family endures is appropriate, I feel. It makes us human, it is helpful in identifying what is happening and how to mange it and you begin to think of us less like super heros and more like your neighbors or friends or family. We are simply imperfect anthropoids. We made a choice to do this work because we love it. Our family makes sacrifices on behalf of the farm and yet, with each passing year in review, we choose to do it again and again year after year. Somehow in the depths of Winter, it never seems like it was ever really all that bad.

Perhaps the rewards wouldn’t feel so rich as they do if we didn’t have to endure the hardships of the job. Put in perspective, there are farmers in some parts of the world barely able to make a living where the weights of devastation and poverty are so oppressive, stress is an understatement. I will count my blessings with you today instead of my hardships. I know that you can empathize because your life is a struggle too. We are tired, but thankful for our strong and capable bodies. We are busy, but appreciative for the work. We are a little overwhelmed and tried at times, but honored to be entrusted with the privilege and responsibility of doing this labor. Thank you for listening.

“Well there's a dark and a troubled side of life.

There's a bright and a sunny side too.

But if you meet with the darkness and strife,

The sunny side we also may view.

Keep on the sunny side, always on the sunny side,

Keep on the sunny side of life.

It will help us every day, it will brighten all the way,

If we keep on the sunny side of life.”- Johnny Cash and the Carter Family

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

Beets-  Finally!  The first beet giving of the year.  We like the harvest beet with the greens on for as long as we can.  Beet greens are nutritious and delicious and they can be used like swiss chard in your cooking.  They have similar texture and flavor to spinach as well (because they're in the same family of plants, can you tell?)

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.  

Summer Squash and Zucchini-  3-4 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!  Squash season is about half over.  It goes quicker than you might think!  Enjoy them while they last!

Cucumbers-  4-5 per member.  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.  We made cucumber sandwiches this week which was a fun treat!  

Green Cabbage-  Some people received two small cabbages, or one larger.  Have fun with your cabbage.  Make sauerkraut, egg rolls, coleslaw, or a fun summer asian slaw!  This is not a storage variety of cabbage, so we recommend using it up rather than waiting.  

White Onion-  Beautiful fresh onions are here!  

Swiss Chard-  A modest bunch of swiss chard this week!  Swiss chard is a time-consuming harvest, but we found the time because we know that so many of you love it!  Rememer that you can use the stems in your stir-frys.  

Broccoli-  We feel so thankful to be sharing beautiful broccoli like this in the heat of the summer.  Summer broccoli is tricky to grow!  Broccoli loves to be kept very cold until it is time to use it up, so keep it cold until you get to using it up!

Basil-  The basil leaves were big and beautiful about a week ago, but the pounding rain and harsh winds tattered the leaves a bit.  Even though the leaves have some tears in them, they are still perfeclty usable!  Did you know that the best way to store basil is by putting it in a glass of water like you would cut flowers?  Basil will turn brown or black if put in the refrigerator.  Basil does not store well and is best used up shortly after harvest.  We recommend making pesto, putting it on pizza, or just a simple meal of bread, mozzerella, basil and (tomatoes from your own garden?)  Our tomatoes are coming soon!  

Eggplant-  One or two eggplant per member this week.  Eggplant is similar to cucumbers and summer squashes in that it prefers storage temps around 50 degrees again.  The fridge is a little too cold and the counter is a little too warm.  This would be a good one to use up sooner rather than later for this reason!  Enjoy this rare-ish seasonal treat in your favorite fashion!

Garlic-  Freshly harvested garlic!  When fresh like this, the little membrane around each garlic clove inside the bulb that is normally paper thin, is a thicker membrane.  Remember you peel your cloves, but know that that membrane that you will be peeling off will be a couple millimeters thick.  Fresh garlic does not need to be stored in the refrigerator.  Savor the texture and flavor of freshly pulled garlic like this that only comes but once a year!  

Lettuce-  One or two heads of lettuce per member this week.  Lettuce heads were smaller and surprisingly tender considering how hot it has been.  Summer lettuce can sometimes be tougher, but we have found that this lovely variety of red leaf lettuce (New Red Fire) holds up terriffically well in the heat.  The head weren't huge, but welcome still!  

Next Week's Best Guess:  Garlic, Onion, Celery, Cucumber, Summer Squash, Zucchini, Eggplant?, Kale, Beets, purple cabbage, dill, green beans, sweet corn?, broccoli?

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 Recipes-

Greek Yogurt Cucumber Sauce

Cucumber Water

Beguni (Chickpea Battered and Frled Eggplant)

Baba Ganoush (eggplant dip) with Pomegranet Sauce

Chef T's Basil Pesto

Cucumber and Celery Salad with Tuna

 

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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