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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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