Small Family Farm CSA

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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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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