Small Family Farm CSA

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June Third, 2020

The growing season of 2020 will be our 15th growing season running a CSA Farm.  I still feel like a teenager myself to be honest.  Am I really more than 15 years old?  Some....how....the reality is that I have just had my 37th birthday and Adam and I have three small children that will be teenagers themselves the next time I blink my eyes.  These tiny seeds, these tiny people, these tiny fields grow and grow and the years slip on by.  Luckily, like me, the farm ages joyfully.  Experience is the part I love the most about ageing.  I love the confidence that comes with knowing what you're doing and what not to do to avoid hasty and foolish mistakes.  I love that I feel less and less nervous about just about everything, believing that everything really will be okay.  But 15 is still a small number of years, enough to make us feel confident, yet enough to keep us humble and open to all of the lessons yet to learn.

The thing about farming is that no matter how many years of experience you have or how expensive the machinery is that you're using, or how skilled the crew you have, you're still at the mercy of Mother Nature.  We still can't control the temperature of the Spring, stop the early frost in the fall or make it rain even when we need it really, really bad.  Being organic farmers, we can't stop the insect pressure or the diseases or the high winds.  This is the novelty, beauty and glory of farming, but it also the part that keeps one modest and alert. There is no sleeping behind this wheel.

The 2020 growing season is off to a fabulous start. We had a nice long window of time where it was dry and the soil was working up beautifully. We have been getting all of the crops in on time and the fields look impressive right now. The farm has that fresh, youthful look to it that is inherent in Spring. The crops have been getting cultivated on a somewhat timely manner and they have that clean look with newly stirred soil between long rows of young, healthy green plants. Even the buildings have been kept trimmed around thus far. The machines are all freshly oiled and greased. The crew is even fresh and chipper and excited for the harvest to begin.

It feels good though, to still love your work after ‘all these years’. It’s just the right balance of challenge and enrichment. It’s hard work, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m not very good at sitting or standing still or even relaxing for that matter. Movement and work is my constant nature. I worried at one point that our family life would suffer because of how much work goes into running this farm, but the balance of work and rest, effort and reward and time spent away from one another vs time spent closely with one another is stabilized throughout the year. So far our kids still think they have a good life. We’ll see how that changes over the years!

I feel excited for fresh, green, local vegetables in a childish way this season. Adam brings the first radish down from the fields and cleans it on the end of his t-shirt for me and my eyes light up at the sight of the perfectly red, round visibly juicy radish. At first I feel a little shy like I have something I’m not sure I’m supposed to have and then I wonder if I should eat it or save it. He tells me to eat it but the two year old toddles up and says “AAAAAhhhhhh!!” and picks it up. Of course I give it to him. He eats slowly like an apple and I get to finish the last bite later when he appears to have had enough.   The look and feel of something so fresh and alive and colorful just out of the earth makes me feel fresh, alive and colorful too.

I sense that eating fresh, local, and seasonal vegetables make you feel fresh, alive and colorful too which is why you signed up for a CSA share. There is a freshness in this produce that is visible as well as taste-able. I especially love the part with the story behind the food. Through these newsletters this summer you’ll get the story too along with the food. I’m so happy to share this experience with you as we ride together through a season full of seasonal bounty!  

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

Asparagus-  This is the one item all season long that we acutually buy for the CSA boxes.  Asparagus is such a nice spring treat that we feel you must have it!  Aspargus likes to be kept cold and fresh.  You can stand it up in a shallow glass of water in the fridge and it will keep better this way.  In order to make use of every last bit of your asparagus (including the ends), you and trim the butts off and then use a potato peeler to trim around the outer edge of the bottoms of the aspargus to remove and fiberousness that is inherant in the ends of asparagus.  Consume it quickly as aspargus is much better fresh!  

Cherry Bell Radish-  We found these to be just the right balance between crispiness and spiciness.  They have a bit of spice that you woudl expect from a radish, but a of juciness and crunchiness that makes a radish good!  Don't forget that you can use the greens on your radishes!  They can be wilted and added to your eggs, sandwiches, pasta or anything that you're trying to make a touch healthier that you normally eat.  They can also be chopped finely and added to salads and eaten raw!  Stores best in a plastic bag in the fridge.  

Pac Choi-  I LOVE these guys!  You can eat every bit of these from the white stalks all the way up to the greens.  The entire thing is edible.  My favorite way to eat pac choi, every time it comes into the season is to make this asian style salad that I posted in the video below.  Don't forget the Toasted Sesame Oil, it's a crucial ingredient!  Stores best in a plastic bag in the fridge.  

Overwintered Shallots-  Can you believe that we actually harvested these last August.  We cured them, cleaned then and kept them in our cooler until now to share with you this week!  Keep them in your fridge to keep them from sprouting.  They're actually a seed, so they will want to sprout if brought to a warm temperature.  Shallots are a special addition to sauces, dressings and marrinades.  They can also be used just like an oinon.  They have a more concentrated onion flavor in a smaller package.  

Red Buttercup Lettuce-  Buttercup lettuce varieties are a real treat and a true Spring gem.  Buttercup varieties don't tolerate the heat of summer and cannot be grown mid summer.  These heads are so tender and juicy!  You can use the leaves like a wrap or just slice them up into a salad.  Keeps best in a plastic bag in the fridge.  

Arugula-  Another Spring treat!  Arugula is higly alkalizing.  It is great raw in salads, wilted on pizza, sandwiches, wraps or eggs!  Get creative and adventurous with this one.  Do a google/pinterest search for arugual recipes and choose your favorite one!  

Spinach-  .5 lb spinach for all this week!  

Herb Packs-  The herb packs contain a basil, oregano, thyme, and sage plant.  Transplant these into containers of your choic or your garden outside.  Give them plenty of water at transplant and sunshine.  They should be very nice to have nearby this summer for all of your cooking adventures.  

Next Week's Best Guess:  Asparagus, Cherry Bell Radish, Pac Choi, overwintered shallots, red buttercup lettuce, arugula or hakurai salad turnips, spinach, herb packs.  

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Recipes:

Grilled Pizza with Fontina and Arugula

Linguini with Arugula, Pine Nuts and Parmesan Cheese

Pac Choi Salad with Sesame Dressing

Asparagus with Shallot, Thyme, Lemon and Parsley