Small Family Farm CSA

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June Second

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I like to use the first Newsletter of the season to introduce ourselves. For many of you who have been returning CSA members for several years, it’s like hearing your Aunt Helga or your mother re-tell the same story you’ve heard them tell 1000 times before. Just call me Aunt Jill, humor me and smile and nod as though you’ve never heard this one before. For this is what we’re doing here in the CSA model, we’re cultivating a relationship between the farmers and the eaters and we’re a little like one big family after all.

The Small Family Farm was born out of the romantic idea of epitomizing all that a small family farm could and should be. We envisioned a farm, run by a family with children on small acreage complete with the chicken coop, cows in the pasture and flower beds with glorious fields of organic vegetables. You can even picture the little rainbow and the butterflies passing by while the sun is shining and big white fluffy clouds overhead.

Adam and I bought the farm in the Spring of 2007 with 63 CSA members our first year here. We had just finished one season at Adam’s brother’s farm with 23 members the previous year. Today we are entering our 16th year of running our little CSA farm packing 385 boxes each week. We have three small children ages 3, 6, and 9. We still hold onto our romantic vision that propelled us to where we are today with a much more grounded approach to farm life and all that it takes to keep a farm like ours in production.

My husband, Adam, is the skinny guy with the big beard in the pictures. He’s quiet, consistent and extremely hardworking. He’s a cultivation geek that loves to check the weather constantly. He obsesses about plant diseases, and all things related to temperatures in vegetable farming from germination temps to storage temps. He has an impressive memory for all the trailed experiments we’ve done on this farm. He does daily field walks checking out the progress of the crops, studies soil agronomy and will talk all things vegetable farming all day long.   Interesting fact is that his first dream job was to become a rock star and he loves to watch UFO documentaries.

I’m the farm-her who writes these newsletters. You can blame me for “starting it all”. Before we had kids Adam used to work a full time job and I was the primary farmer. I was the one with the stars in my eyes for CSA Farming. I’m the idealistic, dreamy gal who believes in community agriculture but is grounded enough to know what it actually takes make a ship like this sail. I like to drive tractors, be outside, and work hard. I have passed the farming baton to Adam who has taken our farm to a whole new level.  Motherhood has transformed all that I ever thought was important in life and I manage to sustain a work/family life balance that feels a little like a super-woman status.  Do all mothers feel this way?  Raising loving, empathetic, respectful, creative, healthy, and wholesome humans has become my primary focus, but the farm still gets plenty of my time as well.  

I would be remiss if I didn’t attribute some of our success, well, a lot of our success, to my mother. She has 5 acres next door and lives just a few-hundred-feet-walk away. She’s a big part of our family and she’s been helping and supporting us since the conception of our farm. We have joked that she’s my wife. She’s an amazing cook and has been fueling our hardworking bodies with the bounty of the farm harvest to keep us in action in the fields while she literally keeps the home fires burning. She does laundry, helps with the kids, mows the lawn and countless other errands to town that save us hours of time every day. I honestly don’t think we would be where we are today without her. Certainly my kitchen would be messier, my children’s manners may not be as good, and my laundry would pile much higher before I eventually got to it.

And YOU, you’re a part of the story too! A small handful of our CSA members have actually been with for all 16 years of our farming career. Some come and go and then come back again. Some have been with us for the last several. But every CSA member is braided into the history of our farm. I believe that we’re cultivating much more than vegetables out here. Thank you for being part of our story! Thank you for reading your newsletter and for knowing your farmer. Thank you for your new or ongoing love and support of our farm and organic agriculture at large! Yee Haw!

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Soooo….What’s in the Box????

Pac Choi- These are the Asian style vegetable with the white stems and green tops! Pac Choi can be tricky to grow in the Spring because the flea beetles love it too, but we cover it with remay and grow them in the hoop houses to get an early start on greens for the first boxes! These are wonderful in stir fry or in an Asian style salad raw!

Cherry Bell Radishes- Big, juicy red radishes with their greens attached. Don’t forget that radish greens are edible! They are wonderful wilted or even raw in salads. These radishes have a bit of a bite that I attribute to the dry spring we had. Radishes will be mild when there is plenty of rain during their growing period. Radishes are a welcome treat in these early days!

Red Buttercup Lettuce- Also hoop house grown! We get an early start on spring lettuce by planting it in the greenhouse. I love how tender the Spring lettuce is, especially these buttercup varieties, SOO lovely.

Spinach- ½ pound bags. A very bountiful spinach year so far! We will have another, even larger giving to share for next week! Spinach is wonderful on pizza, wilted spinach salad, in quiche, or even in a spinach dip. Such a versatile cooking green that fits in everywhere!

Asparagus- 1 pound bunches for everyone. Asparagus is the one crop that we do buy for our CSA members each year because we would need to have acres of asparagus to get this weight we need to share with everyone. Additionally, it wouldn’t be seasonal eating if Asparagus wasn’t on the menu!

Overwintered Shallots- It’s hard to believe that these little guys were actually harvested last summer! They’re terrific keepers and they slept soundy in our cooler all winter long waiting for this moment to be delivered to you! They might want to sprout if you keep them at room temp, so we recommend keeping them in your fridge, or better yet, gobble them up! Shallots shine in sauce, dressing and marinade recipes, but can also be used just like an onion.

Herb Packs- These herb packs contain thyme, oregano, rosemary and sage. Each plant should be transplanted either into your garden or into larger pots and set in your window. There is simply nothing like fresh herbs for your summer cooking and even your Fall Soups! I would recommend that your rosemary was put into a pot of it’s own and babied a little. Rosemary loves water and sunshine and will require a bit more attention than the others-which will thrive just about anywhere-and will overwinter too!

Recipes

Radish Spread

Pac Choi Salad with Sesamee Dressing

Bacon Wrapped Asparagus

Asparagus in Creamy Mushroom Sauce

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