Small Family Farm CSA

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July Twenty-First

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The farm is so busy, so alive, so vibrant. The helpers come in rhythm each week to help us get the work done bringing their stories, their laughter, and their own struggles. We all show up day after day ready for more. We are here to work and learn and grow and gather and to inspireone another. We remind eachother why it is we are doing this work. It takes grit and endurance and perseverance to show up ready and willing for more each week!

All of the planting and weeding we did all Spring is finally paying off. We are harvesting truckload after truckload of gorgeous vegetables every day now. The first succession of cucumbers has peaked while the second succession is just coming on now. We harvest cucumbers every two days. We were talking over dinner about how wonderful the broccoli and cauliflower harvest is right now and how it might have looked differently had we not irrigated through the drought we had in June. Even the zucchini and summer squash plants are cranking out hundreds of fruits. My are we blessed! Even the rain has been timely and plentiful. A little more than 5 inches fell last Wednesday which was a little more than we would have liked, but not major damage was done.

Garlic harvest has been taking up a large portion of the crew time outside of our regular harvests. We are busy pulling all of the garlic and getting it into a dry storage room where we use fans and dehumidifiers to get the garlic to dry down as quickly as possible to get the curing process under way. I wish I could give you a sensory experience of the garlic drying room which smells deliciously of a spicy and earthy garlic aroma unlike anything else you could imagine. The fans are circulating air and they would blow your hair all around you. If you stood in there with a skirt with your hair down you would feel like a garlic goddess rising up from a long winter slumber.

Garlic is unique in that it is one of the very few crops that we save our own seed for. We have been re-planting the same varieties for the last 15 years of seed we got mostly from Adam’s brother who was also a garlic farmer. We know our varieties intimately and have developed something of a relationship with them calling them by name and discussing their familiar growing habits and recalling years of bounty and years of scarcity. Garlic seeds (which are actually individual garlic cloves) are planted in the fall and then mulched with 6-8 inches of corn fodder blanketing them for their winter’s slumber. They emerge in the Spring slowly and confidently like waking dragons reaching for the sky.

Garlic requires several steps of handling which is why it is expensive to buy in the stores. It must be planted and mulched before winter and then weeded, scaped, harvested, cured and then cleaned and prepared for sharing. All of these steps must be done on time and with care to ensure that everything turns out looking sizeable and presentable. We are excited to start sharing it with you in the coming weeks! We know you’re going to love the porcelain varieties with huge cloves as much as we do. They’re wonderful for cooking with as you don’t have to spend hardly any time peeling enough for dinner as one or two cloves is more than enough, even for the garlic lovers.

The beet harvest this week was proof that our efforts at keeping the deer away are a success. Joe and Sam put up a very sturdy and impressive deer fence all around fields 1-7 this year. Interestingly, deer LOVE beets and swiss chard which we have been successful so far at keeping them off of this season. It feels good to grow beautiful crops and not have them taken out by deer this season. We see their hoof prints around the perimeter of the fields with deer fencing, so they’re certainly still there, but only getting sniffs this year rather than beets, carrot tops, lettuce, and swiss chard that they love.

Here’s to a continued season of bounty and success!

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Sooo….What’s in the Box????

Celery- This is some of the nicest celery we have grown in years. The celery really loves all of the rain we have gotten this summer, it was also watered through the drought. It’s hard to compare it to California Celery which is fatter, juicier stalks, but check out the very nice green color and the FLAVOR or this local celery! Will keep best in a plastic bag in the fridge. Our kids had “Aunts on a Log” right away after harvest this week! We also snuk it into a very cruncy potato salad. Very fun!

Beet- One Giant Beet per box this week. We were going to give two beets this week, but we had to start cutting items because we couldn’t fit it all in the box! More next week! Use your beet greens like swiss chard and your beet root will keep best in a plastic bag in the fridge.

Lettuce x 2- Two heads of lettuce per member this week. You may have received either red or green leaf lettuce this week. We are loosing some of our lettuce now to the heat of the summer. We’ll see how the plantings hold up in the heat this week for future givings!

Lacinato Kale- The lacinato kale looked so good this week, we just HAD to share it. Lacinato is also called ‘tuscano kale’ or ‘dinosaur kale’, but no matter what you call it, it’s my favorite! Keeps best in a plastic bag in the fridge.

Cucumbers- 4-5 Cucumber harvest is strong and bountiful this season. There are more cucumber succession coming on, so dust off your cucumber recipes! We really like to juice them and add a little maple syrup to sweeten up the watery, alkaline juice. The kids even love it that way if they’re piling up on you!

Zucchini and/or Summer Squash- 6-7 squash per member this week. Zucchini and summer squash prefer 50 degree storage temperatures. A refrigerator is a little too cool and a countertop is a little too warm. We suggest you use them up as soon as you can because there will be MORE next week. Zucchini also freeze very well. You can just grate them with a cheese grater and stuff the grated zucchini into ziplock bags and then you have freshly grated zucchini stored for your winter muffins, zucchini bread, or to sneak them into your fritattas and casseroles!

Broccoli and/or Cauliflower- Either two broccoli and a cauliflower or three broccoli per box. The broccoli and cauliflower are producing really nice right now. Keeping up with the every-two-days harvest is tricky. After picking we hydro-cool broccoli and cauliflower and then ice them in the cooler to keep them as cold as possible to store them until packing. You will want to get yours home and into the fridge to keep them cool as soon as possible!

Green Bunching Onions- We are getting to the end of scallion season. Once we finish up garlic harvest we will move onto onion harvest which is always a very big project. We had the trim the tops this week to fit them into the box.

Basil- Absolutely stunning basil. I love how on the first harvest the leaves are silky smooth and nearly blemish-free. We’re going to try to keep the basil harvest coming, especially once tomatoes start hitting a few weeks!

Next Week’s Best Guess- Beets, celery, zucchini, summer squash, cucumbers, bunching onions/onions, broccoli, cauliflower, green curly kale, lettuce, basil?

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Recipes

Broccoli with Feta and Fried Almonds

Simple Roasted Beets with Feta

Gluten Free Zucchini Pizza Crust

Zucchini Bread Pancakes

Vegetable Pajeon (Korean Scallion Pancakes) Carrots, Zucchini, Kale, Green Onions