Small Family Farm CSA

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July Twenty-Eigth

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In late July I am reminded that the farmers are not always in control. I am reminded to find the beauty amidst the chaos. There is order in the disorder. There are so many divine players in the field working their own magic that remind Adam and I that we only have so much control. When Mother Nature is your partner, you are at her mercy at all times.

The fields were once beautifully manicured at one point in the season. It becomes a little more apparent later in the season all that we are not able to keep up with. The crops are looking good, but there are places where the weeds have put up a very good fight. Due to periods with not enough helpers or too many plantings to keep everything perfectly weeded, some areas of the farm begin to look less orderly. It’s a bit like parenting, where the house is a mess, but the sounds of children playing and the smiling faces of your healthy children make it all okay. Or when you do your best as a parent to teach your values, but they are not perfectly reflected in the actions of your children every time, but rather it requires a big-picture perspective.

On the whole, the CSA boxes are being stuffed full with a glorious bounty of summertime goodies. We receive positive and encouraging notes from many of you via e-mails, while we still struggle on a daily basis to keep up with the all-too-many tasks at hand. I am the sort of person who loves a clean house. Clean windows, floors, ledges, and bathroom with all of the laundry folded and put away. I also love clean rows of vegetables neatly trimmed around the edges and weeded down the rows. But there is only so much we are humanly capable of keeping up with, with the time, energy, help and budget available to us.

We were able to get our raccoon fence up last week just as we were realizing that sweet corn was nearing time for harvest. We saw that the raccoons had beaten us to this realization and had been sampling the sweet corn for a few days already while we were distracted with our garlic and onion harvesting. We estimate that they took out about half of our first planting of sweet corn. While we had hoped to give 6 ears per member this week, we only had three per member. We put up four lines of electric fencing wire all the way around the sweet corn patch and have had good luck at keeping the raccoons out the last few years using this method. No amount of dogs or radios or traps can keep them from the delicious field of sweet corn, they are too crafty and too many and find their way in no matter what- but will stay away from an electric fence! We will keep the fence maintained over the course of the next few weeks as sweet corn season comes to fruition!

The crafty raccoons have also found our watermelon field. We haven’t seen them eat watermelons in the past, but there is clear evidence that they are having fun sampling them after dark. We plan to keep a close watch on the melon field from this point on and harvest anything that looks like it’s sizable and ripe enough to pick. The good news is that melon season is also beginning! Let’s hope we can keep the wildlife out of the fields!

While an ariel view of the farm may not look like a meticulously manicured city garden, the crops are looking amazing! We’re seeing gorgeous greens, celery, and a very bountiful cucumber harvest. We’re very happy to be keeping the deer out of many of their favorite fields. Next week we’re hoping to share carrots with you and the carrots are looking amazing! The tomato plants look healthy and are filling out with loads of green tomatoes. The eggplants and sweet pepper field look healthy and strong as well! There are still many more weeks of gorgeous and bountiful harvests to share!

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Soooo….What’s in the Box????

Celery- Another fine giving of some of that great Wisconsin celery! Local celery has a stronger celery flavor and a deeper green color that your standard California celery. Keeps best in a plastic bag in the fridge. We hope you find ways to love and appreciate this cooling, alkalizing vegetable that is so lovely in your summer salads and soups! We snack on ‘Ants on a Log’ at our house!

Cucumbers- 6-9 cucumbers per member this week.

Zucchini and Summer Squash- 3-4 squash per member. Zucchini and summer squash prefer a 50 degree storage temperature which can be a tricky temp to find in your home. The fridge is a little too cool and the counter is a little too warm, so we recommend using them up or pick your preferred storage zone.

Beets- 1-2 large beets. Large beets! The big beets are a result of a thinner stand of beets, they had more room to grow and expand and less competition from other beets. We found that they were not woody and very lovely to cook with! Check out the black bean and beet burger recipe below!

Broccoli and Cauliflower- 2-3 pieces per member. We tried to make sure everyone got both a broccoli and a cauliflower, and when the pieces were smaller, you may have received three pieces. Broc and cauliflower prefer cold storage in a plastic bag to keep it fresh. It’s very simple and healthy to steam broccoli and cauliflower and toss with a little butter for dinner!

Green Curly Kale- Keeping you stocked in healthy cooking greens when growing fresh salad greens is tricky in the peak season which is the hottest part of the summer when salad greens are difficult to grow.

Sweet Corn- 3-4 ears per member. The first succession of corn that the coons were dipping into so we picked them now! These ears are on the smaller side but the kernels are sweet and crispy! Corn prefers very cold storage or the sugars will turn to starch and are not as sweet. Sweet corn should be eaten as soon as possible after picking for peak flavor and sweetness!

Onion- We’re finally getting into picking onions! For your every dish! Does not require refrigeration.

Garlic- German White. This garlic is not fully cured yet. When garlic is this fresh, you will notice that the membrane around the cloves is still very thick and not a thin dry layer yet. It may look and feel differently when you’re peeling your cloves for dinner.  

Lettuce- One smaller head of lettuce per member this week. It is quite difficult to grow lettuce in the heat of the summer like this. We try to choose bolt resistant varieties which do perform quite well, but this the last of the lettuce for a bit until our fall plantings start to come on.

Next Week’s Best Guess- Cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, zucchini and summer squash, garlic, onions, celery, broccoli and cauliflower?, sweet corn, melons? Eggplant, swiss chard

Recipes

Asian Spicy Sesame Cucumber Salad

Quinoa Black Bean and Beet Veggie Burger

Cucumber and Celery Salad with Tuna

Greek Yogur Cucumber Sauce

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