Small Family Farm CSA

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June Twenty-Nineth

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This week I feel especially appreciative for our farm helpers.  We have had a difficult time finding helpers to help on the farm this year.  But this week we had an expanded crew of people from the community show up to help get the work done in tandem which relieved pressure on your farmers and allowed us to get more veggies harvested for your box this week. 

Farm work isn’t easy work either.  It’s physically challenging and takes endurance.  At times there is heavy lifting, repetitive motions, and it takes a little grit to get through the heat, rain, mud or tolerating some gnats and lots of socializing.  Interestingly there is a lot of diversity in our farm crew.  We have people ranging from 15 to 65.  We have a few local teenagers looking for summer jobs, retired professionals, current professionals doing the Worker-Share program, a handful of 20-somethings looking for meaningful work outside of large buildings and working intimately with the land and their bodies.  We have moms and dad looking to pick up a day or two for a little money and to satisfy a social urge.  While Adam and I pour our hearts and souls into keeping the farm productive and functioning. 

Somehow the farm offers something to everyone.  Clearly the farm benefits from all the helping hands, but it is also clear that they’re all here because the farm means something to them in their lives.  The farm is alive with a community of people who show up with smiling faces, able bodies and willing minds.  Without this highly diverse group of people, we would not be able to get the veggies harvested, washed, packed and delivered to you! 

There is a worker shortage just about everywhere, it seems and our little farm is no exception.  We pulled together a crew for the summer, but we will be loosing a good part of our crew come back-to-school time.  We will be back to advertising for helpers in August and will be hoping we can get help to finish out the farming season. I trust that helpers will come when we need them, but it’s always a little worrisome at that time.  We have always been able to pull together help when we have needed it in the past 17 years so I trust it will all work out.   We are, however thinking about and working on finding ways to get stable, reliable and consistent help all season long. 

For today I am simply grateful.  I am thankful for everyone who finds meaning, purpose and fulfillment helping on a community vegetable farm.  I am grateful for those who are interested in an intimate relationship with where their food comes from, be it in the form of a paid CSA membership or an active Worker Share.  I am thankful for a community of people to share the hardships and the bounty with alike.  There is no loneliness or lack of social stimulation on an organic vegetable CSA farm!  Thank you to you ALL for your support of our Small Family Farm!

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What’s in the Box?

Strawberry- Only about 2/3 of a pint for everybody this week.  Our strawberry production this year has started off very poor.  We have two patches that we are picking from and we are finding that the berries are smaller and fewer.  One variety only ripens on one side- so if you find berries that are half white, they are still delicious!  We were hoping for pints this week- but found that we had to break up what we had picked into pints to distribute them evenly.  We will continue to pick all that we have and share them with you!  We planted another fresh patch for 2013- and they are looking great so far!  As farmers, we roll the dice with every crop.  Eat the berries up quick!

Kohlrabi– Either a white or purple kohlrabi for everybody this week!  You'll need to peel off the tough outer layer of the kohlrabi to enjoy the crunchy inside.  The leaves of the kohlrabi can be eaten like kale, so don't throw them out!  Kohlrabi can be eaten raw or fried or baked or spiralized or really ANYTHING you can dream up.  They are very versatile!  Store in the fridge.

Turnips- This is our final giving of salad turnips for the year!  They are lovely shaved thinly, sliced or grated onto salads.  They have a sweetness to them that makes them great for snacking.  Store in the fridge.

Broccoli x 2- Wow!  Two heads of beautiful broccoli for everyone this week.  The first succession of broccoli turned out great this spring!  We plant about 9 successions of broccoli every year as it is a crowd pleaser, so we should have lots more to come.  Store in a plastic bag in the fridge.

Snap Peas- A little over a half pound per member!  The sugar snap peas are producing quite well so far!  The heat has been tough on them.  We should have a larger giving next week and we will see how they produce from there!  Store in a plastic bag in the fridge.

Garlic Scapes- These are the long, curly shoots with a little nodule towards the top. Garlic scapes are the garlic plant’s effort at making a seed head. We snap these off to tell the garlic plant to put more effort into making a larger garlic bulb rather than putting energy into making seeds. Lucky for us all, the scapes are edible and delicious. The edible part is the part from the blunt end up to the start of the nodule. The part above the nodule is of course edible, but it gets a little chewier, I usually toss that part out.  Store in the fridge.

Swiss Chard- Swiss Chard never looks as good as it does in the Spring/Early Summer like this!  I love how the leaves look so smooth and healthy and vibrant!  Swiss Chard is in the same family as beets and spinach.  Chard has some of the earthy flavor that beets have and all of the smoothness that spinach offers.  Swiss Chard is most often used as a cooking green either sauteed or baked in a dish.  Store in the fridge in a psatic bag.

Bunching Onions- Because life is so much better with onions and we're still waiting for onion bulbs to size up!  Store in the fridge.

Romaine Lettuce-  Beautiful heads of romaine lettuce.  Romaine is also a Spring treat.  We love to make home-made caesar salads with croutons and a caesar dressing.  Romaine leaves are also a fun gluten-free wrap alternative.  Fill the leaves with rice, hummus, meat, cheese or whatever you like!  Store in a plastic bag in the fridge.

Red Lettuce-  Sneak a small salad into every meal and stay feeling alive and hydrated!  Store in a plastic bag in the fridge.

Dill- Nice bunches of dill!  Dill is lovely in egg salad, with salmon, home made dill salad dressings, veggie dips, soups and so much more!  If you can't use all of this dill this week, you can un-bunch your dill and lay it out on a dehydrator tray and dry the dill.  It could also be dried on a sheet pan in your oven if you don't have a dehydrator.  Once dried, store in a mason jar with a tight lid!  

Next week’s best guess- Cabbage, kohlrabi, Peas, Lettuce, Garlic Scapes, Strawberry, Bunching Onion, Collard Greens or Red Kale, Broccoli, maybe cauliflower, maybe zucchini.

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Recipes

Broccoli with Feta and Fried Almonds

Lemon Dill Dressing

Dill Dip

Spicy Chickpeas and Greens Fritatta with Swiss Chard