Small Family Farm CSA

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August Eighth

A little poem I learned from one of our farm-helpers, Liam, I just had to share with you.  

 

Don't tell secrets in the garden

because

the corn have ears

the potatoes have eyes

and the beans talk

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The drought on the farm continues to a level deeper than anything we have ever experienced in our 19 years of farming.  The 80% chance of rain we were expecting this last weekend dwindled from 80% to 70% to 60% to 40% to none.  We’re in severe drought status.  But do they have XX Severe status?  We watched our chances for rain dissipate like the dust that flies as the farm truck goes down the gravel road.  The neighbors are selling their cattle because there isn’t enough hay to take them through the winter.  The vegetables are mostly doing well due to an extra heavy burden of irrigation rotation on the farm.  Adam calls the black drip line woven across the farm ‘life support’.  Most crops receive the irrigation they need, but new plantings struggle to survive if they haven’t been watered yet.  I am mostly an optimistic person, but dang y’all, it’s a very trying season! 

To avoid complaining about the drought, I have been contemplating community is a new way this week.  Contemplating resiliency.  Thinking about what it means to me to have a network of people I can call friends that help me to survive in the world.  I consider the social support I receive in just knowing other people who do what I do.  People who farm or garden and find a similar kind of joy in working with plants and soil and whose entire week is made golden by their tomato or pear or cucumber or wild herb harvest from their garden. People who find the greatest pleasures from the smallest things. 

I consider the people who are raising children in a similar way.  I am thankful for the friends we have who see us, know us and accept us even when our hair hasn’t been brushed for a few days.  The people who smile when they see that our feet are all dirty because we left our shoes somewhere out on the farm and we haven’t been to town in a few days or ‘cleaned up’.  The people who are okay with letting their kids run wild with our kids for a few days, even though mom and dad are technically here, we’re ‘out there’ somewhere.  I’m thankful for snacks that can be picked rather than purchased, packaged or prepared. 

I consider the transient farm workers and how even they are part of our community.  Passing through, getting jived about organic farming, farm work, being outside, traveling the world, being young.  We may never be able to put a crew together each season if not for these youthful, similar-minded kin who need us and this experience as much as we need them.  They too are part of our ever-expanding community.

I consider an even broader foodie community of people who value fresh, local, organic food.  You, my dear reader, and your hunger for the kinds of foods that aren’t found in grocery stores.  You sense and smell and taste and know the difference in quality that many are numb to or who have not yet discovered.  You treasure your fresh greens and cooking is exciting to you.  A good recipe score is like winning the raffle.  Sharing meals prepared in love is meaningful to you.  Your CSA box is your prize and this is how you and I are community members even if we have not met.

Even the drought has a way of unifying us.  When we go through a hard thing together we can identify with each other.  It’s a little grave to really feel the seriousness of it, but I know that you know and that’s where we converge and lighten up.  We’re all experiencing the same climate here and because we know community, we can build resilience. 

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What’s in the Box?

Melons-  2-3 Melons per member.  Yellow Watermelons and cantelopes went out this week.  Melons vary in size quite a bit, but we have found that no matter the size, they’re all ripe and delicious! 

Celery-  Absolutely amazing how well the celery is looking considering the drought, much gratitude to Farmer Adam for keeping the drips of water to our celery plantings this year!  Notice how local celery is different from California celery, much greener and stouter than Cali celery, but wow, the flavor!  Celery greens can be used as well if you get creative! 

Summer Squash and Zucchini-  It’s getting late in the season for zucchini and summer squash, many of the plants are looking like they’ve given most of what they had to give.  We’re still picking every couple days, but the numbers are way down.  We’ll continue sharing as long as they keep coming!

Cucumbers-  2-3 per member.  Cucumbers are also loosing some of their gusto.  We’re happy to have them while they linger a little longer. 

Green Top Beets-  Two medium beets per member with their greens still on.  Remove the greens and add them to your swiss chard dishes and store the beets in a plastic bag in the fridge.

Onion-  One large white onion per member this week.

Broccoli or Romanesco-  1-2 pieces per member this week.  This is likely the last of the broccoli and Romanesco for a bit until the fall plantings come on.  Broccoli does not love the summer heat, so for now we’ll say goodby to broccoli and be so thankful we were able to enjoy it even through this very trying summer. 

Eggplant-  1 Eggplant per member this week.  You may have received either an Asin style eggplant (long and thin) or a standard Eggplant (large and round).  Eggplant also prefer 50 degree storage temps. 

Swiss Chard-  Beautiful looking bunches of Swiss Chard this week we were very happy to share with you!  Sub swiss chard for spinach in any recipe you would use spinach and bonus, you can add your chard stalks to a stir fry, muffins, or however you can sneak them into your families’ bellies! 

Tomato-  About 2 lbs per member.  A wide variety of tomatoes to share, pink, yellow, red, and ‘black’ heirlooms, red slicers, romas, we grow it all!  This was the first picking and we’re so excited to be back in the tomato patch picking tomatoes again this year to share with you!  Tomatoes love 50 degree storage temps.  We pick any tomato with a ‘blush’ which means any amount of color that it has started to turn, we pick em.  They still qualify as ‘vine ripened’ tomatoes even when we do it this way.  If we picked every tomato when it was 100% ripe, you would instead receive tomato sauce in your boxes, and that gets messy!  We highly recommend not putting tomatoes in the refrigerator as refrigerators tend to suck flavor out of tomatoes.  For maximum flavor and enjoyment, allow them to sit on your counter to ripen and promptly use up once ripe!

Next Week’s Best Guess:  Sweet corn, melons x 2, cucumbers, summer squash/zucchini, green beans, tomatoes, onion, hot peppers, celery, beets or carrots, kale, parsley, sun gold cherry tomatoes. 

Recipes

Creamy Celery and Carrot Soup

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Swiss Chard Fritatta

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Skillet Pizza with Eggplant and Swiss Chard Greens

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Pink (or Yellow) Watermelon Lemonade Slushies

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Baba Ganoush (Eggplant Dip)

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