June Fifth

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Small Family Farm is a realized dream.  It’s what happens when you’re young, romantic, and idealistic but also focused, determined and hard working.  What was once a storybook vision painted in watercolor imaginings, is now the consummated, mature, and experienced version with a crystal clear presence.  The rows of vegetables on a rolling hillside in the Driftless region, the rooster crowing amongst his flock of cackling hens at dawn, the cows in the green pastures and the barefoot children, especially the children, running wild and free in the countryside.  Twenty years of a slow-growth mindset has amounted to a real-life dream come true. 

In our Weekly Dig Newsletters, I’ll mostly share with you the beautiful side of this life.  Because there is so much beauty and bounty on the farm.  I believe there are lots of grumpy farmers out there in the world who love to complain about the weather and their crops and how hard it is to be a farmer, so I’m going to try really hard not to be one of those farmers.  I’ll save actual complaining for when it really, really matters and needs to come out and the hardships need to be shared because you, as a shareholder and invested member of the farm, need to know.  I also believe that your life has hardships too. What we need to do more for one another is share the beauty, even when it’s hard.  See the positive side.  Keep our chins up.  Help one another through this amazing life filled with challenges and struggles. 

I’ll assume that you just know that farming is hard.  You may also know, because you have small children of your own or have raised a family of your own, that raising children is also hard.  So here we are out here, in the middle of no-where, doing really, really hard things singing about how dreamy it is. 

But isn’t that the way it goes?  The harder it is to achieve something, the greater the rewards? 

I think so. 

Year after year we make it to the end of a growing season and we re-evaluate.  We do a cost/benefit analysis.  Year after year we determine that even though it’s hard, it’s a very good life for us. 

I would be remiss if I did not mention how much of our success is attributed to my amazing and supportive mother.  She lives next door and is here cooking us dinner, helping run the kids to their soccer practices and swim lessons and picking up oil filters and groceries and errand-running of all kinds so that I can be home working on the farm.  Her real super-power is cooking.  She makes it so that we all come home to a warm and nutritious meal after a day of dispersal.  We always seem to have a little too much going on and mom’s presence and meals in our life provide a grounding force needed that holds us all together somehow.  

The farm is a tapestry of people.  It’s an intricate weaving of all the faces who come here to help and invest their time and energy.  It’s the kids and the farm hands and the grandmother and our amish neighbors and our other neighbor, Jammie, who comes down on his four-wheeler every time we call him for help and who also happens to know how to build, fix, and grow everything.  It’s not just Adam and I who made the dream come true, but the whole lot of us.  Even you! 

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What’s in the Box?

Pac Choi- This Asian green does very well in the Spring and Fall when the weather is cool.  It was grown in the greenhouse to ensure it was ready for the first CSA box of the year!  So tender and delicious!  Pac choi is wonderful in stir fry or raw in fresh salads.

2 x Green Oakleaf Buttercup Lettuce-  These heads of lettuce were so tender it was difficult to handle them at harvest, washing and packing without ripping the leaves. 

Cherry Bell Radish-  I love how the humble radish is welcomed in ceremony in the Spring after a long winter of very few vegetables!  Radishes never taste as good as they do in the Spring!  Did you know that Radish greens are edible?  If you're wanting to get as much out of your CSA box as possible, radish greens are good in salads, made into a pesto, cooked with eggs or whatever way you can dream up!

Overwintered Onion-  These onions were grown last season and kept beautifully in the cooler all winter.  They will sprout if left out on your warm countertop.  We recommend eating it up right away or sticking it in your fridge if you can’t get to it right away! 

Spinach-  1/3 pound spinach.  We had hoped for a much larger spinach harvest this Spring, but these beds of spinach didn’t not do as well as we had hoped, something to do with how the beds tilled up this spring. 

Asparagus-  Asparagus is the only vegetable that we actually buy for our CSA boxes.  We get it from a certified organic asparagus farm by Baraboo, Wi.  It takes an awfully big field of asparagus to produce enough for a 400 member CSA farm! 

Herb Pack-  Rosemary, Sage, Thyme and Mint.  We recommend using certified organic potting soil mix if you want to plant these little babies into pots.  Or, better yet, give them the honor of space in your garden if you have it.  They will all appreciate as much sun as you can give them.  Thyme, sage, and mint will all come back next year if planted outside.  Rosemary will love to be  planted outside and will do very well there, but will need to be dug up and brought in if you want it to last all winter! 

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Recipes-

Brown Butter Radish Crostini

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Pac Choi in Ginger Sauce

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Grilled Asparagus Pizzas with Gremolata

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