Small Family Farm CSA

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Below are current issues of The Weekly Dig Newsletter, from Jillian Varney, owner of the Small Family Farm. Stay up to date on what's happening on the farm!

June Eighth

The second week of CSA harvest and field work is going smoothly. We received about 1 inch of rain over the course of the weekend which was a blessing on the newly transplanted sweet corn, peppers, tomatoes, and eggplants.  The farm activities are heavy on transplanting this time of year.  Our goal is to empty out the greenhouse of plants.  While we are always planting more crops and re-filling up the greenhouse, the bulk of the Spring planting is done. 

The rain this week makes me think of gratitude.  The temperatures have been cool which is kind to our Spring broccoli, lettuce, peas, cabbage, kohlrabi, radishes and more that do not love the heat.  How lucky we are to have this gentle, quantitive, free water falling from the sky, in such an intermittent and timely fashion.  It feels like a compliment and a gift that makes me feel seen and appreciative, while I know it has nothing to do with me, perhaps I resonate with the plants as they too feel seen and appreciative. 

Our family life is adjusting to the changes of the CSA season. The kids are getting used to Mom and dad working more.  Well, mostly Mom working more because dad has been out on a tractor somewhere on the farm for two months now.  We’ve transitioned away from the structured, scheduled homeschool regimen and into the “wild-and-free” regimen.  To my amazement, the kids are adjusting wonderfully.  Perhaps they’re learning and feeling our families’ seasonal rhythm and know what “the start of CSA deliveries” means.  Our four-year-boy still loves to follow mom around everywhere she goes.  Even if it means sitting on the back of the transplanter for four hours because that’s what mom is doing our weaving his bicycle around the legs of the people working in the packing shed for an afternoon because that is where mom is working.  I feel thankful that he doesn’t need me to hold him while I work this year and he still wants to be close to me.  How much longer will he want to be so near to me?  I kiss him as often as I can.  Our seven year old is fascinated with bird’s nests, moths, beetles, toads, and does not struggle to amuse herself.  So far the 10 year old wants to read all day when she isn’t doing chores, music practice, playing with friends or art projects. 

We see the least of our oldest in the fields these days.  Perhaps she will be lured to the fields when the strawberries come into season, the peas are ready for the picking or the carrots are ready to be pulled.  The fruits of all this labor are attractive and appealing to a hungry pre-teen. 

My mother has helped immensely to make the transition into the CSA season smooth and painless.  Momma Jane lives next door in her own house on her own 5 acres.  Some days she’s over here more often than she’s at home.  She’s retired now and is grandma extraordinaire.  She mows our huge lawn, helps feed and wrangle our three kids, runs curious farm errands far and wide into the boonies and feeds us.  She happens to be an amazing cook too!  After a full day of work on the farm when our bodies and minds are tired, we often come in to a warm and clean house smelling of home-made deliciousness which is a saving grace when we’re holding it together by threads some days and all we need is a nourishing meal together around the table to feel settled and re-connected.  She is the matriarch who we are endlessly grateful for.  She has been with us for all 17 years and without Mama Jane, I know that our farm would not be what it is today without her. 

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What’s in the Box?

Pac Choi-  This Asian green was greenhouse grown to give an extra head start to the growing season.  Pac Choi are difficult to grow in the Spring.  We cover them with Remay (a thin, white, sheet-like material) to keep the bugs off of them.  Many hungry creatures including rabbits, birds and a few others are also kept at bay with the use of Remay!  These tender, Spring greens are very tempting for all!

Red Buttercup Lettuce-  These red buttercups are also greenhouse grown.  Lovingly tended to with daily care, watering, covering and uncovering. I love these extra tender buttercup varieties that can only be grown in the Spring and Fall because they will not tolerate the heat of the summer. 

Cherry Belle Radish-  Gorgeous, stunning red radishes satisfying our urge for that which is crunchy, crispy and a wee-bit spicy.  Did you know that radish greens are edible as well?  Radish greens can be used in egg dishes, on pizza, or snuck in to your diet in creative ways if your goal is to increase your greens intake!  Check out the Radish Greens Creamy Soup recipe one member shared with us from last week below! 

Asparagus-  Asparagus is the one and only vegetable that we buy for CSA Boxes.  Purchased from an organic asparagus farm nearby at Spears R Us. 

Herb Packs-  Basil, thyme, rosemary, and oregano plants.  These herbs can be transplanted into your garden, planted into trays or containers for “container gardening”, or potted up and put in your window in the house.  They will prefer full sun and plenty of water, especially at transplant.  There is nothing like fresh herbs in your summer cooking!

Overwintered Beets-  Believe it or not, these beets are actually from last summer!  We kept them in our cooler all winter and saved them to give to you on our Week 2 delivery box.  They will store best in a plastic bag in the fridge.

Spinach-  A .96 lb bag of spinach for everyone this week.  We were very pleased to have a nice giving of Spinach for the second CSA giving of the season!

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Recipes:

Creamy Radish Top Soup - Thank you Mary M. for the recipe contribution!  

Asparagus and Bacon Quiche

Pac Choi Fried Rice

June 1, 2022

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Welcome friends, community, family!  We’re SO excited to be kicking off a new season of fresh, local, and organic vegetables on the Small Family Farm!  We’re excited for the produce, the people and life on our farm, and the fulfillment of the promise of Spring that always comes even if we begin to doubt its return.  This is our 17th year running our little Small Family Farm and CSA and as the face of the planet is now angled closer to the sun in this phase of the revolution around our star, we are reminded how lucky we are to be doing this work.  What a joy it is to be alive on planet Earth cultivating the crust and growing nutrient-dense food for humans!

We know that about 65% of our CSA members this summer are returning members from previous seasons.  We’re super proud and excited about this 65%!  This 65% know our story and our names and our family and we mean something to their lives-likely more than just produce!  Some of our CSA members have been with us for ALL 17 Years!  And we know their names and their families!  This means that 35% of you are new to our farm and our story and we want you to know the WHO behind the WHAT!  Because this CSA thing is so much more than the food! 

Adam and I are the primary farmers, managers and operators of the farm.  We do all the administrative work, the tractor work and are raising three small children ages 4, 7, and 10.  We have a crew of about 10 amazing helpers who come out to the farm in tandem and help us to get the work done.  There are about 15 Worker Shares who come out and work a 3.5 hour shift each week in exchange for a full Veggie Share!  It’s humbling to be part of a system that is so much bigger than ourselves and our own capabilities and relies on community support to get the work done.  We are absolutely community supported agriculture.  Without the community and the support, there is no agriculture!  

We bought the farm in the Spring of 2007 with 63 CSA member subscriptions to keep up motivated to get our farming game groove on.  We were farming about 4 acres of produce back then and have grown to about 12 acres in organic vegetable production today packing 385 CSA boxes each week.  We’re at our happy maximum size of a farm that fits our cooler, packing shed and greenhouse production capabilities. 

Our farm is location on top of a windy ridgetop with a beautiful maple tree perched at the top on the horizon.  We farm healthy soil that is alive and in turn produces vegetables that are nutritious and wholesome and clean.  We believe that farms should be beautiful places that inspire a love and desire for a connection to the land and the countryside.  We believe in local food systems that thrive because of a shared interest in supporting community agriculture and preserving family farms. 

If we are nothing else, we are optimistic in this age of uncertainty.  We are adaptive and restorative at heart.  We have weathered some serious storms in our days.  We are committed to this gig and have demonstrated our loyalty in a wavering and changing ecosystem, a changing economy, changing trends and changing weather patterns.  With so much change and variation, all we can do is bend in the wind and send our roots down deep.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you for choosing our Small Family Farm!  We’re so excited to spend this bound-to-be-bountiful season with you!  Read your Newsletters, check out our recipes to stay inspired in the kitchen and spread the love around!  

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What’s in the Box?

Pac Choi-  This Asian green was greenhouse grown to give an extra head start to the growing season.  Pac Choi are difficult to grow in the Spring.  We cover them with Remay (a thin, white, sheet-like material) to keep the bugs off of them.  Many hungry creatures including rabbits, birds and a few others are also kept at bay with the use of Remay!  These tender, Spring greens are very tempting for all! 

Red Buttercup Lettuce-  These red buttercups are also greenhouse grown.  Lovingly tended to with daily care, watering, covering and uncovering. 

Cherry Belle Radish-  Gorgeous, stunning red radishes satisfying our urge for that which is crunchy, crispy and a wee-bit spicy.  Did you know that radish greens are edible as well?  Radish greens can be used in egg dishes, on pizza, or snuck in to your diet in creative ways if your goal is to increase your greens intake! 

Asparagus-  Asparagus is the one and only vegetable that we buy for CSA Boxes. 

Herb Packs-  Oregano, thyme, parsley, and sage plants.  These herbs can be transplanted into your garden, planted into trays or containers for “container gardening”, or potted up and put in your window in the house.  They will prefer full sun and plenty of water, especially at transplant.  There is nothing like fresh herbs in your summer cooking! 

Overwintered Beets-  Believe it or not, these beets are actually from last summer!  We kept them in our cooler all winter and saved them to give to you on our Week 1 delivery box.  They will store best in a plastic bag in the fridge. 

Spinach-  A .8 lb bag of spinach for everyone this week.  We were very pleased to have a nice giving of Spinach for the first CSA giving of the season! 

Recipes

Pac Choi Salad with Sesame Dressing (a Must-Make Recipe!  I wait all year for Pac Choi to come into season so i can make this recipe!)

Wilted Spinach Salad with Chopped Radishes and Shallots

Radish Dip

Spinach