Small Family Farm CSA

We Dig Vegetables

 

Small Family Farm
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!

July Fifth

With the frequent rains and very warm temperatures, many of our summer crops are loving the heat and moisture and are growing quite well. We are predicting an earlier year for some heat-loving summer crops like sweet corn, melons, tomatoes and cucumbers. Already we have strung three lines of trellising on our tomatoes that are standing waist-high and flowering and setting fruits. The melons were bursting out of their row-covering and are laying out looking beautiful, healthy and very happy! We are so excited to share these bountiful harvests with you once they begin!DSC 0050

But not everything loves a hot summer. While we are usually harvesting large and beautiful broccoli heads this time of year, we are noticing that our broccolis this summer and smaller and wanting to bolt from the intense heat we have been having. Our lettuce successions are maturing earlier than expected and the sugar snap peas which usually are thriving and still flowering and setting fruits this time of year are looking like they’re ready to tucker out.

Generally speaking, we would say this has been a great growing season. It was looking like it was going to be a late year because of the very cold and late Spring we had, but many of the crops have caught up and are doing well. We have not had to do any irrigating yet this year because everything has been getting plenty of water. The frequent rains have made it harder than usual to put up a good fight against the weeds, but we are mostly staying on top of the weeding and the fields look clean and picturesque.

But the farm is like a hungry and tired toddler that needs lots of attention and good governance. It is fussy and a bit wild and gets cranky when it is not lovingly cared for. Vegetable farm is intensive and needs constant care and attention. Anyone who has kept a garden of their own knows that if you turn your back on it, it can be unruly and unmanageable. The summer squash and zucchini must be harvested every two days so they don’t turn into baseball bats. The broccoli also needs to be harvested from every two days and put on ice in the cooler so that they don’t get over-mature and begin to flower. And soon the cucumbers will begin and will also need to be harvested every two days.DSC 0046 1

But I love to watch the carrots grow. I love their wispy tops. They’re so low profile and unpretentious.   And beneath their frawny tops lies a sweet, crisp and colorful root that has won the world over with its flavor, durability, crispiness. We might still be a couple weeks away from carrots, but they’re looking great and worth the wait! There simply is no comparison to a fresh, locally grown carrot.

If the rains stay somewhat consistent and the temperatures remain below 90, we should have a great growing season in which to share a rich, bountiful harvest with you, our first love, the CSA membership family.DSC 0052 1

Sooo....What's in the Box????

Greem Cabbage-  This variety is called Quickstart.  It's a looser head of cabbage than the really dense of storage varieties you can buy in the Fall.  Quickstart will satisfy all of our desires for the cabbage flavor and texture and is a Summer favorite on the farm..

Broccoli-  Small to medium heads of broccoli again this week.  The Broccoli plants do not love the intense heat like we have been having.  We're still getting a nice harvest, but they're not as nice as some of the Spring/Summer Broccoli we have grown.  Broccoli likes to be kept very cold.  Some dropsites are outside, so please plan to arrive at your dropsite as soon as you are able to rush your broccoli home and get it in the fridge to keep it green!

Kohlrabi x 2- We tried to give everyone a Purple and a White Kohlrabi, but some folks got two white kohlrabis.  Remember to peel your kohlrabi!  The leaves on the kohlrabi are also edible just like kale!  It is in the same family of plants as kale.  A reminder that for some strange reason, kohlrabi is best if you eat the whole thing once you cut it open.  It seems to develope a bitter flavor if you save the other half in the fridge for another day.  

Fennel-  When eaten raw, fennel has a prominent licorice flavor.  Typically the bulb of the fennel plant is eaten.  The green stalks and frawns are perfectly edible, but usually used for broths or garnishing.  To cut-up the fennle you need to cut off the bottom with a sharp knife, half it, and cut out the core near the base of the fennel which is sometimes too chewy to eat.  Once it is cooked, it looses much of it's licorice flavor and your friends will never know it's in your dish! 

Summer Squash and Zucchini-  Summer Squash are the yellow ones and zucchini are the green ones.  Zucchin and summer squash actually keep best at 50 degrees.  Some people will set them out at room temp and some will keep them in their fridge since most of us don't have the luxury of a 50 degree storage area.  Wherever you decide to keep them, don't try to keep them long, because if zucchini is known for anything, it is it's generousity!  Plenty more zucchini and summer squash to come.  

Lettuce x 2-  We tried to give everyone a Romaine Lettuce and a butter-type.  You may have received a red oakleaf, a green buttercup (these were small) or a standard green leaf lettuce.  Lettuce keeps best in a plastic bag in the fridge.  

Garlic Scapes-  Each garlic plant produces 1 garlic scape per year.  It is the plants effort at producing a seed head.  If left on the plant, the small nodule you see towards the top of the scape would swell and develope into seed pod.  But we snap them off to tell the plant to put more of it's energy into producing a larger garlic bulb and not to put energy into making seed heads.  Lucky for us, the garlic scapes are scrumptious and edible!  The best part to eat is the blunt end up to the little nodule.  The tip is usually a little more chewy, although still edible!  

Sugar Snap Peas-  A .61 lb bag of peas this week.  If you don't eat these all up raw and just the way they come, they are wonderful in stir fry, with a veggie dip or cut up onto a salad!  They're very versatile and good in anything!

Bunhcing Onions-  A cute little bunch of green onions.  These are actually just small, immature standard oinons that are planted very close to eachother so they stay small and tender.  They don't have all the bit that a storage onion might have.  Edible from root to tip!

Curly Red Kale-  Gorgeous bunches of curly red kale this week.  We try to give a cooking green every week, and we knew that the odd week members have only gotten kale once already.  Next week we're going to try to give collards.

Next Week's Best Guess:  broccoli, kohlrabi, fennel, summer squash and zucchini, lettuce, garlic scapes, sugar snap peas, bunching onions, collards, cucumber, cilantro, beets

Recipes

Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls 

Zucchini Breakfast Casserole

Cream of Broccoli and Fennel Soup

Spring Salad with Fennle and Orange

June Twentieth

The farm feels like a fully risen loaf of bread, like a full moon, like a swollen river. It feels full and alive and vibrant. It feels like a hive of bees busily flying in and out to collect nectar and pollen and water, returning home again and again with a humble harvest so that we may all work together and keep our family and community well-fed. It humms with the sound of birds and conversation and at times diesel engines and pick-up truck motors.DSC 0039 1

On Mondays, our largest crew arrives promptly at 8am to begin the harvest of the week. We aim for a one-hour kale harvest then a one-hour turnip harvest and then a 45 minute snap pea harvest and then finishing off the morning in the strawberry patch to complete the amount of pints we need for this weeks delivery. On Monday afternoon we wash and hydrocool and bag. We harvest again, but this time it is zucchini and summer squash and bunching onions with a smaller crew after some worker shares have gone home. We work until 6pm on Mondays because it is our biggest harvest day of the week.

Tuesday morning, we get up and do it all over again with the crew arriving promptly at 8 ready to start with a lettuce harvest, then a kohlrabi harvest. We’ll spend the rest of the morning in the packing shed washing lettuce and kohlrabi. The music plays on the old boom box behind sounds of conversation and laughter and the pallet jack getting wheeled around the garden hose spraying off kohlrabi bottoms and washing out used harvest bins. Tuesday afternoon is packing. We place the stations of vegetables along the roller tables so that we may smoothly and easily pack 290 CSA boxes within a 2 hour time frame. After packing, some of the crew stays behind to clean the packing shed while others head out to the field to do a little weeding before the day is over.

Wednesdays are delivery day, but there are still 4 bodies on the farm in the morning weeding or removing row-cover or harvesting. Wednesday afternoons are calm for a bit, but are the latest night of the week because we have a 4-7:30pm worker-share shift where several people who have full-time jobs come out to squeeze the worker-share shift into their evenings one night a week to earn themselves a box of veggies and to play in the dirt for a few hours on the farm with us.

Thursdays and Fridays could be called maintenance or catch-up days where we do anything from weed to harvest to mulching to transplanting. Thursdays and Fridays have a lower-stress feel than earlier in the week because we’re not under the same time limitations as we are on harvest days. There are a few crops that we grow that must be harvested every two days such as broccoli, strawberries, tomatoes, zucchini and summer squash. Inevitably, we still harvest on Thursdays and Fridays for some of the time, but we like to do as much weeding as we possibly can.DSC 0107

There is a Saturday morning worker-share on occasion, but there are no real crews on Saturday or Sunday. Your farmers enjoy a quieter couple days with a little more family time, but Farmer Adam simply cannot turn it off. He can be seen out walking the fields, cultivating, pruning tomatoes or harvesting something at all hours of the day on Saturdays and Sundays. He is fully consumed by the farm and it’s needs. He is mostly quite, although if you could live with him, you would know that he only thinks about and talks about the farm. I empathize with him because I was him. The children are my primary preoccupation with needs and demands just as real and heavy as those of the farm. The farm is also a freight train. It is traveling at top speed. Thankfully the tracks are in good working order and our conductor is competent and capable.DSC 0046

Sooo....What's in the Box????

Kohlrabi x2-  We harvested 1 purple kohlrabi and 1 white kohlrabi per member this week.  I don't know that they have any difference in flavor, but the purple ones sure are pretty!  Remember to peel your kohlrabi!  The leaves on the kohlrabi are also edible just like kale!  It is in the same family of plants as kale.  A reminder that for some strange reason, kohlrabi is best if you eat the whole thing once you cut it open.  It seems to develope a bitter flavor if you save the other half in the fridge for another day.  

Lettuce x2-  It was our goal to give everyone a Red Oakleaf and a green buttercrunch lettuce.  But some folks got two red oakleafs and no green.  But 2 heads per member.  I'm still loving all of these amazing buttercrunch lettuce varieties that are only avilable in the Spring!  Lettuce wraps, taco salads, chicken salads!  Salad everything!  Keeps best in a plastic bag in the fridge.  

Lacinato Kale-  Lacinato is probably the most popular variety of kale at present day.  This was an amazing harvest too!  Keeps best in a plastic bag in the fridge.  

Hakurai Salad Turnips-  A medium bunch of these guys with 5 or so per bunch this week.  The quality of these seems to be down a bit this week since this was our last harvest from the Spring Turnip bed.  

Snap peas-  A .41 lb bag of peas this week.  We're hoping for a heftier giving of peas for next week.  Peas are always a Spring favorite.  We noticed that the deer like peas too!  We saw a modest amount of deer damage in the peas this week.  

Zucchini and/or Summer Squash-  The beginning of the Zucchini and Summer squash!  What a wonderful treat!  Zucchin and summer squash actually keep best at 50 degrees.  Some people will set them out at room temp and some will keep them in their fridge since most of us don't have the luxury of a 50 degree storage area.  Wherever you decide to keep them, don't try to keep them long, because if zucchini is known for anything, it is it's generousity!  Plenty more zucchini and summer squash to come.  They plants are just getting started!  

Broccoli-  Smaller heads of broccoli this week, but we did get some for everyone!  Because of all of the extreme heat we have had this Spring, the Broccoli will bolt pre-maturely or make funky shaped heads from a lot of heat.  We have had fantastic looking Spring Broccoli before, so this is a little sad to see, but we can hope for better coming up so long as the heat doesn't get too intense.  Broccoli favors more mild to cooler temps.  

Garlic Scapes-  Each garlic plant produces 1 garlic scape per year.  It is the plants effort at producing a seed head.  If left on the plant, the small nodule you see towards the top of the scape would swell and develope into seed pod.  But we snap them off to tell the plant to put more of it's energy into producing a larger garlic bulb and not to put energy into making seed heads.  Lucky for us, the garlic scapes are scrumptious and edible!  The best part to eat is the blunt end up to the little nodule.  The tip is usually a little more chewy, although still edible!  

Dill Weed-  How often do we get to eat fresh dill?  This is a great addition to your salmon, egg salad or potato salad (sorry, no potatoes yet!).  But if you can't use up all that dill in one week, lay the bunch out on a dehydrator and dry your dill to be used in the winter.  Keep dried dil sealed tight in a mason jar!

Strawberries-  One pint per member this week!  The strawberries weren't quite as productive this year as they have been in some years.  This was an older patch.  Next year we will have a fresh to patch to pick off of and will hopefully be giving quarts instead of pints!  Strawberries are extremely perishable, so we don't recommend trying to keep them long!  Eat them up while they're still fresh!  

Bunching onions (green onions)-  One small bunch of green onions.  Every part is edible from the white stalks to the green tips.  Use like you would cook with onions, but these are also wonderful raw on salads!  

Recipes

Crunchy Spring Salad with Dill Dressing

Kale, Mushroom and Dill Triangles

Kohlrabi Oven Fries

 

Local Thyme Recipes:

COMFORTING CLASSICS

Braised Lentils with Kohlrabi and Smoked Sausage

Kale with Smoked Paprika

OUTSIDE THE BOX

Curried Kohlrabi Cakes

Kale Caesar Salad

 

June Twentieth

We are creatures of habit seeking comfort and familiarity. We wade in the predictable and the known. Here in the ‘bread basket’ the primal fear of wondering if and when we will get to eat again is an un warranted stress in our climate of plenty and surplus. We live in the era of boundless options and cheap food. The lavish selection displayed before us at the grocery stores makes us feel rich and free. Maybe we are overwhelmed by the choices or feel burdened by the decision-making process of buying our groceries, but so many of us buy the same things at the grocery store time and time again.DSC 0044 1

When not ‘limited to’ your CSA box, in the off-season likely buy the same vegetables over and over again. In the winter you buy carrots, potatoes, onions, broccoli and maybe for fun a sweet potato or some sweet peppers. You go with what you know. The vegetative variety in your diet dwindles back down again to your comforting staples. And I am here to admit that I do the same thing!

I believe there is a perfectly good explanation for this. I feel bored and unimpressed by the mystery vegetables from the grocery store. I feel a strong lack of connection with those orphaned vegetables with no one to tell their story for them. No face or place or season to foster my attraction. Which part of the country did those cucumbers come from? Did the garlic really come all the way from China? Why? Which continent did those grapes or asparagus come from? How in the world did they ship these tons and tons of perishable products to my local grocery store and all of the other local grocery stores in every small town across America? I should be blushing with excitement and fully captivated when I see these colorful (and undoubtedly impressive) displays, but usually, it just makes me miss summertime.

By February, my mouth waters for fresh, local greens. What I wouldn’t do for a lowly local zucchini in March. The humble cucumber that piles up by the truck-load on the farm in July has suddenly earned the status of a King to me by March. I would pay for its weight in gold if it were local and pulled from a vine in my then-frozen fields.

By the start of CSA season in June, the common radish is welcomed with such gusto we feature them on our salads proudly at the dinner table. The small and simple things like head lettuce and salad turnips make us feel alive again in a truly nourished way when we know they come from ‘the farm’. Feeling connected to the season that the produce was grown in somehow makes a world of a difference to us. And the added bonus of knowing the ‘who’ and ‘where’ the produce was grown nourishes not only our tummies, but also our hearts and our communities.

I know you feel this too. The Midwestern growing season is magical to us Midwesterners. We’re suddenly broadening our spectrum of what vegetables appeal to us. We re-discover pac choi, salad turnips, and asparagus and we enjoy their flavors and anxiously await even more variety as Spring turns into Summer.

I applaud your efforts at making time to cook with these vegetables and trying new recipes. Lets all cheers to the return of swiss chard and high fives all around because nothing compares to a fresh picked, local and organic strawberry!DSC 0052

Sooo....What's in the Box????

Lettuce x 2- Red oakleaf lettuce and/or green oakleaf lettuce. These are such a wonderful Spring treat. Lettuce like this only grows in the cool weather of the Spring and Fall. In the summer months you'll only be getting red and green leaf lettuce, but these butterheads/oakleafs sure are a treat! Enjoy!

French Breakfast Radish- A beautiful radish harvest! These are a less common variety of radish with much of the familiar flavor of the cherry bell, but a bit more tender. Don’t forget that the greens on radishes are edible!

Cilantro- Cilantro loves to be harvested in dry weather conditions, for the best shelf-life but because of our rainy harvest mornings, we had to harvest cilantro when it was wet and muddy. We did our very best to wash the cilantro. We recommend using up your cilantro as soon as possible because since had to get it wet, it won’t keep quite as long.

Kohlrabi- You may have received either a purple or a white kohlrabi. Kohlrabi are in the brassica family (relatives to cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, ect) and their leaves can be used like kale. Peel the round bulb and cut up the insides into veggies sticks and enjoy them with your favorite veggie dip or as a snack raw. For some strange reason, kohlrabi has the best flavor if eaten immediately after you cut it open. If you decide to save the other half for later, it usually develops a bitter flavor in the fridge. Good raw or cooked!

Green Onions- Cute little bunches of green onions this week. These are wonderful sliced thinly onto salads, used in stir fry, or any other way that you might use an onion. The greens are edible all the way up to the tips and make a beautiful garnish!

Swiss Chard- Swiss chard has all of the lovely tenderness of spinach and is in the same family as spinach and beets. It does have some of the earthy flavor that beets have. The chard stalks are even edible, don’t toss those!

Strawberry Quarts- Finally, a fresh quart of strawberries for everyone! Nothing compares to a fresh, local, seasonal strawberry! Strawberries are highly perishable, so please do eat them up as soon as possible for best flavor! We love making strawberry cream pies (no cooking or oven required) that use one whole quart on top which is a great way to ensure everyone gets some strawberries and not just the sneakiest ones in the family;)

Hakurai Salad Turnips- These are the white radish/turnip looking bulbs in your box. About 8 nice turnips per box. We found that these had a mild-sweet flavor to them. Use a mandolin and shave them onto a salad. Such a lovely Spring treat!

Recipes

Sour Cream Veggie Dip

Home Made Cilantro-Lime Salad Dressing

Fettucini with Swiss Chard, Currants, Walnuts and Brown Butter

Lettuce Wraps

Local Thyme Recipes- a CSA Menu Planning Service

COMFORTING CLASSIC

Chef Salad with Kohlrabi, Salad Turnips, and Cannellini Beans

Penne with Chard, Bacon and Feta

OUTSIDE THE BOX

Pickled Salad Turnip

Swiss Chard Falafel with Lemon Tahini Dressing

June Thirteenth

The farm is off to a wonderful beginning of a new season. ‘From the road’ everything looks amazing. If you drive by the fields the rows of onions, potatoes, sweet corn, cucurbits and brassicas all look so young and clean and full of potential. With a late start to this growing season, we have almost never seen the plants take off so fast and so well. The rains have been regular and soft…so far. Even the winds haven’t been to damaging-which they sometimes can be on the top of this ridge. The heat wave we had in late May worried us a bit, but didn’t last too long to stress out many of the plants.DSC 0039

If you take a closer look, the fields could use a good mowing around the edges and the weeds are starting to catch up in some areas to the crops. We’re fighting a good fight and aren’t at risk of loosing any plantings to weeds. But most importantly of all, we have an incredible crew of helpers to get all of the work done! The farm employs 1 full time employee and 6 part-time employees. We also have 30 ‘Worker Shares’, which are people who come out to the farm and work a 3.5 hour shift each week in exchange for a Full Summer Veggie Share. And if that’s not enough, we have 5 different childcare/babysitters that come in tandem and help with our kiddos. I am always amazed at the number of hands it takes to make a farm like this run smoothly. That’s a lot of pairs of hands working on a little farm hidden in the hills along the Kickapoo River.

The strawberries are starting on the farm. The children and babysitters have been frequenting the patch around snack hours. Strawberry season always comes joyfully because we are happy to be eating strawberries again, but it also brings an intensity along with it because strawberries are so highly perishable and they need to be picked every two days to prevent them from going bad and need to be rushed down to the cooler and kept cold so they don’t spoil. We hope to be putting strawberries in the Week 3 and Week 4 boxes. This year we are down to just one Strawberry Patch (about 1000 plants) where as in previous years we had two patches (2000 plants). So we do have half as many strawberry plants to pick from this year. But that means that all berries will go to CSA and we won’t sell any extra on the side to Co-ops.

We also spied our first summer squash of the season which also bring excitement because squash is so plentiful and versatile to use in the kitchen, but it also means that we will soon be needing to harvest summer squash and zucchini every two days and will need to budget this harvest into our busy schedule. I’m still watching for the first pea flowers because sugar snap peas are a Spring favorite which only last a few weeks before they come and are gone again.

This week tomato trellising will go up as the tomato plants already looks tall enough that they will need the added support. We will spend the rest of the week mulching tomatoes, playing catch-up with weeding and now harvesting strawberries. I feel thankful to do this work alongside a community of enthusiastic helpers that breathe fresh new life into the farm. I feel thankful for the delicious looking produce and to be eating fresh, local vegetables again from the farm. The humble radish and even its greens earn an honorable place at the dinner table in our early Spring meals.

DSC 0036 1

Soooo....What's in the Box????

Pac Choi- This is the large, asian vegetable at the bottom of your box. These are deliciously crunchy. If you're new to this vegetable, give it a try in a scrumtious asian salad with toasted sesame oil, slivered almonds, toasted ramen and sesame seeds! The stems (my favorite) and the greens are edible. Keeps best in a plastic bag in the fridge.

Lettuce- Red buttercrunch lettuce or green oakleaf lettuce. These are such a wonderful Spring treat. Lettuce like this only grows in the cool weather of the Spring and Fall. In the summer months you'll only be getting red and green leaf lettuce, but these butterheads sure are a treat! Enjoy!

Cherry Bell Radish- A beautiful radish harvest! Standard bunches of 11-12 or more radishes per bunch.  French Breakfast Radishes to come next week. The greens on radishes are even edible!

Arugula- This arugula is a little more mature than we wanted it to be, but still perfectly harvestable. It can be difficult to manage the timing of every vegetable perfectly to come into season on the exact week we want it to. Arugula is wonderful wilted on pizza with feta cheese!

Asparagus- This is the one item that we do buy each season for our members. It comes from a neighboring amish farm that produces organic asparagus. Fresh picked this morning!

Herb Packs- We aimed to have each pack with mint, oregano, basil and rosemary or sage. Some of the rosemary plants did not make it through transplant, so we had to substitute basil. Plant these out in their own little pots or plant them directly in a space in your yard that you can keep weeded for fresh herbs to harvest this summer.

Spinach and Pea Shoots- Nearly a half pound of spinach per member this week. We also added a few pea shoots to the top of each spinach bag. The leaves and the tips of the pea shoots are edible and offer a light sweet pea flavor when torn into a salad. The main stems of the shoots could be chewy, so just don't use that part!

Shallots- These guys were actually harvested last summer and were kept in storage all winter long in our cooler so that we could give them to you this week. Shallots are wonderful in sauce, dressing and marrinade recipes. But if you're short on time to make home-made dressings, you can also just use them like an onion. Keep them in your fridge until you use them, they will sprout if left out on the counter. We recommend using them sooner rather than later. I encourage you to try making your own home-made salad dressings for all of the lettuce and salad vegetabels coming up!

Salad Turnips-  These are the white radish/turnip looking bulbs in your box.  About 4 turnips per box.  We found that these had a sweet flavor to them.  Use a mandolin and shave them onto a salad.  Such a lovely Spring treat!

DSC 0044

Next Week's Best Guess:  Strawberries, lettuce x2, kale or chard, french breakfast radish, hakurai salad turnips, kohlrabi, rhubarb?, bunching onions, cilantro

Recipes

Glazed Hakurai Salad Turnips with Greens

Sweet Radish Relish

Wilted Spinach Salad with Chopped Radishes and Shallots

Arugula-Prosciutto Pizza

Local Thyme Recipes By Patricia Mulvey

COMFORTING CLASSIC 

5 Greens Gumbo Z’herbes

Salmon with Shaved Asparagus and Radish Salad

OUTSIDE THE BOX

Almost No Work Baked Asparagus Spinach Risotto

Asparagus with Tapenade Vinaigrette

 

Pat's Blog:

http://www.localthyme.net/weeks-plan/week-of-june-13-2018-small-family-farm-csa/

 

June Sixth

Each season I feel the need to re-introduce ourselves, even though many of you are returning CSA members (about 60% of you!) and many of you already have a season or a few under your belt and know a bit of our story, but I find that the way I tell it changes each year. And for the new folks out there, it’s fun to hear a bit about the who, what and why behind the farm.

The Small Family Farm and CSA was born in 2006 with 23 CSA members when I was farming on my brother-in-law’s land about 5 miles away from here and using his equipment and infrastructure to actualize a dream I had to one day run a CSA farm of my own. I had been working as a farm-hand on several other CSA farms across the country for 5 seasons prior to buying this farm. Adam and I met at his brother’s farm and decided to buy a farm of our own the following Spring in 2007. I was a whole 22 years old at that time-full of ambition, passion and excitement to finally be farming.DSC 0033

Amazed that people were even signing up for our CSA since we were so new and I was so young and our infrastructure and experience were limited, we were off and running a business just like that! The Farm Service Agency loaned us more money that I dreamed I would ever borrow to buy these buildings and a tractor and some equipment and a greenhouse. Thank goodness for the credit system, or we certainly would not be where we are today!

I like to call the days before we had children the “B.C. days”. It was a time when we were able to work impossible hours. My mother, who lived with us the first few years after we bought the farm, was like our ‘farm wife’. She fed us and washed our clothes and cleaned our house and even gave us lots of advice on how to run our budding business. I sometimes wonder if we could have been able to get started without her domestic and maternal support in those early years. She now lives in her own house on 5 acres next to us and still supports us with more grandma-like gifts such as watching our kids, making us dinner on occasion and countless invisible favors like errand-running and picking up groceries. She still likes to remind us to rinse our dishes before we put them in the dishwasher and to put our boots along the wall.DSC 0034

When our second child was born in 2014, Adam finally quit his off-farm job. The farm was steadily growing and the family was forcing us to get smart and work a little less in some ways, but also to work harder in others. If not for the children, the work may have eaten us alive because a farm will consume every sliver of energy you are willing to put into it. The work is endless on a farm, so I feel thankful in one hundred different ways for our now three beautiful and healthy children for implementing a balance that finally feels sustainable. Plus, we had to live up to our farm name-the Small Family Farm.

We are now in our 13th year of running our little farm with over 450 CSA members. The CSA part of our farm comprises 95% of our business and has been from the very beginning our passion. We are still fully and completely in love with the model. Community Supported Agriculture is everything it’s name suggests and more. It is this living community of people like you and I who invest in this colorful style of agriculture in the form of either money or time or time to keep a cute little farm sitting atop this breezy ridge alive and strong. Our story is not over and we are thankful to write you into the pages as we begin a new chapter in a new season.DSC 0022

Sooo....What's in the Box????

Pac Choi-  This is the large, asian vegetable at the bottom of your box.  These are deliciously crunchy.  If you're new to this vegetable, give it a try in a scrumtious asian salad with toasted sesame oil!  The stems and the greens are edible.  Keeps best in a plastic bag in the fridge.  

Lettuce-  Red buttercrunch lettuce.  These are such a wonderful Spring treat.  Lettuce like this only grows in the cool weather of the Spring and Fall.  In the summer months you'll only be getting red and green leaf lettuce, but these butterheads sure are a treat!  Enjoy!

Cherry Bell Radish-  A beautiful radish harvest!  Generous bunches of 13 or more radishes per bunch!  More to come next week.  The greens on radishes are even edible!

Arugula-  This arugula is a little more mature than we wanted it to be, but still perfectly harvestable.  It can be difficult to manage the timing of every vegetable perfectly to come into season on the exact week we want it to.  Arugula is wonderful wilted on pizza with feta cheese!

Asparagus-  This is the one item that we do buy each season for our members.  It comes from a neighboring amish farm that produces organic asparagus.  Fresh picked this morning!  

Chives-  While some of these chives are flowering, we left the flowers in for the estetic effect.  Chives can be used like onions or scallions in many recipes.  They're a treat to mince up and eat sprinkled raw on almost any dish raw or cooked!  

Herb Packs-  We aimed to have each pack with sage, oregano, thyme and rosemary.  Some of the rosemary plants did not make it through transplant, so we had to substitute basil.  Plant these out in their own little pots or plant them directly in a space in your yard that you can keep weeded for fresh herbs to harvest this summer.  

Spinach and Pea Shoots-  A half pound of spinach per member this week.  We also added a few pea shoots to the top of each spinach bag.  The leaves and the tips of the pea shoots are edible and offer a light sweet pea flavor when torn into a salad.  The main stems of the shoots could be chewy, so just don't use that part!  

Shallots-  These guys were actually harvested last summer and were kept in storage all winter long in our cooler so that we could give them to you this week.  Shallots are wonderful in sauce, dressing and marrinade recipes.  But if you're short on time to make home-made dressings, you can also just use them like an onion.  Keep them in your fridge until you use them, they will sprout if left out on the counter.  We recommend using them sooner rather than later.  I encourage you to try making your own home-made salad dressings for all of the lettuce and salad vegetabels coming up!  

Recipes:

Oriental Salad Dressing

Pac Choi Salad with Sesame Dressing

Radish Dip

Ricotta Lemon and Arugula Quiche

 

Local Thyme Recipes by Patricia Mulvey

COMFORTING CLASSIC 

Asparagus Arugula Frittata with Gruyere

Lettuce Wraps with Ground Meat oTofu with Spring Veggies

OUTSIDE THE BOX

Fig and Arugula Grilled Flatbread

Honey Orange Ginger Glazed Bok Choy and Radish

 

Here is a link to Pat's Blog:  http://www.localthyme.net/weeks-plan/week-of-june-6-2018-small-family-farm-csa/