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!

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July Eighteenth

It finally feels like summer on the farm. Summer never really feels like summer to me until it’s so hot that our clothes are sticking to our skins and the cicadas are singing in the middle of the day. It feels like summer when you body aches from the heavy haul of cucumbers and zucchinis and cabbage. It feels like summer when your brain is so full and busy from the millions of activities happening everywhere all around you and all you really want to do is go swimming. It feels like summer when salad for dinner and something on the grill sounds good enough because you don’t want to heat the house up. The hot, humid air delivers a full-body summer experience that fully takes you over.   The shade of a tree never felt so good.

It smells like summer too. For the first time this week I began to smell the corn pollen. If I can smell it, so can the raccoons-so it’s a good thing we got the sweet corn trellising up this week before the raccoons could get to it. The basil harvest this week brings nostalgia unique to summer like none other. The smell of the tomato plants on our hands as we went through to harvest the first of our cherry tomatoes this week smelled like summer. The dill and the cilantro we have given in previous weeks brings a fresh summer smell that has a way of cooling and lightening the spirit.

The tastes of summer are upon us. The heat-loving plants like cucumbers, zucchini, summer squash and basil are the pioneers. Soon we will be blessed with the true summer gems that make us wait a bit longer such as sweet corn, melons, tomatoes and peppers. The lettuce begins to taste different too. While we are still able to grow lettuce in these early summer days, it’s not quite as crunchy and watery and smooth as it was in June. The lettuce gets a tad thicker and a little bitter in its resentment to the summer heat. All plants that choose to survive the brutal, scorching temperatures must ‘’toughen up” to make it out there. We say good by to the tender and succulent spring greens and hello to the sweet, crunchy and watery summer veggies that arrive to help cool and sustain us.

Most obviously, it looks like summer on the farm too. The corn is getting tall. The tomatoes are setting fruit. The fields are full and the horizon has a shimmery haze to it that will transport you anywhere you want to go. The lillys are in bloom everywhere and the dog spends his days sprawled out under the farm truck or under the canopy of any nearby shrub or foliage. The lightening bugs blink their blinky-blinks and the monarchs flutter their flirty flutters. Encouragingly, we have seen more monarchs this summer than any summer we can remember on this farm.

The children run bare foot and the baby’s only clothes are his diapers.   The relentless lawn won’t stop growing and we see small fruits hanging from the trees in our small orchard. The workers are tired, but they keep coming in tandem, on time and on schedule trusting in the reward of the satisfaction of finishing off a good season on a farm.

Summer.  Ah, Summer.  How we missed you all winter.  We're so glad you're here!  DSC 0036 2

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

Green 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 x 2- 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!

Green Top Beets- We call them green top beets because they are so fresh they still have their greens on them. Beets greens are also perfectly edible and can be used like swiss chard or any cooking green. Beets will keep a terrifically long time if topped and kept in a plastic bag in the fridge. But you won’t have the room in your fridge to keep them since you keep getting more veggies, so just eat them up and anticipate more soon! 3 beets per bunh.

Summer Squash and Zucchini- 4-5 squash per member. 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 generosity! Plenty more zucchini and summer squash to come.

Lettuce- You may have received 1 or 2 heads of lettuce this week. We harvested some red leaf lettuce and some green leaf lettuce. You may have received either variety.

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!

Cucumbers- 7 Cucumbers per member! Woah! Cucumbers hit with a bang. It’s time to try out your favorite cucumber recipes that use a few of them. Think cucumber soup, tzatziki sauce, pickles….. My kids eat one for a snack!

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

Curly Green Kale- Gorgeous bunches of curly green kale this week. Have you tried Kale Chips yet? It’s a great way to use up a bunch fast!

Basil- Basil is best used the moment it is plucked from the plant. But since this is the best condition we can get it to you in, it will just have to do. It was perfect just hours ago-see the pictures! Basil cannot be refrigerated! It will turn black in refrigeration! Basil prefers to be cut and set in a vase of water like fresh cut flowers. I’m not sure if it will spring back to life after being shipped to your dropsite or not, but it might be worth a try. Use your basil up quickly since it doesn’t tolerate storage well!

Next Week's Best Guess: cauliflower, carrots, chard, cucumbers, summer squash, Zucchini, green onions, lettuce, eggplant, celery? Cabbage? Mint?

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July Eleventh

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Vegetable farming is an incredibly labor-intensive form of farming.   So intensive that even a small ‘10-acres of vegetables’ farm like ours requires 5-12 people working in and on it full time. Our crews are even tightly managed so that they are moving and at peak productivity all the time. The crews work hard and so I feel secretly envious of the corn farmers who plant their seeds, make a second pass to cultivate or spray herbicide early Summer on their one and only crop, and then harvest in the Fall. While envy is not truly what I feel, curiosity and amazement at the stark contrast in farming style is a more accurate description.

A highly diversified vegetable farm like ours takes an impressive amount of planning, even in the off-season. Everything from complicated seed orders to tightly laid-out greenhouse plans to very strict planting and cultivating regimens- it takes a high level of focus and attention that you might shake your head at if you truly knew. Harvesting and delivering must happen rain or shine-even when the weather is less than desirable to be working in.

I sometimes wish we had a more rich agricultural community where families and children were more closely connected to the reality of farm life. Because after all-this is where our food is coming from. I hope for a deeper pardoning for farmers. The way we pardon our family members who are in the army or they way we excuse the on-call doctor or mid-wife for needing to do their job when they are called to do it. Farming is glorified and honored, until the farmer is absent on a Holiday or a family gathering because they need to be on their farm for a time-sensitive task.

This weekend farmer Adam will not be coming to a wedding in the family because he knows already that he will need that time for irrigating the onions, cultivating the fall carrots and putting up fencing around the sweet corn. Time is precious and sparse. Weekends away are not an option. The kids and I will go while Adam is happy to stay home and work, but the guilt is thick and the understanding from the family mostly absent.

A small farm like ours doesn’t have management-level workers who can operate the machinery while we’re away. We don’t even have skilled workers willing to work weekends. Our culture is centered around the autonomous, the individual and the 40 hour work week. We’ve worked a century to get here. And I feel lucky and blessed to live in this age of plenty and convenience. I feel less trapped because I know I have alternatives. But I am committed and rooted and responsible to the farm. I also know that we are not autonomous, centered on the individual and limited to the 40 hour work week. We are a highly inter-dependent community farm that needs the community in order to function. We are nothing at all if we are not unified to make this possible. And even after a century of human rights activism, the farmer is not free of the demands the farm or mother nature places on him/her. The work on a farm cannot wait.

Thank you, farmer Adam, for your service and commitment.

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

Green Top Beets- The first of our beets of the season!  Three beets per bunch this week.  We like to harvest beets with their leaves on so that you can see just how fresh they are and you can use their leaves for cooking and eating.  Beet greens can be used like swiss chard or spinach greens.  Beets will store for a terrifically long time (months and months) if you trim their greens off and keep them in a plastic bag in the fridge.  

Broccoli- Small to medium heads of broccoli again this week. 1-2 heads per member.  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 or Fennel- Either a Purple or a White Kohlrabi. 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.  We were short about 40 kohlrabi, so some people got two fennel instead.

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- 6-7 per member.  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- A bit of a mix of varieties this week.  We harvested some red leaf lettuce, some green leaf lettuce and some romaine lettuce.  No matter which variety you got, you should have gotten two heads. 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 .35 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!  This is the final pea giving and the quality was down a bit this week due to the plants tuckering out a bit, so hopefuly you still find the quality acceptable.  

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 bite that a storage onion might have. Edible from root to tip!  They're also great eaten raw with a veggie dip!

Collards- Collards is in the same family as Kale.  It can be eaten and cooked much like kale, although it does take a bit longer to cook.  A smooth leaf cooking green.  It is great for cabbage rolls, just cut out the stem, steam the leaf until it is pliable, and roll up your favorite stuffings (meat, rice and sauteed veggies.)

Cucumber or Asian Eggplant-  One cucumber per member this week.  As the cucumbers are just starting to produce, we didn't quite have enough to give everyone a cucumber, so we supplemented with an Asian Eggplant for those who did not get a cucumber.  Asian Eggplants are a long and skinney type eggplant that have a mild and smooth texture and flavor and are nice for stir-frying.  

Cilantro-  The cilantro plants were beat up a bit from the heavy rains and winds we had on Saturday, June 30th.  But we thought we could still get a harvest off of this succession.  There were some bad leaves that we tried to pick out.  Cilantro isn't a great keeper to begin with and with the potential of there being a bad leaf or two in there, we don't expect that it will keep long.  Use up your cilantro as soon as possible.  It will keep best in a plastic bag in the fridge.  

Next Week's Best Guess: broccoli, cabbage, cucumbers, summer squash and zucchini, lettuce, garlic scapes, bunching onions, kale, cucumber, basil, beets, cauliflower?

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Recipes

Local Thyme Recipes

Here is a link to your post for the week:

http://www.localthyme.net/weeks-plan/week-of-july-11-2018-small-family-farm-csa/

And here are the week's recipes -- enjoy!

COMFORTING CLASSICS 

Cheesy, Creamy, Brown Rice, Broccoli and Greens Casserole

Old Fashioned Southern Braised Collard Greens

OUTSIDE THE BOX

Farro Salad with Beets, Broccoli, Cilantro and Walnuts

Collard Greens with Cornmeal Soup

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