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!

Week 4

June Twenty-Second

IMG 1989

This week on the farm has been hot!  A breezy hot so far.  A humid hot.  A hot that makes it feel like Summer.  As Summer is officially here now, she is making her presence known with the 90 degree temps!  As long as there is a breeze, we can usually make it through okay!  Frequent water breaks and splashy washing work to be done in the cool packing shed help the body stay feeling cool and strong.  With all of the heat this week we’re already hoping for the chances of rain later this week to materialize or we may have to start thinking about irrigating. 

For a crop update, we are noticing that many of our summer crops are a little behind this year.  Because of the long, cool, wet spring many of our crops went out a little later than usual or because we couldn’t get in the fields because it was too wet.  We also had an issue with our soil mix this Spring that we get from a soil mix company called Cowsmo that didn’t have as consistent of a product this year than what we have received in previous years.  Our transplants didn’t go out looking as healthy as in years past so took a little longer to snap out of their ‘transplant shock’ and recover from their stunted beginning. 

Many of our Spring crops have loved the cool temperatures and moist soil and have been made all the sweeter and crispier because of it.  The wetness has made cultivation and weeding difficult at times to get into the fields to weed when we have crews here to do the work.  But, some how we manage to stay on top of it all. 

If you could fly a drone over the farm right now, you would see that the crops are looking fantastic overall though! The rows are all recently cultivated, the plants are all young and healthy. 

We will start picking Strawberries on the farm this week.  Even our Strawberries are a little behind this year because of being mulched a little to heavy last Fall.  We cover Strawberry plants with mulch so that they overwinter okay and the roots survive the freeze and winter wind effects.  We like to be generous with the mulch because it adds organic matter to the soil, preserves soil moisture and helps suppress the weeds.  So they were a little late to bloom this year, but they come at a perfect time! 

We are also excited to start picking broccoli this week which is always a favorite.  Soon our summer squashes and zucchini plants will start producing as well.  Usually cucumbers aren’t too far behind at that point! 

We are excited to be sharing rhubarb this week.  Rhubarb is a plant we have tried to grow in the past, but haven’t had enough success in our rhubarb patch to have established enough plants that we could actually harvest off of them.  This year the Rhubarb looks amazing and we’re going for it!  We’re hoping for increased production in future seasons as the plants look very healthy and strong at this point.  

Turnip

What’s in the Box?

Potatoes- 2.25lbs per member.  These are overwintered Potatoes from last season that kept wonderfully in our cooler.  They won’t keep long at room temperature.  Plan to store them in your fridge or use them up soon so they don’t sprout at room temp.  You may have received russet, gold or red potatoes. 

Hakurai Salad Turnips-  These are the delicious, white turnips in your box with green tops.  These turnips are different from storage turnips.  Hakurai salad turnips are meant to be used fresh on salads.  My children love to snack on these!  They’re wonderful sliced onto salads or just chopped up and sprinkled with a little salt for a snack. They can also be added to stir fry, eaten with a dip or put into spring rolls or whatever you can dream up! 

Lacinato Kale-  This is the dark green bunch of greens in your box.  Lacinato is the most popular variety of kale these days. It’s smooth texture, dark green color, and mild flavor make it a wonderful addition to any soup, egg dish or salad. 

Red Oakleaf Lettuce- We really love these red oakleaf varieties that can only be grown in the early Summer and Spring months.  Enjoy these funky varieties of lettuce before it gets too hot and they go out of season! 

Green Oakleaf Lettuce-  Another fun lettuce variety that can only be grown in the early summer and cooler season.  These are a rare find and so tender and smooth! 

Green Onions-  The green onions were still a little small this week, but we wanted to start sharing them with you

Kohlrabi- 1 kohlrabi per member.  You may have received either a purple or green kohlrabi. They are the same flavor and color on the inside.  Remember that your kohlrabi leaves can be used like kale. 

Cilantro-  A nice bunch of cilantro per member.

Rhubarb-  .4lbs  We were excited to share rhubarb.  This is our first year of having plants big enough that we could harvest off of.  We were careful not to take too much off of the plants so they continue to grow big and strong for future years. There are still lots of smaller plants out there that we didn’t harvest from.  We’re excited about nurturing our rhubarb patch to be big and healthy and strong!  Perennials are so much fun! 

Next Week’s Best Guess:  Broccoli, Lettuce, Kohlrabi, Sugar Snap Peas, Bunching Onion, Turnips?, Swiss Chard, Dill, Strawberries, Garlic Scapes?

ellena

Recipes

Hakurai Turnip and Apple Salad

Kid Approved Classic Green Monster Smoothie with Kale

Layerd Lettuce Salad (This is really good with peas even though we don't have them yet!  Use whatever veggies you have!)  

Caldo Verde (Portuguese Kale-Potato-Sausage-Soup Caldo Verde (Portuguese Kale-Potato-Sausage-Soup 

June Thirteenth

sawyer

I’m reading a book, or listening to a book while I work, right now by Robin Wall Kimmerer called Braiding Sweetgrass that seems to have come into my life at an appropriate time.  Robin is a Native American woman who is a biologist, writer, teacher and mother.  There are many profound lessons in her book that are still soaking into my reality, but at present I am contemplating something she and the Haudenosaunee people call the “Thanksgiving Address” that I feel compelled to share with you. 

I am attempting to raise my children to be aware of their consumption.  To think twice about their use of plastics, fossil fuels, waste and materials of utilization which are great.  While there is an acute awareness of what we are expending and the effects of our consumption, I wish also not to teach them to feel guilty or ashamed or sorry for their own existence.  Is there a way to exist on the planet and consume resources, but also a way to honor that which we are taking?  A way to kill a plant or an animal and show respect and reverence at the same time?  I have struggled with, and see others struggling with, their own carbon footprint and consumption and I have wondered if all humans really are all ‘bad’. I wish not to raise my children to think such things about themselves. 

What I like about the “Thanksgiving Address” is that if all death and consumption begins with awareness and deep gratitude for that which we are taking, rather than an attitude of entitlement and dis-contentment that stems out of unmet expectations, we are already behaving like honorable beings.  The Thanksgiving Address asks you to examine your own relationship to nature.  The Thanksgiving Address teaches mutual respect, conservation, love, generosity, and the responsibility to understand that what we have done to one part of the Web of Life, we have done to ourselves.  In expressing gratitude, we become spiritually tied to the forces that sustain us and invest in their care and protection. 

On a farm where there is death and life and rain and wind and plastic and human bodies all around us, this subject is relevant.  Every day we take so much.  Many days it feels like we take much more than we give back to the land. The challenge is to find ways to reciprocate.  While I do believe that gratitude is powerful and many times our gratitude is enough, I believe that we can do more. 

We can do more by protecting beneficial insect and wildlife habitats.  We can teach our friends and family about the importance of buying organic food and protecting our water.  We can use every morsel from our CSA boxes and buy less food from far-away places.  We can walk more.  We can purchase sustainably sourced foods, recycle building materials, and support nature conservancy and protection in our neighborhoods.  We can teach our children how to do these things.  We can teach them to express gratitude for that which they are consuming.  We can teach them to be spiritually connected to the life forces that produce all that they consume.  This is how healing and reciprocity happens. 

In a time of resource scarcity, when is there a better time to talk about this?  Let us remember our ancestors and the simple ways we can give back for all that we receive. 

aliza

What's in the Box?

2 lbs. Red Potato-  These are potatoes we kept in our cooler all winter long from harvest last fall.  When we bagged them they were dry with only a little dirt on them, but after we had them out of the cooler for a while they started to sweat and become muddy.  Please be careful with the potato bags when removing them from your box as the bags are weak and the potatoes a bit muddy.  We will plan to wash the potatoes for next week.  Store your potatoes in the fridge for them to keep longer!

Kohlrabi-  If you're not familiar with this vegetable, it is in the brassica (or cole) family-the same as cabbage, broccoli, radish, turnips and so many others!  Kohlrabi are also called the "ground apple".  They're crunchy with a texture similar to an apple, but with the smooth, mild flavor of cabbage or even radish.  You'll need to peel off the tough outer layer of the kohlrabi to enjoy the crunchy inside.  The leaves of the kohlrabi can be eaten like kale, so don't throw them out!  Kohlrabi can be eaten raw or fried or baked or spiralized or really ANYTHING you can dream up.  They are very versatile!  Store in the fridge.

Hakurai Salad Turnips-  These are the white globe shaped roots.  The smoothest textured turnip you'll find that is wonderful eaten raw like a radish.  They are lovely shaved thinly, sliced or grated onto salads.  They have a sweetness to them that makes them great for snacking.  The Pearls of the box this week!  Store in the fridge.

Spinach- A little more than a half pound of spinach for everyone this week!  Store in the fridge in a plastic bag.

Green and Red Oakleaf Lettuce- One head of each red and green oakleaf this week.  We hydro-cool our lettuce by dunking them in tanks of water after harvest.  This gets them pretty clean, however your lettuce should be washed again before eating.  Store in a plastic bag in the fridge.

Green Curly Kale- Gorgeous bunches of green curly kale this week.  The kale and collard field is looking nice this year.  Store in a plastic bag in the fridge.

Cilantro- We had a nice cilantro harvest this week.  The cilantro looks and tastes fabulous.  Store in the fridge.

Next week’s best guess:  Kale or swiss chard, kohlrabi, lettuce, salad turnip, potato, green onion, maybe broccoli, maybe snap peas, hopefully cilantro.

turnip

Recipes

Kale with Red Beans, Cilantro and Feta Cheese

Hakurai Turnip and Apple Salad

Braised Turnip Greens with Apples

Cilantro Lime Salad Dressing