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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!

August Eighteenth

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I had a CSA member ask me at the farm dinner last Saturday night where the first place my eyes go in the morning when I first step out the door. I prompted this question by offering that I’m always looking for newsletter content ideas and I’m interested in knowing what YOU all want to know. My initial response to her question was the deck floor. I wasn’t exactly sure how to answer this question. Is there something meaningful about where ones eyes go each morning when they step outside their door? What is to be learned about ones self by watching the direction one looks in?

What if I looked up at the sky? Would that mean I was in an optimistic, cheery mood? What if I looked at the flowers growing along the side of the house? Would that mean I am a bright, colorful soul with adventurous energy? What if I looked at the lawn and the length of the grass? What if I just looked at the deck, would this mean I am a very boring person? I still don’t know for sure, but I do know that I am slightly more conscious this week about what my eyes are drawn to seeing at first glance.

I do know that as I walk out to the kale patch to join the crew a few minutes late for Kale harvest (after getting the kids their breakfast and checking in with Grandma about the plan for the day), I walk to the field and notice the flowering wild plants. I see the milkweed, thistle and red clover flowers and know that it is now late summer. I notice the changing light in these mid-August days and how everything has a shadow and the two-tone-ness of the naturally lit outside world. I always admire the contoured fields and the curves in the landscape. I notice the misty morning and the sound of the crickets chirping LOUDLY. I notice that the mornings are cool and my legs feel a little tired.

But a farmers eyes are very good a looking for all the work that needs to be done. We are very well trained at looking for work. The mind and the eye are skilled at looking for pests, disease, weed pressure and the maturity of the crops. We assess that which is within our control and that which is beyond. It is a daily observation. We look for the fires that need to be put out. We look for the damage. We check our transplants and see how they weathered the storms. We check the spinach seed to see if it is germinating in the freshly seeded beds. We watch the soil moisture to see when it will be dry enough that we can dig carrots, till beds, and cultivate fall brassicas.

In general, I know I am a romantic optimist though-if the question was a personality pop quiz. I’m just naieve enough to work my butt off every day of my life and still believe that I have the best life in the world. I’m willing to carry the weight of this growing operation and a family with three small children and watch my husband feel overwhelmed for 7 months out of the year and still tell myself that we have it good. I’m a little like a gerbil running on a spinning wheel, but I’m also a little like a migratory bird. The cross-continental flight to make a nest takes endurance, loyalty, strength, grit, focus and perseverance-all for the love and gratitude of wings.

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

Melons x 2-  Not one, but TWO melons per member this week!  Most members received two cantelopes or you may have received a cantelops and a watermelon or a cantelope and a Canary Melon.  Cantelopes are not fantastic keepers, so we recommend using them up sooner rather than later.  The Canary Melons are the ones with the yellow rind and a crispy green inner flesh.  

Sweet Corn x 4-  Four ears per member this week.  Corn was a tricky harvest again this week.  We're still dealing with many of the sweet corn plants that were tangled and laying down near the ground from the storms last week.  We're thankful we're able to still get a nice harvest to share with you!  Remember that the moment that sweet corn is harvested, the sweetness of the ears begins to go downhill.  We recommend using up your sweet corn as soon as possible for maximum flavor and sweetness.  Keep your sweet corn refrigerated until you eat it up!  

Tomatoes- 5# bags per member.  We pick any tomato with a 'blush'.  This means any tomato with any beginning of color at the time of harvest as tomatoest ripen nicely off the vine.  They are still considered 'vine ripened' tomatoes.  We grow a wide variety of tomatoes.  You may have received a pink brandywine heirloom tomato, roma tomatoes, red slicers, black velvet heirloom or even Chef's choice which is a yellow tomato.  We offer a nice mix of heirlooms and standard slicing varieties.  Do not refrigerate tomatoes unless you need to buy yourself some time before you are able to process them.  Refrigerators will suck flavor out of your tomatoes.  Allow your unripe tomatoes to sit out on the counter until fully ripe.  

Cucumbers- 3 slicers per member.  The cucumbers are still producing, but production is going down.  We're thinking we will continue to harvest them for another week or so. The cukes we're picking now are less perfect than they were at the start of the season, later in the season like this they get a little mis-shapen at times.  

White Onion-  Because everything tastes better with a lilttle sauteed onion.  

Green Beans- .86 lbs per member.  Green beans are producing nicely now.  We're expecting another couple weeks of green bean offerings yet to come!  

Eggplant- 2 per member. You may have received a standard eggplant that is round-ish and looks like a normal eggplant or you may have received an Asian eggplant that is long and slender. Asian eggplant varieties are slightly sweeter and generally have smaller seeds and cook up quicker. Eggplant isn’t a great keeper. It stores like zucchini which prefers a 50 degree storage temp. The fridge is a little too cold and the counter is a little too warm, so dust off your eggplant recipes and have fun!

Sun Gold Cherry Tomatoes-  These are the very adorable little orange cherry tomatoes in the brown paper bags.  We didn't quite have enough to give everyone a pint clamshell so we bagged thsse.  Sun golds ripen orange, so do not wait for them to turn red.  Check out our very favorite and delicious Tomato Tart recipe below that we served at the farm dinner last weekend!  You don't have enough cherry tomatoes here to make the tart, but fill in with your other ripe tomatoes and you'll think you died and went to heaven.  Trust me!  

Carrots-  1 lb bags of carrots again this week. 

Green Curly Kale-  Because the kale is so prolific.  

Next Week's Best Guess- Melons, Sweet Corn, Tomatoes, Sweet Peppers, Eggplant, Cucumbers, Swiss Chard, Beets, Green Beans, Onion, garlic

Recipes

Kale Olive and Chickpea Salad

Sweet Corn and Coconut Milk Chowder

Eggplant Parmesan Stacks

Baba Ganoush (Eggplant Dip) with Pomegranate Molasses

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August Eleventh

The farm received nearly 7 inches of rain the past week.  Heavy winds and rain hammered down this past weekend making for a very muddy harvest on Monday morning.  The crew was getting their boots stuck in the mud.  The bins were muddy, the produce was muddy and there was mud virtually everywhere.  The sweet corn was a very tricky harvest this week as much of the corn was actually laying on the ground at harvest time.  We don't wash sweet corn, so the corn is muddier than we would ever like to send it to you.  The crew was muddy, their hands were muddy, the truck was muddy and it was raining.  Please pardon any extra mud and dirt this week.  We took a lot of extra time this week to wash items that we wouldn't normally even have to wash such as green beans and all of the melons.  It was a very muddy harvest week!  

Tomato Plants do not love moisture on their leaves and the plants are revealing that they have blight in many areas that were previously looking just fine before all of this rain and moisture.  7 inches of rain leads to soil loss and erosion on a vegetable farm with exposed soil.  We did do some tilling right befor the rain to plant our fall spinach beds.  We're hoping the spinach seeds didn't all wash away!  We do a number of things to prevent soil loss on our farm during heavy rains.  We have contoured some of our fields so that they follow the hillside curves. We also do some cover cropping between the rows of the tomatoes and have experimented with it between the rows of other crops.  We use mulch on some crops which will help hold soil in place as well.  We also only till our soil when we absolutely have to because we are aware of the delicate life int he soil that is disturbed in tillage.  

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CSA Family!  You may know that our farm belongs to a coalition of CSA Farmers called Fair Share CSA Coalition.  It's a coaltion of CSA Farmers banding together to spread the good word about CSA farming and all of the health, social and economic benefits.  The coaltion facilitates educational workshops and field days for farmers to share their knowledge and insigt.  The Fair Share CSA Coaltion is also very well known for all of the good work they are doing to make fresh, local and organic food available to low-income families.  Each summer they host a couple giving drives and ask the farmers in the coaltion to spread the word.  The money goes to supporting low income families and their access to fresh, local and organic produce.  If you have the means, feel free to donate to this worthy cause at www.fairshare.kindful.com

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

Sweet Corn-  4-5 ears per member.  The corn was a little dirty this week.  The crew had to harvest in the mud and rain.  We do not wash sweet corn, so you'll have to pardon the mud this week on this item.  Sweet corn is best eaten as soon after it was picked as possible.  We recommend eating it up as soon as possible for optimum flavor and freshness!  Corn also should be stored very cold if you must hold it to prevent the sugars from turning into starches.  

Watermelon-  1 smaller yellow watermelon.  The melons were smaller this year for some reason.  Watermelons are notoriously trickly to grow.  The seed companies all warn growers of 'watermelon wilt' which is a disease that affects the health of the watermeon vines that happens very often in watermelons.  We just hope each year that they size up in time before the watermelon wilt sets in.  Tasty, but on the smaller side.  

Canary Melon or Cantelope-  The Canary Melons are not to be mistaken for Spaghetti squash.  These are the bright yellow melons with a hard rind.  When you cut into them they will have a crisp flesh that looks a little like cucumber flesh.  It's quite crispy, but once you take a bite you'll understand why we love this melon so much!  Canary melons taste like candy when you get a good one!  If you did not receive a Canary Melon, you would have received a cantelope.  Cantelopes are easy to identify and have the creamy orange flesh that is delicious and sweet!  Yummy!  

Cucumbers- 2-3  Per memer this week. Cucumbers are waning in production now. We should still have them for another week or two, but they're almost over at the Small Family Farm.  

Red Cabbage-  These are very cute, dense little heads of red cabbage.  Will keep quite nicely in the fridge in the crisper drawer, but don't hold onto anything too long, so much more to come!  

Onion-  Because onions make everything taste so much better!

Carrots- 1lb of YaYa carrots this week.  We found them to be very sweet and crispy and a nice size too!  

Zucchini and or Summer Squash- 1-2 squash per member this week.  

Broccoli-  1 per member.  The peak summer broccoli isn't our best broccoli.  Broccoli does not love all of this rain and heat.  Typically broccoli is a cool weather loving plant, so the fact that we even have it in mid August is a miracle.  We'll have to enjoy what we have here.  

Fennel-  Nice bulbs of fennel.  Fennel can be tricky to learn to love, so if you're new to it, keep searching for the right recipe!  We love to just slice it up like an onion and caramelize it and use it like an onion in many different dishes.  Put it on pizza, in a stir fry, fritatta, or feature it raw shaved onto a salad.  The frawns make a beautiful garnish as well!  Don't forget to cut out the little core in the center of the bulb. 

Romaine- 1-2  smaller heads of lettice this week. Lettuce doesn not love the heat of the summer, like broccoli.  So many of these heads were smaller.  This is the final lettuce giving of the season for awahile.  

Jalapeno Pepper- These are the little green guys in the box.  They are HOT!  

Hungarian Hot Wax- These are also called a bananna pepper.  Technically they are considered a hot pepper, but are amungst the most mild of all hot peppers.  

Green Beans-  .82 Lbs of Green Beans per member. 

Tomatoes- 1-2.  You may have just received 1 if it was a bigger tomato or two if they were smaller.  This is the very beginning of tomato harvest.  We're hoping for more ripe tomatoes every week for the next several weeks.  It is also helpful to know that we pick our tomatoes with a 'blush'.  Any tomato showing any signs of red will be picked so that we can get them before they ripen too much on the vine and become too soft for shipping.  These tomatoes are still considered 'vine ripened' as we do not use any artifical means for helping them ripen.  Allow your tomatoes to sit out on the counter until they are the desired ripeness.  Only put a tomato in the refrigerator if it is in danger of becoming over ripen and you need to buy yourself some time before you use it up.  

Next Week's Best Guess-  Melons, sweet corn, onion, cucumbers, broccoli?, tomatoes, kale, carrots, green beans, eggplant, peppers?

 

Recipes

Risotto with Sweet Sausage and Fennel

Fennel Cucumber Salsa

Warm Red Cabbage Salad

Zucchini Pizza Crust

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August Fourth

I often experience a feeling of dissatisfaction when eating away from home. The idea of eating out for the sake of adventure or not making a mess in the kitchen or trying something new always proves to be less than climactic. Perhaps I have become a supreme food snob after so many years of living and eating on the farm that the bar has been set too high. I know what good food tastes like. I know quality oils, eggs and vegetables and can sniff out the inferior substitutes almost immediately when served a mediocre “meal”. I have learned, because food is my life, that the very best meals are made at home.

I feel both encouraged and disheartened at this realization. Encouraged because I am motivated to refine my skills every time I pull out my cutting board and knife. I am motivated to cook glamorous meals at home because I know that eating out will be both expensive and dis-satisfying. I live with harsh food critics (ages 3, 6 and 9) who will slink down in their chairs at a half-hearted attempt at dinner while pleasing them and watching them fill their bellies with nourishing, wholesome food fills my heart with gladness. My love and appreciation for delicious food fuels my desire to spend the maximum amount of time I can afford to be in the kitchen chopping and alchemizing mere vegetables and herbs into heavenly nutriment. I am disheartened to know that restaurant, or moreover supermarket stuffings of things that look like food wrapped in colorful and eye-appealing graphic designs, are really a result of marketing, profits and the death of creativity in our kitchens and homes.

Excellent restaurants do exist and I have been to a few of them. But we can’t all afford to dine at a James Beard Award winning restaurant as often as we might like. Quality is rare and exceptional. But I do believe that we belong here together in something of a curated group of foodies and locavores that appreciate quality more than most. I am tickled to image you all in your kitchens transforming your roots, flowers, tubers and shoots into sustenance for your family. I imagine you preparing food for the ones you love most or perhaps inviting your friends and neighbors over to share the bounty from the farm. The farm is the river and you are the tributaries.

Food has been shaping our cultures and communities for centuries. It has civilized and has transformed us from being creatures that eat raw and on the go into those that practice patience, self restraint, manners, and who share stories, ideas, dreams and feelings while gathered around a table. Food is shared at our weddings, baby showers, funerals, business meeting and nearly every social event imaginable. It is NOT just fuel for our bodies so we can keep doing our workouts, computer work and studies. It is undeniably the foundation from which we were built that forms culture in all the fertile crevices of this planet that host us.

I feel honored to be part of a system that produces, encourages, fosters and inspires a community of people who believe in the transcendence of the home-cooked meal. The home cooked meal puts power back in the hands of the family and the home rather than the packaged and exploited world of the commercial supermarket. I am warmed, comforted and inspired to know that you’re all out there chopping and sautéing and filling your homes with the smells, sounds and flavors of home made meals feeding your families and fine selves such wholesome food. Chop on!  

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Soooo….What’s in the Box????

Yellow Watermelon- These cute little melons are perfect for the CSA farm. They fit nicely into a CSA box with plenty of room for more veggies. They do have seeds and have a yellow flesh. Watermelons aren’t great keepers, so use it up!

Sweet Corn- 4-5 Another great sweet corn week! We are keeping the coons at bay with our fantastic four lines of electric fence that farmer Adam plugs in every night and manages daily! Yummy!

Eggplant- 1-2 The first harvest yielded nice sized eggplants. You may have received a standard eggplant that is round-ish and looks like a normal eggplant or you may have received an Asian eggplant that is long and slender. Asian eggplant varieties are slightly sweeter and generally have smaller seeds and cook up quicker. Eggplant isn’t a great keeper. It stores like zucchini which prefers a 50 degree storage temp. The fridge is a little too cold and the counter is a little too warm, so dust off your eggplant recipes and have fun!

Garlic- Does not need refrigeration. This garlic is not fully cured yet. When garlic is this fresh, you will notice that the membrane around the cloves is still very thick and not a thin dry layer yet. It may look and feel differently when you’re peeling your cloves for dinner.

Onion- One white onion for your everyday cooking needs!

Green Cabbage- We’re still not into our storage varieties of cabbage yet. This cabbage will keep for a bit and would be wonderful in your egg rolls, coleslaw, cabbage rolls, gratins or however you like to get it into your families bellies!

Cucumbers- 6-7 Cucumbers have hit their peak. We expect that cucumber harvest will begin to wane now. We will still have a few more weeks to offer cucumbers, but generally the quality and the quantity begin to go down at this point.

Zuccchini and Summer Squash- 2-3 squash per member. Zucchini and Summer Squash prefer the 50 degree storage temps. Have you made all of your favorite zucchini recipes yet? Fritters, zucchini bread, skewers on the grill? It may feel like they were going to last forever, but they aren’t! Production is waning and they will slowly taper off in a few weeks.

Carrots- 1 lb Gorgeous carrots that we have all been waiting for! Will keep in a plastic bag in the fridge, but I bet you won’t let them! More to come!

Celery- This is the final giving of celery for the season. We hope you enjoyed this absolutely lovely celery season! This is some of the nicest celery we have grown on our farm! We tried a new variety that we really found to do well on our farm! Maybe it was the rain this season, maybe our soil health or maybe the variety. But we’ll take it no matter what it was!

Collards- Greens to keep you getting creative in that kitchen of yours! Pairs well with bacon, but what doesn’t?!

Hungarian Hot Wax Pepper- This is the little banana pepper in your box. Technically the Hungarian Hox wax peppers are a hot pepper, but they are the most mild of all hot peppers. Occasionally you will get one that packs a little punch, they can vary in heat, but are a nice CSA box hot pepper that really isn’t all that hot.

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Our farm puppy, Leche (7 months), sits in the driver seat of the pick up truck while we harvest celery;)  I tried to tell him to go chase some rabbits, but he prefers the cushioned seat.  

Recipes

Gluten Free Eggplant Parmesan

Collard Greens, Cornmeal and Sausage Soup (Sopa de Fuba)

Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Casserole

 

July Twenty-Eigth

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In late July I am reminded that the farmers are not always in control. I am reminded to find the beauty amidst the chaos. There is order in the disorder. There are so many divine players in the field working their own magic that remind Adam and I that we only have so much control. When Mother Nature is your partner, you are at her mercy at all times.

The fields were once beautifully manicured at one point in the season. It becomes a little more apparent later in the season all that we are not able to keep up with. The crops are looking good, but there are places where the weeds have put up a very good fight. Due to periods with not enough helpers or too many plantings to keep everything perfectly weeded, some areas of the farm begin to look less orderly. It’s a bit like parenting, where the house is a mess, but the sounds of children playing and the smiling faces of your healthy children make it all okay. Or when you do your best as a parent to teach your values, but they are not perfectly reflected in the actions of your children every time, but rather it requires a big-picture perspective.

On the whole, the CSA boxes are being stuffed full with a glorious bounty of summertime goodies. We receive positive and encouraging notes from many of you via e-mails, while we still struggle on a daily basis to keep up with the all-too-many tasks at hand. I am the sort of person who loves a clean house. Clean windows, floors, ledges, and bathroom with all of the laundry folded and put away. I also love clean rows of vegetables neatly trimmed around the edges and weeded down the rows. But there is only so much we are humanly capable of keeping up with, with the time, energy, help and budget available to us.

We were able to get our raccoon fence up last week just as we were realizing that sweet corn was nearing time for harvest. We saw that the raccoons had beaten us to this realization and had been sampling the sweet corn for a few days already while we were distracted with our garlic and onion harvesting. We estimate that they took out about half of our first planting of sweet corn. While we had hoped to give 6 ears per member this week, we only had three per member. We put up four lines of electric fencing wire all the way around the sweet corn patch and have had good luck at keeping the raccoons out the last few years using this method. No amount of dogs or radios or traps can keep them from the delicious field of sweet corn, they are too crafty and too many and find their way in no matter what- but will stay away from an electric fence! We will keep the fence maintained over the course of the next few weeks as sweet corn season comes to fruition!

The crafty raccoons have also found our watermelon field. We haven’t seen them eat watermelons in the past, but there is clear evidence that they are having fun sampling them after dark. We plan to keep a close watch on the melon field from this point on and harvest anything that looks like it’s sizable and ripe enough to pick. The good news is that melon season is also beginning! Let’s hope we can keep the wildlife out of the fields!

While an ariel view of the farm may not look like a meticulously manicured city garden, the crops are looking amazing! We’re seeing gorgeous greens, celery, and a very bountiful cucumber harvest. We’re very happy to be keeping the deer out of many of their favorite fields. Next week we’re hoping to share carrots with you and the carrots are looking amazing! The tomato plants look healthy and are filling out with loads of green tomatoes. The eggplants and sweet pepper field look healthy and strong as well! There are still many more weeks of gorgeous and bountiful harvests to share!

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Soooo….What’s in the Box????

Celery- Another fine giving of some of that great Wisconsin celery! Local celery has a stronger celery flavor and a deeper green color that your standard California celery. Keeps best in a plastic bag in the fridge. We hope you find ways to love and appreciate this cooling, alkalizing vegetable that is so lovely in your summer salads and soups! We snack on ‘Ants on a Log’ at our house!

Cucumbers- 6-9 cucumbers per member this week.

Zucchini and Summer Squash- 3-4 squash per member. Zucchini and summer squash prefer a 50 degree storage temperature which can be a tricky temp to find in your home. The fridge is a little too cool and the counter is a little too warm, so we recommend using them up or pick your preferred storage zone.

Beets- 1-2 large beets. Large beets! The big beets are a result of a thinner stand of beets, they had more room to grow and expand and less competition from other beets. We found that they were not woody and very lovely to cook with! Check out the black bean and beet burger recipe below!

Broccoli and Cauliflower- 2-3 pieces per member. We tried to make sure everyone got both a broccoli and a cauliflower, and when the pieces were smaller, you may have received three pieces. Broc and cauliflower prefer cold storage in a plastic bag to keep it fresh. It’s very simple and healthy to steam broccoli and cauliflower and toss with a little butter for dinner!

Green Curly Kale- Keeping you stocked in healthy cooking greens when growing fresh salad greens is tricky in the peak season which is the hottest part of the summer when salad greens are difficult to grow.

Sweet Corn- 3-4 ears per member. The first succession of corn that the coons were dipping into so we picked them now! These ears are on the smaller side but the kernels are sweet and crispy! Corn prefers very cold storage or the sugars will turn to starch and are not as sweet. Sweet corn should be eaten as soon as possible after picking for peak flavor and sweetness!

Onion- We’re finally getting into picking onions! For your every dish! Does not require refrigeration.

Garlic- German White. This garlic is not fully cured yet. When garlic is this fresh, you will notice that the membrane around the cloves is still very thick and not a thin dry layer yet. It may look and feel differently when you’re peeling your cloves for dinner.  

Lettuce- One smaller head of lettuce per member this week. It is quite difficult to grow lettuce in the heat of the summer like this. We try to choose bolt resistant varieties which do perform quite well, but this the last of the lettuce for a bit until our fall plantings start to come on.

Next Week’s Best Guess- Cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, zucchini and summer squash, garlic, onions, celery, broccoli and cauliflower?, sweet corn, melons? Eggplant, swiss chard

Recipes

Asian Spicy Sesame Cucumber Salad

Quinoa Black Bean and Beet Veggie Burger

Cucumber and Celery Salad with Tuna

Greek Yogur Cucumber Sauce

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July Twenty-First

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The farm is so busy, so alive, so vibrant. The helpers come in rhythm each week to help us get the work done bringing their stories, their laughter, and their own struggles. We all show up day after day ready for more. We are here to work and learn and grow and gather and to inspireone another. We remind eachother why it is we are doing this work. It takes grit and endurance and perseverance to show up ready and willing for more each week!

All of the planting and weeding we did all Spring is finally paying off. We are harvesting truckload after truckload of gorgeous vegetables every day now. The first succession of cucumbers has peaked while the second succession is just coming on now. We harvest cucumbers every two days. We were talking over dinner about how wonderful the broccoli and cauliflower harvest is right now and how it might have looked differently had we not irrigated through the drought we had in June. Even the zucchini and summer squash plants are cranking out hundreds of fruits. My are we blessed! Even the rain has been timely and plentiful. A little more than 5 inches fell last Wednesday which was a little more than we would have liked, but not major damage was done.

Garlic harvest has been taking up a large portion of the crew time outside of our regular harvests. We are busy pulling all of the garlic and getting it into a dry storage room where we use fans and dehumidifiers to get the garlic to dry down as quickly as possible to get the curing process under way. I wish I could give you a sensory experience of the garlic drying room which smells deliciously of a spicy and earthy garlic aroma unlike anything else you could imagine. The fans are circulating air and they would blow your hair all around you. If you stood in there with a skirt with your hair down you would feel like a garlic goddess rising up from a long winter slumber.

Garlic is unique in that it is one of the very few crops that we save our own seed for. We have been re-planting the same varieties for the last 15 years of seed we got mostly from Adam’s brother who was also a garlic farmer. We know our varieties intimately and have developed something of a relationship with them calling them by name and discussing their familiar growing habits and recalling years of bounty and years of scarcity. Garlic seeds (which are actually individual garlic cloves) are planted in the fall and then mulched with 6-8 inches of corn fodder blanketing them for their winter’s slumber. They emerge in the Spring slowly and confidently like waking dragons reaching for the sky.

Garlic requires several steps of handling which is why it is expensive to buy in the stores. It must be planted and mulched before winter and then weeded, scaped, harvested, cured and then cleaned and prepared for sharing. All of these steps must be done on time and with care to ensure that everything turns out looking sizeable and presentable. We are excited to start sharing it with you in the coming weeks! We know you’re going to love the porcelain varieties with huge cloves as much as we do. They’re wonderful for cooking with as you don’t have to spend hardly any time peeling enough for dinner as one or two cloves is more than enough, even for the garlic lovers.

The beet harvest this week was proof that our efforts at keeping the deer away are a success. Joe and Sam put up a very sturdy and impressive deer fence all around fields 1-7 this year. Interestingly, deer LOVE beets and swiss chard which we have been successful so far at keeping them off of this season. It feels good to grow beautiful crops and not have them taken out by deer this season. We see their hoof prints around the perimeter of the fields with deer fencing, so they’re certainly still there, but only getting sniffs this year rather than beets, carrot tops, lettuce, and swiss chard that they love.

Here’s to a continued season of bounty and success!

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Sooo….What’s in the Box????

Celery- This is some of the nicest celery we have grown in years. The celery really loves all of the rain we have gotten this summer, it was also watered through the drought. It’s hard to compare it to California Celery which is fatter, juicier stalks, but check out the very nice green color and the FLAVOR or this local celery! Will keep best in a plastic bag in the fridge. Our kids had “Aunts on a Log” right away after harvest this week! We also snuk it into a very cruncy potato salad. Very fun!

Beet- One Giant Beet per box this week. We were going to give two beets this week, but we had to start cutting items because we couldn’t fit it all in the box! More next week! Use your beet greens like swiss chard and your beet root will keep best in a plastic bag in the fridge.

Lettuce x 2- Two heads of lettuce per member this week. You may have received either red or green leaf lettuce this week. We are loosing some of our lettuce now to the heat of the summer. We’ll see how the plantings hold up in the heat this week for future givings!

Lacinato Kale- The lacinato kale looked so good this week, we just HAD to share it. Lacinato is also called ‘tuscano kale’ or ‘dinosaur kale’, but no matter what you call it, it’s my favorite! Keeps best in a plastic bag in the fridge.

Cucumbers- 4-5 Cucumber harvest is strong and bountiful this season. There are more cucumber succession coming on, so dust off your cucumber recipes! We really like to juice them and add a little maple syrup to sweeten up the watery, alkaline juice. The kids even love it that way if they’re piling up on you!

Zucchini and/or Summer Squash- 6-7 squash per member this week. Zucchini and summer squash prefer 50 degree storage temperatures. A refrigerator is a little too cool and a countertop is a little too warm. We suggest you use them up as soon as you can because there will be MORE next week. Zucchini also freeze very well. You can just grate them with a cheese grater and stuff the grated zucchini into ziplock bags and then you have freshly grated zucchini stored for your winter muffins, zucchini bread, or to sneak them into your fritattas and casseroles!

Broccoli and/or Cauliflower- Either two broccoli and a cauliflower or three broccoli per box. The broccoli and cauliflower are producing really nice right now. Keeping up with the every-two-days harvest is tricky. After picking we hydro-cool broccoli and cauliflower and then ice them in the cooler to keep them as cold as possible to store them until packing. You will want to get yours home and into the fridge to keep them cool as soon as possible!

Green Bunching Onions- We are getting to the end of scallion season. Once we finish up garlic harvest we will move onto onion harvest which is always a very big project. We had the trim the tops this week to fit them into the box.

Basil- Absolutely stunning basil. I love how on the first harvest the leaves are silky smooth and nearly blemish-free. We’re going to try to keep the basil harvest coming, especially once tomatoes start hitting a few weeks!

Next Week’s Best Guess- Beets, celery, zucchini, summer squash, cucumbers, bunching onions/onions, broccoli, cauliflower, green curly kale, lettuce, basil?

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Recipes

Broccoli with Feta and Fried Almonds

Simple Roasted Beets with Feta

Gluten Free Zucchini Pizza Crust

Zucchini Bread Pancakes

Vegetable Pajeon (Korean Scallion Pancakes) Carrots, Zucchini, Kale, Green Onions