I hope everyone is off to a great start to the weekend! This Wednesday is the 4th of July, which does affect a lot of our delivery routes for the week. We had to restructure the routes and pick up time frames so that we can make sure to get veggies to all of our CSA Members and no one misses out! I have a special 4th of July post with a full delivery schedule here!
Ben has been keeping busy harvesting and helping me wash produce for your CSA Shares. The harvesting does take up the majority of our mornings, but afterwards I leave the farm to go and deliver your produce to you, and Ben stays at the farm to continue working in the fields. It’s important to harvest each morning, this is how we get the absolute freshest produce to your kitchen table.
Ben has also been tilling this week. We have 2 push tillers, and one tiller that hooks to the back of the tractor. The one for the tractor is what we use before we plant, it’s large and with the tractor you can till an entire field relatively quickly. The push tillers (hand tillers) are what we use between the rows once they’ve been planted. To keep the weeds down, we hoe in between the plants and then till in between the rows. Hoeing in the rows (instead of tilling) would take about 5X as long so we’re glad to find this efficiency. The reason we have 2 push tillers is because the width of the rows changes with the produce varieties so having both sizes is necessary.
Tilling too much will disrupt the natural anaerobic soil environment which is where all the bio-organisms in the soil are creating the layers of soil health. While in our course through the Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) we learned that they have a resource where they assign point values to each farming practice, and that going above a certain point value would cause soil health to decrease. Tilling, harvesting, and even walking in the fields all have different point values. We pay attention to these things, so you don’t have to! :)
The varieties you can expect in your CSA Share this week: Sugar Snap Peas, Red Romaine, Red Buttercrunch, Baby onions, Kohlrabi, and either green buttercrunch or green romaine.
We also have a few varieties that are right on the fence, possibly even zucchini could be ready by Monday (we’ve had a lot of heat lately which will help!). If we don’t have zucchini for this upcoming Monday, we certainly will by the start of week 4 (July 9th).
So far this season, we’ve seen a lot of the fun early spring varieties and will soon be transitioning into the warm summer varieties. For example, Bok Choy, peas, strawberries, rhubarb, and a few other faves from the early season won’t be included anymore this season. We will have some lettuces this upcoming week, and maybe the week afterwards. Once it gets too hot outside, the lettuces start to change in flavor.
Sugar snap peas are something that everyone seems to enjoy. I hear fond memories from CSA Members who remember picking their own right out of the garden for a snack, or stringing peas with grandma on the porch. They are easy to enjoy raw and dipped in ranch, on a veggie platter (for the 4th of July potluck?), sliced and added to salads, or cooking with them in traditional stir-frys. You’ll want to use these peas within 4-5 days of harvest for best flavor. For storage, keep in a perforated bag in the fridge.
You’ll notice we have to put these little guys in plastic produce bags in your share, but that’s only because if we don’t they’ll fall through the little hole on the bottom. We don’t like using plastic bags and will avoid it if possible. We can't have the bags returned either, it's a safety issue unfortunately.
We’ve got a couple of new kinds of lettuces this week. You’ll notice that the red romaine has beautiful color, with deep red (almost purple) at the tips of the leaves and in the hearts it grows green! You’ll see- definitely a variety that’s easy to brag about to your friends! The red buttercrunch lettuce is similar in the coloring, it’s got green right in the heart and then the leaves have a brilliant reddish color. The difference is that the buttercrunch has a more spongey leaf, comparable to spinach. We’ll also have another green lettuce in this week, but we’ve only got a couple hundred of each kind so we’ll use a combo of both in our shares this week.
Lettuces are going to be one of the first things that spoils in your CSA Shares, so make sure you try to eat that first. A CSA Pro-tip that I always reference is making sure to prep your salads the same day you receive your CSA Share. That way, it’ll be super easy to come back to half way through the week and make a quick salad. If it’s not quick when you’re ready to eat, you’ll probably be less likely to eat the lettuces. When washing your lettuces, cut each leaf from the head and wash individually, running your fingers up and down the main vein on the leaf. Store washed lettuce in a plastic bag in the crisper with a dry paper towel at the bottom.
Baby onions! One of my favorites! We love onions in our house, raw and cooked, in everything we can fit them into. Sometimes we can even hide the onions in certain dinners and the kids don’t even know! Onions aren’t a produce variety that needs to be harvested when “ripe”, so we can pull them at whatever size we want. (Varieties that do need to be harvested when ripe: tomatoes, winter squash, & melons for example). You can eat the entire onion plant, even the greens. Cut off the roots and any part of the greens that are floppy (sometimes right at the tips of the leaves). Anything in-between is edible! For storage, don’t cut the greens off of the bulb because they'll get soft right away. Try to keep them unwashed in a plastic bag in the fridge.
The variety of the week is Kohlrabi!
Don’t be intimidated by kohlrabi if it’s not something that’s familiar to you. It’s different, but can be used in SO many traditional ways. It can often be substituted for potatoes. Because the greens and bulb can be used, it’s basically like two vegetables in one. Most people will just use the bulbs, but if you’d like to get adventurous the greens can be substituted in any recipe calling for cooking greens.
I would say most people that I talk with use the kohlrabi raw, slicing it and putting it on salads, adding the “sticks” to a veggie platter like celery, shredding it into slaw, or just slicing it like a cucumber and eating it raw. There are a lot of ways to incorporate this variety into dinner too, an easy idea would be slicing it, adding some oil and seasoning and putting it in tinfoil to put on the grill. It seems like a “fancy” variety because it’s not as commonly known as potatoes, but hopefully will be easily approachable for you and your family to enjoy!
Here are a couple of my favorite recipes:
Kohlrabi Fritters - shredded, made into a patty and baked or pan fried. Even the kids eat this one because they think it's potatoes, haha!
Kohlrabi Fries - A recipe that everyone can rally behind. French fries, using whatever seasoning you'd like!
Kohlrabi Slaw - I included this one thinking of the upcoming 4th of July this week, it could be a great potluck addition!
We've got a big week ahead of us folks! With the redistribution of CSA Sites for the adjusted holiday schedule, we're still hoping to get everyone their food!! Make sure to check out the holiday schedule (also posted to the blog) to make sure you know what day & time your CSA Share is available.
Have a wonderful & safe Independence Day!
~The Farmer's Wife