FARM NEWSLETTER // WEEK 2
Happy 4th of July weekend All!
We made it through our first week of CSAs and we've diving into week two, head first! I have to say, the kohlrabi this week are so tender, I ate one like a melon! Looking forward to adding that to your box this week, but first...
You'll notice here that we fit all of Monday's normal CSAs in either Tuesday or Wednesday. That was because we're trying to get you Monday'ers your veggies asap! I wouldn't like to give you a box Thursday and then have you pick up again on Monday, that's a lot of veggies in just a couple of days. Redistributing the CSAs earlier in the weeks really benefits everyone!
One of my most frequently asked questions is about the 4th of July. We WANT you to get your veggies, meaning that we don't cancel weeks just for a holiday. No matter what holiday it is! Labor Day will look very similar to this week, as that's also a Monday of course.
Since this is a holiday week and many of you are out of town, I want to give you some options in case you're not able to pick up. We can donate your CSA to the food shelf for you if you'd like, just shoot me an email and we'll make sure your veggies get there for another family in need. You're also welcome to offer your CSA to another friend or family member. Just make sure that if you send Aunt Joleen to pick up your CSA, she knows to look for your name on the box label.
Please give them as much instruction as possible. Fair warning, if you or anyone else takes someone else's CSA we consider it theft and you will be charged $50 to replace the other person's share which includes hand delivery. This happens every year, and it's always when someone else is picking up for our regular members. This is also one of the only ways to incur an extra cost while in our CSA, I can't stress it enough, please communicate with your guests and make sure they know what to expect when they arrive to your CSA pick up site! We appreciate your help!
With this week's redistribution of CSA sites we will do our best to get you your veggies on time, but please don't show up early, especially this week. We have more to harvest and more delivery sites to stop at. If you look at the handbook- it even says to expect to pick up an hour later than normal.
We've got peppers on, folks!!
The pepper plants are looking really great and they're basically weed free! They're planted on mulch but we still have to go through, and hand weed periodically. We're thankful we have enough hands-on deck to keep up with tasks like this! We're seeing a lot of small peppers and flowers on the plants, they look great! The bees are doing their job and buzzing around, pollinating all the flowers in the patch. Isn't it crazy that without any bees we literally wouldn't have a single "fruit" on the farm?! Really puts it into perspective how important they are. The same for all the cucumbers and zucchini, basically everything on the farm. Thank goodness for our pollinators!!
We got hail this week! Spoiler alert- don't worry!!
I couldn't believe it either. Farmer Ben is a jokester, so you never really know what to expect (or if he's being serious or not). So I'm down in Golden Valley delivering CSAs with Bob & Ben calls to say he had to send everyone else home for the day because we got a ton of rain and even some hail! As I'm in Golden Valley with blue skies and a cloud here or there... Ben was actually serious though, and he really did send everyone home!! Thankfully it was a very isolated small storm and didn't do any damage! (Except to our driveway, where you can tell a tsunami rolled through and ripped it up pretty bad).
Cultivating is the biggest job happening on the farm right now. We're in a happy zone, where we've got just about everything planted and the greenhouse is almost empty. The plants have irrigation running to them and they're all growing nicely. Now that the planting is done and it's not time for harvesting yet, we need to focus all of our energy on maintenance! Later this season you'll hear me talk about maintenance being thrown to the roadside, lol, because there are only so many hours in a day and we have to focus on harvesting.
Cultivating takes up a lot of Farmer Ben's day! There is a tractor implement that has tines that can be adjusted. He runs down the center of the rows and cultivates both sides of the plants, and then does that on every row all across the field. When it rains we can't cultivate because the weeds between the rows will just root themselves in again. So we had to wait for it to dry out a bit, and now he's on cultivating overload, lol. But like I said, if the ground is wet or there is rain in the forecast there isn't any reason to cultivate because you'll just have to do it again the next day to uproot all the pesky weeds!
Just a couple notes to make picking up go smoothly for everyone-
Please pick up within the time frame described. (This is in your handbook- every site has a different pick-up time frame). If you don't pick up within the time frame provided your CSA is considered forfeited. You're welcome to drive by and look to see if your box is still there, but please don't knock on your hosts' door and inquire about your CSA. We don't give them a list of Members there, so they'll literally have no idea who you are. My email and number are on every box label that we send out- please don't hesitate to reach out if you have questions or need to double check something!
Collapse your CSA Boxes! It seems weird to mention this but a lot of people will just make a stack of boxes and the host will have to collapse them for you. Please be mindful of your hosts willingness to provide a CSA pick up site and collapse your CSA boxes.
In your CSAs this week you can expect: Jumbo & Family Shares: Kohlrabi, Radishes, Green Romaine, Red Buttercrunch, Swiss Chard, Green Buttercrunch, and Onions! Single Shares: Kohlrabi, Green Romaine, Red Buttercrunch, Swiss Chard and Onions!
Let's start with the meaty part of your CSA box. The kohlrabi! This is a variety that many haven't tried, and those that have tried it usually like it a lot! It's a very mild "spice" and it serves as two veggies in one. I took a screen shot from the Farm to Table Storage Guide to show you here- this is the layout of the guide. It'll show you what it looks like, how it's used, where it comes from, what can be substituted with it, etc. THIS is where a lot of value of your CSA is and we encourage you to read up on all the goodies you're getting this season. We want you to get your money's worth and part of that is making sure you know what's coming in your box and how to use it (and enjoy it too!)
Radishes are coming in the Jumbo & Family boxes again this week. As many of you know, these are early season crops and we generally only seed radishes a couple of times throughout the season. Next week, we plan on adding them into the Single Shares again (because they're not getting them this week) and then there will be a while where you won't see them at all. If you're not a fan of eating them raw, another way I've found that I enjoy them is when I spice up our buffalo sauce. I'll dice them up and sauté the radishes with some onions and then add the buffalo sauce to the saucepan on the stove top so it all gets warmed up. The added veggies in my buffalo sauce makes for a killer chicken wrap!!
We've got a lot of greens coming for you again this week!! I feel like Ben & I take them for granted because it's salads every day... until there are none. Lettuces are a cool spring variety that don't appreciate the hot weather. They like the early spring and then the fall, but we usually don't plant them again for the fall because of how many other fall specific varieties we need to fit into your boxes! Think brussel sprouts, winter squash, apples, cabbage, etc.
We'll have lettuces to offer you for a few weeks tops, so please cherish these early spring varieties while we can enjoy them :D An easy way to use them as a centerpiece to a meal is to make something like a taco salad, cobb salad, orange chicken salad, etc. My point is, make sure to get your protein on top so it can be its own meal! A lot of folks like to make lettuce wraps too!! The large buttercrunch leaves are soft like spinach, very fluffy almost. It makes for awesome wraps because it doesn't rip and tear like romaine lettuce would.
**Make sure you're rinsing your lettuces really well!! No one wants a sandy salad ;)
Swiss Chard is coming in your CSA this week! This is actually in the beet family, and it's most recognizable because of it's brilliant colors!! The ribs can be either red, white or yellow/ orange, they're very colorful and make for a beautiful presentation if you're serving them raw. Even after cooking them, they still hold a bit of their color.
You're going to hear me talk about micro-prepping. This is the best kept secret of having a great CSA experience. When you get your CSA box home, make sure you're taking everything out and inventorying what you have on hand, what you will use tonight or tomorrow, and what you might need to store for a week. By taking it all out and deciding when you're going to enjoy these varieties, it's helpful to know what kind of prep work you could do in advance.
I admit it, I also procrastinate periodically. I've learned the hard way many, many times that it's easier to go into the fridge and use produce that's already cleaned up. t's ready for the salad bowl or frying pan! For me personally, I find that making our meal plans is 100X easier if I know what I'm making and prepping in advance. It's busy here on the farm, and every little thing I can do to plan ahead makes our lives so much easier!
To prep- remove the thicker stems by folding the leaves down the center and cutting out the stem. Stack several leaves on top of each other and slice into 1-inch wide ribbons.
Steam stem pieces 8-10 minutes and leaves 4-6 minutes. Or saute greens until tender in a covered pot or large sauté pan with olive oil, a pinch of salt, and garlic or onion. Serve cooked chard alone as a side dish or use them in soup or with pasta, beans, rice, or potatoes. Chard also goes great in stir-fries or in any recipe calling for spinach!!
Onions. One variety that I don't think I could live a single day without...
We use them in everything we cook. Even now, I have a whole gallon of frozen onions that I processed last fall. I bet I froze 5 gallons worth of onions last fall in addition to the onions we kept in the basement.
These are fresh onions, meaning that they have nice greens on them and they haven't been dried. At this time of year the bulbs are fairly small, bigger than green onions but not quite the size of a shallot. You'll literally never find these in a grocery store because their shelf life limits their retail $ potential, but fresh onions are a treat! We use the bulbs and greens separately for the most part. I even add finely chopped onion greens to my salads for an added punch.
HAPPY 4th OF JULY WEEKEND!!
I hope you all have something special planned with your friends and families! Don't forget to message me if you need to donate your CSA. A great way to remember your CSA pick up this coming week is setting a phone reminder, it's a busy time of year!! <3
We have greenhouse plants, pigs & chickens to care for so we don't go far from home but we always find some time to go to Grandma's house for her annual 4th of July picnic! We're looking forward to spending some of our time this weekend with friends and family, all the people we love!
Stay well Friends,
~The Farmer's Wife