FARM NEWSLETTER // WEEK 3
I hope you all have something fun going on for the big holiday weekend!!
First, I have to say I’m impressed by the number of you guys bringing back your boxes already, this is great that you’re in the routine already!!
Now that we moved to the new house, so did the bee colonies placed here by Honeycomb Acres out of Elk River. There are hundreds of thousands of honey bees here working hard to pollinate your produce, along with lots of the wildflowers. Mike & Julie said there were very pleased with the varieties of forage for the bees to enjoy!
In our mutual relationship, they are managing their colonies here at our property which supports produce pollination and we help them sell their honey through our CSA as “Honey Shares”! They have 2 packages, the honey sampler ($25) & the honey enthusiast ($40) that consist of a variety of honey products like all natural honey, creamed honey & honey sticks. If you’re interested in getting their honey alongside your CSA, please visit our website. For those wondering, we don’t profit off of the honey sales, we’re just the middle guys. We cut them a check for their honey, and then help distribute it & send it to you with your CSA share! :) This process also makes it easy for you to connect with all natural, raw local honey. It will be delivered the week of July 13th, with honey sales being closed off next Thursday. If you want to check out the packages, click here to be redirected.
We have been wondering about why we haven’t had any deer around… and now have a pretty good idea. After a stroll with mom & the girls we were on the back trail and came across a fawn rib cage. Nature is rough. We can only assume it’s coyotes in our area, as Ben & I have heard them in the past pretty frequently but haven’t ever seen any. Well, this makes sense as to why none of our fields have had any damage from deer… I think the coyote sign around here (marking their territory), is scaring the deer away.
Look!! We have tiny little tomatoes on! There are almost tomatoes on every single plant now, and they're looking very full. The plants really like the soil here. We still have a few weeks for them to grow to size and ripen, but it's coming! The grape tomatoes are also looking really good, but there aren't as many little ones on. Could be because there are 2-3x as many blossoms as the larger tomatoes. It's just how they grow, grapes are in big clusters. All of the 'maters are coming along nicely!
The zucchini are producing!! We actually harvested a couple cases today, and Ben said he is sure we will see 2 or 3 more tomorrow. To give you an idea of the size of our patch, on a normal day of good mid-season harvest we can get as much as 20 cases a day… When I say “case” I am referring to the 5/9th bushel box which is also called the family share CSA. That’s a lot of zucchini! We will be adding it into the CSAs as we are able next week, but will plan on offering it to everyone the following week. The harvest quantity will increase as time goes on, so while it's just gearing up right now we will provide what we can.
The melons are looking awesome!! We have so many little baby melons on right now!! Those are growing in the Big lake field (off of CR 15) because the sand there is very desirable for the melons, they love it. Ben says that because the melons are constantly drying out (sand is the most porous soil type and drains the best), that they go back and forth with being saturated and dry which concentrates the sugars and results in a very sweet melon. The muskmelon froze about a month ago, but those that did survive were planted, below is a picture from this evening. These ones look like nothing ever happened.
The spinach sucks. Sorry, I wish I could sugar coat it. This is part of the transparency with us & our CSA though, you’ll see the good, awesome, the bad and the ugly. We planted the spinach about 2 weeks ago and it’s gotten a good rain already. We’ve also irrigated it several times because of how hot it’s been. It bolted, which is the process of it going to seed. There are a select few plants that haven’t bolted, but most of the patch already has so we don’t expect to get a spinach harvest this spring. I believe this is comparable to the onions, this super hot & dry spring has put a lot of pressure on a lot of the veggies in the fields. We will be reseeding for fall, so you’ll be seeing that in a couple months if everything goes right :)
The cucumbers, zucchini, winter squash, peppers (pictured above), tomatoes, and so many more varieties are loving the heat. We’ve seen exponential growth over the last 3-4 days. There are SO many flowers out there waiting for the bees to come visit!
This week in the Jumbo & Family Shares you can expect: Kohlrabi, Peas/ Green Beans, Red buttercrunch, red romaine, kale and swiss chard.
In the Single Shares this week you can expect: Kohlrabi, Peas/ Green Beans, red buttercrunch, red romaine & collards.
NOTE: The reason it says peas/ beans is because we had planned on offering the peas for another full week but with this heat a lot of the delicate blossoms have died and fallen off. This heat has pushed our bean patch to start producing though, so that’s awesome!! We are sad to see the end of the peas but happy to see the beginning of the beans. You will receive one OR the other which depends on the harvest that morning. For all of our shares, we don’t have enough peas and we don’t have enough beans. The reason we don't have enough beans is because they're just starting. I will be making note of this week so that if this happens again in the fall we can alternate. We want everything to be as even as possible of course, but like I said we are just trying not to waste; using everything efficiently.
For your lettuces and greens, I want to remind you that the sooner you clean them up, the sooner you’ll eat them. Part of a CSA is making sure you’re eating as seasonally as the farm is producing. I would guess we have one more week of lettuces before we stop harvesting them (the heat will cause them to bolt). Enjoy them while we have them :) Sometimes it’s hard because we eat salads almost every day around here at this time. But when they’re gone, I’m sure we will all miss them. They are a very seasonal treat. Below is a picture of salads prepped by Amber last week when she got her share box.
For storage tips and recipe ideas for all the produce in your share this week, please visit your Farm to Table Storage Guide created by yours truly. Remember, instead of scrolling until you find what you want there is a short cut. Press the Control button (CTRL) on the bottom left of a keyboard and the letter F at the same time. Then type in whatever you're searching for and it will bring you there quickly.
Kohlrabi again!! This is the second week with kohlrabi, which is another one of the varieties that don’t like growing in the mid-summer heat. We are expecting to have green kohlrabi for you this week and then the following week we will have purple kohlrabi for you!! When they’re done, they’re done. We could try another planting of them this fall, but we do have a lot of other varieties to fit in too, so we’ll just have to see how the summer goes. It’s still on the table, pun intended..
Kale and swiss chard are similar but not the same. Kale is one of the most popular super foods right now and swiss chard is one of those delicacies only your fancy foodie friends use. WRONG! You can use it too, it’s rather simple actually. First decide, do you want to enjoy it raw or cooked? If raw, wash it & shred it for salads or smoothies. If you want to cook it, separate the leaves from the stems if the leaves are large (because you’ll cook them differently before putting it all together).
I had a friend last week send this picture of her greens to me. The caption was Kohlrabi leaves on the left and Collards on the right. They are both very porous, thick leaves. I would say swiss chard and kale also fall into this category. They’re in the ‘greens’ group that might be one of the hardest to tackle all season. I would try using a vinegrette on the greens instead of a creamy dressing like ranch. Add some slivered almonds, a spritz of fresh lemon juice, and maybe some crutons & cheese? I think an important part of the CSA is making sure you are getting into the habit of using what comes seasonally. It is about making habits and learning techniques, not just about following recipes. Of course that’s a good place to start, but just getting use to using them all is really important!
When kohlrabi are this small, you don’t necessarily have to peel them. When they’re larger and their skin is tough, I would definitely recommend peeling them. Depending on the season, at this time of year sometimes they’re larger than others. That’s why we give you all the tips, because we are eating seasonally together and each season provides something new, or even just different sizes of the same goodies. I love sharing this info with you all, it’s very special to me to connect you with the produce growing right down the road. Thanks for joining the CSA, we have a lot to look forward to!! Hope you have a fun & safe holiday weekend,
~The Farmer’s Wife