FARM NEWSLETTER // WEEK 4
I hope everyone had a great 4th of July weekend. Now we’re into the middle of July and we will start seeing a lot of new varieties soon. We are only about a week away from having corn- it seems like everything is getting ready so quickly now!!
CSA Shares are a reflection of what’s happening at the farm, so on a year to year basis you’ll see some fluctuation. Last season was our worst season, ever. It’s one of those that I think will follow us through decades of farming as a ‘worst case scenario”. This week for us (week 4) was the first week of our harvest last season. We had extensive flooding and we got hail 3 times, in 2 of the different fields. So to say it was terrible was an understatement. I think this makes us even more thankful for this season going so well and being in our new home. Just food for thought that I wanted to share, reflecting on last season brings a lot of light to this season!
The honey orders are going to be pushed back a week due to a couple of factors. First, our website had been down for a whole week, so no one was even able to make honey orders. Second, we have had more interest in the honey orders than was expected, so Mike & Julie need to make more creamed honey. What a problem to have <3 I am so happy so many of you are connecting with their honey- they have an amazing product and we have also been customers of theirs for years and have always been pleased with the quality product they provide.
The squash have set on super heavy- which is awesome! It looks like a bumper crop of winter squashes. This picture above shows the health of the plants moreso than the number of squash per plant, look at all those vines!! The spaghetti squash are doing very well too- which hasn’t always been the case in previous years. If they get too wet the outside will have brown spots that are about an inch across. This season, they are appearing to be blemish free thus far, which is what we want to see of course!
On a normal day to day, we have a small group of helpers that work elbow to elbow with us (not literally- we are distancing this season!). Ben has 2 helpers in the fields that help harvest your CSA produce right away in the morning of your delivery day. They start an hour earlier than my helper, who will work with me to wash or rinse the produce and pack the CSAs. After the harvest is done in the morning Ben and his helpers will make it out to the field for maintenance. That could be tying tomatoes, hoeing weeds, and this week in particular it was a lot of planting! We planted 10,000 plants this week I would guess. It started with the next rotation of cucumbers, zucchini, pickles, summer squash for the first couple of days, and then the end of the week was finished with planting lots of the cold crops like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, & cabbage. After the CSA shares are packed, my helper and I load them all into the delivery van and then I deliver them to you! It’s a pretty slick process from “field to fork” as many call it. We try and make sure everything is as fresh as possible!
Below is a picture of the brand new zucchini & cukes!
Over the past week we’ve gotten about an inch of rain. We are still very dry here but irrigating regularly. I’m worried to cut our grass, I don’t want to kill the lawn lol! It’s really yellowing in some spots, but we’ve got some rain in the forecast for early next week so that’s good. If it doesn’t rain, we will continue irrigating and monitoring. I just had a kiddo come in and tell me it's raining right now- LOL but looking at the radar there is no evidence of it continuing for long. (Still happy with any rain though!)
The muskmelon and watermelons are looking awesome! They’re getting bigger; but the most important thing to mention is their health. It looks like we will have a really good melon crop this season to share with you! Look at this little melon. They grow smooth, but shortly before they start ripening they will start getting that netting texture to the outside of the melon. It’s fun seeing them transition through their growing cycle. I am just so excited to have a super sweet muskmelon again!! We harvest them when they're ripe, not when they're almost ripe. Waiting for them to ripen means they have the best flavor but don't hold for a week on the counter like the ones from the grocery stores that are picked under-ripe.
This week in the Jumbo & Family Shares you can expect: red potatoes, zucchini, slicers / pickles, BLUEBERRIES, Kohlrabi, Lettuce and Collard Greens.
This week in the Single Shares you can expect: red potatoes, zucchini, slicers / pickles, BLUEBERRIES, Lettuce and Swiss Chard.
Yay!! Blueberries!! We partner with J&Q Fruit Farm in Princeton to buy their berries and give them to you! We know how precious these treats are so we will continue to work with Dan & his family to provide them to you! We are happy to support another local farm, they’re about 20 minutes away from us and have always had the best blueberries around!! This week is going to be a sweet one :)
Kelsi loves picking pickles from the pickle patch!! (Say that 10 times fast lol)!
When we list “Slicers/pickles” that means that we will be offering a combination of both, or you’ll see slicers one week and pickles the next. I have extensive charts that show who got what and when, so don’t worry about missing out on anything. We keep very good records so that you will see the same as everyone else. In some weeks when the harvest is super heavy, we will offer quantities of both. In some of the weeks, we will alternate them and maybe all of Monday’s pick up will get Slicers and Tuesday will get Pickles just as an example. It’s important for us to use everything that we harvest from the field, and keeping these thorough records helps us do that with your interests in mind too!! Check out all the flowers on the pickles below!!
Red Potatoes! These are a staple of course, and we expect to offer potatoes lots of times throughout the season. One thing that’s great about potatoes (and zucchini too) is that they are so versatile. You can bake them, broil them, grill them, boil them, mash them, make French fries, and SO many more options I can’t even list them all out. These are considered “new” potatoes. Which is because the skins are so thin. They are not hearty, thick skinned over wintering potatoes. The skins on these are so thin you can use your fingernail to brush them off. Which makes them quite the delicacy too- these are special because they’re really only available fresh from the farmer. A few months down the road those skins will start to thicken and harden in the natural process of a potato’s life cycle. You’ll see what I mean later on. Ben said the majority of the potatoes are roughly B sized, which is basically a medium sized potato. But you'll see fluctuations in size throughout the season, we don't sort them by size but they're all pretty close to each other.
Kohlrabi is coming in the Jumbo & Family Shares again this week, but this will be it for the kohlrabi. The purple kohlrabi has given us quite the hard time because it grows SO much slower than the green kohlrabi. We haven’t ever even grown purple so this is one of those learning curves for us. Now we know for next season to start them a couple weeks earlier. Anyways- this is IT!
Lettuces- this will be a combination of any lettuces that are out in the field. We have offered 4 different lettuces (red & green butter-crunch and red & green romaine). So in your CSA you will see at least one of those varieties in your share this week. Like I said last week about the lettuces getting too hot and being close to bolting… this is IT! The last of the lettuces for the season!
Woah, did anyone else just see us transition out of the spring crops and into the mid-summer crops? It happened fast! But if you pay attention to the duration and quantity of goodies you’re seeing in your CSA Share, you can notice that the cool temp varieties like radishes, peas, kohlrabi, lettuces, etc. are out and that the harvest induced by the heat is in. Zucchini, pickles/slicers, blueberries, potatoes; and even the peppers and corn are SO close to harvest! Lots of fun ahead of us this year! I love the transitions between seasons because it seems like the MN farming season actually has 3 separate sub-seasons. The spring, the summer and the fall. The varieties grown in the spring don’t usually grow as well in the summer or fall, and the same applies to the other seasons. We can grow some of the spring varieties in the fall because it’s cooler temps but that’s pretty risky because we never know when the first frost will come and wipe everything out.
We are thrilled with the varieties we are able to harvest and offer in your CSAs this week, and hope you enjoy them too!! Have a wonderful week,
~The Farmer's Wife