FARM NEWSLETTER // WEEK 4
I hope you all had a great week and weekend!! I'm coming to you live from the farm here this morning- sorry that I wasn't able to get my newsletter out yesterday! This is one of those weeks were everything has to happen all at once ;) Which is not always necessarily a bad thing...
We have some really exciting news… CORN!!!! SERIOUSLY!!! Guys, this is as early as it’s ever been for us. The ears are still fairly small but they’re nice developed cobs. The kernels are fairly small, which is desired by most. I do have to say, I know people who like it really large and developed, and others who like it smaller and more young. I’m sure we’ll see that this season too—but right now they’re pretty small!
Smaller kernels and younger corn usually equates to a naturally sweeter taste. As the cob grows and ages, the sugars in the kernels will transform into starches. But like I said, both are desirable. I'd also like to mention because this is harvested and delivered to you immediately, I hope you're in for a surprise when you get ULTRA FRESH corn!!
Insert: Scrunchy face and little pinching fingers motions...
Look at these babies!! This is a close up of the melon plants. Look at this tiny little muskmelon- it's love at first sight!! <3 There are a lot of flowers on these plants and they're looking great. It was fairly hard to find a lot of melons this size- just developing- but there will literally be THOUSANDS coming out of this singular patch, God willing. I also told you I'd send you another picture of the melon patch from above so you can see what it looks like/ how much it's branched out with their runners.
As you can see from this picture- it looks like they're filling in very nicely. We can't see almost any of the black mulch whereas before you could see just a couple plants popping through. Ben went through and cultivated it just in time- right before the vines started criss-crossing in the rows. He is so in tune with when things need to get done, yet operates with little records. Outside of seeding of course. The different things like cultivating, weeding onions, tying the tomatoes (with twine on the steaks for support), are all things that he just has to know when they happen- because that fluctuates from year to year for every variety. It's seriously amazing!!
For those of you who purchased Honey Shares, we will be getting them to you not this week, but the following week (starting July 19th). For those of you who are wondering what the honey shares are, we do offer them in the fall again. I’ll be sure to post about it then, but just a quick tidbit is that there are two options for “Shares” of honey from the farm. Small or large package basically- one includes honey sticks too! I have a link here I'll add just in case you want to check it out. Like I said we'll open up sales for the honey packages again in a month or so :) Become a CSA Member - Brown Family Farm (brownfamilyproduce.com)
I had a question raised about substitutions this week so I figured this would be a good place to share this information as well-
There are substitutions when necessary. For example- we had gone out and assessed the radish patch and thought we'd have enough for all of our Family & Jumbo Shares this past week. We ended up getting about half way through the week before we ran out of the radishes. The entire first patch was hurt by the super hot and dry spring, they didn't germinate well. (Since then we've re-seeded and plan to be able to offer the red radishes within a few weeks I'd guess).
We thought we were going to have enough, but we didn't. Instead of just excluding them, we decided to supplement in their place. The pickle patch is just barely starting to produce. So it wasn't enough to include on the CSA list anyways but we had picked a couple of bins and thought- hey this would be a perfect surprise (instead of a lacking disappointment). So we'll continue to try and assess our harvests accurately, but in rare cases we supplement with a different variety from the farm. I would estimate this happening a few times this season, it's not frequent.
PLEASE HELP ME WELCOME OUR GUEST!!!
Kristen is a registered dietician and will be helping to shed some insight into the food we're enjoying together. She spent the farm season with us last season too and shared so many fun facts and interesting connections which really cemented the idea "you are what you eat". We are THRILLED to welcome her back!! :D
We went through a list of certain topics this past winter and I think we've chosen some super fun interesting ones to chat about together. I LOVE learning. As someone who was raised without a farming background I can tell you that everything I know came from our friends and family, fellow farmers and books! I am always asking questions and digging deeper for answers because it's in my nature (fortunately or unfortunately.. both apply in different circumstances haha!).
"Hello there! I am so happy to be back this season to share various nutrition topics with fellow CSA members of the Brown Family Farm! If you weren’t here last year, I’d like to introduce and share a little bit about myself. My name is Kristen, and I am a registered dietitian, wife, and mom of two! The joys of my life surround my kids and all the chaos that comes with working full-time and managing a family and their activities. This past year has taught us a lot about living each day to the fullest and we're grateful to have participated in our normal activities like dance, horse lessons, and swimming. During our year of tighter restrictions, we also explored new areas of interest and had more time with our kids - which is something I will always be grateful for.
I was introduced to the The Brown Family Farm CSA program at my place of employment a few years back, and decided to split a share with my supervisor; I could not have been more happy with that decision! The weekly share allowed me to explore new varieties and expand my palate for certain vegetables. How to properly store, prepare, and combine new varieties with other foods challenged me in the kitchen, and led me to become a more adventurous cook! I’ll be honest though, making a change to family favorites is not always welcomed as there are nights that my kids won’t try the new recipe, but that is real life with littles!
Since the end of last season we have been looking forward to the start of a new one. Our home garden is small, but thriving, and I get so much joy from watching my kids learn about where our food comes from, and the importance of each variety we plant. The CSA helps to enhance that teaching, and encourages the kids to try something new each week! Not only are we all enjoying fresh favorites, I am also loving the opportunity to research further into my own nutrition interests, expand my professional knowledge, and implement new habits, recipes, and ideas into everyday life; and hopefully yours too!
I look forward to this season with you and Brown Family Farm; cheers to a healthy season ahead!"
Seriously guys- I adore Kristen. She is such a sweetheart and so helpful and knowledgeable!! I look forward to sharing blog posts from her throughout the season. It isn't every week- but every couple weeks you will see a new topic online (which will also be posted to the blog newsletter to let you know!)
THIS WEEK'S CSA SHARES:
The Jumbo & Family Shares can expect: Sweet corn!, fresh beets with green tops, zucchini, pickles/ slicers, green beans and kale!
The Single Shares can expect: Sweet corn!, fresh beets with green tops, zucchini, green beans and kale!
For the corn I'd like to make sure to tell you all that we do have a normal standard quantity for each share size. The Jumbo Shares will each get a dozen ears, the Family Shares get a half dozen, and the Single Shares will get 3 ears. Remember that we're trying to plan our harvest for the # of folks that your Share sizes are intended for. I.e. the smallest share size we offer is usually for 1-2 people, hence 3 ears of corn. If there is ever anything you want to order extra of, feel free to shoot me an email.
Beets with greens are a very special treat! At this time of year there will be some scarring from the weather, insects, wind etc. but the greens are still firm and happy- great to use in your meals- I'll add some recipes this week to the blog too!! Towards the end of the season, you won't ever see the beet greens (in most cases). That's because at the end of the season the greens have been through a lot- and they don't have the integrity and form they do when they're young. BEETS WILL STAIN EVERTHING. Seriously. Because using fresh beets can be challenging for some I have copied and pasted the handbook page on beets (though there is more info in the handbook about the beets too).
To store: If your beets still have greens attached, cut them off, leaving an inch of stem. Keep the greens unwashed and refrigerated in a closed plastic bag. Store the beet roots, with the rootlets (or "tails") attached, unwashed, in a plastic bag in the crisper bin of your refrigerator. They will keep for several weeks, but their sweetness diminishes with time. So try to use them within a week.
To prep: Just before cooking, scrub beets well and remove any scraggly leaves and rootlets. If your recipe calls for raw beets, peel them with a knife or a veggie peeler, then grate or cut them according to the recipe. To remove the skins, you can roast them in foil or boil them, and the peels will eventually come right off.
To cook: Beets are delicious, grated raw into a salad. Or slice them into finger-size sticks and eat raw with dip. Cube beets into a veggie stew. Serve sliced, steamed beets at room temperature tossed in olive oil with a dash of salt and pepper, or a simple vinaigrette. Some people say that they don’t like beets because of the flavor, but some of us love them for that earthy tone. There are a lot of recipes to disguise beets if you’re not a fan of the flavor, and I encourage you to keep trying them! :)
When the list says: pickles/slicers that means that you'll be getting cucumbers in some capacity. I do have a chart that I record all of the variations on though, so please know that if you're getting pickles this week, you'll likely be getting slicers the following week. Sometimes it's BOTH! Just depends on where we're at in the season of harvesting the cukes- there is some serious ebb and flow.
*******Pickling cucumbers have thin, lighter skin than slicers. They can be used for pickling or anything the slicing cucumbers would be used for. Including slicing and using on salads, or even just crunching into the pickle (skin and all) as a snack.
I added this picture here to showcase the sizes that pickles can be harvested at. When we go out into the fields, we are picking everything that’s larger than 4 inches. Some pickles can grow 3 inches overnight (yes, literally), so we harvest these literally every other day all season long, otherwise they get really large really fast.
To use: Eat cucumbers raw in sandwiches or salads. Try cucumber rounds topped with vegetable, goat cheese, egg, or tuna salad, or simply sprinkle with salt. Use cucumbers in chilled summer soups.
Handling: Pickling cucumbers aren’t usually peeled. The seeds are generally small, and the pickles (sometimes referred to as chubs), will be a variation in size between 3-6 inches on average. If the seeds are bulky, slice the pickle lengthwise and scoop them out.
******Slicing cucumbers have a larger circumference with dark green skin. Because they are thicker, they are not usually suitable for pickling. See the picking cucumber info below.
To store: Put cucumbers in a sealed plastic bag in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator for up to a week. Keep them far away from tomatoes, apples, and citrus which accelerate their deterioration.
Handling: Slicing cucumbers are often peeled. Pickling ones are not. If the seeds are bulky, slice the cucumber lengthwise and scoop them out. Scoring the skin of a cucumber with a fork or zester gives it attractive stripes. Slice, dice or cut into chunks according to recipe.
To use: Eat cucumbers raw in sandwiches or salads. Try cucumber rounds topped with vegetable, egg, or tuna salad, goat cheese, or simply sprinkle with salt. Use cucumbers in chilled summer soups. Slice up cucumbers and drop into a pitcher of water to make cucumber water.
GREEN BEANS! Guys, these might be on my top 10 list of veggies from the farm... they take forever to harvest, lol, but they're SO GOOD!! I imagine many of you have stories from past times of picking beans, so you know what I mean when I say it takes a while. They are so tasty and can be used in so many good dishes- if they make it that far!
I've got to sign off here to get back to outside chores today. Piggies, chickens, cleaning bins and organizing- I am actually wildly thankful for my time spent cleaning, lol. I spent my birthday evening doing laundry. Yeah I promise I'm fun at parties too- but sheesh all I wanted for my birthday was to have time to do my laundry. LOL Tis the season :P We are very thankful to be as busy as we are!!!
I hope you all have a fabulous rest of your weekend!!
Stay well friends, ~The Farmer's Wife