FARM NEWSLETTER // WEEK 5
We are coming into our 5th week of CSAs together, and it’s been a lot of fun so far! :)
This upcoming week we will be sending out the honey orders, so if you signed up you will receive your “Share” of honey which is delivered alongside your CSA share this week. Depending on the boxes we may or may not be able to fit the honey into your share box, but it’s looking like everyone will need to get a separate box/bag because there is going to be A LOT in these boxes! It’s like packing a tetris puzzle into a CSA Share box.
Check out the farm this morning- it was very foggy and super cool!
A special thank you from the food shelf for those of you who have donated shares over the past few weeks! They’ve told us many times that having the farm fresh veggies to offer their clients is very important and that they’re happy to see so many fresh donations. So far this season we’ve donated over 500 pounds of fresh produce, which includes the CSAs you donate and also veggies from us.
The broccoli is SO close! We aren’t putting it on the harvest list for this week because right now there is a lot of fluctuation in their growth. Some are the size of a small dinner plate and some are the size of a quarter. We aren’t sure why we are seeing such variation, but I figure the heat has something to do with it. The heat is really messing with a lot of our veggies right now..
The heat has caused the cilantro to mature into coriander. Fun fact! When cilantro goes to seed, it is then called Coriander! It's a completely different herb basically because it doesn't taste like cilantro at all in my opinion. We would offer coriander but the problem is that it never got a chance to grow before going to seed. So it’s TINY! So we will be reseeding the cilantro in hopes to get it to harvest during tomato season. Cilantro is a heated discussion around our house.. Some people love cilantro (me!!) and others think it tastes like soap (Farmer Ben!!).
Brussel sprouts also took a hit with the heat. We lost a fair amount of them but Ben is hopeful to get enough to harvest so we can still add them to your CSA Shares. We would re-seed them but Brussel sprouts take longer to grow than anything else we have at the farm- 110 days from seed to harvest. At this point if we reseeded they wouldn’t ever make it to harvest. It has been so HOT and DRY! Check out the cracks here in the soil..
The watermelons are looking GREAT! Though they are getting to be a good size, they’re still about a month away from ripening. If you stopped at a farm stand over the holiday weekend, you may have seen melons and sweet corn. Neither of those were grown in MN, guaranteed. Unless they were grown in a greenhouse, but they’d have to charge an arm and a leg to make a buck on a greenhouse watermelon because of the expenses going into it. Anyways- just trying to explain that our melons are not behind- but the other melons around right now are not grown here in MN.
We grow produce almost exclusively for our CSA Shares (95%) and secondly for the farm stand (5%). The commitment to our CSA is fulfilled before we consider sending veggies to the farm stand. Today was the first day of the stand!! We only have our own veggies or things sourced from local farms, like the blueberries for instance. The farm stand is at Johnson's Hardware Hank in Zimmerman and we're open there from 9-6 on Fri & Sat, and 9-5 on Sundays. We will run the stand through the end of September, or whenever the frost allows us to.
Ben said the grape tomatoes are out of control. We’ve tried tying them a few times to support the plants, but the plants are growing so tall and so fast that we can’t keep up with them! They're even bigger than the tomato stakes now. He said these are now “free ranging” grape tomato plants haha! Looks like we will have lots of those beauties to share though, which are always one of our favorites around here! We love all the veggies, but the snacking veggies are awesome. These are the kind of snacks that you just rinse off and eat- no prep needed :)
Lastly, we have some severe weather coming this evening into tomorrow. If you pray, please do so for the farm! Or send good vibes, whatever you can do we appreciate <3 The national weather service has said that they are declaring a “moderate” risk of severe thunderstorms. To me, I’m thinking well moderate isn’t anything to be alarmed at right? But every state has their own guidelines, just like the feds do. So moderate to us means one thing, but to the national weather service it means something totally different.“Moderate” risk of severe thunderstorms has not been issued since 2014, with only one other occurrence in the last decade. So tonight has the potential for some crazy weather for sure. Stay safe friends and remember to button down the hatches before laying down tonight!
In the Jumbo & Family Shares this week: SWEET CORN! Yukon Gold potatoes, Pickles, Zucchini, Green Beans and Sweet Peppers!
In the Single Shares this week: SWEET CORN! Yukon Gold potatoes, Slicers, Zucchini, Green Beans, and Sweet Peppers!
We decided to alternate the slicers and pickles on a week to week basis for everyone. That way you can use them in recipes instead of getting just one or two of each kind and not being able to purpose them in any way except slicing and eating them with salads. This way- you’ll be able to make refrigerator pickles, or creamy cucumber salad (my two absolute favorite ways to enjoy these varieties!). OK now for my pickle ranting… There is a difference between pickles and slicing cucumbers. Slicers have a thicker skin that usually has a waxy texture. The pickles have a thinner skin, which makes them an ideal snacking cucumber. We don’t ever peel our pickles unless we are making refrigerator pickles. The seed cavity in pickles is smaller than in cucumbers. In cucumbers, when they get larger in diameter they can be watery and get soft a bit faster. Pickles can also be very large in diameter, and their center cavity will have the same characteristics. So in some ways they’re the same, and in other ways they are specific to their purpose! The reason you pickle pickles and not pickle slicers is because of the smaller seed cavity. They keep their texture and crunch better.
We will be including a variety of sweet peppers this week. That could be green bells, yellow bells, purple bells, gypsy peppers or banana peppers! The reason we are adding a "variety" is because none of them are ready in large enough quantities to provide everyone the same kind. Within the next week or 2 we will have so many peppers we will be able to provide everyone with the same peppers in a week time span, and then transition to a different variety the following week. Here are the purple peppers below!
SWEET CORN!! This is just the beginning, but we are so excited to offer this!! For quantities: Jumbo Shares will get a dozen ears, Family Shares will get 6 ears, and the Single Shares will get 3 ears. For this first week, I’ll just suggest that you enjoy it in the traditional way because I know it’s been a long time since we’ve had any really good sweet corn! When you boil your water, you can add salt to the water. Some people even add a TBSP of butter to the water for cooking the corn. One thing to keep in mind is that as the corn ages the sugars will convert to starch. So if you can enjoy it the first couple of days it will have better flavor than if you wait a week and then cook it up. When we get rolling into the season we’ll talk more about how to use corn outside of just corn on the cob :)
Here is a link to preparing sweet corn in 4 different ways: https://www.tasteofhome.com/article/how-to-cook-sweet-corn/
We grew SO many green beans! We are harvesting a half dozen bushels a day right now. The kids we have working for us haven’t even picked the whole patch yet because it has taken so many hours! I wonder if some of you have (fond) memories of picking beans as kids? I know that’s kind of a childhood pastime for many. It’s hard work but so rewarding! My favorite recipe really isn’t a recipe but more of a technique because I do this with a few different varieties of produce not just the beans. In short: snap off the end of the bean that was attached to the plant and rinse them off. Add a half cup of water to a stir fry pan. Bring to a boil and add the beans, cook for a couple of minutes (basically steaming them). Then pour off the remaining water and add a tbsp. of oil, get to temperature. Add a tbsp. of minced garlic and cook for another 5-6 minutes on medium heat. Then I finish it with a spritz of lemon juice because I LOVE the citrus with beans.
Zucchini is one of the varieties you’ll see for a lot of the summer. I know zoodles were super popular for a long time. You’d have to have a spiralizer for the zucchini to make the zoodles though. I had a hosting member Kelly send me a picture of her zucchini that she air fried with some breading and it looks AMAZING! So I added a picture here for your inspiration. Zucchini is almost as versatile as a potato. You can grill it, bake it, broil it, make it into zoodles or shred into fritters or baked goods, among a LOT of other ideas too. For us, a quick supper always starts with a stir fry. I add the potatoes first with some extra virgin olive oil, cook for a few minutes and then add the peppers, onions, or whatever else you want to throw in there, with the zucchini being added right before taking it off the heat. That way they still have a texture and don’t get mushy.
Remember that every size of zucchini has a different purpose too. Smaller ones are generally more tender, but because we’re harvesting these fresh for you- they’re almost all tender. Up until we get to the monster ones that are a foot long and 3 inches across. It’s important to embrace everything that comes in your CSA. Some weeks you’ll see small ones that you want to grill in a foil packet, and sometimes you’ll see larger ones that you want to bake with. Zucchini is super easy to freeze too. So if it's too hot to do any baking, you could always prep some for the off-season. Simply shred it and squish out the air, put it in a zip lock bag and label it with a date. Personally, my go-to bread recipe calls for 3 cups of shredded zucchini. I know that once I take it out of the freezer a lot of the water separates during the defrosting, so I end up adding about 3.5 cups of zucchini to each zip lock bag so they’re pre-portioned for the winter when I'm ready to do more baking.
Yukon gold potatoes are my absolute favorite. They have a rich yellow flesh that is great without even adding anything. They kind of taste like butter. Try boiling them and simply smashing them with a fork, add some S&P and wahlah! ;)
I hope you guys have an awesome weekend,
Thank you for the opportunity to grow for you & yours!! ~The Farmer’s Wife