Farm Newsletter ** Week 11
Greetings All! I have so many exciting things to tell you this week! We JUST started harvesting watermelons!
That means you'll have WATERMELONS IN YOUR CSA THIS WEEK!! **But let me take a moment to clarify- they're not actually in your CSA box. This is something that sets us apart from many other CSA farms. There are a couple options for watermelons, we could grow a variety that produces small melons that fit into your box, only give you all of the small ones, OR we could just put them on the side of your CSA. We chose the latter. Even though this means we have 2 delivery drivers and twice the amount of hours delivering this week, we will always have the melons on the side because that's the best value to you. And honestly, how would we ever put tomatoes in your CSA boxes with watermelons ;P I'm not sure how other farms do it, but I know we chose the best option that fits our style and commitment to value!
So when you go to pick up your CSA this week you'll notice there will be bagged melons there for you. Jumbo Shares get 2 melons, and Family & Single Shares get 1 melon each. There will be signs there too so folks don't get confused. Please don't take more than you're supposed to, our entire CSA is on the honor system and it's worked well for us all :D
We grow red seeded, red seedless and yellow seedless melons! This week you'll get our crimson sweet melons which are a red seeded melon. Those ripen the fastest so they're the first one that we have enough of to give to everyone! :)
We have our Add-on deadline approaching soon! To be clear- this is ONLY for the Apple Shares, Fall Shares & Honey Shares. We'll have the extra stuff like tomatoes, corn, peppers, onions, beets (later in the season), etc. and that's available all the time; there is no deadline.
For the traditional Add-ons, the deadline is next Friday!
Almost 50% of our CSA Members buy Add-ons. The Apples are straight from the orchard and you'll never be able to get apples this fresh unless you go pick them yourself! But if you pick them yourself, you'll be paying 2-3 times what you'd pay for an Apple Share! It costs more to pick them yourself than to get the box from us. That's because we buy thousands of pounds at a time and we get a super good deal that we pass along. The boxes are a 5/9th bushel box (same as Family Share size) and they're $60 for the box. They come with week 14 of your CSA unless the apples aren't ready (that's only happened once since we started offering these, and we just delivered them week 15 instead).
**We plan to sell boxes of #2 apples for canning again this season as well. More on that when it's closer, and we'll only know how many # 2 apples after we sort all of our apple shares. We take the perfect apples for your Apple Shares and the imperfect apples are #2, good for canning or making pies! Or even just eating honestly.
Fall Shares are the bulk squash, carrots, onions, potatoes and beets share. It's 2-bushel boxes full of different fall crops and root crops and it's $115. The nice thing about the Fall Share is that it's a manageable amount of produce to take into the winter for many couples and families. It's 10# of red potatoes, 10# of russets, 10# of dried onions, 7# of beets, and 10# of carrots along with a big variety of the winter squashes! You'll see all the varieties in your Fall Share! These come week 15 & 16 with your CSA. You'll also get a special produce guide just for the Fall Share that explains how to store all of the root crops to have them last into the fall and winter! I just used my last dried onion from last year about a month ago.
The Honey Shares are the same as the ones we had this spring. They're $24 or $50 and have a variety of liquid honey, creamed honey and honey comb!
These are all available for purchase on the Add-on Store page.
THIS WEEK IN YOUR CSA YOU CAN EXPECT:
Jumbo & Family Shares: Watermelons! Muskmelon, Spaghetti Squash, Hot Peppers, Kale Zucchini, Thyme and Tomatoes!
Single Shares: Watermelons! Muskmelon, Spaghetti Squash, Kale, Thyme and Tomatoes!
Watermelons hold better than muskmelons! These watermelons could actually sit on your counter for 2 weeks and still be great. I just wanted to mention that because of my explanation of muskmelons last week. Muskmelons shelf life is terrible but they're so sweet! Watermelons are still super sweet but their flesh stays nice and doesn't get mealy or soft like a muskmelon a few days later.
We have BOTH melons for you this week! The reason is because muskmelon shelf life isn't good so we can't just go harvest them and then have them wait until next week. We have to use them this week. And we have to use watermelons this week because we just started harvesting them and don't want to hold back! Picked our first melons on Friday and we don't want to wait any longer to get those to you, too! So our CSA Members will get all the melons this week!! :D Maybe you have something fun you can bring a melon tray to? Weekend gathering? Stopping and visiting with a friend and sharing a plate full? It's a LOT of melons! CSA Member Jeanetta was just telling me some folks freeze it for smoothies in the off-season which I can't wait to try!!
Thyme! We usually have our herbs in our CSAs much earlier in the season but with this drought, we couldn't sacrifice the water to them so we waited to plant them for several weeks. For a month solid Ben had the irrigation running around the clock and just switched it from tomatoes to melons to zucchini etc. And honestly the herbs are so delicate that they'd need to be watered very consistently when they're first planted! So we had to wait to put them in the ground.
Now we're finally harvesting some more of our herbs! Last week was a hard one- that basil was so ripped up that we spent hours every morning cleaning up the bad leaves and bunching it. Thyme on the other hand has such small leaves that it doesn't have the same damage as we saw on the basil.
Straight from the Farm to Table Storage Guide:
Thyme is excellent in bean dishes, soups, and pasta sauces. It has tiny, smoky-green, diamond-shaped leaves with a subtle clove taste. Since the leaves are so small, it’s easiest to cook with whole sprigs; remove them from the pot after cooking.
Thyme complements rice, dried and green beans, broccoli, carrots, corn, eggplant, mushrooms, parsnips, peas, potatoes, spinach, tomatoes, stuffing, chicken, and eggs.
To store: For short-term storage, stand upright (with stems) in a container with an inch of water. Then cover the herbs loosely with plastic bag and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
To dehydrate: Remove leaves from stem and place piece of paper towel on glass plate.
Cover with another piece of paper towel. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Leaves will be dry. Crinkle them with your finger and place them in a dry container, such as a Mason jar with a lid.
To freeze: Frozen herb cubes are easy to make. One frozen herb cube is equal to 1 Table- spoon fresh or 1 teaspoon dried herb. Just add a cube when your recipe calls for the herb.
To prepare herbs for freezing: Rinse them gently in cool water. Chop the leaves fairly coarsely. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the herb into each compartment of an ice cube tray, add about 1 inch of water to each compartment, and place the tray in the freezer. Remove the frozen herb cubes from the trays and bundle all the cubes in a plastic freezer bag. Remove as much air as possible, seal and store in the freezer for up to a year.
We will have a variety pack of hot peppers for you this week! We planned on using the Hungarian Hot Wax and the Anaheim Peppers. These are coming to you in plastic bags this week so that the heat doesn't transfer to the other box contents!
Kale is coming this week because it's a good buffer to protect the tomatoes in your CSA this week from all the big varieties like squash and melons. Also, we haven't sent greens home with you in a month so I figured now is as good of a time as ever! My friend was just telling me she wilts kale every morning with her eggs and eats it on the side with some lemon pepper. That's a new one I haven't heard before! Kale can be added to dinners you're already planning or can be mixed with some other greens so it makes a nice balanced salad (with an extra punch of nutrition!).
We had a birthday party for our son this weekend and it was dubbed the best birthday party ever he said! That makes me feel good! I had to call in my Mom for reinforcement because I knew Ben would be gone all weekend and I couldn't host an entire birthday by myself! SO thankful for my Mom!!
We had water gun fights and the kids ran around like lunatics for hours. It's so much fun putting these little parties together but it's a lot of work too! We had filling stations all over the farm and they were teaming up and came up with their own games all day. To get this picture I had to lure them with the promise that if I got a nice picture they could spray me afterwards ;P So immediately after this photo was taken I ran as fast as I could and... the kids are faster than I am. I'll leave it at that. hahha
Wrapping it up I wanted to share a quote I saw the other day and really liked- "Worry is a waste of imagination".
We have to use our imagination for good! Day dreaming and thinking of all the positives we have in our lives, what to be thankful for and what we have to look forward to. Worry is something that follows us around the farm everywhere we go at this time of year. I just keep thinking about this quote though, because worry really is a waste of my imagination! I just needed a reminder. Maybe this is your reminder too.
Eat Good & Be Well,
~The Farmer's Wife