Farm Newsletter ** Week 2
Welcome to our second weekly newsletter together. I hope you all enjoyed your first week of harvest this season! We have been enjoying a lot of big salads recently and I'm going to be making some treats this weekend with my girls!
One of the most exciting things I have to share with you this week- a true highlight- WE GOT RAIN LAST NIGHT!! It's been over 2 months basically since we've gotten a good rain. We had sprinkles a week ago but didn't have measurable rain for almost 2 months. We even had to run irrigation on all of our sweet corn at the neighbors' house because it was so dry that even the low spots in the field were bone dry. Thank God we got some rain!!
Looks like we're getting some more this evening and this weekend too possibly! Now we just have to hope we don't get too much at once because that can hurt the plants too. It's all about balance but this season there doesn't seem to be much of that lol.
Normal Reminders for the beginning of the CSA Season:
Please pick up within the time frame described. (This is in your handbook- every site has a different pick-up time frame). If you don't pick up within the time frame provided your CSA is considered forfeited. You're welcome to drive by and look to see if your box is still there, but please don't knock on your hosts' door and inquire about your CSA. We don't give them a list of Members there, so they'll literally have no idea who you are. My email and number are on every box label that we send out- please don't hesitate to reach out if you have questions or need to double check something!
**If you know you'll be late, please let me know a couple days in advance. If you message me at 6 and say you're running late, please do your best to get to your CSA site as soon as possible because I won't be able to message hosts in that small amount of time.
I am actually out delivering multiple days a week and I don't get home until 5 or 6pm and even sometimes later depending on the road construction on the way home. Needless to say, my evenings with my family are precious, as I'm sure you understand summers get very busy for us :)
We are happy to help make arrangements for you! Just let me know a few days in advance and we can make it happen. Any requests the day-of won't be considered.
Here is a picture of me & my little helper Karli! She's only 9 but she's really getting into helping mom and dad on the farm! They have an invitation to help us (and get paid!) so I think that's part of the reason that working with us is still so much fun, both her and our son William can approach this at their own pace and they're not pushed crazy hard (to the point where they wouldn't like it anymore)! Our youngest, Kelsi, also helps out but it's usually 10 minute increments haha!
Many of our CSA sites are at another Member's home and we ask that you don't pull into their driveways to pick up your CSA box. I realize it's easier to get a little closer, but as you can imagine, some sites with 30+ Members get crazy busy as people wait line to pull in. It's best if you can park on the street and walk up to the house. That way their pets and kids aren't disturbed if you come later in the evening too past babe's bedtimes.
One final note- Please collapse your CSA Boxes! If you're having a hard time collapsing them just remember to squeeze using your thumb and pointer fingers. The flaps squeeze up and then the boxes fold down nicely. It might not make sense now but some of you might be looking at this blog post next week when you're at your CSA site and it'll make sense then! ;)
Next week I won't have anymore "beginning of the season reminders for you because I've shared them already!!
This picture is from today, Friday June 23rd about lunch time :) They zucchini look awesome!!!
Cultivating is one of the biggest jobs happening on the farm right now. We're in a happy zone, where we've got just about everything planted and the greenhouse is basically empty. The plants have irrigation running to them and they're all growing nicely. Now that the planting is done and it's not time to harvest a lot of these veggies yet, we need to focus all of our energy on maintenance! Later this season you'll hear me talk about maintenance being thrown to the roadside, lol, because there are only so many hours in a day, and we have to focus on harvesting.
Cultivating takes up a lot of Farmer Ben's day right now! There is a tractor implement that has tines that can be adjusted. He runs down the center of the rows and cultivates both sides of the plants, and then does that on every row all across the field. When it rains, we can't cultivate because the weeds between the rows will just root themselves in again. We have to wait for the ground to be dry to cultivate properly and this spring has been plenty dry so the fields actually look better right now than they ever have at this time of year! But like I said, if the ground is wet or there is rain in the forecast there isn't any reason to cultivate because you'll just have to do it again the next day to uproot all the pesky weeds (again)!
Once we cultivate the rows, we go down the rows with hoes and get in between the plants in the rows. This is not our favorite job but it's one that has to be done on a regular basis while the plants are smaller and still competing with the weeds that seemingly grow 100X faster than veggies!
CSA RESCHEDULING FOR HOLIDAYS
The 4th of July is coming up in a couple short weeks! We don't deliver on Tuesday July 4th, but we will deliver Monday, Wednesday & Thursday! All of Tuesdays normally scheduled deliveries are redistributed throughout Wednesday & Thursday so no one misses out ;)
If you're unable to pick up and would like to donate your CSA for the week, please enter your info into this form I made: Donate My CSA Form-Brown Family Farm (wix.com)
This link will be available for the entire summer, so if you'd like to donate your CSA at any point feel free to submit your info into the form which goes right to my inbox. I'll make sure that the link for donating your CSAs is always available on the email right below all the recipes we give you to try.
WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT IN YOUR CSA THIS WEEK:
Jumbo & Family Shares:
Kolhrabi, Green Romaine, Green Buttercrunch, Swiss Chard, Onions & Radishes!
Kolhrabi, Green Romaine, Green Buttercrunch, Onions & Radishes!
This week we start off with one of our favorites. We love kohlrabi because of it's versatility, it can be used in so many ways! It's kind of like a potato in that way, but it holds more nutritional value than potatoes. Though both serve their purpose, that's just one of the reasons we love kohlrabi!
These are one of those varieties that some of you may already be very familiar with, and others might say "kohl-a-what?"
We all come from different vegetable backgrounds and that's part of the reason we enjoy what we do so much! It's very special to introduce new varieties to our CSA Families! Though some of you experienced foodies might be able to give even more tips on Kohlrabi than I can ;P
They come with the leaves intact and they're very large plush leaves that remind me of collard greens. The most sought-after part of the kohlrabi is the bulb. It grows at the base of the plant and it grows above ground. We suggest separating the bulb and the greens and storing them separately. Sometimes when they get really big they can get woody (like softball+ size) but when they're smaller they are nice and tender. Start by cutting the leaves off and peeling the bulb. You'll be left with a white-fleshed veggie that can be chopped and added to salads, grated and made into fritters, cut into match sticks and dipped in hummus for a quick healthy snack, and more. They're really versatile like I was saying!!
Below is the snippet from the Handbook that you got last week- check it out!
LETTUCES The first couple of weeks you'll see lots of lettuces like I mentioned. These greens are unique to the spring and I think that's one reason we love them so much! I made big salads for lunch today and have enough fixings to have them again tomorrow too- it's salad season!!
Lettuces are a cooler weather crop because when they grow nice and slow they get larger gradually. When it gets really hot outside, they'll bolt! It's the process of a plant going to seed (which is the goal of everything on this planet- to reproduce). It's a natural part of the plant's lifecycle but it is accelerated with the excess heat. The lettuces grow outwards in general, but when it gets super-hot outside they start growing taller and then shoot a seed stalk out from the center of the plant. Bolted lettuces taste bitter, because they're putting all their energy (and likely all the good nutrients) into making a seed stalk!
So when I say, they don't last long, I really mean it. We'll have lettuces maybe the next couple weeks (if we're lucky)! But not to worry- we have SO many other varieties coming into harvest soon that you likely won't miss them when they're gone because we'll be hyped up for the next veggie on the chopping block, literally, haha!
The onions are FRESH! This means that they're smaller bulbs and they come with the greens intact. Please enjoy the greens of these onions as well- they can be used in the salads you make, stir fry, or added to a smoothie! Just kidding- just making sure you're paying attention haha.
They will be about the size pictured here. Ben has about 20,000 onions in the field right now so we'll just gradually keep harvesting them as they get bigger. That's the great thing about onions- you can enjoy them at any size! So many veggies aren't like that- it makes onions unique!
Fresh onions only come during the spring/summer. Once late summer comes, we pull onions out of the ground and dry them, at which point they'll look just like the ones you get at the grocery store. Crispy/flakey outer shell. The fresh onions are unique at this time of year because you'll never find them being sold in a regular grocery store, though you might find them at a co-op. They're almost always at farmer's markets all summer too!
If you are sensitive to cutting the onions, refrigerate them first and then cut them, that'll reduce the amount of risk for crying while you're cutting your onions.
Radishes! These are coming again this week and then it'll be another month or so until you see them again. We haven't seeded our next patch of radishes yet and it takes a month for them to grow into a nice size. So that could either be really good news or really bad news- but we have to make room for lots of other veggies too!
The Swiss Chard isn't doing as well as we hoped but not everything does. That's farming for yah! We can't control everything (which we are frequently reminded of haha). This week the Jumbo & Family Shares will get Chard and we're hoping to send some home with our Single Share Members during week 3.
Chard is a plant that is harvested over and over again. As long as you don't harvest the heart of the plant or pull it out of the ground lol, it will produce all summer long! Chard and Kale are the only greens that we grow that can be harvested all summer long without the risk of going to seed like the lettuces do.
Swiss chard has expansive, pocketed leaves with stems in a spectrum of colors: red, white, green, yellow. It is actually in the beet family but doesn't develop a bulb. Its leaves are more tender and delicate than other greens. Eat small leaves raw in salads and blanch or steam larger leaves. You can freeze chard for recipes later.
To store: Keep dry, unwashed greens in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks.
Handling: Wash leaves in basin of lukewarm water to remove grit. Remove the thicker stems by folding the leaves down the center and cutting out the stem. Stack several leaves on top of each other and slice into 1-inch wide ribbons.
To cook: Add uncooked greens to a mixed green salad. Steam stem pieces 8-10 minutes, and leaves 4-6 minutes. Or saute greens until tender in a covered pot or large sauté pan with olive oil, a pinch of salt, and garlic or onion. Watch for color to brighten as this signals they are done. Serve cooked chard alone as a side dish or use them in soup or with pasta, beans, rice, or potatoes. Chard also goes great in stir-fries or in any recipe calling for spinach.
To freeze: Blanch washed greens for 2-3 minutes. Rinse in cold ice water to stop the cooking. Drain and freeze.
Preview for next week (hopefully)! These sugar snaps peas are looking great and with this rain we've gotten we're hoping to see some little peas growing from all the flowers we have now! Fingers crossed this little beauties are in your CSA next week!
THANK YOU!! To all of our Hosts and Members for helping make this first week go well. It really does take a village!! Having everyone in-the-know is so helpful for us because then we know things will go well with your pick up. There are always a few hiccups the first week like folks' forgetting it's the first delivery or taking the wrong box, but we made it through the first week!
Eat Good & Be Well
~The Farmer's Wife