FARM NEWSLETTER ** Week 4
Updated: Jul 8
Welcome home from your vacations and time away from home. I hope you enjoyed free time over the 4th of July weekend with your family and friends! Hopefully you were able to “relax” a little bit too in addition to all the fun and running around!!
Usually you’ll get your CSA Newsletter on Fridays!! I try to make sure to finish the newsletter Fridays because I know many of you shop according to what you’re going to see in your CSA this week. There will be instances where you’ll get the newsletter on Saturday, like this weekend for example. Just know, my planned office day is Friday and if you don’t see the newsletter until Saturday it means that we have been very busy or something came up…
Last night, William came to me and said he found a duckling in the chicken coop and it was being picked on by the other chickens! So he quickly grabbed it and my response was…. Where did this duckling come from?! Well, we had ONE lone duck left after we gifted our ducks to a friend, only because she was hiding when we caught all the other ducks (they’re free-ranging).
This one duck went upstairs in our barn loft and hatched herself an entire clutch of ducklings! From the picture you see here, there is a hen who thinks she’s the duck’s momma too- haha! As the saying goes- it takes a village!!
Here is William with the duckling he saved from the chickens! Bringing it back upstairs to give it back to mom!
So last night we set aside all of our plans and cleaned up the barn on the main level making them a nice spot for them to have everything they need and to be safe from the other chickens/critters around the farm. This was the cutest surprise Friday evening we’ve had in a long time! I reminded the kids that not many people have this experience and that they should be thankful for what they have. We don't take this lightly!!
So we've got them all set up in the barn now and now Momma has her baby ducks in a row ;)
We had a great day on the water Saturday! Look at this view!!
For anyone looking for some close-to-home adventure, check out Taylors Falls canoe rentals. We paddled from Taylors Falls to Osceola where we were picked up in a bus and brought back to our vehicles at Taylor’s Falls. We went through the DNR rentals (check their website, it’s super easy) and it was about $50 for the canoe for the whole day. You can go as fast or as slow as you want and the views are incredible! The swimming is fun too- some soft spots where it’s kinda mucky but for the most part it's a nice sandy bottom with no weeds at all!
This past week we didn’t deliver CSAs on the 4th but we still have livestock here on the farm and plants so we never go far. I got caught up in my office and around the house here; it was the best day ever.
According to Ben it was the worst day ever, because we were lined up to get about a half inch of rain and the weather changed again! We went from looking forward to our rainy day to being disappointed by the little sprinkle we got. Not even enough to wet the dirt, it was so frustrating. Now we don’t have ANY rain in the 10 day forecast, ugh!!
The potato field is looking great! Ben cultivated it a couple weeks ago but the weeds are back in full force, per usual! Ben dug a test plant and found lots of baby potatoes and tons of tiny ones- so we're giving them another week to hopefully fill out a little more.
Green beans are starting to put on little beans and there are a ga-zillion flowers out there!! The melons are vining nicely and squash is making great progress! It's filled in so much that you can't even see down the rows. Final patch of tomatoes was just planted too- so we're hoping to have some late tomatoes this season!
Oh! And Ben said he's thinking the broccoli will be ready for next week!! Lots of updates from the field all to say: SO many varieties are so close to be harvested but we're just a week away. Lots to look forward to in the next couple of weeks!
QUICK NOTE ON BOXES
Some of you might be wondering if you’ll get a $5 invoice for ripping your box. The answer is no- you won’t be charged unless it’s completely torn apart. We use A LOT of tape in the first couple of weeks, like, hundreds of feet literally, but we’d rather tape the box on the bottom then get a brand new one and charge you extra. Plus, brand new boxes are a pain because they’re so stiff they’re hard to fold!
If you forget to return your box any given week, we’ll still pack you a CSA but it’ll be in an extra box with your name on a hand written label. So you’ll still get your CSA that week! It’s just not in your box with the printed label. We appreciate having your box back to pack for you but understand it's summertime and we're all busy- boxes aren't at the top of the priority list coming off of a long weekend vacation. No sweat, we'll still pack you a CSA!
THIS WEEK IN YOUR CSA YOU CAN EXPECT: Jumbo & Family Shares: Red Romaine Lettuce, another variety of lettuce, Zucchini, Slicers, Onions, Sugar Snap Peas! Single Shares: Red Romaine Lettuce, another variety of lettuce, Zucchini, Pickles & Sugar Snap Peas!
For all of our CSAs you'll notice "another variety of lettuce" is on your list. We're hoping to give everyone red romaine and one other variety. We've got a bit left of every other variety (green romaine & buttercrunch, red buttercrunch), but not enough of any one variety to give it to everyone. When it gets really hot outside the lettuces start bolting, which is the process of them going to seed. When that happens, the lettuce gets bitter. We've seen some bolted lettuces but not a ton- and we're hoping they hold out long enough for us to get one last lettuce harvest before they go!
***This is likely the last time you'll see lettuces this season! We'll still have greens like swiss chard and kale in the boxes periodically but you won't get any heads of lettuce. Isn't it crazy just a few weeks ago I was telling you about how exciting this time of year is because it's so brief. It's here, and then gone!! Some folks would wonder why we don't plant lettuces for the fall because they do well in the cool weather- the answer is simply that the fall is reserved for so many other varieties that are specific to the fall, too! Like pie pumpkins and squash, brussel sprouts, apples, and more! So it's not a lack of desire for fall lettuce, we just know we don't have room with all the other goodies we've got lined up for you.
Let’s start with one of our favorites- the Sugar Snap Peas!!!
These are another one of those favorites that only come around once a season basically. There is a reason for that- they take up a lot of space in the field and they only do really well in the cool season temps. If we were to plant more right now, they'd burn (get yellowed leaves, brown spots, etc) because the plants are so delicate!
The peas will come to you in a plastic produce bag (the same kind you’d see at the grocery stores in the produce section). The Jumbos get twice as much as the Family Shares, and the Family Shares get twice as much as the Single Shares. So Jumbos will get about 2 quarts, Family Shares will get about a quart and Single Shares get about a pint.
Peas should be eaten or enjoyed in the first few days for maximum sweetness. I doubt you’ll have trouble with that because they are so good they don’t last long! There is a special crunch when they’re garden fresh… you’ll see!!
One end of the pea is the stem end and the other is the blossom end. When the peas get a little thicker, they have strings the go down the sides that you'll notice when you break the stem end off to eat it. Some people peel these back and others eat them as they are. When they're super fresh, the strings are soft and honestly, I eat the whole pod at one time. When they're "old", like grocery store, travel a thousand miles, refrigerate for a week, old; the strings are much more noticeable and I always peel them because they're tougher.
I'm not throwing shade at the grocery store because they definitely serve a great purpose too. Some of them even source locally! It's just a way to compare garden fresh produce harvested that morning, to produce that wasn't harvested with you in mind.
Is a variety that comes in a great deal of sizes and shapes. Just like us! The important thing is that we need to embrace the zucchini at whatever size they are.
When we go out and harvest zucchini, we go through the entire patch and take every zucchini that's big enough. Since they grow SO fast, some can be thinner and shorter, and others can be larger and thicker. I think it's important in our CSA journey to mention that every zucchini has it's purpose!
Thinner smaller zucchini are best suited for eating in salads, or a stir fry for example because they hold their shape a bit better than the larger ones. Larger zucchini are best suited for grating to make fritters or zucchini bread! Another way to use the bigger zucchini is to cut them in half and scoop out the middle/seed area and use them like a boat. Recipe is on the blog for sausage stuffed zucchini boats!
Cucumbers! This week the Jumbo & Family Shares are getting slicing cucumbers and the Single Shares are getting pickles. The slicers are longer and darker green with a thicker skin. The pickles are shorter, narrower, and have a lighter green skin. I'm adding my creamy cucumber salad recipe to the blog this week because I can't help myself. We've got some dill going but it's not ready yet so this time around if you make the recipe you'll have to use dried dill or pick some up. Unfortunately our first patch never really germinated because of how dry it was so we got another patch in!
I'd like to leave you with this fabulous life hack I found a while back- word to the wise ;)
Hope you all enjoy your veggies!!
Eat Good & Be Well
~The Farmer's Wife