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  • Writer's pictureThe Farmer's Wife

WEEK 2 - CSA NEWSLETTER

Greetings All!

I hope everyone had a great first week of CSA Shares! I have gotten SO MANY emails with pictures and recipes, inspiration for how folks are using the produce and what you're all cooking! It is such a treat to see how you guys are using your veggies!!


I have been tossing around the idea in my head that every so often we could do a photo contest on our social media. I'm going to think on that a little longer- trying to figure out how to make it work because we've never done anything like that before. If anyone has and dos or don'ts, I'm all ears! So maybe I could choose a couple contest weeks throughout the season? I would wait until after the holiday week to do anything like this anyways- I'm going to keep thinking about it!


I went out and dug a test potato plant last night. Lookie here!!

We are really happy with the growth of these potatoes considering they were really hurting a couple weeks ago. Ben has gone through and cultivated them several times in the last few weeks to open up the soil and help dry it out. Cultivating the field also makes it easier for these little plants to expand and grow, so they'll produce more!! Root crops in general are notorious for not doing well in compact, over-saturated soils.


These potatoes aren't quite ready yet. We've got some solid sized potatoes but the yield under the plants is subpar. So we're going to give it a couple weeks (hopefully) before we start digging them for harvest. I say hopefully because if we don't have enough variety for the shares sooner, these taters are up to bat.

You can see the little spots on them; those are potential roots starting off of that potato. Of course, all the potatoes underground are connected, so if we just let these keep growing, that one with all the white spots would be grow much larger and it would have produced quite a few more potatoes off of this one potato. Not all the spots are potential potatoes... some of those spots are just for adventitious roots to expand and take in nutrients and moisture (not that the need that this year- which is probably why I'm not seeing more little roots/ potatoes starting). The skins peel off so easily! They're new potatoes- with super thin skins. Which we will dive into when we have more time- I'll expand more when we get those in your boxes!

KNEE HIGH BY THE 4th OF JULY. And then some.


The sweet corn is doing really well! You can tell around the outside edge of the field and the lower part to the south that it is wet still because the plants are a little stunted. They're smaller, shorter, and they're not tassling yet. The corn in the middle of the field here is HUGE for this time of year!!! If you recall, Ben seeded corn in the greenhouse special for our first harvest so we could harvest it sooner. It's normally direct seeded into the ground, and we have our next several plantings direct seeded already and coming up!


Our son William is out there in the field and he's just over 5 foot tall, so corn is 4-5 ft tall? There are spots taller than him but I wanted his head to stick out for the picture, so I asked him to stand right there lol. The corn is tasseling, and even shooting silk out where the cobs are developing. No cobs formed yet, but every step in the growth is encouraging!


QUICK Holiday Update!


Everyone still gets their CSA Shares for this week! We rescheduled all of the CSAs that would have been delivered on Thursday July 4th, to Wednesday the 3rd. So Monday & Tuesday folks you can pick up as normally scheduled!


Wednesday AND Thursday folks, your CSAs will be delivered on Wednesday the 3rd. Please give us a little extra time this coming week to get your CSAs delivered on Wednesday. We'll have quite a bit of extra harvesting, washing and delivering. We suggest coming about an hour after your normally scheduled CSA pick up time.


Since this is a holiday week and many of you are out of town, I want to give you some options in case you're not able to pick up. You're welcome to offer your CSA to a friend or family member! The second option is that you can donate it to the food shelf. (Respond to this email or submit the donation form on the email newsletter).


Please give your friends/family as much instruction as possible if they're picking up for you. Fair warning, if anyone takes someone else's CSA we consider it theft and you will be charged $100 to replace the other person's share which includes hand delivery. This happens every year, and it's always when someone else is picking up for our regular members. This is one of the only ways to incur an extra cost while in our CSA, I can't stress it enough, please communicate with your guests and make sure they know what to expect when they arrive to your CSA pick up site! We appreciate your help!


*We cannot switch sites this week because we're already switching a whole delivery route. I mentioned this last week too (and in the handbook) but just wanted to reiterate it because I've gotten a handful of email requests recently .


WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT IN YOUR CSA SHARES THIS WEEK: JUMBO & FAMILY SHARES: Green Romaine, Red Romaine, Kohlrabi, Swiss Chard & Bunching Onions! SINGLE SHARES: Green Romaine, Red Romaine, Kohlrabi, Kale & Radishes!

**A lot of these heads of lettuces are very big!


Quick reminder on lettuces- we suggest taking the leaves off of the head one by one and washing them. Rubbing your fingers up the center ribs to wipe away any residual dirt. Store lettuces a plastic bag or Tupperware, with a paper towel in the bottom to catch the excess water. If you don't have time to let them dry at all on the counter, I'd suggest layering a few paper towels throughout the lettuce so it doesn't have too much moisture, which would cause it to expire faster. Since we spent so much time on that last week I want to talk about something totally different pertaining to lettuces. The lettuce life cycle is a short one because they don't like the heat. When it gets too hot outside, they will naturally go to seed or "bolt".

Bolting is the action of going to seed. It means that the plant is no longer growing; it's going to stop growth and put all of it's energy into reproduction. Just like every other species on the planet, the objective is to reproduce. Bolting will result in the lettuce growing super tall and thin, and shooting a seed stalk out of the top of the head.


Some of the overachiever heads of lettuce out in the fields are too big to even fit into your CSA box. But their size doesn't predict when they'll bolt, it's the HEAT. If we had perfect growing conditions, we could get these lettuces to be as big as a bushel box. Bolted lettuce, pictured below.

Since we haven't had perfect growing conditions, some of the lettuces have started bolting. When they bolt the flavor changes and becomes a little bitter. The thing is, it's VERY obvious when the lettuces bolt. See above. There aren't a ton out there right now but I suspect we'll see more go 'over the hill' this week. I'm sure it won't affect your CSA Shares though- we have plenty of nice lettuce out there still.


The red romaine is beautiful!

Romaine lettuce grows much more erect. Not as flat as the green buttercrunch lettuce that you got last week. I'm sure you're used to buying romaine hearts at the store, but you'll get the whole plant this week! It's unlike kale and swiss chard (where we just take cuttings off of the plant and then bunch it), the heads of lettuce are harvested as a whole. When the industry grows "romaine hearts" they're cutting the whole plant down ONLY to harvest the center because that stays firm longer. Shelf life is what dictates literally everything in the grocery store.


Buttercrunch VS romaine! 


OK because I know I have to move on... I just want to touch on one thing quickly. Buttercrunch is a softer leaf and the center stems aren't quite as tough. Romaine holds it's composure even when cut into small pieces and has an awesome crunch. I used to say buttercrunch was my favorite lettuce but now I realize I like both varieties equally, but I use them in different specific ways! We've used both for lettuce wraps but I prefer romaine because it's tougher, so it doesn't fall apart on you.


Kale and Swiss Chard! We're flip flopping the kale and swiss chard this week! So if you got kale last week you'll get swiss chard this week, and vice versa. I would highly recommend spending a minute in the Veggie Guide for some inspiration! We've really enjoyed adding kale to breakfast bakes.

To cook Swiss Chard: Add uncooked greens to a mixed green salad. Steam stem pieces 8-10 minutes, and leaves 4-6 minutes. Or sauté 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 is your signal 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.


Fresh Onions!

We aren't going to bunch them because we don't see the need to waste rubber binders, so they'll be loose in your CSA box. Plus, it does a little bit of damage to the greens and we want to encourage you to eat all the greens!


The picture above is red onions and we don't have any of those ready quite yet. I just wanted to add this picture (from previous yr) so that you could see how big the onions are right now. Some are producing little bulbs but not a lot. These would be great for making a vinaigrette.


There are two kinds of onions you'll see in terms of longevity- fresh onions and dried onions. We're sending you FRESH onions this week. That means they're still in the growing phase and the greens are nice and perky! We will harvest the bulbs and brush off a little dirt. We don't wash them because they're too delicate and if you get them wet they'll get soft faster when they're in this young phase. So we suggest waiting until you're ready to eat them to wash them. You'll see plenty of fresh onions later this season with nice big bulbs too, and then we'll get into our dried onions. More on that later ;)


WRAPPING IT UP


I'm sure you realize this, but I could keep going on and on about this produce. I take my job seriously and my part of what I bring to the farm is communicating and educating folks so that it's easy to enjoy your CSA Shares! Some folks in our program are chefs at 5 star restaurants, some folks are Parents trying to figure out how to introduce their youngins' how to enjoy kohlrabi, some folks are empty nesters and trying to get back in touch with where their food is coming, a LOT of folks are trying to figure out what that alien veggie in the box was last week ;)


At the end of the day, we're all moving in momentum and everyone is just trying to eat well and know their farmers! <3


Thank you for helping make the first week a success! We had a few hiccups here and there. I was notably late to a couple of my Tuesday afternoon sites which I am very sorry for- I don't want anyone to wait on me! I did have the opportunity to meet a handful of new and returning Members while delivering since I was late. Which was an unintentional benefit to being behind on Tuesday- I always love being able to meet the folks we grow for!! Why tell you this? Because this is a part of the farm too: reality. Not everything goes as planned. I do appreciate the kindness and patience that was shared with me on Tuesday; I was quite flustered and everyone was so polite and sweet about me running behind.


I deliver all of the CSA Shares myself, so naturally I spend quite a bit of time in the delivery van throughout the week! I have time for reflection... especially on those days where I realize (as I'm pulling in my driveway) that I haven't had the radio on all day...


I'd like to end on this thought I had the other day.


Road construction is just like the weather: you can't do anything about it, but accept it!


There is nothing we can do to change the weather or get that bridge opened up sooner; accepting it sooner than later is going to bring you peace.


Eat Good & Be Well, ~The Farmer's Wife

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