Newsletter

Week #9 – 2018 CSA Season

What’s in the Box:

Heirloom tomato, slicing tomato, cherry tomatoes!  Purple haze carrots, sweet onions, summer squash, zucchini, english slicing cucumber, eggplant, baby kale, basil, pea shoots, and garlic.

What’s going on at the farm: 

Hot and dry was the theme around here this last few weeks but the fields dried down enough I could plow and put in the winter squash and prepare fields to plant a lot of beans for late summer and fall.   My crew has expanded this month and we are bringing in extra help for the main season and pushing forward harder then ever this next few weeks to prepare for a great fall.    Garlic will be coming in this week and all our onions are nearly ready for harvest after that.   In total there are over 25,ooo of them to bring in with the garlic and leeks which will be coming soon!    The extra help has helped us catch up on weeding and we have all our peppers, sweet and hot looking perfect and they are loaded, we even picked the first ripe red pepper this week!  Eggplant is also ready and the very first peppers although we don’t really have enough for shares yet.    Our watermelon and cantaloupe crops are looking amazing too!    looks like a great summer ahead and I purchased some new tools for killing weeds this month which i’m hoping will really be a game changer for our fall greens production this year!   All in all we are in great position for mid season and despite not having any early green beans I guarantee you there will be a lot to end the second half of the season as we plow in the carrot area this week too and prepare to put in edamame, green beans, and dragons tongue beans.

Tomatoes galore is the theme this week for boxes!  They are one of our favorite crops here and I hope you all have your bacon and mozzarella cheese ready for caprese salads and BLT’s!

Eggplant is also here and this is amazing fried or grilled with some olive oil and herbs on it.    Eggplant parmesan, lasagna, pasta dishes, ratatouille, eggplant burgers with tomato mayo and basil and the list goes on and on…. I love this veggie because it really can absorb so much flavor and has a great creamy texture when its cooked!

Purple haze carrots, one of my favorite carrots because of their gorgeous two tone color of purple with a bright orange core…. these babies will stores if you snap the tops off but otherwise the tops make great pesto too!

Our kale this week is a frilly baby kale, jagallo nero!  its a new one for me and i hope you all enjoy it for the second time this year!

Pea shoots are great as a salad green with a little tomato cucumber and carrot.  I also use them on sandwiches or garnishing dishes tacos or pizza too!

Sweet onions are back and they are good with everything and sweet enough to enjoy raw!

Zucchini and summer squash are still pumping out and these staples of summer are great in any dish you could create and even baking projects  like zucchini bread, muffins, and cakes maybe even with the carrot for a carrot zucchini cake!

English style cucumbers are the only type of cucumber I grow anymore as they are sweeter, have smaller seed cavities, and thinner skin then their waxy american counterparts which can get bitter.   A fresh cucumber and tomato salad with mozzarella and basil is one of my favorite things in the summer.

Basil and Garlic are the last few finishing touches on our boxes this week and there are so many ways to use these with your veggies I hardly think you all need the suggestions but I think these will round out the box very nicely for the week.

Thank you all again for being great CSA members and I hope you enjoy the food!

-Kyle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week #8 – 2018 CSA Season

What’s in the Box: 

Heirloom tomato, slicing tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, sweet yellow onions with tops, summer squash, zucchini, english cucumbers, purple haze carrots, pea shoots, curly kale, and basil.

What’s going on at the farm: 

We have quite a few new things ready for you all this week including cherry tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, and purple haze carrots.  Our write up of these is brief this week as I have my  annual organic inspection today and we have been hustling and planted all of our winter squash yesterday and getting crops in quickly with the heat we have had lately.  Its good we were able to get all that done because we will be trying to harvest all of our garlic by next week I think and get it cleaned, bundled and set it out for curing.   After a couple weeks of curing we will then clip the tops off each bulb and clean them up a bit more for storage, seed stock, and of course for your CSA shares!     Our garlic area will then  be tilled and seeded right into cover crop and then salad greens and other crops for fall, if and when we can find some time between harvests.   We are harvesting every day now on many crops and all that weeding we were doing the last month has made for easier picking and clean fields to work in.  Lots of exciting crops are finally yielding heavily including tomatoes which are my personal favorite.   Plenty of cucumbers and summer squash still coming in too and these versatile veggies are great for so many dishes they are too numerous to mention.   We love the cucumbers just sliced up with salt as an easy snack but they are great for juicing, pickling, and of course sandwiches and salads.     Until next week then enjoy all the new crops.    Enjoy the veggies and we will keep on harvesting, cleaning, planting, and weeding. Our next few weeks of shares should include the first, eggplant, leeks, and most likely green peppers, and hot peppers coming in too!

Thank you all again and enjoy the veggies!

Week #7 – 2018 CSA Season

What’s in the Box:

Carrots, green top onions, summer squash, zucchini, red cabbage, green cabbage, english cucumber, tomato, pea shoots, sunflower shoots, and swiss chard.

What’s going on at the farm:

We have some pretty hot and humid days in the future for us here as we head deeper into the main summer portion of our CSA season.  Exceptional amounts of rain have kept the fields muddy and the bugs hatching even better to keep us moving quickly in the fields.   We have been keeping up on our regelular chores of harvesting, weeding and pruning and mowing but also removing beds and preparing for other crops to go out this week if it will just stay dry for a few days for us.  I am actually proud to say we got all the peas torn down immediately after the last pick on them this last week and hauled in the cabbage and got the fields plowed today.  The old strawberries were removed and some rock picking was done in that field too!  We have some big events for us in the next month including garlic harvest, onion harvest, and hopefully also planting of many fall crops which will rely on our ability to keep up with all the other tasks of harvesting, cleaning, and delivering/marketing.  The change in weather has some new crops ready to peak this week including some of our personal favorites, tomatoes and carrots!

Heirloom tomatoes: these babies are earlier than ever this year, beating our first good harvest last year by two weeks!!!  We have many varieties to keep it interesting and flavorful. This week you will receive some pink Tomimuro Mucho’s which are a pink japanese tomato with wonderful, sweet, balanced flavor.  There may be a few other varieties in your share this week including a small black slicer, and some other pink tomatoes including Pruden’s Purple, and Pink Beauty.    Tomato sandwiches, BLT, or caprese are some suggestions, need I say more?

Swiss chard:   For only the second time this season our bright lights swiss chard makes a stunning appearance with its multi colored stems and earthy beet like stems and rich spinach like greens.    I enjoy my chard sautéed in butter for a frittata in the morning with a little cheddar cheese added at the end.   Its great anywhere you would use spinach too and packed with vitamins!

Carrots:  Crispy, sweet and crunchy these lovely roots were one of the first crops I planted this year and they are finally in after several months of attention weeding this sometimes challenging to grow crop.    One of the reasons they are so challenging is because they take two weeks to sprout and cannot be transplanted so that gives weeds an unfair head start on the carrots.   Yet, here they are… enjoy!

Cabbage is great for slaw, or in stir fry too!   Try it with other grated roots like carrot or minced onions and herbs.    I really like dressing it with a balsamic mayo I make with balsamic vinegar and mayonaiise.   Two types of cabbage coming to you this week and its the 4th of July so do yourself a favor and try a multicolored coleslaw or grilled cabbage quarters!   I like to quarter them bi slicing through the tap root into large quarters and then roast the flat side down and marinate the cabbage as it cooks with teriyaki or your other favorite dressing.

Onions are bulbing out quickly in the field with all the rain and irrigation.  We will continue to thin our crop this week to provide you with a random selection of onion variety  which could be red or yellow with tops on.   Cooking with the tops works too, and thinning all of these should make for a good-sized dry onion crop later when we pull them at the end of July.

Pea and sunflower shoots:  These are a great summer solution to salad greens and great as a topping on just about any dish you can imagine!

Zucchini and Summer Squash are very similar in texture, flavor, and cooking requirements.   They really go well in everything and we are continuing to pick these guys daily in order to keep them from getting to big on us, at least that is our goal.   I love these sautéed with butter and onions with eggs, on pizza, grilled and brushed with herbs and oil, and in pasta, stir fry, or even sliced thinly the long way for a mock lasagna using squash instead of noodles.

Cucumbers love all this humidity and water and our slicers have finally started coming in this week.   The bigger slicers have a slightly thicker skin but are still the european type with small seed cavities and smooth skin with no spines.    Our baby english cucumbers are still peaking too so we will have some of those sweeter, softer, and smaller ones that you were receiving in there too.

Some other crops to note that look good and will be coming the next couple weeks include eggplant, green peppers, leeks, hot peppers, cherry tomatoes, and cauliflower.

Have a great 4th of July holiday everyone and enjoy the veggies!

Week #6 – 2018 CSA Season

What’s in the Box:

Summer squash, zucchini, sugar snap peas, green top baby red torpedo onions, english cucumber, kale, basil, and spicy micro salad mix.

What’s going on at the farm: 

The season seems to always fly ahead faster then the crew can run this time of year as we keep plugging away all day every day but that is no exception to our earlier months either.   Summer solstice is a time of transition for us as we plan for fall and that involves a lot of work similar to spring but we have to do it all in between the harvesting, cleaning, packing, markets, deliveries, paperwork, weeding, and mowing!  This week I will be attempting clean up work and to plow down some finished crops such as the peas which are finishing up, and removing the beet beds and our strawberry field in hopes of replanting a new berry crop yet this fall using a new riskier method which could pay off in less weeding if I can execute it properly, commonly referred to as the California method (fall planting). We planted over the long holiday weekend including spaghetti squash,  three types of butternut squash, and acorn squash. We also pruned the tomatoes and pulled weeds in both greenhouses this week.  Our tomatoes are beginning to ripen, both cherry and slicing tomatoes alike, soaring up over 6 -7 feet in height and we should have enough for shares within another week or two when they speed up a bit, but they are coming very soon!  Eggplant and peppers are also looking fantastic and we weeded all our garlic for a second time this year.  Our carrots are not quite ready for harvest but we will likely start digging them late this week or early next week.   Violent storms are expected tomorrow some are preparing as much as possible today for share packing tomorrow.   I’m crossing my fingers its not as bad as the weather people are hyping it up to be.   Here is a quick rundown of our crops this week.

Sugar snap peas:  These beauties are crisp and sweet and can be eaten pod and all.   No cooking necessary but they can be used in stir fries and things if you desire.   This is likely the last week for these crunchy summer favorites so enjoy them while they are here!

Kale:  is coming to you again this week and we have three types this year but we will try to mix it up and switch the types from last week but some folks may receive the same type they had last week as we can’t track every box on this.   I am in love with this new frilly variety which has a great rich flavor and extra frilly leaves with little to no stem.   I really like the curly kale too though because they make great kale chips, juice, and can be sautéed or eaten raw.

Summer squash and zucchini:    You may receive zucchini, summer squash, and patty pan squash in this category.  Some suggestions for the week include grilling your summer squash.   I cut them in spears or thick rings on the patty pans and brush them with olive oil and garlic powder or celery salt or barbecue seasoning.   A little soy sauce tastes pretty good on them grilled too.

Cucumbers:  They make a great cucumber salad and there are two possible types of cucumbers in your share now, the shorter european ones and the thicker skinned european slicers which will keep better and are a denser and crisper but not quite as sweet with slightly waxier skin.

Red torpedo onions:   Green top red onions is a descriptive name I use in the crop listing but these red onions are special in that they are a mediterranian variety which is a sweet summer onion and also referred to as a torpedo onion.  These baby torpedoes can be used with the greens and they really do go good with everything.

Micro salad mix:   is our featured micro green this week and it will have a spicy blend of arugula, mustard, kale, cabbage, and broccoli.  These extra small and fancy micros’ might be little but they are packed with nutrients (up to 40 percent more then full size greens) and flavor.

Basil:  Nothing smells or tastes more like summer then fresh basil!   Our greenhouse basil is looking better every week right now and so the flow of fresh basil continues in shares again this week!   It goes great with everything in your box, from mincing it for salads and dressings to stir fries with peas and zucchini!  If you still have scapes left try pureeing a few scapes with your basil and a little oil to make a killer pesto for home made pizza or pasta.

Until next week, enjoy the veggies!

Week #5 – 2018 CSA Season

What’s in the Box:  Sugar snap peas, chioggia beets, kale, zucchini, summer squash, english cucumber, green top sweet onions, basil, sunflower shoots, romaine lettuce.

What’s going on at the farm: 

Plenty of rain along with a heat wave this past week has kept our soil and plant growth going strong here as we finish off the first quarter of the season with a sweaty hot week in the field this week with some new but familiar early summer veggies including the first cucumbers, onions

Sugar snap peas: Everyone loves a good sugar snap pea. The pods can be eaten whole with the either raw or possibly in a stir fry.   They can be stringed by snapping the stem end of the top off and down the back of the pea to remove a small string-like fiber.

Kale: is also a sauté green which is higher in protein then any other veggie.  Try these leaves in your smoothies, stir fries, or perhaps some kale chips seasoned with your favorite spices.   We are growing three types of it this year and we may use any of these three varieties in your share including curly, lacinato, or new this year a frilly kale.

Zucchini and summer squash:  I basically think of these as the same veggies with different shapes and colors and can be used in almost any dish you could possibly imagine.   I like to grill spears of them in the summer brushed with chili and soy sauce marinade.  We eat them on pizza which we make a variety of ways and I sometimes use long thin slices of them in place of lasagna noodles to make a gluten free veggie lasagna.

Cucumbers:  Right now our cukes are the small mini english variety and they are never bitter and have no spines so there is no need to peel them unless you like the skin removed.  These are a favorite for us at home for easy snacks with some salt and/or added to our salads, not to many of these right now but we will try to get everybody one or two if we can.  We are also planting another round of these this week.

Onions: These are being thinned out this week and you will receive them with small bulbs and large green tops this week.   You can use the tops like scallion minced in to small pieces along with the bulb.

Fresh basil is our herb this week and I’m sure you are all familiar with it.   You can make your own pesto, marinade, or add it to stir fry or other dishes to add some great fresh summer flavor.

Sunflower shoots: The nutty micro greens are back with a crunch this week and  are great in salads, wraps, or even just as a snack with your other favorite snack items.

Romaine lettuce:  This is our last planting of romaine for the spring coming in this week, the heads are less dense then the last two plantings but should still make good salad material.

Chioggia beets:   This is the very last of our beets with greens for spring and possibly the year depending how much more room we can generate for fall crops.   One of my favorite veggies, these beets don’t bleed like reds and have delicious greens when they are sautéed with a little garlic and olive oil.

On the farm this week we are working towards getting our winter squash, broccoli, and other crops, transplanted and starting crops for the fall season.   The longest day of the year is this Wednesday marks summer solstice so we have a small window of thirty days to get all of these things for fall growing before its to late for them to mature.  To do this we also have a lot of field clean up going on this week removing open beds and tilling the fields again, and making mulch beds.  Basically this is a huge transition period for us and we are going to need some dry weather for the fields which have been receiving a lot of rain lately.    Some other crops coming soon include, onions, savoy cabbage.  Our summer crops of eggplant, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, cauliflower, peppers, and red cabbage, are also looking great and should be coming soon.   Thank you all and enjoy the early summer crops!

Week #4 – 2018 CSA Season

What’s in the Box:  Golden beets with greens, strawberries, swiss chard, kohlrabi, romaine lettuce head, fennel, garlic scapes, summer squash and/or zucchini, basil tops.

What’s going on at the farm:  

We have been getting a lot of rain this week without any major storms or damage thankfully.   A lot of my favorite items are in the share this week.  Golden beets, berries, baby squash, garlic scapes and so much more…. here is a little rundown of the crops this week as we head into summer solstice and the longest day of the year!

Strawberries:   Yes, a second week of berries!  The rain has caused some more spotting then the previous week but more berries coming in every day right now so enjoy these aromatic and honey sweet fruits!

Fennel: These sweet anise flavored bulbs pack a crunch and are great in pasta dishes and veggie slaws or even roasted with other roots and fruits like the beets and squash.   The licorice flavor is less pronounced when cooked or dressed with vinegar/oil, and even the fronds and stalks are tender enough to be used for cooking.

Kohlrabi:  Sweet crunchy bulbs can be peeled and the leaves are not much use so you can snap them off for better storage.   We keep them on for simplicities sake of harvest and to showcase the full healthy plant.    I suppose they can be used for stock or garnish but I usually toss them myself.  Their bulbs however are so fruity and crisp they make an amazing slaw ingredient or can be eaten fresh or even pickled!

Garlic scapes:  These curly garlic scapes are the flowering shoot of a hardback garlic plant and they are great minced up and cooked into your dishes anywhere you want garlic flavor.  I also like to cook them on the grill in a foil packet with a little oil or with other veggies until they are tender and asparagus like texture.

G0lden beets:  These are one of my favorite veggies and are great roasted, sautéed, or sliced thinly raw.  They are extremely sweet and do not bleed like a red beet.  The greens may also be used as a sauté green.

Basil tops:  are our fresh herb this week and basil is great with any of the items in your box weather its minced into your salad or grilled with your squash and beets or made into pest with your scapes.

Swiss chard:  is versatile as a green and although its related to beets, the greens are often used in place of spinach but that doesn’t mean you can’t also use the crisp stem blanched, sautéed, or stir fried into your favorite dishes.

Romaine lettuce:  A shining star in our spring these green tower romaine heads were grown outside unlike the last two weeks which were indoor crops.   This planting was staggered to extend the lettuce coming in your shares this spring.   Great for salads, sandwiches, and wraps of all kinds!

Zucchini: is starting to come in along with summer squash and there should be enough that everyone will be receiving a small amount of both green and yellow squash and possibly some patty pan squash.   They can all be cooked like zucchini, and do not require any peeling.

 

It’s been a very busy week on the farm this last week.  Sugar snap peas were almost ready for this box and we will likely be picking them Friday or Sunday/Monday for the following week but the crops looks great and much better then last years when we had some bad seed make un-uniform pods.  Taking a break from the micro’s in shares this week unless we come up short on the zucchini and squash with this cooler weather then we may do pea shoots as a replacement for them.   I’ve been debating over this weeks items a bit but also just out in the field all day everyday so better late then never!  Other crops coming soon are the carrots that we perfectly weeded today along with cucumbers, onions, cabbage, and much more!   Enjoy the last box of spring folks!   -Kyle

Week #3 – 2018 CSA Season

What’s in the Box:

Strawberries, purple and green kohlrabi, romaine lettuce head, spinach, sunflower shoots, chioggia beets with greens, bak-choi, curly kale, pea shoots, oregano or mint bunch.

What’s going on at the farm:  

Strawberries are here!  Our currently-producing plants are in their third year and we are just starting to get berries this week so expect a few in your share.   We don’t have a lot of them coming in as of yet but I think it’s safe to say they are a favorite so we are going to try and get everyone some right away!  Our peas are flowering heavily and beginning to set pods but we are waiting for them to be as full and sweet as possible, which should be within 10-14 days.  These two crops alone keep us very busy, as they require many hours of picking by many hands, require many pieces to make a harvest, and need to be harvested every other day.   On the farm we are still planting though and seeding.  We started winter squash this week and I made beds for it after tilling in the spinach and salad greens fields this last week.   Seedless cucumbers, and melons were potted up into large pots and tomorrow we will be planting an array of hot peppers and prepping for your CSA deliveries this week!   We are also pruning and  basket weaving indoor and outdoor tomatoes which are setting fruit rapidly.  Weeding all 25,ooo of our onions, and weeding the carrots, kale, and greenhouses for the second time this spring this week.   A planting of green and edamame beans is in the near future as well with these warmer days and nights that are coming now.

Strawberries:  Need I say more?  Enjoy!

Pea shoots:  Great mixed with chopped romaine lettuce or spinach for salads or they can be lightly sautéed, but they cook in a minute flat.

Sunflower shoots: Crispy, nutty, and healthy addition to salads, smoothies, soups, or on top of any dish you can imagine.

Chioggia beets: Chioggia (kee-oh-ja) beets are new to some of you this week and are delicious sauteed and my favorite way, roasted.  Remember to use the greens on your beets as well.  They are very tender and tasty and should be used just like swiss chard.  I love the rich flavor when they are sautéed with olive oil and find the taste resembles spinach and chard combined.

Curly kale: kale is also in the box this week and makes fantastic sauté greens or kale chips

Spinach: Still distributing spinach from our huge spring crop!   Try to use this up quickly and cook it all up in one dish, not expecting an extremely long shelf life on it since it was harvested and stored last week but its still delicious and holding in my fridge well enough to be used for cooking and salads.  We harvested over 1,000 lbs of it this last week so plenty more coming  your way for spinach pie (spanakopita), quiche, or just blanch it quickly for a minute in boiling water and press the excess water out, put it in a ziplock and you’ve got frozen spinach to use later!

Bak-Choi:  Great for stir fry or grilled with a little foil wrap and some soy/teriyaki marinade with whatever your grilling!

oregano, chive, or mint bundle:  whatever we can get this week for herbs is whats on the menu, and basically i’m going for something new but yet the mint and oregano both are lacking a little so we’ll see how much I can clip from them and i’ll go with what I have.

Kohlrabi: Kohlrabi is short for “cabbage apple” and this crisp, sweet bulb is great cooked in cream and your favorite seasoning or used raw, sliced, or grated in salads or as a snack.   I think the green might be slightly fruitier and the purple slightly spicier but they are very similar and both crisp and delicious.

The weather trend was above average temps this last week and it looks like some pleasant weather will make for healthy growth for our summer crops like peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, melons, etc… and keep us sweating in the fields as we keep on working hard to bring in the harvests and control the weeds.  More tomato pruning to do this week too.  Our crop is looking great shooting up over 6 feet and setting fruit well.   Looks like we will have our first ripe fruits in just a few weeks!  June came in with a nice heavy unexpected rain last night just in time for a dry week of berry ripening ahead as we approach summer solstice, the longest day of the year.  Other crops we have coming in include summer squash and zucchini, green top onions, sugar snap peas, cabbage, golden beets, romaine lettuce, garlic scapes, carrots, chard, and more coming soon.

Enjoy!

Week #2 – 2018 CSA Season

Whats in the Box:

Spinach, mesclun salad mix, romaine lettuce head, butter crunch lettuce head, baby beets with greens, baby lettuce mix, chives with blossoms, micro broccoli, bak-choi.

What’s going on at the farm:  

This week is a pickup week for full season (Standard and Basic) members only.  Bi-weekly members have the week off and will pick up again next week. It was another productive week of work on the farm.  So many weeds were pulled by hand around many crops including our garlic and strawberries.  All our greenhouse tomatoes were pruned and clipped for the second time and we will be pruning and clipping them weekly as they develop fruit this month.  This past week was very busy harvesting and washing greens and getting shares out.  We managed to get all the harvest in before this crazy heat wave we are having.   I tilled in the fields that had the salad mixes and today am molding beds for our wide variety of hot peppers, watermelons, cantaloupes, and a second round of baby cucumbers, curly kale, broccoli, and more.   In fact i’m working right through the holiday to keep everything watered in and use the valuable field time while I can be at home and not at market.

Choy:  bak-choy are best used as a saute green or side dish but are also good with rice or in a stir fry with onions.

Buttercrunch lettuce head:  These beauties came out super dense and perfect.   This batch is different from the ones you had last week in that they were grown outside.   I like splitting these right in half for a perfect wedge salad with some micro greens, carrot, chives, cucumber, and radish on top.

Romaine: This week we have more spring crops coming your way including some picture perfect romaine heads.  These beauties really pack a crunch and we have been enjoying them at home as wraps for easy lunches when you’re busy and on the move.  I like using the outer leaves of the romaine and the butter crunch for wraps to make mini sandwiches without bread!

Mesclun mix and lettuce mix: Mesclun is a blend of baby kale, lettuce, arugula, mustard greens, mizuna, and choy.  It is a great, well-balanced salad mix with a little spice from the arugula and mustards.  Our other mix is simply a lettuce mix with two colors of lettuce, in romaine and salad bowl types, it is also great for salads or mixing with the other greens or  on sandwiches. I like to throw in some dried cranberries, or some crunchy seeds in my salads as well as chives.

Chives: The spicy chive blossoms on your chives make a great garnish for salads and other dishes.  They are edible along with the chive which is our earliest onion offering.  Use the rest of the chive to sautee with the choy in stir fry or sprinkled over your morning eggs or other dishes.

Micro Broccoli:   It’s amazing how such small greens can pack such good flavor in but these micro greens are a rich and mild addition to any salad or finishing off any dish or entree you would appreciate the flavor of broccoli on.   Micro greens and shoots also have more nutrition then full size greens!

Spinach:  Spinach was not only Popeye’s favorite vitamin packed veggie but it’s one of mine as well.   Spinach pie or spanakopita, quiche, and pasta dishes are great ideas for all sorts of meals with spinach.  I enjoy spinach and lentils as well.

Beets: Our baby red beets are new this week and their sweetness is impressive, even sliced thinly and eaten raw.  However, the greens are fantastic on these as well and I know we have a lot of greens early but do not miss out on sautéing these rich and dark greens.  I like them lightly cooked with olive oil and garlic (use your scapes). They are so tasty and similar to chard (actually the same species as chard) so prepare them as you would swiss chard or spinach.  The taste after sautéing is rich and pairs very well with the sweet roots and maybe some creamy cheese or savory herbs.

 

Enjoy the food and hope everyone had a safe and fun Memorial Day weekend!

 

 

Week #1 – 2018 CSA Season

csa week 1 - 2018

What’s in the Box:  

Arugula, lettuce mix, mesclun salad mix, red radishes, bok-choy, chives with blossoms, butter crunch lettuce head, pea shoots, sunflower shoots, rhubarb, broccoli, and spinach.

What’s going on at the farm:  

Welcome everyone back or to their first season with us!  I am so excited to kick off my twelfth season with what I would say is my best first weeks share ever, and the fields and crops are looking very full and promising for the coming year.  As usual, the first box of the year includes many fresh and tender greens.  Crispy, crunchy, and fresh is the spring theme that connects them all; so here is the run down on each of these crops I chose to grow for you this spring!

Rhubarb:  Rhubarb may be the quintessential image of spring as far as i’m concerned.   These tart and tender stalks are best chopped and sprinkled with a mix of oats, flour, egg, cinnamon, sugar for a nice warm crisp in the morning.    Or maybe a tart or pie, or other baking idea like muffins or bread?

Radish: Radishes are very sweet and crisp and not too spicy with all this rain we’ve had.  They  go well with the salad greens but are also good sautéed or roasted.   They also store better with the tops off so remove the tops if  you will not be using them right away to keep them crisper.  The tops on the radishes are edible too and can be used as a sauté green if you wish.

Choy:  bak-choy are best used as a saute green or side dish but is also good with rice or in a stir fry with onions.  Our choy has a bit of insect damage this spring (the small holes in the leaves).  Those are from the ever-pesky flea beetle, the nemesis of organic farmers everywhere.   We think the damage is minimal and does not affect the taste, so we let them get their little snack in instead of spraying organic pesticides as they only tend to bother a few of our greens like this choi and the arugula in the spring.

Arugula:  This tasty salad green is a bold and spicy member of the radish family.   It can be used as a cooking green as well as a salad green.

Mesclun mix and lettuce mix: Mesclun is a blend of baby kale, lettuce, arugula, mustard greens, mizuna, and choy.  It is a great, well-balanced salad mix with a little spice from the arugula and mustards.  Our other mix is simply a lettuce mix with two colors of lettuce, in romaine and salad bowl types, it is also great for salads or mixing with the other greens or  on sandwiches. I like to throw in some dried cranberries, or some crunchy seeds in my salads as well as chives.

Chives: The spicy chive blossoms on your chives make a great garnish for salads and other dishes.  They are edible along with the chive which is our earliest onion offering.  Use the rest of the chive to sautee with the choy in stir fry or sprinkled over your morning eggs or other dishes.

Buttercrunch lettuce: Lastly, the butter crunch lettuce head’s best feature is a dense and blanched head in the center which is both creamy and crunchy and large outer bib leaves which can also be used along with the center for wraps or rolls.

Broccoli:  Who doesn’t love broccoli?   This veggie has way more nutritional value when its fresh out of the field then it normally does so eat it soon for best flavor!   This broccoli crop happened to get hit hard in the late snow we had this year so it buttoned up, which means it made small heads prematurely due to temperature stress.    They are good eating anyways if we pick them now so everyone is getting as much broccoli as we can swing this week!   I’ve all ready seeded a second crop of broccoli which is racing to follow up this crop so better luck on the next run is my hope here.

Pea Shoots:  These fresh tendrils are the first micro green we ventured into last year and they have a light sweet flavor similar to a fresh pea pod.  They can be eaten as a salad green or even lightly sautéed with garlic and ginger, etc… for a fresh stir fry topping over rice or fish, etc…great for use as a garnish as well.

Sunflower Shoots:  These are new micro green for us this year and they are a crunchy and nutty fresh shoot that can be eaten as a snack or salad green or even blended into smoothies.    I am really enjoying these the most in my salads at home lately mixed with all sorts of other salad greens.   Cara, one of the employees made some awesome pesto with these as well using the shoots, walnuts, olive oil, and parmesan cheese.

Spinach:  Spinach was not only Popeye’s favorite vitamin packed veggie but it’s one of mine as well.   Spinach pie or spanakopita, quiche, and pasta dishes are great ideas for all sorts of meals with spinach.  I enjoy spinach and lentils as well.

On the farm: There has been and will be a lot of weed pulling, seeding, transplanting, pruning, and trellising work going on here through the late spring and summer.  It was a cold and very very wet spring this year but we have managed to stay ahead of our planting schedule and are all caught up despite the cool spring.    In May so far we have planted many tomatoes, shallots, summer squash, zucchini, celery, eggplant, leeks, cauliflower, radishes, peppers, fennel and more.   It’s been go, go, go, every day all day and we have been working very hard.  Our fields are looking wonderful and showing the results of all this effort and it looks like a beautiful and tasty season ahead of us.   Tomatoes are even setting in the greenhouse. We got bees with the help of partnering with a neighboring beekeeper and are happy to have pollinators on the farm! Being a small farm, we do a lot by hand and we have been enjoying the long spring days of work in preparation for this season and the first big harvest/delivery week. We are getting strawberries developing so there should be a nice crop of  organic strawberries coming along later in June.   Weekly box photos will be updated by a photographer who is a worker share at the farm for each newsletter every Tuesday to help you identify your produce.  We also have the veggie ID section on the website to help you with that in combination with the weekly photo.   There are some recipe resources on the website as well.   We are still taking signups too for those who have friends or family interested in signing up there is room for more families left.   I hope everyone enjoys the first week of shares and we will be seeing some of you at the drop sites.   I hope you enjoy your first week of veggies!  Thanks everyone!

-Farmer Kyle

Week #20 – 2017 CSA Season

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What’s in the Box: Russet potatoes, green peppers, sweet peppers, pea shoots, turnip greens, purple stripe garlic, red storage onion, garlic chives, spaghetti squash, jalapeño pepper, tomato, curly kale.

What’s going on at the farm:  We have some great crops for you in this last week of the CSA season including potatoes,  fresh micro greens, and more. We are running out of onions, squash, and most everything with good timing as the CSA season has come full circle.   You may have noticed last week too that we added tomatoes, and sage to the box.  It has been a challenging but successful year and we are packing in as many veggies as possible for you once again this week for our last CSA delivery of 2017.  

This weeks selection includes

Russet Potatoes.  These tasty spuds we actually ship in just for you our CSA members.  We don’t grow them because we don’t have the field space or equipment for it yet.  They are certified organic spuds from Igl brothers in Central WI so they are still local and organic.   I figure potatoes are too basic to not include at some point and in most years we do 4 weeks of them but this year the harvest was late because of the cool wet summer.    They are shipped dirty to protect the fresh skins (they were just harvested last week) so just rinse them before you use them.

Green pepper and sweet pepper has been a popular theme for us this year and you will receive a variety of everything we have left this week which may include yellow, red, and orange sweet peppers.

Pea shoots are coming again and these have been my favorite salad green of the year and my go to base for salads at home.  Add a little tomato, sweet pepper, and onion and you have a fantastic salad.

Turnip greens are great tender sauté greens and these are very much just that because of the great protection they’ve had growing in the greenhouse.   Lightly sautéing them is the best method for cooking these and they have a sweet yet full flavor.  Try them with some garlic.

Garlic is of course a staple so more of that coming for you and hopefully you all have a little stash by this point of the year.  It will hold unrefrigerated until spring if need be.

Red storage onions are also in that same boat of long storage ability so just hold them at room temp and hopefully you all have a little supply to hold you for a while.

Spaghetti squash is going out this week and although they are hard skinned these should be used up within a few weeks as they are not a long term storage squash.  Bake them at 350 for 30-50 minutes depending on the size until you can put a fork through it.  I always enjoy using them as a nice GF noodle option.

Jalapeño peppers are our hot pepper this week and just be careful with the seeds as you chop them up and watch out for the oils.

Tomatoes are amazingly still cranking out so we will try and throw everyone a few again this week.  Enjoy these rare October fruits!

Curly kale is our bunching green this week and we also planted 5 types of kale into the greenhouse this last week for overwintered kale too!   My daughters favorite thing to do with this kale is kale chips.  Simply rub them with oil and bake at 250 for 20-30 minutes or so.   You can season them any way you like.

Garlic Chives are our herb this week and new for us this year.  They were grown from seed this year and should now be an established perennial for next springs early market/CSA season.   They would be excellent with the russet potatoes for mashed, baked, or fried spuds with some sour cream butter and chives of course!

 Thanks to everyone who was with us for our eleventh season of farming here and for being a part of the season.   Your support and participation are greatly appreciated and I hope you enjoyed all the veggies and fruits!  There were a lot of great crops and flavors to enjoy throughout the season, both on our plates, and in the fields.   I know I gave it my all this season.  What keeps me going personally is the ultimate goal of providing lots of healthy fresh organic crops to enjoy so all our families can eat locally and farm the earth sustainably without harmful chemicals, and GMOs.  It may be a bit idealistic but I would like to think that it makes a small difference which works towards a greater goal then just us.  I am very proud of all of you, all the employees, my family, and myself for being a small part of this big picture together.   Hopefully we will see the majority of you back for another season next year.   Sign ups for next season from returning members begin in December and you will receive e-mail reminders on the progress of sign-ups and preparations as we move through the winter months.   Generally early sign-ups are encouraged to help the farm start up again bringing in the seeds, fertilizer, soil, equipment, supplies, etc… that we need to prepare for a successful planting schedule to be executed properly.  These events happen very early in January through March despite the lack of field activity. In fact by March 1st we will then be planting like crazy in the greenhouse again growing thousands and thousands of transplants, stacking up hours of labor again, and spreading tons of plant based compost over the semi-frozen fields.  Our second round of selection for hoop house grant funding will go through this November so keep your fingers crossed for that.   When it happens I will be putting up a third structure adding to our season extension and greenhouse rotation abilities.   Before spring there will be much to do as well and the season will continue on for a bit.  We still have three markets a week through October and downtown market goes until mid November.  Some produce like winter kale, turnips, and carrots are still coming, and so I will be attending some winter markets this year up until Christmas time.  We will also be planting our two varieties of garlic in a few weeks.  It was another good garlic year this year and besides stocking you all up over the season, and especially the last two weeks, we are planting more then ever for next season. Our seed stock is huge which should make for some great garlic next year!   We will be breaking up the bulbs into individual cloves for planting this week and they will be hand planted before the end of October.  Our potting soil for spring is all ready ordered and will be shipped here in early November too!  It will all be trucked in from Vermont Compost Company in Vermont for us and many other organic farms in Southern Wisconsin and ours will come in the form of three huge sling bags.  I then bag by hand with a shovel and sacks all 6,000 pounds of soil and stack it neatly in the greenhouse where it will wait for spring until we start onions and many other crops again in March.   It is always an exciting trip as I have to pick up the sling bags from a main location and partner up with another local farming friend with a rental truck so we can help each other get it done.  It is kind of wild to think that we are not even quite done with this season and yet moving into the next one but that is also the way this type of farming works.   It is all a cycle constantly moving in rhythm to our climate and cycles here in Wisconsin and this late fall early winter months prepare us for reflection, vacations, and continuing education, not to mention healing physically in preparation for a new cycle.  Many other less exciting organizational projects await this winter as well like itemizing seeds and receipts.   Getting to everything that the season did not allow time for is important in the off season as well like vacation before things get crazy busy again including greenhouse and other farm repairs, home repairs, and plenty of paperwork and numbers to crunch.  I will work on clearing out trees and undergrowth which is always creeping in on a few of our fields as well.   The dense undergrowth of some areas always encourages more deer activity and in some areas decreases light too much.   On our 2 acre farm every square yard is valuable space!  Of course I am also looking forward to getting some rest for the aching body, family time with the kids, and the holidays too.   It was a challenging and beautiful journey as always and I think I speak for everyone at the farm when I say we enjoyed growing for you!  Have a great winter and from my family to yours, thank you!

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