Week #11 – 2014 CSA Season

Week #11What’s in the Box: Heirloom tomato, slicing tomato, green cabbage, cured porcelain garlic, summer squash, patty pan squash, cucumber, red watermelon,  sweet yellow onions, torpedo onions, collard greens, baby dill, cherry tomatoes, leeks and cantaloupe (bi-weekly only).

What’s going on at the farm:

This last week we finally got a decent rainfall, our first in  a month at least.   Our fall onions are nearing harvest and we are very busy prepping fields and preparing for fall plantings amidst all the bounty of summers harvests  this coming weekend we will pull all the fall storage onions from the field to cure.  Our fall varieties include storage reds, yellows, and plenty of buttery golden shallots as well!  The summer onions we have now are plentiful and the yellows are sweet.  An excellent dish for any extra sweet onions is french onion soup!  Watermelons are in and we have a red seeded icebox variety for you.  Cantaloupe is in as well and we have an exceptionally firm and sweet melon variety for you but they are coming in slowly.  To spread out the harvest of slowly ripening cantaloupes we are giving bi-weekly members these melons first this week to insure they get both types of melons.  Regular season members will get them next week. Your garlic this week is a porcelain garlic.  It is a little less spicy then the purple stripe with white wrappers and large cloves.  Our garlic is cured so it stores well on the counter, do not refrigerate your garlic or onions from this point on as it induces sprouting.  Cherry tomatoes are in this week too and our mix is a blend of yellow, orange, white, pink, red, black, and orange roma cherries.

The last of the green cabbage is going out this week, and it makes an excellent slaw or kraut!  We made some fresh kraut at home this week with it and it is very simple and easy.  simply slice up your cabbage, rinse it, and salt it in a bowl or crock.   The salt will draw liquid out of the cabbage and after it sits out a day press it with a plate so it is submerged in its own liquid.  within a couple hours after this pack it into a quart jar keeping it pressed down under the liquid and it will continue to naturally ferment in its own juice with a lid on.   You do not need to refrigerate it but let it lacto-ferment for about 3-7 days in a dark room temperature place.  You must open the jar every day to release gas and pour any extra liquid out.  Pack the cabbage down if it rises during this process and once it tastes pleasantly sour place it in the fridge!

We may have some changes to the box this week too as there are more options for packing this time of year.  We may pack some sweet peppers (we are patiently waiting for them to turn)  and we may pack cantaloupe for all members but it depends how fast they come in this week.   Thinking of trying to get some salad greens in the box this week too but the weeds are winning out on the summer greens so we will be planting more this week too! I expect we will likely stick to the plan above but just letting you know.  Some new crops coming in the next week or two also will include celery, red cabbage, sweet peppers, and dragons tongue beans.  Enjoy the summers bounty!

Week #10 – 2014 CSA Season

Week #10What’s in the Box: Heirloom tomato, slicing tomatoes, green cabbage, garlic, summer squash and zucchini (assorted types), cucumber, sweet banana pepper, mustard greens, sweet yellow onions, filet beans, eggplant, cilantro, and leeks.

What’s going on at the farm:  Wow!  Thats a very simple way to describe the bounty this month on the farm.  On top of all the harvesting and management for weed control and preparing to plant more fall crops this week we had our annual organic inspection this last Friday.   It went great and our inspector gave us good reviews with no issues to handle.  I even got some new ideas on plans for next season that we will be setting in motion soon.  The strawberry field will be plowed in this year leaving only a few newer rows and we will replant it next spring.  This means less berries next year but it is necessary for a good crop the next three years after!  I plan on converting our berry field to a raspberry patch next spring too and rotating the berries to a new area!  Lots of work for sure without much production of fruit for a year but hopefully lots of strawberries and raspberries in future years.  We mowed down the green bean crop this week for plow in later in the week and plowed in some areas for planting later this week.  Our summer onions are all cured now and we topped them all this week.  The result is a nice dry onion that stores without refrigeration for a couple months or so at least.  They are sweeter summer onions including the jumbo sweet yellow (similar to valdalia), and torpedo onions which are a medeteranian variety.  hopefully you enjoyed them green the last few weeks and they are even better cured in my opinion.  Tomatoes are abundant so enjoy theses summer favorites, we always grow plenty of them, one of my favorite crops besides onions.  Greens are back in this week and we have some spicy frilly mustard greens mix for you.  They can be chopped for salad or lightly wilted as a braising mix.   I highly recommend using them with some fried egg on top in the morning for breakfast.   Leeks are in, and we have some fresh cilantro for you too!  Cilantro is great with the eggplant fried up for a curry or try it with tomatoes and garlic for salsa!  We have had some questions on the cucumbers at pick up sites on why they have some brown stuff on the skins and just to let you know this is caused by cucumber beetles.  We are doing our best to control them but as you know being organic there are no strong unnatural pesticides used and they are a voracious feeding pest which are very frustrating for us too.  The cukes are firm and tasty when peeled as the damage is only skin deep so I figured better to get you cucumbers then none at all and we are tossing the worst ones out to our chickens so as not to waste they seem to be improving this week too.  All around we have some great peak season shares for you this week and all month for sure! many more delicious items coming soon including cherry tomatoes, cantaloupe, celery, fresh dill, red peppers, red cabbage, watermelon, and dragon romano beans all in the near future. It is very possible that cantaloupe and/or watermelon could even make the share this week but we’ll see tomorrow upon harvest day.  If not they should be over the next two weeks!  Cherry tomatoes are also a maybe for this week so basically you may find some sweet extras this week. We will be having our annual farm dinner soon too just before or after labor day.  More info to come on that and until then, enjoy the fruits of our labor and summers bounty!

Week #9 – 2014 CSA Season

Week #9What’s in the Box: Heirloom tomato (random variety), slicing tomato, savoy cabbage,  summer squash, patty pan squash, and zucchini (assorted types), cucumber, eggplant, green filet beans, green pepper, cauliflower, asian tempest garlic, and red torpedo onions.

What’s going on at the farm:  Our green bean crop is looking good and we have been up to our ears picking beans over the last week.  We harvested all the summer onions this week for curing.  They are looking great with excellent size and its definitely our best onion crop yet as far as yield and consistent size goes.  Overall we planted around 26,000 onions this  year including our leeks and shallots but this first summer portion represents just over a quarter of that.  The onions are still a little green this week, meaning they are fresh and not yet cured but they  will be a nice dry crop by next week.  Once you start receiving the Our heirloom and slicing tomatoes are coming in fast now too and served up by random selection  which guarantees everyone will get an assortment over the season.  Some of the varieties you will receive over the course of the season include prudens purple (dark pink), cherokee purple and cherokee chocolate (dark reddish brown), virginia sweets (yellow and red striped), lemon boy (yellow), green zebra(green and yellow), yellow brandywine (large orange beefsteak)  and a variety of red tomatoes in four varieties.    Cherry tomatoes are looking good too but still a little short on production to make boxes this week.     Mustard greens, cherry tomatoes, lettuce, watermelon, cantaloupe, red cabbage, celery, leeks, sweet peppers, and hot peppers, are some crops that will be coming along in August.    Would love to write more this week but it is literally non stop work around here and have to get out the door!  Enjoy!

Week #8 – 2014 CSA Season

Week #8What’s in the Box: Green filet beans, tomatoes, savoy cabbage, summer squash, patty pan squash and/or zucchini, red torpedo onions, eggplant, kale, and cucumber.

What’s going on at the farm:  This week we began picking filet beans.  so many green beans coming in right now it takes quite a few hours of backbreaking manpower to keep them picked well. The variety we grow is in my opinion the best bean out there with excellent taste and when picked on time an extremely tender seedless and stringless bean.  Filet beans are also referred to as haricot vert. They mature a little later then other beans but trust me they are well worth the wait so enjoy these top quality beans!  We worked the open spaces of the fields again for fall plantings slowly breaking up the  matter breaking down from the spring crops until we have a nice clean field for planting again.   The garlic field is all ready tilled in and ready for winter squash transplants to go in this coming weekend.  Squash and cucumbers are still pouring in now  but beans and tomatoes are catching up quickly as they make their first appearance in shares this week.  We finished harvesting our garlic this week and it is a great looking crop this year!  Many large bulbs and very good yield and quality overall.  Its even more exciting after the statewide troubles nearly all growers had last year with disease in the seed stock which was actually a carry over effect from the 2012 crop.  We had to start all over with new seed last fall and finally we are back on track with some awesome garlic!  It is curing this week in the greenhouse and will be topped and cleaned for shares starting next week.  We clipped and pruned both the indoor and outdoor tomatoes again this week.    Keeping them upright and trimmed is very important to fruit size and quality over the next couple months of the tomato season.     We may get some green peppers in the box this week as well but it will likely be next week before the first peppers are harvested.  We are very close to cauliflower and salad greens coming in along with some other new crops including peppers, and cherry tomatoes, we just need some warm weather to stick around.  Enjoy the food everyone!

Week #7 – 2014 CSA Season

Week #7  Cabbage (savoy), summer squash, patty pan squash, zucchini, collard greens, cucumber, green top onions,  and kale.

What’s going on at the farm:   We found some of the first ripe cherry tomatoes this week and all of the summer crops were starting to take off yet the cool weather patterns seem to be the trend this season which is making for slow maturity on some of the heat loving crops.  Looks like a cool week ahead this week before a hopefully stable warm front coming in over the upcoming weekend.  We took advantage of the cooler temps and rain this last week or two though by planting plenty of fresh salad greens which we usually do not grow during the summer heat so we will see how that plays out over the next month.  We pulled a lot of weeds this past week in the strawberry field to clean it up and keep it weed free for next season.  Our melons, beans, celery, onions, peppers and pretty much all of the fields were cultivated for weeds.  There was plenty of mowing going on near field buffers to control weeds close to the fields.  Plowing and planting continued this week too and we planted dragons tongue beans, daikon radish, spinach, and carrots. Cucumbers are starting to produce heavier and will make the shares this week for sure.  Summer squash and zucchini are producing heavily too so expect hearty portions of these early summer crops.   Peas are out and removed from the fields and beans are coming in slow but will be ready for next week!    We started harvesting our garlic this week and will finish as soon as the rains stay away and the field dries a little, garlic is best harvested in dry conditions and cured for several weeks so we will be distributing it in just a week or two from now.  Our onion crop is looking great right now and there are more fresh green onions to enjoy this week.  We will be pulling our summer onions within a week or two as well for curing and a nice stockpile of dry onions.  Cherry tomatoes are coming in slowly too and if we can get some summer warmth back we should have plenty of them for shares very soon along with the green beans, heirloom tomatoes, slicing tomatoes, cauliflower, garlic, eggplant, and green peppers are all coming very soon.  Eggplant may make the shares this week even but it will be very close.  Until next week, Enjoy!

Week #6 – 2014 CSA Season

Week #6What’s in the Box:  Swiss chard, green cabbage, summer squash, patty pan squash, and/or zucchini (assorted types), green top onions, oregano, and cucumber.

What’s going on at the farm:  We started winter squash in the greenhouse this week along with some transitioning work in the fields as we move into mid summer so we are prepared for late summer and fall.  Our greens field was plowed in last week and reseeded this week with mustard greens, braising mix, rutabega, carrots, and lettuce mix.  Our sugar snap peas are done producing heavily so we removed all of them as well taking down trellising, poles, mowing the vines and weeds, and plowing the field to prepare it for mid summer planting.  We pulled tons of weeds this week as well in several fields including work on our sweet pepper field and strawberries.  Although the strawberries are done fruiting they will need more work this week to keep the weeds from taking over their space. We also got a break from weekend markets this week and next week as well.  The plan is to spend as much time as possible preparing for fall and planting as much as possible over the next four weeks.  Our tomato crop is looking great and should be on the way soon in the next week or two.  We picked the first couple ripe ones this week.  Along with tomatoes some other new crops that will be here next week or so include green filet beans, eggplant, garlic, and green peppers. Enjoy the green top onions just as you would a green scallion by chopping up the bulb and green tops. The cabbage this week is an excellent choice for summer coleslaw.  Other ideas for some summer cooking include grilling your summer squash and/or zuchinni with your favorite spices and olive oil brushed on…  mmmm…delicious. Enjoy!

Week #5 – 2014 CSA Season

Wee #5What’s in the Box:  Sugar snap peas, kale, chioggia beets, summer squash, savoy cabbage, green onions, cucumber, carrots (bi-weekly only), basil.

What’s going on at the farm:    Things are heating up on the farm as we head into summer.  We have some more new crops this week including savoy cabbage, green onions, and cucumbers!  Savoy cabbage is a great cooking cabbage with some very large outer wrapper leaves.  It is great for cabbage rolls, stir fry and more.  Our cucumber this week is a mini english cucumber with excellent sweetness, smooth skin and no spines.  Most of them are seedless and  they are always non bitter with a thin soft skin so I never bother to peel them myself.  They are excellent with the onion for cucumber salad!  There are still plenty of weeds to pull, tomatoes to trellis, and planting to be done for late summer and fall crops.  We are very close to harvesting tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, eggplant, slicing cucumbers, green cabbage, and green filet beans so heads up for some of those crops coming in the next few weeks. Enjoy all the early summer crops and we’ll keep busy trying to keep up with everything out here as we head into the second quarter of the season.  Have a great Fourth of July everyone.

Week #4 – 2014 CSA Season

Week #4What’s in the Box:  Carrots, sugar snap peas, golden beets, summer squash, collard greens, kohlrabi, radish, and red Russian kale.

What’s going on at the farm:    Golden beets are my favorite item this week and the greens are also very delicious sauteed in a little olive oil just like swiss chard stems and all.  In fact beets and chard are both in the same family.   I am excited about the delicious spring carrot crop for you this week too!   Heavy rains have been soaking our fields lately after some strong storms passed through which i’m sure you are all aware of. We escaped without any major damage this last week thankfully although it did cause quite a bit of trouble with the proper ripening of our strawberries in their final week of production.  Berries just can’t handle intense amounts of rain while ripening, the result is many bad rotten berries so were pretty much done with our berry crop for this season.  The sugar snap peas on the other hand are pouring in so expect a healthy portion of these sweet spring sugar snaps over the next couple weeks!  They can be eaten shell and all although stringing them makes them even more tender.  Simply pull the top off and peel it back along the seam of the pea to remove the string.   It’s always stressful when the threat of severe weather like hail, tornadoes, or flat line winds are looming on the horizon.  The winds in this last storm caused some trouble with the peas knocking them off their trellising and tearing the trellis in some areas.  We spent plenty of extra time pulling them back up onto the trellising.  June is always the stormiest month of the year it seems as the warm summer fronts shift in our direction and the hot summer days ahead settle in.  Our crops and the weeds have really accelerated this week with all the heat and precipitation so we are under pressure to control all the weeds.  Tons of hand weeding was completed this week though so we are keeping up and the crops are looking great.  Our broccoli crop has finished along with some other spring crops so we will be making room in the fields this week plowing in open spaces and prepping for some fall plantings in a few weeks.  We may add green top onions, basil, zucchini, and other items to the box this week depending on weather or not we have time to prep all of them in one delivery day!   Next week we will have some other new crops coming in including cucumbers, onions, basil, cabbage and more! Until then enjoy the veggies!

Week #3 – 2014 CSA Season

Week #3What’s in the Box: Strawberries, kohlrabi (purple and/or green), garlic scapes, kale, broccoli, chioggia beets, summer squash, zucchini and/or patty pan summer squash, salad mix.

What’s going on at the farm:  This last week we are weeding all of the onions for the second time which is quite a lot, 12 100 Ft. beds to be exact.  Strawberries are ripening and are in heavy production right now! Our peas are flowering and setting pods heavily so they should both be in heavy production around next week.  These two crops alone require many hours of picking over the course of the week as both need to be harvested every other day and of course require many many pieces to make a harvest.  Garlic scapes are in this week and they are excellent used as you would garlic mincing them up or even blending them to make a delicious pesto!  Our broccoli is heading up well and an item for bi-weekly members only this week.    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.  We were going to provide chard as our bunching green this week but opted for kale again as the beet greens are very similar to chard.  They are best sauteed in olive oil in my opinion and very good for pasta dishes as well.  The cool weather trend continued over the last week but it looks like some warmer weather will speed up growth for our summer crops like peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, melons, etc… and keep us sweating in the fields this week 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 5 feet and setting fruit well.   Looks like a nice tomato crop coming within a few short weeks.  Looks like a stormy week of weather ahead too so hoping for nothing severe and gentle rains.  Enjoy!

Week #2 – 2014 CSA Season

Week #2 Box: Strawberry, broccoli, purple kohlrabi, salad/lettuce mix, joi-choi, buttercrunch lettuce heads, chioggia beets, and red russian kale.

What’s going on at the farm:  This week is a pickup week for full season members only, this means that if you are a Standard or Basic share you pick up but bi-weekly or half share members have the week off and will pick up again next week. It was another productive and tiring week of work on the farm.  So many weeds were pulled by hand around many crops as well as cultivating more open spaces to kill off weeds.   All our greenhouse tomatoes were pruned and clipped for the third time this week and we will be pruning and clipping them weekly as they develop fruit this month. We delivered the first shares of the season and attended three farmers markets this last week and so the harvest and delivery season will go weekly.  The greens are loving this cool weather and there are plenty more to enjoy this week.   Strawberries and a nice spring broccoli crop have also arrived!  Kale is new this week and is also looking great.  Kale is considered to be a superfood because of its high nutritional content and is very tasty used as a warm salad green slightly wilted.  It can be served as a cold salad as well after cooking and chilling and kale pairs well with sesame, olive oil, and soy for dressing.  It is also excellent for juicing!  Beets are also in!  These beets are a special heirloom variety known as chioggia (kee-oh-jah) beets.  The greens are incredible on them so don’t miss out on eating them too, preferably lightly sauteed with olive oil in my opinion!  Overall our crops are looking great this year and we are getting very close to harvesting some other new crops over the next couple weeks including zucchini, summer squash, green kohlrabi, more strawberries and broccoli, sugar snap peas, garlic scapes, carrots, radishes, golden beets, swiss chard, and more!  Enjoy!