Newsletter

Week #10 – 2015 CSA Season

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What’s in the Box: Cherry tomatoes, slicing tomato, red cabbage, purple glazer garlic, summer squash, patty pan squash, sweet banana pepper, cucumber,  zucchini, sweet yellow onions, celery, leeks, lacinato kale, serrano chile pepper, and basil.

What’s going on at the farm:  Another busy and challenging week on the farm this week as we prepare for fall while managing summers bounty and the ever present heat reminds us how important water is.  We have some more new crops coming for you in this weeks offerings including cherry tomatoes.   Our blend is tasty and diverse and includes  small and large red, orange, yellow, white, pink, and a variety of striped tomatoes.   Red cabbage is in this week and it is a spicier thicker and heartier cabbage which is great for roasting.   Cauliflower is a maybe for shares this week and new crops, we had planted much more of this but unfortunately the deer were also very fond of this crop this season. It is very reluctantly that I admit they won on this crop but they ended up taking over half of it before it made it through its first week in the field.  I have off season plans to do some major work on our field edges to deter this every increasing problem here.  Sweet banana peppers are also in this week and they have a wonderful flavor and aroma almost like they would be spicy, but no spice to these sweet peppers at all.   Celery has turned out amazing this year and if your not going to use it right away the best way to keep the stalks crisp is to cut it off the greens and band them together separately if you want to use them later.  They can be used to juice, or in cooking as you would parsley.  Our onions are half cured at this point so keeping them at room temperature is best from this point on with all onions you will receive.   The same goes for the garlic which is fully cured now and ready to store until next spring in a room temp place out of direct sunlight.

We were able to accomplish topping and cleaning nearly all our garlic this week and harvest all of the sweet onions which are curing very nicely and rapidly in this hot sunny weather.  We also harvested all of our red cabbage for the coming summer shares and have them stored in the cooler along with an inpouring of summer squash.   We mowed in the swiss chard and cultivated weeds in our sweet peppers, and in row around all the brussel sprouts.  We pounded in poles and hung trellising for the pole beans and cultivated weeds around them, the late filet beans, beauty heart radishes, and rutabaga.  I also found time to plant yet another planting for some late season traditional green beans, and white salad turnips.    Much more planting coming in the coming week along with the hefty task of topping all of our summer onions once they are fully cured.  Until next week we will keep on trucking through the summer heat and hope you all enjoy the veggies!

Week #9 – 2015 CSA Season

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What’s in the Box: Tomato (may include red, yellow, orange, black), green cabbage, leek, celery, fennel (bi-weekly only), summer squash, patty pan squash, mustard greens, cucumber, green filet beans, green or banana pepper, purple glazer garlic, sweet yellow onions, serrano chile pepper, flat Italian parsley, and swiss chard.

What’s going on at the farm:  First tomatoes of the season are in for you all and I don’t think I need to make to many recommendations on those but here are a few of my favorite ways to enjoy them.   Sliced thick with olive oil and balsamic and raw bits of garlic and cheese over the top. Fresh pico de gailo,  Diced tomato, cucumber, and onion salad. Tomato sandwiches with mayo lettuce and maybe cheese and of course the famous BLT!  Our green bean crop is looking good and we have been up to our ears picking beans over the last week.  Our garlic is all curing and will be clipped this week and ready for distribution as cured garlic for the rest of the season and of course to be saved for our seed in the fall.   As soon as garlic is clipped we will be ready to harvest all of our sweet onions for sun curing and we are planning on that for the coming weekend.   Peppers are making their way into the mix this week both sweet and green cabbage makes it’s outro for the season this week.   Still plenty of zucchini and cucumbers to enjoy and I love them both with the onions.   Simply frying some zucchini and sweet onions makes a great side dish with a little of your favorite spices like cumin and garlic or some fresh parsley.     I have heard some rave reviews of roasted cabbage being a hit both from employees and CSA members this last week and they could be roasted with squash and onion, fennel, celery, etc… to make a great roasted veggie dish.   Another item I like slow roasting at a lower temp is the garlic.   Simply wrap a little foil around it and peel most of the skin off and roast at 250 for 30-40 minutes and you can then spread the soft garlic straight out of the bulb in the form of a roasted garlic butter.  Leeks are in this week too, and they make a great addition to any veggie mix with their creamy buttery and mild taste.  Another new crop for us this season is mustard greens.  These are a fancy mustard with a sweet and spicy flavor  which is much less pronounced with  a little dressing on them.  These are wonderful for salad or can be flash sautéed to wilt them although the cook down very fast.   Peppers are starting to come in too and this week will be a random selection for each share based on our availability.  The last fennel of the year is going out to bi-weekly members this week and it may be the last appearance for swiss chard as well.

This week on the farm our work is intense as we still have all the normal work to do of harvesting, washing, weeding, deliveries, and much more but we also have some big tasks at hand including topping all of our garlic which was harvested (around 3,000 bulbs)  and later on this week bringing in all of our sweet onions!   which are around the 10,000 range.    We are sure to keep busy with this and many more large harvests coming during this main part of the season.   I cultivated lots of weeds this week around fall crops of brussel sprouts, winter squash and some more mowed areas relinquished from our cabbage and garlic crops.  After the big harvests are done another push on planting is in the works for these newly opened areas and that task must be completed before fall onions are ready to come in from the field.   Until next week.  Enjoy the veggies and i’ll be seeing quite a few of you at the drop sites.

Week #8 – 2015 CSA Season

DSC_0281What’s in the Box: Collard greens, fennel, savoy cabbage, green top torpedo onions (specialty red onion), summer squash, patty pan squash, zucchini, english cucumber, green garlic, serrano chile pepper, basil.

What’s going on at the farm:  Nature is finally bringing the heat this week.  New crops this week include some beautiful collard greens which are fantastic with any type of pork.   They also work well for wraps as a substitute for a tortilla.  Our onions are sizing up rapidly with the heat and decreasing day length and we have some fantastic baby red torpedo onions for you this week, my personal favorite onion.   Plenty of cukes pouring in this week too with the warm weather so expect a healthy portion of these sweet english cucumbers which have been very popular the last few weeks.   They pair great with the red onions for salad or vinegar sugar cukes with red onion.    It’s the last of the savoy cabbage coming this week and our first week of basil which of course pairs well with almost anything.  I like using it in stir fry along with the green chilies and garlic.    I start by frying the garlic and chilies in oil to infuse the oil with chile and garlic and then add cabbage, zucchini, etc. adding basil at the end so as not to overcook it.   Serve it over rice and your done.  A second fennel crop is in this week and looking fantastic and my favorite way to use it is with some cabbage for a fennel cabbage slaw with a balsamic mayo dressing.

I worked many open spaces of field this week from our extensive clean up over the last few weeks and was able to plant quite a few crops before the impending rain storm this Sunday.   Crops that were seeded this week include rutabaga, turnip, dragons tongue beans, filet beans, dill, carrots, romano beans, and beauty heart radish.  This week since all empty spaces were filled and weeds were also all cought up on pulling and mowing we will be pulling in the last of our green cabbage crop and preparing that space for fall planting this weekend.    It will be a push to get this done because along with that all of our garlic will be coming in from the field this week and that task is no small one.   We will be lifting over 5000 bulbs by hand carefully prying them loose with a spade and bundling them in the field before carting them home and curing them for dry storage. This task must be completed this week because our sweet onion harvest will be following right behind the garlic as soon as it is cured it will be their turn to occupy our greenhouse benches and sun cure.   Our winter squash crop got weeded this week and is looking great, onions, tomatoes, and sweet peppers are looking very promising right now as well.  Our cauliflower, green beans, cherry tomatoes, green peppers and tomatoes are very close but not quite ready this week in the quantities that we need for our CSA families but they are coming in none the less and should all be ready in the next week.  Until then enjoy the veggies and we will keep on harvesting, cleaning, planting, and weeding.

Week #7 – 2015 CSA Season

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What’s in the Box:   Lacinato kale, celery, baby leeks, cabbage (savoy and green), summer squash, green garlic, patty pan squash, zucchini, seedless english cucumber, green onions.

What’s going on at the farm:

Another busy week had us working right through the holiday and on to some warmer summer weather fronts moving in.  Our sugar snap pea aisles were cleaned up and plowed down this week, that area should be ready for planting next week.   The old strawberry field clean up was also completed and plowed down and ready for planting this week.   We also cleaned up our beet field this week and were able to plant most of our brussel sprouts this week as well in that field.   It sounds simple but cleaning out these fields requires many physically strenuous steps for us including; removing plastic mulch by hand which is buried in the soil.   Pulling out drip lines, and sometimes resetting long length of drip for a second crop.   Removal of posts, trellising, and hoops or row covers.  Then mowing by weedwacker to shred old crop residue and weeds up for better incorporation into the soil and to prevent the weeds from going to seed if they are close to doing so.   Finally there is the actual plowing of the field to incorporate any shredded crop residues into the soil while they are still green and valuable to the soil structure. We will be planting a lot for the fall season over the next few weeks and its nice to have most of this hard clean up work out of the way.  Lots of cabbage coming your way this week and here are two simple ways to prepare it quickly.  The first is a grilled version I did this week by quartering it with the green stem end attached to each quarter.  Then mopping it on the grill with a marinade of soy, honey, brown mustard, garlic, chili oil, veg oil, and celery salt.  The result was a grilled  teriyaki like cabbage quarters which were perfect with brats.   I also suggest trying some homemade kraut which you can find info on here.   http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-easy-homemade-sauerkraut-in-a-mason-jar-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-193124.   If that fails then there is my personal favorite which is stir fry with a whole cabbage and a bunch of green onions sautéed together with teriyaki sauce and served over rice or noodles.  Delicious.   Plenty of squash and zucchini to enjoy this week and I love them grilled and brushed with marinade too. They are perfect for pasta and perhaps even making pasta with as well for gluten sensitive people or just something new squash or zucchini noodles are a great option.   We have some very tasty crisp celery ready for you all this week.    Try it with the kale and baby leeks for a tasty soup, an addition to a stir fry, or maybe just a tasty, cool, and crunchy snack.  We are very close to harvesting all of our garlic and everyone is receiving a little green garlic fresh on the stalk this week too.  Simply break the cloves out as you would on cured garlic and peel of any paper and your ready to go.   Of course I think garlic goes well with anything so i’m sure you will all have no problem with this one so enjoy the first of what will be much garlic to come.   Until next week then folks, enjoy the veggies!

 

Week #6 – 2015 CSA Season

DSC_0060What’s in the Box: Sugar snap peas, baby golden beets w/greens, red russian kale, cabbage, summer squash, patty pan squash, zucchini, green onions, parsley,  and cucumber.

What’s going on at the farm:  The season seems to always fly ahead faster then the crew can run this time of year and this year is no exception.  This means there is no time for anything except farming all day every day but that is no exception to our earlier months either.   In between all the harvesting, cleaning, packing, markets, deliveries, paperwork, weeding, and mowing this week I was able to squeeze in some more plantings of summer arugula, fancy green and red mustards, orange watermelon, and celeriac (celery root).   The sweet and hot peppers were weeded along with the swiss chard, and most of the cabbages and garlic.  We pulled the first garlic bulbs to get a sneak peak at the upcoming harvest in two weeks and they are looking great.   Our new strawberry field was weeded as well and the plants are setting lots of runners right now and next years crop looks very promising.    We also pruned the tomatoes and pulled weeds in both greenhouses this week.   My lawnmower decided to literally die this week sending out clouds of smoke and leaving me the chance to hire out some mowing and focus on getting all this other work done.  The old berry field will be mowed by weedwacker and cleaned up this week making way for more fall field space and perhaps planting of turnips, rutabaga, late beans, and fall radishes like beauty heart, and daikon.   Our tomatoes are nearing ripening, both cherry and slicing tomatoes alike and we are along with many of you i’m sure, anxiously awaiting the first ripe fruits.    Sugar snap peas are done this week but there should be enough for a little to go around.    We have green cabbage ready for your 4th of July weekend and it would make some awesome coleslaw!   Some other suggestions for the holiday weekend 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.  we have cucumbers and onions again which would make a great cucumber salad and of course the baby beets which are the gold variety this time around.   Remember to eat your kale as well and stay powered up with this super food.   If nothing else it is great with rice for a dark stir fry green, wonderful for juicing or smoothies, and also the increasingly popular kale chips.  Here begins the second quarter of our season this week and I hope everyone has a fun and safe holiday!  Until next week, enjoy the veg!

Week #5 – 2015 CSA Season

DSC_0475What’s in the Box:  Sugar snap peas, carrots, zucchini, summer squash, cabbage (savoy), cucumber (sweet english), sage, chioggia beets,  fennel (bi-weekly only), swiss chard, green top red onions.

What’s going on at the farm:    Things are heating up on the farm as we head into summer.  We had another busy week of work here on the farm as the sugar snap peas are in and picking them requires much time and effort.   Now that strawberries are finished these are sure to keep us very busy.    Our carrots are in as well!   These are one of the family favorites here on the farm.  They are very sweet and crisp and the tops can be used as well although they are not nearly as good as the roots.  We have some more new crops this week for some including fennel for our bi-weekly members, and sage which is a savory herb that goes well with the summer squash, beets, fennel, or such in a roasted root dish or perhaps infused with some butter to make an herbed butter roll.  Savoy cabbage is a great cooking cabbage with some very large outer wrapper leaves that hold up well for cabbage rolls, stir fry and more.  It can still be used raw of course but holds up better then green cabbage when cooked.   Our cucumbers are back this week with excellent sweetness, smooth skin and no spines.  They are always non bitter with a thin soft skin so I never bother to peel them myself, and they are excellent paired with the onion for cucumber salad with vinegar and sugar!   Lastly the chard is great anywhere you would use spinach and some of my favorite uses are with lentils, eggs, or pasta.  Same goes for the beet greens which have some insect damage this week but are still just as tasty and nutritious.  There are still plenty of weeds to pull, tomatoes to trellis, and planting to be done for late summer and fall crops.  I spent fathers day squeezing in a planting of winter squash and romanesco cauliflower which is a new crop for us.   Hoping we will have the brussel sprouts and the celeriac, and the last of our watermelons out this week as well and escape any strong early summer storms.  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 and the official beginning of summer this week!  Enjoy the veggies everyone!

Week #4 – 2015 CSA Season

DSC_0168What’s in the Box:    Chioggia (kee-oh-jah) Beets with greens, kohlrabi, radish, red Russian kale, butter crunch lettuce head, fennel, cilantro, seedless english cucumber, summer squash and/or zucchini, savoy cabbage.

What’s going on at the farm:   My favorite item this week is a toss up between the chioggia beets with their sweet bulbs and rich greens and the fennel with its refreshingly crisp texture and light licorice or anise flavor. Some other favorites of mine right now include the fresh cilantro, and the crisp seedless english cucumbers.   The cukes are super sweet with a thin peel, no spines, and a burp less quality.   They are awesome sliced with some salt on them or as an addition to your salad with the butter crunch lettuce.    The lettuce heads this week are from a second planting which came out much more perfectly then the first crop.   I think you will all be pleased with the lettuce this week. Savoy cabbage is in too and is a perfect compliment to the crisp fennel bulbs for a coleslaw.   You can eat the whole plant when it comes to fennel but the best part is the crisp bulb minus the small section where the tap root comes in.  Kohlrabi would also be very good with the fennel or cabbage for a trifecta slaw with shredded cabbage, kohlrabi, and fennel.   I like to make a dressing out of mayo and balsamic vinegar whisked together and mixed into the grated veggies with salt and pepper.  Kohlrabi is going out for the last time this week and the bulbs are topped as we harvested them all late last week to clear the field for mowing and prepping for planting of winter squash, brussel sprouts, and fall cauliflower.   Heavy rains have been soaking our fields lately which i’m sure you are all aware of as the rain has been wide spread.  the good news is our soil is draining well and the crops are flourishing right along with the weeds.  It is going to take a lot of extra manpower to catch up on them this week.  We escaped the incoming summer winds without any major storms or 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.  Strawberrries just can’t handle intense amounts of rain while ripening, the result is many bad rotten berries especially adding on the heat and humidity to the mix.  Its safe to say we are pretty much done with our berry crop for this season with the exception of a few pints scavenged from the field this week. It was an older field with small berries anyways and next years crop is looking very healthy and spreading rapidly right now sending out runners and bushing out after we pinched the flowers back not them several times over the last couple weeks.   The sugar snap pea crop is coming soon.  We are waiting for them to fatten up and become just right for picking but the plants are loaded and healthy so it looks like next week for an inpouring of this popular crop.  Our broccoli crop has finished along with some other spring crops so we mowed those areas in between rain this week and will be plowing as soon as possible to plant winter squash and brussel sprouts this week which are patiently awaiting to be transplanted. As you probably noticed we decided to distribute all the spring broccoli last week instead of bi-weekly members only as was listed on the weekly crop list.  Until next week, enjoy the veggies!

Week #3 – 2015 CSA Season

CSA week 3 2015What’s in the Box: Strawberries, kohlrabi (purple), chioggia beets with greens, arugula, lacinato kale, salad mix,  lettuce head, flat Italian parsley, garlic scapes, broccoli (Bi-weekly only).

What’s going on at the farm:    Strawberries are here!  They should be around for the next several weeks but its hard to say depending on weather and a few other factors.  Our current producing plants are in their fourth year so the berries are getting smaller and harder to fill pints with.  We have a new field of them vegetating this year for production the next three years so back to larger berries after this season.  Our peas are flowering heavily and setting pods so they should be in heavy production after next week.  These two crops alone require many hours of picking as both need to be harvested every other day and of course require many many pieces to make a harvest.  This week we are weeding all of the onions for the second time which is quite a lot, 12 100 Ft. beds to be exact.  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 with the rest of the harvest coming for regular members next 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.  I love the rich flavor when they are sautéed with olive oil and find the taste resembles spinach and chard combined.   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 4 feet and setting fruit well.   Looks like a nice tomato crop starting in a month or so. June is always a stormy month as warm summer winds come in so hoping for nothing severe and gentle rains as we approach summer solstice, the longest day of the year, and the beginning of the main part of the season.  Other crops we have coming in soon include baby english cucumbers, squash including zucchini, patty pan, and summer, green top onions, radishes, lettuce heads, salad mix, sugar snap peas, cabbage, golden beets, and more coming soon.  Enjoy!

Week #2 – 2015 CSA Season

2015 csa week 2Whats in the Box: Kohlrabi (green), salad mix (all lettuce blend), joi-choi, buttercrunch lettuce heads,  swiss chard (bright lights), easter egg radish, oregano, and 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.  More radishes coming your way this week and I trust I do not have to familiarize anyone with them but they are great with cultured butter and salt sautéed or used as a snack or in salad.  Kohlrabi is in this week!  Kohlrabi comes from the German language and means cabbage-apple and like its meaning it is crisp and sweet like an apple with a cabbage taste as well.   I like kohlrabi skinned and sliced up as a snack with salt and cheese.  It is very good with butter and cream, salt and pepper sautéed too.  It can also be grated or sliced thinly for salads.   The leaves on kohlrabi are edible but not recommended raw or with the stem.s   They could be used minced in a soup or stock but I rarely use them.  Swiss chard is in as well this week and is very tender and tasty.  It is best used in pasta dishes or with eggs.   I describe it to most as a dark green like spinach but it’s related to beets so it has that color and mineral taste to the stems, which you can eat as well.   I always chop the stems coarsely like celery and add them first as they cook slower then the leaves which will wilt down like spinach.  The last of the Joi-choi is in your share as well and it can be cleaned quickly by slicing off the base so the stems all fall apart for cleaning in a colander.  Lastly we have butter crunch lettuce which has bib outer leaves and a dense crisp center which is slightly blanched in the middle.   The outer leaves are wonderful for wraps and the center could make a fantastic wedge salad or go with the current trend i’ve seen and heard people doing which is a lightly grilled lettuce wedge salad.  Kale is back again this week too and of course is a superfood packed with nutrients more so then almost any other vegetable.   It is great sautéed massaged with oil for a raw salad or blended/juiced in smoothies etc…  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, strawberries, mini english cucumbers, broccoli, garlic scapes, arugula, radishes, golden beets, chioggia beets, and more!  Enjoy!

Week #1 – 2015 CSA Season

Roots Down Farm 2015 CSA Week 1

What’s in the Box:   Salad mix (red and green lettuce mix of varied types), savoy spinach, easter egg radishes, rhubarb, joi-choi, bak-choi, red russian kale.

What’s going on at the farm:  We made it to the first week of shares so first I would like to welcome everyone back or to their first season with us!  As usual our first box of the year is little lighter on variety and includes many fresh and tender greens.  Here is the run down on some of them. Red Russian kale is a purple veined kale which is very tender and balanced flavor, I had is this week sautéed lightly in butter with sliced radishes, garlic, and a salmon patty and it was awesome.   Of course kale is also a super food and rich with nutrients and vitamins your body needs.   It is generally a sauté green but also great for smoothies, juicing, and raw massaged with oil as a dark salad green.  Choi is best used as a saute green or side dish but is also good with rice or in a stir fry.  Radishes  are in and go well with the salad greens but are also good sautéed.   They also store better with the tops off so remove the tops if  you will not be using them right away.  The tops on the radishes are edible too and can be used as a sauté green.  Plenty of large savoy fresh crunchy spinach this week and salad mix this week as well so enjoy your salads, and maybe try some quiche or spinach pie (spanakopita).  Its only the third season for our rhubard which was grown from seed here on the farm and is ready for your crisps, pies, and other desserts.  There has been and will be a lot of transplanting, weed pulling, and trellising work going on here through the late spring and summer.  It was a cold 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, cucumbers, summer squash, zucchini, celery, eggplant, leeks, collard greens, cauliflower, green beans, radishes, arugula, lettuce, beets, peppers, and more including a new field of strawberries for next season.   I was going to plant raspberries this year but opted instead to keep strawberries going for  CSA this year until our next crop is ready.  We will plow in our older berry field this summer and cover crop it for a future planting of raspberries I think.  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.  Being a small farm We do everything by hand so it takes longer to do each job than if we had mechanization but I feel we are also more efficient with space and even  more focused on quality resulting in some very tasty produce coming your way.   We are getting strawberries developing so there should be a nice crop of  organic strawberries coming along by mid June.  Some other crops coming in the next couple weeks will include kohlrabi,  butter crunch lettuce heads, kale, swiss chard, beets, and garlic scapes.    Weekly box photo’s will be updated by a photographer for each newsletter.  I Hope everyone enjoys the first week and i’ll be seeing most of you at the drop sites.