Week 2

IMG_3138 full share (above)

IMG_3144 medium share

IMG_3145small share

The weeks are flying by! We can’t believe we’re already harvesting and packing boxes for the second time this year. The boxes are looking great! We’ve got a lot of spring goodies, and lots of color and flavor in this one.

The farm is looking verdant and flush with plant and animal life. We have red and white clover seeded everywhere as a cover crop, and the bees are beside themselves with happiness at the abundance of food sources. We’ve also noticed a good amount of milkweed around, which will blossom and attract Monarch butterflies in a few more weeks. We have a wide variety of wildflowers, and the nearby natural spring attracts all sorts of critters and birds. We feel pretty good about the biodiversity on this farm, and we are pleased to be living up to our standards of creating an environment that is conducive to healthy living for the entire plant and animal kingdom.

We have a fantastic crew this year, and we’ll introduce them to you over the course of the next few weeks. We’ve got our super-star local, Michele, who is with us for her third season. Amberly joins us from the Twin Cities area, before landing here she was WWOOF-ing on organic farms in Central America. Rachel just graduated from UM-Duluth and already has quite a bit of greenhouse and harvest experience under her belt from her work at school. Bryce is our 17 year-old next-door neighbor, and this is his first time working on a produce farm. Too bad he hates vegetables! We’ll work on him…

IMG_3441can you see the crew waaayyy down at the other end of the carrots?

What’s in the box

Head lettuce-1 for small shares, 2 for medium, 4 for full

Snap Peas-1/2 pound for small shares, 3/4 pound for medium and full shares

Broccoli-about 1 pound for medium and full shares

Cilantro-1 bunch each for small and medium, 1 large bunch for full shares

Radishes-1 bunch for smalls, 1 large bunch for medium and full shares

Turnips-1 bunch for smalls, 1 large bunch for medium and full shares

Pea Shoots-about 3 ounces for full shares

Mustards-1 bunch for full shares

Pac Choi-1 pound for full shares

Things to know about this week’s produce:

Snap Peas-they have made their first appearance! One of Brandon’s favorites to munch on during harvest, these are awesome fresh as a snack but really great with other items. Cut off their tops before cooking, some folks like to peel off the “string” along the back of the pea before eating.

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Turnips-This unusual variety is called Hinona Kabu. They have a lovely purple tint to them, and a strange tentacle-y carrot shape. Sweet with a hint of radish spice, we’d recommend eating them raw but they are great cooked, too.

Broccoli-We are thrilled to have broccoli so early in the season! We found a variety that had promise for an early-season maturation and it delivered. Last week’s intense heat wave is a challenge for cool-weather crops like this, but it held up just fine.

Pea Shoots-We managed to get enough for full shares from the bed that got washed out in the downpours a few weeks ago. A true delicacy, eat them raw as part of a glamourous salad or add them to your stir-fry at the very last minute.

Recipes

It’s hard to do anything other than eat snap peas raw, but they are really great when part of a dish. Try this stir-fry from one of my favorite food blogs, the Smitten Kitchen. Their crunch and sweetness really bring anything to life, and make for a really cool pasta dish like this one. When we make this tonight for dinner we’ll use the peas, feta, cilantro and just not worry about the peppers or green onion.

Turnips can be puzzling to people that aren’t used to them. This variety is called a salad turnip, which means it is meant to be eaten fresh and raw like a radish. You could certainly treat them like the radish canape, or you could shave them into thin coins, slice up the snap peas, add pea shoots if you have them, and make that into a topping for an awesome salad using your lettuce. If you want to make it a heavier meal, just saute some shrimp or grill some chicken and toss that on top. A little shaved cheese would be wonderful, or crumbles of feta would add a perfect amount of salty-tangy flavor to the mix. I also discovered this beautiful food blog with a Japanese quick-pickle recipe that I plan on trying out.

Broccoli is the best because it needs no recipe! Steam it  if you can (that way it keeps the most phytonutrients) but at the bare minimum a little salt and butter or olive oil is enough to enjoy the flavor. Of course, you can get all kinds of creative with it, too, if you’re so inclined. Try this Fresh and Lighter Broccoli Slaw for a great side dish to keep around all week. If you like tartines, this is one of our annual traditions-The Broccoli and Portobello Tartine. Since we’re all trying to eat seasonally here, don’t even worry about the bell peppers unless you really want them! It’s great without.

Photo time!

I was firmly scolded for the lack of Maybelle photos in the last newsletter, so here’s one to enjoy!

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A nice view of the new pack shed:

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Here’s the cooler that we built for under $1500, thanks to Mark Adams! He traded it to us for our old bulk tank that we had in the milk house. What a deal. For those of you interested in cool new farm technology, the cooler runs on a window air conditioning unit and a thing called a Coolbot. It’s one of the best modern inventions for smaller farmers like us. A regular condenser unit would have cost us $5ooo alone, plus labor…

IMG_3405

Pea pickin’: 8 beds takes 10 person-hours to pick for one harvest day!

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Another beautiful evening in the country:

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One final sweet little face:

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And finally, our best guesses for next week:

Garlic scapes! Yes!

Peas? Depends on the heat…

Broccoli

Radish

Napa Cabbage

and more…

All the best from all of us,

Heather, Brandon, Maybelle, and the crew

 

 

 

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