Week 7

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Hi members, friends, and family!

We are excited to bring you a pretty darn good box this week, despite a few problems we experienced between the last newsletter and now.

We had a MAJOR storm on Thursday night which devastated a large portion of Maybelle’s new favorite park, Clear Lake Park. Closer to home, on the farm, we lost two rather large trees and two smaller ones. Three were completely snapped in half, and one was uprooted and slammed back into the ground. The loss of the big Box Elder in the front lawn was pretty sad, since it shielded our porch view from most of the road intersection, but we are really grateful that the house, fence, and all of us were spared!

We also had a failure of the walk-in-cooler’s air conditioner on Friday. Yes, Friday…one of the hottest days of the year. We had a smaller back-up one in place, but a lot of veggies spent too much time out of the cold zone and we had to compost about 200 pounds of broccoli, some lettuce, carrots, several hundred zucchini and a few odds and ends.

IMG_3639spoiled cooler contents on their way to the compost😦

The worst part of the week is the hardest to tell you about: the first crop of sweet corn got nearly TOTALLY wiped out by what appears to be a perfect storm of deer and racoons. This has never happened to us in our 6 years of farming, and to have it happen mere days after spending $10,000 on a new fence is pretty frustrating! As anyone knows who’s ever dealt with them, racoons can be pretty clever and destructive. We are working on ways to protect the next crops of corn (which are looking real good by the way).  There will be more!

Otherwise, though, things are great! The fields are full, the other crops look good, and we are happy to report an AMAZING crop of garlic this year. Every year we select the very biggest and best bulbs for our seed program, and this year we are seeing some serious payoff. We’ve never had garlic so huge, so beautiful, so great before. We are busy harvesting, bunching, and hanging it all in our “garlic shed” aka garage, to cure, and we’ll be planting the garlic for next year’s crop in October. Curing allows the moisture content of the garlic to drop enough that it becomes more shelf-stable in your pantry. We are sending everyone a fresh, uncured bulb of garlic this week. Use it just like any older, “cured” garlic–just keep in mind it won’t store as long (storing garlic loose in a cupboard or on the counter is the best way to keep it) . We noticed at the Stillwater co-op that uncured, naturally grown garlic goes for $9.99 per pound! Wow!

13770381_1389120577769844_7616717640556462800_n   IMG_3612 Amber harvesting garlic
IMG_36102 empty beds on the right, 1 to go on the left
IMG_3614fresh out of the ground
IMG_3628Maybelle keeping cool at Clear Lake on a hot day

What’s in the box:

Zucchini–1 each small and medium shares, 2 each for full

Cut lettuce–1/2 lb small, 3/4 lb medium, 1 lb full

Snap Beans (Romano or French Fillet style)–3/4 lb small and medium, 1 lb full

Carrots–1.5 lbs small & medium, 2 lbs full

Garlic–1 for everybody

Swiss Chard–1 bunch each for medium and full

Dill–1 bunch each for medium and full

Broccoli–1 lb for full shares

Sweet Corn–2 ears  for full shares 

Note on the cut lettuce: the loose leaf lettuce for this week really blew up with all the heat and rain! It is a little larger in size than we like, so you might want to chop it up before you put it in a salad.

Recipes:

Zucchini-We’ve got two new recipes to the Summer Squash/Zucchini recipe page, and we’re excited about both. There is a quick zucchini pickle that will take no time to make and stores in the fridge for about a week. It’s great on brats and dogs, and I’m sure there’s lots of other uses for it. We also posted a chocolate zucchini bread-a fave in this household, and a great way to turn a perfectly healthy vegetable into a serious treat! It freezes well, too. We’ve already eaten and frozen a batch of this.

Snap Beans-The beans are really coming in, so check out our great recipes for using them up. Of course, a simple steam and toss with olive oil, fresh garlic, and dill would be a pretty awesome way to enjoy them. I also found this awesome green bean recipe collection on the New York Times website-they’re usually one of my go-to sources of good food ideas.

Swiss Chard-can be used pretty much anywhere you’d use spinach. I’d be tempted to combine it with some of the garlic and dill and turn it into a quick spanikopita.

 

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Week 6

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Hello members!

Welcome to Week 6. Can you believe we are 1/3 of the way through the CSA season? We can’t! It’s gone by so fast already. We were planning the fall share boxes a few days ago, and we are getting ready to harvest all the garlic this week. These are sure signs that the season is starting to turn towards the middle of the year.

We are in the shoulder season between spring and summer now. Zucchini is starting to happen, but not quite enough for all the boxes yet. Next week looks to be a pretty heavy crop, barring any pest problems. Tomatoes are getting big and green, but won’t be ripe for a bit yet. Long-time-growing crops like carrots are starting to become ready. Cucumbers will be a little late, as the entire first crop got killed within a day of transplanting. We replaced them within the week, but it will slow their arrival. (This has also been the area of the farm with the heaviest deer damage.) The good news is that the fence crew finally showed up on Thursday and they’ve already finished! We now have a lovely, $10,000 eight-foot high enclosure around the majority of the farm. It’s expensive, sure, but weighed against electric net-style fencing, which has to be purchased, then put up and taken down every year, electrified and baited every year, and maintained by weekly mowing, it was easy to see what was best in the long run.

Cabbage and beans are on their way, and rumor has it that sweet corn is within a week or so of harvest, too! It’s exciting to see the new veggies show up-with their new colors, flavors, textures, and of course, new recipes.

A word about the broccoli: IT’S COMING. A LOT OF IT. AT ONCE. So, we had originally planned for broccoli to be in Boxes 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7. Yes, that’s 6 weeks in a row! We like to give a decent amount of it in boxes because organically-grown broccoli is high-priced in the markets, so it’s a great deal for members. We also like to give it because it is such a simple, accessible, and mostly widely liked vegetable. Well, it’s been a gangbuster year for the green guys, so everyone is getting a lot, for at least 6 weeks. This is a prime example of life as a CSA member-you sign on to take the risk and share in the rewards with your farmers, and right now the rewards are great! They’ve been taking a bit of  beating from the heat, so you might see some premature yellowing of your florets, some yellowing will not affect the taste or quality of the broccoli. If yours are starting to yellow, eat sooner than later.

If you need a break from it, put a pot of water on to boil as soon as you get your box home. Throw in a few pinches of salt. Chop the florets off the broccoli. When the water boils, toss it in. Cook for a few minutes (taste test a piece to see if you like the doneness) and drain. Fill a bowl with ice water, soak it in there for a while, and when it’s cool, drain it again. Place it in freezer bags, tuck it away for the winter, and feel nice and smug when you can serve your family local broccoli in the dead of winter! Voila! Want a little video tutorial? Watch this.

What’s in the box:

Carrots-1 1/2 # for small and medium shares, 2# for full shares

Beets-1 bunch for all shares

Broccoli-1 1/2# for small and medium shares, 2# for full shares

Cabbage-Red Express or Early Jersey, for all shares

Kale-1 bunch for medium and full shares

Sleepy Root Salad Mix-1/2 pound for medium shares, 3/4 pound for full shares

Mint-1 bunch for full shares

Zucchini-1 each for full shares

Romano Beans-1 1/2 pounds  for full shares

Green Onions-1 bunch for full shares

Recipes:

Carrots-these tender little beauties taste great! It would be hard to recommend anything right now other than snacking, or fresh eating in the form of a cool slaw. With the way the weather looks to be this week, we don’t recommend doing much of any cooking! Here’s a recipe for a slaw that we make every season: Moroccan Carrot Slaw. If you don’t have a food processor, it’s pretty quick and easy to use the large side of a cheese grater.

Beets: Many folks like to eat grated raw beets, in another cooling, slaw-like format. Again, we’d recommend this so you don’t have to turn on an oven in this heat wave! But, if you really do want to cook them, (and we always do no matter how hot it gets outside) give this recipe for Beet Risotto a try. Or, for a totally different way to eat a beet, try the classic Harvard Beet recipe here. The sweet and sour dressing tastes great when it’s hot out.

If you got Romano Beans this week, hooray! This is what I always make with my first batch, as an edible memorial to my Dad. We made this together every time we were in Spain, and when I see the colors and taste the flavors he’s right there with me. I know I put this in the newsletter every year, but it’s important to me. If you’d like to branch out more, check out the Bean page of our recipe section-there’s lots of yummy things to make there! You can freely substitute your Romano beans for any of the recipes in that section.

Early Jersey Cabbage-this is my all-time favorite kind of cabbage! I just love the pointy little green heads! They taste great, really clean and crisp and fresh, and for their novelty shape they really give you a ton of eating. Either save this one in a plastic bag in the crisper for next week, when cooking won’t be so daunting, or once again, find a way to enjoy it fresh. I found this collection of slaws on-line and I really don’t know how to choose. I can, however, heartily recommend this one. It’s a bona fide Grandma recipe, so how could you go wrong? Please note, if you got a red cabbage, you can do all the same things with it!

All the best from all of us,

Heather, Brandon, Maybelle, and the crew

 

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Week 5

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Greetings!

We are right back to our ever-increasing bizarre weather. Just over the course of last weekend we had sun, rain, abnormal low temps, extreme high temps, and then more rain! Most of the crops are handling the stress of these yo-yo conditions very well so far, although it has caused a lot of the broccoli to come early.

We have been continuing with lots of maintenance on the farm: trellising tomatoes, more laying of straw mulch, and lots and lots of weeding. Brandon spent a good part of Saturday fine-tuning our cultivator attachment, and got a whopping 13 beds cultivated (weeded) in just under an hour and a half. If we were using people power for that job, it would have taken at least 16 hours! There will still always be a large amount of hand work to be done on a small scale family farm, but a careful choice of equipment and machinery can really make it better for the humans involved!

A special note: we are good friends with an organic herbalist who lives down the way, and she is also the mother of one of our farmer friends. We place her advertising card in our boxes a few times a year. This is one of the very rare “outside” advertising items we engage in, and it’s because we believe she offers a  great product and a great service, and because she’s like family to us. You’ll find her card in your box this week. Thank you!

IMG_3581the crew mulching winter squash

What’s in the box:

Broccoli-1# small shares, 1 1/2# medium, and 2# full shares

Fennel-1 each for small shares, 2 each for medium and full shares

Beets-1 bunch each for all shares

Spicy Salad-1/2# for small shares, 3/4# for full shares, and 1# for full shares

Spicy Cress-about 2 ounces per share

Napa Cabbage-1 each for medium shares

Zucchini-2 each for full shares

Turnips-1 bunch each for full shares

Green Onions-1 bunch each for full shares

Red Cabbage-1 head for full shares

 

IMG_3578Spicy salad in the field (under row cover)

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Spicy Salad A favorite of many members (and one of ours, too) spicy salad is our mix of mild mustard greens that can be used raw like lettuce or cooked.  Awesome with eggs, on sandwiches, as a salad, and endless other combinations. The spice and flavor is made milder by cooking the greens.

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Cress is a bold little number that can add a spicy zing to any dish. It has the heat of a mustard but with a deep sweetness. Treat as you would parsley and add it to salads or use it like you would cilantro or basil and toss it in a stir fry after cooking. It is also nice as a spice or garnish for soups and meats. You can even mix it in with your spicy salad to make it even spicier! It is very versatile despite being uncommon. Think of it as green, leafy horseradish!

Hakurei Salad Turnips Full shares are getting another round of turnips, this time the famed Japanese Hakurei Turnip.  Said by some to be THE BEST TURNIP IN THE WORLD! Prized for their soft texture and sweet taste, they also seem to be a favorite turnip of bugs, for we have never been able to grow a crop without some bug damage. Peel away or cut out any damaged parts and enjoy–they are worth a little cosmetic defect.

Recipes

Broccoli is still here and going strong! Are you ready to branch out past the perfectly acceptable steamed approach? Have you worked through a few of the recipes on the menu page? This new recipe for a broccoli orzo salad is pretty fun. It uses a broccoli pesto and broccoli florets, with the deep taste of pine nuts and the tang of creme fraiche. It’s on the menu at our house this week, we’ll see if we can get a picture of it before it’s gone!

Fennel is a favorite of Heather’s! Although it makes a very fine raw shaved salad with oranges or other citrus, caramelizing (just like you would an onion) is probably the most accessible way to eat this anise-scented vegetable. We have plans to smear some caramelized fennel on a pizza dough round, add some extra virgin olive oil and some fresh mozzarella, and grill some pizza this week! Yum! This New York Times recipe for fennel and green onion pizza looks pretty great, too. You could also try any of these recipes from Martha Stewart’s Fennel Tutorial.

If you were lucky enough to get Red Cabbage in your share this week (and if not this week you’ll get it very soon!) it would be hard to recommend anything other than a cool, crunchy slaw. If you’d like something a little different from the norm, try shredding your cabbage, tossing it with a basic red wine vinaigrette and then add any or all of the following: black olives, orange segments, shaved raw fennel, raisins, currants, almonds, pine nuts or walnuts. Let us know what you create!

Sneak peek for next week:

Cabbage

Zucchini

Beets

Broccoli

 Spring Greens

Kale

All the best from all of us,

Brandon, Heather, Maybelle, Frank, and the crew!

 

 

 

 

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Week 4

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Happy 4th!

We hope you all had a great Independence Day! The 4th fell on a harvest and packing day for us this year, a big thanks to the crew for coming in and working on the holiday.  We had a nice little grill-out over lunch to celebrate and Maybelle has been running around asking us to sing stars and stripes forever-over and over and over.

IMG_3564Maybelle running off with the flag buntings

Things are really starting to become flush in the fields these days. Tomato plants are getting big, the squash are vining out, and the first succession of sweet corn is tasseling.

IMG_3575tassels popping out on the first wave of sweet corn!
IMG_3573thats where I was sitting before I hopped off to pick up some big rocks and look at the sweet corn
IMG_3572Silks forming on what will be an ear of sweet corn. Pollen from the tassels will catch on the silk, allowing the ear of corn to be fertilized. 
IMG_3560Heather and Maybelle checking on the crops. (Fennel in front). Don’t leave Lamby in the kale, Maybelle!

 

What’s in the box:

Broccoli: 1 lb small, 1 1/2 lb med and full

Napa Cabbage: 1 head

Gunsho (Choi Sum): 1 bunch 

Spring Greens: 1/2 lb 

Thai basil: 1 bunch

Green Onions: 1 bunch med and full

Head Lettuce: full only

Beets: full only

 

Gunsho  Also known as Choy Sum, Chinese flowering cabbage or Hon Tsai Tai, gunsho has asparagus-like stalks and tender leaves, plus tiny little florets. The entire plant is edible, to prepare them for cooking just trim a small amount off the bottom of the stalks, then cut into desired size or use the stalk and leaves whole depending on the dish. Also excellent for snacking raw. Visit our recipe page to see a few simple, tasty ways to cook this nutritional powerhouse.

Napa Cabbage is making its first appearance in the boxes this week. We love it for its mild, sweet flavor and irresistible crunchiness. We like to make slaw out of it since you can substitute it for European cabbage in any slaw recipe, or make a more exotic slaw like this one. It’s indispensable for most East Asian cuisines, and is the base for many a kimchi recipe. Here’s a link to a quick kimchi. This versatile veg would be the perfect candidate for any picnic salad, and can also be sauteed for a side dish.

Snap Peas If you’re running out of things to do with your third week of snap peas, this would be the perfect time to start freezing some of your excess produce. Cut off the stems, blanch, pack into zip lock bags and stow away in the freezer to have a taste of summer during the depths of winter.

Next week’s sneak peek:

Summer Squash

Spicy Salad

Beets

 

All the best from all of us,
Heather, Brandon, Maybelle and the crew

 

 

 

 

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Week 3

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Here we are in Week 3 already! We’ve had some pretty unusual weather in the past month-extreme amounts of rain (almost 4 inches in 3 days!), high heat very early and then a cooler period, and it’s anybody’s guess for what’s around the corner. El Nino is over, La Nina is on her way, and it will be an interesting ride, as always, to see how the crops respond to our constantly changing and often extreme conditions. The only thing farmers can count on is constant change, and it’s one of the aspects of farming that keeps it so interesting after all these years.

Week 3 is a favorite box as it features the true essences of spring: garlic scapes, tender spring lettuce mix and french breakfast radishes.

Scapes are the flowering stalks of garlic. We remove them before they flower so the plant’s energy is put into the bulbs (aka the garlic head) instead of into producing a flower and seeds. They can be used just like garlic in the kitchen and can be eaten both cooked or raw. They are a truly seasonal, once a year treat! More on how to use them in the recipe section below.

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IMG_3170garlic plants with scapes curling out

On the Farm

We are extremely busy on the farm this time of year-there’s a little bit of everything going on. The crew is hard at it! We are still seeding a few odds and ends in the greenhouse, still transplanting, and fighting the good fight against weeds (now is when they really start to take off!), all while engaging in the harvest and delivery part of the season. We’re mulching aisles with straw to keep weeds down in the squash and cucumber beds. We’re trellising tomatoes, (all 1600 of them) and we are keeping an eye on the raccoons who are keeping an eye on the corn (paws off, buddy!).

IMG_3515the crew rockin’ the radishes on harvest day

Help Wanted

We are looking to bring on another crew member soon, so if anyone knows somebody who’d like to spend the rest of the season living and working with us, please send them our way. If any of you want to come out and volunteer for a day or half day, whether a weekend or weekday, we would love the help and enjoy the chance to get to know some of our members better. We’ll feed you and send you home with extra produce! Contact us if you’re interested.

Baby Girl Update

Maybelle is an official walker now, and we love to see her out in the fields. Truth be told, she’s not crazy about going to “work” with us, but she does love looking at the plants and the butterflies and the trees and the flowers. Sniffing fresh-picked flowers is a favorite pastime, along with “driving” the tractor. Don’t worry, Grandmas, it’s not on! We continue to be in awe of how smart she is, how much she learns and grows, and what a HUGE vocabulary she has amassed. We are so happy to be able to raise our little girl on a healthy, biologically diverse, family-owned farm. Thank you, members, for helping keep places like Sleepy Root around.

What’s in the box:

Garlic Scapes-10 for small shares, 12 for medium, 20 for full shares

Sleepy Root Spring Lettuce Mix-1/2 pound for smalls, 3/4 pound for mediums, 1 pound for full

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

Broccoli-1 pound for small shares, 1 1/2 pounds for medium, 2 pounds for full

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

Green Onions- 1 bunch for small and medium shares, 1 large bunch for full shares

Butterhead lettuce, “Mirlo”- 2 heads each, full shares

Arugula-1  bunch for full shares

Hinona Kabu turnips-1 bunch for full shares

Recipes

We’ve been getting some great photos and recipes from members, thank you and keep it coming!

Scapes have a garlic-green onion flavor profile, and go a long, long way in the kitchen. They can be used almost any place you would garlic or green onions. Chop them up raw and toss in your salad, saute in a stir fry, or blend into a soup.  We usually end up blending them up in our food processor to add to soups or curries or sauces. Another favorite is to make an “herbed butter” by folding the processed scapes into soft butter and spreading on bread.

 We’d also highly recommend that you take about half of your bunch and make some quick scape pesto and freeze it. When it’s finished just put it in a ziploc freezer bag, lay it flat to freeze, and break off chunks throughout the year as needed. It is a wonderful feeling to make up a dish in the bleak winter months and be able to put a taste of June sunshine in there!

Spring Mix is a lovely, tender assortment of a dozen varieties of lettuce. We hand-select the seeds and create our own Sleepy Root Farm mix, based on lettuces that are beautiful, tasty, and balanced in shape. A personal favorite, having this around is a sure way to put dinner on the table in 30 minutes or less. This slideshow from the Kitchn has lots of interesting ways to make greens into dinner. Let us know what you end up doing!

Green Onions are the same thing as scallions. Grown deliberately for harvest at an immature stage, these little onions pack a nice spicy punch. One of my indispensible kitchen items, along with cilantro, for giving anything a bit of new life. You may use every last part, from white to green. A creative and thorough source of vegetable cookery is Martha Stewart, and this lovely article shows multiple ways to use your green onions. Keep in mind, most anything you can do with a green onion you can do with a garlic scape, just reduce the amount used.

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Butterhead lettuce-“Mirlo”-is exactly as the name suggests: buttery. The leaves have a velvety smooth mouthfeel and a rich smooth taste. All share sizes have probably gotten some in the mix over the last few weeks, and for the full shares here’s a few suggestions. This kind of lettuce is ideal for lettuce wraps, whether Asian-inspired (a favorite of ours) or not. They also shine with a rich creamy dressing, such as this buttermilk one.

Turnips-Hinona Kabu makes an appearance once again for full shares. One of our longest-term members loved them and asked for more so he could try more recipes. We had a handful more in the field, so we listened! Enjoy, Ted! And don’t forget, the greens on them are rather tasty, too.

Next week’s predictions:

Broccoli

Summer Squash

Spicy Cress

Head Lettuce

Gunsho (aka Choy Sum)

Thai Basil

Napa Cabbage…maybe next week, maybe one more week

 

 

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Week 2

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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…

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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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Week 1

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week 1 med 2016medium share

week 1 small 2016small share

Hello dear members, friends, and family!

Well, we’ve made it! We have packed our first boxes of the new season, our sixth (!) in production and our first on our very own farm! After endless months of construction, planning, hiring, greenhouse work, seeding, transplanting, weeding, and who knows what else, we are FINALLY to the part we like best: packing boxes full of awesome, delicious, nutrient-packed veggies for our members!

What to expect seasonally: This first box features the highlights of early summer–lots of leaves, lots of green, and a little extra treat to enhance your veggie eating. For those new to CSAs, the amount of greens in the first few boxes can seem overwhelming. Salads, salads, salads is the name of the game this time of year.

The type of produce in your share will greatly vary throughout the next 18 weeks.  Early season boxes are often heavy on leafy greens and faster growing, cold tolerant crops like radishes and turnips. Boxes this time of year are often a little lighter, too. Mid summer we start transitioning to crops like green beans, cucumbers, and then tomatoes and sweet corn and the boxes are usually overflowing. Fall is when the boxes get really heavy with winter squash, storage onions, root crops, and hearty greens.

Clean your produce: We do our best to make sure your produce is handled safely and cleaned well. That being said, wash your produce!  Some things are hard to clean out fully, (like the inside of a head lettuce) without taking it apart. Also, since you are eating organic food that was picked the day before you got it, there might the occasional bug or two tagging along in your box. Don’t worry, these guys aren’t harmful and just like produce as much as you do. We rely on many insects in the field to do the unseen work of pollinating and keeping other insects in check.

A few notes on current crops: We were hoping to have radishes in every box this week, but most of them were just too small to harvest. They should be perfect next week, so you’ll see them then if you don’t have them now. The first pea shoot crop got totally washed out in recent downpours, so we are re-seeding and will get them to you as soon as they’re ready. Most every other crop is doing really well, and we look forward to getting them out to you when they’re ready. Part of the excitement of farming vegetables organically is that you can’t always make things produce for you on a certain date, but rest assured over the course of 18 weeks you’ll have a great variety and bounty of diverse foods!

What’s in the box:

Head lettuce: 2 for small, 3 for medium, 4 for full shares

Baby pac   choi: 1/2 pound, all sizes

Kale or collards: 1 bunch each for small and medium shares, 2 bunches for full shares

Swiss chard: 1 bunch each, all sizes

Lovage salt: 1 packet each, all sizes

Radishes: 1 large bunch, full shares

Chives: 1 bunch, full shares

Rhubarb: 1# full shares ***some Thursday full shares will get rhubarb in another week or so when we can harvest again***

Recipes:

Lettuce

I know that people are sometimes overwhelmed by many large heads of lettuce for one week. The thing is, if you make a composed salad for your dinner for a night or two, you won’t have any trouble using it up. Mason jar salads are quite the rage these days, and two adults could easily use up a lot of lettuce bringing one of these to work every day. Think of how fun it will be to show off your healthy, affordable, stylish lunches! Check out the lettuce section of our website for more ideas, and here’s a link to one of my favorite food writers and her journey through her first CSA box of the year.

Swiss Chard

While many people like chard raw, I definitely prefer it cooked. If you want something really simple, just saute it in a very hot pan with oil and add some minced garlic as soon as the leaves wilt. Add a sprinkle of salt (perhaps lovage salt?) and enjoy!

Otherwise, try this easy weeknight pasta with chard and onions, or this grits and greens casserole.

Kale

Sometimes I wonder if I even need to provide kale recipes anymore, it’s become so ingrained in so many people’s eating habits. But, for those of you that are interested, we’ll be making this Kale Coconut salad from Heidi Swanson, one of my all-time favorite soul food-whole food chefs. If you want something as far away from salad as possible, this Kale, Sausage and Potato Stew will brighten a rainy day.

Rhubarb

We love rhubarb around here, and we’re going to try out this fascinating rhubarb-nut coffee cake. It’s a pretty simple and fast recipe to throw together, and think how much your family or friends will appreciate a slice of that this weekend!

Radishes

If you were lucky enough to get radishes this week, proceed directly to the butter, smear it on a slice of good quality bread (baguettes are awesome) and sprinkle with your lovage salt. If you didn’t get radishes this week, get ready! You’ll want those ingredients waiting at home when you bring your box into your kitchen next week. I always smile and think of my loved ones at Surdyk’s when I talk about eating this radish canape, and I’ll be sure to talk about it every year. Cheers!

Predictions for next week’s box:

Snap Peas

Arugula

Head lettuce

Radishes

…and more

All the best from all of us,

Heather, Brandon, Maybelle, Frank and the crew

 

 

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