CSA Newsletter Box 1- June 23

by jennifer on June 23, 2010

In an effort to save paper, we typically send out the weekly CSA newsletter via email, and just leave a few paper copies at the sites for those who prefer that option. However, this week everyone will get a paper copy just to make sure you all receive it. I am also emailing it to everyone who provided an email address. If you did not get this via email and would like to, let me know and I’ll make sure you are on the email list. Keep in mind that it may have wound up in your spam/bulk folder so check there as well. We also post the newsletter on our website in the newsletter section. It is important to read the weekly letter as we sometimes make special announcements.Tuesday afternoon…A few days ago I started drafting this letter and I have to say, I was all doom and gloom. I had to struggle hard not to fill the page with complaints and dire predictions about the weather. But today, the first day of summer, it is sunny. Not just sunny, but warm too. I can’t help but smile a dopey smile and heave a huge sigh of relief. I know the rain will return in a few days, but for now I’ll just enjoy it. The crew seems extra bouncy today as well.As you can probably guess, this has been THE most challenging spring ever. The furrow lines in my forehead have deepened significantly. Every farmer, gardener, and local old-timer I know claim they have never seen the likes of this. It is nearly all we talk about -using all sorts of colorful (and probably inappropriate) language to discuss it. We have been farming here for 16 years and have seen more than a few cold, wet springs. But this one takes the cake. It has been a challenge at times to get into the field to plant or weed. A lot of what has been planted is growing slower than we’d prefer. Some crops don’t mind so much though. The lettuce, herbs, and radishes are saying, “yeah, whatever” and they grow anyway. The garlic and potatoes are looking rather robust. The tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants are a little fussier and are only recently donning a healthy shade of green, dotted with little flowers. Many more crops are tucked snuggly under floating row cover which is helping to keep them toasty warm. All in all things are looking up and I am feeling much more optimistic- especially today. We must have faith that it will all work out-for it always does.We are still in the thick of seeding and transplanting. We do succession plantings of many crops, not only to ensure a steady supply, but to better deal with unforeseen circumstance-like a miserably cold wet spring! That is the beauty of diversification and successions on the farm. We are bound to have a decent bit of weather somewhere down the line. We are thankful to not have all of our eggs in one basket.WHAT’S IN THE BOX?Many of you have been with our CSA for a long time and are used to the first few boxes being slim. Veggies take time to grow (a little sun and heat help too). For all of you new folks out there, you will see the quantity and variety increase as the weeks go on.  Also, we like to rotate crops through the different pick-up sites so that you don’t get sick of anything, though carrots and lettuce can be counted on nearly every week.That being said, you all will see:Lettuce- we grow red leaf, green leaf, romaine, and red butter head. Varieties will rotate weekly as available.Carrots- they are a little small this week, but we just didn’t want to wait. They are soooo tasty!Garlic- This is an unusually early variety call “Chinese Early” it scores a medium on the pungency scale.Garlic tops- (A.K.A. scapes) Scapes are the seed stalk of the garlic plant. It has a milder garlic flavor than the cloves and have a texture like asparagus or green beans when cooked. You can put it in any savory dish instead of, or in addition to, clove garlic. Stir fry, soup, pot roast, casserole, you name it. They are exceptional grilled as well.One of 3 herbs (dill, cilantro, or Italian parsley) Dill goes great with fish, potatoes, chopped in a salad, or added to a vinaigrette dressing (see recipe below). Cilantro is a staple for Mexican, Thai, and Indian cooking.Radishes: Either Easter Egg blend (multicolored) or French Breakfast (pink and white)Spinach or chard: Can be used interchangeably, though chard has a stronger flavor-similar to beet greens.Green onions- You can also use them in lieu of a regular onion to add a fresher taste and “greener” look.Rotational Items: shell, snow, & snap peas, kohlrabi, strawberries, beets. All of these crops tend to trickle in at first, so we will rotate them through the sites. Don’t worry, we keep careful track of who gets what and it all evens out in the end.For those of you who insist you do not like a certain vegetable, I implore you to put all childhood veggie traumas aside and try our delicious, farm fresh versions of the things you so fear and despise. I am a recovering veggie hater, having been raised on frozen and canned vegetables (no offense, mom) oh and iceberg lettuce, too. It wasn’t until I tasted vegetables right from the garden, that I was able to appreciate their sweetness, flavor, and “alive” feeling they offer. We try to give out recipes in the weekly newsletter and we’ll give you all a farm cookbook. Speaking of cookbook, we had to do a second printing (to tidy up a few spelling errors and such). They should be ready by the 3rd box. Meanwhile, I’ll be sure to give out recipe ideas in the next few letters.Barter box: Most weeks we provide a barter box as a way for you to trade out something you don’t like for something you do like. After giving each veggie a fair shot, if you still don’t like it…then by all means trade it for something you’ll use!Boxes and bags: You will notice that we use as few plastic bags as possible when packing your box. We recommend bringing your own bags to the pick-up site and transferring your stuff right there. Then you won’t have to remember to return your box each week. The wax boxes are expensive and require a trip to Oregon to acquire. So PLEASE return them the following week so we can reuse them. Also, when you flatten them do so carefully and make sure you don’t rip the tabs, which will render them unusable.Misc. Bits:We have a Face book page. We are not generally savvy, social media types, but FB is a really easy way to share pictures and little farm updates. Become a fan, why don’t you. Just search for Rising River Farm.Maple vinaigrette dressing:In a mason jar combine the following and shake well.1/2  cup olive oil1/3  cup apple cider vinegar1/2  cup maple syrup*2 TBLS Dijon mustard1 clove minced garlic1/2 bunch fresh dill, chopped fineSalt and pepper to taste.*I have been known to half the amount of maple syrup for a less sweet (and expensive) version. It is still very tasty.Store in the fridge for up to one week.That is all for this week. Please don’t hesitate to call or email with any questions, concerns, or feedback.Jennifer

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