CSA Newsletter-Box 4-July 11, 2012

by jennifer on July 11, 2012

As I was jotting down notes on what to write about this morning and waiting for my coffee to kick in, I decided to skim through last years’ newsletter from mid-July. I swear, if my own personal ethics allowed me to, I’d just recycle the thing and use it today. All the content is true to the letter: beets are just appearing, strawberries are at an end, comments on the pea harvest are similar. Oh heck, I’ll just attach a link to it here, and it will be like getting two newsletters in one!
What’s In the Box:
Red or green cabbage
Dill, parsley, or cilantro
Strawberries-regular shares only
Shell or snap peas
Snow peas
Zucchini or yellow crookneck
Beets, spinach, or chard
A word on who grows your food:
One of the main ideas of CSA is to get to know who grows your food.  Let me introduce you. You probably all know Jim and I, at least by name. But for the new folks, I’ll do a quick introduction. I, Jennifer Belknap, and my husband Jim McGinn own and operate this little slice of heaven we call Rising River Farm. We are located in Independence Valley along the Chehalis River in Rochester. Jim started the farm way back in 1994 with two friends. They farmed 3 leased acres at that time. In 1997, the two friends moved on to other callings and I joined Jim in this farming adventure. Over the years we increased our acreage to 15, bought the property next door, had two adorable kids (who are now 14 and 10 years old), and have settled into a nice manageable operation. Fifteen acres is a lot to manage so we hire around a dozen folks to help us each season.  In May we limp along with just one or two crew to help us out, since the weather is often questionable and we cannot guarantee steady work. Once June rolls around, we are suddenly inundated with stuff to do and more hands are needed. In July, August, and September, all hand are on deck and it is a flurry of activity.  In late September and into October the crew steadily shrinks down as people return to school, find winter jobs, or go travel. By November it is usually just me, Jim, and our ever faithful worker Isaac, who has finished out the past few seasons with us.

Back row (L to R) Jen, Rita, Olga, Carla, Trine, Isaac
Front row (L to R) Jim, Jonathon, Hannah, Lauren, Hope

We have four returning crew this year, all of which have been with us for many years. They are, in order of who has worked longest:  Rita, Isaac, Jonathon, and Lauren. The rest are all newbie’s, and are proving to be a delightful and capable bunch. They are: Hope, Ian, Carla, Olga, Trine, and Hannah. Our crew tends to be quite varied each year in so far as where they hail from and why they want to work on a farm. Some just want a job, while others have aspirations of having their own farm some day. It is pleasing to see how many of our former workers still have their hands in farming, some on their own operation, and some working with other organizations. While it is usually the 20-something college crowd that apply to work here, they are all from different places around the country. This year we have folks from Oklahoma, Alabama, Indiana, Virginia, Connecticut, and a couple from good ole Rochester. We also have a few 30-somethings working here, which helps Jim and I  not feel so old!

A word about what’s in the box:
Zucchini: Boy, what a difference a little sun makes. We usually pick the summer squash two times a week, but clearly we need to shift to our thrice weekly picking schedule. The squash just ballooned over the weekend. We left the baseball bat sized ones at home and gave you the more usable ones. See the recipe section below for some ideas.
costata romanesco zucchini, yellow crookneck, green zucchini

Strawberries and scallions: As we turn a corner from one season into another, we must say goodbye to these late spring yummies. We might have a smattering of berries this weekend at market, if you want one last hit.
Beets:  Some of you got them last week and some get them this week. Beets are one of the crops we regularly rotate on a bi-weekly schedule. Don’t forget you can eat the greens. Use as you would chard or spinach. Garlic: This week you get a new variety called “Music.” I was just harvested this morning, so it is about as fresh a garlic as you can get. This variety is a lot stronger than the Chinese Pink you have been getting.  Whatever you do not use can just sit out on your kitchen counter to continue curing. You don’t need to refrigerate it.

Cookbooks: I am leaving extra cookbooks at the East, West, and South Capital (Tumwater) drop sites. If you should have gotten one last week but didn’t, please take one. If you want an additional copy, take one and mail us a check for $6.00. NRB and BIIA folks will need to call or email to order extra copies.  We have extra copies at the Farmers Market and on the farm for those folks. Just ask!

Recipe Ideas:
Zucchini bread
Zucchini coins with herbs and feta
Beet sandwiches: You can use minced scallions on top of the mayo in lieu of sweet onion. (Desperate times call for desperate measures!)

Tostadas: They are super easy and picky eaters can build them how they want them. Here are a few suggestions for toppings:
Rice Ground beef cooked in a skillet, add salt, pepper, cumin, other spices you like.  
Or use black or refried beans
Sautéd scallions, garlic, and sliced summer squash/zucchini
Shredded lettuce and/or cabbage
Grated carrots
Thinly sliced radishes or turnips
tostada shells, taco shells, soft tortillas, whatever
Sour cream
grated cheese
tostada toppings

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