CSA Newsletter-Box 5-July 20th 2011

by jennifer on July 20, 2011

BARTER BOX: We finally have enough excess produce to provide a barter box for each pick-up site. Use this box to trade out things you don’t like for things you do like. Please do not take from the box unless you leave something behind.

FARM NEWS: For once the recent rain has been more of a blessing than a curse. It occurred (mostly) on the crew’s days off, irrigation is no longer high on the to-do list, and the soil is now moist and friable-perfect for weeding. And weeding we will do! An explosion of growth has occurred on all fronts. The crops and weeds alike are responding favorably to the warmer temperatures and their long drink over the weekend.
The farm is looking tidy these days. We mowed the field edges and tilled in the ragged remnants of old crops. There are fewer and fewer reminders of the rough start this spring. The soil was at a perfect moisture point and tilled up beautifully. Due to the rainy spring, we ended up working a lot of our ground while it was too wet and ended up with chunky brick-like soil. Thanks to some summer cover cropping with buckwheat and Sudan grass and being able to till when the soil was perfectly moist the freshly tilled ground resembles the texture of fluffy chocolate cake. I was tempted to take off my shoes right then and there and frolic barefoot through the fields, but I was afraid the neighbors would think me a bit off my rocker. Jim will spend some time on the cultivating tractor today weeding all the paths while the rest of the crew cleans up within the beds with hoes and hands. For a brief moment we will be able to pause and sigh and feel like we are on top of things until the next wave hits.
Today is also a massive transplanting day. As I type, the crew is planting out cabbage, broccoli, kohlrabi, lettuce, chard, and cauliflower. Last evening I direct seeded the final planting of green beans and parsnips. We are nearing the end of planting altogether save for some shorter season things like lettuce and herbs. Those will continue to get planted through August. We grow roughly 40 different types of vegetables and herbs (over 100 varieties among them) and each has its own planting schedule. Some things like onions, tomatoes, and winter squash are planted once early on, as they take a long time to ripen. Other crops that take a little less time to mature like corn, chard, and summer squash get planted 2 or 3 times to ensure a longer harvest window. Still others such as lettuce, herbs, carrots, beans, beets, and nearly all members of the brassica family (think broccoli, cabbage, etc.) are planted every 1-2 weeks over several months to give us a steady supply. Bigger-seeded crops (corn, beans, peas, etc.) and things with deep tap-roots (carrots, beets, parsnips, radish, etc) are all direct-seeded into the field. Most everything else gets started in our greenhouse and transplanted out. This option gives us a jump on the weeds and allows for more even successions, especially in the early season when the fields cannot always be worked when we want. Our focus now will be weed, harvest, weed, water, weed….
This week you will have two surprise guests in your box: cabbage and kale. These were not part of our production plan. They are the result of me not being able to throw away perfectly viable plants. We grew massive amounts of veggies starts to sell at the Olympia Farmers Market this spring, and seeing how it was a challenging year for gardeners as well, sales were less than stellar some weeks. One week in particular we found ourselves sitting on a lot of green cabbage and a medley of kales. We just couldn’t bear to toss them out so we planted them instead. I’m glad we did! The cabbage is sweet and crunchy. I am a big fan of raw cabbage adding it to salads or using it instead of lettuce as a topping for tacos, tostadas (see recipe below), etc. Of course it can be cooked as well.

What’s In The Box
Kale: Italian (lacinato)
Shell peas (regular shares only)
Snow peas
Snap peas
Zucchini (Costata Romanesco)
Kohlrabi (green or purple)
Beets or chard
Dill, cilantro, or Italian parsley
Garlic (Music)

Zucchini-Chard Quesadillas or Tostadas With Black BeansI just made this up the other day after market when I was really hungry and tired and craving lots of veggies. It was really easy to make and I have made it at least 3 times since. Make up a few extra to enjoy for lunch the next day.
Scallions or onions-diced
Zucchini and/or summer squash-cubed small
Chard-stemmed and chopped
Salt and pepper-to taste
Black beans-canned or home cooked
Corn tortillas-either soft or tostada-style
Lettuce or cabbage-shredded
Cheddar cheese-grated
Sour cream

Procedure:-heat black beans
-Sauté chopped garlic, a few diced scallions, diced zucchini and/or crookneck, and a few chard leaves stemmed and chopped, salt and black pepper, until they reach your desired level of “doneness.”
-heat up pre-made corn tostadas in the oven or make your own tostadas by frying corn tortillas in oil on a high heat
-add the veggie mixture, black beans, cheese, salsa, cilantro, and lettuce or cabbage to your tostada or enjoy these quesadilla-style by sandwiching the mixture between 2 corn tortillas and lightly browning them on both sides  in a frying pan.

As the summer wears on add more veggies to the mix and make your own fresh salsa.

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