I hope you are enjoying this warm June as much as we are. It has been awhile since we have had such an agreeable spring/early summer. The crops have gotten planted more or less on time, successions are more or less evenly spaced, and things are growing rapidly. This week was another abundant harvest. You will see a few new items in your box today.
WHAT’S IN THE BOX:
Lettuce-A nice crisp romaine for all, and a lovely red leaf for the large shares.
Chives-This is a new one for us. Best used raw to add a subtle onion flavor and bright green color. Delicious with potatoes, in salads, and in creamy dressings poured over cucumbers.
Green onions-a fancy name for scallions.
Broccoli- again, yeah! We rarely have broccoli this early.
Garlic-more of the amazing Music variety.
Garlic scapes-this is probably the last week for these.
Herbs-Dill & cilantro or Italian parsley & summer savory
Beets or chard-
Snow peas-small shares only
Strawberries-large shares only
Radishes –large shares only
Red Russian kale-small shares only
PEA IDENTIFICATION 101:
The peas are here! We had an amazing shell peas harvest yesterday, as will be evident when you open your box. The snows and snaps are always a little behind, so you will just get a sampling of one or the other. How do you tell the difference? Snow peas have wide, flat pods. They are sweet and crunchy. Enjoy them raw or added to stir fries or curries. Sugar snaps are plump and super sweet. You can eat them pod and all. Some people cook them, but I prefer them raw. Add to any number of summer pasta salads or green salads. Pack them in your lunch and make all of your co-workers wonder what that loud crunching sound is coming from your cubicle. Shell peas are long and plump. The pods are a bit tough and stringy, so unless you are seriously craving fiber or have the compulsive need to chew on stuff, just open the pods and eat the peas inside. These are also delicious raw, but if you do cook them, a very light steaming will do.
ROTATION OF CROPS WITHIN YOUR CSA SHARE:
Veteran CSA members know this already, but for the new folks I will explain. Not everyone gets the same thing every week. We frequently rotate crops around the different pick up sites. This may happen for one of two reasons. 1.) When new crops come on, the first few harvests are usually a little light so there is not enough for all. 2.) Not everyone wants everything every week, so we alternate things like beets, chard, herbs, etc. Whatever the reason for the difference, we keep careful track of who gets what and when. It all evens out in the wash. Today we gave half of you beets and the other half chard. Next week it will be the opposite. There were not enough radishes for everyone, so some folks got radishes and the rest got kale. Large shares got strawberries, small shares got snow peas. You get the idea.
WHAT ARE YOUR FARMERS UP TO THESE DAYS?
Weeding, weeding and more weeding! The crops love this weather and the weeds seem to love it more. Luckily we have a full, capable crew this year. Isaac and Alex have been taking turns on the super A cultivating tractor weeding the paths and in between rows of crops. Everyone else follows behind with hoes and hands to pull all the weeds that remain. We are doing a really good job of keeping up on the weeds and there are no crisis beds to speak of. That is a rare state of being on a farm, let me tell you.
Haulin’ pipe! The lack of significant precipitation means a thrice daily move of irrigation pipe. We have a handful of folks that are quite adept at this job. It takes strength and skill to balance a 40 foot pipe above your head and walk over beds full of plants of varying height, width, and fragility without banging the sprinkler head on the ground every few steps. Sometimes there is row cover in the way and you have to gingerly walk over it without poking holes in it or crushing the crops hidden beneath. Usually the move is a mere 60 ft at a time, but when you get to the last set, you have to start all the way back at the beginning. Kind of like a typewriter.
Planting more stuff! We are still seeding and transplanting a fair bit. This will go on through July. We plant weekly or biweekly successions of many crops so that we have a constant supply.
Garlic harvest!We started the big garlic harvest. It is a little earlier than usual. I prefer getting it out of the ground now while we actually have time. Within a few weeks, the harvest days will be significantly longer and the weeds will only get worse. We have about 7 beds to dig, pull, clean, sort and hang. It will cure in the barn over the course of the next few months.
Fixing stuff! Lots of old equipment means lots of repair and maintenance. That alone is more than a full time job. Jim has his hands full directing crew one minute and repairing a tractor the next. We really need two Jims.
RECIPES-Rather than links to specific recipes today, I will remind you of the handy feature on our website. There is a tag cloud at the bottom of each page. Just click on a vegetable and all the recipes we have utilizing that vegetable will pop up. Sometimes there are multiple pages, so keep scrolling. I am always looking for new recipes to add, so please share your favorites.
Until next week…Jen