CSA Newsletter – Week 14 – September 20, 2017

by jennifer on September 20, 2017

week 14

This week is the last week for the Height of the Season share.

If you wish to continue on for the last 4 weeks of the main season, let me know and I’ll sign you up. The cost is $116 for the large share and $99 for the small.

We also offer a few fall and storage share options.
EARLY FALL SHARE: $115 Four additional deliveries starting October 28/29th. Enjoy a wide diversity of hearty winter crops like carrots, beets, turnips, rutabaga, parsnips, cabbage, winter squash, leeks, kale, chard, lettuce, arugula, dill, cilantro, potatoes, onions, shallots, and garlic. Since these crops store so well, we only offer one size. We only offer weekend delivery of the fall share. You can pick it up at the farm, the Olympia Farmers Market, or the Tacoma Proctor Farmers Market.

LATE FALL SHARE: $115 Yet another 4 weeks of yummy fall goodness. Delivery starts a week after the EARLY FALL SHARE ends.

STORAGE SHARE: $75 This share will consist of 10 lbs yellow onions, 2 lbs red onions, 2 lbs cipollini onions, 2 lbs shallots, 1 lb garlic, 5 lbs each of 2 types of potatoes, & 15 lbs assorted winter squash. This share will be delivered the 3rd week in October at the pick-up site of your choosing.

BALANCE ON YOUR CURRENT CSA SHARE: Most of you are paid in full, others are following and installment plan, and others…well… perhaps we’ve fallen off your radar. Please refer to the email from which this newsletter link was attached to see what you still owe. Please have your share paid in full by Oct 1st or contact me with a proposed payment plan. Thank you.

WHAT’S IN THE BOX:
carrots
beets or chard
spinach-small shares
Red Russian kale-large shares
lettuce
lemon cucumber
summer squash
green cabbage to half of you
cauliflower-large shares only
red, orange, or green pepper-all are sweet
yellow onion
garlic
Amarosa Fingerling potatoes
rosemary
basil or parsley
red tomato
green beans

Boy, the harvest volumes are sure dropping with the shift in weather. Once upon a time you were getting 4 squash in your box, but now only one. Ditto cucumbers. Shorter days, colder nights, and now the rain will all affect what is available. The shift in season brings new crops as well. Before long you will be seeing rutabaga, turnips, and winter squash. But for now, lets just savor the last remnants of summer.

We are in scramble mode here at the farm. Now that rains are becoming a frequent visitor, we need to get cracking on the potato and winter squash harvest and get the garlic and cover crop planted. In a way it’s like spring again where it all needs to happen now! I look forward to the time when those big jobs are done and we can coast along for a bit, pecking away at daily small harvests and sticking to our market/CSA/Co-op delivery routine.

Jen, Jim, and Crew

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CSA Newsletter – Week 13 – September 13, 2017

by jennifer on September 13, 2017

week 13

 

I hope you’re hungry. This box is a beast. The abundance of corn and return of greens made this box a challenge to close. We are happy to finally have more lettuce to share. A combination of poor germination and deer thinking the lettuce patch was a buffet meant for them, caused a little lettuce lull.

WHAT’S IN THE BOX:
carrots
beets or chard
corn
spinach or kale
lettuce
patty pan and crookneck squash
slicing or lemon cucumber
sungold cherry toms-small shares only
red tomatoes
red or orange sweet pepper
red onion
garlic
basil or parsley
red or yellow potatoes
Italian eggplant-half of you.

 

crew onion harvest

onion harvest

As lovely as that little bit of rain was, we are hoping it will hold off just a little longer. We have several critical fall chores to complete before conditions get too wet. We have been trying to peck away at them, but harvest and irrigation take up most of our time these days. As of yesterday, all the dry beans are harvested and sitting in the greenhouse to await threshing. We should get the rest of the onions in by the end of today. They will get laid out in 4 of our greenhouses to finish drying. We will then clip and clean them as needed. I love the dual purposes the greenhouses provide: plants in spring, bean and onion storage in fall.

Jim is on the tractor now discing in old crop residue and weeds. Soon we will plant a nice cover crop of rye and crimson clover to protect and rejuvenate the soil over the winter. Garlic must get planted and winter squash and potatoes have to get harvested before the fall rains set in. Those jobs are NOT fun when it’s wet.

 

crew dinner 2

front row: Emily, Karla, Teresa, Rita, Jim, Isaac, Jamie, Maryclair, Cylas, Sarah, Jen
back row: Kurt, Micheal, Maddy, Miles, Kadey

 

We took the crew out to Our Table in Olympia for our annual crew dinner last night. The food was AMAZING! If you haven’t eaten there, you should go. The buy from a lot of local farms and my goodness,  they are talented chefs.  We asked them to create a menu around what produce we currently have available. They came to the market stand on Sunday, gathered up a few boxes of goodies, and put together a full-on 5 course meal with multiple dishes per course. We were all stuffed to the gills by the end and so very happy. Sigh… I wish there had been leftovers, but alas, it was just too good to leave any behind.

crew dinner

Now is the perfect time to say a HUGE thank you to our crew. Jim and I cannot do this alone. We are so  grateful for their amazing work ethic, care for the farm, and wonderful personalities. It is a joy to work with each and every one of these goofballs.

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CSA Newsletter – Week 11 – August 30, 2017

by jennifer on August 30, 2017

week 11

CSA Week 11 – Large Share

WHAT’S IN THE BOX:
carrots
potatoes-huckleberry
beets or red cabbage
dill & cilantro or basil & parsley
red onion
lemon cucumber
pickling (aka salad) cucumber
slicing cucumber
lettuce
garlic
assortment of summer squash
tomatoes
broccoli for half
green pepper for almost the other half (West and Tumwater get them next week)

We are passing through another seasonal transition it seems. It feels like we have one foot in summer and the other in fall. Temperatures are slated to be in the 80’s and 90’s through the weekend and all of our favorite summer foods are beckoning to be eaten. However, 6:00 is getting to be too dark to start work. It is especially crisp and breezy lately and I have heard Canada Geese flying over the past few days. The trees are also starting to turn. Sigh…summer is just too short.

LET’S TALK VEG:
Tomatoes: In addition to the Early Girl slicers you have been getting, we tossed in a Juan Flamme (little orange tomato) and Stupice (little red tomato). We planted theses on a whim. We had extra space and extra starts from market sales, and thought, why not? That was on the heels of our super wet spring when we had missed entire plantings of some things and figured we should fill the space with something! I am more impressed with Juan, personally.
Potatoes: These are called Huckleberry. Purple on the outside, yellow on the inside. Purple skins=higher antioxidants, so don’t peel them if you can help it. They are in the middle of the moist-flaky scale, so are very versatile as boilers, bakers, and fryers.
Parsley: “What the heck do we do with all the parsley you give us?” you may wonder. Here is a new idea. Chimichurri. It is a staple condiment in Argentinian cooking. It is basically a parsley based pesto with red wine vinegar, oregano, garlic, lots of olive oil and some other stuff. I know I’m not talking it up that well, but trust me, it is amazing! Below are just 3 of the many recipes I sifted through online. Some include cilantro, which I especially enjoyed. It is good on steak, tacos, sandwiches, and so much more.
chimichurri recipes:
version 1
version 2
version 3– with cilantro
Google chimichurri and you could get lost for hours comparing recipes.
Beans & corn: We are between plantings of both so you will see them again. Fear not.
Peppers: We planted a lot of red and orange bullhorn sweet peppers this year, and even with all the heat we’ve had they are taking an obnoxiously long time to ripen. The plants are loaded, though, so hopefully we will all reap the bounty soon.

Pickling Cukes and Basil: We have a lot of both all of a sudden, so if you want some, let me know and I’ll leave it with your CSA or bring it to the Olympia or Proctor Farmers Market. If you have placed an order earlier and haven’t heard from me yet, please reach out again. Sometimes my little scraps of paper go missing. I think I take on just a little too much this time of year!

Enjoy your veggies!

Jen, Jim, and Crew

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CSA Newsletter – Week 10 – August 22, 2017

by jennifer on August 23, 2017

week 10

 

WHAT’S IN THE BOX:
corn!
carrots
beets or cabbage
broccoli or green pepper
slicing cucumber
lemon cucumber
a variety of summer squash
cherry tomatoes
slicing tomatoes
lettuce
yellow onion
garlic
green & purple beans
basil & parsley OR dill & cilantro
yukon gold potatoes

alex, isaac, corn

Alex and Isaac picking  your corn this morning.

I hope you’re hungry! This box is the epitome of summer. I wish we had the time and capacity to eat 6 hearty meals a day. Everything looks and tastes so good that I want it all now. Tonight I am making pizza with onion, garlic, summer squash, tomatoes, basil, peppers, and broccoli.

Did you get to watch the eclipse? We took 40 minute break to kick back, share a meal, and experience the wondrous phenomenon. None of us had the proper glasses and the mirror/screen thing I rigged up on the fly didn’t quite pan out, but it was amazing all the same. The light, the shadows, and the buzzy energy made me a little giddy. I am glad we were in a position to allow ourselves and our crew to just stop what we were doing and experience a rare and unique moment.

Let’s get right to the box content, shall we?
CORN: Cuppa Joe is the name. (Who comes up with these names?) It is a bicolor that we have come to love. My family has it for dinner nearly every night when it is in season. We try to get sick of it so we can endure the long spell when it is not available. Try to eat it within a few days as the sugars turn to starch as soon as it is picked.
BEANS: You get a mix of green and purple today. They taste and cook more or less the same. The purples are actually green on the inside and will fade toward green when cooked. They really stand out in a raw bean salad.
LEMON CUCUMBER: I forgot to mention them last week. They do not taste like lemon but instead get the moniker based on shape and color. They have a hint of melon flavor. I find the skin to be thin enough that peeling is not necessary.
BROCCOLI AND PEPPERS: They are both just starting to come on, but not in massive quantities so they are on rotation.

Everything else should be self explanatory.

If you are feeling overwhelmed with all the produce, make a soup to freeze. Grate and freeze your summer squash for use in winter. Make several quiches and freeze. Notice a theme here? Finish off that ice cream and make some space. Or host a dinner for some friends you haven’t seen in awhile, but keep meaning to reach out to. Sharing food is always a good reason to get together.

Have a great week!

Jen, Jim and Crew.

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CSA Newsletter – Week 9 – August 16, 2017

by jennifer on August 16, 2017

week 9

Large Share – Week 9

Thank you for your patience last week while I was away. It was hard to leave for 4 days in the height of the summer. I was up until 1:00 AM making lists, printing forms, and making sure all the odds and ends I usually deal with were delegated as necessary. My dear grandmother of 89 years passed away and I traveled to Eastern WA with my mother, sister, and nephew to attend services and be with family. I am so very grateful to Jim and the crew for taking up the slack in my absence. I never once worried about things falling through the cracks. (I think they are happy to have me back, though.)

I am so happy to back on the west side where the temps are reasonable and the smoke is gone. It was brutal over there in Clarkson where it was 100+ degrees and smokey as all get-out. I am back to eating amazing food and reveling in the abundance that is August in the PNW.

The fields are bursting at the seams with all of our summer favorites. Everyone gets cherry and slicer tomatoes in their box, no rotation necessary. Beans are still cranking and summer squash is…well let’s just say we could probably feed all of Thurston County. Corn is very, very close.  Alex and Isaac found 2 rogue ears Monday and Isaac was gracious enough to offer me his, which I ate on the spot. Jim and I walked through the patch last night before dinner and thought it should be ready for next week.

jim checkin the spuds

Jim pulling potato plants to see how they are sizing up.

 

POTATOES! We are growing 10 varieties of potatoes this year. Partly because we like to experiment, and partly because we were forced to experiment. When ordering seed potato this spring, we couldn’t get a hold of some of our standbys (yellow finn and Yukon gold) and so we are trialing a handful of others to fill the void. It is frustrating when the seed varieties fall out of fashion or when there are crop failures. For example, we had been growing Nelson carrot for nearly 20 years. It is the absolute BEST carrot for our soil (and taste buds). However, this year it was unavailable and we have been trialing different varieties. The problem is that by the time the first carrot planting ripens, we already have about 5 plantings in the ground. It’s too late if they are crappy. We were not too impressed with the first planting, but the flavor seems to be improving as the weather does. I think maybe the first ones were stressed and confused by crazy spring weather. I hope that we find something that will live up to Nelson’s high standards or Nelson comes back. We’ll see.

Back to potatoes…on Monday Jim and I pulled up plants of about 7  varieties to see how they were coming along. They all looked amazing.  This week you will be getting red lasoda. I haven’t eaten them yet, but I hear they are good for potato salad, boiling, steaming, and frying.

alex isaac potats

Alex & Isaac proudly displaying several of our potato varieties.

 

CANNING QUANTITIES: Pickling cukes, beans, basil, & tomatoes.

Now is the time to squirrel away the summer goodness. Let me know if you want some extras for canning or freezing and I can leave your order at your pick up site. Refer to the canning page for pricing.

RECIPE IDEAS:

Jim has been making grilled zucchini, carrots, and potatoes at least 3 nights a week and we are never disappointed. He’ll cut the a fore mentioned veggies into  planks roughly 1/4″ thick and toss  with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and maybe a few drops of hot sauce. He will then grill them on the gas grill for about 5 minutes per side until they have reached the desired tenderness. We will eat as is or sprinkle Gorgonzola cheese on top. I am salivating just thinking about it. It makes a great side dish, esp if you already have the grill going for burgers or steak.

Enjoy!

Jen, Jim, & Crew

 

 

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CSA Newsletter – Week 7 – August 2, 2017

by jennifer on August 2, 2017

week 7

 

What’s In The Box:

Carrots
Beets or Chard
Green beans
Yukon Gold potatoes
Italian zucchini
yellow crookneck
Italian parsley
garlic
red onion
sungolds-small shares only
red tomato
pickling/salad cucumbers
baby cabbage-half of you (the rest of you should get it next week)

This is the first week for the Height of the Season Share folks. Welcome! I hope you enjoyed your first box. I encourage you to read through the previous newsletters to get a sense of what has been going on at the farm. Explore the recipe tag cloud at the bottom of the page. Click on a vegetable and all the recipes containing that vegetable will pop up. Quite handy.

Boy it’s hot! I hope you all are keeping cool. We have started work at 5:00 AM these past few days and try to stop around 1:30 or so. It is just too hot out there for people or produce. Irrigation is going 24/7 to keep the plants happy. It is times like these when we are so grateful for our heavy clay soil. We will have some serious weeds to contend with once the weather gets cooler. We had hoped to pull some long days and get caught up, but it is too hot to ask people to stay late into the afternoon.

Sorry I have no more news to share or amazing recipes to suggest. I am pretty fried from the insanely early start times and the heat.

G’night!

Jen

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CSA Newsletter – Week 6 – July 26, 2017

by jennifer on July 26, 2017

week 6 B

 

What’s In The Box:
carrots
beets or chard
green onions
shell peas
green beans
garlic
salad (aka large pickling) cucumbers
Amarosa fingerling potatoes
rosemary
Italian zucchini
yellow crookneck squash
sungold cherry tomatoes-large shares only

Summer is here as is evidenced by very hot weather, the sudden abundance of summer squash, and the arrival of cherry tomatoes and green beans. Both crops and weeds are growing by leaps and bounds. We are in a desperate race against the weeds and so far we are edging out ahead. This letter is getting out very late in the evening (sorry folks!) so I will just cut to the chase and give you suggestions on how to use all this yummy produce!

AMAROSA POTATOES: These are a fabulous fingerling that are red inside and out. They are super delish simply steamed and topped with butter. Or you can toss them with olive oil, salt, pepper, and chopped up rosemary and roast in the oven at 400-ish for 30-40 minutes. Or you can chop them into home-fry sized pieces and fry them with lots of garlic.

SALAD CUCUMBERS: These are just larger pickling cukes. Many people prefer theses to your standard slicer as they are sweet, crisp, and have a small seed cavity. They can occasionally be bitter, so give it a taste test before you whip up a cucumber salad to serve for company.

ZUCCHINI AND CROOKNECK:
Use interchangeably. Invest in a $15 spiralizer at Target and make zoodles (squash shredded into long noodles-I’ll try to send a pic in next week’s newsletter.) Make zucchini bread or just dice up squash and add it to whatever savory dish you make. It is a nice sponge for herbs and sauces.

GREEN BEANS:
Steam them, add to a stir fry or curry, or go to our green bean recipe page for some yummy ideas. I highly recommend the green beans with walnuts, balsamic, and honey.

FEEL LIKE CANNING?

We just started harvesting pickling cucumbers and should have them for at least the next 4 weeks. If you would like some dropped off with your CSA share let me know. You can also pick up at the Olympia and Proctor Farmers Markets. Go to our pickle page for sizing, pricing, and other info. I have a lot of orders in for mini and small cukes, so if that is what you want let me know soon. I almost always have an abundance of mediums.
We also periodically have beans, beets, and eventually tomatoes. Let me know if you are interested in any of those and I will put you on the list.

Enjoy your box!
Jen, Jim, and Crew

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CSA Newsletter – Week 5 – July 19, 2017

by jennifer on July 19, 2017

week 5

WHAT’S IN THE BOX
carrots
beets or chard
green onions
garlic
zucchini
shell or snow peas
potatoes
cabbage
cilantro
cucumber (half of you)

DESCRIPTIONS:

Potatoes-You either got Yukon gold (yellow) or Caribe (purple). Both are pretty versatile and delicious.
Cabbage-Aren’t they cute? Stressful spring weather=baby cabbages. You’ll see bigger ones as time goes on. This variety is sweet and delicious raw. I like to slice it thin and use it instead of lettuce on tacos or burritos. Or use it in  Spicy Cabbage Salad or Cabbage Peanut Slaw or Egg Rolls.
Everything else should be self-explanatory.

garlic harvest

 

garlic hanging
There is not much new to report this week. All the garlic is out of the field and hanging in the barn. We can cross that big job off the list. We are mostly weeding and watering like mad. We’ll start the pickling cucumber harvest on Thursday, which will add a whole new level of crazy to the farm (but a good crazy). On top of all the other field work and harvest we will pick cukes 3 days a week for the next 6 weeks. If you want to purchase some let me know and I can leave them with your CSA share at some point in the future. Refer to the pickle page for sizing, pricing, and other info.

COMING SOON….

We hope to start passing out slicing tomatoes and sungold cherry tomatoes next week. Green Beans are getting really close as well.

Enjoy your week!

Jen, Jim, and Crew

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CSA Newsletter – Week 4 – July 12, 2017

by jennifer on July 12, 2017

week 4

 

WHAT’S IN THE BOX
Carrots
Beets or chard
Potatoes
Shell or snow peas
Romaine-large shares only
Red leaf
Walla walla onion
Garlic
Green onions
Cucumber or zucchini
Fennel
Basil, cilantro, or Italian parsley

Today’s box has several new items. I am very excited about cucumber, which half of you got. (The others will next week.) This was a trial run of growing cukes early in the greenhouse. If only I could turn back the clock to April and plant 5 times as many. This variety has a nice thin skin, delicate texture, and sweet flavor.
Summer squash are finally abundant enough to start handing out. (As with the cucumber, half of you got it this week.) Usually we are up to our ears in squash by now, but the wet spring delayed our planting by about 3 weeks. We grow four types of summer squash (see picture). They can all be used interchangeably. Today we handed out either green or Italian zucchini.

summer quash
Perhaps the most exciting thing in the box today is new potatoes. Yes, they look a little rough, but that is just how it is with new potatoes. The skins have not set yet, so they peel even if you look at them wrong. We tried our best to balance cleaning and coddling them. Give them another little scrub before you cook them. The variety is called Red Chieftain is ideal for potato salad, home fries, and general use. However, I always like to enjoy the first new potatoes steamed until tender and drizzled with garlic butter (and parsley).

new potates

 

WEEDS! The weeds are kind of kicking our butt lately. We haven’t lost anything yet, but there is a sense of urgency. We were down several crew members last week to vacation and illness and we are feeling it. It is hard to just settle into weeding a bed of something knowing there are numerous other beds vying for our attention. This week everyone is back, refreshed and healthy, so we should make some serious progress. Isaac and Cylas are taking turns on the cultivating tractor tackling the paths and in between the rows, while the rest of the crew sweeps through with hoes and hands to get around the plants. Weeding can be tedious, so it is fortunate that our crew is full interesting and chummy folks. I love when I hear laughter emanating from the field. And on that note, I will end this letter now to go join in the weeding.

Enjoy the sun and your yummy veggies.

Jen, Jim, and the Crew

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CSA Newsletter – Week 3 – July 5, 2017

by jennifer on July 5, 2017

week 3WHAT’S IN THE BOX:
Carrots
Red Russian or curly kale
Green onions
Walla Walla onion
Garlic
Kohlrabi
Basil, Italian parsley, or cilantro
Green leaf lettuce
Romaine lettuce-large shares only
Shell peas-to everyone who did not get them last week
Beets-everyone should have had them once by now
Chard-half of you (chard will be on every other week rotation)

Hopefully you all weren’t kept up late into the wee hours by fireworks. Out here, it was non-stop explosions until 11:30, and then occasional kabooms and fizzles for the rest of the night. We were all so tired at the end of the day, though, that we slept right through it.

THE WEATHER: I am thoroughly enjoying this solid streak of sun and heat. The crops (and weeds) are really responding. On some levels, I feel like the spring put us behind, but it turns out many crops are right on time. The corn was knee high as of yesterday, peas are just about to be abundant, and I have even nibbled a few sungold tomatoes (sorry, I got all the ripe ones!) Potatoes and summer squash are coming soon. It can be a little warm to work in, but everyone manages to hide behind big hats and long dress shirts. We start the workday at 6:00 and try to be done by 2:30. It’s nice because the crew can actually get out and enjoy the rest of the day doing summery things.

WHAT OUR WORKDAY LOOKS LIKE: This time of year, we undertake wide variety of tasks. Any given day may include seeding, transplanting, irrigating, weeding, trellising, pruning, harvest, and most importantly, getting all this good food out into the community. We are also about to start the big garlic harvest. Unlike peas that you pick twice a week for a month or more, garlic is one of those crops that matures all at once and then is harvested and stored in the barn for future use. Left in the ground, the heads would split and they wouldn’t keep as long. Instead, we tie the garlic still on the stalk into bundles and hang it from the barn rafters. I’ll try to include a picture next week. It looks really cool to see it all hanging there. The upshot to the cold spring we had is that we were not plagued with the dreaded white mold that periodically wipes out as much as half of our garlic. There are no organic controls for said mold, so we do our best with crop rotation, good fertility, and crossed fingers to try and get as good a yield as we can.

BARTER BOX:
We finally had enough surplus this week to send along a barter box to each pick up site. You can use it to trade out things from your share that you don’t like, for something that you do. Please don’t take from the box unless you put something in it. The barter box will be more diverse as the season wears on.

ABOUT THE VEG:
Garlic: The variety is called Music and it is VERY STRONG! A little goes a long way with this stuff. The cloves are huge, and since it is fresh, are easy to peel. Use less than you think you need, unless you fear vampires or appreciate a little extra personal space when out in public. Want a bus seat all to yourself? Eat this garlic.
Shell Peas: I think I failed to mention last week that shell peas are the ones you open and just eat the peas inside. You probably found that out quickly if you chomped down on the shell. We hope to have snow and snap peas soon. Shell peas are delicious raw or lightly steamed.

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FRESH HERBS:
I feel like I could devote a whole newsletter to herbs, and we only grow five types! Throughout the season you will receive dill, cilantro, basil, Italian parsley, and rosemary. We will rotate these around the pickup sites each week and I’ll try to throw a few different ones in the barter box. As the herbs become more abundant we will give you two types each week.

Many people are intimidated by fresh herbs, but don’t be. They really liven up a dish. Sometimes I add them during the cooking process and other times sprinkle minced fresh herbs directly on my plate at the table.

Here are some suggestions on how to use each one:

Basil: anything Italian, Thai, or Indian. Add it while you are cooking and reserve some fresh to sprinkle on when serving. I love it fresh on a pizza right when it comes out of the oven or on a curry.
Italian parsley: Anything Italian or Mediterranean. Use it in tabouli, cold pasta salads, or potatoes. One of my favorite things to do with new potatoes is to steam them and then toss with melted garlic parsley butter. Parsley is also an amazing breath freshener and digestive aid. Bring some to work with your lunch and kiss that coffee-breath goodbye! Overdo it on that garlic I warned you about? This should help.
Cilantro: Anything Mexican, Thai, or Indian. Cilantro pesto is amazing and is great on potatoes or used as a sandwich spread.
Rosemary:
Anything Italian. Essential in a good pot roast. Probably a potato’s best friend. I mean who can resist crispy oven roasted potatoes with rosemary and garlic?
Dill: Anything Russian. (Borscht, anyone?) Also, great with fish, potatoes, in a salad or salad dressing

Just to drive it home, consider how changing up the herbs can completely transform any given vegetable. Take potatoes for example:
Rosemary-oven roasted potatoes with olive oil, salt, crushed garlic, and rosemary
Italian Parsley-melted garlic butter thing mentioned above over steamed potatoes.
Dill-potato salad
Basil-make pesto and serve with steamed or fried potatoes
Cilantro-make pesto and serve with steam or fried potatoes, or use potatoes as an addition to burritos.

All the herbs should be kept in the fridge until you use them except for rosemary. Hang up what you don’t use and it’ll dry. Basil is super perishable and should be used within two days. Dill and cilantro are best kept with the stems in a jar with a little water and a plastic bag tented over the jar. Parsley is quite hardy and doesn’t need special attention. Throw it in a bag or Tupperware in the fridge and call it good.

RECIPE IDEAS:
Borscht
French potato salad
Tabouli
Cilantro pesto-there are a million variations out there. I like to use walnuts or almonds as the nut. I’ll puree about a half cup of nuts, then add a clove of garlic, then 1 bunch cilantro (some stem is okay), salt to taste, a TBLS or 2 of olive oil (more if you want it creamier.) Adjust ingredients to suit your taste. You can add Parmesan as well.


NEWSLETTERS:

I always post the most recent newsletter on our website and Facebook, so if you want to share it with others, you can direct them to either of those places.

 

Enjoy!

Jen, Jim, and the Crew

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CSA Newsletter – Week 2 – June 28, 2017

by jennifer on June 28, 2017

week 2 2017What’s In The Box:
Carrots
Red leaf lettuce
Green onions
Purple kohlrabi
Curly or Red Russian Kale
Garlic scapes
Dry beans: either Hutterite, Vermont Cranberry, or Pinto. See below for a picture and descriptions.
Beets-still making the rotation
Shell peas-just starting rotation
Green leaf lettuce-large shares only
Spinach-large shares only

3 beans

Pinto, Hutterite, Vermont Cranberry

VEGGIE ID:
Hutterite Beans: This Austrian heirloom cooks fast (20 minutes or less after soaking), saving time and energy. Known for their delicate, buttery flavor, they make delicious, creamy soups and chowders.
Vermont Cranberry: A beloved heirloom in New England since the 18th century, the cranberry-red beans are most commonly used in soups or for baking.
Pinto: Left whole or refried with onion, garlic, and cumin, they make the perfect burrito filling.

*When cooking beans, it is best to soak for around 8 hours. This helps break down enzymes and will allow you to enjoy them without… ahem…digestive distress.

SPRING FROM HELL
Wow. What a spring, huh? This was the wettest and most frustrating spring we have endured in our 20+ years of farming. We’ve had wet springs before, but were usually afforded several windows of dry weather allowing us to get early and reasonably spaced succession plantings in the ground. This year we only really got one such window and it wasn’t nearly long enough. We got a few things in: early potatoes, 2 beds of shell peas, and a smattering of transplants, but then the rain returned. Planting dates slipped by, cover crop grew intimidatingly tall, transplants were crying out to be planted, greenhouses were full to bursting with plants (many benches were hastily created to accommodate them all.) And, of course, we were freaking out. Everywhere we went people were talking about the rain and even non-farmers seemed out of sorts.

Luckily, we had in our back pocket, a handful of high and dry acres located in a once-was-farmland-now-is-a-subdivision section of Rochester. Three years ago, we started leasing land from Lee and Ora of Happy Hen Farm fame. We had long been looking for some ground with better drainage for early spring planting and this was a perfect opportunity. Ironically, the first 2 seasons we had access to the land, it was so warm and dry that we were able to get into the home fields with ease. Why commute when you don’t have to, right?  Also, the soil at the new site is a rocky, sandy loam with superb drainage. In a wet spring this is an desired quality,  but irrigation there is limited thus we’d need a little assistance from mother nature.  She wasn’t very accommodating the last 2 years.  However this year, we have pretty much filled the entire space with carrots, lettuce, beets, kohlrabi, cabbage, broccoli, chard, and dry beans. Jim has worked hard battling the freakishly robust cover crop at home, we are now able to plant here with relative ease.

urban farming

farm meets subdivision – driving near the satellite field

new field soil

soil at the satellite field – sandy loam with a plethora of rocks

home soil

home soil – clay loam and fluffy as chocolate cake (if we work it right)

 

It is a year like this that really brings home the importance of being a diversified, succession based farm. We plant many rounds of most of our crops; either weekly, bi-weekly, or once a month. If earlier plantings don’t work out, it is very likely the others will. Growing a wide variety of crops also helps us to ensure a nice offering for the CSA and markets, even in a year such as this. Missed and smaller than usual plantings will mostly translate into less product available for wholesale to coops and restaurants, and a more spartan display at the farmers markets early on. However, the weather seems to have settled into a pleasant pattern and we are now on track allowing me to (mostly) follow my planting schedule. Hopefully late planted crops will just hit the ground running and catch up. A lot of times our first planting of a thing will sit and shiver and struggle in cool spring weather and then the next succession planted 2 weeks later will grow like gangbusters and catch up, if not surpass, the first planting. Just goes to show that we can make all the schedules and spreadsheets we want, but nature will have the final say. Best laid plans of mice and men….

SILVER LININGS:
In my constant effort to not be a negative Nelly, I am trying to see the bright side to this spring.

  1. We were allowed to fallow (rest) more ground than we anticipated. This will improve soil health in those areas.
  2. We got twice the organic matter from our cover crop than we anticipated since it was too wet to plow. More organic matter=better soil health.
  3. We are doing a fine job keeping up on the weeds, since there is overall less to weed.
  4. The water table should be well recharged.

JULY 4TH holiday:

CSA deliveries will occur as usual next week.

That is all for this week. Enjoy your box!

Jen, Jim, and the Crew

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CSA Newsletter – Week 1 – June 21, 2017

by jennifer on June 21, 2017

week 1 2017

large share – week 1

Thanks for joining Rising River Farm CSA. We appreciate you choosing our farm to feed you this summer. My first draft of this newsletter was bordering on a novel. There is just so much to talk about! The weather, spring struggles, our great crew, the new field…. I could (and will) go on and on. But I figure for this first delivery, let’s just stick to veggie ID and housekeeping matters. Next week can be newsy and more personal. Suffice it to say that this spring was soul sucking with its never ending rain, but summer weather is here, and appears to be trying to make up for such a horrible March-last week. (I hear rumors of mid 90’s by Sunday.) Despite a rough start, we are feeling good about the general state of things. I’ll elaborate more next week.

WHAT’S IN THE BOX:
Red butterhead lettuce
Green leaf lettuce (large shares only)
Green onions
Walla Walla onion
Purple kohlrabi
Russian kale or curly kale
Chard
Garlic scapes
Fennel
Beets (on rotation)

FOR THE NEW PEOPLE:
First few boxes are slim. The really good stuff (i.e. tomatoes, potatoes, cukes, etc.) must be planted after danger of frost and take longer to mature.

A WORD ON ROTATION:
Not everyone gets everything mentioned in the newsletter every week, but on balance, all the box values are the same. Very often we will give half of you one thing and half the other. Then next week it’ll switch. We also rotate items around the sites when there is not enough for all. Eventually you will all receive roughly the same things with the same value. We keep careful track of who gets what when. It all evens out in the wash.

PICKY EATER SPIEL:
I say it every year, but for the benefit of the new members I will say it again. Please try everything you receive in your box at least twice before you decide you are not a fan. Fresh-from-the-field veggies are nothing like what you buy in a store and are most certainly leagues better than canned or frozen versions. I am a bona fide picky eater since childhood. I hated nearly every vegetable except iceberg lettuce, cucumbers, and russet potatoes. I would choke down the occasional canned green beans, but nearly any other veggie I was served would cause me to recoil and protest mightily. However, once I grew my own, tried them raw or lightly cooked, I was converted. I am still learning to like new things and am all the better for it. I also have two kids, 19 and 15, and have weathered many phases of kids loving then hating then loving any given vegetable.

Here are a few tips for converting veggie haters into veggie lovers (or at least tolerators):

  1. Try things raw. They tend to be sweeter, obviously crunchier, and lack the mushy texture that just freaks some people out.
  2. If you are going to cook things, aim for ”al dente”. Most of the time crunchy or firm is more appealing than mush.
  3. Try meals that are deconstructed. For example, a build your own burrito where each person can add as much or as little as they want. Making a casserole? Try serving the contents of said casserole separated out. Some kids (and yes, some adults) cannot deal with a whole bunch of unidentifiable ingredients all mixed together. I clearly remember mining out every onion and mushroom fleck in my mother’s meatloaf. I am not necessarily a proponent of catering to and preparing separate meals for whiny, picky kids, but if you can serve them what you are already making but in a different form, then it doesn’t seem as bad. Remember, the goal is to get them to love veggies! I just remember texture and mystery in regard to food being huge obstacles for me as a kid. (I still feel the need to apologize for the hell I probably put my mom through at dinner time.)
  4. Have your family/household members help unpack your weekly share, sample veggies, and brainstorm menu ideas. Most veggies can be eaten raw so sampling should be encouraged.
  5. Have your picky eaters help cook, or at least play sous chef. They will be way more likely to eat it if they know what is in it.
  6. Explore our website for recipes. Most of what is posted is easy to prepare. Rarely will you need some exotic vinegar, spice, or pantry item that you use maybe once a year.

HOUSEKEEPING & FAQ’S
-Please return your box each week. We love it when you unfold them without tearing the flaps!
-Keep the pick up site neat and tidy.
-Observe the established pick up hours, esp. at someone’s home.
-If you have someone pick up in your stead, make sure they take the correct box.
-If you forget to pick up your box, call your site host to figure out when/how to pick it up. If you know in advance that you will miss a box, email me and we can make other arrangements.
-Payments: We don’t send regular bills, so please check your account periodically to make sure you are keeping up with payments. To log into your account, follow this link. If you have any trouble, let me know.
-If you show up and there is not a box with your name see if the site host can help figure out where the error occurred. If they are not present or cannot help you, call me and I will find a way to get you a box. Please don’t take a box with someone else’s name.

BEST WAY TO CONTACT THE FARM
For general questions and non-pressing issues email us at info@risingriverfarm.com or call the farm phone. 360.273.5368
For more urgent matters call or text Jen’s cell 360.584.6720

SOCIAL MEDIA: We have a Facebook and Instagram account (rising.river.farm). I try to post a lot of pictures of the farm and crew, as well as recipe ideas. Check us out!

VEGGIE ID AND RECIPE IDEAS:

scape fennel kohl

from left to right: garlic scapes, fennel, kohlrabi

 RECIPES AND TIPS:

Garlic scapes: They are the seed stalk of the garlic plant. Scapes have the texture of green beans or asparagus when cooked and taste like, you guessed it, garlic! Not as potent as cloves of garlic, so you can be liberal with them. I tend to use them in lieu of garlic this time of year. Chop them in bite sized pieces and add them to stir fry, soup, pot roast, beans, etc. Keep them whole, marinate with your favorite marinade and grill on the bbq or toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper and roast in the oven at 400 until tender. Garlic scape pesto is another popular recipe. Find more scape recipes here.

Kohlrabi: It is in the brassica family (think broccoli, cabbage, and the like.) We prefer it raw, however you can cook it. The flavor is sweet and subtle with a hint of fresh broccoli or a sweet salad turnip. The texture is crunchy and juicy. You’ll want to peel it as the outer skin in tough. The easiest way in to cut it in half and then into half moons. Peel the skin off with a paring knife. I usually cut one up as described above and put it out on the dinner table to accompany whatever we are having. It makes a great addition to packed lunches. For more info and recipes about kohlrabi, follow this internet rabbit hole. (I almost got sucked in, but then remembered I had to finish this letter.)

Fennel: Popular in Italian cuisine, fennel is sweet, crunchy, and has a licorice or anise flavor. It is commonly added to red pasta sauces. The fronds make a nice addition to salad. Fennel is very soothing to the tummy, so if you ate too much at dinner just nibble on some of the bulb. You can use the whole plant. Go to our fennel page for some recipes.

Kale: You either got red Russian or curly. The Russian is sweeter and more tender and lends itself well to salads, green smoothies, and light cooking. Curly is hardier and more substantive and is ideal for soups, stir fries, and other recipes where you want your kale to keep its texture. Our favorite kale recipe is kale quesadillas. We could easily eat this one a week all year. Find that and other recipes on our kale page.

Chard: Chard is a cousin to the mighty beet. One was bred for lush leaves and the other for bulbous roots. Chard can be used interchangeably with spinach in many applications. If you are a dairy person, it pairs well with feta cheese. We usually saute onion and garlic (or scapes) until translucent then toss in the chard until just cooked. Serve over rice and add crumbled feta on top. A nice bratwurst on the side makes it even better. You can use the stem, but add it a good 5 minutes before you add the leafy portion. More chard ideas here.

kale chard kale

from left to right: Red Russian kale, Swiss chard, curly kale

RECIPES ARE MERELY A GUIDE: One final word on the recipes we suggest. For the most part you can use them as a guide and substitute ingredients and amounts pretty liberally. Just because a recipe calls for 2 lbs of something and you only have 1lb or it lists onion but you only have green onions, don’t let that stop you. Prepare a half recipe, use green onions instead, add a different vegetable to help fill it out. Get creative and wing it a little. Most of all try to enjoy the process and savor your results.

We hope you enjoy you first box. More goodies are on the horizon. Carrots are sooooo close.

Jen, Jim, and the Rising River Crew.

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