Small Family Farm CSA

We Dig Vegetables

 

July Twelveth

The days are long.  Long and hot and humid.  The farmer’s bodies are tired and weary.  Not weak or worn just yet but feeling well-used and even sore muscles some days.  And the beginning of the heavy harvesting is only beginning.  Cucumbers, summer squash, zucchini, broccoli and cauliflower all need picking every other day.  The bending and the cutting and walking of heavy bins down 250 foot rows at 3-o-clock in the afternoon amid the 85 degree temperatures toughens you up.  It builds character.  This is the day-job.  This is not a weekend recreational excersize ajenda.  This is everyday life for the farmer. DSC 0347

The real physical labor in vegetable production seems to come in at harvest time.  The sheer weight of the produce adds up.  You’ll also begin to notice as the season goes on that your boxes will feel heavier!  We have been filling them up with leafy greens and fluffy foliage, but that space will gradually be filled with more dense and solid veggies like cucumbers, zucchinis, beets, cabbage, carrots and so on.

I feel thankful for the tractor.  The big, loud, stinky, huge tractor that consumes all of it’s oils and greases and fluids of all kinds.  The big chunks of steel filling up our machine shed that come in all kinds of weird colors and shapes that make vegetable production on this farm efficient and possible.  I think of how much extra work this would all be (if even possible) without them tractors.  I sometimes wish I was trained as a young person to work with horses.  I have a romantic enough heart that I just may have wanted to set the farm up using horses instead of tractors if I had been groomed differently from a young age. 

Even a little farm our size has 5 tractors.  Two for heavy tillage like plowing, discing, tilling and bed prepping.  The big ones are also used for digging roots, seeding, transplanting and mulch-laying.  We even have one small Allis Chalmers dedicated to a spray set up for spraying our expensive and in-effective organic sprays to kill bugs like flea beetles and cabbage loopers so your veggies don’t come covered in holes.  The other two small Farmalls are cute, antique-looking things that are used exclusively for cultivating.  The Farmalls are quirky, but I really love to watch Adam on the horizon beautifully hilling and cultivating a half-acre of potatoes in an hour or two using minimal energy.  Cultivating (or weeding by dragging steel shoe-like shanks down the rows between the vegetables) is stressful for farmer Adam, but he’s so dang good at it!DSC 0350

I know that there are some people who love farming because they have a fascination with machinery.  Machinery is fun to use.  It’s powerful and makes work extremely efficient and productive.  But machines are expensive, they break, they rust, they bend, and it takes a skilled person to know how to operate them.  Machines use oil and gas and we have designed our farm around them.  Neither Adam or I share this love or obsession with machinery that some farmers undoubtedly have.  We find them to be useful and valuable tools on our farm-but slightly annoyed by them-kind of like computers and cell phones these days too, right? 

I may not love the tractors and the machines, but I do respect them.  I put a lot of hours in on maintenance for them. I mind them.  I try to keep them sheltered and fed.  And I never take for granted how dangerous and powerful they are.  Today, I am merely thankful for them and that they help make this all possible. 

Sooo.....What's in the Box??????

Broccoli x 2-  Two amazingly huge heads of broccoli per member this week.  Wow!  We are so happy to share these!  Broccoli keeps best if kept very cold.  We worked hard to get these picked, cooled and iced as quickly as possible when bringing them in from the field.  We recommend picking up your box and rushing your broccoli home to a safe place in your refrigerator!  There is nothing more sad than yellowing broccoli from getting warm!  Also keeps best in a plastic bag in the fridge to preserve moisture.  

Cauliflower-  Also a beautiful, large and stunning head of cauliflower per member this week.  Similar to the broccoli, rush your cauliflower home and into its safe place in the fridge.  So many fun recipes for cauliflower these days as a low-carb substitue for bread, potatoes and more!  Have fun with it!  

Fennel-  Yes, another one of these funky things.  Fennel is a vegetable in the umbelifferea family-the same family as carrots, celery, dill, parsley and parsnips (an impressive family, I know!).  It's flavor, when eaten raw resembles licorice.  It is nice eaten raw if shaved very thinly with a mandolin into or onto a salad.  When cooked, fennel looses most of that licorice flavor and looks and tastes a lot like caramelized onions.  There is a small core at the base of the fennel that I like to cut out before eating.  The white bulb of the fennel is most commonly used in cooking, but the stalks and frawns are edible as well if you really love that licorice flavor.  The frawns also make a beautiful garnish.

Kohlrabi-  Cut the leaves off of the top of the kohlrabi and use them in your cooking like kale.  Using a pearing knife or a small knife, peel the outer edge of the kohlrabi off before you eat it.  These kohlrabis are so mild and tender and have a hint of sweetness to them!  Once a kohlrabi has been cut open, the flavor is best if it is eaten within an few hours.  Also wonderful if chopped into veggie sticks, sprinkled with salt and eaten raw and whole!  Kohlrabi is also called the "ground apple" because its internal texture is so much like that of an apple.

Summer Squash and Zucchini-  6-7 Squash per member this week.  

Cucumber-  We harvested the first 200 cucumbers of the season this week.  We had 200 cukes but had 300 boxes to fill, so 1/3 of the people did not get one.  If you did not get one, you likely received an extra squash.  Cucumbers in every box next week!  

Green Onions-  Because what would life be like without some kind of onion in our cooking?  Remember that you can use these guys all the way up to their tips.  We'll continue to harvest green onions/scallions for boxes for the next couple weeks to hold us over until the real onions start maturing!  

Red Culry Kale-  Redbore kale is loaded with all kinds of nutritious goodies.  

Webmd says:  

At just 33 calories, one cup of raw kale has:

Nearly 3 grams of protein

2.5 grams of fiber (which helps manage blood sugar and makes you feel full)

Vitamins A, C, and K

Folate, a B vitamin that’s key for brain development

Alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid. (While kale has far less omega-3 than fish, it is another way to get some of this healthy fat into your diet.

Lutein and zeaxanthin, nutrients that give kale its deep, dark green coloring and protect against macular degeneration and cataracts Minerals including phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and zinc

Peas-  A record breaking 1.25lbs of peas per member this week!  Wow!  We have never before given this kind of weight in peas to members.  It has been a peas-ful growing season so far!  Plenty of helping hands to get these peas picked.  And imagine the conversations, laughter, stories and friendship that happens when we're picking them togehter as a crew.  A lot of love goes into these!  

Scapes-  Scapes are almost over.  We might have another small bunch for members next week, but it won't be long before we're pulling the real garlic blubs out of the ground.  Very exciting!  Remember that the edible part of the garlic scape is up until the nodule on the garlic scape.  

Lettuce x2-  A red leaf lettuce and a red oakleaf lettuce, or two red leaf lettuce heads.  Still plenty of lettuce to share each week.  Lettuce may be winding down a bit as the hotter weather takes hold.  Lettuce does not always hold well in the heat in the fields.  

Basil-  Very small bunches of basil per member this week.  We noticed that the plants were looking so lush and delicious, we wanted to share some of it with you.  Basil is very finnickey in that once it has been harvested, it prefers to be placed in water like fresh cut flowers and left on the countertop at room temperature.  Basil does not love to be refrigerated or it will turn black from the cold.  Basil also does not love to be washed once it was harvested.  We didn't have the ideal way to keeping it, so it was already starting to loose some of it's freshness by packing night on Tuesday afternoon.  So we recommend using it up as quickly as possible if you can because it likely won't keep long!  

Recipes

Cauliflower Broccoli Salad

Cauliflower Crust Pizza with Fresh Basil Leaves

Shaved Fennel Salad with Peas and Mint

Nacho Kale Chips