Small Family Farm CSA

We Dig Vegetables

 

July Nineteenth

Worker Share Perspective Article by Anna Jahns  (She's the one in the picture on the right)DSC 0129

What is your involvement in the Small Family Farm? Employee, Worker Share,

other?

Worker Share (Friday mornings!)

How did you first find out about/Start working at Small Family Farm?

A poster at the Viroqua Food Co-op!

How long have you been helping at the Small Family Farm?

This is my third year.

What is your favorite kind of work to do at the farm?

In general I prefer field work, but packing potatoes is kind of fun.

Why do you like coming to the farm? What keeps you coming back?

I like working hard as part of a crew of interesting, committed people.

What was the most surprising thing to you about SFF/Working at Small Family

Farm?

I was pleasantly impressed by what good business-people and managers Jillian and Adam are.  Running a successful CSA, especially with a lot of different worker share/employee crews, takes a lot more knowledge than just how to grow tasty vegetables.  They obviously have all aspects of their business down, and are great at managing people, too!

What is the hardest part about working on the farm?IMG 2980

Waking up early on my day off!  But once I get there I’m always glad that I did J

What do you do when you’re not at the Small Family Farm?

I work in natural resource management, so a lot of what we do isn’t so different from work on the farm, in terms of actual tasks if not the end goal.  It is nice to take a break from having to plan and orchestrate activities and just get told what to do for a few hours a week!  And for some inexplicable reason getting paid in veggies feels at least as good as working towards that paycheck!

Tell us more about your experience? What is a day of work like? What does a

season feel like to you?

Everyone arrives at 8:00, and Farmer Adam comes out to greet us, usually with a coffee mug in his hand.   “Good morning!  Welcome to Small Family Farm!”  This is usually quickly followed by something like, “Today we’re going to weed carrots!”  And then he steers us out to the carrots, reminds us what we’re doing, tells us how he wants them weeded (are we using our fingers? Hand hoes? Stand-up hoes?), and we all set to work.  Conversations start and stop as we leapfrog our way down the row – always remembering to put the work first (if we don’t, we’ll be reminded by Adam or each other)!  After the babysitter gets settled in, Jillian comes out to join us, which usually provides an extra influx of energy!  Her competitive nature and attention to detail mean that she can get more done, and more quickly, than most of the rest of us.  She corrects us when we’re doing something ineffective, or harmful to the desirable plants.  She reminds us to use two hands to go faster!  She also sings a really great little ditty to keep our spirits up along the way.  After a while, we might move to the other side of the farm and weed another crop, or pick some peas, starting new conversations with whomever winds up next to us in this new row, and I’m hoping just once to get my harvest bin filled before Jillian does!

This is how I think of my mornings at the farm in retrospect, but it is rarely that idyllic in the moment.  Sometimes we are pulling garlic in the pouring rain, and in shaking the mud off the bulbs we get it caked in our faces and hair and have to leave our clothes out in the sun for a week until the scent fades.  Or the ground is baked so hard and dry that a jackhammer seems like an ideal weeding tool.  Sometimes it is 90 degrees and we are hauling armloads of heavy mulch or trellising and wishing we’d brought bigger water bottles.  Sometimes in the fall the sun is just barely coming up and we are barehanded, picking spinach with the frost still on it, trying to work fast enough to un-numb our fingers (but yeah, Jillian is still faster).   I’ve worked in land management for over a decade, and I recognize the same pattern of morale on the farm as in every other job I’ve held that is tied to our Midwestern seasons.  August is always tough.  The days are getting shorter, but everyone’s bodies and minds are exhausted from cumulative months of short nights.  It’s hot.  It is crunch time – this is the last push before the fruits and flowers ripen, and it doesn’t seem like there’s enough time to get everything done.  Backs are sore, and the heavy harvest lifting hasn’t even started yet.  The excitement of getting to chat with new coworkers and old friends has faded, and folks might be starting to get tired of one another.  DSC 0370

And then – suddenly – the sun is lower, the nights are cooler, and there is delicious produce surrounding us on all sides!  How can you not be cheerful while filling tub after tub of red and orange peppers?!   Or anticipating that sweet, sweet day when it is finally time to get after the brussels sprouts?!  Except… sometimes even that part is hard.  Last year our area get hit by storm after storm, so that we were wearing rubber boots in the fields nearly every week.  By the time harvest rolled around, we were digging rotten carrots out of the ground, or having to toss moldy peppers off to the side.  It was discouraging, knowing that we had done so much right earlier in the season, and now we had to work extra hard to eek out just barely enough of the final product.  Adam and Jillian tried hard not to let their concern and disappointment show – but after working alongside them for months, we all know how much of their hearts and souls they put into growing each crop, and their concern was for much more than just their business and livelihood.

While I’m working hard each day, or when I think back on it after the fact, I always see myself as someone who shows up for a few hours, plays in the dirt, does what I’m told, and gets to take some vegetables home.  While I’m pulling weeds, or later on chopping up a salad, I don’t really feel that glow of “belonging to my CSA” that I thought I was supposed to.  When I think of it like this, though, as a whole season, it becomes clear to me that I really do have a connection to the people and the place.  We haven’t even hit the doldrums of late summer yet, and I’m already thinking with sadness of that last fall day of packing away the sweet potatoes and leaving Small Family Farm for the winter.  

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

Broccoli x 2-  Two beautiful 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. Tomato Rows

Cauliflower-  Also a beautiful 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 substitute for bread, potatoes and more!  Have fun with it!  There were probably ten boxes at the very end that received three heads of broccoli and no cauliflower.  

Green Top Beets- By "green top" we mean that they still have their greens attached to them on top;)  Did you know that beet greens are deliciously edible?  Yep!  You can use them in your cooking like you would spinach or swiss chard.  Our girls love beets boiled then peeled then cubed and tossed with butter.  

Green Cabbage-  It's always very exciting for the first week of offering cabbage each season.  These Quickstart cabbages aren't as dense as a storage type cabbage, but are all of the crispiness, greenness and lovliness that we look for in cabbage.  We sometimes leave an outer layer or two for protection on the cabbage, so feel free to snap off a couple of those outer leaves that may be not as tender as the inner leaves.  Should keep well in the fridge for two weeks.  

Summer Squash and Zucchini-  6-7 Squash per member this week.  Zucchini and Summer squash are producing well, be sure to get all of your kabob recipes, spiralizer recipes, and zucchini bread recipes out because it's high tide for summer squash and zucchini.  Remember that it can also be grated, stuffed in a freezer ziplock bag and frozen without blanching.  It could also be sliced, ziplocked and then frozen.  Squash is very easy to freeze if you just can't keep up!

Cucumber-  It's starting!  Two cucumbers per member this week.  A great way to help keep you cool!  Cucumbers in every box next week! 

Green Onions-  Still another week or two of green onions to hold us over.  It's fun to watch them get a little bigger each week as we harvest them!  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! 

Swiss Chard- We plant a rainbow of chard colors including pink, red, white, orange and yellow.  As we harvest, it is usually the luck of the draw.  Your bunch may be a nice mix of colors, or it could be all white or all red.  It's hard to say!  The flavors are all the same, but the colors the leaves impart during cooking vary.   

Peas-  Sadly this is the final giving of peas for the season.  A half pound of peas per member this week.  We had a very nice run on peas this year with lots of helping hands to get them picked!  Thank you to all of the loving, patient and dilligent pea pickers on the farm!  

Green Leaf Lettuce -  You may have received one or two heads, depending on if there was space left in your box!  Summer lettuce is coming to an end 

Mint-  Cute little bunches of mint this week as our herb offering.  Likely won't keep long, ut best to keep like fresh-cut flowers in a vase in the kitchen or in a plastic bag in the fridge.  Use up quickly by either making tea or chopping it into a tabouleh salad.  

Next Week's Best Guess-  Cabbage, Beets, carrots, cukes, squash, celery, kale, lettuce, bunching onions, garlic, parsley, 

Recipes

Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls Casserole

Gluten Free Chocolate Beet Cupcakes

Beet Borscht

Beet and Goat Cheese Pizza (Beetza)