Small Family Farm CSA

We Dig Vegetables

 

Small Family Farm
Below are current issues of The Weekly Dig Newsletter, from Jillian Varney, owner of the Small Family Farm. Stay up to date on what's happening on the farm!

August Thirtieth

Each season I feel the need to pay a tribute to the Worker Share.  Our farm is powered by Adam and I, a team of four skilled employees, and a crew of about 30 Worker and Sitter Shares who show up each week in tandem for their designated Worker Share shift.  The Worker Shares make an impressive commitment to the farm, and if their hard work and grit isn't enough for you, they certainly deserve acknowledgement for their commitment to the farm. Tuesday

I feel increasingly aware of the commitment aspect to the arrangement.  Just as you, the paid CSA member who laid down your hard earned cash even before the growing season had fully kicked off made a commitment to the farm, our worker shares made a commitment on a handshake and they have all kept their promise.  Even now, at the peak of summer busy-ness, at the frenzy before the school year kicks off, at the rush to get projects moving before Fall sneaks up, they show up on time and on schedule.  Work, life, sickness and vacations cause folks to miss a week here and there, but the 20-commitment is still strong and solid for most of them.

All lasting and meaningful relationships are built upon fearless and confident promise and dedication.  Yet in todays age, so few are willing to step up to it.  In a transient life cluttered with choices and opportunities and endless possibilities, a waning population of people seem willing to commit to anything.  Where are the steadfast community members?  Everyone seems to be switching jobs and switching houses and switching schools and moving away or moving on.  It is a complicated and overwhelming world to live in.

A couple weeks ago, while talking with an old friend who is in the process of changing jobs, houses and is moving to a new city, she said to me, “You know, you might decided someday that you’ve had enough of this farming thing and decide you want to do something else.”  I don’t want to tell you that I didn’t even think about it, but I just know in my heart that that is not going to happen.  I want to be a rock, no, a pillar, in the middle of a tidal wave.  I’m not going anywhere.  Neither is the house, the family inside it, the marriage or the farm.  I want to represent something unyielding and constant and reliable.  I want to be a known oasis in a sea of unknowns.  Maybe there is enough risk and adventure inherent in farming to keep me satisfied for a lifetime. 

So I value, on an increasing level, and appreciation for those willing to make a commitment, even just a 20-Week one.  My hope is that the responsibility to work 3.5-4  hours a week  feels fair and reasonable for their humble box of food they receive each week in exchange.  I hope they see it as more than just the food.  We’re cultivating more than just vegetables out here.  We’re cultivating community and we’re getting exercise, fresh air, and sunshine.  We’re getting to know one another, an un-expected gift in itself is to allow someone to know you and to take the time to get to know someone else.  And what better way than to do it than while picking beans and shooting the shit for 4 hours?  Thank you to everyone-working, playing and paying, for your commitment to the farm this summer.  We appreciate you.   DSC 0365

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

Beans!-  1.30 lbs per member.  We picked green beans, dragon tongue beans and also yellow wax beans this week.  When we were bagging them, we tried to give you a little of each variety.  The dragon tongue beans are large, flat, cream-colored bean with purple streaking.  The dragon tongues will loose their purple streaking in the cooking process once they are cooked.  Beans are such a lovely summer vegetable.  It takes a very long time to pick this many beans for almost 300 CSA boxes!

White Onion-  Two smaller white onion for everyone this week!

Hungarian Hot Wax Pepper-  Also known as a banana pepper.  The Hungarian Hot Wax pepper has a spicy name, but they are quite mild on the spectrum of hot peppers.  They can be a bit of a mixed bag.  One Hungarian Hot Wax pepper could be very mild with little to no spice, and the next one you try could have a surprising amount of kick.  Give them a little nibble before cooking with them to gage how much to use in your dish.

Jalapeno Pepper- These little guys are the smaller green pepper floating around in your box somewhere.  As you probably know, Jalapenos are hot!  To me they are very, very hot since I’m sort of a hot-pepper wimp.  So wear gloves when handling them in the kitchen, especially if your fingertips come anywhere near the seeds or seed cavity.

Lacinato Kale-  Everyone’s favorite Kale variety. 

Cilantro-  What timing!  The cilantro has come into season right when we have our glut of tomatoes.  We harvested cilantro on a wet, dewy morning.  Cilantro does not love to have it’s leaves wet.  We recommend using it up quicker rather than trying to keep it for too long.  Cilantro doesn’t keep too long before it wants to start going slimy. 

Red/Yellow Watermelons-  Aren’t these adorable?  I love these smaller varieties of watermelons when we are all so used to those huge melons from the grocery store.  Yours may be red or yellow when you cut into it.  No matter the color, we thought they were all very sweet! 

Eggplant or Sweet Pepper-  We did our very first sweet pepper harvest with not quite enough for everyone this week (although the plants are loaded with green peppers) and we expect a larger harvest next week.  If you did not get a sweet pepper, about 80 people got an eggplant instead. 

Carrots- One pound bags of carrots per member.  Yum! 

Tomatoes-  7.5-8lbs tomatoes per member.  We pick tomatoes in the early stages of 'blushing' and ripening.  We recommend leaving your tomatoes out on your countertop to ripen.  They will slowly ripen over the course of a week.  We need to pick them at this stage of ripeness if they are to survive the shipping and handling.  We would much rather give you under-ripe tomatoes than smooshed tomatoes.  If you leave them out at room temperature, it will not affect their flavor, they will still be considered vine-ripened tomatoes.  We also recommend not putting your tomatoes in the fridge unless they are fully ripen and you need to refrigerate them to buy yourself some time before you are able to eat them.  Putting tomatoes in refrigerators usually sucks the flavor out of them.  Enjoy!  We're hoping for a larger giving next week!

Sweet Corn-  5 Ears Sweet Corn!  Five ears per member.  Did you know that minute sweet corn has been harvested it begins to loose some of it’s sweetness?  Yes, the sugars turn to starches and the flavor decreases by the hour.  We highly recommend keeping your sweet corn in the refrigerator and eating it for supper TONIGHT to maximize the awesome flavor it has!  Some of the corn did have worms in it.  Yes, worms are gross, but this is organic corn folks and there isn’t much we can do about it.  Just take a knife and cut those spots or the tip off if you find one.  We don’t want you be alarmed, because they’re in there!  Farmer Adam did a fantastic job keeping the sweet corn fence electrified at night and keeping the coons out.  We sometimes loose huge numbers of corn to the raccoons.  This year we’re keeping them out so far!

Sun Gold Cherry Tomatoes-  We made sure that everyone got some sun golds this week.  About a half a pound of Sun Golds per box this week.  The clamshells might not be all the way full, but we had to weigh our harvest and divide by the number of members we have.  Sun Gold ripen Orange and not red, so eat them when they turn orange.  Leave them on your counter to ripen and not in the fridge.

Garlic-  A beautiful bulb of garlic per member this week. 

Potatoes-  2.5 lbs red potatoes per member this week.  Freshly dug out of the ground.  Also, you will notice immediately that we do not wash our potatoes.  New potatoes always scuff very easily once dug out of the ground.  Also, it takes a lot of extra time and energy to wash all of these potatoes.  We leave that part up to you on potatoes.  We’ve been busy getting all of this other stuff harvested! 

Next Week’s Best Guess-  Tomatoes, hot peppers, sweet peppers, melon, eggplant, lettuce, beans, potatoes, carrots, basil, onion, garlic, napa cabbage

Recipes

Green Bean and Cherry Tomato Salad, Thank you, Megan!

Teriyaki Green Beans with Cashews

Watermelon Salsa

Pico de Gallo (Salsa) 

August Twenty-Third

Have you ever wondered how we do it all?  All of these vegetables!  So much variety!  So many different vegetables, all from one farm!  All in one season!  And it’s not over; just slightly more than half-way over in fact.  We still have a lot more to offer you before the end is here!  But it’s a tricky job, you know.  As carefully as we may plan and predict and then expect certain crops to mature at certain times and to look certain ways, we are entirely at the whims of mother nature’s mood.  It’s a really fun game of succession plantings that need to be kept up with! IMG 3028

When you buy produce at a grocery store and you buy a cucumber, for example, you’re likely buying that cucumber from a farmer who only grows cucumbers and maybe a couple other crops.  You’re also only getting to see that farm’s cucumbers during their peak production when the cucumbers are #1 quality and when the stores will buy them. 

What makes a CSA farm a little different is that we don’t just grow a few different crops in a season, we grow over 45 different crops, and if you want to count the different varieties within those 45 differet crops, we’re looking at over 100 varieties.  Within different varieties, we’re talking about different lengths to maturity, different growing behaviors, different harvest specs.  It keeps things very interesting for us farmers and for the workers who help on our farm.  I would say that this is a very fun farm to work on because we are so widely diversified with vegetables.  Almost every day there is something new to experience! 

But the catch is that quality on some crops may suffer slightly.  While we’re at the very end of summer squash harvest season and cucumber harvest season, we’re still sharing those crops with you as we continue to harvest off of the last of what the plants have to offer, but the presentation isn’t as beautiful and perfect.  This is also the very ,very last celery giving as we did a final sweep of the patch.  The celery are still perfectly edible, but we had to cut many of the heads apart to discard the parts of the plants that didn’t look so great anymore.  These are a far cry from those beautiful, huge celery we were harvesting a month ago when they were all fresh and new! 

Adam and I care deeply about the quality of the produce you receive.  If we’re shipping you veggies that look “inglorious” or “imperfect”, it’s because we’re trying to reduce the food waste on the farm, we believe you might still want to eat cucumbers before they’re out of season, and it’s better to fill up those CSA boxes, rather than leave those imperfect veggies in the fields and have lighter CSA boxes.  Usually there is something new and fresh coming into season, and occasionally a veggie that we’re all getting a little tired of, like cucumbers, that is drifting out of season slowly. 

We hope to make up for an imperfect bunch of celery and a mis-shapen cucumber with bountiful bags of fresh beans, and long-awaited tomatoes, sweet corn, melons and more!  Many more new and fun items to come!  Let’s eat!  

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

Beans!-  1.43 lbs per member.  We picked green beans, dragon tongue beans and also yellow wax beans this week.  When we were bagging them, we tried to give you a little of each variety.  The dragon tongue beans are large, flat, cream-colored bean with purple streaking.  The dragon tongues will loose their purple streaking in the cooking process once they are cooked.  Beans are such a lovely summer vegetable.  It takes a very long time to pick this many beans for almost 300 CSA boxes! 

White Onion-  A nice white onion for everyone this week!

Hungarian Hot Wax Pepper-  Also known as a banana pepper.  The Hungarian Hot Wax pepper has a spicy name, but they are quite mild on the spectrum of hot peppers.  They can be a bit of a mixed bag.  One Hungarian Hot Wax pepper could be very mild with little to no spice, and the next one you try could have a surprising amount of kick.  Give them a little nibble before cooking with them to gage how much to use in your dish.

Jalapeno Pepper-  Our first giving of Jalapeno Peppers.  These little guys are the smaller green pepper floating around in your box somewhere.  As you probably know, Jalapenos are hot!  To me they are very, very hot since I’m sort of a hot-pepper wimp.  So wear gloves when handling them in the kitchen, especially if your fingertips come anywhere near the seeds or seed cavity. 

Celery-  We promise, this is the FINAL giving of celery.  We really had to scape to get 300 bunches this week.  And some of the celery are actually bunched because we were discarding some of the more unsightly parts of the plants.  Now is your chance to try out some of your favorite celery dishes before it goes out of season. Cucumbers-  3 Slicing cucumbers.  This is also the final cucumber giving.  We all love cucumbers, but the farm workers will be happy to be done harvesting these every couple days! 

Red Curly Kale-  A really fun recipe for a Massaged Kale Salad this week!  Kale keeps best in a plastic bag in the fridge.

Oregano-  A small bunch of oregano to add to your spaghetti sauce, meat dishes or however you can get creative with it!  If you don’t think you can use it all, un-tie the bunch and lay it out on a dehydrator tray and dehydrate it for several hours.  Once it is fully dry, strip the leaves from the stems and store it in a ball jar with a tight lid.

Pickling Cucumbers-  2-3 Pickling Cukes per member.  We had three folks send us their tried and true pickling cuke recipes last week.  See those below if you want to try a new one!    

Honey White Melon-  These are small melons, but they are delicious.  We thought they were just a tad under-ripe and they could go a few days sitting on your counter-top before you cut them open.  We liked how sturdy they were.  We’ve shipped very ripe melons before and had to deal with them going bad or getting moldy, so we are really going to try to catch them before that happens!  They are white on the inside when ripe and the flesh may be even slightly crispy. 

Eggplant-  You may have received either one standard Black Beauty Eggplant or you may have received one long and skinney Japanese Eggplant.  Eggplant prefers a 50 degree storage area which can be hard to come by.  They sometimes get a bit wilty in the fridge and the countertop is a tad too warm, so we recommend using these up sooner rather than later because they’re not awesome keepers.  More next week!

Red Beets- About three medium sized red beets per member.  The red beets have truly been lovely to cook with this season.  The nice thing about beets is that they will keep for a fantastically long time if kept in the fridge in a plastic bag.  But, if you're like me, you won't be able to hold onto them that long without devouring them first. 

Tomatoes-  we pick tomatoes in the early stages of 'blushing' and ripening.  We recommend leaving your tomatoes out on your countertop to ripen.  They will slowly ripen over the course of a week.  We need to pick them at this stage of ripeness if they are to survive the shipping and handeling.  We would much rather give you under-ripe tomatoes than smooshed tomatoes.  If you leave them out at room temperature, it will not affect their flavor, they will still be considered vine-ripened tomatoes.  We also recommend not putting your tomatoes in the fridge unless they are fully ripen and you need to refrigerate them to buy yourself some time before you are able to eat them.  Putting tomatoes in referigerators usually sucks the flavor out of them.  Enjoy!  We're hoping for a larger giving next week!

Summer Squash-  1-2 per member.  And this is the final summer squash and/or zucchini giving as well.  Moving on to bigger and better things!  If you’ve had more than enough, just shredding your squash and zucchini and sticking it in a ziplock bag in the freezer will keep it nicely for you through the winter months when a loaf of warm zucchini bread sounds lovely. 

Sweet Corn-  5 Ears Sweet Corn!  Five ears per member.  Did you know that minute sweet corn has been harvested it begins to loose some of it’s sweetness?  Yes, the sugars turn to starches and the flavor decreases by the hour.  We highly recommend keeping your sweet corn in the refrigerator and eating it for supper TONIGHT to maximize the awesome flavor it has!  Some of the corn did have worms in it.  Yes, worms are gross, but this is organic corn folks and there isn’t much we can do about it.  Just take a knife and cut those spots or the tip off if you find one.  We don’t want you be alarmed, because they’re in there!  Farmer Adam did a fantastic job keeping the sweet corn fence electrified at night and keeping the coons out.  We sometimes loose huge numbers of corn to the raccoons.  This year we’re keeping them out so far!

Sun Gold Cherry Tomatoes-  It’s really not fair, but we had about 220 pints of Sun Gold Cherry tomatoes, so there were about 60 people who did not get a Cherry Tomato pint.  We put them in the boxes at the end of the packing line if it was a box that looked like it was smaller or had more room in the box.  We’re hoping that for next week we’ll have enough for every box!  We tried to make sure the boxes that did not get them were full of everything else!  Sun Gold ripen Orange and not red, so eat them when they turn orange.  Leave them on your counter to ripen and not in the fridge. 

Next Week’s Best Guess-  Sweet Corn, tomatoes, hot peppers, sweet peppers, melon, eggplant, lettuce, beans, potatoes, carrots, basil, onion, garlic

Recipes-

Massaged Kale Salad with Beet and Carrot

Baba Ganoush Recipe (Eggplant Dip) with Pomegranate Molasses

Easy Refrigerator Pickles (Thank you, Danielle!)

More Easy Refrigerator Pickles (Thank you, Steve and Sarah!)

Simple Refrigerator Pickles (Thank you, Sandra)

August Sixteenth

I must be honest, the second half of the CSA delivery season is my favorite.  I love the Spring and early Summer months because of the cooler weather, succulent greens and the new-ness and uniqueness of the vegetable offerings, but my true loves are the in-season tomatoes, sweet corn and melons. DSC 0348

The green beans, sun gold cherry tomatoes and the sweet corn (oh, the sweet corn) make life richer somehow.  We eat like kings and queens when the tide is high.  Usually, this time of year, we are desperately trying to find room in the CSA boxes for the melons amidst all of the other items.  Watermelons, honeydews and cantelopes will soon be here.  We are very much so hoping that next week, Week 12, will be our first melon offerings.  This Spring when we transplanted all of our melons, we had some very cool, wet and damp weather that caused all of our melons to ‘dampen off’ shortly after transplant.  Quickly after noticing that this was happening, we had to rush-order a whole new lot of melon seeds, re-seed them and then re-transplant them which set our usual projected melon harvest time-line almost three weeks behind schedule. 

But the melons are out there.  They look beautiful and healthy and the plants are showing signs of dyeing back now and the harvest will begin soon.  For now, we’re enjoying the Bodacious Sweet Corn.  I love the names of the Sweet Corn varieties.  This week’s offering is truly called ‘Bodacious’.  Some other variety names are ‘Incredible’, ‘Ambrosia’, and last week’s variety was ‘Trinity’.

This year we set up four lines of electric fence around the sweet corn to keep the raccoons out.  Last year we had just three lines of electric fence wire, but the raccoons still got in and destroyed a fair amount of our mid-season corn.  So far this year, with the rotation moving the sweet corn farther away from the tree-line and the four lines of electric fence, they haven’t gotten in yet!  Farmer Adam faithfully puts the battery that we use to keep the fence hot with on the trickle charger every day and he re-connects the fence each eveing with a freshly-charged battery.  He even told me that every day he tests the fence with his own hand and a blade of grass touching the fence to make sure it is giving a good shock.  Now that is commitment! DSC 0355

We are expecting to have two more weeks of sweet corn in the CSA boxes as long as everything goes as scheduled.  We know those raccoons are congregating in the fields every night planning and sniffing and scheming to find a way in, but we’re keeping them out!  Our plan was to give everyone six ears in each box.  Last week was eight, this week 5 and we’ll see what next week brings. 

The tomatoes are starting to kick into production.  Every two days we head out to harvest again and each time we harvest it seems like we double what the previous harvest has been.  Late August may be a tire-some and heavy time of year, but the foods that come into season are some of my personal favorites.  We can also expect green beans for the next few weeks as well.  Bon appetite!

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

Swiss Chard-  Lovely bunches of swiss chard this week.  The chard is still looking so nice in the mid-summer months.  Remember to cook with your Swiss Chard stems as well!

Head Lettuce-  Either a Red Leaf or a Green Leaf lettuce head.  Again, we're harvesting the lettuce heads a little early because they're showing signs of heat and water stress.  Peak season lettuce can be hard to come by, so this is still a little treat.  We made BLT's one night last week.  

Sweet Corn!-  Five ears per member.  Did you know that minute sweet corn has been harvested it begins to loose some of it’s sweetness?  Yes, the sugars turn to starches and the flavor decreases by the hour.  We highly recommend keeping your sweet corn in the refrigerator and eating for supper TONIGHT to maximize the aweseome flavor it has!  Some of the corn did have worms in it.  Yes, worms are gross, but this is organic corn folks and there isn’t much we can do about it.  Just take a knife and cut those spots or the tip off if you find one.  We don’t want you be alarmed, because they’re in there!  Farmer Adam did a fantiastic job keeping the sweet corn fence electrified at night and keeping the coons out.  We sometimes loose huge numbers of corn to the raccoons.  This year we’re keeping them out so far!

Cucumbers-  4-5 Cucumbers per member this week.  Cucumber production is on a down-turn as cuke season closes in.  But we're happy to still be sharing them as they are a delight to have freshly sliced on the table at every meal!

Celery-  One more week of celery.  We understand it's hard to know what to do with all of this celery, but celery season is coming to an end soon here!  Some of the celery were showing signs of decay in the centers of the hearts so we cut them off at the base to remove any decay we found in the center of the plant and then re-bunched them.  It was a shame to think about losing so many of those plants!  Check out a new, fun recipe for celery that one of our members shared with us this week!  

Pickling Cucumbers-  Five pickling cukes this week.  We're working on getting them picked a little smaller, but it sure is hard to keep up with the pickling cuke harvest demands with all of the other harvests going on.  Fun to stuff these guys in a jar.  Does anyone have a simple refrigerator pickle recipe they love and want to share?  Send that to me!  

Hungarian Hot Wax Peppers-  One Hot Pepper per member this week.  The Hungarian Hot Wax pepper has a spicy name, but they are quite mild on the spectrum of hot peppers.  They can be a bit of a mixed bag.  One Hungarian Hot Wax pepper could be very mild with little to no spice, and the next one you try could have a surprising amount of kick.  Give them a little nibble before cooking with them to gage how much to use in your dish.  

Red Beets-  About three beets per member this week.  The red beets have truly been lovely to cook with this season.  The nice thing about beets is that they will keep for a fantastically long time if kept in the fridge in a plastic bag.  But, if you're like me, you won't be able to hold onto them that long without devouring them first.  DSC 0352

Zucchini and/or Summer Squash-  Two squash per member this week.  The squash production is waning a bit now.  We are finding that they squash are not keeping as well as they were at the start of the season when the plants were young and fresh.  Now that they plants are at the end of their life, the fruits are not keeping as well.  We recommend trying to maintian that 50 degree storage temp that they were kept at at the farm or eating them up asap!

Tomatoes-  1.8 lbs per member this week.  The tomato production is picking up a bit now, but we're still not swimming in them.  A little warm weather and sunshine would be helpful in getting those tmoatoes to ripen.  Now, you must know that we pick tomatoes in the early stages of 'blushing' and ripening.  We recommend leaving your tomatoes out on your countertop to ripen.  They will slowly ripen over the course of a week.  We need to pick them at this stage of ripeness if they are to survive the shipping and handeling.  We would much rather give you under-ripe tomatoes than smooshed tomatoes.  If you leave them out at room temperature, it will not affect their flavor, they will still be considered vine-ripened tomatoes.  We also recommend not putting your tomatoes in the fridge unless they are fully ripen and you need to refrigerate them to buy yourself some time before you are able to eat them.  Putting tomatoes in referigerators usually sucks the flavor out of them.  Enjoy!  We're hoping for a larger giving next week!

Onions-  Two smaller onions per member this week.  The onions were a little smaller this year as we had to harvest them earlier than usual.  Onions are partially cured, but they will keep well on your countertop or in your fridge.  

Green Beans-  Half Pound per member this week.  We're expecting a larger offering next week for sure!  

Eggplant-  You may have received either one standard Black Beauty Eggplant or you may have received one long and skinney Japanese Eggplant.  Eggplant prefers a 50 degree storage area which can be hard to come by.  They sometimes get a bit wilty in the fridge and the countertop is a tad too warm, so we recommend using these up sooner rather than later because they’re not awesome keepers.  More next week!

Red Cabbage-  A hearty, solid head of red cabbage per member this week.  We'll take a little break from offering cabbages for a week or two after this.  

Next Week's Best Guess-  Eggplant, onion, hot peppers, tomatoes, sweet corn, green beans, beets, kale, oregano

Recipes-

Marinated Celery Salad with Chickpeas and Parmesan

Swiss Chard and Tomato Fritatta

Zucchini Bread Pancakes

Savory Zucchini Chard Muffins

Sweet Corn and Coconut Milk Chowder

August Nineth

Pre-maturely, we named this farm the ‘Small Family Farm’ way back in the Spring of 2007.  We knew we wanted to be a family farm, we knew we would always remain small and we wanted to epitomize everything it meant to be a ‘Small Family Farm’.  We wanted the kids and the fields and the barn and the tractor and the clothesline.  We had a highly romantic ideal backed with a strong work ethic and a focus that let nothing stand in our way.  We had a lot to learn then.  And we still do. DSC 0351

The family aspect of running a farm, we have been learning, looks very beautiful.  We have blond haired little angels running barefoot across the fields.  We have home-cooked sit-down dinners holding hands as a family.  We have other people’s children coming and going and breathing life and community into the farm.  We have literally a family of friends and community that is our worker and worker-share base of helpers.  But we also have the dark side of the moon- as every family does.  We have the tantrums and the deadlines and the stress and the aches and pains.  I don’t want to create too perfect of an image for you.  This is real life! 

The children, though,  have drastically changed my role in this farm.  Becoming a mother has transformed me from being the primary farmer, tractor-operator and field crew manager into more of a farm worker.  While farmer Adam, father and husband, has been slowly assuming more and more of my past responsibilities.  He quit his off-farm job in 2014 when our second child was born and the farm has been thriving ever since.  I struggle some days with a loss of identity with taking more of a passenger-seat role in the fields due to my family and motherhood responsibilities and personal expectations. 

I’ve been keeping a little secret from you all.  I’m 22 weeks pregnant with our third child due in mid December.  While I very much so wanted this, I still struggle with the meaning of it and the implications.  Growing our family will mean more work for Adam and I both in the short term as we raise our very young family into more middle-sized people with more independence.  I will still do the lion’s share of taking care of an infant with honor and gratitude.  But in this stage of our lives, which I’m sure I will look back on fondly one day, I still have to remind myself daily that I am a farmer too.  I watch Adam doing a fantastic job at running the crews.  I make dinner while he does the tractor work.  I give the 2 year-old the nap while he takes the crew out to harvest cucumbers.  I stay up late folding laundry and picking up toys while I let him rest his bones from lifting heavy bins all day and shouldering the weight of this operation. 

I am the farthest thing from a sub-servant wife (and my husband has never treated me so).  I am a feminist.  I am a professional, non-traditional woman.  I am so much more than a mother.  But I do have to actually say it to feel it some days.  I am playing a role in our family that allows our family and farm to function at it’s best.

It’s ridiculous.  I know.  But if you’ve never had children or your children are grown-you may not be able to empathize or identify or remember how thick the veil of motherhood really is.  Especially when they are very young.  It is encompassing.  It is the reason many people do NOT have children. It is TONS of work.  Hard work.  Constant.  And extremely time-consuming, no matter how you do it.  The responsibility is heavy.  Much like running a farm this size. 

But, I’ve always been the sort of woman to take on more than I should.  I’ve always been able to follow up with more strength and courage than I knew I had.  I also have a work-aholic nature that the children do help soften now (they slow me down whether I like it or not).  And resting and sleeping inside me is a full-time farmer.  I look forward to the day when we reach the top of the bell curve and our family life and our work may actually become easier again.  But for now, it's full force ahead!parsnip

Soooo…..What’s in the Box????

Sweet Corn-  8 ears per member this week!  And boy oh boy is it sweet!  Did you know that minute sweet corn has been harvested it begins to loose some of it’s sweetness?  Yes, the sugars turn to starches and the flavor decreases by the hour.  We highly recommend keeping your sweet corn in the refrigerator and eating for supper TONIGHT to maximize the aweseome flavor it has!  Some of the corn did have worms in it.  Yes, worms are gross, but this is organic corn folks and there isn’t much we can do about it.  Just take a knife and cut those spots or the tip off if you find one.  We don’t want you be alarmed, because they’re in there!  Farmer Adam did a fantiastic job keeping the sweet corn fence electrified at night and keeping the coons out.  We sometimes loose huge numbers of corn to the raccoons.  This year we’re keeping them out so far! 

Celery-  Still stunning and amazing heads of celery coming strong.  We probably have a couple more weeks of celery offerings befor the celery stops coming.  Enjoy it while it lasts!  Make celery soup, celery and peanut butter sticks.  Celery salad.  Live it up!  Don't forget to use your celery greens in soups, salads stocks or however you can get them into your tummies!

Red Cabbage-  Red cabbage keeps spectacularly well in the fridge in your crisper.  It can be a little bit trickier to figure out what to do with, so check out our loved Warm Red Cabbage Salad below!

Eggplant-  The first eggplant offering!  You may have received either one standard Black Beauty Eggplant or you may have received one long and skinney Japanese Eggplant.  Eggplant prefers a 50 degree storage area which can be hard to come by.  They sometimes get a bit wilty in the fridge and the countertop is a tad too warm, so we recommend using these up sooner rather than later because they’re not awesome keepers.  More next week!

Cauliflower or Broccoli-  Either one Broccoli or Cauliflower this week.  Broc and Cauliflower are coming to an end again here until our later successions kick in.  Such nice broc and cauli this summer!  

Lettuce-  Either a red leaf or green leaf lettuce this week.  Smaller heads this week as lettuce doesn’t tolerate the heat well, so we grab it early before it wants to start to bolt.  More lettuce on the way! 

Carrots-  Another handsome offering of 1lb bags of carrots this week.  We chose not to give the carrots with the greens still attached this week to save time bunching them in the fields.  Still very freshly dug for you!  So excited to have carrots again!

Slicing Cucumbers- 7-8 Cucumbers per member this week.  Cucumber production will really take a plummet after this week.  They had their peak and the plants are producing a lot less now.  So make your favorite cucumber recipes now before cucumbers slowly drift out of season. 

Thyme-  Fragrant, delightful and hearty Thyme!  If you can’t use it all fresh, we recommend laying it out on a tray to dry in a dehydrator or warm oven with the door open for several hours until it is dry and crispy.  Strip the leaves from the stem and enjoy your own home-made dried thyme in the winterthyme;) 

Tomatoes-  Finally!  They are starting!  This is the first offering of tomatoes.  2 tomatoes per member this week to get us started.  But they are gorgeous and well received!  More next week.  Hopefully lots more! 

Summer Squash and Zucchini-  Just two squash per member this week.  Squash production is also waning fast.  We’re still picking them because they’re still coming, but I wouldn’t expect them to last too much longer. 

Pickling Cucumbers-  Just three pickling cucumbers per member this week. These guys are a bit of a pain to harvest and catch while they’re still small.  We have been giving some that are a little on the larger size for a pickling cuke, but this is what we had time to squeeze in and gather amidst all of our other harvesting we’re trying to keep up with. 

White Onions-  One white onion!

Next Week's Best Guess:  Sweet Corn, Red Cabbage, Celery, Cucumbers, Onion, Zucchini and Summer Squash, Tomatoes, Eggplant, Hot Pepper, Chard or Kale, beets

Recipes

Warm Red Cabbage Salad

Blue Moon Celery Salad

Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole with Guyere featuring Carrots and Celery

Eggplant Curry

August Second

Here is a guest Worker-Share Perspective Article from a first-year Worker Share member, Megan from Viola, WI! 

My name is Megan, I am a worker share at Small Family Farm CSA.  I work Thursday mornings at the farm and I love that every Thursday morning is different!  My family and I are new to this area and we are thoroughly enjoying settling in and beginning the process of putting down literal and proverbial roots.  I was fortunate enough to hear about the worker share program through a full time farm employee, and knowing my husband and I's first garden season here would not produce what we would like to have available to us, I decided to take advantage of the worker share program as a way to supplement our own garden produce.DSC 0356

I have been fortunate enough to always have had exposure to gardens and garden produce.  As a child both my parents were passionate about the role a garden played in providing for our family.  Of course if you would have tried to tell me then that one day I would describe my experience in our family's garden as fortunate, I'm sure I would have rolled my early and late adolescent eyes at you! 

I developed my own interest in gardening in my twenties starting by planting flowers, moving into herb garden beds, and finally into small garden plots which expanded every year to accommodate more and more veggies and a desire to cook and feed myself and husband a balance of good, healthy, wholesome food.  My parents may have not fully realized it at the time, but through our work in the garden they inexplicably taught me about hard work, the benefits of such work, the role sun, rain, and temperature has on our food, the importance of each of the seasons, and the value of homegrown food.  These experiences later fostered in me feelings of confidence when I dug my own gardens, planted seeds, cared for plants, and later accepted with thanks the fruits of these plants; often turning them into pint upon pint of homemade salsa, pizza sauce, dilly beans and the like to be enjoyed months down the road.  By subscribing to Small Family Farm CSA you show an interest in these things as well; the role the weather plays in the food available to you each week, seasonal eating and the confidence gained in handling, preparing, and eating of a generous variety of vegetables.  Would I have purchased, known how to prepare and enjoyed eating a crisp, sweet kohlrabi on my afternoon salad if it hadn't been in my CSA box?  Probably not.  In this way we all continue to grow through these experiences and this connection to the land, seasons, and our food.

Growing, preparing, and preserving the food of my family gives me a sense of pride, satisfaction and accomplishment which I also see reflected in my fellow worker shares, the full time employees at the farm and Adam and Jillian.  I know this mentality must also be reflected in everyone who subscribes to the Small Family Farm CSA as well.  Not everyone has the space, interest or passion to garden and that is okay.  However, knowing where our food comes from and joining in that process to the best of our ability, perhaps through educating ourselves about seasonal produce, shopping at the farmer's market or joining a CSA gives us a more well-rounded, enriched connection to our food, our surroundings, our community, and each other.  This experience has a value difficult to find on a traditional grocery story shelf and I, for one, am happy and proud to be part of it.DSC 0349

Soooo….What’s in the Box?

Green Top Carrots-  Glorious, beautiful, and sweet carrots!  We had a lot of fun cleaning these guys up for CSA boxes.  A little work to clean up the tops, but they are fun to see in the whole form like this.  Did you know the greens are edible like parsley?  Carrot top pesto! 

Green Onions-  We didn’t think there were quite enough green onions left out there for another CSA giving, but we had almost exactly enough.  Next week will be the beginning of standard, white onions! 

Broccoli-  Handsom heads of broccoli for everyone this week!  Stunning.  Keep them very cold and get them home and into your fridge if you want them to last.  We go to great lengths to get broccoli hydro-cooled as quickly as possible after harvest and then it is lovingly iced immediately after being hydro-cooled and rushed to the walk-in cooler.  Follow our tradition with broccoli and cauliflower and keep it cold to keep it fresh! 

Cauliflower-  And we’re not sure we’ve ever had such gorgeous summer cauliflower.  Ever.  This is really fun!  Same as broccoli, keep it cold to keep it fresh!  We keep some of the outer leaves on the broccoli and cauliflower to protect the heads turning transport.  You can also eat those greens if you’re really a greens-user.  The greens are actually more nutritious than the broccoli and cauliflower itself.  Use like kale or collards. 

Metechi Garlic-  Metechi is the name of this variety.  We only grow hard-neck varieties here in the ‘north country’ that over-winter well.  Fresh, raw garlic like this has a thick, juicy membrane around each clove of garlic that is surprisingly thick.  After garlic has been cured it has a paper-thin layer around each clove, but this garlic is still very fresh and new.  Farmer Adam peeled some of the dryer, more un-attractive layers of garlic off of the outer bulbs so your garlics really look clean and glow for you when you pull them out of the box.  The plants grow to be a few feet tall, but we cut them down before curing.  Enjoy! 

Celery- Wow!  Another week of this amazing celery.  Local celery that finally puts California celery to shame.  This stuff is GREEN folks!  And it has flavor!  Local celery has a bad rap for being a little tougher, greener, leafier and having a stronger celery flavor.  But I'm going to ask you think about this vegetable in a whole new way.  We're not pumping it full of water like they do in California, it is grown locally (and that's a big one!), and it is grown in nutrient rich soils on a farm you know and love.  Also, the greens can be used in soups, stocks, salads or however you can get creative with them.  Local celery does have a stronger celery flavor than California celery, but let's view that as a 'plus' for local celery, and not a 'negative'!  We had "Aunts on a Log" for a snack a couple times already this week!  Have fun! 

Zucchini and Summer Squash-  4-5 per member.  Zucchini and Summer Squash production is waning.  We are still harvesting every other day, but the plants are slowing down now.  We can still expect another week or two of squash, so we hope you’re not squashed out just yet.  Don’t forget that it is very, very easy to just chunk or grate zucchini and summer squash, stuff them into freezer ziplock bags and freeze without blanching or any other prep. 

Cucumbers-  6-7 Per member.  Cucumbers are still going very strong.  A heavy harvest, but a lovely one!  All winter long I dream about eating cucumber, so this year we are getting our fill of them at our house.  Cucumbers and summer squashes both prefer a 50 degree storage temp.  So you may notice that they don’t keep perfectly in your fridge because it is probably a little too cold in there for them.  Don’t plan on holding onto them for too long!  More coming next week!

Pickling Cucumbers-  7 picklers per member.  This should be enough to fill a couple quart jars with.  Fresh picked picklers picked a little larger than what we would normally like to pick them, but we’ve been so busy keeping up with the other harvests on the farm, these took the back-burner.  Do you love pickling cukes?  Let us know! 

Curly Green Kale-  Because life with Kale in it is much better! 

Basil-  Basil prefers to be stored in a glass of water much like fresh-cut flowers.  Refrigerators will turn basil black if they are stored too cold.  Basil is a heat-loving, sun-loving plant and it is not a long-lasting herb.  Remember that you can always pluck the leaves from the stems, lay them out to dry in a dehydrator or low temp-oven and have your own home-made dried basil this winter.  There is also enough basil here to make a small batch of pesto, so take advantage of that opportunity! 

Lettuce-  One or two small heads of lettuce per member this week.  Peak-season lettuce is hard to grow, so even though we may be tired of lettuce, we can at the very least appreciate how difficult it is to get summer lettuce.  

Next Week's Best Guess-  Red cabbage, carrots, sweet corn, cucumbers, zucchini, summer squash, white onion, celery, red leaf lettuce, broccoli or cauliflower, herb.  

Carrot Top Pesto

Chef T's Basil Pesto-

Honey Lemon Refrigerator Pickles

Zucchini Fritters

Zucchini Breakfast Casserole Recipe