June Twenty-Third

Kohlrabi growing in the field                          Garlic Scapes all twisted up in the bins.


I realized that we've made it all the way to Week 4 of our deliveries and I haven't talked much about us, the farmers.  A proper welcoming you've received, but a proper introduction seemed to have slipped my mind.  I guess that sort of thing happens when you're left to introduce yourself.

Ladies and Gentleman, please allow me to introduce myself.  I am a first generation female farmer under the age of 35.  I belong to an eleitist group (although growing) of less than 6% of the 1% of americans who still claim farming as their primary occupation.  Every time I recite this statistic I can hardly beleive it myself.  What were the odds that this woman, a white, educated city girl, born and raised in Dubuque, Iowa would someday find herself hopelessly deposited on a ridgetop in southwest Wisconsin where she has planted herslef, pre-determined her own fate to the fields and decided to stay to get to know one piece of earth, one circle of friends and one realm of being over time?

I'm a traveler at heart.  I dream of traveling to far and distant lands while I barely leave the farm but once a week for CSA deliveries.  I find peace and comfort in this little piece of land and in knowing that I'm visibly improving it's health and improving the food-producing landscape of it's nature.  I belive that small family farms are an endangered species and far too few people understand the realities of what it takes to run a farm and keep a halthy farm finincially, ecologically and spiritually sustainable.  Nutrient-dense, fresh, seasonal and beautiful food is a top priority in my life.  I want to know where all of my food comes from and I happen to be heck of a hard worker.  I knew how to talk the talk but at some point in my life, I decided I wanted to walk the walk too.

For about 6 years before the Small Family CSA Farm was born, I traveled around the United States (and a little in Costa Rica and Panama) working on farms.  I was pulled to them in the same way the moon pulls the tides.  I was defenseless.  I was head over heels, idealistically infatuated and romantically in love with the idea of becoming a farmer.  I worked on several farms that raised fruit trees, egg laying chickens, butternut squash, coffee, and then towards the end there as I was starting to hone my interests, I discovered three CSA farms that I spend three consecutive summers working on.  I learnd that a well run, organized and maintaned small-ish family CSA farm was the closest thing to a dreamy 'sustainable' farm that I was going to find.DSCF0893

The last farm that I worked on before we bought this farm, convenietnly enough, I met my prince charming who was just crazy enough about me that he decided that being farmers would be a fine idea.  We spent two years working on One Sun Farm, starting up the Small Family CSA, working for our stay and deciding if this hard-knock-life was what we were cut out for...it seemed it was.  Adam Varney still does not claim farming as his primary occupation, as he does also have a full time job off the farm at Organic Valley, but he comes home from work every day and sets to work checking on the chickens, weeding the carrots or managing our pests.  With him I have found the most mature and earthen love I have known.  We work quite well together in many ways.

When it was time to buy the farm, my mother, Jane Even was living on her own in Dubuqe, Iowa, craving something more from life.  Her motivated, spritely and energetic 22 year old middle child successfuly taked her into moving onto the farm with her, as there are never too many people on a farm!  The more helping hands folding laundry, making dinner, dunking kale bunches and canning tomatoes, the better!  She fits right in and we have built a beautiful place for her on this farm.  I am certain that we simply would not be where we are today with this little business of ours if it wasn't for her involvement!  Thanks Mom! The three of us are the foundation of this farm.

Next week, I promise to talk more about the vegetables.

Sooo, What's in the Box???

Garlic Scapes: More of these yummy garlic strands to hold us over until we start digging the real thing for good!.  Use these anywhere you would normally use garlic.  Chop them up until the light green/yellowis bulb part.  The tops are a little more stringy.  The round parts on the bottom are crunchy and can be used on pizza, in eggs or soup.
Early While Vianna or Early Purple Vianna Kohlrabi: I love the size of our kohlrabi this year!  They're so tender and juicy.  Not too big or woody, and not too small that there isn't any meat.  Peal these and cut them up and eat them with a sour cream dip.  They're also good grated into a kohlrabi slaw.
Redbore or Red Russian Kale: The kale just looked soooo good, that we couldn't resist giving it this week.  Once it starts to really get hot outside, we don't give kale as often.  This highly nutritious green is so versatile in what you can put it in.  Google "kale recipes" and you will be overwhelmed!  If your kale starts to get a little wilty ever, even after a week in your fridge, you can always trim off the bottoms, soak it in water and it will perk right up!
Broccoli, Cauliflower or Fresh Garlic: Okay, there wasn't enough Cauliflower or Broccoli for everyone, but we had to harvest what was ready and had to make up for who didn't get any with some super-fresh garlic bulbs!  Next week we hope that everyone will get broccoli and cauliflower.  Plenty more where those came from!  If we thought that your garlic bulb looked small, we may have tucked a Hakurai Turnip in there too.
Snow Peas:  They're just starting to come on.  We're expecting to be able to give more next week!  These are an edible pod variety.  If one of your pods looks like the peas inside have started to get bigger, the peas inside are so yummy, but sometimes the pod gets a little chewy at this stage.  Such a healthy snack!
Basil: The basil was looking sooooo beautiful!  Basil does not refrigerate well! It will turn black in the refrigerator.  The best way to keep fresh basil is in a bowl of water.  They keep best like fresh cut flowers at room temperature, soaking up a little wather through their stems.  DSCF0885
Fennel: If you like licorice, you'll LOVE fennel.  I realize that this funky veggie is not for everyone, but I, for one have learned to love it.  Slice it very thin and make a fennel salad out of it!  The greens are edible too!  Fennel is in the same family as celery.
Red Leaf Lettuce:  The heads of lettuce are small. Thanks to the woodchuck.  Grrrr:(  Keeps best in a plastic bag in the fridge to preserve moisture.
Cilantro: I wasn't sure about giving Cilantro three weeks in a row, but I know that it is such a popular item, there would be more of you pleased than disappointed.  Try making a Cilantro Pesto out it and freezing that.  Cilantro Pesto is great on a panini sandwich or home-made pizza!
Next Week:


Follow this link for a Kohlrabi Confetti Recipe