Small Family Farm CSA

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September Twenty-Second

In my earlier years of journeyman farming, working on other farms as an intern and apprentice I went through various stages of defining what I thought a sustainable farm would look like.  As I spent years traveling north America as something of a 'migrant worker', working on one diversified farm after another, I was being shaped, impressions were being made upon me and I was imagining a beautiful farm, all the while, that epitomized everything that was whole and beautiful and sustainable-as best I understood sustainability in my naivety.

RedRangerChickens
Our Red Ranger chickens feasting on grain. This chicken tractor is moved to fresh grass daily. This way they are not ranging loose on the farm and are protected from predators.

 

In my vision, the farm had animals on it.  In my mind, a farm with no animals was simply not sustainable.  The roll of animals on farms are possibly under-appreciated.  Animals bring life to a farm and a warm energy that feel like part of your family, and this was the initial appeal for me.  We primarly raise vegetables and pay our bills raising vegetables and the chickens and pigs on our farm generate a very small percentage of income, but hold equally as high a value to us.

We raise chickens because they are a smaller, more manageable animals that can be raised in portable chicken tractors that are moved to fresh grass daily.  Their manure can be spread around the farm to new areas each day where soil fertility is needed in the movable pens, eliminating the waste management problem that many confinement farms have.  The chickens are little grass mowers and can also help to keep insect populations on the farm down while greatly improving soil fertility.

We raise our egg laying chickens also because it feels enriching to us to know where our eggs are coming from.  We often times even know which hen they're coming from and can tell by the colors of the eggs that the chickens lay.  The egg laying hens are almost something of a hobby for Adam because he has taken such a strong liking to them.  We feed them more than we should and hold onto older chickens that should maybe be 'culled'.  What can I say, we love our chickens!

We believe that animals should be raised in small batches on farms by farmers who care for their chickens and the environment they live in.  The environment the animals live in and the quality of the grass and feed that they eat is a direct reflection of the nutritional density, flavor and overall health of the animals.  Possibly, we would become more conscious and slower consumers of meat if we had a relationship with the animals or the farmers that raised the animals that we are eating.  Consuming a chicken, pig, cow or sheep is consuming a highly intensive amount of energy that was put into raising those animals.  Possibly we aught to at the very least become aware of where and who our meet is coming from.  If you like the farmers who raised the meat, you might like the way they raised their animals, or vise-versa.

chickentractor
Notice the tall green grass to the left hand side and the eaten down grass from one day after where the chickens have been to the right. It doesn't take long for 40 hungry chickens to eat up a small patch of grass.

 

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

Delicata Winter Squash-  Among the sweetest of the winter squash.  Because the sugar content in this squash is so high they do not store very well compared to other winter squash, hence their name, Delicata.

Napa (or Chinese) Cabbage-  This is an example of one of those funky veggies you might not normally pick up at the grocery store, but since you're roped into this CSA gig, you've now got one in your fridge.  EAT IT!  It's soooo yummy!

Kohlrabi-  A white or purple kohlrabi.  A cool weather crop has made its' return.  Peel and eat with dip.

Beets-  The tops on one of our old beet beds were looking a little ruff, so we topped and cleaned them and are giving them loose this week.  They will store in a plastic bag in the fridge for at least a month.

Tomatoes- The very last week of tomatoes.  Enjoy the tomatoes you received!  They don't look quite as choice or juicy as they did a few weeks ago, but they're still seasonal tomatoes.  Remember, if they need ripening, allow them to sit on your counter until they are as ripe as you like them.

NapaCabbage
The center of a beautiful Napa Cabbage

 

Leeks- In the same family as onions and garlic.  Leeks are a long season crop that we put a lot of time into caring for.  They're great in soups.  Eat all the white part of the stalks.

Peppers- The peppers are simply not producing as well this year as they have in previous years.  The peppers we are getting look great, but the number of peppers we're getting are down significantly.  I hope that one a week is satisfying your needs for now.

Spinach- Yuuuummmmmm!  Yummy and delicious fall spinach.  These leaves of this spinach were larger than we normally harvest, but the germination of the spinach bed was poor, so there was more room for the plants to spread out and the leaves grew large.

Broccoli or Eggplant or Cherry Tomatoes-  Not quite enough of each one for everyone so we spread the love around.

Lettuce-  One head of buttercup, romaine or oakleaf lettuce for everyone.  Be sure to wash your lettuce well.

Italian Flat Leaf Parsley- Parsley is amung some of the most nutritional of the plants we grow.  Find ways to incorporate it into your diet and enjoy the health benefits.  Parsley can also be dried in your dehydrator for storage or dried on cookie sheets on low temp in your oven.

Next Week's Guess:  Radish, lettuce, potatoes, carrots, garlic, onion, parsnip, broccoli, cilantro

Recipes:

Chinese Cabbage Salad

Asian-Marinated Tofu Napa Cabbage Salad

Spinach Souflee Casserole

Herb Roasted Whole Chicken