June Thirteenth

The farm is off to a wonderful beginning of a new season. ‘From the road’ everything looks amazing. If you drive by the fields the rows of onions, potatoes, sweet corn, cucurbits and brassicas all look so young and clean and full of potential. With a late start to this growing season, we have almost never seen the plants take off so fast and so well. The rains have been regular and soft…so far. Even the winds haven’t been to damaging-which they sometimes can be on the top of this ridge. The heat wave we had in late May worried us a bit, but didn’t last too long to stress out many of the plants.DSC 0039

If you take a closer look, the fields could use a good mowing around the edges and the weeds are starting to catch up in some areas to the crops. We’re fighting a good fight and aren’t at risk of loosing any plantings to weeds. But most importantly of all, we have an incredible crew of helpers to get all of the work done! The farm employs 1 full time employee and 6 part-time employees. We also have 30 ‘Worker Shares’, which are people who come out to the farm and work a 3.5 hour shift each week in exchange for a Full Summer Veggie Share. And if that’s not enough, we have 5 different childcare/babysitters that come in tandem and help with our kiddos. I am always amazed at the number of hands it takes to make a farm like this run smoothly. That’s a lot of pairs of hands working on a little farm hidden in the hills along the Kickapoo River.

The strawberries are starting on the farm. The children and babysitters have been frequenting the patch around snack hours. Strawberry season always comes joyfully because we are happy to be eating strawberries again, but it also brings an intensity along with it because strawberries are so highly perishable and they need to be picked every two days to prevent them from going bad and need to be rushed down to the cooler and kept cold so they don’t spoil. We hope to be putting strawberries in the Week 3 and Week 4 boxes. This year we are down to just one Strawberry Patch (about 1000 plants) where as in previous years we had two patches (2000 plants). So we do have half as many strawberry plants to pick from this year. But that means that all berries will go to CSA and we won’t sell any extra on the side to Co-ops.

We also spied our first summer squash of the season which also bring excitement because squash is so plentiful and versatile to use in the kitchen, but it also means that we will soon be needing to harvest summer squash and zucchini every two days and will need to budget this harvest into our busy schedule. I’m still watching for the first pea flowers because sugar snap peas are a Spring favorite which only last a few weeks before they come and are gone again.

This week tomato trellising will go up as the tomato plants already looks tall enough that they will need the added support. We will spend the rest of the week mulching tomatoes, playing catch-up with weeding and now harvesting strawberries. I feel thankful to do this work alongside a community of enthusiastic helpers that breathe fresh new life into the farm. I feel thankful for the delicious looking produce and to be eating fresh, local vegetables again from the farm. The humble radish and even its greens earn an honorable place at the dinner table in our early Spring meals.

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

Pac Choi- This is the large, asian vegetable at the bottom of your box. These are deliciously crunchy. If you're new to this vegetable, give it a try in a scrumtious asian salad with toasted sesame oil, slivered almonds, toasted ramen and sesame seeds! The stems (my favorite) and the greens are edible. Keeps best in a plastic bag in the fridge.

Lettuce- Red buttercrunch lettuce or green oakleaf lettuce. These are such a wonderful Spring treat. Lettuce like this only grows in the cool weather of the Spring and Fall. In the summer months you'll only be getting red and green leaf lettuce, but these butterheads sure are a treat! Enjoy!

Cherry Bell Radish- A beautiful radish harvest! Standard bunches of 11-12 or more radishes per bunch.  French Breakfast Radishes to come next week. The greens on radishes are even edible!

Arugula- This arugula is a little more mature than we wanted it to be, but still perfectly harvestable. It can be difficult to manage the timing of every vegetable perfectly to come into season on the exact week we want it to. Arugula is wonderful wilted on pizza with feta cheese!

Asparagus- This is the one item that we do buy each season for our members. It comes from a neighboring amish farm that produces organic asparagus. Fresh picked this morning!

Herb Packs- We aimed to have each pack with mint, oregano, basil and rosemary or sage. Some of the rosemary plants did not make it through transplant, so we had to substitute basil. Plant these out in their own little pots or plant them directly in a space in your yard that you can keep weeded for fresh herbs to harvest this summer.

Spinach and Pea Shoots- Nearly a half pound of spinach per member this week. We also added a few pea shoots to the top of each spinach bag. The leaves and the tips of the pea shoots are edible and offer a light sweet pea flavor when torn into a salad. The main stems of the shoots could be chewy, so just don't use that part!

Shallots- These guys were actually harvested last summer and were kept in storage all winter long in our cooler so that we could give them to you this week. Shallots are wonderful in sauce, dressing and marrinade recipes. But if you're short on time to make home-made dressings, you can also just use them like an onion. Keep them in your fridge until you use them, they will sprout if left out on the counter. We recommend using them sooner rather than later. I encourage you to try making your own home-made salad dressings for all of the lettuce and salad vegetabels coming up!

Salad Turnips-  These are the white radish/turnip looking bulbs in your box.  About 4 turnips per box.  We found that these had a sweet flavor to them.  Use a mandolin and shave them onto a salad.  Such a lovely Spring treat!

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Next Week's Best Guess:  Strawberries, lettuce x2, kale or chard, french breakfast radish, hakurai salad turnips, kohlrabi, rhubarb?, bunching onions, cilantro

Recipes

Glazed Hakurai Salad Turnips with Greens

Sweet Radish Relish

Wilted Spinach Salad with Chopped Radishes and Shallots

Arugula-Prosciutto Pizza

Local Thyme Recipes By Patricia Mulvey

COMFORTING CLASSIC 

5 Greens Gumbo Z’herbes

Salmon with Shaved Asparagus and Radish Salad

OUTSIDE THE BOX

Almost No Work Baked Asparagus Spinach Risotto

Asparagus with Tapenade Vinaigrette

 

Pat's Blog:

http://www.localthyme.net/weeks-plan/week-of-june-13-2018-small-family-farm-csa/

 

June Sixth

Each season I feel the need to re-introduce ourselves, even though many of you are returning CSA members (about 60% of you!) and many of you already have a season or a few under your belt and know a bit of our story, but I find that the way I tell it changes each year. And for the new folks out there, it’s fun to hear a bit about the who, what and why behind the farm.

The Small Family Farm and CSA was born in 2006 with 23 CSA members when I was farming on my brother-in-law’s land about 5 miles away from here and using his equipment and infrastructure to actualize a dream I had to one day run a CSA farm of my own. I had been working as a farm-hand on several other CSA farms across the country for 5 seasons prior to buying this farm. Adam and I met at his brother’s farm and decided to buy a farm of our own the following Spring in 2007. I was a whole 22 years old at that time-full of ambition, passion and excitement to finally be farming.DSC 0033

Amazed that people were even signing up for our CSA since we were so new and I was so young and our infrastructure and experience were limited, we were off and running a business just like that! The Farm Service Agency loaned us more money that I dreamed I would ever borrow to buy these buildings and a tractor and some equipment and a greenhouse. Thank goodness for the credit system, or we certainly would not be where we are today!

I like to call the days before we had children the “B.C. days”. It was a time when we were able to work impossible hours. My mother, who lived with us the first few years after we bought the farm, was like our ‘farm wife’. She fed us and washed our clothes and cleaned our house and even gave us lots of advice on how to run our budding business. I sometimes wonder if we could have been able to get started without her domestic and maternal support in those early years. She now lives in her own house on 5 acres next to us and still supports us with more grandma-like gifts such as watching our kids, making us dinner on occasion and countless invisible favors like errand-running and picking up groceries. She still likes to remind us to rinse our dishes before we put them in the dishwasher and to put our boots along the wall.DSC 0034

When our second child was born in 2014, Adam finally quit his off-farm job. The farm was steadily growing and the family was forcing us to get smart and work a little less in some ways, but also to work harder in others. If not for the children, the work may have eaten us alive because a farm will consume every sliver of energy you are willing to put into it. The work is endless on a farm, so I feel thankful in one hundred different ways for our now three beautiful and healthy children for implementing a balance that finally feels sustainable. Plus, we had to live up to our farm name-the Small Family Farm.

We are now in our 13th year of running our little farm with over 450 CSA members. The CSA part of our farm comprises 95% of our business and has been from the very beginning our passion. We are still fully and completely in love with the model. Community Supported Agriculture is everything it’s name suggests and more. It is this living community of people like you and I who invest in this colorful style of agriculture in the form of either money or time or time to keep a cute little farm sitting atop this breezy ridge alive and strong. Our story is not over and we are thankful to write you into the pages as we begin a new chapter in a new season.DSC 0022

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

Pac Choi-  This is the large, asian vegetable at the bottom of your box.  These are deliciously crunchy.  If you're new to this vegetable, give it a try in a scrumtious asian salad with toasted sesame oil!  The stems and the greens are edible.  Keeps best in a plastic bag in the fridge.  

Lettuce-  Red buttercrunch lettuce.  These are such a wonderful Spring treat.  Lettuce like this only grows in the cool weather of the Spring and Fall.  In the summer months you'll only be getting red and green leaf lettuce, but these butterheads sure are a treat!  Enjoy!

Cherry Bell Radish-  A beautiful radish harvest!  Generous bunches of 13 or more radishes per bunch!  More to come next week.  The greens on radishes are even edible!

Arugula-  This arugula is a little more mature than we wanted it to be, but still perfectly harvestable.  It can be difficult to manage the timing of every vegetable perfectly to come into season on the exact week we want it to.  Arugula is wonderful wilted on pizza with feta cheese!

Asparagus-  This is the one item that we do buy each season for our members.  It comes from a neighboring amish farm that produces organic asparagus.  Fresh picked this morning!  

Chives-  While some of these chives are flowering, we left the flowers in for the estetic effect.  Chives can be used like onions or scallions in many recipes.  They're a treat to mince up and eat sprinkled raw on almost any dish raw or cooked!  

Herb Packs-  We aimed to have each pack with sage, oregano, thyme and rosemary.  Some of the rosemary plants did not make it through transplant, so we had to substitute basil.  Plant these out in their own little pots or plant them directly in a space in your yard that you can keep weeded for fresh herbs to harvest this summer.  

Spinach and Pea Shoots-  A half pound of spinach per member this week.  We also added a few pea shoots to the top of each spinach bag.  The leaves and the tips of the pea shoots are edible and offer a light sweet pea flavor when torn into a salad.  The main stems of the shoots could be chewy, so just don't use that part!  

Shallots-  These guys were actually harvested last summer and were kept in storage all winter long in our cooler so that we could give them to you this week.  Shallots are wonderful in sauce, dressing and marrinade recipes.  But if you're short on time to make home-made dressings, you can also just use them like an onion.  Keep them in your fridge until you use them, they will sprout if left out on the counter.  We recommend using them sooner rather than later.  I encourage you to try making your own home-made salad dressings for all of the lettuce and salad vegetabels coming up!  

Recipes:

Oriental Salad Dressing

Pac Choi Salad with Sesame Dressing

Radish Dip

Ricotta Lemon and Arugula Quiche

 

Local Thyme Recipes by Patricia Mulvey

COMFORTING CLASSIC 

Asparagus Arugula Frittata with Gruyere

Lettuce Wraps with Ground Meat oTofu with Spring Veggies

OUTSIDE THE BOX

Fig and Arugula Grilled Flatbread

Honey Orange Ginger Glazed Bok Choy and Radish

 

Here is a link to Pat's Blog:  http://www.localthyme.net/weeks-plan/week-of-june-6-2018-small-family-farm-csa/