August Fifth

It is so interesting how a little weather shift with some cooler temperatures has us thinking and feeling Fall. There is never a dull moment on the farm. We are busy harvesting, weeding, and yes, even planting still! The running gear wagon is loaded up with transplants scheduled to go into the ground this week with transplants of fall kohlrabi, rutabaga, broccoli and lettuce. Soon we will direct seed fall Spinach as well.

We finished up garlic harvest last week and got a good start on onion harvest. The Amish say never to let an August rain fall on your onions. Very slim chances for rain in the forecast make getting the onions all out in time probable. All of the white, yellow and chippolini onions are in and we’re about half way done with red shallots. We will finish up red shallots and red onions this week. We always fall behind on our weeding this time of year when we’re using all of our labor hours for harvesting and very little time is left for weeding projects. We’re hoping that once onion harvest is done we’ll have a little time to squeeze in some weeding as well.

We ‘cure’ our onions in the greenhouse where it is shaded now with a blanket of shad cloth over the top of the structure. Onions need a few good weeks of dry weather to cure where their tops dry down and onions harden a little and let go of the moisture what was in their leaves. Onions are the very first crop that we start in the first week of March in the greenhouse. We seed them by hand into soil block trays when there is still snow on the ground and the farm is quiet and still. They own the greenhouse for a couple weeks in the early part of the season when they don’t have to share heat, space or farmer love with any other crops. Now, as the greenhouse is finally empty of transplants, they move back in and dominate ALL of the greenhouse space as their full, mature, bulbous selves in early August.

Onions are a surprisingly tricky crop to grow. They require very early transplant in the first part of the season. Onions are the very first crop that the crew transplants in their first week of work on the farm in late April/Early May. They are tiny, grass-like looking plants that are tricky to keep out of the weeds. Onions also have several different diseases that can affect their growth. If a farmer is lucky and their crop of onions looks good, they last battle is getting them out of the field in time before any of the layers begin to die back into the onions themselves which causes rotten layers in the onions. Onions also like a very dry stretch of weather for curing time. If it’s too rainy and wet during curing, they cure or dry down too slowly which, again, will cause them to rot. Onions really are like people with so many layers of complexity to fully understand who and what they are!

Another sign of Fall on the farm is that we are seeing some of the first ripening winter squash fruits out there. It’s a little early to go in for harvest, but seeing pumpkins turning orange and kabocha squash turning red, our eyes widen a little! We aslo began harvesting the first of the tomatoes this week. Tomato production should increase to where we are sharing 8lb bags regularly. It will be a steady incline in production now for several weeks. This week is simply the first picking of the season with one tomato per member. Surely, summer is not over, we have yet to fully indulge in the magnificent fruits of our labors. We just love sharing all of this beautiful food with you!

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

Melons-  Every member received two melons this week. We tried to give everyone a Yellow Doll Watermelon and one Cantelope, but many people received two Yellow Doll Watermelons.  This cute little yellow watermelon has yielded very well for us in past years and is a tried and true variety that we have really loved growing.  The Cantelope melons are beginning to ripen.  We went through the melon patch and picked all of the cantelopes that were showing signs of ripening.  If your cantelope does not smell melony, you could give it a little time on the counter to ripen up.  Cantelope will ripen off the vine on the counter or in 50 degree storage well.  Watermelons do not ripen off the vine.  

Sweet Corn-  5-6 Ears per member this week.  Farmer Adam is doing an excellent job of keeping the racoons out of the sweet corn this year!  We have moved into our second succession of sweet corn this week.  We should have 2-3 more weeks of sweet corn givings ahead of us averaging about 5-6 ears per box.  While we have all seen sweet corn being sold on the roadside, sweet corn really does prefer to be kept cold.  From the moment it is picked, the sugars begin turning into starches.  For best flavor of your corn and the highest sugar content, we recommend eating it up as soon as possible.  Corn does need to be kept cold for any amount of storage to slow the process of the sugars turning to starches.  

Cauliflower-  One cauliflower per member this week.  

Broccoli-  One broccoli per member this week.  

Celery-  This week we started to cut the celery plants apart because many of them had rotten centers.  We removed the centers and bunched the stalks.  Celery will oxidize once it has been cut, so the cut ends of the celery may look rusy or brown, but this is normal.  When you're ready to cook with your celery, cut off the brown ends and use the rest of the stalks.  Celery will keep best in a plastic bag in the fridge.  Remember to use your celery leaves in stocks, soups, juices or minced into your salads.  Locallly grown celery has a darker green color with a stronger celery flavor.  

Peppers-  So this is a little early to be picking peppers.  Some of the Ace variety is ripening to red. Some of you may have received a red pepper.  We are seeing some kind of a disease on some of our pepper plant leaves that is causing the leaves of the plants to drop.  Because the leaves of the pepper plants are dropping, many of the young, green peppers are exposed to the sun.  The sun will scald the exposed fruits.  This week we made the difficult decision to pick any of the green peppers that were exposed to the sun and in danger of being sun-scaled.  Our goal is to only give sweet, red, yellow and orange peppers all summer/fall, but in this scenario we are forced to pick some of them green before they ripen to colors.  Our hope is that you can find a use for a few green peppers this week.  Adam is working hard to try and stop the spread of this disease we have on the pepper plants with the boilogical fungicide that we can use (copper) that is approved for certified organic growers.  More on the pepper production next week!  

Zucchini/Summer Squash-  Zucchini and summer squah harvest is waning quickly.  The plants are still producing a little, but the numbers are down.  We are still thinking we'll get more for next week yet!  

Cucumbers-  Cucumbers are also waning in production.  You may notice that the cucumbers are less perfect looking in form.  We are lowering our quality standards a little now as we get into the later part of the cucumber season.  

Lettuce-  One head of red leaf lettuce per member this week.  Lettuce keeps best in a plastic bag in the fridge.  

Eggplant-  You may have received one standard eggplant or two Japanese Eggplants.  

Tomato-  Tomato production is just beginning!  You will notice that we harvest any tomato with a 'blush'.  By 'blush' we mean any tomato that is beginning to show any signs of color.  Tomatos ripen so quickly off the vine that we simply could not wait until they were 100% ripe to pick them or we would be sending you tomato sauce in your box and not tomatoes!  These tomatoes will ripen very nicely off the vine if you leave them to sit on your countertop or windowsil to ripen.  They will not ripen in your refrigerator.  You may have received either one whole tomato or a half pint of cherry tomatoes.  The cherry tomato variety that we grow is called Sun Gold.  Sun Golds ripen orange and not red, do not wait for them to turn red!  Again, some of these Sun Gold cherry tomatoes were picked a little under-ripe.  Leave them on your countertop to ripen for a few days!  

Onion-  One white onion per member.  The onions are still very fresh looking and feeling!  So fun to slice into a very fresh onion like this with a good, sharp knife!  

Garlic-  Fresh garlic!  You'll notice when you go to cut up your garlic that the membrane around each clove of garlic that is usually papery is now a thicker, fresher membrane that has not quite cured yet, so it will look different than what you're used to.  This is the Armenian variety with just three to four large cloves per bulb.  You'll love using this kind of garlic in your cooking because you'll spend a lot less time peeling tiny cloves!  It has a much crispier and juicier feel to it as well.  

Basil-  Cute little bunches of basil for your pizza, bruschetta, or however you fancy!  Basil will turn black in your refrigerator.  Keeps best like cut flowers in a glass of water.  

Beets-  .85lbs beets per member this week.  It hasn't proven to be our best beet growing year.  We will have another week of beets next week for everyone.  Beets keep best in a plastic bag in the fridge.  

Next Week's Best Guess:  Red Cabbage, Cantelope, green beans, celery, onion, tomato, sweet corn, parsley, chard or kale, beets, broccoli, hot peppers, cucumbers, zucchini/summer squash

Recipes:

Slow Roasted Beet Salad

Grilled Eggplant Ratatouille Muffaletta

Stuffed Summer Squash

Crisp Cucumber Salsa

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July Twenty-Nineth

Many important harvests began on the farm this week! We started harvesting our garlic and onions this week. Some of these larger harvests need to happen in one big swoop in order to get the crop out of the ground and curing before they sit in the field too long and potentially begin to rot. As you can tell from your CSA box, we are also harvesting sweet corn and melons!

Garlic harvest is one of my favorite harvests to talk about because the story of garlic harvest goes back to when Adam and I both first met at his brother’s farm about 5 miles away from where we are now. His brother was growing garlic for seed sales and paid me in garlic for labor on his farm. I planted my first crop of garlic that fall from the same seed stock that we have today. Many of the same varieites such as the Armenian porcelain variety in this week’s box go back to the fall of 2005. But really, it goes back even farther than that if we account for Adam’s brother and all of the garlic farmers before him saving and sharing seed. There is something very empowering about saving your own seed to a crop. We do not ever need to buy garlic seed and this is one of the very few crops we can say this about.

A garlic bulb can be broken apart into cloves. Each clove is a seed. When planted in late Fall, before the ground is frozen with the blunt end down and the pointed tip up, and mulched well to protect from the harsh winter, a new garlic plant will emerge in the spring forming a whole garlic bulb to harvest the following summer. A garlic farmer saves back about 1/5 of their own harvest as seed to replant that fall.

The porcelain varieties of garlic in this week’s box are a personal favorite of mine. I love the huge cloves! Each bulb only has three to four cloves, but that means that I have to spend less time peeling garlic in the kitchen and I end up using more of it in my cooking which makes me healthy and happy! We grow 8 different different varieties of garlic. We even have a small patch of elephant garlic that we grow mostly for kicks. Some of the garlic varieties have white skin, some have purple or ‘red’ skins. They are all hardneck northern-hardy varieties.

Interestingly, after 15 years of growing garlic, we still feel like we’re learning. It performs a little differently each year. The quality of the harvest has a lot to do with the tilth of the field it was planted in, soil health, when it was planted, how harsh the winter was, when it ‘popped’ through the mulch in the spring and even when it was scaped and how much rain we got. A lot of variables go into how a harvest for a crop turns out. This year our yields are down, we think because we had a very wet period last fall when it was time to plant and we planted into very mucky, wet, cold soil. We are also questioning the type of mulch we’re using for garlic and fertility inputs.

We spent a lot of hours with the crew last week pulling garlic and getting it into our curing room which has de-humidifiers and fans running in it to get the garlic to dry down quickly and cure fast! In between pulling garlic we also harvested over half of our onions this week which are laying out to cure in the greenhouse. All of the harvesting this week pulled us away from keeping up with our weeding projects. The weeds will just have to wait until next week when we will hopefully be able to get to them!

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

Celery-  Admittedly, it's hard to compete with the celery we are all used to from the supermarkets out of California.  Cali celery is succulent and juicy.  It's crisp and white and doesn't have all of those greens on it.  Local celery is hard to grow!  We don't pump it as full of water because we are growing so many different crops that it's hard to manage irrigating the celery with everything else we have going on.  Local celery has a deeper green color with a stronger celery flavor.  We left the greens on for you to enjoy in soups, salads or however you wish to use them.  It's not quite as juicy as Cali celery and maybe not Ants-on-a-log Grade A, but it's what we could do!  It's great in soups, stir fries or diced finely into your egg salads, tuna salads or however you like to cook celery!  

Sweet Corn-  We have successfully been keeping the racoons out of the sweet corn patch.  We've lost a few ears to racoons, but it has been a small number thanks to the electric fense we have set up around the field.  This is a small first giving of corn with just 4 ears per member, but next week should be a larger harvest!  

Broccoli or Cauliflower-  Either a broccoli or a cauliflower for each member this week.  Amazingly, we're still harvesting Broccoli and Cauliflower, so we should have more for you next week as well!  Broccoli and cauliflower love to be stored very cold.  It is best eaten very fresh like this!  

Zucchini or Summer Squash-  Production in the squash patch is down a little.  I think the plants are getting a little tired out from cranking out so many hundreds of pounds of squash so far this summer!  But we still were able to give each member a couple this week!  

Red Curly Kale-  Red curly kale is very similar to the green curly only it has the purple coloring.  

Eggplant-  You may have received a Standard Eggplant or a Japanese Eggplant.  

Romaine Lettuce-  The lettuce heads are a little on the small side this week.  It is difficult to grow lettuce this time of year.  Lettuce likes to bolt in the summer heat so the fact that there is even lettuce in the box, is a real blessing!  It is natural for summer lettuce grown in the heat to have thicker leaves and even have more bitterness.  There isn't much to do about it.  We have been eating this lettuce for dinner almost every day and we haven't noticed any bitterness, so I think we got lucky on this crop!  

Cucumbers-  Around 6 cucumbers per member.  We are certainly in the peak of cucumber harvest for the season.  Production should go down after this week as the big flush from both plantings seems to be waning.  Get your favorite cucumber recipes in now!  

Onion-  One standard white onion per member!  

Garlic-  Fresh garlic!  You'll notice when you got to cut up your garlic that the membrane around each clove of garlic that is usually papery is now a thicker, fresher membrane that has not quite cured yet, so it will look different than what you're used to.  This is the Armenian variety with just three to four large cloves per bulb.  You'll love using this kind of garlic in your cooking because you'll spend a lot less time peeling tiny cloves!  It has a much crispier and juicier feel to it as well.  

Carrots-  One pound bags of extremely fresh carrots for everyone this week.  They're so fresh you won't need to peel them.  They make great snacks as well! 

Watermelon-  Yellow Doll watermelons.  We really like this variety because they are very consistent in size and have been good yielders for us.  They do have seeds and the flesh on the inside is yellow.  They are ripe, so you do not need to wait for them to ripen on the countertop or anything.  The preferred storage temperature for a watermelon is 55 drgrees.  The counter will be a little too warm and the fridge will be a little too cool, but my guess is that these won't last long at your house!  

Recipes

Baba Ganoush (Eggplant Dip) with Pomegranet Molasses (or honey if you don't have Pomegranet Molasses)

Asian Spicy Sesame Cucumber Salad

Chickpea Salad with Cumin and Celery

Cream of Celery Soup 

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July Fifteenth

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There is a buzz on the farm. A mid-July hum. The sounds of the farm include the crickets, the frogs, the lightening bugs, the farm truck, the mower, the workers chatter, the tractor , the irrigation pump, the ice machine, the cooler compressor and any day now the cicadas. The faces of the workers look red and sweaty. The farmers look tired and focused. The children look wild and free. The cooler is filled with delicious smells of green onions, fresh basil, and fennel. It looks, feels, sounds and smells very much like summer here.

Many of the summer crops are starting to come into season now to cool us during the heat of the summer. Cucumber harvest is off with a bang. We are now harvesting cucumbers every two days and they look fresh and perfect and are right on time. Zucchini harvest is another frequent every two-days harvest that is constant and heavy. The broccoli and cauliflower rows are also being harvested every two days to get the fully mature heads out the field and cooled down so they don’t get over-mature.

Farmer Adam spent part of the weekend putting up the raccoon fence around the sweet corn patch. We have had issues with raccoons getting into our sweet corn for many years.   If the fence is set up very carefully with three lines of electric fence around the bottom of the field with one high line of electric fence to keep the deer out, we could all be eating fresh sweet corn in a few weeks. We have already seen deer and raccoon tracks in the mud in the sweet corn patch. The deer are even nibbling on some of the under-mature ears. It was high time to get the fence up!

We are very thrilled about the deer fence we put up around field 10 this spring. We have never seen summer beets with such luscious looking greens. Usually the deer eat so many beets we can barely get a harvest at all. This year we should be sharing generous amounts of beets if things go well! The carrots are also inside the deer fence and the greens are free of deer nibbling, it’s so nice to see! Next week will be the first giving of carrots and we are very excited to share them!

We’ve had a little company on the farm. My sister and her husband and three small children are here at the farm visiting for a couple weeks staying with us. They drove all the way here from California to soak up some family time and a slice of a Midwestern summer. In between harvesting, weeding, washing and packing we’re squeezing in a little extra time to spend with family-which is so very precious.

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

Green Cabbage-  Nice heads of cabbage again this week.  Fantastic in egg rolls, unstuffed cabbage rolls, sauerkraut, or however you like to slice and dice it!  This is the quickstart variety of cabbage that doesn't quite have the shelflife of the storage varieties of cabbage.  The heads are little more airy and light than a very dense storage variety.  They will keep nicely, but not forever like a storage variety.  

Zucchini and Summer Squash-  4 pieces per box.  You likely received a mixture of summer squash and zucchini.  These watery summer squashes are so very versatile.  Remember that they keep best at 50 degress.  The fridge is a little too cold and the counter is a little too warm.  We recommned making zucchini fritters, cabobs, zucchini brownies, or any fun way you can get those squashes into your bellies.  They're good at soaking up the flavors of the herbs and other veggies/meats in your dish.  

Fennel-  One fennel bulb per member.  Raw fennel has a mild licorice flavor.  When cooked, fennel is resembles the texture of a carmalized onion.  It grows in layers like an onion but fennel is actually in the same family as celery, carrots, parsnips and dill, the umbellifferae family.  The parts that are most commonly used are the white bulb.  The greener stems and frawns are also edible or can be used for garnish on a dish.  Remember to cut out the woody core at the center or base of the bulb before chopping up and using.  Slice fennel bulbs very thinly with a mandolin and shave onto salads for the freshest flavor and texture!  Nearly everyone got a fennle this week.  If you did not get a fennel, you got a japanese eggplant!  

Sugar Snap Peas-  This is the final giving of sweet peas for the season.  We didn't have a fantastic pea year this year since we had a little chipmunk issue this spring.  Who knew that a little family of chipmunks could eat thousands of pea seeds right out of the ground!  After 15 years, we thought we had seen it all until this happened.  What other lessons do we have left to learn?!?!  If you don't gobble these up as snacks, they're really fun in a stir fry or on top of a 7-layer salad.  

Garlic Scapes-  This is also the final giving of garlic scapes for the year.  We will soon begin harvesting fresh garlic bulbs in a couple weeks.  Remember that the part of the scape that is most commonly eaten is from the blunt end where it was snapped off of the plant all the way up to the little nodule.  Above the nodule the texture changes a little and it's a bit more chewy

Broccoli and/or Cauliflower-  Either two broccoli per member or a broccoli and a cauliflower.  More of these goodies coming in the weeks to come.  Can you believe that we were planting fall Broccoli already this week?!  Don't forget to eat your broccoli and cauliflower leaves!  

Swiss Chard-  Another giving of swiss chard this week!  Chard is in the same family as beets and spinach.  It has the tenderness of spinach and the earthyness of beets.  The stalks of the swiss chard are edible too!  

Basil-  Fresh basil!  Basil is a little finniky to harvest for CSA boxes.  Basil prefers to be cut like fresh flowers and kept in a vase on the counter at room temperature.  It does not love to be cut and refrigerated as we have done here.  Basil can turn black and brown in refrigeration.  It's still okay to use if it gets a little discolored, which is also why we recommend using it up while it's so fresh.  Do not put it in your fridge or it will turn black.  You could try putting it in a glass with a little water to see if it perks up again.  It could also be made into a small batch of pesto right away or dried if you really wanted to put your preservation hat on.  

Lettuce-  You may have receive a new variety of lettuce we tried this year called Salanova.  Salanova is very frilly and has lots of tiny leafletts.  It is a heat tolearant variety with a little thicker of a leaf structure which does give it a better shelf life.  We think you'll find it to make a nice salad with a new, fun texture!  

Cucumbers-  5-6 pieces per member.  Cukes are still going strong.  We expect to have several more weeks of strong cucumber production.  Find your favorite cucumber recipes to try this week to stay cool in the heat!  Some people even juice their cucumbers and drink them!  Cucumber water?!  

Green Onions-  Green onions are still going strong!  One more week of green onions befor we move on to full size onions.  

Recipes

Savory Zucchini Chard Muffins

Quinoa and Chard Cakes

Cream of Broccoli and Fennel Soup (very yummy!)

Zucchini Breakfast Casserole

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July Twenty-Second

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We are now entering the part of the season that is the most exciting, sweet, popular and delicious of all of the vegetables. These long, peak-summer days give us the warmth and sunlight that ripens many of our summer crops that we have all been waiting for.

We are watching the sweet corn patch closely these days. Farmer Adam faithfully plugs in the electric fence around the sweet corn patch every night and unplugs it every morning. The ears are ripening now and we’re hoping that next week could be our first sweet corn harvest. We get excited about sweet corn harvest not only because we love to eat sweet corn, but also because we can stop being so worried about protecting it from wildlife. I do wonder how anyone can grow sweet corn with so many raccoons in the world! Thank goodness for electric fences!

Other exciting crops like watermelons are coming into season. Next week could be the first watermelon harvest as well. When we’re watching a crop to see if and when it’s ready for harvest, we’re looking at things like “days to maturity” which each seed company lists for every crop. “Days to Maturity” are always somewhat variable. We are also dealing with other factors that are a little more difficult to measure such as how much moisture that crop has gotten, daytime temperatures, nighttime temperatures, dewpoints, humidity, wind and sunlight verses overcast days the crop has received. We have seen melon varieties sit in the fields weeks longer than when we expected to harvest them which is excruciating! As we are so much more less in control than what we would like to be, so we simply wait and watch.

The beauty of a CSA farm is the widely diversified crops that we grow. The humble celery and eggplant aren’t quite as popular as sweet corn and watermelons, but we sure are happy to provide these new offerings. Carrots stepped onto stage this week as well satisfying our endless desire for this standard crop.

I found this fun little history expert from the Bounty from the Box CSA Cookbook I thought I would share with you. Sweet corn is a crop with so much history behind it, it’s fun to explore the ‘roots’ of our food from time to time.

Corn

by Zea Mays

Corn has a long history as a staple food for humans, especially for the peoples of the New World. Also known as maize, corn has evolved into an astonishing number of forms, from plants growing 2 to 20 feet tall and ears measuring anywhere from the length of a thumbnail to 2 feet long. One characteristic common to all of them is the placement of seeds in orderly rows along a central cob.

Maize’s value to modern humanity is inestimable. Most of the corn grown in the United States and Canada is used for livestock feed; the making of that ubiquitous sweetener, corn syrup; and for grain alcohol and its sister product, the fuel alternative ethanol.

Sweet corn is a relatively recent phenomenon. The Iroquois were raising it in central New York by the early 1600s, but it was not widely cultivated until after the Civil War. Selective breeding has elevated the sugar levels of this crop to new heights, with “supersweet” and “sugar-enhanced” varieties available with higher sucrose levels than that of standard sweet corn (at the expense of traditional corn flavor, according to some).

History

Maize is native to the Americas, where it has been cultivated for thousands of years. The earliest maize probably came from Mexico, and pollen has been found in Mexico City dating 60,000 to 80,000 years ago. Native Americans have long cultivated maize, which is one in the famous trio of vegetables (corn, beans, and squash) that contain complementary vegetable proteins. Wherever maize was grown, it became a staple food, and it is no exaggeration to say that the Incan empire was built on the prosperity that corn provided.

When Europeans encountered maize in the New World in the 1500s, they were not so impressed, for its gluten-free seeds lacked the rising and baking qualities of their more familiar grains such as wheat. In many areas, like Russia, where maize was imported in 1921 to ward off starvation, people stubbornly viewed it as food for swine and consumed it only because they had no choice.

Nutrition

One medium ear of sweet corn contains 80 calories, with lots of dietary fiber, a few grams of protein, and a fair amount of vitamin C, vitamin A (unless it is white corn), potassium, niacin, and folate.

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

Carrots-  1 pound per member this week.  We were waiting for the carrots to size up a little more to harvest, but we thought they were big enough to do our first dig.  We're happy to share these fresh beauties with you!  You know a carrot is very fresh when the white tips are still on the ends of the carrots!  

Zucchini and Summer Squash-  4-5 squash per member this week.  If you're struggling to keep up with all of the squash, remember that it freezes very nicely!  You can grate it and freeze it in ziplock bags and use it in bread, fritters, enchilada filling or whatever you can think of this winter.  

Cucumbers-  4-5  While it might feel like you're drowning in cucumbers, the season is all too short and we miss it when it's over!  Put on your cucumber hat and have fun!  Cucumber water.  Cucumbers in spring rolls.  Cucumber juice.  Cucumber salads.  Cucumbers and veggie dip.  

Green Onions-  This is the final giving of green onions and next week we will begin harvesting white onions to share fresh!  Remember that the greens of your onions are edible as well!  

Celery-  Admittedly, it's hard to compete with the celery we are all used to from the supermarkets out of California.  Cali celery is succulent and juicy.  It's crisp and white and doesn't have all of those greens on it.  Local celery is hard to grow!  We don't pump it as full of water because we are growing so many different crops that it's hard to manage irrigating the celery with everything else we have going on.  Local celery has a deeper green color with a stronger celery flavor.  We left the greens on for you to enjoy in soups, salads or however you wish to use them.  It's not quite as juicy as Cali celery and maybe not Ants-on-a-log Grade A, but it's what we could do!  It's great in soups, stir fries or diced finely into your egg salads, tuna salads or however you like to cook celery!  

Green Curly Kale-  Large bunches of curly green kale to share with you this week!  

Green Leaf Lettuce/Salanova Lettuce-  Two heads per member this week.  You may have received two heads of green leaf lettuce, or one green leaf lettuce and one Salanova lettuce.  Salanova is the variety with lots of crinkly cuts and is a little more "frilly".  Salanova is a new variety we tried this year that is supposed to be heat tolerant.  It's a little tougher, but we found that it didn't get bitter in the heat and it is supposed to have a bitter shelf life as well.  

Mint-  Classic Peppermint variety.  Cute little bunches of mint this week for making tea, tabouli or Mojitos!  Mint is cooling and offers lots of flavor and essence to any dish or drink!  

Eggplant-  2-3 Eggplant per member.  You may have received 1 Standard Eggplant and one Japanese Eggplant or you may have received 3 Japanese Eggplants.  The Standard eggplants are the more rounded, oval shaped fruits.  The Japanese Eggplants are more long and slender.  The Asian/Japanese Eggplants are `popular because some people think they are less bitter, have less seeds, and lend to an easier culinary experince  for slicing and dicing in the kitchen.  Eggplant also prefer 50 degree storage.  The fridge is a little too cool and the counter is a little too warm, so you pick the place you'de like to store them!  Great first Eggplant harvest to share with everyone!

Cauliflower or Broccoli-  The broccoli and cauliflower harvests continue.  We should have broccoli and cauliflower to share wtih you again next week as well!  

Next Week's Best Guess:  Celery, carrots, summer squash and zucchini, cucumbers, broccoli and or cauliflower, kale, white onion, garlic, eggplant.  Maybe:  sweet corn, watermelon, parsley, jalapenos

Recipes

Eggplant Parmesan Stacks

Beguni (Chickpea Battered and Fried Eggplant)

Cucumber and Celery Salad with Tuna

Sweet Kale Salad with Poppeyseed Dressing

Vegetable Pajeon (Korean Scallion Pancakes made with any mix of vegetables!) Thanks, Simon and Asheley for suggesting this one!

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July Eighth

One of the most beautiful parts of our Small Family Farm, I believe, is the community we are cultivating. There is so much more in this experience than the food. Since forever ago, whenever there is food being cultivated, there is community interwoven within. There are families and stories and children and faces. There are people coming together over a belief in something that is bigger and greater than just the farm and the vegetable.

We share the belief in organic farming and that it is better for the earth, the groundwater, and biodiversity. We share the belief that eating fresh veggies will make our bodies and minds healthier and stronger. We share the belief that in order to preserve biodiversity and the cultivation of more than just corn and soybeans, we must eat these forgotten and uncommon vegetables to ensure that their seeds are saved, cultivated and shared with future generations of eaters. We share the belief that small family farms are a rare and endangered breed. My hope is also that we share the belief in the less visible but truly core principle, that we are a community of people supporting one another and sharing a meaningful and profound experience.

One of the most beautiful parts of CSA farming is that the faces of the workers and the farmers can be seen. There is a transparency in CSA farming that is unique and unlike any other kind of farming. These simple newsletters connect us to the experience and remind the eaters of these vegetables that there are lives behind the vegetables. Many of the people who choose to work on organic vegetable farms aren’t doing it simply for the money. None of them are paid enough for the hard work their doing. The ones who show up on harvest days with forecasts of rain or 90 degree heat are here because they see the big picture.

Our workers are here for a wholesome lifestyle. They’re here for exercise, fresh air, sunshine, food and community. They’re here because they want to invest their time and energy into something that feels spiritually fulfilling. Especially in these times of COVID, some of the Worker Shares only come out of their homes for this outdoor social experience once a week and they say that it nourishes them. It makes them happy to come here. They feel a satisfaction at the end of their work day that only comes from this kind of experience handling food freshly plucked from the soil dripping with dew and getting mud under their nails. They wear their most worn and ragged clothing and they show up as their least glamorous selves ready to do selfless work. Some of them drive impressively long distances for this experience once a week. To say that I am thankful for this is an understatement. I feel a gratitude deep within my chest that feels encouraging, hopeful and warm. I am appreciative for more than just their labor, but for the energy they bring to the cause that helps Adam and I, at the end of a very intense and stressful season, to get the crazy idea to do it all over again next year.

And YOU. You’re part of the story too! We need help getting the work done, but we also need to pay our electric bills, maintain our machinery, make payroll and pay the taxes and insurance. Love, hope and appreciation only go so far. We’re thankful for those of you who write out checks in January with full faith and trust that these veggies will come rolling in in June. We’re thankful you get our your cutting boards and knives each week and that you’re adventurous cooks and are willing to try new things. We’re thankful you signed up for this experience and have woven yourselves into the fabric of this farm and community.

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

Peas-  .76lbs per member.  Another bag of peas and a little more generous this time around!  Pea production is going strong.  They make such delicious snacks, they may not even make it into your dinner!  

Strawberries-  The is the final week of strawberries, sadly.  All good things must come to an end.  Now we can look forward to melons later this summer!  

Green Cabbage-  Green Cabbage!  Fantastic in egg rolls, unstuffed cabbage rolls, sauerkraut, or however you like to slice and dice it!  This is the quickstart variety of cabbage that doesn't quite have the shelflife of the storage varieties of cabbage.  The heads are little more airy and light than a very dense storage variety.  

Kohlrabi-  We're having a litttle tough luck with our kohlrabi this season.  Many of the kohlrabi were splitting or having scarred marks on the sides of them.  We're sorry for the less than glamorous presentation, but they're all the same on the inside.  Peel your kohlrabi and enjoy the crunchy, juicy and fresh kohlrabi.  Remember than you can eat the leaves like they're kale.  Kohlrabi is wonderful cut into sticks, sprinked with salt and eaten simply this way.  

Broccoli-  Something about broccoli in the CSA box make me feel like life is good!  I feel rich and happy and satisfied when there is broccoli in my life;)  Broccoli leaves are more nutritious than they flowers or stalks, so don't toss those!  

Summer Squash and Zucchini-  6-7 squash per box this week!  Zucchini and summer squash keep best at 50 degrees.  The fridge is a little too cold for them to keep well and the countertop is usually a little too warm, so it's up to you where you want to keep them!  This is an incredibly versatile vegetable.  You can always look up the 101 ways to prepare zucchini if you're looking for more creative ideas!  If at any point you feel like you just can't keep up, you can always grate zucchini and freeze it with very minimal effort!  Summer Squash an Zucchini are absolutely LOVING all of this heat and humidity, so they're really going strong right now!  Thanks to a fantastic crew to help us get them all picked!  

Bunching Onions-  Because life is so much better with onions;)  A couple more weeks of bunching onions and then it will be about time to start harvesting white onions!  

Garlic Scapes-  Likely the final week of scape givings.  These are actually the garlic plant's efforts at making a seed nodule.  The plant sends out these scapes in mid June and it is the garlic farmer's responsibility to snap these off so that the garlic plants invest more of thier energy into making larger bulbs under the ground rather than sending its energy up to make a big seed head.  Lucky for us all, these scapes are delicious to eat and a satisfactory supplement to garlic while we wait for garlic harvest in couple weeks.  They're a very rare seasonal treat.  While you can eat the entire scape, the part of the scape that is most commonly eaten is from the blunt end where it was snapped off of the plant all the way up to the little nodule.  Above the nodule the texture changes a little and it's a bit more chewy.  Garlic scapes will keep for a while, but we recommend using them up in your cooking anywhere that you woudl normally use garlic.  They have a much more mild flavor without all of the heat and intensity of actual garlic.  Enjoy!

Fennel-  One fennel bulb per member.  Raw fennel has a mild licorice flavor.  When cooked, fennel is resembles the texture of a carmalized onion.  It grows in layers like an onion but fennel is actually in the same family as celery, carrots, parsnips and dill, the umbellifferae family.  The parts that are most commonly used are the white bulb.  The greener stems and frawns are also edible or can be used for garnish on a dish.  Remember to cut out the woody core at the center or base of the bulb before chopping up and using.  Slice fennel bulbs very thinly with a mandolin and shave onto salads for the freshest flavor and texture!  

Lettuce x2-  Two heads of green leaf lettuce per member this week.  With the bulkyness of the lettuce and all of the other items in the box this week, we had trouble getting the boxes closed this week!  As the weather gets hot, lettuce gets a bit tougher.  These green leaf varieties of lettuce are heat tolerant and bolt-resistant and are a welcome treat in any veggie lovers home!  

Lacinato Kale-  This is also called dinosaur kale, tuscan kale or lacinato kale.  It is an heirloom variety origninating from Tuscany, Italy.  Lacinato is a very popular variety of kale right now.  Strip the leaves from the stem and enjoy in your favorite kale recipes.  When potatoes are in season, I really love to make Zuppa di Tuscano (Italian Kale Soup) and traditional kale soup recipe with sausage, potatoes, and lacinato kale!  

Next Week's Best Guess:  Peas, cabbage?, zucchini and summer squash, cucumbers, swiss chard, bunching onions, broccoli, cauliflower?, fennel?, garlic scapes, lettuce, herb-possibly basil or parsley

Recipes:

Risotto with Sweet Sausage and Fennel

Fresh Veggie Spring Rolls with Spicy Curry Dipping Sauce (Cabbage, Lettuce, Carrots, Zucchini)

Home-Made Honey Lemon Salad Dressing

Tofu Broccoli Cashew Peanut Madness

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