Small Family Farm CSA

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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 Fourth

I often experience a feeling of dissatisfaction when eating away from home. The idea of eating out for the sake of adventure or not making a mess in the kitchen or trying something new always proves to be less than climactic. Perhaps I have become a supreme food snob after so many years of living and eating on the farm that the bar has been set too high. I know what good food tastes like. I know quality oils, eggs and vegetables and can sniff out the inferior substitutes almost immediately when served a mediocre “meal”. I have learned, because food is my life, that the very best meals are made at home.

I feel both encouraged and disheartened at this realization. Encouraged because I am motivated to refine my skills every time I pull out my cutting board and knife. I am motivated to cook glamorous meals at home because I know that eating out will be both expensive and dis-satisfying. I live with harsh food critics (ages 3, 6 and 9) who will slink down in their chairs at a half-hearted attempt at dinner while pleasing them and watching them fill their bellies with nourishing, wholesome food fills my heart with gladness. My love and appreciation for delicious food fuels my desire to spend the maximum amount of time I can afford to be in the kitchen chopping and alchemizing mere vegetables and herbs into heavenly nutriment. I am disheartened to know that restaurant, or moreover supermarket stuffings of things that look like food wrapped in colorful and eye-appealing graphic designs, are really a result of marketing, profits and the death of creativity in our kitchens and homes.

Excellent restaurants do exist and I have been to a few of them. But we can’t all afford to dine at a James Beard Award winning restaurant as often as we might like. Quality is rare and exceptional. But I do believe that we belong here together in something of a curated group of foodies and locavores that appreciate quality more than most. I am tickled to image you all in your kitchens transforming your roots, flowers, tubers and shoots into sustenance for your family. I imagine you preparing food for the ones you love most or perhaps inviting your friends and neighbors over to share the bounty from the farm. The farm is the river and you are the tributaries.

Food has been shaping our cultures and communities for centuries. It has civilized and has transformed us from being creatures that eat raw and on the go into those that practice patience, self restraint, manners, and who share stories, ideas, dreams and feelings while gathered around a table. Food is shared at our weddings, baby showers, funerals, business meeting and nearly every social event imaginable. It is NOT just fuel for our bodies so we can keep doing our workouts, computer work and studies. It is undeniably the foundation from which we were built that forms culture in all the fertile crevices of this planet that host us.

I feel honored to be part of a system that produces, encourages, fosters and inspires a community of people who believe in the transcendence of the home-cooked meal. The home cooked meal puts power back in the hands of the family and the home rather than the packaged and exploited world of the commercial supermarket. I am warmed, comforted and inspired to know that you’re all out there chopping and sautéing and filling your homes with the smells, sounds and flavors of home made meals feeding your families and fine selves such wholesome food. Chop on!  

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Soooo….What’s in the Box????

Yellow Watermelon- These cute little melons are perfect for the CSA farm. They fit nicely into a CSA box with plenty of room for more veggies. They do have seeds and have a yellow flesh. Watermelons aren’t great keepers, so use it up!

Sweet Corn- 4-5 Another great sweet corn week! We are keeping the coons at bay with our fantastic four lines of electric fence that farmer Adam plugs in every night and manages daily! Yummy!

Eggplant- 1-2 The first harvest yielded nice sized eggplants. You may have received a standard eggplant that is round-ish and looks like a normal eggplant or you may have received an Asian eggplant that is long and slender. Asian eggplant varieties are slightly sweeter and generally have smaller seeds and cook up quicker. Eggplant isn’t a great keeper. It stores like zucchini which prefers a 50 degree storage temp. The fridge is a little too cold and the counter is a little too warm, so dust off your eggplant recipes and have fun!

Garlic- Does not need refrigeration. This garlic is not fully cured yet. When garlic is this fresh, you will notice that the membrane around the cloves is still very thick and not a thin dry layer yet. It may look and feel differently when you’re peeling your cloves for dinner.

Onion- One white onion for your everyday cooking needs!

Green Cabbage- We’re still not into our storage varieties of cabbage yet. This cabbage will keep for a bit and would be wonderful in your egg rolls, coleslaw, cabbage rolls, gratins or however you like to get it into your families bellies!

Cucumbers- 6-7 Cucumbers have hit their peak. We expect that cucumber harvest will begin to wane now. We will still have a few more weeks to offer cucumbers, but generally the quality and the quantity begin to go down at this point.

Zuccchini and Summer Squash- 2-3 squash per member. Zucchini and Summer Squash prefer the 50 degree storage temps. Have you made all of your favorite zucchini recipes yet? Fritters, zucchini bread, skewers on the grill? It may feel like they were going to last forever, but they aren’t! Production is waning and they will slowly taper off in a few weeks.

Carrots- 1 lb Gorgeous carrots that we have all been waiting for! Will keep in a plastic bag in the fridge, but I bet you won’t let them! More to come!

Celery- This is the final giving of celery for the season. We hope you enjoyed this absolutely lovely celery season! This is some of the nicest celery we have grown on our farm! We tried a new variety that we really found to do well on our farm! Maybe it was the rain this season, maybe our soil health or maybe the variety. But we’ll take it no matter what it was!

Collards- Greens to keep you getting creative in that kitchen of yours! Pairs well with bacon, but what doesn’t?!

Hungarian Hot Wax Pepper- This is the little banana pepper in your box. Technically the Hungarian Hox wax peppers are a hot pepper, but they are the most mild of all hot peppers. Occasionally you will get one that packs a little punch, they can vary in heat, but are a nice CSA box hot pepper that really isn’t all that hot.

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Our farm puppy, Leche (7 months), sits in the driver seat of the pick up truck while we harvest celery;)  I tried to tell him to go chase some rabbits, but he prefers the cushioned seat.  

Recipes

Gluten Free Eggplant Parmesan

Collard Greens, Cornmeal and Sausage Soup (Sopa de Fuba)

Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Casserole

 

July Twenty-Eigth

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In late July I am reminded that the farmers are not always in control. I am reminded to find the beauty amidst the chaos. There is order in the disorder. There are so many divine players in the field working their own magic that remind Adam and I that we only have so much control. When Mother Nature is your partner, you are at her mercy at all times.

The fields were once beautifully manicured at one point in the season. It becomes a little more apparent later in the season all that we are not able to keep up with. The crops are looking good, but there are places where the weeds have put up a very good fight. Due to periods with not enough helpers or too many plantings to keep everything perfectly weeded, some areas of the farm begin to look less orderly. It’s a bit like parenting, where the house is a mess, but the sounds of children playing and the smiling faces of your healthy children make it all okay. Or when you do your best as a parent to teach your values, but they are not perfectly reflected in the actions of your children every time, but rather it requires a big-picture perspective.

On the whole, the CSA boxes are being stuffed full with a glorious bounty of summertime goodies. We receive positive and encouraging notes from many of you via e-mails, while we still struggle on a daily basis to keep up with the all-too-many tasks at hand. I am the sort of person who loves a clean house. Clean windows, floors, ledges, and bathroom with all of the laundry folded and put away. I also love clean rows of vegetables neatly trimmed around the edges and weeded down the rows. But there is only so much we are humanly capable of keeping up with, with the time, energy, help and budget available to us.

We were able to get our raccoon fence up last week just as we were realizing that sweet corn was nearing time for harvest. We saw that the raccoons had beaten us to this realization and had been sampling the sweet corn for a few days already while we were distracted with our garlic and onion harvesting. We estimate that they took out about half of our first planting of sweet corn. While we had hoped to give 6 ears per member this week, we only had three per member. We put up four lines of electric fencing wire all the way around the sweet corn patch and have had good luck at keeping the raccoons out the last few years using this method. No amount of dogs or radios or traps can keep them from the delicious field of sweet corn, they are too crafty and too many and find their way in no matter what- but will stay away from an electric fence! We will keep the fence maintained over the course of the next few weeks as sweet corn season comes to fruition!

The crafty raccoons have also found our watermelon field. We haven’t seen them eat watermelons in the past, but there is clear evidence that they are having fun sampling them after dark. We plan to keep a close watch on the melon field from this point on and harvest anything that looks like it’s sizable and ripe enough to pick. The good news is that melon season is also beginning! Let’s hope we can keep the wildlife out of the fields!

While an ariel view of the farm may not look like a meticulously manicured city garden, the crops are looking amazing! We’re seeing gorgeous greens, celery, and a very bountiful cucumber harvest. We’re very happy to be keeping the deer out of many of their favorite fields. Next week we’re hoping to share carrots with you and the carrots are looking amazing! The tomato plants look healthy and are filling out with loads of green tomatoes. The eggplants and sweet pepper field look healthy and strong as well! There are still many more weeks of gorgeous and bountiful harvests to share!

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Soooo….What’s in the Box????

Celery- Another fine giving of some of that great Wisconsin celery! Local celery has a stronger celery flavor and a deeper green color that your standard California celery. Keeps best in a plastic bag in the fridge. We hope you find ways to love and appreciate this cooling, alkalizing vegetable that is so lovely in your summer salads and soups! We snack on ‘Ants on a Log’ at our house!

Cucumbers- 6-9 cucumbers per member this week.

Zucchini and Summer Squash- 3-4 squash per member. Zucchini and summer squash prefer a 50 degree storage temperature which can be a tricky temp to find in your home. The fridge is a little too cool and the counter is a little too warm, so we recommend using them up or pick your preferred storage zone.

Beets- 1-2 large beets. Large beets! The big beets are a result of a thinner stand of beets, they had more room to grow and expand and less competition from other beets. We found that they were not woody and very lovely to cook with! Check out the black bean and beet burger recipe below!

Broccoli and Cauliflower- 2-3 pieces per member. We tried to make sure everyone got both a broccoli and a cauliflower, and when the pieces were smaller, you may have received three pieces. Broc and cauliflower prefer cold storage in a plastic bag to keep it fresh. It’s very simple and healthy to steam broccoli and cauliflower and toss with a little butter for dinner!

Green Curly Kale- Keeping you stocked in healthy cooking greens when growing fresh salad greens is tricky in the peak season which is the hottest part of the summer when salad greens are difficult to grow.

Sweet Corn- 3-4 ears per member. The first succession of corn that the coons were dipping into so we picked them now! These ears are on the smaller side but the kernels are sweet and crispy! Corn prefers very cold storage or the sugars will turn to starch and are not as sweet. Sweet corn should be eaten as soon as possible after picking for peak flavor and sweetness!

Onion- We’re finally getting into picking onions! For your every dish! Does not require refrigeration.

Garlic- German White. This garlic is not fully cured yet. When garlic is this fresh, you will notice that the membrane around the cloves is still very thick and not a thin dry layer yet. It may look and feel differently when you’re peeling your cloves for dinner.  

Lettuce- One smaller head of lettuce per member this week. It is quite difficult to grow lettuce in the heat of the summer like this. We try to choose bolt resistant varieties which do perform quite well, but this the last of the lettuce for a bit until our fall plantings start to come on.

Next Week’s Best Guess- Cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, zucchini and summer squash, garlic, onions, celery, broccoli and cauliflower?, sweet corn, melons? Eggplant, swiss chard

Recipes

Asian Spicy Sesame Cucumber Salad

Quinoa Black Bean and Beet Veggie Burger

Cucumber and Celery Salad with Tuna

Greek Yogur Cucumber Sauce

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July Twenty-First

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The farm is so busy, so alive, so vibrant. The helpers come in rhythm each week to help us get the work done bringing their stories, their laughter, and their own struggles. We all show up day after day ready for more. We are here to work and learn and grow and gather and to inspireone another. We remind eachother why it is we are doing this work. It takes grit and endurance and perseverance to show up ready and willing for more each week!

All of the planting and weeding we did all Spring is finally paying off. We are harvesting truckload after truckload of gorgeous vegetables every day now. The first succession of cucumbers has peaked while the second succession is just coming on now. We harvest cucumbers every two days. We were talking over dinner about how wonderful the broccoli and cauliflower harvest is right now and how it might have looked differently had we not irrigated through the drought we had in June. Even the zucchini and summer squash plants are cranking out hundreds of fruits. My are we blessed! Even the rain has been timely and plentiful. A little more than 5 inches fell last Wednesday which was a little more than we would have liked, but not major damage was done.

Garlic harvest has been taking up a large portion of the crew time outside of our regular harvests. We are busy pulling all of the garlic and getting it into a dry storage room where we use fans and dehumidifiers to get the garlic to dry down as quickly as possible to get the curing process under way. I wish I could give you a sensory experience of the garlic drying room which smells deliciously of a spicy and earthy garlic aroma unlike anything else you could imagine. The fans are circulating air and they would blow your hair all around you. If you stood in there with a skirt with your hair down you would feel like a garlic goddess rising up from a long winter slumber.

Garlic is unique in that it is one of the very few crops that we save our own seed for. We have been re-planting the same varieties for the last 15 years of seed we got mostly from Adam’s brother who was also a garlic farmer. We know our varieties intimately and have developed something of a relationship with them calling them by name and discussing their familiar growing habits and recalling years of bounty and years of scarcity. Garlic seeds (which are actually individual garlic cloves) are planted in the fall and then mulched with 6-8 inches of corn fodder blanketing them for their winter’s slumber. They emerge in the Spring slowly and confidently like waking dragons reaching for the sky.

Garlic requires several steps of handling which is why it is expensive to buy in the stores. It must be planted and mulched before winter and then weeded, scaped, harvested, cured and then cleaned and prepared for sharing. All of these steps must be done on time and with care to ensure that everything turns out looking sizeable and presentable. We are excited to start sharing it with you in the coming weeks! We know you’re going to love the porcelain varieties with huge cloves as much as we do. They’re wonderful for cooking with as you don’t have to spend hardly any time peeling enough for dinner as one or two cloves is more than enough, even for the garlic lovers.

The beet harvest this week was proof that our efforts at keeping the deer away are a success. Joe and Sam put up a very sturdy and impressive deer fence all around fields 1-7 this year. Interestingly, deer LOVE beets and swiss chard which we have been successful so far at keeping them off of this season. It feels good to grow beautiful crops and not have them taken out by deer this season. We see their hoof prints around the perimeter of the fields with deer fencing, so they’re certainly still there, but only getting sniffs this year rather than beets, carrot tops, lettuce, and swiss chard that they love.

Here’s to a continued season of bounty and success!

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Sooo….What’s in the Box????

Celery- This is some of the nicest celery we have grown in years. The celery really loves all of the rain we have gotten this summer, it was also watered through the drought. It’s hard to compare it to California Celery which is fatter, juicier stalks, but check out the very nice green color and the FLAVOR or this local celery! Will keep best in a plastic bag in the fridge. Our kids had “Aunts on a Log” right away after harvest this week! We also snuk it into a very cruncy potato salad. Very fun!

Beet- One Giant Beet per box this week. We were going to give two beets this week, but we had to start cutting items because we couldn’t fit it all in the box! More next week! Use your beet greens like swiss chard and your beet root will keep best in a plastic bag in the fridge.

Lettuce x 2- Two heads of lettuce per member this week. You may have received either red or green leaf lettuce this week. We are loosing some of our lettuce now to the heat of the summer. We’ll see how the plantings hold up in the heat this week for future givings!

Lacinato Kale- The lacinato kale looked so good this week, we just HAD to share it. Lacinato is also called ‘tuscano kale’ or ‘dinosaur kale’, but no matter what you call it, it’s my favorite! Keeps best in a plastic bag in the fridge.

Cucumbers- 4-5 Cucumber harvest is strong and bountiful this season. There are more cucumber succession coming on, so dust off your cucumber recipes! We really like to juice them and add a little maple syrup to sweeten up the watery, alkaline juice. The kids even love it that way if they’re piling up on you!

Zucchini and/or Summer Squash- 6-7 squash per member this week. Zucchini and summer squash prefer 50 degree storage temperatures. A refrigerator is a little too cool and a countertop is a little too warm. We suggest you use them up as soon as you can because there will be MORE next week. Zucchini also freeze very well. You can just grate them with a cheese grater and stuff the grated zucchini into ziplock bags and then you have freshly grated zucchini stored for your winter muffins, zucchini bread, or to sneak them into your fritattas and casseroles!

Broccoli and/or Cauliflower- Either two broccoli and a cauliflower or three broccoli per box. The broccoli and cauliflower are producing really nice right now. Keeping up with the every-two-days harvest is tricky. After picking we hydro-cool broccoli and cauliflower and then ice them in the cooler to keep them as cold as possible to store them until packing. You will want to get yours home and into the fridge to keep them cool as soon as possible!

Green Bunching Onions- We are getting to the end of scallion season. Once we finish up garlic harvest we will move onto onion harvest which is always a very big project. We had the trim the tops this week to fit them into the box.

Basil- Absolutely stunning basil. I love how on the first harvest the leaves are silky smooth and nearly blemish-free. We’re going to try to keep the basil harvest coming, especially once tomatoes start hitting a few weeks!

Next Week’s Best Guess- Beets, celery, zucchini, summer squash, cucumbers, bunching onions/onions, broccoli, cauliflower, green curly kale, lettuce, basil?

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Recipes

Broccoli with Feta and Fried Almonds

Simple Roasted Beets with Feta

Gluten Free Zucchini Pizza Crust

Zucchini Bread Pancakes

Vegetable Pajeon (Korean Scallion Pancakes) Carrots, Zucchini, Kale, Green Onions

 

July Fourteenth

There is an effort on our small family farm to cultivate a sort of community. There are the worker shares and the employees and the neighbors and all of YOU. We are tied together through the shared soil that our food is grown in. We are unified by experiencing a growing season together intimately that we can digest and process as a group. The rarity of knowing the names, faces and land from where your food is grown is real. Through the internet, delivery trucks and smart phones we are able to foster a sense of transparency and relationship. It feels good enough, but there is potential for more.

Each season we host 2-3 farm events to create opportunities for our CSA members and their friends and family to come out to the farm to see the place where their food is grown. An impression of the landscape, a ‘feel’ for the farm as a whole and the structures, or an experience here at either a dinner or a wagon ride or a potluck enriches the experience of being a CSA member so much more. A sense that there are real people with real lives behind the food in the boxes humanizes our relationship to food in world dominated by marketing, price strutures and import from far away lands. Knowing the ‘who’ and ‘where’ and even the ‘when’ behind our food is uncommon.

On Saturday, August 14th we will be hosting a Summer Evening Farm dinner here the farm. We will be featuring the seasonal favorites in this 6 course dinner held in the yard near the farmhouse. The food will be prepared by Momma Jane’s Kitchen and served by many of the people who work and encircle our immediate farm community. There will be local musicians playing music while we talk and eat and share food together. There will be beer pairings with each course from Turtle Stack Brewery which is a local micro brewery out of La Crosse. Your farmers will be available, in a sense, and moving at a slower pace and ready to just talk and eat and enjoy a single evening with our friends and community. Tickets for the farm dinner are available on our website and there are a limited number remaining.

Again in the Fall we will host another event on Sunday, Septeber 19th which is a free event. We will offer wagon ride tours around the farm and we hope to have pumpkins available for each child to pick and take one home. We will have our apple cider press out and ready to crank apples and drink cider with our friends. In the past we have also had Turtle Stack beer available to share. We will host a potluck dinner at 5pm and will once again make ourselves available for socializing and answering questions.

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. I could not imagine a vocation as a farmer any other way. I would not love the work we are doing in the same way if we were simply wholesale vegetable farmers selling to grocery stores and food coops. I remember falling in love with CSA farming when I was a wee 20 year old working at a CSA farm called Angelic Organics out of Caledonia, IL when they hosted their Fall Farm Potluck and many of their CSA members came out to the farm for an afternoon/evening. It transformed my experience from a simple farm hand to a believer in community agriculture. A kind of blooming happened for me seeing the families and children and the rows of cars of the people who were part of the CSA carving an evening out of their lives to pause and share food with the people on the land of plenty where the vegetables were grown. Farms are living and breathing and alive in more ways than are apparent at first meeting. I sincerely hope you are able to join us at one of our farm events this summer!

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Sooo….What’s in the Box????

Green Cabbage- Large heads of Quickstart cabbage this week! This is not a storage variety, so the heads aren’t quite as dense as a storage variety, but they have all the crispness and cabbage goodness you would expect from a summer cabbage!

Fennel- These are the white bulbus vegetable with the frawns on top. The frawns smell a little like licorice. Fennel is lovely shaved raw with a sharp knife or a mandolin into a salad or sautéed and snuck into any favorite dish. Once sautéed it resembles caramelized onions.  

Green Onions- These are the green top onions bunched. We will continue to share these guys until our actual onions are ready for harvest in a few weeks!

Purple Kohlrabi- By now you’re fully in love with kohlrabi and know just how to cut it up and enjoy all the crisp, crunch and glory of the kohlrabi. Add the kohlrabi greens to your kale bunch and use them when you’re cooking up your kale! No one will know they at kohlrabi greens!

Celery- Yes! Celery! It makes a farmer feel good to grow local celery! It’s a very tricky crop to grow as they seem to have fussy nutrient needs and need high volumes of water. We were able to irrigate them through the drought earlier this year and they have been getting steady rain ever since. Local celery is a darker green than the California celery you are used to seeing in the stores. It also has a stronger celery flavor and lacks some of the crisp and wateriness that Cali celery has. This is our best shot! We will be sending celery the next 3-4 weeks as well, so use these babies up in your egg salad, potato salad, soups, or any other favorite summer salads! Yum!

Cucumber- The cucumbers are beginning! This is the first week of cucumber harvest! Just one cucumber per member this week, and we know you will enjoy every slice! Lots more of these alkalizing, juicy orbs to come!

Zucchini and Summer Squash- 4 per member. You may have received any combination of summer squashes or zucchini this week. There are hundreds of ways to cook with zucchini and summer squash, so dust off your favorite recipes and get that cutting board and knife out. Luckily, they don’t have a strong flavor of their own so they will absorb whatever herbs, vinegars, oils or seasonings you soak them in or sprinkle on them. We included a very simple and easy recipe this week we suggest you try out!

Garlic Scapes- This is the final week of garlic scapes that we will share. A reminder that the best edible part is from the blunt end up to the little nodule towards the top of the scape. From the nodule upward the material gets a little more chewy, but some members have told me they eat the entire thing which is just dandy too!

Red Kale- Red kale bunches to keep you stocked in cooking greens. Check out the recipe below for Kale Salad with cabbage! Very delicious and simple!

Red Leaf Lettuce- The lettuce this week is so tender and crunchy! We’re so happy to have such tender lettuce this far into summer! We’re also happy to be keeping the deer away from our lettuce patch finally this year as well!

Broccoli and/or Cauliflower- The broccoli and cauliflower is coming on strong now! You may have received two broccoli or one broccoli and one cauliflower.

Next Week's Best Guess-  Broccoli, Cauliflower, kohlrabi?, celery, beets, garlic, bunching onions, kale, lettuce, cucumbers, summer squash and zucchini, 

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Recipes

Simple Baked Parmesan Summer Squash and Zucchini Rounds

Maui Kale Salad with Cabbage and a Sweet Onion Dressing

Cheesy Cabbage Gratin Recipe

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July Seventh

I don’t think I’m the only one who is feeling it, but life feels a little like a boiling pot these days. Every day is a marathon. The to-do lists are long, longer than the daylight hours. The children run barefoot with wild hair and eyes and stay up much too late. I feel a loosening and a lengthening of the expectations I have for my self care, my housecleaning, my flower beds and all the spaces I dreamed of keeping mowed and maintained this summer. The perfectionist part of me is taking a nap while complacency sets in.

A CSA farmer makes sacrifices this time of year. We sacrifice the dinner dates, the canoe trips, the camping outings and plenty of sleep. A vegetable farm is very time-sensitive. The strawberries must be picked when they need to be picked, the zucchini, summer squash, cucumbers and broccoli must be harvested every two days and the weeds only get bigger with every day they go un-pulled. We are ‘making our hay while the sun shines” as my father always says. I submit to this very busy time of year and honor it as part of the seasonal rhythm. Our forest friends and the bees and birds are quite busy themselves ensuring their own procurement of food, family legacy and survival for the winter ahead. The monarch butterflies have found a haven of milkweed on our farm in the asparagus patch and in the ditches. Their fluttering wings remind me of fire, reminiscent of the heat and intensity of this time of year but in a fragile and delicate way.

This week on the farm we seeded our fall carrots and beets with anticipation of rain in the forecast. We will work on trying to catch up on some weeding projects before garlic harvest begins next week. The cucumber plants are beginning to pour forth all of their cucumber glory-ensuring that we visit them every two days for harvest. My body feels ready for the cooling, watery, alkalizing cucumber. The tomato plants stretch higher up their trellising and farm workers Kalyn and Ellena become master ‘Florida Weave’ tomato trellisers.

We are ready for rain again and eagerly watch the forecast for chances of precipitation. We welcome the cooler temperatures in the forecast for the later part of this week. We hope you are all are enjoying this bountiful season of summer and reveling in all the summer activity that July brings to our lives. Here’s to holding on to our hats!

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(If Sweet Corn is "Knee High by the 4th of July" then you know you'll get a good harvest.  But what about when it's "head high"?)  

Soooo….What’s in the Box?

Green Cabbage- We grow a variety called Quickstart that brings these beautiful, large heads of cabbage. Quickstart isn’t as dense as a storage cabbage and won’t keep as long either. It is tender and crisp and works well in any of your favorite summer cabbage recipes that you love.

Kohlrabi x 2- Two kohlrabi per member this week. You may have received either a purple or a green kohlrabi. Just peel off the outer skin and enjoy the crunchy insides.

Broccoli or Cauliflower- You may have received either broccoli or cauliflower. We know that broccoli is a CSA member favorite, so we try to provide a long run of it! Did you know that broccoli and cauliflower leaves are edible like kale? You can sneak extra greens into your familie’s diet by saving your broccoli and cauliflower greens which are actually more nutritious than the flowers themselves!

Fennel- Fennel is a lovely addition to salads when shaved with the mandolin into salads. It has a lovely locorice flavor when eaten raw, but it can also be cooked and sautéed like an onion where it looses most of the licorice flavor and blends into whatever you’re preparing! The fennel frawns make a nice garnish, but my kids like to just chew on them raw!

Bunching Onions- Bunching onions are a wonderful replacement for onions until we have them in a few weeks. Green onions, scallion or bunching onions, whatever you like to call them can be eaten from root to tip. Use up the white part and the green part! They make a nice addition to egg salads, potato salads or any kind of summer salad!

Collard Greens- These are the bunches of large, flat greens in your box this week. Collards are a very close relative to Kale, so no need to feel intimidated. I have included two recipe ideas which I LOVE that will inspire you to us them up!

Lettuce- A nice head of either romaine lettuce or a red leaf lettuce. Sneak a small salad into every meal and stay feeling alive and hydrated!

Garlic Scapes- One more week of garlic scapes after this week. Another fun seasonal item that shows you’re a Rock Star CSA member for gobbling them all up!

Zucchini and/or Summer Squash- X2 We’re having a new and mysterious ‘problem’ with our zucchini this year that we have never seen before. We belong to a list serve with other farmers in the state and everyone seems to be talking about how their zucchini’s this year have a tapered end on the blossom side of the zucchini. It’s a bit of a phenomenon that none of us have seen before this early in the growing season when usually the plants are cranking out higher percentages of perfectly shaped zucchinis. So you may notice that your zucchini comes to a bit of a tapered end and they may not keep as long as a well-formed zucchini, so we’re asking folks to eat the up sooner rather than trying to keep them.

Next Week’s Best Guess: Green Cabbage, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Kohlrabi, Fennel, bunching onions, garlic scapes, Lettuce, Kale, Summer Squash/Zucchini, Maybe Celery?, Maybe Beets?

Recipes

 Italian Stuffed Collard Greens

 Southern Style Collard Greens

Cream of Broccoli and Fennel Soup