June Twenty-Eighth

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The farm in in full swing.  We are finally caught up on all of our summer plantings and we have a couple week break before we will begin transplanting some of our fall brassicas.  We seeded our first succession of Fall carrots before what we thought was going to be rain on Saturday night.  Another 3/10 inch of rain fell which was just enough to wet the surface of the ground but not provide anything substantial or satisfactory to the plants or new seedings.  Farmer Adam continues to irrigate day after day keeping everything in a rotation now which is a time consuming and a laborious effort. 

As summer is now in full swing and the demands of the farm are picking up now, I am also conscious of the needs of our small family.  We have three small to middle-sized children and I, as the mother and primary care-taker of our developing humans consider the childhood experiences of our children.  I see other families going to the pool, the beach, the river, the campgrounds, vacations, camps and summertime outings of all kinds and I wonder if I should long for these things for our own family?  We did find a little time this weekend to go with my family to Apple Canyon Lake in Illinois so we could spend time with cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents.  It felt good to give them some time at the lake, playing in the water and being off the farm. 

The farm is an environment of endless work, tasks, projects, chores and potential.  There is always something here that needs doing and while we have a crew of helpers here Monday through Friday and mom and dad work more than full time, it never, never ends.  At Apple Canyon I saw the sharp contrast of our lives from those families with second homes on a Lake.  I don’t envy the second-home idea because it looks complicated and in-practical.  I am pragmatic and rational woman and know that that such a lifestyle would never work for our family.  It’s just interesting how when you step into another world, it causes you to re-examine your own. 

We have built a nourishing life for our children on this farm and they like it here.  They aren’t even asking for anything more than what we have.  It’s my own modern-day mothering mind questioning if I’m doing a good enough job.  They’re still small and playdates with the neighbors and occasional outings are exciting and deeply gratifying for them.  But I know too many people who grew up on farms wanting nothing more than to grow up and get as far away from their farms as possible.  It’s tricky.  The farm fosters their health in terms of an honest and hearty experience of childhood play using their bodies in a wide-open space.  Our kids are strong, healthy, capable, hardworking, well-mannered and practical.  They’re good kids and I want to keep it that way as they grow, while I also consider whether their need for experiences other than this farm expand.  I am merely processing with you aloud the mind-play of a farm wife and inexperienced, yet attentive mother with no resolution or answer to my thoughts. 

This week I contemplate balance.  Balance is a daily measurement.  It also needs to be measured seasonally and yearly on the farm.  It just so happens that the farm needs us most in the summer months when it looks like the rest of the world is on vacation.  It just looks that way, I know it’s not actually that way.  Farmers balance out their family’s needs in the winter months with winter vacations and winter slow-ness.  I become acutely aware of how fast our lives feel when I observe the slow, relaxed vacation-mentality of summer-time in others.  I feel the need to re-assure myself that the childhood of picking fresh peas, strawberries, melons, sweet corn, carrots and tomatoes right off the vine and being surrounded by abundance on an organic vegetable farm is a good childhood.  The grass is not greener on the other side.  Right?  A childhood of being a hollar’s distance away from mom and dad at all times is a good childhood.  A childhood of 40 acres to explore, farm animals to ride, milk, handle, and interact with is enriching.  A childhood of minimal time on screens, adults to know and interact with (our awesome crew of helpers who they LOVE) and a rotation of friends who come to play here is natural and wholesome.  We don’t leave home nearly as often as most families, but we’re not like most families.  We’re a farm family and there aren’t a lot of farm families out there anymore to resonate with.  We’re a rare breed now-a-days.  Ahh, balance, such a curious thing. 

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What’s in the Box?

Kohlrabi x 2-  Two kohlrabi per member this week.  Kohlrabi leaves are edible and can be used like kale.  Peel them and enjoy their apple-like crunchy and crispy texture with veggie dip, lightly salted or match-sticked onto salads.  They can even be fried up like a potato if you like!

Hakurai Salad Turnips-  These are the white colored radish-esque looking roots in your box with greens attached.  Hakurai Salad turnips are sweet and mild and crunchy and smooth!  No need to peel them, just shave them onto your salads or cut them up and eat them raw with hummus, veggie dip or however you like to snack on them!  They can also be cooked into a stir fry or however you can get them into your belly!

Radish- The final giving of radishes for the early part of the season.  Smaller bunches this week with more imperfections.  Peel away any unsightly spots and enjoy shaved onto salads. 

Peas-  .39 lb of peas per member.  Pea picking is always a time-consuming task and this year’s peas didn’t do too well.  They suffered from the long season with very little water, a little cultivation damage and a transplant shock that took a while to recover from.  We’re thinking this year’s peas may not be as abundant as some years. 

Green Onions-  Our frist giving of green onions is always very exciting.  Also called ‘scallions’, ‘bunching onions’ or ‘green onions’.  They can be used from the base of the white onion all the way to the green tips.  Wonderful on fresh salads of all kinds! 

Green Curly Kale-  Kale is a quick harvest and abundant this time of year!  The curly green variety has a lot of texture and volume and makes great kale chips! 

Lettuce x 2-  Red buttercup lettuce this week.  Some of the heads needed to be peeled back a bit, but most of the heads looked really nice!  We’re lucky that we’re still able to enjoy these tender, buttercup varieties even through the heat of the early summer months! 

Garlic Scapes-  Garlic scapes are actually the garlic plant’s effort at producing a seed head.  They sprout out of the base of the plant and we snap these guys off so the garlic plants put more of their effort into growing a larger blub of garlic rather than putting their effort into make a seed head.  Lucky for us all, garlic scapes are delicious to eat!  Best edible part of the scape is from the base of the scape up to the little nodule.  Past the little nodule, it is technically still edible, but much chewier.  Garlic scapes can be used anywhere you would cook with garlic, but with less intensity than actual garlic cloves. 

Next Week's Best Guess:  garlic scapes, kohlrabi, red oakleaf lettuce, zucchini, broccoli, green onions, peas?, swiss chard, basil?

Recipes

Maple-Glazed Hakurei Turnip and Shiitake on Soba Noodles

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Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps

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Garlicy Baked Kale Chips

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Kohlrabi and Apple Salad (with fresh dill if you still have some from last week!)

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