August Second

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CSA farming is good for is setting routines.  We have deeply set sequences that shape our days, weeks, months, seasons and years.  I believe that predictable practices are good for a person, a family and a crew.  There is no questioning whether the job or the task set before us is worthy or important, it simply must be done.  While CSA Farming is inherently very demanding work, the work feels less overwhelming because it is so predictable, so anticipated, so certain, SO…..routine. 

Each day we rise at the same time.  The crew meets in the same place and we begin the day in the same truck.  Clearly, we don’t do the same thing every day, but one could almost make a yearly calendar because we nearly do do the same thing on August 3rd each year we that we did on August 3rd last year.  We are harvesting the same crops the first week of August in 2023 that we harvested in 2022 and 2021 and most of the years before.  There are slight alterations to this routine when mother nature turns up or down the temperature on us, crop disease or failure enters into play, or if crops mature a week or two ahead or behind schedule. 

CSA Farming is a highly complicated dance of steps forward and backward and side to side to make room for the moving bodies of crops to be harvested, weeded, planted and prioritized.  There are approximately 40 different kinds of vegetables grown on our farm and nearly 150 varieties of vegetables grown here.  If not for the brilliant invention of excel spreadsheets, there is simply no way we could keep it all straight in our busy farmer brains.  Careful winter planning, scheduling and reordering sets us up for a season of success-or at least lower stress. 

When crops mature anew each season they re-enter our lives like old friends.  We know their smell, feel, and behaviors so well that there is no need to take time to get oriented.  We know which tools are needed for harvest.  We know which end of the bed to drive the truck into. We know which tractor or piece of equipment is needed if any.  We know which bins to grab for harvest.  We know that Mondays and Tuesday mornings will always be a harvest day. We know Tuesday afternoons will always be packing days.  We know Wednesdays will always be delivery and Thursdays and Fridays will always be used for planting, weeding and EOD harvest. 

While such deeply engraved schedules and habits may feel like prison chains to some, they are a comfy pair of familiar jeans to others.  A rhythmic pulsation to a season with ones fingers literally on the pulse, relates you to a places like few other professions.  Twenty years of repetition is helpful in putting a person at ease amidst a woven tapestry of complicated systems that look impossible from afar.  It feels good to know a trade, have a skill and become a person who has put in their 10,000 hours doing something over the course of a what becomes a lifetime. 

As a young 20-something I was enamored with travel, adventure and seeing the world.  I wanted to go everywhere and see everything new and exotic.  I wanted a passport stamped with every different color and language and custom.  But it didn’t take me long to realize that what is most enchanting and mesmerizing about visiting other cultures, is the thousands of years those cultures invested building their stationary religions, civilizations, languages, and values.  These cultures themselves were deeply immobile.  I became envious of people who knew a piece of land and a place and inherently themselves so well that it was attractive and beautiful and exquisite to me.  I wanted what they had, but I knew that the only way to achieve it was to go home and put down some roots.  It’s awkward, in a way, because I sit on a piece of land that was made available to me because my ancestors pushed away the natives who were here already with their own deep customs.  But this is my white-girl attempt at participating in my own culture in a single generational lifetime.  My attempt at living a life of purpose and with intention with the tools and culture I have available to me.

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What’s in the Box?

Red Watermelons-   1-2 smaller watermelons.  The melons varied in size quite a bit.  If you received two watermelons, it is because they were smaller.  If you received 1 it is because they were bigger. 

Cucumbers-  4-5 cucumbers per member.  Cucumbers prefer 50 degree storage, so find the temperature zone that works best for your home!   

Zucchini and Summer Squash- 2-4 squash per member.  Prefers a 50 degree storage temp, so find the temp zone in your house that works best for you!  Remember that zucchini freezes easily, it can be grated on a cheese grater and frozen if you’re overwhelmed! 

Green Onions-  This is the final week of green onions before we move into standard slicing onions. 

Green Curly Kale-  Kale is an extremely versatile green that can be snuck into so many dishes if you’re feeling creative.  I’m inspired this week to make dehydrated kale chips! 

Celery-  The first celery harvest of the season!  They’re looking good this year because they were irrigated so many times.  We plan to give celery the next 3-4 weeks, so time to make those soups and salads you love that call for celery!  The greens can even be used to make stock, chopped and added to your egg salad or garnishing. 

Carrots-  1 pound bags of carrots per member this week. 

Broccoli/Romanesco/cauliflower-  2-3 pieces depending on size.

Lettuce- 1-2 heads per member depending on size.  Peak summer lettuce gets a little tougher with a stronger flavor, but we don’t mind it this time of year in our kitchen as we are still so thankful to have fresh lettuce, which prefers cooler seasons to mature into tender, mild-flavored heads.

Garlic-  1 head per member.  Metechi is the variety name.  Another red skinned variety.  Can you tell a flavor difference in the different varieties?

Next Week’s best guess: Zucchini, summer squash, cucumbers, yellow watermelons, celery, kale or chard, beets, eggplant, hot peppers, onion, broccoli or Romanesco, a handful of small tomatoes?

Recipes: 

Greek Nachos with Cilantro Drizzle (cucumber recipe)

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 Nacho Kale Chips Recipe

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Sesame Cucumber Noodles

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Broccoli Pasta with Orecciette

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Zucchini Baked Ziti

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