Rainy week on the farm
Kohlrabi is a delectable bulb which can be shredded into cole slaw, chopped for salads, and used as a crudites.
Sugar snap and snow peas will be u-pick this week! They are crunchy and sweet, fun to eat raw and a treat when cooked.
Notes From The Field
A Moist & Soggy Week
By Derek McGeehan
We definitely received some much needed rain as well as a break from tractor work this past week. Rainfall totaled 2.7 inches and the majority fell on the ends of the work week without any major deluge. In between rain events the sun barely came out and humidity was so high that none of the moisture has left the farm yet. Fortunately now we'll be seeing the sun and feeling a breeze for the next few days to start the drying out process. All of the crops, and unfortunately the weeds, will begin growing like mad. A huge job for our crew this coming week will be pruning and trellising the couple thousand tomato plants. Workshifts will spend most of their time weeding and cultivating the onion and scallion patch which desperately needs some attention. Also, we'll be planting another thousand pounds of potatoes to make up for the seed potatoes that ended their life in the soil without sprouting and growing anew. The cold, wet soils of April did them in. This is the first time we've lost a significant portion of our potato crop (which was bound to happen at some point due to the laws of farming) but we're planting about the same weight we lost so hopefully at the end of the season all will be okay and the potatoes will be plentiful. I love potatoes.
A hard to come by treasure, garlic scapes are a mild prelude to the fresh and then cured garlic that come later in the season. Chop finely and use as you would a garlic clove.
Farming is all about experimenting and solving problems through trial and error. Some of you may have noticed that Swiss chard was missing from the first couple of weeks of harvest and is only now making an appearance as a choice with kale. Our transplants, planted back in early April, are typically ready for harvest by mid-May, but this year were blunted and stunted by what I thought was some sort of disease that affects plants in the chenopod family. Linda, our farm recipe coordinator and a long time core group member, pointed out that it was damage from leaf miners, larvae of insects that eat and live in the inner tissue of plants. At this point I don't remember if we stripped off all of the blemished leaves before or after finding this out and conducting research, or if that was an impulse which we thought might help the plants bounce back. Either way, we removed all of the injured leaves from each plant (about 2000 total) and hoped that it would help them put their energy into new growth and also leave the little baby burrowing insects with nothing to eat since the leaves they were in would shrivel and break down. At this point it seems to have worked and we'll hopefully have chard in the harvest for another couple of months. Another important item to note is this form of 'organic' pest control. Many farmers, conventional or organic, would have sprayed a synthetic or organically approved chemical to rid the plants of the pests. We choose not to spray anything on the farm.
Peas & Kohlrabi Are Here!
By Derek McGeehan
Harvest #4 (Week B) should include butterhead lettuce, romaine lettuce, mini head lettuce, endive, escarole, bok choy, greens mix, Italian dandelion, collard greens, kale, Swiss chard, and garlic scapes. Some items will be a choice. U-pick this week should include strawberries, peas, dill, cilantro, basil, and perennial herbs.
Several new veggies for this week - scapes and kohlrabi and peas
By Linda Dansbury
Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there, and especially farmer Derek, as he celebrates his first Father's Day as a Dad of 10 month old farmer Gabe.
The longer days and warmer nights are helping to speed up maturation of the veggies, so there will be a lot changing in the harvest over the next few weeks.
If you are a new member, you may have thought "what are 'scapes' and what do I do with these? What they are is the flower shoot and bud from the garlic plant. If these shoots are left on the plants, they take energy from the plant, and the garlic bulb growth will be severely stunted. So, when they start to grow up above the leaves of the plant, the farmers snip them off - years ago, they were just left in the field to rot. Now, they are found in farmers markets and in CSA's - I have never seen them in a grocery store. They impart a nice, mild garlic flavor to your recipes. If cooking with them, add very late in the process, or you will lose the garlic flavor. They store well in plastic bags or containers, keeping for several weeks. A member told me last year that she chops them up and freezes them, though I have never tried this myself. There are recipes on the website for scapes - try the Garlic Scape and White Bean Dip and Garlic Scape Pesto.
Kohlrabi are strange looking veggies, but I find their crunchiness and cabbage/radish taste to be really yummy. Kohlrabi is in the same family as many of our veggies - bok choy, broccoli, cauliflower, tat soi, cabbage and many others, and are very nutritious. I normally take the leaves off(and use them in another recipe), peel them, and eat them raw as a snack - they make a great addition to a crudite platter, and they hold up well to hummus, salsa, and other dips. They also store very well in the fridge - just remove the leaves and place them in a separate bag or container and use them along with other greens and then bag up the kohlrabi separate. There are recipes on the website for kohlrabi - if you try them or have one that you like, please let me know - as I said, I normally just eat them as a snack.
Peas - now I know I don't have to supply recipes for these common treats, but I do want to say a few words about them. Please get out and get your share as soon as you possibly can. They are currently at their perfect stage and will only be available for a couple of weeks and they are so, so sweet and yummy. Please be considerate of other members and don't tread on the vines that fell off the trellis system in the heavy rains. Pick with 2 hands - hold the stem with one hand and gentle take the pea pod off with your other hand, so the entire stem doesn't come off with the pea pod. Once you get them home, get them into the fridge immediately because it is a veggie in which its sugars turn to starch quickly at room temps and higher. To cook them, they can be boiled, although I prefer steaming them because it is a more gentle method and I think the taste stays sweeter. Steam or boil for only 2-3 minutes so they stay crunchy and bright green in color. Or, of course, stir frying them is delicious - again, don't cook them for too long - they only need a couple of minutes. Truth be known, I also eat a lot of these delicious pods raw! Enjoy.
First potluck of the season 6/28 6:00 PM
By Dana Hunting
Come out to the farm for the first potluck meal and celebration of the season on Saturday, June 28th, at 6:00 PM. Bring a dish to share that will feed 4-6 folks as well as tableware and drinks for yourselves. The meal will be enjoyed under the pavilion and a small fire might follow dinner if weather allows.
Veggies on the Horizon
By Derek McGeehan
Over the next month we should see newcomers beets, parsley, scallions, cabbage, beans, celery, summer squash, and cucumbers, the return of turnips, and a steady supply of greens like lettuce, kale, Swiss chard, Italian dandelion, collard greens. Sometime in July we should see tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, tomatillos, edamame, and other heat loving crops.
By Derek McGeehan
This is a friendly reminder of the importance of workshifts to the functioning of the farm and is in fact tied directly to the cost of the share. Share costs have remained the same for the last 6 years because of the value associated with workshift hours ($15/hour). Now is one of the most important times of the season for workshifts to help the farm stay on top of weed control. If you haven't worked any of your required hours yet, please consider helping out over the next couple of weeks. We really appreciate all of your help in keeping the farm productive and tidy.
How did I enjoy my harvest this week?
By Linda Dansbury
Another yummy and healthy week of eating our greens! Soon, you will see a transition to somewhat less greens and more veggies. I do enjoy this time of the year, because the harvests are ever changing.
I haven't heard from any of you for a couple of weeks and I know there are many wonderful and knowledgeable cooks out there, so please share with all of us! Send your thoughts to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kale - made the Kale and White Bean Bruschetta that I posted the first week of the harvest.
Greens mix - this past week I cooked with them instead of eating them raw. I sauteed up some onion and garlic, added a few red pepper flakes, then added a mixture of the greens mix and kale that I had roughly chopped. When they were somewhat wilted, I made a "well" in the pan of greens and cracked an egg into the well. I put a lid on the pan and let the egg cook for a few minutes until the whites were set but the yolk still runny. Carefully lift out of the pan onto a plate, break open the yolk for a silky sauce and enjoy a simple but delicious dinner! A member sent me this idea a few years ago and I have been enjoying it ever since.
Turnips and tat soi - I did a stir fry with these - sliced the turnips into rounds, but left the tat soi leaves whole. Stir fried onion and garlic, then added some thinly sliced pork (you can use anything you want as your protein source) and the turnip slices and stir fried them until just starting to brown. The greens were added next along with a sauce I had mixed up which consisted of tamari, sesame oil, lime juice, a chopped up Thai chile pepper that I had frozen last summer, fish sauce and a dash of sugar. A one pot dinner!
Bok choy and cilantro - I made the Asian Slaw that is on the website. It calls for cabbage and spinach, but I thinly sliced 2 of the bok choy and added a few thinly sliced radishes from my garden for color and a small handful of chopped cilantro. It made a really nice, light, crunchy side dish.
Arugula - we made pork milanese and had arugula salad alongside - the 2 compliment each other really well. I used the same dressing as I mentioned before - a little pepper, salt, a nice squeeze of lemon and good quality olive oil - it is that simple!
Other salads included a butterhead with a similar dressing as above, but I used a lighter oil (canola), and put a sprinkle of celery salt. This is how my grandmother used to dress her butterhead lettuce, so it brings back really fond memories. I also made a French dressing for a mix of the romaine with the small head lettuces we received. Many people don't make their own dressings, thinking they are a lot of work. They really aren't and you can make enough to last for several meals - they typically keep for a week or more. Check out the website for Salad Dressing recipes.
A successful greens workshop
The greens workshop was a great success! Thank you so much to all who attended and to Robin, Judith, and Jeannine for presenting. It is amazing how much we learn from each other. New members and returning members alike glean little gems of wisdom from one another. This is part of what makes a CSA experience so unique and beneficial.
The biggest take home messages from the workshop were that you can often use the greens interchangeably and to not be afraid to experiment. Pestos can be as simple as combining greens, cheese (parmesan, asiago, romano), and olive oil or tomatoes or veggie broth or a combination of those. Some recipes call for using the green raw but blanching can reduce the "bite" when using one of the bitter greens. A member shared at the workshop that if you blanch basil (a super quick in and out of boiling water and then into an ice bath) will keep the basil pesto a vibrant bright green.
Some links to recipes culled from the greens workshop:
Just as a reminder--the next workshops are Preservation and Canning on Saturday, July 12th, and Fermentation on Saturday, September 20th.