Summer CSA – Week 16 (last week)

This is where your turnips, arugula, lettuce, radish, kale and scallions are coming from this week.

Last week of the Summer CSA! (Fall starts next week, you’ll get an email in a few days with the 411 on the Fall share pick up.)

Thanks to everyone for joining us for the last 16 weeks. It’s been a good growing season and we’ve got a great team working with us this year. We are grateful to be nearing the end of September and not be totally burnt out, but we have done a good job the last few years deliberately trying to take care of ourselves.

It’s hard when the culture of farming (both peer to peer and the perspectives of outsiders) makes you feel like you are only worthy if you are working yourself to death. I fell prey to that culture early on, working endless days and buckling to the culture of “hard-work-one-upmanship”. Sometimes you have to work hard, crazy hours, and sometime you do, as I reference in the Week 12 blog. But, sometimes you don’t, and with careful planning you can take 3.5 days off in September to visit your grandparents and swim in a rapidly cooling, but very refreshing lake.

You know you need it when your two-year-old thinks a day trip to Martha’s Vineyard is vacation.

Covering fall crops with a big team is always more enjoyable. I will admit I ducked out early from this task to seed and plant the first of the two low tunnels with sweet turnips and lettuce that we will harvest in November/December.

We are happy to come back and work hard to continue to pull the rest of our storage crops out of the field. Before we left we put row cover over most of the fall crops we will be harvesting in the end of October and November, not because they need more heat, but because the darn dear might eat all of them if we didn’t. But now they are protected (until the deer start kicking through the row cover) and it feels good to have crops set and growing.

Kevin tallying his buckets he added to our bulk bin of sweet potatoes. Yields are excellent again.

We are only 1/3 of the way through harvesting sweet potatoes and we already have over 2500 pounds! We may have over done it!! Luckily it is always my goal to have some sweet potatoes and carrots to donate a bed or two to the Boston Area Gleaners. Sweets and carrots are something they don’t get to glean very often but they are in very high demand. We will let you know if the Gleaners are coming in the next few weeks if you want to join and help harvest for the donation.

We like to wait to harvest storage roots like carrots, beets, turnips and radish until we get at least a light frost. Frost changes the growth habit of they biennial crops and causes them to convert some of their starches into sugars, making them extra sweet, and slowing their growth which allows them to store longer.

Fall radish and turnip tops looking lovely in the fall light.

We are mostly done weeding and cultivating for the year (yay!) and there is just a little planting to do in the greenhouse, which does require a lot of moving things around, but can be done by a few people in a day. We are saying goodbye to most of our crew over the next few weeks, and those who remain have reduced hours.

I have a little more time for reading and thinking at this time of year, here are a few items of note I hope you are interested in, before we get to what’s in the share:

I read this great article two weeks ago and wanted to put it in last-week’s email but then I was forced to write about our land transition so I didn’t get to bring it up. You should read it to get all the details, but the take away is you can’t just take pills and vitamins if you want to be healthy. Eat a lot of quality produce. It really does matter. Here it is: FRUITS AND VEGETABLES ARE TRYING TO KILL YOU

I also went to a free NOFA/Mass workshop on soil health and fertility assesment at Chucalogg Farm in Uxbridge. I was feeling particularly down in the dumps and I knew a workshop would help me get some perspective.

Caro Roszell, instructor at the NOFA/Mass workshop last Monday.

I am interested in raising the healthiest food possible while also improving the health of the soil I use to grow that food. It’s one thing to simply use chemical soil testing to figure out what nutrients need to be added to grow a healthy crop, and a whole other thing to try and manage the ecosystem of a soil to produce a really healthy crop. The amazing thing is that we can, as farmers and land managers, actually sequester carbon into the soil by having a LOT of life in the soil. The proxy test is a simple way for farmers to measure the life in their soil, which correlates with the amount of carbon in the soil. Learn more about soil carbon cycle here.

Well, that’s some food for thought. Here is the food for your bellies.

What’s in the share:

Sweet Potatoes! They have been curing for roughly two weeks, but could probably stand to sweeten up a little more. Just leave them in a brown bag in a cabinet (or just dust them off and leave them on the counter for at least a few days).
Delicatta Squash (see Jess’s recipes for some ideas)
Shallots!!
Choice by weight mix and match: leeks, tomatoes, green peppers, eggplant, onions, potatoes, tomatillos
Choice by bunch/item: boy choy, carrots, radish, turnip, kale, lettuce, scallions, cilantro, dill, arugula, escarole, frisee,

Maybe a few other odds and ends

Jess’s Recipes

DELICATA SQUASH HOW TO

Delicata squash is here! I am a squash lover in general, but delicata is one of my favorites. It’s loaded with Vitamins A and C and the skin is very tender and 100% edible. If you’ve ever tried to peel a squash, you know how genius this is. The simplest way to cook it is to give it a good wash, slice it into ¼ to ½” thick slices, toss with olive oil and salt and pepper and roast at 425 for 25-30 minutes, flipping once halfway through, until it’s caramelized. If you really want to gild the lily, bring about ½ cup of maple syrup to a simmer in small pot and add ¼ cup of packed fresh sage leaves. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Pour this over the squash for the last 15  minutes or so of the cooking time. Oh! And you can roast the seeds just like you would pumpkin seeds!

QUINOA STUFFED DELICATA SQUASH

If you’d rather make more of a meal out of it, try these! Stuffed with quinoa and studded with raisins and hazelnuts.

PASTA E FAGIOLI WITH ESCAROLE

Escarole is in the same family as endive and is a staple in Italian cooking. It can be sautéed, added to soups or eaten raw in salads. It is mildly bitter so in a salad it pairs well with mustardy vinaigrettes, salty cheeses and a bit of sweet from apples or dates. I think I’ll be using mine in this gorgeous Italian soup.

GREEK POTATOES WITH CURLY ENDIVE, SPINACH AND LEEKS

Curly endive is another mildly bitter green that is delicious raw or cooked. I get a little bored with salads (and my kids are not always fans of leafy greens) so I like to cook them into things. 

CHICKEN POZOLE VERDE (USES TOMATILLOS)

This is a deliciously different take on a chicken soup. I have had a hard time finding hominy at Whole Foods but they definitely carry it at Wegmans and Market Basket in the Mexican foods section. 

SUPERHERO MUFFINS (USES CARROTS AND ZUCCHINI)

If you’re looking for another use for your carrots and zucchinis, these muffins are a nutritional powerhouse and a big hit at my house. Great for breakfast or as an afterschool snack. They’re made with almond-meal and can be made gluten-free if you’re sensitive to gluten.

CHICKEN WITH CREAMY DILL AND LEEK SAUCE

Whenever I see leeks, I think of this recipe. This is my favorite way to roast chicken. Not only is it super easy but it makes a whole meal in one roasting pan (although I usually add a salad as well). As an added bonus, cooking the chicken on a base of veggies keeps it from splattering grease all over the oven, causing massive quantities of smoke to pour out of the oven and setting off your fire alarms. While this is a great way to ensure that your family knows it’s time for dinner, I prefer the quieter method used in this recipe.

Week 15: Big News

Well, the cat is basically out of the bag, we are not going to be able to renew our current lease at Upswing Farm’s current home base, 28 South St.. For those of you who haven’t heard, we may grow a reduced crop of vegetables up the road next year to 22 Elliot St, in Ashland. We’ve had a lease on that two acre parcel, owned by the town of Ashland, where we have been cover cropping for the last two years.

Kevin, Erin and Melissa planting the last transplants of 2019, and the last transplants Upswing Farm will plant in the fields at 28 South St. Still more transplanting to do in the greenhouses for our fall and winter shares.

Our business will shift, with Erin taking the lead on summer crop production for the Ashland Farmers Market and a reduced summer CSA, while Kevin and I solidify plans for a fall and winter share (we are deciding between a few options). We will still hold the seedling sale, we have several other places to either construct our greenhouse or rent greenhouse space. But we will not be able to meet our current demand – we will be cutting the amount of land we farm by 80%.

We were hoping to have some perfectly defined plans before we officially broke the news, but since it made it to the local paper under the headline “Upswing Out, Out Post In”, I guess now is the time to say something. It’s still September, I’m still farming full time and Mom-ing almost full time (no afternoon sitter anymore! We miss you Leah!) so there isn’t a lot of time to sit and draft this exactly right.

It’s ok. Really, it’s ok. Accessing farmland in the Metro-West area is next to impossible. Our time at 28 South St has been precious, and we will cherish memories from the last four years for the rest of our lives. We are so grateful for all of the wonderful customers who have supported us and who we have built relationships with.

I’m not sure how to communicate the whole story, it is long and leaves me winded just to think about it, but here is what I want your take-away to be:

  1. We were invited to lease the land in January, 2016 when the tenants, Out Post Farm, decided not to renew their lease on the land. This was less than a month after I resigned from my role at Medway Community Farm. At the end of 2016 we were invited to try and purchase the property for $2.5 million and given an option to purchase for that amount, with a timeline of three years.
  2. We tried our best preserve this farmland, and build a business from scratch, and raise a baby, and stay true to our values. We made contact with the Sudbury Valley Trustees and together worked with representatives from the towns of Ashland and Holliston to get and appraisal and create a collaborative plan to preserve and purchase the property. We were a part of a preliminary offer in the spring of 2018 for the full appraised value of 1.8 million which was rejected.
  3. We believe that our work to save this property was an essential part of convincing the landlord that preserving the farm was a real possibility. When we started in 2016 it had always been his intention to allow the land to be developed after his passing, not believing there was money to preserve it. Now the development rights are being sold to the Agricultural Preservation Restriction Program (APR)- a strict program that will keep important land farmed in perpetuity.
  4. We gave up our option to purchase the land so we would not put the preservation of the land in jeopardy.
  5. If you live in Holliston you should vote to approve the town spending $500,000 of Community Preservation Funds for the APR restriction on the property. If you live anywhere else, you should ALWAYS vote to preserve farmland as ACTIVE farmland. Even in my position, I would vote yes if I lived in town.

This is just a transition period for us now, we knew it would be a risk to take on this project, and we gave it all we had to give. This is the second farm in a decade that we have built from scratch . . . and we are tired (and just a little downtrodden).

We have decided that scaling down, but maintaining our presence at the Ashland Farmers Market (the coolest market ever) and giving Erin a chance to take on more management responsibility is a great way to keep the business going while giving ourselves space and time to get some perspective and find a permanent place to farm.

Thank you for all your support over the last four years.

We are fortunate and privileged to be able to choose this lifestyle, even though it can be a struggle. We are grateful that we can live our values on a daily basis – or at least do a good job trying. And our son, at two and a half, knows about ripeness, and roots and seeds. That apples come in September, strawberries come in June, and where the compost pile is. He says he wants to be a farmer like mom, and I’m like, no way, you’re going to have to be an investment banker so you can support us in our old age!

Well, that’s that. The vegetables still need to be picked and enjoyed.

What’s in the share:

The deer ate all the zucchini this weekend. Or at least they took a bite out of every one. Sorry guys. They also ate almost all of the fall dandelion greens. Not sorry?

Choices: Corn/Tomatoes/Cherry Tomatoes/Spaghetti Squash/Other Pints
Choices: Bok Choy, Kale, Chard, Kohlrabi, Sweet Turnip, Radish, Carrot, Herbs
Lettuce
Arugula
Choices: Onion, Fennel, Peppers, Eggplant

Jess’s Recipes

COWBOY CAVIAR

I had a delightful visit with fellow CSA member Anne Buckley last week and she served up some of this delicious Cowboy Caviar brimming with CSA ingredients. Side note: if you ever have an issue with the NY Times recipes (like it tells you that you have to subscribe in order to view the recipe) just open a new browser window and do a search for the recipe or do the search on your phone. I find that that solves the problem for me.

ROASTED CARROTS WITH HERBES DE HOLLISTON

I was quite the social butterfly this week and also got to spend a lovely afternoon at Broad Hill Lavender Farm right here in Holliston. If you haven’t tried any of their products yet – they’re amazing! Carrie made us some delicious treats all with their very own, Holliston grown, organic, culinary lavender (check their website https://www.broadhilllavender.com/ for which Farmer’s Markets they’ll be at so you can pick some up). Among these were some mouth-watering roasted carrots. She sliced them into thin “fries”, tossed them with olive oil, salt and pepper and Herbes de Provence (with lavender of course and other Upswing Farm herbs) and slow roasted them at 400 for 40-45 minutes. They were amazing.

SHAVED VEGETABLE SALAD

Hakurei Turnips (or salad turnips) are back this week. This is a super versatile recipe that will use lots of your share items. Slice them up super thin along with zucchini, carrots, beets, fennel, kohlrabi, etc. and toss with a zingy lemon-dill vinaigrette.

SAUTEED JAPANESE HAKUREI TURNIPS WITH BOK CHOY

Here’s another quick way to use your turnips AND bok choy in one recipe.

STUFFED MINI PEPPERS

I’ve heard the mini peppers are delicious this year. I haven’t actually gotten to try them as my son eats them all before I get a chance. I’m going to try to beat him to it this week and make these for an after-school snack after I pick up my share this week.

BAKED “FRIED” EGGPLANT

Here’s a twist – instead of me sending Brittany recipes this week, she sent me this one! Great on its own or layer it into an eggplant parm.

KALE SALAD WITH DATES, PARMESAN AND ALMONDS

I love the combination of sweet, salty and crunchy and this salad accomplishes all of that. One of my favorite things about kale is that you can dress it and it will still keep for a day or two and not go all wilty like lettuce does.

SPICY CORN AND SHISHITO SALAD

Trying to make the most of the last few weeks of corn for the summer!

SPAGHETTI SQUASH WITH SWISS CHARD, DRIED CRANBERRIES & DIJON VINAIGRETTE

This fall spin on spaghetti squash with swiss chard and dried cranberries sounds like a must try!

Summer CSA: Week 13

Quick note: there are 4 more weeks (including this week) of the summer share. Fall Share starts the first week of October. Flower share has two more weeks including this week.

Hello, Everyone. Last week I avoided talking about EEE (eastern equine encephalitis) and the aerial spraying of Anvil 10+10, but now I feel like I need to say something. The farm was sprayed on Tuesday night, the 26th, at least based on the MDAR (Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources) maps, posted here. We did not harvest produce on Wednesday until after the plants had dried (which is common practice for fruit crops) and didn’t harvest leafy crops until Thursday, all of which were washed, as usual with town water and several of which were covered overnight with products we already use to exclude pests/deer.

Yes, EEE and mosquito borne diseases are scary, and I don’t want to diminish the fear people feel, especially since I am someone who faces exposure on a daily basis. Some of the fear is real, some of it dredged up by dramatic reporting and gossip. If you a concerned about contracting EEE, the best thing to do is avoid mosquitoes. MDAR has a table, that you can use to make sure you are inside during the times mosquitoes are most active, and other tips for how to protect yourself.

For those more scared of the impacts of the aerial spraying of Anvil 10+10 on your health, I feel fairly confident that this was a low impact spray. Anvil 10+10 (based on reading I did last week when I found out about the aerial spraying) contains two active ingredients, one is a chemical replica of pyrethrin, a substance approved for use on certified organic farms that many organic farmers rely on to control certain pest populations. It has been thoroughly tested on mammals and in low doses shows no adverse health impacts. This is what MDAR has on its FAQ page:

Are there any restrictions on consuming fruits and vegetables from home gardens or local farms?
No. The US EPA has established a tolerance (acceptable level) for the product that allows wide-area mosquito application on food crops, fodder crops, pasture and grazing areas. The application is not expected to leave a detectable residue on food crops, pastures, or forage crops. Livestock may graze in treated areas following the application. As always, consumers should rinse any homegrown or purchased fruits and vegetables with water before preparation or consumption.”

I’m not saying I think the aerial spraying was a good thing, but honestly, I don’t think I have the expertise to make the call. I also don’t think we should just accept the decision of the authorities (in fact, I firmly believe the opposite – always think critically, challenge and question, especially when fear seems to make the answer to a complicated question easy) but in this case, based on my understanding of the pesticide used, and the way it was going to be applied, I don’t believe any of us will experience adverse health effects.

I am curious, though, about what monitoring will be done to evaluate the effectiveness of the spray. In our fields, pests that I know would succumb to a direct application of a pyrethrin pesticide showed no noticeable reduction in population after the aerial spray. But, the spray was designed to target flying adult mosquitoes at night, and many of the pests that might succumb to an application of pyrethrin, like the striped cucumber beetle, take cover during those hours.

Also, for those of you imagining pesticides falling like rain, the ultra low volume (ULV) method used to apply Anvil 10+10 essentially creates a fine mist, that falls very slowly, increasing the chances that it will come in contact with a flying adult. The half-life of the active ingredients in this product is less than 12 hours when exposed to sunlight and air. Yes, there are still risks to other, non-target species, which I believe to be the single, greatest argument against broad area applications of pesticides, but this is a pesticide that does not persist nor are they spraying it on a regular basis.

I will admit I got bit by mosquitoes 4 times on Friday, 4 days after the spray. I didn’t realize what was happening because I’m so used to pushing through discomfort, it took me until the 4th bite to notice. Also, it was only 4pm, but I was in the shade, near the wash station making bouquets for market. I got some bug spray which I would otherwise never use.

Of course an aerial spray will not kill all mosquitoes. So how do we know it killed enough to justify the effort and potential adverse impacts to non-target species that are also susceptible to the toxicity of the pesticide?

It is not my intention to sound like an advocate for aerial pesticide applications, especially on such a wide area, I am, on principal, strongly opposed. But this is something that happened, and I’ve done probably four hours of reading in the last ten days to try and learn more about EEE, Anvil 10+10 and the risks/effectiveness of aerial spraying and I can’t come to a conclusion on whether it was the right thing to do. My gut tells me no, but then again, my loved one didn’t just die from inflammation of the brain, and I do worry for my family. But, I doubt the aerial spray actually decreased our risk, or at least I doubt it decreased it enough to be worth the effort, cost, and potential ecological impacts. We live across from the Charles River in Bellingham and they regularly spray the river/marsh at night from a truck. We still can’t go out in the evening without being eaten alive by mosquitoes, so I just can’t understand why the spraying is even worthwhile, if so many can survive.

It might be that when people want to live close together in areas with lots of mosquito habitat (both natural and human made), they need to accept one of the repercussions is mosquito borne diseases and then the subsequent applications of pesticides that will be used in an attempt to control them. Or figure something else out. The main principal of organic agriculture is doing the work up-front to create an environment where plants/animals will thrive, reducing or eliminating the need for chemicals to control pests, diseases and weeds. I’m sure there is something that can be extrapolated from this philosophy and applied to future management of mosquitoes and mosquito borne diseases.


A little weedy, but the sweet potatoes are looking good.

It was quiet the whirl-wind last week, despite my email about exiting the ‘exponential season’. Harvey has been spending more time with us on the farm. It’s such a joy to find ourselves finally able to be mostly productive and have him around, but its definitely still a challenge. Thanks to everyone who was flexible and patient with us while we tried to give you change and keep Harvey from coloring on himself with markers and that sort of thing.

The share this week is great, as usual in early September (although we love all the vegetables of all the season . . .). We appreciate the variety of this time of year and we hope you are able to thoroughly enjoy the vegetables we are harvesting now.

What’s in the Share:
Tomatoes
Carrots
Lettuce
Choice:Arugula, Bok Choy, Kale, Chard, Celery, Cilantro, Dill
Mix and Match by weight: Zucchini/Squash, Beets, Onions (the last of the fresh onions!!), Eggplant, Peppers
Pint choices: cherry tomatoes, tomatillos, shishito peppers, mini sweet peppers
Melons and Spaghetti Squash

Jess’s Recipes

WHAT TO DO WITH THAT SPAGHETTI SQUASH

I wasn’t too familiar with spaghetti squash until I started with Upswing. It just wasn’t on my radar. Now I adore them! They’re super easy to roast up. Just slice it in half and scoop out the seeds, brush with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper (and maybe a pinch of brown sugar if you’re into that sort of thing) and place them cut side down on a cookie sheet and bake at 400 until tender – about 45 minutes. When they come out, let them cool for 10 minutes or so and then scrape out the flesh which really is remarkably spaghetti like. You can top it with pasta sauce and meatballs just like regular spaghetti, toss it with pesto or try this recipe with fresh herbs and toasted hazelnuts (it’s one of my favorites):

ROASTED SPAGHETTI SQUASH WITH HERBS

SPACHETTI SQUASH AGLIO-E-OLIO WITH RAINBOW CHARD

Here’s another one that combines more of our CSA bounty into one delicious dinner:

SPAGHETTI SQUASH 4 CHEESE PESTO “LASAGNA”

This is what I’m going to be making this week with my spaghetti squash – it has all the flavors of a hearty pesto lasagna without all the work of an actual lasagna.

CAPRESE SALAD WITH HEIRLOOM TOMATOES AND BURRATA

This gorgeous salad is a new spin on a traditional caprese salad, using burrata cheese instead of mozzarella. If you’ve never tried burrata, you’re missing out.

ORZO WITH SMOKEY TOMATO VINAIGRETTE

This pasta dish is one of my favorite ways to use cherry tomatoes. Not only ridiculously easy but also delicious and different from your typical pasta with sauce.

JALAPENO BAGELS

If you’re wondering what to do with all the spicy (or mild) peppers I’ve got a great solution. My son came home from school at the end of last year with a recipe for jalapeno bagels. I still haven’t gotten the full story on why exactly they got this recipe as a handout, but he has been eager to try them. We made some up last weekend and they are DELICIOUS. He loved helping to make them and while they aren’t “quick”, there isn’t a lot of hands on time. We used half white whole wheat flour and I added salt to the water bath and then pressed some flaked sea salt on them before I baked them. They’re amazing with a little cream cheese (you could even make some scallion cream cheese with your extra scallions) and some everything seasoning or a bit of Mango-Habanero jam from Tangerini’s.

MUSHROOM BOK CHOY SOUP

Whenever I see bok choy my first thought is usually a stir-fry but I came across this recipe and it looks ridiculously good with ginger, lime and cilantro.

Summer CSA – Week 12

Ah, cooler nights and mornings. I love them because I prefer not being super sweaty and gross first thing in the morning when I get to work, and I like that the weeds stop growing so rapidly. But, I don’t love the onset of fungal diseases in our fields, the slowed fruit production for our summer crops, or the reduced sunlight of the shorter days.

What I really love, though, is the end of what I have come to think of as the ‘exponential season’. It’s the time when everything is growing so fast (weeds included) and there is so much planting, weeding, seeding, pruning, trelling and harvesting to do that it is almost impossible to get to the end of a weekly to do list. But worse than not finishing the list, projects that go unfinished become bigger projects, on occasion snowballing into big disasters.

Imagine this: you’ve got to write a report for work. It’s due Monday at 10am. You should finish Friday but you really want to duck out early, so you decide to come in a little early on Monday to do it. No big deal, right?

Well, imagine that if you don’t do your report on Friday, it will multiply into ten reports that are still due at 10am Monday. And if you can’t finish the reports yourself, you have to pay other people with your own money to help you finish them on time. Or, just forfeit your pay if you don’t get them all done. It’s pretty strong incentive to just write the report Friday, even if it means getting home late.

That’s what its like when we don’t get to a cultivation on time. There are little windows of time where we can do things just right, like kill tiny weeds just as they germinate with a tractor. It takes less than a minute to run the cultivators down a bed. That’s just one farmer and a tractor. Miss the cultivation and it will take 10 times as long to hoe that same bed in a few days because the weeds will be bigger, and worst of all, because the weeds are bigger you most likely won’t kill them all with a hoe so you’ll have hand weed (or pay someone else to) which can take 100 times as long.

It’s stressful. The more organized, well staffed and efficient/smart you are, the less stressful it can be, but timing is everything and the weather makes a huge impact on what and when your timing is. We still will have weather related rushes this year, like trying to get the winter squash harvested before it gets rained on, but its nothing like May, June, July and August.

Everyone knows farmers work hard and are at the mercy of the weather, but I still think a lot of people don’t quite get it, so this was my attempt to help you understand. I’m not complaining . . . just trying to help you understand the deep breath I can take at the end of August. Wow, August is almost over.

Saw my first praying mantis this week. Usually I see one a few weeks before this, maybe I’m just not paying attention. I was harvesting budding golden rod for bouquet filler at the field edges when I saw her/him. Have you ever seen one fly? They look like fairies. A great benefit of having wild field edges is all the beneficials that thrive there.

Kevin saw a little tree frog in the peppers. Can you see him/her? We love all the wildlife we get to encounter, it brings such a surprising amount of joy to encounter these creatures as we go about our work.

And this guy? Not sure what he is, but what an example of ‘you are what you eat.’ This flower is called Dara, its related to wild carrot and comes in shades of pinks, maroons and whites. We love it in the bouquets, and apparently it makes cute, pink worms!

And what about this little guy? Harvey thinks we did a good job laying out the onions to cure. Lets hope its a success, because this was our best onion harvest yet.

Got a lot of tomatoes? Harvey and I had loads of fun making home-made pasta this past week. He helped the whole time, and yes, I basically had to sweep and scrub my kitchen from floor to ceiling afterwards, but it was so worth it. And the pasta was great. I totally botched the recipe by adding way too many eggs (I’m a total space cadet when it comes to recipes), but 3 cups flour (2 all purpose, 1 whole wheat), a dribble of olive oil, a pinch of salt and 6 eggs made some great pasta!

What’s in the Share?

TOMATOES (A little less, the heavy first yields are winding down, but the next plantings are just starting to mature, we’ll be looking at a few pounds/week, hopefully until October or later!
CORN – a really good batch of Montauk
LETTUCE
SCALLIONS (we need to get these out of the field – please enjoy them!)
PINTS (2 per small share, 3 per large share – lots of choice, please take cherries!)
CHOICE: Eggplant, peppers, beets, carrots, red onions, yellow onions, kale, chard, radish, arugula, cilantro, melons and SPAGHETTI SQUASH!!

Jess’s Recipes

Have you been loving the Shishito peppers as much as I have this summer? They won’t be around much longer so I’ve got THREE recipes this week that make the most of these amazing little peppers.

SHISHITO PEPPER AND HEIRLOOM TOMATO GAZPACHO

Ahhh – the perfect summer pairing: Shishito peppers and heirloom tomatoes. This tangy gazpacho can be on your table in minutes.

CHICKEN MEATBALL AND SHISHITO YAKITORI

Have you tried grilling your shishitos yet? If not, this is the recipe to try.

MANGO-SHISHITO PEPPER CHILLED SOUP SHOTS

The hardest thing about this recipe is waiting long enough for it to chill before you can eat it!

19 SCALLION RECIPES

If you’re having a hard time using up your scallions, don’t miss this article. It’s one mouth-watering recipe after another that feature scallions. Soup, pizza, stir-fry, grilled, sautéed, you name it – there’s something for everyone in here.

7 WAYS TO USE ROASTED TOMATOES

Roasting your tomatoes is a great way to get some more life out of them. If I don’t think I’m going to use all of mine up quickly, I roast them and throw them in the freezer to use during the long “no garden fresh tomato” season. Here’s a few suggestions on ways to use them.

KETCHUP

Did you know that a tablespoon sized serving of Heinz ketchup has more sugar than your typical chocolate chip cookie? When I realized that, I started looking for low-sugar ketchups but was never able to find one we enjoyed. A few years ago, I decided to try making my own and, while it is a bit of a time commitment (especially if you’re going to can it so it’s shelf-stable), it is soooooo worth it. This is not your typical bottled ketchup.

FAIRYTALE EGGPLANT WITH CASHEW BUTTER AND PICKLED PEPPERS

The pickled peppers and cashew butter are both amazing on their own but when you combine them with the Fairytale Eggplant it’s like a perfectly orchestrated summer harvest symphony.

Summer CSA: Week 11

Hi Everyone, this is going to be a short email this week. I’m giving myself a break (eg: I don’t have time since Harvey only slept 45 minutes instead of 2 hours this afternoon) and giving you the option to broaden your perspectives either through reading or audio.

You probably don’t know that Erin, our super dedicated assistant manager, is also the Development Associate for The New Garden Society, a non-profit that brings garden education and therapy to incarcerated persons in the state of Massachusetts. She never asks for time off, but frequently tells me about staying up late writing grants, evening meetings in Boston, and about the afternoons once/month when she leads a workshop for students in the program.

A few weeks back I received their annual report in the mail and it brought me to tears. If you are interested in garden education, restorative justice, or are curious about the outside work of one of your farmers I strongly suggest reading this document:

THE NEW GARDEN SOCIETY ANNUAL REPORT

Or, if you are interested, I listened to a Freakonomics Podcast during a long car ride this weekend that basically summed up my education as an undergrad. You can’t stop part way, because the first 20 minutes seems like propaganda itself.

HOW THE SUPERMARKET HELPED WIN THE COLD WAR

For those of you who just want to feel warm and fuzzy, well, here’s a few pictures, but I strongly suggest reading/listening to one or both of these.

Crazy beautiful swiss chard.
The greenhouse is FULL of really excellent onions.
Harvey was ‘helping’ us harvest tomatoes late last Monday, and lined up all of our black crates in a long row . . . we filled those crates with tomatoes for Tuesday. Last week we went through almost 1300# of tomatoes. This week the haul is just as heavy, but will start to taper off. Luckily we have two more successions planted which are looking great, so we plan to have tomatoes until after frost (the last planting is in a tunnel).

What’s in the Share
GARLIC: We are giving you a large amount of garlic (1/2 lb small, 1 pound large) this is all the garlic you will get for a while, but use it as you like!. It will last on the counter until February at least, so no rush.
TOMATOES
CORN
LETTUCE/ARUGULA CHOICE
PINTS CHOICE: Cherry tomatoes, shishito peppers, mini sweet peppers, fairy tale eggplant, hot peppers
BIG CHOICE: Kale, Chard, Scallions, Radish, Fennel, Cucumber, Zucchini, Squash, Carrots, Fresh Onions, Green Peppers, Eggplant, Probably some ripe peppers, more lettuce
(below is a pic of last weeks small and large shares – yours would look different if you made different choices)

Jess’s Recipes

VERRILL FARM CORN AND TOMATO TART (USES ONION, CORN, TOMATOES, SCALLIONS)

My mom joined us for camping this past week and on the way home she helped me brainstorm recipes. She swears by this tart from Verrill Farm in Concord. They just had their annual Corn & Tomato Festival on Saturday which, if you’ve never been, is lots of fun and definitely worth checking out. Put a reminder in your calendar for next year!

SPAGHETTI WITH ZUCCHINI AND TOMATOES (USES ZUCCHINI, SQUASH, FENNEL, TOMATOES)

Loaded with roasted veggies, this pasta dish is summer in a bowl! ‘Nuff said.

CHARRED SCALLION PESTO PASTA (USES SCALLIONS, BASIL, PARSLEY, MINT)

Scallions for EVERYONE this week! My kids are addicted to the scallion pancakes that I listed in Week 4 of the Spring Share (you can find it by searching on the Upswing Farm website if you missed it) but I’m going to try to talk them into switching it up this week. I’m a sucker for a caramelized onion, no matter what variety!

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI BREAD

With school starting NEXT WEEK, I’m starting to think about quick and easy breakfast ideas. My daughter needs to be on the bus at 6:45 and I have a hard time convincing her to eat breakfast, especially with the anxiety that comes along with starting a new school year. It’s hard to resist this zucchini bread though! I use white whole wheat flour in place of the all-purpose flour and make them as muffins (just pour into muffin tins and decrease the cooking time to 30 min or so).

CAESAR KALE PASTA SALAD

No recipe needed! Grab a bunch of kale from the choice this week, chop it up into smallish pieces and toss it with 8 oz of cooled bow tie pasta. Add a splash of your favorite Caesar salad dressing and top it with crumble whole wheat pita chips and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. Perfect for a hot summer night.

BABA GANOUSH (USES EGGPLANT AND PARSLEY)

I am not a lover of eggplant. BUT I never pass up getting eggplant when it comes around because I adore Baba Ganoush. Not only is it fun to say but it’s also delicious. If you’ve never tried it, you must. You char the eggplant (this recipe uses 3 but you can scale it down based on what you’ve got) which gives it an amazing smoky flavor and then puree it with tahini, garlic and lemon juice. Eat it with pita chips, tortilla chips or, for even more veggie goodness, dip cut up carrots, celery, peppers or cukes in it.

BLACK BEAN, FETA AND CUCUMBER SALAD (CUCUMBER, CORN, CILANTRO, SCALLIONS)

Talk about fast – you can have this one on the table in 15 minutes. So yummy and very versatile – great with peppers, tomatoes and celery too!

CHILLED ZUCCHINI SOUP WITH CHICKEN (USES ZUCCHINI, DILL, PARSLEY, SCALLIONS)

The heat is going to be cranking up again this week – perfect timing for a refreshing chilled soup. If you’re looking for another use for your scallions just swap one bunch for the 2 leeks in this recipe.

GARDEN VEG SALSA (USES TOMATOES, CUCUMBER, PEPPERS, ZUCCHINI, ONION, CILANTRO)

This one step catch-all recipe is genius for using up whatever you have leftover.

Summer CSA: Week 10

Sunnies are coming in strong this week! Don’t go home without some! Thanks Bob Durling for the great shot.

What beautiful weather we are having . . . it feels more like late August, but I’ll take it. Cool nights aren’t the best for our hot crops, like tomatoes, cucumbers, winter squash . . . temps in the 50’s slow their growth and also increase morning moisture which can lead to an increase of fungal disease. Luckily, despite some disease pressure in the fields, our harvest is going to be bountiful for the foreseeable future.

We are covering the lettuce at night so they deer don’t get any ideas. There were a few getting through/over/around the fence earlier this season, so we aren’t taking any chances!!

And believe it or not, we’ve only got 7 weeks left of the summer share (including this one). If you haven’t signed up for a Fall Share, now is the time to do it, because the price goes up on Sunday! The fall share is ten weeks long, and is my personal favorite. Pick up is every other week, but lots of the produce keeps for more than two weeks, so you get a great variety, and its cooler so using the oven is an enjoyable experience.

Fall CSA, November 2018

So far it looks like its going to be a great fall. We’ve been on time with all of our plantings, the rain has watered them all in very well, and we’re trying to increase the amount of salad mixes, spinach and other greens based on conversations with members last year. Fall is a great time to be eating local in New England.

Want to sign up? Just email me (make sure to include the name you used to register for your summer share) and I will save you a spot, no need to fill out the form. OR you can fill out the registration form and make my life a tiny bit easier 🙂

Today we are harvesting the last of the fresh onions and trying to get as many of the storage onions into the greenhouse before the potential rain tomorrow. We’re having a great onion year. I’m going to put onions in the share this week just to get some of them into your homes and away from the farm since we are running out of places to put them. The onions you are getting in the share are still fresh onions, so they should be stored in plastic bags in the fridge, but they will keep for a while (like a month at least) that way.

If you haven’t just cut an onion in half, brushed it with oil and then grilled it until tender, now is a great time. Just sprinkle a little salt and eat it. Onions are NOT just for adding flavor to other vegetables!!

I also need to get some beets out of the cooler, so we are putting beets in the share as well. This is another one that is great on the grill. I cube mine, toss in a little oil then wrap them in tin foil and put on the grill as soon as it comes to temp. Beets want about 30 minutes on the grill, so put them on first and take them off last. You don’t have to eat them right away, you could put them in the fridge then mix them with some lettuce, sprinkle a little goat cheese and walnuts and have a great salad the next day!

The rest, you know what to do with. Montauk corn this week which is a personal favorite. Tomatoes are coming in hot! Lots in both shares. Tomato salads, tomato sandwiches, eating them like apples . . . we’ve got heirlooms too, so give some crazy tomatoes a taste this week.

I’m writing this email during Harvey’s nap so he and I can go back to the farm and help pick onions. He helped last year when we were hauling them in until 7pm (we got a pizza to eat in the field!!) so we’re hoping for a repeat. He’s been doing so great just hanging with us on the farm while we work. It’s really cute.

Kevin’s got a fist full of shallots in his hand as I type this! We pull all the shallots and onions and lay them to cure for a 3-4 week period in the greenhouse so they will hold until February!!

What’s in the Share
· FRESH ONIONS (The red variety is ‘Red Long di Tropea’ an Italian Heirloom and the white is ‘Ailsa Craig’, a spanish heirloom. Both have sweet and complex flavors, and don’t cure down like other storage onions, so we’ve only got a few more weeks to enjoy them!)
· BEETS
· TOMATOES
· CORN

· LETTUCE
· CHERRY TOMATOES/TOMATIOLLOS/SHISHITO PEPPERS/MINI SWEET PEPPERS/HOT PEPPERS
(pint choices)
· CARROTS/CUCUMBER/ZUCCHINI/SQUASH/KALE/CHARD/RADISH/ARUGULA/KOHLRABI/SCALLIONS/FENNEL/PARSLEY/BUNCHING CELERY/CILANTRO? (choices)
· GARLIC

Jess’s Recipes

Brittany’s got loads of onions, so I thought I’d start by sharing a few winning onion recipes this week:

CHICKEN SAUSAGE, ONION AND FENNEL PIZZA

I don’t think I would have ever thought to put fennel on pizza but trust me, it works. The gouda cheese is a fantastic and the sprinkle of chives on top gives it a splash of color.

WHOLE SMOKED ONIONS

The next time you’re camping, or just using a charcoal grill at home, give these beauties a try! You place the whole onion in the spent coals and let it slow-cook for a few hours until it turns into a smoky puree that is amazing in sandwiches, soups, dips, salad dressing or on your burgers and hot dogs.

MAPLE-MUSTARD CEDAR-PLANK SALMON WITH ONION CRUST

My mom is camping with us this week, so I thought I’d share one of her recipes. It also happens to be loaded with onions! If you’ve never used a cedar plank to cook your salmon you are missing out. This recipe is a HUGE crowd pleaser and has been in my family for years. It comes from Yankee Magazine so you know it’s going to be good.

TOMATO GALETTE

What is summer without a good tomato galette recipe? This one has a super simple flaky crust and only a handful of ingredients that you probably already have on hand.

ROASTED TOMATOES

This is another great stand-by recipe if you’re feeling overwhelmed with tomatoes. Slice, drizzle, roast and enjoy!

CREAMY CUCUMBER, RADISH & TOMATO CHOPPED SALAD

Chopped salads are my favorite. I love the crunch factor and they’re different from the same old lettuce salads. This one uses lots of things you’ll find in your share and has a scrumptious feta-lemon-dill dressing situation going on.

GRILLED CORN ON THE COB

My absolute favorite way to do corn on the cob is to grill it. Some people grill it with the husks on but I shuck them and put them right on the hot grill rack. They only take a few minutes, just turn them as they start to blacken slightly or when you hear them popping. If you really want to gild the lily, smear some sour cream on them and sprinkle with chipotle powder and a squeeze of fresh lime. PERFECTION.

No recipe needed – you’ve got this.

SUMMER PASTA SALAD WITH GRILLED ZUCCHINI, CORN AND CILANTRO PESTO

Here’s another quick weeknight meal you can make almost exclusively with bounty from share (and some noodles).

BROILED FENNEL WITH PARMESAN CHEESE

I made these the last time we had fennel in the share and they were fantastic! Super quick and surprisingly tasty.



Summer CSA:Week 8 and Goodbye to Morgan

This week we’ve got to say goodbye to a guy who is not only one of the best friends we have, but he has also seeded, weeded, harvested and, as he would like to say, ‘picked up and put down and picked up and put down’ a lot of the produce you’ve enjoyed this year, and over the last nine years.

Morgan Evans-Weiler started working with us part time in the summer in 2012. He’s a musician and artist, but loves vegetables as much as we do (maybe more?), and likes working outside in the heat. Plus there are less violin lessons to teach in the summer. So, for a few days a week, for a few months a year Morgan has come to help us grow food. He won’t admit it, but he could run his own farm at this point, and it has been such a pleasure to work with him and enjoy his company for all these years.

(A good sound track for this blog would start with ‘These are the days’ by 10,000 Maniacs.)

Unfortunately for us, Cornell University admitted him into their MFA program and he leaves this week to get settled and start orientation in Ithaca. As his friends we are happy for him, excited for this new adventure – we know he will make the most of it. But any time a good friend leaves there is always sadness. It’s hard to put into words how important Morgan is to us. Words like smart, kind, generous and creative don’t work to describe him because they are generic, and there is nothing generic about him.

We are so lucky for his help on the farm. He works hard, has a great attitude and is usually the person to remember to bring the ‘jam-box’ to the field. He takes feedback well, tolerates our BS, and knows enough now that his feedback to us is helpful and constructive and helps the farm succeed.

I don’t like to describe any part of our relationship as employer/employee. I know that’s what it is when he works for us and we pay him, but there is a social implication of an imbalance of power that I really don’t like. I need people to work on the farm to meet the goals I set for the business. I need to manage how the work is done and it’s on me to teach them, treat them with respect, make sure there are enough red knives to around and compensate them well in order to achieve what I hope is a common goal of producing great product with minimal impact. My employees really have the upper hand when it comes to power, because I need them.

A skilled farm laborer is hard to come by. Especially for a diversified vegetable farm, where the variety of tasks is so great it takes years to even begin to master them all. This year we raised our hourly to $15/ hour for all adults who have worked with us for at least a year (we do still pay minimum wage for part time high school and college students, but usually there is a lot of training happening, and it takes a while to help them develop their skills . . . every year someone returns they get a $1/hour raise). It still feels like not enough when I have an amazing crew that I can turn loose with limited instruction and get amazing results, but it is a step. We don’t pay overtime, or sick days (but anyone can call out sick any time without fear of losing their job) or offer benefits, but the work is seasonal. A part of why we push towards year round farming is because we want to create year round employment. And it is a great balance for someone like Morgan, who has other pursuits that can be flexible with the farming season. If we can create jobs that provide enough income and security to allow our employees to pursue other interests and passions then I think we are doing something right. Because otherwise we need to hope people are desperate enough, or idealistic and privileged enough to do hard work for low wages, and that’s not the world I want to live in.

We can’t do anything about the fact that the housing market around here is outrageous, but affordable housing would be another important offering we’d like to have for employees if we had land security.

Too many people look down on the work that is done on our farm as menial. Yes, it is hard. Yes sometimes it really sucks. We do whatever we can to prevent avoidable terrible situations, but sometimes its just 90+ degrees and the tomatoes need to be picked, or its pouring rain but CSA pick up is in 5 hours and we’ve got to get 150 shares on the stand. But probably most of the people who look down on this work wouldn’t actually be able to do it.

Try showing up without any training or practice and harvesting a crate of bunched carrots that meets our quality and speed standards (12 bunches in 12 minutes). Then move on to radish, then kale. Now hoe a 450 bed of beets well enough to prevent the need for excessive hand weeding. Now put a 4th string on the field tomato trellis. Now go do the seeding list for this week. Sure, none of it is rocket science or brain surgery, but it requires a lot of training and practice to be a productive employee on our farm. Constant constructive feedback.

And its like this on all farms, everywhere in the world. You don’t have to just eat venison and rutabaga in winter because we can (as a society) ship whatever, from wherever, whenever we want to (regardless of the environmental costs). Yes a lot of product out of season is inferior, but plenty of is it still pretty darn good. And we get to have all of those things because there are people who you will never meet willing to do that work. So, if you like eating and don’t grow all your own food, I suggest supporting social initiatives that advocate for workers rights, and for healthcare for lower wage jobs that aren’t traditionally covered. Because I’m sure you wouldn’t ever expect someone to do all the work to grow your food but deny them access to healthcare, fair treatment or fair pay.

…..

We just took a break and rode the bike path from the Car Quest in Holliston to the park with the lake in Milford (don’t know what it’s called), ate a picnic supper and rode back, just before dark. I feel the need to tell you this since we saw three CSA members on our trip (two of them on a tandem bike!). We are trying to live it up while Morgan is still here, and trying to work off some of the junk food we ate at his going away party last night.

The colorado potato beetle larvae I made for Morgan’s going away party.

I made a pinata for the party. We talked about it in theory a lot this season and on Tuesday last week I decided I needed to make it a reality. I’m a super type-A, workaholic, and only value myself based on what I produce and what other people think of me. I work deliberately to quell this part of my character and occasionally attempt to exist just for the sake of existence or do things just because they bring me joy. Morgan is a role model for me in that respect. He follows his passion and deliberately makes time for and prioritizes his art and his music. So, I decided I had to make this pinata a reality, to honor the inspiration he gives me to attempt to access my creative side.

It took about 5 hours over the course of 5 days (all after Harvey went to bed) and was SO worth it. And we haven’t beaten it with a stick yet, so we still get to enjoy it hanging in the kitchen. And maybe we’ll keep it, to remind us of Morgan. OR maybe we’ll beat it with a stick, have a ton of fun and remind ourselves that nothing last forever. Not even your best friend farming with you on and off in the summer. Unless we move to Ithaca and buy a farm out there . . .

Morgan has handweeded A LOT of carrots over the years
Hot house tomatoes and hot farmers
Our bike ride picnic spot in Milford tonight.

And on to the vegetables, because they keep growing, we keep taking care of them, and we keep picking them.

The share this week is very similar to last, lots of the same produce, lots of choice. We are encouraging you to take beets and onions, because we have a LOT!

The share this week:
Lettuce
Tomatoes!!
Peppers
Cucumber
Zucchini
Carrots
Beets
Fresh Onions (red and white, both delicious)
Scallions
Dill
Parsley
Kohlrabi
New Potatoes
Probably Corn. A note on the corn – sorry Tuesday for the smaller amount of corn. The coyotes plus some confusion on harvest quantities made me afraid we wouldn’t have enough for Thursday so we gave less than we had hoped for. I promise we will make it up to you in the coming weeks!

Jess’s Recipes

This is what I’m talking about! Tomatoes, Peppers, Corn on the Cob, Zucchini – it’s the summer share at it’s finest! Most of the recipes this week are multi-taskers that will use multiple items from your share.

ZUCCHINI, CHORIZO AND SWEET CORN BAKE

This is equally delicious without the chorizo if you’d prefer vegetarian. I made this ahead and re-heated it so we could enjoy some time at the pool in the late afternoon.

SQUASH BLOSSOM CORN TACOS

If you are one of the lucky ones that finds some zucchini with blossoms still on the end, here’s how to use them! If you don’t have the blossoms, no problem – these are still delicious without them.

NEW AND IMPROVED GREEK SALAD

Peppers, onions, cucumbers, tomatoes – this recipe will use them all! This recipe calls for Italian Frying Peppers but I would just use regular peppers and add a shake or two of crushed red pepper flakes.

ZUCCHINI PANZANELLA SALAD

I love a good bread salad on a hot summer night! This one has the perfect vinaigrette and will use up tomatoes, zucchini, peppers and some of those onions!

STUFFED BELL PEPPERS WITH TOMATOES AND ZUCCHINI

While I don’t love using the oven in the summer, these stuffed peppers are worth it, and your oven will only be on for 30 minutes. Eat your dinner outside and it will be cool in the kitchen again by the time you come back in.

14 WAYS TO USE A BAG OF ONIONS

Caramelized onions are one of my favorite things. I like to make up a big batch and then throw them in sandwiches, eggs, on top of burgers and hot dogs, you name it! If you need a few more ideas for your onions, check out this article with 14 new ideas for you.

ROASTED BEET, CARROT AND KALE SALAD

I’m sure I’ve mentioned that I love a good make-ahead dinner and this one is perfect for a hot summer night. Roasted beets, carrots and shallots (I would use my fresh onions here) are roasted and tossed in a maple-mustard vinaigrette while they’re still warm and then they soak up all that delicious dressing as they cool off.

CSA: Week 8

Back in the swing of things!

Harvey got to help with harvest a little this morning – it’s great to be on this side of his procedure. Thanks again to everyone for being so supportive and helpful!

We’ve got an exciting share this week. The first peppers, sweet corn and tomatoes are in the share! And we are putting in some fresh garlic! Yay, summer!

Sunpeach cherry tomatoes.

It’s always a funny transition into tomatoes. We don’t have quiet enough for a pound for everyone, so we’ll probably do something like quarts with some larger tomatoes and some cherry tomatoes to get us started this week, but don’t worry, there are LOADS of green tomatoes getting ready to ripen. We tried to spread out the tomato harvest this year by having an early planting in one tunnel, and a late planting in the other tunnel. We are hoping to have tomatoes into October!!

The sweet corn is exciting! For those who haven’t been a part of our CSA before, here is the sweet corn 411. We use organic growing practices, which means we don’t spray chemicals on our corn to keep the worms out. Many times a season I very jokingly think to myself, “man, if only I could just spray a bunch of chemicals all over this food it would be a lot easier.” I’m not serious, for anyone feeling up in arms. It’s what I say to myself to bring a little bit of humor into a situation that feels fairly depressing, like when the leaf hoppers decimate the potato leaves about a month too early, reducing yields by probably a third. Or when the downy mildew destroys the basil just as the tomatoes start to ripen. Or when the brassica flea beetle puts holes all through the arugula and bok choy leaves we didn’t cover on time . . .

We don’t spray because we believe exposing ourselves, our crew, our customers and our environment to chemicals isn’t worth the small amount of profit/reduction in hassle we might see in the short term. It feels awful in the moment, but its a part of what we signed up for. But, I love eating whatever I want out of the field, whenever I want and never worrying about whats on it.

So, what this means for corn – there may be worms in the tip of your corn. For those of you who are squeamish, we suggest finding someone who can handle it, or cutting the tips of the corn off before you shuck them, and just putting them in the compost.

We split the corn from three planting into four this year, with the hopes of giving smaller amounts of corn over a longer season. We will know better when we pick, but we are thinking it will be about 6 ears in the large share and 4 in the small share this week. The coyotes have been eating some ears, so we will have to see how much we actually get, but that is my best estimate now. Corn is best fresh, as you all know, so eat it soon after you pick up you share (if you can, it’s still great a few days later, but its soooooo good when it’s fresh).

Wait, did she say coyotes are eating the corn? Yep. We are glad to have them (despite their natural sweet tooth which makes them pests of corn and melons) because they keep the woodchucks, voles, mice and racoons at bay. Predators are an essential part of any ecosystem – and we are always glad when we see signs of their presence.

So, what else is in the share? If you could choose some onions, bok choy and beets this week, it would really make me feel great, but I won’t make you take them!! Don’t forget that eating greens is really good for you, and one bunch a week is definitely do-able!! Oh, and fresh garlic, it’s just note cured, but it’s delicious and there is nothing special you need to know – just enjoy!

Tomatoes
Corn
Choice: Peppers/Green Beans
Lettuce
Garlic!!!
Choice: Carrots/Beets/Fresh onions/Cucumber/Zucchini/Bok Choy/Kohlrabi/Chard/Kale/Radish/Cilantro/Dill/Parsley/other herbs . . .

Jess’s Recipes

REFRIGERATOR PICKLES: CAULIFLOWER, CARROTS, CUKES, YOU NAME IT

OK – I’ve been holding out on this one, but I think it’s time. This is my favorite “use up my share” recipe. It works great for the veggies listed but you can also include green beans, scallions, radishes, zucchini, onions, peppers, asparagus. The options are endless. I usually do at least a triple batch at a time and the kids LOVE to make them. They help cut up the veggies and then they build mini jungles in the jars. The tall veggies are the different trees, the garlic is birds, the seeds and spices are the leaves and (I hesitate to include this part but it’s adds significantly to their amusement level) the cauliflower is bird poop. LOL. To finish it off, we flood the jungle with the salty tsunami brine. It’s good clean fun. These pickles are not shelf-stable but will keep in your fridge for about 3 months.

CUCUMBER AND PEACH SALAD WITH HERBS

Not into pickles? Here’s another great idea for using up your cucumbers. The peaches are perfection right now and they’re amazing paired with cukes and herbs in this summery salad.

BENEFITS OF BOK CHOY

Did you know that Bok Choy is considered to be one of the healthiest forms of leafy green vegetable? It’s a powerful antioxidant, good for your bones, heart, blood pressure, eyes and more. Check out this article on the benefits of Bok Choy and then try the Dan Dan Noodles with Chicken and Baby Bok Choy recipe. SO good!  https://www.naturalfoodseries.com/11-health-benefits-bok-choy/

DAN DAN NOODLES WITH CHICKEN AND BABY BOK CHOY

BAKED PARMESAN ZUCCHINI FRIES

Got zucchini? I know you do! While zucchini bread is delicious and is often everyone’s go-to for using up zucchini, it actually uses shockingly little zucchini. These fries are delicious and easy and will use up quite a bit of your stash. I highly recommend adding some fresh chopped dill in with the bread crumbs and don’t use plain breadcrumbs – the panko breadcrumbs make them super crispy.

FRITTATA BITES WITH CHARD AND FETA

Like a frittata only more fun! The recipe calls for sausage but I’ve made them without, for a vegetarian crowd, and they’re just as delicious. These are great to bring to a brunch or party because they’re bite sized, can be a finger food and are still great at room temperature.

THAI CRUNCH SALAD WITH PEANUT DRESSING

This is another great recipe for using up ingredients from the share. It calls for Napa cabbage but whatever variety you have will work well and it also uses up cucumbers, carrots, peppers, cilantro and scallions. I make up a giant batch of this and store it separately from the dressing and it keeps for days. It’s a great go-with for anything you’ve got on the grill or on it’s own for a lunch or snack.

Summer CSA: Week 6

Baby Bird. They grew up and flew away.

I started this blog just like a regular blog. It’s still here, a little further down, but I feel like I’ve got to get this part out early on, so I don’t lose you. Kevin and I both need to take 3-4 days off next week. Harvey has a very low risk, small PDA (patent ductus arteriosis) which needs to be corrected.

Every fetus has a small duct that allows blood to bypass the lungs, because while in utero, mom is providing all the oxygen through the placenta not the fetuses lungs. After birth, normally within a few weeks, this duct naturally closes off. In 2 out of 1000 births this does not happen right away. By being open, the PDA allows for oxygen rich blood to go right back into the lungs, forcing the heart to work harder, and can lead to a whole host of complications. We have been monitoring his PDA since he was just a few months old, when his pediatrician heard a heart murmur.

I also had a PDA which was surgically corrected at 9 months.

Fortunately, Harvey’s opening is small, less than 1mm, and with the medical advancements in the last 33 years (do some math and you’ll know my age!) he doesn’t need surgery. We were able to monitor the PDA with annual visits to the cardiologist, and echo-cardiograms. Because it was small and he had no other symptoms, we waited to see if it would close on it’s own. At this last check up, his heart was measuring slightly large for his age/height/weight so our cardiologist recommended that we have it closed.

The procedure (it’s not surgery, it’s a procedure) is done with a catheter. They will go in through his leg through a tube and place a small plug in the opening, and heart tissue will eventually grow over the plug. It’s still scary, and I worry about it being traumatic for Harvey, but it is very low risk, and we are going to Children’s. There is a day of testing beforehand, and then a possible overnight after the procedure if extended observation is needed.

We are scheduled for July 25th, his 2.5 year birthday.

I am grateful that we live in a place and time when it is possible to diagnose and treat this condition and that we have insurance. Even while I worry about our own situation, I grieve for other parents and children who are not as fortunate.

The reason I’m telling you all this is because I need help. One of our key crew members is flying home for his own wedding that same week, and we are going to be dramatically short staffed. Erin is very capable, but it takes a lot of skilled workers to get it all done (and we rarely even get it all done) around here. A lot of crew members are picking up extra shifts and Ali is willing to take field shifts if we can get the stand covered. I am looking for people who can cover the stand from 12:30-4:30 Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, July 23, 24, and 26. Basically you just have to get vegetables onto the stand from the cooler, answer questions and help farm stand customers. The ability to lift 40 lbs is helpful, but not required. Please email Kevin if this is something you could do. We prefer if you are able to take a whole shift 12:30-4:30. kevin@upswingfarm.com

We’d also be grateful if a few people were willing to come by with weed wackers and cut the grass under the deer fence. This is not critical, but it helps to keep the fence hot and keep the deer out (we’ve had at least one brazen deer making his/her way through the fence). This could happen any time, but would need to be coordinated. Please email Kevin if this is something you could do: kevin@upsiwngfarm.com

And then on Thursday, July 25th from 1:30-4:30, we’d like to invite volunteers to come help with whatever tasks Erin needs to get done. Maybe seeding, maybe weeding . . . it’s too far away to know exactly what will be needed, but many hands can make light work. If you’d like to be a general volunteer that day, please email Erin: erin.b.espinosa@gmail.com

That’s it on that. We’re also going to my grandmothers 90th birthday this weekend in Connecticut. It will be good to see a lot of family, my cousins fly in from Las Vegas tomorrow!

Now . . . back to the blog.

July is already half over. This summer really is flying by. We turned over what felt like half the farm (it wasn’t, it was a little under an acre) to prepare the beds for planting fall crops over the next few moths. I like the view in the photo above because it really highlights this time of year: beds being turned over, new beds just taking off, the beans which you can’t really make out, being all bushy . . .it’s a very mid-July photo.

It is finally fresh onion time! Erin encouraged us to try a new variety this year – Sierra Blanca. I’m very partial to Ailsa Craig and Red Long di Tropea (the fresh onions you are used to, if you’ve been with us a for a while) and since fresh onion season is only about a month long, and I love both these varieties I didn’t feel compelled to try anything else, even if the other farmers at the variety discussion last December were singing the praises of Sierra Blanca.

But when you have an assistant manager as amazing as Erin, and she wants to try something, you try it. You can also thank her for the purple radishes, ‘Bacchus” that I also love.

Aren’t they lovely? The are slightly earlier than Ailsa, pure white and delicious (pretty much all onions are . . .). I haven’t done the side-by-side taste test with the other two, but even if it doesn’t win, it will still be on the planting schedule next year.

For anyone who feels intimidated by a fresh onion, just think of it as an onion that hasn’t cured yet and has a slightly sweeter flavor. You can use them just like any onion, and the greens can be used like scallion greens. Or, you can celebrate these treats by cutting them in half, grilling them and then just eating them straight up! They are so good!

We have an abundance of cucumber, zucchini and squash again this week. We still have two healthy plantings that we are trying to stay on top of, that’s 600 zucchini and squash plants an 700 cucumber plants. Jess has a zucchini fritter recipe below, and if you are into baking with vegetables then you have to try the zucchini/carrot cake recipe I tried this weekend. It was delicious!

The cucumber on the left has scars from where striped cucumber beetles chewed on them when they were baby fruit. This is superficial scarring and the flesh is still good. Just peel and enjoy. Here’s a chance to be cool, and accept that organic farming might mean that the skin of your cucumbers isn’t pristine and that’s ok. Isn’t it better to have to peel your cucumbers once in a while (I bet a lot of you peel them anyway) than to have to wash pesticides off of them all the time?

See – it cleans right up! I dug up an old refrigerator pickle recipe my mom sent me back in 2011, the first year I managed a CSA. If you are overwhelmed with the summer cucurbits (the plant family that cucumber, zucchini, squash, cantaloupe, watermelon, delicatta, butternut and all acorn squash belong to) give this recipe a whirl. We will have some dill and cilantro seed heads in the stand which you can use to add some extra flavor to your pickles. Cilantro seed is also known as coriander, in case any of you didn’t know the relationship.

So, you ask, what’s in the share besides onions, cucumbers, zucchini and squash? Beets! Lots of beets, Jess has some great beet 411 for you all, so read on! Also, I’d be really grateful if you ate some kale and lettuce this week – we’ve got a lot and we need to move it, but pretty much we are going to let you have a lot of choice this week. Next week is going to be a more standard, less choice based share.

What’s in the share:
Fresh onions
Cucumber
Zucchini/Squash
Beets

Choice: small 4 items, large 7 items

Kale
Chard
Lettuce
Arugula
Carrots
Beans!
Peas (probably no peas Thursday, the are really pea-tering out! but don’t worry, you got your extra pint already)
Basil
Dill
Parsley
Cilantro
Thyme
Oregano
maybe a few other things . . .

Now for some recipes from Jess!

LETS TALK ABOUT BEEETS:

Not everyone loves them. In my house I’m pretty much the lone beet-lover but I still love seeing them in the share. I boil them up and keep them on hand to toss into a salad or I make a little snack of beets with crumbled goat, feta or burrata cheese. If I’m feeling fancy, I squeeze an orange over the top and grate in a little of the zest and a quick drizzle of goat cheese. Or check out the recipe below for the beet, cucumber and feta salad with basil. Boiling your own takes very little effort but they’re SO much better than the over-cooked ones you get in a can.

Amazingly my kids are now excited to see beets when we pick up the share too! How, you ask? Two years ago Brittany posted a recipe for a Chocolate Beet Cake. I saw it, debated it, decided I couldn’t do it. Every time we got beets I considered it but couldn’t bring myself to try it. Finally, last year I pulled up the recipe again and read the reviews about how this had become people’s go-to chocolate cake recipe. I was still skeptical but decided to give it a try. Now if I could just sneak it past the kids…but alas, I was caught red-handed. Literally. They still tried it though and we all LOVED it! Super rich and chocolatey without any hint of beet flavor, just a delicious fudgy moistness. Give it a try – but maybe wear gloves if you’re trying to sneak the beets past anyone. 😉

CHOCOLATE BEET CAKE

BEET, CUCUMBER AND FETA SALAD WITH BASIL

I love it when I find recipes that I can make entirely out of the bounty from my CSA share and a few pantry staples. The perfect summer lunch!

ZUCCHINI FRITTERS WITH FETA AND DILL

Got zucchini? I like to slice it into thin strips, toss it with balsamic vinaigrette and grill it for a few minutes on each side but I have a hard time getting the kids into eating it this way. Fritters are a great way to use up lots of zucchini that the kids will still eat. I love the different spin on these with the feta, dill and lemon.

DON’T FORGET ABOUT THE GREENS! (USES LETTUCE, CUCUMBER, ONIONS, CARROTS, BEETS, FENNEL AND MORE)

All the rain we’ve been having means the greens are still coming in strong! Luckily lettuce is the perfect vehicle to highlight any and all of those awesome summer veggies. Pick your favorites and toss them up with this zingy honey-lemon vinaigrette.

SWISS CHARD AND CHIPOTLE TACOS (USES GREENS AND ONIONS)

Swiss chard, kale and other hearty greens are all great sautéed with garlic as a side dish or baked into pasta dishes, but I have a hard time getting excited about casseroles in the hot summer months. These tacos are the perfect way to use up your greens AND fresh onions.

CHARRED VEGETABLE AND BEAN TOSTADAS WITH LIME CREMA (USES ZUCCHINI, ONIONS, CABBAGE AND CILANTRO)

While we’re talking tacos we shouldn’t leave out these hearty vegetarian tostadas. They’re a flavor explosion and brimming with good-for-you ingredients.

GRAPE AND FENNEL SALAD

I adore this salad. It’s crunchy and flavorful but easy and the leftovers keep really well especially if you toast the nuts and keep them separate and sprinkle them on as you serve it.

ZUCCHINI CARROT CAKE

I (Brittany) made this with Harvey, as you might know if you follow us on social media. I did tweak it: I used 2 cups zucchini and 3/4 cups carrot and added 1/2 cup flour. I also made buttercream frosting, because I didn’t have cream cheese.


Summer CSA: Week 5!!

Wow, week five already? Can you believe it? I don’t know if it’s just me, but I feel like 2019 is flying by. We are so fortunate for the excellent growing conditions of the last month and a half (that rain on Saturday was PERFECT). Our crops are coming in strong, and the variety is exciting. I’m just going to do a quick photo update from around the farm. It’s pretty random, so bear with me.

Black Swallowtail Caterpillars on Fennel (we promise we try to notice them and get them onto another host plant during harvest).
Picking peas last Thursday with our super cool crew. Yields have been high, but it’s still and incredibly time-consuming activity. So far we’ve picked over 100 buckets of peas!! This week might be the last week of peas, so enjoy!!
Harvey came to “help” with harvest on the 4th. He did great. He helped me put about 30 rudbeckia stems in a bucket, then ate a bunch of carrots, peas and cucumbers as he ran from person to person to check in, give hugs and carrots. Then the crew went with Harvey for a dip in the reservoir while I did wash, which is mostly like going for a swim.
Have you enjoyed the garlic scapes? Garlic harvest is happening on Wednesday! We’ll see some fresh garlic in the next few weeks! We are going to attempt a no-till conversion of the garlic field into the brussel sprout field by planting by hand then using more mulch around the brussels – we’ll see how it goes!!
Flower shares started last week! There is still time to sign up and there will be lots for sale in the coming weeks!

We have some veggies we need to move this week (scallions, red cabbage, zucchini/summer squash, peas and lettuce that will be in all your shares), but after that we are going to open up the last few items to a full choice. Small shares will choose 4 extra items and large shares will choose 7 extra items out of a list that includes: basil, dill, cilantro, parsley, thyme, oregano, chard, kale, mustard greens, dandelion greens, celery, fennel, pea tendrils, micro-greens, more lettuce if you want it, cucumbers, beets, kohlrabi, carrots and . . . that might be it.

Jess thought up some great recipes for the produce this week – we hope you enjoy!!

GRILLED GRUYERE AND ZUCCHINI SANDWICHES WITH SMOKY PESTO (USES ZUCCHINI/SQUASH & BASIL)

I make these sandwiches weekly during the summer. They’re quick, inexpensive and the whole family devours them. I usually make up a big batch of regular pesto whenever we get basil in the share and freeze it in silicone ice cube trays so I have plenty on hand which makes this recipe even faster. I love the Hearth & Stone Garlic Herb English Muffins (I get mine at Whole Foods) for these but they’re good with whatever kind you have on hand. I frequently swap out summer squash for the zucchini if that’s what I have on hand and they’d be delicious with tomatoes or peppers too.

BEER-BRAISED CHICKEN TACOS WITH CABBAGE SLAW (USES RED CABBAGE)

Who doesn’t love tacos?? This German inspired twist will keep things interesting but will still be on your table in 35 minutes.

11 WAYS TO USE SCALLIONS

Running out of ways to use up your scallions? This article has 11 different ways to use up whatever you have leftover.

SANTA-FE SALAD WITH CILANTRO-LIME-PEANUT VINAIGRETTE (USES LETTUCE & CILANTRO)

Whenever I go to The Cheesecake Factory I get a giant salad with chicken and corn and black beans with the most amazing cilantro-lime-peanut dressing. I love it so much that I finally googled and found this recipe so I can have it whenever I want. I despise canned corn though, so I use the frozen roasted corn from Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s or better yet, I roast my own on the grill.

GRILLED KALE SALAD WITH PAPRIKA BREADCRUMBS (USES KALE & RADISH)

If you’ve never grilled a salad before, the time is now! Kale holds up very well on the grill and it’s amazing with this creamy honey dressing, apples, radishes and crunchy breadcrumbs.

BEET SALAD (USES BEETS & PARSLEY) – PLUS 4 METHODS OF COOKING BEETS

Beets topped with pistachios, goat cheese and a super simple vinaigrette. Great for barbecues or lunch on a hot summer day: Toss 6 chopped cooked large beets with 1/2 cup each chopped pistachios and parsley, and 1/4 cup each sherry vinegar and olive oil; season with salt. Top with crumbled goat cheese. If you’re not familiar with cooking beets here is a helpful article that details four different methods:

GIGANTE BEANS WITH FETA AND BITTER GREENS (USES CHARD/DANDELION & DILL)

Gigante beans are just fun. This hearty vegetarian meal highlights them in a tasty one pot dish packed with dill and feta cheese. This is also a great way to use up tomatoes so I keep this on stand-by for when the tomato crops are booming.

GRATED CARROT-KOHLRABI AND RADISH SALAD (USES KOHLRABI, CARROT, RADISH & CILANTRO)

Grate a mix of carrots, kohlrabi and radish through the large holes of a box grater until you have about 4 cups worth. In a separate bowl mix together 1 ½ cups water, 1 Tbsp sugar, ½ cup rice vinegar, ¼  to ½ tsp kosher salt and 2 Tbsp  mint or cilantro until the sugar and salt dissolve and then pour it over the grated veggies.

CURRIED COUSCOUS WITH BROCCOLI AND FETA (USES BROCCOLI & CARROTS)

Another quick and inexpensive vegetarian summer main dish that can be made in advance and served up whenever you’re ready for it. For an extra protein kick you can add grilled chicken or steak.