Spring CSA – Week 3

Beautiful, but still wet. Our neighbors have some lovely trees.

Ok, everyone. Lets stop with the rain dances. I know some of you wish it would rain every day, but I’m telling you, just hold off for a few weeks. Yes, please, two weeks – or at least this one. I’ve got plants to plant and the soil is still so wet in our field that I can’t turn over the winter rye. I’m switching and scrambling and squishing and making it work, but boy would it be nice to just get a week of dry weather.

The soils we work with are rainbow, silt loam. They are lovely, fertile and leave a silky feeling on your hands at the end of a long day of transplanting or hand weeding. They hold water really well, which is an asset in summer. But in spring, when we need the soils to be dry enough to get our equipment in and prepare beds, its very tough, especially when it rains constantly. Water also naturally drains from the top of the hill we farm, and the water table is particularly high, making it even harder for the land to dry.

Not only does water make it hard to work the soil, but it also leaches nitrogen and other essential plant nutrients from the soil. Both through the water and, when the water is stagnant the nitrogen can actually convert to a gas and escape into the air. Learned that one today when researching nutrient leaching to make sure I didn’t just forget how to farm over the winter . . .

We are making it work, and I just thank my lucky stars that it didn’t do this in 2017 (our first full year, and the year Harvey was born) because I might have thrown in the towel from the get-go! No, probably not. But when I think back to what a lovely growing season it was that year I can’t help but feel like I was given a gift to help me make it through.

So, I’m tough, I’ve got a great crew, you are lovely, understanding customers and it is about to be summer. No, really spring, you’ve done enough, I insist, let’s let summer take a turn.

You know in about 3 weeks I’ll be complaining because its not raining.

The share this week has some smaller vegetables in it. They just didn’t not size up the way I had hoped, and the farm we are partnering with (White Barn Farm) is having similar problems with the slow, wet start. But, the cool thing is that it’s only May 20th and we’ve got a lot of veggies coming at you from our wet fields!

Here’s a quick, fun fact to brighten up this dreary blog post: did you know you can eat violets, aka Johnny Jump-Ups? Even the ones that grow in the yard. They are lovely on cupcakes for decoration, or in a salad. I never follow through, but every spring I want to make cupcakes with heaping mounds of buttercream frosting and decorate with violets . . . because eating flowers definitely balances all that butter and sugar . . .

What’s in the share:

Spinach: bagged or bunched, not sure which, most likely 1/2 pound
Mini Head Lettuce: 3 heads
French Breakfast Radish: (these are not my best radish greens, but the radishes themselves are primo!) 1 bunch
Mini Bok Choy: You can just chop this stuff up to toss in a salad/stir fry. I find it easier to wash after I chop it up. It will be hard for us to get all the soil out because it has rained so much.
Arugula: 1-2 bunches
Random bunches choice: mustard greens (really good ones, Erin’s first solo-direct seeding and they are maybe the best ever) small hakurei turnips with large greens you can and should eat, cilantro, maybe dandilion, collards, more tokyo bekana and/or kale
Green Garlic
Pea Tendrils
Over-wintered carrots from our friends at the Neighborhood Farm.

Jess’s Recipe Recommendation

Baby Lettuce Salad with Raspberries, Cranberries & Feta

May is National Salad Month so it only seems appropriate that we start out with this gorgeous spring salad with raspberries, dried cranberries and feta cheese. This would be equally delicious with strawberries or blackberries and you can easily swap the feta for goat cheese and use pecans or almonds in place of the walnuts.
https://amindfullmom.com/stir-fried-chicken-bok-choy/

Lemony Pasta with Cauliflower, Chickpeas and Arugula

Packed with arugula, cauliflower and chickpeas this hearty vegetarian dish is quick and easy. Vibrant lemon and salty capers pair perfectly with the peppery arugula. Use whole-wheat pasta for even more staying power.
https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/lemony-pasta-with-cauliflower-chickpeas-and-arugula

Honey-Glazed Radishes with Crunchy Seeds

I love crispy radishes and the French-Breakfast Radish Toasts from week one have become my new go-to breakfast but I know there are a lot of people that are opposed to the “bite” of a radish. If you’re one of them, this recipe is for you. Cooking radishes makes them milder and these quick 15 minute Honey-Glazed Radishes with Crunchy Seeds are sure to make a radish-lover out of you and your whole family.
http://www.eatingwell.com/recipe/263894/honey-glazed-radishes-with-crunchy-seeds/

Baby bok choy:

Barley Salad Bowl with Sugar Snap Peas, Baby Bok Choy and Green Romesco Dressing

Bowls are all the rage now and they’re great for a busy weeknight since you don’t need to think about side dishes – everything’s in there already. This one combines barley with Sugar Snaps and roasted Bok Choy. You’re going to want to put this Green Romesco Dressing on EVERYTHING.
http://www.eatingwell.com/recipe/263924/barley-salad-with-sugar-snap-peas-baby-bok-choy-green-romesco-dressing/

Spinach: Ham & Cheese Pizza with Spinach and Apples|

Spinach’s distinction for making Popeye strong isn’t just a story designed to get kids to eat spinach, it’s based in fact. Spinach contains C0-Q10 which is a muscle-strengthening compound and it’s especially beneficial for heart muscles. The trick is getting your kids to eat it. I challenged my 8 year old to find a recipe containing spinach that he would eat and this pizza is what he came up with. As an added bonus  it was so easy he was able to make it himself!

https://www.cookinglight.com/recipes/ham-cheese-pizza

Green garlic: Grilled Green Garlic

Green garlic is young garlic plants that are harvested before the garlic bulbs mature. It has a delicate, mild garlic flavor. This spring-time delicacy is only around for a short time so enjoy it while you can! This recipe calls for grilling the bulbs until they’re butter-soft and can be spread on toast or added to mashed potatoes. The green parts are delicious too – like a garlicky scallion and can be substituted in any recipe that calls for scallions. You could also sauté them in a little butter or olive oil and sprinkle them on top of mashed potatoes or eggs.

https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/254485/grilled-green-garlic/

Choice: dandelion greens/collards/mustards:

Maple-Bacon Greens

This recipe calls for dandelion greens but it’s really a very versatile go-to recipe for any type of greens: collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, beet greens, radish greens. etc. This is a great way to make the absolute most out of your CSA share and use up every part of those super fresh vegetables. You can use garlic (or green garlic) in place of the onions and, if you wanted a more savory dish, skip the maple syrup. If you’re vegetarian (or out of bacon) just drizzle some olive oil in the pan and move on to cooking the onions.

https://abraskitchen.com/maple-bacon-dandelion-greens/

Baby salad turnips: Quick-Pickled Baby Turnips

Don’t be afraid to try baby turnips even if you’re not usually a turnip fan. Baby turnips or salad turnips are mild and tender and don’t have the bite that some people are opposed to. You can chop them up and sauté them with their greens, dice them and throw them into a fried rice dish, roast them, grill them or slice them up in your salad. You can also pickle them! This recipe makes slightly sweet, slightly spicy pickled turnips but you could use any quick-pickle recipe if this one doesn’t sound like your thing.

https://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/quick-pickled-baby-turnips

Pea tendrils: Garden-Fresh Mint Julep

My kids inhaled the creamy pea shoot soup from week one and I love eating my pea shoots straight out of the bag but I couldn’t resist sharing this unique way to serve them. This drink is a spin on a mint julep and while we missed Derby Day by a few weeks, this cocktail will be good anytime you can find fresh pea shoots.

http://www.eatingwell.com/recipe/272747/garden-fresh-mint-julep/


Spring CSA: Week 2

Snap peas just grabbing on to the first line of trellis last week.

Week one is under our belts. We hope you are enjoying all the fresh greens! There is a lot more where that came from. I thought I’d tell you a little bit about the pea tendrils we put in the shares. The picture above is of a snap pea plant growing in the field. The tendrils are reaching out to grab on to the trellis to hold the plant vertical. With the right fertility these plants can get 6 feet tall before July!

Harvey inspecting the pea tendrils for week 3/4 of the spring share.

The pea tendrils we put in bags and eat as greens are produced in trays in the greenhouse. It allows us to use our greenhouse space even more productively (although at this time of year we are basically just filling up the spaces where we might otherwise walk the place is so packed!). Tendrils really isn’t the right name for what we bag for the CSA. Pea greens, or pea shoots might be more accurate. My cousin, Greg, re-named them ‘pea ticklers’ when we brought some to Thanksgiving last year.

We soak pea seed for a few days then spread them in trays and cover them for another few days to wait for uniform germination. We use organic 4010 field pea seeds from Lakeview Organic Grain in upstate NY. – they are super cool, and send a great newsletter.

After we have germination and the seeds have set into the soil we take the covers off and they look like the photo above. It takes about 5-7 days for them to really green up, but once they do they start to grow fast! It takes about 3 weeks from when we start to soak pea seed until we harvest. Which is actually amazingly fast!

We hope you enjoy them. We like to just eat them in salad or toss them in with a cooked pasta and Alfredo sauce. Or stir them in at the end of a stir-fry.

So, now that you know a little more about peas you probably want to know, what’s in the share?

Spinach: 1 bunch
Lettuce Mix: 1 bag
Kale/Swiss Chard: 1 bunch choice
Tokyo Bekana: 1 Small bunch
Bok Choy: quantity TBD
Scallions: 1 bunch
Bagged greens: TBD
Storage potatoes: 1 pound


Here’s what Jess Suggests for recipes:

Scallions & Bok Choy:

Mild, crispy and tender – Baby Bok Choy is delicious eaten raw and I will frequently slice it into thin strips and toss it with a salad dressing or just munch on the leaves whole. My kids? Not so much. This stir-fry is quick and easy and the ginger-honey dressing is so delicious even the kids will love it.

Stir fried chicken and Bok Choy https://amindfullmom.com/stir-fried-chicken-bok-choy/

Lettuce (probably 2 heads, or bagged loose):While my family isn’t vegetarian we try and eat vegetarian at least a few nights a week. This Southwestern Salad with Avocado Dressing is always a big hit, even with my meat loving husband, and I almost always have the ingredients on hand. 
http://pinchofyum.com/spicy-southwestern-salad-avocado-dressing

Choice: Kale or Swiss Chard:

Swiss Chard is packed with nutrients and antioxidants and pairs perfectly with Italian sausage and pasta in this quick weeknight dish. This recipe is very forgiving and will accept more or less chard depending on what you have on hand. Swap out sweet Italian sausage if you’re not into spicy.

https://www.williams-sonoma.com/m/recipe/penne-with-chard-and-sausage.html

Spinach, 1 bunch:

This Strawberry-Chicken Salad with Pecans is a sure sign of spring and we need that with all the cold, rainy days we’ve been having. I love to add poppyseeds to the dressing and I substitute whatever kind of nuts I have on hand – it’s great with almonds, walnuts or pistachios if you’re out of pecans. Sometimes I take out the chicken and toss in some mushrooms and have it as a side salad.

https://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/strawberry-chicken-salad-pecans

Micro greens and storage potatoes:

We love breakfast for dinner at my house. Eggs are something most people have on hand all the time and if you’re like us and have your own chickens, eggs for dinner becomes mandatory so we’re not overrun with eggs. This Crispy Bacon-Hash Browns and Egg dish can be served in individual ramekins or just toss it all into an 8×8” pan. Top it with your vitamin packed micro greens and dinner is done!

https://cookingontheweekends.com/bacon-hash-browns-and-egg-casserole/

1 bunch Tokyo Bekana:

Tokyo Bekana is a mild lettuce-like cabbage with tender ruffly leaves. I’m planning on tucking mine into these spring rolls with coconut milk poached chicken, basil, mint and grated carrots and a sesame-ginger sauce. My kids will eat almost anything if it’s wrapped up into a roll whether it’s a burrito or these spring rolls. In a hurry? Skip the poaching and use rotisserie chicken (or shrimp or tofu). Don’t want to deal with rolling the rice paper wraps? Just serve it all as a salad. Got leftover cilantro from last week’s share? Toss it in!


“I, the Once-ler”

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it’s not.”

I used to think that was the moral of the Dr. Suess book, “The Lorax”. I’m pretty sure that’s what most people think. Now, having read the story about 200 times in the last year to my book-hungry two-year-old (yes, I can recite almost all of it, I practice in the shower sometimes) I’m pretty sure the moral is smack-dab in the middle of the book.

For those of you who haven’t read it in a while, or at all, here is my quick summary: a young boy wanders to the outskirts of town seeking the “Once-ler”, a hermit who lives in a decrepit old building.  For a small fee, “15 cents and a nail and the shell of a great, great, great grandfather snail,” he pays the Once-ler to tell him the tale about the Lorax. The Once-ler starts by telling about himself, when he first came to the area, an enthusiastic entrepreneur, he arrived in the truffula tree forest, and started a business making “Thneeds” out of truffula tufts (“a thneeds a fine something that all people need”).

After he makes his first thneed the Lorax appears out of the tree he chopped down.  He is essentially a forest spirit, charged with protecting the trees and the creatures that live in the forest. He asks the Once-ler not to chop down the trees and the Once-ler argues he is, “doing no harm,” and “being quite useful” and continues to build an empire out of chopping truffula trees to make thneeds, which “everyone, Everyone, EVERYONE needs.”

Just as we start to learn of the ramifications of the Once-ler’s “hacking the trees to the ground” the true moral comes. The Lorax comes to the Once-ler and tells him the Barbaloots (bear-like creatures that eat truffula fruits) will have to leave the forest because there is not enough food left.

“They loved living here but I can’t let them stay. They’ll have to find food and I hope that they may. Good lucks, boys, he cried. And he sent them away.”

Here it comes . . .

“I, the Once-ler, felt sad
as I watched them all go.
BUT. . .
business is business!
And business must grow
regardless of crummies in tummies you know.”

Am I right?

The Once-ler and his family (and indirectly everyone buying Thneeds) destroy the forest, pollute the water and soil and then just leave with their money when there is nothing left to harvest. They can’t be bothered by starving animals, polluted water or air, they’ve got to get “BIGGER”.

By the time the boy comes to hear the story of the Lorax the soil is still so polluted that only “Grickle-grass grows”. And then, the Once-ler has the audacity to suggest that the Lorax’s final message was that this boy (or someone like him), who had no role in the destruction of the forest, should somehow with ‘the very last truffula seed of them all’ (think of the limited gene potential) and a toxic wasteland rebuild what he destroyed . . .

It’s preposterous.

Yes, someone like us must care a whole awful lot.  But everyone has to care enough to check themselves when they are being a Once-ler and a thneed-buyer and creating the problems others will have to deal with in the future. We all do it. How often do we do the wrong thing when it comes to the environmental or social repercussions of our actions?  I’m so concerned with my impact on the world that it’s practically crippling and yet I still do, and buy and say (or don’t say) things that have a negative impact on others.

It’s impossible to exist without negatively impacting others or taking up space that could be taken up by something else. The greatest challenge presented to us as humans, capable of realizing our impact, both present and future, is deciding what that impact will be. It is so un-sexy to deeply and actively care about how our actions and purchases affect the rest of the world. It’s definitely not what the marketers are telling us to think and feel. I even read articles by activists that suggest being concerned about the social and environmental impact of our individual purchases is a waste of time.

There are so many of us and we consume so much and produce so much waste. The only choice left if we will not take individual responsibility is to enforce policy.  What if there had been regulations in place that ensured the Once-ler harvested the truffula trees in a sustainable way? Would there still be a forest? Would the Once-ler still be making thneeds? But regulation gets in the way of ‘the free market’ and individual freedom to dominate resources when possible, and they are hard to create and hard to enforce.

The line, “business is business” is homage to capitalism. To the idea that businesses are so essential to our collective well-being that we must make allowances, and turn the other cheek, regardless of the consequences. But too often the consequences are indirect or, the Once-lers of the world hide the impacts to protect their bottom line, and their shareholders. Or the consequences only affect marginalized people (or people who don’t exist yet) who don’t have the resources to protect their rights.

Staying optimistic is really hard, especially if you aren’t very optimistic to begin with (like me). But without optimism, without believing that our actions are meaningful, that small change is important, that our own voices matter as do those around us, we won’t be able to reach any kind of solution.

I’m not offering a solution here, but, since it’s earth day I will suggest that you ask yourself before you buy something:

  1. Was a person exploited to make this (under-paid, exposed to unsafe working conditions . . . if we can’t take care of people we can’t take care of the environment)
  2. Will this be garbage some day? (Wood, natural cloth, metal, glass, food . . . these things will decompose or burn or are easily recycled , they will become something else – its plastic mostly that will inevitably be garbage and it comes in so many forms. Also, services, like music lessons, vising a museum, listening to a podcast are pretty low impact.)
  3. Do I really need this? Will it meet a need, will it make me happy for more than a moment?
  4. What else could I do instead? Is there a place where I can get this used? Is there a lower-impact option?

Changing our buying habits is a start, but it won’t be enough. Consider advocating for policy, like the plastic bag ban in Ashland, MA. Its a small impact compared to the 4,000,000,000,000 bags used world wide annually. But it can influence other towns to join, or maybe even the state or the nation?

Oh, and be nice in the process. It’s hard to not be self-righteous and judgmental and condescending and rude. I struggle with it too.  It comes from a place of frustration and feeling overwhelmed with global problems that will require epic collaboration to resolve. But it doesn’t help, and when people feel defensive, they are less likely to listen, and even less likely to change. So be kind, be understanding, and believe, that if given the chance and enough information, people will want to do the right thing. And remember, we are privileged to even have the space and time to write and read this post and consider our impact. If someone is struggling to meet their basic needs, or the needs of their family, how can anyone nit-pick their purchasing decisions? Advocating for social justice is a step towards environmental sustainability and more important than recycling or buying ecologically friendly things. People who are taken care of are more capable of taking care of others and the world around them.

We use too much plastic on our farm (seedling trays, soil bags, greenhouse skin, row cover, soil bags . . .). We are working to reduce the plastic on our farm, but in the mean time we will continue to use it for as long as it is usable, source it as responsibly as possible and recycle whatever can be recycled, even if it means driving to special recycling facilities to do so.

We also still do a fair amount of tillage to prepare the soil for planting. Ever since I became aware of no-till production about five years ago I have run minor experiments, and paid attention to soil quality and crop quality when it comes to tillage, and I can tell you, less tillage=healthier soil=healthier crops. The problem? We are squeezed onto a small acreage trying to make enough money to stay in business when real farming is barely a viable option in our area. If we had long term security we’d be investing heavily in a variety of improvements to lessen our impact on the soil. But for now we will continue to use minimal tillage, grow cover crops, and work towards long-term land security. And be aware and care.

We can’t have no impact, but we will do our best to have the least impact possible, and to constantly improve, because we love this world, we love life and beauty and joy, and we want to preserve, protect and promote that for as many others as possible.

Happy Earth Day!

Preparing and Planting the Tunnels for the Spring Share

Morgan and Erin planting Spinach last Thursday morning.

When Bob Durling emailed last week asking if there was anything to take pictures of at the farm, I got inspired. We were planning on planting the tunnels on Thursday, and wouldn’t it be cool to document the process and then put it on the blog? Well, the stars aligned, Bob was available and the weather cooperated, so, ta-da! Here is a narrative and some excellent pictures describing how we plant the tunnels.

Our Tunnels are 12’x72′, with hoops spaced every 4′. Their rounded shape (refereed to as ‘quonset style’) is not sufficient to support the snow load of a typical New England winter, and their narrowness does not allow them to hold very much thermal energy, so we take the plastic off in winter, usually around Christmas, and put it back on the first week of March. This year, we let the heavy snow of early March fall before we covered: first, so we didn’t have to worry about the tunnels collapsing and second because we didn’t get much precipitation this winter, and it’s actually good for the soil to get a natural ‘flushing’ before being covered again.

We then let the soil warm and dry before spreading compost (roughly 2 yards per house). We don’t use much compost on this land because there is very high phosphorus and potassium, so adding compost (a source of both) is not recommended. But, the tunnels produce so much food each year, we like to start with a healthy dose of compost both to add slow release nutrition and as a soil conditioner. Humus, which is fully decomposed organic matter, has a slightly negative charge and can hold water and other positively charged minerals like calcium and magnesium, increasing their availability to our crops. (We did the compost the day before we did the photo-shoot, and didn’t take pics, but you can imagine Erin and Kevin shoveling rich, dark, beautiful compost off the back of the big black truck.) We buy in from Weston Nurseries in Hopkinton – it’s certified organic and high quality.

To prep the beds we first marked the center of our pathways (two per house) and used a shovel to dig them just slightly deeper than our beds, tossing the soil from the pathways into the beds. This makes our pathways clearer to see and it also helps to use the fertility of the pathway soil. We then use a broad fork (see Morgan in brown hat above on right and left) to gently loosen the soil by inserting the fork, lifting the soil just enough to loosen, then doing the same thing about 1 foot away. The soil is lifted by rocking the handles back, so there isn’t any physical lifting of soil, but still plenty of physical effort. It’s a good spring workout! Then we rake the beds level, and remove any remaining weeds (yes! there were plenty of chickweed plants that survived being uncovered from January to March).

The soil is already fairly loose and we try not to invert it when possible, so we don’t do much more than this to prep the beds. Oh! we do add a slow release organic fertilizer to provide a little extra nitrogen for our hungry spring greens.

We shake the fertilizer on by hand. The label pictured above, from the fertilizer bag, is an important one to know. It means the product has been approved for organic use by the Organic Materials Review Institute. If you are someone who cares about organic gardening, this is a good website to check out and an important label to know.

We use minimal amounts of granular fertilizer in our tunnels because they can cause a salt built up if used excessively, but because we are able to uncover the houses for a few, usually wet, months of the year, we are not too concerned with using small amounts.

The other thing we did (which you can see Kevin working on in the left picture, and Erin working on in the right picture) is install overhead irrigation. The irrigation has small, oscillating emitters that hang from the header tube attached to the ridgepole of the greenhouse. They spray a fine, even, gentle mist that is great for watering in directly seeded crops and transplanted crops. We would never use something like this to water tomatoes, because they are highly susceptible to fungal leaf diseases and one of the major benefits of growing them in protected environments is controlling the moisture. But, it doesn’t hurt to let the overhead hang there all summer and then water the fall greens in September/October.

Our spinach, which was seeded 3 seeds per cell in 128 flats on March 1st was showing some signs of nitrogen deficiency. The pointy leaves that you see in the close-up on the far left are the cotyledons, the pre-formed leaves inside the seed casing that are first to emerge when the seed germinates. Their slight yellow coloration is an indication that they are deficient in nitrogen. We use an excellent point soil mix from Vermont Compost which almost always is sufficient for our seedlings until transplant, but there was a little bit of 2018 soil left in the soil bin when we started this year, that got mixed in with the first 2019 soil. The 2018 soil got rained on over the winter when the lid came off (we took the bin out of the greenhouse to make room for our winter CSA distribution). Rain leeches nitrogen from soil, which is what we think explains the deficiency.

In any case, they are excellent transplants, despite showing a little hunger, and we gave them a ‘fishing’ for a little nutritional boost. Erin mixed just a tiny glug of fish emulsion (literally super ground up fish guts, the waste product of fish processing) with water and watered all our trays before we carried them on a handy plant stretcher to be planted in the tunnels. This liquid fertilizer is highly available to our plants, which is great for a small boost, but because of its availability it is not very stable, and is not a lasting source of nutrition (unless you keep applying).

We plant the spinach plugs 6″ apart, 4 rows/bed. It took just under 12 flats to plant 3 beds. The other three beds were planted into: direct seeded french breakfast radish, direct seeded arugula, and one bed was half swiss chard transplants, half lascinato kale transplants. The soil is loose enough to plant just with our hands, but the trowels have markings that help us measure how far apart our seedlings are. They are planted in a grid pattern.

We use a Jang Seeder to plant the direct seeded crops. It is a very precise seeding tool with multiple adjustments that allows us to plant the exact number of seeds/foot we desire (after a little fussing with it….).

So now the beds are all planted, watered in and covered with multiple layers of floating row cover at night to keep the soil warm and the frost out of the tunnels. The arugula has already germinated and I’m sure radishes are right behind.

Thursday is our no-child-care day, so Harvey got to ‘help’ a little bit.

Well, I hope you learned something, and got excited about spring vegetables!

Follow us on Instagram and Facebook for more regular updates on what goes on at the farm!

Winter’s Almost Over . . .


Harvey planting some marigolds for his grandmothers.

Wow, what a winter it has been. Not too bad weather wise, though. We were actually pretty glad for that last snow fall, and not just because we wanted to get a chance to make at least one snow fort with Harvey before the season ended. Snow is a great insulator, both for the fields and for the walls of the greenhouse! Plus we were able to wait to re-cover the low tunnels. The soil inside greenhouses can get salt build up and a part of the reason we uncover our tunnels in the winter (besides not needing to clear snow away) is to allow precipitation to wash the salts away. 15″ of snow will definitely do the trick!

The real reason for this blog is tell everyone who has already signed up for the CSA how grateful we are for their early support. This is the first year we have not had to worry about cash flow in spring (one of the ways a CSA really helps a small farm succeed). It also just feels good to already know so many families are committed to us. We think of you when we plant seeds, order supplies and water the greenhouse every day . . . if you haven’t yet joined don’t miss the opportunity, we are very close to sold out of all summer shares! Click here to sign Up.

Spinach and bok choy for the first spring share, May 7th!

As many of you saw on social media, I was able to participate in the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) ‘Growing Your Farm Business’ Course this winter. It was a last minute sign up because the class was modified to meet the business planning requirements of all state and many federal grant and loan programs. It was also good to have deadlines to get me to finally finish our business plan. As always (for me anyway) the best part of the class was meeting and getting to know other farmers from across the state. A part of the reason why I wanted to become a farmer is because I think farmers are the coolest ever. I still get star-struck when meeting and talking to other farmers.

Brittany after ‘graduation’! It was a lot to drive to and from Amherst every week, but definitely worth it!

I also got a chance to present a gardening class for the Holliston Garden Club at the senior center on March 5th. It was a great crowd (I think more than 50 people) and the response was very enthusiastic (unless everyone was just being polite . . .). Sharing my love and passion for growing food is incredibly satisfying and a great way to meet and engage with my community. It’s was filmed and will be on HCAT TV soon. If I can get a copy/link I will share online.

Pea Tendrils and micro-greens headed to the March 23rd Hopkinton Winter Market

The Hopkinton Winter Market has been a huge success. New this year, we were invited in October, when much of our produce had already been pre-sold to our Winter CSA. But we did have some excess and it was great to get out and see our loyal customers once a month. We also attended the Ashland February market and will be at their next market in April.

Upcoming Markets:
March 23rd, 9am-1pm @Weston Nurseries
April 6th, 9am-1pm @Ashland Middle School
April 23rd, 9am-1pm @Weston Nurseries

At the market this weekend we will have: carrots, sweet potatoes, onions, potatoes, kohlrabi, rutabaga, popcorn, spinach, pea tendrils and micro-greens. YUMMY!

A few recipe ideas:

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos (topped with micro-greens!)

Carrot and Kohlrabi Slaw

A healthy tray of roasted roots with a side salad of chopped spinach, pea tendrils and micro-greens would also be a stellar way to welcome spring. Yum. That’s definitely what I’m making Saturday after market, as long as there are any veggies left to take home!

Fall CSA – 5th (and final) Distribution

Upswing-11-15-1268
The pea tendrils are much bigger now, but Bob Durling got a great shot of them at the last pick-up.

Wow – last distribution of the fall share.  Can you believe it?  Thanks to everyone on Thursday who was flexible about picking up in the greenhouse.  You helped us make it work and we really appreciate it!  What cold weather!  Believe it or not, we are still managing to pick from the fields.  Your spinach, lettuce, kale, leeks and brussels this week are all coming out of the field! We use extra layers of row cover to keep them from dying during deep freezes like the ones we had last week.  They still freeze, but these crops can handle freezing and thawing if they are growing in cool weather, and it even makes them taste better!!

IMG_6208
We uncovered the spinach this morning and although there was some frost damage, we were able to get a pretty good yield out of these beds.  Looks like Kevin is getting a good stretch in!

We are so grateful to all of you for joining us and enjoying the fall bounty of a small, sustainable New England farm.  Although the weather this season was not perfect, we know that by choosing to farm in New England (and because of Climate Change) each year’s will bring new challenges.

We are proud to still offer abundant, high quality produce in spite of a challenging season.

Our Winter Share is full. If you signed up you will receive an email on a few days with details about pick up.  If you didn’t get a chance to sign up, we will email you in January with information about sign-ups for next year.  The Spring share sells out fast, so when you get the email I suggest signing up ASAP!

But, back to this share. You might still have sweet potatoes, potatoes and onions left (it was our intention) or you might have used them all up (good for you!).  This share is very green, so get ready for some great salads, a coleslaw and maybe a few sautés.

What’s in the share:

Lettuce (mini heads), roughly 3/4 pound

Spinach, roughly  1/3 pound

Kale, roughly 1/2 pound, these are “kale tops” or the tops of the kale plants.  We harvest kale like this when we know the plants aren’t going to survive much longer.  Just use the kale as you would any bunch of kale.  We suggest using the stems and all, just chop them finely, because they are so sweet at this time of year.

Pea Tendrils, roughly 1/5 pound – great for salads or very lightly stir-fried.

Arugula or mild baby mustard greens choice: roughly 1/3 pound (use first, slight frost damage on some leaves, but it still has fabulous flavor raw in salad or slightly steamed)

Cabbage, one medium head, savoy or napa

Leeks and celeriac, one pound mixed

Carrots, Storage Radish, Turnips, Rutabaga and Kohlrabi: 4 pounds mix and match

Butternut and Carnival Squash, roughly 4 pounds

Brussels Sprouts, one pint

You’ll also be able to take some popcorn instead of some squash, cabbage or root vegetables if you choose. Or you can just purchase extra if you don’t want to give anything up!

Eat lots of salads. The lettuce  and arugula/mustard greens should be used first. Spinach chopped and pea tendrils make great salads.  Try a Vinegar Based Cole Slaw instead of a mayo based slaw for a lighter feel.

Also, don’t forget about pesto. This Kale Pesto looks good, but you can use just about any greens (except the lettuce) to make a pesto. Or Pea tendril pistachio pesto.  Remember that pesto freezes really well (I suggested leaving the cheese out if freezing and add it in after  . . . or skip it!).

Winter is a great time for Kale Chips or easy Sauteed Kale, but you might want to go for something more warming, like Kale and White Bean Soup (with potato, carrots and tomato) or something fancier like a Phyllo Pie with Kale, Butternut and Goat Cheese.

Brussels Sprouts are pretty trendy, and delicious, but if you aren’t into them, or have bad childhood memories may I make a suggestion?  Choose a recipe that requires cutting the brussels.  A roasted, whole brussels sprout can have a creamy texture, which might not appeal to some.  By cutting the brussels you allow them to be crispier, which I think is more generally appealing.  Try this recipe.

As for the winter squash – we are still fans of cutting them in half, roasting them at 400 degrees until they can be stabbed easily with a fork and then scooping out and eating, usually just with salt, but butter or maple syrup or brown sugar or whatever is your thing is good too.  But if you want to take it up a notch, it’s great to try stuffing them! Try this recipe from a CSA member for stuffed Acorn Squash (you can use carnival). Here is another great How-To on Stuffing Winter Squash.

Again, thanks so much for joining us for the Fall Share – we really hope you enjoyed it, and if we won’t see you for the Winter Share, you can visit us a Weston Nurseries once a month for the Hopkinton Winter Farmer’s Market, starting December 15thfrom 9am-1pm.

And of course, we hope to see you next year!  We’ll send an email around the first of January with sign-up information!

 

Fall CSA: 4th Distribution

Upswing-11-1-18-9817
The Third Distribution

Upswing-11-1-18-9829
Plus All the Extra Potatoes, Onions and Sweet Potatoes!

Our awesome photographer took the time to take two shots of the share last week, one with 1/3 of the sweet potatoes, onions and potatoes, and one with ALL of them.  If you remember, we had you collect the rest of the potatoes, sweet potatoes and onions for the Fall CSA share, because they can be easily stored without refrigeration and we had run out of storage space at the farm.

So this week’s share will feel a tad smaller than the last one! 🙂

Remember, about 1/3 of the potatoes, onions and sweet potatoes you took home last time were planned for this distribution.

Ok, have I hammered on that nail enough times?

I’m very excited about this week’s share.  This is when crops start to get extra crisp and extra sweet!  They are storing sugars to use as food to grow seeds when the weather warms up, but little do they know that we will swoop in and harvest them before that can happen, taking advantage of all that sweet, stored energy to feed ourselves during these increasingly cool, dark days.

We have a special planting of smaller carrots that will be bunched and in the share this week.  I recommend washing, not peeling and just eating them straight up.  They are the sweetest carrots you can possibly get your hands on.  I don’t like to leave lots of carrots out in the field for very long – they are a magnet to all mammals, not just humans! Last year we lost about 2000 lbs to deer – luckily our yields were off the charts and we still managed to have a massive harvest even so. But they are so good when they’ve experienced several freezes!

And for those of you Tuesday members who are looking at the above picture and thinking, hey, how come I didn’t get broccoli last week – there will be a broccoli/brussels choice this week for Tuesday. We know people love broccoli and cauliflower, I even tripled my plantings from last year because of it, but it has been a horrific fall for broccoli on our farm.  We lost over 2000 heads to alternaria and brown-bead, both of which make the heads rot before they can be picked.  Bummer.  But I’ll do it again next year, because I know it makes you all so happy.  I’ve been to countless workshops and read numerous books that tell me not to grow the crops that aren’t profitable (read:broccoli), but broccoli is just one of the crops that I can’t help but keep on trying . . .

Spinach is actually going to make it into the share this week.  That’s another crop I try to have on a really consistent basis (we planted enough to have it every distribution, but crazy hot weather at planting then cold, wet weather has really stunted it in the field).

I know the big T-day is coming up.  It’s probably my favorite holiday.  I’m not going to do the big story this year, or tell you how to use this share for that day.  My recommendation is to anticipate eating a lot on the 22nd (and probably the 23rd and 24th if your holiday is anything like mine) and just enjoy your share as a healthy preparation.  Eating lots of raw veggies (like raw carrots, turnips, spinach, lettuce . . . ) is a great way to add some fiber and vitamins/minerals to your diet and flush your system – and it’s not a lot of work!!

If you are really looking for something for Thanksgiving we recommend coming to the Ashland pre-Thanksgiving Farmer’s Market.  9-1 at the Ashland Middle School.  It’s always a blast and we’ll have all the goodies, or you can stock up at the farm stand this week.

Here are a few pictures of what has been going on at the farm this fall:

IMG_6042
We ordered the potting soil for next year – I guess we’ll be doing this again!!

IMG_6127
We’ve been adding row cover to protect the rest of the fall share greens and winter share greens in the low tunnels!  21 degrees in the forecast this week!

IMG_6102
We taught Harvey how to turn the compost pile.

The Share

1 bunch “extra sweet” carrots

2 pounds (still very sweet) carrots

1 bag spinach (amount TBD)

1 bag lettuce mix (amount TBD)

1 head of lettuce

1 lb choice: leeks, celeriac, beets

1 bunch sweet turnips or radishes

3-4 lbs winter squash (butternut or carnival)

brussels sprouts and broccoli (broccoli only on Tuesday, brussels might be on the stalk or in pints, actually amounts TBD)

garlic/shallot pint

Plus aprox. 2.66 lbs of sweet potatoes, 2.66 lbs potatoes and 1.33 lbs onions which you picked up last time.

 

Recipes

Chicken and Sweet Potato Dumplings (I got the idea from my mom, but not the recipe yet, she said it was delicious – this recipe looked good but I’ll share the one she used when I get it)

Sweet Potato Gnocchi (another idea from my mom)

Honey Glazed Turnips (I recommend doing 1/2 turnips, 1/2 carrots for this one)

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Sauteed Brussels and Shallots

French Onion Soup (For those of you who use less onions and want to eat some up!)

Butternut Squash Alfredo Pasta

Enjoy!

 

 

Fall CSA: 3rd Pick Up

root crops to root cellar.JPG
Potatoes and Onions on their way to the root cellar.

We still have a lot of vegetables! Our 10×10 cooler is almost full of carrots (mostly carrots), beets, radish, kohlrabi, turnips, rutabaga, celeriac and cabbage. Our greenhouse has several tons of butternut squash and sweet potatoes, plus a few other varieties, and is growing lettuce and spinach.  The field still has more than an acre of crop to harvest, including lettuce, arugula, cilantro, kale, swiss chard, spinach, dill, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower (fingers crossed) and more carrots.

We borrow root cellar space from a friend (really fancy, built last year, “state of the art”) in Dover and we are allowed 2 pallets stacked 7 black crates high.  Last week we brought onions and potatoes, which stored really well there last year, 70 crates, roughly 3,300 pounds.  I picked up almost every crate twice in that process and had a lot of help from Erin and Kevin and our friends who lend us the space.  Yikes.  Plus we had to drive the produce to Dover, and now we’ll have to go back and forth to get them for the winter shares (yes, all of those potatoes and onions are just for the winter share).

Not having secure land tenure is the reasons for this great vegetable shuffle.  It is incredibly inefficient and my back won’t tolerate it much longer.  If we owned land, or at least had a long-term lease, we would build the storage infrastructure we need (and make sure we could put down entire pallet of produce with a tractor, or at least use a pallet-jack). I’d love a concrete floor.  Except I just saw this reminder on BBC News yesterday about how our culture’s desire for concrete is one of the many ways we are rapidly destroying our planet.  Luckily a quick google search shows I can source recycled concrete when the time comes.

All this is a lead up, to let you know that we are going to be giving you large quantities of sweet potatoes, onions and regular potatoes this week.  We had great yields on these crop this year and just do not have the make-shift storage needed to keep them all.  We will provide paper bags for the sweet potatoes and potatoes.  I wouldn’t wash them right away when you get home, they are better kept with soil on them until you are ready to use them.  But you can and if you use them all by the end of the Fall share (mid-December) they should be fine.  Keep the potatoes in the dark though, sunlight causes them to turn green. Onions are fine on the counter or in a cabinet, and we’ve got some nice variety so they will look pretty.

You’ll be picking up:

8 lbs of sweet potatoes (store in paper bag in cabinet)
8 lbs of potatoes (store in paper bag in cabinet, or basement, a cool place that doesn’t freeze)
5 lbs of onions (store on counter, or in bag near potatoes)
Plus the rest of the share.

This is your allotment of these items for the rest of the fall share.  For those of you worried about having space for these, know that they are pretty dense and don’t take up that much space.  Plus, you can feel really good about utilizing the temperature controlled space of your home to reduce your carbon footprint!!  Plus, you have more control over when and how you use these items.

This means your last two fall shares might feel a little smaller (about 7 lbs smaller each), but its because you’ll have already picked up of some of the vegetables this week.

We’ll have some cool varieties to choose from if you want to pack you own bag, and we will be pre-packing bags for those of you who want to grab and go.  Our sweet potatoes are all the same this year (the white and Japanese varieties are cool, but the yields are so low by comparison that we just couldn’t justify growing them again this year).

We’ll mark the varieties on the onions and potatoes so you know what you are picking from.  There is a variety of potato called pinto gold which we strongly recommend. And a flat white onion called cippolini which is definitely worth a try.

What’s in the rest of the share

Brussels Sprouts
Maybe Broccoli/Cauliflower choice
Carrots, 2lbs
Mix and Match Choice 2lbs: Rutabaga, kohlrabi, purple top turnip, beets, watermelon radish
Lots of lettuce, small heads and lettuce mix
Choice, 2 items: Kale, chard, spinach, escarole, frisee, cilantro, maybe a few other items
Winter Squash (5-6lbs): Butternut, pie pumpkin, carnival
Sweet potatoes
Potatoes
Onions

Recipe Ideas

Brussels Sprouts.  The sprouts are small and tight this year.  I prefer the larger, looser sprouts, personally, but these poor plants suffered through what we all thought was the July/August Brussels Sprouts Apocalypse.  No rain for about 3 weeks after planting and the WORST flea beetle pressure I have ever witnessed.  Somehow they pulled through, a couple varieties better than others, and we’ve had a few good frosts, so we are pretty excited about this first harvest.  We give them to you on the stalk.  It’s very easy to break them off with your fingers, which is what we recommend, or you can use a knife.  We’ll have a station a the farm so you can break them off there and leave the stalk for us to compost (we really want the stalks to be composted so if you don’t have a home compost, please consider leaving the stalks). This is a fun activity for your kids.

Storage Radish. We grow larger radishes that keep well in a cooler for winter use.  They are sweeter than their summer cousins and great shredded on salads or even cut up on a veggie plate.  Plus they are beautiful!

Rutabaga.  We didn’t actually manage to get any of these out for you guys last time, but there are lots now!  These are one of my favorite fall crops.  I love to roast them cut into small cubes with oil, maybe add a little thyme and salt.  They are great mixed with other veggies for roasted roots.

Chocolate Beet Cake. For those of you who have been with me for a while, you know I love chocolate beet cake but I haven’t made it in a while.  But after Harvey asked for red cake the other day, I realized I had the answer (the batter looks more red than the result, which looks like chocolate cake).  I had some leftover small beets that I had boiled and then forgotten about in the fridge.  I just cut the top and roots but left the skins and put them in the blender.  It looked like it would be about what the recipe called for so I didn’t measure.  I make the whole recipe in the blender so I don’t have to wash a third bowl and it works out well.

Purple Top Turnips. Harvey ate a whole one of these raw on Saturday.  He asked for it.  I’m serious.  We gave a friend some vegetables and Harvey saw us giving him the turnip (I think it was the first one he has seen) and really wanted to keep it for himself.  Luckily I had another in the fridge so we didn’t have to do a deep dive into a sharing and generosity struggle.  He carried his around with him for a little while, then handed it to me and said, “Mama, peel it.  Cut it.  Big pieces.” The boy knows what he wants. So I did and he ate almost all of it. I don’t usually eat them raw, but check out these 20 recipes that can give you some inspiring ideas for what to do with these super healthy roots.

Butternut Squash. These have had plenty of time to cure and sweeten (it takes about a month after harvest for butternut to realize the true potential of their flavor).  I’m sure most of you are familiar with this yummy winter treat provided by the cucurbit family (yep, this is cucumber and zucchini’s cousin). Here are 26 ideas of what you might do with your butternut squash (besides just roasting and eating, or soup, which are both amazing choices).

Enjoy!!

IMG_5934

 

 

 

 

Fall CSA: 2nd Pick Up

You know you’ve had enough rain when you pull a carrot and the hole left behind immediately fills with water. . . so we are going to talk about eating food, rather than growing food today. (Although we did have fun preparing and planting our last transplants in the big greenhouse last week!)

Despite the weather we still have some really great crops.  We are especially excited about the variety for this week’s pick up.  Here is some of the food we have been eating (most of the recipes are approximations I found online, we don’t typically cook with recipes – although using them as guides is definitely useful if I’m trying something totally new).

Simple vegetable soup (you can add chicken, white beans, lentils, barley, pasta, rice . . . ) We used onion, shallot, celery, carrots, fennel, potatoes, garlic and lots of thyme and oregano.  Some canned tomatoes would have been nice too.

Fish Tacos with Napa/Cilantro Slaw! These were really good.  I don’t like the looks of a lot of the recipes online, so I’ll try to write what I did – the slaw would be good on it’s own, no tacos needed:

Napa Slaw
1 head napa (very finely chopped)
1/2 bunch cilantro (very finely chopped)
1 small red onion (very finely chopped)
1 large carrot (grated)
(mix vegetables with a fork until evenly distributed)

Make dressing in a bowl:
1/4 cup mayo or mayo substitute (we use Veganaise – we like the flavor better than mayo)
2 crushed garlic cloves
2 TBSP olive oil
1-2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 TBSP lime juice
1 tsp salt (you can add more to taste after mixing)
Whisk ingredients together until well blended.  If you don’t like tang use less vinegar, or you can add sugar, but I try really hard not to use sugar because its not supposed to be good for me or something (says the lady who ate Oreo’s last night).
Taste the dressing BEFORE you put it on – if you don’t like it, doctor it first!
Add salt and pepper to taste.

Pour over the shredded vegetables and allow to mellow at least 1 hour.  I usually leave it on the counter, but if I need to leave it for longer than that I will put it in the fridge.

The Fish Part – we baked Haddok in tin foil at 375 in the oven until cooked through.

The Tortilla Part – we used soft, flour tortillas and warm them on the pan before eating.

The rest – we also had arugula, black beans sauteed with roasted sweet potatoes and garlic, shredded cheddar cheese . . . .

Simple Alfredo Sauce on Rigatoni with Sauteed Onion, Peppers and Kale and Roasted Eggplant

Harvey loves Rigatoni – the large, tube pasta.  He can look through them, put them on his fingers and I assume they also taste great . . . . he also like Parmesan cheese.  Like, he would chew on the block if I let him – which I did once by accident. So we make my version of an alfredo sauce and pasta once every week or two.

Simple Alfredo Sauce –  The way I make it is pretty similar to this, but I basically halve the recipe for 1 pound of pasta.  I find that a good coating is plenty, I don’t need the sauce dripping off the pasta. I also always add at least a tsp of oregano and thyme.  Probably not traditional, but so yummy.

*I also cut up a carrot into Harvey sized cubes and put them in the boiling pasta water.  He likes carrot and its a great way to get his veggies cooked at the same time. He’s not a big fan of the other veggies in this.

Roasted Eggplant – This is actually simple.  Don’t be afraid of eggplant.  Seriously.  This article also debunks the myth that eggplant needs to be salted.  It doesn’t.  I never do anymore.  This week is your last chance for Upswing Eggplant until next July.

Sauteed Onions, Peppers and Kale – I think you’ve got this.  Sometime I will add a dash of sherry or white wine after I have sauteed the onions and peppers, right when I add the kale and then cover for a minute or two . . .

Shishito Peppers – none of ours are hot.  They are mild, with subtle pepper flavor.  This is your last chance to try  them this year.  We suggest tossing them in oilve oil and baking at 400+ until they are blistered and cracked.  Then just sprinkle with salt and eat as soon as they are no longer too hot to eat.  Its a great pre-dinner snack, something to put in the oven while you are also roasting sweet potatoes.

Harvey ate his first sweet potato of this year, finally, last night.  He has ignored them, refused to try them, thrown them on the floor.  But last night, our computer, which is next to our kitchen table, was on slide show mode during dinner, and a picture of me from about 4 years ago came up.  In the picture I’m holding a big beautiful sweet potato up to the sky (its a great shot, definitely in my top ten favs).

When he saw it he said, “Mama. Sweet Potato! Eat It!” I began to explain to him that when you harvest a sweet potato you first have to cure it, then wash it and cook it before you can eat it.  As I was talking he turned to me with a big grin, fork held high above his head, then wham, down it came, skewering a roasted sweet potato cube which went immediate into his mouth!  Hazzah!!

We don’t typically worry when he does or doesn’t eat something, but I was like, come on, sweet potatoes?  They are the best.  We are into savory sweets over the sweet recipes, like with marshmallows, or maple syrup, but we do like to indulge on Thanksgiving!

Did you know sweet potatoes is one of the only plant food with enough nutrition for a human to survive on solely for an extended period of time? Here is a silly, but interesting Popular Science article about it. The take away: eat a wide variety of foods!

Butter Roasted Sweet Potatoes
This is a fancy version of what we do multiple times a week.  Many times we don’t even bother to peel our sweet potatoes.  You can cut them thinner than in this video and they will cook faster.  We usually just use olive oil.

Dad Dinner.  We call it Dad Dinner because Kevin usually makes dinner about once/week, maybe twice (because I love to cook and I find it therapeutic, not because we are gender normative and think women should do all the cooking, in fact, he made two fabulous dinners the last two nights).

Dad dinner is really good and healthy too: Sushi Rice with Pan Fried Tofu and stir-fried vegetables (whatever is in the fridge – napa, bok choy, kale . . . all would be good). Use the links for tips, but we feel like keeping tofu on the menu once/week is important, since for some reason it is one of Harvey’s favorite foods – and we really like it too.

Sauteed Escarole with Garlic and Parmesan – For those of you in the summer share, you will remember my blog diatribe about bitter greens.  Fall escarole is one of my favorite foods.  I can slurp down a whole head by myself when sauteed with oil, salt and garlic.  Yum.

Arugula salad with olive oil and salt. Wash it, drizzle a little oil, sprinkle a little salt, enjoy!

Roasted Root Vegetables
We especially like carrot, beet and rutabaga together right now!!

Pumpkin Soup

A lot of roasting, stir frying and fresh salads at our house.  We hope you are enjoying your fall share.   I can’t get this song out of my head.  It’s silly, but I think Weird Al said is best, to the tune of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It”: Just Eat It!

What in the Share
We are attempting a lot of choice in this next CSA pick up – we will see how it goes.

Choose 7 items:

lettuce mix
arugula bagged
head lettuce
Shishito peppers
celery
bok choy
radishes
cilantro
swiss chard
kale
escarole/frisee
napa cabbage
mustard greens

Choose 10 Pounds:

Potatoes
Carrots
Sweet Potatoes
Acorn Squash  (these will be limited to one/share because they are the last of them!)
Carnival Squash (These are amazing!  Don’t be afraid – they are really simple to just cut up and roast, or you can try stuffing them)
Beets
Rutabaga (they are small this year!  not more 7 pound rutabaga!)
Red and Yellow Onions
Green Peppers (some) – last chance, the plants are going to die Wednesday night!
Eggplant (some) – last chance, the plants are going to die Wednesday night!
(don’t worry Thursday members, we will pick yours before they get frosted)

Broccoli/Ripe Peppers Mix 1-1.5 lbs (actual weight will be based on yield)

A Pie Pumpkin!

Just a note: from the top list, all loose, leafy vegetables want to be eaten first, while things like bok choy, napa, celery and radish will last until next week) So if you pick, for example: lettuce, arugula, kale, radish, shishito peppers, celery and napa, I would make sure to eat the lettuce, arugula and kale by next Tuesday/Thursday depending on your pick up day.  So plan your menu accordingly.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Summer CSA – Week 16 (Last Week!)

IMG_5841
Obligatory monarch caterpillar photo.  We had about 15 in the asclepias last Friday.  Can you see the one in the back ground too?

It’s fall.  I wonder if these soon-to-be butterflies will actually make it to Mexico?

This week marks the last Summer Share.  Thanks so much for being with us these 16 weeks of vegetable eating.  We don’t have exact measurements, and because of choices everyone’s experience will be a little bit different, but if you got a small share you’ve eaten at least 112 pounds of fresh vegetables, and if you got a large share it’s closer to 190 pounds. Nice work.  I know it can be a challenge to eat fresh vegetables, to create a flexible menu to incorporate what the farm has to offer each week.

We hope you have enjoyed it.  We are very grateful for your participation.

We are also grateful for our awesome assistant manager, Erin, and the rest of our crew who have carried all those vegetables around all summer.  (And seeded, transplanted, weeded, weeded again, harvested and washed them).

Erin was away this weekend, back in North Carolina for a wedding.  She went to school at UNC Willmington and did an Americore year with Feast Down East, a non-profit that does important work building a sustainable and just food system in southeastern North Carolina.  The small farmers they serve were dramatically impacted by the hurricane.  Erin’s intent was to volunteer on Friday before the wedding, but road blockages made traveling to the area impossible.

I’d like to share a link for you all to support a fundraiser her former employer started to help small farms and food-insecure families deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Florence.  Donations will be used to purchase product from farms on the outskirts of Wilmington whose wholesale markets and retail customers were affected by the hurricane. Purchased product will compensate farmers for lost  Wilmington markets and be donated to hunger relief efforts in the area as well. Donations will also go towards helping the farms that don’t have product to sell due to the hurricane’s impact.

Additionally, here are two farms near and dear to Erin:

Kyle Stenerson of Humble Roots Farm lost the roof to his barn and is dealing with inundated pasture and crop fields. Here is a gofundme for his farm. https://www.gofundme.com/support-humble-roots
Morgan of Red Beard Farms lost many fall crops but is planting a late fall crop this week. No donation link, just interesting to see the before and after pictures.

Small, sustainable farms are an important counter-point in a state where massive, combined animal feeding operations (CAFO’s) had their waste management “lagoons” overflow into rivers and streams during the flooding caused by the hurricane.  There will be, as there has been in the past, massive die-offs in rivers and estuaries because of this pollution.  Read more about this topic in this article posted on the website of the Union of Concerned Scientists:

In a Warming World, Carolina CAFOs Are a Disaster for Farmers, Animals, and Public Health




Meanwhile.  Back at the farm (our farm, anyway).  We worked hard to cover more than 1/2 acres of field with row cover this morning.  This will help to reduce the impact of the rain tomorrow (it always rains Tuesday, doesn’t it?!) and also speed up growth on some of our latest planted lettuce and spinach.  They are intended for the November fall shares, so they have some time to grow, but we need to boost them along.

Last summer seemed to go on forever, this summer just came to a screeching halt.  We were glad to have such an abundant harvest of tomatoes while they lasted, but there won’t be any tomatoes in the share this week.

What is in the share:

Delicatta Squash and/or Acorn Squash

Sweet Potatoes

Bunch choices: kale, cilantro, sweet turnip, beets, turnip, carrot, parsley, kohlrabi, napa cabbage

Weight Choice: Potatoes, Onions, Leeks, Beets, Carrots (maybe peppers)

Choice: bagged lettuce or bagged arugula

Maybe some other odds and ends

Recipes:

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Kale, Apple Salad

Napa Cabbage Salad

Sweet and Sour Roasted Napa

Also, just roasting root veggies is delicious.

 

IMG_5853
Harvey may have gotten the last peppers today while I finished up putting on the row cover.