Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Fair Share Farm CSA---Week 7


MUSIC GARLIC: The heads are still in the curing process, which means they are extra juicy. We love this hard-neck garlic with its half dozen or more nice size cloves, as it is easy to separate and clean.

TOMATOES: A mix of heirloom and hybrid tomatoes of multiple colors. We irrigate as much as possible right now to keep these beauties juicy and the plants happy.

POTATOES:  These Red Pontiacs are the first we have dug this year. Red skin with white flesh they are great cut into chunks, steamed until tender, and tossed with butter, salt and this week's summer savory and parsley herb mix.

SQUASH: After this week the zucchini and yellow squash will be on hiatus. We have a second planting underway that we will try to nurse through the next 5 days of 99.9 degree heat.

CUCUMBER: Enjoy this week's cucumbers, as the first planting's harvest is about done. A second planting is growing for later in the season.

SWEET PEPPERS: The peppers continue to grow, and they are slowing starting to take on some color. This weeks peppers will be green or purple with some blush. Our October 5, 2005 newsletter (our original blog) has 4 recipes for green peppers.  It also has news from the farm from 13 years ago. Ah, memories.

HERB MIX: The irrigation has kept the summer savory and parsley lush so far. A good harvest will be good for them as the heat dome settles on us. Enjoy these aromatic and flavorful herbs. Chop them up and put them in potato salad, tomato sauce, squash dishes, or with meats.

We appreciate those of you who have been participating in the ferment share. This standing order for our ferments is very helpful to our venture. This week we are springing a new item on you, our Garlic Pickle Chunks. We ferment these cucumbers with a healthy dose of both garlic and cayenne pepper. Spicy, flavorful, refreshing and savory, they go well with most any summer meal. As we grow the ferment business we appreciate your comments on recipes.

The drought and heat wave one-two punch is hitting the farm hard.  Number one goal this week is keeping everyone from plants to animals to humans safe.  We start early in the morning each day to bring in the crops that are ready before they literally cook in the ground.

potato harvest

Hundreds of row feet of carrots and onions are waiting to be brought in.  The fermenting kitchen with it's little a/c unit has become a refuge for ripening tomatoes, curing onions, sprouting fall seeds and farmers who need to cool off.

onions curing in the kitchen

Once the fall seeds sprout in the kitchen they are moved to the shade structure by the greenhouse.

So far the plants are happily ignorant of the blast furnace outside their shady spot.  By the end of the month, they will be ready to go out to the fields.  Hopefully it will be cooler by then!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Fair Share Farm CSA---Week 6

GREEN ONIONS: First of the sweet Walla Wallas from the fields.  If you like to use onions raw in a recipe, these are the ones.

CABBAGE: The cabbage is as crisp as can be. It is always good to salt cabbage after cutting. It helps retain its crunchy texture.

YELLOW SQUASH and ZUCCHINI: This true fruit of summer is producing well at the moment.  Any of the zucchini or yellow squash make great "zoodles". We have a hand peeler that cuts the squash into thin noodles, called zoodles. Butter or oil, salt and pepper are all you need to cook up a tasty plate of vegetables.

BASIL: You can make basil pesto with a variety of ingredients. You can substitute sunflower seeds or pecans for the pine nuts. Any leftover garlic scapes sub well for fresh garlic, and grated Skyview cheese can take the place of parmesan.

CUCUMBERS: Peak cucumber harvest is underway. Like the cabbage, salt your cukes after cutting to help them retain crispness. They are delicious with a sweet onion.

SWEET PEPPER: As the pepper plants fill with fruit we are doing a bit of thinning to keep growth steady. Enjoy these first fruits.

CARROTS: The carrot harvest begins in earnest tomorrow morning.  Mainly orange varieties are ready with a sprinkling of yellows.

TOMATO: Surprise! Ripe slicing tomatoes in a June share is not the norm. Thank the heat for the early ripening of both the heirloom and hybrid types. The yellow and orange varieties tend to be less acidic than the red and purple tomatoes.


Harvest at the farm has quickly gone from leafy and light salad greens to heavy fruits of squash and cucumber along with dense cabbages.  Each day another haul of heavy crates comes in from the field buoying our spirits along.  

 Sandy, the farm cat, and the zinnias

Bright flowers bring cheer to all who spend time in the patch.  If you are in the neighborhood, come on by and pick an armload of them.  The zinnias are bursting with flowers and could use some pickers to keep them coming.  CSA members can pick them for free, so don't be shy!

While Summer heats back up, we have started the first crops of Fall.  In the greenhouse the first cabbages are sprouting in their flats.  This little seedling will hopefully grow into a hefty head by October and feed us well.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Fair Share Farm CSA---Week 5

BEETS: If you are looking for recipes try Beet Hash from our 2009 blog or Beets with Butter and Maple Syrup from 2016. Eat both tops and bottoms!

LETTUCE: This is it for awhile. These romaines and red leaf lettuces in the shares have seen a very hot spring and have done well under the circumstances. A hearty mustard or yogurt based dressing with some green onions and fresh sprouting broccoli is a great green accompaniment to a summer barbeque meal.

SUMMER SQUASH: Tender zucchinis and yellow squashes from the first picking. In the mix is a new yellow squash variety we are trialing. It is very flavorful and does not have a lot of seeds.

GREEN ONIONS: Fresh shoots go great with about everything.

CUCUMBER: Very first from the patch. We mainly grow pickling types which tend to be firmer and crunchier. A light salting after chopping helps keep them firm.

SPROUTING BROCCOLI: Still delicious in week 5 of the season. This versatile vegetable has made our job easier as it is more productive and reliable than the head broccoli we previously grew.

KOHLRABI: A must for any vegetable CSA, this is the only week of the season you will get the crunchy and tasty kohlrabi. Peel well and eat raw.

BASIL/HERB MIX: The basil patch is ready for its first picking. We will mix in other herbs from around the farm that are also ready for the picking. Expect some parsley or summer savory with your basil.

The heat continues which means an end to the lettuce harvest.  We ate a lot of salads over the past few months and really we are surprised to have one last week of romaine to fill the shares.  Despite the 11 days at 90 deg. F. or above in the last 30 days, the lettuce patch took us from freezing in April to cooking in June.

It has been pretty dry here and we had the irrigation running regularly, but last night three-quarters of an inch of ran fell.  It really perked up the fields. especially the potatoes and onions in the far field that don't have any irrigation tape. It is a big job to put tape down on all of those beds and so far Mother Nature has watered them enough.  We planted an insectary strip between the potatoes and the onions.  The beneficial insects that are attracted to the flowers in the insectary are helping to control pests on both crops.

Insectary plants include buckwheat, radishes, dill, cilantro, alyssum, and phacelia.  Another insectary on the farm is the cut flower bed.  Filled with mostly zinnias, it is open for free u-pick for members.  If you order off the bulk list we will cut them for you and send them in to your distribution site.

Last week we moved the laying flock into a block of an oat and pea cover crop.  They are enjoying eating through the canopy that is also providing them some shade in this heat.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

CSA WEEK 4: Strawberry sizzle

STRAWBERRIES: The heat has been tough on the berries and the pickers but you can't help but enjoy these delights of May. Strawberry dressing is always good this time of year.

SUGAR SNAP PEAS:  We took a break from these last year, but they are back on the roster. They are just starting, so it may be a small amount this week.

SPROUTING BROCCOLI:  Good raw with some strawberry dressing for dip, or cooked any way you would prepare broccoli.

GREEN ONIONS: Our bunching onions have sized up and we are happy to be able to add this fresh allium to the share.

KALE OR SWISS CHARD:  Get your green on!

GARLIC SCAPES: The tender flower stalk of the hardneck garlic plant.  Chop and add to anything as you would garlic.  The scapes are coming on a bit later than normal, but will have some for everyone this week.

LETTUCE (3 HEADS): While it sounds like a lot, we hope that the lettuce can grace your everyday meals for the next two weeks. The heat is not going to let them last much longer.  We have four types in varying stages of maturity. The butterhead and red leaf are the perfect thing for a tender salad. The crisp head and romaine varieties are what you want to top that burger or make a Caesar salad.

IN TWO WEEKS:  lettuce, greens, beets, sprouting broccoli, kohlrabi.

It is sizzling hot out here, in case anyone hasn't noticed.  I could easily complain about the tip burn on the lettuces, the sunburn on the strawberries or the fact that the chickens are panting in whatever shade they can find.  Any farmer loves to complain about the weather, but it does little good.  We are seeing record-breaking heat and summer is a month away. 

Despite it all, the fact is we are all still eating pretty well.  Right now the farm is one big leafy quilt in various shades of green.  The solar panels at the irrigation pond provide the water, the soil provides the fertility and all we humans have to do is keep up with the harvest to make sure none of it goes to waste. . . and sweat.  We can't avoid the sweating.

Joining in the sweaty work his week were two former FSF apprentices, Lucas (2011) and Semra (2015), who both happened to be back in the area for a spell.  Much gratitude goes to them and all of the good people that have been pitching in this season.

The new laying flock of pullets have taken over the high tunnel.  They are stripping the flowering chard and bolting spinach of their remaining leaves and in general enjoying their first experience of eating what is left behind.

Meanwhile the summer crops are growing well and will soon start producing.  We put in all of the posts and the first line of string on the tomato plants.  The summer squash and cucumbers are flowering and will soon start their first fruits.  We keep them under cover to protect them from pests.

The cover crops of peas and oats are beginning to flower and will soon be ready to turn in.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Week 3: Spring, gone so soon?

In The Share:
SPROUTING BROCCOLI:  Our new favorite plant on the farm.  It seems to handle the temperature swings better than most of our other cool season (ha!) crops.  No need for trimming, just chop it up or eat it whole, it is wonderfully tender.

ASPARAGUS:  Enjoy it while it lasts!

LETTUCE:  Usually we pick the lettuce the day before it goes to our CSA members, but the heat sent us in to save the last of the crops out of the high tunnel before they cooked.  Some of their outer leaves are tip-burned. If you tear that part off, there's still a good amount of juicy center.

SWISS CHARD:  One of our favorite greens to add to almost any dish. This first picking from the field is very tender and fresh.

RADISHES AND TURNIPS:  The heat has turned them spicy, so we recommend a quick stir fry. If you are eating them fresh a little salt can help with any bitterness.

KALE: A first picking here too, these leaves are ready for your recipes.

CILANTRO AND DILL:  The herb bunches this week are a lush as anything we have every grown. This abundance calls for making a dip, heavy on the greenery. To 16oz of sour cream add 3/4 cup chopped herbs, 2 tbsp oil, salt and pepper. Good with raw sprouting broccoli.

Farm Report:
The heat is on!  It takes a toll on the cool season crops like lettuce.  This week's lettuce has been under shade cloth for the past week as we attempt to hold it for the CSA shares.  Butterhead lettuce and 90 degree temperatures don't mix so good.

While the Spring wilts away, Summer is in the ground and growing.

All of the first round of hot weather crops are in:  tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, squash, okra, tomatillos and eggplant thanks to the hands of many.

Speaking of farm hands, Tom and I wanted to give a shoutout to Semra Fetahovic, who apprenticed on the farm in 2015 and has returned to work with us for the next month.  Semra is set to complete her Masters in Organic Agriculture at a German university.  When not helping with turnip picking, she is helping us with our Instagram feed and ferment sales. Check out the Instagram stories from today at fairsharefarm!

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

CSA Week 2---Great Greens and More

In The Share
TAT SOI: When a vegetable is this deep green, you know it's good for you
RADISHES: Slow to grow this spring, these are the first
BUTTERHEAD LETTUCE: The first butterhead of the season is always a treat
RED LEAF LETTUCE: Good for everything from sandwiches to salads
SPROUTING BROCCOLI: The plants in the field have started to make their first flower buds. Look for this broccoli cousin in your share for awhile.
BRAISING MIX: Greens that are best sautéed, perfect for a dish of mac & cheese & greens
GARLIC CHIVES OR ARUGULA:  Every dish deserves a little topping.

What to Do With Your Share
This is a good time of year to take advantage of the opportunity to add such an array of delicious, fresh greens to your meals. We offer a couple of suggestions here to compliment your shares. On the Asian green side of things, here are recipes for both bok choy soup and stir fry soup. These are both especially good if you have a good broth to use. Some folks keep it creamy with coconut milk.

The braising mix and sprouting broccoli make a nice addition to either a boxed or home-made version of mac & cheese. Greens can be a part of many dishes, adding both heartiness and nutrition.

Farm Report
It has been quite a couple of weeks since we last wrote.  On Tuesday last, we were a part of a six-person crew that carried out a controlled burn of the 150 acres of native grasses on the family farmland that surrounds us.

This was not our first rodeo, as they say, and we managed to get it all done safely by the early afternoon.  If you look closely, in the background is the green oasis of Fair Share Farm surrounded by the smoldering moon scape.

Native grasses have a long relationship with fire which reduces the competition from cool season grasses and shrubs, while at the same time cleaning up old thatch that can smother the new season's growth.

Meanwhile, the vegetable farm work continues at a Spring sprint.  The fields are filling up with the last of the cool season crops.  The weather has switched from winter to summer in a short week's time, so we will see how all of our lettuces, cabbages, carrots, onions and potatoes hold up.  The potatoes are just now peaking out of the soil.

Our new flock of laying hens (I guess they are technically pullets) are getting close to 3 months old and growing well.  We are hoping they start laying by the end of July.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

CSA Week 1---Our 15th Season is Underway

Swiss chard and alyssum in the high tunnel

In The Share
CABBAGE: From cold storage.  These are sweet right down to the core, so don't throw that core out but enjoy it as a crunchy snack.  
CARROTS: Another vegetable we have kept in cold storage to hedge our bets. Harvested in early November, they are a real treat.
BOK CHOI: Fresh from the high tunnel.  Check out our stir fry primer blogpost from 2010.
SPINACH: Enough for a good omelet or a hearty addition to a salad.
CHARD OR SPROUTING BROCCOLI: If you are new to the CSA, the sprouting broccoli can be chopped or used whole, no trimming necessary.
GREEN GARLIC: From the field.  They are smaller than other years, but very tender.  Tonight I chopped it up and added it to sautéed chard during the last minute of cooking.

Farm Report
Greetings and welcome to the first week of the 2018 CSA!  We, farmers Tom and Rebecca, have joined forces on the blog. From now on, you will have one blogpost from us for each CSA share instead of us writing separate ones.  Tom is still covering the how to eat things portion and I cover the farm report with some overlap.

This space is where I (Rebecca) usually gripe about the weather, but holy hell what a Spring this has been!  Ice, snow, and freezing temperatures for the last three weeks have thrown our schedule for a loop.  We did our best to adapt to the forecast by double covering all of the transplants already in the field, holding the many more inside the greenhouse and putting covers on all of our tender seedlings that had just popped their little heads above the soil.  It appears our efforts have paid off.

Sprouting broccoli happy under cover

With the forecast looking warm for the foreseeable future, we have wasted no time getting back to planting.   

freshly planted cabbages

Amidst all of the weather drama, we must also acknowledge a milestone.  This year marks the fifteenth year of the Fair Share Farm CSA!  The community of good folks who have supported the farm over the years are many and we would like to thank you all.  Whether you are brand new to the CSA or a 15-year veteran we are filled with gratitude for the life that you have breathed into our family farm. 

If you want to get a snapshot of our first CSA year, check out our blog post from 2013 where we reminisce about it:  First year of the CSA. It is part of a series we did in 2012 recounting the history of the farm and farmers back during our 10 year anniversary. So enjoy those past chronicles as we begin another season.