Tuesday, July 11, 2017

In the Share: Week 7

TOMATOES  We reduced our tomato patch from 900 plants to just 200 and are seeing the benefits of the extra attention we have been able to give.  300 pounds in the first week of picking isn't too shabby.  Heirloom and hybrid slicers will be in the shares and sauce-making Romas will be on the bulk list in two weeks.

SWEET PEPPERS  Pretty purple peppers

LETTUCE OR CUCUMBERS  We are harvesting the last of the lettuce tomorrow morning.  Cucumbers will replace lettuce later in the week.

NEW POTATOES  First digging of the potato crop, Red Pontiac.  Tender new potatoes should be kept cool and eaten within a week.

WALLA WALLA SWEET ONIONS  Thanks to the Saturday CSA crew for bringing in the harvest of 1200 feet of these babies.  These are not for storage, but are sweet and mild.

BASIL Can't have fresh tomatoes without it!

IN TWO WEEKS:  tomatoes, peppers, carrots, garlic and beets

I have never been happier to see someone in my life than when I picked up Farmer Tom at the airport today.  A week of running the farm without him has been challenging for sure.  Luckily I had a great team of people that helped keep the farm on schedule.  Special thanks to Marlene, Jody, Brendan, Maria and Todd.  And man, the CSA crew on Saturday killed it by bringing in all of the Walla Walla onions plus the last 300 feet of garlic.

We are in full on harvest mode right now, with little time for much else.  In this heat, no crop lasts for very long once it reaches maturity in the field, so the pressure is on to bring it in, cool it down and get it stored properly.

We are thankful for all of the hay mulch we put down this Spring.  The mulched tomatoes and basil are looking pretty darn good.

What to Do With Your Share---Week 7

This afternoon I arrived back on the farm after a 6-day trip to the east coast to visit family. A summer vacation has been a thing of the past for Rebecca and me these last 14 years. The best we can do is for only one of us to leave the farm at a time, and my time arrived.

The trip was filled with family-time, support, suggestions, love, sights, lobster and public transportation. The eastern seaboard is a wonderful place, filled with diversity and beauty. It was the perfect place to travel as part of our sabbatical year, providing both rest and energy.

Brooklyn Bridge Park

Frank Lloyd Wright exhibit at the MOMA
While I don't have any particular suggestions for how to use this week's wonderful summer share, I would like to update the membership on our fermenting operation. While we are in uncharted waters, it appears that we are hitting our peak production period. We continue to have cabbage, carrots and onions stored for use, and are needing to keep up almost daily on the cucumber and jalapeno harvest.

We have begun contacting retail stores and are working on getting our inventory on their shelves. We appreciate any help and support the membership can give us. Let us know if there is a store you think we should be in, and start asking if they carry Fair Share Farm Ferments.

We hope you take advantage of the bulk list and the member price on our ferments. Order on-line by following the instructions in the most recent email. I have now test marketed our pickles back east and they are given a thumbs up.

Monday, June 26, 2017

In the Share: Week 6

CARROTS  The first digging of carrots - so tender with tops on.

LETTUCE  We have nursed these babies through a heat wave with shade cloth and lots of water.  Enjoy the last lettuce until fall.

GARLIC  Freshly dug and juicy

CUCUMBERS OR SQUASH  It's a hard choice, but we are not growing much of either this sabbatical year.

HERB CHOICE  Basil, parsley, summer savory or cutting celery in mixed bunches

IN TWO WEEKS:  new potatoes, sweet onions, green peppers, and herbs.


We are loving the beautiful weather the past few days.  The rain has softened the soil and the late summer and early fall beds are in good shape for planting.

The summer crop of peppers is looking great.  Next door is a bed of flowers (mainly zinnias) which is now open for u-pick for the membership.  Pick all you want - they are free and our way of saying thank you for your support!  So if you are on the farm to pick up your share or for your work shift, or just happen to be in the neighborhood go ahead and pick yourself a bouquet.

What to Do With Your Share---Week 6

We are looking for a good harvest this year from the spring carrot patch, and it is time to commence. We have over 2,000 row feet of carrots in the ground. Future visits to the farm will entail the digging of these beauties for storage, sweetening, eating, and fermenting.

We hope you enjoy this first round and consider this week's recipe. It is not often enough that we cook carrots as a dish of their own. We have a lot of ginger on the farm right now for the kimchi making, and it is a complimentary flavor for carrots.

The carrots don't need to be peeled as they are fresh out of the ground. Just trim the tops and bottoms and they are ready for use. Parsley or other fresh green herb is a nice garnish to this dish.

Gingered Carrots

1 bunch carrots, topped, cleaned and cut into 1/2inch pieces
2 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. oil
2 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. grated ginger
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the butter and oil in a pan, add the carrots, 1/2 tsp salt, and cook on high heat for 5 minutes
Add honey and ginger. Add a little water if needed to prevent burning.
Cook on high heat for 5 minutes.
Turn heat down and simmer until desired tenderness.

While we have used the word sabbatical to describe what we farmers are doing different this year, the true sabbatical refers to a resting of the land. We are doing what we can in our far fields to make this a year of rest and recovery.

One of the main things we are doing is taking time work on controlling weeds. One biological method is to cultivate the small weeds out every couple weeks, to reduce the number of weed seeds in the soil. In addition, we have gone on various weeding patrols with the farm crew to physically remove tap rooted weeds and their seed heads from the fields.

Cover crops with pastured chickens in the distance

We are following up the "stale seed bed" weeding with a cover crop. This keeps us busy. We are also looking this fall at having this area chisel plowed to help improve drainage.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

What to Do With Your Share---Week 5

The chard and sprouting broccoli are peaking right now. It is a pleasure to work with vegetables like these when they are at their best. And with the Walla Walla sweet onions bulbing up, it is a great time of year to be a farmer and eater.

With the hens laying well, we have many a meal where eggs and vegetables go together. A nice addition to such a dish is a whole grain. We were gifted some grunkern by our 2015 apprentice Semra. It is a gluten-free way to have a hearty meal. Use whatever veggies you have.

Vegetables, Grunkern and Eggs

5 large chard leaves
2 medium onions
2 garlic scapes
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsalmic vinegar
1/4 cup liuid (water, stock, wine or brine)
2 to 3 cups cooked grunkern or grain of choice
3 eggs

Chop chard stems, onions and garlic scapes. Saute in olive oil for 5 minutes
Chop chard leaves, add vinegar and liquid. Saute until leaves begin to wilt, push to outside of pan.
Add grunkern, heat to add light crispiness, push to outside
Add 3 eggs, let harden to fried egg consistency, mix all contents of pan

We suggest garnishing the dish with some Fair Share Farm ferments. Speaking of ferments, I will be teaching a class for the Kansas City Food Circle this Saturday at the farm. Last I heard there were still openings.

In the Share: Week 5

SWISS CHARD  This blow dryer weather is no friend to leafy greens, so we are picking them down while they are still lush and beautiful.

RED LEAF LETTUCE  Big red ruffly ones!

ROMAINE LETTUCE  Big green juicy ones!

BASIL  Welcome summer with a batch of pesto.

WALLA WALLA ONIONS  Sweet bulbs with green tops.

SPROUTING BROCCOLI  sweet and tender

SALAD TURNIPS  The last of the bumper crop.

IN TWO WEEKS:  Carrots, last of the lettuce (fingers crossed!), beets, fresh garlic.


This Spring was beautiful.  The right amount of rain, sunlight and soil kept the plants and animals on the farm happy.  The soil was soft, the air was damp and the birds sang in the trees.  All that is over now that we are in full-on summer heat wave.  On the plus side, dry conditions make for great hoeing and weed-pulling.  Onions are notorious for weeds, but thanks to the dry weather we have had time to keep them tidy.

Saturday mornings are spent with the membership.  Finally after 3 out of 4 of our first CSA mornings in the rain, we got a dry one.  Kale picking is so much more fun in the sunshine!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

In the Share: Week 4

FORELLENSCHLUSS LETTUCE  We love this Austrian heirloom which is a romaine but also tender and, as someone said, "appears to have spattered with a good red wine."

BUTTERHEAD LETTUCE  glorious softballs of butter!

STRAWBERRIES  precious little pints this week.  Concentrated flavor.


GARLIC SCAPES  This week only.  Get your scape on!


IN TWO WEEKS:  lettuce, green onions, greens,herbs.

It is starting to feel like summer.  Our little sabbatical tomato patch (200 plants vs. 900 for the last many years) is growing well and just got it's second string.

The farm is definitely more on schedule than ever before.  In the background are the cucumbers under insect barrier to keep away the pesky beetles.  We've missed alot of the storms that have been just south of us at times.  It was dry enough today we were able to hoe around the leeks.