Tuesday, June 28, 2011

In the Share - Week 7

pepper trellis

LETTUCE (F/P) the crisp heads are hopefully holding for this week and then it’s goodbye lettuce until fall.
GREEN GARLIC (F/P) two heads for the full shares, one for the partials, from the beginnings of the garlic harvest. These are full size but not cured. Read Tom’s post for more on use and storage.
NEW POTATOES (F/P) freshly dug new potatoes are like nothing else. Enjoy them soon or refrigerate.
SUMMER SQUASH (F/P) slice and put them on the grill for a tasty Independence Day treat.
GREEN ONIONS (F) Every dish begins with onions so we try to include them in the shares every other week from now through fall.
CHOICE: EGGPLANT, GREEN PEPPERS, CUCUMBERS OR SNOW PEAS (F) this is the last of the spring peas (peas only for the Weds. shares) and the first of the fruits of summer.
BEETS OR KOHLRABI (F) Both crops are to be harvested in bulk this week before the heat takes them out. The extra beets will store beautifully in the walk-in cooler and will be available in bulk for a while longer.
CABBAGE (P) partial shares get their chance to make coleslaw. More for the full shares next week.
KALE OR CHARD (F) grin if you love your greens!
HERB CHOICE (F/P) summer savory, parsley or basil
ALSO THIS WEEK: Bread of Life Bakery shares
NEXT WEEK: More squash, cucumbers and cabbage. Carrots and perhaps beans and cherry tomatoes.
You can tell it is summer on the farm by how we spend our time. For one thing everything green is growing new leaves, branches, flowers and fruit exponentially. If we ever stood still long enough we could probably perceive the growth of the tomato plants. Once a week we spend several hours trellising the tomato crop. We put our strings about every six inches along the stakes, weaving a new one in and out of the crop about every seven to ten days. For the determinate varieties some are approaching the tops of their cages. After the cold, wet spring of 2010 put a damper on the tomato crop, we are really hoping for a good harvest. We are looking forward to the hot weather forecasted for later this week which sounds like tomato-ripening weather to us. In the meantime we have the beginnings of the cherry tomatoes. If you are lucky there may be one cherry tomato per share this week, just enough to wet your whistle.

Another telltale sign that it is summer is the exuberant growth of plants that we do not want growing on the farm, i.e. weeds. The FSF farm crew has made good headway in this area but there is still a bit more to do. Every so often we get done with harvesting early on a CSA morning and get some extra help from the membership, but for the most part it is the four-person farm crew out on the six acres. Some weeds we can get with the tractor’s cultivators, some we can get with our hoes, but the ones right around the plants have to be pulled by hand. If your idea of a fun Sunday is pulling weeds with your farmers, come on out on the volunteer day on July 10th .

And it wouldn’t be summer in Missouri without a feisty thunderstorm which we awoke to 1 am Monday morning. Small hail, strong winds and three inches of rain.

There is nothing to keep you up at night quite like hearing the wind howl and visualizing entire plants snapping under the pressure of wind, hail and torrential downpours. Happily all but a couple plants survived, some crates were blown around and we spent the better part of the day shoring up more plants. This is the first time we have staked the peppers and so far we are happy with the result.

What to Do With Your Share---Week 7

Fresh Garlic
We feel we are off to a good start with this year’s garlic. The hardneck variety Musik is the plump, 4 to 6 clove garlic in your share this week. We leave the neck on in case you want to hang it up and let it cure some.

You can also use it now. To get at the cloves cut the neck off, and then use a paring knife to slit the outer papers. Once you peel it back you can get to the cloves.

This week we recommend a recipe from last year to go with this week’s veggies. The Grilled Pasta Primavera is a great way to christen the grill for the season. Or, you can use your broiler.

Another good recipe that will take care of this week’s beets, and any others you have in the fridge, is pickled beets (from our July 6, 2005 newsletter). If you like beets, this is a nice way to have them on hand to top a salad, or have on the side. An added bonus is that you can use the pickle juice when you are done just like you would vinegar, and stretch that wonderful flavor even farther.

Bulk List---Week 7

Order some extra goodies for your week.

Cabbage (small head): $2.50/hd
Onions: $3.00/bunch
Garlic (fresh hardneck): $1.00/head
Kale or Chard: $3.00/bunch
Herbs (tarragon, basil, summer savory): $2.50/bunch
Beets: $3.00/quart

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

What to Do With Your Share---Week 6

The roots are taking over from the fruits and leafy greens of the early shares. Turnips, kohlrabi, beets, carrots and onions are now in the majority. Their heartiness is good for you, and if you cook them right, the taste is too.

A week ago we trialed the beets. The trial was a success. We utilized an Asian dressing to test them out.

Beet Salad with Asian Dressing
1 bunch of beets
2 scallions or ¼ cup chopped fresh onion
1 to 2 medium carrots

1/8 cup sesame oil
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp fish sauce
Juice of ½ lime
1 squirt Sriracha hot sauce
1 tsp honey
1/8 tsp salt

Top the beets and boil until tender
Quickly cool beets and peel off skin when cool
Mix all dressing ingredients together
Cut into desired size, add chopped onion, grated carrots and dressing

We were recently persuaded to try kohlrabi in a new way, by using it like jicama. Jicama is the root of a plant cultivated more in Central and South America than here, that is similar to kohlrabi. Rebecca modified the Clementine Jicama Salad recipe from epicurious.com. I thought the grated kohlrabi in this salad was shredded coconut. It was delicious.

Kohlrabi and Orange Salad
1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic or garlic scape
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon honey
2 oranges, peeled, separated, and cut crosswise into chunks
1 kohlrabi, peeled and shredded
2 scallions, chopped
1/4 cup crumbled fresh cheese
1/3 cup toasted pumpkin seeds (try Al Habashi in the River Market)

Whisk together garlic, salt, lime juice, oil, honey, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl.
Add oranges, kohlrabi, onion, and gently toss.
Season with salt and sprinkle with cheese and pumpkin seeds.

In the Share - Week 6

The first carrots

LETTUCE (F/P) The first day of summer marks the beginning of the end of the spring lettuce crop. We are hoping for another couple of weeks with the more heat-tolerant crispheads.
SUMMER SQUASH (F) Good, reliable zucchini and yellow squash. This is the kind of food civilizations were founded upon.
CARROTS (F/P) The first harvest of the season. They’re still growing but are oh so tender at this stage.
GREEN ONIONS (F/P) No more slender scallions, these have some heft. They still need to be refrigerated as long as they have the green tops.
CABBAGE (F) Petite spring cabbages. There will be more and for the partials too next week.
KOHLRABI OR TURNIPS (F) These are most likely the end of both until fall.
SUGARSNAP OR SNOW PEAS (F/P) It was a good harvest (over 300 lbs.) but this is the last of them.
HERB CHOICE (F/P) Summer savory and basil. All combo bunches this week.

ALSO THIS WEEK: Parker Farms shares

NEXT WEEK: More squash, cabbage, and lettuce. Beets, chard and kale. Perhaps a sprinkling of peppers and cucumbers.

The longest day of the year is today and the farm crew has been making full use of the extra daylight hours. Most of Monday was spent in the tomato patch, trellising and pruning. The plants looking great. They are growing fast and have lots of flowers and green fruit.

Irrigation has been a top priority for the past two weeks as we continue to miss the big downpours that are all around us. Here you can see some of the tools that help us get the irrigation system in place. The wooden cradle holds the old electrical spools repurposed to hold our irrigation tape. The tape runs down each row of crop and connects to the supply line with a small valve.

With the tomatoes tended, we tackled the Family Cucurbitae. 6 rows of winter squash, 4 of summer squash, 3 of melon and 4 of cucumbers is enough to keep the four of us (me, Tom, Luke and Kim)occupied for awhile. Hand weeding around each plant is a meditation in orange blossom, scratchy leaf and squash bug.

Bulk List---Week 6

The Spring crops are waning, but we still have some bulk available.

Beets: $3.00/bunch
Swiss chard: $3.00/bunch
Lettuce: $3.00/head
Carrots: $3.00/bunch
Herbs (oregano, tarragon, fennel): $2.50/bunch
Onions: $3.00/bunch

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

What to Do With Your Share---Week 5

When it comes to variety, this time of year is quite exceptional. When the shares include such delectables as strawberries, broccoli, sugar snap peas and summer squash, you know it is mid-June. We hope that enjoying this Spring’s bounty has been easy.
Here are a couple of suggestions for you:

From last year’s Week 5, try the Julienne Snap Peas, a wonderful pea salad that gets better over time.

Another must, if you still have any garlic scapes, is to use last week’s creamy garlic scape dressing as a dip for your strawberries. This combination is one of those that is realized when you spend two weeks in late Spring smelling scapes and berries every day. I feel that, when two fruits or vegetables are naturally ripe at the same time, they will always go together. It is the rule of the seasons. I hope you taste this combo and see what I mean. Last year’s Garlic Scape and Strawberry Dressing is another option.

The summer squash will be a regular in the shares for a while, so it is good to realize the many options you have to prepare this versatile vegetable. We don’t feel that it is bad to go the fried route every once in a while. And when you use an egg batter, you are getting both vegetables and protein in the dish.

Tempura Style Fried Summer Squash and Broccoli
Summer squash
Oregano, marjoram and/or summer savory
Salt and Pepper
Frying oil (we used grape seed oil

1. Trim ends from summer squash and cut into rounds or half rounds
2. Break broccoli into florets
3. Dust the vegetables in flour seasoned with herbs
4. Next dip the vegetables in egg
5. Fry coated vegetable in oil until golden brown
6. Drain on paper
7. Season with salt and pepper

In the Share - Week 5

Zephyr summer squash

LETTUCE (F/P) As the heat takes over, the lettuce in your shares will be heavy on the romaines and crisphead varieties.

SUGAR SNAP or SNOW PEAS (F/P) The pea patch is really pumping out fruit at the moment. We picked 200 lbs. last week and hope for a similar harvest this week. The snow peas are a variety called 'Oregon Giant' and are great raw or cooked.

BEETS (F) My favorite vegetable is the beet. The beets this week are young and tender and the greens are good too. After this week beets will be a choice so this is your best chance to try them.

KOHLRABI, TURNIPS OR GREEN ONIONS (F/P) Partial shares get a choice of kohlrabi or beets.



STRAWBERRIES OR BROCCOLI (F/P) We know, it is a hard choice and most of you would prefer both but alas both plantings are nearing their end.

HERB CHOICE (F) spearmint, summer savory or oregano.

ALSO THIS WEEK: Bread of Life Bakery shares

NEXT WEEK: More lettuce, peas, kohlrabi, summer squash and herbs. Cabbage and carrots.


As was mentioned last week, we are in the throes of the June juggernaut. We've got the spring harvest in full swing, summer crops needing much attention and the fall seeding has begun. This week we built what we hope will be a permanent home for the fall seedlings.

A separate home for the fall seedlings is necessary as the greenhouse is way too hot in the summer. A cool, shady spot is best for getting the seeds to sprout in the summer heat.

In the past we used screened tents purchased at the big box store. They never lasted more than a season due to their flimsy construction. We are very happy to stay out of the big box store by building our own, much sturdier alternative. All we needed was some rebar, electrical conduit, scrap wood and a shade cloth that we had purchased a few years back but never put to use. So far it has held up splendidly to wind and rain. We have quickly filled it chock full of seeded flats of broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, brussel sprouts.

Bulk List---Week 5

Since we did not fill up our shares for Saturday pickup, we have about 10 extra shares worth of produce each week. Until we fill up for Saturdays, you can expect most share items on the list. Sorry, but there are no more u-pick strawberries. The patch is winding down.

Kolhrabi: $3.00/bunch of two
Hakurei turnips topped (from first planting): $3.00/lb
Hakurei Turnips with tops (from new planting): $3.00/bunch
Beets: $3.00/bunch
Sugar snap peas: $2.00/half pound
Swiss chard/kale: $3.00/bunch
Lettuce: $3.00/head
Herbs (oregano, tarragon, fennel): $2.50/bunch
Scallions: $2.50/bunch

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

What to Do With Your Share---Week 4

Strawberries 2011
Strawberries are the dominant producer on the farm this week, as they reach their peak maturity for 2011 (though sugar snap peas are a real competitor). In the Bulk List post below we are seeking to entice you out to the farm to take advantage of this year's harvest. We hope that we did not imply that there were not any good berries to be found, as the old Honeoye patch may well be getting a new life, now that we have spent over a week culling out as many damaged berries as possible.

Uses for strawberries abound. Here on the farm we eat as many raw, fresh, berries as possible while they are at hand. Other annual rituals include freezing whole berries for future use, jam making, juice making, and wine making.

Making juice with a tabletop strainer


A CSA defining vegetable, kohlrabi is unknown to many people. We grow it for you because it is a substantial spring vegetable. Be sure to peel it and then enjoy the crunchy, juicy and somewhat sweet flavor of a fresh as can be kohlrabi. Cut it into thin strips, or grate it and mix it with last week's garlic scape dressing for a quick side salad.

Spring Pizza

The farm provided well this week as the ingredients for a delicious pizza arrived. We get a bread share from Bread of Life, and every two weeks we get a whole wheat pizza crust. We take it from there and provide the toppings. Next ingredient was cheese, made with some local goat milk. Simply heat the milk to 185 deg F, take it off the burner and add some vinegar and let it curdle. Strain off the whey and you have fresh goat cheese.

Carmelized leeks, garlic scape pesto and oregano are all share items this time of year. Sun dried tomatoes are from last year's crop. We will be growing more drying tomatoes this year, so make sure your dehydrator is ready to go this summer.

At 12 inches, this pizza crust fits into our toaster oven (it's nicer than a microwave). It is much more energy efficient than heating a larger oven space. In 10 minutes you have incredible pizza.


1 Bread of LIfe whole wheat pizza crust

olive oil


garlic scape pesto

carmelized leeks
sun dried tomatoes

mozzarella cheese
goat cheese

Place toppings on pizza in order shown. Bake according to pizza crust instructions.

In the Share - Week 4

Sugarsnap peas ready for picking

LETTUCE (F/P) More lovely ladies from the generous lettuce patch.

STRAWBERRIES (F/P) 2 pints (i.e. 1 quart) for all. You get 1 pint each of our 2 strawberry varieties: Honeoye and Amore. Let us know how they compare.

BROCCOLI (F/P) It is peak broccoli season this week, so enjoy it while you can.

ENDIVE 'FRISEE' (F/P) A frilly addition to a salad or darn good on its own with strawberry and honey dressing.

SUGAR SNAP PEAS (F/P) The first picking in the pea patch. These are edible-pod peas. Just snap off the top and whatever string may come with it and enjoy.

HAKUREI TURNIPS OR KOHLRABI (F) The second planting of turnips or the first of the kohlrabi. For those new to the kohlrabi, read more at Tom's post It is nice just peeled and eaten raw in slices.

GREEN ONIONS (F/P) Yes, we are eating our young as they are so tender.

SUMMER SQUASH (F/P) The first picking is enough for everyone to get just one. We pick our zucchini and other summer squashes at this size because they are more flavorful and don't have much of a seed cavity. Large squashes will appear in the swap boxes when we invariably miss one or two for those who want some baking-sized specimens.

HERB CHOICE (F/P) dill, fennel, tarragon or garlic scape. Fresh spring herbs ready for every meal.

ALSO THIS WEEK: Parker Farms shares

NEXT WEEK: More lettuce, snap peas, broccoli, summer squash, kohlrabi and turnips. Baby beets.


June is a month full on the farm. Spring crops are coming into harvest and are doing well. The summer crops are growing by leaps and bounds as are the weeds. And it is time to prep and plant for fall. On Monday we put the second string on all the trellised tomatoes.

Me, Kim and Lucas twining through the tomatoes.

Today we planted 800 sweet potato plants. The transplanter made planting a breeze compared to the knee-crunching alternative. Thanks to modern invention we then had time to plant our last row of tomatoes and another 2 rows of melons and hoe the summer squash in addition to the morning harvest of broccoli and strawberries.

Kim and I planting sweet potatoes

And then twice a week the farm gets help from the community. Last Saturday was an especially large crowd. Everyone played their part and we got alot done.

Saturday harvest with 3 teams: spinach, lettuce and others of all ages pulling turnips

Monday, June 6, 2011

Bulk List---Week 4

Hakurei turnips topped (from first planting): $3.00/lb
Hakurei Turnips with tops (from new planting): $3.00/bunch
Tat soi or yukina savoy (Asian Greens): $2.50/head
Kale: $3.00/bunch
Scallions: $2.50/bunch
Strawberries (U-pick only): $3.00/lb (a pound of strawberries is about a quart)

Bulk strawberry sales will be a bit different this year. We do not plan at this time to pick extra strawberries for bulk sales. Problems with the old patch of Honeoye strawberries (early-Spring cold, disease issues, small berries) has made it incredibly time consuming to pick. It took the farm crew 10 person-hours to pick 38 quarts on Saturday. And we only got through about 15% of the patch. At that rate it would take one person 3 straight days to pick enough just to fill the shares with a quart apiece.

Our new patch of Amore strawberries, however are doing well. While not as heavy a producer as our old patch, the berries have been high quality and relatively easy to pick. We will be picking that patch once per day from here on out and putting those berries in the shares.

So……..if you want extra strawberries this year you will have to pick them yourself. The plan is to open up the old patch to the membership for picking NOW. We encourage you to come on out, see the farm, pick and snack on some strawberries, and know that you had intimate knowledge of where your next jar of strawberry jam came from.

We urge you to take us up on this offer so that as many berries get picked as possible. You can bring your friends/non-members if you like. Just follow these simple rules:

1. No “drop bys”. We ask that you phone or email to let us know when you are coming out.
2. Children must be supervised by an adult at all times. No wandering or running children please.
3. You may go in the packing room/CSA distribution area. All other portions of the barn are off limits.
4. We will be weighing your berries so you can bring your own containers. Otherwise, we will provide pint and/or quart containers for your use.
5. No pets please.
6. If you wish to see the sheep do not touch the fence, as it is electrified.
7. Do not walk in front of the bee hives.
8. There is poison ivy in the fencerows. Leaves of three, let it be.

We look forward to providing you with fresh, local, sustainably grown strawberries. See you at the farm.

Tom and Rebecca