Tuesday, May 28, 2013

In the Share - Week Two

French butterhead (see the ladybug?)

LETTUCE (F2/P1) More luscious butterheads and brilliant red leaf lettuces.

NAPA CABBAGE (F) Great in slaws or pickled in a kimchi, aka Chinese cabbage.

RADISH OR ARUGULA (F) Neither fared well through our wintery Spring. We are picking them baby size, while they last.

CHARD OR KALE (F/P) The first pickings off these two reliable vegetables. Partial shares choose between chard, kale, or Napa cabbage.

BROCCOLI (F/P) Much less reliable, but much more popular … alas!

HAKUREI TURNIPS (F/P) If you are new to these, try eating the entire plant raw – top to bottom. 

STRAWBERRIES (F/P) The patch is just starting to produce. If you don’t get any this week, lots more are on their way.

GREEN GARLIC (F/P) The young garlic plants are tender and nice in any dish where you would use garlic.

HERB CHOICE (F/P) Cilantro, dill, garlic chives or dried herbs.

NEXT WEEK: More lettuce, strawberries, broccoli, green onions, turnips and herbs.

FARM REPORT: The weather has finally warmed and the plants are responding by pumping out new growth. The peas are racing up their trellising after sitting still for so long. Every plant on the farm is intent on sending out their solar collectors to soak up the sun’s energy. Meanwhile the humans try to keep up with all this activity to direct it towards productive forms. Tomatoes are pruned and trellised, weeds are pulled, cucumbers thinned. One of our favorite ways to direct plant growth is mulching. The crops benefit and the weeds lose. On Saturday, we had lots of help from the membership so after the morning's harvest was complete we tackled the tomato patch.

 tomato mulch

Four big round bales of hay later and the farm crew was reminded of the power of the CSA model.  Thanks everybody for making our job easier!

While we focus on the plants, the chickens carry on merrily in their new location in the lower part of the far field. Their spontaneous cackling reaches across the fields and they are fun to watch as they peck around in the grass. Sometimes all you can see is their backsides pointed to the sky as they search the tall grass for bugs. 
chicken circle

 In addition to whatever they find, we give them organic, non-GMO feed that we purchase by the ton to get the best price. If you come out to the farm we usually have a couple dozen eggs for sale, just ask.  We charge $5/dozen which we are hoping will allow us to break even on the annual costs of the feed. Having chickens on the farm gives us more than just egg money. The fringed benefits are cheep entertainment as mentioned, fertilizer, less bugs perhaps and of course frittatas. See Tom’s post below for tonight’s dinner – chard and leek frittata.  Yumm!

What to Do With Your Share---Week 2

We really love this time of year. Despite the workload, late-May is a treat. Butterhead lettuce, strawberries, fresh aliums, and crunchy roots spell that late-Spring fare which is so delicious. Having so much wonderful produce, tasty eggs and a big appetite make all the work worth it.

Tonight we made a dish to last us several meals. Our eggs had stockpiled to a point where we could benefit from a dish heavy on the albumen. We also have an abundance of vegetables perfect for a fritatta. And our stovetop oval casserole pan is the perfect size for a large amount of vegetables and eggs.

Egg over Egg Fritatta
You can use whatever vegetables you have available. Substitute 4 or 5 green onions for the leeks. Add asparagus, broccoli and/or turnip greens.

Fritatta, lettuce with creamy garlic dressing and escabeche
1 medium bunch of chard
1 medium leek
2 stalk green garlic
9  eggs
1/4 cup milk
1-1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp salt
Clean and chop the leeks and green garlic. Cut the stems off the chard, chop and saute with the leeks and garlic in the olive oil and butter for 5 minutes over medium heat in an oven-proof pan. Chop the chard leaves, add, stir and saute for 5 to 8 more minutes, until just tender.
Beat 6 of the eggs and milk and pour into the pan with the vegetables. Cook over medium heat for 4 minutes. The eggs should begin cooked around the edges of the pan, and the center will still be soft.

In the Chamber Stove broiler
Beat the remaining 3 eggs and salt and pour over the top. Cook over medium heat for 2 minutes, then place in the broiler for 4 to 6 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes. Serve warm.
Herbs and Dried Herbs
The fresh herbs are abundant right now, with a good selection. This week we will also start adding dried herbs to the Herb Choice box, allowing you the choice of a dried or fresh item. All dried herbs have been grown on the farm and dried in our passive solar greenhouse. The tins are reusable, so when they are empty you can either repurpose them or send them back our way.

The strawberry harvest has begun, and the trajectory of this year's season is still to be determined. We do forcast a nice sampling for the Wednesday shares, and a full pint for everyone on Saturday. After that we hope to continue providing strawberries in the shares for a couple more weeks. Can't wait to see how it all turns out.

May 28th---The Honeoye Strawberry patch

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

In the Share - Week One


Butterhead LETTUCE (F/P) The May Queen gets here just in time. It’s about time since it is almost June!
Red leaf LETTUCE (F)
BROCCOLI (F): A much smaller share than we were hoping. In a better Spring, the plants would have waited longer to send up their flower stalk, the broccoli.
BOK CHOY (F/P): Also having some flowering issues. We are harvesting lots this week to nip them in the bud.
RADISHES or ARUGULA (F)  Partial shares get a choice with herbs
HERBS (F): Chives, mint, tarragon

NEXT WEEK: More lettuce, bok choy, radishes, broccoli and herbs. Green garlic, kale, chard and spring turnips.

FARM REPORT: Howdy, this is Rebecca wishing you all a happy start to the 2013 season. I give you what is in the share each week along with a farm report. I apologize in advance for typos, after farming all day one doesn’t always have the mental alertness for the task. We like to keep you all in the loop and we hope that it is helpful.

A few hours ago our trusted produce-delivery vehicle, Sweetpea, returned to the farm from an extended stay with our VW mechanic. She is 42 years young thanks to good engine maintenance and a shiny new paint job. Danny Brown, of Brown’s Automotive, is a good soul and his crew worked some magic removing the rust that was eating her alive.  Thanks guys!

Danny and Sweetpea

It was a perfect afternoon for a drive in the van.  It has been lovely weather all week, especially compared to our neighbors in Oklahoma. The crops appreciated the .75 inch of rain that came with the storms last weekend. It was a perfectly-timed addition of moisture after the farm crew spent a frantic week planting.

The Spring crops are beginning to mature and we are seeing the results of way-below average temperatures in March and April. The broccoli is maturing weeks early because it was stressed early on, but most other crops have fared better.

buttoning broccoli

We have the majority of the summer crops in and over the last few days have managed to tidy up the place in preparation for the first week of the CSA. Everyone likes a clean and tidy workplace, and farmers are no different. Our expanded packing room is quite comfortable and bright.  The new cooler is on and working well.

the packing room

What to Do With Your Share---Week 1

Welcome to the 2013 season. We are happy to have a diverse share this first week, a reward perhaps for making it through the Spring. The harvest has begun, and it is time to start cooking.

Leeks are one of our favorite vegetables, so we take advantage of times like now. We used a recipe tonight that was in our newsletter 8 years ago...angel hair pasta with leeks and pasta. Our variation included spaghetti and parsley and was so good, we had to recommend it and take a picture of it.

The aspargus you are getting is fresh and tender. Great steamed, grilled, sauted, marinated raw, it is very versatile. To clean asparagus you can wash it and snap off any tough ends, or you can peel it. There is no better demonstration of this craft than by Jaques Pepin. I encourage you to go to the KQED website and click on the video of Episode 208 at the 5:10 mark.

Whatever herb you get, chances are that it will enhance the flavor of any meal you decide to cook. With seasonal eating you get a natural pairing of flavors. Chives, mint or tarragon would have gone well in the leek dish.

Rye and vetch
In the field we are beginning the steps of feeding the Fall crops. A picture perfect stand of rye and vetch has reached it's full development, and we mowed it all down today in preparation of spading it into the ground. Yummy.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

First CSA Pickup Delayed One Week

First up, the 2013 Fair Share Farm CSA season will start next week on 5/22, not this week as originally anticipated. The exceptionally cool and wet Spring this year has slowed the growing process here at the farm dramatically. And, being 30 miles north of the city, we are even slower than all of you in the heat island of KC.

chickens moved to the field and pecking in the grass
But, things are growing, despite one last gasp of cold on Mother’s Day morning, when a frost visited the farm. While the forecast for the night was 39 degrees, we knew that a clear night can bring problems, so we covered all 1,300 feet of strawberry plants to protect their tender blossoms. By morning, with the tiny daggers of frost stabbing everywhere, we were happy that we learned our lesson in 2011 when similar conditions severely damaged the crop.

multiply by 1,300 feet to see why we are hopeful for a good strawberry year
Other plants had been uncovered last week and were presumed to be able to handle mid-May weather, but have been set back a little and are showing the signs of wear from Spring 2013. In particular, the 1,400 broccoli plants we planted and mulched are “buttoning up”, forming penny sized heads 3 to 4 weeks before there anticipated maturity. Peas have also struggled through things. And today we jump to 90 degrees.

mass of tomatoes at the greenhouse on Sunday awaiting transplanting
But we have many more plantings to go, and yesterday set 400 tomato plants in the ground, to go along with the 700+ pepper plants and  400 eggplant and 200 summer squash that were put in the ground today. We have three main plantings each year---Spring, Summer and Fall. So even if our early shares suffer a bit, we are starting anew with the 2013 Summer crops and are hoping for less griping about the weather.

planting tomatoes on Monday

transplanting peppers on Tuesday

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

In the Share - Week 3

LETTUCE (2): Two of our favorite heirloom butterheads. The shares are less hefty this week. We are clearing the high tunnel out of all that it contains, and taking what we can out of the slowly-growing fields.

ASPARAGUS: No need for a soil thermometer, when the asparagus can tell you how cold it is.  We hope to have a nice bunch for all this week.

GREENS CHOICE: There will be lots of choices of what is left in the high tunnel: arugula, spinach, kale, bok choy, and endive. Please lettuce know what greens you have liked best during this first extended spring season. We grew a bunch of different things in the high tunnel and are looking to hone in on the favorites for next year.

 ROOTS MIX: We will definitely be growing more roots next year for the extended season, but we have some baby carrots and the rest of the radishes and turnips for a mixed bunch.

GREEN GARLIC: Last year’s garlic patch is sprouting some nice clumps of young garlic, lucky for us!

GREEN ONIONS: Some of these will be coming from the farm house’s walking onion patch. Several years ago I received a clump from an elderly neighbor of my mom’s and they walked themselves into a thick patch. They are one of the earliest plants in the spring and are self-perpetuating.

HERBS: cilantro and garlic chives

FARM REPORT: Wow! I know we talk about the weather incessantly, but really this past week has been pretty crazy. On Thursday, the farm was blanketed in two layers of row cover and at least an inch of snow. 

It is very rare to snow in May, although it sometimes frosts this late. Even our mountain dog, Rocky, was cold. His favorite spot was atop the steaming compost pile and he was covered in black gold for days. We did manage to share greenhouse space with him while we got some seeding done.

Five days later the snow is just a memory and we finally got some beautiful springtime weather. We spent the last couple of days uncovering the plants. It is the first time we have seen them in a while and most of them seem to have survived.

What to Do With Your Share---Extended Season Week 3

We are sorry that this year's extended season got stuck in the middle of a Winter-Spring schizophrenia.  After doing our 10 year look-back we thought we had seen most everything, but apparently not. We don't want May snow and temps in the 30's, but try to be prepared for it. Such is the case with the strawberries

We are pleased that the row cover we put on them before the sleet and snow storm helped protect the blossoms and minimize damage. The blooms are starting to come on right now, and they look healthy and bright.


While this week's share is a little lighter than we would like, it does afford some variety.

For any Asian greens that you get this week, or have in the fridge, I recommend Emily Akins' Bok Choi and Garlic Soup. It may be warming up outside, but it is still Spring, and a broth with vegetables is always good for you.

The same is the case with the green garlic and onions. Use all the garlic and onion in the share, as well as any that you have in the fridge to make a healthy soup. You can "beef " it up by adding croutons and cheese on top, or by adding the protein source of your choice.

And while we have not dug the carrots yet to see just how many we have for you, we did sample one today and can tell you that they taste great. We will work to provide more next Spring.