Tuesday, April 29, 2014

In the Share - Week Two Extended Season

ASPARAGUS  More spring shoots cut down in their prime.

LETTUCE (2)  One butterhead, one Forellenschluss

GREEN GARLIC  Young garlic from the fields - treat like green onions but more garlicky.

GAILAN  One of our new favorite crops.  As good as broccoli but more tender and more edible plant parts.

HAKUREI TURNIPS  Spring turnips out of the high tunnel are delicious.  Eat em like an apple!

RADISHES  Baby bunches of little red globes

BOK CHOY  Stir fry season has officially arrived.

HERB CHOICE Cilantro, dill and common chives.

NEXT WEEK:  More lettuces, asparagus, herbs.  Carrots, spinach and kale.

Water at the farm is in plentiful supply, a lucky thing to be able to say.  Our soil is neither blowing away as it is in the southwest, nor is it inundated with flood waters and tornadoes as it is in the southeast.  Instead our April showers are just the ticket for May flowers.

Our farm is one of many sources of the water that flows through our region.  Intermittent streams begin here on the ridge land.  Depending on the season, the streams flow from a rush to a dribble.  Right now there are little rapids in some places. 

One of these streams feeds water into our irrigation pond before overflowing through the spillway down our watershed through the Fishing River to the Missouri eventually ending up in the Gulf of Mexico.

As organic farmers, we take great care in making sure that the water that falls on our land leaves the farm as good as when it arrived.

What to Do With Your Share---Extended Season Week 2

Feeding and Caring for a High Tunnel
This is our second spring where we have offered an extended season. I hope that you don't mind that it continues to be a learning experience. It has been interesting growing fresh produce in a man-made, semi-controlled environment. One big thing we have learned though, is that the soil has not being fed enough yet.

The soil in the high tunnel started out not much differently than a parking area. We had to cut and fill to create a somewhat raised and level bed that drained well. The growing area was driven and walked on creating a compact surface of topsoil and subsoil.

Two plantings of cover crops, compost, organic fertilizer and minerals are not yet enough to satisfy the high tunnel's appetite. Providing enough nutrients for both fall and spring crops is a challenge that time will help solve. We will continue to build up the soil and create a healthy environment for growing food.

Asparagus Carbonara
As pasta eaters we look for more ways than tomato sauce to enjoy it. Carbonara, a traditional combo of pasta, egg, cheese and bacon, is a perfect vehicle for vegetables too. Asparagus and gai lan are two examples of this.

1 lb of aparagus
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp vinegar or lemon juice
1 tsp salt

1 lb pasta, cooked
3 eggs
1 cup shredded cheese
cracked pepper

Trim any tough bottoms off the asparagus. Toss whole spears in a bowl with the olive oil, vinegar and salt. Broil until tender and browned, 10-15 minutes. When cool enough, chop into one inch pieces.

Mix the eggs, cheese and cracked pepper in a bowl. Toss with pasta while hot, add asparagus. Serve with garnish of garlic chives.

Gai Lan
One apparent success for the high tunnel has been the gai lan. Also known as Chinese broccoli, the idea for the vegetable came from Jan and Gary Glauberman. We tried growing it numerous times over the past 3 or 4 years, but have never seen it thrive.

This year, however, we have some beautiful plants. We are trialing this planting, so we will make sure everyone gets some to try. We like it when the members like something we can grow well. And it is a delicious vegetable.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

In the Share Extended Season - Week 1

LETTUCE (2)  We will be picking the lettuce heads in the morning, but it looks like everyone will get one butterhead and one red frilly leaf lettuce.

ASPARAGUS  The asparagus kicked back into gear after last week's frost just in time for us all to enjoy.

SPINACH  This is from the over-wintered patch and includes some massive leaves, so be prepared.

CARROTS  These are juicy carrots freshly dug. 

SWISS CHARD  The plants are very large and quite delicious. 

GREEN ONIONS  We have some over-wintered bunching onions that are nice out in the fields.

HERB CHOICE  Cilantro, dill  or garlic chives.

EGGS  (1 dozen)  Our flock is now 8 months old and cranking out the eggs. See Tom's post for a one of our favorite fast foods, frittata.

NEXT WEEK:  Lettuce, asparagus, green garlic, Spring turnips, bok choy, herb choice.

The first week of the 2014 Fair Share Farm CSA season is here!  For the next 31 weeks we endeavor to feed you well.  Our work takes place in the out of doors and crazy weather is known to happen in our region, but we work hard every day to minimize the risks and take care of the trust that has been given. 

Every Tuesday night, I (Rebecca ) list what is in the share for that week and give a farm report with some photos.  Tom posts at around the same time with helpful thoughts on unusual vegetables and recipes using items from the share. 

The week started with the harvest of the high tunnel carrots.  This is our second Spring harvesting out of the HT and we don't feel like we have it all figured out yet.  The carrots are juicy and good-tasting, but we graded out a fair amount of split ones.  Still, we have enough nice ones that we plan to put them in the extended season shares again in two weeks. 

The farm crew spent the better part of the past two days cleaning and preparing the wash and pack area for the harvest.  Washing the hundreds of crates that we use takes a huge effort.  Inside the packing room, the coolers are clean and running smoothly with the CSA crates already starting to fill them. 

 While the farmers were washing everything in sight, the crops kept working without us.  Converting solar energy into good things to eat is what they do, but it is easy to worry about their success.  After some nervous anticipation, the seed potatoes have finally popped their first shoots up above the soil.  A big hurdle passed for the potatoes and a good omen for the season ahead. 

Our mantra every year is this:  best year yet!  Let it be so...  

What to Do With Your Share - Extended Season Week 1

Welcome to all, old and new. The harvest season is beginning. We look forward to an exciting 31 straight weeks of providing you with sustenance courtesy of the soil at Fair Share Farm. It is a challenge that we enjoy, one filled with awesome perks and the opportunity to participate in modern organic farming.

One such perk has been a surplus of eggs for the household. They are a good source of protein and help us maintain strength throughout the day. An afternoon snack of a hard-boiled egg with Worcestershire sauce can really help.

With us, eggs for dinner often takes the form of a frittata. Essentially, a crust-less quiche, it is simple and versatile. This first week's share is made for this dish. Asparagus, chard, spinach, and herbs all go great with eggs.

Asparagus and Chard Frittata

1/2 lb. asparagus
4 large chard leaves
1 green onion
6 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 to 2 cups grated cheese
1-1/2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. salt

Clean and chop the chard, green onion and asparagus. Sauté the chard in the olive oil and butter for 5 minutes over medium heat in an oven-proof pan. Add the salt, green onions and asparagus and cook 3 more minutes.

Beat the eggs and milk. Add half the cheese to the eggs, stir, and then pour into the pan with the vegetables. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. The eggs should be cooked around the edges of the pan, and the center will still be soft.

Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and place in the broiler for 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Extended Season Begins Next Week

Next week begins the 2014 extended CSA season.  For the next 31 weeks we endeavor to feed the community from our fields.  Our best guess for the first share is lettuce, spinach, arugula, Swiss chard, carrots, asparagus, green onions and a choice of herbs. 

We also plan to give each extended season share a dozen eggs (if you do not eat eggs, let us know and we will substitute with something else.) It was not the plan to include eggs in the shares, but we are doing it this once because we feel that some of the share items will be smaller than we would like. Such has been this cold starting spring (see last post), and our high tunnel growing learning curve.

If you would like additional eggs they are $5.00/ dozen. Email us with an order and they will be delivered to distribution for you (while current supplies last).

The normal Spring routine of plant, mulch, cover was tested this morning with a low temp. of 24.8 deg. F. 

A heavy frost covered most of the fields.  It seems all survived intact thanks to the row cover.  The perennial crops like the strawberries can handle the frost better and looked fine once the frost melted.

The greenhouse is filling with peppers, eggplant and tomatoes. We are hoping to squeeze the last of the cool-weather crops out to the fields by the end of the week.