Tuesday, April 26, 2016

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

Hard to believe it is still April. The weather has been mild and we have finally gotten some rain. It has gotten a lot of things growing and blooming. Keeping up this time of year includes lots of harvesting.
Walking onions
Our perennial allium crops come on according to their own schedule and this week the chives and walking onions are peaking. The onions are a bit sturdier than a scallions, and can be cooked or used fresh. We also have the Bridger overwintering onion in the field and will begin pulling them too.

The chives include their blooms, which are perfect as a garnish to either fresh or cooked dishes. If you are enjoying our eggs, chives are a savory accompaniment.

Chive flowers
The Red Russian kale we seeded in the greenhouse in early February has grown lush of late and we plan on picking it for the first time this week. This tenderness will mean that a fresh kale salad is fitting. Try the recipe for massaged kale from our last year's May 19th blog.

In the Share: Week 2x

WALKING ONIONS  an early perennial, eat as you would any green onion.






FALL CARROTS  Last of the storage carrots.  Sometime in June we should have the first of the fresh crop.

RED RUSSIAN KALE  From out in the field.  We'll save the rest for the start of the 24-week season in 2 weeks, but the biggest leaves are perfect for picking now.

HERB MIX Cilantro, dill, chive flowers

NEXT WEEK:  lettuce, asparagus, green onions, green garlic, arugula, bok choy, herbs and radishes.

With all of the spring crops in, the rains have been appreciated.  You can almost watch the lettuce grow.

Rainy days find us in the greenhouse potting up the summer crops.  The eggplant is ready even if the weather is not quite yet. We will wait as long as we can to make sure that we are past any freezes.

The CSA workers have been a great help in getting in the harvest and tending to the fields.  We like to hay mulch vegetables like the Swiss chard that will stay on in the fields into the summer.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

What to Do With Your Share---Extended Season Week 1

Hello 2016 CSA. We are happy to see the harvest start on schedule with good spring fare for the first share. Each season has its own characteristics and we are ready to see what this year brings.

Two of the items in the share --carrots and potatoes-- are crops that we harvested last year and have stored in our cooler. If kept at the right temperature and humidity many vegetables can be stored for long periods of time. You need to create an environment that puts them into a comfortable state of dormancy.

This cold storage also changes the taste of the carrot, usually towards the sweeter side. This year we are planning on installing new refrigerated storage in the barn that will be used, in part, to store vegetables over the winter for spring-time enjoyment. Let us know what you think of our efforts so far.

The fresh veggies are coming on too, and a couple of the stars are also over-wintered. The spinach and gailan plants we are harvesting from were first planted last fall. They have been nurtured, watered, fertilized and protected in the high tunnel their whole life, and are reaching their spring peak right about now.

During the off-season we have been enjoying the gailan. We are working to learn as much as we can about the best ways to raise and harvest it. We will trial a few new varieties, and see what harvest methods produce the best growth. We love the flavor and texture---milder and tender than other sprouting broccoli's, like the Italian broccoli raab.

Gailan (Chinese broccoli)
It is exceptional raw, so we regularly make a salad. You can chop it and then add whatever you want. We suggest grated carrots, some salt and pepper, garlic chives, and your favorite dressing. Simple, tasty and nutritious.

Gailan and carrot salad
We also want to thank Spike, who has been doing construction work at the farm this month, for switching gears and fixing our tractor. We were losing gears just as we most needed the ol' Farmall 504. Luckily it was a worn out 50+ year old gearshift mechanism and not the transmission, and Spike used the shop to patch us up. 
Tractor repair with Spike

In the Share - Week 1 (extended season)

EGGS  This week only, we have enough eggs to add to the shares.  Our hens have been busy fertilizing, weeding and eating bugs for us, when they aren't sitting in the coop laying their healthy and colorful eggs. (eggs will be offered on the bulk list for the next two weeks.  Egg shares start the first week of the regular season in three weeks.)

LETTUCE  From the high tunnel, butterhead or red leaf varieties.

FRISEE ENDIVE  Add to your lettuce for a frilly salad.

SPINACH  We may be out of spinach after this week, it had a long run from its original seeding in September 2015.

GAILAN  Also planted back in September, broccoli's more slender cousin.

ARUGULA OR SWISS CHARD  More greens from the high tunnel.

CARROTS  From cold storage of the fall 2015 crop.

POTATOES  Ditto on these.

HERB CHOICE  garlic chives and/or tarragon

NEXT WEEK:  Lettuce, green onions, hakurei turnips, radishes, and bok choy


Welcome to the first week of the CSA! The harvest has begun just in time for Earth Day.  Organic farming and community participation is what sustainability is all about.  Thank you for caring about your Mother Earth!

The planting of the Spring crops is all but complete.  The fields are full of peas, potatoes, onions, broccoli, cabbage, kale, chard, carrots, beets, spinach, leeks and loads of lettuce.  Here we are last week putting the finishing touches on the leek planting.

 The rain has given us a temporary break from planting work.  Instead we filled our time giving the packing room and wash area a good Spring cleaning.  We adhere to and train our crew in good food safety practices.  This includes cleaning and sanitizing all of the crates and tools that we use for harvest.  It is a big task, but well worth the effort.

Up until two days ago, the fields were very dry.  Dry weather has its pros and cons.  Last year during the torrential rains I told more than one person that it is much easier to bring water to the plants than to take it away.

Other pros of dry weather: it was dry enough to kill lots of weeds!  Here's me and the cultivating tractor, our Allis Chalmers G, getting things tidy.

However, there is a big con of dry weather:  it was necessary to walk out irrigation tape in April, which is not always necessary but was very necessary two weeks ago.  This takes time, but was totally worth it.  All of our transplants look amazing after a nice drink from the pond followed by a good bath from the sky.

So, I'm sticking to my assertion that a dry year is better than a way-too-wet one.  Although this week's rain was tremendous and impossible to duplicate.  Thank your Mother Earth!