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.

FARM REPORT:


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.

KALE, CHARD OR SPROUTING BROCCOLI

GARLIC SCAPES  This week only.  Get your scape on!

GREEN ONIONS

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

FARM REPORT:
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.


What to Do With Your Share---Week 4

We've been making a lot of strawberry and garlic dressing during this butterhead season. I always look forward to the combination of these three farm products. We have shared it a bit lately and I have been asked about the recipe.

The dressing is best made in a food processor. You can add as little or as much as you want of the garlic and strawberries.

3 to 4 garlic scapes, topped
about 6 medium strawberries
1/3 cup vinegar
1 egg
1 cup oil (we used half EV olive and half safflower)
salt to taste

1. Chop the scapes into 2 inch pieces and add to the food processor. Pulse until well chopped.
2. Add strawberries, vinegar, salt, egg, and a little of the oil.
3. While processing add oil in a steady stream.
4. Process until well mixed.


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

In the Share: Week 3


STRAWBERRIES

BUTTERHEAD LETTUCE

RED LEAF LETTUCE

KALE OR CHARD

SPROUTING BROCCOLI

HINONA TURNIPS  See Tom's post for more on these guys.

CILANTRO AND DILL

IN TWO WEEKS:  strawberries, lettuce, greens, garlic scapes, herbs.

FARM REPORT:

Spring is flying by.  Worries of frost have been replaced by worries of hail storms.  On Wednesday, severe hail was supposedly on its way.  So we rushed around pulling the covers back over the beds of our tenderest crops.


Luckily no hail came, just strong winds and rain.  By Saturday's CSA morning we were back in the fields weeding onions.  We also managed to wash more crates.  We like to give the hundreds of crates we use a good scrub and sanitizing every Spring and periodically throughout the season.  It is just a small part of our farm-wide food safety plan that keeps our produce fresh and healthy.  Washing crates isn't a glamorous job but it is essential.  Thanks to all who pitched in!


What to Do With Your Share---Week 3

It's a hefty share this week, with an extra item. The peaking of so many veggies at once is a wonderful thing that can keep one busy in a good way. While crawling through the strawberry patch get a little old by the third hour, it gives us the opportunity to experience that brief annual time when the strawberries at their best.


We are growing a new item for our fermentation, a Japanese style salad turnip. It keeps a firm texture when fermented and is a good carrot substitute. The flavor is radish, turnip and sweetness all at the same time. We are only handing out a few, so straight into a salad with some lettuce, strawberries and dressing is a great way to go.


Tuesday, May 2, 2017

What to Do With Your Share---Week 2

It's been an inside/outside kind of day. Much of the morning was spent in the high tunnel, harvesting in its controlled environment. Conditions like that help us grow crops like salad turnips, with a texture that has been described as having an ice cream center. Eat these fresh with your favorite dip or dressing to take advantage of them at their best.

Later it was out to the field, where the kale has been subjected to more natural conditions. This early crop is doing great, well mulched and enjoying the wind and direct sunlight. One great way to enjoy the kale is with some pasta, as in our Kale, Green Onion, Bow Tie Pasta and Goat Cheese recipe from 2014. Use any green onions you may have left from the last share, or use the freshly pulled green garlic.

green garlic
Out in the fallowing fields we have been focusing on weed eradication. This work has caused us to slow down our regular cover cropping plans to work on cultivating the freshly germinated weeds out of the fields every few weeks. Killing weeds when they are in the "thread stage" is a lot easier than when they are full grown.

Thread stage weeds after cultivation
This is called creating a stale seed bed, and helps us reduce the "weed seed bank" in our soil. All part of our sabbatical plans to manage our soil to create the most fertile soils we can.

Freshly cultivated fields

In the Share - Week 2


SALAD TURNIPS

TAT SOI OR SWISS CHARD

KALE

SALAD MIX

ASPARAGUS

GREEN GARLIC

IN TWO WEEKS:  lettuce, greens, strawberries and herbs.

FARM REPORT:
Last week was our first off-week of our alternating week CSA distribution.  While not a typical sabbatical, getting a week's break from the harvest/delivery schedule opened up our days for other projects.  With our extra time we managed to complete some repair to the outside of the farm house and get all of the cabbages mulched before the rains came.


We are lucky that only 2.5 inches of rain fell the last few days.  We know other farmers with flooded fields just a few hours south of us.  The Spring plantings are all in and growing nicely.  We hope with a little warm and dry weather we should be able to start planting the summer crops of tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers by later this week.


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

In the Share - Week 1


salad turnip tops

SALAD TURNIPS  I like crops that are tasty top to bottom.

LETTUCE  butterhead and red leaf lettuce from the high tunnel.

CHOICE:  SWISS CHARD OR BOK CHOY

CHOICE:  SPINACH OR SPROUTING BROCCOLI

GREEN ONIONS the over-wintered patch is looking nice.

CHIVES X2  common chives and garlic chives

IN TWO WEEKS:  lettuce, kale, tat soi, green garlic, herbs.

FARM REPORT:


What a nice week:  tomorrow, Wednesday, starts the CSA season followed by Earth Day at the weekend.  As farmers we fear the consequences of inaction on climate change.  What is needed is a higher rate of adoption of sustainable methods that are known to work.  Our goal is to show that food can be produced in a healthy way and we have already shown that it can be done while sequestering carbon.

Earlier this month we sped-up some carbon loss at the annual controlled burn of the native grasses on the Graff family farmland that surrounds our fields.   Burning encourages the switch grass and blue stem and knocks back cool season weeds.  Native prairies act as carbon sinks with their deep roots and high organic matter.


The home field is filling up with onions, potatoes, cabbage, greens and herbs.  The strawberries are flowering and the garlic is growing.  The far field is on sabbatical this season with only chicken grazing and cover cropping to occupy itself.




The laying hens are in peak production.  All egg share members are getting a double dose of eggs this week to help us catch up.  These ladies will slow down once Summer hits, so its best to enjoy this egg-tabulous season while it lasts.

What to Do With Your Share---Week 1

Welcome to the first week of the 2017 CSA season. Looking forward to sharing another year of farming with you. We are glad you have returned as we re-shape the CSA for a year.

One thing that isn't changing is that we will put out these blog posts on Tuesday night to help you better enjoy the share. If you are looking for a recipe suggestion you can start a search right here on our blog, as we have posted recipes for every share since 2008.

If you want to cook fresh, you can chop up just about everything in the share, dress it, toss it, and eat it. For a spicy dressing try a sesame oil based Asian dressing, or a creamy one using some Fair Share Farm eggs.

If you want to cook the veggies check out our stir fry primer and Spring Stir Fry recipe. That includes the gailan or sprouting broccoli. It is one of our favorite vegetables and we plan to grow more this spring.


Ferment Share:
This week's ferment share is what we call a sauerkraut slaw. Made with our best storage vegetables, it is great as a condiment, or as a side slaw. Put it in a soup, on top of a fresh salad, on a grilled cheese sandwich, or to accompany some fish.

We are happy to be starting our ferment sales. We may have a lag as we wait for this year's first harvests. We hope it will be a year filled with variety for you.

tree frog in the marjoram transplant

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Getting the Ball Rolling


The 2017 Fair Share Farm CSA is officially set into motion. Here we go for yet another unique season of farming and eating. We hope it is a good ride this year as we work to improve the farm, the CSA, and our fermenting skills.

Not sure why we keep calling this a sabbatical year, but we do spend time studying and taking time to focus on things. We have gone to several conferences, taken a short trip to Jeff City to discuss organic farming concerns with our State Rep., worked on farm landscaping, and have implemented an on-line system for member signup.

2016 members can expect an email with signup info. We are scaling back to 100 members and a smaller share size for this season.

Meanwhile on the farm we have been tending the chickens and our newest flock has begun laying. We have plenty of eggs for sale. Pick up at the farm anytime. The hens are happy and healthy and a treat to see.


We have been penning them in areas that were mulched last year with hay. Their constant scratching of the ground really fluffs up the soil. The beds in the picture above have been the chicken winter quarters for several years. The organic matter in this area has reached 5.2% and is steadily increasing. Our soil sampling demonstrates the improvements that biological farming can provide.
Next to the hens we are trying a method pioneered by Jean-Martin Fortier. This silage wrap is black on top and white on the bottom. Conditions are created where weed seeds germinate and sprout, but then die due to lack of sunlight. It's a 50' x 100' piece of sail that can be tricky to manage.

The greenhouse is up and filling. The number of flats is less than in the past and that makes us nervous, but things are growing well. Thanks again to Purple Cow Organics for the high quality potting soil.


And the high tunnel requires lots of tending also. Manage the row covers, clean up and amend the beds, irrigate, seed, and keep it warm and well ventilated. Covered growing is a method all unto itself.