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CSA 2016 – week 8

It was a welcome & long-awaited rain that fell on our part of the earth this morning. When it was over we had received almost 18 mm (or .7 “). This was the first measurable amount of precipitation for us in more than 2 months. While it is not enough to save all our crops, it certainly refreshed them, invigorated many & allowed me to skip watering today – a welcome break from what has become a daily task. We are very thankful for this rain!

Our peppers & eggplant finally mulched last week, which will help preserve today’s rain.

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The next planting of beans & zucchini, with a row of edamame in between. We’ve been watering these almost daily to coax them along.

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Watering & now today’s rain have made the new lettuces – and the weeds – grow!

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What’s in the box?

Tomatoes, onions, beans, broccoli & zucchini.

  • Much of our watering has been concentrated on our tomato plants. As a result they are doing well – healthy & green, growing & producing increasing amounts of fruit.
  • The onions in your share this week will be the heirloom Ailsa Craig variety that we have been growing for several years now. They are a sweeter onion & very delicious.
  • The green beans plants are small & struggling, but producing a surprising amount of beans.
  • We are coming to the end of our broccoli season. As we mentioned last week, several of the plantings matured at the same time making for a quick harvest. The heads are not very pretty or uniform but the flavour is there. Tuesday’s pick-up will get broccoli for sure in their box. For Friday we cannot promise. We are hopeful there will be some …
  • The weekend was warm hot & so the zucchini grew … & grew …. & grew. They are pretty large today. This may be the week to stuff zucchini, or make zucchini brownies?

Last weeks’ CSA box.

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The rain today did not usher in any cooler weather – it was hot & humid again, and everyone felt it!

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CSA 2016 – week 7

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Sunflowers just seem to make people happy!

And we’ve got a long row of them, which is a whole lot of happiness.

They are at their peak right now & looking bright & beautiful. We took about 9 big pails full to market on Saturday – they were to first things to sell & we sold out in a hurry. We had some for sale at CSA pick-up on Friday & lots were snapped up. There’s even some available at the road – self-serve – and they’re moving there too. It seems that people really like sunflowers.

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The plan was to plant a lot of sunflowers this season. We ordered a whole pile of seeds in the winter – 5 or 6 kinds, different colours & sizes. We would seed a row every week to ensure a continuous supply of blooms for much of the summer. Even if sales were poor, the farm would look great!

That was the plan.

The reality was that we seeded that first row – and no more. We got busy … it got dry … so only 1 row. They’re blooming now and by next week they’ll be over.

But for now, that row looks great!

And sunflowers are making us happy!

What’s in the box?

Tomatoes, basil, broccoli, zucchini, green onions & beets.

  • With each pick we are harvesting more & more tomatoes. Along with the early cherry & grape tomatoes, we are now picking salad size & even a few large tomatoes. I know that in a few weeks everyone will be groaning at yet more tomatoes, but at this stage in the season it’s a big hurray!!
  • What goes with tomatoes? Basil! There will be a bunch of fresh basil in your share this week – the beginning of a beautiful tomato-basil salad.
  • While the first planting of broccoli was sparse, the 2nd … & 3rd are maturing together & coming on strong. The heads are not large because of the dry conditions but they taste great. Find several in your box this week.
  • We put another planting of zucchini in the ground last week, but the first patch continues to produce well. Choose from green, yellow or green striped, & maybe a few patty pan summer squash. Different shapes & colours but all taste similar & are used the same way.
  • This is probably the end of the green onions. Next week should see big onions in the share.
  • Beets – we’ll call them baby beets since they don’t seem to be growing at all. Enjoy another bunch this week.

Last week’s box.

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CSA 2016 – week 6

 

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We always get excited when the first tomatoes are ripe & ready for harvest.

The cherry tomatoes lead the way – orange, yellow, pink & red – along with some grape & smaller salad sized fruit. So far there have been just enough to tease our customers at market & prove the old adage – the early bird gets the worm (or tomato in this case). This week we are picking a few more, enough to also tease our CSA members & provide a small taste.

But this week is really a good news/bad news scenario.

Bad news first …

The lack of rainfall or drought as it’s being rightly called, is beginning to have a more noticeable effect on our CSA boxes. We could entitle it “what’s not in the box?

Raspberries are the biggest disappointment. They have come, and almost gone in a hurry. What began as a promising crop has been reduced by 90% – we’re only picking about 10% of an average crop. The rest have dried up. Other crops that have been lost or reduced include fava beans, the first plantings of broccoli & cauliflower, green beans, sweet onions, edamame. Peas – snow, shell & sugar snap – and spinach were good while they lasted, which was about half as long as usual. The losses will be felt right through the season since we have not been able to seed as many vegetables lately as planned. Everything has to be watered now in order to get it to germinate, & water is in short supply! Crops that have been transplanted are faring poorly. About 1/3 of our winter squash didn’t make it along with fennel, some lettuce …

The result is a CSA box that may be getting smaller instead of larger, and a table at the farmers’ market with less instead of more.

But there is good news!

As already noted, the tomato harvest has begun & they are looking good. We are watering them as much as we can & so far it’s paying off. The plants are outdoing themselves.

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Peppers, eggplant & even artichokes have established themselves & are growing – albeit slowly. The winter squash that survived are beginning to runner & spread and have blossoms & small squash. Zucchini, the next plantings of broccoli, kale, collards, beets … are doing well.

Blackberries – one of our biggest crops – are looking good. We remain hopeful but know they require a lot of water as they ripen, more than we can give them.

So now that you know what’s happening on the farm…

What’s in the box?

Raspberries, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, collard greens, lettuce, zucchini, beets, green onions & garlic scapes.

  • We picked raspberries today & were pleasantly surprised to find some nice ones. So there will be a small box in your share this week (Tues pick-up for sure, Friday is uncertain).
  • Since there are only a few cherry tomatoes & a few broccoli, everyone will get one or the other.
  • Collard greens – a delicious green but not as common or well-known as kale or chard or spinach. Collards are a nutritional goldmine, similar to kale & broccoli. They are low in calories, high in fibre, & rich in beta-carotene, vitamin C, calcium &  B vitamins. They are rarely eaten raw, but are best prepared by boiling rapidly for 5-10 minutes which preserves nutrients, colour & taste. Then the collards are drained, dried & sautéed in a little oil with other vegetables or herbs & flavourings. Sauteeing collards without boiling first is another cooking method. It results in slightly stronger flavoured greens with a chewier texture.
  • Lettuce makes a return appearance in the box this week – probably small heads rather than the mix we’ve had most weeks.
  • Zucchini, beets, green onions & garlic scapes are all around for another week.

Here are 2 recipes – a simple collard green recipe & one for beet burgers that a CSA member passed on to us (thanks Cory!).

Sautéed Collard Greens

         ingredients

    • collard greens
    • several garlic scapes
    • 1 tablespoon  butter
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste

    preparation

    Remove and discard stems and center ribs of collard greens. Cut leaves into 1-inch pieces. In a kettle of boiling water cook collards 5-10 minutes – until tender, but still bright green – and drain in a colander.

    Mince garlic. In a heavy skillet heat butter and oil over moderately high heat until foam subsides and stir in garlic, collards, and salt and pepper to taste. Sauté collard mixture, stirring, until heated through, about 5 minutes.

    Drizzle collards with lemon juice and toss well.

Quarter Pound Beet Burgers  

http://www.theppk.com/2012/02/quarter-pounder-beet-burger/

Last week’s CSA box (half share)

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Oliver & one of the Flynns – always reminding us to make time to relax & just chill!

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CSA 2016 – week 5

 

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Today is a good day to show off some of our crops …

  • These vegetables are looking healthy & green – despite being thirsty.
  • Most of the weeds are under control – but don’t look too closely!
  • The grass is cut & edges are trimmed.

We’re fairly satisfied with the way the farm is looking right now.

Other areas where we have been harvesting are tired & spent. As soon as everything is picked the vegetables will be mowed down. Usually we would plan to work up the ground & either reseed another vegetable crop or sow a cover crop to keep the weeds down & improve the soil. Because it is so dry, we will simply mow the plants & then keep mowing as necessary, using the weeds as the cover crop. When the rains do finally come, we can then work up the soil & plant the cover crop.

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What’s in the box?

Raspberries, peas, beets, zucchini, salad turnips, green onions, garlic scapes.    

extras – kohlrabi

  • Raspberries! It seems everyone has been waiting for them. They taste great, but are a little small due to lack of moisture. The canes too are really suffering – drying up & dying – because they need a lot of rain. So unfortunately there will only be a small box. We also can’t promise there will be any more raspberries in your share next week.
  • Sugar snap or snow peas – you could get either kind this week. We have started to pick a new patch of snow peas. There should be a few for Tuesday, and more by Friday’s pick-up. Our row of sugar snaps is surprising us & continues to produce.
  • Your bunch of beets may be red or golden or a combination. There’s not much difference between them – except the colour, so use them the same way. Remember that the beet greens are edible too!
  • Our zucchini plants are ramping up production so there will be a couple zucchini in your box this week. They are better looking now too – not quite so ugly & misshapen.
  • Salad turnips are getting rave reviews – enjoy them again! This may be the last week for turnips.
  • To finish the box, add a bunch of green onions & garlic scapes.
  • for those who haven’t had enough kohlrabi, there will be some available as an extra. Pick one up if you want. Here’s a link to a recipe for kohlrabi fritters that a CSA member sent. They enjoyed these vegan & gluten free fritters – http://honestcooking.com/kohlrabi-fritters-vermont-csa/

Thank you for remembering to bring your box back each week.

Please return all other containers as well for reuse.

Here’s a look at last week’s box – a full share.

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