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CSA 2018 – week 1- Surprise!

I don’t go out to the fields on Sunday.

I try not to even look at the vegetables that day.

It’s not so much that I might be tempted to pull a few weeds (true), or that I’ll get stressed when I see all that needs to be done (maybe), or even that Sunday is our day of rest (for sure!) …

Rather, I don’t check the crops on Sunday because I want to be surprised on Monday.

All week we’re out in the fields – planting, weeding, mulching, harvesting … always working with the crops. Seeing them so much, we don’t readily notice the changes, and how things are growing. Simply skipping a day ensures we’ll be surprised when we return on Monday.

(It’s just like Sage. We know she’s growing. But when did she go from this …

… to this – 50 lbs at today’s weigh in.)

Certainly the farm surprised us this morning! Everything is growing so fast now!

I will admit we were already surprised last Friday. While I was still planning to send out an email giving a heads-up that CSA would start in a week or even 2, we realized there were enough vegetables ready that CSA could begin this week. Surprise!

We will harvest the lovely lettuce mix …

Spinach …

And bok choy.

Notice that the white netting which covers the bok choy and prevents insects from chewing on the leaves isn’t quite long enough to cover the entire row.

Here’s the result. The covered bok choy has almost perfect leaves.

The plants that were not protected look like this …

It won’t affect the flavour – but they sure don’t look as appealing or appetizing!

What’s in the box?

Lettuce mix, spinach, bok choy, green garlic, rhubarb.

  • The lettuce mix, spinach & bok choy have all been rinsed once to remove any field dirt. You will probably want to wash them again before eating. Store them in the plastic bag in the refrigerator. They will usually last about a week.
  • Bok choy is a great Asian vegetable. It can be added to your salad and eaten raw, but most often is sautéed or stir fried. We like to cook some garlic or chopped green garlic in a bit of oil (olive or sesame) for a couple of minutes, then add the bok choy and continue cooking until it is wilted & still bright green – around 5 minutes or less.
  • Green garlic is a fresh garlic plant. At this time of year the bulb has not yet formed below ground, and the green top is still tender enough to eat, like a scallion or green onion. Green garlic is milder than fall garlic bulbs. Use them raw (eg. sliced into salads or mashed with goat cheese for a spread) or cooked (sautéed with scrambled eggs)  anywhere you would use garlic. They are also delicious coated with olive oil & tossed whole on the barbecue. Store green garlic in the fridge.
  • There should be enough rhubarb in your box to make a pie. Or almost as good, and way easier & faster, make a rhubarb crisp or crumble. As usual we have included our favourite recipe below. It’s quick, easy, and delicious. We also enjoy stewed rhubarb. Chop rhubarb and cook in a saucepan with a bit of water until tender. Add sweetener (sugar, honey, maple syrup) to taste. We sometimes add apples or other fruit to cut the tartness of the rhubarb. Delicious on it’s own or poured over ice cream, pudding or custard.

Aunt Elvira’s Fruit Crisp

Cut up enough rhubarb (or any fruit) to half fill a pie plate.

Mix together …

½ cup brown sugar

¼ cup flour

¼ cup rolled oats

½ tsp cinnamon

3 TB butter

(Adjust the amounts to suit your preferences & taste.)

Cover fruit with this mixture.

Bake for approx. 12 minutes in the microwave.

We usually bake it in the oven rather – 350 F for approx. 30 minutes. The topping gets crispier & browner.

We are looking forward to seeing everyone at CSA pick up this week!

 

 

 


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The beauty of May

Everything seems to be moving fast on the farm these days … including us!

Seeding, transplanting, planting, weeding, cultivating, mulching, preparing ground for crops, and many other jobs are keeping us on the go. There’s no shortage of things to do this time of year!

The crops are moving fast too. I took pictures around the farm last week for an update, but didn’t get the chance to post them. By the weekend the vegetables had grown so much I needed new pictures. Again I did not post them. Now it is Wednesday – new pictures again …

Onions, broccoli & kale.

Two plantings of snow peas – but the second has about caught up with the first.

Spinach, onions, broccoli, beets, lettuce …

The white row covering is insect netting which blocks the bugs. The aim is worm-free radishes & salad turnips, and pak choy leaves without holes.

The garlic is all up now.

There’s a competition between the rhubarb & the weeds to see which one can grow the fastest!

The winter was hard on our blackberries – a lot of canes died from the cold temperatures & winds or were damaged by mice & rabbits. Now that the leaves are showing we can see that a lot more canes are not alive. There will be blackberries – but not the big amount we had last year.

Both greenhouses are still full of plants – even though we have moved many outside on trailers.

Our large hoophouse suffered damage in that strong windstorm we experienced a few weeks ago. Like most hoophouses (or greenhouses), our is covered with a double layer of plastic. A small fan constantly blows air between the 2 layers, inflating them slightly to provide extra insulation. The outer plastic sheet on ours was ripped off leaving only 1 layer. The endwalls were also torn allowing cold air to enter the house. Fortunately no plants were damaged – just covered in dust & dirt – and it happened in late spring, not in the cold of winter. On chilly nights, we spread the white cover over the plants which is like a blanket to help keep them warm. Once the greenhouse is empty in a few weeks we will remove all the plastic, let the soil soak up the rains all summer, and install new plastic in fall. Growers who use their greenhouses year round replace the plastic every 4 or 5 years. Our plastic is at least 8 years old making it more brittle which is why it ripped in the wind. It owes us nothing!

It is a pleasure to be on the farm this beautiful time of year!

But I stand corrected – not everything on the farm is moving fast … or even moving!