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CSA 2019 – Week 3

Sorry to lead with the cats again, but they so capture the mood of the day!

Flynn here is enjoying a beautiful, sunny, & mild Monday – something we all appreciated very much!

There were 5 of us working on the farm today and we got a lot accomplished …

The tomatoes are all staked now, and we’ve begun to prune & tie them for the first time – a huge job & an important one. Some of the plants already have little tomatoes!

Eggplant & sweet peppers were finally planted last week & the students are mulching them. Spreading all that straw is time well spent as it saves weeding throughout the season. Some we planted on ground cloth – a polypropylene fabric that prevents weed growth but allows air & water through. And because it’s black, the soil is kept warmer – something the peppers will love!

We weeded a lot of vegetables …

… and we transplanted a lot of vegetables into the field.

What’s in the box?

Salad turnips, parsley, collards, lettuce, spinach, green onions.

  • Salad turnips are small, round, white turnips that resemble radishes, but without the bite (usually)! Mild in flavour, crisp, and quite tender, they are best eaten raw – simply wash, cut off the tops and enjoy! They can also be stir fried, sautéed, or steamed – both the turnips & the green tops.
  • Parsley loves cool weather and we’ve had plenty of that – so we have plenty of parsley too! It’s great in your salads, omelets, or sandwiches (egg salad, tuna salad …).
  • Who knows what collard greens are? Not a common vegetable for most people,  (we have not grown them or eaten them even, for a few years!) they are in the same family as cabbage & broccoli with a taste & texture that is similar to kale. They are always cooked and not eaten raw. Rather than post recipes, here are links to 2 very different recipes that also give much additional, useful information on collards.
  1. https://braziliankitchenabroad.com/brazilian-style-collard-greens/
  2. https://cooktoria.com/vegetarian-collard-greens/
  • Lettuce mix, spinach & green onions round out your CSA share this week.

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We’ve been working around a killdeer nest for several weeks now – hidden in the weeds in the middle of the field.

They don’t build much of a nest. This one contained 3 eggs only.

The eggs finally hatched on the weekend & already the little ones are running around the field.

Killdeer are fun birds to watch, but so incredibly noisy. It’s nice when they arrive in spring – and nice when they leave again!

 

 

 

 

 


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CSA 2019 – Week 2

With the return of the rain this morning, everyone was feeling a little down.

Especially the Flynns! They were downright miserable and refused to get up – even for breakfast!

But the weekend was great – sunny & warm. Everything on the farm is looking lush & green.

So far we have been able to keep the weeds under control, but that carpet of green springing up between the rows is really scary!

The peas are just starting to blossom – we should be enjoying snow peas before the end  of the month.

Last year’s row of kale is in full bloom now. On sunny days the plants are vibrating with all the bees working there. On overcast days like today, the flowers are full of other insects & wild bees.

The tomatoes, tomatillos and first zucchini are all mulched now and we’re starting to stake the tomatoes.

But the frequent rains keep us behind in our seeding & planting. The small greenhouse is bursting with trays of seedlings waiting to be transplanted into the fields.

Sweet peppers, hot peppers & eggplant are waiting for drier soil too – this week for sure!

What’s in the box?

Stir fry mix/salad blend, green garlic, mint bunches, spinach, bok choy, green onions & radishes.

Siamese Dragon Stir Fry Mix Salad Blend

  • The official name of this is “Siamese Dragon stir fry mix salad blend”. It contains a variety of greens – mostly Asian. The seed catalogue doesn’t list them all, but it looks like lettuce, bok choy, tatsoi, komatsuma, kale, mustard …  Some of these are quite spicy & flavourful! It’s a great fresh salad mix when the leaves are smaller. When they get larger, try them stir fried/steamed/sauteed with some green garlic. The greens in the box this week could be used either way.

(picture from Baker Creek Seed catalogue)

 

 

 

  • 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 maybe) anywhere you would use garlic. They are also delicious coated with olive oil & tossed whole on the barbecue. Store green garlic in the fridge.
  • We love fresh mint! Delicious & refreshing in fruit salads, drinks etc. Lately we have been making a simple syrup with the mint leaves and adding it to our iced teas. (recipe below)
  • Spinach, bok choy, green onions & radishes. After our long winter, fresh spring greens are so welcome & delicious. Eating them fresh is the easiest, but they are great cooked also. We’ve included 2 simple & quick recipes below.

MINT SIMPLE SYRUP   

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup sugar 
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh mint, rinsed
  • 1 cup water

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Add sugar, mint, and water to a small pot.  Bring to a boil, and then remove from heat.
  • Leave the mint leaves in the syrup as it cools for about 15 minutes.  Strain out the leaves, and bottle the syrup.
  • Store mint simple syrup in a glass jar in the fridge.  Use within a year
(from https://champagne-tastes.com)

SAUTEED GINGER BOK CHOY

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 green garlic stalks or 2 garlic cloves – minced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, freshly minced
  • 1 bag (approx. 600 gr) bok choy
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • Toasted sesame seeds, freshly ground pepper & salt.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add in garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute.
  2. Meanwhile cut the bok choy on the bias, or just in half lengthwise. Add in the bok choy and soy sauce and cook stirring for 3 minutes, or until greens are wilted and stalks are crisp-tender.
  3. Serve immediately when warm with toasted sesame seeds, black pepper, and salt.
(adapted from http://eugeniekitchen.com)

GARLIC ROASTED RADISHES

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb. radishes, ends trimmed and halved
  • 1 Tbsp. melted butter or ghee (may sub coconut oil or avocado oil)
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 2 green garlic stalks – finely chopped or 2-3 garlic cloves minced,
  • 1/4 tsp. dried parsley, dried chives or dried dill

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 425℉.
  2. In a bowl, combine the radishes, melted butter or oil, salt and pepper and toss until radishes are evenly coated.
  3. Spread radishes out singly in a 9 x 13 dish.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes, tossing every 10 or so minutes. Add the minced garlic and dried parsley and bake for an additional 5 minutes or until radishes are golden brown and cooked through.
  5. Optional: Serve with a side of ranch dressing for dipping or drizzling on top and garnish with parsley, dill or chives.
(adapted from https://therealfoodrds.com)

 

Please remember to bring your box along for your CSA share this week!


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CSA 2019 – Week 1

“Three Simple Steps for Planting a Chaos Garden”.

This was the title of the article I read online. The basic idea is to mix all your vegetable & flower seeds together, scatter them around your garden “and then sit back and see what happens  … You might find that you end up with far more produce for the effort invested than if you took the time to form perfect beds and plant everything in tidy rows.”

I guess you might.

I guess you might also end up with a weedy mess & very few vegetables!

I found the article funny – but also annoying. While we all like to get great results without much effort, life doesn’t often work that way. Certainly farming does not! (though of course we continually strive to find better & easier ways to grow our crops).

But the chaos part we can identify with. Chaos happens!

Here’s our herb garden …

If it looks like weeds & thistles, that’s because it is! Most of the herbs didn’t survive the winter. (The loss of all our 50+ lavender plants hurts the most.) While we waited to see if they were merely late in springing to life, the weeds took over. Chaos indeed! And it’s right beside the road so everyone passing by can see. This week finally we dug out the few survivors and then sprayed a herbicide on everything else. I guess that makes us guilty of wanting good (and quick) results without much work, but it seemed the best solution (and one we rarely choose). Shortly we’ll mow everything down & plant a cover crop for the summer to smother weeds & improve the soil. By next spring we can plant vegetables here again.

Our other chaotic herb garden. But because it’s hidden behind the lilacs & golden hop trellis, it doesn’t stand out. You might say that this bed was made according to the article – we just planted a bunch of different herbs and let them grow. The angelica and bronze fennel were the bullies and outgrew everything else (except for the weeds again).

Two other examples of chaos on our farm. Along the railroad tracks  …

… and the berm surrounding our pond.

But mostly we keep the chaos in check!

The kale from last year is now blooming – bright yellow & chaotic, but in a good way!

Tomatoes are all planted and we’ve started to mulch them.

Beautiful lettuce for our CSA shares this week.

What’s in the box?

Lettuce mix, bok choy, spinach, arugula, radishes, green onions, rhubarb.

  • The lettuce mix, spinach, bok choy & arugula 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.
  • The lettuce is a mix of different colours & kinds of lettuce. It is not only beautiful, but delicious too!
  • We always pick our greens the morning of CSA pick-up day (or the day before the farmers’ market) so they are fresh. This means the spinach might be baby spinach, or sometimes bigger leaves – depends on how the weather has been. Tomorrow’s spinach will probably have smaller leaves than Friday’s. It all tastes great though!
  • 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 onion 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. Every year we try different kinds of bok choy – white & green, small & mini, tight heads or looser heads. Some prefer hot weather while others like it cooler. But all of them react to big temperature swings and can bolt & go to flower in a day or two. Needless to say we have a lot in flower already this spring season. The flowers are totally edible, so be sure to use them if some show up in the bag.
  • If you are not familiar with arugula, then you’re in for a surprise. Arugula is quite spicy! It is one of the most popular crops at our farmers’ markets. People absolutely love it! Some eat it in a salad (with strawberries, feta cheese & a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette) while others mix it with lettuce or other greens. It’s also great in sandwiches.
  • Radishes also can have a bit of a bite. Enjoy them in your salad with the lettuce, spinach, arugula …
  • The first onions of the season are green onions, also called bunching onions or scallions. Eat everything – the green leaves & the small, bottom white bulb.
  • 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. 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.

We’re excited to see everyone this week at the first CSA pick-up of the season!