Keep updated on all that is happening around Thiessen Farms!


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CSA 2021 – Week 9

What’s in the box?

Cucumbers, green beans, fresh garlic, tomatoes,

onions, zucchini, salad greens.

Extras – eggplant, kohlrabi.

Cucumbers are the crop that keeps us humble. They are not particularly difficult to grow – it just that we can’t seem to do it! This year it was the heat that wiped out our 1st planting shortly after transplanting to the field. Our 2nd planting is producing now – not an abundance, but enough for a taste. We are trying several kinds this season to see if one performs better and holds the promise of a plethora of my favourite vegetable!

Green Beans on the other hand grow very well for us. These we have an abundance of!

How was the fresh garlic last week? We will be including a bulb of garlic in the box every week now. Remember that it is still quite fresh and not completely dried yet. Once you break the bulb open, use it quickly. Or leave it to dry – room temperature in a spot with good air circulation.

The amount of tomatoes we are picking continues to increase. The size is increasing too. Along with the cherries, the medium size salad tomatoes are ripening, and we’re even picking a handful of beeksteaks now. (There should be enough of these for the CSA boxes in a week or two.)

Onions, zucchini & salad greens (probably lettuce & arugula) complete your box this week.

Extras include eggplant & kohlrabi. Our eggplant are thriving in this weather. The rains especially have been very beneficial for them and we’re picking many beautiful eggplant in many beautiful colours. It’s listed as an extra because we know it is a love-it-or-hate-it vegetable. So if you love it, grab one or a few and enjoy! And if you hate it, just walk on by. Or … maybe … why not give eggplant a try?

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Around the farm this week …

We are adding another layer of straw mulch to the eggplant to discourage the persistent weeds
The squash are flourishing! Under the squash plants and under the weeds are several kinds of cover crop growing. Later in fall once the squash is harvested we’ll mow the plants down and have a green carpet of clover, hairy vetch etc … to cover the soil for the winter.
Today I transplanted salad greens including kale, arugula, mizuna, tatsoi, bok choy …
But there are always more trays of seedlings (including cucumbers) waiting to be transplanted to the field.
The young chickens are finally realizing that life is better outside.
One of the Flynns relaxing Sunday afternoon.
Then today it was back to work – the fierce hunter caught a snake (it was a catch & release).
Sage enjoying some relaxation on the deck …
… or running around when the mood strikes.


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CSA 2021 – Week 8

6 ears of sweet corn (1st of the season!), 1 pint of blueberries, a dozen apple fritters, 6 large soft pretzels, 4 vegetable samosas, 1 Amish donut (filled with homemade Nutella), 1 bag of kettle corn, 1 bag of vegan cheddar popcorn, 2 bouquets of flowers (pink snapdragons & black sweet peas), and a small piece of cheese (Graskaas seasonal).

That is what we returned home from market with on Saturday. Plus 4 beautifully decorated mini-cupcakes from 1 of our favourite customers (they didn’t make it home) and 2 homemade breakfast sandwiches from another customer which he makes and delivers to us – hot – every Saturday!

Now please don’t think we always come home with that many goodies. But this past Saturday was a rainy market day. And rainy market days are different. Business is slower so we have more time to visit with other vendors (at a distance of course). Less customers mean less sales, so many vendors are eager to share or trade with each other rather than take so much product home. So that’s why we were loaded down with such great stuff. Some we purchased but lots we traded for. It makes a wet, slow market day less depressing and lots more fun!

I think our market stall looked bright & beautiful, especially on such a dreary day!

Sales were ok – sunflowers, beets & eggplant were a big hit but zucchini not so much. There is plenty for the food bank now.

While we mostly had clouds & drizzle at market, it really rained hard at the farm. And that is a good thing! The blackberries are starting to turn colour and all this moisture will ensure large, plump & juicy berries. Tomatoes, eggplant, peppers – most of the vegetables actually – also appreciate the added water. There is some spoilage (rot, mildew, rust) showing up already in the zucchini, lettuce, beans, but overall the rain was a welcome bonus.

Plus we ate really well this weekend!

What’s in the box?

Green beans, fresh garlic, baby fennel, tomatoes,

onions, zucchini, beets, baby kale.

extras – kohlrabi, garlic scapes.

We have seeded green beans 9 times already this season – every Wednesday since May 19 – and we’ll seed them 3 or 4 more times. So we should have plenty of beans – starting this week! You probably don’t need any recipes or tips on how to cook beans, but Katherine at http://www.cookwithwhatyouhave.com has at least 20 recipes with green beans in case you’re looking for something new. (A subscription to this website is part of your CSA. Please email the farm if you need your access key to get into the site.)

Fresh garlic has wonderful strong, pungent garlic flavour – much stronger than the garlic scapes you have been receiving in your box. Because it has just been pulled and is not dry, it should be kept at room temperature, and in a place with good air circulation. You can leave it there and it will slowly cure & dry. Or enjoy it right away in your cooking, but know that once the bulb is broken open, it should be stored in the fridge and used within a few days. Enjoy!

Baby fennel is a less familiar vegetable to many. It has a beautiful anise or licorice flavour and is wonderful shaved into salads or sliced on a vegetable tray. Roasting or sauteing fennel results in a milder and very delicious flavour. Again, http://www.cookwithwhatyouhave.com has many recipes and tips for how to use fennel. Check out Simple fennel salad with lemon or Stewed fennel, onion & tomato.

Why baby fennel instead of big, round, fat, fennel? Mostly because it’s so beautiful now that we can’t wait! And the hot weather we’ve been having could send it to seed quickly, so we’ll eat it and enjoy these young, small, tender bulbs now.

We have been sneaking tomatoes into CSA boxes as they have been available in the last week or two. Now there should be enough for everyone this week – mostly cherry and smaller tomatoes in a range of colours. The large, red beeksteak tomatoes are plentiful on the plants – but showing no signs of ripening yet.

Onions, zucchini, beets, and baby kale complete the box this week.

Some CSA members are already turning down the zucchini – which is fine. That’s why we let you choose your own. We offer both yellow & green zucchini and also patty pan – the yellow-space-ship-shaped summer squash (it has similar taste & texture as zucchini) – in a variety of sizes. Choose small & tender ones for eating raw. Slice bigger ones, brush with oil, and grill on the BBQ. For baking zucchini bread, muffins or brownies, the largest ones are best. One CSA member slices the big patty pans to use as a pizza base. She layers her tomato sauce and pizza toppings on and then grills or bakes them. A great idea!

What isn’t in the box this week? Salad greens! We are hearing that many of you are overwhelmed with all the greens that have been in the box every week so far. These last few weeks we have been offering a few less greens, and this week the box will only have a small bag of baby kale (though we reserve the right to change kale to something else if we need to).

Garlic scapes & kohlrabi will be available as an extra for those who want them.

Something has been gnawing on our next planting of kohlrabi already. I’ve seen groundhogs – could be them? Unfortunately they take a few bites and then move on to the next one.

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Around the farm this week …

The new planting of zucchini.
We usually pick the sunflowers before they open, but after the weekend the patch is showing lots of colour.
Flynn relaxing in his favourite spot. How can you tell he doesn’t want his picture taken?
I always appreciate help feeding the chickens.

Thank you to our CSA members for remembering to return all boxes and containers for reuse!


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CSA 2021 – Week7

They say trouble comes in threes.

So here’s our trouble tally from last Friday …

  1. One of our golf carts simply quit running – at one of the furthest corners of the farm!
  2. The riding lawn mower quit running – just as Lorie started her weekend mowing.
  3. The cold storage didn’t stop running, but one of the fans on the compressor did, which made for a terrible noise and we had to shut the cooler down – even though it contained lots of vegetables that needed to be kept cool for CSA & market.
  4. When we wanted to load the van for market, it did not have a flat tire, yet – but the warning light indicated that it was heading in that direction.

That is more than 3 troubles!

None of these issues was major, but the way they happened one after the other, on our busiest day of the week, on the day we are the most tired, was most annoying and added a bit of unneeded stress.

But hey! If every day ran perfectly we would take it for granted, and not appreciate the calm, easy days.

And the outcome of our troubles?

  1. The golf cart was easily fixed with a new battery cable – we keep lots on hand for this very problem.
  2. Our most excellent garden equipment dealer fixed the riding mower before the afternoon was over and Lorie could resume mowing on Saturday.
  3. We have 2 cold storages so we turned the 2nd one on and used it instead. The broken fan should be fixed in a day or two.
  4. We pumped up the van tire (a few times) and crossed our fingers that we’d get to market and home ok – and we did! Tomorrow it goes to the tire shop for repairs.

Today – Monday – went quite smoothly without any troubles, which we noticed, acknowledged and were thankful for!

What’s in the box?

Onions, zucchini, beets, salad greens, fresh herbs, green onions.

Extras – garlic scapes, kohlrabi

The first onions of the season are ready – Spanish-type onions that are a little sweeter than some. We are excited to have them. Last year our onions were a failure as they got infested with thrips which chewed the plants & sapped their energy, resulting in a very small harvest of even smaller onions. This year they look great!

The rest of your box is quite similar to last week – zucchini, beets, various salad greens, fresh herbs, green onions.

Extras this week are garlic scapes & kohlrabi.

Why do we have these as extras? Neither vegetable is a favourite for many people and rather than include them in the box again, we make them available for those who really want them.

For example, one CSA member opened her fridge the other day only to be greeted by this …

Guessing this family will not be choosing kohlrabi this week! Hahahaha!

Coming to your CSA box soon …

Beans

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Around the farm this week …

After last week’s wetness, it was good to start catching up on the planting today.
Crops are growing well – weeds too!
Our student workers spend time picking potato bugs off the eggplant several mornings each week.
Now the Japanese beetles have landed as well.
Sage might be a princess …
… but she sure was a happy dog when I turned the compost pile!
Our official taste-tester eating cabbage leaves …
… and spinach & arugula seedlings.
It’s sunflower season!


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CSA 2021 – Week 6

It sure was hot today!

Fortunately, most of us can tolerate a lot of heat. Others not so much.

Our vegetables are the same. Some thrive in these hot & humid (& windy) conditions while others suffer greatly.

The heat-loving crops include squash, zucchini, cucumbers, eggplant, peppers, tomatoes… All of these are putting on tremendous growth each day now.

Our squash patch.
The beefsteak tomatoes which we do not stake, are growing so much we are adding more straw for them to sprawl on.
Patty pan summer squash (above) and yellow zucchini (below) always start their season producing an enormous quantity of fruit. In a few weeks they will slow down and take a rest before (hopefully) resuming big production again.

The crops that suffer in this heat include most of the salad greens, broccoli, cabbage …

We pick our greens first thing in the morning before it gets too hot. We taste as we pick to ensure the heat has not caused bitterness.

Instead of forming beautiful vase shaped heads (left) the bok choy stretches it’s stems (right) – still great to eat, but not nearly as pretty!

We lost our next 2 plantings of mini romaine lettuce.

The lettuce in the one bed stretched it’s heads so much there really isn’t anything there to eat – it’s mostly stem. This is partly due to the weather & partly due to the weeds that blocked it from the light (our fault).
And this planting of green mini romaine got leaf tip burn from the heat – the edges of all the leaves turn black. Every single head is ruined! The red romaine was mostly ok.

What’s in the box?

Zucchini, beets, kohlrabi, fresh herbs, salad greens, green onions.

extras – garlic scapes.

Fresh herbs are the new items in your box this week. Choose a bunch of dill, parsley, basil, or cilantro.

Today’s pick of zucchini.

Here is a recipe for kohlrabi soup that one of our CSA members shared.

Kohlrabi Soup – Hungarian style

Sauté 2 cups cut up kohlrabi in sunflower oil and a little water. When you can pierce it with fork, mash with potato masher.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Add a tablespoon full of tapioca powder or flour. Mix well.

Add 2 cups chicken broth – bring it to a slow boil.

Add 2-3 tbsp. of cut up parsley.

Add half a cup of sour cream with one tsp of apple cider vinegar.

You may want to eat it with croutons or for extra flavor add bay leaves at beginning of process.

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Around the farm this week …

We’re gaining on the weeds in most areas of the farm. Nice to see rows again!
There are lots of tomatoes on the plants!
The bees are busy in the zucchini blossoms.
The sumac along the railroad tracks already putting on a show.
Borage – a unique herb with a cucumber taste. The flowers are so beautiful I have to include 2 pictures!
Cats & dogs – chilling as best they are able in this heat.
Deadheading the calendula (along with lessons on the safe way to use sharp tools)

This is week 6 of our CSA – we are already 1/3 of the way through the season.

But still lots of great vegetables coming!