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CSA 2022 – Week 10

It is my earliest farm memory.

And of course it is weather related.

We were all picking cherries – my parents, my siblings and myself. It was a Black Tart tree close to our barn. Black tarts – or more properly Black Tartarian – was a sweet cherry variety that was already passe when this occured (probably 55+ years ago). It was a small, soft, heart-shaped, very sweet, dark coloured cherry. The problem with black tarts was that the fruit cracked & split at the first sign of rain. We probably kept this tree only because it was in the front yard – and my dad loved black tart cherry pie (mother would bake him 1 pie each cherry season – only 1 because sweet cherries are a pain to pit!).

We were trying to get the cherries picked before the coming storm but before we were finished, the rains came and it was a downpour! We grabbed the full baskets of cherries from under the tree and ran the 30 or 40′ to the barn. By the time we got to the barn we were soaked – and the perfect black tarts in the baskets had split & looked like popcorn! Why hadn’t we carried them in before the rain!

That was my first lesson on the damage that weather can cause.

We no longer grow fruit and don’t have to worry about cracked cherries, but weather remains a huge concern for us. These last few years the lack of rain is more often the issue rather than too much. This means we usually we have to water our vegetables when we plant them in the field. We use rainwater that we collect from our barn roofs and store in 2 large cisterns. If we run out we buy water by the truckload.

We continually improve our soil’s water-holding capacity by growing cover crops, and using manure & compost rather than fertilizer and straw to mulch the vegetables rather than plastic. Good soil allows the crops to grow & mature without any additional water (most years!).

This season we have had dry spells but also some timely rains. We have lost a lot of vegetables but managed to grow a lot more! Fortunately we have avoided any damaging storms.

Today I hurried to transplant some lettuce & spinach before it was perfectly watered by a lunchtime rain.

The forecast calls for some more rain overnight followed by sunshine tomorrow – a farmer’s dream!

Here’s hoping!

What’s in the box?

Edamame, shishito peppers, red onion, yellow onion, garlic, cherry tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes, mini-romaine lettuce, cabbage, beets.

Extras – Fennel (Tuesday only), kohlrabi …

  • Edamame which are fresh, green soybeans have been around for 2000 years or more, first grown in China and then in Japan. There, it is a traditional bar snack eaten lightly steamed and sprinkled with salt. Edamame are full of protein, fibre and loaded with vitamins & minerals – a very healthy vegetable. And they are easy to prepare! Simply boil the pods in salted water for 3-5 minutes. Remove from the water & drain. Then squeeze the pods to pop out the beans and enjoy as a healthy snack. Delicious! We like them sprinkled with lime juice and salt. Or they can be added to soups, stews, salads, noodle dishes …
  • Shishito peppers are one of our favourite vegetables. They are a small, thin, bright green pepper, with a sweet, fruity flavour and thin, tender, wrinkled skin. What makes a shishito exciting is that 1 in 10 peppers will be slightly hot! They are simple to prepare and delicious to eat! While you can use them as you would any other sweet pepper, they are best eaten charred in olive oil in a cast-iron skillet or other heavy pan over medium-high heat. Cook the peppers whole, turning occasionally, until they begin to blister on all sides. This only takes a few minutes. Sprinkle with salt & pepper and a splash of lime juice and some parmesan cheese, and serve immediately. Eat the whole pepper – except the stem.
  • There will be 2 onions in your CSA share this week. The yellow onion is Ailsa Craig, a mild, Spanish onion. The red onion is a classic Italian variety called Rossa di Milano that has a stronger more pungent flavour than the yellow. You can use them interchangeably in your recipes (keeping in mind the flavour differences).
  • The garlic is now dry and can be stored at room temperature in a dry area for many months. The bulb can be broken open and partially used without the remainder spoiling. Enjoy!
  • As usual your box will include a selection of tomatoes, both smaller, cherry size in many colours & shapes and the larger beefsteak tomatoes.
  • Your salad green this week is mini-romaine lettuce. While we have lost several plantings of our lettuce mix due to the heat, the mini-romaine is doing great this year.
  • We still have cabbage in the cooler, that we picked a few weeks ago. Cabbage stores well and it is still juicy & tasty!
  • The most asked about vegetable this season is beets. For sure we have not had beets in the box as often as other years – but we do have a lot planted and they are looking good! Enjoy a few this week and expect more in the coming weeks.
  • Extras this week are kohlrabi and fennel.
  • 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. Unfortunately our 1st planting of fennel did not get the moisture it needed to size up properly. It did get a lot more heat than it needed! The result is small fennel bulbs. (Fennel can be a difficult vegetable to grow anytime!) If you like fennel grab one of these “baby” fennel bulbs. We should have enough for Tuesday’s boxes. Thursday & Friday pick-up will have to wait for the next planting to mature in a few weeks.

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Around the farm this week …

The new row of zucchini is growing well and already has tiny fruit.

Winter squash full of blossoms. The cover crop we planted with the squash is also blooming – buckwheat.

Last years vegetable patch has been planted to various cover crops. In spring we had peas & oats. For the summer we have buckwheat. In fall we’ll seed a mixture of crops to cover the ground for the winter. Each crop has a purpose – either to add different nutrients to the soil, or smother weeds, or add organic matter … The buckwheat is in bloom now and a neighbour brought some beehives. Bees love buckwheat and it makes great honey!

Left picture – our winter cabbage patch last week. Right picture – our winter cabbage patch this week.

Several plantings of green beans growing.
Looking for some shade on these hot days!
Someone is working hard!


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CSA 2022 – Week 9

August has arrived – and caught us by surprise, as usual!

It’s the same every year.

We’ve been keeping our heads down, working, and suddenly the summer is half over before we know it!

This is the height of the growing season and the fields are bursting with abundance.

There is an abundance of garlic as well – drying in the greenhouse and in the barn …

And an abundance of weeds. Hopefully there’s an abundance of winter cabbage under there too!

What’s in the box?

Onions, eggplant, mini romaine lettuce, bok choy, green beans, cherry tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes, garlic.

Extras – zucchini, kohlrabi, garlic scapes.

  • How about a real onion this week instead of green onions! We picked our first bed of onions today, an heirloom variety (that means they have been around a long time) of Spanish onion – so they are on the milder & sweeter side.
  • We don’t often put eggplant in the CSA box. In fact I’m not sure we have ever included it! This is because eggplant is not a very popular vegetable – many people never eat it. We would hate to include it and have it go uneaten and to waste. So we usually have it available on our extras table for those who enjoy it. But we’re changing things up this week and including eggplant in the box. We would encourage everyone to try it – you just might discover how great eggplant is! (cookwithwhatyouhave.com has lots of useful information about eggplant & 25 recipes to start you off!)
  • Salad greens this week will be mini-romaine lettuce and bok choy. (Bok choy is not a fan of the hot weather we’ve had lately so it has not formed perfectly – but it tastes great!)
  • Green beans and tomatoes – cherry & large beefsteaks are also in the box.
  • We will be including a bulb of garlic in the box every week now. Remember that it is still 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.
  • Many of our CSA members are saying they have had enough zucchini, kohlrabi and garlic scapes. But they will be available as extras for those who still want them.

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Around the farm this week …

The reward for an early start!
Last week’s CSA box.
Prepackaged CSA boxes – full shares.
New plantings
But not all is abundant. Several plantings of spinach & lettuce struggling .
Mulching the next planting of zucchini.
Cleaning garlic with Omee.


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CSA 2022 – Week 8

What’s in the box?

Green beans, cabbage, basil, tomatoes, zucchini, salad greens, garlic ...

  • It’s always exciting to have a new vegetable for the CSA box! This week it is green beans.
  • Cabbage was in the box back in week 5. This week’s cabbages are from the same planting. We have been waiting for them to grow but it has been so dry they have not gained much size. The rains we had last week were beneficial for many of our crops, but came to late to help the cabbages. So the choice will be small cabbages or even smaller cabbages!
  • Hope you like pesto because our basil is doing great this year. If you need a recipe check out http://www.cookwithwhatyouhave.com. This subscription website has 900+ recipes, templates, storage and preserving tips, pantry stocking suggestions and vegetable prep videos, organized by vegetable and created using CSA Produce. Log in using the access key you received at sign up or ask us to send it to you again.
  • We are picking more & more tomatoes – not just the small cherry tomatoes but the medium size heirloom varieties and even the large beefsteaks now.
  • There is a zucchini race happening on the farm right now! The 1st planting is showing a lot of disease and many of the plants are dying – more every day. This is due to the dry, hot & humid weather we’ve had recently. But our next planting is racing to grow and produce fruit before the older plants are finished.
Healthy plants.
Sick plants
New plants.
  • Salad greens and fresh garlic complete the box this week.

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Around the farm this week …

We received 2 good rains causing an explosion of growth – including weeds!
The eggplant surprised us with a good pick for market. Within a week or two there should be enough for CSA.
A beautiful sunrise on the way to market Saturday morning.

Lots of colour on our market tables!

Big Flynn catches at least 1 snake every summer and it always turns out the same – he watches it for awhile, then loses interest. The snake slithers away …
Rosemary catches nothing yet – just makes trouble!
And Sage surprised everyone – including herself – by catching a groundhog the other week. She’s still tired out from the excitement!


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CSA 2022 – Week 7

I woke up in the night to a lovely sound.

Rain! A slow, steady, soaking-in rain.

When I got up this morning it was still raining.

Right now our rain gauge shows about 40mm or 1.5″.

This rain was desperately needed. The vegetables already look greener and healthier and happier. I will have far less watering to do for at least a few days. And the cisterns (which were just about empty) will be full again. We are beyond happy and thankful!

Until now I had been spending a lot of time watering the just-planted vegetable seedlings every day. Even then they have struggled to survive. We have lost a lot (and also saved a lot). But the rain does a far better and more effective job.
It is great to see some puddles around the farm again. They won’t last long – but the benefits of this rain certainly will!

What’s in the box?

Beets, fresh herbs, fresh garlic, tomatoes, zucchini, kohlrabi, salad greens.

extras – garlic scapes

  • Finally beets! We have been taking beets to market for a few weeks now, but have not had enough for CSA. This week there should finally be an ample supply. And for a change, the shortage of beets cannot be blamed totally on the weather! While we did lose some due to heat & drought, we also made some mistakes in our planting. But we seed beets every 2 weeks so there should be lots of beets coming yet. They are tender & delicious! We don’t even bother peeling ours when we eat them.
  • Most herbs love hot, dry weather. So it’s no surprise that we have an abundance right now. Basil, dill, cilantro and parsley bunches will be available this week. You may choose 1 of these.
  • We are in the midst of garlic harvest. There is lots! And the quality looks great! Fresh garlic has a 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!
  • The tomato plants will benefit immensely from last night’s rain. But the tomatoes themselves will probably have a lot of cracks from all that moisture coming after the prolonged period of dry weather. But there will be tomatoes in your box – hopefully a few more each week!
  • Zucchini, kohlrabi and a salad green complete your CSA box.

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Around the farm this week …


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CSA 2022 – Week 6

Monday morning and my work is ready and waiting for me – 3 trailers of seedlings, with close to half of them big enough to be planted.

The actual planting is the easy part.

But first the beds must be prepared. Normally I would lightly rototill the soil to clean up any weeds and make a nice, smooth surface for transplanting. But the ground is too dry to waste moisture by rototilling. Besides, my rototiller is broken and at the mechanic for repairs – expensive repairs – and the parts are difficult to source (thank you COVID!), so who knows when it will be up & running again. So we prepare the beds by hand – pulling the weeds, then raking and smoothing the soil. It takes extra time & effort – but it works!

The top few inches of soil are quite dry – dusty even – and that’s where my tiny seedlings are planted. So we have to water … and water … and water. Daily we give them a soaking, for about a week. By then they are established, their roots have reached the moisture and they are left on their own. We collect rainwater off the barn roofs, save it in a couple of cisterns and use that for watering.

Seedlings (edamame, fennel, green onions, edible flowers, lettuce & mini romaine) planted and watered. Today was not only hot but very windy as well. This is an extra challenge for the new vegetables as they dry out so quickly.

What’s in the box?

Cherry tomatoes, Chinese cabbage, kohlrabi, zucchini, salad greens, green onions.

extras – garlic scapes.

  • It’s tomato time! Enjoy the first taste of cherry tomatoes this week. We’re still only picking a few, so it really will be just a taste – a tease of what’s to come!
  • Chinese cabbage is one of my favourite vegetables. Crisp, tender, and mild – it is delicious used fresh in a salad instead of lettuce. Or use the large leaves as wraps, make it into coleslaw, kimchi or stir-fry it. While the outer leaves are a lovely green colour, the inside is often creamy white. It prefers cooler weather and does best in fall, but we like to try it in spring & summer as well. This week’s cabbages are smaller and looser heads due to the warm weather we have had, and lack of rain. There are a few insect bites too – bugs also like Chinese cabbage!
  • Kohlrabi is a new vegetables for many of our 1st time CSA members. Did you like it? We plant kohlrabi every couple of weeks and try to include it in the box regularly. It makes a great snack!
  • The zucchini harvest is increasing. (Plus we just seeded again so hopefully we will have zucchini all summer.) Many of you prefer very small, green zucchini, but the yellow, and the green striped zucchini are similar in taste & texture. I always suggest choosing the smallest size for eating raw. They are the most tender. Larger ones are great for spiralizing or for grilling. And if zucchini bread or cake is on the menu then choose the biggest fruit!
  • Green onions and a salad green finish off the box this week.
  • Garlic scapes are available for those who want them – we still have lots!

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Around the farm this week …

Our butterhead lettuce went to seed due to the high heat, before we could even harvest any!
But the colourful & delicious lettuce mix continues to grow well.
It is Japanese beetle season. Edamame is their preferred vegetable on our farm.

While us humans keep working regardless of the weather, our animal friends know how to relax during the heat of the day!

And the little guys have fun playing in the fountain!


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CSA 2022 – Week 5

What’s in the box

Kohlrabi, cabbage, zucchini, salad turnips,

salad greens, green onions & garlic scapes.

  • Kohlrabi is a strange-looking vegetable – sort of like a cross between a little cabbage and a turnip. It is considered a root vegetable, though the edible round globe grows above ground. Kohlrabi is most often eaten raw – just peeled & sliced. The taste & texture resembles fresh, crunchy broccoli stems, with a bit of radish thrown in. Use on raw vegetable platters and serve with a creamy dip. Grated kohlrabi can be added to slaws. We like to spiralize our kohlrabi and use it instead of pasta. Kohlrabi can also be steamed or boiled – when the bulbs are tender, peel skin, and season with butter, salt, and pepper, a cheese sauce, or just enjoy plain. They are good for mashing with other vegetables – parsnips, carrots or potatoes. Kohlrabi absorbs the flavour of other ingredients making it ideal to add to soup, stew and stir-fries. The bulbs should be stored, unwashed, in a plastic bag in the fridge. They will hold for a week. Our favourite way to cook kohlrabi is to sautée it in butter & garlic(scapes) for just a few minutes. Then add just a dash of nutmeg. Delicious!
  • The early cabbages are ready! You have told us you prefer smaller cabbages, so that’s what we grow. These are a good size, just right for a meal or two.
  • Zucchini are coming on strong! Green, yellow and striped – they all taste similar and can be used the same way. Enjoy!
  • We’re coming to the end of our salad turnips. Enjoy them in your box for perhaps the final time.
  • Salad greens of some kind, green onions and garlic scapes complete the box this week.

*** As a member of our CSA you have access to http://www.cookwithwhatyouhave.com. This website has 900+ recipes, templates, storage and preserving tips, pantry stocking suggestions and vegetable prep videos, organized by vegetable and created using CSA Produce. Log in using the access key you received at sign up or ask us to send it to you again.

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Around the farm this week …

Eggplant & peppers.
Lots of fruit on the field tomatoes! We even picked our 1st cherry tomatoes – just a very few.
The garlic scapes are all harvested and the garlic is beginning to turn yellow. Another couple weeks and it will be ready to pull.
We covered a bed of lettuce & mini-romaine with a dark shade cloth to protect them from the hot sun. Extreme sunshine & heat turn the lettuce leaves bitter and cause the romaine to stretch and go to seed.
Edible flowers growing …
… and packaged, ready for the market.
Transplanting vegetables today with my helper!
The soil is quite dry now. I have to water the tiny seedlings for several days after transplanting to help them get established.
The new chickens are big enough to come outside now – and they’re loving it!
Rosemary rarely sits still long enough to allow us to snap a photo – she’s a little terror!


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CSA 2022 – Week 4

It happens every week at the farmers’ market.

Someone will buy a bunch of beets and ask us to remove the tops. They will acknowledge that the greens are edible – even delicious – but apologize for not wanting them. We tell them not to worry – someone else is sure to come along and ask if we have any extra beet greens. It usually works out.

We are all aware of food waste these days, and want to do our part to reduce or eliminate it.

Our CSA program is one way we reduce our food waste.

Since we know how many boxes have to be filled each week, we can grow vegetables accordingly. In season we harvest exactly what we need for the boxes each day. (That’s why we like to know if someone isn’t planning to pick up their box that week.)

We often set up a table with “extras” that people can help themselves to. It might be vegetables that we have in abundance or less popular vegetables (hot peppers, eggplant …) that not everyone wants. Sometimes we will include blemished or insect damaged vegetables in the CSA box – providing they are still edible – along with an explanation for our members.

For the farmers’ market we keep accurate records of what is sold each market day which helps us determine how many vegetables to bring. When we do bring product home we will often give it to the neighbour’s work crew. Or if sales were bad for some reason and we return with a lot, we will donate it to the food bank.

And then there are our chickens – always willing to look after any vegetables that still remain. The compost pile is the final step for spoiled & rotten produce – and even that really isn’t wasted. It becomes fertilizer that is returned to the land to provide nutrients for next year’s crop.

What’s in the box?

Kale, salad greens, arugula, green onions, garlic scapes,

zucchini (or broccoli or beets or kohlrabi).

  • Kale is the new green in your box. We could call it baby kale as the leaves are small – small enough and tender enough to eat fresh in a salad. Our kale is a mix of several varieties with different colours and leaf shapes. Enjoy this beautiful, tasty and healthy green!
  • We’ll just say salad greens this week. It may be lettuce, spinach, mini romaine, mixed salad or … depending on what is ready to be harvested on your pick-up day.
  • Arugula, green onions and garlic scapes are also in your share this week.
  • The big news is that we are beginning to pick zucchini. So far there is not enough for everyone – but we all know how fast zucchini comes on … If we are short on zucchini there are a few heads of broccoli. Back in the 1st CSA newsletter of this year I mentioned that we had lost our entire broccoli crop due to insects damage. However there were a few plants (maybe 30) that I put with the cabbage so they were protected with the insect cover and spared. Now they are producing some lovely heads of broccoli (next year we cover ALL the broccoli!). We have also been picking some beets – again, not enough for every share, and kohlrabi is about ready to pick as well. So, surprise!! Your box will contain 1 of these new vegetables!

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Around the farm this week …

Meet Rosemary the newest addition to our farm. She was found abandoned along a country road by a neighbour. Now she’s ours!
Sage is not at all accepting of Rosemary …
… while the the Flynns are unsure but trying.
But we think she’s great!


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CSA 2022 – Week 3

We picked snow peas today, for the 3rd and final time. Ever!

Snow peas are a crop we all love to hate! As one of the first vegetables to be planted each spring, there is much excitement & anticipation as we eagerly wait for them to germinate and poke their heads out of the ground.

We love to eat snow peas – mostly out in the patch, freshly picked. Even those that make it into the kitchen are rarely cooked. We prefer them raw.

But nobody likes picking snow peas. It’s slow, tedious and hard on the back. And it’s usually just us around to pick them. Our summer labour force is still in school and not available to help yet.

We used to make 3 plantings. Then we cut it down to 2. These last few years we make only one planting – that still is too much at picking time!! And so the decision has been made to stop growing snow peas – a decision we make every year at this time, but somehow we end up planting them anyway.

What will happen next spring??

It is a jungle out in the snow pea patch! We grow the peas in a wide row, so by this 3rd picking the plants are getting scraggly and falling all over. The Asian greens next to them have mostly been picked but whatever was left has gone to flower. The row of kale from last season has finished flowering and gone to seed. The plants are weakening and falling over. There’s also weeds – just a few 🙂 – cropping up.

Overall it looks quite messy and people who visit the farm must shake their heads at areas like this. But we like it and leave it this way purposely. It’s a haven for insects and pollinators of all types. They need areas like this for food & shelter. Their presence benefits us so we need to create habitat for them. Now that we’ve finished with the peas we will probably mow everything down and prepare the soil for the next vegetables to be planted here – providing there is another nearby spot for the insects to move to. It isn’t a neat & tidy way to farm, but we feel it is a good way!

What’s in the box?

Garlic scapes, arugula, radishes, salad turnips, spicy salad mix,

mini romaine lettuce, green onions,

Snow peas – Tuesday only.

  • First it was green garlic. Now there are garlic scapes. Scapes grow out of the top of the garlic plant and curl around in a loose coil. If we left them they would eventually flower and go to seed. But we prefer that the plant uses its energy to form large garlic bulbs underground instead, so we remove the scapes. They are delicious! Use them wherever garlic bulbs are used – raw or cooked. Their flavour is a bit milder. They are also great on the BBQ. Coat the whole garlic scape with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Grill for a few minutes on each side until well charred & tender.  Garlic scape pesto is also a good way to use the scapes. Here’s a link to an interesting article, “10 things to do with garlic scapes, the best veg you’re not cooking yet”.  https://www.bonappetit.com/test-kitchen/ingredients/article/garlic-scapes
  • Arugula is delicious – a bit spicy & nutty. Use it in salads, on pizza. If you find the taste a bit strong on its own, combine it with our lettuce for an amazing salad.
  • Enjoy the last of our spring radishes – as a snack, in your salad or sliced in sandwiches. Soak them in ice-cold water for 20 minutes to cut some of the sharpness & also make them crisper.
  • Salad turnips are similar to radishes, but usually milder. We like to eat them raw, but they can also be stir fried, sautéed, or steamed.
  • This week’s salad mix is the same colourful lettuce blend as the first 2 weeks – plus! We call it spicy salad mix with the spice or sharpness coming from arugula, mizuna, endive and mustards … which we have added to kick the flavour up a notch. Let us know how you like it!
  • Mini-romaine lettuce & green onions complete the box this week,
  • … except for those who pick up on Tuesday. You will also have a small bag of snow peas – which everyone else received last week.

*** Remember – all our greens have been washed & spun dry once. You may want to wash them again. Store them in a bag in the fridge and they should keep for at least a week.

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Around the farm this week …

The eggplant are already blooming – probably one of the prettiest plants & blossoms we grow!
The tomato plants have an abundance of tomatoes
Last year we were picking tomatoes by middle of July. That’s only a month away! Hoping we get them even sooner this year!
The first cabbages are coming along nicely. They should be in your box in a week or two.
Sunflowers and beans get seeded every week. We’ve seeded 4 times already with maybe 8 or 9 more times to go.


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CSA 2022 – Week 2

Today was a great day!

The weather was perfect – very little wind, not too hot nor too cold, and lots of sun – and we accomplished a lot!

We had a crew of 4 men working which was a real bonus.

They mulched the zucchini & cucumbers with straw.

The eggplant & peppers got mulched too. The timing was perfect! The soil was moist from the recent rains so the straw will hold that moisture and benefit the plants. The weeds had not started growing there yet and now the straw will prevent them, keeping the patch neat, clean and weed free for most of the season. It is far more pleasant & efficient to pick vegetables without weeds getting in the way.

The tomatoes are mulched, staked, and most have been pruned & tied once. Pruning (or suckering) and tying will be an ongoing job for the next month at least, as the plants continue to grow.

Harvesting bok choy today.

Yes, there are a lot of weeds here (mostly between the rows). Crops like bok choy, lettuce, spinach and various greens are planted, harvested and gone rather quickly – within a month or so. For that reason weeding them is not a priority if we fall behind or get really busy. We always concentrate on keeping the longer term crops clean as they are more affected by the weed competition. Obviously we would prefer that the entire farm was weed-free and perfect – but that surely won’t ever happen! And with the abundance of precipitation this past week the weeds are going crazy!

What’s in the box?

Green onions, salad turnips, bok choy, red mini romaine lettuce, lettuce mix,

snow peas?

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Bok choy is one of my favourite green vegetables. It can be added to your salads, 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 but still bright green – around 5 minutes or less. Season with salt & pepper to taste. We usually grow several kinds of bok choy – white & green, small & mini, tight heads or looser heads. Some prefer hot weather while others like it cooler. Growing several kinds ensures we always get a harvest. 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 had 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.
  • Mini romaine lettuce looks like regular romaine – just smaller. It has the same crunch and the same great flavour. This week’s mini romaine is a beautiful dark red variety.
  • Spring is salad season! There will also be another bag of lettuce mix in your share this week.
  • The snow peas are sizing up nicely. They won’t quite be ready for Tuesday’s CSA box – but there should be snow peas for Thursday, Friday, Saturday and then next Tuesday. Snow peas are a great spring treat. We prefer to snack on them raw, but they’re excellent in a stir fry or lightly cooked. We just made one planting again this season so they will be a one time treat!

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Around the farm this week…

We’ll lead with the bad news. There will be no blackberries this year!

As this picture shows, most of the fruit bearing canes are dead – killed by the winter’s cold. Even those that leafed out this spring and looked healthy, are now turning yellow. The green growth at the base of each plant are new canes that will produce blackberries – next year. At first we were anticipating about a 25% crop, but now it appears there will be almost a total loss.

We’re trying something new here. A bed of vegetables was harvested, mowed down as short as possible and then covered. The warmth under the black ground cover will encourage weeds to germinate but without light they will quickly die. In several weeks we will remove the cover and replant into clean, weed free soil. That’s the plan anyway!

The field where we grew a lot of our vegetables last year is resting this year. Earlier in spring I seeded it to oats & peas. This week I mowed it down for the first time. I left several strips uncut so the pollinators and various insects still have a place to be and a source of food as the peas and other “weeds” bloom & flower. The mown peas & oats will decompose, adding organic matter & nutrients to the soil.

As I mowed the air was full of barn swallows swooping and catching insects that were disturbed by my tractor & mower.

However, very little disturbs Flynn & Flynn when they’re napping!
Wet & unhappy

Looking forward to seeing everyone for our 2nd CSA pick up!


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CSA 2022 – Week 1

Here we go again!

Week 1 of a new season of our CSA program.

The 1st CSA applications starting arriving way back in January. Our 1st vegetables were seeded in the greenhouse in February. Early April was when we planted our 1st outdoor crop – snow peas (picture below).

But the 1st pick-up is when it feels like we’re really starting – when we hand over those 1st boxes with the 1st fresh vegetables of the season. It’s what we have been working towards and it’s what you have been waiting for.

We’re excited – and we’re ready! We know you are too!

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With a lot of rain in the forecast for Tuesday – our biggest CSA pick-up day – the decision was made to pick some of the vegetables for Tuesday’s box, today. So Amy picked while Lorie washed and bagged.

I spent the day transplanting. Two trailers full of seedlings were waiting for me.

I got most of them in the ground – about 2000′ of vegetable rows! Hoping they get watered by the rain overnight so I don’t have to do it tomorrow!
Most of these vegetables will get covered with insect cover (the white tunnels seen in the right of the picture) to protect them from hungry mouths! It’s a lot of work, but well worth the effort.

Kohlrabi is a vegetable we don’t usually cover as bugs don’t prefer it – except this year! Our broccoli was also unprotected, and eaten. Both have had enough damage that they are no longer growing – a total crop loss.

But overall the vegetables are growing well & looking good.

What’s in the box?

Lettuce mix, other salad greens, radishes, green garlic, mint bunches.

  • It’s salad time! All our lettuce and other greens have been rinsed once to remove most of the field soil. You may want to wash them more thoroughly, bag them & store in the refrigerator. They should last at least a week. Everyone will receive a bag of colourful & delicious lettuce mix.
  • Each CSA share will also receive a second bag of greens. Tuesday’s box will contain a stir-fry mix. This combination of bok choy, Chinese cabbage leaves, spring raab … is a great start for a delicious stir fry. Add the radishes and green garlic too! The recipe for our favourite stir fry sauce is below.
  • Thursday & Friday (and Saturday market) boxes may contain stir fry mix, or bok choy, or some other green. They are all growing so quickly now and we want to pick whatever is at it’s prime!
  • The radishes could easily have been harvested last week – but nothing else was ready. They are plenty hot too! Soaking them in ice-cold water for 20 minutes will cut some of the sharpness & also make them crisper.
  • 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. We often make a simple syrup with the mint leaves and add it to our iced tea. (recipe 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)

STIR FRY SAUCE

  • 5 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon dry sherry
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch

Whisk ingredients together. Great on any stir fried vegetables.

*** As a member of our CSA you have access to http://www.cookwithwhatyouhave.com. This website has 900+ recipes, templates, storage and preserving tips, pantry stocking suggestions and vegetable prep videos, organized by vegetable and created using CSA Produce. Log in using the access key you received at sign up or ask us to send it to you again.

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Around the farm this week ….

Snow peas in bloom.
Last year’s kale gone to flower. We leave it for the bees and other insects & pollinators. Under the white insect cover the bok choy & spring raab are also flowering – due to the hot temperatures last week. But they are still great for eating, especially stir fry.
Elderflowers
Volunteer bachelor’s buttons, an edible flower that reseeded from last year.
Our 1st Georgetown Farmers’ Market this past Saturday.
Remember the robin’s nest just outside our shop door? Things moved fast – from eggs to birds in a few weeks. Today the last ones left the nest for good.

Flynn waiting on the driveway to welcome all our CSA members to 1st pick-up.

See you soon!