CSA Week #2 - Turn up the Heat

Farm Update

The first CSA pick-up was a success! It was so wonderful to meet a couple new members and see returning members we know and love. It brings us such joy to provide veggies to our community - we literally couldn't do this whole thing without you! The first share was small but mighty and things will be getting bigger and bigger as the summer goes on.

CSA Week #1 Farm Share

CSA Week #1 Farm Share

We managed to empty the greenhouse in time to head out of town Wednesday! Hooray! The last few things were mostly flowers and succession vegetables (things we plant over and over again throughout the summer like pac choi, lettuce, and scallions). When we get back, we will start another round of succession veggies, as well as some brassicas that will be ready in the fall. It's always a puzzle to figure out the planting schedule with only a CSA. For this reason, we are considering entering a farmer's market next year so we can always over-plant and sell our excess to customers outside the CSA. 

As our flower operation grows this year, we are hoping a farmer's market will also be a great outlet for bouquets and bulk flowers. Additionally, we are looking to explore design and arrangement opportunities for weddings and events (at the property and elsewhere) for 2019 and beyond. We're hoping to dial in our flower systems this year and launch that side of the business next spring! Stay tuned!

It has been very dry this month (with little spits of rain this past week) and it looks like the heat and sunshine won't be letting up anytime soon. With the somewhat limited water access we have, dryness has been a particularly daunting challenge to face over the past two years and is already proving to be a challenge this year. After talking with some friends and doing some research, we decided to lay straw mulch on a number of the beds to retain moisture and protect soil health as the plants grow. I couldn't tell you why we haven't done this in the past but we are excited to see how the mulch performs this year! ;) We'll keep you posted on how it works out!

Straw mulch and that beautiful finished deck off the back of the barn!

Straw mulch and that beautiful finished deck off the back of the barn!

Week #2 Veggies, Herbs, and Suggestions

Redbor or Lacinato Kale - Redbor is a gorgeous red curly kale, rich in color and nutrients. Lacinato, or Dino Kale, is tender and dark green with flat leaves. Kale is a great last-minute addition to any soup or stir fry; it will only need a few minutes to cook down. If you like to eat uncooked kale, we recommend massaging it first because raw kale can be tough on the tummy. You can massage chopped kale dry with your hands, or put it in a bag with some olive oil and massage the bag. The kale will start to sweat and become less stiff. Massaging starts the break-down process and the kale will be much easier for your body to digest. Oil-rubbed kale is great with sunflower seeds, finely chopped scallions and carrots, avocado, raisins, and a Goddess or creamy balsamic dressing.

Arugula - the spicy green is at it again! Check out the post from Week #1 for some ideas on how to use this item!

Scallions - Check out the post from Week #1 for ideas on how to use this item!

Spinach (with salad greens) - a nutritiously dense green perfect for a raw salad or hot stir fry. Spinach has so many vitamins, it's ridiculous! A wonderful June salad includes spinach, thinly sliced strawberries, chopped walnuts or slivered almonds, crumbled goat cheese, and a creamy poppy seed dressing. For something totally off-the-wall, try this: chop up a small onion and one garlic clove - cook down in sauce pan in olive oil or butter. After onions are soft, add a small can of crushed pineapples and let simmer for 5-8 minutes. Add in a few tablespoons of peanut butter (mix thoroughly), salt and pepper. Add a healthy portion of spinach (it will cook down to a fraction of it's original size). As soon as the spinach wilts, turn heat off and serve over rice with hot sauce and chopped peanuts. Weird, but extremely delicious!

Radishes - red, spicy, crunchy - what's not to like? Radishes are a great springtime snack! Go ahead and eat them raw, like a mini-apple, just be forewarned: they are spicy and too many can upset the stomach. You can also use a sharp knife or mandolin to thinly slice radishes over a salad or tacos. If you're feeling adventurous, try pickling the radishes (one of my favorite uses!) by boiling equal parts water and vinegar (white or apple cider) with a few teaspoons of sea salt and honey, each. Slice radishes into rounds and pack into a mason jar with peppercorns, mustard seeds, and/or garlic cloves. Pour the hot mixture over the radishes and let cool on counter before covering and storing in fridge for up to 4 weeks. They will be tasty and pickled after 3-5 days. Fresh radishes store well in a produce bag for a long time, especially if you cut off the greens. The greens are edible, though, so try steaming them or cooking them into a stir fry to get rid of the roughness.

Baby Pac Choi - a favorite tender green. The small size of this pac choi can easily be chopped up and added to the arugula to diminish some of the spice! Check out the post from Week #1 for more ideas on how to use this item!

Garlic Scapes - a "limited edition" June treat with quite the creative streak! The garlic clove is planted in the fall and sits in the ground over winter. It is usually one of the first things to bud in the spring and quickly become a beautiful stalk. In June, the plant sends out a "scape" which, left uncut, would become a garlic flower. We cut the scapes off so that the plant puts more energy into the bulb which will be harvested next month. Scapes are similar in texture to asparagus with an intense garlic-y flavor. Try roasting or frying them in olive oil, salt, and pepper until a fork slips through easily (be careful not to overcook). You can also cut them into inch-long pieces and roast/fry them, then add them to a food processor with olive oil, parmesan cheese, nuts (cashew, pine, or almond), lemon juice, salt, pepper, and any other spices to make a delicious garlic pesto. For a bulkier batch, add in some greens, like arugula. Likewise, add in some cream cheese and/or mayo for a veggie dip or spread. Scapes keep well in the fridge in an air-tight container for a long time.

Chamomile - if you need a way to wind down in the evening, this herb is for you! Chamomile has long been known for it's soothing and sedative effect on the body and mind. You can simmer it fresh or dry it to use later in a bedtime tea. Herbs that work well with chamomile include lemon balm, rose hip, oat straw, valerian, calendula, and linden flower. If you aren't drying the chamomile by hanging it upside down (or using a dehydrator), we recommend snipping the butt-end of the bunch and keeping it in a cup of water.