CSA Week #4 - Let the Flowers Begin!

Farm Update

It's been another hectic week at the farm! It feels like I'm always saying that...but I think farming is just a hectic lifestyle! There are so many variables and moving parts, unknowns and unpredictables - every day comes with a host of new challenges and rewards.

Some challenges this week have been all the weeds! After all that rain and the heat this week, the grasses are starting to invade in a serious way. We're hoping to weed wack and mow most of the field this week. We're also starting to deal with a pretty serious deer problem. Deer haven't been much of an issue the past couple years, but our sunflowers, swiss chard, and rudbeckias are being heavily grazed upon. Our plan is to get an electric fence set up along the boarder of the woods by the end of the week.

We've got our work cut our for us!

We've got our work cut our for us!

Some rewards this week have been a lot of blooming flowers! We are very excited to begin our Flower CSA this week and look forward to welcoming new species to the party every week from here on out! Along with the CSA, we will be selling buckets of bulk flowers to Maine Craft Distilling and Cumberland Food Company to decorate their spaces. Single bouquets for sale will be available at Cumberland Food Co each week for the rest of the summer! 

We were also rewarded by and honored to play a role in the wedding that happened on the farm this past weekend. The couple was a dream and the families were wonderful to work with! Small Feat Farm provided veggies for the salad consumed at the rehearsal dinner here on Friday, as well as the wedding on Saturday. We also contributed some flowers for the rehearsal dinner and flower girl bouquets! Both of us, Brian and Joanna, acted as venue hosts and bartenders for the weekend, and coordinated with Barn and Table Catering to create a memorable, beautiful, love-filled weekend! We're looking forward to many more memories like this one in the future!

Joanna harvesting flowers at sunset with this past weekend's lovely flower girls.

Joanna harvesting flowers at sunset with this past weekend's lovely flower girls.

This Sunday, July 8th, we will be hosting a Weeding-Pizza party on the farm! Come any time after 4pm for some light farm work and enjoy our new brick oven with homemade pizza! This is not an official or catered event, so feel free to BYOB and toppings, as well as any potluck dish you'd like to share.

Week #4 Veggies, Herbs, and Suggestions

Kale - The leaves keep getting bigger and better! Kale is intensely nutritious and excellent in salads, smoothies, soups, sandwiches, and slaws!

Radishes - We've certainly got a bumper crop of radishes this month! If you're feeling overwhelmed by the amount of radishes in your fridge, we recommend pickling or candy-ing them so they keep longer and are more versatile. 

Pickling: On the stove, combine equal parts white vinegar and water and bring to a boil (you might make the ratio more vinegar if you like more sour taste). Throw in 2 tablespoons of kosher salt per 2 cups of liquid, and 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Let the salt and sugar dissolve while the mixture simmers for a few minutes. In a jar or two, pack in radishes (or any other veggie you want to pickle) with any herbs and spices that suit your fancy. These might include: peppercorns, mustard seeds, coriander, garlic cloves, bay leave, onion slices, chili flakes, and jalapeño slices. Pour the mixture over the veggies in the jar and let cool on counter before placing a lid on top and putting in the fridge. Pickles will be ready in a few days and will keep in the fridge for a number of weeks.

Candy-ing: To candy radishes, first slice them into thin rounds. In a saucepan, heat 1/4 cup butter or coconut oil until melted. Add in 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar and stir together. Add radishes and let cook for a few minutes until they start to get translucent.  Stir and flip radishes to coat all sides. The water will start to evaporate out and the sugar will begin to caramelize, so make sure to keep stirring to avoid boring the sugar. When radishes are translucent (and before they start to wither away) turn off heat and let cool. Candied radishes are great with strawberries on top of shortcake and/or ice cream.

Arugula/Salad Mix - You're getting a big mixed bag of both your favorite greens! This is one spicy, dense, delicious salad base! Add all your favorite veggies and/or fruit on top for an amazing salad to share at your 4th of July BBQ!

Pac Choi - These mid-size pac choi are tender and crunchy. They're perfect for chopping up and adding to a salad or stir fry, or try grilling them whole alongside some onions, carrots, and summer squash for a flavorful roasted-veggie side salad.

Garlic Scapes - The last of the scapes! Take advantage of these once-a-year treats by pickling them with some dill, peppercorns, and mustard seeds. You can use the same pickling brine described with the radishes. Keep the jar of pickling scapes in the fridge for up to 4 weeks. They will be ready to eat after a few days. Eat them plain as a snack, chop them and add to a salad, or finely chop them with some onions, salt and pepper to create a relish to enjoy on burgers or sausages!

Romaine Lettuce - This is a crisp, dense head of lettuce that serves best as the base for a hearty salad. In a bowl, mix together chopped onions, carrots, scallions, summer squash, tomatoes, herbs, salt and pepper with olive oil and vinegar. I like to add stone ground mustard, honey, seeds, nuts, raisins, and other pickled goodies, as well. Roughly chop or tear the lettuce after washing and layer the veggie mixture over the top. Add your favorite dressing or more O&V to your liking for a perfect summer salad!

Cinnamon Basil - The aroma of this basil is intoxicating! Check out the blog post from Week #3 for some typical suggestions on how to use basil. Some less typical uses include infusing gin or vodka with this basil for a unique cocktail, finely chopping the leaves and mixing them with some vanilla bean ice cream for a savory-sweet dessert, and adding it to a smoothy in place of cinnamon. 

Dill - Dill has a distinctly awakening flavor that works to complement sour things like vinegar and lemon. We recommend using dill in any pickling experiment you might undertake! It also works well in salad dressings with olive oil and balsamic and/or red wine vinegar - include some salt and pepper, and a drizzle of honey. You might also try marinating chicken with a lemon-dill concoction before grilling - or dress the chicken with oil, salt and pepper, lemon slices, and dill before baking.

 Summer Savory - This is a versatile herb that can be used like oregano or thyme. It is perfect for drying (and can be used fresh) and adding to any meat, herb rub, sauce, stuffing, or mix of roasted vegetables.

Featured Flower 

Phacelia: phacelia tanacetifolia, or purple tansy. This fiddlehead-like bloom has so much texture and movement and is an amazing pollinator attractor! This is our first time growing this flower and we are in love!! It was easily grown as a direct seeded plant and is over three feet tall!

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