CSA distribution #10 & newsletter

Our next CSA distribution will be Monday June 4 and Thursday June 7. This will be a very diverse share, thanks to the continued warm & early spring that is compressing lots of production into a narrow window rather than spreading it out as we intended/planned. We’re grateful that CSA is providing a wanted home for this abundance rather than trying to push it through a market setting loaded with similar overproduction. We hosted a member dinner last Sunday that went very well, and encourage other members to look at the schedule and sign up if interested, for a great chance to tour the farm, meet other members, and have a nice farm meal prepared for you. The Kid’s Day event scheduled for next Saturday has lots of folks signed up and should be a great time. Read on for more about this week’s share and what’s  happening on the farm.

THIS WEEK’S PRODUCE (no photos because we’re too busy to take them)

NEW! Cabbage
We expect two weeks of delivery for these, one head per household, small to medium heads. Excellent for fresh summer slaws, other salads, cooking, you name it; we adore cabbage. We’ll post our favorite slaw recipe soon, which gets rave reviews from those who try it. Various types of caterpillars also love cabbage, and we’ve had an outbreak of these recently. You’ll want to give the cabbage a good rinse, since much of what goes into the cabbage worm comes out the other end and is deposited on the cabbage surface. This is the tradeoff for having completely unsprayed cabbage.

NEW! Fennel
Just available for one week (& maybe a bit more in a few weeks); we’re not great at growing it, so we just planted a little bit for diversity’s sake. Enjoy this licorice-flavored bulb grated/chopped into slaws and salads, or roasted with other vegetables like beets and carrots. The greens can be used to flavor dressings, salads, sauces, and more.

NEW! Swiss chard
The mustard has bolted in the heat, and the kale is suffering, so we’re replacing them with the first picking of colorful Swiss chard. This hardy green can be used like any other cooking green. The cooking time for the stems is generally longer than for the leaves, so we like to separate the leaves and stems such that each part can be cooked for the ideal time. 

NEW! Snow peas
Best used gently cooked, we love these in sautes and stir fries. Also can be eaten raw.

NEW! Summer squash
Just starting to produce, will probably be just one or two squash per household this week with lots more coming. We pick these young, small, and tender so they’re great for all sorts of cooking uses. There are (more or less) three varieties: Costata Romanesco (green with ribbing), Tender Grey (pale green), and a type of yellow squash. The Costata Romanesco variety has a reputation for great flavor, and we’ve settled on others as standards for us in large part because of their flavor & quality. All of them can be used interchangeably in any recipe that calls for zucchini. As summer comes on and they get more abundant (and sometimes larger) look for advice and recipes for preserving and using lots of squash.

Snap peas
A mix of several varieties, great for fresh snacking, chopping onto salads, stir fries, and more. Hopefully should be available for many weeks, if heat doesn’t stop them from flowering.

Lettuce heads
Several tasty heads for lots of fresh salad, should be available for several more weeks. We’ll soon be shifting into our somewhat-more-heat-tolerant varieties.

Beets
We hope/expect to have these for many more weeks.

Carrots
Probably two more weeks on these.

Garlic scapes
Definitely the last week for these; following that we’ll start pulling green garlic heads.

Turnips
Last week for these.

HERBS
Because of the very diverse share this week, and because some of the herbs are suffering a bit from lack of rain, we’re going to stick to a maximum of 4 bundles/full share and 2 bundles/part share this week.

NEW: Green Coriander: Cilantro and coriander come from the same plant. So, when cilantro bolts (as it always does faster than we’d like), it will eventually put on flowers and seeds. Allowed to fully mature, the seeds are coriander. Harvested green, they have a flavor somewhat intermediate between cilantro and coriander; we think they’re delicious. Flowers are also edible. Lots available from some early spring volunteers in a place that needs to make way for a bean planting, so we’re hoping there will be lots of interest.
BACK: Flat Leaf Parsley: Still only smallish amounts; bundles may be small if everyone wants it.
Oregano
Sage
Tarragon
Orange Mint
Kentucky Colonel Mint
Chives
Garlic Chives
Lemon Balm
Catnip: Lately, we’ve been using catnip for its mosquito-repellant properties. Seems to work, with the downside that it need to be re-applied very frequently.

ACCELERATED PRODUCE CALENDAR
The early and consistent warm, stable weather for several months now means that  many items’ production windows are squeezing onto one another right now. For example, summer squash, carrots, beets, and cabbage weren’t expected in our pre-season planning (for a “normal” year) for another few weeks at least, such that they’re overlapping items like all the spring greens more than intended. There are five (!) new items in this week’s share, which is not how we planted things to happen, but the produce is just stumbling all over itself to grow right now and the heat means we can’t hold them in the ground as long without losing some flavor/quality (also an issue with the persistent lack of rain). This also means many of these items will be finished sooner than intended, too, so the shares will start shrinking a bit again while we wait for summer production (tomatoes, peppers, beans, etc.) to take hold. Part of CSA membership is learning to use abundance when it’s available, so enjoy this ridiculous share diversity while it lasts. We’re concerned there may be larger gaps of small shares later in the season in response to these conditions.

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