CSA distribution #4 & newsletter

The next CSA distribution will be Monday May 27th (Memorial Day) and Thursday May 30th. This will be another relatively small share, but keep in mind that we’re still weeks behind on the growing calendar, and are providing 100% field-grown crops (no hoophouses or other such infrastructure). Even the big commodity farmers have been way behind planting schedule, though they get lots of support that vegetable growers don’t. Even though the spring crops have been off to a slow start, we have every hope of achieving an abundant summer & fall, providing an excellent quantity and quality of diverse produce for all of us to enjoy.

A SEASONAL REMINDER ON WASHING PRODUCE
As the insect populations start to boom, this is an opportune time to put up a reminder to rinse & look over your produce before preparing/serving. Last spring, as we were eating a salad that we hadn’t washed further in our kitchen, Joanna bit down on a stink bug. That was a decidedly unpleasant reminder that any rinsing we do in the packing barn is not intended to produce a “pre-washed & ready-to-eat” product. Our produce is grown in a very diverse ecosystem, and try as we might, insects do manage to hitchhike off the farm via the bags of produce.

THIS WEEK’S PRODUCE
Saute mix This will be the last week of this; the first bed already bolted and the second bed is showing signs of doing so. Normally we’d expect 3-4 weeks of harvest from these greens, but not this year. We’ll likely be mixing in some baby beet & spinach greens this week from a spring-planted bed that we had hoped to let mature longer, but which is going to have to be cut early to make way for the second planting of tomato plants.
Spring radish mix Similar collection of diverse radishes to last week; we expect to give out lots of these. Follow the link for recipe suggestions.
Green onions
Kale (maybe) This has grown well, and we think there will be enough by next week.
Baby lettuce (maybe)
Again, we think this will be ready. It may be an either/or situation with kale & lettuce.
Pea shoots (maybe) We’ll likely harvest all of these on Sunday for Monday & Thursday. These are producing better than expected, but they’re encroaching on the space of plants that are intended for actual pea production, not just shoot production, and we don’t want to compromise the production of peas down the road. Plus, when plants get crowded the aphids populations have an opportunity to explode, and we need to axe the plants before that happens.

HERBS
These are carrying the shares right now, growing abundantly and offering a lot of nice flavors and cooking possibilities. We’re planning on 4 bundles/full share and 2/single share.

Garlic chives
Chives: Plants are flowering; the flowers are edible & make a lovely garnish. The flower stems are tough, so they’re best removed before mincing the leaves.
Orange mint

Kentucky Colonel mint
Thyme
Oregano
Tarragon: Tender & vigorous fresh growth; this is a great time of year to make use of tarragon. Consider a tarragon yogurt salad dressing, perhaps.
Lemon balm: Lots of this available. A lemon balm pesto might be in order. Find a recipe from one of our members in the comment thread of this post.
Catnip
Sage: Flowering has begun; the sage flowers are edible and also beautiful.

MENU SUGGESTIONS
Frittatas are a great way to use fresh spring greens and herbs, and work for any meal. Specific recipes abound online; simply mix a bunch of eggs with chopped greens, radishes, herbs, alliums, and more and cook as directed.

FRESH EGGS
Eggs will be available this week, both for home/work delivery AND a dropoff at a centrally located member’s house for WH members.

RECENTLY ON THE FARM
We hosted our annual organic inspection this past weekend. This year was particularly frustrating, having to deal with hours of bureaucratic paperwork discussions on an afternoon when we were both suffering from severe allergies and otherwise trying to prepare for the severe weather forecast that evening. This was particularly so after being stuck with the full ~$800 bill this year (thanks, Congress), which pays the certifiers good wages & health insurance to waste our time without giving us any credit for being well-organized and deeply committed to whole-farm organic management rather than by-the-book minimal organic compliance. We’re continuing to discuss our future within USDA certification. This year has been stressful enough without the added bureaucratic, financial, and time burdens certification has been placing on us for uncertain benefits. 

WHAT’S GOING RIGHT
The soil is warm, frosts are done, and we’re getting lots of summer transplants and seeding underway.  The strawberries look fantastic, loaded with green fruits after we protected them from multiple late frosts, and the first ripe ones on an early variety are just starting to appear. (Distribution quantities are probably a couple weeks away yet.) Our personal asparagus patch has been producing very well, supplying wonderful spring food to ourselves and our workers. We’re in the process of expanding this crop significantly, and look forward to these showing up in early CSA shares in a few more years. Our workers this year have been fantastic, and we’re grateful for the help and friendship they provide to us each week.

WHAT’S NOT SO GREAT
The last few days have been the worst for pollen & allergies that we can remember, giving both of us serious discomfort and exhaustion, to the point that we’ve had our A/C on during May for the first time ever (just so we can sleep), though we far prefer keeping our windows open as long as possible into summer. In effect, the long cold spell followed by the very fast heat wave seems to have resulted in all the grasses and many trees setting their pollen all at once, producing a massive wave of allergenic conditions. We can’t prove it, but we’re wondering if the lack of our normally copious fresh goat milk this year is making things worse for us, compared to previous years of consuming many gallons a week from goats grazing on the very plants producing these allergens. Even the heavy rains recently haven’t washed the air clean enough for us to feel comfortable outside, and we’ve taken to wearing masks at times during the day just to get some work done.

WEATHER NOTES
It seems par for the course this year that the best news of the week was NOT receiving any damaging hail or wind from the multiple rounds of severe weather that swept through Missouri, “only” 3 inches of heavy rain. Moderate temperatures for the coming week look nice: great for the continued growth of spring crops, and warm enough for getting summer crops established. However, we’re not thrilled about the consistent forecast of more rain & storms.

2 thoughts on “CSA distribution #4 & newsletter

  1. Another nice use of chive flowers is to infuse vinegar. The result is relatively subtle but it makes a very pretty jar and is a nice complement to salads. Using a white wine vinegar would be extra nice, but we used regular white as it’s what we had at the time. A nice recipe below (although there are prettier pictures in Google images, I think).
    http://www.foodinjars.com/2011/05/chive-blossom-vinegar/

  2. Monday shares received some baby spinach instead of kale; we decided to hold off on the latter another week. Shares have been delivered at this point; with this horribly heavy rain we scrambled to get deliveries done and back home before our stream flooded too much.