CSA distribution #6 & newsletter

The next CSA distribution will be Monday June 10 and Thursday June 13. It’s been a refreshingly pleasant week, with seasonable temperatures and drier conditions allowing us to get a great deal of work done while being generally conducive to proper plant growth. More like this, please! We’re looking forward to the CSA events this Sunday, including our worker-appreciation lunch from 11-1 followed by a general CSA member tour from 1 onward. We hope many of you can join us to enjoy the farm in its reasonably good, if still somewhat muddy, condition. For those who can’t, we’re including a photo essay of many oncoming crops in this newsletter.

We strongly encourage same-day pickup for freshness and to avoid taking up too much space at the store, but obviously schedules intervene at times, and there’s no problem picking up later on occasion. If you are not able to pick up your share on the day of delivery, WH will hold it in their walk-in cooler until you get it (or until our next round of deliveries–Thursday for Monday and vice versa).  Some items won’t hold well at refrigerator temperatures (basil is a good example), so if you know you’re not going to be able to pick up promptly, you may want to reject items that won’t last.

Also, it’s very important that you return your cloth bags weekly. To limit waste and bother, we have labelled the minimum number of bags needed per household, and forgetting a week messes up our rotation. When this happens, we substitute one of our standard  “loaner bags”, labelled as such, and record to whom it went. Since this bag doesn’t have your name on it, we attach a written label to the handle so WH staff know to whom it belongs. Keep this in mind in case there’s ever confusion in finding your share at the store. You are still expected to return that loaner bag the next week.

Green onions (also with bulk option this week)
Hakurei turnips
Mustard greens
Head lettuce
Strawberries We’ll be offering extras this week, in the following manner: standard shares will include fresh strawberries harvested the day before (usually evening, weather permitting) distribution as usual, while extras will be berries from the previous harvest; usually 24-36 hours apart. Thus these extras will really need to be eaten right away, but they’ll give you access to more tasty berries than we’d otherwise be willing to distribute. If you don’t want to take the risk of some off-berries, just don’t ask for extras.
Snap peas (first possible, may be small amounts) These are not shellers; the pod is edible and should be eaten whole for maximum flavor and food value. We can eat a bowl of these sweet treats raw like candy, but they’re also good chopped onto salads or lightly cooked dishes.
Garlic scapes (first ones forming, amount uncertain) These richly garlic-flavored stems can be used similarly to a garlic scallion or clove. Just slice them and use either raw (if you like strong flavors) or sauteed as you would garlic. Also try making garlic scape pesto, which we make in bulk and freeze for winter use; we’re still using up the last of it! We use small bits of this pesto to flavor soups, spread on pizza, flavor pasta sauces, and so much more.

We offer items in bulk when production exceeds the amount that we expect an average household to consume in a week, if divided equally among everyone. When we offer items in bulk, we generally include two choices (plus the option to decline bulk altogether):
1) An amount not to exceed what fits in a standard plastic produce bag
2) As much as you want to give me
The amount that actually goes out to each household depends on how many people ask for bulk. If it is popular and everyone wants it, the quantities may turn out to not be very impressive, but if only a few people jump on the opportunity, those folks may have access to a lot. Our goal here is to find a good home for produce that needs to be used. This is very much the “sharing the bounty” part of the CSA.

This week, we anticipate two bulk offerings:
Green onions We need to finish harvest of the overwintered green onions to make way for a bean planting, and we have quite a few left. Our preferred way to preserve these is to dehydrate them for winter use. Some of the onions may be a little thin and spindly, so they may require some extra clean-up work on your part.

Mint The mint patch is going bonkers. We find that we get better continual harvests if we keep it cut back, and it is time for a big trimming. This will include a bit of a mix of varieties, including a couple that we don’t normally distribute. There is some insect damage starting to develop, so a little bit of sorting & cleaning may be necessary on the receiving end. The mint is suitable for drying for winter tea or other uses. Or perhaps a batch of mint jelly is in order.

A member sent us this lovely photo of decorative sage flowers; thanks! This week there will be 4 bundles/full share and 2/single share. We have some new offerings this week, but not large quantities of any of the new herbs, so each household will be limited to no more than one bundle of the new offerings.

Garlic chives
Orange mint

Kentucky Colonel mint
Lemon balm
Sage: Still flowering. Some of the flowers may be passing their peak, but there are plenty of leaves, too.
NEW Dill leaf: Dill leaf is a lovely addition to salad.
NEW Cilantro (limited): Still on the small side, but we can offer a bit this week. Bundles likely to be small.
NEW Lavender blossoms (limited): We think the first blossoms will be just opening by Monday. Lavender season was relatively short last year, so we don’t want to miss an opportunity to offer this.
NEW Anise hyssop (very limited): We’ll admit that we haven’t done much in the kitchen with this herb, but it has a very lovely licorice/anise flavor that is nice to nibble on in the herb garden. We’d love to hear recipes & uses from anyone who decides to try this. 

We haven’t been sharing many meal photos lately because our dinners mostly come after dark and our internal house lighting stinks for photography. Definitely consider making a batch of lentils, in our case usually flavored with coconut milk, garlic, and hot peppers, then chop in a bunch of spicy greens at the last minute so the lentils’ heat wilts them naturally. Serve over rice for a tasty treat, topped with minced green onions. The turnips, snap peas, and garlic scapes make a great base for stir fry or fried rice. Also consider an easy egg-drop soup, flavored with garlic scapes and possibly minced greens, topped with minced green onions.

Supply is limited this week, as we’re reserving stock to fill our brooder for another round of chicks. So we’ll skip one more week of Edgewood deliveries, making eggs available to home/work only, then get back to normal. Eggs will be available to anyone visiting this Sunday, of course; this would be a great context to give them a try if you haven’t already.

RECENTLY ON THE FARMCSA6_3This year’s young pigs are happily digging in to their fresh pasture, rooting out earthworms and all sorts of other goodies while also eating down the vegetation. Supplemented with a custom organic grain mix we grind on-farm (as we do for the chickens), and lots of farm scraps, these two ladies are living a good life.

Many crops are doing pretty well at this point. We’re moving beyond the pulse of quick-bolting and other early failures, and starting to catch up on transplanting and seeding. If we catch our breath and look over the farm from an outsider’s view, it’s really in pretty good shape, all things considered. Here’s a look at some items doing well right now, and which will be showing up in shares soon if they haven’t already.

CSA6_1Scallions, regular onions, carrots, beets; slow but making progress. Need more sun. CSA6_2 Kale, cabbage, mustard, peas; late spring crops really benefiting from the not-too-hot temperatures.

CSA6_4Peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers; these will take a bit longer to mature but are off to a reasonable (if late) start. These mostly prefer sun and heat to really get going.

Mostly just the usual exhaustion of a busy spring, working like mad to catch up on transplanting/planting while keeping up with the weed pulses produced by so much rain. The garlic crop is looking disappointing, much of which seems to be a result of the abnormalities that showed up last year, which we later learned were almost certainly associated an outbreak of aster yellows (phytoplasma) disease in garlic in the Midwest, the first time this disease has been seen in garlic in this country. We are set up to overproduce in garlic quantities for the size CSA we have, so we’re hoping that there will be enough garlic to go around even with a disappointing crop. What we’d like most is to move beyond the disease problems that showed up last year and get back on track with garlic by next year.

Hidden behind the abundant and frustrating rain, the temperatures over the past month or so have really been quite pleasant. With the slow start to spring, we were really worried about jumping straight to too-hot conditions, which hasn’t happened. The mostly average trend has been great for personal comfort and the proper development of many spring crops that need these moderate temperatures. And every week it isn’t blazing hot is one more week toward fall! Given that the record high for June 1 in Columbia is 100ºF, we’re doing just fine on this front. Some of the warm-season crops probably would like a bit more warmth, but as far as we’re concerned, weather that is good for us to be outside taking care of things is pretty good for most of the plants in the long run.


2 thoughts on “CSA distribution #6 & newsletter

  1. Great share! The strawberries have great flavor, the head lettuce looks great, happy to get some garlic scapes (going to hold onto these until share 7 and then make scape pesto). Thanks for braving the crazy April and May weather, seems like the farm is hitting it’s stride for the rest of the year.