2014 CSA distribution #4

We’re settling into the weekly routine that will govern the rest of the growing season, harvesting & distributing twice a week while managing everything else in between. It’s awfully dry up here, haven’t had the same rains as Columbia and points south, and that’s going to be a growing concern if it continues. But in the meantime, the hard work and stress of spring is paying off in a good-looking farm as we dive headlong into summer.

ANNUAL REMINDER: Advice to wash & inspect ecosystem-grown produce

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We rinse & spin the loose leaf greens at the barn, and we give the head lettuces & various other items a dunk in water. We’re not aiming for table-ready preparation, but rather to remove some dirt/straw and most critters. (A small Midland Brown Snake has actually taken a trip to the packing barn deep in a lettuce head; for its sake…and ours…we’re grateful that we found it there.) We strongly advise that all produce be washed & visually inspected prior to serving. We’ve been known to skip that step and find insects (see photo above) in our served salad…live insects, mind you, demonstrating freshness and lack of pesticides, but not to everyone’s liking at the dinner table. Produce from Chert Hollow comes from a diverse ecosystem, one complete with insects, birds, mammals, and many other critters that live here or pass through the area; sometimes they poop on near produce. Exposure to diverse microbes via produce may well have some benefits. Nonetheless, we’ll do our best to keep the critters and poop (it’s fertilizer!) on the farm, but the advice to wash and inspect for yourself stands.

PRODUCE

Our sudden transition to above-average, humid weather has affected some spring crops, which tend to bolt (go to seed) when they think it’s summer. This affects radishes, lettuce, saute mix greens, and more, which prefer a more orderly seasonal transition. Thus we’ve pre-harvested many radishes and some greens for next week, as they’ll do better in storage for a few days than baking in the rain-less heat. A few days of storage on our end won’t affect their overall long life span in your kitchen, and will help provide a better & more reliable product.

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Frittatas are a great way to use spring vegetables and eggs. Specific recipes abound, but the basic concept is easy and flexible. This one features green onions, kale, sweet potatoes, herbs, cheese, and more.

Garlic scallions Last week for these. Should be moving on to garlic scapes by the following week!
Green onions Lots of these! Extras for those who want them.
Beet greens/spinach A mix of these two tasty cooking greens, also useful for salad.
Head lettuce Growing fast, succession plantings catching up to each other, and the heat will make it grumpy. Eat big salads now, knowing that lettuce season won’t last forever.
Leaf lettuce (maybe)
Depends on conditions, if it doesn’t bolt.
Radishes Pre-harvested, greens removed for better storage
NEW! Hakurei turnips
First week of these tasty morsels, excellent roasted or in soups and can be eaten raw. Not your typical strong turnip, they’re sweet and nice. The greens are good for cooking, too.
NEW! Strawberries
Developing quickly, see note below about helping with harvest.
NEW (hopefully!) Snap Peas  Coming on strong, but not sure how the quantities will look this week.

HERBS

We’ll be doing 4 bundles per full share and 2 per single share this week. Check out the photos on our culinary herb page if you’re having trouble identifying a bundle you receive. Here are the expected choices:

Chives
Garlic chives
Tarragon
Sage Some of these are starting to flower, so some bundles may include sage flowers (which are edible).
Orange mint
Kentucky colonel mint
Mint surprise
Whatever variety is thriving at the moment; may be one of the standards or something more obscure. 
Oregano

Lemon balm
Catnip

EGGS

Back to the usual purchase options this week. We hope you enjoyed last week’s treat.

GOAT MILK

Milk is available this week, $7/half gallon. Learn more about our raw milk sales policies here, and our dairy herd management here. All purchasers of raw milk must sign our purchase agreement.

PHOTOS FROM THE FARM

It’s been a marathon of transplanting & mosquito-slapping (not to mention weeding, mulching, and irrigating), but the farm’s summer form is rapidly filling out.2014_share4_2Above, happy tomatoes, peppers, and potatoes. 2014_share4_1Above, snap peas, zucchini (under row cover), and cabbage.

STRAWBERRY PICKING HELP

We’re about to enter one of the major pulses of extra work on the farm, strawberry picking. We harvest these tender fruits on a regular schedule to maximize freshness and quality, and it’s a slow job. This is especially important because we don’t grow commercial storage varieties, but rather tasty varieties whose superior flavor is balanced by their shorter shelf life.

Given the expressed interest from some members in helping on the farm, we’re going to open up the strawberry picking schedule to members who wish to ease this task (and our backs!). This is NOT a pick-your-own situation, this is harvest work for distributions, though we will send you home with some extras if they’re available and/or credit your account for the time worked at $8/hour. Here’s the picking schedule, starting now:

Tuesdays  & Fridays starting at 10:00 am
Wednesdays, Saturdays, & Sundays starting at 6:30 pm

Rain may at times force us to deviate from this schedule; if possible, we avoid picking when the plants are wet. Strawberry season will last for the next few weeks.

This work takes one person about two hours, so the more folks working well the faster it’ll go. If you’re interested, PLEASE contact us ahead of time so we know who and what to expect. As this is important work time & not pick-your-own or open house, we can’t accommodate children.

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