CSA Newsletter – Early Fall Share Week 4 – November 17, 2017

This is the last week of the Early Fall Share. Thanks for sticking it out for another 4 weeks. The Late Fall Share starts next weekend. If you have not already signed up and would like to, you may do so online from our website, or send me an email and I’ll take care of it.

This week was an interesting mix of weather.  Thursday was relentless rain. Each crate of carrots harvested easily had an extra 5 lbs of mud in it. Boots and rain gear collected several more pounds of mud, so everyone got quite the workout. Walking in the mud, similar to soft sand on the beach, also took more effort. I often think how funny it would be to make a spoof Cross-Fit promo video that would be “Farm Cross-Fit”. So much of what we do is carry heavy, awkward objects around. I’ll try to make it happen next season. Today was sunny and beautiful and each brief rain squall brought a rainbow, sometimes a double. Hard to be cranky when a rainbow is around. Add to that the cute-as-a-button puppy one of our crew just got who follows her around everywhere, and it was really hard to be cranky. I mean, come on.  Rainbows and puppies?

THANKSGIVING: Perhaps you will have all you need for your upcoming feast in this very CSA box. We tried to include typical Thanksgiving staples. If you are still in need, your first stop should be the Olympia or Proctor Farmers Market. You’ll find so many amazing veggies, meats, cranberries, baked goods, flowers, candles, pottery, wood work, and so much more. You could most likely source your entire meal locally. Also, keep these markets in mind for holiday gifts.

That’s all for this week. Enjoy your holiday!

Jen, Jim, and Crew

 

CSA Newsletter – Week 13 – September 13, 2017

I hope you’re hungry. This box is a beast. The abundance of corn and return of greens made this box a challenge to close. We are happy to finally have more lettuce to share. A combination of poor germination and deer thinking the lettuce patch was a buffet meant for them, caused a little lettuce lull.

WHAT’S IN THE BOX:
carrots
beets or chard
corn
spinach or kale
lettuce
patty pan and crookneck squash
slicing or lemon cucumber
sungold cherry toms-small shares only
red tomatoes
red or orange sweet pepper
red onion
garlic
basil or parsley
red or yellow potatoes
Italian eggplant-half of you.

As lovely as that little bit of rain was, we are hoping it will hold off just a little longer. We have several critical fall chores to complete before conditions get too wet. We have been trying to peck away at them, but harvest and irrigation take up most of our time these days. As of yesterday, all the dry beans are harvested and sitting in the greenhouse to await threshing. We should get the rest of the onions in by the end of today. They will get laid out in 4 of our greenhouses to finish drying. We will then clip and clean them as needed. I love the dual purposes the greenhouses provide: plants in spring, bean and onion storage in fall.

Jim is on the tractor now discing in old crop residue and weeds. Soon we will plant a nice cover crop of rye and crimson clover to protect and rejuvenate the soil over the winter. Garlic must get planted and winter squash and potatoes have to get harvested before the fall rains set in. Those jobs are NOT fun when it’s wet.

We took the crew out to Our Table in Olympia for our annual crew dinner last night. The food was AMAZING! If you haven’t eaten there, you should go. The buy from a lot of local farms and my goodness,  they are talented chefs.  We asked them to create a menu around what produce we currently have available. They came to the market stand on Sunday, gathered up a few boxes of goodies, and put together a full-on 5 course meal with multiple dishes per course. We were all stuffed to the gills by the end and so very happy. Sigh… I wish there had been leftovers, but alas, it was just too good to leave any behind.

Now is the perfect time to say a HUGE thank you to our crew. Jim and I cannot do this alone. We are so  grateful for their amazing work ethic, care for the farm, and wonderful personalities. It is a joy to work with each and every one of these goofballs.

 

CSA Newsletter – Week 11 – August 30, 2017

WHAT’S IN THE BOX:
carrots
potatoes-huckleberry
beets or red cabbage
dill & cilantro or basil & parsley
red onion
lemon cucumber
pickling (aka salad) cucumber
slicing cucumber
lettuce
garlic
assortment of summer squash
tomatoes
broccoli for half
green pepper for almost the other half (West and Tumwater get them next week)

We are passing through another seasonal transition it seems. It feels like we have one foot in summer and the other in fall. Temperatures are slated to be in the 80’s and 90’s through the weekend and all of our favorite summer foods are beckoning to be eaten. However, 6:00 is getting to be too dark to start work. It is especially crisp and breezy lately and I have heard Canada Geese flying over the past few days. The trees are also starting to turn. Sigh…summer is just too short.

LET’S TALK VEG:
Tomatoes: In addition to the Early Girl slicers you have been getting, we tossed in a Juan Flamme (little orange tomato) and Stupice (little red tomato). We planted theses on a whim. We had extra space and extra starts from market sales, and thought, why not? That was on the heels of our super wet spring when we had missed entire plantings of some things and figured we should fill the space with something! I am more impressed with Juan, personally.
Potatoes: These are called Huckleberry. Purple on the outside, yellow on the inside. Purple skins=higher antioxidants, so don’t peel them if you can help it. They are in the middle of the moist-flaky scale, so are very versatile as boilers, bakers, and fryers.
Parsley: “What the heck do we do with all the parsley you give us?” you may wonder. Here is a new idea. Chimichurri. It is a staple condiment in Argentinian cooking. It is basically a parsley based pesto with red wine vinegar, oregano, garlic, lots of olive oil and some other stuff. I know I’m not talking it up that well, but trust me, it is amazing! Below are just 3 of the many recipes I sifted through online. Some include cilantro, which I especially enjoyed. It is good on steak, tacos, sandwiches, and so much more.
chimichurri recipes:
version 1
version 2
version 3– with cilantro
Google chimichurri and you could get lost for hours comparing recipes.
Beans & corn: We are between plantings of both so you will see them again. Fear not.
Peppers: We planted a lot of red and orange bullhorn sweet peppers this year, and even with all the heat we’ve had they are taking an obnoxiously long time to ripen. The plants are loaded, though, so hopefully we will all reap the bounty soon.

Pickling Cukes and Basil: We have a lot of both all of a sudden, so if you want some, let me know and I’ll leave it with your CSA or bring it to the Olympia or Proctor Farmers Market. If you have placed an order earlier and haven’t heard from me yet, please reach out again. Sometimes my little scraps of paper go missing. I think I take on just a little too much this time of year!

Enjoy your veggies!

Jen, Jim, and Crew

 

CSA Newsletter – Week 10 – August 22, 2017

WHAT’S IN THE BOX:
corn!
carrots
beets or cabbage
broccoli or green pepper
slicing cucumber
lemon cucumber
a variety of summer squash
cherry tomatoes
slicing tomatoes
lettuce
yellow onion
garlic
green & purple beans
basil & parsley OR dill & cilantro
yukon gold potatoes

 

Alex and Isaac picking  your corn this morning.

I hope you’re hungry! This box is the epitome of summer. I wish we had the time and capacity to eat 6 hearty meals a day. Everything looks and tastes so good that I want it all now. Tonight I am making pizza with onion, garlic, summer squash, tomatoes, basil, peppers, and broccoli.

Did you get to watch the eclipse? We took 40 minute break to kick back, share a meal, and experience the wondrous phenomenon. None of us had the proper glasses and the mirror/screen thing I rigged up on the fly didn’t quite pan out, but it was amazing all the same. The light, the shadows, and the buzzy energy made me a little giddy. I am glad we were in a position to allow ourselves and our crew to just stop what we were doing and experience a rare and unique moment.

Let’s get right to the box content, shall we?
CORN: Cuppa Joe is the name. (Who comes up with these names?) It is a bicolor that we have come to love. My family has it for dinner nearly every night when it is in season. We try to get sick of it so we can endure the long spell when it is not available. Try to eat it within a few days as the sugars turn to starch as soon as it is picked.
BEANS: You get a mix of green and purple today. They taste and cook more or less the same. The purples are actually green on the inside and will fade toward green when cooked. They really stand out in a raw bean salad.
LEMON CUCUMBER: I forgot to mention them last week. They do not taste like lemon but instead get the moniker based on shape and color. They have a hint of melon flavor. I find the skin to be thin enough that peeling is not necessary.
BROCCOLI AND PEPPERS: They are both just starting to come on, but not in massive quantities so they are on rotation.

Everything else should be self explanatory.

If you are feeling overwhelmed with all the produce, make a soup to freeze. Grate and freeze your summer squash for use in winter. Make several quiches and freeze. Notice a theme here? Finish off that ice cream and make some space. Or host a dinner for some friends you haven’t seen in awhile, but keep meaning to reach out to. Sharing food is always a good reason to get together.

Have a great week!

Jen, Jim and Crew.

 

CSA Newsletter – Week 9 – August 16, 2017

Thank you for your patience last week while I was away. It was hard to leave for 4 days in the height of the summer. I was up until 1:00 AM making lists, printing forms, and making sure all the odds and ends I usually deal with were delegated as necessary. My dear grandmother of 89 years passed away and I traveled to Eastern WA with my mother, sister, and nephew to attend services and be with family. I am so very grateful to Jim and the crew for taking up the slack in my absence. I never once worried about things falling through the cracks. (I think they are happy to have me back, though.)

I am so happy to back on the west side where the temps are reasonable and the smoke is gone. It was brutal over there in Clarkson where it was 100+ degrees and smokey as all get-out. I am back to eating amazing food and reveling in the abundance that is August in the PNW.

The fields are bursting at the seams with all of our summer favorites. Everyone gets cherry and slicer tomatoes in their box, no rotation necessary. Beans are still cranking and summer squash is…well let’s just say we could probably feed all of Thurston County. Corn is very, very close.  Alex and Isaac found 2 rogue ears Monday and Isaac was gracious enough to offer me his, which I ate on the spot. Jim and I walked through the patch last night before dinner and thought it should be ready for next week.

 

Jim pulling potato plants to see how they are sizing up.

 

POTATOES! We are growing 10 varieties of potatoes this year. Partly because we like to experiment, and partly because we were forced to experiment. When ordering seed potato this spring, we couldn’t get a hold of some of our standbys (yellow finn and Yukon gold) and so we are trialing a handful of others to fill the void. It is frustrating when the seed varieties fall out of fashion or when there are crop failures. For example, we had been growing Nelson carrot for nearly 20 years. It is the absolute BEST carrot for our soil (and taste buds). However, this year it was unavailable and we have been trialing different varieties. The problem is that by the time the first carrot planting ripens, we already have about 5 plantings in the ground. It’s too late if they are crappy. We were not too impressed with the first planting, but the flavor seems to be improving as the weather does. I think maybe the first ones were stressed and confused by crazy spring weather. I hope that we find something that will live up to Nelson’s high standards or Nelson comes back. We’ll see.

Back to potatoes…on Monday Jim and I pulled up plants of about 7  varieties to see how they were coming along. They all looked amazing.  This week you will be getting red lasoda. I haven’t eaten them yet, but I hear they are good for potato salad, boiling, steaming, and frying.

 

Alex & Isaac proudly displaying several of our potato varieties.

 

CANNING QUANTITIES: Pickling cukes, beans, basil, & tomatoes.

Now is the time to squirrel away the summer goodness. Let me know if you want some extras for canning or freezing and I can leave your order at your pick up site. Refer to the canning page for pricing.

RECIPE IDEAS:

Jim has been making grilled zucchini, carrots, and potatoes at least 3 nights a week and we are never disappointed. He’ll cut the a fore mentioned veggies into  planks roughly 1/4″ thick and toss  with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and maybe a few drops of hot sauce. He will then grill them on the gas grill for about 5 minutes per side until they have reached the desired tenderness. We will eat as is or sprinkle Gorgonzola cheese on top. I am salivating just thinking about it. It makes a great side dish, esp if you already have the grill going for burgers or steak.

Enjoy!

Jen, Jim, & Crew

 

CSA Newsletter – Week 7 – August 2, 2017

What’s In The Box:
Carrots
Beets or Chard
Green beans
Yukon Gold potatoes
Italian zucchini
yellow crookneck
Italian parsley
garlic
red onion
sungolds-small shares only
red tomato
pickling/salad cucumbers
baby cabbage-half of you (the rest of you should get it next week)

This is the first week for the Height of the Season Share folks. Welcome! I hope you enjoyed your first box. I encourage you to read through the previous newsletters to get a sense of what has been going on at the farm. Explore the recipe tag cloud at the bottom of the page. Click on a vegetable and all the recipes containing that vegetable will pop up. Quite handy.

Boy it’s hot! I hope you all are keeping cool. We have started work at 5:00 AM these past few days and try to stop around 1:30 or so. It is just too hot out there for people or produce. Irrigation is going 24/7 to keep the plants happy. It is times like these when we are so grateful for our heavy clay soil. We will have some serious weeds to contend with once the weather gets cooler. We had hoped to pull some long days and get caught up, but it is too hot to ask people to stay late into the afternoon.

Sorry I have no more news to share or amazing recipes to suggest. I am pretty fried from the insanely early start times and the heat.

G’night!

Jen

 

CSA Newsletter – Week 6 – July 26, 2017

What’s In The Box:
carrots
beets or chard
green onions
shell peas
green beans
garlic
salad (aka large pickling) cucumbers
Amarosa fingerling potatoes
rosemary
Italian zucchini
yellow crookneck squash
sungold cherry tomatoes-large shares only

Summer is here as is evidenced by very hot weather, the sudden abundance of summer squash, and the arrival of cherry tomatoes and green beans. Both crops and weeds are growing by leaps and bounds. We are in a desperate race against the weeds and so far we are edging out ahead. This letter is getting out very late in the evening (sorry folks!) so I will just cut to the chase and give you suggestions on how to use all this yummy produce!

AMAROSA POTATOES: These are a fabulous fingerling that are red inside and out. They are super delish simply steamed and topped with butter. Or you can toss them with olive oil, salt, pepper, and chopped up rosemary and roast in the oven at 400-ish for 30-40 minutes. Or you can chop them into home-fry sized pieces and fry them with lots of garlic.

SALAD CUCUMBERS: These are just larger pickling cukes. Many people prefer theses to your standard slicer as they are sweet, crisp, and have a small seed cavity. They can occasionally be bitter, so give it a taste test before you whip up a cucumber salad to serve for company.

ZUCCHINI AND CROOKNECK: Use interchangeably. Invest in a $15 spiralizer at Target and make zoodles (squash shredded into long noodles-I’ll try to send a pic in next week’s newsletter.) Make zucchini bread or just dice up squash and add it to whatever savory dish you make. It is a nice sponge for herbs and sauces.

GREEN BEANS: Steam them, add to a stir fry or curry, or go to our green bean recipe page for some yummy ideas. I highly recommend the green beans with walnuts, balsamic, and honey.

FEEL LIKE CANNING?
We just started harvesting pickling cucumbers and should have them for at least the next 4 weeks. If you would like some dropped off with your CSA share let me know. You can also pick up at the Olympia and Proctor Farmers Markets. Go to our pickle page for sizing, pricing, and other info. I have a lot of orders in for mini and small cukes, so if that is what you want let me know soon. I almost always have an abundance of mediums.
We also periodically have beans, beets, and eventually tomatoes. Let me know if you are interested in any of those and I will put you on the list.

Enjoy your box!
Jen, Jim, and Crew