CSA Newsletter – Week 2 – June 28, 2017

What’s In The Box:
Red leaf lettuce
Green onions
Purple kohlrabi
Curly or Red Russian Kale
Garlic scapes
Dry beans: either Hutterite, Vermont Cranberry, or Pinto. See below for a picture and descriptions.
Beets-still making the rotation
Shell peas-just starting rotation
Green leaf lettuce-large shares only
Spinach-large shares only


Pinto, Hutterite, Vermont Cranberry

Hutterite Beans: This Austrian heirloom cooks fast (20 minutes or less after soaking), saving time and energy. Known for their delicate, buttery flavor, they make delicious, creamy soups and chowders.
Vermont Cranberry: A beloved heirloom in New England since the 18th century, the cranberry-red beans are most commonly used in soups or for baking.
Pinto: Left whole or refried with onion, garlic, and cumin, they make the perfect burrito filling.

*When cooking beans, it is best to soak for around 8 hours. This helps break down enzymes and will allow you to enjoy them without… ahem…digestive distress.

Wow. What a spring, huh? This was the wettest and most frustrating spring we have endured in our 20+ years of farming. We’ve had wet springs before, but were usually afforded several windows of dry weather allowing us to get early and reasonably spaced succession plantings in the ground. This year we only really got one such window and it wasn’t nearly long enough. We got a few things in: early potatoes, 2 beds of shell peas, and a smattering of transplants, but then the rain returned. Planting dates slipped by, cover crop grew intimidatingly tall, transplants were crying out to be planted, greenhouses were full to bursting with plants (many benches were hastily created to accommodate them all.) And, of course, we were freaking out. Everywhere we went people were talking about the rain and even non-farmers seemed out of sorts.

Luckily, we had in our back pocket, a handful of high and dry acres located in a once-was-farmland-now-is-a-subdivision section of Rochester. Three years ago, we started leasing land from Lee and Ora of Happy Hen Farm fame. We had long been looking for some ground with better drainage for early spring planting and this was a perfect opportunity. Ironically, the first 2 seasons we had access to the land, it was so warm and dry that we were able to get into the home fields with ease. Why commute when you don’t have to, right?  Also, the soil at the new site is a rocky, sandy loam with superb drainage. In a wet spring this is an desired quality,  but irrigation there is limited thus we’d need a little assistance from mother nature.  She wasn’t very accommodating the last 2 years.  However this year, we have pretty much filled the entire space with carrots, lettuce, beets, kohlrabi, cabbage, broccoli, chard, and dry beans. Jim has worked hard battling the freakishly robust cover crop at home, we are now able to plant here with relative ease.


farm meets subdivision – driving near the satellite field


soil at the satellite field – sandy loam with a plethora of rocks


home soil – clay loam and fluffy as chocolate cake (if we work it right)


It is a year like this that really brings home the importance of being a diversified, succession based farm. We plant many rounds of most of our crops; either weekly, bi-weekly, or once a month. If earlier plantings don’t work out, it is very likely the others will. Growing a wide variety of crops also helps us to ensure a nice offering for the CSA and markets, even in a year such as this. Missed and smaller than usual plantings will mostly translate into less product available for wholesale to coops and restaurants, and a more spartan display at the farmers markets early on. However, the weather seems to have settled into a pleasant pattern and we are now on track allowing me to (mostly) follow my planting schedule. Hopefully late planted crops will just hit the ground running and catch up. A lot of times our first planting of a thing will sit and shiver and struggle in cool spring weather and then the next succession planted 2 weeks later will grow like gangbusters and catch up, if not surpass, the first planting. Just goes to show that we can make all the schedules and spreadsheets we want, but nature will have the final say. Best laid plans of mice and men….

In my constant effort to not be a negative Nelly, I am trying to see the bright side to this spring.

  1. We were allowed to fallow (rest) more ground than we anticipated. This will improve soil health in those areas.

  2. We got twice the organic matter from our cover crop than we anticipated since it was too wet to plow. More organic matter=better soil health.

  3. We are doing a fine job keeping up on the weeds, since there is overall less to weed.

  4. The water table should be well recharged.

JULY 4TH holiday:
CSA deliveries will occur as usual next week.
That is all for this week. Enjoy your box!

Jen, Jim, and the Crew