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

 

CSA Newsletter – Week 5 – July 19, 2017

 

WHAT’S IN THE BOX
carrots
beets or chard
green onions
garlic
zucchini
shell or snow peas
potatoes
cabbage
cilantro
cucumber (half of you)

DESCRIPTIONS:
Potatoes-You either got Yukon gold (yellow) or Caribe (purple). Both are pretty versatile and delicious.
Cabbage-Aren’t they cute? Stressful spring weather=baby cabbages. You’ll see bigger ones as time goes on. This variety is sweet and delicious raw. I like to slice it thin and use it instead of lettuce on tacos or burritos. Or use it in  Spicy Cabbage Salad or Cabbage Peanut Slaw or Egg Rolls.
Everything else should be self-explanatory.

There is not much new to report this week. All the garlic is out of the field and hanging in the barn. We can cross that big job off the list. We are mostly weeding and watering like mad. We’ll start the pickling cucumber harvest on Thursday, which will add a whole new level of crazy to the farm (but a good crazy). On top of all the other field work and harvest we will pick cukes 3 days a week for the next 6 weeks. If you want to purchase some let me know and I can leave them with your CSA share at some point in the future. Refer to the pickle page for sizing, pricing, and other info.

COMING SOON….

We hope to start passing out slicing tomatoes and sungold cherry tomatoes next week. Green Beans are getting really close as well.

Enjoy your week!

Jen, Jim, and Crew

CSA Newsletter – Week 3 – July 5, 2017

WHAT’S IN THE BOX:
Carrots
Red Russian or curly kale
Green onions
Walla Walla onion
Garlic
Kohlrabi
Basil, Italian parsley, or cilantro
Green leaf lettuce
Romaine lettuce-large shares only
Shell peas-to everyone who did not get them last week
Beets-everyone should have had them once by now
Chard-half of you (chard will be on every other week rotation)

Hopefully you all weren’t kept up late into the wee hours by fireworks. Out here, it was non-stop explosions until 11:30, and then occasional kabooms and fizzles for the rest of the night. We were all so tired at the end of the day, though, that we slept right through it.

THE WEATHER: I am thoroughly enjoying this solid streak of sun and heat. The crops (and weeds) are really responding. On some levels, I feel like the spring put us behind, but it turns out many crops are right on time. The corn was knee high as of yesterday, peas are just about to be abundant, and I have even nibbled a few sungold tomatoes (sorry, I got all the ripe ones!) Potatoes and summer squash are coming soon. It can be a little warm to work in, but everyone manages to hide behind big hats and long dress shirts. We start the workday at 6:00 and try to be done by 2:30. It’s nice because the crew can actually get out and enjoy the rest of the day doing summery things.

WHAT OUR WORKDAY LOOKS LIKE: This time of year, we undertake wide variety of tasks. Any given day may include seeding, transplanting, irrigating, weeding, trellising, pruning, harvest, and most importantly, getting all this good food out into the community. We are also about to start the big garlic harvest. Unlike peas that you pick twice a week for a month or more, garlic is one of those crops that matures all at once and then is harvested and stored in the barn for future use. Left in the ground, the heads would split and they wouldn’t keep as long. Instead, we tie the garlic still on the stalk into bundles and hang it from the barn rafters. I’ll try to include a picture next week. It looks really cool to see it all hanging there. The upshot to the cold spring we had is that we were not plagued with the dreaded white mold that periodically wipes out as much as half of our garlic. There are no organic controls for said mold, so we do our best with crop rotation, good fertility, and crossed fingers to try and get as good a yield as we can.

BARTER BOX:
We finally had enough surplus this week to send along a barter box to each pick up site. You can use it to trade out things from your share that you don’t like, for something that you do. Please don’t take from the box unless you put something in it. The barter box will be more diverse as the season wears on.

ABOUT THE VEG:
Garlic: The variety is called Music and it is VERY STRONG! A little goes a long way with this stuff. The cloves are huge, and since it is fresh, are easy to peel. Use less than you think you need, unless you fear vampires or appreciate a little extra personal space when out in public. Want a bus seat all to yourself? Eat this garlic.
Shell Peas: I think I failed to mention last week that shell peas are the ones you open and just eat the peas inside. You probably found that out quickly if you chomped down on the shell. We hope to have snow and snap peas soon. Shell peas are delicious raw or lightly steamed.

 

FRESH HERBS:
I feel like I could devote a whole newsletter to herbs, and we only grow five types! Throughout the season you will receive dill, cilantro, basil, Italian parsley, and rosemary. We will rotate these around the pickup sites each week and I’ll try to throw a few different ones in the barter box. As the herbs become more abundant we will give you two types each week.

Many people are intimidated by fresh herbs, but don’t be. They really liven up a dish. Sometimes I add them during the cooking process and other times sprinkle minced fresh herbs directly on my plate at the table.

Here are some suggestions on how to use each one:

Basil: anything Italian, Thai, or Indian. Add it while you are cooking and reserve some fresh to sprinkle on when serving. I love it fresh on a pizza right when it comes out of the oven or on a curry.
Italian parsley: Anything Italian or Mediterranean. Use it in tabouli, cold pasta salads, or potatoes. One of my favorite things to do with new potatoes is to steam them and then toss with melted garlic parsley butter. Parsley is also an amazing breath freshener and digestive aid. Bring some to work with your lunch and kiss that coffee-breath goodbye! Overdo it on that garlic I warned you about? This should help.
Cilantro: Anything Mexican, Thai, or Indian. Cilantro pesto is amazing and is great on potatoes or used as a sandwich spread.
Rosemary: Anything Italian. Essential in a good pot roast. Probably a potato’s best friend. I mean who can resist crispy oven roasted potatoes with rosemary and garlic?
Dill: Anything Russian. (Borscht, anyone?) Also, great with fish, potatoes, in a salad or salad dressing

Just to drive it home, consider how changing up the herbs can completely transform any given vegetable. Take potatoes for example:
Rosemary-oven roasted potatoes with olive oil, salt, crushed garlic, and rosemary
Italian Parsley-melted garlic butter thing mentioned above over steamed potatoes.
Dill-potato salad
Basil-make pesto and serve with steamed or fried potatoes
Cilantro-make pesto and serve with steam or fried potatoes, or use potatoes as an addition to burritos.

All the herbs should be kept in the fridge until you use them except for rosemary. Hang up what you don’t use and it’ll dry. Basil is super perishable and should be used within two days. Dill and cilantro are best kept with the stems in a jar with a little water and a plastic bag tented over the jar. Parsley is quite hardy and doesn’t need special attention. Throw it in a bag or Tupperware in the fridge and call it good.

RECIPE IDEAS:
Borscht
French potato salad
Tabouli
Cilantro pesto-there are a million variations out there. I like to use walnuts or almonds as the nut. I’ll puree about a half cup of nuts, then add a clove of garlic, then 1 bunch cilantro (some stem is okay), salt to taste, a TBLS or 2 of olive oil (more if you want it creamier.) Adjust ingredients to suit your taste. You can add Parmesan as well.


NEWSLETTERS:
I always post the most recent newsletter on our website and Facebook, so if you want to share it with others, you can direct them to either of those places.

Enjoy!

Jen, Jim, and the Crew

 

CSA Newsletter – Week 2 – June 28, 2017

What’s In The Box:
Carrots
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

VEGGIE ID:
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.

SPRING FROM HELL
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….

SILVER LININGS:
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

 

CSA NEWSLETTER - WEEK 1 - 2017

large share – week 1

Thanks for joining Rising River Farm CSA. We appreciate you choosing our farm to feed you this summer. My first draft of this newsletter was bordering on a novel. There is just so much to talk about! The weather, spring struggles, our great crew, the new field…. I could (and will) go on and on. But I figure for this first delivery, let’s just stick to veggie ID and housekeeping matters. Next week can be newsy and more personal. Suffice it to say that this spring was soul sucking with its never ending rain, but summer weather is here, and appears to be trying to make up for such a horrible March-last week. (I hear rumors of mid 90’s by Sunday.) Despite a rough start, we are feeling good about the general state of things. I’ll elaborate more next week.

WHAT’S IN THE BOX:
Red butterhead lettuce
Green leaf lettuce (large shares only)
Green onions
Walla Walla onion
Purple kohlrabi
Russian kale or curly kale
Chard
Garlic scapes
Fennel
Beets (on rotation)

FOR THE NEW PEOPLE:
First few boxes are slim. The really good stuff (i.e. tomatoes, potatoes, cukes, etc.) must be planted after danger of frost and take longer to mature.

A WORD ON ROTATION:
Not everyone gets everything mentioned in the newsletter every week, but on balance, all the box values are the same. Very often we will give half of you one thing and half the other. Then next week it’ll switch. We also rotate items around the sites when there is not enough for all. Eventually you will all receive roughly the same things with the same value. We keep careful track of who gets what when. It all evens out in the wash.

PICKY EATER SPIEL:
I say it every year, but for the benefit of the new members I will say it again. Please try everything you receive in your box at least twice before you decide you are not a fan. Fresh-from-the-field veggies are nothing like what you buy in a store and are most certainly leagues better than canned or frozen versions. I am a bona fide picky eater since childhood. I hated nearly every vegetable except iceberg lettuce, cucumbers, and russet potatoes. I would choke down the occasional canned green beans, but nearly any other veggie I was served would cause me to recoil and protest mightily. However, once I grew my own, tried them raw or lightly cooked, I was converted. I am still learning to like new things and am all the better for it. I also have two kids, 19 and 15, and have weathered many phases of kids loving then hating then loving any given vegetable.

Here are a few tips for converting veggie haters into veggie lovers (or at least tolerators):

  1. Try things raw. They tend to be sweeter, obviously crunchier, and lack the mushy texture that just freaks some people out.
  2. If you are going to cook things, aim for ”al dente”. Most of the time crunchy or firm is more appealing than mush.
  3. Try meals that are deconstructed. For example, a build your own burrito where each person can add as much or as little as they want. Making a casserole? Try serving the contents of said casserole separated out. Some kids (and yes, some adults) cannot deal with a whole bunch of unidentifiable ingredients all mixed together. I clearly remember mining out every onion and mushroom fleck in my mother’s meatloaf. I am not necessarily a proponent of catering to and preparing separate meals for whiny, picky kids, but if you can serve them what you are already making but in a different form, then it doesn’t seem as bad. Remember, the goal is to get them to love veggies! I just remember texture and mystery in regard to food being huge obstacles for me as a kid. (I still feel the need to apologize for the hell I probably put my mom through at dinner time.)
  4. Have your family/household members help unpack your weekly share, sample veggies, and brainstorm menu ideas. Most veggies can be eaten raw so sampling should be encouraged.
  5. Have your picky eaters help cook, or at least play sous chef. They will be way more likely to eat it if they know what is in it.
  6. Explore our website for recipes. Most of what is posted is easy to prepare. Rarely will you need some exotic vinegar, spice, or pantry item that you use maybe once a year.

HOUSEKEEPING & FAQ’S
-Please return your box each week. We love it when you unfold them without tearing the flaps!
-Keep the pick up site neat and tidy.
-Observe the established pick up hours, esp. at someone’s home.
-If you have someone pick up in your stead, make sure they take the correct box.
-If you forget to pick up your box, call your site host to figure out when/how to pick it up. If you know in advance that you will miss a box, email me and we can make other arrangements.
-Payments: We don’t send regular bills, so please check your account periodically to make sure you are keeping up with payments. To log into your account, follow this link. If you have any trouble, let me know.
-If you show up and there is not a box with your name see if the site host can help figure out where the error occurred. If they are not present or cannot help you, call me and I will find a way to get you a box. Please don’t take a box with someone else’s name.

BEST WAY TO CONTACT THE FARM
For general questions and non-pressing issues email us at info@risingriverfarm.com or call the farm phone. 360.273.5368
For more urgent matters call or text Jen’s cell 360.584.6720

SOCIAL MEDIA: We have a Facebook and Instagram account (rising.river.farm). I try to post a lot of pictures of the farm and crew, as well as recipe ideas. Check us out!

VEGGIE ID AND RECIPE IDEAS:

 

from left to right: garlic scapes, fennel, kohlrabi

 RECIPES AND TIPS:

Garlic scapes: They are the seed stalk of the garlic plant. Scapes have the texture of green beans or asparagus when cooked and taste like, you guessed it, garlic! Not as potent as cloves of garlic, so you can be liberal with them. I tend to use them in lieu of garlic this time of year. Chop them in bite sized pieces and add them to stir fry, soup, pot roast, beans, etc. Keep them whole, marinate with your favorite marinade and grill on the bbq or toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper and roast in the oven at 400 until tender. Garlic scape pesto is another popular recipe. Find more scape recipes here.

Kohlrabi: It is in the brassica family (think broccoli, cabbage, and the like.) We prefer it raw, however you can cook it. The flavor is sweet and subtle with a hint of fresh broccoli or a sweet salad turnip. The texture is crunchy and juicy. You’ll want to peel it as the outer skin in tough. The easiest way in to cut it in half and then into half moons. Peel the skin off with a paring knife. I usually cut one up as described above and put it out on the dinner table to accompany whatever we are having. It makes a great addition to packed lunches. For more info and recipes about kohlrabi, follow this internet rabbit hole. (I almost got sucked in, but then remembered I had to finish this letter.)

Fennel: Popular in Italian cuisine, fennel is sweet, crunchy, and has a licorice or anise flavor. It is commonly added to red pasta sauces. The fronds make a nice addition to salad. Fennel is very soothing to the tummy, so if you ate too much at dinner just nibble on some of the bulb. You can use the whole plant. Go to our fennel page for some recipes.

Kale: You either got red Russian or curly. The Russian is sweeter and more tender and lends itself well to salads, green smoothies, and light cooking. Curly is hardier and more substantive and is ideal for soups, stir fries, and other recipes where you want your kale to keep its texture. Our favorite kale recipe is kale quesadillas. We could easily eat this one a week all year. Find that and other recipes on our kale page.

Chard: Chard is a cousin to the mighty beet. One was bred for lush leaves and the other for bulbous roots. Chard can be used interchangeably with spinach in many applications. If you are a dairy person, it pairs well with feta cheese. We usually saute onion and garlic (or scapes) until translucent then toss in the chard until just cooked. Serve over rice and add crumbled feta on top. A nice bratwurst on the side makes it even better. You can use the stem, but add it a good 5 minutes before you add the leafy portion. More chard ideas here.

 

from left to right: Red Russian kale, Swiss chard, curly kale

RECIPES ARE MERELY A GUIDE: One final word on the recipes we suggest. For the most part you can use them as a guide and substitute ingredients and amounts pretty liberally. Just because a recipe calls for 2 lbs of something and you only have 1lb or it lists onion but you only have green onions, don’t let that stop you. Prepare a half recipe, use green onions instead, add a different vegetable to help fill it out. Get creative and wing it a little. Most of all try to enjoy the process and savor your results.

We hope you enjoy you first box. More goodies are on the horizon. Carrots are sooooo close.

Jen, Jim, and the Rising River Crew.

large share – week 1

Thanks for joining Rising River Farm CSA. We appreciate you choosing our farm to feed you this summer. My first draft of this newsletter was bordering on a novel. There is just so much to talk about! The weather, spring struggles, our great crew, the new field…. I could (and will) go on and on. But I figure for this first delivery, let’s just stick to veggie ID and housekeeping matters. Next week can be newsy and more personal. Suffice it to say that this spring was soul sucking with its never ending rain, but summer weather is here, and appears to be trying to make up for such a horrible March-last week. (I hear rumors of mid 90’s by Sunday.) Despite a rough start, we are feeling good about the general state of things. I’ll elaborate more next week.

WHAT’S IN THE BOX:
Red butterhead lettuce
Green leaf lettuce (large shares only)
Green onions
Walla Walla onion
Purple kohlrabi
Russian kale or curly kale
Chard
Garlic scapes
Fennel
Beets (on rotation)

FOR THE NEW PEOPLE:
First few boxes are slim. The really good stuff (i.e. tomatoes, potatoes, cukes, etc.) must be planted after danger of frost and take longer to mature.

A WORD ON ROTATION:
Not everyone gets everything mentioned in the newsletter every week, but on balance, all the box values are the same. Very often we will give half of you one thing and half the other. Then next week it’ll switch. We also rotate items around the sites when there is not enough for all. Eventually you will all receive roughly the same things with the same value. We keep careful track of who gets what when. It all evens out in the wash.

PICKY EATER SPIEL:
I say it every year, but for the benefit of the new members I will say it again. Please try everything you receive in your box at least twice before you decide you are not a fan. Fresh-from-the-field veggies are nothing like what you buy in a store and are most certainly leagues better than canned or frozen versions. I am a bona fide picky eater since childhood. I hated nearly every vegetable except iceberg lettuce, cucumbers, and russet potatoes. I would choke down the occasional canned green beans, but nearly any other veggie I was served would cause me to recoil and protest mightily. However, once I grew my own, tried them raw or lightly cooked, I was converted. I am still learning to like new things and am all the better for it. I also have two kids, 19 and 15, and have weathered many phases of kids loving then hating then loving any given vegetable.

Here are a few tips for converting veggie haters into veggie lovers (or at least tolerators):

  1. Try things raw. They tend to be sweeter, obviously crunchier, and lack the mushy texture that just freaks some people out.
  2. If you are going to cook things, aim for ”al dente”. Most of the time crunchy or firm is more appealing than mush.
  3. Try meals that are deconstructed. For example, a build your own burrito where each person can add as much or as little as they want. Making a casserole? Try serving the contents of said casserole separated out. Some kids (and yes, some adults) cannot deal with a whole bunch of unidentifiable ingredients all mixed together. I clearly remember mining out every onion and mushroom fleck in my mother’s meatloaf. I am not necessarily a proponent of catering to and preparing separate meals for whiny, picky kids, but if you can serve them what you are already making but in a different form, then it doesn’t seem as bad. Remember, the goal is to get them to love veggies! I just remember texture and mystery in regard to food being huge obstacles for me as a kid. (I still feel the need to apologize for the hell I probably put my mom through at dinner time.)
  4. Have your family/household members help unpack your weekly share, sample veggies, and brainstorm menu ideas. Most veggies can be eaten raw so sampling should be encouraged.
  5. Have your picky eaters help cook, or at least play sous chef. They will be way more likely to eat it if they know what is in it.
  6. Explore our website for recipes. Most of what is posted is easy to prepare. Rarely will you need some exotic vinegar, spice, or pantry item that you use maybe once a year.

HOUSEKEEPING & FAQ’S
-Please return your box each week. We love it when you unfold them without tearing the flaps!
-Keep the pick up site neat and tidy.
-Observe the established pick up hours, esp. at someone’s home.
-If you have someone pick up in your stead, make sure they take the correct box.
-If you forget to pick up your box, call your site host to figure out when/how to pick it up. If you know in advance that you will miss a box, email me and we can make other arrangements.
-Payments: We don’t send regular bills, so please check your account periodically to make sure you are keeping up with payments. To log into your account, follow this link. If you have any trouble, let me know.
-If you show up and there is not a box with your name see if the site host can help figure out where the error occurred. If they are not present or cannot help you, call me and I will find a way to get you a box. Please don’t take a box with someone else’s name.

BEST WAY TO CONTACT THE FARM
For general questions and non-pressing issues email us at info@risingriverfarm.com or call the farm phone. 360.273.5368
For more urgent matters call or text Jen’s cell 360.584.6720

SOCIAL MEDIA: We have a Facebook and Instagram account (rising.river.farm). I try to post a lot of pictures of the farm and crew, as well as recipe ideas. Check us out!

VEGGIE ID AND RECIPE IDEAS:

 

from left to right: garlic scapes, fennel, kohlrabi

 RECIPES AND TIPS:

Garlic scapes: They are the seed stalk of the garlic plant. Scapes have the texture of green beans or asparagus when cooked and taste like, you guessed it, garlic! Not as potent as cloves of garlic, so you can be liberal with them. I tend to use them in lieu of garlic this time of year. Chop them in bite sized pieces and add them to stir fry, soup, pot roast, beans, etc. Keep them whole, marinate with your favorite marinade and grill on the bbq or toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper and roast in the oven at 400 until tender. Garlic scape pesto is another popular recipe. Find more scape recipes here.

Kohlrabi: It is in the brassica family (think broccoli, cabbage, and the like.) We prefer it raw, however you can cook it. The flavor is sweet and subtle with a hint of fresh broccoli or a sweet salad turnip. The texture is crunchy and juicy. You’ll want to peel it as the outer skin in tough. The easiest way in to cut it in half and then into half moons. Peel the skin off with a paring knife. I usually cut one up as described above and put it out on the dinner table to accompany whatever we are having. It makes a great addition to packed lunches. For more info and recipes about kohlrabi, follow this internet rabbit hole. (I almost got sucked in, but then remembered I had to finish this letter.)

Fennel: Popular in Italian cuisine, fennel is sweet, crunchy, and has a licorice or anise flavor. It is commonly added to red pasta sauces. The fronds make a nice addition to salad. Fennel is very soothing to the tummy, so if you ate too much at dinner just nibble on some of the bulb. You can use the whole plant. Go to our fennel page for some recipes.

Kale: You either got red Russian or curly. The Russian is sweeter and more tender and lends itself well to salads, green smoothies, and light cooking. Curly is hardier and more substantive and is ideal for soups, stir fries, and other recipes where you want your kale to keep its texture. Our favorite kale recipe is kale quesadillas. We could easily eat this one a week all year. Find that and other recipes on our kale page.

Chard: Chard is a cousin to the mighty beet. One was bred for lush leaves and the other for bulbous roots. Chard can be used interchangeably with spinach in many applications. If you are a dairy person, it pairs well with feta cheese. We usually saute onion and garlic (or scapes) until translucent then toss in the chard until just cooked. Serve over rice and add crumbled feta on top. A nice bratwurst on the side makes it even better. You can use the stem, but add it a good 5 minutes before you add the leafy portion. More chard ideas here.

 

from left to right: Red Russian kale, Swiss chard, curly kale

RECIPES ARE MERELY A GUIDE: One final word on the recipes we suggest. For the most part you can use them as a guide and substitute ingredients and amounts pretty liberally. Just because a recipe calls for 2 lbs of something and you only have 1lb or it lists onion but you only have green onions, don’t let that stop you. Prepare a half recipe, use green onions instead, add a different vegetable to help fill it out. Get creative and wing it a little. Most of all try to enjoy the process and savor your results.

We hope you enjoy you first box. More goodies are on the horizon. Carrots are sooooo close.

Jen, Jim, and the Rising River Crew.

CSA Newsletter -Week 18- 2016

Sigh. Another summer season has come and gone. It happened so fast! Each year the cycle spins around just a little faster. We are glad you joined us on this little ride and hope you will continue to visit us at the Farmers Markets in Olympia and Tacoma (Proctor) until next year’s CSA starts again. It makes us feel warm and fuzzy inside knowing that we are nourishing so many folks in the community.

I think I can speak confidently on behalf of our crew that we are all looking forward to a reduced (theoretically) work schedule. We can now enjoy later morning start times, earlier bed times, and hunkering down in front of our respective wood stoves and heaters, bowl of soup in hand, long abandoned books and projects ready to be taken up again. When I was younger, I always dreaded the dark, rainy season. Now I almost welcome it. Rest, and perhaps even a little boredom?????

In the next few weeks we will try to get this place all buttoned up for the winter. Like kids who have had their fun playing with the blocks and Legos, we now have to clean it all up. There is drip tape to roll up, trellises to take down, tools to put away, supplies to organize and inventory, greenhouses to clean, pots and flats to put in lofts; it’s a pretty long list and not terribly fun. But it has to get done, so we’ll brew the coffee and carry on. Because we live in a flood plain, we have to put away all the non-essential items now, while we have the luxury of time. It’s no fun to do during a flood. We have a half a dozen crew sticking around into the fall/winter so we’ll get it done.

THE CSA IS OVER, SO NOW WHAT?

You have no doubt gotten used to eating incredibly sweet and tasty fresh veggies all summer, so now what? Well, we have a handful of early and late fall shares left. We will be attending the Olympia and Proctor Farmers Market through the winter. We plan on having a wide variety of veggies all winter long, including fresh greens and herbs like lettuce, arugula, dill, cilantro, kale, and chard.

Sign up for 2017 begins in early January. I’ll send an email with a link after the first of the year.

 

SEEKING FEEDBACK-WE’RE ALL EARS: I don’t have a formal survey for you to fill out (because we all HATE surveys!) but please feel free to drop us line with any and all suggestions, compliments, complaints, observations, etc. We are always striving to improve and your feedback helps us do it. Thank you!

 

WHAT’S IN THE BOX:
Orange carrots
Yellow and purple carrots
Beets and chard
Rutabaga
Potatoes
Yellow onions
Garlic
Pie pumpkin
Delicata squash
Kale
Sweet peppers

ELABORATIONS:

Yellow and purple carrots: We have given these out before. They are a better cooking carrots, as opposed to fresh eating in my opinion, though you may enjoy them raw.

Potatoes: This variety is called Princess La Ratte. They are like most fingerlings-dense, waxy, great for oven roasting, stews, pot roasts, etc. We chose not to wash them for a few couple of reasons. 1. We were up against the clock trying to get the rest of the potatoes out of the ground v=before the monsoon hits tomorrow and 2. They store longer unwashed. You can keep them in the fridge or in a paper bag in a cool location.

Winter Squash: We have sampled all of the varieties, and deemed them sweet enough to eat, so go for it!

Onions: I mentioned many weeks back about the trouble with our onion crop and how many of them ended up being small. We fondly call this particular size of onion “Walters,” named after a customer of ours that specifically seeks them out and buys them by the 10 lb bag throughout the winter. He loves small onions. They are great tossed in whole or halved with pot roasts, or they are perfect when you only need a little bit of onion for a dish. Jim and I prefer the small ones, so we hope you appreciate them too.
BOX RETURN: Whether it is just this week’s box or a whole stockpile, you can return them to the Olympia or Proctor Farmers Market at any time (during business hours, of course). I you pick up at one of the state agencies, you can return your empty boxes there by Monday. Ditto Farm Fresh Market. If you pick up at someone’s home, it would be best to bring the boxes to the market so we don’t clutter up their yard! I’ll make the rounds next week to collect them.

Thank you once again for joining our CSA! Have a great fall and winter. We’ll see you next year!

Your Farmers,

Jen, Jim, and the Rising River Farm Crew.

 

CSA Newsletter -Week 17 -October 5, 2016

Next week is the last week of the summer CSA. We encourage you to bring bags along with you so you can leave the box at the site.

As I type this, rain is falling outside, hot tea is steeping beside me, and 4 varieties of winter squash are baking in the oven, Yep, it’s fall and time to shift gears in the kitchen. Break out the soup pot and roasting pan and start making some warm, nourishing, comfort foods: roasted root vegetables, potato leek soup, stuffed winter squash, sweet breads and muffins!

WHAT’S IN THE BOX:
Carrots
Beets or chard
Leeks
Acorn squash
Spaghetti squash
Potatoes
Celery
Shallot
Garlic
Kale
Kohlrabi
Scarlet queen turnip

ELABORATIONS: I am baking 4 different squash so I know whether or not to give you the green light on eating it yet. I’ll let you know by the end of this letter.

Acorn squash-The green one. It is one of the milder squash varieties, It lacks the extreme sweetness of delicata, which is why it is commonly seen baked with butter and brown sugar. Because of its subtler flavor, it lends itself well to stuffing with onions, peppers, mushrooms, garlic, herbs, strong cheeses, etc. A quick google search of acorn squash will no doubt yield a lifetime of recipes to try.
Spaghetti squash-The yellow one. Most varieties of spaghetti squash are HUGE-often upwards of 6 pounds. I was tempted by this little personal sized one in the seed catalogue and thought I’d give it a whirl. It is called spaghetti squash because when you bake it, the flesh comes off in strands, like…you guessed it…spaghetti!. Cut in half and bake cut side down in a bit of water until you can pierce through the flesh with a fork. Scrape flesh out with a fork using shallow strokes.
Potatoes-King Harry. You’ve had these before. They are very versatile. Use them in potato leek soup or scalloped potatoes.
Celery-Celery is so hard for us to grow, yet we persist.  This celery is smaller than what you might be used to. It has a heartier celery flavor and is a great addition to soups and roasts.
Leeks-They are in the onion family and have a more robust, prominent flavor. Use them in place of an onion in most dishes (but the flavor will stand out). Another google search will give you plenty of inspiration. NOTE: As leeks grow, sometimes dirt gets trapped in the layers. To prepare for cooking, cut off the root end, and trim off all but 3 inches of the green part.  Slice the leek in half lengthwise and fan under running water to rinse out any dirt.
Kale-red Russian or curly kale: Half of you got curly and half got Red Russian. Next week we will switch. I like the Russian for salads, green smoothies, kale quesadillas, and kale chips. The curly kind is great for soups, stir fries, or a quick sauté.
Scarlet queen turnip-really nice, crisp salad turnip. We often cut these into matchsticks along with carrots and kohlrabi, and snack on them. No need to peel. You can also cook with it.
SHALLOT: It is like an onion, only fancier. The flavor is richer and more complex than an onion, but not as distinguishable as a leek. They are often used minced in a vinaigrette or sauteed at the beginning of a soup.

THE SQUASH VERDICT: Okay, so Jim, Betsie and I all tasted the squash I baked. The delicata (no surprise) was sweet and amazing and ready to eat. The acorn, could be sweeter but was pretty darn good, especially if you plan to stuff it or do the classic butter/sugar thing. The spaghetti squash was close. I’d recommend waiting a week or two on that. And finally, the butternut-we all thought it was good, but would be better with age. So, in summation, delicata and butternut are ready now, acorn could go either way, and wait a bit on the spaghetti squash. All will improve over time. We also asked the crew if they had been eating any and what they thought. Teresa has had several good butternuts, Trine had delicata and butternut and gave it the thumbs up, but pour Maryclair had a less than stellar delicata. Such a crap shoot this early on.

Keep warm, stay dry, and start cooking!

 

 

CSA Newsletter – Week 16 – September 28, 2016

This week is the last week for the Height of the Season share. There are 2 weeks left in the Summer Season share. If you are getting a Height of the Season share and just can’t bare for it to end, let me know and you can join for a few more weeks. We also still have a few fall shares left….

Today was a great day. The sun was shining, the air was perfect, and everyone was chipper-probably feeling happy about yet another glorious autumn day. We made a huge dent in the potato harvest. It is one of those jobs where pretty much the whole crew works together to whip it out. We borrowed a digger from one of our fellow organic farmer-neighbors which allowed us to “quickly” dig 12 – 300ft rows. This machine gets dragged behind the tractor, digs up the potatoes, and gently lays them down on the surface of the soil. We then gather them up by hand and put them in 25# bags for storage. We used to use 50 lb bags, and I always complained (and the older I got, the more I complained!) “Not everyone here is a strapping young college student with no back issues,” I’d cry. The crew is with me on this one. Better to lift 500 manageable bags than 250 freakishly heavy and awkward ones.

We grow many different variety of potatoes, some of which yield some crazy shapes. There was a lot of “Hey look at this! It looks like a…(fill in the blank).” We found 2 that looked like Sasquatch hands, and here is a picture of Trine having a little fun with them.

WHAT’S IN THE BOX:
green cabbage
butternut squash
onions
carrots
beets or chard
lettuce
slicing cucumber or lemon cucumber
sweet peppers
sungolds or red tomatoes
broccoli
summer squash

FURTHER VEGGIE COMMENTARY:
Once again I will say “Don’t eat your squash yet!” Squash is one of the few vegetables that actually sweeten up after it is picked.  Channel your inner Martha Stewart and create a fall shrine in the kitchen where you can arrange an artful collection of onions, garlic, and squash . Enjoy its visual beauty, and then eat it!
Butternut squash: This is the quintessential winter squash, probably the first kind you ever had. The flesh is bright orange, sweet, and creamy. It is often used for squash soup.
Green cabbage: They are abundant, and they are huge. We actually had to cut a few of them in half in order to be able to fit them in your box. Don’t worry, we were super clean and sanitary about it and put them right into bags!
Broccoli: Once again you get to enjoy broccoli. We usually don’t have this much to hand out so consistently. It is a combination of a new variety, new ground, and ideal weather. Can’t complain!
Tomatoes and peppers: The tomatoes are flagging, but the peppers seem to be just getting started. You will get an assortment of sweet peppers. If you don’t use them right away, they freeze really well. No need to blanch or cook in any way. Just cut up into the size you like and freeze. I just put up 5 quart bags last night from the weekend market leftovers.

Have a great week!

Jen, Jim, and the Rising River Farm Crew.

 

CSA Newsletter – Week 15 – September 21, 2016

The season is clearly shifting. Mornings are super cold and misty. We all start out with ridiculous amounts of warm woolly layers. As the day wears on, we shed layers like an onion. Sweaters, rain pants, hats, and jackets litter the field, trucks, and barn. It’s like bread crumbs our workers leave behind telling the tale of what they did that day. Tomatoes and peppers are slowing down, and in the case of tomatoes, aren’t looking so hot. Cracks and blemishes are appearing more often than not. How is it already the end of tomato season? A new wave of crops is on the horizon. Leeks are sizing up, kale is looking lush, and winter squash lies in wait under the dwindling protection of dying leaves.

We are slowly pecking away at the big fall projects. All the onions are in, as are half the dry beans. Garlic heads are popped and ready to plant tomorrow if all goes according to plan. We hope to get all the potatoes out of the field early next week. I am so happy to have another stretch of sun!

 

WHAT’S IN THE BOX:
carrots
beets or chard
yellow onions
garlic
Italian Zucchini
Patty pan squash
corn
sungolds or red tomatoes
sweet peppers
broccoli-large shares only
lemon cucumber or slicing cucumber
lettuce
delicata squash
cauliflower-Tumwater only


delicata squash


ABOUT YOUR SQUASH: Don’t eat it yet! It needs a few weeks of sitting around to sweeten up. With only 3 more weeks of CSA after this one, we need to start passing out the winter squash. Your last box would be unbearably heavy if we waited till the very end. This variety, once fully cured, is the sweetest, creamiest squash there ever was. There are countless ways to cook a squash. The easiest is to cut it in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and pulp, and bake cut side down in a rimmed baking dish with a half inch of water. Bake at 375 or so until skin pierces easily with a fork. You can even eat the skin of delicata. Check out the recipes the our website and/or have a little google session for more ideas.
Side note: If you ever bake a squash and it is bland and lacking sweetness, use it to make Cinderella pumpkin muffins. You can adjust the sugar to compensate for bland squash.

HOW MUCH LONGER IS THE CSA?

The Summer Season Share has 3 more weeks after this one. Height of the Season Shares have 1 more week after this one. If you Height of the Season folks want to keep going, let me know. We can prorate the last few weeks.

STORAGE SHARES: We have a handful of these left. They will be delivered on the last day of the Summer Season CSA at whatever pick up site you are currently using. The share consists of: 10 lbs yellow onions, 2 lbs red onions, 2 lbs cipollini onions, 2 lbs shallots, 1 lb garlic, 5 lbs each of 2 types of potatoes, & 15 lbs assorted winter squash. The cost is $75.

If you want to keep enjoying a CSA share when the main season ends, consider signing up for one or both fall shares.
EARLY FALL SHARE: Four additional deliveries starting in late October once the summer season ends.  Since these crops store so well, we only offer the large size. We only offer weekend delivery of the fall share. You can pick it up at the farm, the Olympia Farmers Market, or the Tacoma Proctor Farmers Market. $110

LATE FALL SHARE: Yet another 4 weeks of yummy fall goodness. Delivery starts a week after the EARLY FALL SHARE ends. $110

NOTE: We only offer one size for the fall shares. Pretty much everything you get will store for quite awhile, so there is little risk of loss.
Crop anticipated for both fall shares: carrots (purple and orange), beets, rutabaga, turnips, parsnips, leeks, kale, chard, lettuce, dill, cilantro, arugula, potatoes, onions, garlic, shallots, winter squash, and possibly something new!

Enjoy the sun and your yummy veggies!

Jen, Jim, & the Rising River Farm Crew

 

CSA Newsletter – Week 14 – September 14, 2016

What’s in the box
Orange carrots
Purple carrots
Beets or chard
Watermelon
Red onions
Purple kohlrabi
Cauli -some of you (we are making the rounds)
Brocc-small shares
Sungolds-large shares
Red tomatoes
Slicing or amiga cucumber
Patty pan squash
Italian zucchini
Dill
Potatoes
Corn
Sweet pepper

MORE ABOUT THE VEG:
Purple carrots: In addition to your standard orange carrot, we have included a lovely purple carrot, which are even more nutrient-packed than the orange ones. We find the flavor to be heartier and the texture more substantial. They are good raw, but really shine when cooked. Actually carrots are one of a few veggies that have more available nutrients for you when cooked.
Gold beets-They have a milder flavor than red beets and they won’t bleed everywhere. They are perfect to use in dishes where you want to incorporate beets, but don’t want the whole thing to be magenta. They are also delicious roasted in the oven, or cut into rings and steamed.
Watermelon– Bonus round of yellow doll melon. We thought there would only be enough for a one time hand out. Gotta love hot summers!
Potatoes-King Harry is the variety. It has firm white flesh that holds together well. Good for boiling, steaming, potato salads, roasting, etc.
Cauliflower: I know there is still some of you who haven’t gotten it yet. Be patient. It’s making the rounds.

FOR THE MEAT EATERS: Selma is a long time farmer here in our valley, who raises mostly Icelandic sheep. She is our Icelandic Shepherdess. This spring her ewes gave birth to more lambs than ever before. Many ewes had triplets. Selma thinks this had to do with the very nice pastures they grazed on in late summer and fall. As a result she has many more lambs to sell. If you are into lamb, Icelandic lamb is considered one of the best in the world because of its fine texture and mild flavor. Here is a link to her meat brochures on her website. There are also brochures at our drop off sites. If you are interested you can contact her by email Selma@bonedryridge.com or give her a call 360 273 1045 or just send in the order form. We know a handful of other folks who do an amazing job raising meat in a sustainable and conscientious manner. Go to our links page to check them out.

Recipe Idea:
I was at a neighbor’s for dinner the other night and one of the ladies brought a simple, but amazing salad that is endlessly variable in regard to what veggies you can add. Quinoa is the base and the dressing is a mix of lemon juice, olive oil, tamari, and garlic. This recipe makes a fantastic lunch for the next day. Heck, I would have had it for breakfast with an egg if there had been any leftovers.
1. Cook 1 cup quinoa.
2. Chop up veggies, about 3 cups total, into little cubes. She used carrots, cucumber, and sweet pepper.
I made it the other night and added zucchini. Broccoli, chard, pre-cooked golden beets, tiny cauliflower bites, or tomato, are some other potential additions.
3. Combine veggies and cooked quinoa in a large bowl.
4. In a lidded jar, combine 1/4 cup lemon juice, 2 TBSP olive oil, 2 TBSP tamari, and 2 crushed cloves garlic. Shake well. Pour over quinoa and veggies.  Mix thoroughly.
5. Toast 1/4 cup sunflower seeds in a dry skillet until they brown a bit. Add to the salad.

Additions: She added a bunch of minced parsley. I could see basil or cilantro working just as well. I made a no herb version and it was delicious.
Marinated tofu would also be a protein packed addition to the salad.

I gotta get back out to work. Enjoy these bonus days of sun and all the amazing food it provides!

Jen, Jim and the Rising River Farm Crew

 

CSA Newsletter – Week 13 – September 7, 2016

WHAT’S IN THE BOX:
carrots
beets or chard
cabbage or broccoli
potatoes
rutabaga
onions
garlic
Italian Eggplant
corn
an assortment of squash
basil or cilantro
sweet peppers
red tomatoes
cauliflower (most of you)

 

rutabaga

CROP DETAIL:
Rutabaga: It is a root crop in the broccoli family. It is similar to turnips, but not as spicy. Rather it has an earthiness to it like beets. The flavor is subtle, but nice. No matter how you cook it, you’ll want to peel it. The outer skin is a little tough. It cooks much like a potato. Cut into chunks and add to soup, or add it to a batch of mashed potatoes.
Potatoes: The variety is called Desiree. It has creamy yellow flesh and makes the perfect mashed potato.
Cauliflower: Most of you got some today so the rest of you should get it next week. We were surprised by the earliness and size of this cauliflower. It was intended for fall harvest. Oh well! Try the recipe for roasted sriracha cauliflower bites with peanut dipping sauce courtesy of Thug Kitchen. I retyped it in a family friendly version! Cauliflower potato soup is also a winner.
Tomatoes: The rainy weather has taken its toll on the tomatoes. We have a lot, they just aren’t very pretty.
Peppers: We only grow sweet peppers for the CSA, so no matter the color or size, they are all sweet. We are trialing about 6 varieties of tiny, colored peppers. It can be very challenging to get colored peppers around here, as usually our summers are cool and/or wet. So far they seem prolific and tasty, so hopefully we’ll grow more next year.

WHAT’S GOING ON IN THE FIELDS
I was all resigned to rain and clouds for the rest of the summer, but lo and behold the forecast calls for a string of 80 degree days next week. Hurray! We need to haul in the rest of the onions, harvest the dry beans, dig all the potatoes, plant the garlic, and start getting some cover crop down. That’s a lot to tackle in a short window of time, esp. when we have all of our regular duties to attend to. We did get over half the onions into the greenhouses already.

 

 

CSA Newsletter – Week 12 – August 31, 2016

I finally got a crew picture, though not a complete one. I have been trying for over a month to get a good picture of everyone, but it seems like each day someone is on vacation, at market, at an appointment, or we are too crazy-busy to stop and pose. As my mother likes to quip, “it’s like herding cats.” Anyway, with 3 of our crew leaving this week, we had to just do it, although we are missing a key person-Jim! He was back east for a week visiting friends and family that he hadn’t seen in years. (That is partly why there was no newsletter last week!) I was so grateful for our awesome crew for picking up the slack so I didn’t go completely insane. A special shout out to Alex for keeping the irrigation flowing and Trine for helping to manage and orchestrate the crew.

This is the time of year when the crew starts to shrink. Like autumn leaves falling from the trees, a lot of our crew will drift off to new adventures: school, travel, other seasonal work, hibernation…. Three people will leave us by week’s end and 2 more will go in mid September. We will try to bang out a bunch of big projects before they go.

We are feeling mixed about the rain. On the one hand the plants, both wild and cultivated need it badly. The air smells fresher, and everything looks a little more alive and perky. The crew is happy to not be roasting to death out in the field. On the other hand, the onions and dry beans were all perfectly dry and ready to be hauled in to the barns and greenhouses for final curing. Now they are all wet. We don’t want to store them that way, so now it is a waiting game until the next dry stretch. We’ll get another one, right? It was odd packing the boxes today. It was cool, rainy and feeling like deep fall, but all of the veggies were height of summer fare. Strange to eat a watermelon on a cold day. All I could think about was soup-broccoli cheddar to be precise.

WHAT’S IN THE BOX:
carrots
beets or chard
potatoes-Yukon nugget
green beans
yellow wax beans
broccoli or green cabbage
watermelon-yellow flesh
red tomatoes
corn
storage onions
pickling cukes or lemon cukes
an assortment of summer squash
green bell pepper

VEGGIE DETAILS:
Potatoes:Yukon nuggets are super versatile. Bake ’em, mash ’em, fry ’em, roast ’em. I made pan fried potatoes last night with tons of garlic. So good.
Yellow Beans: They taste and behave like green beans. Use them together or separate.
Storage onions: They may be small, but they are potent. These babies will make your eyes water when you cut them. They are more of a cooking onion, unless you are needing a lot of personal space, then by all means eat them raw.
Watermelon: This variety is called Yellow Doll and has sweet, yellow flesh. We love this time of year when we can gorge on watermelon daily. We will have more for sale at the Olympia and Proctor Farmers Market if you need another fix.
Broccoli and cabbage: You’ll get one this week, and the other next week.

That’s all for this week. Happy eating!
Jen, Jim, and the Rising River Farm Crew.