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The Weekly Weeder

July 7, 2016
Weekly shares and Tomato EOW Group
We love to plant Buckwheat as cover crop.  It is a great nutrient scavenger to help keep our valuable nutrients from washing away. As well, it is a wonderful smother crop suppressing weeds with its rapid growth.  It also does a really nice job of conditioning the soil.  It is amazing how loose and nice the hardest ground becomes after a crop of buckwheat.

This week we disked in Buckwheat on the fields where our fall carrots will be planted.  We incorporate it into the soil just as it is flowering.  It is important that we don't let the flowers develop seed heads, otherwise this nice cover crop will become a weed problem the next couple of years.

Box Contents and Tips

  • Beets, Red with edible leaves: 1 small bunch Smalls; 1 large bunch Standards; 2 large bunches Doubles. Store in plastic bag until used. The leaves can be turned into an easy side dish after wilted/steamed until tender then served with balsamic vinegar or used as you would swiss chard.
  • Broccoli: 0.6 pounds Small; 1.2 pounds Standards; 2.4 pounds Doubles.  Store in plastic bag until used. 
  • Cucumbers! A lot for every share!  Wow, the cucumbers are kicking into high gear - time to eat cucumbers!  We enjoy a peeled slice of cucumber on sandwiches, tacos, burgers and the standard yogurt/cucumber salad.  Store in refrigerator crisper drawer and put into a plastic bag if you don't intend to use right away (will dehydrate inside a refrigerator).
  • Garlic, Fresh: 1 small bulb Smalls; 1 large bulb Standards; 3 bulbs Doubles.  Freshly dug!  Store on counter top as you would regular cured garlic.  Use as you would garlic. 
  • Eggplant: Standard Shares Only Just the beginning of this crop!  They don't like to be stored too cold, so be careful they aren't put into the back of your refrigerator. We put into a plastic bag to keep it firm.  This variety is not bitter so doesn't need to be salted prior to use. The skin is also thin so you can slice entire fruit and eat it.  Excellent grilled and eaten as an "ELT".
  • Kohlrabi - 2 count Smalls; 3 count Standards; 3 count Doubles. Peel and eat the juicy inside. Our kids love to eat them like apples (whole and raw).  Can also be used cooked to add a little crunch to just about any vegetable medley.  Store in plastic bag to keep from softening.
  • Lettuce, Green Leaf: 1 head Smalls; 1 head Standards; 2 heads Doubles.  Store in salad spinner or plastic bag until used.
  • Onions, Fresh Sweets: 1 small bunch Smalls; 1 large bunch Standards; 2 large bunches Doubles.  These sweet onions are very mild and delicious eaten raw or cooked lightly. They are great in cucumber salad! Store in the refrigerator inside a plastic bag so everything in your refrigerator doesn't smell/taste like onions.  You can store them this way for many weeks so no need to use them up.
  • Parsley: 1 small bunch Small; 1 large bunch Standards; 2 large bunches Doubles.  Store in plastic bag until used. We like to make frozen parsley cubes to use in soups/stews in the winter - just chop coarsely and put into ice cube trays, drizzle with water, then pup out and store in freezer bags. 
  • Sugar Snap Peas- 0.5 pounds Small; 0.9 pounds Standards; 1.8 pounds Doubles.  The entire pod and peas in the pod are edible.  Simply snap the cap and pull the string down the pod as the string portion is tough.  Cook quickly so they are tender but not mushy.  Excellent to also cut the pods into smaller pieces and add to fried rice (a favorite quick meal for our family).  While the heat over the weekend caused a bit of browning to appear on some outer pods they are still perfectly wonderful to eat. Keep in plastic bag until used. 
  • Zucchini - combination of green, gold and patty pan (round). 4 count Smalls; 10 count Standards; 16 count Doubles.  A wonderful versatile vegetable - savory or sweet - and are also excellent dehydrated!  We store on our counter top to avoid rubbery zucchini's. 
COMING SOON: Basil, Beans, More Garlic & Lettuce, Peppers and a whole lot more!
We had a nice Sunday morning,  Paul and John have been itching to ride on the transplanter.  Often every year they ask when they will be able to transplant.   Our response is usually a vague "someday.....when you are older"  Well this weekend, we had some Cauliflower that needed to be planted, and considering it is planted 18 inches apart in the row (about as easy as it gets on the transplanter), we thought it was time for them to give it a try... well at least time for Paul- John was tickled to simply ride and help cover and fill in the ones that Paul missed.  We only planted a couple of beds and ended the morning on a high note.  They both did a very good job. 

Once our work was done and we were enjoying our lunch I asked them if they could imagine doing that for 10-12 hours a day for weeks on end.... the only thing they could say was "someday....when we are older....."

Anyway here is a little video of them at work.  The tractor is noisy so you might want to turn your volume down.

News From the Farm

These days, it's all about creating quick meals for our hungry family.  We've often been asked how we cook AND farm at the same time; do we just eat lots of boxed and canned meals or have a kitchen chef?  Nope.  Mat and I are outside most of the day, taking an hour lunch along with our crew, and coming up with hearty meals for two growing boys.  We try not to depend on store-bought meals as they're often unsatisfying and unhealthy (though they're sometimes needed too!) and can be expensive.  We rely on staples like beans, rice, pasta, tortillas and bread to accompany meals with lots of vegetables and a protein source of meat or beans.    

So what have we been cooking this past week?  These are some of our lunches and dinners - all ready to eat in under an hour.

1.  Paul's Zucchini Moons which is sauteed sweet onions and zucchini rounds topped in the last minute with Parmesan cheese.  You can also break a few eggs over the top of this mixture and cook until done and you have a complete meal, excellent for lunches here on the farm.
2.  Falafel sandwiches - we purchased a mix at our food coop so they were easily mixed up, sauteed in oil, then served inside pita bread along with fresh lettuce, humus, and slices of cucumber.  
3.  Ground beef with vegetables served over rice - saute beef and set aside, cook onions, garlic, shredded carrots, napa cabbage until tender then mix in beef. Season with hot sauce & soy sauce. Serve over rice and eat with roasted salted sea weed.
4.  Steamed peas with butter, salt and pepper.  Oh so simple and delicious!  Add a piece of toast and your choice of protein.
5.  Lettuce roll-up's - a quick morning snack when my blood sugar is crashing is to grab a leaf of lettuce and wrap up chicken leftovers, humus or fish along with slices of cucumber.
6.  Eggs - we add all kinds of things to eggs for quick meals that add a punch of protein and are filling.  Onions, garlic, chard or beet greens, shredded zucchini, leftover potatoes or rice.  Add a bagel or toast or corn tortillas and you've got a meal.

This week we'll be cooking up beets for cold salads (excellent with toasted walnuts and a raspberry balsamic vinegar) and trying our hand at pickled beets since we all love them.  And of course we'll be eating cucumbers at every meal.  I feel so blessed with so much to eat. 

Eat well everyone -
Cate & Mat
The Strange Vegetable Lottery!
On occasion we come across a funny shaped or colored vegetable.  To encourage people to read the newsletter and simply for fun we play a game called The Strange Vegetable Lottery.  Here is how it works: we take a picture of said vegetable and put it in the newsletter and we put the vegetable in a random box.  If you receive this vegetable you must take a picture of it and email it to us at csa@ridgelandharvest.com.  Once we have photographic evidence that you received the same strange vegetable shown in the newsletter you will receive a prize in your next box.

So these weeks vegetable is this beautiful patty pan squash.  If you get it in your box send us a pic and you will receive a fabulous prize!
Strange Vegetable Lottery Bonus.... did you receive this funny eggplant?

Bulletin Board

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If you are still not receiving our newsletters try resubitting your email address to our mailing list on our website (the form to do so is on the bottom right of the homepage of our website), they can also be downloaded from our website here: 
http://ridgelandharvest.com/newsletter-archive/

Member Handbook:  if you have questions about how to pickup your box the answers can probably be found in this document.  You can download it here:  http://ridgelandharvest.com/newsletter-archive/

Having someone else pickup your box?  make certain they take only the box with your name on the label.  When people take the wrong box it causes a chain reaction of trouble for many people.  The system is simple.  Look at the labels and take the correct box.  Please,  Please if you are having someone else pickup your box help them to understand this small but critical step.

Rescheduling Delivery:  We are happy to reschedule your boxes to allow you to travel and still reap the full reward of our CSA.  However, tracking the requests is very time consuming  we serve 500 members.  So we ask that you provide the following information when you are rescheduling your delivery: 
1. Name of the primary member,
2. pick up site,
3. share size,
4. delivery schedule (weekly or EOW), 
5. if applicable your EOW group (garlic or tomato), 
6. the date you will be gone
7. the date you want your share delivered.

Having all of the above information saves Mat a lot of time in making certain your share is delivered when you want it.  Thank you!!
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