Weekly Members + Every-other-week "Berry Group" Members
The Weekly Weeder
Thursday July 11, 2019
The pepper field... the plants have really enjoyed the recent warm weather. Can you see the glittering rain drops? The picture doesn't do justice to this magical moment I caught on July 4th, just as I was seeding our fall carrots!
News From the Farm
During a conversation in the field with a new employee, he commented how amazed he was by the many different crops we grow.
He didn't realize what it looked like to grow for 350 CSA members, plus filling the coolers for winter.
To set the stage - our 70-acre farm is a ridge. We have 20 acres in vegetables on the top flat portion of our ridge plus contoured stripes on the lower portion of the ridge. The steep hillside between our upper and lower fields is held by 20 acres of woods and 25 acres of surrounding permanent hay and meadowland. Over the last decade we have added 3 acres of apple trees, cherry trees and blueberries. Our buildings, greenhouses, machinery storage and home take up the remaining few acres.
So, 20 acres of vegetables! We have 35-40 different annual crops. This includes vegetables, the different herbs and strawberries. Many of these crops have multiple successions, with different varieties planted for each succession. An example of this is our broccoli - we plant 6 successions and 6 different varieties; and lettuce is 6-8 successions with 14 different varieties.
Managing this many different crops can be tricky. Over the last 19 farming seasons, we've purchased equipment and developed pretty good systems for keeping on top of crops and readying fields for the next successions to be planted. It's hard to believe, but right now we have just 5 more weeks until the final seeding of fall spinach, done by mid-August!
The variety of harvests and seasonal tasks makes work interesting everyday. Our 4-8 person team we may spend the morning harvesting and then trellis tomatoes or mulch the cucumbers or keep transplanting or wash in the packing shed. It's hard work with all the bending and stooping, learning how to drink enough water in the humid sunny days, and how many layers of clothing you'll need. It's all these things that makes CSA farming so fun and also a real challenge. And we find ourselves up for the challenge because our CSA members support us. Thank you!
The story of the early cucumbers: We are missing the cucumbers this week, perfectly timely with our dill. The first planting died in the field because of the very wet soggy field conditions in late May. They were planted, mulched and covered with row cover for extra protection, but the rain was too much and they rotted. Sometimes our failures are beyond our control. And so, we planted more! And they are flowering and vining right now. it will be a few more weeks, and we won't have dill then, but we'll eat them and love them anyways.
In appreciation - Your farmers, Cate & Mat
Beets many love them and others not so much.... we happen to be very excited for the first harvest and meal of fresh beets. The wet weather was hard on the tops, but they too make for a wonderful addition to a summer meal.
Week#5 CSA Box Contents:
Weekly Shares + Every-other-Week "Berry Group"
After a good trimming last week and sunny days, the plants are looking much healthier this week! Plus, our next planting of basil is on it's heals. If you want more than a weekly bunch, we're offering bulk orders for next week. (See the Bulletin Board below).
Here's how we keep our bunch fresh: run entire bunch under cool water, shake out, give the stem end a trim, then put stems into a vase or coffee mug. We love the added beauty on our kitchen counter and within quick reach.
Red Beets -
The leaves and roots are both edible. When we're running short on time, we grate them to reduce cooking time - often sautéing in butter.
Store in a bag to avoid rubbery broccoli.
Dry the leaves or use them fresh. We love a teaspoon or 4 in potato salad!
Another aromatic vegetable this week, with it's anise smell and taste. Used raw it is refreshing. We enjoy cooking the bulb end and stems with a marinara sauce for pizza or spaghetti meals. It's also excellent rubbed with oil and grilled, or sautéed slowly to caramelize and used as a pizza topping! Can you tell we love making homemade pizza?
These are the edible flower stalk. The tapered end, if allowed to flower, would develop a round seed head. Chop and use the pieces as you would garlic. Use with your basil for a fresh pesto salad!
Red Boston and/or Green Boston. Cut off bottom 'core' to release the leaves. Wash thoroughly, then dry leaves and wrap in your choice of cloth/bag.
Peas - Snow or Snap
Not the tastiest or prettiest peas we've grown, but given the late spring and last week's very hot temperatures and high humidity, it's the best we could do. The good news, beans are on there way!
Use them up as they won't keep very long. Add to your stir fry, salads or cook them separately.
Green Onions/Scallions -
Using the white portion, use as you would use onions. Their green tops are also mild and add good flavor in chicken and pasta salads and anything else.
This well loved vegetable is so veritile, going either savory or sweet. Store in a warmer place of your refrigerator or they'll become rubbery.
COMING SOON...Eggplant, peppers, and more!
Bulk Purchase Opportunities - a great time to freeze and stock up:
Basil, 12 bunches $18
Kale, 12 bunches $15
Send us an email by Monday 8 am if you'd like to order anything: firstname.lastname@example.org. Then send your check to "Ridgeland Harvest" E5538 Nelson Road, Viroqua WI 54665.
Milkweed easily out competes poision parsnip.
This faint rainbow is certainly a welcome sight.... is the deluge finally over?.