News from the farm: May 12, 2010

What's going on at the farm?

Hello!  Hope you all had a good week.  As you can see, we have a lot of new items this week in the shares.  It seems like everything decided to be ready at the same time (well, not everything, hopefully next week we will see carrots, cauliflower and sugar snap peas!).  This hot weather we have been having is finally catching up with us!  Maybe you are all wondering, Boy!  It sure is dry, I wonder how that is affecting my veggies?  Luckily I have a super duper pond, that is spring fed and huge, that I irrigate out of.  I have had to run the irrigation every day for a good part of each day, but that is okay, I actually would prefer a super dry year than a super wet year (although I would rather have in between).  Super wet can lead to rotting veggies in the field, too many weeds, excess leaching of nutrients in the soil and a lot of fungal and bacterial disease problems.  I can’t keep the rain off the crops, but I can put water on them. 
            I wanted to apologize to everyone for not having more lettuce this spring, as long time members know it is a tradition for half share members to receive one head each week and full share members to receive two heads.  This is the first season in the past many years we have not had lettuce to do so, although we do have some coming in the field for next week and a couple weeks after that.  I seeded lettuce as always in February in the Greenhouse for you all, but unfortunately we had a problem with our potting soil mix, similar to the problem that I experienced a few years ago if anyone remembers.  I bought worm castings ( a compost that I add to the potting soil) that were infected with some sort of pathogen that killed everything in the greenhouse.  Luckily this year we caught it early, learning from our experience last time around, and we were able to replant most things in time.  The absence of lettuce in the shares is really the only gap we are experiencing from that unfortunate happening. 
            The strawberries keep coming, and will do so through May.  They taste a bit sweeter to us this week, and feel a bit firmer, which makes me happy.  I have been confused by a slight tartness they seem to have had for the past couple of weeks, but apparently they are finally catching up with the hot dry weather which usually is very good for the berries and their flavor.  We have a lot once again this week, a nice prolific strawberry year.  Remember to return you pint containers!
            Beets!  Oh boy, they sure look good this year.  We are trying a new variety this year  that the full shares have received, Early Wonder Tall Top.  As you can tell, it is true to the name, the tops (greens) are tall!.  This means more yummy beet green eating.  Use the greens just as you would spinach or kale or any other green. As I always say, everything is good sautéed with some olive oil and garlic (and scallions which would be appropriate this week!).  The half shares have received Chioggia Beets (although about six half shares did receive the early wonder because we were short a few Chioggia), which is an heirloom variety that has cylindrical white and red circles on the inside.  They look kinda like big red radishes, the color is very scarlet as opposed to the maroon that is common with the beets.   Beets have the highest sugar content of any vegetable. The leaves are an excellent source of beta carotene, calcium, and iron, while the beet roots themselves are a good source of vitamin C. In ancient civilizations only the beet leaves were eaten- the roots were used medicinally to cure headaches and toothaches.  Beets are closely related to chard, and you can treat beet greens just like chard when cooking them. To store your beets, it’s best to cut off the greens, leaving an inch or so of stem attached. Greens left attached to the root will pull moisture out of it, thus shortening its shelf life. Store the beet roots and greens separately in plastic bags in the refrigerator. The roots should keep for three weeks or so, and the greens should stay fresh for about a week. To prep beets for cooking, just scrub them gently.  Don’t peel or cut up your beets before cooking, this helps to preserve their color and nutrients.  You can cook beets in many ways- the easiest is to just simmer them in a pot of water until you can easily pierce them with a knife tip. Once they’re done cooking you can peel them (or not-I don‘t) and chop them up however you please. Toss them with lemon juice, black pepper, and salt for a simple salad. They’re also delicious roasted with other root veggies (radishes, potatoes, carrots, turnips). Just chop them up and toss them with some olive oil and herbs and pop in a warm oven until you can easily pierce them with a knife.
            Peas!!!!  Oh boy, it has been a few years since we have had luck with these, but this year they look goooood.  This week we have English or shelling Peas, while we will also be having sugar snaps soon.  This weeks peas you have to REMOVE THE SHELL,  and eat the pea inside.  Sugar snaps you can eat the shell and the pea.  These guys are good, super sweet, totally different from the frozen peas you get at the grocery store.  We wish we had more, but boy they take even longer to harvest than strawberries!  Although they may just taste better…..hmmmm

Next Week!  We MAY see….
More peas, sugar snaps?
Greens garlic
And maybe more!!!

Thanks!  Hope you all enjoy your shares this week, let me know if you have any questions, concerns or feedback.

What's in the box?

Full Box
Crop Amount  

Shelling Peas      1 lb.
Strawberries        3 pints
Broccoli              1 lb.
Early Wonder Tall Top Beets   1 larger bunch
Boc Choi              1 larger bunch
Red leaf lettuce    1 head
Mesclun mix        ¼ lb.
Red Baron Scallions   1 larger bunch

Half Box
Crop Amount Price

Shelling Peas      ½ lb.
Strawberries        2 pints
Broccoli              ½ lb.
Chioggia Beets    1 bunch
Turnips                1 bunch
Boc Choi             1 bunch
Scallions              1 bunch