Farm Newsletter July 6, 2015

june 004

Farm Newsletter July 6, 2015

Farm News Crop Forecast

U-Pick Recipes Nuts and Bolts

Greetings Friends!

Thank you so much to all who came to the party for making it such a beautiful evening.  The place is still glowing with all your smiles, and we can still hear the sweet notes and voices of The Counterfactuals floating around the barn.  The puppets the kids made are colorful reminders of the fun.  We can see you enjoying the flavors from the craftspeople who shared their food and drinks with us, and we can see the kids on the dirt pile too!

If you couldn’t make it, maybe next time.  Nobody knows when that is though!  Maybe another 10 years, or 5 since it was so fun.  A couple people asked for every weekend or every year– we’ll have to see about that!

If you picked up your share last Wednesday (which a whole lot of you did, to take it with you on the holiday weekend) you may have noticed our friend and crew member Aaron Ray was staffing the barn.  It looks like he did a great job making sure you all had the produce and other things you needed.  Ray is usually busting out projects in the field, alongside Karl or Malia, but you might see him “behind the counter” again this summer.  Erin and Ben ate a yummy late lunch in St. Paul, and then got to fundraise a little for the Harvest for the Hungry program, at a concert at the Excel Center.   Through that program we sell the farm’s fresh organic veggies to The Food Group, who distributes them to over 100 member food shelves, soup kitchens and other hunger relief partners.  We enjoyed pitching in to the program, and got to enjoy the Dave Matthews Band to boot!

The farm continues to shine as the crops grow like mad with the mild temperatures and regular rainfall, and together we keep chasing after the weeds.  Last weekend’s downpours caused runoff and erosion which makes us cringe, but little by little each year we’re making progress to reduce that problem.  The rain saves us a ton of work moving irrigation pipes around!  The crew has been doing an awesome job keeping up with the hand-weeding.  We use the tractors to get 98% of the weeds, then 4% can hopefully be gotten with hoes, and the last 1% takes strong fingers to pull them out.  This year we’ve been occasionally working with a staffing agency through which we hire a crew of hard-working Hmong folks — they have admirable stamina and enjoy the chance to be farming.  Ray, Karl and Malia do a little bit of everything on the farm, but last week their main focus was digging thistle roots up.  Wow!  They too have admirable stamina.  Digging up the roots is one of our new strategies for organically managing this troublesome weed, since it has been slowly showing up in new places and the clumps getting thicker.

Here’s to a happy summer of hard work, great food, and great people!  Mixed in with the soil, sun, insects, microbes, and who knows what else, it all adds up to a farm.  Thanks for being a part of it, and eating the fruits of this farm’s efforts!

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Crop Forecast

The move out of spring and into summer food continues — this week should see more carrots, cucumbers, broccoli, squash and zucchini, plus beets and napa.  The cool forecast for the week might slow them down, but those plants are ready to rock, so we’ll see.

We’re out of head lettuce for the year (it is very tough to grow in summer) and garlic scapes too (now we let the garlic plants focus on making big heads, for harvest later in July.)  We’re also done with radishes and salad turnips until September.

For onion flavor, we’ll have scallions and baby leeks for 1-2 more weeks, and then hopefully the sweet onions will be ready to harvest.  The leeks can be chopped up like scallions, leaves and all.

We might be a little bit short on leaf lettuce this week or next — the early signs of lettuce downy mildew meant we had to disc all the old plantings into the ground, to hopefully prevent it from spreading into all the later plantings.  The next planting might be big enough to keep up with you though.  A few more degrees of warmth — mid 80s and mid 60s — would go a long way towards reducing fungal issues on the lettuce and all the crops.

For those of you wondering, tomatoes are probably three weeks from ready, and peppers and melons about a month, or a little more.  There are thousands of little baby ones out there though, growing every day!

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What’s for U-Pick?

Flowers popped open this week, and what a treat to see!  We should have a steady supply into fall.

Basil — If you can, we recommend finding or starting a basil plant to keep at home this year.  It’s not too late to start it from seed, and it can grow well in containers or in the ground.  We’ve been planting plenty, but sadly a lot of it is succumbing to a new (to the U.S.), now wide-spread fungus called “basil downy mildew.”  It seems to be very difficult to prevent without toxic chemicals, so our supply may be limited.  It is also the same fungus that wiped out a lot of our basil last year.  We are trying every trick we can, and hope we can offer you at least a modest harvest.  But pesto lovers — you should have a backup crop at home.

Sugar Snap Peas — They too are loving this weather, and have made tons of flowers and fruits and look very healthy.  Looks like a big harvest for 1-2 more weeks.

Green Beans, plus Yellow, Purple and Purple Spotted.  Sadly there is also a disease in the bean field.  We think it came in on the purple spotted seed.  We haven’t seen it before, so we’re not sure how much it will affect the harvest.  So far so good.  Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

Cilantro, dill, lemon balm, mint, and pea shoots. The pea shoots are in front of the greenhouse — they are a short pea variety (knee high) whose tendrils, or shoots, are especially tender and good for snacking, tossing in salads or stir-frying. Pinch or use scissors to cut the top 3″ off. These are a nice addition to early summer meals and will be good for 1-2 more weeks.

What a great strawberry year!  We hope you got enough strawberries to at least make a dent in your household berry consumption.  Sometime this week we’ll call them done, when all that’s left is a few tiny berries.  Most folks seem to take their Upick time to focus on peas and beans now, where you definitely get more food for your time picking!

Please always check the U-pick board when you’re here to confirm what’s available and picking amounts. Please bring your own scissors for U-pick.  If you don’t have them with you, ask Erin or Ben as we have a few pairs we can loan out.

U-Pick Help: If at any point in the season you are not physically able to U-pick due to an injury or any other reason, please let us know. We have a list of generous folks that are interested in volunteering to pick your U-pick crops for you.

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Nuts and Bolts

Lost and Found — There are a number of items left here at the party.  Serving spoons, water bottles, forks and spoons, a camp chair, and more.  Check out the Lost and Found near the sign-in table if you think you left something here.

Remember your reusable bags and also to sign in when you pick up your share. We have plastic bags for you to use and as usual will also have reusable bags for sale in the shareroom. The bags we sell are the same size as the plastic ones we supply for figuring amounts of veggies in your share. Feel free to ask one of us for details.

Sign-In Sheet When you come to pick up your share, please sign the sign-in sheet on the table inside the barn door. This helps us know how many people came each day, so we can be sure to pick more than enough for everybody.

If you split a share, please sign in on the same line as your share partner. Also there is a “share partner notes” sheet. Feel free to use this to communicate with your share partner regarding splitting details.

Share Pickup Hours Monday, Wednesday Friday 2:00-6:00pm. You can U-Pick any time (when U-pick crops are in season.)

Parking Please park on the right (east) side of the driveway. Try to pull in perpendicular to the driveway so you can turn around as you back out. Or back in, perpendicular to the driveway, so you can pull straight out.

Please Drive Carefully —Children are everywhere. On the note of children, please know where yours are at all times. ESPECIALLY Please make sure they don’t go near the wood piles near the house. They could topple and be very dangerous. AND All buildings, except the shareroom area of the barn, are off-limits to children. This includes the new building / root cellar, and the tractor “greenhouse” (though it looks like fun in there!)

We love having all of you come to the farm and hope it can be safe and fun for all! Thank you for making it such a great place to be! Thank you so much for your support!!

Your farmers,

Erin and Ben, with Allia, Karl, Kelly, Malia and Ray

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RECIPES

Summer Squash Sautee

Bon Appetit, June 2013
  • 2 pounds summer squash and/or zucchini, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

  • Place squash in a colander set in the sink or over a large bowl and toss with 1 teaspoon salt. Let squash stand 10 minutes, then squeeze well to remove as much excess moisture as possible (do not rinse).
  • Meanwhile, toast almonds in a large dry skillet over medium heat, tossing occasionally, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate; let cool.
  • Heat oil in same skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring often, until fragrant but not browned, about 2 minutes. Add squash and cook, tossing occasionally, until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Fold in Parmesan and season with salt and pepper. Fold in almonds.

Kale & Banana Smoothie

Source: The Food Group
1 large Banana, peeled

4 kale leaves, stripped from stem

1/4 cup milk
3/4 cup yogurt
1/4 cup fruit juice (orange, apple)
2 Tbsp peanut butter (you can use any other nut butter or avocado instead)

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a blender.  Blend at high-speed and process until smooth.  Divide between two glasses.  Refrigerate or freeze leftovers.
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