Farm Newsletter June 26, 2017
PLEASE BRING U-PICK CONTAINERS!
Welcome to fall! This week we’ll have butternut squash, sweet potatoes and the last of the tomatoes.
Ha! Did we get you? Those plants are all adolescent right now, gangly and awkward and growing inches every couple days. Despite the cool weather so far they’re all keeping up their solstice-time pace of growth, and we’re crossing our fingers they keep up the good work. We might think we work hard, but without the wonders of photosynthesis and cell division we obviously wouldn’t have much to offer you! It’s been a little wet and cool for optimum growth, but so far less of the pounding rain that spread so much fungal and bacterial pathogens through so many crops last year. And the bugs have been mostly of the kind we like — harmless or predatory, not vectors or demolishers.
Though big fall harvests are far away, we do have some early summer crops starting to trickle in for the next couple weeks — summer squash and zucchini, cabbage, swiss chard and maybe beets, carrots, cucumbers and broccoli. We have multiple plantings of all these to ensure a steady supply all summer and into the fall; the many plantings of crops at different stages, while a lot to manage, is a comforting buffer when severe weather rolls around — if a lot of things get wrecked there are usually a few things ready to bounce back within a week or two or three. So far this farm is living up to one of its proposed names — “Moses Farm”, because it parts the waters! So often it pours in Northfield or Castle Rock and we get a trickle or nothing. That happened at least twice last week. Overall this is to our benefit, given the generosity of the Jordan aquifer and pipe-carrying of our crew. From last week’s passing storms we did get enough to give everything a decent drink though.
There are tomatoes about half-size out there; our prediction for the first tomatoes in the share is July 17. For now there’s lots of yummy spring eating to go around!
Summer squash and zucchini are the exciting and versatile additions to the lineup this week — hopefully there will be plenty sizing up so we can avoid having to limit it. They’re both so good fried in butter with salt and pepper, or shredded into vegetable pancakes or as grilled or roasted slices on a sandwich.
By next week we should be able to harvest some cucumbers and cabbage, followed by beets, carrots, and broccoli in early July.
We’ll continue to have kohlrabi, greens and lettuce, boc choi, kale, with 1-2 weeks left of head lettuce, radishes and turnips. Plus baby leeks, which are milder and flatter-leaved than scallions; like scallions you can use the whole plant. Unfortunately it was a shorter-than-average spinach harvest — our favorite variety, the only one we ever liked, is no longer available, so we are trialing new varieties. The one we harvested was flavorful and produced decently but is already bolting. The other variety was never big enough to harvest. For the fall planting, we’ll focus on the one that worked, and look forward to more spinach when it actually is September.
Garlic scapes came on quickly so we never even picked any plants for spring garlic — we just picked scapes right away. They are done now, and we’ll let the garlic size up and mature, harvesting in mid-july, then curing and bringing it back into the share in late August. If you have scapes left in your fridge look on our website for the recipe for garlic scape pesto — it’s easy and only takes a handful, and is super good on sandwiches or pasta or for dipping.
What’s for U-Pick?
Strawberries, and now Peas too!
Our strawberries are peaking now and will be winding down soon — there is still lots to pick and awesome flavor out there. We have four varieties in two different plantings, as we try to find a good balance of flavor and berry size, and productivity in an organic system. We think we’ve settled on two (the ones at the north end and middle of each planting) ; the south end varieties were both pretty bland or off flavored for us. Thanks for understanding the tricky communications about limits and picking urgency — it seems to be working out well and we hope you all have gotten 7 quarts by now over the last two weeks (or 3.5 quarts for split shares). If not please pick them this week in addition to this week’s limit of 4 quarts per full share. The remaining berries are smaller but very sweet and should be prolific.
And remember, the trick to picking strawberries in such crowded plants is to wave your hands around to find the berries, brushing the leaves aside to see the berries.
Peas — Are a little early so hopefully you have time to pick both peas and berries! This is a new variety to us — our old standby wasn’t available this year and may not be again, unfortunately — so as with spinach we’re still learning its ins and outs. This week will probably be heavy picking, and next week too, and if we’re lucky we’ll get a third week after that. These cool temps are great for peas; if it gets hot they’ll go by sooner.
Cilantro, mint and lemon balm. We’re sorry for the absurd weediness of the first two herb plantings — we missed the window to properly weed them but have gotten to the third one before it got too wild and wooly. The mint and lemon balm are also absurdly weedy; when Erin was weed whacking in there this spring she decided to start over next year with that bed of perennial herbs and flowers. For this year, you’ll just have to dig through the weeds to find what you’re looking for. Sorry!
Please always check the U-pick board when you’re here to see what’s available and picking amounts.
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. If you’re interested in being on the volunteer list, please let us know too!
Nuts and Bolts
Floral Arranging Class with Amanda Eastvold!! —Join Amanda Eastvold for a floral arranging class on the farm. Amanda has 10 + years of experience with both growing and working with flowers and will help you find your own unique style of floral arranging. In this small group class, you will learn the basics of creating a gorgeous bouquet of local, in season flowers cut on site at Open Hands. The class will include hands-on work of harvesting, cut flower care, and building a gorgeous bouquet to take home. The class is Thursday July 13th from 6-7:30pm. Cost is $15 per person. Please email us to sign up. Space is limited, so let us know soon.
PLEASE BRING U-PICK CONTAINERS! We’re running low, with all the berry-picking that’s happened. Please wash and dry them; yogurt containers are best but clamshells work well too. This helps us avoid buying yet another plastic supply, and keeps those sturdy containers getting re-used over and over. Thanks!
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.)
Change Pick-Up Day Form — Click here.
Parking — PLEASE PULL FORWARD ONTO THE GRASS — so there is plenty of space behind you for cars and people to get by. It does drop off into the field eventually but it’s flat for a few feet first.
Please Drive Carefully —Children are everywhere.
On the note of children, please know where yours are at all times. ESPECIALLY 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!) There are sharp tools in many places, of all shapes and sizes.
Grape arbors — There are tiny and fragile grape plants at the bottom of each post, please tell your kids to be careful around them as they get established — they can be snapped and broken, which makes us sad. Also please no climbing on the arbors. You are welcome to hang out under the arbors, have a picnic or snack etc, but the grapes will be for our personal use. Thanks!
Be aware that farm trucks and tractors may be going up and down the driveway, near your cars and/or near the barn. We all drive carefully but please pay attention to small children especially in those areas.
Another hazard you should know about is a small drainage pond / mud pit west of the barn— we will have it fenced off for safety and it is completely off limits. It catches, and drains, excess rain water from parts of the hill, along with water and soil from washing veggies in the barn, and keeps it all from eroding into the fields. We’re glad to finally have a good solution to that problem but need your help in making sure kids know it is not a place to play.
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!!
Erin and Ben, with Allia, Anna, Bisharo, Paul, Ray and Sahara (with Zach joining us later on)
Scallion Drop Biscuits
from Fresh from the Farm Cookbook
- 2 cups flour
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp sugar
- ½ cup (1 stick) cold butter, cut in pieces
- 1 cup buttermilk
- ½ cup sliced scallion
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add buttermilk and scallions, and stir just until mixture forms a dough. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden.