CSA Week 8

This Week’s Harvest

Red gold potatoes
Celery
Leeks
Candy onions
Summer squash and zucchini
Green beans OR okra
Rainbow kale
Jalapeño peppers
Tomatoes

Food notes
Our first green bean planting got stunted in a low lying wet section of the field so yields were really low, but we have more plantings on the way so the green bean amount in the boxes will increase. Okra is a veggie that we have to send out to individual pick up sites over the course of the season. Every pick up site will get it at least once this season. Field tomatoes are not quite ripening yet and this week’s harvest comes from the hoophouse. Tomato portions will be increasing soon!

Farm notes
While I am typing this post, the field crew is back at the farm transplanting our first fall brassica seeding. Brassicas are a major vegetable family including broccoli, cabbage, kohlrabi, kale among others. Brassicas like to mature in cooler weather, but we have to start thinking about them long in advance of the fall harvest. First we seeded a cover crop of buckwheat and hairy fetch in the field back in early June. Here you can see how tall the buckwheat got.

20140722-163814-59894519.jpgBuckwheat is a fast growing crop that helps with weed suppression and provides nutrients to the soil once it is mowed in and breaks down. Hairy fetch is a nitrogen fixing legume and brassicas love the extra nitrogen they provide. The wet weather we have had actually really help with our cover crop as we have no way to water it and have to leave it up to Mother Nature.
Then, a week or so before planting we have to mow the cover crop down– preferably before it has gone to seed! Ben had to fix our mower and got it done just in time to do just that!

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Yesterday Ben chisel plowed the beds (which helps with soil compaction) and tilled the field. This picture was taken this morning and really shows the beds, nice and ready for planting.

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Then we had to prep the plants. In the past we have covered our brassicas with row cover to protect against cabbage moths and flea beetles, but our hoops and row cover are still being used by the winter squash (to protect against cucumber nettles, squash vine borer and squash bugs!) We have heard from several vegetable farmers of an easier yet still effective way to combat pests so we are trying it this year. It is called Surround and is an organic control derived from kaolin clay. It coats the plants in a layer of film that insects find unsuitable for eating or laying eggs. Here is picture of the plants with Surround on them. They look to me like they have been to one of those “color runs” that Dayton just hosted.

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Finally, the planting can begin! I took this photo just before I left to do the CSA delivery- the crew was over half way done.

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Meanwhile, on this week’s agenda is starting another round of fall brassicas in the greenhouse. So we will be doing this whole process again in about a month!

Recipes
Bhindi masala (our post harvest produce washer suggests this for recipe for yummy, not slimy okra!)

Sautéed summer squash with beans and leeks

Summer squash and potato gratin (feel free to use zucchini as well)

Potato salad ( any recipe will do– just include potatoes, celery, sweet onion and any dressing you choose!)

Jalapeño poppers

CSA Week 7

This Week’s Harvest

Globe eggplant OR fairytale eggplant
Green peppers
Swiss chard
Candy onions
Celery
Carrots
Cucumber
Tomato (first of the season, let it fully ripen on the kitchen counter)
Beets with beet greens
Summer squash and/or zucchini

Farm Notes

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One of my favorite parts of this job is when I am all alone in the early morning cutting our beautiful flowers. It’s not too hot, the dew and morning sunlight make for a picturesque scene, and I can slowly gear up for the busy day ahead. My only company is the pleasant chirping of song birds like indigo buntings, gold finch and song sparrows, and the occasional sound of the rapid wing flapping hummingbird. We really like operating a diverse farm that includes speciality cut flowers. The flowers provide beauty, a source of nourishment for bees and other pollinators, and attract beneficial insects to help control the populations of not so helpful insects.

Last year it became clear that we needed an additional walk in cooler just for flowers. By August the cooler was stuffed with the hundreds of sunflowers, the weekly vegetable harvest, plus storage crops like onions and potatoes. Well, I am happy to report that the cooler walls and floor are installed! And so, Mile Creek Farm is a couple days away from having a flower cooler! The timing is perfect as the onion harvest has begun– and looks terrific– with the potato harvest right around the corner and the flowers are productive as ever.

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In addition to having the CSA flower share, we also sell a hundred plus bouquets at 2nd Street Market on Saturdays and have recently delved into wedding flowers. Earlier this month, I made my first official bridal bouquet, bridal party bouquets, altar arrangements, and boutonnieres.

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Recipes
Beet and celery salad (you can use celery leaves in place of parsley and candy onion in place of green onions)

Swiss chard sausage and carrot orecchiette ( use carrots in place of parsnips. Add beet greens to the Swiss chard)

Roasted vegetables ( most veggies in this weeks box are great roasted, and with the cold front it’s a good week to fire up the oven!)

CSA Week 6

This Week’s Harvest

Red cabbage or Tendersweet cabbage
Carrots
Candy onions
Fennel bulb
Cucumbers
Zucchini and summer squash
Green leaf lettuce

CSA Event!
CSA Farm Tour Thursday 7/10 at 7pm

Farm News

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CSA members who have been with us awhile are probably just as excited about carrots this week as we are. That is because we haven’t had a successful crop since June of 2011. Carrots are difficult to grow mainly because they are sown directly in the ground instead of started in the greenhouse. We don’t have the control that we have in the greenhouse. Out in the field, It could easily get too dry, too wet, or too hot for carrots to germinate. We have never gotten good germination once temperatures hit 80. So that leaves us with just a possible spring sowing. In the past, in the spring, we’ve gotten decent germination, but that only brings us to the next problem with directly sown crops: weed pressure. In the greenhouse our starts get a jump on the weeds. They are nice and big when they get transplanted into the freshly tilled beds giving them a nice head start. Carrots, on the other hand start at the same time as the weeds and they grow a LOT slower. When it is time to weed the carrots ( which need to happen several times over the course of its life) it is also time to harvest, plant, weed other things, fertilize the crops, go to market…you get the picture! So often times the carrots end up getting lost in a forest of weeds. This year we managed (barely) to weed one of the carrot beds- which translates to enough for 2 weeks of CSA boxes. While we wish it could be more, we are happy with this small triumph and have learned a lot about carrots to improve growing and harvesting them in the future. So we’ll take it and advise you to savor your carrots this week!

Recipe Ideas
Cucumber and sweet onion salad ( candy onions and cucumbers are a wonderful pair. This time of year we consume lots of cucumber salads and cucumber sandwiches)

Zuchinni cookies

Sautéed carrots and fennel

Lemon ginger vegetable sauté

CSA Week 5

SAVE THE DATE!!!
We will be having our CSA member field walk on Thursday, July 10 at 7pm. During this event we will tour the farm and fields. You’ll be able to see exactly where your food is coming from and how the vegetables are grown. You’ll get to meet your farmers and we’ll get to meet our customers! This event is family friendly and will be held rain or shine, so dress appropriately.

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This Week’s Harvest
Red cabbage or Tendersweet Cabbage
Salad mix
Fennel
Scallions
Green bell peppers or Jalapeño peppers
Broccoli
Summer squash and zucchini
Fresh garlic
Parsley
Kale

Food notes
Last week I spoke about the need to harvest our garlic, which we did manage to harvest. We sped through our market harvest on Friday and had time to pull the crop. So the good news is it is curing in the barn and the bulbs that made it look great! But the bad news is we lost at least a third of the crop to onion maggots. These small maggots hatch from eggs laid right next to allium crops and feed on the crop. The last time we had a major problem with onion flies on our garlic was another wet June so they seem to thrive in wet soils. We got over 4 inches of rain at the worst possible time in terms of garlic– one week before harvest. We should have plenty of garlic for our CSA and enough for us to use as seed this fall, but none for our market sales.
For the harvest this week, you get fresh garlic. Fresh garlic hasn’t cured yet, or developed its dry skins. It has a mild flavor and should be stored in the fridge. A note to the squimish– some cloves may have the onion maggot present. Either discard the cloves or cut around the damage. Other cloves on the bulb will be fine.

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Farm news
We had a visitor to the farm last week: a WDTN investigative news reporter! They were doing a story on buying organically at farmers markets and what to look for. If you didn’t get a chance to see the news, here is a link to the online story and video clip!

Recipes
Cabbage and fennel slaw

Cabbage and fennel sauté

Zucchini and Penne with parsley hot pepper pesto

Vegetable lasagna

CSA Week 4

This Weeks Harvest 

Sugar snap peas
Broccoli
Salad mix
Hakurei salad turnips
Swiss chard
Parsley
Scallions (green onions)

SAVE THE DATE!!!
We will be having our CSA member field walk on Thursday, July 10 at 7pm. During this event we will tour the farm and fields. You’ll be able to see exactly where your food is coming from and how the vegetables are grown. You’ll get to meet your farmers and we’ll get to meet our customers! This event is family friendly and will be held rain or shine, so dress appropriately.

News From the Farm
Hopefully the fields will be dried out in time for our CSA field walk. Actually we need them to dry out a lot sooner then that! The farm as been inundated with rain this week and with another strong threat of rain tonight, there seems to be no end in sight! In addition to crops not thriving with saturated soil, we are unable to work in the fields.

On Sunday, when we typically walk the fields and game plan for the week, Ben pulled out a garlic plant. We cut it open and saw beautiful, well developed cloves protected by 5 layers of skin– the perfect stage to harvest for storage longevity and size of cloves. We spent a long time figuring out how we were going to get the garlic out of the ground between Monday’s CSA harvest and Tuesday’s forecasted rain. After some juggling we devised a perfect plan…….and then 4 minutes later an hour long thunderstorm came out of nowhere crushing said plans. Having not had the time to dry from the rain a few days prior, the fields were now definitely too wet for our garlic harvesting operation. Hopefully this time next week I’ll be posting pictures of a barn full of freshly harvested garlic, hanging from the rafters to cure, but this week we have pictures of harvesting under dark skies, getting caught in the greenhouse during a flash flood down pour, and washed out beds of newly transplanted flowers.

Recipes

Swiss chard spanakopita

Broccoli and turnip slaw ( use turnips in place of radishes)

Broccoli with parsley

Stir fry snap peas and broccoli

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CSA Week 3

This Week’s Harvest
Garlic scapes
Sugar snap peas
Broccoli
Arugula
Cilantro
Hakurei salad turnips
Beet medley ( chiogga, golden and or red beets)
Romaine lettuce
Red leaf lettuce

News From the Farm

It used to be that Ben and I both tried to do everything on the farm. We’d be heavily involved in all aspects of the operation and our heads would spin with keeping track of everything – What needs to get watered this week? Are the scallions ready to harvest? How many CSA boxes are there this week? How many beds to we need to prep for planting, etc. etc. Over the years we have learned that the farm runs smoothest if we each have our areas that we focus on. I am in charge of harvesting, working markets, packing the CSA boxes, e-mailing, blog updates and other general communication. Ben does all the tractor work– we have 3 different tractors and several implements that all get used. From mowing, to mechanical planting, to cultivating, to spreading soil amendments , there is always tractor work that needs to be done. So we really confused our 2 year old daughter this week when Ben worked our 2nd Street Market stand. She is so used to seeing him on the tractor that when he told her he was going to work at market, she looked up at him with puzzled look, paused, and then said “but there are no fields at market”. We really loved this farm kid observation! Pictured below are Evan and Isla watching Ben prep some of the first beds of the season.

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Seasonal Recipes
Garlic scape and cilantro pesto (this is pretty amazing and it’s the last week for garlic scapes so I’m definitely recommending this one! We used cashews and served it with steamed broccoli and pasta)

Roasted beet and arugula salad

Broccoli and cilantro slaw ( use garlic scapes in place of garlic and make your own slaw using broccoli and turnips. If you have any left over you could also use radishes and kohlrabi. If you like beets raw, throw those in as well! Just cut the veggies into matchstick pieces or grate)

CSA Week 2

This Week ‘s Harvest

Beets
Purple or green kale
Green leaf lettuce head
Red leaf lettuce head
Easter egg radishes
Hakurei salad turnips
Kohlrabi
Garlic scapes
Broccoli
Potted herb

News From the Farm

Once the CSA season starts the farm is an incredibly busy place with endless to do lists. Between the CSA harvest, CSA delivery, market harvest and market day ( add to that an additional mid week market we are doing this year) we have to find time to take care of the plants! This job just got a whole lot easier with a new loader for our tractor. Ben bought it last year (surfing craigslist is an ongoing activity…you can never have too much equipment!) fabricated it to fit our tractor over the winter, and now we are putting it to use! Yesterday we side dressed the tomatoes, sweet potatoes, peppers, squash, cucumbers, and eggplant with really wonderful compost, some kelp and other important nutrients. And we did it all in just a couple hours. As you can tell from Ben’s smile, it was an exciting afternoon at Mile Creek Farm!

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The morning was also exciting as we are proud to bring you a great week of vegetables!

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Recipes

Lots of veggies this week roast really well, and with the cooler temperatures, I suggest you try roasting this week!
Roasted vegetables ( use kolhrabi, radishes, or broccoli in place of carrots)

Creamy greens ( greens this week include turnip greens, kohlrabi greens, beet greens AND kale) this recipe calls for 3 to 4 lbs which your box certainly contains!

Beet and turnip salad ( use lettuce instead of arugula and include some turnip greens)

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