CSA Week 8

This Week’s HarvestIMG_6655

Green Beans

Fairytale Eggplant

Salad Mix

Sweet Onions

Cucumber

Garlic

Jalapeno Peppers

Tomatillos

Kale

Celery

Zucchini

Garlic

Farm News

We have made the transition from spring crops to summer ones. This is the last week of cooking greens until fall (I thought the Swiss chard was going to hang on but it looks pretty fried so we went with kale, which had a really good run this year). Head lettuce, spinach and arugula are through as well, so any salad greens in our summer boxes will take the form of our lettuce mix.  With the end of the cooler crops comes the beginnings of the summer crops. We are happy to include fairytale eggplant and green beans this week!

Tomatoes would have been in the box too, but our field planted ones aren’t ready yet and our hoophouse planted ones had a complete meltdown. Our crop rotation in the hoop houses is limited because we only have 2 of them.  So every other year we are growing tomatoes in the same ground. I think disease in the soil might be a problem. The other issue is that we installed our hoophouses before we really knew the lay of the land and they are in in a low spot that stays pretty wet in the spring. A few years back, when we had drainage tile installed, we put some tile lines in near the hoophouses, but we really need drainage directly under the houses as well.  This, of course, isn’t free and yet another investment we need to make to improve the farm.

Farmer friends of ours had issues with hoophouse tomatoes and had the soil tested. Turns out their water source is slightly acidic and years and years of use brought the pH of the soil way up and the tomatoes reacted poorly to the basic soil. So now they simply lower the water pH by filtering an acidic additive in when they water and have had great results. We don’t really know what’s going on until we get the soil tested and can game plan from there. Doesn’t really help us out for this year but soon enough we’ll be rolling in tomatoes! Our field tomatoes look fantastic! On Friday, we planted our final round of tomatoes, which meant we got all three planned plantings in the ground and should have a supply until frost (knock on wood!)

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Staking and tying round 2 of tomatoes

Recipes

Green Bean and Celery Casserole

Celery And Cucumber Salad 

Roasted Eggplant and Zucchini Wraps

Tacos with Green Beans and Tomatillo Salsa

Coming Up Next Week (our best guess…..) Fairytale Eggplant, Green Beans, Radishes, Bell Peppers, Shishito Peppers, Red Onions, Zucchini, Carrots, Sweet Corn

 

CSA Week 7

This Week’s HarvestIMG_6582

Carrots

Cucumber

Zucchini and/or Summer Squash

Sweet Onions

Garlic

Salad Mix

Tendersweet Cabbage

Celery

Basil 

Tomatillos

Jalapeño Peppers

Farm News

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Oh July, you are a shock every year, even though we’ve been doing this 12 years. Vegetable farming is a marathon that you have to sprint! There is so much that needs to be done and not enough hours in the day or days in the week to complete it all!

We currently have 7 acres of vegetables planted, 3 coolers full of produce, and a greenhouse that is quickly filling back up with seedlings for fall. Weed pressure is high, bug pressure is higher, and the crops don’t stop needing our attention wether it be picking, tomato staking, irrigating, or fertilizing.

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This weekend we just wanted to nap (Ben) or watch the World Cup (Emily), but winter is for resting and relaxing, maybe a day or two in the fall, but certainly not in July. We sat over our morning coffee and tried to prioritize the to do list and come up with a game plan. It’s very stressful knowing that you can’t get to everything. The fact that it had dried out quick a bit, coupled with the heat and no rain in the forecast, made irrigating the entire farm a necessity that felt very daunting. We started our Sunday with no prospects of rain–both weather sites we use had a 10% chance of rain. So it was decided Ben would have to spend time getting water set up on the squash during the day and sweet corn during the night.

Fast forward to early afternoon and we were nearly done with our squash harvest for the day.  It had cooled off considerably and the cloud cover that had been with us all harvest started to thicken. Even so, rain was not on our radar so our pick pace reminded the same–fast but not frantic. When we got to the final row, though, we realized that it was in fact going to rain. Ben ran to get the tractor that sits in the middle of the field and houses all our picked crates as I speed down the final bed harvesting like a maniac (nothing like the threat of rain to kick you into high gear). We got the field picked and crates loaded, but not before getting SOAKED. The release of pressure to irrigate the entire farm right away far outweighed any feeling of discomfort. We happily road in (did I mention the squash field is the farthest field from the barn?), so amazed that this surprise storm hit us and actually produced enough rain to take a couple days off irrigating. Not only that, it meant that half the things on our to do list we could no longer do, so our decision making was decided for us and the day’s tasks suddenly became much more manageable.

However, now it’s 1 day later and dry enough to do all the things! Fortunately it’s no longer the weekend and we have a hard working dedicated crew to help us have a productive week!

 

Recipes

Celery Tomatillo Chutney

Zucchini Noodles with Avocado Pesto

Cabbage Soup

Chicken and Zucchini Enchiladas with Tomatillo Salsa

Coming Up Next Week (Our Best Guess….) Fairytale Eggplant, Zucchini, Sweet Onions, Swiss Chard, Bell Peppers, Radishes, Salad Mix, Celery, Carrots

 

 

 

CSA WEEK 6

THIS WEEK’S HARVESTIMG_2285

Carrots

Golden Beets

Fennel

Dill

Green Leaf Lettuce

Kale

Basil

Scallions

Broccoli

Zucchini and/or summer squash

FARM NEWS

Garlic is out of the field and curing in the barn! We actually pulled it a couple weeks ago right on our preferred pull date of 6/20. We used to let it grow longer but we have a pest, the onion maggot, that shows up in July.  The conditions were not ideal–this was during the wet spell– but more rain was forecasted and it was dry enough to get the job done. At first we thought we were going to have to pull it all by hand– which would have been very tiring and slow. And we did in fact have to pull the first 30 feet of each bed by hand, but the rest of the field was just barely dry enough to drive the tractor and under cutter through.  A heavy duty bar attached to the tractor gets dropped into the bed and lifts the soil and every thing above it up. This is a great way to harvest root crops and garlic is no exception. We harvested a full wagon load and transferred the garlic to drying racks in our barn. I just checked on the drying process and everything looks great! No rot and no maggots! You’ll enjoy your first of many bulbs next week! Until then enjoy another allium– scallions– which are making their final box appearance this week.

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Not the best stand of garlic, but the ones that made it are nice!
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Testing to see if it was dry enough to use the undercutter
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Success!
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old Killdeer nest amongst the garlic planting
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In and out of the rain!
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Garlic and Onion drying tables
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Looking good!

 

RECIPES

Maple roasted carrots with carrot top chimichurri

Caramelized fennel and kale pesto pizza

Salmon with dill butter and fennel

Skillet eggs with Kale and Leeks (use scallions in place of leeks)

Coming Up Next Week (our best guess……) Carrots, Cucumbers, Sweet Onions, Celery, Garlic, Green Bell Peppers, Zucchini, Salad Mix, Broccoli, Fennel

 

 

CSA Week 5

This Week’s HarvestIMG_6386

Escarole

Head Lettuce

Swiss Chard

Salad Mix

Scallions

Garlic Scapes

Kohlrabi

Cilantro

Broccoli

Cabbage

Zucchini and/or summer squash

Farm News

Happy Summer! Let’s hope summer is a bit drier and calmer than spring was! The wet weather is wreaking havoc on Ohio farms.

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According to the USDA, by June 9 only 50% of Ohio’s corn crop and 32% of its soybean crop were planted. And I imagine a significant number of the fields that were planted have experienced flooding. Vegetable farmer friends of ours are weeks behind and the weather just isn’t breaking. For us we’ve managed to have long enough breaks in the rain to get field work done and even had to run the irrigation a couple times this spring. But this past week was the first time I felt that we had indeed gotten too much rain. The ground was saturated after a first round of rain and then we got more rain on top of it. With water logged ground, crops will melt down. Disease thrives in wet humid conditions so we have to monitor crop health. We missed a salad and basil planting and have some late season peppers and eggplant ready in the greenhouse that won’t get in the ground unless it dries out in the next couple of days.

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The good news is we have plenty to do harvest wise to keep us busy during this wet spell.  In addition to harvesting a large variety of crops 3 days a week, some of our spring bulk harvests are underway including cabbage, kohlrabi and beets. These crops keep for months and we can sell them out of our cooler to CSA, market and wholesale accounts.  Which brings me to another wet day project– building another cooler as we are quickly running out of cooler space!

Coming Up Next Week (our best guess…….) Kale, Golden Beets, Fennel, Basil, Carrots, Zucchini, Salad Mix, and more!

Recipes

Escarole Soup with Sausage and Zucchini (use scallions in place of onion)

Garlic Scape Vinaigrette (make a hardy salad with hard boiled eggs or grilled chicken or both)

Stir Fry Veggies with Rice Noodles and Peanut Sauce (use any veggies you’d like and garnish with chopped cilantro)

Creamy Cilantro Coleslaw

 

 

 

 

CSA Week 4

This Week’s Harvest16DB4039-8336-4228-87C8-BB367BF1B805

Sugar Snap Peas

Spinach (last of the spring season!)

Kohlrabi

Salad Mix

Garlic Scapes

Beets

Flat Leaf Parsley

Arugula OR Braising Greens

Radishes

Swiss Chard

Save the Date

Our CSA member field walk will take place Wednesday June 26 from 6:30 to 8:00. We will have light refreshments and tour the farm. Come see how your food is grown and ask your farmers your questions! We’ll see what we’ve been picking and what goodies are still to come. Comfortable walking attire is recommended! See you then!

Farm News

With the arrival of our brand new rinse conveyer, custom built by an Amish farm equipment manufacturing company in Pennsylvania, our redesigned packing barn is complete! 

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Unloading the rinse conveyer using unconventional methods

Just last year a third of the packing barn (where produce comes in from the field to be cleaned,  processed and stored) was unusable. Now the entire space is being used. With space restrictions lifted, we are able to wash both produce and bins so much more efficiently than years past. With so many variables out of our control in this line of work, how efficient we are is key to the success of the farm.

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Lights and concrete are also new additions to the pack barn this year

So imagine my delight when it only took 10 minutes to wash 80 some bunches of radishes for the inaugural run of the rinse conveyer. Just the day before, when the rinse conveyer was on the property but not yet set up, it took 45 minutes to wash the radishes. In fact, I ended up having to work past 5 to get the washing for the day complete. 

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We’ve had 4 work days with the rinse conveyer and everyone is happy with the upgrade. Washing and sanitizing our bins is done in no time, produce is handled less and gets cleaner,  and mud from the field is contained. Even though the packing barn space is now bigger, it takes less time to clean it up at the end of the day.

This piece of equipment was not inexpensive and it has been on our wish list for a couple of years. We are so glad we could finally get one and can see how it will easily repay for itself! A farmer we follow on instagram who recently acquired the same rinse conveyer commented that it was their best farm tool.  I think I’m going to second that!

Recipes

Garlic Scape and Parsley Pesto (toss with steamed snap peas, pasta or dollop on pizza recipe below!)

Roasted Beets and Kohlrabi

Beet, Chard and Garlic Scape Pizza (red beets will fine in place of golden)

Coming Up Next Week (our best guess…….)  golden beets, snap peas, butter lettuce, scallions, radishes, kohlrabi, cilantro, escarole

CSA Week 3

This Week’s HarvestIMG_6334

Spigarello

Scallions

Salad Mix

Arugula

Radishes

Head Lettuce

Beets

Sugar Snap Peas

Kale

 

Farm News

I’m going to cut to the chase– we are so excited about our spring offerings! So far all of our early season crops are working out wonderfully. Everything was planted on time (so the transplants never got root bound or experienced transplant shock and therefore just kept right on growing), weeded on time (so they were able to continue growing uninhibited), side dressed on time (given an extra dose of organic fertilizer), and thrived in good weather. This cooler weather is perfect for the lettuces and snap peas and other crops that like to mature before the heat of summer. All this is leading to easy harvests and gorgeous produce!

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I’m going to go ahead and allow myself to be excited because the feeling won’t last–we will most certainly have crop failures from disease or just not having the time to properly take care of things. And the pressure is definitely mounting. This weekend Ben was holed up in the garage fixing our cultivating tractor (for the THIRD time this season!) and the weeds sure don’t wait for him to be ready.

 

IMG_6317The tractor’s clutch got fixed by Sunday night (Ben is my hero) but with the rain that followed we couldn’t jump on the tractor and cultivate right way. This is a tough feeling when we had been out of the fields for the repair for 3 days.  It looks like we’ll get a couple field days in this week to hopefully get us back on track! After all, at the same time that we are harvesting for you today, we need to be planting and weeding for you for next month!

Recipes

Sugar Snap Peas and Scallions with Coddled Lettuce

Roasted Beet and Arugula Panini

Kale and Beet Salad with Farro

Coming Up Next Week (Our Best Guess….) Snap Peas, Spinach, Parsley, Garlic Scapes, Kohlrabi, Golden Beets and more!

 

CSA Week 2

This Week’s HarvestIMG_6261.JPG

Bok Choi

Head lettuce

Salad mix

Scallions

Parsley

Red radish

Spigarello (leaf broccoli)

Kale

 

Farm News

While the farm puttered along in its usual routine of harvesting, planting, seeding and weeding this week, the Dayton region’s week was anything but usual. The tornado outbreak on Memorial Day was surprising for all and devastating for many.

The good news is that in tragedy, community comes together. I was heartened to see so many helping hands while I was delivering last week’s veggies. Pallets of free water out for those in need, grills fired up serving hamburgers and hot dogs, and so many people clearing debris. I offered hand me downs to a friend whose home was in the path of one of the tornados. She declined my offer because thanks to friends, family and community she had more clothes now then she had on Monday morning.  I hope everyone affected has the same experience as my friend and gets the aid they need. Collectively we can make a big difference and I trust it will be enough!

The tornado outbreak made me realize that in addition to our family, community were we live, our community of customers, Ben and I also have a community of fellow vegetable farmers. The very first people to reach out to us to make sure we were ok were not our parents, but rather our fellow co-op farmers. It is very comforting to know that we have farmer friends who have our back should we ever find ourselves in difficult situations.

Here’s to a quick and comprehensive recovery for Dayton and surrounding communities!

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Recipes

Spigarello with Raisins and Pinenuts

Bok Choy and Shiitake Mushroom Mu-Shu Wraps

Parsley Vinaigrette 

Coming Up Next Week (our best guess…….)  beets, snap peas, Spigarello,  garlic scapes, arugula, radishes, parsley, kale