CSA WEEK 10

This Week’s Harvest

Farm News

Welcome to summer bounty! While CSA boxes overflow in August, we try to figure out how to cram the equally overflowing work all in. The past 2 weeks we have dug 4 beds of potatoes. We have 25 beds left so Ben did some calculations and said to me, “if we stay with the 2 beds per week rate we’ll be done in 3 months.” That made me both laugh and cry a little. The plants are all pretty much dead but the potatoes can hang out in the soil until we are ready to dig them up. And we just have to get them out before a heavy October frost, so we actually do have 3 months to do the job. I just think we might be a little tired come month 3! Last week’s potato harvest was actually quite nice. The beds were starting to dry out which makes for chunky, dry uncomfortable digging around in the dirt. But on Thursday it rained a perfect amount- 1/2 an inch- which was enough to make the soil soft on our knees but not too wet so we couldn’t run the digger through. It’s good to remember the times the rain does work in our favor. We still have to irrigate 24/7 but we could take a break Thursday night after the rain and it took off some of the pressure. We had also just planted a large round of fall brassicas and the rain helped seal in the irrigation we had done right after planting. And again, it wasn’t too much rain to interfere with our plans for the next day’s work.

Our potato digger in action. It digs into the beds, lifts the potatoes out, and runs them on a shaking screen that breaks up the dirt. Taken last year–we have yet to unearth this year’s crop of yellow skin/yellow flesh taters

Recipes

Coming Up Next Week (our best guess….) Sweet corn, salad mix, shishito peppers, bell peppers, watermelon, sweet onions, basil, tomatoes, and more!

CSA WEEK 9

This Week’s Harvest

Farm News

Sensing that his parents are a little bit overworked right now, Evan, our 12 year old son, wanted to help by writing this week’s blog. So here is farm news from a farm kid’s perspective:

Mosquitos make me sad. πŸ™ There were a lot of ripe cantaloupes so Isla and I helped pick cantaloupes at night. We worked quickly because we were losing light… and the mosquitos were hungry. It was very itchy. (The job also had become larger, mom was expecting there to be four crates of 13 but we ended with 17.) After the job was done, we were rewarded with a Klondike Heath Bar. We can be happy it was at night, or we would be burning in our long sleeves.

Speaking of burning, it has been very hot the few past days. I’ve still had fun practicing my pitching though. Rain should come Thursday, which will be nice. Except for working hard to prepare for the rain.

Today I helped lay out onions to dry. You get a large tray thing and lay out the onions on it. Mom and I did that around 10 times. Sadly there were some mosquitos, but not as many.

I’ve actually only been home for two days. Before that I was at my grandma’s house to see cousins from Waco (5 cousins), Winston-Salem (2), St. Johnsbury, 2, (the only one in the world!!), and Malawi, 2, (formerly Hawaii). Age ranges from 21-6. I had a lot of fun going swimming, tubing, hiking, and jumping on the trampoline.

When I got back from Grandma’s I was excited to see the new sweet corn crop. I hope it is not as worm-infested as the last one. Now that I’m back I play the game “Steal food without the workers noticing.” I will also pitch right-handed baseball and left-handed wiffle ball. School starts on August 16, so summer is coming to an end.

The End

Recipes

Cherry Tomato and Eggplant Pasta

Green Bean and Cucumber Salad (you can use dragon tongue beans in any recipe calling for green beans)

Greek Eggplant and Potatoes

Cucumber and Beet Salad

Coming Up Next Week (our best guess….) Sweet corn, tomatoes, cantaloupe, bell peppers, eggplant, potatoes, carrots, garlic and more!

CSA WEEK 8

This Week’s Harvest

Fairytale Eggplant

Farm News

This weekend Ben and I watched the movie Minari. I have been wanting to watch it for awhile but a recent conversation with my sisters piqued my interest. They advised me not to watch it: “so depressing”, “nothing goes right for that family”, and “too close to home”, they warned. Needless to say, I ignored them and watched it anyway!

Turns out that we thought it was a really great movie that depicts farming and farm life so well it was uncanny. Perhaps one of the main reasons that the movie felt so realistic in its depiction of farm life is because it is semi autobiographical. It felt so spot on given our experience starting and growing Mile Creek Farm.

Knowing my sister’s reviews once we finished the movie Ben turned to me and said “That wasn’t depressing. That was a Monday!” In all seriousness, though, it is a sad movie and bad things happen to the family in their first year of vegetable farming. BUT, for me and Ben, all the problems felt so relatable, strangely manageable, and nothing worth quitting over. And actually to us the movie was so so hopeful. I could go on and on about the movie, but I don’t want to spoil anything.

If you haven’t seen it I strongly recommend you do! In addition to being about farming, which I assume would be of interest to all you readers of this blog, it also covers other interesting topics: relationship dynamics between husband and wife and grandmother and grandchild, religion, the American Dream as told through the lens of an immigrant family trying to make it in rural Arkansas.

Picking “American Dream” sweet corn

The next morning after watching the movie and assuring my sisters it was actually a hopeful movie, Ben and I went out to pick sweet corn, aptly named “American Dream”. We talked about the movie pretty much the entire time.

Fast forward to Monday, and we are picking this week’s carrots. We had starting picking the bed last week and were so excited for these carrots! We don’t always have successful summer carrots and these were looking the best yet! They were a bright spot in a difficult, wet summer. We picked bunches for CSA last week and another 75 bunches for market on Friday with no problems. Today, we started pulling them and quickly realized they had all pretty much started rotting because of last week’s 5 inches of rain.

Carrots , mere days from being harvested, rotted in wet soil.

We sorted out good ones, and decided that even though this particular harvest was taking way too long, we’d see it through. We managed to get 90 bunches, enough for Tuesday’s CSA. We estimate we had another 300 bunches of carrots in the bed that will never come to fruition. I looked at Ben and said “just another Monday”. Then, doing what farmers are prone to do, I looked to the future with hope and said “maybe the other carrots will pull through”, referring to two more 450 foot carrot beds full of carrots that are 2 weeks younger than the lost bed. If they do, you’ll be the first to know! (Well, maybe my sisters will be)

Coming Up Next Week (our best guess….) Cantaloupe, sweet corn, globe eggplant, shishito peppers, sungold tomatoes, dragon tongue beans, garlic, salt and pepper cucumbers

CSA Week 7

This Week’s Harvest

Fairytale eggplant
Golden and green zucchini
Sweet onions
Basil
Cucumbers
Kale
Salad mix
Golden beets
Carrots

Farm News

Meet the Crew!

This year we welcome quite a few new employees to Mile Creek. We also have returning members we rely on. The planting, harvest, packing, delivery, weeding doesn’t happen without them! Some work 5 days, some help a couple days. Some even come in when we are desperate to get a task done over the weekend. All together we make it happen!

half of our crew after a wet harvest morning

We are grateful for their hard work and interest in growing yummy food! (not pictured: Ian, who delivers our CSA boxes and also our co-op wholesale orders)

Recipes

Sweet Onion Vinaigrette

Baked Vegan Eggplant and Zucchini Chips

Roasted Beets and Carrots with Honey Balsamic glaze

Coming Up Next Week (our best guess…..) Bell peppers, sweet corn, potatoes, carrots, onions, cucumbers, cantaloupe, fairytale eggplant

CSA Week 6

This Week’s Harvest

Farm News

This week’s box is a perfect combo of spring and summer crops. It contains the last round of head lettuce until fall. It also continues our spring greens run with chard but the greens category will soon be limited to just kale and then none at all until late summer. This box also welcomes the firsts of summer crops with cucumbers and jalapeΓ±os. This means bell peppers, eggplant, sweet corn and tomatoes aren’t far behind.

The farm day to day is also a combo of spring and summer tasks. We are still planting weekly. This week we have another round of salad, basil, melons, and sweet corn to plant. And greenhouse production continues as well with fall crops getting seeded last week and this. And we are adding new summer tasks like maintaining the crops to the to-do list. The sweet potatoes got some TLC as we both mechanically cultivated and hand weeded the patch. The first round of tomatoes now have 4 rows of ties holding them up. I put up scare balloons in the sweet corn patch to hopefully keep the birds off the ears. We’ve pulled the protective row cover off of the winter squash. We are mowing down old crops, which is a good thing to stay on top of so any weeds that also grew get mowed before they go to seed. In with the new, out with old, all the while getting lots done every day. The rhythm of the farm is a comfortable one for us, but it is still hard to believe it’s already July!

Cultivating Sweet potatoes front view

Cultivating sweet potatoes, back view
Winter squash gets uncovered. This year we are growing butternut, honeynut, and spaghetti squash
spotted! first sungold of the season!

Recipes

Coming Up Next Week (our best guess…..) Cucumbers, fairytale eggplant, kale, sweet onions, salad mix, beets, and more!

CSA Week 5

This Week’s Harvest

Farm News

Garlic is back! Those of you who were members last year know that we didn’t have garlic. That was because of a poor crop in 2019, in which we had enough to dole out in shares throughout the season but didn’t have enough to keep for seed stock. That meant we were going to have to buy certified organic garlic seed from elsewhere and it is a bit of investment. Once made, you should be able to save your own seed from year to year, to help recover the initial cost. We decided to hold off a year before reinvesting in new garlic stock. It was a rough year! But last fall we did buy 150 lbs garlic seed, planted it, covered it with row cover all winter, weeded it in the spring, and just this past week harvested it! Last night I added 4 cloves of garlic to our dinner because I could. We are swimming in garlic now and it feels (and tastes) so good! We hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Planting garlic in October 2020
Checking on the Garlic in March
garlic gets uncovered and side dressed with fertilizer
snow kissed garlic
After a spring weeding
We pulled the garlic and laid it out in the field for a couple days to dry
Bringing it in from the field
tops cut and placed on drying tables for the final round of drying

Recipes

Coming Up Next Week (Our Best Guess….) Kale, Cucumbers, Dill, Purple Scallions, Zucchini, Caraflex Cabbage, Swiss Chard and more!

CSA WEEK 4

This Week’s Harvest

Broccoli
Scallions
Spigarello
Bok Choi
Salad mix
Kohlrabi
Fennel
Golden Beets
Zucchini

Farm News

We continue to squeeze in as much as we can between significant rainfalls. Last week we had until Friday evening before we got an additional 3 inches of rain (no wind damage, power stayed on, so that’s great!). We did get the next round of summer squash in but not without excitement. We started planting first thing on Friday and got 3 beds in before the clouds rolled in and the threat of rain seemed imminent. We plant squash with a water wheel transplanter. A large metal wheel with spikes you can place at the appropriate spacing poke holes in plastic mulch. While it pokes holes, it also drops water in each hole from a 100 gallon tank that sits above it. 1 or 2 riders sit behind the wheel and plunge plants into the pre watered holes.

The waterwheel transplanter in action

As soon as it became clear we’d get some rain, the planters popped off the tractor. The tractor operator, Nate, just drove as fast as he could over the remaining 4 beds to get the holes made. Once the holes were made we knew we could easily plant by hand even after a storm. We broke for an early lunch while it thunderstormed and an hour later, and a fresh 1/2 inch of rain later, we finished planting. Got all 7 beds covered for pest protection as well!

We ditched riding on the waterwheel so that Nate could drive faster and poke holes in the remaining beds. We planted by hand 1/3 of a bed before the rain came pouring down. Fortunately we were able to get back out and plunge the rest of the plants in the ground.

We are grateful we don’t have to irrigate, but it’s getting close to being too late to plant some starts that are on deck–including the next round of tomatoes. And the weeds LOVE this weather and we don’t want areas of the farm to get out of control. But we got an awful lot done the last time the fields dried out so I don’t doubt we’ll be able to get back at it in a day or two!

Recipes

Beef and Bok Choy

Zucchini Noodle Bowls with Bok Choy

Roasted Broccoli and Fennel Soup

Roasted Beet and Fennel Sandwich

Coming Up Next Week (our best guess…..) Zucchini, Broccoli, Fennel, Parsley, Kohlrabi, Garlic, Salad Mix, Bok Choy and more!

CSA WEEK 3

THIS WEEK’S HARVEST

Farm News

Today we breathe a sigh of relief. We made it through the last 2 weeks with an “abnormally moist air mass” (technical term as disgusting as it sounds). We got 4 inches of rain, which is 2 more inches than what is helpful. The timing of the rain was such that it never dried up enough in between rains for us to do tasks like hilling the corn and potatoes or cultivating the carrots. We did slog through a few major projects we could do without the tractors- planting our melons and weeding and trellising our tomatoes. And last week I told you about our triumphant sweet potato planting and this weekend we had a repeat. We got an additional 5,000 sweet potato slips arrive in the mail on Wednesday and had to wait until Sunday to plant because of wet conditions.

We were able to plant these beds one day later by hand
Planting by hand. The wheel punches holes to plant into
took a peek 5 days later and the melons have so much growth to them already!
got the tomato posts up and first round of twine tied before another pop up rain storm hit.
another soggy harvest
Still able to enjoy the beauty after a brutal week!

While it was great to take care of the farm work we could last week, the best news is that this week’s forecast is crystal clear so we can hopefully get caught up on weeding and planting. We hope to plant celery, tomatillos, winter squash, the 2nd round of summer squash, 2nd round of tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant, 3rd round of sweet corn, and the 4th round of salad mix! Seems like quite a bit after I’ve typed it all out. I’ll keep you posted on how we do!

Last week’s sweet potatoes loved the rain and have really taken off. Looking forward to getting in there and cultivating to keep the weeds at bay this week!

Recipes

Coming Up Next Week (our best guess….) Golden Beets, Broccoli, Fennel, Parsley, Scallions, Bok Choi, Zucchini, Arugula and more!

CSA Week 2

This Week’s Harvest

Farm News

A major accomplishment of the week was getting sweet potatoes planted. It involved working over the weekend and calling on the kids and Audrey to help but it got done! We weren’t sure of the sweet potatoes’ fate, as the slips arrived in the mail right about the time it finally stopped raining after 2 days straight. Fortunately the sun came out, the wind picked up and temperature increased to dry the fields in time to prep and plant before the next round of rain. We started the week with an inch of rain on Monday morning and a high percent chance of rain is in the forecast every single day this week. This news makes getting the sweet potatoes in the ground over the weekend all the more critical to our success…..but it does not allow me to relax, as the greenhouse is full of the plants on deck that need to planted this week. Not to mention it is absolutely time for us to manage the crops we do have planted–tomatoes need to be staked, corn needs to be fertilized, everything needs to be weeded. We just have to wait and see what this week brings and get in the fields whenever we can doing whatever we can!

The sweet potato slips arrive. Weirdest thing the delivery driver delivered that day!
Saturday night bed prep. The bed pan makes a nice finished bed that is wide enough for our 2 row transplanter set up
The kids set up the mega-net sprinkler system
Audrey came to help plant on a Sunday. This was a treat because Audrey is working closer to home, at Peach Mountain Organics in Spring Valley, this year.
Cool nest from what I think is a horned lark
8 beds of sweet potatoes. 8,000 slips in the ground

Recipes

Israeli Cous Cous with Snap Peas and Dill

Roasted Radishes and Carrots in a Lemon Dill Sauce

Garlicky Spinach and Kale Omletes (I would use at least 4 eggs)

Coming Up Next Week (our best guess…….) Kale, Head Lettuce, Snap Peas, Scallions, Beets, Zucchini, Salad Mix, and Bok Choi

CSA Week One

This Week’s Harvest

Potted Basil Plant

Carrots

Rutabaga OR Kale Β 

Garlic Scapes

Dill

Radishes

Spinach

Salad Mix

Arugula

Farm News

Welcome to either another CSA season or your first CSA season with Mile Creek Farm! 2021 is our 14th year operating a CSA. We’ve grown from 30 members to over 300 members! A handful of you are original members from our first year! It has been a learning curve and we’ve improved so much so we are super grateful we still have folks from those beginning years! I just looked up our first newsletter and our very first box on June 10, 2008 had garlic scapes, salad mix, head lettuce, buckheat sprouts and baby broccoli (this just means the broccoli we planted never made big heads).

Our first garlic harvest

An especially fun and exciting thing is that 2 of our original CSA families now have members who work for us! You may have been helped by Emery, a junior at Oakwood High School, at market last year. She has literally grown up with our food and now helps out at 2nd Street Market! And Nate is starting his third season working for us, but his intro to Mile Creek was way back in ’08 when his dad joined the CSA our very first season.

Nate and Ben give our greenhouse new plastic before we filled it with plants

We are also excited to welcome our brand new members and hope that you enjoy our produce and this unique way of getting it! This blog is a part of the experience so we hope that it provides you with a connection to your food as well as a support for making the most of your box. We’ll always have the harvest list at the top– several of the vegetables listed will link you to additional info pages about the vegetable– and a few recipes at the bottom to help you get started! Enjoy this week’s bounty–the first of many!

Recipes

Garlic Scape Pesto (my suggestion is to serve this with roasted vegetables including carrots and rutabaga)

Lemon Dill Butter (our neighbor recently told me she makes and freezes dill butter and that sounded like a great way to taste summer in the winter. A little goes a long way with dill so you could make several rounds of this with your one bunch of dill!)

Arugula Dill Frittata

Coming Up Next Week (our best guess….) Kale, Sugar Snap Peas, Carrots, Head Lettuce, Spinach, Radishes, Salad Mix