This week we welcome the first harvest of spring broccoli and cauliflower as well as the first garlic of the year! This is fresh garlic so it does not have the papery skins you are used to. When you cut the clove you can see the beginnings of this protective outer coat starting to form. Use fresh garlic just as you would cured garlic.
My sister and her family are in town for a week long visit. They’ll get to experience an organic farm’s garlic harvest as a major task of the week is harvesting the rest of the crop and setting it up to cure. They have already experienced a squash harvest. The adults picked the squash and the kids ran it back to the harvest crates. It was the fastest squash harvest ever and the kids had fun in the mud!
Even though this week brings us a heat wave, we are in the midst of cool weather crop season. This means CSA boxes are loaded with greens and will be for a a couple more weeks. We encourage you to embrace this season and come up with creative ways to use greens. They are so healthy and once you get the hang of cooking with them, we hope you’ll see that they can be added to anything!
Escarole is a green leafy vegetable from the chicory family of lettuces. Its leaves are sturdy like romaine and its flavor is simultaneously sweet and bitter. It is full of fiber, vitamins and antioxidants. You can use it raw in salads but it also holds up to cooking. It can be roasted, grilled, braised and is commonly added to soups in Italian cooking.
Basil Plant (members who did not receive one last week)
The beginning of June marks the start of our extremely busy season, where all facets of the farm are demanding our attention at once and the do to list seems to get longer, not shorter. We are planting, harvesting, washing, delivering, trellising, seeding (for fall!), and weeding……and staying on top of it all as best we can.
This week we got 2 rounds of sweet corn in. A couple weeks ago we seeded over 6,000 corn seeds in hopes of having a window to plant it. If you don’t transplant corn in a timely manor, the crop will be set back and suffer. We hadn’t planned to start any corn this way, but we happened to have an empty-ish greenhouse and unclaimed beds all ready made up, so on a whim we seeded a round. It was exciting, then, when we were able to plant it out! After the crew planted the corn and went home for the day, Ben seeded another 6 beds directly in the ground, and that night all 12 beds of corn were watered in well.
This week we have also hilled the potatoes, hand weeded the peppers and hoophouse carrots, mechanically weeded basically everything else, and trellised the raspberries. Other pictures from the week show Ben on one of several cultivating attachments and the 24/7 watering that we are doing now that it’s dry. We are glad this busy week came with some pretty glorious weather!
We are thrilled to start our 9th CSA season–some of you have been with us from the very beginning! Thank you! And thank you to new members who have put their faith in us to provide delicious nutrient dense vegetables all season long!
In this weekly blog, I will post the contents of the box. The highlighted vegetables in the list can be clicked on to link to additional information and recipes. Need to know what the heck the green pencil-thin curly things are in this week’s box? Click on “Garlic Scapes” to find out! I will also use the blog to post a few recipes specific to the box and share farm news and updates.
We hope you enjoy the season–we think it’s off to a great start!
The farm turns 10 this year! We’ve made a lot of progress over the years but one thing kept holding us back- our poorly drained and heavy soils. So this winter we got tile installed throughout the entire farm.
The timing could not have been better as this has been an overly wet spring! We have gotten 9.5 inches of rain since April 28, but have managed to stay on top of planting and have healthy looking and weed free crops. In years past large rain events have wiped out crops and kept us from planting and cultivating for weeks. We are still adjusting to our new drainage–making it out into the fields way sooner than we were thinking has left us pleasantly surprised multiple times this past month. And with each new rain fall, the drainage seems to be getting even better! We are so excited!
We are pleased to bring you this first harvest–full of greens typical of this time of year and other spring treats. Here are a few recipes to give you ideas. Also check out the Facebook Group where we have a season’s worth of archived recipes from CSA members! There is a search engine feature. I typed in “Bok Choy” last night and 8 entries followed. The meatball recipe below was one of them! There are also lots of CSA related food blogs out there. My favorite is our very own CSA member, Kirsten Madaus, whose blog is Farm Fresh Feasts
This year I made a concerted effort to take a picture of each CSA share we put out. While every single jam packed week had me scrambling to find the time for a photo shoot, I’m really glad I stuck with it. (Regrettably, I did miss 2 weeks due to farm schedule insanity! It truly is impossible to complete everything we want to accomplish on the farm.)
I love that the season is documented in this way. It is fun to relive the season and also a wonderful way for people to see what our CSA is all about.
We made great progress this year by dropping our flower production to focus on vegetables. We had some of our biggest bell peppers ever, had several distributions of typically tricky crops like carrots, enjoyed giving herbs throughout the season, and rediscovered favorite vegetable varieties that we had hadn’t grown in awhile, like Delicata winter squash and purple cauliflower.
We are really looking forward to building on this past season’s success and making the 2017 season even better! We want to further improve our sweet corn and melon production and revisit crops that we have cut from production like celeriac and rutabaga.
There are several reasons we love farming. Given the shear amount of vegetables and varieties out there, the different ways to grow these crops, the seasonality of farming and sense of renewal every year, farming is very invigorating. We love the natural drive to take what we’ve learned and do better every year!
This week was the first that we experienced weather challenges that winter farming can often bring. Given that we are past the middle of December, we consider it lucky we hadn’t had problems before this week. Looking at the 10 day forecast we devised a plan where I would wash the storage vegetables on the only day above freezing. We were promised a high of 52 on Saturday. I had my doubts since the day before was 18. Turns out we barely hit 40 on Saturday, but that was warm enough to drag hoses from our basement, out the window, snaked through the yard and into the barn. And before I could get to mad at the weather people, I saw a weather map of temperatures for the day and Cincinnati enjoyed a high of 58 with warm air present all the way up to Springboro. It hurt knowing comfortable weather was only a few miles away! But we were able to get the job done (minus the butternut squash which comes with some organic Mile Creek Farm dirt this week) and are excited about our final CSA box of the season! Thanks for joining us on this extended season culinary adventure! We certainly enjoyed sharing the bounty of the farm for a little bit longer!