How To Use This Newsletter
If you are like me, you may not have time to read such a dense weekly newsletter! That’s ok. I always recommend people try to read the first newsletter to make sure you know all the details. The newsletters are designed with the most important information at the top, and it gets less and less crucial farther down. The top lists what is available, followed by the routine details of how to manage your CSA. (That section has the link to fill out if you want your share delivered to Ludlow.) Reminders are below that, and then there is a section on farm news for folks who are interested in the narrative of how your food is grown. The end of the newsletter has a recipe. So if you don’t have time each week, just scan the heading titles to see if it is a section you should read.
This week we have baby lettuce, mesclun mix, spinach, baby kale, bunched chard, baby chard, pea shoots, scallions, potatoes, garlic, carrots, beets, leeks, celeriac, and gilfeather turnip.
You can pick up your share at the farm on Fridays from 8 am to 7 pm. (Veggies will be displayed in the cooler to pick out.) You can pick up your share from the Rutland Farmers' Market on Saturdays from 10 am to 2 pm. If you want your share delivered to Ludlow, use this form by 9 am on Friday to select the veggies you want for the week: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdeOfUuyadzYHjCHOX5RCye_qOWaqttPQQY2FPxVAlrQWhmWg/viewform . Then you can pick up your share from Four Season's Sotheby's International Realty between 2 pm and 5 pm. They are next to Java Baba's in the shopping plaza across from the main entrance to Okemo Mountain.
If you have not paid in full, half of your remaining balance is due this week, unless you have a payment plan. (Don’t hesitate to contact me about setting up a payment plan.) Thanks!
Spring CSA is here! New crew members Dan and Cindy have joined for the season, Sam and Taylor continue on with us from last year, and this is our last week with Morgan and Peter on the team before they head out to work at the fantastic flower farm, Understory Farm. Monday’s flooding cut our road off and made us post pone our cucumber planting because the high tunnel was a soupy mess, but we feel grateful we were able to move our farm up to this location, seeing our old location completely submerged again as I drove Sky to day care. We hope none of you experienced damage as a result of the flooding.
The early tomatoes have been transplanted into one of the high tunnels, along with parsley, basil, lettuce, bok choi, salad turnips, and radish. This is the earliest we have planted many of those crops, and it will be nice to have them available sooner than they usually are since our outdoor fields are still too wet to drive on with a tractor. We hope we will be able to begin prepping outdoor field work soon, because many of the plants in the propagation house are ready to go out soon!
The other tunnel is still bursting with salad greens, spinach, scallions, kale, and pea shoots for the first few weeks of the spring CSA, as we watch the greens in the first tunnel slowly gain size for the second half of the spring CSA.
Four little baby goats were born two weeks ago. One of them wasn’t successfully eating from the mama, so I had to bring him back from the edge with pretty regular syringe feedings until he could swallow on his own and eventually lift his head and walk. You would never know it by seeing him now! It’s extra fun to have baby goats around when you have a toddler who totally adores them.
Next week we also plan to inoculate this year’s infusion of shiitake logs. Each year we continue to inoculate new logs, increasing the amount we produce, and then eventually replacing the logs as they retire. We haven’t begun to retire logs yet, but I think the first round will be spent by next year.
This winter we scored two grants that we feel grateful to have access to. One is through the Natural Resources Conservation Service for a third high tunnel that we will put up this June. We experience high demand for winter greens through the Rutland farmers’ market, all our wholesale outlets, and eventually a future winter CSA, so we are grateful that an additional tunnel will help us meet some of that demand. The other grant is through the Vermont Agency of Agriculture for food safety upgrades. This grant will allow us to upgrade and replace many harvest, storage, and processing containers and tools in our wash station, cooler, and root cellar. The improvements will allow us to more efficiently disinfect surfaces, and prepare our space for a future improved wash and pack facility for our four season production. It’s especially helpful to have access to this type of grant because wash station food safety improvements are imperative to run a responsible farm business, but they do not pay for themselves the way other capital improvements do. We work hard to stay ahead of food safety regulations because farms of our size are often exempted from regulations. We believe first in the safety of our food for our customers, and second that at some point there will be no more small farm exemptions; so we don’t want to be caught off guard and need to make such enormous investments in food safety improvements that it would jeopardize our ability to stay in business. Thus, we aim to keep pace with food safety regulations that affect larger farms.
Here’s to some warm sunny weather, to dry out the fields and get some transplants outside!
Have a lovely week!
-The ESF Team: Kara, Ryan, Morgan, Peter, Taylor, Sam, Cindy, and Dan
Cream of Celeriac Soup
Celeriac is my favorite winter storage vegetable and we are nearing the end of celeriac season. If it’s a new vegetable to you, I recommend delighting in it while we still have it available, because it doesn’t come back around until the fall.
2 leeks, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 pounds of celeriac, peeled and chopped into small cubes
1 pound of potatoes, chopped into small cubes
2 carrots, finely chopped
2 quarts broth (chicken, veggie, beef, coconut milk, whatever)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp dried sage
1 cup cream or milk
3 TBSP olive oil
3 TBSP butter
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 bunch scallions, finely chopped
Saute leeks, onion, garlic, celeriac, potatoes, and carrot on low to medium heat with the olive oil, butter, and salt. When the veggies are soft, add the broth and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and use an immersion blender to blend half of the soup, leaving half of it chunky. Then stir the whole soup together well, giving you a thick, creamy, and chunky soup. Add the milk or cream, lemon juice, and pepper. Add salt as needed. Serve with fresh scallions scattered on top. Enjoy!