6th Week of the Spring CSA Share: May 25th-26th

What's Available

This week you can choose from yellow potatoes, carrots, beets, rutabaga, Gilfeather turnip, spinach, mesclun mix, baby lettuce mix, baby arugula, pea shoots, baby bok choi, red radishes, french breakfast radishes, salad turnips, rhubarb, and plant starts for your garden. The available starts are (in 4-packs) parsley, dill, brussels sprouts, rainbow chard, lacinato kale, green curly kale, broccoli, green beans, cosmos, sunflowers, marigolds, zinnias, cilantro, basil, (in 2-inch pots) slicing cucumbers, pickling cucumbers, Italian eggplant, husk cherries, sweet Italian red peppers, pablano peppers, jalapeno peppers, serrano peppers, cayenne peppers, green zucchini, summer squash, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, acorn squash, delicata squash, and cantaloupe. The tomatoes all come in large 4-inch pots, and the varieties available are: beefsteak, pineapple, black krim, kakao, sungold, red cherry, black cherry, yellow cherry, juliet plum, san marzano, and speckled roman paste. The 4-packs are 1 item, the 2-inch pots are half an item, and the 4-inch tomato cups are 1 item. 

If salad turnips are new to you, they are a sweet, mild, crunchy vegetable that can be eaten raw or cooked. You can grate them over salad, slice them for dip, eat them like and apple (like our toddler does!), roast them, bake them, and saute them. Usually people become big fans after they try them.

 pea shoots before harvest, photo by Adam Ford.

pea shoots before harvest, photo by Adam Ford.

CSA Details

Starting this week, the Ludlow Farmers' Market opens on Fridays from 4pm to 7pm right on Route 103 in front of the Okemo Mountain School. That means you no longer have to fill out a form for us to pack a bag. Now just come to the market to pick out what you want! You can pick up your share at the farm on Fridays from 8 am to 7 pm. You can pick up your share from the outdoor Rutland Farmers' Market on Saturdays from 9 am to 2 pm. 

 Just moving the goat hut to their new weekly pasture at 7 months pregnant... I can't believe they let her lift that much here! Photo by Adam Ford.

Just moving the goat hut to their new weekly pasture at 7 months pregnant... I can't believe they let her lift that much here! Photo by Adam Ford.

 

Farm News

So this week we got our written notice that we are officially certified organic! It's not a surprise since the inspection went so well, but it feels a bit funny, surreal, and adult-y. I know we have been technically running a farm business for 9 years, and we are parents, but for some reason becoming certified organic feels like we just became adults.  

 husk cherries after Mikayla tucked them into their outdoor home, photo by Adam Ford

husk cherries after Mikayla tucked them into their outdoor home, photo by Adam Ford

We just finished planting all the potatoes for this year! And we only have 2 beds of leeks left to plant before all our alliums are in the ground. This team is rocking this year. We are continuing to stay on of all the smaller weekly transplanting of lettuce, cilantro, beets, and scallions. The garlic planted last fall is looking glorious, and the early outdoor greens we are harvesting this week seem to have been well protected from those pesky flea beetles. Check out this week's arugula for some of the smallest, most tender, flee-beetle free, first cut arugula. 

 rhubarb leaves, wildly toxic to goats, photo by Adam Ford

rhubarb leaves, wildly toxic to goats, photo by Adam Ford

In larger agriculture new, the House vote on the 2018 Farm Bill got postponed until the end of June. This gives us all more time to connect with our representatives if the content of the Farm Bill is important to you. The Farm Bill is something that has turned in to something of a political jumble over the years, wrapping programs into it that are not necessarily directly related to agriculture. There is a lot of great stuff that the Farm Bill funds each year for agriculture, and a lot of more complicated, less good stuff that has been shoved in there by larger corporate agriculture lobbying groups. There are programs that make a big difference to small farms that are only a drop in the overall bucket of the $876 billion 2018 Farm Bill.

 transplanted onions in the field, photo by Adam Ford

transplanted onions in the field, photo by Adam Ford

One of those was proposed to be cut: the cost share for organic certification. One of the main reasons that we are able to hold our prices steady even after becoming certified organic, is that there is a federal program that covers 75% percent of the cost of certification fees for organic farms. Without that program, many small farms would either find certification cost prohibitive, or need to raise their prices. So if organic certification is important to you, let your representatives know you want to see that stay in the 2018 Farm Bill.

 marking the planted winter squash rows with little flags, photo by Adam Ford

marking the planted winter squash rows with little flags, photo by Adam Ford

Another program, that is getting some pressure for $20 billion in cuts, as well as work requirements, is the SNAP program which helps food insecure Americans afford to eat and feed their families. I feel blessed beyond belief to not be food insecure, especially now that we raise a kid, and I can't imagine the challenge of affording food for my family. If it's important to you to see the SNAP program fully supported to continue providing food assistance to families across the country, let your representatives know. Every year, I try to write a newsletter about how your decision to be a CSA member already inherently supports food insecure neighbors in our region: By supporting a small farm, you are enabling a food business to exist that will always have less marketable produce that gets donated to several places in our region. Each year, we are lucky to donate several thousand pounds of food to places in Rutland and Ludlow that can make it accessible to families. So by simply choosing a CSA for your family, you are already boosting the charitable food stream in your area. And if you are as jazzed as I can be about keeping federal programs in place that provide safety nets to our most vulnerable neighbors, now you know the SNAP program is at risk.

 cucumber tendrils, photo by Adam Ford

cucumber tendrils, photo by Adam Ford

Next week we hope to start catching up on some of the weeding of the earliest crops which feels a bit overdue, as well as do more tomato and cucumber pruning in the first tunnel. It has been so fun to watch those early tomatoes and cukes grow!

Have a great week!

-Kara, Ryan, Morgan, Peter, Sam, Mikayla, and Taylor

 

Roasted Salad Turnips and Radishes

This is a great side dish, warm or room temperature, for your Memorial Day BBQs. (These can also be made in foil packets on the grill!

 image from woodenfarmtotable.com

image from woodenfarmtotable.com

1 bunch radishes

1 bunch salad turnips

2 TBSP olive oil

salt and pepper

Remove the tops from the radishes and turnips. Quarter all of them. Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Lay on a baking sheet and roast at 400 until lightly browned. They come out super sweet! Enjoy!

5th Week of the Spring CSA Share: May 18th-19th

What's Available

This week you can choose from yellow potatoes, carrots, beets, rutabaga, Gilfeather turnip, spinach, mesclun mix, baby arugula, pea shoots, baby bok choi, salad turnips, and plant starts for your garden or windowsill.  As the season goes on we will have more vegetable starts to choose from, but for now what we have available as starts are: (in 4-packs) parsley, dill, brussels sprouts, rainbow chard, lacinato kale, green curly kale, broccoli, green beans, cosmos, sunflowers, marigolds, zinnias, cilantro, basil, (and in 2-inch pots) slicing cucumbers, pickling cucumbers, Italian eggplant, husk cherries, sweet Italian red peppers, pablano peppers, jalapeno peppers, serrano peppers, and cayenne peppers. The 4-packs are 1 item, and the 2-inch pots are half an item. (If you choose any of the basil, green beans, peppers, eggplant, husk cherries, or cucumbers now, they should still be protected from frost.)

 soon we will have radishes! photo by Adam Ford

soon we will have radishes! photo by Adam Ford

CSA Details

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, rather than having a pre-packed bag at the farm.) You can pick up your share from the outdoor Rutland Farmers' Market on Saturdays from 9 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/1FAIpQLSewzn_VdO-qNORGtls6yuqaubDZ7mUtrc-UcSx1SSVvvKnWhQ/viewform?c=0&w=1. 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. 

 This simple, but awesome, tool is called a dibbler. Made by local tool small farm tool company, Two Bad Cats, we use this to pop a whole tray of plants out at once to speed up the transplant process. Photo by Adam Ford.

This simple, but awesome, tool is called a dibbler. Made by local tool small farm tool company, Two Bad Cats, we use this to pop a whole tray of plants out at once to speed up the transplant process. Photo by Adam Ford.

Extras Available at the Barn Pickup

If you pick up your CSA share in our barn, and are looking great local, grass fed beef or local maple syrup check, we have both available for sale from neighboring farms. The beef is in the freezer to the left of the CSA sign in board, and the maple syrup is right next to the board. It is important to note that these are not things that can be swapped for items in your CSA.  These are completely separate from our business: we are just offering the space to our neighbors. If you want to buy any of these products, fill out the sheet in front of the CSA sign in board, and leave payment in the CSA payment box, and we will pass it along to them.  The Squire Family Farm beef is grass fed, and their organic certification is pending. The Kreuger-Norton maple syrup is produced in a wood-fired sugar house, and I am be biased since we used to sugar at a farm that did all their boiling with wood we personally harvested, but I notice a taste difference when it is boiled that way.

 This is what that same tool looks like after it falls off the tractor and gets destroyed. I suppose that's part of our plan to keep Two Bad Cats in business, photo by Adam Ford.

This is what that same tool looks like after it falls off the tractor and gets destroyed. I suppose that's part of our plan to keep Two Bad Cats in business, photo by Adam Ford.

CSA Payment

This week starts the second half of the spring share, so your remaining CSA balance is due. If you don't know your balance, let me know. If you need a different payment schedule, that's always ok, just let me know!

 If the goat babies formed a boy band, this would be their album cover, photo by Adam Ford.

If the goat babies formed a boy band, this would be their album cover, photo by Adam Ford.

Farm News

We are taking some risks this spring planting some frost sensitive crops out earlier than the frost date we use, which is June 1st. The long term forecast looks pretty safe, and everything that is frost sensitive has row covers on them, so we aren't being entirely reckless! Yesterday we transplanted all our peppers. (We are SO EAGER to have earlier peppers, since ours are always SO LATE!) We will also try putting out or husk cherries this week if we have the time. The tomatoes in the first tunnel are slowly getting away from us, and we hope to finish trellising them by the end of the week. We have gotten all the onions and shallots transplanted which leaves us with 4 beds of leeks to go for the epic annual allium planting!

 The early tomato plants are eaglerly setting their first green fruits, photo by Adam Ford.

The early tomato plants are eaglerly setting their first green fruits, photo by Adam Ford.

Ryan and I had a magical morning this morning when our toddler slept in longer than us (what?!) and we got to have tea and talk like adults without juggling a hyper-mobile, loud, love-muffin. We got to talking about how many of the things that haven't worked for us in the past that we have put a lot of strategy and brain energy towards this winter seem to be improving. Most notably is the much reduced weed pressure in our early baby greens and carrot seedings outdoors. Usually by now, they can be kind of swamped, and we have no time to save them as we rush to get all the transplants out. This year we have been able to stay on top of them with some simple tine weeding, and therefor not lose those early greens. How fun!

 Sky climbed on to the goat stanchion hoping to do the milking himself, photo by Adam Ford.

Sky climbed on to the goat stanchion hoping to do the milking himself, photo by Adam Ford.

The biggest event this week was that an organic certifying inspector came out for our first inspection! We did a LOT of work to prepare for her visit, but it definitely paid off: She kept saying how we an A+ for having everything ready and organized. The most exciting part is that she said in all the 22 years she has been inspecting farms, this is the first time she inspected a new producer just joining the program that had no corrections to make. It's completely reasonable to have corrections to make when you first join the program since it would be new protocols to that farm, but my obsessive (and tiring) attention to detail, as well as Ryan's tight farm ship made the inspection go smoothly with no corrections to make. Our paperwork just needs to make it's way through the organic offices, but I imagine we will get our official certification in a couple weeks! Getting us to this point is certainly a team effort, with all our crew adeptly learning the systems that make this farm hum, and following all our protocols and record keeping procedures. So hats off to everyone here who makes this operation fly. Thank you.

 more tulips, photo by Adam Ford.

more tulips, photo by Adam Ford.

New to the organic certification program this year is a seed to sale audit. I did not know this would be part of the inspection process, but we were still able to pass, which certainly surprised me, and the certifier, since she had never done one either. The way it works is we had to provide a paper trail for every event a random vegetable went through on our farm from bringing it in as a seed to selling it. This required documentation of seed purchases, seeding dates with what amendments it was seeded with, transplant dates with records of how the beds were prepped, harvest dates and yields, and then sales destination and records. This was the first time all our nerding out with data collection seemed to pay off.

 lacinato kale tucked nicely in the ground, photo by Adam Ford.

lacinato kale tucked nicely in the ground, photo by Adam Ford.

On mother's day our other mama goat gave birth to two large bucklings. This goat usually has 3 or 4 teeny tiny babies, but this year she went for two large boys! They are cuter and cuddlier than most baby goats, if you can even imagine that. I might be sad to see this pair go!

 Can't get much cuter than that, photo by Adam Ford. 

Can't get much cuter than that, photo by Adam Ford. 

Next week we hope to fit in the remaining shiitake inoculation we need to do, hopefully plant our potatoes, as well as catch up on some seeding and weeding before continuing on the major outdoor transplant push.

 eggplant seedlings waiting to go out, photo by Adam Ford.

eggplant seedlings waiting to go out, photo by Adam Ford.

Have a great week!

-Kara, Ryan, Morgan, Sam, Taylor, Peter, and Mikayla

Bok Choi Salad

Even though bok choi is usually cooked, this is an excellent, fresh salad to enjoy!

 photo from thecozyapron.com

photo from thecozyapron.com

1 bag of bok choi, thinly sliced

2 carrots, grated

1 TBSP sesame seeds

1/4 cup crushed nuts, toasted (cashews, almonds, pine nuts, anything)

2 TBSP toasted sesame oil

1 TBSP lime juice

2 tsp maple syrup

2 tsp soy sauce

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)

Finely chop bok choi using white and green parts. Spread nuts evenly on a pan over medium bit. Stir regularly to keep from burning. After the nuts warm and turn lightly brown they are toasted well for the salad. Remove from heat. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and enjoy! Keeps well in the fridge for at least a week.

 

 

 

 

4th Week Spring CSA Share: May 11th-12th

What's Available

This week you can choose from yellow potatoes, carrots, baby carrots, beets, rutabaga, Gilfeather turnip, spinach, mesclun mix, baby arugula, pea shoots, and plant starts for your garden or windowsill.  As the season goes on we will have more vegetable starts to choose from, but for now what we have available as starts are: (in 4-packs) parsley, dill, brussels sprouts, rainbow chard, lacinato kale, green curly kale, broccoli, green beans, cosmos, sunflowers, cilantro, basil, (and in 2-inch pots) slicing cucumbers, pickling cucumbers, sweet Italian red peppers, pablano peppers, jalapeno peppers, serrano peppers, and cayenne peppers. The 4-packs are 1 item, and the 2-inch pots are half an item. (If you choose any of the basil, green beans, peppers or cucumbers now, they should still be protected from frost.)

 Ryan got big into planting tulips this year, and I am enjoying their beauty, photo by Adam Ford

Ryan got big into planting tulips this year, and I am enjoying their beauty, photo by Adam Ford

CSA Details

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, rather than having a pre-packed bag at the farm.) 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/1FAIpQLSewzn_VdO-qNORGtls6yuqaubDZ7mUtrc-UcSx1SSVvvKnWhQ/viewform?c=0&w=1. 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. 

 Sam and Morgan transplanting kale, kohlrabi, and brussels sprouts, photo by Adam Ford

Sam and Morgan transplanting kale, kohlrabi, and brussels sprouts, photo by Adam Ford

Extras Available at the Barn Pickup

If you pick up your CSA share in our barn, and are looking great local, grass fed beef or local maple syrup check, we have both available for sale from neighboring farms. The beef is in the freezer to the left of the CSA sign in board, and the maple syrup is right next to the board. It is important to note that these are not things that can be swapped for items in your CSA.  These are completely separate from our business: we are just offering the space to our neighbors. If you want to buy any of these products, fill out the sheet in front of the CSA sign in board, and leave payment in the CSA payment box, and we will pass it along to them.  The Squire Family Farm beef is grass fed, and their organic certification is pending. The Kreuger-Norton maple syrup is produced in a wood-fired sugar house, and I am be biased since we used to sugar at a farm that did all their boiling with wood we personally harvested, but I notice a taste difference when it is boiled that way.

 This small looking device is an unbelievable game changer on the farm: This is the gear box for automatic roll up sides on our tunnel, which helps keep the tunnel at just the right temperature without us having to run and check on it every hour! photo by Adam Ford

This small looking device is an unbelievable game changer on the farm: This is the gear box for automatic roll up sides on our tunnel, which helps keep the tunnel at just the right temperature without us having to run and check on it every hour! photo by Adam Ford

CSA Payment

Don't forget to pay for the first half of the CSA season if you haven't yet. If you don't know your balance, let me know. If you need a different payment schedule, that's always ok, just let me know!

 Happy cucumber getting a jump on the season! photo by Adam Ford

Happy cucumber getting a jump on the season! photo by Adam Ford

Farm News

Even though this time of year is wild, trying to keep up with the demands of spring, it is one of my favorite times of year. On a farm, the spring time is inherently the most optimistic time of year. All the challenges, hiccups, and failures of past seasons are remote motivators that help us prepare and plan to do things better with the new main growing season. The way I look at the plants is full of optimistic earnest, as if this year is the year that each crop will grow perfectly and not be negatively affected by pest, disease, or weed pressure. Even though though those are obviously some dark rosy shades I have on, I just can't help but feel all the positive opportunities at the beginning of the season. With diligence, observation, luck, a great team, and the grace of the weather, maybe some of these perfect little plants will do better than they have for us in the past. So far, many of the challenges of the past that we have tried to aggressively address are not present yet, so my optimism is building. We haven't had any disease pressure in our propagation house, which is a first. Our cucumber starts transplanted like a charm in the first tunnel, and that has LITERALLY NEVER HAPPENED! The pepper plants were started on time, so perhaps they won't be as epicly late this year. The onion starts are bigger and greener than any others we have put out. It's not the smartest to count your chickens before they hatch, but it's life giving to day dream of productive veggie fields as we tuck in the baby plants!

 onion seedlings looking green and big as they patiently wait transplanting, photo by Adam Ford

onion seedlings looking green and big as they patiently wait transplanting, photo by Adam Ford

This week we continue to hustle a bunch of plants in the ground, as well as move around our irrigation gun to some of the transplantings since we have such nice, dry, warm weather. We don't irrigate much here, but we do make sure the newly planted plants get watered in well during weather like this. By the end of the week we will have to do another round of tomato trellising, as they are easily two feet tall right now.

 early tomato tunnel looking grand, photo by Adam Ford

early tomato tunnel looking grand, photo by Adam Ford

This afternoon we will see how many onion transplants we can get in the ground. We continue to drag row cover, landscape fabric, and tarps all over the farm to protect new seedings and transplantings, and suppress weeds.

 this is a tarped section of our field which will provide weed suppression before planting things like salad greens or carrots, photo by Adam Ford

this is a tarped section of our field which will provide weed suppression before planting things like salad greens or carrots, photo by Adam Ford

My biggest project this week is to make sure all of my ducks are in a row, and everything is hyper organized for our first organic certification inspection this Monday! I assume all will go just fine, which means we will be certified organic by the end of the month. But I can't help but want to make sure everything is as organized as possible to make all our records accessible as quickly as possible for the certifier. Wish us luck!

 egregious picture of this beautiful duo who steal my heart, photo by Adam Ford

egregious picture of this beautiful duo who steal my heart, photo by Adam Ford

Next week we may be able to squeeze in some time to innocluate another round of shiitakes. We will see!

 cheese wax coating the inncoulated shiitake spawn in the holes we drilled into logs, photo by Adam Ford

cheese wax coating the inncoulated shiitake spawn in the holes we drilled into logs, photo by Adam Ford

Have a great week!

-Kara, Ryan, Morgan, Sam, Peter, and Taylor

 

Pea Shoot Risotto

Pea shoots are excellent in salads, on sandwiches, added to pasta dishes after they are removed from heat, paired with seafood, or enjoyed just as a snack! I normally eat them raw, but this dish incorporates both raw and cooked pea shoots, and I love it. I first had a variation of this meal at Coleman Brook Tavern at Jackson Gore for one of their farm to table dinners. It was a great treat.

 photo from seasonsandsuppers.ca

photo from seasonsandsuppers.ca

5 cups stock (chicken, veggie, or whatever you prefer!)

1 large onion, finely chopped

1/2 cup dry white wine

3 TBSP butter

2 TBSP olive oil

1 TBPS lemon juice

1 1/2 short grained rice (I learned from a chef that he prefers using sushi rise for the best risotto!)

2 bags of pea shoots, coarsely chopped

salt and peper

1 cup grated parmesan

Heat stock in pot to a simmer. In another pot, cook onions in the olive oil until they are transluscent. Add the rice to the onions, and stir, cooking for about 3 minutes as the rice lightly toasts. Add the wine, and cook until it is absorbed. Add the stock 3/4 cup at a time, only adding more once the previous round has been soaked up. Stir regularly. Add half the pea shoots, salt, pepper, lemon juice, butter, and cheese into the rice. Remove from the heat. Serve topped with the rest of the fresh pea shoots. Enjoy!

 

 

 

3rd Week Spring CSA Share: May 4th-5th

 beautiful mesclun waiting to be harvested for this weekend, photo by Adam Ford

beautiful mesclun waiting to be harvested for this weekend, photo by Adam Ford

What's Available

This week you can choose from yellow potatoes, carrots, baby carrots, beets, rutabaga, Gilfeather turnip, spinach, mesclun mix, baby kale, scallions, baby arugula, and pea shoots. (Scallions are half an item.) You are also welcome to choose plant starts for your garden as share items. As the season goes on we will have more vegetable starts to choose from, but for now what we have available as starts are: (in 4-packs) parsley, dill, brussels sprouts, rainbow chard, lacinato kale, green curly kale, broccoli, (and in 2-inch pots) slicing cucumbers, pickling cucumbers, sweet Italian red peppers, pablano peppers, jalapeno peppers, serrano peppers, and cayenne peppers. The 4-packs are 1 item, and the 2-inch pots are half an item. (If you choose any of the peppers or cucumbers now, they should still be protected from frost.)

 Bella's buckling... easily the cudliest of this batch, photo by Adam Ford

Bella's buckling... easily the cudliest of this batch, photo by Adam Ford

CSA Details

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, rather than having a pre-packed bag at the farm.) 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/1FAIpQLSewzn_VdO-qNORGtls6yuqaubDZ7mUtrc-UcSx1SSVvvKnWhQ/viewform?c=0&w=1. 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. 

 Peter building a new large pallet for the front of our tractor. We use a large platform like this to move around transplants and loaded harvest bins. After a couple years the pallet needs to be rebuilt. Thanks Peter! Photo by Adam Ford

Peter building a new large pallet for the front of our tractor. We use a large platform like this to move around transplants and loaded harvest bins. After a couple years the pallet needs to be rebuilt. Thanks Peter! Photo by Adam Ford

CSA Payment

Don't forget to pay for the first half of the CSA season if you haven't yet. If you don't know your balance, let me know. If you need a different payment schedule, that's always ok, just let me know!

Farm News

Early this week we trellised the early tomatoes in the first tunnel. This year we have changed our trellis system for a few reasons. The main reason is because we are starting them so much earlier, so the plants will get that much taller throughout the season. As is it, we always hit a point in the season where we need a step ladder to harvest tomatoes later in the season, and that really slows things down. With our new system we will be able to gently lower the plants as they grow so we can more easily reach the higher fruits later in the season. We think the time saving from climbing up step ladders and moving them around the tunnels will likely pay for itself in the investment in a new trellis system. Plus it makes us feel like a really cool farm, and you can't put a price tag on that.

 Early tomato before we started trellising them, photo by Adam Ford.

Early tomato before we started trellising them, photo by Adam Ford.

We got a jump on some of the earliest transplantings last week in that brief break in the rain, and then also continued some transplanting in the rain because our team is a bunch of awesome, hard core farmers. With this week's nicer days we have been able to transplant the first 4 beds of onions, and several beds of scallions, cilantro, spinach, baby lettuce, and baby chard. We transplant some things early, that most other folks direct seed, because we rely on these early transplants for the end of the spring share. So send sunny thoughts our way once they are in so things mature fast enough for the end of the share! These early veggies are baby lettuce, spinach, mesclun mix, radishes, salad turnips, baby bok choi, and arugula. We also direct seeded batches of all of those as well last week, but they will be ready after this earlier transplanting. Our team used one of the cooler, danker mornings to get almost half of our shiitake logs inoculated! We plan to use the end of the week to catch up on the weekly seeding in the greenhouse.

 Morgan moving seed potatoes to the second floor of the barn to spread them out to green sprout them before we plant, photo by Adam Ford

Morgan moving seed potatoes to the second floor of the barn to spread them out to green sprout them before we plant, photo by Adam Ford

Last week we were about 2 weeks behind on some of the seedings going in to the greenhouse, but thanks to volunteers and our team, we were able to catch up on those seedings and now are where we should be. THANK YOU! I am hopeful that we won't see too much of a production gap from that back log.

 Alice seeding pea shoots in the prop house, photo by Adam Ford

Alice seeding pea shoots in the prop house, photo by Adam Ford

This week I hope to set up our pasture for the milking goats. As soon as the grass starts to green, I love getting the ladies out on fresh forage. They still some back in every evening to be with their kids, but this time of year, they come in with green tinged faces because they are ferociously eating grass after a winter of hay and carrot and beet seconds. I love seeing the different colors on their faces from the food they are eating. The past few weeks they have had orange and magenta hues from the carrots and beets!

 You may notice the magenta hue on the bottom of Zeah's beard.... that's from a beet snack! photo by Adam Ford

You may notice the magenta hue on the bottom of Zeah's beard.... that's from a beet snack! photo by Adam Ford

Many of our plants are making the trek outside the nice greenhouse to our outdoor staging area to harden off before transplanting. It's always funny to do that when we are still getting snow flurries (I am looking at you, Monday morning!) But that's spring around here, and I am loving today's sunny and 80 degree weather!

 Sam and Morgan laying out a silage tarp on a field we will plant in the eraly summer. We use these tarps to suppress weeds and minimize tillage, photo by Adam Ford.

Sam and Morgan laying out a silage tarp on a field we will plant in the eraly summer. We use these tarps to suppress weeds and minimize tillage, photo by Adam Ford.

Have a great week!

-Kara, Ryan, Sam, Morgan, and Peter

 

Shredded Beet Salad

 image from marthastewart.com

image from marthastewart.com

2-3 medium beets, peeled and grated

1/2 bunch of scallions, finely chopped (green and white parts)

2 TBSP olive oil

1 TBSP lemon juice

1 tsp white wine vinegar

1 tsp maple syrup

pinches of oregano, basil, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, nutmeg, garlic powder

Mix everything together and let sit for dressing to soak into the beets. Eat this as a side dish, or on a green salad, or in sandwiches. I love the freshness of this so much, that I brought a pint of it farmers' market as my snack, and accidentally at the whole jar throughout the day!

 

2nd Week of the Spring CSA: April 27th-28th

Availability

This week you can choose from yellow potatoes, fingerling potatoes, green cabbage, carrots, baby carrots, beets, rutabaga, Gilfeather turnip, spinach, mesclun mix, baby kale, scallions, and cilantro. (Scallions and cilantro are both half items.) We have sadly decided that the garlic that is left has become too hard to accurately grade for farmer quality or customer quality. We are happy to share our garlic with you, so if you want some, it's a bonus, not an item. It's like free garlic, just know that you may get bulbs that have bad cloves in them. (To be clear, we still use it with gusto, it's just not something we can stand behind selling anymore since people have gotten some bad cloves.)

Special note for barn pickup: If you are ever picking up your share and it looks like something you are interested in ran out, I can guarantee we have more of it in the bins in the cooler. We try our best to keep it stocked so it doesn't run out, but last week I was out of town on Friday, and I think the cooler got checked less often than usual. If you want something that is missing, these days if you poke your head in one of the tunnels to ask for help, it is likely someone will be around to help you. Sorry if you missed out on anything you were excited about last week!

 eggplant seedlings staying warm in teh propagation house, photo by Adam Ford

eggplant seedlings staying warm in teh propagation house, photo by Adam Ford

CSA Details

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, rather than having a pre-packed bag at the farm.) 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/1FAIpQLSewzn_VdO-qNORGtls6yuqaubDZ7mUtrc-UcSx1SSVvvKnWhQ/viewform?c=0&w=1. 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. 

 Bella's buckling.. such a cutie. He was the one who needed birthing assistance last week, but he's doing great now! photo by Adam Ford

Bella's buckling.. such a cutie. He was the one who needed birthing assistance last week, but he's doing great now! photo by Adam Ford

Payment

Don't forget to pay for the first half of the CSA season if you haven't yet. If you don't know your balance, let me know. If you need a different payment schedule, that's always ok, just let me know!

 Bella's doeling twins, photo by Adam Ford

Bella's doeling twins, photo by Adam Ford

Farm News

It has been a busy week! The early tomatoes are transplanted and thriving in the tunnel that has the pellet boiler hooked up. We are still bringing the soil up to temperature, but meanwhile, blowing enough hot air into the tunnel to keep the tomatoes happy. By the end of today the earliest cucumbers will be transplanted as well. We will wait another week or so on adding the basil to that tunnel, but then it will be all planted!

 tomatoes after transplant, photo by Adam Ford

tomatoes after transplant, photo by Adam Ford

Meanwhile, I am slowly catching up on my seeding and repotting work in the propagation house. We have never been this far behind with our spring work, and that is causing us plenty of stress. I have had to drop some seedings from the seed schedule that I simply cannot get to, and now we are talking about dropping shiitake log inoculation if we cannot catch up on work. That would be a serious bummer, especially since Ryan already harvested all 200 logs we need for this year, and the spawn is purchased and waiting in the cooler.

 tender spinach seedlings ready to get out in the field soon, photo by Adam Ford

tender spinach seedlings ready to get out in the field soon, photo by Adam Ford

We used to work inhuman amounts, staying out until it's dark and then dealing with all the "invisible" work of farming (computer work) after dark, but with a toddler, that's literally no longer feasible. Between actually taking care of him, and the fatigue from not sleeping well, we just can't put in the same hours that we used to. Nor am I really interested in having a 65+ hour work week anymore: because having a toddler is AWESOME, and I don't want to miss out on all the fun we can have with him. I am interested to see where this family adjustment will take us in the future. The only sane future I see is scaling back our operation, but time will tell! I suppose this is the wall that many young farmers hit at some point... when the boundless energy of our 20s has given way to the new joys and adventures of raising kids, something will shift.

 Last week's annoying snow falls provide a nice back drop to Ryan taking Sky to work, photo by Adam Ford

Last week's annoying snow falls provide a nice back drop to Ryan taking Sky to work, photo by Adam Ford

We loved the dry, warm, sunny weather at the beginning of this week and used that time to prep the dry areas of our fields for the earliest direct seedings and transplantings. If we are lucky, by the end of this week we will transplant the first round of scallions, spinach, mesclun mix, lettuce mix, and beets! Ryan already snuck in some of the direct seedings before the rain returned!

Have a great week!

-Kara and the ESF team

Spring Cabbage Salad

 photo from detoxinista.com

photo from detoxinista.com

I love this salad! It's crunchy, and fresh, and full of flavor. I eat it on it's own, and I throw it in sandwiches. Sometimes for breakfast I will cook a thin scrambled egg or two, and then roll it up with this salad and some spinach inside for a delicious, filling morning treat.

1 cabbage, shredded

3-4 carrots, shredded

1 bunch of scallions, finely chopped (use the green and white parts)

1 bunch of cilantro, finely chopped (optional)

3 TBSP cup lime juice

2 TBSP maple syrup

1 TBSP apple cider vinegar

1 TBSP toasted sesame oil

salt to taste

1 TBSP sesame seeds (optional)

Combine everything and toss well. Let sit for a half hour for the flavors to really soak into the cabbage. Stores well in the fridge for at least a week.

 

First week of the Spring CSA! April 20th-21st

What's Available This Week

This week you can choose from yellow potatoes, fingerling potatoes, green cabbage, carrots, baby carrots, beets, rutabaga, Gilfeather turnip, spinach, baby lettuce mix, baby arugula, pea shoots, scallions, and cilantro. (Scallions and cilantro are both half items.) We have sadly decided that the garlic that is left has become too hard to accurately grade for farmer quality or customer quality. We are happy to share our garlic with you, so if you want some, it's a bonus, not an item. It's like free garlic, just know that you may get bulbs that have bad cloves in them. (To be clear, we still use it with gusto, it's just not something we can stand behind selling anymore since people have gotten some bad cloves.)

 I need to get around to potting up all these teeny peppers into their larger cells... More time in the day, please! (Next to them are the tomatoes who are ready to transplant as soon as we are, photo by Adam Ford.

I need to get around to potting up all these teeny peppers into their larger cells... More time in the day, please! (Next to them are the tomatoes who are ready to transplant as soon as we are, photo by Adam Ford.

CSA Details

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, rather than having a pre-packed bag at the farm.) 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/1FAIpQLSewzn_VdO-qNORGtls6yuqaubDZ7mUtrc-UcSx1SSVvvKnWhQ/viewform?c=0&w=1. 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. 

 Not efficient harvest posture, but when you are pregnant you get to change it up into whatever position you want, photo by Adam Ford.

Not efficient harvest posture, but when you are pregnant you get to change it up into whatever position you want, photo by Adam Ford.

Payment Due

If you have only paid your deposit, half your remaining balance is due. If you need a differnt payment schedule, that is not a problem, just let me know!

Farm News

Well, it's definitely spring even though it feels like winter! We have been busily seeding and re-potting plants in the greenhouse, some of which are eager for the fields to start drying out so we can prep their bed space and get transplanting!

Most of our time and energy has been consumed by the big project of installing ground heat in one of our high tunnels to start being able to have earlier tomatoes. Ryan has been a super champion (but when is he not?) working almost literally non stop, trenching  water pipes, connecting the plumbing to the pellet boiler, and hooking up the electric for the whole system. He has certainly gotten great help from our employees, a skilled machine operating CSA member, and even some oversight from a professional plumber.

 Ryan at our super fancy plumber's station, photo by Adam Ford.

Ryan at our super fancy plumber's station, photo by Adam Ford.

 Whatever the heck all this magic is that Ryan put together to make heat go from the boiler into the soil, bravo for specializing... I am going to keep hiding in the seed starting greenhouse where I know what to do! photo by Adam Ford.

Whatever the heck all this magic is that Ryan put together to make heat go from the boiler into the soil, bravo for specializing... I am going to keep hiding in the seed starting greenhouse where I know what to do! photo by Adam Ford.

We had hoped this would be ready and hooked up a bit over a week ago, but it's finally ready, and as of Tuesday night, he fired up the pellet boiler and has started warming the soil! Ideally we would give the soil several days to warm up from the ground pipes, but our early tomatoes are so big, and have outgrown the covers in the propagation house, so we hope to transplant them today or tomorrow.

 These are rolls of pipe that went in the ground after we harvested out that tunnel and made all our trenches with the excavator, photo by Adam Ford.

These are rolls of pipe that went in the ground after we harvested out that tunnel and made all our trenches with the excavator, photo by Adam Ford.

 Excavator in action, digging and filling in trenches once pipes are laid! photo by Ryan Fitzbeauchamp

Excavator in action, digging and filling in trenches once pipes are laid! photo by Ryan Fitzbeauchamp

If you are curious how this new system works, the simplified explanation is that we use a pellet boiler to heat water to 120 degrees. This water is traveling through 1-inch pipes that are looped 18 inches down in the soil. We bury them so deep because we want to be able to continue using our broadfork in the tunnel to always manage compaction in the soil. (If a broadfork is a new word to you, imagine it as a 3 or 4 super beefy pitchforks welded together to make a giant pitch fork with longer tines that can loosen the soil deeper down.) There are two pipes per bed in the tunnel that loop up and back. The hot water heats the soil and provides enough warmth to support the tropical tomato plants in our ridiculous northern climate. On coldest nights, we can also have the boiler send warm air into the tunnel above ground that would be circulated with our ceiling fans to keep the tunnel space warm enough for the tomatoes to thrive. 

 Morgan broadforking the tomato beds after Ryan finished filling in all the trenches and amended the soil, photo by Adam Ford

Morgan broadforking the tomato beds after Ryan finished filling in all the trenches and amended the soil, photo by Adam Ford

We have always been disinterested in using supplemental heat in our tunnels because we feel unexcited about superfluous energy use when it comes to veggie production. The whole point of what we are doing is to create a safer, healthier future for the earth, so normally burning extra fuel isn't our cup of tea. But we came around to this project because we feel comfortable with the source and use of wood pellets Also, this ability to have some earlier tomatoes will likely improve our business's profitability which we are hoping to do to be able to pay our employees more. Growing vegetables has a pretty slim margin, so it is hard within the food production sector to pay employees good wage. I am participating in a monthly workshop with female farm employers around the state, and one topic in that came up last night was around the common desire to increase employee wages, and talking about our creative ways to make our businesses more profitable to get there. It's really exciting to be a part of a group of women who have all been running a farm business close to a decade or more to discuss our common hurdles and strategies for success. 

 Sky always, always wants to be ourside! WHen it's too cold and sleety out, one of his favorite things is to climb up to the window to see what is going on outside. Don't worry, there is a hard to see Nonna in pink keeping him safe up there! photo by Adam Ford

Sky always, always wants to be ourside! WHen it's too cold and sleety out, one of his favorite things is to climb up to the window to see what is going on outside. Don't worry, there is a hard to see Nonna in pink keeping him safe up there! photo by Adam Ford

And lastly, but perhaps most flashy and exciting, I took a break from writing this newsletter to pop out and assist one of my goat's births. She just birthed super cute triplets, and I was glad I was there: the little buckling couldn't break his sac before he took a big deep breath, just breathing in fluid. After popping his sac for him, I noticed he wasn't breathing. His heart was still pumping so I had time to assist. I got his airway clear, and some good coughs, and he eventually started taking his own breaths. It was definitely the longest I have had a little babe not take his first breath, and the last few minutes before it happened, it started looking a bit bleak. But all is well, and now they are all hopping around outside. Pictures of these cuties will follow next week!

Have a great week!

-Kara and the ESF team

Shredded Carrot Salad

 photo from mommypotamus.com

photo from mommypotamus.com

1 pound carrots, shredded 

1 beet, peeled and shredded

1 bunch scallions, chopped finely (use the green and the white parts)

4 TBSP olive oil

1 TBSP lemon juice

2 TBSP white wine vinegar

2 tsp maple syrup

3-4 crushed garlic cloves

salt and pepper

1 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp parsley

1/2 tsp basil

1/4 tsp red pepper

1/4 tsp paprika

Mix all the ingredients together for a bright, delicious, Italian dressing flavored carrot salad. Great as a side dish, on sandwiches, in wraps, or on a green salad!

 

Last Week of the Winter CSA Share: March 23rd-24th

What's Available This Week

This week you can choose from yellow potatoes, fingerling potatoes, green cabbage, garlic, red onions, carrots, baby carrots, beets, rutabaga, Gilfeather turnip, spinach, meslcun mix, baby kale, and cilantro. 

 Japanese lettuce growing in the tunnel, photo by Adam Ford.

Japanese lettuce growing in the tunnel, photo by Adam Ford.

CSA Details

This is the last week of the winter share. If you haven't finished paying for it, please try to do so this week or let us know you need a different payment schedule. The Spring CSA Share starts on April 20th, so now is a good time to sign up if you are interested. There are a few weeks between the winter share and the spring share that we are offering a bridge of veggies between. Send me an email if you are interested in accessing the continuous veggies.

 We plowed snow away from the sides of the tunnels so the snow could continue to shed from the sides. With so much snow last week, the snow built up and couldn't fall away! Photo by Adam Ford.

We plowed snow away from the sides of the tunnels so the snow could continue to shed from the sides. With so much snow last week, the snow built up and couldn't fall away! Photo by Adam Ford.

Farm or Ludlow Pickup

Please use this form if you want to pick up your share at the farm or in Ludlow. Thanks!

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSewzn_VdO-qNORGtls6yuqaubDZ7mUtrc-UcSx1SSVvvKnWhQ/viewform?c=0&w=1

Farm News

Br!! It's been so cold! It's so nerve wracking to leave all our baby tomatoes in the propagation house on these nights that are below zero, but we have been doing it for years, and it works. We rely on temperature sensors that are in important places around the farm that send alerts to our phones if things are getting too cold. Even though we probably don't need to, on these cold nights, I get up to check those alerts in case I have slept through any important ones. Our sleep is messed up enough with a 1-year old, so why not wake up to check the temperature of the tomato table?!

 Ryan setting up the plumbing for the hot water bench in the propagation house, photo by Adam Ford.

Ryan setting up the plumbing for the hot water bench in the propagation house, photo by Adam Ford.

The heated bench is full of scallions, onions, leeks, shallots, salad turnips, baby bok choi, peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, celeriac, parsley, and oregano. Probably by the end of next week, as we continue to seed some of the earlier outdoor crops, the heated bench will get full and we will have to kick some of the cold tolerant crops off to make space for more warm items. It's not ideal for things like onions to get booted to the cold tables that freeze solid at night, but they can survive it, so we do it.

 Scallion starts under the plastic on the heated bench, photo by Adam Ford.

Scallion starts under the plastic on the heated bench, photo by Adam Ford.

Next week we will transplant some baby bok choi and salad turnips into the tunnels, and continue to plant thousands of seeds in trays getting ready for spring that promises to come at some point!

Have a great week!

-Kara and the ESF team

Best Roasted Potatoes Ever... for real

 photo and recipe from Serious Eats

photo and recipe from Serious Eats

Even though roasted potatoes are an easy, basic thing to make, I highly recommend trying this recipe. We made an over the top fancy dinner for Ryan's birthday, so I skeptically tried this "best roasted potato recipe ever." And it really is.

3 pounds yellow potatoes (2 items worth), cut into 1-inch chunks

1/2 tsp baking soda

2 TBSP salt

2 tsp rosemary

3-6 cloves of garlic, crushed

5 TBSP olive oil

salt and pepper

Bring 2 quarts of water to boil. Add the baking soda and 2 TBSP of salt. Add the chopped potatoes, and cook until you can just pierce them with a fork, slightly under done. Strain the potatoes, and let air dry in the strainer. Meanwhile, cook the garlic and rosemary in the olive oil over low heat in a thick bottomed pan. When the garlic starts to lightly brown, remove it from the heat. Strain the oil from the herbs, saving both. When the potatoes have air dried (for at least 10 minutes), stir the herb infused oil into the potatoes in a bowl, gently. As you stir them, you should notice that the potatoes look like they create a thin layer of "mashed potatoes" on the outside of each chunk. When the potatoes are well coated, spread them on a baking sheet and bake at 400 until they are crispy and lightly browned. Remove from the over and toss with the saved garlic and rosemary, and add salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

 

11th Week of the Winter CSA: March 16th and 17th

 Wild little Callie trying to make a break for it in the snow! photo by Adam Ford

Wild little Callie trying to make a break for it in the snow! photo by Adam Ford

What's Available This Week

This week you can choose from yellow potatoes, fingerling potatoes, green cabbage, garlic, red onions, carrots, baby carrots, beets, rutabaga, Gilfeather turnip, spinach, meslcun mix, baby kale, Japanese lettuce, and cilantro. 

 The botanical name for Japanese lettuce is "Tokyo Bikana," and is a tender, mild salad green that I use like a baby romaine leaf lettuce, photo by Adam Ford.

The botanical name for Japanese lettuce is "Tokyo Bikana," and is a tender, mild salad green that I use like a baby romaine leaf lettuce, photo by Adam Ford.

Farm or Ludlow CSA Pickup

Please use this form if you want to pick up your share at the farm or in Ludlow. Thanks!

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSewzn_VdO-qNORGtls6yuqaubDZ7mUtrc-UcSx1SSVvvKnWhQ/viewform?c=0&w=1

 The tunnel gets so hot on sunny days in the winter, when there is so much snow, and we cannot roll up the sides to cool it off. The best we can do is put this giant fan in teh front door way to pull in cold air to cool it off, photo by Adam Ford.

The tunnel gets so hot on sunny days in the winter, when there is so much snow, and we cannot roll up the sides to cool it off. The best we can do is put this giant fan in teh front door way to pull in cold air to cool it off, photo by Adam Ford.

Farm News

All our plants are moved to the propagation house and out of our bathroom, hooray! I have started the lengthy project of potting up all the tomatoes from their small cells into large cups, so they can take off from their 3-inch size, and start booming. For this early tomato plan to pan out, we have to install the used pellet boiler within a month to start heating the soil for early tomatoes. Ryan visited two other farms this weekend who use a similar ground heat system to do a bit more research before he sets up the plumbing for this big project. It's a blessing to have such a skill set on our team.... I wouldn't know where to start with setting up this boiler or getting all the tubing installed correctly in the ground. And as he focuses on that, all I have to do is pot up and take care of a couple hundred tomatoes so they are ready when he picks up his head from installing the boiler!

 Scallions popping up in their cells, photo by Adam Ford.

Scallions popping up in their cells, photo by Adam Ford.

Meanwhile, more and more seeds are growing in the propagation house. Right now we have bok choi, salad turnips, scallions, onions, shallots, leeks, hot peppers, sweet peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, tomatoes, basil, celeriac, oregano, and husk cherries eagerly growing on the heated table in there. Our ginger tubers should arrive soon, but we keep those in a special 80 degree chamber (in our bathroom, again!) for a couple months: as a tropical plant, they need to be kept extra warm.

 Irrigating the tunnel, which we do about twice a winter on a warm enough day, photo by Adam Ford.

Irrigating the tunnel, which we do about twice a winter on a warm enough day, photo by Adam Ford.

The biggest accomplishment from this week is that I finally submitted our 30+ page organic certification application! We are hoping to be certified some time this spring! We have always followed organic standards with our growing practices, and the main reason we dragged our feet in the past has been my reluctance to add more office work to my life. As our business has expanded, and our data collection and paper work has become more of a routine within the daily production of the farm, it has made sense for me to get over my paper work aversion and start compiling the records we are already keeping and submit them for certification. The main motivation at this point in the business to certify is that the Rutland Farmers' Market no longer has a certified organic vendor. Boardman Hill Farm had been certified organic for many, many years, but after they stopped doing it, we felt compelled to make sure customers had at least one certified vendor at the market. There are so many, many reasons to support the organic label, and so we took the plunge. Since our veggies are now sold to a wider audience than just people who get to know us or the farm, it felt important to have a third party approve our growing practices. As a consumer of the foods I don't grow, purchasing organic is a hard line for me, so I felt like I wanted to offer that assurance to anyone who eats our food. I could write long essays on the importance of organic agriculture, and the evolution of my thought process to join the establishment label, so perhaps you will get snippets of those ideas in future newsletters!

 Dope picture of a paw print in the snow, photo by Adam Ford

Dope picture of a paw print in the snow, photo by Adam Ford

Perhaps the other newsworthy story I keep forgetting to share with our wider community is that we are preparing to welcome another baby into our lives this July! (And I can't keep it hidden in my sweatshirt anymore.) Definitely not the best timing for our line of work, but we are excited anyway. We haven't put enough planning into how I will be able to take some time off in July to birth a child and then recover from that, but I imagine even if we don't get around to planning it as thoroughly as we are used to planning everything else, it's going to happen one way or the other! It's been fun to notice all the differences already between Sky and whoever is growing in me this time: When Sky was growing inside me, I craved all the goat milk and greens in the world, making great use of food we produce here. (And now he is a goat milk vacuum and we enjoyed a garlicky spinach salad together yesterday... He prefers the stems, but impressed me that he ate quite a bit of the leaves, too! Check out the recipe below for the dressing we were enjoying.) This new human that I am growing now wants me to consume all the tropical fruit and dark chocolate I can find. (Between being due in July, and craving tropical based food products, I don't think this baby got the memo that it's being born on a veggie farm in the northern hemisphere.) 

 Next round of mesclun mix just emerging in the high tunnels, photo by Adam Ford.

Next round of mesclun mix just emerging in the high tunnels, photo by Adam Ford.

Next week we hope to collect all the shiitake logs Ryan cut down for inoculation last week, as well as continue seeding and repotting all our baby plants. 

Have a great week!

-Kara and the ESF team

 Some of the trays on the heated table in the propagation house, photo by Adam Ford.

Some of the trays on the heated table in the propagation house, photo by Adam Ford.

Garlic Yogurt Dressing

(With all these great salad greens, we have been enjoying a salad with every meal these days, which inspires me to keep a few different dressings in the fridge to change it up each time. We especially love this dressing for it's creaminess, and garlicky-ness. Imagine it as a probiotic-infused Caesar dressing!)

 Mesclun for this yummy dressing, photo by Adam Ford

Mesclun for this yummy dressing, photo by Adam Ford

4-7 cloves of garlic (based on how much garlic you like)

1 cup olive oil

1 cup lemon juice

2 tsp maple syrup

salt and pepper

1 tsp dried parsely

2 cups yogurt

In a food processor, blend the olive oil and garlic until smooth. Add everything except the yogurt, and blend. Transfer to a jar and whisk in the yogurt. (Blending the yogurt too forcefully makes it a bit more watery.) Keeps in the fridge at least 3 weeks.

10th Week of the Winter CSA Share: March 9th-10th

  last week's cilantro bunches, photo by Adam Ford

last week's cilantro bunches, photo by Adam Ford

Weekly Availability

This week you can choose from yellow potatoes, fingerling potatoes, green cabbage, leeks, garlic, red onions, carrots, baby carrots, beets, rutabaga, Gilfeather turnip, spinach, meslcun mix, baby kale, Japanese lettuce. 

Please use this link to fill out your form to pick up a share in Ludlow or at the farm: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSewzn_VdO-qNORGtls6yuqaubDZ7mUtrc-UcSx1SSVvvKnWhQ/viewform?c=0&w=1

  fast spinning greens in the converted washing machine! photo by Adam Ford

fast spinning greens in the converted washing machine! photo by Adam Ford

Farm News

Last week, on one of those gorgeous, warm, sunny days with no wind, our power went out at 7 am. We usually assume people care about power more than us, so we didn't bother calling the power company to report the outage, assuming they got plenty of calls. After two and half hours of no power, and us starting to really need it with the seeding work we were doing in the propagation house, I decided to call and see when we were projected to have power turned back on. Well it turns out we were the only ones without power, so it's a good thing I finally decided to call! When the truck came out, the workers noticed the cause of the power outage was a squirrel who must have gotten into the transformer and got zapped. They said it happens all the time. It was wild to see, because when the squirrel got zapped, it got flung a distance and landed upright on a rock, frozen in place. It looked so alive that when a neighbor walked by it later in the day, she thought it was just frozen in place out of fear of her dog. I was sad... I know there are plenty of squirrels out there, but I can't help but think about that squirrel's sweet squirrel buddies who have no idea why he never came home...

  sorry squirrely

sorry squirrely

All of our onions, leeks, shallots, and first round of scallions are started and growing well in the propagation house, as well as all the first rounds of tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, sweet peppers, and hot peppers. Hot peppers are never really a large part of what we move through CSA or farmers' market, but Ryan and I both LOVE spicy food, and we make many variations of hot sauce in the fall. This year I am trying to up my hot sauce game, so I started a wider array of hot peppers this winter to try different flavors in the fall. If you are a spicy food lover as well, definitely be in touch in the summer if you want to make some of your own hot sauce. One spicy type we love is called a Shishito pepper. I don't use this pepper in hot sauces because it isn't reliably spicy enough for me. The best way to enjoy them is to quickly pan fry them in hot oil, and remove them before the skin chars too dark. Then you just eat them. They range from sweet to hot, so who knows what you will bite in to, but as you enjoy a plate of these wonders, you will enjoy their full flavor spectrum. 

  filling flats to seed onions, photo by Adam Ford

filling flats to seed onions, photo by Adam Ford

The greens continue to grow like wild in the tunnels. Feel free to request as many bags of greens as you want in your share. The newer plantings of greens are coming along slow and steady and will be ready for the spring share as these winter ones peter out.

  meslcun mix with new plantings of spinach to the left, photo by Adam Ford

meslcun mix with new plantings of spinach to the left, photo by Adam Ford

Early next week we will have to pot up all the earliest tomatoes into their larger containers. That means they will move from our bathroom (hooray!) out to the propagation house (brrrrr....) So we have to set up our backup heat systems to get ready to send out the all important tomatoes to the outdoor set up!

  walking in and out of the propagation house door, photo by Adam Ford

walking in and out of the propagation house door, photo by Adam Ford

Hope you have a great week!

-Kara and the ESF team

 

Sauteed Spinach with Slow Cooked Garlic

Our dear friend Hannah who worked here two years ago and her partner, Nic, came for a visit last weekend. Nic is an amazing cook, specializing in Italian food. He made the most delicious spinach dish I have literally ever eaten in my life, and I have been trying to eat it every day since then! It is so simple, but so perfect. It's a great side dish, and this volume served 4 of us as a side. (But then I made this amount for myself as my entire dinner the next night!)

  photo from Good House Keeping

photo from Good House Keeping

2 bags spinach

5-8 cloves of garlic, peeled, kept whole

olive oil

salt

Peel garlic, and toss whole cloves in a nice thick bottomed pan with olive oil. Put on low heat (uncovered), and let garlic cook slowly until it lightly browns on the outside. Then dump two bags of spinach in the pan, and cook slow, uncovered. Toss it every few minutes to cook evenly, but don't ever cover it. Once it is all wilted, add salt to taste and enjoy the best spinach ever. 

 

9th Week of the Winter CSA Share, March 2nd-3rd

This week you can choose from red potatoes, yellow potatoes, fingerling potatoes, green cabbage, leeks, garlic, red onions, carrots, baby carrots, beets, celeriac, rutabaga, Gilfeather turnip, spinach, meslcun mix, baby kale, and cilantro. (Cilantro bunches are half items, so if you only want one bunch when we pack it up, we can turn one of your other items into an item and a half, if that makes sense.)

Sky knows it's time to work in the tunnel, but that sled looks pretty enticing, photo by Adam Ford

  Lettuce reacting to the longer light, photo by Adam Ford

Lettuce reacting to the longer light, photo by Adam Ford

The high tunnel greens have started responding to the increased light of the season, and of course these mild temperatures. It's fun to watch them grow well and to start being able to harvest so many more greens each week!

This week we have been busily preparing the propagation house for the bulk spring seeding. So far, we have been starting all our spring greens and early tomatoes in our little set up in our bathroom with grow lights and heat mats, but once we start the thousands of onions and leeks and shallots seeds, it's time to have the bigger outdoor space ready. At the end of every fall season the prop house has been taken over by a big bulk fall and winter planting of pea shoots, as well as piles and piles of onion and garlic debris from when they were curing in there at the end of the summer. So our project began with emptying all the pea shoot trays and removing all the allium debris to the compost.  Then we sweep all the tables and floor area to remove older potting soil and plant debris so we can effectively sanitize the prop house to make sure we aren't starting the season with plant diseases present to infect our new baby plants. We organize the seeding station to make sure all our tools are ready and in good shape, and disinfect all our seeding trays. 

  Why walk on the driveway when I can get my boots soaking wet? photo by Adam Ford

Why walk on the driveway when I can get my boots soaking wet? photo by Adam Ford

Our seedlings are kept warm enough by lots of tiny tubes of hot water that run in loops on top of the warm table. These tubes are heated by a hot water heater, powered by our solar panels. This table has a layer of plastic that gets rolled over it to keep that area warmer than the rest of the prop house. This time of year, we fill that system back up since it is drained for the winter when we don't use it.

  washing mesclun mix, photo by Adam Ford

washing mesclun mix, photo by Adam Ford

We also turn our germination chamber back on. The germ chamber is a large chest freezer on it's side (big insulated box) that we installed racks in to store trays, and a pan of water at the bottom with a heating element, that creates steam from the pan to keep the air in the germ chamber at 70 to 80 degrees, depending on what we are germinating. 

Seeds get started by spending a few days in the germ chamber, then as soon as the first seeds pop, all the trays get moved to the table with the small hot water tubes on them for better air circulation and, most importantly, light.

  My boot doesn't taste as good as the carrots, photo by Adam Ford

My boot doesn't taste as good as the carrots, photo by Adam Ford

We are almost done cleaning and setting up the prop house, but we have already started a few trays of bok choi and salad turnips. And any day now we will start our onion seeds!

Next week we hope to start harvesting logs for shiitake mushroom inoculation.  It is best to harvest logs when their sap runs are most active, which is the late winter/early spring window... essentially the same as maple sugar season, so now! We take down maples and oaks, and cut them into 4 foot sections, and then begin inoculating the 200 new logs anytime between now and late April. We wish there was a little more freezing so that when we head into the woods, we don't muck up the ground much with equipment, so we usually save this project for a couple hours every morning after a hard freeze, and then stop before the ground gets too soft. 

  Ryan harvesting mesclun mix, photo by Adam Ford

Ryan harvesting mesclun mix, photo by Adam Ford

It certainly feels like we haven't finished wrapping up last season, but this season is eagerly and persistently getting it's running start into the chaos of spring that will unfold before we  realize what's happening!

Have a great week!

 

Early Spring Lunch Wrap

  photo from Joy Food Sunshine

photo from Joy Food Sunshine

  • 2-3 carrots, cut lengthwise into 2-inch long pieces

  • 2-3 beets, cut lengthwise into 2-inch long pieces

  • 1 leek, cut lengthwise into 2-inch long pieces

  • Sauekraut (optional, but so good)

  • Greens (mesclun or spinach)

  • Olive oil

  • Balsamic vinegar

  • Salt and pepper

  • Your favorite cheese, grated, crumbled, or sliced, optional

  • Large tortilla wraps

Toss sliced veggies with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. Roast at 400 until lightly browned, tossing as needing. Let veggies cool to room temperature. (These store great in the fridge for awhile, so feel free to make a larger batch for future sandwiches.) Lay your wrap out, and decorate with greens, sauerkraut, cheese, and roasted veggies. Wrap up and enjoy!

 

9th Week of the Winter CSA Share, March 2nd-3rd

This week you can choose from red potatoes, yellow potatoes, fingerling potatoes, green cabbage, leeks, garlic, red onions, carrots, baby carrots, beets, celeriac, rutabaga, Gilfeather turnip, spinach, meslcun mix, baby kale, and cilantro. (Cilantro bunches are half items, so if you only want one bunch when we pack it up, we can turn one of your other items into an item and a half, if that makes sense.)

 Sky knows it's time to work in the tunnel, but that sled looks pretty enticing, photo by Adam Ford

Sky knows it's time to work in the tunnel, but that sled looks pretty enticing, photo by Adam Ford

The high tunnel greens have started responding to the increased light of the season, and of course these mild temperatures. It's fun to watch them grow well and to start being able to harvest so many more greens each week!

 lettuce reacting to the longer light, photo by Adam Ford

lettuce reacting to the longer light, photo by Adam Ford

This week we have been busily preparing the propagation house for the bulk spring seeding. So far, we have been starting all our spring greens and early tomatoes in our little set up in our bathroom with grow lights and heat mats, but once we start the thousands of onions and leeks and shallots seeds, it's time to have the bigger outdoor space ready. At the end of every fall season the prop house has been taken over by a big bulk fall and winter planting of pea shoots, as well as piles and piles of onion and garlic debris from when they were curing in there at the end of the summer. So our project began with emptying all the pea shoot trays and removing all the allium debris to the compost.  Then we sweep all the tables and floor area to remove older potting soil and plant debris so we can effectively sanitize the prop house to make sure we aren't starting the season with plant diseases present to infect our new baby plants. We organize the seeding station to make sure all our tools are ready and in good shape, and disinfect all our seeding trays. 

 Why walk on the driveway when I can get my boots soaking wet? photo by Adam Ford

Why walk on the driveway when I can get my boots soaking wet? photo by Adam Ford

Our seedlings are kept warm enough by lots of tiny tubes of hot water that run in loops on top of the warm table. These tubes are heated by a hot water heater, powered by our solar panels. This table has a layer of plastic that gets rolled over it to keep that area warmer than the rest of the prop house. This time of year, we fill that system back up since it is drained for the winter when we don't use it.

 washing mesclun mix, photo by Adam Ford

washing mesclun mix, photo by Adam Ford

We also turn our germination chamber back on. The germ chamber is a large chest freezer on it's side (big insulated box) that we installed racks in to store trays, and a pan of water at the bottom with a heating element, that creates steam from the pan to keep the air in the germ chamber at 70 to 80 degrees, depending on what we are germinating. 

Seeds get started by spending a few days in the germ chamber, then as soon as the first seeds pop, all the trays get moved to the table with the small hot water tubes on them for better air circulation and, most importantly, light.

 My boot doesn't taste as good as the carrots, photo by Adam Ford

My boot doesn't taste as good as the carrots, photo by Adam Ford

We are almost done cleaning and setting up the prop house, but we have already started a few trays of bok choi and salad turnips. And any day now we will start our onion seeds!

Next week we hope to start harvesting logs for shiitake mushroom inoculation.  It is best to harvest logs when their sap runs are most active, which is the late winter/early spring window... essentially the same as maple sugar season, so now! We take down maples and oaks, and cut them into 4 foot sections, and then begin inoculating the 200 new logs anytime between now and late April. We wish there was a little more freezing so that when we head into the woods, we don't muck up the ground much with equipment, so we usually save this project for a couple hours every morning after a hard freeze, and then stop before the ground gets too soft. 

 Ryan harvesting mesclun mix, photo by Adam Ford

Ryan harvesting mesclun mix, photo by Adam Ford

It certainly feels like we haven't finished wrapping up last season, but this season is eagerly and persistently getting it's running start into the chaos of spring that will unfold before we  realize what's happening!

Have a great week!

 

Early Spring Lunch Wrap

 photo from Joy Food Sunshine

photo from Joy Food Sunshine

  • 2-3 carrots, cut lengthwise into 2-inch long pieces

  • 2-3 beets, cut lengthwise into 2-inch long pieces

  • 1 leek, cut lengthwise into 2-inch long pieces

  • Sauekraut (optional, but so good)

  • Greens (mesclun or spinach)

  • Olive oil

  • Balsamic vinegar

  • Salt and pepper

  • Your favorite cheese, grated, crumbled, or sliced, optional

  • Large tortilla wraps

Toss sliced veggies with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. Roast at 400 until lightly browned, tossing as needing. Let veggies cool to room temperature. (These store great in the fridge for awhile, so feel free to make a larger batch for future sandwiches.) Lay your wrap out, and decorate with greens, sauerkraut, cheese, and roasted veggies. Wrap up and enjoy!

 

2017 CSA Info is Up! Plus a farm update...

We are hoping that you find our brand new website (thanks for your help Katie Hamlin!) easier to use, and as requested by many folks, the newsletters we send out to members will also be archived there so you can look for old recipes that you enjoyed during the season.

And most excitingly, we have our 2017 CSA options listed on the site for our spring, summer, and fall options. 

Snow covered field, cover crops and fall brassicas. Photo by Adam Ford

Shiitake mushroom log stacks covered under the snow. Photo by Adam Ford

Farm News

This time of year our days are filled with a surprising amount of office work: ordering seeds, supplies, soil amendments, posting job openings, making a new website, getting our brochure out, writing budgets, planning projects, attending conferences, and strategizing on improving growing methods for certain crops.

Some of the things we want to tackle in this upcoming season include:

  • establish a reliable backup heat source for our seed starting green house,
  • keep making improvements on our crop production
  • experiment with growing oyster mushrooms on logs
  • replace plastic on our high tunnels
  • improve some irrigation systems
  • experiment with more grafted tomatoes
  • continue to experiment with tiny amounts of exciting crops that may one day be rolled out for larger production on our farm
  • hopefully (and finally!) finish filling out our organic certification paperwork)
 Sky overseeing the work of washing winter greens on a sunny January day.

Sky overseeing the work of washing winter greens on a sunny January day.

And also raise a little human--Sky Lyon Fitzbeauchamp.  

The other major thing we work on this time of year besides planning and repairing things is harvesting firewood. This winter we are trying to significantly ramp up our harvesting to be ready for whatever wood heating system we establish for our seed starting greenhouse. Our chainsaws may be working overtime this winter!

We hope you are all doing well. Let us know if you have any questions about this year's CSA options. We are still offering $10 off the summer share price if you pay in full by April 1st. 

Have a great week, and we hope you eat well!

-Kara and the ESF team

 Sky sleeping on our friend's daughter

Sky sleeping on our friend's daughter