5th Week of the Summer CSA: July 12th-13th

What's Available

This week you can choose from new red potatoes, beets, baby lettuce mix, baby arugula, baby bok choi, salad turnips, scallions, bunched green curly kale, bunched lacinato kale, bunched rainbow chard, basil, cucumbers, zucchini, summer squash, shiitake mushrooms, garlic scapes, snap peas, fresh garlic, french filet green beans, heirloom tomatoes, and cherry tomatoes!

 Zuke with its blossom still on it, photo by Adam Ford

Zuke with its blossom still on it, photo by Adam Ford

I believe there will be enough tomatoes for everyone this week that you don't need to limit yourself to one pint or pound. We aren't completely rolling in them yet, but they are coming on a bit more than last week. 

I may have already mentioned how we have leaf miner issues this year that affects our beets, chard, and spinach. The most obvious way this will present itself is by having more beets without tops. The leaf miner make a great mess of those beautiful tops, which is a super shame, but that's this year's challenge:( 

 I love walking by the buckwheat cover crop and listening to the buzzing of busy honey bees... I also love knowing their commute is shortened when it's in bloom! photo by Adam Ford

I love walking by the buckwheat cover crop and listening to the buzzing of busy honey bees... I also love knowing their commute is shortened when it's in bloom! photo by Adam Ford

Bulk Availability

As items start producing in large enough quantities that we can wholesale them, we will let you know in case you have any interest in preserving any items in larger quantities. This week we have cucumbers, zucchini, and summer squash available for $2 per pound at 5 pounds or more, and $1.50/pound at 10 pounds or more. So if you make pickles, or freeze shredded or stuffed zucchini for the winter, now is a great time to jump on those items. Just shoot me an email and I will have it packed up. 

 Peter and Morgan helping with chores when I really needed the extra hand, photo by Adam Ford

Peter and Morgan helping with chores when I really needed the extra hand, photo by Adam Ford

CSA Details

You can pick up your summer share at the farm on Thursdays and Fridays from 8 am to 7 pm. If you are new to coming to the farm, use "680 Shunpike Road, Shrewsbury VT 05738" to get to our driveway.  You can pick up your share from the Ludlow Farmers' Market on Fridays from 4 pm to 7 pm on the front lawn of the Okemo Mountain School right on Route 103, just south of down town. You can pick up your share from the Rutland Farmers' Market on Saturdays from 9 am to 2 pm, right downtown by the Walmart parking lot.

 I can never get enough pictures of plant tendrils, photo by Adam Ford

I can never get enough pictures of plant tendrils, photo by Adam Ford

Farm News

I will be totally honest with you all this week: Our website platform deleted the newsletter I finished writing before I put the pictures in, so I am going to write a cliff notes version of what's up around here this week, since it's getting late, and I need to get to some of my stretches to keep trying to flip this breech baby!

 Sam, Morgan, and Peter enjoying the concert at the farm on Saturday, photo by Adam Ford

Sam, Morgan, and Peter enjoying the concert at the farm on Saturday, photo by Adam Ford

Cliff notes: Our team still rocks at getting farm projects done. We are catching up on a lot of tomato trellising this week. They grow so fast this time of year, and take a lot of attention to keep under control and healthy. They also transplanted a bunch of fall plantings and a late planting of zucchini that we have kick in after the first plantings peters off. The heat killed most of our germinating fall storage carrots, so Ryan re-seeded that planting early in the week. It's a bit of a bummer they will be this far behind, so we will experiment with covering them with row cover after they are well established to see if that cover will help give them a jump to get closer to catching up to where they should be. The heat also zapped a few weeks of pea shoots, but we think we are on top of it now, and we should see them again for harvest in a week or so. The winter squash plants are turning into a beautiful carpet of green vines and large leaves. I love watching that patch grow. I love watching the peppers grow this year, and hope the heat means we will have some awesome hot peppers later in the season. Next week we will catch up on some weeding if the tomato trellising is under control, and continue to keep up on our weekly transplantings! And hopefully my newsletter won't get deleted so you will get a more colorful update. Have a great week!

-ESF Team: Kara, Ryan, Mikayla, Sam, Peter, Shain, Taylor, and Morgan

Recipe

Grilled Zucchini Ribbons With Pesto And White Beans

 image from Smittenkitchen.com

image from Smittenkitchen.com

This recipe is from Smitten Kitchen which is a food website I LOVE to find new recipes on. If you are unfamiliar with it, check it out. You can also search it with a vegetable to get ideas for any veggies you may pick up in your CSA. 

1  1/2 pounds zucchini or summer squash

olive oil

salt and pepper

1 TBSP lemon juice

1 can white beans

2 cloves garlic, peeled

bag of basil

1 to 2 TBSP white wine vinegar

parmesan cheese, grated

Slice zucchini lengthwise 1/4-inch thick strips. Arrange on a tray with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Grill the zucchini on both sides until there are grill marks on them. Return to platter, and sprinkle lemon juice on them. In a food processor combine basil, garlic, a pinch or two of salt, and drizzle in olive oil until it blends smooth. Add 1 TBSP of the vinegar, blend, taste, and add another TBSP of vinegar if you want a brighter acidic flavor to it. Combine beans with the pesto dressing in a large bowl. Fold in the grilled zucchini. Grate parmesan over the whole bowl, and enjoy!

 

4th Week Summer CSA: July 5th-7th

What's Available

This week you can choose from yellow potatoes, new red potatoes, beets with greens, microgreens, lettuce heads, baby lettuce mix, baby arugula, baby bok choi, salad turnips, scallions, bunched green curly kale, bunched lacinato kale, bunched rainbow chard, baby chard, kohlrabi, basil, cucumbers, zucchini, summer squash, shiitake mushrooms, garlic scapes, snap peas, heirloom tomatoes, and cherry tomatoes!

 ripening cherry tomatoes on the vine, photo by Adam Ford

ripening cherry tomatoes on the vine, photo by Adam Ford

The tomatoes are just starting to roll in, so for this week, try to limit yourself to either a pint of cherry tomatoes or a pound of heirlooms so that everyone can get some this first week. In the coming weeks there will be a bounty, but the first harvest is always small. The type of peas we grow are an edible pod pea, so you can eat the whole thing. If kohlrabi is new to you, give it a shot, we LOVE it! It's got a flavor somewhere between an apple and broccoli. It's most commonly eaten raw, sliced or grate over salad or in slices with dip, but they are exceptional roasted or grilled as well. 

 peas getting plump on their vines, photo by Adam Ford

peas getting plump on their vines, photo by Adam Ford

CSA Details

You can pick up your summer share at the farm on Thursdays and Fridays from 8 am to 7 pm. If you are new to coming to the farm, use "680 Shunpike Road, Shrewsbury VT 05738" to get to our driveway.  You can pick up your share from the Ludlow Farmers' Market on Fridays from 4 pm to 7 pm on the front lawn of the Okemo Mountain School right on Route 103, just south of down town. You can pick up your share from the Rutland Farmers' Market on Saturdays from 9 am to 2 pm, right downtown by the Walmart parking lot.

 firewood for a zillion winters, photo by Adam Ford (this was a stack of about 16 cords of wood that Ryan harvested last year when we thought we were going to go the route of cord wood boiler for the tunnels. After much research and planning, we went with the pellet boiler, and now have our firewood for quite some time. All was cut, split, and stacked in one day with the help of a CSA member!

firewood for a zillion winters, photo by Adam Ford (this was a stack of about 16 cords of wood that Ryan harvested last year when we thought we were going to go the route of cord wood boiler for the tunnels. After much research and planning, we went with the pellet boiler, and now have our firewood for quite some time. All was cut, split, and stacked in one day with the help of a CSA member!

Farm News

Holy cow, it's been hot! The heat killed this week's pea shoots, and potentially next week's, but everything else is doing well, even the farmers. We were able to have the crew do our weekly greenhouse seeding in the cool of the root cellar, which was super nice. We are using the heat to hopefully jump on a bunch of weeding that needs to happen, and Ryan was able to hill the later potatoes that needed that attention. This time of year he always does a re-evaluation of the fields and where fall plantings will be put in, in case weather, weed pressure, disease, or anything else dictates a need to deviate from the original crop plan set out in the winter. We have many transplants ready and eager to go out, but with this heat, we are going to wait a little bit on them. Next week we may need to play catch up on transplants and trellising, because it's kind of awful to be in the tunnels in the weather.

 Ryan seeding the next round of fast brassicas, photo by Adam Ford

Ryan seeding the next round of fast brassicas, photo by Adam Ford

Ryan and I were super lucky to be able to take this weekend off to visit friends at the beach! Any time away from here is the greatest gift our team gives us, and they expertly held down all aspects of the farm for us to have this luxury. Special shout out to Peter and Morgan for staying at the farm and caring for all the animals, baby plants, and fruiting crops over the weekend. 

 Sky LOVES the beach.. mostly runs in and out of the waves and laughs, but he also finds time to eat sand and climb on papa, photo by Sarina Partridge

Sky LOVES the beach.. mostly runs in and out of the waves and laughs, but he also finds time to eat sand and climb on papa, photo by Sarina Partridge

Two weeks ago, we started profiling our crew members, and we will do someone new every few weeks. This week, meet Taylor!

 Taylor harvesting cukes, selfie by Taylor Morneau

Taylor harvesting cukes, selfie by Taylor Morneau

Taylor is a Wellness Advocate for doTERRA Essential Oils and certified in their AromaTouch Technique.She books treatment appointments at Right to Wellness Center in Rutland when she isn't farming or mom-ing. She joined the Evening Song Farm team this spring when we realized we needed a bit more part time help. It was a huge relief to add an extra teammate, especially since she came with so much farming experience, and leadership experience at the Rutland co-op. Her fluency of both farming and retailing produce is an awesome combination to add to the team.  

 microgreens in different stages of growth in the propagation house, photo by Adam Ford

microgreens in different stages of growth in the propagation house, photo by Adam Ford

Taylor says she is interested in farming because "growing food is essential to life. Being part of a farm crew has become one of my favorite places to be. I love food, nature and people!" She goes on to say the "teamwork of wonderful people in nature, combined with providing nourishment to the community is one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had in a work environment." She says the most challenging part of farming is the workout, but that to her it's "more of an added bonus, not necessarily a challenge." (I can totally relate to that! Having to work these fields daily, especially walking up and down the steeper fields keeps me strong and mobile, even at 37 weeks pregnant, and huge!) We are lucky to have jobs that aren't sedentary.

 Ripe! photo by Adam Ford

Ripe! photo by Adam Ford

When asked if she sees farming in her future, Taylor says, "As a mom of three, I’m never certain what the future holds, but I’m now on my 7th season of farming and definitely open to more!" As you have heard me talk about, I love asking people the silliest thing they have done farming before they had much experience. I am always looking for those wild stories, like the time a farmer gave me a packet of broccoli seeds, he asked to to seed in a row, and I had no idea the plants need 2 feet each, so I scattered the whole packet withing about 3 feet. Whoops! At this point, Taylor has a lot of experience, she was just new to our systems, so she said the most ridiculous thing she has done here was forgetting that we drain baby bok choi in bins with drain holes, and then storing the washed bok choi in the cooler on top of a bin of dried, spun greens. I'm not gonna lie, I have done waaaaaaaay stupider things, Taylor.

 Mikayla and Sam weeding a carrot planting, photo by Adam Ford

Mikayla and Sam weeding a carrot planting, photo by Adam Ford

When asked about cooking with produce she says, "Soups, stir frys and roasted veggies are my favorite things to cook with fresh veggies. Also, salad, salad and more salad!" 

Hope you all have a great week, and get to do some swimming in this heat! That's the only thing I like about it!

 Sam and Shain bunching rainbow chard, photo by Adam Ford

Sam and Shain bunching rainbow chard, photo by Adam Ford

-ESF Team: Kara, Ryan, Taylor, Shain, Peter, Morgan, Mikayla, and Sam

 

Kohlrabi Fries

 image from jrorganicsfarm.com

image from jrorganicsfarm.com

2 kohlrabi bulbs, peeled, and cut into strips

1 TBSP olive oil

1 tsp lemon juice

1 TBSP flour

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp chili powder

Toss kohlrabi with olive oil and lemon juice. Mix flour, salt, cumin, and chili powder together, then toss that mixture in with the kohlrabi. Spread on a baking sheet, and bake at 425 for 30 minutes, or when lightly browned, flipping halfway through.

 

3rd Week of the Summer CSA: June 28th-30th

What's Available This Week

This week you can choose from yellow potatoes, new red potatoes, beets with greens, lettuce heads, baby lettuce mix, baby arugula, baby bok choi, salad turnips, scallions, baby green curly kale, baby lacinato kale, bunched green curly kale, bunched lacinato kale, baby chard, basil, pea shoots, cucumbers, zucchini, shiitake mushrooms, and garlic scapes.

 I can never get enough of these beautiful pictures of cover crops. This is a field of about 4 species of cover crops, but you are mostly able to see the beautiful buckwheat. Our bees say thank you! photo by Adam Ford

I can never get enough of these beautiful pictures of cover crops. This is a field of about 4 species of cover crops, but you are mostly able to see the beautiful buckwheat. Our bees say thank you! photo by Adam Ford

CSA Details

You can pick up your summer share at the farm on Thursdays and Fridays from 8 am to 7 pm. If you are new to coming to the farm, use "680 Shunpike Road, Shrewsbury VT 05738" to get to our driveway.  You can pick up your share from the Ludlow Farmers' Market on Fridays from 4 pm to 7 pm on the front lawn of the Okemo Mountain School right on Route 103, just south of down town. You can pick up your share from the Rutland Farmers' Market on Saturdays from 9 am to 2 pm, right downtown by the Walmart parking lot.

 beets eeking out a life in that dry sol, photo by Adam Ford

beets eeking out a life in that dry sol, photo by Adam Ford

Farm News

I was driving through New Hampshire this weekend, and I passed an idyllic farm stand. Their gardens were beautiful, right behind the stand.  There looked like there were some pick your own veggies, flowers, and maybe even some herbs, and people were working in the gardens at a lovely, calm "day away from the city" pace. You can obviously never know what the economic engine of a farm is by driving by in a couple seconds, but it made me start thinking about the image of farming versus the reality of farming. It's possible the entire farm was right there behind the stand. Or it's possible that farm has 30 acres of veggies in a different location with a large crew with a fast paced work environment, where if you aren't bunching 3 bunches of kale per minute, you are cut from that task, and maybe then risking your job on the farm.

 These trellis rollers are how we lean and lower our cucumbers and tomatoes so they can grow wild and tall through the whole season. Most plants are at least 8 feet by now, so we have already had to lower them, photo by Adam Ford

These trellis rollers are how we lean and lower our cucumbers and tomatoes so they can grow wild and tall through the whole season. Most plants are at least 8 feet by now, so we have already had to lower them, photo by Adam Ford

Culturally, we expect farms to be these beautiful, calm places, where you can get away from the chaos and congestion of life. And sometimes that is true. There are farms who earn their living through agritourism, welcoming folks to the farm for visits, overnights, meals, tours, etc. This expectation can be more pronounced in urban and suburban areas: I grew up in busy, busy north Jersey, and got to go to a sleepaway farm camp in the summers waaaaaay out in Pennsylvania. It was so divine! It was everything I believed a farm was: cows, chickens, creeks, hay fields, fun, fresh food, free time, time to explore, leisure time to get my hands in the dirt, swimming in a pond! In reality, agritourism represents significantly less than a percent of farms in the US, though, which means most other farms are running their business by selling a product, versus an experience. One is not better than another, they are just very different. Though we want to imagine farms as somewhat of an escape from the stresses of modern life, the realities are often different from those cultural images.

 weekly staff meeting.. the pregnant lady insists on sitting in the shade, which is where their serious glances are fixed on, photo by Adam Ford

weekly staff meeting.. the pregnant lady insists on sitting in the shade, which is where their serious glances are fixed on, photo by Adam Ford

I cannot speak with enough knowledge of what a farm job is like on a giant corporate farm, which still accounts for over 95% of the food in our national food system. I do know that most rely on guest workers, they are highly mechanized, they are dangerous, they are low paying jobs, and there is literally no time to stop and smell the flowers. (There wouldn't be flowers anyway, because anything besides the one or two crops that farm is harvesting would have been eradicated.) But even on a small scale farm like ours, the work of farming is often more like a giant farm, than an agritourist farm. I would love to have the time to make our farm a bit prettier around the barn and main visible areas, but unfortunately, having a tidy working farm doesn't pay any of our expenses. 

 green bean flower, photo by Adam Ford

green bean flower, photo by Adam Ford

During our work time on the farm, we move quickly from place to place, we are constantly analyzing how we are doing a task to see if it can be done more efficiently. We keep data on production costs to know how to charge for products based on our cost of getting food from seed to display. If we aren't constantly moving quickly and efficiently, it would make the costs of the food rise, and in the US, where we spend the lowest percentage of our income on food compared to other countries, we don't have the leeway to slow down. As it is, locally grown and certified organic produce can already have a higher price tab than conventional supermarket food. (I say "can" because stay tuned for a few weeks from now when I write about food cost myths and realities!) So these are all tensions that run through farming: to keep food prices as low as possible while paying all the farm bills, to keep the work pace as efficient as possible while respecting and valuing our team, and to fulfill that cultural expectation of farms being a beautiful place to come and breathe. 

 tomato jungle this week, photo by Adam Ford

tomato jungle this week, photo by Adam Ford

Don't get me wrong, those are all our goals! (If we didn't value our farm being a beautiful place to come and breathe, we wouldn't have an on-farm pickup!) It's just fascinating to me to sit on a long car drive and think about all the ways farms operate, and all the social expectations that are often at odds with each other. The gift for us, is that we can be some of all of that: We don't fire people when they can't bunch 3 bunches of kale in a minute, even though we do focus on efficiency. And we do value having our farm fulfill that role of being an outdoor space that is cared for and respected through conscious stewardship, and attention to biodiversity.

 Alright tomatoes, we heated your soil starting in April, let's get some ripening, photo by Adam Ford

Alright tomatoes, we heated your soil starting in April, let's get some ripening, photo by Adam Ford

It also helps me visualize potentially happier, more valued farm workers when I buy an $8 quart of strawberries, versus worrying about someone getting their hand mangled off in an onion topper machine if I were to buy super cheap, supermarket onions. There are places for both of these food purchases, and not all of us have the luxury to splurge on $8 strawberries, and pass on cheap onions. I feel that reality. It is a reality for some people all the time, and some people some of the time, that we need to access the corporate food system to feed our families. There is nothing wrong with that. And by learning and knowing more about our food system (which I love doing all the time!), we have the power as conscious consumers to gently push the food system to blending those dual expectations of affordable food with beautiful farms.

 Garlic scapes ready to be harvested, photo by Adam Ford

Garlic scapes ready to be harvested, photo by Adam Ford

After all, I believe beautiful farms, like the one I drove past in New Hampshire, are the future of a healthier earth. Where the land is taken care of, and workers of all industries, not just the food sector, don't have to run around at a fast pace to earn their minimum wage salary. I know I sound like a tremendous idealist, but to paraphrase a great farmer, Greg Cox, of Boardman Hill Farm in West Rutland, farmers are inherently optimists. We believe in a more perfect future. Otherwise we wouldn't start over every year, tucking those little onions seeds into their trays in the winter, even if our onion crop was an abysmal failure the year before. So that extends beyond our farm beliefs: I believe that as a society we will be able to expand our charitable and affordable food systems while still improving the conditions for the earth and farm workers. By being a part of a CSA, you may believe that as well :)

 Check out THAT biodiversity:) Grasshopper in the lettuce, photo by Adam Ford

Check out THAT biodiversity:) Grasshopper in the lettuce, photo by Adam Ford

As far as this farm this week, our crew got all our onions, shallots, and most of our leeks weeded this week. We are hoping to do a bunch of other weeding and hoeing to catch up on some runaway crops, and then tuck in some mid-season transplants. I cannot believe we are already seeding winter storage beets.... Just last week we were selling the end of last year's winter storage beets. I love farming cycles!

 weeded (slow growing) leeks, photo by Adam Ford

weeded (slow growing) leeks, photo by Adam Ford

Hope you have a fantastic week!

-ESF Team: Kara, Ryan, Morgan, Peter, Mikayla, Taylor, Shain, and Sam

 

Roasted Garlic Scapes

 image from www.weekendatthecottage.com

image from www.weekendatthecottage.com

Scapes are available for such a short season, and we LOVE them. So I try to use them a zillion ways while they are here. There is literally nothing else like them, and nothing like using them fresh. Try this super simple recipe for delicious scapes.

2 bunches of garlic scapes, chopped into 2-inch chunks

1 TBSP olive oil

salt and pepper

Toss all the ingredients together, and spread on a baking tray. Bake at 350, turning once or twice, until they start to lightly crunch or get lightly browned. Remove and enjoy! (You can also do these on the grill by not chopping them in advance, grilling them whole, and then chopping them up before serving.)

 

 

2nd Week of the Summer CSA: June 21st-23rd

What's Available This Week

This week you can choose from yellow potatoes, carrots, beets, lettuce heads, baby lettuce mix, baby arugula, baby bok choi, red radishes, salad turnips, rhubarb, green garlic, scallions, cilantro, baby kale, baby lacinato kale, bunched green curly kale, bunched lacinato kale, baby chard, basil, pea shoots, cucumbers, shiitake mushrooms, garlic scapes, and plant starts for your garden.  This will be the last week of plant starts, so take what you want this week!

 Ryan did the first round of hilling potateos before a big thunderstorm would have made this garden too wet to get in there with the tractor, photo by Adam Ford

Ryan did the first round of hilling potateos before a big thunderstorm would have made this garden too wet to get in there with the tractor, photo by Adam Ford

CSA Details

You can pick up your summer share at the farm on Thursdays and Fridays from 8 am to 7 pm. If you are new to coming to the farm, use "680 Shunpike Road, Shrewsbury VT 05738" to get to our driveway. Then pull up to the barn. Enter the barn up the ramp, check off your name on the right as you walk in. Non-refrigerated items will be on display as you walk in. Everything else will be displayed in the walk in cooler. Walk into the barn, and make a left, and you will see the big door. We have two very sweet dogs, one who is poorly behaved and may jump on you despite all our best efforts. We apologize in advance if she jumps on you. The other dog is super sweet as well, but can have an intimidating bark if you haven't met him. Neither of these dogs will pose a danger to you or your kiddos. 

 I love this photo of Peter packing one of the tents into the van before market... I feel like packing our market van is a higher stakes game of tetris, photo by Adam Ford.

I love this photo of Peter packing one of the tents into the van before market... I feel like packing our market van is a higher stakes game of tetris, photo by Adam Ford.

You can pick up your share from the Ludlow Farmers' Market on Fridays from 4 pm to 7 pm on the front lawn of the Okemo Mountain School right on Route 103, just south of down town. Heads up that the market has a strict policy of selling before the bell rings at 4 pm. Even though you aren't buying things and just picking out your share, coming early can apparently still jeopardize the market's permit, so do your best to come after 4 pm.

 Morgan and Peter working on other parts of that tetris game, photo by Adam Ford

Morgan and Peter working on other parts of that tetris game, photo by Adam Ford

You can pick up your share from the Rutland Farmers' Market on Saturdays from 9 am to 2 pm, right downtown by the Walmart parking lot.

Thank you for your summer CSA payments last week. If you have not paid your deposit, plus the first half of your share, and you haven't planned an alternate payment schedule with me, try to get those payments in this week. Thank you!

 I can't put my finger on what I love so much about this picture, perhaps the light, perhaps the chaos of our barn on the wya to the cooler to pick up your veggies.. who knows, photo by Adam Ford.

I can't put my finger on what I love so much about this picture, perhaps the light, perhaps the chaos of our barn on the wya to the cooler to pick up your veggies.. who knows, photo by Adam Ford.

Farm News

Early this week we replaced a bunch of eggplant starts in one of the tunnel beds, because the voles have made their advances on our tunnel crops finally. Usually they create so much more damage and havoc earlier in the season, but now they are out, taking down the eggplant and green beans. We had enough backup plants to replace eggplant, but we have to plant a later planting of green beans, thanks to these little trouble makers. 

 one of our hives on the edge of a wild flower field, photo by Adam Ford

one of our hives on the edge of a wild flower field, photo by Adam Ford

We finally got our peas trellised! We also kept on top of the weekly transplantings that needed to go in. We are bummed we have to keep row covers on all our beets and chard now, thanks to our new neighbors, the leaf miners. It feels like soon the whole farm will exist under floating white row cover!

 vetch in one of the cover crop mixes in the field, photo by Adam Ford

vetch in one of the cover crop mixes in the field, photo by Adam Ford

Our cover cropped fields continue to come in nicely, and we are eagerly watching so many fruiting crops set flowers for the future, like zucchini, peppers, and eggplant. Our early tomato plants look amazing, and we continue to trellis them... heavily pruning their bottom leaves, lowering them down, trellising the growing tips, and removing suckers. We are just as eager as you all to start seeing some substantial ripening on these wonders, which we imagine will be in just a couple short weeks. 

 water on lacinato kale, photo by Adam Ford

water on lacinato kale, photo by Adam Ford

We thought it would be fun to introduce our CSA to our fantastic farm crew. Many of you have been with us since our first year (wow!), and have gotten to know Ryan and I pretty well. But there is so much more to this operation than the two of us. We often call our crew the most important farm tool. We couldn't run such a fun vegetable circus without all the hard work and commitment of everyone that works here, and we are grateful to find such lovely people to spend our time with. So every couple weeks, we will profile one of our crew members so you can learn a little bit about who is growing all this food.

 shiitake mushrooms on a log, photo by Adam Ford

shiitake mushrooms on a log, photo by Adam Ford

Meet Shain! Shain joined the ESF team last fall when we needed more part time help, and has been working with us every since. It's always cool for people to work through the winter season with us to see all the ways this farm produces food during the different seasons. This season Shain has been a pro at managing the bulk of the tomato trellising as well as the shiitake yard. He has been in charge of soaking, stacking, harvesting, and restacking the log rotation. When describing why Shain is interested in farming, he says: "Through farming I feel I gain a better sense of my own physical limitations and abilities, and how others own unique abilities compliment my own. Growing different foods involves many different skill sets, which is teaching me that each person has their own approach to learning and overcoming challenges. I think that farming also requires a good bit of open communication and self reflection; both of which I see as beneficial for developing humans!" Shain finds it amazing to watch the fields fill up with plantings over multiple weeks. He adds, "even more rewarding is seeing how our team becomes more and more responsive to challenges every day." 

 we cover the winter squash field to protect from quash beetles and to give them a little jump on the season, photo by Adam Ford.

we cover the winter squash field to protect from quash beetles and to give them a little jump on the season, photo by Adam Ford.

When Ryan and I started farming, we did some pretty ridiculous things from being so inexperienced, such as transplanting several trays of poison hemlock that we thought were cilantro back when we lived at our student run farm at college! We love talking about those early farming snafus with our team. Shain says that the most ridiculous learning moment from a farming mistake that he has made was pulling up a bed full of asparagus crowns thinking they were weed rhizomes! That's a pretty awesome one, Shain, (easy for me to say since it wasn't here!), and also makes a ton of sense... And good news is that snafu didn't nearly kill anyone, like our hemlock project. But now I am sure he is familiar with asparagus!

 Shain tucking broccoli transplants into the ground, photo by Adam Ford.

Shain tucking broccoli transplants into the ground, photo by Adam Ford.

Even though Shain spends a LOT of time farming these days, he is also super involved in the Manchester skate park fundraising initiative. If you want to check out that work, you can go to:  https://www.gofundme.com/ManchSkatepark In his shout out to that project, Shain says, "People learn so much from utilizing diverse outlets for recreation!"

Check out future newsletters to meet the many other great humans we work with, and have a great week!

-ESF Team: Kara, Ryan, Shain, Sam, Taylor, Peter, Morgan, and Mikayla

Herbed Potato Salad

 image from seriouseats.com, but I prefer the ptoatoes cut into smaller cubes

image from seriouseats.com, but I prefer the ptoatoes cut into smaller cubes

Surely there are a few other people out there like myself who are terrified of mayonnaise. If that's true for you, you will love this summer recipe!

1 1/2 pounds potatoes, cubed into bit sized pieces

2 green garlic stalks, chopped finely

4 scallions, chopped finely

2 tsp dill (fresh or dried)

1 bunch finely chopped parsley (optional)

salt and pepper

3 TBSP olive oil

1 TBSP lemon juice

1 TBSP red wine vinegar

1 TBSP spicy mustard

1/2 tsp maple syrup

Steam potatoes for about 8-12 minutes, or until just able to pierce with a fork. (Try not to overcooked.) Meanwhile, whisk together all the other ingredients. Combine with potatoes in a bowl and enjoy!

 

First Week of the Summer CSA Share! June 14th-16th

How To Use This Newsletter

Each week you will receive a newsletter with what's available to choose from, any important details about the CSA, farm news, and a recipe. We keep the most important information at the top, so if you don't have time to read a newsletter, anything you need to know will be in the beginning before the section labeled "Farm News." There will also be a button you can click on if you have any questions. Some questions are common so we created answer page that may be helpful. If you have any questions that aren't answered here, please don't hesitate to reach out!

 Eggplants are flowering in the unheated tunnel! photo by Adam Ford

Eggplants are flowering in the unheated tunnel! photo by Adam Ford

What's Available This Week

This week you can choose from yellow potatoes, carrots, beets, spinach, baby lettuce mix, baby arugula, baby bok choi, red radishes, french breakfast radishes, salad turnips, rhubarb, green garlic, cilantro, baby kale, baby lacinato kale, bunched green curly kale, bunched lacinato kale, baby chard, basil, pea shoots, cucumbers, and plant starts for your garden.  

It is really exciting to have cucumbers so early in the season! We are still in disbelief ourselves, but enjoying the sweet, early crunch!

 Cucumbers are extra spiky when they are small and still growing... they have to grow into their spikes! photo by Adam Ford

Cucumbers are extra spiky when they are small and still growing... they have to grow into their spikes! photo by Adam Ford

CSA Details

You can pick up your summer share at the farm on Thursdays and Fridays from 8 am to 7 pm. If you are new to coming to the farm, use "680 Shunpike Road, Shrewsbury VT 05738" to get to our driveway. Then pull up to the barn. Enter the barn up the ramp, check off your name on the right as you walk in. Non-refrigerated items will be on display as you walk in. Everything else will be displayed in the walk in cooler. Walk into the barn, and make a left, and you will see the big door. We have two very sweet dogs, one who is poorly behaved and may jump on you despite all our best efforts. We apologize in advance if she jumps on you. The other dog is super sweet as well, but can have an intimidating bark if you haven't met him. Neither of these dogs will pose a danger to you or your kiddos. 

 irrigating a recently transplanted beet planting, as well as some direct seeded lettuce mixes during these hot, dry days, photo by Adam Ford

irrigating a recently transplanted beet planting, as well as some direct seeded lettuce mixes during these hot, dry days, photo by Adam Ford

You can pick up your share from the Ludlow Farmers' Market on Fridays from 4 pm to 7 pm on the front lawn of the Okemo Mountain School right on Route 103, just south of down town. Heads up that the market has a strict policy of selling before the bell rings at 4 pm. Even though you aren't buying things and just picking out your share, coming early can apparently still jeopardize the market's permit, so do your best to come after 4 pm.

You can pick up your share from the Rutland Farmers' Market on Saturdays from 9 am to 2 pm, right downtown by the Walmart parking lot.

If you cannot make one of those pickup spots one week, feel free to send a friend or neighbor, or just make up those missed items at your leisure. Just keep track of your missed items  yourself. Thanks!

 Zucchini plants are flowering! So many things will be ready so soon! photo by Adam Ford

Zucchini plants are flowering! So many things will be ready so soon! photo by Adam Ford

Your deposit and half of your remaining CSA balance are due by this week. Do not hesitate to send me an email if you need a different payment schedule. We are happy to accommodate people. 

Bonuses in the Barn

If you pick up your CSA share in our barn, and are looking great local, grassfed 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 will likely be official later this week. The Kreuger-Norton maple syrup is produced in a wood-fired sugar house, and I am a bit 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.

 green curly kale between the tunnels, photo by Adam Ford

green curly kale between the tunnels, photo by Adam Ford

Farm News

For those of you who weren't a part of the spring share, some of our biggest news this season is that we are finally certified organic! It was a surprisingly lengthy process with more record keeping and office work than even the data-nerdiest among us (like me) would enjoy, but we are happy to join the many farms who provide this third party, verified safe food for our community. We relish the relationship we have with our CSA, and the other parts of our business (farmers' markets and wholesale outlets) have taken off enough that we felt like it was responsible for us to finally go through the motions of certification for folks who don't get newsletters in their inbox each week about what's going on at the farm. As we told the spring share, one of the exciting parts for us is that certification will not make our prices go up because we were already using organic production methods, so the higher cost of production was already reflected in the food we grew. The only additional cost the farm takes on with certification is the actual certification cost, which is cost-share by a federal program that keeps certification fees reasonably low. It is worth noting that program is in jeopardy of being cut in the year's Farm Bill, as well as other important organic standards programs. If you love organic agriculture, now is a good time to let your federal congressional delegates know you would like to see those programs continued.

 baby goats peaking out from the shed, photo by Adam Ford

baby goats peaking out from the shed, photo by Adam Ford

Another big change this season is that we ("we" predominantly means Ryan in this case) installed a ground heat system in on of our high tunnels, powered by wood pellets to allow us to grow earlier tomatoes, basil, and cucumbers. It's wildly exciting to have these crops coming in several weeks earlier! I am not exactly sure when the first tomatoes will appear for CSA, but I don't think it will be long.

 the potato field is growing well, photo by Adam Ford

the potato field is growing well, photo by Adam Ford

As for this week, we are working on getting in some normal weekly transplants for the many succession plantings we put out each week. About every week and a half we transplant another round of cilantro, beets, head lettuce, and baby lettuce. We also direct seed arugula, pea shoots, microgreens, radish, bok choi, salad turnips, more baby lettuce, and carrots every week and a half. So those repetative tasks up a fair bit of our farm time. When you add in all the time it takes to harvest and prep veggies for CSA, markets, and orders, it leaves us with a surprisingly small amount of time to weed, trellis, mow paths, and do all the myriad projects that we need to tackle that may change from week to week. We were able to rescue weed a few plantings early this week, but the main thing we are behind on is inoculating next year's shiitakes. Unfortunately the logs Ryan harvested for them this spring dried out too much to use, so they will become firewood, and we will have to harvest new logs for the rest of the inoculation.

 a field of cover crops growing nicely, photo by Adam Ford

a field of cover crops growing nicely, photo by Adam Ford

This season's early crop bummers are minimal, but noticeable. We had a few field rodents decimate the first broccoli planting, which is a downer. (So in a funny turn of events, we will all be enjoying tomatoes before broccoli this year!) Flee beetles got to our kale before we did... which means they aren't the most aesthetically pleasing kale leaves, but it doesn't change the taste. Two of our pea rows seem to have some sort of silly pea disease, so we re-seeded some area, and those too, will be available later than tomatoes! And the final bummer has been leaf miner in our chenopods: spinach, beets, and chard. They do a number on the foliage of these plants, which may make for smaller beets with ugly beet greens in the first planting, as well as less spinach and chard available for harvest. But those are only a handful of crops among the dozens of items we grow, so we are feeling pretty good so far about this year's growth.

 A sweet preview of what is coming soon! photo by Adam Ford

A sweet preview of what is coming soon! photo by Adam Ford

Next week we may finally get around to trellising our peas, and maybe even try to catch up on shiitakes. We will see!

Have an excellent week!

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

 

Pasta Salad With Chard

 image from reclaimingyesterday.com

image from reclaimingyesterday.com

Feel free to substitute anything you don't like or don't have for something else. This is our go to, and it's a great way to get extra greens in your belly!

1 pound of pasta, cooked (we use penne or fussili, but use whatever you prefer)

2 bags baby kale, finely diced into ribbons

1/2 bunch green garlic, finely chopped

2 cups kalamata olives, sliced

2 cups cooked chickpeas

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

3 TBSP lemon juice

1 TBSP maple syrup

1 TBSP oregano

1 cup sun dried tomatoes

salt and pepper

Toss all these ingredients together while the past is still warm, so the chard wilts. Let it all sit for about a half hour and enjoy at room temperature. 

 

LAST Week of the Spring CSA Share: June 8th-9th

What's Available

This week you can choose from yellow potatoes, carrots, beets, spinach, baby lettuce mix, baby arugula, baby bok choi, salad turnips, red radishes, french breakfast radishes, rhubarb, scallions, green garlic, cucumbers, 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, poblano 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. 

 I can never get enough of these photos of a cucumber tendril up close, photo by Adam Ford

I can never get enough of these photos of a cucumber tendril up close, photo by Adam Ford

If green garlic is new to you, use it like garlic-flavored scallions. They can be eaten raw or cooked, or used in pesto. You can even make a green garlic pesto without any other herbs. It's fantastic. It's similar to scape pesto, but slightly different. Just like scallions, you can use the entire green garlic, the white and green parts. 

 garlic field looking good! photo by Adam Ford

garlic field looking good! photo by Adam Ford

CSA Details

This is the LAST week of the spring share. If you want to continue receiving vegetables, and haven't already, sign up for our summer share at: https://www.eveningsongcsa.com/csa-summer-share Our summer share will receive an email later this week confirming you are signed up.

Since this is the last week of the share, it is a great time to finish paying for your spring share if you haven't already. If you need a different payment schedule, let me know. Thanks!

 In case you forgot how cute baby goats are... here they are chilling with mama in the pasture, photo by Adam Ford

In case you forgot how cute baby goats are... here they are chilling with mama in the pasture, photo by Adam Ford

You can pick up your share at the Ludlow Farmers' Market on Fridays from 4pm to 7pm right on Route 103 in front of the Okemo Mountain School. 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. 

 tomato jungle in the heated tunnel, photo by Adam Ford

tomato jungle in the heated tunnel, photo by Adam Ford

Farm News

I love watching the season progress through the eyes of pollinators. We try to have a variety of things blooming at different times around the farms so our bees and native pollinators have a constant supply of food nearby. This helps encourage them to stay nearby so they are available to pollinate the veggie crops that need their help as well. Observing (or knowing!) flowering plants is really not my specialty, but so far this season I have enjoyed watching the daffodils make way for the tulips and plum blossoms... now we are enjoying irises and strawberry flowers, and it's just a matter of days before the peonies pop! Everything is fleeting, and enjoying these blooms keeps me grounded and present in my hectic, fast-paced life. 

 Instead of a close up of a pollinator on a blossom, please enjoy this excellent picture of Morgan driving the tractor... She is kind of like a pollinator, busily buzzing around the farm, tending to a zillion things before heading home to rest for the day, photo by Adam Ford

Instead of a close up of a pollinator on a blossom, please enjoy this excellent picture of Morgan driving the tractor... She is kind of like a pollinator, busily buzzing around the farm, tending to a zillion things before heading home to rest for the day, photo by Adam Ford

The cucumber plants are growing so fast in the high tunnels that we already needed to lower some of the trellises down so they could continue growing up. The first few cucumbers will be available this week, and we hope they start coming on strong soon enough. It's really wild to watch how much earlier our tomatoes and cucumbers are going to be with a pellet heated high tunnel. It makes us consider hooking up our other tunnel next year. There is such a demand for these heat loving treasures, and we love growing what people love.

 look at this ridiculously early fruit! photo by Adam Ford

look at this ridiculously early fruit! photo by Adam Ford

This morning we transplanted the celeriac, which is one of the last few large spring season transplantings. Going forward, most of our transplantings are smaller, successional planting of crops we keep growing throughout the season, that aren't long season crops, such as head lettuce, cilantro, and beets. Our beet plantings are always large plantings, though, and then we do a giant one, conveniently timed around my baby's due date for the fall storage beets.

 sometimes I do things besides hide behind a computer, photo by Adam Ford

sometimes I do things besides hide behind a computer, photo by Adam Ford

Next week we hope to start making some head way on some weeding projects. Although a lot of Ryan's new weed management tactics have improved our weed pressures immensely, there are still a few beds that are asking for our attention, so hopefully next week's warmer, sunnier weather will provide good conditions to tackle most of that weeding. 

Hope you have an excellent week!

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

Green Garlic Pesto

 image from fearlessfresh.com

image from fearlessfresh.com

1 bunch green garlic

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp water

3/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup pistachios (or any nut or seed)

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup grated hard Italian cheese (like parmesan, pecorino, etc)

Blend all the ingredients together until smooth. Serve over pasta, on sandwiches, in wraps, on an omelette, etc. Keeps 

 

 

7th Week of the Spring CSA Share: June 1st-2nd

What's Available

This week you can choose from yellow potatoes, carrots, beets, spinach, mesclun mix, baby lettuce mix, baby arugula, pea shoots, baby bok choi, red radishes, french breakfast radishes, salad turnips, rhubarb, scallions, green garlic, 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, poblano 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.

 starter plants for CSA, photo by Adam Ford

starter plants for CSA, photo by Adam Ford

CSA Details

You can pick up your share from the Ludlow Farmers' Market opens on Fridays from 4pm to 7pm right on Route 103 in front of the Okemo Mountain School. 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. 

If you have not finished paying for your spring share, now is a good time to do that, as there are only two weeks left before the summer share starts. It's a lot easier for me if I can have all the payments for one season done before the next one starts. As always, if you need a different payment schedule, let me know. 

This is also a good time to sign up for the summer share if you are planning to do that. The summer share starts on June 14th, which will creep up on us faster than we realize!

 beets are growing well in the field! photo by Adam Ford

beets are growing well in the field! photo by Adam Ford

 

Farm News

Last week began the chaos of the summer season, of adding a second market. I love doing the Ludlow market and seeing all the familiar CSA and non-CSA faces. But managing two back to back markets is a bit of a logistical challenge in terms of getting our harvest quantities down. Last year Ryan created this super slick harvest spreadsheet to help us streamline the harvest process. Since we harvest for several outlets (2 markets, multiple CSA days, several wholesale accounts), sometimes we used to be packing up the van for the Ludlow market, and realize we literally had no amount of a certain vegetable or two because what we harvested was all packed for wholesale orders! Ryan's harvest sheet allows for those wholesale numbers to deduct automatically from the amounts we have available for market and CSA, and ever since we started using that sheet we haven't made egregious harvest errors like that. It has also helped us stop work a bit earlier on Fridays. We used to have the full team work late, usually until about 8pm on a Friday, reharvesting items we sell out of at the Ludlow market to have some for Rutland. But this new sheet let's us start the Rutland market harvest much earlier in the day. This is not only a welcomed shift for our crew, but it's become somewhat essential for us as we have a toddler who isn't too pumped when we both need to work late. 

 husk cherry plant, photo by Adam Ford

husk cherry plant, photo by Adam Ford

This week I happily noticed how great our eggplant transplants are doing. Usually they suffer pretty hard from potato beetle damage. Potato beetles usually cause more damage to our eggplant than potatoes. In the past we have relied on manually picking the bugs off and killing them a couple times while the plants are young so the plants can get a jump on the bugs. But that has usually meant we have lost a certain amount of plants, and the rest are a bit stressed. This year we got row cover on them as soon as they were planted, which makes a HUGE difference to just be able to exclude them. So hopefully we will have a robust harvest of eggplants this year. 

 pepper plant, photo by Adam Ford

pepper plant, photo by Adam Ford

We appreciated the bit of rain that came over the weekend, but it could have been a little more. The soil is still pretty dry, but we think it got wet enough to provide good enough germination conditions for two large fields of cover crops Ryan just seeded last week. Two of our fields are a bit strangled by quack grass, and Ryan has taken some big steps to tackle that challenge and hopefully clean up the fields. We grow our vegetables within permanent sod pathways to protect our sloping fields from erosion. But after consulting with many farmers, Ryan plowed up the entire field to turn the rhizomes under to tackle this challenge. Now the areas are densely seeded to a mixture of species. This cover crop mix will out compete the quack grass, and then we will re-establish permanent sod paths within the full cover crop field. We are pretty optimistic for this method, as Ryan has learned lot about field prep, cover crop management, and weed pressures over the years. I am continually impressed at seeing actual improvements in our soil when he tackles a challenge like this. We were able to take this much area out of production (maybe a little over 2 acres), because some of his other strategies for soil management and weed control have made other areas of our fields much more productive and manageable. We probably would not have been able to do this in previous years. 

 one of our fields after Ryan plowed and seeded our cover crop mix, crossing our fingers for no excessive rainstorms that woudl produce erosional runoff while the cover crop establishes, photo by Adam Ford.

one of our fields after Ryan plowed and seeded our cover crop mix, crossing our fingers for no excessive rainstorms that woudl produce erosional runoff while the cover crop establishes, photo by Adam Ford.

The rest of this week we hope to finish transplanting our leeks, get our next big transplanting of beets out, catch up on mowing some pathways, trellis our peas, weed the earliest carrot bed as well as a few other plantings, thin garlic doubles, finish transitioning some beds in the tunnel from winter greens to summer crops, and organize a few spaces around the farm.

 french filet green beans after transplant, photo by Adam Ford

french filet green beans after transplant, photo by Adam Ford

We have about another month of increasing sunlight before the summer solstice at the end of June. This is a vegetative marker for crops like garlic and onions. Apparently they put on the bulk of their green top growth before the summer solstice, and then use that energy from their green tops to starting bulbing out under ground. That's one of the reasons farmers hustle to get all their onions out on time. We want the biggest greens possible in the next 3 weeks, so we can get some of the best underground growth for the rest of the summer. We will try to give all our alliums a foliar feed of fish emulsion in the next couple of weeks to help them boost that growth before the solstice.

 riding on Papa's back as he packs the van for market, photo by Adam Ford

riding on Papa's back as he packs the van for market, photo by Adam Ford

Have a great week!

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

 

Radish Salad

 

 image from oneperfectbite.blogspot.com

image from oneperfectbite.blogspot.com

2 bunches of radishes, thinly sliced

2-3 scallions, finely chopped

2 TBSP lime juice

1 TBSP olive oil

2 tsp maple syrup

salt and pepper

 

Mix all these ingredients together and let them sit for at least 20 minutes so the flavors get into the radishes. Serve as a side dish, on tacos, over a green salad, in sandwiches, etc, for an awesome, fresh, crunch!

 

 

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