This week you can choose from new red potatoes, new yellow potatoes, beets, baby arugula, spinach, rainbow chard, basil, zucchini, summer squash, shiitake mushrooms, microgreens, fresh garlic, heirloom tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, carrots, french filet green beans, cilantro, husk cherries, parsley, cabbage, kohlrabi, mini cabbage, spinach, fresh onions, elderberries!
Are husk cherries new to you? They are a super fun, sweet, tropical flavored berry. Remove the papery husks and just pop them in your mouth! 100 years ago they used to be more popular for pies and jams, but they don't last that long in this house! You can also peel husk cherries and put them in the freezer for later. When you eat them frozen they taste like little sorbet balls!
Elderberries are popularly known as a nutrient dense super food that is great for the immune system. They aren't the best berry for fresh eating, but they are great to make baked goods, jam, syrup, wine, beer, vinegar, and winter tinctures with. Check out the recipe at the end of the newsletter for some delicious scones with elderberries Ryan made this weekend. (If you are interested in a bulk amount of elderberries for any processing, they are $6 per pound.)
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 zucchini and summer squash available for $2 per pound at 5 pounds or more, and $1.50/pound at 10 pounds or more. If you roast and freeze or shred, or stuff zucchini for the winter, now is a great time to jump on those items. We also have bulk basil available for pesto making at $12 per pound. (If you need bulk garlic for pesto, that is available for $11 per pound.) Just shoot me an email and I will have it packed up. Elderberries are $6 per pound. Husk cherries are $6 per pound.
Unless you have set up a payment plan with me, the balance of your summer CSA share is due last week. Let me know if you need to know your balance, or if you need a different payment plan. Both are ok! Thanks.
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. (The permit at the market does not allow us to let veggies leave the market before 4pm, so please try not to come early.) 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.
It's the time of year when Ryan is finalizing our winter tunnel plans. Usually we start lots of greens this time of year through late September to transplant into the tunnels for the winter. This year, the timings and types of greens might be different because we will be managing our tunnels to maximize early spring production of tomatoes and cucumbers since that was so successful this year. We will still absolutely be growing winter greens, but timing when each plant goes in and out of the tunnels is such an art (that is definitely beyond me!) so it takes Ryan a bit of time to figure out when to get things started.
Husk cherries are the star of the farm right now. For whatever reason, the past couple of years husk cherries haven't produced as much as we were used to our first couple of years, but this year the stars aligned and we are swimming in them... which is awesome because our toddler LOVES them. Two years ago we learned from some skilled farmer friends that we can harvest them much faster by sweeping all of them into our harvest bins, and then winnow them with a fan. This allows us to pick faster, because it collects all the leaf and dirt debris, since they fall to the ground when they ripen. But then the fan blows all the debris away and we are left with the clean berries. Before learning this method, we hated harvesting them, and they were certainly a loss leader crop, that may have gotten cut from our production eventually... So it's nice they are still with us!
Harvesting elderberries has been super fun. We planted about 100 bushes a couple years ago to make use of a wetter area of our fields that couldn't grow veggies well. And now we are harvesting beautiful, ripe, umbels of berries. They are super fun to harvest, and being deep in the rows of big bushes feel a bit tropical with their broad, bright green, somewhat waxy leaves.
Many of the indoor early crops in the high tunnel have gone by, and we have moved outside for later plantings, such as green beans. The early ones are done, and usually this time of year we are all excited to be DONE with harvesting green beans! But silly us, we decided to meet the demand for green beans, and plant a later row outside, so out we went yesterday harvesting a new planting of green beans.
The team has been tremendous at keeping up with weeding projects, and soon we will dive right into fall and winter transplanting, followed by large bulk harvests of storage veggies. The rhythms of the farm keep marching forward.
This week is the last week that one of our teammates, Sam will be working with us. He is heading back to the west coast for his last year of college. I never finished doing a farmer profile of everyone on the team, which is a shame, because Sam has been a delightful addition to the team. Sam has exemplified the attitude of a strong team player on our farm. His answer is always yes when something needs help, he always brings a genuine smile and bright energy to work, and most delightfully, he brought us zucchini bread after Soraya was born... giving me an awesome quick breakfast in the morning! Sam only had one farm related experience before joining the crew, and he learned quickly on our team. He says he will use this farm experience to know how to keep an awesome garden when he lives in a space he can do that. He says the dumbest farm thing he has done was squish all the basil when he harvested it for the first time... (It meant a whole bin was unmarketable with black crinkles in the leaves, but I assured him it meant that I got a freezer full of pesto made before the baby was born, which may not have happened this summer if I waited until now when we have enough basil for processing!) Sam thinks the most annoying farm job he may have done this season was today, ripping up large gnarly weeds tangled up in the landscape fabric that covered the kale beds. No doubt that, an annoying job. When Sam joined the team we connected over our surprising shared disinterest in tomatoes. (I love them cooked, and I love them sliced and chopped in things, I just don't eat them like an apple like it seems I should as a farmer!) But Sam says his time working here helped open him up to tomatoes, especially liking the cherry tomatoes. And when asked what his favorite vegetable was this season, we got to talking about how fun and wild husk cherries are... Just a flavor explosion. We are excited to cross paths in whatever way that is with Sam in the future, and know that whatever endeavor he puts his energy into in the future will benefit from his commitment and kindness. Thanks for joining us for the season, Sam!
This weekend Ryan, Sky, Soraya and I head out for our first trip as a family of 4 to a dear friend's wedding. So the team will be holding down the farm again! It's such a privilege to be able to leave the farm in reliable hands to attend our friends' important milestones. It wasn't something that was available the first couple of years farming.
Have a great week!
-The ESF Team: Kara, Ryan, Sam, Sam, Peter, Morgan, Mikayla, Katelyn, and Taylor
Elderberry and Rosemary Scones
2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 TBSP rosemary
8 TBSP butter, frozen
3/4 cup elderries
1/2 cup yogurt
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.. Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and rosemary. Grate the butter into the mixture and stir together. In a separate bowl mix the yogurt and egg together well. Stir in the elderberries. Mix the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients. Make the dough into a ball. Flour a surface, and press the dough out into a 3/4" circle. Cut into triangles and place on a buttered baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned. For extra elderberry wonder, serve with elderberry jam!