What’s Available

This week we have baby lettuce, mesclun mix, spinach, baby arugula, pea shoots, scallions, potatoes, garlic, carrots, beets, leeks, celeriac, onions, and gilfeather turnip.

cucumbers are transplanted in the tunnel! photo by Adam Ford

cucumbers are transplanted in the tunnel! 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.) Walk into the barn,. ,check off your name on the right, and turn left to find all your veggies in the cooler. You can pick up your share from the Rutland Farmers' Market on Saturdays from 10 am to 2 pm. If you want your share delivered to Ludlow, use this form by 9 am on Friday to select the veggies you want for the week:  https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdeOfUuyadzYHjCHOX5RCye_qOWaqttPQQY2FPxVAlrQWhmWg/viewform . Then you can pick up your share from Four Season's Sotheby's International Realty between 2 pm and 5 pm. They are next to Java Baba's in the shopping plaza across from the main entrance to Okemo Mountain. 

charging up the radios for the spring season, photo by Adam Ford

charging up the radios for the spring season, photo by Adam Ford

Farm News

The team blasted through the inoculation of the shiitake logs at the end of last week and early this week. It’s such a fun feeling to feel on top of our work versus being perpetually behind, which is a common feeling this time of year.

Alice, Cindy, and Dan inoculating shiitake logs… It’s cool you can see the whole process here: Dan is drilling holes in the logs in the background, Cindy is getting spawn in each of the wholes, and Alice is sealing them shut with cheese wax, photo by Adam Ford

Alice, Cindy, and Dan inoculating shiitake logs… It’s cool you can see the whole process here: Dan is drilling holes in the logs in the background, Cindy is getting spawn in each of the wholes, and Alice is sealing them shut with cheese wax, photo by Adam Ford

We also got all the early tomatoes in the heated tunnel pruned and trellised. It’s wild for us to grow such early tomatoes. Many varieties are already showing off their first flower clusters. We also removed a lot of landscape fabric from last year’s beds to prepare the soil for spring seeded crops. We put a lot of emphasis on soil building and retention, and one critical aspect of that is keeping soil in place through winter and spring, when different erosional forces can take this most precious resource. We heavily use cover crops on areas that we can get seeded earlier enough in the season (by late summer), and in places where crops don’t get harvested until the end of the season, we leave the landscape fabric down on the soil so that can act as our soil protection. It means we have an extra step to get to in the spring, but it’s worth the soil conservation. Ryan also got our first outdoor seeding in the ground when the rain broke late last week. Usually the majority of the spring share comes from our tunnels, but the last 2-3 weeks of the spring share relies on those first outdoor seedings, so we are always eager to get them going.

early spring beds prepped for planting, photo by Adam Ford

early spring beds prepped for planting, photo by Adam Ford

The propagation house is booming, and we even started kicking some crops out to what w call the “outdoor greenhouse." It’s just a line of pallets that we put trays of plants on that we harden off to be ready for outdoor transplanting. As I type this, I am looking at onions, shallots, beets, cilantro, lettuce, and spinach that are all line up in that zone. As long as the weather continues to dry out the soil, we will likely get most of those in the ground next week.

all four baby goats cuddling, photo by Adam Ford

all four baby goats cuddling, photo by Adam Ford

It’s been on my mind this winter how, as a culture, we don’t discuss climate change as the 5-alarm fire that it is for the planet, and it finally dawned on me that I need to be part of that solution. If I want to hear people thinking about that crisis in a regular way, I should start sharing my daily observations about how we are living it. Climate change isn’t some future peril, it’s here now, and we aren’t throwing all the resources we have at it while we still have time. I will try to share one observation each week of how our ecosystems are observably changing, damaged, or adapting to climate change. Last week’s flooding is a typical part of Vermont’s spring time weather. The snow melt and thawing of the soil combined with spring rains always provide flooding somewhere in our mountain region. The change is in the intensity of these events. For reference, our old farm, which flooded completely again last week is in the 500-year flood plain. That characterization is often misunderstood, and would take a little time to accurately explain what it means. The quickest explanation I can give is what it isn’t: It does NOT mean that a piece of land will flood once every 500 years. What it does mean is that any given year that piece of land has a 1 in 500 chance of flooding at a certain flood stage. It still means if something is in the 500 year flood plain, the flooding should not occur with the frequency and intensity we are seeing. I am new to Vermont, and now that piece of land in the 500-year flood plain, where we started this farming adventure, has flooded twice in 8 years. If we weren’t messing with our climate, I shouldn’t get to see that happen as such a relative newcomer. Here’s to talking more regularly about the crisis of being able to continue inhabiting the only planet we can.

look at that awesome lady bug patrolling the high tunnel…. we released a bag of ladybugs in the tunnel to control and outbreak of aphids on the late winter greens. they do a phenomenal job controlling them, and it’s much more ideal to use beneficial insects versus organic sprays, photo by Adam Ford

look at that awesome lady bug patrolling the high tunnel…. we released a bag of ladybugs in the tunnel to control and outbreak of aphids on the late winter greens. they do a phenomenal job controlling them, and it’s much more ideal to use beneficial insects versus organic sprays, photo by Adam Ford

Next week we will hustle lots of plants in the outdoor fields, transplant indoor green beans, and get the shiitake logs moved and stored in the shiitake yard to sit and do their magic for next year’s harvest.

Also, if you hope to store any bulk spinach in your freezer, this is the time of year to reach out. We sell 2 pound bags for $12 this time of year. I put a bunch in my freezer in small containers to pull out in the winter for omelettes, quiches, pasta dishes, soups, etc. Just send me an email with how much you want!

taking a little walk after work with the kiddos, photo by Adam Ford

taking a little walk after work with the kiddos, photo by Adam Ford

Have a lovely week!

-ESF Team: Kara, Ryan, Taylor, Cindy, Dan, and Sam


Best Sauteed Spinach— Ever

image from simplyrecipes.com

image from simplyrecipes.com

I eat this at least once a day this time of year. You can enjoy this as a side dish or throw it into an omelette, on a sandwich, with pasta, etc. This is how I also prepare our spinach for the freezer.

1 head of garlic

2 bags of spinach

3 TBSP olive oil

salt and pepper as needed

Peel the garlic cloves and leave them whole. In a deep pan, heat the olive oil. When the olive oil is hot, tilt the pan so the olive oil makes a deeper pool in one edge of the pan. Put your peeled whole cloves in there and let them lightly brown as they fry in the olive oil. Once they are lightly browned, return the pan to a normal orientation, and add 2 bags of spinach to the pan, sprinkle on some salt. Do not cover. Stir every minute or two, and remove from heat as soon as all the leaves are wilted. Eat while warm.