What’s Available This Week
This week we have baby lettuce, baby arugula, baby bok choi, spinach, radishes, scallions, salad turnips, celeriac, and starts for your garden! I know some of you keep a garden as well as get veggies from us, so plants will be available starting this week through the first week in June. Plants that will be available this week include: oregano, parsley, basil, cilantro, dill, zinnias, cosmos, marigolds, sunflowers, poblano peppers, jalapeno peppers, habanero peppers, Italian sweet peppers, red bell peppers, green bell peppers, rainbow bell peppers, Italian eggplant, husk cherries, broccoli, kale, rainbow chard, brussels sprouts, head lettuce, and French filet green beans. We will have several tomato varieties in future weeks, I just want them to get a bit larger on our heated table! If salad turnips are new to you, we love them! You can eat them raw, fermented, roasted, sauteed, etc. They are most commonly shredded or sliced onto salads. They are sweet and crunchy with a slight bite unless you peel them. (We never peel them.) Some people eat them like an apple. We also still have plenty of garlic but it is becoming difficult to effectively sort, with some bad cloves hiding from our normal ability to see what is marketable versus “farmer” garlic. So we will still have garlic out at pickup and still have it available to choose on the form for Ludlow deliveries, but it won’t count as an item. Garlic is now a “bonus.” Take as much garlic as you want in addition to your weekly veggies, knowing that you will have to toss some cloves. Normally we don’t want to bog anyone down with “farmer” quality veggies, but there is just so much good garlic left among these cloves that I want you to have access to it if you love garlic as much as me!
If you pick up at the farm you will notice lots of yellow crates of potatoes lining the floor of the barn. These are seed potatoes, and are not for eating. We are green sprouting them so they get a jump with a sturdy stocky sprout before we plant them. Last week we ran out of last year’s eating potatoes, so now we have to wait for these to grow!
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. The available plants will be right inside the barn on your left. The Rutland Farmers’ Market moves outside this week! You can pick up your share from the Rutland Farmers' Market on Saturdays from 9 am to 2 pm. If you want your share delivered to Ludlow, use this form by 8 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.
Well this is officially the latest start we have had to spring outdoor planting since we started growing in Vermont. The weather hasn’t been sunny and warm enough to dry up all the many, many days of rain we have had. Ryan has been getting as many areas of the field prepped as he is able, but it has been tough, and making a mess in some areas. But the forecast is calling for up to an inch of rain on Thursday, followed by several days of predicted showers, so it seems like whatever we can get prepped on Wednesday may be all we will have access to for outdoor planting for awhile. This means we have modified some of our plantings, and had to make some adjustments to the field maps. But this level of changes don’t get noticed on the CSA level. Our production is based on first meeting the demands of our CSA, followed by our committed chefs and wholesale buyers, and then we bring the rest to market. So you probably won’t notice a difference in what we have available for the CSA. Even so, we wouldn’t mind some sunny weather to make the field work a bit easier.
That being said, the team has gotten a tremendous jump on transplanting outdoors despite the muddy conditions. So far in the ground is rainbow chard, baby chard, beets, lettuce, cilantro, spinach, bok choi, meslcun mix, peas, cabbage, and kale. More is going out as I write this, and I am grateful that we are staying on top of the health of the plants. Even though the field conditions are rough, we are still getting mostly everything out before they are experiencing stress outgrowing their cells. When the rain moves us inside today we will transplant all the later tomatoes into the high tunnel and do our weekly seeding.
As we plant these early plantings, most things get covered immediately with row cover. Row cover is most commonly used to buffer the temperature to give early season plants a little boost. But we also use it to manage pests. Our early brassicas (baby arugula, baby bok choi, radish, salad turnips, meslcun mix) can get destroyed by flee beetles without row cover. So we get those covers on right away. We also now have to cover chard, beets, and spinach to prevent a leaf miner infestation. Last year was the first year we dealt with leaf miner, and you may remember that we didn’t have nice tops on our beets, and we weren’t able to bunch chard after a few weeks in the summer. Leaf miner attacks the leaves in this family, so we were still able to harvest lovely beets, but this year we know that a simple cover will probably effectively solve that pest issue. You can see our theme here is always physical barriers before considering organic sprays. We use those only as a last resort. Because, and what a segue, the issue of significant biodiversity loss in the face of climate change is important to respect, even when it comes to the diversity of who is eating our veggies and affecting our business bottom line.
This year we have the pleasure of working with a new crew member who has lived in Vermont far longer than Ryan and I have. Cindy joined us this season after retiring from GE in Rutland, and it has been a joy hearing about Vermont’s history through Cindy’s life experience. Yesterday while transplanting spinach together, she was observing how she would have seen lots of grasshoppers flying through the grasses in her childhood, where now as we walk through the grass to our fields, I haven’t seen any. It is a gift to get to talk with a different generation about the observations of how the natural world has changed in their life time. This is the loss of biodiversity that breaks my heart. Knowing our ecosystems rely on all the tiny players from the ground up, and then also knowing we are losing them fast is scary. The UN released a report on biodiversity last week that is worth reading. If you haven’t heard about this story, you can learn about it here: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/05/ipbes-un-biodiversity-report-warns-one-million-species-at-risk/ One of Sky’s favorite bed time books is “The Icky Bug Book,” and while I would have chosen a different title for a kid’s book to help shift bugs’ reputations, we enjoy reading through the alphabet of interesting creatures and what their habits are. Every time I flip a page, I wonder “Is this bug going to be a mythical creature for Sky when he grows up? Will there be any monarchs left for him to watch munch on milkweed or will we just flip through that book and tell him about how back in my day we had some beautiful and important pollinators that would fly around the fields?” I look forward to continuing to learn from Cindy how this local landscape has observably changed.
Next week we will continue to transplant outdoor plants, probably trellis the first round of peas, catch up on trellising the early tomatoes, and likely start trellising the cucumbers.
I am enjoying watching more and more trees bud out, and listening to all the different birds that are up so early (though not that early anymore since I live with two tiny children.)
-The ESF Team: Kara, Ryan, Dan, Cindy, Sam, and Taylor
Quick and Lazy Spanakopita
If you are like me and love spanakopita, but hate how long it takes to make it correctly by tediously and lovingly painting olive oil just sow on each layer of philo dough, then check out this delicious modified recipe.
3 bags of spinach
1 bunch of scallions
6 cloves of garlic
1 cup feta cheese
1 /2 cup mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 TBSP lemon juice
1/3 cup olive oil
1 TBSP oregano
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 package phyllo dough
Blend everything together except the phyllo dough. In a deep casserole pan, put two layers of phyllo dough. Then spread a thin layer of your spinach mixture. Put a layer of phyllo dough on that. Keep alternating layers of phyllo dough, and very thin layers of your spinach mixture until your pan is full. Bake at 350 or until top is golden brown. If you have extra mixture, store in the fridge or freezer, or bake alone and serve with bread for a filling and simple breakfast.