Welcome to the start of the 2017 HCF summer CSA! The first week of the summer CSA brings a mix of so many emotions for me: it’s part Christmas morning, part first week of school, part college exams. There is suddenly so much food to harvest out of the fields and get on to your tables, so many old friends to welcome back, so many new members to meet and get to know! Since 2015 we have grown vegetables solely for our CSA members, and cutting out wholesale and market accounts was one of the best decisions we ever made. Now everything we grow on our farm goes directly to our members. We love the CSA because we get to totally focus on the food and the community that is built around the food. When we first started with nineteen members in 2006 I never could have guessed that would one day we would joyfully be feeding 250 CSA families!
When it comes to the weather, this has definitely been an unusual spring. I can’t remember another year when I’ve worn a wool hat and scarf under my raincoat during a June harvest. Some crops, such as swiss chard, love these rainy, cool months, but other crops have definitely been challenged by the lack of warmth. Taking care of the soil is the top priority for an organic farmer, and we’ve had to make decisions about staying off sodden ground rather than rushing ahead and planting. So the peppers may be a bit later than usual this year, but the spinach will be going strong for a few weeks yet. It’s part of eating with and enjoying what each season brings, no matter what!
Remember that if you miss your CSA pickup for any reason, you can always come get it out at the farm through Saturday evening of that week (Tuesday PBMC members can get it from the PBMC cafeteria through Friday). In a picture on HCF’s Facebook page this week CJ demonstrates a little umbrella twirling in front of the walk-in fridge, which is located immediately to your left upon entering the farm driveway. Your share and all the add-ons will be located in there. Just please make sure that once you leave the walk-in you put your veggies down and use two hands to firmly close the walk-in door. It must click shut to stay properly cool, and it’s not a simple thing to do without some force or a body check!
Each week’s newsletter will list the vegetables in that week’s share. The items listed will be in every veggie share that week, but the items in brackets (e.g. [gailon broccoli]) are items that every pickup day may not receive that week. I keep track of everything and make sure that it’s fair in the long run, and so if you don’t receive the item in brackets that week you can be pretty confident that it’ll arrive the following week. Remember that if you see add-on shares that you’re interested in, you can still sign up for them. Just send me an email listing what you would like to add.
We have a really wonderful crew on the farm this year, and I’ll be introducing them in future newsletters. But you’ll also start to meet them at the pick-ups this week, too: Cara, Michael, Lila and Frances. They’re awesome!
Have a great week, please be in touch with any questions, and enjoy your veggies!
Reba and Bill and the HCF crew
Summer CSA Week 1 of 16: Salad Mix, Spinach, Swiss Chard, Bok Choy, Radishes, Hakurei Turnips, [Gailon Broccoli]
A little more about this week’s veggies:
- Hakurei Turnips: a crunchy, almost creamy fresh-eating “salad” turnip. You can cook the turnip greens, and many people love Hakurei roasted, but my favorite way to eat them is sliced up raw into salads or slaws.
- Bok Choy: a type of Chinese cabbage with smooth, wide stalks. Great in stir-fries, soups, and raw in slaws.
- Swiss Chard: I think rainbow chard is one of the most beautiful vegetables we grow on the farm. Closely related to beet greens, chard is great cooked any way that you would use spinach or other leafy greens. The stalks are also great — just chop them up and cook them slightly longer than the leaves.
- Mesclun Mix: Our salad (“mesclun”) mix differs every week, depending on the point in the season, the weather, and the maturity of the plantings. Usually the salad includes a mix of many types of baby lettuce and mustard greens such as red giant, golden frill, ruby streaks, arugula and more. The ratios and the varieties change from week to week, and the flavors change with the weather — a spicy mix one week might be much mild the following week.
- Gailon Broccoli: Our favorite new discovery as of a few years ago. Gailon is a non-heading cousin of broccoli, and every part of it is edible — the floret, the stalk, the flowers, and the leaves. It’s delicious! I think it’s sweeter and better than nearly all traditional broccoli heads!
- Radishes: Eat them sliced thin, with butter and salt, just like the French. Or chop them up into a salsa! Radishes give a wonderful splash of color in the otherwise green palate of spring and early summer.
Summer Week One Add-ons: Milk, Bread, Tofu, Cheese (sorry, no notes yet this week – I’ll send them out to cheese members when they arrive), Mushrooms, Oil & Vinegar, Yogurt, Eggs
This week’s recipes: Swiss Chard Pie, Hot and Sour Peanutty Noodles with Bok Choy