Monday, April 28, 2008

Week #3

Full share:

Strawberries - 2 pint - $6.00
Lettuce - 2 heads - $5.00
Garlic - 2 - $2.00
Kale - 1 bunch - $2.50
Turnips - 1 bunch - $2.00
Onions - 1 bunch - $2.00
Broccoli - 2pounds - $5.50

Half Share:

Strawberries - 1 pint - $3.00
Lettuce - 1 head - $2.50
Turnips - 1 bunch - $2.00
Kale - 1 bunch - $2.50
Bok Choy- 1 bunch - $2.50
Garlic - 1 - $1.00
Cilantro - 1 bunch - $1.50

Whats in your box?

Strawberries, finally. Lots of rain this week (3" in 24 hours!!) so the flavor may not be as intense. Still tasty though.

Full shares are getting a little broccoli. The first planting was troubled by fluctuating temperatures and ended up making heads too soon, therefore the heads ended up really small. I have another planting of broccoli (along with cauliflower and cabbages) that should be ready in a few weeks, so we should have better luck and a larger harvest.

"Why are my strawberries dirty??"

This is partly my fault, because I didn't mulch them well enough last fall. Also, all the hard rains splashed our sandy soil onto the berries. Since strawberries are so fragile, I can't wash them off before packing them, they must be completely dry to survive transport in the pint containers. Just give 'em a rinse before eating...

What to look forward to...

More strawberries and lettuce, hopefully some spinach too. Beets are most likely 2 weeks away, and carrots just after.


This was my lunch today:

I threw 2 heads of smallish baby bok choy (one larger would be enough), 3 turnips, and a couple handfuls of leftover spicy mix (kale or the turnip greens would work great here instead) into the steamer, brought the water to a boil, and steamed for about 4-5 minutes (keep checking though - you don't want to over-steam!) everything came out still a little crunchy, which is perfect, and I topped the greens with some soy sauce and vinegar (any kind works). Its simple and quick - you could easily embellish with more seasoning or even some sort of a sauce, but its not necessary.

Heres another idea for the Bok Choy:

Black Bean Bok Choy Salad


2 small or 1 large bok choy heads chopped

2 15oz cans black beans, drained

1 bunch spring onions chopped

I green garlic chopped

3 tbsp cider vinegar

½ cup olive oil

2 tbsp dijon mustard

salt & pepper to taste

You can add or subtract the mustard & vinegar rations to your own personal taste.

Use the whole bok choy except the very base, and chop crosswise from the stems to the leaves. Chop the green garlic like you would an onion or a leek. Chop the onions. Mix all together. Drain the beans, mix them in, then mix in the vinegar, oil, mustard, and add salt & pepper if you want. It tastes good right away but it’s better if you refrigerate it for an hour, or even better overnight.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Veggie CSA Newsletter, Week #2

Full Share:
Strawberries 1 Quart $6.00
Bok Choy 1 Bunch $2.50
Lettuce Mix 1/2 Pound $4.00
Garlic 2 $2.00
Spicy mix $2.00
Turnips 1 bunch $2.00
Radish 1 bunch $2.00
Cilantro 1 bunch $1.50

Half Share:

Bok Choy 1 bunch $2.50
Lettuce mix 1/4# $2.00
Garlic 1 $1.00
Turnips 1 bunch $2.00
Spicy greens 1/4# $2.00
Cilantro 1 bunch $1.50
Onions 1 bunch $1.75

We did get the first few ripe strawberries this week. Since I picked about 3 quarts, and we have 3 Full CSA shares, the full shares are getting them this week, but plenty more on the way. The first are not quite as sweet as they will be in a week or two. Tasty, though.

Things have been busy this week, squeezing in plantings in between thunderstorms. Squash, cucumbers and beans all were planted or seeded this week, and the tomatoes are getting ready to be planted on Tuesday. Whew!! We also got the peppers and eggplant one step closer to field planting - because of their erratic germination, we seed them in very small celled flats (more seeds in less space). So a few weeks before we plant them in the field, we move them up to larger cells. That way, nice, big, strong plants are ready to transplant. They'll be planted around the first of may, along with the basil, more squash, and melons.

This time of year is always the most hectic for me - the first of the week I concentrate on getting all the planting, seeding, trellising, mowing, weeding, watering done that I can, then the second half of the week is full of harvesting, the CSA deliveries and market. Then Saturday afternoon arrives, and basically, we just crash on the couch, take naps and watch movies. Sunday morning, we start all over. It will take a few weeks for me to get into the groove of this newsletter, but I promise more recipes, pictures, and news from the farm! I'm slowly getting "back into shape" so to speak.

Whats in your box...

So yes, more strawberries, for sure... they've only just begun.

Turnips - these are the Hakeuri variety of Japanese Salad turnips. Basically, just eat them like you do radishes in your salads - they are sweet and very tender. You can also roast them if you prefer. The greens are very tasty lightly steamed, along with the Spicy greens mix you're getting this week. This is a mix of mustards, mizuna, and arugula, and maybe a little kale (might as well add in the turnip greens). I have been eating them for breakfast and lunch!! Just put in the steamer for a matter of minutes (3?) and they're so good topped with a little vinegar, butter, and/or soy sauce. Simple.

For future weeks, we'll probably switch over to heads of lettuce instead of the mix. Of course more greens of all sorts are in your immediate future, but don't worry - theres plenty more to come. One dilemma I have with starting the CSA so early is that the squash and other fruits are about a month from first harvest. I started it 2 weeks early this year so we'd be ready for strawberries, but since they're a bit later than I thought, we'll adjust for the future. Anyway, enjoy!!!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Veggie CSA Newsletter #1

First Veggie CSA Pick-up this Thursday!

Full Shares
  • Lettuce Mix (1/2#) $4.00
  • Green Garlic (2) $2.00
  • Bok Choy (1 bunch) $2.50
  • Beet Greens (2 bags) $6.00
  • Cilantro (1bunch) $1.50
  • Onions (1 bunch) $1.75
Total $17.75

Half Shares

  • Lettuce Mix (1/4#) $2.00
  • Green Garlic (1) $1.00
  • Bok Choy (1 bunch) $2.50
  • Beet Greens (1 bag) $3.00
  • Cilantro (1 bunch) $1.50
  • Onions (1 bunch) $1.75
Total $11.75

Each week, I will list what both the half shares and full shares are getting in their boxes, along with their farmers market value. On average, the half shares will get $15 per week in produce, the full shares $25. However, in these first few weeks, that total will most likely be under that. We'll quickly make up for this by having above-average weeks with strawberries and all of summer's bounty.

As you'll see, its spring and Greens Season!!! Yum, yum. Enjoy them while they're here. Lots of lettuces, kale, turnips, beets, spinach, carrots and more are all growing well, and these rains followed by some warm days have really given them a nudge.

Strawberries are probably still a few weeks from being ready. We've snacked on a few early ripeners (3 total) and boy they're tasty. Since this is the first year I've ever grown strawberries (and I never worked on a farm who grew them) I have to learn when they're perfectly ripe for picking. The few we've tried were fabulous, but we could tell, a little longer on the plant would've resulted in a sweeter berry. I may have a few for next week, but theres lots of berries waiting for some consistent warmth to ripen. Soon, soon!!

Whats in your box?
As I mentioned earlier, lots of greens these first few weeks. 'Tis the season.

Green garlic is plain ol' garlic harvested immature. If left to grow, it would develop the head of cloves and we'd let them dry for storage. Green garlic hasn't formed cloves yet, and is, in my opinion, the best garlic. Mild but flavorful, this garlic isn't hot or sharp the way cloves can be. Just use the whole thing (white stalk and green leaves) in place of a clove or two. Chop it up like you would a leek, and add it to stir-frys, soups, raw on salads, etc. We have made a vinagrette with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and finely chopped green garlic to add to all the salads we've been eating.

Beets... I know everyone has a love/hate relationship with them - they either love them or hate them. I never had much interest in them until I started growing them myself. Now they're a staple in our spring diet. We always harvest them young, with the tender greens attached. If they are left in the field to mature, we never let them get to the size that requires peeling. The beet greens in your boxes this week are young, tender, and you'll see the tiny beet attached. Just eat the whole thing. Steam them and add butter and vinegar. Or use them anywhere you'd use chard or spinach, and prepare them just the same. Last night, we made braised beet greens where I added a little vinegar, veggie broth, garlic (green of course!) and olive oil. You could add some Italian sausage or prepare some broiled salmon and top with the beet greens.

We look forward to meeting you all this week! If anyone has any questions, please feel free to contact us.

See you Wednesday (Carrboro) or Thursday (RTI)!!!!!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Hatching chicks in an incubaTOR

we just found this one on youtube. Not sure about the source. This was back in the olden days when farmers were referred to in the formal by old timey announcer guys..

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

2008 Spring Chicken CSA Newsletter #1

We hope the chickens found you well. It was great meeting everyone and seeing people again from last year.

This flock went through some cold weather but had plenty of fresh green clover to munch on. We grazed them over some of our vegetable fields where clover was planted as a cover crop, and the manure will help to fertilize the summer crops. Chicken manure is very high in nitrogen. We follow organic standards and do not harvest produce from a field where raw manure has been applied for 90 days for produce not in contact with the ground (such as tomatoes) and 120 days for produce touching the ground (such as lettuce).

We have assurances from the processor they will let us know which ones have giblets and which ones don't for next time. Other than that they always do a great job of making the bird look nice and always give us a good product.

Joann and I usually eat one bird per flock just to see how it tastes and whether it's any different from one batch to another. We were happy with this one. We hadn't had much chicken at all since our last flock of Cornish Rocks last fall (other than a couple stewers that made some excellent soup). But this one we found to be nice and juicy like they usually are.

We grilled a whole bird this time. We have a fairly large charcoal grill we acquired from craigslist, so usually we'll make a fire inside the grill out of hardwoods, let the embers die down, put the chicken on and cover it. This is how we cook most of our meat. It's great if you like that smoked flavor.

This time the rain killed the possibility of my finding any dry wood (I need to make a stack and cover it one of these days), so we bought a medium sized bag of charcoal (the plain stuff, not matchlight). I pile the coals on one side and put the chicken on the other side and cover for indirect grilling. It takes us about 75-90 minutes for a 4 lb bird depending on how hot the grill is.

I clean the bird out (the one we kept for us had giblets, which went to the dogs) (be sure to always clean out whole birds with water, just like you would with a thanksgiving turkey). Patted dry with paper towels, rubbed it with olive oil, then with a spice rub I made inside and out. I never keep measurements for my rubs, just add the stuff to taste, but this time I used garlic powder, basil, thyme, savory, cayenne pepper, salt, fresh ground black pepper. Although, the good thing about this chicken is that it doesn't need much spice if you prefer. Salt and pepper is fine and it tastes good on its own.

Next pickup date

Your next batch will be processed the week of April 28, so here are the pickup dates. Please come to the location you signed up for or let us know in advance if you want to switch this time:
  • Wednesday April 30, Carrboro Market, 3:30pm-6:30pm
  • Thursday May 1, RTI Dreyfus Lot, 4pm-6pm
  • Saturday May 3, Carrboro Market, 7am-12noon