I know you all have heard me say this before…but I can’t help myself…Spring is my favorite time of year! There is so much bounty out there in that field right now I just want to roll in:) The colors and the textures are truly amazing right now. We are getting into the swing of our spring CSA season here on the farm and it is exciting to see the crops coming in and ready for harvest. We hosted our CSA gathering April 22nd and it was wonderful getting together with our shareholders for the spring and summer season. Here is a few pictures from the gathering
Now we are moving head first into spring crops…these crops come on fast and are gone just as fast it seems…well maybe just to me because I will tell you hands down spring & fall are the two most bountiful seasons on the farm. I mean sure summer is great with those heirloom tomatoes and peppers but really other then corn, squash and melons there really isn’t that much in the way of diversity like there is in the spring & fall.
Remember at the gathering when I told y’all that you will learn more about where and how your food comes to you through this CSA then you ever thought or want to know?Well, here we go.. starting right here riding these first few weeks of the growing season. A couple of really important aspects to understand when stepping out of that “grocery store mentally ” you know the training we have all had of when you walk into the food store and get whatever you are in the mood for to eat…whenever you want it in season or not. That sort of thinking and slow food, locally grown, farm fresh does not go hand in hand…and you may not at first grasp it or even when you do not like it but, I will promise you..you will have a totally different view of how your food is grown, and like my early adulthood waiting tables for a living a much deep appreciation for the efforts that our farmers put forth in bring you and your family good, healthy wholesome organic fresh food. A couple of key things about breaking that grocery store mentality is to understand the crops don’t wait on you or I to be ready for them..When we want them… we are now on Mother Natures time table. We harvest them when they are ready to be harvest (sometimes than mean midnight in the case of okra) and what we do with them after either consuming them now or preserving them for later use is up to us the crops don’t care for human time.
Another key element is that there is only so much of one crop growing at one time or another.
As farmers that have been doing this for more then a decade Mark and I are fairly good at guessing how much of one crop or another we will need to fill all our CSA baskets…but sometimes like a asparagus or peppers the plant really decides wether or not it has had all the good weather, compost and nurturing to produce a bummer crop or if it is not feeling the love it produces very little..and there isn’t much we can do but sweet talk it and try and counter whatever it needs that it is not getting…but you never can be sure how any crop is going to produce and with that sometimes not all our shareholder will get the same basket as their fellow CSA shareholders every time. I try and remember who has gotten what so next pickup if we still have that crop it can go into the other shareholder who didn’t have it basket. But sometime the early bird gets the worm and sometimes the late to table takes home all the leftovers which at times can be a real haul and sometimes not so much. We will do our best and please remind us if you didn’t get something in your basket you really wanted..but, with that remember there is no warehouse, no shipment coming in from Mexico and there is nothing too fair when it comes to farming…it is all a gamble…and we are at the mercy of what the crop produces and when. I will say though We will do our best and that is a promise…and we play a pretty good hand of cards:) The CSA is about relationships just as much as the food and I’ve never known a good relationship where the people aren’t talking so tell us good, bad and the ugly…we can take it.
This pickup is really quite wonderful in terms of some of my early favorite spring vegetables (Lord I hope you all got yourselves salad spinners) The greens of spring are coming in and I will tell you…they are down right gorgeous! Mark and I along with our farm crew Viki were all worried sick about the high heat we had in March taking a toll on these tender greens. So far they look wonderful. Kale, sweet lettuce mixes and spinach are all so delicious and the cool weather of early spring sets the pace of how long these greens stay around. Again we have our fingers crossed they are part of your basket for a few more pickups. Mark and I eat out of our own field (sorry krogers and publix keep you bag stuff) so we are pretty in tune when the greens are turning peppery or bitter. But we have also eaten our way through some early stages of this and are kinda used to it sooo…if that happens to you toward the end of spring. Let us know so we can go
and check the greens. You CSA…your voice is important to us. I wanted to share a couple of tips on dealing with these tender salad greens. These are not like your head lettuce (your getting those too this week) these require a light touch and even lighter dressing. They tend to bruise easily and wilt at the rising of the hot sun. With that said during this time of year while the greens are coming in it is best to pick your CSA up in the cool of the morning while the temps are not so hot and the greens are well hydrated. If for whatever reason the greens do wilt before you get home try soaking them in some ice water. Never leave your basket setting in a hot car while you run errands..try to make this your last stop before home. Never leave your basket setting in the sun here on the farm while you are cutting flowers or herbs or letting the kids play. Just sit it off into a shaded corner or asked Jane, or Viki or even me (if you can catch me..i’m fast on my feet during market days harvesting) we can set your basket in the big cooler for ya. Or you can set it in the cooler yourself…it is your farm too.Don’t be shy!
(i know this is a long newsletter…I am sorry..so much to tell ya) Yikes!
Tender lettuces do best when dressed lightly…oil and vinegar or a light vinaigrette is best.
When you get your lettuce mix home…dont wash it throughly until you are ready to use. Just put it in your green bag and leave it open at the end so the lettuce can breath in your refridgerator. When you are ready to use it…put it in your salad sinner and light rinse and spin dry. Don’t over toss or mix your lettuce mix. These aren’t like the ones in those plastic bags in the grocery store. Those are grown to be handled rough and washed in a chorine solution to crisp up the leaves and keep them that way so they can withstand tossing around. Not even going happen here with the delicate babies…nope these are meant to be handled with care and eaten quickly….true love these babies are!
Oh yea…that’s right bring on the berries! These pretty ladies are showing up in our basket this week as well…along with Kale, onions and REAL Important…bring your gloves and flower snips…the english roses are to die for…they want to go home with you…cut them…enjoy them they are amazing! But thorny…just a little warning.(bring gloves:)
Okay, that is it…Can’t wait to see y’all on Saturday. If you still need to pay the other half of your CSA share or you haven’t paid your basket fee yet we will be happy to get the books straight. Be sure to check in with Facebook for any updates…and please take a minute while you are there and write a review of the farm it is over to the right side of the page…it really helps the farm. Thanks, Peggy