published occasionally at the whim of the editor
Volume 4: Issue 2 – 5/23/12
In this issue:
Jams, Jellies and Honey
On the Home Front
Question of the Month: Reminders are interwoven throughout the blog; that will suffice for this month!
Recipes of the Month: Greens
I have some very awesome news - when I popped you the question about whether you were up for getting a few veggies early (and received a resounding YES) we thought that's what we'd have - a few. But conditions have been so great that we have a complete share for you this week. We're pretty sure we won't be able to do weekly shares just yet - especially if we continue to not get any rain - but in the world of gardening, you never know. More on this below.
Before I continue, I know it’s lengthy, but please at least skim through this entire newsblog even if you think you already know what I’m going to say or it doesn’t apply to you. You never know what might turn out to be helpful to you or to someone else. I’m including our annual “very important reminders” in this one as well as the ongoing stuff.
One tip, since I’ve been posting short updates pretty regularly on our Facebook page (there’s a link on the front porch of the website), I haven’t been as active with the blog. That and the sheer number of folks we’re growing for this year (a 500% increase over last year) has kept me pretty busy outside and away from the computer. (Nothing wrong with that, really – it’s a great exercise plan!) Anyway, if you’re on Facebook be sure to like our page(s) so you can stay in the loop. If not, be sure that anything of vast importance I’ll e-mail to the group.
A couple notes on pick-ups. First, please bear with us as this is the first time ever we’ve attempted two pick-up locations on the same day. It may end up being a disaster, but hopefully it will work like a dream.
Newburgh pick-up will be Thursdays from 4:30-5:00. I’ve already sent that info out but remind you that since this is a private residence, please be prompt in picking up. We can’t leave vegetables there for very long as there is no place to store them. If this time and day proves to be a huge issue for you, let me know ASAP so we can fix it.
Owensboro pick-up will be Thursdays from 6-7pm at Settle Memorial UMC, off JB Miller between 4th and 5th St, by the little fenced-in playground. Again, there’s no where to leave shares so please try to be prompt. Since this is the last drop off we can be a little more flexible, but won’t hang around waiting for you unless we know you’re stuck behind a train or something!
Another reminder, if you cannot pick-up on any given week, you may certainly have someone else pick-up for you. It’s helpful but not absolutely necessary that you let us know beforehand, just be sure the person picking up tells us “I’m picking up for (your name here)”. If you can’t be there and don’t have someone else picking up for you, please let us know a couple days out so we don’t pick something that will end up going to waste. Of course, there are those times when the unforeseen happens – a sick child, road delays, car trouble, or you just plain old forgot it was share day. It happens! Just give us a call – we can almost always work something out. And you’re always welcome to swing by the farm within a couple days to pick up your veggies. You can see the critters and the actual gardens that grow your nummies. And the weeds that keep them company J.
Which brings me to a very important reminder and that is the C in CSA stands for community. You aren’t a customer and we aren’t a drive through grocery; we are all a community of folks with a shared interest and investment. We all have different roles to play in that community, but we’re a community nonetheless. We’ve found that the folks who really invest in the community aspect of this thing get the most out of it.
The first thing most of you will want to know: what’s in the share this week! So here goes:
lettuce, radishes, green onions (a few)
garden peas (you need to shell them)
spinach, spinach mustard, mustard greens (see below for some cooking tips)
turnips with greens
maybe kohlrabi, maybe summer squash
So the first reminder is that investing in a CSA means investing in seasonal eating. I know that isn’t a change for many of you, but it may be for some. Early on shares will be heavy with greens. Later in the summer you will be flooded (we hope!) with summer squash and tomatoes. Toward the end you can expect to seek lots of ways to prepare winter squashes and cool weather veggies, and so forth. We’ll do our best to keep fresh ideas coming, and, with that, a second reminder is to please share your favorite ideas and ways to prepare these items (even if they’re links to a recipe on a website somewhere). I like to include a “Recipe of the Month” or two but will also try to keep updating the recipe pages on the website throughout the season.
With that, here are a few more thoughts on the CSA in general and ours in particular. In a true CSA, the farm plants very specifically based on the number of shares sold, for instance, 1 zucchini plant per share, or whatever. Then each week the farmers pick everything that’s harvestable and distribute it equally among shareholders/members. We actually tried that our very first year and found that most people just didn’t want 6 heads of lettuce in one week (seriously, the lettuce was that great a crop that year). We also found that to be a bit risky. Every year, some crops just don’t do very well and others go great guns. So we have modified what we do. We have a basic formula for planting based on the number of shares sold, but with most things we plant extra in case something doesn’t come up or the critters eat half that particular crop, or some other disaster falls. In a CSA there is shared risk – we all suffer a bad crop together. In a true CSA, if a huge drought came and we lost everything, we’d all lose everything together. (Please, start praying now if you haven’t already that something that horrific won’t happen!) In our experience, though, *something* always grows. We always lose something but we always have more than we need of something else. One of our values is honoring that 8 item minimum so we grow extra. We also grow enough to feed ourselves and we preserve most of our vegetables for the winter so that means we plant more than the CSA specifically needs.
When we harvest each week, sometimes it is literally “we pick it all and divvy it up equally”, but sometimes there’s way more than most of you would want. When we have more, we’ll be happy to sell you more if you want more and are willing to come to the farm. (There are too many of you this year for us to be able to bring a lot extra to drop-off.) On the other hand, sometimes there’s just not enough to go around. Which brings me to the next reminder. If you don’t get something this week that someone else got, you’ll get it another time, or some close equivalent. So when I said maybe kohlrabi and maybe summer squash this week, you won’t get both. Unless we have vastly underestimated what’s out there in the garden. Another reminder: the posted share list is subject to change once we actually start picking. Sometimes there’s a lot more than we thought. Sometimes there’s a lot less. It’s the nature of this kind of farming. I will try to get the share list out Wednesday (earlier than that is often just too far out to call) but it may not be until Thursday before we know or I get a chance. If you’ve just gotta know how many peppers you’re getting so you know if you can make your world famous stuffed peppers for a dinner party, just give me a call or drop an email and I’ll do my best to give you an answer. BTW – you won’t be able to make that recipe for a while yet. At least not from our peppers!
Now for a bit of an update before moving on. The gardens are nearly planted. Phew! Weeding is a constant task, and we remind you that this is your garden, too, and we welcome, we delight in, in fact, visits from folks to lend a hand for an hour or two now and then. A long time ago I promised you a list of what we were planting and I’ll do my best to give a rundown.
In the upper garden nearest the house, we mostly have greens. Here’s where we grow lettuce, kale, spinach (both standard and New Zealand), spinach mustard, mustard greens, chard, turnips, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, okra, and probably more that I’m just not thinking of at the moment. Here’s also where our temporary herb beds are until we get the permanent spot done. We also have a planting of sweet corn here.
Then in the lower field just across the road are the tomatoes, some of the summer squash, cucumbers, and potatoes. There are a variety of each and I’ll try to get a run down on exact varieties. We also have a few of the Indian vegetables in this garden.
The far garden is way back in the old homesite and houses our melons and more tomatoes and summer squash. Can’t have too much! This is also where the rest of the Indian vegetables are.
Down the road at Glenn’s brothers is where we’ve planted our pumpkins and winter squash and two more plantings of sweet corn.
Around the farm here and there are little plots of peas, beans, and dry beans, as well as other things. Perhaps one of these days I’ll get a map of what’s where! I’m sure I’ve forgotten several things – I’m running this from memory at the moment so I can get this sent out (been working on it between tasks all day).
Egg Update: Just a reminder that summer egg shares don’t technically start until June 15. For those of you with summer egg shares, if you’d like to start your shares now to coincide with your garden shares, it may be possible. It all depends on how many of you are interested.
Chicken (to eat): They’re growing, I promise. Not all that quickly, of course that’s the nature of this kind of chicken, but they are growing.
Turkey: We have several young turkeys that will be ready for November/December harvest and we still have some available. So if you’re interested, consider getting your down payment in as soon as you can.
Waterfowl: Apparently we aren’t meant to raise ducks! We had 15 come from the hatchery but have only 4 remaining. (We’ve had serious problems with hatcheries this spring – probably largely the reshuffling going on with the postal service because that’s how they’re shipped.) That being said, duckling won’t be available this year.
Our geese, on the other hand, are growing nicely and, depending on gender, we should have a few available for your holiday table. As with turkeys, you’ll want to get your order in as soon as possible.
Just a couple weeks ago the larger portion of our pig population (pig being immature hogs) went over to the Louisville vicinity to a farm raising Mulefoots for Louisville restaurants. Great news for us (fewer mouths to feed) but not so much if you were counting on a hog this Fall. One of the reasons getting an order in early is important! However, we do have a few left so if you’re on the fence, here’s your incentive to hop to one side or the other as we anticipate more of our porcine friends to be making the journey east this summer.
Since we don’t (yet) have a cleverly named section on beef, I’ll say here that we are in partnership with Copperhead Hill Farm and their grass-fed beef. This is actually Glenn’s brother, Alan, who is a neighbor and regular helper on our farm. There are some pages under the Barn heading on our website about his farm and cattle and he has a Facebook page, too (managed by yours truly).
Jams, Jellies and Honey
Bee Buzz: We have pounds and pounds of honey! Unfortunately, it’s thus far still in the frames, but extraction will happen soon. I hope. It will keep virtually forever where it is and there are far higher issues on the priority list. Like getting the rest of the gardens planted!
Jelly Jive: Mulberries have had a great season so far – unfortunately, we’re not really set up to harvest or process them this year. A handful off one of the trees is all, but the critters love them! I never knew cows liked fruit so much.
On the Home Front
This is one of the busiest times of year for us. School will be out for the summer this week and Maggie’s been busy with end of year activities. She is working on completing her 4H projects for the fair next month and hopes many of you will come see her show her hogs! We’ll let you know dates and times, but the Spencer County 4H Fair is June 21-27 at the fairgrounds south of Chrisney. Don’t confuse it with the carnival in Grandview that goes by a similar name and has no agriculture except items fried in vast amounts of batter that might once have been vegetables.
When you visit, you’ll notice a variety of things, I’ve no doubt. We generally begin every conversation with apologies for how the place looks, which is kind of weird. Glenn’s family has been farming here for several generations and back in 1968 a neighbor retired and, having no children, sold their farm to Glenn’s parents. They had no need of the house or buildings, only the fields, so the farmyard has been little used. Various family have lived up here now and then since and the last time anyone lived up here (for that’s where we are) was in the early 1980s. Hence, there’s been a 30-year-plus build up of junk, overgrowth, and cast off stuff. The house burned down about 40 years ago, but the barns are still here and almost intact. They weren’t used much either and were let go. When we moved here a year and a half ago, we pulled a mobile home in that we were able to find cheap and quick until we’re able to come up with something more permanent and have been concentrating on getting fencing up, repairing the buildings a bit at a time, clearing the woodvine and poison ivy and general overgrowth and collecting trash and junk to haul away. It’s a work in progress. It’s hard to believe the amount of progress we’ve been able to make and we envision a beautiful place one day in the not too distant future.
We’re planning a couple events for sometime this summer, as soon as we can figure out the logistics, and we do hope you’ll all come for a visit to your farm and a time of meeting your farm community!
Recipe(s) of the Month:
I just went to the website to see which greens recipes I’ve posted and, oh my! I haven’t even posted a veggie recipes page yet! That will rapidly move to the top of my priority list but not tonight. I’ll post a couple here and then I’m calling it a day because those roosters will start crowing around 4:30 regardless of when I turn it.
For starters, some of you will be old friends with greens, some of you will not. Cook’s Thesaurus, www.foodsubs.com, is an excellent place to look if you just don’t know what to do with something or even what something is! Not everything we grow is on here, though, so don’t hesitate to ask questions. For this week, click on Vegetables then on Greens and there will be some helpful tips.
Greens are marvelously healthy and marvelously diverse. They’re basically interchangeable, recognizing that using mustard greens instead of kale will produce a quite different flavor. They can be eaten raw, boiled, grilled, roasted, and used in any number of recipes from soup to pie to omelet’s and dips. Some are quite mild while others are very spicy, even bitter. There are ways to tone down the spice or bitterness if you don’t care for that. Most folks have certain ways they cook certain things. The only person I’ve ever met who likes virtually all greens is Glenn! He can’t get enough. Me, I have a few preferences. Following are a few recipes for greens. There are many more online and if you find one you really like pass it along!
Creamed Kale (Greens)
Boil water and cook coarsely chopped, stems removed Kale in the water for 7 minutes. Then plunge in ice water to stop the cooking.
Cook potatoes in cream (or milk) until soft.
Put them together! Salt and pepper.
Some people run the potatoes and kale together in a food processor to make them creamy. I combined them and used a potato masher to get everything just a little smoother.
(Thanks to Ohio MCFCSA Member Christa Novicki)
Roasted Kale with Sea Salt
Any firm leafy green works fine in this recipe. Collard greens or Swiss chard could easily be substituted for the kale.
Preheat oven to 375º F.
4 cups firmly-packed kale
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. good-quality sea salt, such as Maldon or Cyprus Flake
Wash and trim the kale: Peel off the tough stems by folding the kale leaves in half like a book and stripping the stems off. Toss with extra virgin olive oil. Roast for five minutes. Turn kale over. Roast another 7 to 10 minutes until kale turns brown and becomes paper thin and brittle. Remove from oven and sprinkle with sea salt. Serve immediately.
Makes 2 servings.
(Thanks to Judy Shell, Ohio MCFCSA member)
Spinach (or any other greens) Pie
Wondering what to do with kale, turnip greens, cabbage, chard, or even broccoli or beet greens?
Pre-heat oven to 350º F
Cook, drain, chop finely 2 quarts fresh spinach or greens of day
1 onion: sauté in 2 Tbsp oil
1/4 tsp nutmeg,
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp salt
2 beaten eggs
1 cup grated Swiss or fave cheese.
Pour into pie shell. Arrange top crust and seal.
Bake 30-40 min. at 350º F.
Options: Diced ham, chicken or turkey.
If you're adventurous, mix in some chopped (sautéed or pre-steamed) zucchini, squash, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, green (or other) peppers and/or mushrooms.
Garlic and/or black pepper? Cumin or curry?
Serve hot, in pie wedges.
(Thanks to Larry and Lois Ramey, Ohio MCFCSA members)
Save for Later
And don’t forget, you can preserve them for next winter, too! It’s simple. Blanch them in a couple gallons of boiling water for 2 minutes, plunge them into cold water (iced if possible), then pack them in baggies, label, and toss them in the freezer. I’ll try to post a more in depth piece on how to blanch and freeze vegetables soon. If I don’t, remind me.
Drop me a line any time or give a call to share your stories, recipes, questions, concerns, or just chit chat! We really do want to focus on that “C” in CSA.
Thanks for eating locally!