2015summer_week11

Summer 2015 – October, Week 11

What’s in the Box:

Celery, Cucumbers, Yellow & Purple beans, Bell pepper,
Baby bok choy, Cilantro, Tomatoes, Cameo apples,
Dried Lavender (not intended for eating)

Dear Members,

What do farmers do when they take a weekend trip out of town? Visit other farms of course. It kind of sounds silly reading it, but that is exactly what Heidi and Nat and I did this past weekend. We pointed the Ford f-350 north and headed up to the Skagit Valley to check out some farms and ranches during their two day ‘Festival of Family Farms’. We visited Cascadian Farm outside Rockport and checked out their blueberry harvester and had ice cream and actually picked a few pumpkins. We spent a few hours painting baby pumpkins and shopping for a variety of unique plants at Cloud Mountain outside Everson. We had brisket and corn on the cob, and visited with cattle and draft horses at Ovenell’s Double O Ranch outside Concrete. In short, we had a whirlwind tour of some great farms in the Skagit Valley and left with a deep appreciation for the farms themselves and what they are doing, as well as a lot of respect for the way Whatcom county has supported them and created an atmosphere where the contribution these agricultural businesses make to the community and the region are highlighted and acknowledged. Are you listening Lewis County?

This week’s delivery continues the trend into fall and includes some cool weather loving Bok Choy, some fresh crop apples, and our first celery. Also included in this delivery is two bunches of dried lavender. It was harvested this Summer and was hung in the barn to dry.  What to do with a bunch of dried lavender? Put it into a vase to enjoy as a dry bouquet, or make a lavender sachet to place in a drawer or somewhere you would like a fresh scent.

What you’ll need for a lavender sachet:

A square of pretty fabric (Heidi recommends at least an 8″ square)

A ribbon to tie it with-long enough to make a bow
Remove the lavender flowers from their stems with your fingertips over a large cookie sheet or bowl. Place the flowers in the center of the cloth, fold the fabric on the diagonal and gather the fabric edges together.  Tie at least an inch below the fabric edges and trim any long edges. Easy!

Please enjoy this week’s delivery and stay tuned as we continue our journey into Fall.

Mike

2015summer_week4

Summer 2015 – August, Week 4

What’s in the Box:

Broccoli, Turnips, Baby bok choy, Zucchini
Green cabbage, Lettuce, Snow peas
Chives, Nectarines
Snapdragons

Dear Members,

PLEASE TAKE ONE BOUQUET OF SNAPDRAGONS

As you can imagine, it’s a busy time of year for the farm.  Everywhere we turn, something is begging for attention, water, trellising, fertilizing, cultivating…  The field is full of vegetables and lots of other opportunists, or what we refer to (rather unkindly, I suppose) as weeds.  Weeds are weeds by our definition: they’re growing somewhere that we haven’t planted them, and where we don’t want them to grow.  They compete with our crops for water and light, and provide us with an abundance of extra work through the Summer.  We try to take care of the weed pressure before it’s a problem, by getting the weeds out while they’re tiny, or, when that fails, by removing weeds before they go to seed.  Inevitably, there’s a time of year where the weeds seem to be winning the race, and we’re all just plain tired.  That time for us is right now.  Weeds, weeds, in all directions.  Too bad they aren’t more delicious…

The good news is that in the end, we seem to do all right, if not triumph, and we will all happily cross that finish line this year.

We’re excited to send you broccoli with today’s share. With such a hot July, I wasn’t sure if the broccoli would mature nicely, but it has finished with flying colors.  The cabbage is also cute and sweet, and will make a great salad.

We have added organic nectarines from Central Washington.  They are a bit firm (they bruise terribly when they’re fully ripe, and they don’t last long), so leave them at room temperature to allow them to ripen for best flavor and texture.

I’m adding a few recipes and heading back to the field to finish my day.  Enjoy!

Heidi

 

2015 Summer, Week 3

Summer 2015 – Week 3

What’s in the Box:

Bunched beets, Baby bok choy, Sweet onion, Summer squash,
Red Chard, Nectarines, Basil, Snow Peas,
Flowers

PLEASE TAKE ONE LILY BOUQUET!

Dear Members,

Finally a little burst of Summer today, with more to come soon.  The cool mornings and evenings really give the vegetables a chance to thrive, and things are looking healthy and strong in the field.

We are excited to have snow peas in today’s boxes, as well as baby beets, basil, and the first taste of Summer squash.  The organic nectarines are also a treat that we are thrilled to have.

Our surviving lettuces are growing beautifully in the field, and with the right conditions, will be harvestable in a week or two.  If you didn’t receive our update this Spring, our lettuce, peppers & tomatoes (if you can believe it) were the most beloved Spring treat for mice and slugs who must have made their way into the greenhouse from miles around.  I imagine tiny posters hung up in the mouse community, inviting them to the feast…improbable, but it certainly felt that way this Spring, as thousands of seeds were dug up and disappeared in the night.  At any rate, the lucky survivors are coming along nicely, and we’ll have some beautiful greens to share soon.

Yours,
Heidi

2015_may_week2

Winter 2015 – May, Week 2

What’s in the Box:

Artichokes, Mixed farm potatoes*, Leeks*
Asparagus, Fuji Apples, Baby bok choy
Spinach, Red Kale, Cranberry beans-dried*, Oregano*
Strawberries*, Peonies
*from our farm, all other produce is organic & NW grown

Dear Members,

PLEASE TAKE ONE BUNCH OF FLOWERS!

This is the final delivery of our Winter/Spring shares.  Thank you for participating with us!

If you haven’t joined our Summer CSA yet, there’s still time to sign up:  http://boistfortvalleyfarm.csaware.com/2015-summer-share-C6308.  We anticipate starting in late June.

While it’s always a little sad to finish out a delivery season, it’s also a bit of a relief.  May is the most challenging Spring month for us on the farm, as we are simultaneously organizing the harvest and delivery of produce, as well as coordinating field preparation, fertilizing, seeding, and transplant of all the greenhouse starts (and repairing the tractors and equipment…).  So after this week’s delivery, we are able to focus our attention more directly on getting all the seeds and seedlings into the field for Summer.

In today’s delivery, we have several items from our farm, including leeks, oregano, potatoes, dry beans, and flowers!  We have also included more Northwest grown organic asparagus, greens, baby bok choy, and apples.

But I forgot one thing.  The strawberries…Oh, the strawberries!

This is the earliest that we have ever harvested strawberries.  In a good season, we get approximately four weeks of harvest, but I’m not sure what to expect this season, as it’s so early and the weather is so varied.  Regardless of the duration of their presence, we are glad to have them for you this week!

Please, oh please, eat your strawberries right away.  They will not last in your fridge, or on your countertop.  We have harvested them especially for you, so that they will be lovely as long as possible, but that still isn’t very long. The variety that we grow is a classic, with amazing flavor, but as one local writer put it, you can’t ship them across the street. These odd little bursts of rain that we have enjoyed of late make them particularly soft and juicy.

Yours,

Heidi

Summer 2014 – Week 3

What’s in the Box:

Petite Share:
Romaine Lettuce,  Spinach, Baby Bok Choy, Cilantro,
Cherries & a Desktop Bouquet.
Small shares:
Romaine Lettuce, Spinach, Baby Bok Choy, Garlic Scapes,
Mint, Cilantro, Cherries & a Desktop Bouquet.
Family shares:
Romaine Lettuce, Leaf Lettuce, Spinach, Baby Bok Choy,
Garlic Scapes, Broccoli, Cilantro, Cherries &
a Desktop Bouquet.

 

Please remember to take: 1 Bouquet of Flowers

Dear Friends,

The other morning I found myself with my camera, in one of our fields nestled against the hills, in the heart of the Boistfort Valley.  The air was warm and steamy, the sun having not yet emerged from the clouds after a rain.  As I walked along the rows of beans and kraut cabbage, swallows and gold finches swooped ahead.  Except for the carefully planted field, no other evidence of human touch existed in my view—not a car, not a building, nothing but the hills and trees and the freshness of the air.

As a teenager growing up in the valley, I remember taking hikes in search of places such as this; hidden places, untouched by human necessity or exploitation.  Now, I am reassured that in a world where corporate agriculture and environmental decline have become commonplace, there remain these “hidden” places, in which vegetables quietly grow.

In speaking of this produce, you will find this week’s box full of luscious spring lettuce and baby bok choy, along with some very summery offerings—Spinach, cherries, and young broccoli!  Our Romaine lettuce is so big & beautiful this week, that we’ve provided 2 recipes to inspire you, although they both add an unusual heat factor to the lettuce; very worth experimenting with, in my opinion!

And CHERRIES!  I must mention the cherries once again!!  We are so excited about the arrival of summer fruit, that we’ve added sweet Bing Cherries to the share this week as a special treat!  If you love fruit as much as we do, please check out our new Fruit Share, coming in July!

Have a wonderful week and enjoy your produce!

-Emily

Summer 2014 – Week 1

What’s in the Box:

Lettuce, Arugula, Purple Mizuna OR Garlic scapes, Baby Bok Choy,
Red Radish, AND STRAWBERRIES!

Small shares also include:
Tatsoi & more strawberries!!

Family shares also include:
Tatsoi, Amethyst Radish & even more Strawberries!!!

 

 

Please remember to take:
Family share: three pints of strawberries
Small share: two pints of strawberries
Petite share: one pint of strawberries

A few notes about pick up:

Please be sure to find your name on the sign-in sheet, double check which share size you signed up for, and take the correct share size. If you take the wrong size it means someone else will also end up with the wrong size.

Double check the sign-in sheet for other items that you should take. Delicate items like flowers and berries never go into the boxes — we put them alongside so that they aren’t damaged. Your sign-in sheet will tell you how many to take.

Please return any clean, reusable CSA boxes to us next week when you pick up your share. If your box is ripped, or the cat decides to make it his new home, please recycle it instead.

Remember that our site hosts graciously open their homes for us to make these deliveries. As you can imagine, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by a giant stack of boxes toppling over when you open your front door. Please feel free to (carefully) break down your boxes and flatten them to make storing them easier. Also, please honor the pick-up times listed. If you find that you cannot pick up your vegetables during the times listed, please contact us.

If you have any questions, call or email us!

About today’s boxes:

Our strawberries are called Shuksan: a classic berry with wonderful flavor, you can expect them to hold up for less than 24 hours. They aren’t the super berries that you see in the grocery store — these little berries will break your heart if you don’t eat them right away. But their taste is unlike anything you will find on the grocery store shelf — unless you shop at your local co-op.

This has been a challenging spring to manage the CSA. We got onto the fields earlier than usual and seeded a first planting of everything in April; beets, carrots, greens. Then we were hit with driving rains that pelted the freshly planted beds. These plantings either crusted over to a point that none but the hardiest sprouts could penetrate, or were simply washed out. In some cases our beds sat underwater for days. As a result we tilled in almost two acres of abysmal plantings and reseeded as early as possible. I was tempted to document this phenomenon but opted to just put it behind me. In the mean time our strawberries ripened a full two weeks ahead of their regularly scheduled harvest date. Ughh.

One of my steadfast rules is ‘never qualify’, but this spring I must make an exception. We have thought and met and thought and projected and talked and met and talked some more here at the farm, and though we have always started the program and ran straight through the season without interruption we have concluded that the option of suspending deliveries for one week will allow us to best serve our customers. This is not a cancellation or exclusion; we will simply deliver this first box, which will allow us to get you a taste of our locally famous Shuksan berries along with a selection of spring greens. Then, rather than inundate you with a second delivery of the same greens, we will take a one week hiatus. One week later, the week of June 22nd, when we provide a second delivery, our selection of greens will have expanded and we can include fresh garlic and other selections with our beets, carrots, and peas to follow.

We will remind everyone via email of the specifics of this untraditional delivery schedule and I invite you to call or email if you have any questions. I want to thank you for your kind understanding of the nature of farming, and apologize in advance for any confusion this might create. Please know that we value our customers and take seriously our obligation to provide the quality and quantity you deserve. Rest assured we are not diminishing the value of your CSA experience but rather responding to a crazy spring and prioritizing the experience that is eating a fresh local berry.

Winter 2014 – April, week 1

What’s in the Box:

Bulk carrots*, Dry beans*,
Leeks*, Parsnips*,
Yellow onions, Shallots,
Russet potatoes, Collards,
Shiitake mushrooms,
Crimini mushrooms,
Baby bok choy
& Fuji apples
*From our farm

 

Dear Members,

One of the best things about our temperate climate, in my book, is how easy it is to use the outside grill all year long.  (Even when I haled from colder climes I used the grill in snowy weather but it did inspire a little head shaking from the neighbors.)  This is one of the most satisfying times to use the grill because it is often warm enough to stand outside and take in the changes to your yard and garden while being cool enough to inspire the need for a hearty warm meal.  What a coincidence that the end of winter vegetables grill and roast so beautifully!

The aroma of roasting shallots and onions may be one of the best appetizers on earth – or perhaps mixed into a skillet of collard greens to flesh out that verdant smell.  Of course, a pot of beans would go well with those greens…maybe a little cornbread?  Well, before I wander off behind my taste buds, remember, just as when you roast in the oven, the leftovers may have the best flavor, so don’t hesitate to make plenty so you have some for soups and stews and to dress up that cold weekend sandwich.

We have a little time left before all those showy above ground vegetables take center stage so fire up the grill (or the oven) and enjoy some ‘fruit of the earth’ for supper.

-Bj