2015summer_week6

Summer 2015 – September, Week 6

What’s in the Box:

Green & yellow, wax beans, Austrian Crescent potatoes, Chioggia beets,
Zucchini & Summer squash, Cucumbers, Green onions, Lettuce,
Pears, Flowers

Dear Members,

PLEASE TAKE ONE BOUQUET OF FLOWERS

The bad news: this is the last of the lilies

The good news: this is the last of the lilies!!!

We always wonder if people tire of lilies. We at the farm get overrun every year at some point. We have several long beds of lilies which all start out innocently enough sending up a precocious blossom here and there to get our attention before that variety blooms in earnest. We plant several varieties intended to bloom in succession, thereby giving us a long season of these gorgeous and fragrant flowers. However… Every year there is this ramp up in production with a crescendo of several varieties blooming at the same time. Lilies to the left of us, lilies to the right of us, lilies all around us! Every year I have to give a pep talk to the people cutting the lilies. It goes something like, “Don’t let the lilies rule your life, don’t let them get the better of you.” If a person tries to keep up, and get every breaking bloom they are at risk of going mad, and if heaven forbid they succeed in keeping up, the lilies then take over every square foot of refrigerated space on the farm. It is always a bittersweet farewell. We do have sunflowers just starting to come on, and the snapdragons are blooming like crazy.

In more exciting news: IT RAINED!!!

It rained nearly 1 ½ inches over the weekend, precipitation that was sorely needed.  This doesn’t negate the drought entirely, of course, but it takes the immediate pressure off some of our irrigation needs, and reduces the stress that the plants have been enduring these past weeks.  I can almost feel them relaxing…or maybe that’s me.  As much as I love a warm, dry Autumn, the rain was truly welcome. Among other things it takes the pressure off field cultivating as it is just a bit wet out there right now. The rain also brings with it a much more moderate ambient temperature and that helps lower the anxiety around harvesting everything right now, before it blows. Though the farm is still a bit of a runaway train, the vibe is much more relaxed than it was a week ago. I think we all feel that, farming or not, this rain has relieved a lot of pressure.

Included in this week’s delivery are Chioggia beets. Named for a fishing town near Venice, they are an Italian heirloom dating back to the early 1800s and introduced to the U.S. before 1865. Their uniquely beautiful flesh has alternating red and white concentric rings that resemble a bull’s-eye. Truly beautiful if cut in cross section, they will retain this unique feature if baked whole and sliced just before serving.

Also included this week are Austrian Crescent fingerling potatoes. They originated in South America but where introduced to this country by European settlers. They are delicate and cook quickly. I like them best pan fried or roasted gently with green onion. I think the simpler the preparation the better, and usually toss them with a good quality olive oil and just a bit of salt and pepper before baking them in a toaster oven.

Enjoy!

Heidi

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

 

Summer 2014 – Week 10

What’s in the Box:

Petite Share:
Lettuce, Yellow Crookneck Squash, Eggplant, Green Peppers,
Cherry Tomatoes, Lemon Cucumber, Peaches &
1 Bouquet of Flowers
Small shares:
Lettuce, Yellow Crookneck Squash, Eggplant, Green Peppers,
Cherry Tomatoes, Green Onions, Lemon Cucumber, Cucumber,
Peaches & 1 Bouquet of Flowers
Family shares:
Lettuce, Yellow Crookneck Squash, Eggplant, Green Peppers,
Cherry Tomatoes, Green Onions, Beets, English Shell Peas,
Cucumber, Peaches & 1 Bouquet of Flowers


Please remember to take: 1 Bouquet of Flowers

Dear Friends,

“Eating with the fullest pleasure –pleasure, that is, that does not depend on ignorance –is perhaps the profoundest enactment of our connection with the world.  In this pleasure we experience and celebrate our dependence and gratitude, for we are living from mystery, from creatures we did not make and powers we cannot comprehend.”

–Wendell Berry

This week marks the halfway point of our Summer CSA season.  While the long days of sun and warmth seem endless, in just a few weeks, we will be feeling the first creeping traces of autumn—twilight coming a bit early, a foggy chill in the morning air.

In the meantime, however, we are still enjoying the abundance of High Summer.  Sweet tomatoes, juicy peaches, and sharp bell peppers all hold reminders that the season is at its fullest.  And it is in this vein of thought that the above quote comes to mind—the celebration and gratitude of our closeness to the earth, both  as farmers and as eaters…For as Mr. Berry also proposes, “Eating is an agricultural act.  Eating ends the annual drama of the food economy that begins with planting and birth.” 

So, whether we are the farmer walking the field, or the CSA member preparing the vegetables from the box, we are all participating in this great agricultural cycle.  Thank you for being on this journey with us.

One further note before the recipes:  We are still taking new members for the 2014 Summer season.  If you know of anyone interested in a CSA, please spread the word.  Thanks…

-Emily

Summer 2014 – Week 7

What’s in the Box:

Petite Share:
Lettuce, Radicchio, Purple Carrots, English Shell Peas,
Apricots, Basil & 4 Stems of Flowers.
Small shares:
Lettuce, Radicchio, Purple Carrots, Fennel,
English Shell Peas, Green Onions,
Apricots & 4 Stems of Flowers.
Family shares:
Lettuce, Purple Carrots, Fennel, Summer  Squash,
English Shell Peas, Green Onions,
Apricots & 4 Stems of Flowers.

 

Please remember to take: 4 Stems of Flowers

Dear Friends,

It looks like the warm weather is back after last week’s reprieve of clouds and so much rain.  These long, sultry days of sunshine make for thriving plants and luscious produce.  Some of the radicchio grown here at the farm is the largest I have ever seen.

In your boxes this week you will find peas!!  Tender and sweet, fresh English Shell Peas add sparkle to any meal, if they actually make it INTO the meal; ours usually get eaten by the handful long before, on par with any berry! They do need to be shelled mind you; which is as easy as running your thumb nail along the length of the union of the two halves of the shell on the inside edge of the pod. The pod will open like a book revealing the peas within.

We also have apricots to offer this week, which are a real treat.  Apricots are at their peak right now and these are the Rival variety and grown right here in Washington state.  Apricots are just one more of the highlights of midsummer.

Speaking of fruit, if you and your family crave more than we deliver in our regular Summer share boxes, Our Fruit Shares have been well received and there are some still available.  These come on a weekly basis and consists of a variety of seasonal fruits.  Even though we began offering the Fruit share a couple of weeks ago, when you sign up your payment is pro-rated, just like the regular Summer Share.

As always, thank you for being our partners in this farming experience and accompanying us on this season’s journey of planting, growing, harvesting, sharing and eating.  Have a wonderful week!

Emily

A couple of notes on the included flowers:

When taking your Glads, please be gentle with the ones you are leaving for other members.  They are easily damaged.

Summer 2014 – Week 4

What’s in the Box:

Petite Share:
Lettuce, Chard, Fennel, Red Radishes,
Garlic Scapes & 1 Lily Stem.
Small shares:
Lettuce, Arugula, Chard,Fennel,
Red Radishes, Garlic Scapes, Mint,
Cilantro, & 1 Lily Stem.
Family shares:
Lettuce, Arugula, Chard, Fennel,
Red Radishes, Garlic Scapes, Parsley,
Cilantro, Kohlrabi, Mint & 1 Lily Stem.

 

 

Please remember to take: 1 Stem of Lilies

Dear Friends,

Now that we are entering the balmy days of summer, new varieties of vegetables and herbs seem to be ripening on a daily basis.  Many of these are quite unique and worth mentioning for those who are new to them….Garlic Scapes, Arugula and Fennel, to name a few.  And to solve this problem of “What is THIS in my box?” I am beginning a weekly Facebook post entitled, ‘Weekly Veggie Catalog.’  This identifies each item in your box and provides a bit of history, nutrition information and preparation tips about it.  (Also, if you have not yet ‘liked’ us on Facebook, please do so!)  www.facebook.com/boistfortvalleyfarm

Along these lines, here is the link to our “Recipes” page on the Boistfort Valley Farm website.  This also includes recipes and information for each vegetable.  www.boistfortvalleyfarm.com/recipes

One of these distinctive vegetables I mentioned earlier is Fennel.  Fennel is a graceful-looking plant originating in the Mediterranean.  It has a long and rich history.  The Ancient Greek Athletes used Fennel to stave off hunger during their fasting and training periods.  It is recorded that the Battle of Marathon during the Persian Wars (490 B.C.) was fought on a field of Fennel.  Later, Fennel seed was included as one of the key ingredients in Absinthe and enjoyed by the 18th Century Europeans.  Today, we use the Fennel bulb for cooking and in salads.  Both the bulb and the feathery leaves impart a sweet, refreshing flavor to salads and stir fries.  The roasted Fennel dish below looks amazing!

As always, we hope you enjoy your produce this week.  In next week’s box, we anticipate including the first carrots of the season.

For interested friends and family, please remember that it is not too late to sign up for a farm share.  We consider ourselves fortunate to provide your family with the bounty of our farm.

–Emily

One note on the included flowers:  When taking your lilies, please be gentle with the ones you are leaving for other members.  They are easily damaged from excessive handling.  Thank you!

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.