2015summer_week9

Summer 2015 – September, Week 9

What’s in the Box:

Cauliflower
Carrots
Broccoli
Pearl onions
Cucumbers
Kale
Arugula
Treviso radicchio
Pears
Flowers

Dear Members,

Happy Equinox!  In my book it has already been Autumn, as evidenced by foggy mornings, early sunsets, and apples dropping by the bucketful from our old trees.  These apples make the best juice and applesauce, but aren’t the scabless, beautiful, shiny apples that you find in every grocery store and most farmers markets.  These are a bit more humble in appearance, with their scars, bites, and bruises telling the story of the season.

The apples remind me that it’s time to get canning, storing, freezing, pickling for the Winter months.  It’s tricky to do when the season is so full, but I have managed a couple batches of applesauce, and usually talk my mom into freezing some vegetables for us, and making some fruit leather for Natty’s lunches.  I will often undertake just a little extra while I’m cooking dinner.  It doesn’t take much time to steam a couple handfuls of green beans and toss them on a cookie sheet in the freezer.  In the dead of Winter, when I’m browsing in the produce aisle, I’m glad for that extra little bit of work to put our fresh veggies in the freezer.

In today’s boxes, you’ll find our first cauliflower of the season.  We have tried for years to produce pest-free cauliflower, and have reduced our growing season to Autumn only, when the aphid pressure is generally lower.  Alas, the aphids are still with us.  If your cauliflower has pests, cut it into florets and soak it in room temperature salted water for about 20 minutes.  Rinse thoroughly and prepare.

The Treviso is a type of radicchio, and radicchio is indeed bitter.  Mike has insisted for many years that we grow it, along with a few other Italian vegetables, because it reminds him of his childhood and how all his complaining about things he didn’t like to eat turned into a rather earnest liking of them.  If you absolutely cannot handle bitter greens, try roasting it!  It becomes milder and sweeter with cooking.

Enjoy!
Heidi

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

October 30th, 2014

Summer 2014 – week 20

What’s in the Box:

Petite Share:
Chioggia Beets, Carrots, Garlic, Yellow Onions, Italian Parsley,
Mixed Peppers, Carnival Squash, Pears

Small shares:
Chioggia Beets, Carrots, Garlic, Red Russian Kale,
Yellow Onions, Italian Parsley, Mixed Peppers,
Carnival Squash, Pears
Family shares:
Chioggia Beets, Carrots, Garlic, Red Russian Kale,
Yellow Onions, Italian Parsley, Mixed Peppers,
Carnival Squash, Pears

Dear Friends,
Here we are at the last week of the Summer season. This is always a balancing act between the unbridled joy of a more relaxed schedule, and the very real feeling of sorrow. You will be missed. The CSA is a tangible way of connecting with our customers, and at the end of the day it is that connection that we value above all else. So let’s’ not say goodbye, but rather, see you later.
This week, we have included parsley and kale to round out our heartier offerings of winter squash, carrots and beets. The Chioggia Beets inconspicuously dull exterior hides a brilliant candy-striping of burgundy and white underneath. These can be sliced in salads for color and crunch or roasted with a bit of olive oil and garlic for a simple side dish; or you can include them in the Beet and Orzo recipe below. We have also included a healthy dose of mixed peppers, because they were just too beautiful not to share.

The garlic, our beautiful signature Carpathian, is included gratis. We cannot guarantee it free of mold. We have been growing this variety from our own seed since 1993. I thought we could outrun this issue by careful selection of seed stock, but it has gotten worse instead of better. We will carefully sort once more and plant only the best of the best. I am hopeful we can select this out, but even if we do, it may be two years or more before we have a marketable quantity again.

Also please note that we have placed this week’s flowers; a bouquet of dried Statice, inside the box itself.

We would like to thank you for accompanying us on this portion of our farming journey. This is the time to pause and appreciate you, our members. It is your support and faith in us that makes what we do possible, and we are humbly grateful.

We hope that you will continue to join us for this upcoming winter season. Please follow the link and consider signing up. This includes our Holiday Boxes in November and December, plus 10 deliveries from January through May: http://boistfortvalleyfarm.csaware.com/2014-2015-winter-share-nov-may-C5635

Thanks again for a great season!
-Emily, with a bit from Mike