Thursday, July 7, 2011

CSA News Week 4

Birch Point CSA
Week 4 News

In Your Share This Week:

possibly the last of this until fall, depending on the weather. Enjoy!

Baby salad mix: a beautiful mix of different red and green lettuces, baby red mustard, baby kale, tatsoi, and edible flowers

Garlic Scapes
- the tail end of these; they've all been plucked now, just enjoy this last batch!

Kale OR chard- can't go wrong with those greens. Let me know YOUR favorite recipe!

Radishes- either French Breakfast or Easter Egg or class cherry belle (round red)

PEAS!!!! Either snow (flat, wide) or sugar snap peas (fat, crispy, sugary)- mix and match some of each. Eat the shells on both of these! Snow peas are great for stir-frying (both types are, but I like snows better), and snap peas for fresh eating. If any of these make it into a dish, I’ll be surprised- they are so tender and crisp and sweet, I recommend fresh snacking!


1. Farmers Park-it: this Saturday’s market is again at the Old Town parking deck. Come find us on the lower level- look for the big brown van.

2. Want to be a famous CSA member? DiFranco, our part time farm intern, wants your help! Julie is putting together a Birch Point Family Photo Album, and you can help. Please see “Meet Your Farmer” – at the end of it is a note from Julie. She’ll send you an email with a few questions later this week. If you do NOT want your email shared with Julie, let me know.

3. Wednesday July 13: Green Cuisine at Food for Thought in Honor. Birch Point will be there to represent CSA in our area! Come out to Honor from 5-8 p.m. to sample some local food, local beverages, and good company.

Field Notes

One word: D R Y. After a long, wet spring of lovely, consistent rain, July hit like a furnace. We finally got the drip irrigation out on everything that’s planted, so it’s manageable, but it makes me extra grateful to live in the Great Lakes bioregion where we at least have the water we need for irrigation. I try to remember that when wrangling with and cursing re-used drip tape (it’s a labor of love to keep that plastic out of the landfill for as long as possible by re-using it multiple seasons). I’m never entirely sure it’s worth it- the time spent scouting for leaks, finding the right spool of old tapes to go in the right sections of the gardens, splicing leaking or torn tapes. However, the thought process goes like this: if the farm is going to spend money on irrigation, I’d like as much as possible of that to go to real live people here in this area, rather than to a faceless plastic manufacturing company located far from here. Sometimes my fanatical salvaging tendencies get a little inefficient, but for the scale we’re at currently, I think it’s still worth taking care of the drip tape and reusing it. More on that later. For the time being, please know that your crops are being well watered with well loved plastic drip lines. ;)
Potato update: the Colorado Potato Beetles have been active! Our mulching crew did an excellent job of hand-picking the little monsters on the day of the mulch party, but of course they are back, and ravaging a couple of varieties of spuds. Some varieties are more susceptible than others, especially, it turns out, the Rose Finn Apple fingerlings. I’m considering spraying an organic insecticide on only that variety (continuing to hand pick larvae off the rest of the field), but what do you all think? I dislike the idea of spraying substances intended to kill anything, but our intention when hand-picking is to kill, too. What do you think? Your input is requested and valued!
Hoophouse update: Tomatoes are all upright (trellised) and bearing fruit! The first ripe cherry tomatoes came in last week (a handful), and soon there will be enough for CSA shares. It’s extra exciting in this delayed season to have the hoophouse cranking out hot season crops already. Feeling thankful for plastic right now. ;) Hoophouse kale and chard continue to yield enormous leaves that shock people at market.
The peas are starting to crank out fruit by the bucket. We’re starting every-other-day pea picking now until they dry up. Every year when peas come on, I eat so many I feel sick. It is lovely to have so many peas, but I hope the same thing doesn’t happen to you. Favas are starting to form on the plants! These giant members of the pea and bean family may be new to some of you, but we’ll include recipes when they come on. I hope you’ll like them as much as I do. The kohlrabi are starting to form bulbs, and may be ready in two weeks! Pole beans are all germinated and growing well; soon they’ll be ready for a trellis. Cucumbers, summer squash, and melons are starting to fill out, and you can check them out in the garden by the house as you come into the farm. We planted nasturtiums along the edge of that garden for both beauty and to deter striped cucumber beetles. This companion planting is rumored to help; I’m not sure if the nasturtium repels the beetles or attracts them (diverting them from the cucurbits). Maybe neither. Mainly they look pretty, and you’ll enjoy lots of edible flowers in your salad this summer!

Meet Your Farmers

Some of you have already met Julie DiFranco at CSA pickup or at the pre-season meeting, but for those of you who haven’t, Julie is 4'3" tall with a long grey beard and a tall pointy hat. She was born in Neverland but decided to move to Traverse City for the good looking people. In her spare time she enjoys training circus alligators and watching ramps grow. She is really looking forward to being a part of Birch Point Farm this summer, swimming, and playing make believe.
A gnote from the gnome: This is Julie and I am hoping to create a Birch Point Family Photo Album of shareholders. This will include a photo of you and your family, a short bio, and other small questions, in hopes that we can all get to know each other better and have a greater sense of community. This week I will be emailing you a questionnaire, however, if you would not like to participate please let Michelle know by replying to the newsletter and I will not email you. Looking forward to getting to know you better!

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