Monday, September 10, 2012

CSA News: Week 14!

Friends, we're over the hump. Fall is on the horizon- for those who go to school, it probably already feels like fall! We're planting our very last fall radishes, salad mixes, spicy greens, and scallions for outdoor harvests up until snowfall, and in the next few weeks we'll start transitioning the hoophouse over to winter greens, herbs, roots, and salad mix. Planting the hoophouse (or any part of the farm) is like editing a magazine- in September I'm planting for December-January, with snow and clouds on my mind. In February I'm planting for April-May with sun and blue skies. Luckily there's all that weeding and harvesting to keep me grounded and in the present.
We may see the first watermelons in the next couple of weeks- remember the cucurbit fiasco? The first planting all succumbed to drought, so we scurried to replant. Luckily the cukes and zukes are quick growing, so we've had (as you know!) plenty of those already, but the melons, pumpkins, and winter squash are a big unknown- fingers crossed for one more heat wave!

In Your Share This Week:
More heat-loving summer crops!

A torrent of tomatoes, cherry and heirloom
A cubic yard of cucumbers (they are crazy right now!)
A passel of peppers, sweet and/or hot
A smattering of summer squash and/or zucchini
A pound (or more) of fingerling or marble potatoes
A bag of braising mix OR baby broccoli
A barrage of basil, again!
A boatload of beans, rainbow or all green
A lovin' spoonful of leaf lettuce or salad mix
An onslaught of onions
Perhaps something else I'm forgetting right now...

1. Preserving shares still available. Please email me to reserve your half bushel ($30)or quarter bushel ($15)of canning tomatoes, beans, and/or cucumbers, or bulk quantity of basil ($10/lb). Pick up at the next CSA pickup after you get confirmation of your order.
2. CSA will run through the end of October. Last week in October=last week of pick-up.
3. Investor Shares available for winter! We're not doing CSA "proper" for winter, but we will be at the Building 50 indoor winter market starting the first Saturday in November. An investor share allows you to create your own share as often as you like from our market table. You invest as much as you like in the farm, that becomes a declining-balance account (credit at our farmer's market table), and it earns "interest" on your investment in the form of produce. For example, if you invest $100 at a 10% interest rate, you then have $110 in farm credit, to be used at our market stall. Investor shares never expire, and you can re-invest as frequently as you like. Each time you shop, we deduct your purchases from your balance, and you take your produce home- no cash needed!

That's it for now- more recipes next week :)

Saturday, September 1, 2012

CSA: Week 13, the Week of the Salsa Share

Some weeks I'm just so pleased with the shares- the colors, the variety, the idea of all of our CSA members going home and making salsa with the produce from the farm- and this is definitely a salsa week! Try the recipe at the end of the newsletter, or make up your own- you can't really go wrong with fresh ingredients, coarsely chopped (or blended- depends on your taste!).

In Your Share This Week:

Cherry Tomatoes
Large Heirloom Slicing Tomatoes
Sweet Peppers- either Flavorburst (the lime green bells) or Carmen (the long, red, horn-shaped sweet pepper)
Hot Peppers- either Jalapeño or Hungarian Hot Wax
Cilantro or Italian Parsley- your choice
Sweet Onions
Beets OR Turnips- your choice
Baby Salad Mix OR Red Leaf Lettuce
Radishes- giant specimens of French Breakfast or Easter Egg varieties
Rainbow Beans-mixed colors
Cucumbers-mixed varieties
Summer Squash and/or Zucchini

So the first seven items are clearly salsa ingredients, along with the juice of a lime, some toasted cumin seed, and salt and pepper. I often include finely chopped cucumbers and finely chopped raw beans in salsa also! You can toss in chopped peaches, fresh blueberries, even finely chopped or grated carrots or turnips (maybe beets, too, if you like everything-purple salsa!). Be sure to try purslane and verjus (juice of unripe grapes, an excellent local product that serves a similar purpose as citrus in most dishes) too- especially if you're into the uber-local (i.e. no citrus) thing!


1.Canning/preserving shares still available: tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, basil. $30 per yellow lug (approx 1/2 bu) for all but basil. $15 for half a lug. Basil $10 per lb. Email me your order (, and tell me which week is best for you to do your canning, and we'll coordinate.

2. Local Rye Berries available for $1 per lb from Marty Heller. Email your order or ask at CSA pickup on Tuesday. Rye berries can be used any way you'd use rice; they taste like rye and are bursty-chewy in texture. See last week's blog for a delicious sounding recipe for rye and cabbage (for which you could sub kale or any green thing, in my opinion!)


Birch Point Salsa Extraordinnaire

2 cups chopped tomatoes, mixed colors
1-2 cups chopped sweet peppers, depending on how pepper-heavy you like salsa
1 cup chopped sweet onion (or less, to taste)
2-5 cloves minced garlic, to taste
1-4 minced hot peppers, to taste
a good handful of chopped cilantro and/or parsley (yes, you can use the stems- they are as flavorful as the leaves and perfect in salsa)
Juice of one lime, squeezed to every last drop (or lemon if you have no lime)
1 Tbsp toasted whole cumin seed, either crushed or not, your choice
generous dashes of coarse salt and fresh ground black pepper

I tend to do the onions, garlic, and peppers in the food processor, and chop tomatoes and herbs by hand, but you can certainly do them all one way or another- depends on if you like your salsa chunky, smooth, or in between. Citrus really makes this dish, but if you are a hard core bioregionalist, instead of lime use a generous handful of chopped purslane and/or 1/4 cup verjus, perhaps from Blackstar Farms. Mix everything well. Ideally, let the salsa set for a few hours, covered (it's fruit fly season!) at whatever temperature you want to eat it, and then serve. If you can't resist, and eat it immediately, that's lovely, too.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

CSA News: Week 12

Greetings from the farm desk! In this week's blog post: share items, rye for sale, canning/preserving shares, children's garden, fall expectations, and recipes

In Your Share This Week:

Baby Salad Mix is back! This week's mix is especially beautiful to me- lots of red lettuces and red baby beet greens, green lettuces, baby kale, tatsoi, pac choi, and endive, not to mention edible flowers!

Sweet little cabbages- these guys are phoenixes, rising out of the ashes of a flame- or rather, of a field we'd abandoned to weeds partway through the summer. Last week I got the idea to check and see if anyone was still growing there, and lo and behold, I found cabbage. It's small from the drought and weed competition, but it's there- and it's yours this week. See recipe for cabbage and rye berries below.

Sweet Onions- more Ailsa Craig and/or Walla Walla- delicious raw OR cooked

Beans! It's been a good month for beans- there's another planting coming on, AND the old plants are sending out new flowers, so I bet you'll see beans in your shares for a few more weeks :)

Summer Cucurbits! Green, white, and yellow Cucumbers, and baby zucchini, pattypan, and yellow summer squash- just a few, but tender and delicious.

Tomatoes- more cherry tomatoes AND large slicers. This week's newcomers are Ananas Noire, Garden Peach, and Great White, in addition to the varieties we started harvesting last week.

Peppers- the very first sweet bell peppers of the season. Lime green bell peppers are called "Flavorburst," (I know- a dumb name, but a nice sweet, crunchy pepper!) dark green bells could be several different varieties (which will soon start ripening to red or yellow- stay tuned for colored peppers soon). Also- just a few hot peppers- Hungarian Hot Wax (long, yellow-green, semi-hot), jalapenos, serranos, or pasillas (long, finger-shaped, dark green), to name a few.

Kale or Chard- the green leafies are back! My favorite simple meal this past week was sauteed kale and sweet onions, with several different colored tomatoes and toasted walnuts chopped and tossed in at the last minute, with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, served over couscous. Simple. yum.

Basil- it just keeps coming. It's a great year for basil- the heat, the drought (as long as it got some water from time to time), all excellent for this mediterranean herb. I hope you get your hands on some delicious fresh mozzarella to make Caprese salad with those heirloom tomatoes and basil!

I think we'll keep this lineup, with some variations, for the next couple of weeks- it's the all-star list of summer hot crops, and it's so exciting that they are finally all here!

1. Canning/Preserving shares available: Tomatoes, Pickling Cucumbers, and Beans available by the lug (approx 1/2 bushel)for $30, or half-lug for $15. Basil available by the one-pound bag for $10. Put in your orders now, and when we have a critical mass of these things, I'll let you know, and you can pick up your order within a week of notification. You'll need to have some flexibility in terms of scheduling your pickling or canning project, as I don't know exactly when we'll have the critical mass of each crop, but it will be between one and six weeks from now!

2. Locally-grown whole rye berries available to CSA members: Farmer Marty Heller, who grew dry beans last year, is branching out into grains. This year he grew and harvested hundreds of pounds of rye from the field at the DeYoung Farm (on Cherry Bend Road). Cleaned, whole rye berries available for $1 per lb, at CSA pick-up (Sat or Wed people, email me to order). I'll sell what we've got (about 50# on hand) til we run out, then take orders for more. I normally soak rye berries overnight, then cook just like brown rice- a 1:2 rye:water ratio, brought to a boil, then simmered 45-60 min til tender but still chewy and slightly firm.

3. The Children's Garden is bursting at the seams! CSA members and farm friends are invited to not only stroll through but enjoy the beans from the bean teepee and cherry tomatoes from the beautiful branch trellis. Hang out inside the sunflower house, or dig a hole in the floor of the bean teepee. Smell and taste the herbs and edible flowers. Borrow a "Children's Garden Scavenger Hunt" sheet from the barn, and see how many things you can find. Colleen and Shelly, head garden magicians, may even host a garden program for kids and families before the end of summer- for now, stop by and snack!
4. We've passed the half-way point of the season! Right now it looks like we'll go through the end of October with shares (the full 22 weeks), especially since the squash and fall brassicas (cabbage, brussels sprouts, broccoli, etc) will be maturing so late from the late planting dates, and I want to be sure you get as many of these things as possible before CSA is over for the season. We'll continue to be at the downtown TC market Saturdays til the end of October, and Wednesdays til the end of September. Wed CSA people: once Wed markets end, we'll switch you to either Saturday morning market pickup or Tuesday evening on-farm pickup for the very end of the season.


Rye Berries with Cabbage, Walnuts & Toasted Caraway (lifted from here)

by Michelle McKenzie

The rye berries are chewy and deeply nutty, the cabbage sweet, and the mustard perfectly pungent. Using a high-quality Dijon mustard is important; each grain becomes bathed an unctuous, deeply savory sauce. Great as a vegetarian, one-dish lunch or dinner, and as a side to roast pork.


1 cup rye berries
3 cups filtered water or vegetable stock
2 cups raw walnuts
1 Tbsp honey
3 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp + 1 tsp walnut oil
2 tsp unpasteurized apple cider vinegar, or to taste
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, duck fat, or lard
2 tsp caraway seeds, toasted over medium heat until fragrant
2 medium red onions, diced
3 cloves garlic, green germ removed and minced
4-5 cups shredded Savoy or Napa cabbage (MF note: you can use any cabbage, including those little guys in your share this week!)
¼ cup chopped parsley
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Heat a large Dutch oven or stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the rye berries and toast for approximately 5 minutes, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon. When the berries have darkened considerably and a nutty aroma fills the room, pour them into a strainer and rinse well with cold water to arrest cooking. Return berries to the cooled pot; cover with 2 ½ cups water or stock and refrigerate overnight.

2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bring the rye berries and soaking liquid to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and allow the rye to simmer for approximately 45 minutes. Add sea salt and pepper to taste; allow to simmer for 15 minutes more, or until the berries are tender and the liquid is absorbed.

3. Meanwhile, spread the walnuts onto a parchment-lined sheet pan and place in the oven. Toast for approximately 8-10 minutes, or until a deep golden brown. Remove from the oven, toss with 1 teaspoon walnut oil and a pinch of salt. Set walnuts aside. (MF note: you can also just dry-toast them in a med-warm skillet til browned)

4. Once the rye berries are tender, add remaining ½ cup of water or stock, honey, Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, and remaining 2 tablespoons walnut oil; set aside and keep warm.

5. Heat olive oil (or duck fat or lard) in a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Add chopped onion and garlic; allow to soften slightly, about 2 minutes. Add shredded cabbage, a generous pinch of salt, a few grinds of black pepper, and toasted caraway seeds. Stir to coat cabbage in the onions and oil; cover the pan and allow the cabbage to steam in its own liquid, about 6-8 minutes, or until tender.

6. Add cabbage, walnuts, and parsley to rye berries; stir to combine. Taste for seasoning; add more salt, cider vinegar, or mustard to taste. Serve hot or at room temperature.

makes: 6 servings

Roasted Tomatoes

Tomatoes, sliced. (cherry tomatoes: slice in half. Big tomatoes: slice in 1/2" slices)
Olive Oil

Spread sliced tomatoes on cookie sheet, drizzle generously with olive oil. Sprinkle liberally with salt. Roast in 400 degree oven for 30-45 min, depending on thickness of slices. Look for browned, crackly edges. I sometimes toss in halved garlic cloves and/or thick-sliced sweet onion rings in the same tray. Remove from heat, and enjoy hot or cool down and store in freezer til winter- way easier than canning AND it tastes amazing! Use for tomatoes in any recipe this winter (blend or food-process to make sauce in a pinch, after thawing).

Monday, August 20, 2012

CSA Week 11

In This Post: items in your share, a pickle of a workshop, farm news and crop updates, and recipes at the end!

What's in Your Share This Week?

Lettuce! Two varieties: Devil's Ears (long, pointy deer tongue type), and Red Sails (crinkly red leaf)

Sweet Onions- either Ailsa Craig or Walla Walla, both large, sweet onions that are super juicy- refrigerate these until using.

Beans- either green Jade (my favorite green bean) or our Rainbox Mix (green, yellow, and purple). Did you know purple beans turn green when cooked? Enjoy these raw or just barely steamed if you want to eat purple beans.

Garlic- we've been doing two small, rather than one large, bulbs per share- how's that working out for you? Any pref?

Basil- enough for a small batch of pesto, OR a basil-tomato-fresh mozz Caprese salad

Potatoes- Dark Red Norland, an early redskin with white flesh, perfect for baking, boiling, or roasting. We've got small potatoes this year - see rundown of crops, below, for details.

Tomatoes- more cherry tomatoes (from the field AND the hoophouse, finally!), as well as big heirloom slicers. The first heirlooms in from the field this year are Cherokee Purple, Crnkovic, Moskvich, Valencia, Eva Purple Ball, and Japanese Trifele Black. More varieties to come!

The very first summer cucurbits! You may get Miniature White Cucumbers (which range in color from white to yellow- similar to a Lemon Cuke but elongated, not round), baby summer squash, or zucchini. More of all of these, and green cukes too, in the next few weeks.

Optional Extras: Turnips and Radishes- we pulled an entire old bed of turnips and radishes. That means we have a lot, but some of them are super spicy, and others have some insect damage. There are three types of turnips- Scarlet Queen (red stem, red root), Hakurei (small green leaves, white round root), and Nabo (a spanish variety bred for its leaves and big roots- big green leaves and spicy, elongated white roots). Easter Egg (multi colored) radishes. If you love turnips and radishes, these are yours to sort through and enjoy the good ones. If not, the chickens will happily do it for us ;)

Pickling Workshop:
Food Preservation
: Dilly Beans and Cucumber Pickles / Thursday August 23 from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm at Birch Point Farm / 7506 E. Birch Point Rd, Traverse City, MI
Come learn how to make brined and fermented pickles and dilly beans; or if you know how, come join in the fun of preserving food in a group setting. Produce, canning jars and lids will be provided. Each participant will prepare and can pickles and dilly beans hands-on, and take home a share of the jars at the end of the workshop. There will be take-home info and resources available. $25-35 sliding scale. Preregistration required. A partnership of ISLAND, Birch Point Farm, NMSFC, and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. For more information or to pre-register call (231) 622-5252 or email

Field Notes
It's been a long time since I've sent any farm news- I hope this update is worth the wait! As you know, it has been a HOT, DRY season. It has been the strangest weather of any growing season to date, in my experience (12 years since my very first farm volunteer gig!). Except for 2009, the year we lost all the tomatoes to late blight, it's been the hardest growing season yet. We've strained the irrigation beyond its capacity, got behind in laying irrigation at all in some places, gotten one or no harvest only from some crops (like baby salad) that normally we'd get two or more cuttings from, weeds have been rampant and loving this heat, and insect pests have attacked in unprecedented numbers and varieties. We lost the entire first planting of cucurbits (squash, melons, cucumbers) to the heat- newly germinated plants fried and died, so we had to scramble to replant for a later harvest. Also, we've got small potatoes- the drought set back or killed most potato plants after they'd formed spuds but before they grew much. We'll have lots of small potatoes, and maybe the recent rain will re-start the growth of the plants that are still green! We'll see. That's the bad news.
The good news is that some heat-loving crops like tomatoes, peppers, and basil (and the new planting of cucurbits) are doing great! Assuming we got irrigation on as soon as we planted, the plants did GREAT. You will soon be consumed by tomatoes. :) Hopefully cucumbers in the next couple of weeks, too! Peppers are looking good, just barely starting to ripen, but some of the plants are loaded with fruits. The dry weather is good for minimizing rot on fruits, so they have a better chance of ripening from green to red (or yellow, etc) without developing rot. However, dry weather also makes it harder for the roots to absorb calcium from the soil, which results in a condition called blossom end rot in tomatoes and peppers- a black sunken spot on the very tip of the fruit. We can mitigate that by continuing to irrigate, to make that calcium available and absorbable to those plants.
Fall plantings (more carrots, beets, turnips, radishes, as well as the cabbages, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Asian greens, etc) all got pushed WAY back this year, as the ground where we wanted to plant these things was a solid brick, from lack of rain, and impossible to till, until very recently. The transplants have been busting out of their trays, and finally getting in the ground! That means all those fall brassicas will be later than normal, and maybe smaller, depending on the weather the next 2 months. We'll continue to irrigate, weed, and hope for the best. (Right now it looks like CSA will run over 20 weeks, possibly the full 22, to make sure everyone can get in on all that fall bounty!) Thanks to my neighbor Jake for coming in with his 5-ft tiller to prep all that planting space, once it was possible.
Every year I learn something useful from the season, and this year a few things stand out:
1. Weather is becoming less and less predictable, and more and more extreme
2. Because of item #1, infrastructure like hoophouses, irrigation, and storage space become more important, to accommodate the unpredictable weather and crop and harvest needs.
3. The investor model of membership is great! I am a pretty hard-core CSA advocate, and as such I encourage people to become traditional CSA members when it can work for them, but for those who can't, the investor model is working really well. I've gotten good feedback from everyone I've talked to, except a few folks who live on my road and don't always go to town on Sat or Wed for market. It's hard to justify driving 8 miles to market for food grown 1/2 mile down the road, but right now we don't have a good system in place for them. I don't want to start a farm stand- any ideas?
4. The farm passed the threshold of reasonably hand-workable acreage this year. For the first time, we worked up over 4 acres and attempted to manage it all by hand (the only tractor tilling happening early in the spring, and all bed prep and subsequent cultivation with hand tools). In addition to unanticipated stresses from extreme weather, the sheer amount of space I planned to cultivate was too much for our current system, and I ended up calling Jake (the neighbor with the 5-ft tractor-drawn tiller) to till certain spaces more frequently than I'd anticipated. We were dependent on his schedule and equipment maintenance, and if he hadn't been available, we would have been, in a word, screwed. I'm thankful for him and his tiller, but it brought home the fact that Birch Point is ready for its own traction system. I wanted to refine hand work systems enough to not rely on tractor tillage, but this year made it evident that we're past that scale now. I'm considering either a walk-behind tractor (a commercial-scale BCS tiller with mower and other attachments) or a 40-50 hp tractor for tillage, mowing, and cultivation. The BCS certainly costs less ($5,000 vs over $20,000 for a new tractor), but the tractor may be a better long-term investment, as we may pass the scale of walk-behind tractor work soon, too.
This is a hard decision for me- not only is it a huge investment, it goes against my communal nature. On paper I really don't see any reason for everyone on this road to have their own tractors, and we have good relationships with our neighbors (and often bring them veggies or do other favors for each other, which I love). However, the farm has gotten to the point where a week of waiting for someone else to have time to mow for me can result in an acre of thistle seed dropping into three acres of garden, causing unknown future labor cost (hoeing and weeding). Also, I could never have anticipated the difficulty of explaining to Jake a bed-system vs. a row-system, of planting, and what that means for the pattern of tillage in a field (with some weird tillage resulting!). The bigger the scale (up to a point), the bigger the stability of the farm, but also the bigger the risks, whereas before when I had less garden space, every risk was a smaller one, and the benefits of not maintaining my own tractor outweighed the risk of letting weeds go to seed around the garden, for example. Now the benefits of having a tractor at my disposal, on my schedule, seem to outweigh the risks of the investment and tractor maintenance. So traction is the next big thing for Birch Point- hopefully by next spring!

In related news (big things)- we're putting up a heated greenhouse this fall, for transplant production and sale! We (Birch Point and Bare Knuckle, my cohort in this project) will primarily be producing our own transplants to get an extra-early start to the season. However, the sky's the limit in terms of plant production in that space. Ideas include vegetable, herb, and flower transplants for sale at market, custom orders (from other farms or gardeners who don't have transplant production space), perennials for gardens and landscapes, and ornamental annuals. What would YOU do if you had extra heated greenhouse space? We're taking suggestions :) Thanks for reading; enjoy the following recipes, and we'll see you at CSA pick-up.


Roasted Roots
Any root vegetables you have- potatoes, turnips, radishes (yes, radishes are excellent roasted!), carrots, beets, garlic, onions, etc.
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
Lemon Juice or Apple Cider Vinegar (optional)
Dried herbs like rosemary or thyme (optional)

Preheat oven to 400. Scrub and cut roots into bite sized chunks. Toss in a bowl with optional lemon or vinegar, salt and pepper, optional herbs, and last of all, the olive oil, to coat thoroughly. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet, and roast for 30-60 min, depending on size of chunks, or til edges are dark brown and caramelized, and centers are soft. Turn/stir at least once during baking. Serve hot or room temp.

Grilled Onions
Sweet Onions
Olive Oil or Marinade (optional)

Slice onions into thick (1/2" or wide enough to stick a skewer through) rounds or half-rounds. Skewer through all the layers to hold slices together (you get what looks like an onion lollipop). Baste with olive oil or any marinade you like (or not- they're fine without), and lay flat on hot grill. Cook until layers start to separate and droop, and edges are black, turning over once or twice. Serve as themselves, or with anything you like with onions!

Zee Besto Pesto
2 cups basil leaves and tender stems (remove woody parts, but use tender parts)
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts, and/or walnuts, and/or sunflower seeds (any nut, seed, or combo will work)
2 fat garlic cloves or more to taste
generous pinch of salt
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
1/2 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp lemon juice
generous pinch of pepper

Pulse basil, garlic, and some of the olive oil in food processor til coarsely chopped. Add nuts, continue to pulse til they achieve desired consistency (either coarse or fine- try different textures and see what you like best- there's no wrong way to do pesto if your ingredients are good!). Add more olive oil as you go, in case the batch clumps up and needs liquid. Add rest of olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and cheese, and pulse to mix. Taste. Add more of anything if you want. I like slightly chunky pesto, where the different ingredients are still identifiable, but creamy, blended pesto is delicious, too. Up to you. If you plan to freeze pesto for future use, some people recommend omitting the cheese and adding it just before using (frozen cheese sometimes gets a weird texture). It's up to you. Seriously- you don't need a recipe for pesto :) Throw some stuff in a blender til it's a nice consistency. Serve it with pasta. Voila.

My Most Recent Favorite Salad (or anything) Dressing

1 tsp ground yellow mustard
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp fine salt (or more to taste)
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup olive oil or any neutral (vegetable) oil
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar or cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. maple syrup or honey (optional but so delicious) ;)

Blend it all. Dress lettuce salads, cucumber salads, steamed beans, grilled onions, boiled potatoes, you name it. Enjoy.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

CSA Week 10! Aug. 11 and 14

Hello CSA friends, this is your farmer writing. I have been away from the computer (you may have noticed) for the past two weeks (gettin hitched, and all the hoopla leading up to the wedding!), but I'm back! I hope the interns and the farm crew treated you well in my absence. More farm updates coming soon! Meanwhile, in your share this week:

Tomatoes! More cherry tomatoes from the hoophouse and the field, and just a few of the first big heirloom slicers. Ask a farmer for details on varieties.

Cilantro OR parsley- time for salsa? or a bowl of tabouli?

Lettuce- "Devil's Ears" a strikingly pointy-leaved leaf lettuce, the first of the late summer heading lettuces, more to come (and baby salad mix will be back on the scene soon, too- that drought and heat wave really set it back, but there's a new planting coming on beautifully)

Beans! Our tri-colored mix (green Jade, purple Royal Burgundy, and yellow Rocdor)- they're so tender there's no need to cook them, unless you want to.

Shallots- the first of the season. Shallots are interchangeable with onions, but their lovely, sweeter flavor really shines when used raw. I recommend a sherry-shallot vinaigrette to dress your lettuce-and-tomato salad or your lightly steamed beans with garlic

Garlic- more! Please let us know how the garlic quantity works for you- too much? too little? would you rather have a giant quantity at once, to store yourself, or continue getting one to two bulbs in each share? These are still relatively fresh bulbs, harvested about a month ago, so they're still nice and juicy. You'll notice the garlic drying and becoming easier to peel as the season progresses.

Radishes- either French Breakfast (pink and white) or Easter Egg (multi colored). These were grown under reemay (frost fabric) to protect them from insects, which resulted in incredibly tender greens (diffused light made them grow long, and protection from wind made them tender), so if you're steaming or sauteing greens, toss in the radish tops!

Carrots- probably the last of the early carrots- the next planting is still small, so we'll have a carrot gap in the next few weeks. But never fear, more tomatoes and other summer items will be happy to fill that gap!

Beets- So, you thought you'd get off easy (without beets) this week? Think again! They're just so pretty and delicious (and you all requested more last year), AND they store wonderfully (remove greens and store in a plastic bag in the fridge, for months if necessary). We thought we'd load you down with roots one more time before the onslaught of summer fruit-vegetables hits (tomatoes, cucumbers, summer squash, peppers, etc).

A note about cucumbers and summer squash (and melons and winter squash)- Why haven't we had any yet? The first planting we put in all died- we planted, it rained torrentially, many seeds washed away, and those that remained and germinated got fried in the heat- dried and crispy. So we scurried to re-plant, and now the second round is lovely, with baby squash and cukes forming, but later than I wanted. If the heat wave and/or late frost holds out, we'll have PLENTY of everything, including melons and winter squash, just late. If not, we'll still have plenty of cucumbers and summer squash over the next couple of months. Thanks for "sharing the benefit, and sharing the risk" in this most bizarre season of heat and drought.

Friday, July 20, 2012

CSA Week 7: Rain? Just a teaser..... Still dry. Still hot.

We looked at the weather radar on Thursday, and EVERYWHERE but here was covered in rain. We got about 3 hrs of very light drizzle- enough to settle the dust, but not much more. Today the soil was bone dry again. This year has been a season of extremes- extremely hot, extremely dry, extremely buggy (new insects only vary rarely seen in Michigan have shown up!), extremely good people on the farm, extremely nice salad mix. Extremely gorgeous sunflowers. Extremely late cucurbits, due to the 1st two extremes. We just keep watering and irrigating, watching, hoping for rain. CSA members really keep me going during this time- all the support you showed up front this season, trusting us to grow your food and take care of this land, throwing in your lot with the farm for the season, never suspecting we'd hit record drought conditions. THANK YOU for the vote of confidence. Thank you for the up-front cash. Thank you for being adventurous and excited about the food. Thank you (those of you who are coming) for helping harvest garlic on Tuesday, and participating in Farm Beautification on Sunday July 29.

In your share this week:

Cherry Tomatoes- it's true! The hoophouse is finally cranking them out in CSA-quantities. AND we just got our first ripe tomatoes from the field today- shouldn't be long before the big heirloom slicers come on.... yum.....

Some mighty tasty, funny-looking Broccoli- these suffered in the heat wave, from both heat extremes and temperature fluctuations, but they taste amazing!

Baby Arugula- try an arugula salad, tossed with chopped roasted beets, toasted walnuts, and crumbly goat or blue cheese. And a simple vinaigrette. OR make arugula pesto- just like basil pesto, but arugula.

Baby Hakurei Turnips- the sweetest, most tender turnip I've ever had. We eat these raw, either in the field like an apple, or sliced and salted, eaten as appetizers or snacks. Seriously, they are so sweet and yummy that they might surprise you. You can EVEN make roasted roots with these and the beets..

Scallions- fresh from the hoophouse; pretty soon the sweet onions will be ready, too!!!

Cilantro- ok, so I know your cherry tomatoes aren't going to make it into a salsa (will they even make it home?), but I was in a salsa mood, so here's cilantro in case you have any extra tomatoes lurking around and want to make salsa. OR Indian curry. OR Thai rice noodles with coconut curry. Storage tip: Cilantro maintains its flavor best (in my experience) at room temperature, not refrigerated, so keep in a glass of water, like a cut flower, at room temp until you use it.

Beets! Are back. Remember last year's member preference survey? The results were all over the place (you are an eclectic crowd), but the two things anyone agreed on were MORE kale and MORE beets. Here's our first go at MORE BEETS! Don't forget to use the greens, too- anything you do with chard or spinach you can do with beet greens.

That's it-hope you enjoy the food. -Michelle

Friday, July 13, 2012

CSA Week 6: hot, dry, hot, dry, hot, dry, hot, dry. and hot. and dry

What's in Your Share This Week? Lots more favorites you have already had (and some people already requested more of!):

Baby Salad Mix: just keeps on coming! This may turn out to be the Year of the Salad, despite the weather. (I've got one word for you, heat wave: sprinkler)

Carrots- either the fatter, shorter Mokum, or the longer, skinnier Sugarsnax (no, I'm not kidding; that's its name) What's your favorite so far?

Beets- either pink Chioggia (bullseye pattern inside), or Red Ace, or Golden (orange with yellow flesh)- be sure to try all beets roasted sometime this summer! Coat a whole beetroot with olive oil, wrap in foil, put in a closed grill that's already going, or in your oven/toaster oven, for about an hour at a med-hot temperature- something between 375 and 475.

Kale! Or possibly Braising Mix (a mix of young kales, chards, mustards, Asian greens, beet greens, and/or pea shoots- perfect for a quick stir-fry or saute, enjoy with anything you like) I like to cut kale into tiny, skinny ribbons (called "chiffonade" in culinary terms) and toss with anything I'm cooking - noodles, rice, couscous, soup, etc- just toss the kale ribbons in, and the residual heat will wilt and tenderize them without really cooking. yum.

Basil! More sweet basil from the hoophouse- enough to make a small batch of pesto (perhaps to toss with noodles and kale?) or enjoy with Thai noodles, whole, on pizza, or perhaps a Caprese salad is in your future....

Fresh Garlic! We're nearly to the Big Garlic Harvest- we're looking at next Tuesday afternoon/evening during CSA pick-up and followed by a potluck. How does Tues the 24th from 3-6 p.m. sound? Come for an hour or the entire time, stay after for a potluck with fellow CSA members, farm friends, and your farmers.

PEAS- may be the last pea harvest :( This hot, dry weather is exactly what peas don't like- it's slowing them down dramatically. We may see a resurgence if we get a cool spell, but this may be our last pea week. Enjoy the sweetness while it lasts.

And last but not least, could it possibly be time for cherry tomatoes from the hoophouse??? We'll see... there are definitely enough to snack on at CSA pick-up; soon you'll see them in your shares too!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

CSA Week 5: July 7, 10,11

What's in your share this week? . ________________________________________________________________ . .The very first CARROTS of the season! If you don't plan to use them immediately, remove the tops and store roots in an airtight container in the fridge (greens dry out the roots by transpiring moisture, leaving rubbery, soft carrots- cut off those tops!) ............................................. . . .Scallions or green onions (technically these are scallions- there is a difference; green onions are baby onions- leave them in the ground, and they will eventually form a bulb; scallions will never bulb; they'll just get bigger all around. They taste the same and are used interchangeably.) . .................................... . Kohlrabi, green and/or purple- the "spaceship vegetable" we talked about at the pre-season member meeting. Peel the tough skin, and enjoy the bulb fresh, cut like carrot sticks or grated onto salad or slaw- OR cook any way you'd cook broccoli. Greens=totally edible, just like kale. . . ................................... PEAS! Either snow or sugarsnap- be sure to eat the entire thing; no shelling, now ;) . ................................. . . . Rainbow chard- we made "greens patties" last week, using chard and purslane (the lemony, succulent "mystery vegetable" in last week's shares): chop greens and a scallion or 2 cloves garlic, massage in a bowl by hand with salt, pepper, flour, and egg (just enough flour and egg to coat and bind everything together, not a lot). Drop by the large spoonful into a med-hot skillet with a generous amount of oil, flatten with the back of the spoon, fry til browned on one side, flip, brown on other side, serve with any condiment you like (recommend: hot sauce like Ray's Polish Fire, a tahini-sesame dressing, ketchup, prepared horseradish, etc)-- a GREAT vehicle for any greens you need to use up! . ............................ . . .Radishes- round red Cherry Belle- classic. chop, toss in a bowl with salt, let set 5-15 min, enjoy. yummmm. . ................................ . .Last but not least, The famous Baby Salad Mix- and for those of you who read last week's news, the follow-up is that Baby Lettuce (the baby) has a name, and it is Arlo Drake Nester. Arlo took his first dip in Lake Leelanau a few days ago, at less than a week old!

Friday, June 29, 2012

CSA Week 4: Another week of extreme weather (June 30, July 3 &4)

What's in your share this week? A PESTO package! Fresh Garlic- the first bulbs pulled from the ground! These have papery wrappings between the cloves, unlike green garlic, but are so fresh and juicy you'd never mistake them for cured, stored garlic- yes, your fingers will get sticky from handling this stuff. It's potent and delicious. . . .................................... Basil from the hoophouse! (these first two items are your pesto kit- add your own olive oil, toasted pine nuts or walnuts, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper) . ...................................... . Peas! Snow (flat podded and slightly curled) or sugar snap (round-podded but straight)- I doubt these will make it past the raw snacking stage, so no recipes for these sweet treats. . . ........................................ Beets! Either pink (Chioggia- with the bullseye pattern inside) or classic red. Use both interchangeably- Pink beets taste just like red ones, but don't stain your hands or kitchen red. . . .......................................... Kale- back on the scene. Have you tried kale chips? Tear washed and dried leaves into chip-sized pieces. Toss in a bowl with a small amount of olive oil- not too much, now- and salt. Spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet and bake at 200 until crisp but not burnt (you can also use a dehydrator; takes longer but won't burn). OR bake on higher heat for a short time to crisp faster, but it's easy to burn them using this method- pay attention! . . .............................................. Baby Salad Mix- THIS JUST IN: Baby Lettuce was born at 6 p.m. today at Birch Point Farm (to Chelsea Hummon and Matt Nester, my farm-mates for the season). Mama, papa, and baby are ALL healthy and doing great. They'd love to see visitors after about a week. Call first. He was 7 lbs, 12 oz, 20 inches long, and is currently still going by Baby Lettuce until further notice. Welcome!!!!!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

*Last* week's share (Week 3)

Whoops, I dropped the ball on blogging last week- sorry! In case you were wondering about any of those things in your share, here's the rundown: (and look for another blog posting tomorrow with THIS week's share (for Sat and for Tues coming up) . Napa Cabbage: the big, light green-leaved, white-ribbed head vegetable, with savoyed, or crinkly, leaves. Use just like lettuce, possibly with an Asian-themed dressing, OR saute/stir-fry. . Komatsuna: The elegant, long bok choi-like thing (dark green leaves, lighter green ribs/stems). Use just like choi (in a stirfry is my favorite) OR enjoy raw for just the tiniest bite of spice (it's in the mustard family; so it has a little kick, but cooking it nullifies the bite). . Radishes: for your salad? roasted? chopped, salted, and piled on Pleasanton rye toast with cream cheese? options are really endless.... . Beet greens: more beet thinnings! It is a GREEN share this week, hey? that time of year :) Use beet greens any way you'd use chard or spinach; bonus is you get little beets on the ends of some of them! My fave: see last week's chard recipe- sub beet greens. . Scallions- to complement your Komatsuna and/or Napa stir-fry: slice thinly on a diagonal and sprinkle on top after removing from heat. voila. delicious, fresh onion flavor with crisp, fresh texture- USE THE GREEN AS WELL AS THE WHITE PART! I once had a farmers' market customer tell me she discards the green part because it's tough -- guess what; tough scallions are NOT fresh, and fresh scallions aren't tough! Eat the greens. They're fresh, tender, and delicious. . Cilantro- to round out your Asian meal, depending on the cuisine you're going for. Did you know cilantro is technically a cool weather crop? That means that for all its association with tomatoes, tomatillos, peppers, etc (all heat-loving crops), it would rather grow in spring and fall (sometimes through winter in the hoophouse!), so I'm mystified as to how these heat-loving crops came to be paired, culinarily, with cilantro. Try it as a generous sprinkle on top of a coconut milk curry with all the greens in your share- served over rice. (I use Thai Kitchen curry -red OR green- in the little jar with a black lid; directions on the jar). . Garlic Scapes! The very last of these for the season- if you're tired of scapes here are two ideas: 1. "onion" rings: first, steam scapes (whole) to tenderize. If there are multiple curls, or if they are very long, cut into manageable pieces. Use a simple egg-and-flour batter to coat, then fry in hot oil til crispy (in a deep fryer OR in a generous amount of peanut or vegetable oil in a skillet). Follow a tempura recipe for specifics. 2. Scape pesto: scapes, olive oil, parmesan cheese (optional), salt, pepper, lemon juice, nuts/seeds of your choice (toasted pine nuts=optimal, but expensive; toasted walnuts= nearly as good, toasted sunflower seeds=surprisingly also nearly as good, mix of any of the above=delicious). Blend to a smooth green paste. Use or freeze. mmmmm.....potent! . Baby Salad Mix- the famous and delicious mesclun mix. We normally wash salad mix once (or twice if it's extra muddy, like after a hard rain), but still recommend that you wash it before eating. Enjoy!

Monday, June 18, 2012

CSA Week 2: June 16, 19, 20: the Heat Wave followed by Torrential Rain

In Your Share This Week:

Rhubarb! Remember the rhubarbade we served at the pre-season member meeting? Recipe: super simple. Chop 2-3 cups rhubarb finely. Add a little water, bring to boil, then simmer 5-10 min in a small saucepan. Use an immersion blender OR transfer to blender to blend to a fine, smooth puree. Add sugar, maple, or honey to taste (you're making a concentrate here; it's supposed to taste super strong at this point). Chill, and mix with water (tap or sparkling) at about a 2:1 ratio, or to taste. Serve iced. You can of course combine rhubarb with Ware Farm strawberries for strawberry-rhubarb pie, crisp, or compote, too. Chelsea Hummon recently treated us to a traditional Icelandic Rabarbarakokur (rhubarb cake), which I HIGHLY reccommend:

Lettuce- lovely green leaf, red leaf, mini green romaine, and/or red romaine- these heads (some large and luscious, some little) were supposed to trickle in over the next few weeks, but the heat wave has made them start to bolt, so we harvested most of them while they are still good. This week (and possibly next) you're rich in lettuce! In addition to fresh salads and sandwich-fixins, try lettuce wraps: treat the lettuce leaf like an eggroll wrapper, fill it with things you like to eat, roll it up, and enjoy as finger food.

Baby Salad Mix: You'd think with that much lettuce (big not baby), we'd hold off on the salad mix. But so many people love the baby mix so much that we decided to include a bag of it-- on the smaller size, but salad mix nonetheless. In addition to the four different red and green lettuces in the mix, you'll notice spicy greens, some with pinpoint holes -- flea beetles love plants in the mustard family, which most of our spicy salad components are, and the flea beetles have been ACTIVE the past few weeks. It's just cosmetic damage; the leaves are still tender, perhaps slightly spicier, and "lacy" too. Let me know what you think.

Swiss Chard- rainbow "Bright Lights" variety. Use chard any way you'd use spinach, including sauteed or steamed, in eggs, in lasagna, in spanikopita, etc. My favorite chard recipe: saute onions and garlic in olive oil til tender. Add chopped chard stems (do not discard! they're delicious and beautiful), saute a few minutes. Add chopped leaves, sautet til wilted and shiny, not gray and shapeless. Toss lightly with balsamic vinegar, add toasted pine nuts or walnuts, crumbly feta or goat cheese, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with rice, pasta, or anything else you like.

More Green Garlic- since garlic came on so early this year (scapes), I suspect this may be the end of the green garlic for the season. Use the entire plant, tip to tip, just like fresh garlic (it IS fresh garlic, just with the whole plant attached). Slice through the forming bulb in cross-section to see the cloves just starting to form! pretty cool.

More Garlic Scapes- or garlic "scrapes" as folks are wont to say when they're new to scapes, or vice versa. Again, use just like fresh garlic. Scapes are the flowering stem of the garlic plant; we harvest them to a) eat, and b) encourage the plant to direct growth energy at a bigger bulb, rather than a flowering stalk. So we get two garlic harvests, AND a bigger bulb after all that. Scapes will keep for several weeks in your fridge, in a in airtight plastic bag.

Dill weed and or other herbs - possibly some with flowers! I love dill chopped onto salads, onto eggs, or in soups or lentils. You can also use it for grilling fish or other grillables- the dill flavor seeps into whatever you put on it.

That's it for now- in the upcoming weeks, look for more greens (salad and cooking greens), scallions, Asian greens, more herbs, possibly big beets (not thinnings), radishes, peas, and more. Enjoy those green leafies!

Friday, June 8, 2012

CSA Week 1: June 9, 12, 13

Q: What's in your share this week?
A: A whole lot of spring greens! Greens should keep for at least a week, in the refrigerator in an airtight bag/container. All fresh leafies (whether cooked or raw) are delicious with a simple olive oil and coarse salt dressing -lemon juice or vinegar optional-- start simple when you encounter a new vegetable, and then decide how you want to lively it up the next time, once you've gotten to know it better. Let me know what delicious preparation methods work for you.

Baby Salad Mix- a blend of 4 different baby lettuces, mizuna, red Russian kale, Asian greens, mustard greens, and beet greens


Beet Greens- the thinnings from our spring beet patch, some of these even have baby beets attached! Use beet greens any way you'd use spinach or Swiss chard- my favorite way is a simple saute in olive oil, with garlic or onion (try chopped garlic scapes!), dressed with a splash of balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, and crumbly goat cheese. Also delicious in eggs, in salad, or in a beet greens-asparagus lasagna!


Kale! "No one could imagine a CSA without kale" -David Hambleton, CSA farmer at Sisters Hill Farm in Dutchess County, NY. And it's true. We've had requests to go easy on the kale AND requests for more and more kale. I think we'll keep the kale coming, but at some point this summer, it will become optional- i.e. kale available, but as an optional extra; pick up if you like, leave it if you don't. (Technically that's true for everything in your share, but I wanted to make a special point of NOT overwhelming folks with kale. There it is- it will be officially optional soon)


Green Garlic AND Garlic Scapes- what? scapes already? Yes, lots of things were brought on early by the strangely warm early spring, including garlic. Normally you'd see just green garlic this time of year, with scapes a few weeks out, but we've got them! So you do, too. So... what is a scape, anyway? It's the flowering stem of a garlic plant. It grows up in the center of the plant, and we pick it for two reasons. One is to eat (use it just like fresh garlic; tip and all), and the other is that it directs the plant's growth into making a bigger bulb, rather than flower. And Green Garlic is an immature garlic plant, before the papery divisions between the cloves start to form- we offer the entire plant at this stage because you can use it all! Chop the bulb, stem, and leaves, and use just like fresh garlic (because it is). Scapes and green garlic will keep for weeks in the fridge, in an airtight bag. Scapes last a little longer; the green garlic will start to yellow after several days, still useable, but lovelier when it's green! FAVORITE scape recipe: Garlic Scape Pesto! In a food processor, combine a lot of scapes, some pine nuts or walnuts, olive oil, salt and pepper, and process til it's smooth enough for you. Taste- adjust seasoning if necessary. Stores for months in the fridge (if you can resist it that long).


Radishes- the first of these spring beauties; you'll see more this season. Not really a radish lover? Try them with salt- here's what I do: trim and wash radishes. Cut in half, cut side up. Sprinkle with fine sea salt, let set for 5-10 minutes. Enjoy. The salt cuts whatever bitterness might be there, and brings out the flavor. One of my favorite spring treats: coarsely chopped radish, well salted, on top of a toasted bagel from Frida (Hannah Israel's new cafe in Suttons Bay!), with cream cheese. Yum! If you don't plan to eat them within the week, be sure to remove the tops before storing- otherwise the leaves will transpire moisture out of the roots, leaving you with limp radishes. ech.

As promised, a lot of greens, and an easy start (hopefully easy to use the whole share within the week- something that may present a challenge in the months to come). I hope you'll enjoy your adventure through the season with us. In the weeks to come, you can look forward to more kale, swiss chard, *possibly* spinach if the heat didn't make it all bolt, more salad mix and radishes, kohlrabi, scallions, dill, more garlic scapes, leaf and romaine lettuces, favas, and peas! (pea plants are still pretty small- we may cut it close with the weather- peas love cool temps, so no guarantees of gobs and gobs of peas like last year- remember that cold, wet spring? Peas loved it) And always, we may surprise you with substitutions, extras, and/or practical jokes.
If you need any transplants for your garden, check with your farmers; we may have extras that you need.

Thank you SO MUCH for being part of the farm and supporting us this season. Buon appetito!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Info for CSA Members

LOTS OF INFO HERE- please read carefully Thanks so much to everyone who attended the CSA member meeting last week- we had a great turnout, some delicious snacks (thank you!), and we even ended close to on-time. ;) I hope those of you who missed it can come out for a farm tour sometime (just call/email ahead of time). In the meantime, please check over these notes/minutes for logistical info. Anyone who was there, please post a comment if you notice I've forgotten something here, or if you have additional ideas/comments. THINGS TO KNOW IMMEDIATELY-super important; do not delay: 1. CSA STARTS THIS COMING WEEK. Shares start small and light (greens, radishes, herbs) and get progressively denser, heavier, and more diverse as the season progresses. We like to ease you into it- the season works that way. Saturday people: pick up at market Sat. June 9th, between 8 and 11 a.m. Pick up your box with your name on it; bring it back empty the following week in exchange for a full one. Always remember your empty box. You get two for the season. Find the Birch Point stall at the far east end of the main drag (sidewalk facing river). Tuesday people: pick up at the farm Tues. June 12th between 4 and 6 p.m. Bring your own cooler, bag or box. If you missed the farm tour, leave yourself a little extra time to check out the farm before or after picking up produce. Farmers available to answer questions. Wednesday people: See Saturday notes, pick up Wed. June 13. I don't know exactly where our stall location will be on Wed- I'll let you know as soon as I do! 2. ORGANIC STRAWBERRIES AVAILABLE now from Ware Farm- we'll take orders AT PICK-UP. Sign up when you pick up your first share, to get your berries (any amount from one quart to multiple flats) with your share the following week. Prices TBA, usually a little less than Ware Farm sells them by the quart at market. Be thinking of how much jam you want to make, or frozen berries you want to squirrel away. 3. BREAD SHARES from 9 Bean Rows, delivered here to BPF for Tuesday pickup, or to market for Sat pickup ($63 for 18 wks, starting the second week of CSA- email me for the order form). Starts the NEXT week, so RSVP ASAP on this one. Optional Add-ons available NOW: 1. CUT FLOWER SHARES from Birch Point- starting late July running through September- eight weeks of bouquets for $64 (at least an $80 value) for CSA members, or $80 for non-members. Email to sign up. 2. COFFEE SHARES from our friends at Higher Grounds: sign up for as many weeks as you like (1-18), to receive 1 lb of freshly roasted, whole bean coffee with your share each week. You choose medium or dark roast; Higher Grounds supplies different varieties for you to try each week. $10 per week, payable to Birch Point Farm (I'll pay Higher Grounds all at once). Email for a sign-up form; your coffee share will start the week after we get your form and payment, no matter how many weeks you sign up for. Optional Add-ons available LATER: 1. Birch Point Honey- bring your own jars, we'll fill them with honey from the bees at Birch Point, from beekeeper Greg Griswold. Price lower than at the store, depends on the season- we'll keep in touch about this one. 2. More organic fruit as the season progresses- probably no tree fruit this year, but certainly blueberries, and possibly other berries. 3. Canning/preserving shares: large quantities of canning tomatoes, beans, basil, pickling cukes, etc. As each crop comes in, you'll have a chance to order bushels or pounds, IF we have a big enough harvest that not even CSA shares can take up the extra abundance! 4. Birch Point Eggs- from the free range biddies (just FYI, they are on pasture, but their supplemental feed is not organic). Available to purchase weekly at CSA pickup, no egg "shares" per se. Check in weekly for availability. QUESTION for YOU: Who wants a copy of Asparagus To Zucchini (cookbook made by and for CSA members and farmers' market customers- a cookbook organized alphabetically by vegetable rather than dish category- a wonderful reference for "mystery" veggies in your share, as well as for familiar items)? In the past, we've ordered cases of these and offered them at cost to members and friends ($15-17-ish). Do we need another case? If we get at least 10 requests, I'll order one. RSVP. Question #2: Option to buy more produce-- At the meeting, a couple of members asked about the option to purchase additional items at Tuesday CSA pick-up. Normally if we have extras, we'll offer them as optional extras, no charge. I try to compose shares in a way that will meet most people's needs (and we've gotten feedback about shares tending toward too-big) , so we try not to overwhelm you with TOO many optional extras. However, what do you think? If we were to offer extras to purchase (extra salad mix comes to mind), what would you want? Who's interested? Just soliciting your thoughts for now. Reply here or on the blog. Currently, your option is to come to the farmers' market, where you'll find all (most) of the items that you already got in your share, available to purchase on Saturdays or Wednesdays. COMMUNICATION/ STAY CONNECTED: 4 things to know: 1. Farm Blog: check it and/or follow it. Nearly all farm communication is via email and blog. (you're reading it right now) Sign up to "follow" the Birch Point Farm blog here: Click on "Join this Site" and enter your information. This is the way to receive weekly updates- what's in your share that week, announcements about optional add-on orders, farm events, etc.. YOU can post recipes, ideas, etc. here, too. 2. Email: I'm not going to send weekly emails- just nice newsletters once a month or so. Email me whenever you have a question. 3. Facebook: I'll post photos, announcements (only those that also go out on the blog; no need to join facebook if you don't want to), etc. If you visit us at the farm or at market and take photos, please share them- either post them on the blog, or to our facebook page (Birch Point Farm). 4. Web Site: It's a mostly-static page, intended to supply basic farm and CSA info. Please send friends here when they're looking for info about CSA or directions to the farm. VOLUNTEER/GET INVOLVED: 3 things to know: 1. Volunteers always welcome. Bring your skills, your energy, your favorite weeding tools. Just call or email first to let me know when you want to dig in the dirt. Non-garden volunteers also welcome: carpenters (fix windows, steps, hoophouse door, etc), firewood stackers, data-enterers, painters, lawnmowers- all invited. Seriously, if you have a penchant for lawn-mowing and weed-whipping, I've got many bags of extra salad greens for you. If you want to set up a regular schedule to volunteer, email or call. If you want to drop by once in a while, Friday mornings/early afternoons or Tuesday mornings are our harvest days, and the more the merrier. 2. Children's Garden: Any kid or (adult who likes kids) is welcome to the Children's Garden! Thanks to Shelly Charron (farm investor), and Colleen Losse (farm investor and my neighbor), the garden is up and running - also thanks to Matt Hess, who helped construct the gorgeous branch-trellis (that will soon be covered in, I think, cherry tomatoes). Coming: a sensory garden (think smell, touch, taste, etc), edible flowers, art space, etc. This is the spot where it's safe to walk, sit, pick, eat, plant, and otherwise get to know the plants. Stop by during CSA pick-up Tuesday afternoons, to help plant, weed, harvest, or just hang out in the bean teepee or soon-to-be sunflower house. 3. Major Farm Work Parties: We hold five per year: 1. Potato planting and Maypole dance, traditionally May 1 or so. 2. Hot Crop Planting Party (transplanting tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, basil), traditionally the first week of June. 3. Garlic Harvest Party- sometime in July, depending on the weather and garlic maturation rate. I'll be in touch closer to the date. 4. The Great Pumpkin, Squash, and Potato Harvest Party: sometime in late September/early October- get all the squash and pumpkins out of the field before the frost! This may be an all-hands-on-deck work party; depends on how much warning we get before the first fall frost 5. Garlic Planting, traditionally on or near Hallowe'en or Dia de los Muertos, so it may be a costume party. The bookend to the season- garlic planting concludes fall planting and seals the deal for next year. OK, that's it for now- if I've omitted anything, I'll send a follow-up (or you can post a comment if you think of something I missed). I also sent you this in the body of an email msg. Thank you so, so much for being part of the farm this season! I look forward to seeing you at your first pick-up day!