Monday, June 24, 2013

CSA Week 3 and Farm News

What's in Your Share This Week?

Baby Salad Mix OR Leaf/Butterhead Lettuce (big, not baby)-- something to make into salad
Garlic Scapes! Already!   If you are new to scapes, you are in for a treat.  A scape is the flowering stalk of a garlic plant.  We pull them off the plant so it directs growth at forming a bigger bulb, rather than flowering, but we end up with a delicacy-- use it exactly like garlic (it IS garlic, after all, just a part of the plant you don't often see).  OR grill or broil in an oven.  Toss (whole) with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and throw them right on the grill with anything else you may be grilling.  Let them turn brown on the outside, and check for tender insides. OR if you feel fancy, coat them in a Japanese-style tempura batter and deep fry for a most decadent and potent variation on onion rings.
Radishes OR Kohlrabi-- Easter Egg (multi colored) or French Breakfast (half pink/half white) radishes OR the very first little Kohlrabi--- these are just starting to size up, so we may wait a week, but if you're lucky you'll see a few this week! My fave way to try radishes: slice or chop coarsely, toss with coarse salt, set a minute, then enjoy. Salt mellows the bite and draws out the juice, making them more tender and more enjoyable than plain radishes, a nice way for the radish-skeptic to transition to radish-enthusiast.
Swiss Chard-- a close and beautiful relative of beets (they are in fact the same species; one bred for a big leaf, the other for a big root), chard, beet greens, and spinach are interchangeable in most recipes.  Try chard lasagna! Or try lightly sauteed with chopped garlic scapes, olive oil, and lemon juice or balsamic vinegar. Optional: chopped toasted walnuts and/or crumbled goat cheese. 
Sweet Marjoram-- the herb that resembles oregano but is distinctly not oregano.  They are somewhat interchangeable, but the reason we're including marjoram now is that I recently learned that marjoram is a classic pairing with fried morel mushrooms-  make a breading with bread crumbs and finely crumbled marjoram, salt and pepper, and batter and fry. Voila.  If you still have one precious sack of morels in your fridge, now's the time to cook with fresh marjoram.  Alternately, hang this bunch of herbs to dry in a dark, dry place, and save for next spring's morel season.
Last but not least, Strawberries!  For those who did not get them last week, these are for you.  Bon appetit!

1. Bulk strawberries available for freezing, drying, or eating your heart out, from Ware Farm.  Certified organic, $42 per flat (8 qts per flat).  Ware Farm sells them for $44 at market, so it's a small savings for you, and you can pick them up when you get your CSA share.  Sign up tomorrow on paper (Tuesday people) or via email (Wed and Sat people) with your name and number of flats.  Make checks to Birch Point Farm; I'll pay Bernie and Sandee Ware in one lump sum.

2. Bread shares start this week, but you can still sign up to start next week.

3. Volunteer Opportunity: Weed Whipping (or whacking).  Farm tidy-up committee needs you!  Not only weed-whipping, but weeding, shoveling/raking, painting, perennial flower bed maintenance, etc.  Let me know if this is your kind of thing and when you'd like to come out!

Field Notes:
It was a cold, wet, late spring. Now seemingly all of a sudden, it's dry and warm.  This week's priorities include finishing summer planting (more tomatoes, melons, and cukes STILL need to get in the ground!), laying irrigation, and picking potato beetle larvae.  It's been a great potato year so far (plants are all mulched, growing like nuts, and even starting to flower!), but the CPBs (Colorado Potato Beetle, our major potato pest) just started showing up in larval form. We've been scouting and destroying by hand the adults and eggs, but a few obviously hatched, and now the larvae are appearing and feeding on the potato leaves.  Best strategy? Squish by hand. Ick.  Tedious and icky, but way less icky (to me) than spraying insecticide, for now.  (Another good volunteer opportunity, especially if you enjoy gross, icky stuff OR potatoes!)
Crop rundown:
Looking great: onions, leeks, garlic, Asian greens, beets, carrots, parsnips, yellow pole beans, sunflowers, other cut flowers, new salad greens, potatoes, kohlrabi, Swiss chard, cilantro, pattypan squash, fava beans, peas (though the plants are still small- hope for rain!), strawberries, watermelons.
In need of more plants/seeds in the ground: tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, celery, celeriac, beans, parsley, lettuce, fennel (some planted, others bursting out of their trays).
Questionable but still a chance: turnips (terrible germination and heavy flea beetle damage), chickpeas (an experiment), edamame (terrible germination on the first seeding).
On deck and on schedule for planting next week: Fall brassicas-- broccoli, cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, etc., lettuce, more root veggies, more flowers, more beans.

Award for best entertainment goes to ..... the chickens!  Close runner-up: the ducks!  These ducks arrived about 2 weeks ago.  I was told they were all female.  Now I'm not so sure-- so far no eggs. They're right around the age when they should start laying, so we'll know for sure soon.  Meanwhile, they are really quite funny, especially with the hose and kiddie pool.  Feel free to bring a bucket of water to dump in their pool- they'll appreciate it.

thanks for reading, and don't forget to sign up with Local Thyme for recipe suggestions tailored to our CSA shares: 
Enter the code BIRCHPOINT then follow the steps to register.  It's a free service to CSA members, and my first year using it, so please give feedback- is it valuable/worth doing?  How are the recipes?  Other info? Thanks!

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