Saturday, June 28, 2014

First Birch Point Blog/Newsletter of 2014- welcome/welcome back!

Welcome to our blog!  This is where CSA members and farm friends will find weekly lists of CSA share items, announcements (e.g. flats of organic strawberries available to order!), invitations to events, and news from the farm.
CSA MEMBERS: This is our FIRST line of communication with you, so please check the blog every week to stay current on farm happenings! You'll need to know things like which dates our market and CSA pickup locations change for Cherry Festival, when the opportunity arises to order optional extras like flats of organic strawberries from Ware Farm, if we need your help planting, weeding, or attending a party.  Here is where you'll find that info, so please do check weekly.

Blogs ARE our e-newsletter, and they happen in four parts:

1. What's In Your Share This Week
2. Announcements (things like invites to events, deadlines for ordering optional extras, etc)
3. Field Notes/Farm and Crop Updates
4. Recipes--suggestions for using new, unusual, and/or abundant items

We'll also occasionally include a "Meet Your Farmer" column to introduce the crew and superstar volunteers!  Want to contribute an article or recipe to our blog/newsletter? Please email it to

Here goes!

What's In Your Share This Week: Week 3
Kale- big kale, not baby!  Either Red Russian (purple stems, buttery and flat but toothy leaves), Winterbor (classic green curly kale), Dino (dark green, long, thin and slightly crinkly leaves), or Rainbow Dino (similar but usually with purple stems). We are rich in kale this spring/early summer, so expect to see more of this amazingly versatile and nutrition-packed veggie in shares. What to do with kale? More like what NOT to do with kale!  Chop fresh into a slaw, steam or saute with onions and garlic, chop and toss into any soup or stew, blend with your favorite smoothie or veggie juice, scramble with eggs, make kale chips, dehydrate into kale powder...... the list goes on. What's YOUR favorite way to enjoy kale?
Asian greens- either Senposai (resembles delicate collard greens) or bok choi-- try stirfried or fresh as slaw. When faced with a new Asian green, my go-to approach is a simple stirfry with onion and/or garlic, fresh ginger, red pepper flakes (or fresh hot chiles if they are in season), finished with a dressing of toasted sesame oil, tamari or soy sauce, and rice vinegar, and tossed with sesame seeds and/or toasted sunflower seeds. Add fried bits of protein of your choice, serve with rice or noodles, and voila! (remember the voila- very important)
Baby Salad mix- People asked for more of this last year, and we listened! Please let us know how the quantity is working out for you this year. 
Lettuce heads- either red leaf, green butterhead, red butterhead, or romaine.
Baby Turnips-- either Hakurei (white) or Scarlet Queen (pink)-just like last week, these are the "thinnings" from our early turnip bed, so expect to see larger versions of the same over the next few weeks. These are so mild you can eat them raw!  Slice or grate onto salad, slice onto sandwiches, eat whole like a plum, roast, fry or anything you'd do to a bigger turnip. AND use the greens-- toss in with your braising mix, scramble with eggs, chop finely into your miso soup...whatever you like. It's hard to go wrong with turnips.
Garlic Scapes-- can anyone get tired of garlic? I think not. Use scapes exactly like you use fresh garlic-- they ARE garlic!  These are the flowering stalks of the garlic plant, and we pick them for two reasons: 1. they are delicious, and 2. removing them directs more of the plant's growth into making a bigger bulb instead of a flower.  They'll keep for weeks in your fridge in a sealed bag, so don't stress if you get a backlog.  Try garlic scape pesto (below in Recipe section).
As always, perhaps a surprise or something I'm forgetting here.... ;)

1. Certified organic STRAWBERRIES available by the flat from Ware Farm!  $42 per flat (8 quarts). Ware Farm normally sells them for $46 per flat (or $6.50 per quart) at market, so it's a special CSA member price. Available for pickup at TUESDAY CSA at the farm, Saturday or Wednesday farmers' markets. I don't know if we can get delivery for Mondays (still waiting to hear back from the Wares), but Monday people are certainly welcome to order and pick up berries another day. How to order: EMAIL with "strawberries" in the subject line BEFORE MONDAY. We'll be placing orders ON Monday for Tues and Wed pick up. Let us know how many flats you need and which day/location you'll pick up. Pay at time of pick up; make checks out to Birch Point Farm; we'll write one check to the Ware Farm for everything.  Also available: individual quarts ($6) if you need less than a flat. 

2. Bread, Coffee, Flower, and Heart-of-Summer shares still available; spread the word among friends!

Field Notes/Farm and Crop Updates
       The fields are nearly full!  It was a late, wet spring, as you may remember, which for us meant some fields were too wet to till and plant until just a couple weeks ago. We're finally about caught up with planting, though later than we'd like on some things, and now WEEDING is the thing taking all our attention!  Weeds respond as well or better than crops to warm weather and moisture and they are certainly robust already.  Looking GREAT so far: beans, kale, turnips, garlic,  strawberries, broccoli, cabbage, summer squash, cucumbers, peppers, eggplants, sunflowers, lettuce, Asian greens.  Need work/will be awesome soon: potatoes (need bug pickers! and mulch), onions (recently liberated from weeds; they will now proceed to grow like mad), carrots and parsnips (in need of liberation from weeds), tomatoes- need trellising but looking good for being a little floppy! Of concern/unsatisfying: peas! sad to say, but the spring floods washed out most of our pea crop.  Only one of 7 rows survived intact, so we'll probably only have a mouthful of peas this year :(  More updates soon.

Garlic Scape Pesto
     1 handful garlic scapes, chopped coarsley
     1 Tbsp lemon juice
     4-6 Tbsp olive oil
     1/2 c. toasted pinenuts or walnuts (I sometimes sub toasted sunflower seeds- delicious!)
     several dashes salt and pepper

Blend or food-process everything til smooth or chunky, as you like it. Refrigerate for a few weeks or freeze for a year-- this keeps wonderfully and goes well on EVERYTHING!