July 2013


Monday night was filled with intense wind and one inch of blowing rain and Tuesday brought a day of challenging harvest through mud soaked fields.  But the temperatures were comfortable and the humidity was gone.  No longer did the crews have to worry about heat stroke.

Here’s a snapshot of our week:

Tuesday morning lettuce harvest.

Tuesday morning lettuce harvest.

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Summer squash harvest.

Summer squash harvest.

Chris harvesting carrots.

Chris harvesting carrots.

I heard David talking on the phone last night.  “We have a deadline to work with each week…. No, it doesn’t matter…we have to get all of the vegetables harvested and ready to deliver by Thursday…we work no matter what the weather is, heat, rain, cold…. we don’t take time off because of the weather”  I didn’t hear the questions, but I can assume the person on the other end was wondering what we are doing  in this extreme heat.  We’re doing what we always do, harvesting vegetables, oh, and moving irrigation around like crazy.  It’s just that we drink enormous quantities of water and swallow some electrolyte tablets.  No, it’s not easy or fun.  But it does make the job interesting!

Barb

Tomato harvest crew huddled around the water, note empty white packets of electrolyte tablets

Tomato harvest crew huddled around the water, note empty white packets of electrolyte tablets

11:00 am - 90+ degrees -  just finished eggplant harvest - consuming yet another jug of water

11:00 am – 90+ degrees – just finished eggplant harvest – consuming yet another jug of water.

Kathy and Nelle sweating it out in the eggplant patch.

Kathy and Nelle sweating it out in the eggplant patch.

Rozalyn harvesting the perfect eggplant eggplant. I think I can see the sweat dripping off your nose!

Rozalyn harvesting the perfect eggplant. I think I can see the sweat dripping off your nose!

Packing shed on Wednesday afternoon; a reprieve from the heat and a chance to use the hose.

Packing shed on Wednesday afternoon; a reprieve from the heat and a chance to use the hose.

Another delivery of beautiful and nutritious Swiss chard. Do you know how you will use it this week? (do you still have any in your fridge from the last delivery?) There are many yummy recipes for chard but I would like to introduce the simple method of cooking it with broth!

Broth is amazing. Especially bone broths (chicken, beef etc.) They add flavor, are nutrient dense and great for digestion. Bone broth provides our bodies with bio-available (very easy to consume, digest and absorb) forms of calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and other trace minerals. Bone broths are a great way to add calcium to your diet, especially if you do not do well with dairy. Broth helps to ease the digestion of cooked foods and helps to heal the lining of the digestive tract. Broth is best homemade; it’s better for you and very economical. In my house we save our vegetable scraps in the fridge and the bones from the chicken we eat. Our broth costs us essentially nothing in ingredients since it is prepared from what would have been waste.

Back to that Swiss chard in your fridge waiting to be eaten. Wash and chop it into large pieces. Place in a skillet and fill with about ¼ inch broth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Steam, uncovered for 10-12 minutes. That’s it! If you would like mix up the flavors add any spice you would like along with the salt and pepper. Take note: greens cool down quickly on your plate and taste much better hot, so eat up right away. I eat my greens like this alongside my eggs for breakfast. And I have to say, I feel great about it!

To prepare broth (also referred to as stock) you will need:

  • A large crock pot and a strainer
  • 1.5-2 pounds soup bones or the carcass from a roast chicken
  • Any other veggies you have on hand like onions, carrots, celery or veggies that have been in the fridge too long, chopped into large pieces (you can use just about anything that isn’t bitter)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or white vinegar (vinegar helps extract minerals from the bones)
  • 1 tablespoon salt (preferably unrefined, I like Real Salt)

1)    Put bones, vegetables, vinegar and salt into a crock pot.

2)    Fill with water. Turn crock pot onto low.

3)    Allow the broth to cook for a minimum of 10 hours and up to 24 hours.

4)    Turn off the crock pot and allow the broth to cool.

5)    Strain the stock through a strainer and throw away what you skim off.

•          Place the cooled stock into glass jars for storage in the fridge (good for a week) or pour into freezer-safe containers for later use.

To your health,

Becky Perkins, Certified Health & Wellness Coach, www.yourtruebalance.com

Source: www.westonprice.org

It’s hard, but try to remember the temperatures in April and early May; frigid should be your reaction.  Winter extended far too long this “spring” severely impacting our most dependable crop, garlic.  Long-term members know to expect garlic beginning in late July and lasting to the final delivery.  We have sold garlic to Willy St Coop for a dozen years.  We provide garlic at the Pesto Fest and offer garlic for sale to members who attend farm events.  We keep enough garlic back each year to replant next year’s crop.   We grow lots of garlic.  Year after year growing garlic has been a resounding success for us.

BUT, Old Man Winter has stopped us in our tracks.  The garlic is a near total failure and we are just hoping to have enough to replant for 2014.  Garlic is planted in the fall.  Each clove produces a bulb for the following  season.  The freshly planted garlic puts down a few roots and occasionally will slightly emerge before it hibernates for the winter.  In the spring it is the first green thing to appear, my first sure sign of the new growing season.  And so it was this year as well, row after row of sprouted garlic; 60,000 plants in total.  Then winter played a dirty trick and took over spring with extremely cold nights, a few days of normal temperatures, then more extreme cold; this pattern repeated itself over and over, each time setting back the garlic.  I watched the plants as they looked weaker and weaker with each successive deep freeze.  Most of the tiny garlic plants could only rebound so many times and did not survive.  This week we are harvesting the surviving few garlic plants.  Maybe after we do our inventory and set aside our seed for 2014 there will remain enough for a CSA delivery, but I am not optimistic.  For the first time, Pesto Fest participants will have to bring garlic.

To try to put a positive spin on this, maybe the surviving plants will pass on extra resilience and this was nature’s way of ensuring garlic for all, long into the future.  I prefer the long term view on life and garlic.

David Perkins

Jesse planting garlic last fall

Jesse planting garlic last fall

Garlic as it should look before harvest, this picture is 2012’s harvest, 2013’s is too sad to show

Garlic as it should look before harvest, this picture is 2012’s harvest, 2013’s is too sad to show

 

The 4th of July is usually a work day for us, because if it falls on a weekday there are vegetables to harvest.  But this year it falls on a Thursday and now it impacts all of you!  So we did something we have never done in 19 years; re-schedule a delivery day.  That meant we needed to reorganize our harvest week.  We need three days to harvest, wash, bag and bunch the vegetables.  So instead of Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, we  began our week on Sunday.  Sunday morning, 6:30 am, 20 workers showed up to harvest strawberries, broccoli and pearl onions.  I spent Saturday night planning the week’s harvest activities.  And now it’s Wednesday and we are packing shares.  It all feels rather confusing to us on the farm; it’s so engrained to define our week by the Thursday delivery, but guess what? We will have the 4th of July off!

On packing day we line up crates of vegetables and each person is assigned one or two items to place into the container as it moves down the line.  The crew packing vegetables is a combination of full time employees and worker shares, many of the worker shares who join us each Thursday have been doing so for many, many years. The space we use to pack the vegetables is in the lower part of our barn; the place where the cow stations used to be.  We’ve converted an old dairy barn into our packing shed.

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Jesse moving full containers of vegetables into one of the delivery trucks.  We send vegetables out in four trucks each Thursday (Wednesday this week).  The trucks head to different parts of Madison and surrounding towns, each truck stopping at 6-8 locations.

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