This Weeks Share:
broccoli – By now you should be familiar with this tasty flower bud, if you weren’t already. We grow 2/3 of a acre of broccoli every year to keep the shares full in the spring and early summer. The broccoli doesn’t really like all this hot weather so it probably won’t last much longer.
cabbage – The variety is Gonzales and we grow it on tight spacing to keep the heads smaller. Cabbage is versatile and can be eaten raw or cooked, in salads, slaws, soups, or even used as a wrapper for rolls. Cabbage keeps very well in the refrigerator, if the outside leaves wilt peel them back just before using the center. The insides will keep crispy for weeks. See the recipe below.
carrots – Carrots are another main crop for us. We plant about a half acre in 15 successions in order to have fresh carrots from now through the winter. While the tops are still beautiful we’ll bunch them. If you don’t use the greens for pets, or cooking (a rarity) you can remove the rubber band and cut them off at your pick up site (box share members: you’lll have to compost your own). If you plan on storing them more than a few days make sure to remove the tops so that they don’t wick moisture out of the roots making them limp and rubbery.
chard or kale – If you’re a returning member and you’re wondering where the big bunches of kale and chard have been this spring, the symphylans have been eating them. Our first planting of kale was a total loss and the chard is just starting to produce now. We’ve been giving out as many cut greens as possible to replace the bunches that we’ve missed so maybe you haven’t even noticed. We’re hoping that our replants will keep us in greens through the fall. This week you’ll be seeing the first harvests from one or the other, with more to follow in future weeks. If you’re not familiar with these bigger leaves, both benefit from washing and then running a knife along the rib to cut away the leaves. Chop the ribs and cook them a few minutes before adding the leaves and wilting them. Chard will work wherever spinach is called for, and kale is a more delicate relative of cabbage.
garlic – again this week is Romanian. This is the earliest head garlic we grow and was harvested three weeks ago. The latest of the garlic varieties was pulled out of the ground last week and all of the garlic is curing in the barn now. Romanian is a variety that we’ve decided not to plant again so instead of saving seed we’re giving it all out. Enjoy the beautiful heads while they last and look forward to sampling the four other varieties we grow later this season.
lettuce – the lettuce harvests are continuing strong. In the winter we try to plan out the varieties that will be harvested each week but in the end it’s alway a suprise, almost until the moment they’re cut. We grow a wide variety to keep things interesting. Lettuce is planted weekly to keep the supply consistent through September and as far into October as the weather will allow.
parsley – Italian Flat Leaf parsley is more than a garnish and a breath freshener. It is wonderful sauteed with garlic in olive oil and then poured over pasta. The heat sweetens the flavor. My father’s favorite meal when I was growing up was clam spaghetti, essentially the above recipe with a can of clams added.
potatoes – a small bonus round of All Blue potatoes this week. The yields were good for such an early harvest so we have a few extra spuds to pass out. There will be lots more of the yellow and red varieties in weeks to come.
summer squash – We’re growing five varieties of summer squash this year, two are experimental but you may see them in your share at some point during the season. Our standards are:
Sunburst patti pan,
and the yellow and green Zephyr.
Added to the mix are Tromboncino, a long curling squash with lots of firm sweet meat and a tiny seed cavity,
and Cocozelle which replaces Costada Romanesco, a ribbed zucchini which is much more pleasant to harvest than its spiny relative.
Here’s a recipe that I’m looking forward to trying from Madhur Jaffrey’s excellent cookbook, “World of the East, Vegetarian Cooking.” Umeboshi plums are a unique experience for those who haven’t tried them, very sour and pickled in salt. You can eat them whole but they make a better seasoning which is how they are used here. Umeboshi plum vinegar is also an excellent seasoning for cabbage and stir-fry, it’s expensive but a little goes a long way.
Cabbage Seasoned with Umeboshi Plums
Core the cabbage and slice it into long thin slivers. Remove the pits from the plums and pound the flesh into a past, a mortar works well for this.
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium. Add the cabbage and salt and stir for 3 to 4 minutes or until the cabbage has wilted and is just cooked. Add the sugar and plum past and mix togther.
Introduction – For those of you who haven’t met me my name is Josh and I’ve been working on the farm for the past seven seasons. I started out as the Field Manager and then moved into the Crew Leader position last year when Zoe left the farm for graduate school. This year Shari has created a new position for me, “Special Project Manager.” This is also my last season on the farm, I haven’t figured out what next year will bring exactly but I want to concentrate more on garden scale food and seed production so I’m hoping I can find a way to do that in Portland and support myself at the same time.
As “Special Projects Manager” I’m spending this year taking all of the ideas for improvements around the farm that I’ve collected over the last six seasons and actually making them happen. I’m also documenting a lot of what we do here on the farm, how we do it and how we’ve done it. Below are a few of the small tools that I’ve built or modified this spring and are now being used on the farm.
The G mounted dibbler.
We use a old Allis Chalmers Model G tractor for a lot of tasks on the farm and one of them is marking the beds for planting. In the past we would mark the beds with the tractor, which set the path ways (wheel tracks) and also made marks for the lines to plant on so that when we cultivate with the tractor we don’t take out the plants we just put in. The second step in the marking process was to pull our “dibbler” down the bed which made three rows of divots spaced one foot apart. If you’ve been to a planting party this probably sounds familiar.
The new dibbler mounts directly to the tractor so we’ve taken a two step process and eliminated one of the steps. The marks are clearer than the old method and the dibbler also creates nice firm paths that are easy to follow with our earthway seeder for direct seeded crops so we can use one marking method for almost all of our plantings.
The G mounted spreader
After five years of trying to figure out how to hook the drop spreader, that we use for spreading soil amendments, up to the tractor I finally succeeded. This doesn’t eliminate a step but it makes what used to be a very heavy job a little lighter.
The new set up has also changed the way we seed most of our cover crops. The drop spreader will drop small seed as well as soil amendments so Scott has been seeding with the spreader. He can drag a ring roller behind the tractor which presses the seeds into the soil and this does save a step in seeding cover crop, as well as making it more convenient to do. As a result we have beautiful summer stands of sudan and buckwheat out in the fields right now (The photo below is the most beautiful field of sudan we’ve ever had with vegetables in the background).
It’s been a productive spring in the “Special Projects” department. Some of the other highlights have been improvements to apprentice housing, a new workshop area, garlic curing racks (see the week 7 blog for photos), new cultivation tools, and improvements to the wash area plumbing
Cut Flower Care
For those who signed up for the cut flower share here are some simple tips and tricks to extend the vase life of your cut flowers
choose a spot in your home which is cool and not in direct sunlight. Avoid placing flowers near dry heat, drafts, or gas appliances. These things diminish the vase life of cut flowers.
2. Check their water
A clear glass vase is best to keep an eye on how fresh and deep the water is. Change the water at least every third day and cut 1/2 an inch off the stem base with clippers or scissors when you change the water.
3. Feed your flowers
Add a 1/2 teaspoon of table sugar per quart of water to your vase.
4. Acidify the water
At the base of the flowers stems bacteria grows and blocks the conductive tissue thereby starving the flowers. Add 1/2 of an aspirin per quart of water to the vase to acidify the water and slow the bacterial growth.
CSA member Lisa Lyon asked us to help get the word out about this fundraising event for the Children’s Heart Foundation – Oregon Chapter
We would like to invite you and your family to our fourth annual Lionheart in Laurelhurst Park on July 14 (11-3 pm) to celebrate the courage of children with congenital heart defects. This year’s event promises to top all other years!! Entertainment is listed below! Tickets are available at the door or at
July 14, 2007 11AM – 3PM