Tuesday, August 19, 2014

CSA for August19th

A little bit of an unusual CSA Tuesday.  We've lost our right-hand lady Alex, who is off to university in Saskatoon.  We will sure miss her but wish her all the best of luck!  Then, to complicate matters I, Norah, am off this afternoon to a training session.  If I didn't do this session, the only other option was driving to Winnipeg on a Thursday, in a few weeks, so I had to take the time today.  I've picked beans like crazy this morning, but will be leaving Jes and Andrew to prepare the rest of your CSA baskets.

Had one of those fantastic 'farmers markets moments' on Saturday.  Love introducing new vegetables to people!   During the Global Market I introduced some acquaintances to Patty Pan summer squash.  They were having a BBQ, and I told them about the joys of Patty Pans ( or Scallopinis, as they are sometimes called) in tin foil veggie packs.  They don't get soggy like zucchini.  Well, by chance I ran into them later that night and they were raving!  The creamy texture, buttery flavour - they are big fans now!  Next, they need to try Papaya Pear, which is also fantastic for BBQing.  Papaya Pear is solid enough that you can grill thick slices of it just like a hamburger.  We often soak it for twenty minutes or so in a mix of balsamic vinegar and olive oil.  Yummy!

Oh, Yeh! Carbonara pasta with green beans!  We did this Sunday night with Jade green beans, topped with some crumbled bacon.  Very nice; the leftovers were good for lunch the next day!  It will work very well with the Blue Lake pole beans everyone is getting: it's a big, meaty bean perfect for this sort of recipe!  I had pre-cooked the beans and next time I will leave them a little less cooked!

The summer squash is coming on strong!  How about turning those zucchini into little zucchini pizza bites?  We made these before:  zucchini pancakes. Big and fluffy and just fabulous with Manitoba Maple Syrup.  Long time customer Juel shared on Facebook a recipe she found on this blog a few years ago: a zucchini salad called crudo, from Michael Ruhlman.  Zucchini are not just for dinner: there is, of course, the fabulous moist chocolate zucchini cakes, and zucchini muffins but this recipe for zucchini cookies with lemon glaze sounds great.

So, for the FULL SHARES:  Long English cucumber, slicing cucumber, Blue Lake pole beans, Dragons Tongue bean, zucchini, Patty Pan, golden zucchini, kale, baby beets with greens, All Red potatoes, Mesclun lettuce mix and Buttercrunch lettuce.

For the PART SHARES:  Long English cucumber, slicing cucumber, Blue Lake pole beans, zucchini, Patty Pan squash, golden zucchini, All Red potatoes, Mesclun lettuce mix, Buttercrunch lettuce.

For the SINGLE SHARES:  Armenian cucumber, slicing cucumber, Golden Child French filet bean, Blue Lake pole bean, zucchini, golden zucchini, Yukon Gold potatoes, Mesclun mixed lettuces, Buttercrunch lettuces.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

CSA For August 14th!

Here comes the Summer Squash!
It's high summer and look out!  Here comes the Summer Squash!  The zucchini, the Patty Pans, the Papaya Pear, the Golden and more of our fabulous variety of Summer Squash are kicking into high gear!  They will be in your baskets 'big time' for the next while!  There are so many fabulous things to do with summer squash, not just stir fries and raw sticks!  Cookies, the most fabulous chocolate cake, pancakes and, oh, here's a great recipes for zucchini fritters!  While you are there checking out the fritters, do check out the rest of the fabulous blog Closet Cooking! Here's our own primer on our wide variety of Summer Squash, Part 1 and Part 2.  On this blog, down the right-hand side are labels for all the blog posts over the years, click 'summer squash' label and a ton of posts with recipe links will come up!  And we'll be posting new finds in each and every newsletter in the next little while!  Speaking of chocolate cake: here's a recipe for a simple, from-scratch chocolate zucchini cake.  If you've never made one it is the most moist, delectable chocolate cake with all that 'hidden' fibre and nutrition!

Amanda and Ed have arrived with some lovely Long English Cucumbers for everyone!  These are thin-skinned, delicate cucumbers which tend not to cause digestive problems for people!  Amanda and Ed have also supplied some nice herbs - ask us about what is in your box if you don't recognize it 'cause there are small amounts of a number of herbs!

We've dug the last of the winter onions today and everyone is getting some.  We took our first little dig of the spring-planted onions and they are coming along nicely!  The foliage will be awesome chopped raw into salads and as garnish!  The garlic, well, it's coming slowly.  We've just had a walk to look at it and we're watering it this afternoon.  Although Brandon has been inundated with flooding and wild storms we are now officially into drought.  This hot, humid weather can be stressful for plants used to cool and moist!

Also, as the season progresses more of our interesting potatoes are being dug.  As we get away from baby or 'new' potatoes we get more interesting textures.  Today, everyone is getting a mixed bag of 'Yukon Gold', a drier, fluffy yellow potato great mashed or for fries, and 'All Red' a neat, dense potato with pink flesh! Yes, it's red all the way through.  Great fun mashed or in salads or scalloped potatoes!

So, for the FULL SHARES: Long English cucumber, slicer cucumber, green and golden zucchini, Dragon's Tongue and Romano bean mix, Jade green beans, Golden Child filets beans, 3 lbs. mixed potatoes, lg. bag Mesclun mixed lettuces, lg. bag Buttercrunch, head of Romaine lettuce, winter and spring onions, an herb.

For the PART SHARES: Long English cucumber and slicer cucumber, mixed green and gold zucchini, Dragon's tongue and Romano bean mix, medium bag of Jade green beans, 2 lbs. mixed potatoes, Mesclun mixed lettuces and Buttercrunch lettuce, winter onions, an herb.

For the SINGLE SHARES:  Long English cucucmber, green zucchini and a small Patty Pan squash, Dragons Tongue and Romano bean mix, 1.5 lbs. mixed potatoes, Buttercrunch lettuce, winter onions, an herb.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

CSA For August 12th!

Romano beans!
We're really noticing the inevitable 'march' of the seasons this week!  As the raspberries come to the end of their season, the leaves of the canes that carried berries start to yellow and crisp up.  There is lovely new green growth, the canes that will carry fruit next year, but still the patches of yellow show in the rows.  We really notice, as the days get shorter, that The Hens are going to roost earlier (a good thing after the long days of CSA harvest).  And our egg count is down a bit, as chickens are stimulated by day length to lay their eggs.  We're now only bottle feeding our baby goats once a day, meaning they are growing up and soon we'll be free of that chore.  On the up-side: the corn is looking good, we have a bevy of small green tomatoes, the peppers are flowering like crazy and cucumbers are on the menu!

A nice change: hardly any biting insects bothering us today.  Mosquitoes seem to have abated, the little flies are hardly noticeable.  On the downside, aphids and fruit flies are around: you may find a tiny purple/black bug on your beans and it's not a spider - it's an aphid.  We've taken the unusual step (for us) of rinsing the both the Dragon's Tongue and Romano beans today.  Although we've given them plenty of time to dry we highly recommend you get them out of the plastic bags!  Think of it as another sign of your veggies being grown chemical-free!

We want you to eat your veggies!  All of your veggies!  So here's a great post from Mother Earth News on keeping the harvest fresh!  Some great links at the bottom of the page for preserving, too!

We don't grow copious amounts of chard, but because it re-grows nicely CSAers get some throughout the share season.  Here's a fantastic primer on all things chard: from storage to some unique recipes including a galette with Gruyere!  Chard will be available again in another week, maybe two.

Amanda and Ed came through with some lovely Long English Cucumbers today!  There are also mixed in a few Armenian cucumbers - long but pale green instead of dark green.  We've gotten the first nice pick on slicing cukes for everybody, too!  The second seeding of assorted salad greens have done well so some nice salads are in your future!  Amanda and Ed also brought the absolute last of the cabbage!

The bean-o-rama continues.  Dragons Tongue for everyone today and some close cousins: Romano beans.  Also a long, thin but wide bean, Romanos deserve more respect...and more planting.  Here's some great info on Romano beans.  We've also had a nice pick on a lovely green bean, Jade.  And the first pick on a true filet: Golden Child.  Filets are wee, skinny beans: delicate and tender! Although they are fairly prolific, their size means we have to pick a lot to get a pound!  Please do not overcook the filets - they will get too soft easily!

Here comes the summer squash!  There are Crookneck, with the rounded neck.  This is a soft, buttery delicate squash.  Stir fry lightly - the southern States consider this a delicacy and bread slices and then pan fry.  The roly-poly squash is a Papaya Pear - firm and nutty flavor.  BBQ slices like hamburgers, soaked in balsamic vinegar and olive oil for about 20 minutes before grilling.  The other little 'space ship' are Patty Pans, also firm and a light almond flavour.  All of these will be awesome raw in salads, in stir fries and, particularly the last two, in tin foil on the grill!

So, for the FULL SHARES:  Cabbage, Long English cucumber (or maybe an Armenian), slicing cucumber, summer squash mix of Patty Pan, Papaya and/or Crookneck, Beans: Dragons Tongue/Romano mix, Jade Green/Golden Child mix, onions, Mesclun mixed lettuces, Grand Rapids lettuce, Buttercrunch lettuce, Norland/Yukon Gold mixed potatoes, herb.

For the PART SHARES:  Cabbage, Long English cucumber, slicing cucumber, summer squash mix of Patty Pan, Papaya and/or Crookneck, mixed Dragons Tongue and Romano beans, Golden Child filet beans, onions, Mesclun mixed lettuces, Grand Rapids lettuce, Eramosa white potatoes, herbs.

For the SINGLE SHARES:  Long English cucumber, slicing cucumber, Summer Squash, Dragons Tongue beans, onions, Mesclun mixed lettuces, Buttercrunch lettuce, Norland red potatoes, herbs.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

CSA for August 7th!

The peas are about done!
We're starting to really feel the cycle of the gardens.  Most vegetables are annuals: the plants have one try at growing and making babies (the vegetable or part we eat) and then they die.  The peas are the perfect example, already the foliage is yellowing and dying back; they're about done for this year!  Yes, there are still a few flowers at the tips, but unless the weather stays cool and rainy, those would largely just set stumpy little pods.  We picked out the peas today and really not enough for any share but some bags will be on the trading table!

Amanda and Ed have supplied one last round of cabbage.  We had an extra from Tuesday's CSA and we snapped it up for a little dinner party in honour of visiting sister Keltie last night.  Oddly enough, sister Keltie did most of the cooking for the party - and was it delightful!  She used this recipe for roasted cabbage with bacon on the BBQ!  So tasty - and really very easy!  You could do this in the oven, as well, no problem!  It's a must try - very yummy.  We had some vegetarians with us last night and did a couple pieces without the bacon - also delish!

It is bean time...lots of beans the next few weeks.  Keltie also made, last night, honey-Dijon glazed beans.  She pre-cooked the beans, a mix of yellow and green, to just crispy.  Then she sauteed them in equal parts honey and Dijon mustard.  She made a huge mess of beans, enough for eight people, and used half a cup of each.  Dial back the amount to maybe two tablespoons for a pound of beans - you can always add more!  She just stirred the beans a few times to make sure all were well coated in the mix.  Great flavour!  Now we do like our families to keep some of their share for winter use.  The abundance of beans may mean you have more than you can eat in a week.  Check Tuesday's blog for a post of quick-and-easy freezing without blanching.  If freezer space is limited you can dehydrate beans - they reconstitute quickly in soups and stews.  They can just be stored, preferably in glass, in cupboards or pantry shelves.  Here's a link with a number of ways to preserve beans including dehydrating in the oven!

At the bottom of this post is a great chart for cooking a wide variety of vegetables.  This showed up in my inbox and I thought it was perfect for sharing with you all.  Most people over-cook vegetables and destroy more of the essential vitamins and minerals then is necessary.  This cheat sheet is fantastic!  Hope you can read it!

So, for the FULL SHARES:  1 1/2 lbs. Dragon's Tongue beans, 1 lb. mixed Royal Burgundy and yellow wax beans, 1 lb. green beans (Jade, first pick), lg. cabbage, 3 lbs. Norland red baby potatoes, onions, Grand Rapids lettuce, Mesclun mixed lettuces, radish, herb, raspberries.

For the PART SHARES:  1 lb. Dragon's Tongue beans, 1 lb. mixed Royal Burgundy and yellow wax beans, med. cabbage, 2 lb. Norland red baby potatoes, onions, Grand Rapids lettuce, Mesclun mixed lettuces, herbs, raspberries.

For the SINGLE SHARES:  1 lb. Dragons Tongue beans, 1 lb. mixed Royal Burgundy and yellow wax beans, sm. cabbage, onions, Norland red baby potatoes, Grand Rapids lettuce, herbs, raspberries.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

CSA For August 5th!

Things are finally starting to look like Summer in the garden!  Took a while this year!  The first pick on zucchini today, there are little wee cucumbers and tomatoes!  The corn is coming nicely, although a little weedy.  And the beans!  The beans!

CSA members will get a torrent of beans of all kinds over the next few weeks!  The bigger beans, the Romano types like Dragon's Tongue and some of our climbing beans, do very well in veggie packs in tinfoil for the BBQ!  The regular beans do okay, the delicate filet will not benefit from that treatment!  Vegetables of all kinds are awesome and easy roasted on the BBQ in foil.  Here's a great link with basic instructions for BBQ roasted veg.  We encourage you all to freeze some packages of beans for winter use!  Here's a great link to easy bean freezing without blanching.  However, we all want to eat a bunch right now so here's a nice link with eleven fresh bean recipes.  Hmm, beans in a bacon vinaigrette?

Probably the last share on raspberries.  As the picking gets more sparse it's just not worth our time and we have U-pickers waiting to get a chance!  Nice, big container for everyone today!  Probably the last of the Grand Rapids lettuce as well today - unless the plants already cut grow back well.  That is highly unlikely in hot, dry weather so we will probably bid adieu to Grand Rapids for now!  We will seed a variety of lettuces shortly for nice Fall salads.

Amanda and Ed have supplied lovely cabbages again today - probably also the last of the cabbage for you!  So many 'last of's today - but that is what fresh, local eating is all about!  Everything has it's season, it peaks and then it is done!  Amanda and Ed have also supplied a nice assortment of fresh herbs.  There is a bit in everyone's basket; we'll be on hand to tell you what it is or how to use it but they have brought dill, summer savory, oregano, spearmint, mojito mint and Italian parsley!

So, for the FULL SHARES:  Lg. cabbage, a zucchini, 1/2 lb. shelling peas, onions, 1 lb. Dragon's Tongue beans, 2 lbs. assorted yellow wax, green and purple beans, 2 lbs. Norland red baby potatoes, 1/2 lb. Warba white potatoes, raspberries, radish, Swiss chard, Grand Rapids lettuce, one of the assortment of fresh herbs.

For the PART SHARES:  Cabbage, zucchini, snow peas, onions, 1 lb. Dragon Tongues Bean, 1 lb. assorted beans, 2 lbs. Norland red baby potatoes, raspberries, Grand Rapids lettuce, one of the herbs.

For the SINGLE SHARES:  Small cabbage, zucchini, onions, 1 lbs. Dragons Tongue Beans, 1/2 lb. Royal Burgundy beans, 2 lbs. Norland red potatoes, raspberries, Grand Rapids lettuce, one of the assortment of herbs.


Thursday, July 31, 2014

CSA For The Last Day of July!

Everyday starts and ends this way..for about another month!
It finally feels like summer! We had to wait until the end of July - but summer seems to be here!  Lovely and warm today, very little breeze, not a lot of bugs - fantastic day for harvesting for our families!  We were actually late for Tuesday's meet-up because there is so much to harvest right now!  We used our time a bit more wisely today and think we'll be on time!  There's so much labour-intensive veggies to harvest right now we could sure use some help - especially with raspberries!  If you'd like to find more raspberries in your basket and have time on Thursday mornings please let us know!

Beans will come hot-and-heavy for the next few weeks.  Here's a great link, with links at the bottom of the page, to a lot of ways to keep beans for winter use!  We've never dehydrated beans, but it seems like a good idea! They'll take up shelf space only, and a small space at that!  We regularly freeze beans and pack them in portions in freezer bags.  They stack nicely in the freezer, thaw quickly for use in soups, stews and stir fries!  We've picked the first of the Dragons Tongue - a Romano type bean, big and flat but tender and tasty!  Treat just like any other bean; unfortunately the purple stripes fade on cooking.

Our growing partners Amanda and Ed have provided beautiful cabbage again today.  They've also brought the first harvest of some fresh herbs.  The ferny leaf of the dill will be wonderful chopped for the new potatoes or in your salad - very different from the dried dill in the stores.  The heads of dill will flavor jars of the 'Dilly Beans' from the link above or a wonder to flavour vinegar for homemade salad dressing.  The flat leaf Parsley will be excellent chopped into salads or sprinkled on grilled chicken or pork.  It's also excellent for stuffing a roast chicken and I believe the first chickens from Luna Field Farm are available this week.  The herb with the flowers is Greek oregano - a zesty herb that will also be excellent in your salads.  It's fantastic to add a little Greek flavour to meats and pastas.  Try a little of the herb in your box straight, to give you an idea of the flavour.

The first share of new potatoes for Thursday's families- a lovely red Norland.  Please don't over-cook young potatoes.  We usually simply steam them for about fifteen minutes but you can boil them, too, just not too long!  New potatoes sometimes can get mushy if roasted in tin foil on the BBQ, so perhaps wait a couple of weeks until we've got older spuds for you!

Last week everyone got Boyne raspberries - the standard hardy raspberry for the Prairies grown here for decades.  For this Thursday, we got a small pick on Mammoth, a newer variety developed at the U of S.  There's just enough today for the Full Shares.  We'll be interested to see if you notice a difference.  We won't make any comment here 'cause we don't want to influence you!

So, for the Full Shares: Lg. cabbage, 3/4 lb. each of green, yellow, Royal Burgundy and Dragon's Tongue beans, 4 lbs. new potatoes, Lg. Mammoth raspberries, bag each Mesclun mixed lettuces and Grand Rapids, fresh dill.

For the Part Shares:  Lg. cabbage, 1/2 lb. each green, Royal Burgundy and Dragon's Tongue beans, 3/4 lb. yellow wax beans, 3 lbs. new potatoes, 1 lb. shelling peas, Boyne raspberries, bag each Mesclun Mix and Grand Rapids lettuce, fresh flat leaf parsley.

For the Single Shares: Sm. cabbage, 1/2 lb each green, yellow wax, Royal Burgundy and Dragon's Tongue beans, 3 lbs. new potatoes, Boyne raspberries, bag each Mesclun Mix and Grand Rapids lettuce, fresh Greek oregano.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

CSA for the Last Tuesday in July!

New Game in Town: Chasing Baby Goats From The Raspberries!
Hard to believe July is almost done!  We've hardly had any summer at all.  The local flooding, the storms, the lateness of the gardens make it feel like late Spring, maybe end of June!  However, vegetables are starting to come on strong now.  First pick of beans, first dig of baby potatoes, first couple of little Hungarian Hot peppers - good things are happening!  Right now it's a matter of time - many of these veggies take a while to pick so we could have had a bigger basket but just ran out of time!  Of course we had a couple of interruptions: The baby goats, led by that mischievous  Pygmy goat Dan-Dan, have developed a taste for raspberry leaves.  Every chance they get they're breaking out and heading for the north row!  Fortunately, they same to have to interest in the berries, just the leaves.

We've got a great pick on snap beans for everyone!  I'm sure you've all had the basic yellow wax bean and probably the common green bean.  The purple bean, Royal Burgundy, may be new to some.  Similar in flavour to the green bean, it will turn a dark green when it cooks.  That's always been such a disappointment to me because I love the colour purple!  Tasty, tasty bean, though!  The beans will be prolific over the next two to three weeks.  If they get to be a bit much for fresh eating please, please, please freeze some to enjoy in the winter!  Here's some great, simple instructions for freezing beans.  Of course, you can water-bath can beans - in vinegar, pickled!  If you've got a pressure canner, you can pressure can beans in water - just like store bought.  We freeze beans in the zippered plastic bags; we do a portion appropriate for the two of us, and freeze flat for good stacking in the freezer!  Don't want to can?  Here's an easy refrigerator Dilled Bean, which will last in the refrigerator for a couple of months!

So, for the Full Shares:  Large cabbage, 3 lbs. Norland baby potatoes, a few wee Hungarian Hot peppers, large bag mixed yellow and green beans, medium bag purple beans, bag each of Grand Rapids, Buttercrunch, and Mesclun mixed lettuce, pound of shelling peas, large Red Mammoth raspberries.

For the Part Shares:  Large cabbage, 2 lbs. Norland Red baby potatoes, medium bag mixed yellow and green beans, bag each of Grand Rapids, Buttercrunch and Mesclun mixed lettuces, pound of shelling peas, regular size Boyne raspberries.

For the Single Shares: Medium cabbage, 1.5 lbs. Norland baby potatoes, mixed yellow and green beans, bag each of Grand Rapids, Buttercrunch and Mesclun mixed lettuces, Snow Peas, reg. Boyne raspberries.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

It's CSA Thursday!

Some of Amanda and Ed's lovely cabbage!
A dreary, damp morning for CSA!  We had The Odd Job Squad out today to help pick raspberries.  This is a government program to help find work and activities for kids under sixteen.  Nice group of kids!  If you have 'odd jobs', chores, cleaning, packing, stacking, gardening or other such work please do consider giving them a call at 726-6199.  The kids get paid minimum wage, of course, and are enthusiastic and industrious.  They could be a boon, too, for small businesses looking for a little help packing orders or something!  Anyway, we were picking raspberries in a light rain so we highly recommend that you get them out of the containers and spread out on a cookie sheet or towel, because we're quite afraid mould will start quickly in the bottom layers!

Returning members will know this from previous years but for new members: our neighbours, Amanda and Ed, help grow for our CSA.  They are a retired couple, like-minded in terms of not using chemicals, they are enthusiastic, experienced gardeners and we're so happy to have them grow for you!  Once again this year, they've come up with some beautiful cabbage.  Amanda keeps these looking so good with a mix of flour and cayenne pepper to keep the bugs off!  Everyone is getting a lovely summer cabbage today!  Here's a round up of coleslaw recipes from simple to spicy Asian and more!  Of course, there is cabbage soup (along with the blogger's 7-day diet plan), cabbage fried, in sautees or steamed and cabbage rolls!  You'll probably get more cabbage, at least next week, so familiarize yourself with some recipes!  It stores well just in the fridge, so you don't need to get frantic about using it up in the next few days!

So, for today: for the Full Shares: a large cabbage, bag of Grande Rapids lettuce, bundle of baby Romaine lettuce, Swiss chard, onions, large bag of shelling peas, small bag of snow peas, 2 pints raspberries.

For the Part Shares: large cabbage, bag of Grande Rapids lettuce, bundle of baby Romaine lettuce, Swiss chard, onions, medium bag of shelling peas, two pints raspberries.

For the Single Shares:  small cabbage, bag of Grande Rapids lettuce, bundle of baby Romaine lettuce, Swiss chard, onions, small bag of shelling peas, pint of raspberries.

We've got volunteer opportunities next week!  If you'd like to come help at the farm we need raspberry pickers on both Tuesday and Thursday mornings!  Volunteers always go home with bonuses!  We're also looking for help on Weeding Wednesdays, morning or evening come help pull a few of those weeds!  Pet a baby goat, cluck at a chicken, play with a small doggie or pet a barn cat - lots to do while you're here!  Email us if you're interested!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

CSA, July 22nd.

Peas are coming nicely!
A couple of hot days, a couple of cool days, lots of bugs...not much has changed in the gardens since last Tuesday!  However, it's a day of firsts: 1st pick on the raspberries, 1st pick on the shelling peas!  Neither are big picks - but both are coming nicely!  We don't think it's going to be a great year for raspberries, but it will be a decent year!  We had trouble getting into the raspberries early on for pruning and weeding: it was just too wet and mucky!  We're also seeing lots of mechanical damage: berries have been 'smacked' into surrounding bushes and canes by the extreme high winds of some of our recent storms.  Lots of bits and pieces of willow have been blown in, breaking branches.  We're also seeing a bit of 'bloom' on the berries: a whitish tinge to the berry.  That's a cold, wet weather thing, not pretty but totally edible.  Bit of a mess in the raspberry rows!

We got a wee pick on snow peas for Saturday's Global Market.  Got another wee pick today, just enough for the Part Shares.  Shelling peas we got a better pick so enough for a decent share for all the Full Shares.  Sorry, no peas for Single Shares this week, but we'll keep you top of mind next week!

We've got some lovely baby Romaine lettuce for everyone today.  Of course, it's the main ingredient in a classic Caesar Salad!  It's got more crunch that the Grand Rapids, which you're also getting!  We've actually pulled the Romaine lettuce - roots and all.  Stand it in a vase or glass of water like a bouquet, with the roots just covered, for maximum freshness!

So, for the Full Shares:  Small bag of Swiss Chard, shelling peas, Romaine lettuce, Grand Rapids lettuce, bundle of onions, container of raspberries.

For the Part Shares:  Small bag of Swiss Chard, Snow peas, Romaine lettuce, Grand Rapids lettuce, bundle of onions, container of raspberries.

Single Shares:  Small bag of Swiss Chard, Romaine lettuce, Grand Rapids lettuce, bundle of onions, container of raspberries.

If you're looking for volunteer opportunities...we'd love some help picking raspberries the next few weeks.  They are quite labour intensive, so the more help the more berries for everybody.  Volunteers go home with a bonus!  Plus, every Wednesday here is Weeding Wednesday.  Lots of jobs, big and small, day or evening if you'd like to come out and pull a few, we'd welcome you!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

CSA Today: Looks a Lot Like Tuesday's Share!

We're looking forward to meeting some new members today!  I always think it is rather incredible that people will give us money to grow their food without meeting us face to face!  I've had lots of email 'conversations' with people but we've never actually met!  Today is the day!

Not much development in the last two days.  Thursday's CSA share looks, well, exactly like Tuesdays! Check out Tuesdays' blog post for some great tips on storing fresh veggies throughout the season, as well as a nice link for homemade salad dressings where you can control the amount of sugar and other ingredients!

Although flooding continues in this region, water levels are receding slowly.  What remains is the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes - and they are out in clouds.  Forget 'The Cloud' or the 'iCloud'! Brandon has numerous clouds.  Sand flies are also a huge problem today: the little nuisances are getting into ears, noses, behind glasses, down shirts!  The worst is when you try to talk to your harvesting companion and they fly in your mouth!  Not exactly the kind of protein I'm looking for!

Today's heat may help the vegetables.  Our worry is that in all the cool, wet soil plants didn't root very deeply and will now not be able to withstand high heat and little rain.  Our irrigation system is acting up (again!) so we'll have to have a visit from our pals at D & B Sprinklers real soon!

We were kind of surprised by the number of Tuesday's members who weren't familiar with Swiss Chard.  It's a nutrition super food, just not getting the attention kale seems to be getting right now!  Here's some detailed information on the health benefits of Chard!  You may have seen big, white-ribbed leaves in Grandma's garden, but we grow a variety called 'Bright Lights' with colourful stems and a milder taste.  Chard can be used raw in salads or cooked - like spinach.  Here's a great link with five easy Chard preparations!

So, today's share, everybody gets the same thing: a large bag of bright green 'Grand Rapids' lettuce, a bag of 'Red Sails' lettuce, a bag of Swiss Chard called 'Bright Lights' and a bundle of winter onions.  These onions have been in the ground all winter and are very tasty.  However, a few are getting ready to bloom and the stem may be hard.  The bulb and the greens still completely usable!

Enjoy your first taste of fresh-from-the-farm for this season!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

First CSA Share of 2014 - Not Much in the Basket!

We're sorry - the spinach didn't make it!
The first CSA share of the season! Later than most years due to odd, very odd, weather!  And not a big share, at that.  This year has seemed more of a struggle then any other.  After a long cold winter, a long cold spring has made gardening challenging.  In the last month, a few weird storms have set us back even more.  At least we're not flooding, like some of our neighbours!

Veggies struggled early on.  We basically lost the spinach: it was tiny and yellowed and much died in cold, wet soil.  As the temperatures have improved, some has come back but only to go straight to seed!  I've never seen spinach two inches high with four poor leaves flowering.  It's a goner!  Some of our winter squash was washed out, as well as some of the beets and carrots.  We've replanted all, but it's rather amusing to see Delicata squash coming up eight feet down the hill from where it was planted!  The early planting of radishes have cracked from too much rain and have baby bugs tunnelling in them, so they're getting plowed under.

There's not a lot to say about today's harvest so I figured we'd start with some basics.  Here's a great link to storing and keeping your fresh vegetables and fruits: http://www.thekitchn.com/the-kitchns-guide-to-storing-fruits-and-vegetables-tip-roundup-176308.  This one is worth bookmarking: it has basic tips as well as links for specific vegetables and fruits.  We bring our vegetables as 'fresh from the field' as we can, with a basic rinse but I wouldn't consider them well washed.  We recommend getting everything out of plastic as soon as you can.  Here's a good link for vegetable 'washes', very useful for store-bought veggies which are more likely to have waxes, pesticide residues and such.  Our veggies are just...somewhat dirty but the washes are helpful to keep them fresh longer.  Since this first few weeks will be all about greens here's a great link for DIY salad dressings.  Homemade salad dressings can be made free of extra sugar and additives, and can be made fresh in small quantities.

The rejected lettuce will make excellent goat food!
So today is simple: Everyone gets a bag of Grand Rapids lettuce, a bright green, frilly lettuce perfect for salads or sandwiches.  Everyone gets a bag of Red Sails lettuce, pretty in a salad.  There are winter onions, in the ground since last fall.  Some are starting to go to seed, so if the stem is very hard it cannot be used, otherwise all parts will be very tasty in salads or cooking.  Everyone is getting Swiss Chard, a variety called Rainbow Lights with bright coloured stems.  Chard can be eaten raw or cooked like spinach: braised, sauteed or simply steamed.  We've used it in a quiche and it was very good!

So, a slow start to our CSA, but it's all fresh and chemical-free!  Just FYI...the raspberries and the beans are coming very well.......

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Plant...Then Wait...Plant...

Stuff's happening in the garden!  It has been very much a start-and-stop season, so far.  It took us forever to dry out enough to work the land.  Even then, there were tractors stuck and such fun farm things!  You know you're in trouble when you have to go borrow a big tractor 'cause the little tractor can't pull out the medium tractor, which is mired in the middle of the field.  When we did get going it was a couple of days of planting, a couple of days of rain, a day to dry out, a day of planting, a couple of days of rain.  Potatoes were planted first and I still worry a bit about them....was it too wet shortly after planting?  Was it too cold?
Now, at June 10th, most of our seed planting is almost done.  Garlic, onions, beans are looking good.  Lettuces, spinach, kale are peeking out.  Carrots seem to be a 'no-show', so just yesterday I purchased a whole new round of seed at Lindenberg's.  Beets, chard, snow peas, summer squash and winter squash are in, but no signs yet.  We still have second or third succession plantings to do of greens and beans.

Still on the agenda: all our seedlings of tomatoes, peppers, ground cherry and tomatillos, as well as herb seeds.  The greenhouse is almost full with about 20 flats of mostly tomatoes and a few peppers.  Inside, in the sun room, there are another fifteen flats of peppers, tomatillos and ground cherry.  Forecast looks good for the next couple of days!

Then, of course, it's the never ending weeding.  Easy to get distracted from the work with so many baby goats to play with!  And really, at some point, we should take a look at our ornamental beds in front of the house - the quack grass seems to be taking over!