Tuesday, July 31, 2012

6th CSA Week

Well, it was very HOT today!!!!!!  Forecast said it was 27 and felt like 32.  I know that is not hot in many parts of the world but for this farm girl it was HOT.  And it felt even hotter at the pick-up.  But, thankfully it did cool down this evening and wasn't too bad while I was seeding in the field.  Normally on Tuesday I take my time going home and I've been meeting a friend for ice-cream which has been a nice weekly ritual but this week I was all business and rushed home to get the seeding done before the "rain" that is supposed to come tomorrow.  I'll not hold my breath as I always get excited for the rain and then disappointed when it does not come. 

Being in the field tonight was actually rather relaxing.  It's been a crazy few weeks and the next few won't be any less crazy so being outside seeding with a nice big moon and a beautiful red sunset was really nice.  I was trucking it to get everything seeded before the dark set in (got everything except the lettuce mix) but I did take a few moments to look around and just enjoy the garden and views around me.  It was nice.

So, this weeks baskets are full and a great bang for the buck!!  The full share has beautiful red potatoes perfect for roasting, carrots, green beans, lettuce mix, lettuce head, onions, zucchini, cucumbers (slicing and lemons), beets, 2 large broccoli and cauliflower.  The grab bins had swiss chard, green and purple cabbage, dill, cilantro, basil, baby chard/beet green mixture, and more of the above mentioned veggies.  Members weighed out their own potatoes, carrots and beans which saved so much time here at the farm. 

This was our first week for potatoes and they sure are lovely.  Not overly big but definitely gourmet!!!  We have been disappointed in our potatoes this year, not sure if its lack of fertility or the lack of moisture but we didn't get good top growth and they started to die back last week so we decided to start digging them as they probley won't be growing much anymore.  It took alot of digging last night to get enough for the shares but it was just Derek and I so it was kinda like a date night in the field, so romantic!!  Baby red potatoes are so amazing roasted with olive oil and sea salt.  I can't wait to cook some up tomorrow night for supper!!
Beautiful baby red potatoes

It was a big broccoli harvest today.  I knew there was alot to pick as two plantings were ready at once but I did a rough calculation tonight at pick-up that we harvested around 130-150 heads.  Indeed, that's alot of broccoli. 
This broccoli was over 2lbs!!!
 Some pictures from today and this week around the farm.  Enjoy!!!
This variety is a super star for sure!!  Crispy and beautiful

Cheddar cauliflower, and yes, its supposed to be orange

Onions, finally!!

There were two little cherry tomatoes in a random grab box, I wonder who found them???

Some larger zucchini, perfect for zucchini bread

Lovely beans

Green and yellow zucchini

Lemon cucumbers, these little guys are very popular with kids, you just eat them like an apple

Basil for the grab bin

Basil!! I can't wait for the tomatoes to ripen, its going to be a tomato/basil sandwich party!!

Ripening slowly, but Ben & Jake usually get them first

Leeks are slowly coming along

We have so many plants that are just loaded with nice big clusters

Working with my red tractor, enjoying the view
Spending a very hot afternoon Monday prepping beds for planting
Beds being formed

My little farm hands!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

5th CSA Week


What a wild weather day.  It started off pretty good but very windy.  Around 10ish it started to cloud over and Sally and I put the rush on to finish up harvesting.  At 11:00 we started the last thing on the list, the carrots.  The skies opened and sheets of rain along with high winds showed up.  We both got soaked and rain gear was in the truck and at the house so we just kept on working.  The insides of my rubber boots were absolutely soaked from the water running down my legs.  Finished up the carrots in record time and headed back to the wash station to try and get them clean.  They were really dirty so you might find a bit more dirt than usual. 

The pick-up went pretty smooth tonight, so nice to see all your lovely faces!!  I even got a bottle of dilled carrots, so yippie!!!  This weeks large share had romaine lettuce, dill, beets, carrots, green onions, broccoli, red cabbage, zucchini, spinach and radishes.  The grab box had cilantro, basil, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi and more of the above mentioned veggies.  I was worried the boxes would look small this week but I think they were a nice variety.  Somewhere along the day today I lost my veggie list which shows what veggies the large and small share are getting and I could not remember everything on the list so when it was time to pack I had to go on memory and at 2:00 on Tuesday afternoon I've realised is not the time for "memory exercises"!!

Here are a few recipes that my friend Sandie gave me which uses up spinach and kale. 

Green monster smoothie
1 cup milk (almond or soy if wanting vegan)
1 ripe banana, peeled and frozen
2 handfuls spinach
1 Tbs chia seeds of 1Tbs ground flax
1 Tbs nut butter (almond/peanut)
1-3ice cubes

Add ingredients to blender in the following order:  Milk, chia/flax and nut butter.  Next, add spinach, then banana.  Blend until smooth.  Add ice cubes and blend some more.  Options: 1/2 cup blueberries, kale, pineapple.

Kale slaw with Red cabbage and carrot
1.  In a small bowl, whisk 1 Tbsp olive oil, 1 Tbsp dijon mustard, and 1 tsp apple cider vinegar.  Season with coarse salt and pepper. 
2.  In another bowl, combine 3 cups shredded kale and red cabbage, 1 peeled and julienned carrots, 1/4cup fresh parsley leaves (I think dill or cilantro would most likely work too), 2 Tbsp diced red onion, and 2 Tbsp each sunflower, hemp and pumpkin seeds.
3.  Season with coarse salt and pepper, drizzle with dressing and toss to coat. 

I am really hoping for more rain tonight.  What we got this morning was awesome but a nice steady rain alright would be even better.  Things are growing really well and I"m so pleased with how the tomatoes and peppers are looking.  We have been spending alot of time trellising the tomatoes both in the greenhouse and in the garden.  We have a few early varieties that are doing really well which we are super excited about.  After last years tomato disaster I am really hoping for a bounty of tomatoes!!  And peppers too. 

We are spending alot of time on the weekends weeding but thankfully its getting more and more by tractor and less with hoes.  We are still finding alot of hand weeding in the carrot rows and those determined lambsquarters are proving to be a real pain.  They grow really fast and turn into "trees" in no time.  You can go through the rows and think you've gotten them all and then the next weekend they are all back, but its just the small ones that were hiding the first time, grrrrr!!!  But in reality the garden is doing really good and the weed pressure is mostly under control.

So, someone asked me tonight what I do for fun?  Well, I would say that working is fun, most would disagree but I honestly love getting up early on the weekend and knowing I"m going to be weeding/trellising/thinning/whatever all day.  I really enjoy having a big to do list and scratching off items as they get completed.

Evidence of a good time working - Tomato pruning fingers

But you can't work all the time right?  So, Derek bought a bike a few weeks back, its a dual sport (street/trail) and its awesome.  Let's just say it was Derek who bought the bike and I did not have any say in it!!  I might not have been happy at first but I have seen the light!!  I have never had any desire to ride a bike but after my first ride I was hooked.  I even bought my own helmet on the weekend.  So, that is what we've been doing for fun these last few weeks.  Derek has been taking it to work every day and I try and grab a ride a few times/week.  Good times.
This farm girl just wants to have a little fun!!
Dad and I went for an adventure on Sunday night, we were a wild pair!!
It was such a pretty ride

Dad and I coming out of the wicked trail in the woods we went through on the weekend, it was amazing

Not sure what they are doing here but Ben is wearing his super man shirt so he's probley being a super hero going to save the weeds from Mommy's hoe!!

Greenhouse got a bit of a facelift on the weekend, its was long over due!!

Heading to the greenhouse in the morning to check on the crops
Sneaking raspberries from Great Grammy's berry patch!!
Silly boys
Heading out for a stroller ride while Daddy does some tractor work
My handsome husband

Well, its way too late again and time for bed.  I hope you all enjoy this weeks veggies!!


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

4th CSA Week

Overflowing veggie boxes

Veggies boxes were overflowing today.  I actually had harvested Kale for everyone but there was no way that it would fit in the bins so it had to go in the grab box system.  The front of the truck was even packed to the brim with bins of grab veggies in the baby seats, passenger seat and empty seat behind the drivers seat.  I had a kale explosion when I openend the back door and two bins tried to crash to the ground.  Some quick fancy foot work and a bit of a stretch back muscle (ouch) all the kale was rescued!! 

This weeks large share had lettuce mix, swiss chard, carrots, green onions, garlic scapes, savoy cabbage, lettuce head, cilantro, snap peas, snow peas, kohlrabi & broccoli.  The grab box had beets, beet greens, bok choy, chinese cabbage, dill, kale, coloured carrots, baby zucchini, and more of the above veggies!!

Carrots stacked up!!

These little babies are pretty tasty

Baby Zucchini

Richgreen on the left and Costata Romanesco on the right

Fresh dill



Savoy cabbage  Here is a blog link that a member shared about this beautiful cabbage. 

Fresh beets, yummy!!!
Veggie Tray
I made a really easy and yummy dip on the weekend.  1 cup mayo, 1 cup sour cream, 2 green onions, 4 table spoons of cilantro.  Mix well and serve as a dip.  I had made up a nice veggie tray for a barbeque we were going to and the dip was yummy yummy yummy!!!   But to be honest the dip was extra awesome with chips!! haha.
 We celebrate Ben & Jake's third birthday party on Sunday!! Three already?  Time sure flies.  Mom made these super cute farm animal themed cupcakes and barn.  Wish I had some of her talents!!
Ben & Jake's birthday barn, chickens, horsies and pigs!!  It was a great party.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

3rd CSA Week

What a beautiful evening out there!!!  A nice breeze and such clear air.  It was a busy harvest day today but everything ran pretty smoothly.  The peas are on full force which is great news for all you eaters but not great news for us pickers!!  They are a very time consuming crop to pick but they sure add a nice crunchy treat to the early season baskets.  I am hoping the peas that we left on the plants will mature quickly in time for Thursdays harvest!!

This weeks large share had 1/2lb snap peas, 1/2lb snow peas, baby carrots, lettuce mix, spinach, green onions, kohlrabi, garlic scapes, green cabbage, broccoli and baby hakurei turnips.  The grab box had Chinese cabbage, bok choy, beets, beet greens, swiss chard, purple top and red scarlet turnips.  It's a nice variety of veggies this week and much lighter on the "greens".  The herbs are coming but not quite ready yet. Hopefully next week.  Cilantro was requested alot today!!!

Things are growing really well.  The potatoes are just about to blossom and are looking really good.  I haven't dug up any as I"m sure they are still just tiny little specs yet but they'll be here before we know it!!!  We are now into baby carrot season.  We had our first harvest of these little beauties for restaurants this week and they were really lovely!!

So here is a bit of a break down on some of the different veggies in this weeks CSA baskets. 

Kohlrabi.  It kinda looks like a space creature but its down right delicious.  We were harvesting this morning and I cut one up with my knife and we ate it in the field.  It was so mild, crisp and yummy!!!  It tastes between broccoli and a mild turnip!! We all enjoyed them.  We grow two varieties and harvested one today while the other is still growing and is too small yet to harvest.  It was a bit disappointing as many of the kohlrabi's had "exploded" from being too mature!!  I had not looked at them lately and was sad to see so many that were beyond their "best before date". 

Garlic Scapes.  These cute little spiral beauties grow out of the top of the garlic plant and we cut them off so that the plant puts all its energy into the bulb and not into the scape.  Chop it up like a green onions and put in any recipe that calls for garlic.  It's lovely fried in butter with some onions and mixed in with potatoes!!  Also great just chopped and added raw to a salad.

Snap & Snow Peas.  So what's the difference??  I really like snap peas much better, so much more flavour.  Snow peas are typically harvested very "thin" and before the pea develops inside. I prefer to wait until the peas develop slightly as the flavour is much improved.  The snap peas are best when the peas have developed quite a bit.  You eat both pod and all!!!

Spinach.  We are harvesting two batches of spinach right now and some of it is a bit on the bigger side.  It might not be ideal for spinach salads but is excellent for wilted greens or throw some in your lasagne. 

Baby white hakurei turnips.
  We've had these in past weeks but these little babies are the perfect size to be fully enjoyed!!!  When I was harvesting today I was really dehydrated and I just pulled a few and ate them right in the field.  They are so sweet, crunch and filled with so much water!!!  Instant relief!!

Here's a recipe that I shared last year that was very popular for using up that green cabbage!!

Lazy Cabbage Roll Casserole

4 slices of bacon, diced
1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
10 oz (1 can) condensed tomato soup
10 oz canned tomato juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
8 cups cabbage, coarsely shredded
1/3 cup uncooked long grain rice

Cook bacon in large frying pan until browned.  Drain.  Remove to plate.  Scramble fry ground beef and onion in same frying pan until onion is soft and beef is no longer pink.  Drain.  Add soup, tomato juice, salt and pepper.  Stir.  Layer cabbage in ungreased 9 x 13 inch pan.  Pack down.  Sprinkle with rice.  Scatter bacon over rice.  Spoon beef mixture over top.  Cover.  Bake in 350 oven for 1 1/2 hours.  Serves 6

Well, I should get to bed as my little "monster" alarm clocks will be going off at 5:45 like it or not : )  So nice to see everyone today, thanks so much for your support!!!  Below are some pictures from today's harvest and some pics taken from around the garden. 

Garlic Scapes

So yummy
Kohlrabi - beautiful

Kohlrabi - when its not so beautiful

Baby hakurei turnips headed for the restaurants

Baby purple tops

Baby carrots

Tomatoes in the greenhouse

Young broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower


Things are growing well
Have a great week!!