Archive for June, 2012

4th Box

Another exciting box this week.

Yeah!!! Broccoli……

Scott and Malachi harvesting broccoli.

Beautiful Broccoli appears in the boxes this week!  Our first cutting of hopefully many this season.  Delicious flavor.

Pac Choi-It sure is juicy and tasty right now.  The long stems are sweet and succulent.  Cook a bit of bacon, drain off most of the grease and quickly sauté stems leaves and all!  Toss in some walnuts or pecans at the end, crumble the bacon, even add some blue cheese if you wish.  This will be the end of Pac Choi for the season.

Chard-First cutting of the season.  I choose to plant 3 different varieties for a wonderful color array.  We love to eat chard best with eggs.

Fresh Italian Garlic and Garlic Scapes-Odd to be offering both these items at one time, but as I mentioned in a post the early variety is ready and the late variety just produced their scapes last week.

San Francisco Mix-A great collection of many legumes as well as a few other surprises.  This is our “go to” snack around here.  The garbanzo beans are Maeve’s favorite.  We put them on our sandwiches and love a handful to top our burritos.

Mint-Long sweet smelling stems of peppermint.  Very refreshing added to drinking water.

A Rosemary Plant-Keep it on the window sill or plant in the garden.  A favorite culinary variety.  High oil content, and not too fuzzy…

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Garden Report

Photo taken last year on June 23rd! It is a completely different growing season this year.

I was looking through photos the other night and was surprised to see that this was what life was like a year ago.  The tomato plants are in the background at knee height and I do remember too that were were wearing long john’s that day. Lots and lots of rain and oh so cold.  Different challenges this year!

No significant rain this week at all.  Irrigation and sprinklers run around the clock and it seems the watering schedule takes up much of our physical and mental time.  Scott is on top of it all and everything is really thriving.  Tomato plants are growing several inches every day and love the overnight warm temperatures.  The plants are huge, deep green and healthy. I am sure we will all be eating tomatoes soon.  At the height of the season we will be harvesting over 100 pounds a day!   Curious what this years favorite variety will be….?

Tomatoes on the vine.

The tomato patch.

Cucumber plants beginning to trellis.

We have started to pick a few summer squash this week and the plants are covered with rich buttery blossoms, and our first planting of green beans should be in full swing next week producing buckets full of crunchy beans.   We have 3 different rotations in the ground now and may plant 1 or 2 more just for fun and have beans all summer long.  I have lofty canning goals this summer!  The cucumber vines have started to flower and look strong and healthy.  Many of our fellow gardening friends have reported terrible problems with cucumber beetle this year.  Gratefully these pests decided not to visit us.

Scott and Malachi harvesting the broccoli for the CSA

We are happy to report that the broccoli is starting to head up!!!!  We have had a terrible time with broccoli in the past and our  number 1 goal this year is……Good Broccoli and Lots!!! of it too.  We did much research over the Winter.  So, we planted 2 early varieties to play it safe-a cool variety and a heat tolerant variety. Scott studied up on reflective mulch (which looks like tin foil).  The plants grew well in the “tin foil”,  kept the bugs away too and we provided much irrigation.  I was sure that the cool season variety would just give up with this prolonged heat, but here it is!  I am so glad.  Smaller head size, but wonderful flavor.  We will also be planting 2 Fall Broccoli varieties this season.

The Sweet peas are handling the heat much better than expected. They main vines are shorter this year but the flowers stems are long and blossoms large.  We pick every other day and the vines are loaded with these sweet old fashioned beauties.

Pretty Sweet Peas.

The eggplant is flowering and we have opted to pinch off these early blooms-the plants are short and not fully developed. We can’t image the plants holding the load of a big purple eggplant!  Many of our ornamental crops and flowers are also flowering on short short stems.  My favorite lime green celosia is about 4 inches tall max!  What a disappointment.  About all I could make is itty bitty “shot glass” bouquets with these blooms.  Our peppers are wanting to flower too and we are removing these blooms.

We have started to harvest some of the early garlic and it is sure tasty!  Odd to be digging it when we cut of the last of the garlic scapes a week ago on the later varieties.  I do think it is going to to be a compressed season of harvest.  The plants seem rushed almost in this heat.

Every season is different and has it’s own unique challenges.  This fact sure became apparent to me when I saw the picture of last year at this time.  We adapt and change our perspective, have a positive attitude and water on……

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Here is the link for the LuSa Organics Products. Just click on their highlighted name and that will take you to their site.  We will place our order around the end of June.

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3rd Box

I LOVE!! the Food Box this week……it has a little bit of everything for mind body and soul.

Big jumbo bunch of Assort. Kale.  We grew 7 varieties this year and they sure are pretty.

Maeve’s favorite way to eat kale-fresh picked raw from the garden!

I do think Kale will be our new favorite food around here this summer.  So many ways to prepare it.  Be creative.  (I am still have troubles getting the recipes to post.  I have several for Kale and they will be coming soon.  Fellow CSA Member Susan Holding is going to give me 1 more lesson this week)

Asian Greens Mix- A nice mix of these wonderful heathy greens that Scott fondly calls “fodder”.

Radish-A small bunch of the french breakfast for everyone.  This will be the last of the Radishes until Autumn.

Turnips-Perhaps the end of these too for awhile.  They do not enjoy the heat and the little white beauties decided to stay tiny.  The greens are delicious with the Asian Greens in a sauté.

Gigantic Bunch of Cilantro- 2 varieties here.  The fragrance filled the entire garage as we were prepping.

Black Cap Berries OR Peas-Both of these crops had low yields due to heat so we split them in 1/2.  You will get one or the other this week.

French Garden Mix-Sprouted Seeds of red clover, arugula, radish, fenugreek, curly cress and dill.  Incredible flavorful.  Store in Fridge and rinse from time to time shacking package to drain excess water.

Lavender Bundle- Sweet little bundle to put on your pillow, soak in the bath water or dry and keep in a dresser drawer.  Very aromatic and calming.

Sweet Pea Bouquet-I am surprised but we have a great crop (on very short vines) in all this heat.  Fragrant wonderful flowers.  A favorite of mine.  Enjoy!

All of the cool early season lettuce decided to give up in this extreme heat and draught….so, no lettuce this week.  Several heat tolerant varieties have been planted for many weeks and may be ready as soon as next week.

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2nd Box

A Wonderful Fun!!!! Box this week…..

Peas Shoots-Keep these little beauties in the window on a dinner plate and give them a drink from time to time.  Snip a few for delicious pea flavor added to sandwiches, top a salad, or garnish soup.  We eat them as a fresh snack!

Garlic Scapes-These are the flower heads cut early from the tops of the garlic we planted last Fall.  Removing these heads before they develop ensure a larger more flavorful garlic bulb.  Chop and use as you would use garlic in your meal preparation.  Great garlic taste.

Italian Large Leaf Parsley-The most flavorful “robust” parsley flavor of all the parsley.  Keep in the fridge in a glass of water or sealed plastic bag.

Romaine Lettuce-Great in a salad mix with the other wonderful greens this week.  Fellow CSA member Chris Lemke mentioned to me last week they grill it!  Sounds delicious.

Spinach-The last of the Spring planting.

Pac Choi Assorted Mix- 3 varieties all bagged together in your box. We are really enjoying these wilted down in chick broth or vegetable broth with a bit of soy sauce.

Asian Green Mix-2 varieties here.  Yukina Savoy is the thick, crinkled dark savoyed leaves.  Vitamin Green is the smooth brilliantly green leaves. Packaged in your box in the same bag.  Both are in the brassica family and have a mild flavor.  Delicious steamed or in a stir fry but also offer a unique addition to fresh salads.

Spring Turnips-We love them raw with a bit of salt, sliced thin on our salads or a surprise in a sandwich wrap.  They sauté well in a mix with the above Pac Choi and/or Asian Greens.

Red Rover Radishes- Last of the radishes until Fall.

I’m having a bit of trouble getting the recipes in the recipe section……they keep disappearing!  It is that cut and paste thing!  I’ll get it…..Anyway I can’t say enough about Pinterest for a quick reference for recipes and I have noticed there are many  blogs with weekly postings for CSA box cooking on the internet.

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Getting set for more carrots…..

Just a bit of rain but we’ll take it!  It is DRY!!! 50,000 gallons of water went on the garden in the month of May. We have been irrigating around the clock in this dry windy heat, and have been providing shade for the broccoli.

I feel like we are over the hump of “getting everything in”.  The last of the pie pumpkins and winter squash went out last week and the watermelon patch is set!!!  Feels really good that the green house is emptying out and we have started some new seeds for 2nd and 3rd rotations of many crops.  We have 2 plantings of beets in the ground now for several weeks and a 3rd rotation of 4 varieties all started. More of the smaller cabbage is started as well as the big winter storage varieties…. I started our 5th planting of lettuce yesterday all strong heat tolerant varieties.  We were very sad that all the buttercrunch bolted in the heat and we pulled more than 200 heads out and to the compost.  Yesterday, Malachi Persche cleaned out the Spinach bed after our last harvest for the season and Scott quickly prepped it for carrots.  The radish bed was cleared yesterday also to make way for more lettuces.

The tomato plants seem to grow several inches over night-every night!! and are beautiful and strong.  We have been picking off the first blossoms in order to give the plants a chance to settle in rather than use all their energy to make a wimpy tomato.  We put in 124 tomato plants this year and as usual I am excited to taste our old favorites and also experiment with a few new varieties.  Really looking forward to canning a bit more too this year now that Maeve is older.  There is nothing better than homemade catchup and tomato juice…..

I think the phrase for this season will be “things are really early”…..we have summer squash forming and perhaps a few to eat next week and the bean plants have blossoms.  Crazy!  Blueberries are coloring up and the blackcap berries are almost black.  I have a photo of Scott and Maeve picking blackcaps last year on the 4th of July.  The cool weather Spring crops have passed way too quickly but the heat loving summer crops are developing quickly.

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1st Box

Maeve harvesting the carrots.

Beautiful Box #1 Enjoy!!!!

What is in your box

Big!!!  jumbo head of crisp romaine lettuce.  Use the large leaves as your “bread” in sandwiches.

Large Bag of “Space”  Spinach

Radish Assortment.  Combination of cylindrical French Breakfast, round red Rover, and a few brown russets  (they look like little potatoes) called Ziata

Carrots.  2 varieties.  Short Atlas and long Mokum.  What a treat!  We started these in early Feb. as an experiment and they are so flavorful.

Pac Choi Assortment.  A nice combination of several different beauties.  Great in stir fries or sauté.

Maeve’s favorite snack right now. French Blue and Crimson Lentils with Black Garbanzos.  We eat them like candy around here as a quick snack or scatter on our salads, pasta or stir fry if they last that long….!

We will have the “extra” or trade box again this year.  Feel free to take anything you would like from this area.  It may include some of the same items from the weekly box selection or something different that we just didn’t have enough of to offer in every box.  Also, if there is an item in your box that you know your family will not eat leave it here for someone else to take.  This week we have some extra Romaine as will as a few heads of butter crunch that did not bolt early in the heat.

I will post a few recipes here on the blog.  I do suggest looking on line too….many people are publishing blogs all about CSA cooking. One good one I like is CSA gourmet. When I am better at that whole cut and paste thing I will try and “link” a few of these sites for you.  Also, take a look at Pinterest.  Pretty Amazing!  I just typed in radish recipes and tons of interesting options are there.

Susan Holding thanks again so much for your help in getting this whole blog thing rolling for us!

weighing out the carrots for the boxes

the radishes all washed up and ready to be divided and bagged for the boxes

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Ready to Roll!

This is our covered “spring greens” and lettuce area. The uncovered hoops to the right is the area we just harvest the romaine lettuce for tomorrow and it is being prepped for another lettuce rotation.

spinach covered with shade cloth to cool it down a bit in the heat
The 3000+ onions and leeks I planted with Malachi Persche (thanks! Malachi) and Scott has keep weeded...

The 3000+ onions and leeks I planted with Malachi Persche (thanks malachi!!!!) and Scott has kept well weeded.

broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and my billion!!!! brussels sprouts all planted in reflective plastic mulch.

Thought it would be fun to show you a quick update in the garden…..

We had a great day harvesting and excited for the kick off to the CSA season tomorrow.  We are washed, prepped and ready. The cooler is full of great Spring produce.

We harvested some carrots that we planted on Feb. 3rd.   A big experiment that worked!  Anyway, Scott harvested this guy that we have named “the perfect male dancer”.

Scott harvested "the perfect male dancer" carrot.

What a surprise!

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