Abbe Hills Farm CSA

  (Mt. Vernon, Iowa)
[ Member listing ]

we're getting a lot of rain today

Greetings shareholders,
This week, we'll have a few more onions, radishes, bok chois, red and green lettuce, Swiss chard, cilantro, Chinese cabbage, kale and collards, kohlrabi, and garlic scapes.  Chard will come from the hoophouse this week, but after this, it will all be from the gardens.  We're hoping the leafy greens like lettuce and Asian greens will last through next week, but heat and humidity are tough on them.  They grow fast, get tall, develop more flavors, and make flowers when they think summer is here.  It seems like that might be NOW!
We're going to be kind of stingy with the onions for a while, letting them get bigger before we dig too many.  Our onion plants come from Texas. This year, they were pulled on April 1, put in  boxes and shipped to Iowa, where they had to sit around for nearly four weeks before we were able to get the fields ready and get them planted.  You might remember, there was still snow on the ground on April 1!  So, they didn't do too well.  In fact, we have only about 20% of the fall storage crop.  So, we'll stretch out the white summer onions as long as possible and do the best we can in the fall. 
Monday people, it is pouring rain as I write this, and there is a possibility that it might continue all day.  My crew can't work if there is lightening, it's very slow getting around on sloppy mud, everything will have to be washed, the heat is going to build up quickly if/when the rain stops (ruins the produce quickly), and I don't like having you here for pickup if there are severe weather warnings.  All leading up to a very tough day.  Please check your email several times today for confirmation that we will start pickup at 4:30.  There is a possibility that we might have to put off the Monday pickup until Tuesday evening.  Never done that before, but today might be the day we try it.  I'll keep you posted by email and on Facebook.
Stay high and dry today,

garlic scapes, carrots, cilantro, more leaves

Greetings shareholders,

This week, we'll have lettuce, bok chois, garlic scapes, little onions, two kinds of radishes, cilantro, Chinese cabbage, kohlrabi, and a handful each of sugar snap peas and carrots.  The cilantro and carrots were planted several weeks ago in the hoophouse; everything else is from the garden.

Garlic scapes are the flower bud and stem that grow out of the center of each garlic plant.  We pull them out to force the garlic plant to put more of it's energy into making bulb, rather than flowers.  What we used to throw on the ground, we now know is a wonderful spring delicacy that can be stir fried, roasted, or eaten raw.  The scapes aren't very big this year, which I think means that the garlic won't be very big.  Likely due to the drought last fall and winter when the garlics were beginning their growth.

We're looking forward to the sugar snaps.  These are the kind of peas where you eat the whole thing, even the pod.  There will be a few this week and maybe a few more next week.  I'm quite surprised that we are having them at all; they were planted four weeks later than they should have been, but they must have liked the conditions, because they look fine now.  But they mature quickly, so enjoy them quickly.

Thursday people, please note on your calendar that we will have regular vegetable pickup on July 4th.  Can't really stop things from growing just because it is a holiday.  If it's going to be a huge problem to get here between 4:30 and 7:00, please let me know on July 2nd or 3rd (not today!  I won't remember) and we'll work something out.

Below is a note from Dan Specht, our grassfed beef guy.  Dan is a longtime friend from McGregor who is one of the best graziers in Iowa.  The beef he grows is a real treat.  Please contact him directly if you'd like to get more information or to order some.

Hi Folks,

It's been a crazy year weather-wise in my part of the world, with a zombie winter that wouldn't end, followed by a rain filled spring that just wouldn't dry out. My crop farming neighbors have had a hard time finishing spring planting, but once the grass started growing, it has been a great year for grazing.

I'm going to make a double delivery on Mon., June 24, with my friend Jack Knight helping out. Anyone interested in buying my grass fed beef 20 lb. bundles or hamburger should place an order to my e-mail address  .

Bundles are priced at $6.00/lb. , and hamburger at $5.50. Bundles are approximately 1/16th of a beef, but do not contain organ meats. Every box contains 3 pks. steaks, 2 minute steaks, 2 roasts, stew meat (no bones), boiling beef (some bones), and at least 4 lbs. of hamburger. You can also pre-order hamburger. I will also bring some extra hamburger to sell, first come, first served.

Looking forward to seeing you all...  
Dan Specht
563-516-1007 cell

We had a great market on Saturday in Cedar Rapids.  Sold out of nearly everything and took the balance to the food pantry where it went out to the public that afternoon.  Thanks to all of you who told your friends about us and who stopped by to visit.  I really appreciate your support.

Remember that you can keep up-to-date with farm events and progress by checking us out at  It's painless to look.

See you this week,


mostly leves this week, all delicious

Greeting shareholders,

This week, we'll have lettuce, Asian greens including bok chois, yukina, and a few Chinese cabbage, and radishes.  I'd hoped to have a bit more crunch for you to balance out the leaves, but the crunchy things are just a little slower.  Expect kohlrabi and cilantro next week.

You can see photos of some of this week's vegetables on the farm Facebook page, along with a few ideas for preparing them.  If you need more ideas, you can always ask Google for some recipe suggestions.  If you are Facebook-resistant, like I have been, don't worry about checking out the farm page.  You can look at the photos and read the comments without signing up to be a member yourself.  I try to post two or three times per week, and that's where I'll put last minute information if there is anything extra you need to know on pickup days.

The rain is sure making things grow.  WOW.  So not like last year.  Even though we can't get in the field much, my workers are keeping up with the weeds pretty well and we have been able to plant most of what we planned, even if we are are month or six weeks behind schedule.  But this week, we MUST get the soil prepared, lay black plastic, mulch, and plant tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and winter squash.  No more delays.  It's time to get them in if we hope to harvest anything before frost.  So, hope for a few dry days.

Good news. Charlotte got a new oven.  THERE WILL BE BREAD THIS WEEK!!!  Please call or send her a note directly if you'd like to place an order.  513-659-0694.  I'm sure she'll be signing you up for shares very soon, and she expects to be here every Monday and Friday to sell her wonderful bread. 

Parking went well last week.  Please remember that we have a one-way driveway.  I saw a couple of cars going out the in.

If you know somebody who still wants to become a shareholder, have them zap me a note.  We've got plenty of share still available. 

Some of you are getting this newsletter twice, and some of you might expect to be off the list by now.  Sorry, I had trouble getting all my lists updated last week, so I'm sending to everybody just to be sure.  Hope to have it sorted out sometime this week.  Sorry for the inconvenience.

See you this week, 4:30 until 7:00. 


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