Greenings and Saladations,
Welcome to the Boulder Belt FSI's 2011 season. We are looking forward to a great season (farming is a lot like baseball in that in early April it is all good). Know that as far as the locavore movement goes you guys are cutting edge hip. You cannot get any more locavore than joining a real, farmer run CSA. Or even better a member run CSA, but they are incredibly rare these days, though this is the original vision of the CSA. A group of people get together, find land, decide what food they want grown and than hire a farmer to grow the food and the CSA members do most of the harvesting as well as help out in the fields at least once a week. here the members literally own shares in the farm and they do an equal split of all the food harvested that day/week-a very very deep commitment to one's food and for most people in the USA, highly unworkable. So over the decades (all 2.5 of 'em) the CSA has evolved in the USA (and world wide) to where most are farmer run-the farmer owns the land and buys the seeds and inputs, plants and than sells shares of the harvest to members. The members have no ownership of the farm itself, just some of the crop, but the member still share in the risk of farming with the farmer (that whole "if the crop fails/is destroyed the members do not get their money refunded" thing).
But there is a new type of CSA out there that is becoming more and more popular. I call them Fake CSA's (and I have found I have started a movement concerning the awareness of such entities by forming a group on Face Book about this based on a conversation I have been having with a long time CSA farmer in the DC area whom I have known virtually for at least 13 years bout these businesses). These are buying clubs that call themselves CSA and usually say they buy and resell locally raised foods but for the most part they are a grocery delivery service. In this area the big one is Green Bean Delivery (who does not advertise themselves as a CSA but most of their members think they are in a CSA, they are not). With this sort of system the member does not share in the risk with the farmer, there is little to no seasonality and there is zero connection between the member and a farm. it is just another food delivery service. if you want to know more and join the conversation than "like" this page on Face Book (I realize some of you already have and that some of you are not on FaceBook) http://www.facebook.com/pages/If-You-Dont-Know-Your-Farmer-You-Are-Not-in-a-Csa/112456405475352
So far the weather has been great for our spring food. Unlike urban humans who all seem to think it should be hot during spring we humans here at the farm love a cool wet spring because cool wet spring means the spring crops like lettuce, spinach, raab, kale, radishes, cilantro, spring mix, chives, etc.. will not get bitter and try to bolt to seed. This cool weather also means that the flowering fruit trees and canes will not flower too early in the spring and than get hit by a frost and lose their flowers and thus the later fruit. So far such things seem to be right on time.
We have been busy, as we are every year at this time getting thing planted and so far we have gotten several thousand onion seedlings in the ground (and have several thousand more to go). If anyone wants to learn about planting onions let us know ASAP and you can come out and help us plant. The work is physically easy and the conversation interesting and educational. We do not require work from any of our members but all members who have helped out on the farm have found it to be a deeply rewarding experience. We also have the first of the shallots in the ground and have been planting successions of lettuce, spring mix, spinach, radishes, raab, kale, zucchini, cucumbers, broccoli and cabbage. "Succession planting" means we plant the same crop over and over to stretch out the harvest period and keep the quality up. We do this with about 1/3 of our crops. Pretty much all the leafy greens as well as green beans, peas, tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers, zucchini are succession planted on our farm. And it is this that really separates the market farmers from the hobby farmers. A good market grower is proficient to expert at succession planting, a hobby grower likely does not know what this is and wonders how the farmers keep bringing in lettuce and beans in such great shape week after week. I remember 17 years ago being in that boat-there were so many mysteries to market farming for me back in the first 2 or 3 years and that was huge one. But fortunately there was a friendly grower at our first market who explained this succession planting idea to us. And it took us just 5 years to figure out how to do it effectively (it can get really complicated, especially if one has a complicated crop rotation that involves over 50 different crops and than also does season extension) and another 10 to master the art.
Okay, lets discuss some business. Your shares should be ready after 4pm today and will be available until 7 am Saturday Morning for pick up. They will be to your right on the metal shelving as you come in the front door of the store. Your bag (or possibly bags) will have your name on it. If you have not dropped off your reusable bags than your share will be packed in plastic Wal-Mart and Kroger bags (or other such brands) with your name written on it. Please take only the bag(s) with your name as sometimes members order and pay for extra stuff or have a special request so not all shares are always equal. Either Eugene (who has a nice black-eye from a fight he had with the bathtub last night, don't let this scare you) or I should be around the store this afternoon to meet you newbies and make sure things run as smoothly as possible. If you can't find either one of us try knocking on the door to the house.
If you are doing a half share, you do not pick up next week but you will get a news letter (which might be confusing as I know some folks in the past have used the newsletter as a Mnemonic device)
If you cannot pick up this evening know we leave the store building unlocked 24/7 so you can go in anytime of day or night until Saturday Morning to get your food. Also know that all shares are picked, cleaned and packed today and that they will lose freshness the longer they stay here at the farm. We do have refrigeration and we will keep things cold until you pick up but there will be a slight loss of quality (but the stuff will still be leagues better than anything you buy at the grocery store as it will be at least 14 days fresher).
Leek and Spinach Quiche
1 pie crust (either home made or store bought. I do not recommend the "Pet-Ritz" style of pie crust, pre-made in a aluminum pan. Get the kind that comes in a box and you put in a pan if not making your own. Since I found out Eugene can make a better pie crust than just about anyone I have not had to buy pre-made crusts in about 12 years )
1/3 to 1/2 pound spinach, washed, spun dry and chopped (chiffinade)
2 leeks cut into 1/4 inch rounds
1 medium yellow (not sweet) onion, diced
1 cup milk
1 cup cheese, grated
clove or two of fresh garlic minced, mashed, grated (before doing this cut the clove in half length wise and take out the green sprout, that is the baby garlic and it tends to be bitter)
1/2 tsp dried basil (any kind)
salt to taste (when I cooked quiches at DiPaolo's we used Lowery's seasoned salt and paprika for seasoning.)
Preheat the oven to 400F. Cook 30 minutes or until quiche is golden brown and firm to the touch)
Saute the leeks and onion until tender (about 5 minutes). Toss the spinach in the last 2 minutes of cooking so it is just wilted and not over cooked. While that is going on scramble the eggs in a small mixing bowl and add the milk and seasonings. When the vegetables are cooked put them into the prepared pie crust than dump the grated cheese in than the egg mixture. Put the pie on a cookie sheet (there may be some boil over and this keeps your oven clean) and into the oven. let the quiche cool 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
What's in the share this Week
Kale-a 1/2 pound bag of mixed kale (though the label on the bag will indicate something else)
Kidney beans-a 1/2 pound of dried beans. make a soup!
Lettuce-at least 1/2 pound of head lettuce. Each bag will have 2 to 3 different kinds. Likely buttercrunch, red oakleaf and perhaps cracoviensis (one of the most ancient of the lettuce breeds, in other words, a heirloom)
Leeks-2 over-wintered leeks this week
Garlic-3 to 4 corms of garlic from last season (the garlic for 2011 is growing well but it will not be until late June before it is ready to dig and use)
Parsley-over-wintered parsley, you get a nice big handful
Chives-this spring we moved the chives to a new bed and I was afraid it would decide to go into shock for a few weeks and not grow. It decided it likes it's new digs and is growing like a weed. Good on salad or in a dip. Do not cook chives because they loose all their flavor and become green nothingness
Garlic Chives-these look like flat chives and tastes like mild garlic, use as you would the oniony chives.
Spinach-at least 1/2 pound of our over wintered spinach. This stuff is gooood, like the best spinach you have ever had (unless you have been eating Boulder Belt spinach for years)