It's week 2 of the 2011 FSI and we have a wet one. We got over 3 inches of rain yesterday which caused a lot of flooding here at the farm. The top field was probably under water for a couple of hours and I noticed a lot of the pea seeds had come to the surface of the soil, where we left them as Eugene is worried that they will rot if they go back into the absolutely soaked soil. This is a part of farming-the wet-that we do not like but is absolutely necessary. Without all this spring rain things will not grow properly and this rain recharges our aquifers so that in summer when normally it is droughty around here we have ground water with which to water our crops and ourselves. And over the many years I have done this, rain, even extremely heavy rains, rarely do much damage to the crops. But they do make them dirty and the fresh herbs and kale you get today will likely come to you in an unwashed state. The spinach and lettuce are washed as they were harvested several days ago when I took out all the spinach and a couple of beds of lettuce as it was time to do so before these crops bolted to seed and were ruined for eating. This will happen from time to time-We will harvest several days early for you guys because of conditions. Either the crop must come out or be lost due to going to seed, trying to split, etc., or because of weather (we don't harvest in heavy rain, for example). This week we got a combination of these reasons.
here is a short video I shot and put on my blog that shows the height of the flooding http://boulderbelt.blogspot.com/2011/04/april-showers.html
The water had all drained away within 2 hours, BTW
I had hoped to include asparagus in your shares this week but the asparagus Gods decided that this year the asparagus would have to wait until week 3 of the FSI before there would be enough. last year we had asparagus the first week of the FSI. this year it is a lot later. I have been able to harvest 1.5 pounds over the past 3 days which has meant we have been able to eat some asparagus but soon we should get around 20 pounds a day. We are simply waiting for the conditions to get warmer and a bit dryer so the 'gus goes wild. I hope this occurs before next week so you guys start getting some.
Another crop you can expect in the next 2 to 3 weeks is strawberries. We have a hoop house full of Albion strawberry plants in full bloom and I saw at least 20 berries forming on those plants. Yes Strawberries, about 6 weeks early due to our expertise at season extension. We found out years ago that putting a hoophouse over the strawberries in March will allow them to break dormancy and start producing in late April/early May and this also protects them from all freezes that we get in spring. Last year we did not have early berries because we decided to change the kind of strawberries we do and thus bought all new plants last spring and killed the old ones (they were quite old and it was their time). Thus we planted the new berries in spring and than had to remove all the flowers that appeared on them until Early July in order to encourage root/crown growth. Than we found the beds we put these plants into were full of grubs (mainly japanese Beetle grubs) and the grubs had a great time feasting on the roots of the berry plants and eventually killed about 65%. We in the end killed off about 90% of the grubs (and don't expect a repeat of this as there has been landscape fabric over the soil for a year now, the beetles won't lay their eggs on plastic and the few grubs that survived from last year should be adult beetles this year). We allowed the plants to put out runners (something we don't let them do normally as runners really cut down the yield potential in everbearing/day neutral strawberries. With the June bearing types, the runners are essential to keep the patch going on to the next year) and saved those runners, put them in pots and kept them growing over winter and last month put those plants in where they were needed so we are back up to 250 plants, more or less. We also planted 300 more everbearing strawberry plants in another location that will be bearing fruit in late July about 2 weeks ago. This variety is Seascape. The berries should be large and sweet. I am looking forward to a good berry year as we have not had one in several years.
Other crops to expect over the coming weeks D'avignon radishes, broccoli, more kale (but from new plants, the kale you have been enjoying is all from last years plants that over wintered), rhubarb, broccoli, cabbage, spring mix, arugula, broccoli raab (though we have had a dickens of a time starting this crop this spring and thought we would be harvesting some in a week or two. But it looks like mid May before we get any), green onion, green garlic, garlic scapes, more spinach, beets, baby lettuce, cilantro, etc..
This Saturday I am expecting a visit from one of my best friends from High School whom I have not seen in almost 30 years. It turns out he runs a CSA farm in Minnesota with his son and is in the area doing a talk at Miami University for a mutual friend's class on environmental subjects and so I emailed him and invited him out to see our farm. I am quite excited about this. Not only to see him but we so seldom get another farmer out here and it will be fun to pick his well educated brain about our strengths and weaknesses.
Expect the shares to get bigger each week from here on out
This week is full shares only. The shares will be ready after 4 pm today and can be picked up until Saturday morning
Sorry no recipe this week.
What's in the Share This Week
Spinach-1/2 pound bag
Lettuce-At least 1/2 pound of mixed heads
Scallions-a bunch of 5 scallions (these are different than a green onion, BTW, green onions are baby onions that have not yet made a onion bulb. Scallions never make a bulb. And, as a matter of fact, many of these scallions are sexually mature and were pulled right before they made flowers (they went in last fall)
Onion Chives-a nice bunch, should be bigger than last week
Garlic Chives-see above
Garlic-you will get several. These are at the end of their lives and want to sprout (or rot) so keep them in the fridge where it is dark and cold (like winter) and be sure to cut t=he green sprout out before using or they will be bitter and no one wants bitter garlic.
Garlic powder-you get a small bag of our our powerful good garlic powder that we make from our garlic
Dried Sage-a jar of dried sage. sage is excellent with poultry and cheese dishes as well as any sausage based dish. this is whole leaf and to make "rubbed sage" simply rub it between your palms.
Kale-at least 1/2 pound of mixed kale
Tarragon-a small bag of fresh tarragon. Tarragon has an anise flavor that goes great with tomato based dishes
Leeks-you get a leek, maybe two
Parsley-you get a small bag of fresh Italian parsley which is great in about any savory dish.