Week 8 is Great! We are finally catching up with the weeds (and giving up on some too) and finishing fall plantings. There are a few more things like red radishes, spinach, hoophouse winter greens, and fall baby greens to plant but most of our planting from here on out are cover crops planted to build soil organic matter and enrich soil, hold soil in place over winter, and to set the stage for 2016. As crazy as it seems much of our work in august is centered on what we plan to do in April.
The field crops are doing well as are the hoophouses – sweet corn should be here in 2 weeks, tomatoes and cucumbers next week, and the bounty will continue to grow with fun crops like celery, roasting peppers, and more staples like rainbow carrots and mushrooms. We have been enjoying eating the newest veggies of the season and the kids are closely monitoring the cherry tomatoes and cucumbers.
We are preparing for a crazy busy and fun August. Kat’s sister, her husband and baby are coming back to the US from Germany next week shortly followed by the Wedding of Tony’s sister Dana and soon to be brother in Lawrence, THE BARN DANCE is August 8th (next week’s newsletter will include flyers), and then we have a mini family vacation, the Athens Fair, and maybe a weekend to relax before school starts.
Have a delicious week- Kat, Tony, Riley, Ted and Maple
In Your Box
Crisphead Lettuce- Enjoy coated with olive oil and grilled or in fresh salad.
Fresh Sweet Onions- Use the whole onion in any dish you use onions for or set aside greens and use in place of scallions.
Snap Beans – both green and yellow.
Zucchini/Summer Squash- See last week’s newsletter for lots of ideas.
Fennel or Broccoli – both crops will be back later in the year.
Kohlrabi- these ones are the last kohlrabi until late fall. Slaw them up!
Rainbow Swiss Chard-
New potatoes- See recipe for details!
Next Week’s Best Guess: garlic, lettuce heads, zucchini, snap beans, cabbage, basil, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots
New potatoes- What makes new potatoes “new” is that they are harvested before the vines die naturally and before the potatoes have grown thickened skins. These are unwashed because they are immature so have thin skins that will come off, at least partially, during washing. Unlike normal fall potatoes these do not store well. We have delivered them in a plastic bag to keep things in the box clean but they should be stored out of direct light in open air or a brown paper bag. Do not refrigerate. The upsides to new potatoes are that they are very sweet, tender and perfect for roasting, grilled foil packets and substituted for regular potatoes in any dish. They are also great in a potato salad with fennel!
New potatoes with beans and olives (adapted from the Splendid Table) - 1 pound small new potatoes, Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, ½ lbs trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch / 4cm lengths, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 garlic cloves, thinly slivered (or garlic scapes),2 ounces/ 60g pitted black olives, very coarsely chopped, A good handful of basil, fennel fronds or dill, shredded (use dried herbs if needed), A generous squeeze of lemon juice. Cut the potatoes into 2 or 3 pieces each. Put them in a saucepan, cover with water, add salt, and bring to a boil, then lower the heat. Simmer for about 8 minutes, until tender, adding the beans for the last 2 or 3 minutes. Drain well and return to the hot pan. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a small frying pan over low heat. Add the garlic and cook very gently for a couple of minutes, without letting it color. Add the chopped olives and cook for a minute more. Remove from the heat.Tip the oil, garlic, and olives into the pan with the potatoes and beans. Add the herbs, a generous squeeze of lemon juice, and some salt and pepper. Toss together and serve warm.
Grilled greens: Place the veggies and greens uncut, across the grill bars. This prevents them from falling through the grill and gives the veggies patterned grill marks. Kale, swiss chard leaves, halved lettuce heads or sliced cabbage; 1/2 large onion, sliced into large chunks (halves or quarters); green onions or fresh onion tops; green beans, trimmed, mushrooms (crimini or other), whole, sea salt (about 1/4 teaspoon), 1 small garlic clove, crushed (or garlic powder or diced scapes), 1/2 a lemon squeezed over the greens, high-heat oil (about 2 tablespoons), or olive oil if you’re keeping the grill below 325°F/163°C. Heat up a grill of any kind (you can even do this over a stove or fire when you’re camping). Medium heat is ideal so you don’t burn things.While the grill is warming up, coat (brush) the greens and beans with sea salt, lemon juice, garlic, and finally high heat oil. Place all the greens on the grill. Grill the kale, chard or lettuce about 1 minute on each side, and grill all the other greens about 5 minutes on each side. Watch them to make sure they don’t get too dark. Cool and eat whole, or chop up in a salad.
A day on the farm
We write each week in news from the farm about what we are up to, what big projects we are working on, the passing weather patterns, vegetables that are doing well and not, as well as our lives, our children’s milestones and sometimes glimmers of our hopes and dreams. Most of you think a lot about where your food comes from, which is one of the reasons you are in the CSA, and thus you think about the work it takes, when things are ripe or not, what needs to be put up for winter. You know we do farm work but what exactly happens at Stoney Acres each week though to get food to you? What do we do with all of our time? How does everyone get fed? And how on earth do we parent in all the craziness? Our work week is driven by our Sunday night stroll where we generate our lists for the week – what needs weeding, what needs harvesting, what special tasks, farm events are coming up and how can we make it all happen. We used to finish 50% of our daily and weekly lists, now it approaches 90% but only because we are slightly more realistic.
Our time is mostly divided between the largest tasks of weeding and harvesting. This is really what we do with most days, weed or prevent weed with mulching, cultivation, tillage or mowing, or harvest. As Tony says “40% of our lives are spent on our hands and knees” and really that is not an exaggeration during the summer time. Weeding takes up more time May-July and less time August-October. Harvesting takes up a lot of time, but not quite as much. It starts out to be roughly 25% of each week in early June and as the season progresses and the crops come in fast and heavy and must be harvested every day it gradually shifts to 40% in July, 50%-80% August-November. In the rest of our time we do everything else – plant, prepare beds, take care of our animals, deal with perennials, make hay, run pizza nights, cook, play with our kids, go to farmers markets. To give you a taste here is what Monday and Tuesday looked like - Monday we harvested zucchini and broccoli which need to be harvested at least every other day and then weeded tomatoes, cabbages, brussels sprouts, melons and kohlrabi; trellised tomatoes; moved the cows to a new field. We tried to organize a trip to the pool but our kids ended up playing in the yard with water and we went to Kat’s mom’s house for dinner! Tuesday we weeded broccoli and harvested lettuce heads, kohlrabi, fennel, and picked a ton of beans; Tony did some field prep, plowing, mowing and bed making after spending the morning inoculating oyster mushrooms. Tony’s dad cut and raked hay. After work we ate and rushed off to soccer and Tony planted the rest of our turnips, winter radishes, more salad mix.
For Tony and I the work is almost constant. The line between farming and everything else is not clear during summers but perhaps we work about 70 hours, a bit beyond the 40 hour work week our employees work. Our employees for Monday-Wednesday and Friday. We work every day but try to take off most of Thursday’s late afternoon, Saturday afternoons and Sundays. We have newsletters, paperwork, planning, farmers market for 8 hours Saturday, animal chores, pizza night prep and the remaining work of each day that has not been completed on time that must be done. We are writing our newsletter now that it is dark out and we are done with T-ball, reading and snuggling the kids.
Meals at the farm are simply amazing. Every season we are shocked by the sheer amounts that the whole farm crew, worker shares, visiting family and whomever else happens to be here consumes. We ate a half ham, new potatoes, 12 zucchini for lunch. After brisket and veggies with barley and tomato salad last night we had ice cream and blue berries and popcorn J We used to rotate cooking responsibilities so we each got the pleasures and responsibilities of cooking our wonderful bounty. Now Tony and I do all the cooking (with some help from my mom, Shahara and Tony’s mom on occasion). A lot of what we eat are seconds –the things that are too ugly, strange, left over, in over abundance. We eat the giant over grown zucchini and split tomatoes. We also get to enjoy and celebrate the firsts like peppers and cucumbers soon to come in the box. We are able to harvest the first leaves of lettuce from the farm, to taste beans as we walk by beds and to feast of berries in our front yard.
Family - this is not a category of work but rather an explanation about how and why everything gets done. Not only does it take a village to raise a child (true for ours thus far) but it takes a family and a village to create a farm. We believe in the family farm, not only because of the romantic ideal but also the romantic reality of farming here. We are not without disagreements, arguments, and annoyances but our family immediate and extended, are the core of what we do, why we do it and what makes it possible. We want this farm for our kids but it is hard and heck to farm and parent. We take turns with the kids and make time each day to play. We depend so much on Shahara who watches the kids on Mondays and Wednesday. We take turns and try to get the kids to play next to us at other times. We also depend on everyone else. Grandma Doreen spends a lot of quality time with the kids, Papa Ed takes Riley on special fishing trips and wood deliveries and works more than anyone should to help us, grandma Ellen helps cook and has been going fishing with the boys. Michelle and Hannah deal with us which is more than it sounds like and work like this is their own farm. Tenzin and Stacey from Red Door Family Farm share machinery, help trouble shoot broken things, share gripes and meals. We depend on many other people to help fix things, to lend us things, to help on pizza night and much more. And once it is November we hibernate and our kids get special trips, hours of story books in the dark evenings and we calm down.