Life feels full. There are always more things on our to-do list than we can get to in a day but that's just the way it is. Days start early and often don't end until midnight and even when we finally collapse into bed we are still talking about turnips and tomatoes. The funny truth is I wouldn't be half as happy working anywhere else right now and in the rare moments that we have to reflect on what we are working toward, the dream of establishing our own farm is still very real.
There are a number of challenges that we are faced with at present but our small team has pulled together with an unbelievable level of dedication. Thanks to the work of many hands, we have been able to harvest and prepare shares on time. And to top it off, the produce that we are sharing is first rate. While we are lucky to have many top notch grocery stores in the area, it's easy to see and taste the difference in produce that has been harvested fresh. We love getting messages from our members telling us how much they enjoyed their fresh produce or how they cooked the items in their share.
Now Harvesting: Kale, swiss chard, broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi, lettuce, zucchini and scallions. Also celebrating the first harvest of cabbage! Time to get out your coleslaw recipes just in time for 4th of July picnics.
Pests and Problems: In an effort to protect the crops from insect damage, we occasionally spray Bacillus thuringiensis (or Bt) on crops such as collards, kale, cabbage and cauliflower. Bt proteins are allowed in organic farming as a insecticide because it is a natural, non-pathogenic bacterium that is found naturally in the soil. Bt breaks down within days, is applied only when needed and never right before a scheduled harvest.
Recipes: Each week I plan out meals for the family and this time of year it's both wonderful to have so much fresh food and challenging as there isn't always a lot of time for cooking. I've let almost all my magazine subscriptions lapse but Eating Well is one publication that I still make time to enjoy. Even non subscribers can search their website's treasure trove of nutritious seasonal recipes. Just in time for the Swiss Chard harvest - Check out their recipe for Skillet Gnocchi with Chard & White Beans. I made a double batch of this back in May and froze the second meal to sit down to on a share distribution day. I also think of Chard as a good breakfast vegetable as it goes so nicely with eggs and diced onions.
Some recipe ideas for the week:
Monday - Raw kale salad (My streamlined version is just chopped kale, chopped onions and diced mango tossed with 3 TBLS lemon juice, a sprinkling of olive oil, some sesame seeds and a little sugar). A delicious light summer dinner.
Tuesday - Penne with roasted broccoli, cauliflower and onions. Shave fresh parmasean on top if you have it!
Wednesday - Summer Vegetable Crepes using vegetables from your share or the local farmers market.
Thursday - 4th of July! A great excuse to make Broccoli Salad.
Friday - Chicken Caesar Salad using fresh lettuce. Plus a loaf of sourdough bread.
Delicious appetizer or snack: Raw Kohlrabi crudite - Use a sharp knife to cut off the ends and the skin. Slice it as you would an apple but thinner and enjoy raw. Tzatziki sauce makes a really good dip. One less reason to turn on the stove on a hot day!
Appelget Farm Book Club
I'm finishing up Organic Manifesto, How Organic Farming Can Heal Our Planet, Feed the World, and Keep Us Safe by Maria Rodale.
For those of you who are reading along, in part 7, the author puts forth the following statement.
"Attitudes can and must change. Chemical companies must not be allowed to exert undue influence over the agricultural research conducted on our nation's campuses, and the government must revisit and rethink incentives they offer farmers to produce chemical crops. Farmers must work together to help each other transition to organic and become successful modern farmers - not only supplying the world with healthy food, but also healing the planet in the process."
While reading this book, I am reminded why Kevin and I are working so hard to transition the farm to organic. Growing vegetables for our CSA in soil that was previously farmed differently presents a few unique challenges that I will address in another post but we are already seeing the return of worms, spiders, beneficial insects and toads to the fields and celebrate each as a sign that natural balance is being restored. Just as important, we can be confident that the food we are growing for our table and the tables of our friends and fellow community members has not been sprayed with dangerous chemicals.
Thank yous! We appreciate all the support of our friends and family during this very busy time of year. This is a family farm in the truest sense as there is no way we could accomplish half of what we set out to without helping hands. Thank you also to Bruce for showing up and offering to mow (and mow and mow) unasked. While there are days that we long for the cold, quiet month of January, we are happiest when the farm is humming along growing food that nourishes our family and the families of our members.
ENJOY THE BOUNTY!