Saturday, August 19, 2017

Veggie Spotlight: Tomatoes

Farm Update


Mary, Therese, Jewel, Ben, Carson,
 and Logan (our newest team
 member!) getting ready to do some
weeding earlier in the week.
Hi everyone!  Things are looking pretty good at the farm.  The rain we had on Thursday really helped things along, especially the cool season crops like lettuce.  Most of our plants are looking really healthy right now, but we are starting to see some disease, mostly because of the cooler night temperatures and morning dew.  Anytime the plants' foliage is wet for an extended period of time, that allows diseases to proliferate, so that is more common this time of year.  We've noticed over the last few days that our Brussels sprout plants are looking especially big and healthy, so we're hoping for a good crop this year!  Our warm season crops (such as peppers) seem like they're a little bit behind, but they're coming along.  Same thing with the tomatoes; we still have plenty of green tomatoes on the vine that are gradually ripening, which is actually pretty great!  A few years ago, we had a heat wave and all the tomatoes ripened at once, meaning we had massive numbers of tomatoes for a very short duration of time.  So when they ripen slowly, that means we have them for much longer, and we may be enjoying tomatoes well into October.  Only time will tell though, so I intend to eat as many tomatoes as possible in the meantime.  See you all this week! :-)

What to Expect in your Share this Week


If you are picking up at one of our regular drop-offs (Alma, Mt. Pleasant, and Midland) this week, here are the options you’ll find at each station!  If you have a half share, you’ll choose one item at each station, and if you have a full share, you’ll choose two.

Carrots or green beans
Cherry tomatoes
Potatoes
Beets, slicing tomatoes, or lettuce
Kale, Swiss chard, or cabbage
Onion, kohlrabi, or garlic
Zucchini or herbs


And if you’re having your share delivered or picking up in Lansing, Okemos, or the Midand hospital, here are your options.  If you have a half share, choose either share A or share B, and if you have a full share, you get to choose two.

Share A:                               Share B:
Carrots                                  Green beans
Cherry tomatoes                    Cherry tomatoes
Potatoes                                 Potatoes
Beets                                      Slicing tomatoes
Kale                                       Cabbage
Onion                                    Onion
Herbs                                    Zucchini

Veggie Spotlight: Tomatoes


There's nothing like brilliant red just-harvested tomatoes!
There are few garden plants more popular than the tomato, and it is one of the most widely eaten vegetables in the world. However, this widespread use of the tomato as a food has really become a lot more prevalent since the 19th century. Before this it was thought by Europeans to be poisonous, and it was often used for more ornamental purposes, both on the table and in the garden. (The tomato foliage does have mild toxins; however the fruit has very little, and you would have to eat a lot of tomato foliage to get ill.) The tomato’s origin is still debated in academic circles, and is thought to either have come from modern day Peru or somewhere in Mexico. However, most of its early recorded use is in Mexico, where evidence of its cultivation dates back to 500 BC. From then until the very early 1500s the tomato was only found in the Americas, but after Spain began its exploration and exploitation of the Aztecs and their land, the tomato soon made its way to Europe and quickly spread over the rest of the world. The first tomatoes that came over from Mexico to Europe were yellow, which remained the most common color of the early tomatoes in Europe. The tomato varieties that we grow today are mostly the result of a plant breeder from Ohio named Alexander Livingston, who greatly improved the flavor and eating quality of tomatoes that we enjoy today.  Before his work, tomatoes were commonly hollow with a hard core.

You’ve probably also heard the debate over whether the tomato is a fruit or vegetable. This issue was even taken to the Supreme Court in 1893 in the case of Nix v. Hedden, which determined that for U.S. customs purposes, the tomato should be considered a fruit.   Actually, it is both. Botanists consider it a fruit, because it forms from the ovary of a flower (it is considered a berry fruit). However, it is considered a vegetable to horticulturists, due to its annual growing culture and lower sugar content than other fruits.  The fruits vary widely in nutrient content and antioxidants, depending on variety and color. However, all tomatoes have a lot of vitamins A and C and contain the antioxidant Lycopene, which is thought to prevent cancer and heal the skin, especially from the effects of UV rays.

Green beans and cherry tomatoes
about to head out to the CSA drop-off.
On our farm, the tomatoes start in the greenhouse as seeds planted in trays in mid-March. These seeds turn into fast-growing plants that are transplanted into our coldframes and field. The planting of the tomatoes took place throughout May this year, both inside and outside. The plants that go in the coldframes are put into raised beds with plastic mulch. Stakes are put in the rows of plants every 8 feet. Then as the plants grow, lines of twine are put tightly around the rows of plants to guide their growth upward so they are not sprawled over the ground. At the end of the season most vines are 10-15 feet long. The system we use for the tomatoes improves the quality and flavor of tomatoes. This time of the year, we only water the tomatoes a little bit, so they can concentrate the flavor and sugars of the fruit for better eating and nutrient value. When tomatoes are overwatered, the taste is less intense and the nutrients are more diluted. By only giving our tomatoes a little water, we sacrifice a little on total yield, but we feel it is way worth it in flavor.  The outside tomatoes are exposed to more difficult conditions, but since we need more tomatoes than the coldframes can produce, we plant a few outdoor beds each year.


We absolutely love tomatoes at our house, and we are thrilled each year when the first tomatoes start to come in.  We leave cherry tomatoes out on the counter, and our kids eat them like candy.  We also use slicers for caprese salads, bruschetta, on top of omelets, on BLTs… the uses are endless!  Tomatoes are one of those things that really ought to be eaten in ridiculous quantities in August and September when they’re in their peak season, because the February grocery store tomatoes really aren’t worth eating.  So to aid you in that plan, we have a lot of tomatoes in the share again this week!  Enjoy!

Recipes


And here's another idea for your tomatoes!  Try out these Parmesan Roasted Tomatoes, which are so quick and simple, and so delicious!  Or try this excellent Garden Fresh Bruschetta with some good bread!


Saturday, August 12, 2017

Hunting, Fishing, and Food Values: A Research Survey by our Very Own Grad Student, Carson

Farm Update


Jewel, Ben, Therese, and Emily
bring bins of veggies up to the
packing area after harvest.
Hi everyone!  Even through we have another month and a half of summer according to the calendar, we're starting to see subtle signs of the shift from summer to fall at the farm.  We have some summer issues (such as the hot weather causing our lettuce, which is a cool season crop, to struggle a little bit) overlapping with some fall issues (like the pretty persistent morning dew that promotes the growth of plant diseases).  But that's pretty much par for the course this time of year.  Part of the art and science of organic farming is knowing how to adapt to the ever-changing conditions of flora, fauna, and weather as the year progresses.  We've been planting a lot of the veggies that will make their appearances in the shares throughout the fall, and we pulled over 5,000 pounds of potatoes out of the ground last week as well!  I was also able to put away the first few quarts of tomato sauce (out of about six dozen I'll make in the next month or so) with the leftover tomatoes from Thursday's drop-off.  So while we're very attuned to the particular feel of each part of the season, there are some aspects of the farm that feel like it's always simultaneously spring (planting), summer (canning), and fall (harvest).  That's the rhythm of life at the farm, and although I mostly take it for granted, I can't help but be grateful for such a distinctly seasonal lifestyle when I stop to think about it.  Thank you also to all of you who help us make this happen, and in turn get to enjoy the fruits and veggies of each particular season!  

What to Expect in your Share this Week


If you are picking up at one of our regular drop-offs (Alma, Mt. Pleasant, and Midland) this week, here are the options you’ll find at each station!  If you have a half share, you’ll choose one item at each station, and if you have a full share, you’ll choose two.

Cherry Tomatoes for everyone!
Green beans or several small slicing tomatoes
Potatoes or broccoli
Carrots or Swiss chard
Kale, basil, or cabbage
Onion or kohlrabi
Zucchini, cucumber, or slicing tomato


And if you’re having your share delivered or picking up in Lansing, Okemos, or the Midand hospital, here are your options.  If you have a half share, choose either share A or share B, and if you have a full share, you get to choose two.

Share A:                               Share B:
Cherry tomatoes                   Cherry tomatoes
Green beans                          Slicing tomatoes
Potatoes                                Broccoli
Swiss chard                          Carrots
Cabbage                               Kale
Onion                                    Kohlrabi
Zucchini                               Cucumber

Hunting, Fishing, and Food Values:  A Research Survey by our Very Own Grad Student, Carson



This is Carson, setting up irrigation lines
last week.
A few weeks ago in the newsletter feature about this year's awesome farm team, you probably remember me talking about Carson, our crew member/ CMU grad student.  Well, he's working on a research project and would super appreciate you guys filling out a short survey to help him gather data for his study.  His research focuses on food values, and how people's support of local organic food production relates to their participation in hunting and fishing.  So instead of an article this week, we would really appreciate it if you would hop over to Carson's survey and fill it out!  I completed it, and it took me about 15 minutes.  Thanks so much in advance for helping Carson out with his research!


Recipes




Oh, cherry tomatoes!  So small, but so delicious!  Just in case you're wondering what to do with them besides putting them in salads and just snacking on them, here are 21 amazing cherry tomato recipes from Rachel Ray.  Enjoy!

Saturday, August 5, 2017

At the Farm: This Week in Pictures

Farm Update

We brought some of the first tomatoes of the year to the drop-off
this week, and there are more to come!
Hi everyone!  It has been a great week at the farm!  Very seldom do we ever get a week where we feel like we got most of what we needed to done, and this was one of those rare weeks.  It was just an enjoyable week to work outside too. (Except for harvesting potatoes in the rain on Friday.  Major props to Mary, Therese, and Fred who braved the cold rain to get the first round of potatoes out of the ground!)  As always, there are so many tasks that need to get done at the farm, and this week I remembered to chronicle some of them in pictures.  In other news, our resident grad student, Carson, is conducting a research project about CSA membership.  He's created a research survey for you all to (please please) fill out that will really help him collect data for his project.  We're going to be publishing the link to his survey in next week's newsletter, so be on the lookout for that.  See you this week!



What to Expect in your Share this Week


If you are picking up at one of our regular drop-offs (Alma, Mt. Pleasant, and Midland) this week, here are the options you’ll find at each station!  If you have a half share, you’ll choose one item at each station, and if you have a full share, you’ll choose two.

Carrots or kale
Cherry tomatoes or sweet corn
Broccoli or potatoes
Lettuce or beets
Cabbage, fennel, or 2 zucchini
Herbs, cucumber, or garlic
Onion or slicing tomatoes


And if you’re having your share delivered or picking up in Lansing, Okemos, or the Midand hospital, here are your options.  If you have a half share, choose either share A or share B, and if you have a full share, you get to choose two.

Share A:                               Share B:
Carrots                                 Kale
Sweet corn(4 ears)               Cherry tomatoes
Broccoli                               Potatoes
Lettuce                                 Beets
Cabbage                               2 Zucchini
Cucumber                            Herbs
Tomato                                 Onion                                   

At the Farm:  This Week in Pictures


I always enjoy when news sources run "This Week in Pictures" type articles.  Perhaps it's because a picture is worth a thousand words, or perhaps it's because I just like a visual representation of the big and small things humanity has been up to.  So here are some of the moments I captured this week at the farm, so you can see what a week at the farm looks like.


Monday:  I discovered two volunteer sunflowers next to the
coldframes.  We never actually planted these, but we did plant
some sunflower microgreens earlier in the spring.  So we
suspect that a couple micro sunflowers somehow migrated over
here and took hold, growing to beautiful fruition.


Monday:  Carson moves and sets up some of our drip line
irrigation.  We irrigated pretty heavily during the early part of
the week, and moving all of the irrigation lines around is a
pretty time-consuming process.
Monday:  Jewel and Ben harvest green beans for the CSA
drop-off.

Thursday:  Ben shows off the unusual cherry tomato he found
wile harvesting.  This one has the appearance of a tiny pumpkin.

Wednesday:  Fred left the tractor at the end of a section he was
undercutting to make the carrot harvest easier.  Carrots can be
really hard to pull out of the ground, but if we go through with
this attachment that loosens up the soil underneath the carrots
first, it makes harvesting a much easier task.

Monday:  Mary weighs out carrots for an order in our makeshift
packing area.  When crops come in from the field, we wash them
in our repurposed restaurant sinks, spin the leafy stuff in our
giant salad spinners (that were clothes washers in a former life),
and bag them up for the CSA and wholesale orders.  We then
put them in crates and move them into our adjacent walk-in cooler.

Tuesday:  I set up the tables before our Mt. Pleasant CSA drop- off.

Monday:  Fred cultivates a lettuce bed to help keep the weeds
down.  The cultvator disturbs the soil in between the rows of
lettuce, pulling up the weeds.  That means that the only hand-
weeding we need to do is right in the rows, where the cultivator
can't reach.

Thursday:  We had a nice surprise visit at our Midland drop-off
from one of our old crew members, Nate.  He came by to
pick up his parents' share while he's in town, and we got to chat
with him for a while.  It was so nice to see him!



Thursday:  Emily shows off an oddly-shaped zucchini she found.
Usually when we find vegetables that don't look normal, we set
them aside and take them home to eat.
Friday:  Mary harvests potatoes in the rain.  After Fred drove
through the potato bed with our old potato digger (which picks
up dirt and potatoes alike and deposits the potatoes on top of
the soil, making the harvest a lot easier), Mary and Therese
would go along and collect all of the potatoes into crates.



Saturday, July 29, 2017

CSA Newsletter for July 29, 2017

Farm Update


Fred harvesting some of the first cherry tomatoes.
Hi everyone!  Here we are, headed into week 7 of the CSA!  It's been a good production year in general, because the temperatures have been less extreme and we've been getting regular rainfall right when we start to really need it badly.  That in combination with our deer fence keeping out those four-legged harbingers of destruction has meant that everything is growing well.  We were really pleased with the rainfall we got on Thursday morning!  Even though the farm was kind of a mud pit that day, the crops definitely perked up after that good rain, and for happy crops, we'll gladly put up with any amount of mud.  This will be the last week for blueberries, and while we still have enough for the CSA, we won't be taking any orders for bulk blueberries this week.  This was a great year for the blueberries, and we had more berries for more weeks than I ever remember having.  We're also right on the verge of having tomatoes too, and we were able to have the first two perfect slicing tomatoes with dinner tonight.  Before too long, we'll have more than we know what to do with, and you all will be beneficiaries of the tomato deluge!  See you this week! :-)

What to Expect in your Share this Week


If you are picking up at one of our regular drop-offs (Alma, Mt. Pleasant, and Midland) this week, here are the options you’ll find at each station!  If you have a half share, you’ll choose one item at each station, and if you have a full share, you’ll choose two.

Blueberries
Carrots
Green beans
Kale or carrots
Surprise veggie!
Lettuce or 2 cucumbers
Zucchini, onion, or garlic


And if you’re having your share delivered or picking up in Lansing, Okemos, or the Midand hospital, here are your options.  If you have a half share, choose either share A or share B, and if you have a full share, you get to choose two.

Share A:                               Share B:
Blueberries                           Blueberries
Green beans                         Green beans
Carrots                                 Carrots
Kale                                     Cabbage
2 Cucumbers                        Lettuce
Surprise veggie                    Surprise veggie
Garlic                                   Onion

Recipes





What do you do when you have tons of veggies in the fridge?  Make minestrone!  I've been using this recipe for Jamie's Minestrone for years, and not only is it delicious, it's also a great way to use up veggies!  (Just switch out the canned green beans for fresh ones.)  We often have a ridiculous amount of food coming out of the fields this time of year, and this is a yummy way to make some more space in the fridge.  It also tastes even better the next day after the flavors have a chance to meld, and is great to heat up for a quick lunch.  Enjoy!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Complete Guide to Getting the Most Out of Your Summer Vegetables

Farm Update


Our new (old) cultivator should definitely help us keep these
weeds in our drive rows under control!
Hi everyone!  It’s been a hot and humid week at the farm, pushing 90 degrees most days!  We’ve finally hit the point in the season where the weed pressure starts to abate.  Not only are there fewer weeds because it’s been so dry (the weed seeds don’t germinate as much when they can’t get moisture from the ground), but there seems to just be an invisible line on the calendar each year when, independent of all other factors, the weeds just slow down.  We’ve just hit that line, and it’s definitely a relief.  We’re also excited about our new (old) cultivator!  Fred was able to get one of the many old cultivators you often see around the countryside, left over from a time before GMO crop varieties when even conventional farmers had to do some cultivating.  Now very few conventional growers do any cultivating, so all of the old machines go for a song to those of us who can use them.  In our case, ours will be perfect for keeping the drive tracks between our rows of vegetables mostly weed-free, because they often do get a little out of control.  And the more weeds there are (even in the drive tracks), the more weeds that will go to seed, and the more weeds that will start popping up in the actual rows of crops.  So this should definitely help.  We also had an amazing crop of blueberries this year!  We did quite a few bulk blueberry orders on top of bringing blueberries to everyone in the CSA last week, and we’ll have more blueberries in the shares again this week.  Several people have asked if we'll be taking more bulk blueberry orders, and we will!  So if you are interested in 10 pounds of blueberries for $33, just let me know and we'll bring them to the drop-off for you.  Another thing we’ll have lots of is green beans, and I am so excited!  Even though the calendar indicates that it’s been summer for a month, the first green beans are the real start of summer for me!  We'll have enough of those to take bulk orders for preserving as well, and those will be $19 for 10 pounds.   I hope you enjoy them as much as we do! J

What to Expect in your Share this Week


If you are picking up at one of our regular drop-offs (Alma, Mt. Pleasant, and Midland) this week, here are the options you’ll find at each station!  If you have a half share, you’ll choose one item at each station, and if you have a full share, you’ll choose two.

Blueberries
Green beans
Carrots or 2 zucchini
Potatoes or beets
Kale, Swiss chard, or cabbage
Lettuce or 2 cucumbers
Onion or herbs


And if you’re having your share delivered or picking up in Lansing, Okemos, or the Midand hospital, here are your options.  If you have a half share, choose either share A or share B, and if you have a full share, you get to choose two.

Share A:                               Share B:
Blueberries                           Blueberries
Green beans                         Green beans
Carrots                                 2 zucchini
Potatoes                               Beets
Kale                                     Cabbage
2 Cucumbers                        Lettuce
Onion                                   Onion

The Complete Guide to Getting the Most Out of Your Summer Vegetables


Right now is the beautiful time of year that marks the transition from spring to summer veggies!  It certainly feels like summer out there, and we’re just on the edge of many summer favorites coming out of the fields.  In preparation for all that veggie goodness, here is The Complete Guide to Getting the Most out of Your Summer Vegetables, from Quartz.  I’m actually out of town this weekend for a family event, so instead of spending a few hours writing a feature, I’m going to share this one, because it’s pretty much exactly what I would have written anyway.   Enjoy! J

Recipes



It’s green bean season, and I couldn’t be more excited!  Here is a super easy, super delicious recipe for Buttery Garlic Green Beans from allrecipes.com!  Or if you’re looking for something that’s still light, but a little more involved, check out this Frisée-Lardon Salad from Bon Appetit!  A lot of people have asked me what to do with frisée besides just mixing it with your spring mix, so here is a traditional French preparation perfect for a hot evening like the ones we’ve been having!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Fruit and Veggie Spotlight: Blueberries

Farm Update


Jane and Jessamine enjoyed helping Fred harvest blueberries
earlier today!
Hi everyone!  It’s been a pretty packed week!  We were really glad to get some rain earlier in the week, and it definitely helped the crops along.  Our blueberry bushes are doing well!  In fact, we have more blueberries this year than we’ve ever had, so we’re going to be offering bulk orders of blueberries next week!  They’ll be in 10-pound increments, and it will be $33 for ten pounds (which is about 13 pints).  If you’re interested, just let me know how many you’d like, and I’ll plan on bringing you some at the drop-off!  We are also starting to see the first of the ripe cherry tomatoes, and we even got to eat a few on Thursday!  We probably won’t have enough to bring to the CSA this week, but we might have some next week.  We had a pretty crazy day on Wednesday during our Lansing area deliveries when our delivery vehicle broke down on us right in the middle of a busy road.  The alternator went out, and fortunately Fred was able to get into the left turn lane just as it was dying, so at least we weren’t blocking traffic.  So after having the truck towed to a mechanic, we still had to figure out how to get the rest of the veggies delivered.  A huge thank you to Fred’s cousin Sarah, who lives in the area and kindly drove us around to do the rest of the deliveries, and his sister Mary, who drove down from Alma to pick us up at the end!  We could not have done it without them!  We’ll still be without the vehicle until Wednesday, so you’ll likely see us towing a trailer full of veggies and blueberries to the drop-offs this week.  Life at the farm is certainly never boring!  Just let me know if you’re interested in bulk blueberries, and we’ll see you at the drop-offs! J

What to Expect in your Share this Week


If you are picking up at one of our regular drop-offs (Alma, Mt. Pleasant, and Midland) this week, here are the options you’ll find at each station!  If you have a half share, you’ll choose one item at each station, and if you have a full share, you’ll choose two.

Blueberries for everyone!
Potatoes
Carrots or broccoli
Lettuce or cabbage
Herbs or 2 cucumbers
Kale, Swiss chard, or 2 zucchini
Onions, kohlrabi, or fennel

And if you’re having your share delivered or picking up in Lansing, Okemos, or the Midand hospital, here are your options.  If you have a half share, choose either share A or share B, and if you have a full share, you get to choose two.

Share A:                               Share B:
Blueberries                           Blueberries
Potatoes                                Potatoes
Carrots                                  Broccoli
Cabbage                                Lettuce
2 Cucumbers                        Herbs
Kale                                      2 Zucchini
Onions                                  Kohlrabi

Fruit and Veggie Spotlight:  Blueberries


This picture, taken back in May, shows the blueberry patch
beautiful in full bloom.
Unlike many fruits and vegetables that migrated from Europe or Asia to the New World, the blueberry was already here when European settlers arrived centuries ago. Many Native American tribes, most often in northern regions of the Americas, used blueberries in many ways. It was very common for them to dry them during the summer to eat during the winter months, but they also used the plant for dyes and medicinal purposes as well. The modern blueberry varieties that we have today are actually not far removed from the original wild plants here in the Americas, as the first significant varietal selection from wild blueberry plants did not occur until 1908. Michigan one of the top three leaders in blueberry production here in the United States, because the berries thrive in the high water tables and acidic sandy soils that are commonly found throughout the state.

Our blueberry patch actually predates both of us, and we are not even sure of when it was planted, but we do know that it was at least 40 years ago.  It is actually on the property of our neighbors, Mike and Sherri, who live about half a mile up the road from us.  The blueberry patch has been there since before they bought the property, and it’s been so long since the bushes were being actively managed for production that we were able to have them certified organic the first year we had them.  A few years ago, Fred pruned them back pretty heavily, and after that they started producing quite a few more berries than before.  And this year is the most abundant year yet!

Blueberries are always formed on the new growth held on the woodier parts of the bush. In the spring there are new shoots of vegetative growth that grow longer throughout the season. In the fall, the leaves fall off the plant as the bush goes into dormancy for the winter. Then in the spring the new shoots that were formed in the last season bloom. There are millions of blooms at the same time, and the patch hums with the sound of bees and other pollinating insects. Then the leaves come out and the flowers turn into berries that began to ripen and fill out.  Blueberries are actually extremely cold-hardy; this year we pretty significant frosts while the blooms were on the bushes, and they still formed berries without any trouble.

Our blueberries are pretty easy to raise most of the year, because they don’t require any of the seeding, weeding, etc. that most of our crops need.  The most labor-intensive part of raising blueberries is the picking, because it takes a long time to get all those little berries!  It’s worth it though, because they are so delicious, and we often go overboard putting them in just about everything we make this time of year!  We also freeze quite a few for use in the long winter months as well.  We hope you enjoy them as much as we do! J

Recipes


My guess is that you already know exactly what to do with your blueberries, so you probably aren’t in need of recipes for them!  But fennel might be another story.  With kind of a licorice flavor, both the bulb and the fronds of the fennel can be used for a lot of things.  Here are some recipe ideas from Bon Appetit!



Saturday, July 8, 2017

The 2017 Dream Team: Our Fantastic Farm Crew!

Farm Update




Fred, Carson, and Ben harvesting baby carrots for the shares
a while back.
Hi everyone!  We are heading into week 4 of the CSA, and it seems like this season is just flying by!  We’ve been planting, harvesting, and getting veggies ready for delivery this week, as well as moving the irrigation lines around quite a bit.  Despite the consistent rains we had a week or two ago, we could actually use more now.  We didn’t get the major flooding that hit the Midland and Mt. Pleasant areas, so while our ground was pretty saturated, it was able to handle all the water with just a minimal upset in our lower back field.  And now it’s bone dry again, so we’ve been irrigating quite a bit.  It’s amazing how quickly it changes from needing rain, to wanting the rain to stop, to needing it again!  In other news, Fred was at the Midland Farmers Market this morning, so I bet some of you saw him there!  As always, we look forward to seeing you all this week!  J







What to Expect in your Share this Week


If you pick up your shares at one of our regular drop-offs, here’s what your options will be!  If you have a half share, choose one in each category, and if you have a full share, choose two.

  • Blueberries for everyone!
  • Carrots
  • Beets or pearl onions
  • Cabbage, kale, or cucumbers
  • Spring mix or head lettuce
  • Frisee, 2 kohlrabi, or assorted herbs
  • Zucchini or fennel


And if have your share delivered or pick up in Lansing or Okemos, here are the options this week:

Share A:                               Share B:
Blueberries                           Blueberries
Carrots                                  Carrots
Beets                                     Pearl onions
Kale                                      Cucumbers
Head lettuce                         Spring mix
Herbs                                    2 Kohlrabi
Zucchini                                Fennel


The 2017 Dream Team: Our Fantastic Farm Crew!


Jewel, Carson, Ben, Mary, and Emily taking a few minutes out
of their day to pose for a picture
At the farm, each year is so different, and one season often bears little or no resemblance to the one before it.  You win some and lose some, and this year, we definitely won the jackpot when it comes to employees!  We have a really great team that includes a few high school kids, a few college kids, and one grad student, and they have been a joy to work with!  So when you get your shares each week, these are the people who helped bring your veggies to your table!

Mary:  Mary is Fred’s youngest sister, and this is her second year working for us.  She just finished up her freshman year at Spring Arbor University, and when she returns to school in the fall, she is going to continue working on her nursing degree.  In her spare time she likes to hang out with her friends, cook, eat great food, and baby-sit our kids.  We seriously rely on this girl for everything, so if you see her around, definitely give her a pat on the back!  Her favorite thing to do at the farm is washing and packing up the veggies for CSA shares and wholesale orders, and also picking our edible nasturtiums.  The skills she has been glad to learn at the farm include how to plant crops and how to not freak out about spiders.

Jewel:  Jewel is the daughter of some family friends, and she is just about the sweetest person you’ll ever meet.  Her older brother Keegan worked for us for several years, and Jewel has taken over for him now that he is studying to become an airplane mechanic.  At the farm, she most enjoys harvesting carrots and transplanting, and cites learning how to deal with being in the hot sun all day as the most useful life skill she’s learned at the farm.  That will come in handy, because she and her family are involved in ministry work in Iraq.  They have spent a significant portion of the last two years there, and they’ll be headed back in the fall.

Ben:  Ben is another family friend whose older brother, Joe, worked for us for several years.  Ben is one of our high school kids, and he has been great to have around!  His favorite thing to do at the farm is transplant, and learning how to use the transplanter has been his favorite skill to learn.  In the fall, he is going to return to his studies, but since he is homeschooled, we hope to still have him work for us part time throughout the season.

Mary harvests kale for the CSA shares
Carson:  Carson is our resident grad student, working on his PhD in fisheries at CMU.  His favorite thing to do at the farm is form the plastic beds into which we plant many of our veggies.  He has learned that this is an art to getting the plastic laid straight and flat, with no tears, and the proper width, and he appreciates the beauty of a nicely-done series of plastic beds.  He has also learned this year just how much work goes into farming, and what a wide variety of skills everyone needs to have.  You really need to be a jack of all trades every day, and he likes looking around the farm at all of the projects he’s been involved in.  In his spare time, he enjoys fishing, reading, and playing guitar.  After the farm season, he is planning on continuing his doctoral research, and he has a lot of home improvement projects planned for the house he bought recently.

Emily:  Emily is another long-time family friend; in fact, she and Mary have been running around together since their preschool years.  Her favorite thing to do at the farm is harvesting and bunching the pearl onions, and she also really enjoys washing and packing veggies.  Her favorite new skill she’s learned this year is seeding the flats of transplants.  In her spare time, she likes to hang out with her family and friends and watch movies on Netflix, and in the fall, she’s headed to England to be part of a theater troupe and study drama for a year.

Therese:  The most recent addition to the crew is Therese, and we really appreciate her sweet attitude!   In her spare time, she enjoys hanging out with her friends and family, and in the fall, she’s going to be returning to Olivet for her sophomore year.  Around the farm, she likes catching snakes, is a friend to the baby bunnies, and she doesn’t mind touching the stinging nettle!

So that’s our fantastic 2017 farm team!  It has been so nice to work with each of them so far, and I can’t say enough good things about them!  Just having a group that is reliable and doesn’t mind hard work is pretty awesome, but these guys are also really fun to be around and have great attitudes to boot!  We’re definitely looking forward to spending the rest of the season with them!

Recipes


If you’re like many people, you probably feel like you know what to do with most fruits and veggies in the kitchen, but you might feel a little less confident with fresh herbs.  Never fear!  Here is A Guide to Fresh Herbs from the Food Network, and some helpful tips from the Kitchn forhow to use Summer Savory!