Saturday, August 11, 2018

CSA Newsletter for Week 9

Farm Update


This pretty red lettuce is just one of the varieties in our
spring mix.
Hi everyone!  It’s been another busy week at the farm, and an eventful one!  Probably the biggest news this week is our new delivery vehicle, which many of you saw this week!  The old one, which has been on its last legs for about a year now and has defied the expertise of three mechanics, has finally been replaced.  Over time, pretty much everything on that old vehicle has gone out, and by the end, almost nothing on it worked.  We brought it into the shop three times, and they couldn’t figure out what why it would suddenly become very loud and slow down once we hit a certain speed, and no one on the internet could offer any insight either.  So once that speed threshold became so low as to be well below the speed limit, we knew we couldn’t make that old truck limp the rest of the way through the season.  So on Monday, Fred made an emergency trip to Grand Rapids and bought our new vehicle, which has been so nice!  It’s wonderful to be able to drive on the freeway without having to pull over and restart the truck every 10 minutes, and it also has air conditioning in the cab, which went out on the old one long ago!  There are many things I take for granted and fail to appreciate, but those are no longer on that list.


In other news, our fall plantings of carrots are doing well and looking great!  We haven’t had to irrigate as much either, since we got plenty of rain last week.  We have been seeing quite a few of those gross tomato horn worms in the coldframes, but that’s just par for the course in August, and I daresay we might even miss them in January.  Each part of the year brings its distinctive experiences, and we are definitely in full-on summer now!  The sun is out, the weather is hot, and things are growing!  Even though it's a lot of work, just the sheer vitality and expansiveness of August makes this one of my favorite times of year!


What to Expect in This Week's Share


Swiss chard growing in the sunlight
If you are picking up at one of our traditional style drop-offs (Alma, Mt. Pleasant, or Midland), here’s what the options will be at the different stations.  If you have a half share, you’ll choose one item at each station, and if you have a full share, you choose two items at each station.

  • Potatoes
  • Cherry tomatoes or microgreens
  • Green beans or carrots
  • lettuce or broccoli
  • zucchini, kale, or basil
  • Surprise veggie
  • Onion

If you have a prepacked share (Midland hospital, St. Johns, Lansing, Okemos, or home delivery), here are your options.  If you have a half share, you’ll choose either share A or share B, and if you have a full share, you can choose two of them.

Share A:                               Share B:
Potatoes                                Potatoes
Cherry tomatoes                   Cherry tomatoes
Green beans                          Carrots
Lettuce                                  Broccoli
Zucchini                                Kale
Surprise veggie                     Surprise veggie
Onion                                    Onion


Recipes



So lately, I’ve had a bunch of people ask me what we do with kale at our house.  Maybe they’ve never quite taken a shine to kale and want to find out what we’re doing that makes us love it so much, or maybe they’ve gotten into kind of a kale rut and want to press reset on their routine.  So if you’re in either one of those camps and are looking for some new ideas to get you really excited about kale, check out these 47 Kale Recipes that go Beyond Salad.  Yup, 47 recipes!  I know that’s a lot, but you’ll almost certainly find a few things you’re really excited to try!  Enjoy!

Saturday, August 4, 2018

CSA Newsletter for Week 8: Our Awesome 2018 Farm Crew!

Farm Update



We included some of our lovely sunflowers in the shares last
week, and it was so nice seeing these sunny blooms out on the
tables with all the vegetables!
Hi everyone!  We hope you're all having an awesome weekend so far!  Things are going pretty well at the farm this week.  We got a little more rain on Thursday (nowhere near the big downpour we had at the Midland drop-off, but enough to help keep the upcoming plantings watered!)  This weekend, we'll be putting carrots, lettuce, and various herbs in the ground, and we also completed a really large seeding of lettuce transplants in the greenhouse recently.  We may also be planting the spinach for this fall in the next few days depending on the temperature.  The spinach usually suffers in the height of summer due to the heat, but we've started to see the overwintered spinach start to come back, which is a pretty sure sign that it's time to plant the fall spinach.

We've also seen a proliferation of animals of the small and medium-sized variety lately.  The large animals (primarily deer) are gone now that we have our wonderful deer fence (I'm still not over being excited about that, it's been such a game-changer for us)! But we have been seeing a lot more frogs and toads, garter snakes, and the bane of everyone's tomato-harvesting existence, the humongous spiders who arrive to take over the coldframes each year at this time.  These spiders are seriously huge and terrifying!  All of the aforementioned creatures are mostly harmless, but we've also recently starting fighting a bunch of woodchucks that are eating our veggies.  So far, the battle has mostly consisted of us getting mad and yelling at them, which has (unsurprisingly) been largely ineffective.  The next step is to have a trapper friend of ours come out and set some traps for them around the farm, and we hope to make that happen in the near future so the woodchucks will stop eating all the food.  Every week at the farm is an adventure, and I'm looking forward to seeing what next week will bring!


What to Expect in This Week's Share



Is that another woodchuck?!?  Oh, no.  It's just Ben.
Thank goodness!
If you are picking up at one of our traditional style drop-offs (Alma, Mt. Pleasant, or Midland), here’s what the options will be at the different stations.  If you have a half share, you’ll choose one item at each station, and if you have a full share, you choose two items at each station.

  • Potatoes
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Green/yellow beans or lettuce
  • Slicing tomatoes or lettuce
  • Zucchini, cucumbers, or microgreens
  • Onion, 2 shallots, or kohlrabi
  • Kale or basil



If you have a prepacked share (Midland hospital, St. Johns, Lansing, Okemos, or home delivery), here are your options.  If you have a half share, you’ll choose either share A or share B, and if you have a full share, you can choose two of them.

Share A:                               Share B:
Potatoes                                Potatoes
Onion                                   2 Shallots
Zucchini                               Cucumber
Cherry tomatoes                   Cherry tomatoes
Lettuce                                 Slicing tomatoes
Kale                                      Basil
Carrots                                  Green/yellow beans


Our Awesome 2018 Farm Crew!


People often ask us how we're able to grow, maintain, wash, pack, and deliver so much produce each week, and there are two equally important answers:  The first one is that Fred is a logistical genius mastermind.  Seriously, I've been married to the guy for 13 years, and I'm still impressed daily with his ability to figure out the exact most efficient way to fit in all of the moving parts and unforeseen elements that the farm can throw at us.  And the second is that we have an awesome amazing farm crew.

Our crew this year consists of Fred and me, of course, and we also have three full-time and four part-time people who help us get everything done.  Without further ado, here is the roster of awesome folks who help bring food to your table each week!

Mary harvests cherry tomatoes in the coldframes
a few weeks ago.
Mary:  Mary is Fred's youngest sister, and this is the third year she's worked for us.  This girl is seriously wonderful, and we joke that she's pretty much our servant because she works for us at the farm all day and then goes home and helps baby-sit our kids.  So it's only a slight exaggeration to say that we couldn't live without her.  At the farm, her favorite tasks are harvesting blueberries and transplanting, and her favorite new skill she learned this year is manoeuvering the pallet jack.  She reports that her favorite memory at the farm this year was the time she and the others were trying to determine if peanut butter should rightly be called jam, because it is made from the mashed up fruit of the plant.  A serious consideration, indeed. :-) In the fall, she'll be leaving the farm to enter her junior year at Spring Arbor University, where she is in the nursing program.

Carson:  This is Carson's second year with us at the farm, and he is seriously great to have around!  He is working on his PhD dissertation in fisheries at CMU, and he pretty much knows everything about wildlife.  He's enthusiastic about even the most daunting farm tasks, stating that he likes pretty much everything at the farm except weeding carrots in the rain, and he's also the only person besides Fred who knows how to drive the tractor.  Carson is also really funny without even meaning to be, because we often think he's making things up when they're actually real things.  I was cracking up reading his response to the little survey I had everyone fill out, so I'm going to quote him directly about his funniest memory of working on the farm:

"
I’m an ecologist/biologist type, so I’m regularly noticing and pointing out wildlife that I recognize at the farm. This year I got several strange reactions to my attempts to describe how the haunting, hyena-like sounds we often heard in the back field were coming from the winnowing wings of a pair of snipe – long-billed migratory game birds that look a lot like a woodcock. Thanks to old-timey snipe hunting jokes, I suppose I must have come across as if I was making a joke out of not knowing what the sound was, myself. Fred’s reaction was about the same when I told him that I saw two bobolinks on the farm…"

This is basically what talking to Carson is like all the time.  Enough said. 

Ben:  Ben has also been with us at the farm for two years, and he is actually the younger brother of a much-beloved employee we had years ago.  When we heard that he was old enough to work at the farm, we jumped at the chance to have him out there!  He recently graduated from high school, and we'll likely have him at the farm for the rest of the season even after our other students go back to school.  His favorite job at the farm this year was when he and Fred built out walk-in cooler a few months ago, and he says his funniest moment at the farm was learning that Austin, a fairly hard core ex-marine that worked with us for a few months, is afraid of spiders.  Ben has a perpetually positive attitude even when the days are long and the weather is extreme, and we so appreciate having him at the farm!


Carson, Ben, and Jewel helping plant 50,000 onion plants
just after the thaw in April.
Jewel:  This is also Jewel's second year with us, and she is one of the sweetest people you'll ever meet!  We also jumped at the chance to have her work with us after her crazy brother Keegan worked for us a few years ago, and she has been awesome!  Her most useful new skill she's learned this year is how to harvest strawberries, and she says her favorite thing to do at the farm is to find dumb questions to ask Carson.  In the fall, she'll be starting her freshman year at Montcalm Community College, where she intends to study Digital Arts.  Hopefully, she'll still be able to work with us this fall when her class schedule allows, because she is a total ray of sunshine at the farm!
Daniel:  Daniel is an old family friend, and he has worked with us at the farm for four years now!  He likes doing pretty much everything at the farm, because his prefers being in a state of movement, and keeping busy at the farm definitely allows him to do that!  In the fall, he'll be continuing his education at CMU, where he'll be studying elementary education.  He says that the most fun thing at the farm is that the entire season is like one continued conversation, where they just pick up where they left off talking last time, like they were never even gone.  He also enjoys that our crew can go from talking about weeding to quantum physics in a short period of time, and that it's actually a pretty common occurrence.

Danny:  This is Danny's first year with us, and he is the next in a long line of people who have followed in their siblings' footsteps to work at the farm.  In fact, his sibling is still there, because he is Ben's younger brother.  Danny's favorite thing to do at the farm so far is harvesting blueberries, and in the fall, he is going to continue with school and do some volunteering in military history museums.  His favorite memory of the farm is of the time Carson carried a gigantic weed around and asked if anyone wanted a Christmas tree, and then proceeded to throw it as far as he could.  I wasn't present for that, but it must have been a humongous weed!

Max:  Max is the newest and youngest member of the farm team!  He is the son of some friends of ours, and he comes out once a week to help us out and learn the ropes of farming.  He has a great attitude and is eager to learn, and we've really enjoyed having him around! In the fall, he'll be returning to school and his various sports and extracurricular activities, but we hope to have him back for years to come!

So that's our awesome 2018 farm crew!  They are seriously the coolest and hardest-working group, and I just can't say enough good things about them!  :-)



Recipes



Yay for green beans!  I just love them, and I am always excited when they finally come into season!  Here is a great recipe for Roasted Green Beans with Parmesan and Basil from my friend Rachel at Rachel Cooks.  And if you're looking for something new to do with your basil, you could try making a flavorful basil water!  Simply put some basil in a pitcher of water and let it sit for a little while so the flavor infuses the water.  If you're one of the many people who don't drink enough water because it tastes boring (I'm definitely guilty of this!), this is a great way to add some flavor in a healthy, non-sugared way!


Saturday, July 28, 2018

CSA Newsletter for Week 7

Farm Update


Bit by bit, the tomatoes are ripening!  This week, we'll start
getting into a more serious amount of tomatoes!
 Hi everyone!  We're definitely starting to get into the late summer veggie goodness, although it feels a little more like fall out there right now!  We're gradually starting to bring in the massive harvest of onions we planted in the spring (you may recall the pictures of us putting in 50,000 onion plants!), and we're starting to get into some serious tomatoes too!  Since it's been so cool for the last few days, the growth and ripening of a lot of our veggies (including the tomatoes) has slowed down a bit, but we still expect to have quite a few tomatoes in the shares this week.  We're also putting a lot of our bigger fall plantings in the ground, which is a major time-consuming push, but once they're planted, they'll begin growing into the veggies you'll get later in the fall.  Unlike with corn and soybeans, where there is a distinct planting season and a distinct harvest season, we're constantly planting and harvesting, although some weeks have a larger amount of planting than others.  And this is one of those weeks.  So wish us luck, because as always, there is a ton to do at the farm!  And here we go, into week 7!  :-)




What to Expect in This Week's Share


Purple kale and lacinato kale growing in rows out in the
field.  And as you can see, the weeds are going crazy in
between the rows, because it's that time of year! 
If you are picking up at one of our traditional style drop-offs (Alma, Mt. Pleasant, or Midland), here’s what the options will be at the different stations.  If you have a half share, you’ll choose one item at each station, and if you have a full share, you choose two items at each station.

  • Zucchini or cucumbers
  • Cherry tomatoes or slicing tomatoes
  • Potatoes, lettuce, or beets
  • Carrots
  • Kale or chard
  • Onion, 2 shallots, or kohlrabi
  • Basil, microgreens, sunflowers (yay!), or leek

If you have a prepacked share (Midland hospital, St. Johns, Lansing, Okemos, or home delivery), here are your options.  If you have a half share, you’ll choose either share A or share B, and if you have a full share, you can choose two of them.

Share A:                               Share B:
Zucchini                               Cucumbers
Cherry tomatoes                   Tomatoes
Potatoes                                Potatoes
Carrots                                  Carrots
Chard                                    Kale
Onion                                    2 Shallots
Leek                                      Basil


Recipes


recipe active photoI don't think I ever ate a leek before I met Fred.  In fact, I was probably several years into being married to a vegetable farmer before I ever tasted this wonderful, delicately oniony veggie.  So if, like me a few years ago, you just have no idea what to do with the leeks in your CSA shares, check out these 27 Leek Recipes That are Like, "Onions Who?" from Bon Appetit!  So many great ideas, and there really is something in here for everyone!  Or if you're feeling like some zucchini bread this week, here is my go-to zucchini bread recipe!  I don't happen to like walnuts, so I just leave those out, but I make a bunch every year to put in the freezer, and it always turns out awesome!

Saturday, July 21, 2018

CSA Newsletter for Week 6

Farm Update


Mary harvests cherry tomatoes in the coldframe.
Hi everyone!  We got a little more rain at the farm, so we’re glad about that!  It wasn’t a ton, so we’ll still have to spend time this week on irrigation-related projects, but we’ll also be able to spend more time getting some of our old plantings tilled under.  Then we’ll work the ground in preparation for our next wave of plantings, which will become the veggies in our late summer and fall shares.  In general, planting has slowed down for the year.  Spring and early summer are usually a rush of planting and weeding, and while we’re still doing quite a lot of weeding, the planting has slowed down considerably in favor of more plant maintenance tasks, such as trellising tomatoes. 

In other news, we had quite a lot of interest in bulk blueberry orders this year!  We are really going to try to service the requests that have already come in, but we definitely have all the orders we can handle, so I won’t be able to add anyone else to the list this year.  


Fred and I were also really glad to be able to take a break from farm work last night and today to visit the Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair!  We were headed down there Friday to deliver veggies to Argus Farm Stop, a store that sources entirely from local farms, and we decided to make the trip into a mini-getaway and enjoy some art and great food in Ann Arbor.  It was a really great time, and now we’re ready to get back to the farm for another week of the CSA!  See you all at the drop-off!


What to Expect in This Week's Share


If you are picking up at one of our traditional style drop-offs (Alma, Mt. Pleasant, or Midland), here’s what the options will be at the different stations.  If you have a half share, you’ll choose one item at each station, and if you have a full share, you choose two items at each station.

  • Carrots or potatoes
  • Lettuce or cucumbers
  • Blueberries
  • Zucchini or leeks
  • Kale, herbs, or microgreens
  • Onion or shallots
  • Snap beans, tomatoes, or beets

If you have a prepacked share (Midland hospital, St. Johns, Lansing, Okemos, or home delivery), here are your options.  If you have a half share, you’ll choose either share A or share B, and if you have a full share, you can choose two of them.

Share A:                               Share B:
Carrots                                 Potatoes
Cucumbers                          Lettuce
Blueberries                         Blueberries
Zucchini                              Leeks
Kale                                     Basil
Onion                                  2 Shallots
Snap beans                         Tomatoes


Recipes


If you're anything like our family, your cherry tomatoes probably don't make it to the day after the drop-off because you just pop them into your mouth like candy.  But if you happen to be looking for other delicious ideas for those wonderful little gems, check out the Best Cherry Tomato Recipes from Epicurious!  Or if you're stuck for carrot ideas, check out Martha Stewart's Best Carrot Recipes!  There's something here for everyone, from the basic to the super fancy, and of course, there's a gorgeous carrot cake too.  Enjoy!

Saturday, July 14, 2018

CSA Newsletter for Week 5

Farm Update


Fred harvests some Little Gem head lettuce for one of
our restaurant customers on Tuesday.
Hi everyone!  It’s been a pretty dry week, but fortunately we got about half an inch of rain the other night, which will help a little bit.  We could definitely use some more, so keep your fingers crossed!  The good news is that when it’s dry, the weeds aren’t as vigorous, so we haven’t had to spend as much time weeding.  We have had to spend quite a bit of time irrigating though, so it’s a balance.  We’ve also seen increased pressure from pests, both of the insect variety and of the small animal variety, because all of the fields around us are so dry.  That makes our crops, which have been irrigated pretty much 24/7 this week, pretty attractive to little creatures who need food.  Here’s hoping for some rain this weekend!

In other news, blueberries are in season!  Many of you were able to get some at the drop-off last week, and we’ll have blueberries in all the shares this week.  We will also have some blueberries available for bulk orders if you’re interested.  They’ll come in 10-pound increments, and it will be $34 for 10 pounds (which comes out to 13 pints).  We don’t know yet how many bulk orders we’ll be able to fill, so I’ve got a list going of people who are interested, and it will be first come, first serve.  So if you want blueberries, let me know how many pounds you’d like, and I’ll put you on the waiting list!

I’m also going to be getting a group text going for our Midland hospital, Lansing, Okemos, and St. Johns drop-offs, so I can let you know when we’ve dropped off the shares.  That way, if we arrive earlier than the stated 4:30 delivery time, you don’t have to wait around that long to pick up your share.  If you’d like to opt in to that text, just send me a text at 517-896-6884 with your name (just in case I don’t already have you in my phone), and I’ll set you up for that!

As always, the CSA season is crazy and hectic, but beautifully vibrant too, and we’re so glad you all are along for this wild ride with us!


What to Expect in This Week's Share


If you are picking up at one of our traditional style drop-offs (Alma, Mt. Pleasant, or Midland), here’s what the options will be at the different stations.  If you have a half share, you’ll choose one item at each station, and if you have a full share, you choose two items at each station.
Carson harvests purple basil for the basil mix in the CSA shares.

  • Zucchini
  • Lettuce, tomatoes, or beets
  • Blueberries!
  • Kale, cabbage, or microgreens
  • Potatoes, cucumbers, or basil
  • Carrots, chard, or fennel
  • Onions, leeks, or kohlrabi



If you have a prepacked share (Midland hospital, St. Johns, Lansing, Okemos, or home delivery), here are your options.  If you have a half share, you’ll choose either share A or share B, and if you have a full share, you can choose two of them.

Share A:                               Share B:
Zucchini                               Zucchini
Lettuce                                 Cherry tomatoes
Blueberries                           Blueberries
Cabbage                               Kale
Cucumbers                           Potatoes
Carrots                                 Carrots
Leek                                     Onion


Recipes



tuscan sausage and kale frittataBaked Zucchini topped with cheeese on a plateIt's that time of year again... zucchini season!  The time when you need lots and lots of zucchini recipes to help you cook through the sheer abundance of that incredibly prolific veggie.  So to add to your arsenal of zucchini preparation ideas, here is a recipe for Easy Baked Zucchini!  Or if you're in a kale rut and want to try something new, try out this Tuscan Sausage and Kale Frittata.  It's perfect for a relaxing weekend breakfast!

Saturday, July 7, 2018

CSA Newsletter for Week 4- Cooking with Farmer Fred

Farm Update


Timmy examines some microgreens in
the greenhouse on Wednesday.
Hi everyone!  It was quite a hot week at the farm!  A lot of our warm season crops, such as tomatoes, are on the verge of being really plentiful!  The downside to all of this hot weather is that many of our cool season crops, like our lettuces, have really been struggling this week.  The dearth of lettuces will likely continue into next week, but the good news is that we will probably begin to have blueberries in the share this week!  They aren’t abundant enough just yet to give them to everyone, but we’ll probably have blueberries for everyone in two weeks!  With all of this hot weather, the weeds are really going crazy, and we’ve been spending a lot of time weeding!  We’ve also been moving our irrigation system around frequently to make sure everything gets watered, which takes quite a bit of time.  All in all, it’s been a pretty labor-intensive week, so we’re hoping for some rain, which will take care of some of our most intensive farm tasks.  Keep your fingers crossed! See you all next week!


What to Expect in This Week's Share


Mary harvests basil for the CSA shares earlier in the week.

If you are picking up at one of our traditional style drop-offs (Alma, Mt. Pleasant, or Midland), here’s what the options will be at the different stations.  If you have a half share, you’ll choose one item at each station, and if you have a full share, you choose two items at each station.

  • Zucchini
  • Potatoes
  • Carrots or broccoli
  • Surprise Veggie!
  • Kale, chard, or fennel
  • Onions, leeks, or kohlrabi
  • Basil, cabbage, or microgreens



If you have a prepacked share (Midland hospital, St. Johns, Lansing, Okemos, or home delivery), here are your options.  If you have a half share, you’ll choose either share A or share B, and if you have a full share, you can choose two of them.

Share A:                               Share B:
Zucchini                               Zucchini
Potatoes                                Potatoes
Carrots                                  Broccoli
Surprise veggie                    Surprise veggie
Kale                                      Chard
Leeks                                    Onions
Basil                                     Cabbage


Cooking with Farmer Fred


Jane, Jessamine, and Timmy navigate the path through the
weeds.  This time of year, the weeds are really tall, so we have
a narrow trail that runs along the coldframes to the front field.
One of the things we especially enjoy about our face-to-face drop-offs is getting to see everyone and chat with you all each week.  We really like talking about the farm, how we grow everything, and how to use the abundance of veggies in the shares.  At the drop-offs we often get the question, “What do you do with this?”  Especially for new members getting used to eating more and different veggies, it can be a learning curve. Over the years I have learned how to cook faster, make really good dishes, and use what we have instead of going to a recipe.  We eat a lot of veggies at our house and use them for all three meals each day. Below I have listed some of the different things that I made this week, in case you’re looking for some inspiration:

Grilled Shrimp with Zucchini, Pearl Onions, Tomato, and Fennel

I take the pearl onions, zucchini, and fennel and cut it into cube(ish) pieces.  I then put olive oil in a pan, and put the veggies and thawed shrimp in a pan and over high heat, stirring occasionally with the pan covered.  I then wait until the veggies are a little soft and then transfer over to the grill, stirring occasionally until I get the amount of grilling that I prefer.  I transfer everything to a bowl and take some fresh cubed tomato and add to the mixture.  Then I add fresh lime juice, chipotle seasoning, salt, and some parmesan cheese to taste. Then mix and serve.

Sauteed Carrots or Beets

This simple recipe is a go-to for part of breakfast at our house. First, take the carrots and cut in half lengthwise, and put in a pan with salt and olive oil and cover.  I cook on high heat at first to get things cooking quickly, then after a few minutes I turn the heat back down to medium.  Wait until soft and maybe a little browned on the sides, then serve.  If I’m making this for a side dish for dinner, I often add rosemary, marigold leaf, or parsley.

For beets I do basically the same process, starting by cutting them into chunks not much wider than 1/3 of an inch.  Often I mix the carrots and beets together.

Kale and Swiss Chard

This is another very basic breakfast dish in our house.  We first fry bacon in a pan, then take the bacon out and put in some chopped kale, chard, or both together with the heat on medium low.  Keep stirring the greens constantly until they take on that darker green cooked appearance, and immediately take them out of the pan so as not turn them into mush.  Then add salt and a little brown sugar to balance the natural bitterness of the leaves.  Very simple, very quick side dish.

Fred harvests microgreens in the greenhouse on Tuesday
 for one of our restaurant customers.
Summer Veggie Plate

This 4th of July in the afternoon around our small pool, we made an antipasto plate of sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, and mozerella.  Next to the plate, we had small bowls with some chopped fresh basil mix, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and salt that anyone could add in whatever portion they desired.  This dish really stands out if the veggies are very fresh, like we had.  This is really easy and really delicious!

Grilled Steak with Bok Choy, Zucchini, Basil Mix, and Fennel with Hoisin Sauce

I chop the zucchini, bok choy, and fennel, and put it in a pan with olive oil, and sautee this mixture until the veggies are cooked through.  Then I take the lid off toward the end.  Keep the veggies cooking a little while after taking the lid off to get rid of excess moisture form the veggies.  You want the veggies to not be dripping, except maybe some of the olive oil.  At the same time, I also grill a steak to my desired pinkness (usually rare) on the grill.  Then I put the steak on the plate and slide the veggies right up next to the steak, covering everything with hoisin and soy sauce to desired taste, and then sprinkle some chopped basil mix all over it.


For us, farming is often hard and uncertain, but one of the consistent benefits of having the farm is all the great food we get to have on a regular basis.  We hope this gives you a few ideas of things to try this week, and that you love cooking with your veggies as much as we do!

Saturday, June 30, 2018

CSA Newsletter for Week 3

Farm Update


The veggies are all set up and ready to go at our Alma
drop-off on Monday!
Hi everyone!  It is certainly a hot weekend!  Fortunately, we got some good strong rain a few days ago, so the ground contained a lot of moisture going into these few hot days.  That will allow the plants to be significantly less stressed than they would be otherwise with these temperatures.  With the heat and the rain, quite a few of our warm weather crops are taking off.  Over the next few days, we’ll see a lot of growth on our cucumbers, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and winter squash, and we’ll likely have a pretty abundant zucchini situation this week!  We’ve started to eat the very first of the ripening tomatoes at home, so we hope to have the first appearance of tomatoes in the CSA shares in the next few weeks as the hot weather speeds them along.  The same weather that encourages such rapid growth on our crops also causes the weeds to go crazy, so we’ll be doing a ton of weeding this week!  The blueberry bushes are also looking really strong and healthy, so it’s likely that we’ll start having blueberries in the shares in two or three weeks!

It’s also been a festive week!  We (mostly) took a break from farm work yesterday to celebrate Fred’s brother Charlie’s marriage to Lexi, the newest addition to the Monroe clan.  Those of you who came to the Midland drop-off on Thursday probably got to meet our kiddos, who joined us at the drop-off while the rest of the family (who normally babysit them while we’re at the farm) were at the rehearsal.  It was a lovely wedding, and we’re so excited to have Lexi in the family!

Speaking of festivities, this Wednesday is the 4th of July!  If you are unable to make it to the drop-off this week due to parties or travel plans, just let me know and we’ll plan on postponing your share.  We are actually moving our regular Wednesday deliveries in Lansing, Okemos, and St. Johns to Friday, July 6th.  Because we deliver prepacked shares in these locations and two of our drop-off spots are closing early on the 4th, and because we heard from so many people that they would be unable to make it on that day, we’re rescheduling the drop-off for the first time ever.  If you’re at one of these drop-offs, you should have received a separate email about this, but just in case you missed it, there will be no Wednesday drop-offs this week!

We are also pleased to announce our new partnership with Full Circle Farms, who raise pastured organic meats in Lakeview, MI!  If you want to purchase any of their fantastic products at their online store, they’ll bring your purchases to us, and you can pick up your items at our regular CSA drop-offs!  They have many different types of meat available whole or by the pound, as well as cheeses, soaps, maple syrup, and other odds and ends.  Check out their website to learn more about their mission and philosophy, and their store to take a look at their lovely products!


What to Expect in This Week's Share


The blueberries are looking good!  They're not quite ripe yet,
but we expect to have them in the shares in a few weeks!
If you are picking up at one of our traditional style drop-offs (Alma, Mt. Pleasant, or Midland), here’s what the options will be at the different stations.  If you have a half share, you’ll choose one item at each station, and if you have a full share, you choose two items at each station.

  • Carrots
  • Beets or cucumbers
  • Spring mix or romaine
  • Basil mix, kohlrabi, or fennels bulbs
  • Kale or Swiss chard
  • Zucchini
  • Radishes, bok choy, or cabbage



If you have a prepacked share (Midland hospital, St. Johns, Lansing, Okemos, or home delivery), here are your options.  If you have a half share, you’ll choose either share A or share B, and if you have a full share, you can choose two of them.

Share A:                               Share B:
Carrots                                 Carrots
Beets                                    Cucumbers
Spring mix                           Romaine
Basil                                     Kohlrabi
Kale                                     Chard
Zucchini                              Zucchini
Cabbage                              Bok Choy


Recipes



recipe active photoWeather this hot calls for recipes that don’t involve standing over the stove or turning on the oven!  If you’re looking for a great way to use your carrots and cucumbers, and like me, you’re slightly obsessed with tabbouleh, check out this delicious recipe for Quinoa Tabbouleh from allrecipes.com!  Or if you’re going to be grilling this week (and that’s almost all of us!  Yay for Independence Day!) throw some zucchini on the grill with this Balsamic Grilled Zucchini recipe!