Weekly Share May 8th – 14th
Butterhead & Oakleaf Lettuce
Flowering Brassicas or Mustard Mix
Here it begins, our 26 week 2017 CSA season. This is Tomten Farm’s 6th season and we are excited to be growing food for you all, your families, and anyone else you might be feeding. We are humbled by your constant support of our farm, Many of you have been with us for many years, since the beginning or close to it. We are humbled by your vcontinued support and enthusiasm for our food. For those of you just joining us, welcome. Please use these posts and the recipes included below to learn a bit more about us, what we do, how we do it, and various ways to use more produce. We like to share details about our trials and successes throughout each season so we can bridge the gap between growing food and eating it.
This Spring has gotten warm very early. Since February we have had these warm stints and our last frost was earlier than in past years. This means most crops have grown faster than usual, whether its starts in our greenhouse or crops out in the field. Many of our quick succession crops such as arugula, salad mix, radishes, and salad turnips, have come on substantially earlier than expected and so our timing for the past 6 weeks has been a bit off, meaning we are harvesting things a bit larger than intended and we have a ton and then all of a sudden not enough. It has also meant that both squash, tomatoes, and our early grain corn got planted 2 weeks earlier than usual. Each successive crop of nightshades (eggplant, peppers, tomatoes) has grown with breakneck speed in our greenhouse, so if our soil dries out quickly we will be planting 1500 plants in the next week. For you this means Summer crops may come to you a few weeks earlier than in past years; but with our weather you never know what is going to happen.
We are planning some big infrastructure projects on the farm this year. We are doing a complete overhaul of our irrigation system; which includes digging a new well. We invested in some new equipment this past Winter, making our field cultivation, bed preparation, and stale bedding more effective. These methods help us manage weed pressure and keep our crops from drowning whenever we get torrential rains; which happens more than we could ever expect. We are also looking at using more beneficial insects to combat some of our pest pressure. This past Fall we released lacewings and lady bugs which we bought from a beneficial insect company to combat aphids and we saw great results. We were surprised when early in the Spring we saw enormous hatchings of lady bugs out in the fields, so perhaps the population is naturally reproducing. Over this coming year, we hope to get more involved with using beneficial insects for various pest pressure; which from early estimates looks like it will be a very difficult pest year. These are just a few of the things we are working with right now. Farming is a constant evolution and learning process, no time to idle.
There are lots of tender greens in this week’s share. The lettuces are delicious and loving this weather. They are great paired with the spring radish or turnip with a simple dressing of minced green garlic, soy, ginger, rice vinegar, salt, splash of sesame oil, and olive oil. The kale and arugula are voluminous and can be used either cooked or raw. We are including the first of our flowering brassica or mustard greens; both great quickly wilted and paired with your favorite protein and rice. The green garlic came on very early this year, so this may be our last week bringing it to market. We are giving you all a substantial amount and it will keep for a while in a bag in your crisper. If the outer greens yellow, just peel a layer down. You can use both the white and green parts; just cook the green a bit more as it is not quite as tender, somewhat like using a leek. Please enjoy this once per season treat. Below we have included some recipe ideas to inspire delicious meals with this week’s share items. We are excited to begin this season with you all. Enjoy the share…..Autumn and Brian
All Photos courtesy of Alexis Courtney
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