Spring’s Sprung – CSA Newsletter #3

Everyone sings about the first week of summer, but that’s next time – this was the final week of Spring.
random poppy popped up from a seed tray
random poppy popped up from a seed tray
The transition was celestially marked upon Wolf Creek Wisconsin (and elsewhere, less relevantly) by some of the longest daylight hours of the year – an opportunity to work from dusk til dawn in the most productive imaginable manner. This is the kind of holiday Kristin can really get behind, and she worked for damn near 15 hours straight, into the dusk, leading a shifting crew of helpers in a huge push to get all the warm weather crops weeded and mulched. I joined in for the morning and evening – during the afternoon, I helped Jim help us build a deck.
this went up with astonishing speed
this went up with astonishing speed

This mighty edifice will be the base for the screen porch we picked up free off Craigslist 2 years ago – great for hanging out, relaxing, eating at a table like a civilized human, and for surviving berserker biting insect periods.

Speaking of insects, we squished many more bugs this week in the field. We’ve specialized into different prey; Kristin took out squash bugs and cucumber beetles, while I began the hunt for squash vine borer eggs and popped hundreds of loathsome potato beetle grubs (and a dwindling number of the full grown crunchy adults).

enemy sighted: potato beetle larvae
enemy sighted: potato beetle larvae

It was another week of good help and lots getting done.

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We had a kick butt new WWOOFer (Sarah and her smart pup, “Kingsbury” … named after the town she got him in – and where we met her in over the winter) and friends and family joining forces with us to stay ahead of the bugs and weeds and weather.

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Saturday was the first farmers’ market we’ve gone to this Spring – by waking up around 5:00 we had time to arrive early, after harvesting, washing, drying, weighing, tying, bagging, and packing everything up.

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Today’s harvest went smoothly, after a scrambling start to get all the various leafy greens harvested before the sun started hitting them – this maintains peak fresh flavor, but requires some real hustle at a time most of us would much rather be hitting a snooze button. After being taken from the ground, we put the harvested goods into our three vintage chest freezers – these are not powered, but serve as giant coolers. On harvest days we stock them with bottles of ice, which we keep in a chest freezer that our lovely neighbors let us run in their barn. If they’ve been out in the sun, we hydro-cool most crops as quickly as possible after harvest, by soaking them in our chilly well water. This slows entropy and preserves freshness by pulling out the “field heat” – which would otherwise start breaking the tissue down quickly after being picked.

the high tunnel cactus experiment is going well.
the high tunnel cactus experiment is going well.

The hydrocooling doubles as a washing – we swish things around in the cold water, removing the worst of the sand and soil, and then dry it back out – some greens such as kale and chard are shaken off, while salad greens go through the big restaurant salad spinner. After washing and drying, it’s back into the coolers, until it’s time to separate, weigh, bag, box, etc.

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We had a solid team working (Steffan, Jim & Deb, Neighbor Marcia, and WOOFers Sarah & Nora), so we stayed ahead of time, with a leisurely lunch break and a languid departure .. and writing that, I realized that we accidentally took a CSA share will us that was supposed to be picked up at the Farm!

Sorry Paul, we’ll keep it chilled and bring it to you in the morning … and here’s what will be in it:

BOX #3

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  • End of Spring Salad Mix Lettuces, arugula, mache (corn salad), pea tips, baby beet greens, mizuna, and sunflower greens.
  • Turnips & Turnip Greens – Some are mild and good to eat raw, others have a radishlike spice, which you can cook out of them if you’re not into that.
  • Peas (Sugar snap and snow pea mix) – Two types – the sweeter, plumper pods, as well as the flatter snow peas. Both types are edible raw and plain, or can be cooked – great for stir fries. Some people “de-string” them before eating by pulling off the fibrous string on both sides. I just chew em up myself!
Widget & Kristin trellising up the climbing pea plants
Widget & Kristin trellising up the climbing pea plants
  • Braising Greens Mix (Swiss chard, Collards, Dino kale, Red Russian kale, and Curly Blue kale) –  a mix of large greens that you cook! Some folks cut out the bg stems, others dice the stems up fine and the leaves chunkier.

  • Cilantro – God I love this stuff. Hated it as a kid, thought it tasted like soap – but now I want to fill my whole taco with it.

  • Dill – Kristin made a very tasty salad dressing by chopping up some dill and adding it to vinegar with salt and pepper early in the day, and then oil just before serving.  OR you could put it on a potato. Or eggs. Ya know.

  • Broccoli – large shares only (very limited supply due to that damn May 15th Freeze )
Another beautiful week – lots of work, and so so much to be grateful for!
okra flower
okra flower
rebuilding the rocket stove grill that the bear destroyed
rebuilding the rocket stove grill that the bear destroyed
the bears kept their distance this week. I think the siege may have ended with Spring
the bears kept their distance this week. I think the siege may have ended with Spring
green croaker on the greenhouse crank
green croaker on the greenhouse crank
Ace cools off with the tadpoles
Ace cools off with the tadpoles
WWOOFer Sarah cuts hair!
WWOOFer Sarah cuts hair!
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Potato flowers (yeah, they do flower and even fruit, sorta)
Potato flowers (yeah, they do flower and even fruit, sorta)
Facebook informed us that this is a "Strawberry Moon" - said to coincide with the first strawberries. I usually don't much care for the many rare and special moons, but this was kinda neat since did find the first ripe strawberry on that very day before I read about it
Facebook informed us that this is a “Strawberry Moon” – said to coincide with the first strawberries. I usually don’t much care for the many rare and special moons, but this was kinda neat since did find the first ripe strawberry on that very day before I read about it …

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