Category Archives: CSA

Week One CSA Newsletter – 2024

Here. We. Go.

OK. So. By the time you read this, you guys will probably already have your hands on the box of stuff that we brought into the world for you. But at the moment, I’m in the van with the family – the boys, the boss, the Widget, on our way into the Cities to deliver them.

The season has started out well. After three years of drought, lasting right up through this barren winter, somebody turned the sky water back on. It started raining in April. I wasn’t relaxing – last April was raining too – right up until we needed it; the drought set the day after we planted hundreds of little trees, and then deepened as we started planting our crops. By summertime, even the quackgrass was brown and crispy beneath our feet. The drought sunk into my brain. We adapted.

So this year, I’ve been continually surprised when the rain falls, again, and again, in non -trivial amounts, The mosquitos rejoiced. The dragonflies returned. The woods filled in in a thousand shades of crayola green, and we awakened the idle lawnmowers with wrenches and starting fluid and swear words.

So I dare believe it and even say it aloud: it rains here now. Our daily irrigatory rituals are now limited to the insides of the greenhouses. We have learned to find other things to do with all the available time.

As a result. the field looks pretty darn spiffy: neat and mulched and not like a bowl of dust at all. Sure, the voles and the cut worms are omnipresent, reveling in their robust populations coming out of the balmy winter – but the rain’s positive powers are far mightier.

Oh, and the deer. Last year they were desperate to get inside to sup upon the crops, which were among the only plants in town that had been receiving the nourishment of water. This year, not one has come in.

Of course, we are not lulled into complacency. The deer will return, sooner and later and in between,. But Kristin got a grant, and we got paid to build a great defensive wall. Well, a fence, but a mighty fence, eight feet tall and built to keep out any critter larger than 2″ in diameter.. (So also great for preventing the roving chicken squad from tempting death by angering the farmer).

It’s a game changer. Or a Level-Up, as the grant was entitled. I’ll get better sleep, not responding to the endless motion sensor alarms, and the plants should fare much better, not being devoured regularly by the voracious beasts.

beautiful & beneficial

Here’s some of what we’ve thus been able to put into your box this week:

Week One – Inside the Box

Sorry, I didn’t get pictures this week of this stuff …

  • Salad Mix (lettuces, arugula, pea shoots, tat soi)
  • Green Onions – the tops and the bottoms are all delicious. The bulb is more pungent, the greens, more mild.
  • Green Garlic – these too – but the tops are more fibrous, so you’ll want to chop em up, similar to celery.
  • Radishes – It was a tough year for radishes – the cut worms had a stronghold in their row it seems. Another one with edible greens – great for pesto, or chopped roughly and sauteed with garlic and salt and lemon juice, perhaps. The radishes are awesome straight and raw but perhaps even moreso when fried or roasted.
  • Pea Shoots – Top your stir fry, sandwich, or whatever.
  • Mountain Mint -Tastes like peppermint, kinda. We’ve found it delicious in tea. I hear it makes nice mojitos too.
  • A Canned Good – probably grape jelly made from the infamous Neighbor Marcia’s vineyard, but maybe something else as demanded by your dharma.

That’s all for now. Hope you enjoy!

Week 17 CSA Newsletter

I spent the drive to The Cities trawling through our Year One CSA Newsletters on Facebook, posted a full decade ago. Memory Lane was quite a trip. The decade that has passed since then has somehow gone by as quickly as this whole season has. We’ve had seemingly infinite experiences in that time, which somehow elapsed in almost no time at all. Ten years ago, we didn’t have irrigation, greenhouses, indoor cooking, or gray hair. But Deb and Jim were steadfastly there helping through the harvests and the celebrations and the growing pains, and Widget ran by our side. A lifetime ago and just around the corner.

It was beautiful. I love having all these weekly missives to look back on – love letters from the foundational past, reminding us what it was, who we were, what we were, how and why we did,

After ten years, we have learned a bit. We’ve learned not to panic over every inevitable, unavoidable, unpredictable setback – learned that we had been wiser than we’d known back when we named our farm after the importance of finding peace and finding flow with our limited abilities to control, to even predict.

This was the worst year of drought we have ever faced on the farm. There was so little rain, so much heat, and wildfire smoke that made us sick. The spring crops fighting to emerge were set upon bu hordes of ravenous critters what found little to forage from the unirrigated woods around us. It seemed bleak at times, but we did what the years have taught us to do, and focused on all that survived and even thrived in spite of it all, and by the end of the season we were laughingly cursing our abundance problems, and this week it even finally really rained.

This year, some crops did poorly. Others flourished. We ourselves struggled here, and blossomed there, and overall were quite glad for the experience.

All year you have been making meals with what we have lived to grow on this Little Farm on the Barrens – the bounty that we wrested from the drought, the sand, the heat and the critters and the vagaries of weather and fickle fate.

In a very real way you’ve made this life we’ve lived possible, and for that, gratitude comes easy. The rewards of living close to the ground have been amplified and clarified as The Boys have begun to grow into their selves, profoundly shaped by the Farm and its rhythms.

Today I am a little bit sad, because the weekly CSA harvest cycles ends for another year, and although it will be less work, less hustle and strain, I will miss it; I like the weekly cadence of the harvest season, and I love to see the sprawling labyrinth of labor and love neatly condensed into colorful cardboard cornucopias …

“resilience” 2023 – thrived through the challenges .. it’s a blessing to learn that we can do so

Thanks y’all, It’s been a lovely year.

Inside Box 17

  • Tomatoes – we really tried to fill the available space in your boxes with ripe, varied, perfect tomatoes. Note that one variety that’s really hitting this week is pink, not red, when ripe – if you wait for them to turn crimson you’ll be sad. Most of the tomatoes are ready to eat now but should also keep fine on the counter for several days. If you have too many, freeze them!
  • Potatoes – POTATO LEEK SOUP!
  • Leeks – did I mention POTATO LEEK SOUP?
  • Brussels Sprouts and Greens (unless you’re Bree who hates them)– this is the part where you know your farm is organic … cabbage looper moths/caterpillars also love hot dry summers. We fought hard to get these tattered li’l guys to you – the holes are their badge of no pesticides and survival against the odds. The greens are the tender tops of the plants – if you roast the sprouts, toss these in too (after a bit, because they’ll cook faster), or use elsewhere like tender kale or collards.
  • Carrots – the carrots in the box come in different colors, but beware – none of the are white. Those white things are:
  • Daikon Radishes the not-carrots in the carrot bag

  • Sweet, Sweet Peppers
  • Sage – there are few scents so autumnal. You very well might use it with those potatoes and leeks
  • Winter Squash (A tetsukabuto plus either a delicata or a Jester Acrorn Squash) – Eat the little one first, but put the larger green one (the tetsukabuto) aside in a cool park place for a few weeks, or more – the starches slowly convert to sugars making it much tastier, later.

The farm party is coming – on the 8th. If you;’re reading this, I reckon you’re invited and we would love to see you there. It won’t be hot with wasps and lady beetles everywhere, and it won’t be cold and snowy.

We’ll have a bonfire, and some good tunes and good pizza. You can chat with other good humans and with us and with our Boys, and see the field and the greenhouses and the woods and the array of shacks and shanties that we call Home.

We’ve made it around the sun again; let’s celebrate the cycle together.

Week 16 CSA Newsletter

I almost literally cannot believe that next week is the final week of the CSA season. I mean yeah – 17 weeks is one shorter than we used to do, but it’s not just that – one more week would barely blunt my surprise. It still feels like summer. It still feels early. I’m not ready – for the transition toward winter, for our snowbird flight, for wood stove and wood piles, snow load supports and snow blowers. We haven’t even gathered leaves yet … I guess I’m getting ahead of myself. Phew.

But yeah, Nature is really driving home the transition feels lately – the fall colors are intensely peaking (sorry we suck at taking pictures this year), and over this weekend we had a long, slow soaking – four inches worth of rain., That’s more than we had in all of July, or June & August combined. Better late than never for sure; it un-cemented the carrots and potatoes, gave soothe and succor to our elderly and baby trees – and the salad bed row found it really peaceful and safe, as you can taste.

Tomatoes by the dozens were dissected, boiled, smashed, flavored, boiled more, and sealed into airtight glass containers in a pressurized, repressed metal shell.

We just got to our destination and I gotta go and Dad.

We hope you enjoy the food: it was a beautiful week growing alongside it.

hdhdhdh

Inside Box 16

There are no cherry tomatoes in the box.

  • Wasabina Mustard Greens – if you want to eat these raw, toss with a vinegarette for improved texture. Otherwise, sautee with some onion, garlic, maybe some ginger. They’ve got zip – note thje Wasabi in the name!
  • Onions
  • Butternut Squash
  • Potato Medley -great for roasting!
  • Fennel – would go great sauteed with the peppers, perhaps served with sausage – or, you can just eat it raw!
  • Ground Cherries
  • Salad Mix – I think this is one of the most mild and tender salad mixes we’ve managed to get out of our field! Not an easy accomplishment in this soil and climate, I’m proud of the little things.
  • Tomatoes – Amazing to have such pristine abudnance this late into the season.
  • Sweet Red Peppers – another silver lining of the drought. Wow.
  • Broccoli Microgreens

CSA Newsletter – Week 15

First, let’s remind one another about the 10th annual fall farm party, yes? There will likely be fire, and there will be kids. We could bust our the bocce ball set, or the metal 55 gallon drums, or anything else – if you’re thinking something sounds fun, let us know. There will be music on in the background, and great fresh wood fired pizzas, and a bunch of interesting, quality humans having a good time (I hope). Bring drinks if you want. Or dessert. Or whatever you’re feeling like.

You can bring good people too. The pizza will be free-will donation, and we usually provide some drinks although bring your own if you’ve got preferences.

Then, let’s look at some photos from the week:

Now lets see what Otis has to say about the week: and try to transcribe what she says when asked for comment on the week:

no comment

Inside Box 15

  • Salad Mix – tat soi, arugula, assorted lettuce
  • Tomatoes – The tomato tsunami has not abated, quite yet. Many tomato sandwiches are in order; pro tip: microgreens make good traction control between slippery slices and mayo.
  • Cherry Tomatoes – these little devils are slowing down, and I’m not sad. Maybe I’ll regret that this winter or something but for now, I’m only glad.
  • Sweet Peppers – this might have been our best year yet for sweet peppers – I think it was likely due to the incredible drought and heatwaves. So there’s another silver lining for growing through this madness.
  • Jalepenos – the green ones; only they are spicy (the reds and yellows are all the sweets.)
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Purple Potatoes
  • Kohlrabi – these are underrated and little known, but most of you have been on this ride for years. If you need help, we’re only an email away.
  • Radishes – French Breakfast & … other, round red Radishes maybe they’re named “Rover
  • Pea Shoot Microgreens – the afore-mentioned tomato sandwich traction control – or, I asked the AI for some ideas on different ways to use these, and it suggested this:

nevermind here’s this guy instead

Week 14 CSA Newsletter

I told you Autumn was coming! Hard to believe we were roasting hot so recently, as we wake up in the dim misty mornings thinking about multiple comforters and firing up the wood stove, but here we are.

The leaves are starting to change colors, the tomatoes are slowing down, and the mice are trying to start nests alongside our own. Thoughts of winter plans are intensifying, moving from vague notions to anxious 3 am ponderings, bullet point lists, and tentative Google-mapped routes.

Looks like we might return to Habitable Spaces in Texas for part of the journey, where they are also feeling the gavel of climate change – with weeks of triple digit temperatures throughout their summers now, they will be breaking ground rather literally, as they explore building structures buried down into the ground, in search of a more sustainable cool than stick built and air-conditioned structures dependent upon an increasingly unreliable and expensive electrical grid. Perhaps we can have Widget help us …

And really driving it home …. today during the harvest we covered up the sweet pepper plants with row cover fabric … because there’s a good chance it could frost before tomorrow’s dawn.

The season’s end is in sight – and so we did finally decide on a date for the 10th Annual Farm Party … Sunday, October 8th. Wandering Fire will be catering the gathering with wood-fired, free-will-donation pizzas, and I’m sure we will have a bonfire, and a crowd of good human beings with which to mingle and conversate.

As usual, it’ll be laid back and casual – feel free to bring a dish or a drink to share if you’re inspired, or just yourself and your posse, there will be plenty to enjoy. More info to follow, or feel free to ask questions or make suggestions!

My dad and his wife are here visiting this week, so that’s all I’m gonna write for now.!

Shirley found a lovely Chicken of the Woods & Dad got the largest Lobster Mushroom I’ve ever seen!

Have a beautiful week!

Inside Box 14

We got everything boxed up today just before the rain came on … good for the salad row, if not ideal for the row cover’s frost-prevention powers.

  • Summer Squash / Zucchini – the summer squash have given up the ghost now, although a few zucchini soldier on.
  • Cherry Tomatoes – grandma Deb & Kristin have both been enjoying this recipe and website, maybe you will too!
Canuck Wwoofer Paul harvesting your cherry tomatoes
  • Tomatoes – We’re gonna miss these soon enough, but for now they’re still giving me logistical fits. Definitely slowing down though.
  • Parsley
  • Mint & Mountain Mint – Mountain mint plants are not the same as true mints; they belong to a different family, but they can be used like true mints.
mint, mountain mint, and parsley
  • Shallots
  • Cabbage
  • Sweet Peppers – we’re loving these – there’s a chance we will be covering the plants up tonight to save them from the potential frost we’re facing … don’t tell the cherry tomatoes, which are gonna be on their own.
  • Apples – with the drought they’re runty and misshapen, but we’re happy to have them on the trees we planted. Some are Honeycrisps and some are Red Barons. The lumpy skin is just a cosmetic flaw – they’re tasty and normal inside.
  • one Cayenne Pepper – it’s the long red one, and yes it’s hot.
  • Radish Microgreens – elevate and zip up anything with a sprinkling of these on top