Week 3 CSA newsletter

It was a beautiful week. The nights have cooled, and the days aren’t scorching. It rained, and then again. After a few rounds of blast furnace conditions, we have become heat-hardened, and are unphased by mere 90 degree days. Lightning bugs are sending their morse code dot dash signals in the dusk shadows. Mosquitoes are devoured by dragonflies in the sunlight and whippoorwills in the darkness of night. The breeze keeps the survivors at bay, other than a few that are met by the satisfying snap crackling magic of modern technology – tennis racket bug zappers.

We have a helper this week; California Ava has harvested for the CSA, weeded the corn, mulched the potatoes, and transplanted the fall broccoli and cauliflower. The potatoes look great, the tomatoes plants stretch up and out with promise that we can almost let ourselves believe,

Of course, it’s not all agates and bioluminescence. We planted a row of sweet potatoes in the high tunnel this year instead of okra. We were excited. So were the critters. At first we blamed ground squirrels, and then a rabbit. Even a turkey was a suspect. But it turned out to be our old familiar rodent nemesis; the local vole colony. They’ve eaten twenty-five plants off at the main stem so far, and avoided all efforts to trap them. Every day we count the empty spots, and every day the number grows. I hope they’re enjoying it, because for us it quite sucks; even the silver lining sad … this way, we won’t have false hope all season watching the plants spread and sprawl, only to find vole tunnels right through the sweet potatoes when we go to harvest in the fall.

The weeds … well, I’d say we are in balance. There’s room for both of us in this town, and both the crops and the weeds are thriving. We can’t kill ’em all – weeds or voles. We coexist, setting boundaries where we must, and singing “que sera, sera” where we cannot.

My fingers smell like garlic and my toes are stained with soil. I loved my city life, but I have never missed it since coming out here to the Farm to live in the seasons, on the land, with my people, close to the ground.

It’s wonderful to share the bounty with you all. Speaking of which, here’s …

What’s in Box Three

Salad – Six kinds of lettuce, and some spinach that somehow didn’t bolt in the heat.

Kohlrabi – You either know it, or it’s that weird thing that you are confused by. You could do all kinds of things with it. but for now maybe savor it in simplicity; sliced and eaten raw, with perhaps a little pepper and salt.

Spring Onions – so so versatile. We miss them all winter long.

Radish Pods – Zippy zips! Some milder, some spicier. You could probably sautee them, I’ve heard of them fermented or fridge pickled, but we just eat ours raw. Experiment and let us know what worked!

Kalescarlet and blue curly, dino, and a few leaves that Marty accidentally took off of a broccoli plant

Red Cabbage Microgreens  – color, flavor, nutrients, cool points.

Garlic Chives & Scapes – add the chives to a dish when you’re almost done cooking it (so the delicate flavor remains). Make a salad dressing, like an herb. Can do the same with the stronger tasting scapes.

Week 2 CSA Newsletter

This week, it rained.

This really is the news of the week; we’ve had less than an inch total for all of June, and we had over an inch overnight last night. This is beautiful. The weeds, wilds, crops, and human beans shine vibrant and happy. We’ve been doing pretty well with help from our drip irrigation system, but the dry spell was getting a bit much; one gets disconcerted when the weeds are wilting.

the field this morning

The dry spell was likely a blessing, given that it did end before being a problem; it kept the weeds from taking over everything while we scrambled to get everything into the ground, while juggling a very wiggly 7-month old.

In other news, the 13-lined ground squirrel invasion is being battled, the mosquitoes are no match for the electric tennis racket zapping death bringer, and the annual pilgrimage of potato beetles have incarnated into our field en masse for a quick ticket to their next lives. There are two hens with babies learning the free-range ropes, and good old Gargoyle has performed her traditional death defiance and made a nest somewhere beneath our home with an unknown quantity of eggs. We like her, and support her efforts. The carrots and beets could really use some weeding, if you’re into that let us know. The fireflies, whipoorwills, and deer fawns are in out in force. Ooh and so are the dragonflies, circling and darting about the field and picking of any mosquitoes that dare leave the shadows to approach us. The blood sucker population is waning nicely, although last night’s rain may change that.

It’s a beautiful evening – strong breezes, dappled sunshine, sighing oaks and grasses. I’m going to get out into it and enjoy it now. Hopefully you can, too.

Inside Box Two

  • Salad – A variety of red and green lettuces. Collect all five!
  • Radishes – the right thing to garnish a spring salad with.
  • Spring onions – use in everything. Not desserts. Or ice cream. Unless maybe you’re into that kind of thing I guess.
  • Peas – snacky 
  • Broccoli microgreens – pretend you’re that sneaky wild turkey eating 75 brassica seedlings out of our field? Gobble gobble.
  • Garlic scapes – garlicky goodness. Mince and use as you would garlic.
S-scapes from Wisconsin? You know with Snake Plissken .. ok that didnt work at all. Marty and Steffan; veterans of the processing area

CSA Week 1 News

Well,I thought we had a good plan – the baby would fall asleep in the van ride to deliver the boxes, and I’d be able to write the newsletter while we did the deliveries to the Cities.

Well, you can guess how that worked … Jasper opted for screaming over sleeping, and the newsletter was rather impeded.

the field this morning – lots of littles

So let’s just get this sent out and let the pictures do the talking – and if you scroll past them you’ll find a list of what that mysterious box was filled with.

Inside Box One

  • Salad Mix (Spinach , Red & Green lettuces, Bekana)
  • Radishes – use the greens to make a partial batch of pesto, or combine with the Lambs Quarter in a recipe perhaps.
  • Spring Onions – also have edible greens, mild and good in a salad – or in the pesto you might be making
  • Cilantro – cut this up for tacos. DO IT
  • Lamb’s Quarter aka Wild Spinach – eat the weeds! Delicious, nutritious, and a wild weed that comes on strong every spring. Here are some recipes to try, or just use it in place of spinach in any recipe. Better cooked than raw probably.
  • a Jar of Canned Goodness (either Carrot Cake Jam, Morning Cheer Marmalade, or Rhubarb Jam) – just made with ingredients we grew here … either fresh rhubarb or carrots we harvested last autumn, and have had stored in our root cellar throughout the winter.
  • Sunflower shoots – one of our favorite microgreens to eat at the farm; hopefully you love them too! Try them on just about everything, or just plain by the facefull.

pre-season rumblings

Well. Here we are – back for our 9th season as a CSA farm. Some of you have been with us for this entire time – and a handful of you are brand new. For the old hands, I apologize for the repetition of stuff you’re all-too aware of. For the new, I apologize for the absence of basic info that I neglect to provide. We don’t fancy ourselves professionals … we have learned a bit about how to grow and live in this off-grid little patch, but we both feel a certain revulsion to considering what we do as a “business,” and that does cause certain idiosyncrasies. Hopefully you enjoy them, for the most part.

So. For 18 weeks, we are going to pack you a box of whatever we have been able to grow that week, having made efforts to time and scale our production for maximum variety throughout the season. It’s tricky. We grow in a USDA Zone 3 pocket of land, which means the time in which we have to grow things that are not murdered by freezing temperatures is a narrow and fickle window. We have spent this spring nurturing thousands of tiny baby plants in our little wood-heated greenhouse, defending them against the onslaughts of voles, mice, chipmunks, chickens, wind, and freezing temperatures.

Last week the threat of freezing nights seemingly, finally, passed, and we have been frantically transferring those aforementioned baby plants out into the field to survive under the wide open sky. Soon, we will be packing the first of your eighteen boxes.

The initial boxes tend to be significantly lighter and sparser than the later installments. Although this is because of there are only so many things we can manifest this early in the season, it could just as well be to help you ease into a season of CSA abundance. Growing veggies is a skill, yes – but so is eating them.

We will do what we can to help, but you may falter, lose your bearings, your faith, your very ability to keep your head above the rising waters of unpredictable plentitudes the season’s vagaries may bestow upon us. Do not fall into despair, or wallow in guilt if you let a vegetable go uneaten. We are post-Catholic here in the cult of cabbages.

Anyway.

The CSA is starting soon. Here’s how it goes: every Tuesday, we harvest, wash, and pack your boxes. We also send out two emails: first, one letting you know what time you can expect your box to be ready for pickup at your designated location, and another with a link to the weekly newsletter, which explains what is in your box, along with smatterings of farm photos, ramblings, and tips.

The first CSA delivery will be on Tuesday, June 14th.

In the meantime, we are open to any and all questions, thoughts, photos of pets, or whatever you feel even a mild inclination to send our way. We are in this together, and communication is the core of any relationship.

Here are some pictures from the farm this spring, as we laid the foundation for the season to come:

Welcome back, welcome aboard, welcome to the 2022 Que Sehra CSA. We’re happy to be here with you!

Love, your farmers Gabe & Kristin

Week 18 CSA News: Well-Seasoned

So, here we are at the final box of the 9th season of the Que Sehra CSA!

Well, it was a year, wasn’t it?

2021 was hot and dry; it got better. It was our fourth and final season living on the farm with a child … because from here on out, we’ll instead have children instead. The grass was slow, the market was busy, we had the most tomatoes and the least mosquitoes. Pretty sure this was the first year we’ve ever made it to the final box without having undergone even a single frost – we still have live pepper and eggplants, and only tore out the field tomatoes yesterday.

I dunno. It was a damn good Growing Season, in spite of the difficulties of the blast furnace severe drought – or perhaps, more accurately, because of them. Because we came out the other side, with flourishing crops, abundant harvests, bountiful markets – and the evidence that we were able to do so. And that feels good.

It was a honor to grow for you and with you this season. Growing food for a living might not pay much, but it sure is a wonderful way to make a living. Thank you for helping support our lives under the sun and skies and in the rain and soil.

Hope to see you all at the party!

Inside Box 18

  • Kale Mixscarlet, curly blue, & dino
  • Cutting Celery – this is a strong tasting celery. Chop it finely and use it in soups or other dishes where you’d like assertive celery flavor.
  • Winter Squash (Acorn, Butternut, Buttercup, or Kombocha)– that photo above is our entire remaining squash after packing the boxes today … every year some crops do poorly, this year, the winter squash was one of them. Glad we got some at least!
  • Red Onions
  • Carrots
  • Beets
  • Broccoli – remember the blasted wasteland broccoli from earlier this summer? heh
  • Eggplant
  • Fennel – you probably still have last week’s lurking around. Slice them up and sautee them in butter, is Shareholder Walter’s go-to move.
Kristin harvesting your carrots, gorilla in the midst

living close to the ground