Week 1 is here!
We're keeping busy out on the farm! We thought about waiting until next week to have our first box, but thought a small box this week was doable. Jump to the next section to see what we have or click here to state any preferences!
We are starting to appreciate that we will never be "done" with our farm to-do lists and that this is okay. A lot of what we have been working on this spring has been some much needed infrastructure, which we hope will be in place for a while and make other springs a bit less hectic. This spring's major lessons (although we thought we already had learned these) have been to "not bite off more than you can chew" and always overestimate the amount of time something will take. Both can be seen in the story of our walk-in cooler. A while back we decided we could really use a walk-in cooler to store our produce between harvest and delivery. We don't regret this and with Brad as an architect-in-training, he feels he should really have experience at least building an insulated box (see picture for progress).
In order to finish it with a floor, ceiling, and insulate the walls we need to move our 10 awkward adolescent chicks (see the other picture for how big they have gotten!) who have been kept here as the only non-carpeted cat-free space in our house.
In order to get them out of the room and clean it, though, we need to move the adult laying hens out of the main super-predator-protected coop into a larger fabric shelter they will be sharing with our garden tools until we build them a mobile chicken tractor. In order to do that, we need to assemble/build this shelter. In order to do that, we need to mow and clear the spot it is going to go in. In order to do that, we needed to buy a new lawn mower and assemble that this weekend. And that's how you can set out determined to finish the walk-in cooler a month ago and find yourself "working on it" while underneath a lawn mower with a wrench...
One thing that has had much more linear progress (but is certainly taking longer than planned), is our planting of perennial fruits, nuts and trees along the edge of our property. We'll talk more about that in future newsletters, but in the meantime here's a picture of currants forming on a plant we got from our farm mentors at Hilltop Community Farm.
In the Box
Unfortunately these will start out a little sparse the first few weeks, but we assure you if all the tomatoes and squash we planted produce as they are supposed to, an abundance will follow later!
- Salad Mix (Kale, Mustard Greens, Spinach, Lettuce, Lamb's Quarters)
- Green Onions
- Cackleberries! (Eggs)
Radish/Carrot Quick Pickle
A small recipe for a small box!
- A couple carrots
- A couple radishes
1. Cut up the carrots and radishes however you want (good to get lots of surface area) Sprinkle with salt and put in a close-able container at least a 1/3 bigger than your cut-up carrots/radishes.
2. Dissolve anywhere between a little and a lot of sugar in some warm water.
3. Add about the same amount of vinegar as water to your sugar-water mixture and pour it over your carrot/radish mix.
4. Put the lid on the container and put it in the fridge.
5. Try this pickle relish on a banh mi or other sandwich!
Many of you are aware that we have a free composting add-on to our CSA. Anyone who wants to grab a 5-gallon bucket from us when they pick up their box can bring it home, fill it up, and bring it back to exchange for a fresh bucket the next week (or whenever they remember/fill it up).
Our system is currently a three-parter (see below), but all you need to know is that you can add almost any organic matter to it (with a few requested exceptions) and we will sort through it. Requested exceptions are meat, fish, dairy, oily/greasy foods, any medication or synthetic chemicals.
Our three-part system:
Chickens - the lady birds get our finest fare. Stuff that would be "edible" but not "delicious."
Worms! - thousands of worms live in our basement and turn almost any other compostable stuff into a potent worm poop soil amendment. They'll even eat cotton shirts!
Outdoor "cold" compost - Things that worms don't like or could kill them (alliums (onions/garlic), citrus, high acid foods) and any excess not able to fit into our other categories. We are newbies with this version, but looking forward to making it work!
Brad's Food Philosophy Corner
Brad shares his reasons for farming, one per week!
This is perhaps the most comprehensive and straightforward answer to this "why" question. I enjoy taking a tiny little seed, giving it the right conditions, and watching as it comes to life and produces pounds of food (sometimes with very little help from humans). There is something hard to describe about the enjoyment I get from this. I think it has to do with the life-creating aspect of it and that it is something so fundamental to our species' survival. Currently, most Americans, at least, have quick and easy access to enjoyable experiences (now without commercials, too!). These certainly have value to me, but they seem to be of a different flavor and weight from the enjoyment I get from the cross-cultural and transhistorical experience of stewarding plant growth to provide yourself and others with sustenance. This sort of enjoyment is slow, requires a lot of patience, doesn’t have any guarantees, and requires stepping back and reflecting to really appreciate. It is also, I think, deeper and hits upon something more complex than the enjoyment of, say, a sugar high.