Week 3: Eggs!...(for some)
In the box this week, we're continuing with the salad mix, green onions, and sprigs of basil, adding back in the forgotten garlic scapes from last week, and also adding kale. Some lucky CSA members will also get eggs (read on for more on that). Regular pickup is still Eleanor’s parents’ house, 325 Russell St., Madison, WI, Thursdays from 4pm to 7pm (unless we’ve discussed differently with you). If you forget to come pick up your box, it will still be there waiting for you through the weekend inside the house in the fridge. Let us know when you might be able to stop by and we'll make sure it's a good time for Mary and Doug. Here's the veggie preference form for this week.
Pertaining to eggs…
We currently have nine laying hens (who we bought as adult chickens) and ten awkward adolescent chicks (who we got at two days old). In general, chickens will start laying eggs around 20 weeks, and depending on the breed, may give you an egg every day or so. This decreases as the chicken gets older (as in, older than a couple years old). Since our chicks are only about nine weeks old, and some of our ladies are reaching middle age at two years old, our egg production is not at a ridiculously high level, but we do want to include eggs for those who would appreciate them whenever we can, which will probably be once every few weeks (rotating through a few CSA members week by week). As a result, we’re asking you to fill out the egg section of the veggie preference form to let us know if you’d like the occasional 6-pack of eggs or if you already have enough eggs in your life. In future years, we may make this an add-on to the CSA, but this year eggs will be an included part of the box. If you choose to not receive eggs, we will try to bump up your veggie load a bit to compensate.
Now, you may have heard that you don’t need to refrigerate farm fresh eggs, and that is completely true. However, we would recommend refrigerating these. Here’s the deal: when a chicken lays an egg, the egg gets a coating, which is called a “bloom.” This bloom protects the egg from bacteria and is what keeps it fresh when it sits out. The reason why eggs are always sold refrigerated in the US is because eggs are required to be washed before you can sell them in stores here. This removes the bloom, and makes refrigeration necessary. What we’ve read tells us that eggs will keep the longest if they’re unwashed and refrigerated, so that’s what we do. However, if we find a poopy egg that’s about to be packed into a CSA box, we’ll wash it. So, some of the eggs you receive will be washed, some won’t, and all would probably benefit from refrigeration. The more you know!
And in case you were wondering about the state of the chickens, we keep them in a generous fenced in area during the day, and in a secure coop at night to protect them from predators. We tried letting them completely free range in the yard, but they started digging up garlic and crossing the road (I don’t know why…) and we just couldn’t let them do that. They have access to grass, weeds, and bugs to forage, and I give them veggie scraps most days of the week, along with their own ground up eggshells to give them back that calcium (which is good for the hardness of the shells on the eggs they lay, and also helps their muscles contract properly when passing the eggs). They also get soy-free feed.
We’re also planning on building a chicken tractor for the chicks, which we’d love to get completed as soon as possible (if you’re handy and want to come up to help us build it, just let us know!) Chicken tractors are basically mobile coops that give the chickens access to fresh pasture whenever you move it. This is good for the chickens and good for the soil fertility.
In the Box
- Salad mix (lettuce mix, mustard greens, spinach, lamb's quarters)
- Small bunch of kale
- Green onions
- Garlic scape(s) (These are the flowering stalks of garlic plants. We cut them off to force the plant to send more energy into the garlic bulb)
- Sprig of basil
Sauteed kale with garlic
1. Chop as much garlic as you like to taste and set it aside for ten minutes to boost its health benefits. If Brad is making anything with garlic, he'll probably add like a whole head. Other people might add a couple cloves.
2. Chop some kale into bite-size pieces. If you want to destem it, it's easy to just pull the leaf off in one go (though we'll note that the stems are edible, just a bit tougher. If you want to eat them, maybe just cook them a bit first before adding the rest).
3. Heat some olive oil in a pan. Add the garlic and cook for a minute, then add the kale. Season with salt, pepper, and/or your favorite herbs.
4. Cover and cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until the kale is bright green and slightly tender.
Brad's Food Philosophy Corner
Brad shares his reasons for farming, one per week!
A seemingly ever-increasing trend is the move away from physical jobs. Large scale farming is no different. What used to be a profession known for churning out muscular farm kids, now involves manipulating settings on GPS-enabled tractors. Contrary to this, I seek out and embrace the physical exertion of small scale farming.
The value of work that intrinsically involves physical exercise and good health go largely unaccounted for when, as a society, we prioritize and reflect on where we want the future of a given career field to go. Some data suggests that sitting can be as bad for you as smoking, yet those enormous health consequences don’t stop many of us (including me!) from sitting at a desk 40+ hours of the week. Although I’m currently desk-jockeying most of the week, having work that gets me exercising daily is of great value to me. While I have never been great at sticking to exercise routines, I will gladly get up an hour early to run around the farm planting, weeding, mulching, etc.
I am not insensitive to the fact that I am in a privileged position who doesn’t have to do “back-breaking-labor” in unhealthy circumstances in order to pay the bills and if I was, I might have a different perspective. Still, similar to our socio-economic system undermining community and attempting to add it back in (my argument last week), much of the way jobs have “progressed” has undermined our health, forcing us to “add it back in.”