Veggie Lovers’ Club Week 2 Newsletter

Hi Folks!

What a great first pickup!  I am looking forward to learning all the new names and faces, and I apologize if I should know yours already and don’t– CSA has been a game changer for me, someone who used to struggle with recognizing faces.  Proof that practice truly does make a difference, because I’ve gotten a lot better.  But I’m far from perfect!

The whole crew was along last week, but usually it will be just me (Teri) at the pickup, and so sometimes there gets to be a little bit of a lineup (especially at the start of the pickup, come a bit later if you don’t want to or can’t wait).  It moves pretty quickly most of the time, and weeks when we have lots of mini-market or payments I’ll make sure to bring someone along to help.

Just a reminder that you need to let us know in advance if you are going to be away.  If you miss because you forgot, you forfeit that week’s bag!  We do send the newsletter email on the day of delivery, but please set your own reminders to make sure you make it to pickup.

Bag contents for Week 2 are posted below, and the rest of your newsletter will be completed by Tuesday.

Spoiler Alert: If you would like to keep your bag contents a surprise, you should STOP READING NOW!!

Week 1 Veggie Lovers’ Bag!

The contents of the upcoming week’s bag are subject to change at the last minute, possibly without much notice, depending on harvest. It can be tough to estimate how much of a crop will be available before we actually harvest it freshly for your bag.  So, this posting is meant to give you a good idea of what is in your bag, but just be aware that it may change and we will do our best to let you know if that happens!  At the very least, the posting on the website will be updated prior to delivery with the actual contents for that week, so that you can check that you’ve received everything you are supposed to!

Your Week 2 Veggie Lovers’ Club bag contains:

New Potatoes, 1 lb
Cooking Greens Mix (Kale, Chard, & Spinach), approx 1/4 lb
Peas (Shelling), 1 lb
Radishes, 1 bunch
Sunflower Shoots, small bag
Herb: Baby Dill, a few sprigs!

You can click the links above to view more info about each veggie including recipe & preparation suggestions, season, storage tips, and lots more!

Don’t forget to bookmark our online Veggie Guide so all the veggie info is at your fingertips!

News from the Farm and Teri’s Veggie Lover Tips:
radishesssIf you’re reading this after the pickup going, “where are my carrots?!”, here’s what happened: I posted the contents of the bags on Saturday but we forgot the radishes!  So, we swapped out carrots for radishes this week because carrots are fine to grow for another week but radishes aren’t.  We have a beautiful crop of them right now, and don’t dismiss radishes as just a salad garnish– they are excellent sauteed with garlic scapes and butter, or roasted like in this Roasted Radishes Recipe!
You’ll get carrots soon, I promise!

IMG_9582This week we have Peas from Marcus at Covenant Growers in Winkler.  The past two years we have started buying the majority of our pea crop in from Marcus because the demand for peas is much larger than the pea crop we can grow and pick with our small farm team.  For instance, last Thursday before market we worked all day and finished our market packing by dark… But if we’d had to pick peas, it would’ve added another 10 hours onto the day.  We didn’t have 10 extra hours, so what actually would have happened would be that we’d take 11 bags of peas to the market and they’d sell out in 5 seconds and then the rest of the 4 hours we’d say, “sorry, sold out” to disappointed people over and over and over again.  The other thing that would happen if we couldn’t buy peas in is that you would never get them in your veggie bag.  80 lbs is a lot of peas to have ready all at once and we simply don’t have the labour for it.  So, this is a great partnership, and we pay Marcus a fair price for his peas, which are delivered by his cousin Ravyn who is a BU athlete.  Marcus also grows beans and the best sweet corn I’ve ever tasted: Chances are you may see it in your bag later this summer!  (We grow corn for the raccoons.  We’ve literally never seen one on the property but each year just when our corn is ready, we get robbed at night and it’s all gone.  Either that or we have shitty neighbours (we don’t!!).)

Did you try the butter lettuce wraps last week?  This week you have many of the ingredients for Nova Scotia Hodge Podge, which is not exclusive to Nova Scotia as I’ve heard many folks describe making a very similar version here… But when we first arrived on the East Coast we didn’t know what Hodge Podge was and saw it advertised on all the farm market signs and it befuddled us for a while.  For our website I used a recipe from a farm market there that was only 10 minutes away from the first farm we worked on there in 2012: Wile’s Lake Farm Market.  It’s a little throwback for us to a simpler time when we lived in a chicken coop and didn’t have a baby!

This week you have a cooking greens mixture, which is Chard, Kale, and Spinach.  For a simple sauteed greens recipe, check out this one from Bon Apetit.  A little garlic (or garlic scape!) and lemon makes sauteed greens really pop!  Please wash them first as they are unwashed: they will keep longer this way if you just give them a good rinse before you use them.  Generally, you should have your salad spinner out at all times while you are in a CSA program!  Here’s my spiel on greens: Your greens are NOT ready-to-serve. ALWAYS WASH YOUR GREENS!! We wash at the farm for two reasons: to take the field heat out as soon as it’s harvested and lock in the keeping quality and flavour, and secondly, to get most of the dirt and bugs off. DSC00725The key here is “most of”. No guarantees that you won’t find a bug, some sand, or even a tree seed or two in your salad mix.  Depending on the week, we can be dealing with a very, very dirty product to start with. For instance, if it rains just before a harvest day, we harvest very muddy lettuce that is then soaked in water in the harvest pails for a few minutes, transferred to a second wash sink, and then a third wash sink, and then spun dry, stored in the cooler a couple hours to dry further, and then bagged. In order to say that is “ready to eat”, we would have to do all this in a commercial kitchen with treated water and the final rinse be with a sanitizer product, and also have our farm CanadaGAP On-Farm Food Safety certified. We don’t have the capacity to do that so please wash your lettuce/greens before you serve them! Nothing ruins a salad more than a forkful of grit or a juicy caterpillar. Yuck!  (And PLEASE don’t smile and tell me, “Oh I don’t wash my salad”, because you are the reason we have very complicated lettuce washing logistics at the farm to minimize risk and liability.  Just wash it or don’t tell me about it!)

IMG_9139Not intending to scare you, but it scares me very much to think about someone getting sick from not washing their salad before they eat it, so we transport all of our salad mix crop to Mom’s to be washed in town water.  Other crops we leave obviously dirty to force you to wash it in your kitchen.  If you want pre-washed ready to eat greens I hear that Superstore has a grocery pickup service: If you want fresh from the farm then be prepared to do a little extra veg washing!  Luckily it’s a time when you can be present and enjoy the moment (you know, right before you whip supper together for the kids and hangry hubby, lol!).

Why does everyone call Chard “Shard”?  I don’t get it!!  Also, I’ve intentionally dropped the “Swiss” part from my vocabulary, it really has nothing to do with the vegetable other than some white Swiss guy who thinks he discovered it!

Don’t forget to check out our online Veggie Guide for storage tips for your veggies: Did you know New Potatoes don’t have skins and so they need to be stored in the fridge (or they will turn green and poisonous, no jokes!)!

Things are rockin’ along now at the farm with some rain and all the heat.  It’s been a weird weather year but we’ve done ok with most things.  Drought is one of the hardest obstacles for us right now but things are improving all the time. The war on weeds is still on full bore!  We will soon start our first farm tours of the season and so if you are interested in participating in a tour of our farm this year, please add your name to this list and we will be in touch when we are scheduling tours.  In the past we have had lots of interest but then little attendance and so this year we are trying a different way to try and make the time(s) work for everyone who wants to visit!  The tours will be at Jon and Teri’s Farm near Rivers this year.

Farming with Myrah is often a hilarious adventure.  She is very opinionated and mimics everything that we do, so we have become vigilant about removing the key from the golf cart when we stop, and not picking pansies in front of her (because she then picks ALL the flowers), and weeding is impossible with her because she goes behind and picks them all up and throws them back on the crop.  She loves riding on the tractor with Jon and has headphones for this purpose (Got them at Baby Bump, that’s a great local store!!  They also have great bug spray- “Take a Hike” brand – and Substance brand sunscreen!).  Jon and I were just talking last night about how the outdoors seems like the natural habitat of babies, toddlers, kids.  She has always preferred outside and gets really angry if we won’t let her out (you know, because it’s 40*C with the humidex!!).  I can’t imagine having anything other than a wild & free range farm baby with crazy hair.  She has brought so much joy & laughter to our lives!

That’s it for this week, but please don’t hesitate to be in touch with us if you have anything to share, including recipes!

See you soon, Veggie Lovers!

Teri 🙂

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