About your Veggies

Good Morning Veggie Lovers!

Reminder that this is a payment week, if you chose to pay in 3 or 4 installments.
For the Brandon 24 week the payments are $200 (3) or $150 (4)
For the Brandon 14 week the payment is $127 (3)
For the Rivers 16 week the payment is $140 (3)
(If you chose 2 payments, your next one is due the first pickup in September).

Coming in the Veggie Lovers Club farm share bags on August 2 (Brandon) and 3 (Rivers):

Carrots, extra large bunch
Peas, Shelling (peas in the pod) 1 lb: 4A Farms, Winkler
Green Garlic, bunch
Fennel, 1 head
Leaf Lettuce, 2 heads, Red & Green

If you’re not sure what the heck to do with fennel, check out the entry in our Veggie Guide about it! I share the recipe that made me love it, Fennel Orange Salad. Fennel is a very aromatic veggie that tends to enhance whatever flavour you pair it with. So even if you just chop it and add it to a salad, it’ll add a fresh flavour and a nice crunch. And don’t waste those tops! They can be used in salad dressings, to flavour soups or stocks, or try this fennel fronds pesto recipe.

Peas! These come from 4A Farms in Winkler.
We won’t have any more for a couple weeks, and we have some left that I’ll bring to the pickup tonight in case you want to pick up some more. The uptake on peas wasn’t great this week and so we can’t justify driving to pick any more up for at least a couple weeks. In the bigger picture, now that we’re not doing markets we hope to just grow more of these kinds of crops ourselves and avoid having to outsource.

Jon says my carrot bunches this week are at least twice the size of a standard bunch. I say, Good! We’re happy to get you a generous portion of carrots, finally! They are still on the small side (most of them), and we’ve now used up about 10% of our plantings.

Cabbage, Onions and Carrots in the field

Carrots are a tough crop mainly because of the weeding and timing of weeding. If they get weedy at the seedling stage they can be easily overtaken. They’re at the seedling stage at the busiest time of our season and so it can be tough to make sure we get to it, as well as all the other planting and seeding we are doing then. We have a system for weeding them as soon as possible weekly with a hoe, and then picking the weeds from the row twice before harvest. We did pretty good on weeding this year, but only have 3 sets of staggered beds (9 rows each). There is a spray that other vegetable growers use, it kills everything but carrots — As fun as that sounds sometimes, I prefer to skip the chemicals and do it with love and my labour.

You’ll want to pop those carrots off their tops when you get them home and store them in a plastic bag or container. You may find some dirt in the middle of the bunch, they were big and hard to wash! We give carrots as a bunch because we can bunch them in the field and it’s an easy format to wash, and then we can skip weighing & bagging. The tops can also be used to make a pesto, and one of our members adds them to her salads. They taste like carrots, but stronger. If you’re really into “root-to-stem” eating, try this sauteed carrot tops recipe! (also, you have permission to chuck them and move on with your life! Or leave them with me at the pickup spot and I’ll compost them for you.)

Green Garlic is garlic that hasn’t been cured yet. In this case, it’s also from a row that I planted last fall of garlic that didn’t fully mature and form heads. They had started to form cloves inside, but hadn’t separated and so I re-planted a row of them and they came up as clumps this spring (as I had expected they would). I did this intentionally so we could let our large garlic grow, but still have some garlic to sell and eat until it was ready. We will be doing our garlic harvest in the next week or so, and it looks good so far. I’ve been worried about how wet the field is all season, so I hope it isn’t affected and still cures well. We are sourcing our seed from somewhere that had better growing conditions than we did this year, as garlic is very susceptible to disease, and my heart tells me not to re-plant ours this year. Only time will tell: we hope to have a good crop this year, and it looks good so far!

I keep cringing a bit and asking, “tired of lettuce?” at the pickup, and across the board I’m hearing, “Nope, I love salads!”. So, I hope that is the case for all of you! If you’re tired of lettuce I’ll try to have some good trade options today. This week’s lettuce is just a couple heads, and they’re not huge. Lettuce still attached to the core like this lasts far longer than lettuce mix, so if you don’t eat it right away it should keep at least a week, or two.

Eventually we won’t have any lettuce, and we are going to start having some gaps when we don’t have any available.

Coming up soon in your bags are the summer crops: They got the message that it’s August, and time to hurry the F up! Cucumbers are starting to be on in a bigger way, and zucchini is going now. Eggplant, celery and peppers are coming too. Basil looks amazing for next week. Cabbage is weeded and has no excuse not to grow anymore (it’s been really behind this year!). Tomatoes and corn (grown by my Dad Paul) are on track for later this month. There are melons, but I don’t know if they’ll make it. Pray for them, and for the squash! Jon did a bunch of seeding last week after we flipped some beds, so there will be some fall radishes, arugula, spinach, if the weather cooperates. I’ll keep you posted!

Farm Update:

I spent more time at the beach than on the farm this past weekend, which was awesome! Every Thursday and Friday I wake up intensely grateful that we don’t have to prepare and execute the Friday market. We only have about 70% of our fields planted this year due to the spring flooding, and find that’s all we can really manage anyway. It’s working out really nicely to have the CSA, plus the orders from CSA members and the public order option on Wednesdays. I thought we would have to keep doing markets forever, and I’m so happy that we don’t. I love them, but I’ve been at it for 22 years in a range of different places, and I’m just done with it.

This weekend we went horseback riding (Myrah’s first time) at Lucky Break Ranch.

I was never a horse girl, and in fact I’m really just afraid of them, and she wasn’t that into them, either. I think had Jon been there she may have found the horses more interesting! At least we went with friends, so there were lots of people to take turns riding.

We got some more visits with our friends who live in Texas this weekend, and then they headed home. Today my Auntie Joan arrives in Manitoba from The Netherlands! We are really looking forward to spending some time with her over the next couple weeks.

We added a new life to the farm yesterday! Some hens went broody and Jon put some eggs under them. 21 days later, we have a little peeper in the henhouse! Hopefully a few more have hatched overnight or will today. This is our first time hatching our own chicks.

Spud the duckling is doing well, growing quickly and moved into a new house on Sunday. I hate keeping him in a jail cell for his own safety and I look forward to the day he can fly away from the farm and be independent. Until then, he’s pretty funny and nice to have around! We installed a couple pools in his yard, and he spends all day swimming.

He is less fun at 10 pm when I’m trying to get him to go inside for the night! He has grown a lot and I can barely catch him now.

I hope you had a great long weekend, and I look forward to seeing you tonight at the pickup!

Teri 🙂

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