CSA Week 10!
Well, this farm is exploding. We are experiencing the August abundance, and in so many different respects. It has felt like a slog to get here this season but the farm and the growers are both in good places. As I mentioned last week, Genica and I have implemented a sort of self-imposed professional development action plan recently which has involved reading books and devouring the Farmer to Farmer podcast. We both felt that we needed to delve a little deeper into what conditions produce exceptionally healthy plants, what kinds of practices are successful on our scale, how can we improve efficiency, and most importantly, how do we treat our greatest asset here: the soil. In all the growers we are hearing about one common denominator rings true through all, that farming is about experimentation, observation in patience, reaching out to people with knowledge, and occasionally messing things up to grow well. And each operation is unique! What functions perfectly well in the Salinas Valley of California probably will not work well in the hills of Hyde Park. So experimenting, observation, and learning are so key in creating location based success. Because let’s be honest, the entire system is taking a seed, putting it in the earth, feeding it, watering it, and then waiting, and then eating it - that sounds like pure magic when you step back - and with all the various microscopic activity, biological relationships, and necessities for that plant to be healthy and produce, there are unlimited opportunities for learning.
This is all to say that I have now grown vegetables in three different locations which is extremely uncommon in the farming world. Some of you have been with Naked Acre for all three locations! Every time I began learning about a place, it seemed like it was time to move on. But now being planted literally and figuratively in our home in Hyde Park, we can really take our learning to a new level. And Genica and I are so excited about the future here and what possibilities exist just over the temporal horizon. We start talking about all the things and we start stumbling over each other, interrupting, adding on to each others thoughts, tangential rambling, and we go on and on with a fiery excitement. In our learning about this place so far, this August by far has outweighed all my previous seasons in many respects. For one, I have never battled grass as a weed like I have here which will be an ongoing struggle. But most importantly, as I was harvesting yesterday, I was able to experience that beauty and abundance of the farm. Typically I am my own best critic, but yesterday I could honestly say that what was coming out of the field was to date the highest quality I have ever produced. As we grow in relationship with this beautiful piece of land, I feel unendingly optimistic about what we will be able to produce and how our lives will be shaped as we learn. And that makes me infinitely happy.
Oh, and we had some visitors here this week. We received a Produce Safety grant last year from the Vermont Agency of Agriculture and some representatives came out to the farm to conduct an interview and a brief multimedia piece on our farm. Be on the look out for a video coming soon. Plus, they had a drone and we were able to see the farm as never before. I can’t wait to see the final product!!! Here is a link to Genica’s Instagram post.
On to the share!
I have to say, this week was a good one for veggies! We have:
a bunch of Swiss chard - some people love, some people are learning to love. Eat it raw or add it to your favorite sauté dish. I’m in the learning camp but it sure is pretty.
2 heads of lettuce - butterhead and oak for all your salad needs
Arugula - we have changed up our mixed greens production protocol due to some soil issues earlier in the season and oh boy, its amazing what a few changes can produce. Arugula is a personal favorite and when there is leftover from harvest, it goes straight into our fridge. I eat it raw, add it to sandwiches, combine with the lettuce for a nice salad. So good.
a bunch of carrots - approaching horse size but the flavor is all there.
tomatoes - this is not that last time you will see them. They are going strong
2 pounds of new potatoes: red gold, red norland, and purple viking. One member was going to make French fries out of them for their young boy. Make sure you keep an eye on that frying oil.
summer squash and a yellow zucchini (or a green one because I ran out) - who is sick of summer squash?? No one?! You want more next week you say?! Ok well that can be arranged.
a pound of Shishito peppers - these guys are so productive this year. Shishitos are a Japanese sweet pepper - they are not hot. They can be eaten raw seeds and all, or what we do is cut the stem off and throw a bunch of peppers in a pan with oil and butter, fry them for a minute and add salt and pepper. Thats it. They are delicious!
and lastly - a bunch of Hakurei Salad turnips. I was so pleased to put these in the share. They are a personal favorite in the turnip/radish class. Tender, buttery, meaty, mild. They are so good eaten raw, alone or in a salad. Might I suggest the head lettuce, arugula, turnips, and tomatoes for a delicious summer salad?
Thank you all for an amazing, challenging, exciting, summer so far. I hope you have a great week and enjoy the veggies! Here is some veggie porn for your viewing delight.