It is still May and we are underway with our first harvests for CSA this week. The sun has decided to show itself after a week of cold clouds and and all of us a really excited to start harvesting a week ahead of our planned date. This is our tenth year farming at Crystal Spring and the first time we have started before June!
Slow is Good
This slow spring has taught us quite a bit about the effects of stress on plants by way of erratic temperatures. After a decade of growing for CSA here we have a good handle on the dates we need to plant our first crops by to expect a harvest the first week of June. In the past ten summers we have started on time most of those years and in the other years by the second week of June (2009 was a nightmare -June 21st!). All of these years have had what I call the March-April heat wave. This is a stretch of 2-7 days of unseasonably warm days in at least the mid 70’s (last year we had mid-80’s). This kicks the plants into high gear by convincing them that they are behind because true summer is here and they are late for the party. The resulting growth spurt is then put in check by the inevitable return to cold temps, frosting this new tender growth and sending the plant into stress which slows down its overall growth and in some cases causes the plant to stop producing leaves and jump right to reproductive growth – the dreaded bolt. Over the years many of our early plantings of arugula and radishes fell prey to this stress response and we ended up losing them before harvest. Bolting occurs when a plant, pushed by some sort of stress, responds by going into flower -skipping the development of healthy full leaves in favor of making seed with the hope the next generation will have a better chance to thrive.
The Greens of June
Thankfully this years crops are stress free! As usual the share begins with a majority of greens. Please look to our website (right hand margin) for a recipe listing by crop to help kick start your creativity. In case you missed last weeks recipe and video link here’s a familiar friend to get you started…Kale Chips.
Your CSA Share…
Come to the farm this week on Tuesday (today!) or Friday from 2-7pm for your share. Please park in the lot to the left of our driveway and come into the white building on the right. We will be ready for you and if you are a new member (or and old member who needs a refresher course) we’ll walk you through the pick-up process. Bring bags to carry your share home in…
This is a great crop of radishes…crunchy, fresh and just a bit spicy. We ate quite a few out of the field this week dirt and all. If your bunch lasts beyond the ride home try this easy recipe for a radish salad. You can also toss then in a stir fry tops and all in with your favorite braising greens!
What’s coming up?
Look for Strawberries, broccoli and beets in the next few weeks!
What to look for in your share this week….