Posts by: Seth

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A little rain here and there and some gargantuan efforts with irrigation have got us on track with moisture on the farm. This week we crest a hill of sorts that separates the last 6 months of prep and planting from the next 4 months of harvest. Our days become very structured as we add tomatoes, eggplant, carrots and peppers to the harvest list and work in between to keep the weeds down and plant the last rounds of greens. We are hoping we are back in the rain track so we can make the most of the next few weeks before we start losing our long days in August.

Tomatoes and Eggplant…Must Be Summer

Our first tomatoes and eggplant appear this week. For some reason one variety of our heirlooms are ahead of anything else (they are usually late). I had my first on a salad yesterday and after I was out of lettuce just kept going with balsamic vinegar and more tomato. The asian eggplant this week are my favorite. The skins are tender and don’t need to be peeled. I love to halve these, brush with olive oil and set them on the grill to almost blacken. They also do great sliced into very hot oil and tossed until tender. Sweet soy/teriyaki or tahini/yogurt makes an easy finish.IMG_2447IMG_2446

Peas Cooked

I think we have had our shortest snap/snow pea season in my history here. They really did not like the Carolina weather we had and we actually saw them drop flowers instead of make peas. We watered over the weekend and the cooler nights/rain may give them a second wind. Let’s cross our fingers.

Carrots Are Back

Our first carrot harvest went well. They are a little small but we couldn’t wait any longer, especially since we had a stellar group of exchange students from Spain wanting to help out. Watch your sugar intake on the days when you eat these… they are sweet.

Greens Are Good… but sometimes hard to keep up with

Some of you are well-versed in world of greens while others may be having a stare down with those bags in your fridge wondering where to start.  We are here to help!  We encourage you to jump in with both feet and find your food muse amongst the leaves of chard, kale and spinach. Start simple and combine these greens with things you and your family already like to eat.

  1. Salads of course – and making your salad into more of a meal by adding other veggies, nuts, chicken, legumes or other proteins.  We find that if we have a delicious dressing already prepared, we are way more likely to eat a salad for a quick lunch. Here’s a link to our salads recipe page with an awesome balsamic vinaigrette.
  2. Stir fries and sautés. Try this article how to…
  3. Is pesto a favorite?  Lightly steam your chard or kale, and throw it in the blender or food processor with garlic, onions, basil, or other herbs, toss it on pasta or pizza with oil or butter, and cheese.
  4. Bacon.  We heard from a mom this week who cooks the bacon in a pan, and then adds in the greens.  Her children devour every bite!
  5. Spanikopita.  We’ve been making variations on this for years.  I use kale, chard, or spinach, I use whatever cheese I might have, and I rarely use the filo dough due to time constraints.   Sometimes I’ll top it with bread crumbs, roasted sunflower seeds, or even crushed up tortilla chips.  We call it kale pie.  I like to steam the greens and then puree them in the food processor.  And lots of basil.
  6. Smoothies!!  Green smoothies are all the rage these days.  If you’re not doing it already, then get on the trend! Throw your greens in the blender along with fruit, juice, and you’ll be powered up for the day!
  7. Here’s a funny article about fashionable kale and another about a reluctant kale eaters conversion into the fold (with recipe).
  8. The internet of course has all the answers we need.   Here is a list of recipes on Vegetarian Times with kale.

What’s in the share…

Zucchini

Cucumbers

Lettuce

Scallions

Asian Greens

Chard

Carrots

Eggplant

Tomatoes

Kohlrabi

Summer onion

What’s in Upic…

Snow and Snap Peas

Flowers

Herbs

 

IMG_2229IMG_2244Another hot dry week ahead. All this dry is slowing the crops (and us) down a bit. It rained enough this weekend to kill some barbecues but we gathered only .15 inches out of the dreariness. Over the past couple weeks there have been a few casualties in our asian/salad greens plantings to bolting. This is when the crop passes through vegetative stage (making leaves) quickly and moves right into reproductive stage (making flowers and seeds). This is always the result of stress, which in this case is due to the heat and dry. For these leafy crops it means we lose any chance to cut them and while we have not had a lot of this it does impact the diversity in the share. I don’t want to farm in the mid-atlantic but I am coveting their rainfall this year.

We have been waiting patiently for our first carrot harvest and while they are close they need another week to size up all the way. This is a great crop for us but it is not one that thrives in heat. That said many of our heat lovers like tomatoes, eggplant and melons are doing very well and should be coming along soon.

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Garlic came out of the field this past week and with the help of a couple major fans is drying down in the barn. If it stays hot and dry we may see the first heads in your shares in next month. If the planets align as planned we will have basil tomatoes and garlic at the same time…the great summer trinity.

What’s in the share…

Zucchini

Cucumbers

Lettuce Mix

Scallions

Kale

Chard

Beets

What’s in Upic…

Snow and Snap Peas

Flowers

Herbs

 

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We have settled into our summer schedule here at the farm. All of our big crops are in the ground and while there is still some planting to do and an endless effort keeping up with weeds we have started down the road of spending the majority of our time harvesting. Tomatoes and peppers look great this year and our staple carrots are just a week or two away. As we add these crops to the mix they really fill up our schedule. In a few weeks our routine will look like this: digging carrots and bunching scallions on Monday and Thursday afternoons, picking tomatoes, peppers, zucchini and cukes Monday, Wednesday and Friday, everything else Tuesday and Friday mornings. You add the cleaning and sorting to all of these crops and soon we will really be working to carve out time for trellising tomatoes or transplanting lettuce. All of this reaches a crescendo in September when the summer crops keep coming and we add in 5 tons of potatoes and 3 tons of winter squash…but lets not get there too soon.

The World’s Best Yogurt…
Jars!IMG_2237

Wholesome Holmstead works some kind of magic to create their yogurt for us each week. I keep finding new ways to incorporate it into 3 meals a day, lately a dollop on top of everything from soup to ice cream. If you have been trying this stuff out and have a jar or six at home please bring them back. We worked hard with them to get rid of the cumbersome deposit system of last year but having jars and lids come back is a savings. You can place them in the milk crate sitting near the cooler in the CSA barn.

What’s in the share…

Zucchini

Cucumbers

Radishes

Lettuce

Kale

Chard

Cabbage

Broccoli

What’s in Upic…

Peas

Flowers

Herbs

 

 

Roasted Cabbage

1 cabbage (green, red savoy or napa will work)

1/3-1/2 cup olive or sesame oil

salt (corse kosher works best)

pepper

Pre heat oven to 425. Drizzle 1/2 the oil on a cookie sheet. Halve and then core the cabbage. Take each half and carefully slice it into 1/4″-1/2″ rounds being careful to keep the layers together. After each slice, transfer the layers intact to the oiled cookie sheet. Continue until the sheet is full. Fill all the spaces so the whole sheet is covered. Drizzle the remainder of the oil evenly on cabbage slices and finish with ample salt and pepper. Place the whole pan in the oven and set the timer to 10 minutes. Check for the beginning of browning at the edges and where the cabbage meets the pan. If you don’t see some browning keep cooking in one minute increments until you see browning. Napa will cook faster. You may want to brown the cabbage more (my kids fight over the crispy pieces).  Once you see browning take the sheet out of the oven and with a spatula carefully flip the slices, again trying to keep them together. This is hard as they are limp now. Return them to the oven for another 5-10 minutes (how crispy or not is up to you). This dish is great hot but we also keep some around in a container and add it to soups, salads or just as a quick cold or room temp side dish.

 

IMG_2177Promised rain is like expected MPG ratings or return on investment projections, it’s hard to count on them until the rubber meets the road or the check arrives. We have been looking to the skies via satellite and reading wonky NOAA forecasts for the past month and at this point are wondering if we need to sacrifice a chicken or convene some kind of drum circle to get some real precipitation. The past few events of clouds and showers have given the crew a break from the sun but not done much more for the soil than make the dust wet. Last night’s rains gave us .006 inches. This is not enough to get to the roots of anything we grow but it did go a long way towards rinsing the dust off everything, making for cleaner produce in today’s harvest. If anyone has strings to pull or a hotline to some greater power, throw your weight be hind some rain.

What’s in the share…

Cabbage mix and match

Scallions

Beets

Lettuce

Chickories

Chard

Asian Greens

Zucchini

Kale

What’s in Upic…

Strawberries

Flowers

 

 

 

This is the official opening week of our Upic field with strawberries as well as a few flowers. We are asking that you limit your berry picking to 1 pint this week to ensure that everyone can enjoy this crop. This does not include the berries you will eat along the way to sustain your picking! We will have pint boxes in the field. If you are new to the CSA and the upic field here’s how it works…IMG_0744

We prepare, plant, and weed this one acre plot just for you, the members of the farm. Growing there this season you will find peas, green beans, herbs, flowers, and most notably this week, strawberries. These are crops that are particularly rewarding to harvest and can add a lot of value to your share as they often are great accompaniments to the “field crops” we harvest and wash for you each week.

The important thing to understand about this field is that it belongs to everyone who has a share in the farm. There are 275 shares this year and we try very hard to plan each planting so that everyone will be able to enjoy every crop. The idea is that all of these crops are compliments to the field crops and not necessarily staples in and of themselves. While we would love to be able to plant enough Upic basil for everyone to make pesto for the winter or sow enough beans to share with your neighbors, it’s just not possible in the space we have to work with. Those of you that split shares, we ask that you be aware of your picking quantities.

With the exception of these first couple weeks we will not suggest amounts for you to take from the upic field. The idea is that we all take our share and consciously leave behind enough for everyone else. The upic field has always been our grand experiment in community spirit and we have never been disappointed.

 

What’s in the share…

Cabbage

Scallions

Beets

Lettuce

Chard

Asian Greens

Spinach

Kale

What’s in Upic…

Strawberries ( 1 pint)

Flowers

 

Another cool week for growing food here. While everything is growing it would be great to get some warmer days, or even better warmer nights. Nights in the 40’s go along way to slowing down the growth of of of the crops we have here. Soils cool and nutrients become less available to roots and the whole process of growing does’t start full steam again until the temps get above 55-60. The cold days are tough on the crew as well as we bundle up each morning, braced against the wind. These layers fill the farm trucks during the midday hours and as the day comes to a close we put them back on again, a process that we usually know well in April and October, not so much in June.

IMG_1961We have a really outstanding looking tomato crop this year thanks largely to Kristin and Corinne, our field and crew managers, who took on changing our system for planting and trellising this crop. Strong, stout plants and pumping out fruit and flowers ahead of years past and with a vigor we have not seen in a long time.

Better than a Radish

Mentioning the crop turnips is not something that makes most people get excited. We all think of the corse storage root and maybe register it’s place in history, keeping northern europe alive during many centuries of dark winters, but generally turnips don’t excite anyone. This week we will try to change that with the out of this world salad turnip. This is a turnip but it is sweet, creamy and nothing short go incredible. Used them interchangeably as you would a radish. On our weekly field walk yesterday I was bowled over by the IMG_5976flavor, sweetness and creaminess. Give these a try sliced raw on a salad, splash them with a light vinegar (rice or apple cider) or just hoard them and eat them all before your family finds them.

Garlic Scapes

our garlic is growing well and our teaser offering for the real thing is the scape. This is the garlic flower and is quite tasty and an easy way to add some sweet garlic flavor to a salad or dish. Our usually get used a couple ways, tossed in the blender when we are making salad dressing or brushed with olive oil and tossed on the grill until they are soft and slightly charred.

What’s Coming…

Lots of great stuff on the way in the next couple weeks. Look for strawberries, zucchini, cabbage, scallions and beets soon.

Upic

Our Upic field will be opening soon and members are welcome come pick on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Sundays all day. Keep an eye out for the official opening in the newsletter or in a special email notice if the strawberries come in before the beginning of the week!

Add-0n Shares

Thanks to all who signed up for our add-on shares. We are looking forward to having al of this great food paired up with our produce this year. If you still are interested in adding one of these shares let us know via email and we can add you in the coming weeks. Many folks have suggested that we offer a wine and toilet paper share too and then they would never have to go to the grocery store!

What’s in the share…

Lettuce

Spinach

Salad Turnips/Radishes

Chard

Broccoli

Tatsoi

Garlic Scapes

Kale

Storage potatoes

Chickories

 

IMG_1889What a difference a day makes. We had 2.65 inches of rain at the farm Sunday evening and both plants and farmers could be heard breathing out a long sigh of relief. The past month has been so unusually dry and until recently quite cold, that our crops in the field have been a bit stressed and not growing on schedule. That said we have a stellar lineup of produce for your first share. For the first time we are offering storage carrots in our starting share. We harvested this crop last fall for Wild Oats Cafe in Brunswick, who we supply with carrots year round (morning glory muffins are my favorite). It was a bumper crop and we had more than they could use this winter and spring so we are sharing them with all of you. They are remarkably sweet and are just a teaser for the fresh crop that we hope to start harvesting in July.

Welcome (Back) to the Farm

Pick-ups begin this week on Tuesday or Friday between 2-7:00 p.m. As always we will be in the CSA barn to check you in, keep the produce fresh and chit chat about food and farming.

What’s in the Share?

Lettuce Mix

Endive/Escarole

Arugula

Radishes

Spinach

Kale

Chard

Baby Bok Choi

Tatsoi

Hot mustard

Storage Carrots

What’s Coming…

In the next couple weeks look for zucchini, scallions, garlic scapes and everyone’s favorite…strawberries. This is the first time since 2007 that we have had strawberries in the upic field. After almost 10 years we are hoping that the Strawberry root maggot has moved on and we are again safe to have to pick this crop when you come to the farm. Keep an eye out in the newsletter for more info on what’s to come both in the share and in Upic.

Need Some Cooking Creativity…

Look to the right sidebar on our website for a recipe listing by ingredient. Here you will find a few recipes to get you acquainted with the produce in your share and kickstart your creative cooking process. Look for a sauce to go with this week’s baby bok choi, irresistible kale chips, chard quesadillas and more. Send us your favorite ways to enjoy our produce and we will add them to the archive.

 

IMG_1806IMG_1785IMG_1804We will have great produce for you next week. The greens look astounding and everything is healthy and happy. Its amazing what a few days of warmth will do. The full crew is cranking along here working towards our first harvest.

Farm Camp at Crystal Spring

There are still spaces available in Farm Camp. We have 3 sessions running in June and July for ages 5-10. Feed thew pigs, harvest carrots and everything in between! More info can be found here.

Still Time to Add Local Products To Your Vegetable Share….

Organic eggs, Artisan Bread, Maine mushrooms, farm yogurt and Maine cheeses can all be added to your weekly vegetables. These are outstanding local products that are not available in the grocery store! Check out all of these shares here. Our newest add-on share is Maine cheese. Over twenty weeks you will receive cheeses from four outstanding Maine creameries. Camembert, cheddar, blue, feta and chevre, etc from these great creameries. Here are links to their websites…

New Member Orientation

Saturday June 4 and Sunday June 5 at 3pm we will have new member orientation here at the farm. This is not a required event but if you are a new member and are available, its a chance to meet the farmers, see where pick-up will be, see our Upic field, tour the greenhouse, and visit the pigs. If you can’t attend, no worries, we will be on hand at each pick-up to show the the ropes!

Delivered Share Members

We are working out the logistics of the delivered share this week. Maura will be in touch with details of delivery times and other logistics shortly.

Follow Our Progress On Instagram

Ever wonder what’s happening at the farm while you are watching the rain fall or the sun shine somewhere else? Get the Instagram app and follow us (crystalspringcsa). This week we had a movie of mustard mowing, a hummingbird in the tomato house, the wind on the hay field and more…. https://www.instagram.com/crystalspringcsa/

 

IMG_1703 IMG_1695 IMG_1693Spring is into summer this year like the flick of a switch. We had 82 here Monday, five days ago was our last frost and five weeks ago it was snowing. All of this makes for some exciting times to bank on predictable growing rates for plants. That said things look great, just moving a bit slow. Many of the fields are still covered in row cover fabric for cold protection. These sheet give us 5 degrees extra at night and fifteen when the sun is shining.

First Pick-up Tuesday June 7 or Friday June 10, 2-7pm here at the farm.

 

More info next week about what to expect in our first our first share of 2016!

 




Add great local products to your vegetable share….

Organic eggs, Artisan Bread, Maine mushrooms, farm yogurt and Maine cheeses can all be added to your weekly vegetables. These are outstanding local products that are not available in the grocery store! Check out all of these shares here. Our newest add-on share is Maine cheese. Over twenty weeks you will receive cheeses from four outstanding Maine creameries. Camembert, cheddar, blue, feta and chevre, etc from these great creameries. Here are links to their websites…

New Member Orientation

Saturday June 4 and Sunday June 5 at 3pm we will have new member orientation here at the farm. This is not a required event but if you are a new member and are available, its a chance to meet the farmers, see where pick-up will be, tour the greenhouse, and visit the pigs. If you can’t attend, no worries, we will be on hand at each pick-up to show the the ropes!

Follow our Progress on Instagram

Ever wonder what’s happening at the farm while you are watching the rain fall or the sun shine somewhere else? Get the Instagram app and follow us (crystalspringcsa). We post a few times a week shots and clips of cool stuff we are doing, weather we are enduring or just funny stuff that happens. Join the ag-voyeur trend!  https://www.instagram.com/crystalspringcsa/

 

 
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