Blueberry season has come to an end for us. It was a great success and like all new things, the steep learning curve was exciting and laid the groundwork for what we hope will be a great crop for years to come. After hand raking this year’s plot a neighbor came with a machine rake and […]
Transitions are what we are all about here on the farm every year . Whether its the productivity of a day, measured in how well we move from one task to the next, or the timing of a greenhouse seeding that gives a harvestable crop just as another is fading. It’s that place between that makes or breaks […]
Tomatoes This TuesdayWe are moving into peak tomatoes this week and have a unusually large number of tomatoes seconds flats for sale today. If you are thinking about making sauce or salsa this is your day. Even if you are not going to pick-up your share today, come by and pick up a flat, 10 pounds for $10.
The End of BlueberriesIt has been a quick season this year as the berries have slipped quickly from ripe to gone. We will be raking this week but have stopped taking new orders. All in all this new foray into our own native perennial crop was a success and we hope to add it to our annual list of offerings from this farm.
Italiano MindsetEggplant, basil, tomatoes, arugula, and fennel in the share this week. Put them together and you have a trip to Italy courtesy of your local farm. Any of these items go well with olive oil, lemon and fresh pepper. Fennel is usally the tough sell amongst these summer favorites. Try shaving a little on top of your salad or temper and sweeten the anise flavor by roasting slices in butter. We love to cut it into 1/4" slices, dipping in egg and covering with breadcrumbs before roasting in ample olive oil until the fennel is soft and the breadcrumbs very brown.
What's in the Share...Kale/Chard Lettuce Arugula Basil Eggplant Tomatoes Scallions Broccoli Fennel Carrots Peppers What's in Upic Flowers Herbs
Blueberries are the big story this week. Over the past day or two we pulled several hundred pounds from the plot we are leasing here at the farm. Learning as we go, there is nothing like jumping into something new to keep our observation skills sharp, examining every part of the process, and making a finished product we […]
How to OrderWe hope to rake this week and next, filling your orders placed be email, at pick-up, or online. Quarts are $8.50 and flats of 8 quarts are $64 (a quart is 1.7 lbs). Orders for pick up on Tuesdays will be taken until noon on Mondays and orders for pick up on Fridays will be taken until noon on Thursdays.
Greens Take a BreakWe have limited greens this week as we have fallen between a few successions on lettuce and kale. Hopefully this will allow all of you to clean out the fridge and get ready for our next plantings.
What's in the Share....Peppers Chard Carrots Eggplant Cucumbers Tomatoes Basil
What's in Upic....Beans Flowers Cherry Tomatoes -in the greenhouse tunnel beyond the beans...
Tomatoes in July. Real Tomatoes. How odd that in a late year like this one we are seeing our first ever real tomatoes in in the month of July? You’ll find a mix of large slicers and heirlooms this week and they are just getting going so the volume and variety should increase over the […]
BlueberriesWe are raking our own blueberries this year ands will have the first to sample this Friday. Like in year's past we will be taking preorders for delivery on Tuesdays or Fridays. We are working with a neighbor to rake and clean about five acres this year with the hopes of expanding the operations in years to come. If you are interested in ordering them by the quart we will have more info in a late week update once we have started raking and have a better idea what to expect for timing and yield.
What's in the Share....Lettuce Chard Chickories Carrots/Beets Sweet Onions Eggplant Zucchini Cucumbers Tomatoes
What's in Upic....Peas-Snow and Snap (last week) Beans Flowers Cherry Toms (just enough for field sampling...coming on slow but they are there)
July feels like august in more ways than just the temps. Our first asian eggplant is just getting going and we have just a enough to tesase you with. Leave the skin on this tender black eggplant and either throw it on the grill brushed with olive oil or slice it into thin coins and […]
What's in the Share....Lettuce Chard Chickories Carrots/Beets Sweet Onions Eggplant Chinese Cabbage/Zucchini Cucumbers Jalapeños
What's in Upic....Peas-Snow and Snap Beans Flowers Cherry Toms (just enough for field sampling)
The competition is in the house. This is the first week where we have seen significant numbers of insect pests appear on the farm. It’s late for most of them and I can only guess that they were slowed down by the hard winter and cool spring. Over the years we have moved to planting […]
Right around the cornerTomatoes, eggplant and peppers are doing very well and look to be some of our earliest showings for these crops ever. We have great-looking, ripening fruit and hope to start picking these crops in the next couple weeks.
What's in the share this week...Lettuce chickories zucchini carrots/beets kale/chard
What's in Upic...Snow Peas Snap Peas Green Beans Flowers
Our staple crop the carrot has arrived this week in the share. This variety, “mokum”, is particularly sweet and we are harvesting this just a bit early which makes them extra tender as well. Generally we would like this carrot to spend another week in the ground while its leaves build a larger root. We […]
The Upic Field Opens this Week with Peas...here's how it works:This is the official opening week of our Upic field with snow and peas as well as a few flowers. We are asking that you limit your pea picking to 1 pint this week to ensure that everyone can enjoy this crop. We will have pint boxes in the field. If you are new to the CSA and the upic field here's how it works... Here’s the skinny on how Upic works. We prepare, plant, and weed this ½ acres plot just for you, the members of the farm. Growing there you will find green beans, herbs, flowers, and most notably this week, peas. 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 particularly 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 in thirteen years of CSA growing all over the Northeast we have never been disappointed.
We All Do This Work Together...We had a poem forwarded by a CSA member that speaks very well to the work we are trying to do here, growing food to fuel everyone's good work and build soil for the next generation of farmers. Please know that all of you are vital to the longevity of this farm. The extra effort you put forth to support this land by giving your time and intention to pick-up and prepare your share when it may not always be convenient does sustain this place. XI by Wendell Berry The need comes on me now to speak across the years to those who finally will live here after the present ruin, in the absence of most of my kind who by now are dead, or have given their minds to machines and become strange, "over-qualified" for the hard handwork that must be done to remake, so far as humans can remake, all that humans have unmade. To you, whoever you may be, I say: Come, meaning to stay. Come, willing to learn what this place, like no other, will ask of you and your children, if you mean to stay. "This land responds to good treatment," I heard my father say time and again in his passion to renew, to make whole, what ill use had broken. And so to you, whose lives taken from the life of this place I cannot foretell, I say: Come, and treat it well.
What's in the Share this Week...Lettuce Chickories Kale/Chard Arugula Broccoli Zucchini Carrots Beets
What's in Upic...Snow Peas Flowers
The forth arrives on friday this week and will will be open for pick-up at the farm. Our guess is that most of you will be grilling, boating and not coming to the farm so we are harvesting heavily in anticipation of a busier than usual Tuesday pick-up. As we crest into July there are […]
What's More Patriotic Than...Cabbage?Cole slaw is the perfect balance to everything else we might be eating this holiday. Luckily we are giving you some great heads to work with...Take a look here for recipes to tackle this weeks' (and last weeks') cabbage and turn them into cool satisfaction to balance out the chips, burgers and ice cream.
What Else are We Doing on the Farm?While planting, watering, weeding and harvesting vegetables takes up most of our time we have a few other irons in the fire this time of year as well.
- Maura is gearing up for the start of farm camp next week and we will have 20+ kids running the place; feeding livestock, harvesting carrots and just soaking up the farm everyday.
- We have also been cutting winter forage for sheep and cows the past few weeks and have baled and wrapped about 120,000 lbs of hay and silage and 5000 lbs. of straw from about 44 acres. This first cut is our biggest of the year and we be followed by a second cut in late august/early september that will yield about half the volume but with higher quality. All of this forage (except the straw) will be fed to animals over the winter months who will convert most of it into manure that we then use to feed the vegetable crops next year.
- We have some new help on the farm with the addition of a new sheepdog pup named Wynn. She is just 12 weeks old and I can't really say she is helpful except for keeping us laughing and talking in high voices a lll the time. In the fall when she is 5-6 months old we will introduce her to our flock and then her work will begin. Our older dog Nell is great with her and has been very tolerant of this new addition to our family pack.
What's in the Share this Week...Cabbage Kohlrabi Lettuce Chickories Kale Chard Salad Turnips Arugula
With solstice just passing this week the farm steps over an annual milestone in the march through the summer. The longest day of the year is the official start to everyone’s favorite season, the three months we all wait so patiently for, the three months that recharge us for what’s coming. These first few weeks […]
Fed Up -The MovieIf you are trying to eat well for your health and the health of your family, go see this film. It details the uphill battle we all have trying to be healthy while most of the food industry that wants us to eat more and more of their processed sugar laden products and cook less and less. Michael Pollan, Mark Bittman, Bill Clinton and many others add their voices to this film by Katie Couric and a team of journalists. Showtimes this week in Brunswick at Frontier Cinema and next week in Rockland at the Strand. Here's a link to the film website and trailer.
What's in the Share this Week?Beets Kale Lettuce Scallions Cabbage Asian Greens Kohlrabi Strawberries
As we move into our third week of harvest we thought everyone, old members and new, might like a rundown of the most popular questions we are hearing about the farm. Is the farm certified organic? Our vegetables, lamb, and pastures are all certified organic by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association. This means […]
Is the farm certified organic?Our vegetables, lamb, and pastures are all certified organic by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association. This means we submit a 40-60 page plan each year that includes every detail of how we produce crops. This plan includes everything we use for fertilizer (fish meal, fish emulsion, and brewery grain), how we wash our greens (twice in stainless steel tanks with annually tested well water), how many bales of forage we produce on a acres each year (12-16), etc. MOFGA then comes once a year spends half a day "inspecting" us; looking at records, walking the fields and asking questions about the details we submitted in our plan. The cost of certification, in addition to time is about $1200 per year. Our pigs are not certified organic because we feed them a ration that is made up largely of spent grain from Maine Beer Company in Freeport (great beer!) and the grains they brew with are not organic (even though they are very high quality).
Do you wash the greens?Yes! Twice as a matter of fact. We have two 350 gallon stainless steel tanks where we dunk and re-dunk the leafy greens. These tanks are deep and enable us to roll the leaves over a few times allowing the grit from the field to settle away from the crop. While in the tanks we also inspect for quality, pulling bad leaves and weeds from the mix. Just because we wash the greens doesn't mean you should not. It never hurts to wash them when you get home and the cold water from your tap will help them cool off after warming up on the trip from the farm to your kitchen.
What do I do with all these greens?!
- Salads is an obvious one of course - but we also like to stress making your salad into more of a meal by adding other veggies, nuts, chicken, legumes, or other proteins. Experiment with dressings - this makes the salad way more exciting! Play with ingredients like miso, tahini, tamari, lemon juice, or toasted sesame oil to make salads a great treat!
- Stir fries and sautés. Butter, olive oil, garlic. Sometimes if I want my greens a bit more tender, after a few minutes of cooking in a skillet with the garlic & onions I'll add a tablespoon or two of water and cover until the water is absorbed.
- 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.
- Bacon. Hard to go wrong with bacon. Cook the bacon in a pan, and then add the greens. Watch out - the kids might argue over who gets the last bite!
- Spanikopita. Many cookbooks or of course the internet will have the recipe. 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. Another favorite of kids.
- Smoothies!! See link below! 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!
- Facebook? We have not been very active on our facebook page - but I have to admit it is a great way to share recipes. We will put some recipes on there - so I encourage you to "like" us if you are so inclined, and to share recipes with each other - especially since we are all working with the same ingredients from week to week! https://www.facebook.com/crystalspringcommunityfarm