More deep summer vegetables this week with basil, tomatoes and Italian summer onions leading the lineup.  Some great simple meals can come together here by adding a sharp knife and some olive oil. We have many lovely greens in the field; lettuce, chard and the like, but they are not quite harvestable this week. With hope and luck we are looking to some measurable rain as the week wears on into the weekend.

Harvest of our first fall crops has also begun as we have started to pull rows and rows of onions out of the fields and into the greenhouse to dry down and cure. This is one of my favorite farm tasks both because of the shear volume of onions we gather but also the process of setting them out in honeycomb patterns on the floor of our  propagation house. Over the next weeks the stems and leaves will wither and seal off the onion making it hardy and storable.

Labor on Labor Day Potato Harvest

Our favorite Crystal Spring Farm tradition returns this year!  Join us on Labor Day (September 4) to help harvest our potato crop. This is a great community event where we use our digging machine to lift the spuds and then you join us to help us gather them up! We start at 10am in the fields. Please join us!

Organic Maine Wild Blueberries

Order organic Maine wild blueberries this week! Quarts are $9 and will be delivered over the next 2 weeks. Order online here.   **Please note we are not able to take orders via phone or email as in years past.

Farm Raised Pork

We will star taking orders for whole and half pigs this week. If you have never had farm raised pork it is like nothing the grocery store has to offer. Raised on pasture and fed organic grain (in addition to gelato) our pork tastes great and you know where the animals came from and how they lived.  Ask us for a info/sign-up sheet at pick-up or download one here.

Flowers

Might you need flowers for an event or holiday? Or simply want to enjoy them on your table at home?  Send us an email and we can put together arrangements large or small. (info@crystalspringcsa.com)

What's in the Share

  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Basil
  • Summer Squash
  • Tropea Onions
  • Carrots

What's in Upic

  • Beans (new planting)
  • Flowers
  • Mixed Herbs
  • Hot Peppers
  • Cherry Tomatoes
 
We have been teased with these little rain events over the past week. While these spritzes have helped in the short term we are still in dire need of a soaking, multi-inch precipitation event. We will have a lapse in our supply of salad greens due to this dryness as we had trouble getting lettuce to germinate. Luckily we will have lots of good summer produce to distant you with in the meantime. The farm has been steaming ahead this past week under the able hands of the farm crew while I have been busy full-time raking blueberries. In addition to growing food here we also train farmers, and the crew we have this year is a solid lot. It is a great luxury for me to be able to focus on the flow of blueberries over the rakes and trust that the flow of  harvest, seeding, weeding and the like are in such able hands!

Potatoes...just a few to start

We pulled a few potatoes this week for the share. These Yukon Gems are a new variety for us...hope you like them.  Similar to a Yukon Gold, best for roasting but can be used how you like best.

Labor on Labor Day Potato Harvest

Our favorite Crystal Spring Farm tradition returns this year!  Join us on Labor Day (September 4) to help harvest our potato crop. This is a great community event where we use our digging machine to lift the spuds and then you join us to help us gather them up! We start at 10am in the fields. Please join us!

Organic Maine Wild Blueberries

Order organic Maine wild blueberries this week! Quarts are $9 and will be delivered over the next 2 weeks. Order online here.   **Please note we are not able to take orders via phone or email as in years past.

Farm Raised Pork

We will star taking orders for whole and half pigs this week. If you have never had farm raised pork it is like nothing the grocery store has to offer. Raised on pasture and fed organic grain (in addition to gelato) our pork tastes great and you know where the animals came from and how they lived.  Ask us for a info/sign-up sheet at pick-up or download one here.

Flowers

Might you need flowers for an event or holiday? Or simply want to enjoy them on your table at home?  Send us an email and we can put together arrangements large or small. (info@crystalspringcsa.com)

What's in the Share

Kale Chard Tomatoes Potatoes Summer Squash Leeks Onions Garlic Carrots

What's in Upic

Beans (new planting) Flowers Mixed Herbs Hot Peppers Cherry Tomatoes
 
August is here and it is hot. We have been running our irrigation well without stop for the last 11 days (literally). Rain dance, spells, cloud seeding; its all welcome -- please!  On the vegetable side we are just starting to pick tomatoes (yippee!) look for them to be in abundance soon. Along with other summer faves like eggplants peppers and more of these lovely summer onions.

Still Have Kohlrabi in Your Fridge?

We will not have kohlrabi in the share this week, but there was a fair amount of chatter at pick up last week about great recipes people have tried with kohlrabi, or on the other end, a build up of kohlrabi in the fridge.  If you are in the latter category, here's a couple recipes that we like. If you just want to wing it try using kohlrabi any way you would a carrots (slice, shred, saute).  We've been grating it and topping our salads with it for nice crunch.  Others have been slicing and baking or roasting them "french fry" style (with curry powder!), using kohlrabi in carrot soup, and making latkes with kohlrabi.  Hope these ideas help.   If you are ever feeling overwhelmed, or looking for ideas to use any of the produce, please let us know!   We're happy to share ideas.

Kohlrabi Carrot Salad

  • medium sized kohlrabi, peeled
  • 2-3 carrots
  • Juice from 1 large lemon (or rice vinegar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • tablespoons olive oil
  • teaspoon harissa, sriracha or your favorite hot sauce
  • ~10mint leaves (Upic has mint)
  • ounces feta cheese
Julienne (cut into matchsticks) carrots and kohlrabi and toss together with the rest of the ingredients. Let sit for 15 minutes and enjoy.

 Kohlrabi Fritters

  • 1 large size kohlrabi, peeled
  • 1 red or yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • olive oil for frying
Grate Kohlrabi with food processor or box grater. Lay into a kitchen towel and squeeze out any excess moisture. Preheat large skillet over medium heat and add enough olive to cover entire surface. Toss kohlrabi with the rest of the ingredients. Once oil is hot enough to shimmer in the skillet and heaping tablespoon  size portion of kohlrabi mixture into the oil, using a spatula to lightly flatten. Cook until starting to brown and then flip. Continue to cook until lightly brown on the other side. remove to a towel and continue cooking spoonfuls until you have finished the batter. Enjoy with yogurt, soy sauce or your favorite sauce.

What's in the Share

Bok Choi/Tatsoi Chard Pepper mix and match Carrots Sweet Onions Scallions Summer Squash

What's in Upic

Flowers Herbs
 
As July comes to a close and we have our first rain in almost a month (last one was but .22 inches) it's time for the onion family to shine. Alliums are one of the first crops we start in the greenhouse (last week of February) and once they germinate their leaves start measuring the light they gather. Unlike leafy crops (lettuce or kale) or even most fruit crops (zucchini) that are ready for harvest after they gather a set number of light and heat hours, alliums will continue to grow until the hours of daylight stops lengthening  at summer solstice. Once the days start shortening the plants take notice and put all of their energy into making a bulb. This bulb is the onion's attempt to store energy for the coming winter and kickstart the production of flowers and seeds next spring. Of course we don't let this happen because we enjoy the eating these bulb so much. We are harvesting our first sweet onions this week for Brunswick (delivered shares will see them next week). Sweet onions are available for just a short time as they don't store well. This is the onion to chop raw into a salad or cut thickly to top your best grilled burger. Of course you can cook them but they really shine raw. We also harvested garlic this week which is currently drying and curing in the barn. If you are on the way out to the Upic field you can check out out fan assisted drying contraption!  We should start seeing garlic in the share in about a month.

Flowers to Order

Need flowers for an event, dinner party or just to celebrate the week? Send us an email (info@crystalspringcsa.com) with the subject flowers and we can put together large or small arrangements with just a couple days notice.

What's in the Share

  • Sweet Onions
  • Lettuce
  • Carrots
  • Baby Bok Choi
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Summer Squash

What's in Upic

  • Green Beans
  • Flowers
  • Herbs (basil!)
 
 
Been adding irrigation to our todo list this week. Unfortunately this is not a small task and has been eating up a large chunk of everyday as we move our water delivery from plot to plot and field to field. Most of our watering is done with the help of 30 foot aluminum pipes we connect together in crazy configurations going up hills, around corners and under roads. We lay this pipe out each spring and in between those April days and now the mice move in. They stuff the ends with their favorite grasses and seeds, hoping these shiny metal houses will become the rodent equivalent of modern dream homes come winter. As we move the pipes and place them about the mice vacate, leaving behind all of their hard work. This means we have to flush these clogs from each 30 foot section as we link them so that their winter stores won't clog the sprinkler heads or drip lines. Watching the matted lumps of golden hay pour forth like the drain clearing in that old Drain-o commercial with the see through kitchen sink. I think a lot about these mice and all of their hard work as I am waiting for clean the water every 30 feet. I'm glad I am not a field mouse, but I respect their labors.

Shishito Peppers

A new addition to the harvest list this year is the venerable shishito pepper. This is a thin walled frying pepper that lends itself to a quick blistering in a hot pan or the grill. Here's our favorite way to enjoy them..... 1 teaspoon olive or sesame oil add to a small skillet. Heat under medium/high heat until oil shimmers and is almost smoking. Add peppers and turn every minute or two until the skin turns brown and blisters where the touch the pan. Don't be shy with the salt (corse kosher or sea salt is great here) and enjoy immediately. For those that want more we have about twenty plants in Upic....

What's in the Share

  • Lettuce
  • Kohlrabi
  • Shishito peppers
  • Cukes
  • Scallions
  • Arugula
  • Carrots

What's in Upic

  • Peas (waning)
  • Flowers
  • Herbs (varieties on the board)
  • Shishito peppers
 
This second week of July is what we like to call balance week. Imagine a playground seesaw or teeter totter with the months of April, May and June on one side and August, September and October on the other. The early months are all planting and care; filling up acres and acres of ground with seeds and transplants. The later months are all harvest of those crops with little time for anything else. This week we are sitting in the middle of July, balanced on the fulcrum and about to push off into the heavy lifting part of the year. I really enjoy these couple weeks. They are my last chance to repair some broken things, finish a project or two and just take stock of the season so far. This year we have a great crew.  Everyone is trained and gung-ho for the months ahead. My only desire at this point is for a good soaking rain. Not too much to ask for right?

Carrots

Like an old friend carrots are back this week. This first week's harvest are small and sweet as we begin work our way through a quarter acre that was sown back on April 12. We hope to have a steady supply of our favorite crop through the fall.

What's in the Share

  • Lettuce Heads
  • Summer Squash
  • Cucumbers
  • Kale Bunch
  • Chard
  • Carrots
  • Kohlrabi

What's in Upic

  • Flowers
  • Herbs
 
As we hoped, we were all (plants and people alike) able to savor the sunshine and feel secure knowing summer is here in these last few days of June.   You'll see more variety in this week's harvest!
Welcome kohlrabi!  We have collected some cooking & eating ideas here   Remember that there is a list of produce on the right hand side - click to find ways to prep and enjoy!  If you have a recipe you want us to include please send an email!
We also happily welcome the arrival of strawberries this week in the Upic field - we'll give you guidance on harvest size when you arrive.
The news from the farm is short and sweet this week...Seth is graciously traveling this week with Griffin and 93 other 8th graders to our nation's capital and every single place in between, and Maura is, thanks to our abundance of snow days, still at working at school.  Our strong, caring, amazing crew has been keeping everything moving along steadily!  

Fourth of July is on a Tuesday Pick-up will be Wednesday July 5th!

Since many of you will be in a hammock, an inner-tube, or the other side of a grill on the afternoon of Tuesday the 4th, we will move the pick-up to Wednesday (July 5th) 2:00-7:00 p.m. See you there!  

Add-on Shares...

Add on shares (bread, cheese, yogurt, mushrooms, beautiful flower bouquets) have started last week, but you can still sign up. If you'd like to sign on for a weekly share (or any of the add-on shares), follow this link.  Talk to (or email) Maura about pro-rating the costs of the add-on share.  

Fresh Fish Delivered to Farm on Fridays!

Port Clyde Fresh Catch - order by 8:00 am on Wednesday the 28th to pick up fresh local fish on Friday after 3:00 here at the farm.  Their website has lots of different options to order from and you pay them directly.  Unlike the other add-on shares, this is not a commitment - order each week as you please, just pay attention to the order deadlines for each week.  More information can be found here  

What's in the Share?!

  • Cabbage
  • Kohlrabi
  • Chard/Kale
  • Broccoli
  • Lettuce Mix
  • Escarole
  • Scallions
  • Summer Squash
  • Garlic Scapes

What's in Upic

  • Strawberries (check in about quantity when you get here)
  • Sage
  • Marjoram
  • Winter Savory
  • Thyme
  • Chives
  • Oregano
  • Flowers coming soon!
 
The weather is improving, crops look great and in a couple weeks the plants will catch up with the calendar. First on this list is strawberries. If we get some heat they could be ripe next week, if it is cold they may take another (this is a solid two weeks behind our usual date). Zucchini, cabbage and kohlrabi are doing their best and will be sizing up soon. Tomatoes and peppers are enjoying the protection of our field greenhouses and have no idea what all the fuss about cold and wet is.

Add-on Shares Start this Week!

Want to sign-up but haven't yet? Eggs, mushrooms, cheese, flowers, bread, and yogurt shares are available. Sign up online  and we will add you to the list.

Fourth of July is on a Tuesday Pick-up will be Wednesday July 5th!

Since many of you will be in a hammock, an inner-tube, or the other side of a grill on the afternoon of Tuesday the 4th, we will move the pick-up to Wednesday (July 5th) 2:00-7:00 p.m. See you there!

Flower Bouquet Share Kick-off This Week

Second year apprentice and assistant manager Virginia has created the flower bouquet share this season. She has put together a dizzying asortment of rare and exceptional varieties all grown in our dedicated kitchen garden by the farmhouse. Each week she will be harvesting and arranging bouquets for the share (and a few to sell as well). If you'd like to sign on for a weekly share (or any of the add-on shares), follow this link.

What's in the Share

  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Beets
  • Chickories

What's in Upic

  • Sage
  • Marjoram
  • Winter Savory
  • Thyme
  • Chives
  • Oregano
  • Strawberries Soon!
 
 
Plants, like people, take time to adjust to change. After the extended spring that just ended on Saturday our crops are doing their best to get with the new season. Unlike us they don't have the option of taking a break in the shade with a cool drink but instead must buck up and make the best of it. Peppers, tomatoes and zucchini are up for the task; lettuce, broccoli and cabbage need to protest a bit by wilting and looking sad for a few days. Eventually everyone is on board but what this means for all of us is that we need to be patient. This is a long winded way of saying we have a good but less diverse harvest for you this week. Thankfully we  put many hundreds of pounds of beet in the cooler last fall and will be able to share these with you this week in addition to some greens.

Add-on Shares Start Next Week: There is Still Time to Sign Up!

Egg, Bread, Cheese, Mushroom, Cheese, Yogurt and Flower Bouquet shares will start next week which means there is still time to make your weekly farm produce that much more complete. Here's the link to look at what we have to offer for add-on's.

Cows are Back. At Least for a While

In addition to our ever popular piglets we also have 11 heifers (young cows that have not borne calves) who are doing their level best to graze back the pastures along the CSA parking lot. On loan from our friends at Old Crow Ranch they will be with us for the next month or two. Old Crow separates their steers (young males) from the heifers to give the girls a break from the pestering of the boys. These young females thrive on good grass away from the boys for the summer (think all-girls boarding school). Beyond the gender politics we are happy to have them on the farm. Take a stroll on the trail off the CSA parking lot to get a closer look.

Make Hay While the Sun Shines

Eleven year old Leila Wraps bales in the shade.

There is nothing zen about farming. Instead of being where you are at this moment the true art of agriculture is to be thinking many steps and or many days ahead of where you stand. In addition to growing 140+ vegetable varieties we also grow 60 or 70 tons of grass to feed our neighbors' animals thoughout the winter. Cutting this much hay and making silage (wrapped "wet"hay that is preserved by fermentation) is nothing more than a game of timing and chance. Cutting grass and drying it down from 80% moisture to 15% moisture using only sun and wind is an absurd game that puts inordinate trust in meteorology (it takes 2 days of sun and dry), equipment (we have a 30 year old mower pulled by a 40 year old tractor that also runs our 25 year old baler) and force of will (with 93° heat this past Sunday we forgot we were in Maine). If all these planets align we can bale up 30 thousand pounds of grass in couple days. Thankfully our kids are available to fall into the workflow; wrapping bales or loading them in the barn.

What's in the Share?

  • Lettuce
  • Chickories
  • Storage Beets
  • Brocolli
  • Bok Choi

What's in Upic

  • Chives
  • Winter Savory
  • Mint
  • Parsley
  • Thyme
  • Marjoram
  • Oregano
   
 
It's dark. It's cold. It's rainy. Things are growing! Mother nature is persistent and even with the less than perfect weather of the last six weeks we are starting the CSA on schedule. That said the share is a bit light on diversity this week and most likely next as well. Please remember that the value of your CSA share comes over the course of the whole summer and that the harvests of strawberries, tomatoes, watermelon, and basil (just to name a few) will be filling your bags and boxes soon. See you this week on Tuesday or Friday from 2-7pm.

Shares Available

For the first time in five years we are starting harvest with farm shares available. Is it the weather? Is it the news cycle? We're not sure but we hope both change soon and that all of you will tell your friends, tell your neighbors to join us for the season. We are happy to sign up new members and prorate until we are sold out.

Add-on Samples This Week at Pick-up

Try out the bread, cheese and yogurt or take a look at samples of our eggs, mushrooms and flower bouquets before we start these shares the week of the 19th. Remember you can still sign up for these great additions. Follow this link.

What are Storage Carrots?

We grow carrots for a couple local restaurants and supply them through the winter. When we have a good crop there are some to share with you this time of year. These sweet roots were harvested in November and kept in our big walk-in fridge at 33° and 95% humidity through the cold months. Our new crop will start coming in by July but these taste pretty good. Upic Open with Bountiful Herbs Our perennial herbs in the epic field had a great winter. They are exploding. (What's their secret?) Head out to the field and cut a few to make a new salad dressing or season the carrots in this week's share (thyme and carrots go great together).

What's in the Share?

  • Lettuce Mix
  • Storage Carrots
  • Tatsoi
  • Kale
  • Chard
  • Hot Mustard

What's in Upic

  • Mint
  • Oregano
  • Thyme
  • Marjoram
  • Parsley
  • Sage
  • Chives
  • Anise Hyssop
 
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