Upic Field Open with Peas!

What’s in Upic?……

Snap Peas            Snow Peas

Our first Upic crop starts this week with Snap and Snow Peas. They are crisp, sweet and two weeks earlier than we have ever had them before! As we open the Upic field with just one crop we ask that you only take a quart (will be provided) per share this first week. This will ensure that everyone can take some home to enjoy. We will open up some of the other crops next week as well. There will be more info about the Upic field next week in the newsletter. Ask Bob or David (our Upic Gardeners) for help while you’re out there.

June is the month for greens. The greens you are taking home these first few weeks are the best of the year. Tender and sweet, greens benefit from the long days and gentle temperatures. After you get them home the best way to keep them fresh is to get them right into the fridge. We keep greens in sealed plastic bags that have a damp paper towel in with them. The paper towel regulates moisture in the bag, helping the greens last up to 2 weeks. Don’t get overwhelmed with the greens –get creative. Last week loyal CSA members emailed us, “There is no such thing as too much kale!” Becky Shepherd of Wild Oats Bakery and Café makes pesto with any of the cooking greens (kale, chard, etc)  – which can also be put up in the freezer. Just steam or blanch the greens and toss them together with nuts or bread crumbs, olive oil or butter and whatever cheese you have around into the food processor. Chop and put the pesto into a sealable cup size container for the freezer. Nothing tastes better in January than greens on pasta or rice.

Here’s what to look forward to in your share this week:

Kale                     Lettuce Heads

Chard                  Lettuce Mix

Baby Bok Choi    Various chickories

Tatsoi                   Mustard

Scallions              Kohlrabi

There are a couple great recipes for Kohlrabi on our website… http://crystalspringcsa.com/archives/category/recipes/kohlrabi

The great weather continues, I say that knocking on wood of course. We had a great week for getting things done and are whittling down our list a bit. We will transplant pumpkins and winter squash this week and get our first jump on putting up hay for the winter.

Make Hay While the Sun Shines…We usually put up 2000 to 2500 square bales of hay to feed our sheep in the colder parts of the year. Making hay is a two-day process that is highly weather dependent (even more so than growing vegetables). On the first day we cut a 2-4 acre parcel of hay field which consists of various grasses (timothy, orchard grass, ryegrass, etc.) and legumes (red and white clovers, vetch, trefoil, etc.). If we’re lucky, the legumes are just starting to flower and the grasses are just putting out seed heads, which mean both are at their highest nutritional content balanced against having the greatest biomass. The cutting is done with a special mower that crimps the hay after its cut. The crimps allow for the long leaves and shafts to dry more easily.  The cut hay lies in the sun for a few hours and then we turn it over to dry on the other side. It then lays in the field over night and then in the morning after the dew dries off we turn the hay again and let it dry some more. Bright sunshine and no rain are vital to this process. To maximize the nutritional value of the hay we want to store for winter feed we want to dry it as quickly as possible. If conditions are right by noon on the second day we are ready to rake up the hay into windrows (long piles) and begin the process of baling the loose hay into bales. More next week on making hay silage and our USDA research grant this year.

Weeding Wednesdays and Weeding Saturdays. Many of you have asked about weeding on Saturdays! Great! Come jump in with the crew Wednesday and Saturday mornings starting at 9am and going until… It’s a great time to chat with the farmers and save your favorite vegetables from the jungle. Look for us in the fields and pull into the nearest driveway along Pleasant Hill Road.