Hello CSA Comrades!
Our first delivery of 2017 is finally here and we hope everyone is eager to explore this new road together! A grand thank you to all of our members for believing in us, and believe me, we will do everything in our ability to create a satisfying experience. Our CSA members are our priority all year, from sun up to sundown; we hope our gratitude will shine brightly along the way.
Spring on the farm can be quite a flurry or shall I say frenzy, and far too much to include it all in this newsletter! Instead I will share some highlights over the past month and start to paint a picture of exactly what your organic farmers are up to.
The weather for several weeks, had an old tune stuck in my head that went something like, “oh, the dreadful wind and rain.” Luckily for all of us, farmer or not, the sun is out to play. For a while there the pattern was drenching rain, high winds, more rain, a splash of sunshine and high winds, followed by more rain and yes another splash of sun. When I say high winds, I mean steady, strong, drive-you-crazy-kind of wind. A combination of the sun and wind dried out the fields this week and we found ourselves hooking up irrigation, hard to believe after how much rain we received in May.
In the greenhouse, there was a high level of controlled chaos up until a few days ago. This is the space where we start seeds and nurture little plants until they are ready for the great outdoors. Once they are big and strong enough they are transplanted into the field. Somehow we managed to fit thousands of little plants in a 12 by 22 foot greenhouse structure, like I said, controlled chaos at it’s best. The tomatoes and peppers were in there since the end of March! The extended forecast of sunshine allowed us to plant like crazy fools, and suddenly the greenhouse was cleared out. What to do with vacant space? Fill it up with more seedlings of course. It is once again brimming but this time with exciting varieties of pumpkins and winter squash, as well as head lettuce which we plan to have throughout the entire season.
In the field, the empty greenhouse means we are planting non-stop, trying to get everything that is ready in before the next rain. I’m open to suggestions on how exactly to get in shape for this type of work! We do use a really cool tractor implement for transplanting, I will attach a photo so that everyone can get an idea of what exactly it is. Each of our plants is tucked in by our hands and most often with organic fertilizer which happens to be fish emulsion (which provides nitrogen). It is quite the sensation to work the day away with the tantalizing aroma of fish goop in the air! The plants love it so we do too.
As of yesterday, all of our tomatoes and peppers are in the ground, as well as basil, parsley, onions, and potatoes. The first round of cucumbers and zucchinis are in as well, and more will be planted in a couple weeks. We space out plantings of these to reduce chance of disease, such as powdery mildew, taking out an entire crop. Organic farming encourages observation and innovation, and the planting schedule for each crop is well thought out…..we don’t spray at the sign of disease or pests, we plan ahead for it, starting in the winter with pencil and paper Much more is going on in the wide open fields but the transplanting is the highlight of it all. Our bodies hurt, my fingers are tender, and my shoes feel too small due to swollen feet but I rest well at night knowing that the work is good work.
Before I ramble on much more, I want to introduce everyone to my littlest little brothers. Many of you know them already but for those that don’t; I have two brothers, Joe (12 years old) and Timmy (8 years old). It would seem that based on their ages they would be my children but I guarantee I am only their big sister. They were adopted by my folks from Russia, thank goodness, and now live THE COOLEST LIFE ever. Many newsletters will include quotes, stories, or hilarious encounters with these two as the seasons unfold, their uniqueness is worthy of sharing!
That’s the news on the farm front, there was so much more that I wanted to include but I know everyone is busy and a long newsletter might not be in the cards! I look forward to updating everyone further next week and will strive to get next week’s letter sent by Wednesday.
What to expect in the box on June 1st, 2017:
Salad Mix – Farmer Jon’s personal blend of many lettuce varieties including: Flashy Trout Back, Outredgeous, Deer Tongue, Aerostar, Green Salad Bowl, Blade, Dark Red Lolly Rossi, Bolsachica and Parris Island. The varieties have funny names but the mix is gorgeous, delicious, and completely unique!
Spicy Salad Mix – a beautiful mix of mustards and Mizunos, very mild and delicious on sandwiches!
Eat it raw for a little kick or saute/steam it and the mild spice will go away.
Arugula – a mustardy/spicy green that can be eaten as is, or throw it in a processor with kale and
garlic and make an easy, yet adventurous pesto.
Kale – Red Russian variety, we love this kind because it’s tender and doesn’t need to be cooked for as long. Make an easy raw salad by taking the kale of the thick stem or rib in the middle, rip leaves into smaller pieces and put in a large bowl. Add olive oil, and spices of your choice, then give that kale a massage! Yes! Get your hands into the kale and massage and squeeze the olive oil into the kale and spices. This softens the kale without having to cook it! Then I add shaved parmesan or blue cheese crumbles and sometimes a dash of balsamic or any favorite dressing and that is it. Try it out!
Green Garlic – Garlic that is harvested in the spring and has a milder flavor than the bulbs. Use it just like the garlic we are all familiar with. Chop it like green onions, using mostly the bottom white part. The green part gets tougher as you go up the stem. Add that to the pesto, or saute the spicy salad mix with it for a nice side dish. I’ve been eating it raw in the field and my immune system is thankful.
*Note* Always wash produce before indulging.
* Attempt to return boxes each week to CSA pick-up location, collapse boxes if possible.
***Extra note*** We pride ourselves on vibrant greens, wilt free is the name of our game. Last nightwe were closing up our refrigerator trailer, all of the salad mix, kale and tender greens were packed away in the supposedly cool 38 degree trailer, ready for the first CSA delivery…..but the cooler wasn’t 38 degrees it was 60 degrees. It was too late for anyone to service it and we had to act quickly. We bought 20 bags of ice and packed it into all the coolers that we could find on the farm. Then we packed the coolers with the precious greens and hoped that they would stay crisp throughout the night. Please know that we are serious about crisp greens and hope that is what everyone will find within their box. If there are ever greens that need to crisp up, put them in a bowl of cold water for 5-10 minutes then spin dry, salad spinners are cheap and effective and we highly recommend them to our CSA members. Thanks again for leaping positively forward with us, our sacred soil and future generations depend on these very types of action. Happy, healthy meal times to all!
“Grow, inspire, repeat.”
Edgewood Farm Organics
DELIVER SCHEDULE (these are estimated times of arrival)
Roselle, Garden Ave. : 1:00pm
Total Performance Factory, : 1:45pm
Saint Charles, 1003 West Main St., 2:45pm
Saint Charles, Valley Ambulatory Surgery Center: 3:15pm
Saint Charles, Clarke Campus : 4 pm
This is the first delivery of the year with new locations for us, these times will most likely be later in deliveries to come.