Monday, June 24, 2013

Journal Post for June 24, 2013

Volume VIII, JOURNAL I,2,3                                                            June 24, 2013
Blue Heron Farm Journal
So what’s happening on the farm this week?
This journal we put out once a week and is available in paper form on Mondays and electronic form email and website the rest of the week.  It is a place to get recipes, know what was going on with the farm,  and Christine's love affair/ramblings with the food we grow, the animals we caretake,  the land we farm, and our kids:) If you have a recipe you would like to share or something for the journal - feel free to pass it along to us. If you can not make a pickup you can send someone else to pick up your food or give us a call and we will pack it up for you and leave it for you in the fridge.  The best is to call before pickup time so we know to pack it up for you.  If we don't hear from you we will donate it to another family. At pickups, you will be able to purchase bread, eggs and lamb (when available).
So this journal entry has taken awhile to get going - the season has been so busy seeding, transplanting, weeding, building, repeat -  but the crops are slow getting out of the ground due to this wacky weather.  Sorry this has taken awhile - things get so busy here - and sometimes there is a choice between getting veggies picked or this journal - so...I am starting in the wee hours of the morning - hoping to have it done before we go picking for today's veggies.
We grow most of our crops in the ground from seed or transplants we start in our greenhouse.  Our nightshades we grow under cover in the hoophouses - those are some of our tomatoes (our heirlooms grow in the field), peppers, eggplant and basil.  At the beginning of spring things were dry which is great to get the fields dried out but then it was too dry - and we only have drip irrigation to some of our fields (these our hoses that weep water when full).  The it rained and rained and was cloudy and plants need water and sun to grow.  When we speak to other growers in the area - their crops are slow this year too - this wacky weather - or is this the norm now.  Each year we try to anticipate and plan on how we can adapt our growing practices to the weather.  Each year there is a wave that we are not quite ready for - but when that wave comes - we just need to ride it out.  There is no use getting mad over it - sure getting frustrated is ok - but to let it linger - it just eats you up.  We have clay soils - they are heavy  and hold onto water - so we are ever so careful not to do too much damage while it is wet.  We try to stay on the paths - minimizes compaction.  You have probably played with clay before - you smoosh it together and its smooshed - well clay soil is like that too - when you smoosh it when its wet - it doesn't unsmoosh - and all those miniscule air pockets made by worms and all the work the macro and micro organisms have done to create the soil in to soil and not just clay get smooshed too.  Clay is great during a dry patch because even though the surface is dry - underneath is still moist.  Clay soil is rich in minerals, calcium and organic matter which help all the organisms thrive in the soil that promotes happy veggie growth. Another key ingredient  - in all of this farming stuff - is patience and a handful of sugar snap peas.
With that all said, we always keep our CSA members in mind when we are picking - we will hold back cutting a field for farmers market to keep for Monday's pickup.  You entrusted us to grow your veggies back in those late winter/early spring months the least we can do is make your veggies for the week a priority.  With that being said - you are in for the wave of a ride too with the weather.  The first few weeks seem light - but as the season cranks up - things will be heavier and more diverse.  And don't worry we will not overload you with too many of this or too many of that. There will be times you can have pick your own and also take as many tomatoes as you like :)  I think we may have zucchinis and summer squash in the next couple of weeks.  The spinach is done for now and the peas are starting to come in strong. The head lettuce starting to get bigger and I think basil is right around the corner.  The early potato plants are gorgeous!  Our crew did an amazing job tilling and hilling them.  The hoophouse veggies are doing well too - nice and green- a little behind but very strong plants.  We did many plants as transplants this year (cucurbit family (squash,cukes, melons, winter squash) because of the weird weather. This week we are getting the winter squash transplants in the ground and the fourth round of lettuce (but wait a second - why is the first round not picked yet - oh yeah the weather:))
We are incredibly thankful for the wonderful crew we have this year.  We have two apprentices, Alicia and Yard.  They were both currently from Burlington so they knew the area.  Both believe in small organic farming and wanted to learn more about it more in depth.  We have known Yard for a few years thanks to our friend Sophie (our first year apprentice back in 2010) and he has come up and volunteered on numerous occasions.  Yard graduated from UVM  with a degree in art and religion and is originally from New Jersey.  This year, he wanted to fully immerse himself in small diversified organic farming.  We met Alicia through the NOFA-VT apprentice program.  She graduated from UMASS Amherst with a degree in architecture a few years ago and is an avid biker - having biked across the US last summer helping building homes along the way.  Her skills of carpentry have already come in very handy of the farm.  Alicia also has a passion for local food systems  and small scale farming.  They will be with us for the season - and they are eager to meet all of you. 
We are also thankful for the many volunteers we have - our Monday morning weeding crew, our Saturday volunteers, we are so blessed.  Thank you all for making this an amazing farm.  If you would like to come over and help out let us know and we will put you to work. 
We are working on 3 farm dinners - eat in the field among the veggies and animals - one in July and 2 in August.  Our farm dinner will be August 18th from 3-5pm.  It will be by suggested donation and will have our lamb, chicken and tons of veggies including our heirloom tomatoes.  The other two dinners are at Savage Gardens on July 21 and Pomykala Farm on August 11th.  More information to follow.
We look forward to farming with you this season.   
Peace, your farmers, Christine, Adam, Sadie and Delia, Alicia and Yard
 What’s in the share this week: Lettuce Mix, Garlic Scapes, Baby Napa Cabbage, Baby Bok Choy, Sugar Snap Peas, Maybe Pea Tendrils
Eggs for sale We have the pretty girls’ eggs for sale – these are free-range, certified organic chicken eggs that are brown, green and blue – with the brightest yellow/orange yolks you ever seen.  The eggs are $5.00 a dozen. 
Garlic Scapes are the false flowers of of hardneck garlic.  They are totaly edible. Chop and put in eggs, pizza, stir fries, anything.  You can roast  them or grill them.  You can throw them in a food processor with parmesan cheese, some nuts or not, olive oil and ta da - scape pesto - our favorite in this house.  Smeared on and make grilled cheese sandwiches - yum
Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette

1 part  maple syrup
1 part balsamic vinegar
1/2 part of olive oil
salt and pepper
and shake:)

It keeps well in the fridge - the olive oil may separate in fridge - but just shake and everything mixes together again.

Bok Choy is eaten the whole plant  - leave and stem.  You can sauté them, stir fry them, chop them and add them to anything you would put greens in.  You can eat them raw too.  The other night I chopped pea tendrils, bok choy and cabbage and mixed them with eggs, cheese and pepperoni - yum.

Pea tendrils can be eaten raw or chopped and saute in olive oil and eaten.