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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Week Five CSA Boxes

The boxes keep getting heavier! This week we have 11 different varieties of vegetables to enjoy!
SNOW PEAS - another 2 pounds of snow peas
TURNIPS - 3 turnips
ZUCCHINI & SUMMER SQUASH - this is the first week for these garden beauties, so there are just a couple in each box. But as the season continues, there will be more!
CARROTS - the very first carrots, just three in each box for now
BEETS - 6 red beets and 2 yellow beets
ONIONS - the traditional 2 onions
SHELL PEAS - a whopping 3 pounds of shell peas (about all the bag could hold!)
ROMAINE LETTUCE - the heat tolerant lettuce is ready and crunchy
SWISS CHARD - the bright lights variety has white, red, yellow and orange stems
KALE - a big bunch to try and savor

Enjoy your fresh produce!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Week Four CSA Boxes

We have a great box this week! So much fresh goodness that there wasn't room for an extra!
From the left:
MESCLUN SALAD MIX - more high end restaurant fare
KOHLRABI - only enough for one this week, hopefully the others mature quickly
SHELL PEAS - a different variety this week, you can tell the shells are a LOT bigger
TURNIPS - two turnips to sample this week, we'll have more next week
SNOW PEAS - these are getting so sweet, just like candy!
BEETS - a half dozen small to medium beets, tender and delicious
SPINACH - this is the last week for spinach

Have a wonderful week!

Friday, July 17, 2009

CSA Thoughts and the Market Starts Tomorrow

I'm such a cheater! It's good that I admit this upfront, lest anyone think I have original ideas. I'm always looking and researching other farms, CSAs, growers to see what they're doing (and not doing) and then trying my best to copy it here. My CSA deliveries are no exception. Last year there was just one CSA (that I know of) operating in Bismarck. I had numerous requests to start a CSA there this winter, but with the new baby...Jamestown was all we could handle. This year there are two serving Bismarck. Both of them started delivery after we did: one of them a week later and the other started today, 3 weeks after we started! And here I was, worried that we had a late start! In more interesting information, both of the Bismarck CSAs only offer 14 weeks of produce, we offer 15. And they both charge more than we do, one of them 150% more!! My goodness, I almost fell off my chair when I read that! John and I have discussed this "research" and we feel that we are offering a fair price, both for us and for our members.

The Gackle Farmers Market starts tomorrow! I'm always excited for market day, it's fun to be in the park among friends! While I won't have quite the volume and variety I had last year (because my CSA members come first), I will have some great produce and homemade egg noodles. I made 9 pounds of noodles yesterday and boy, are they good! Hopefully, the market-goers will think so too!

I did a close inspection of the gardens the past two days to gauge what was near harvest, ahead of schedule or behind schedule. CSA members, you will be happy to know that this next week there should be kohlrabi, turnips and beets in your boxes! The turnips were a surprise. Never having grown them before, I wasn't sure of their habit or maturity rate. But we weeded them two nights ago and there are definitely eaters out there!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Week Three CSA Boxes

The boxes are starting to get heavier! We're trading in greens for some heavy vegetables like peas and bigger onions. Here are the box contents for this week:

LETTUCE - the mesclun lettuce mix is right on schedule, lots of delicious lettuces are growing and growing!
SPINACH - the spinach has done well this year and I think we'll have another week or two of spinach
ONIONS - the traditional two onions
RADISHES - this is the last week for radishes and as you can tell by the smaller bunches, we're at the end of the harvest
SHELL PEAS - two and a half pounds of sweet, crunchy pea-goodness. You will have to shell these as the pods aren't that tasty!
SNOW PEAS - delicious, delicate, edible pods. I love them raw with some ranch dressing or honey mustard!
HONEY - the locally produced and harvested honey...very local, I saw these bees out in my cucumbers, pumpkins, melons and squashes every day last summer.

I hope you enjoy this weeks box! Even though we harvested everything in the rain this morning, I didn't mind a bit! We have really needed the moisture and I was thankful for every drop.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Week Two CSA Boxes

Here is the box contents for this week!

Starting in the upper left hand corner:
BOK CHOY (or pac choi) - It will be the rounded leaf with the white stalk, an Asian green that should taste something like cabbage, let me know what you think!
DILL - another helping of this fresh tasting herb
BEET GREENS - the last week for these greens, we should have red and golden beets in two or three weeks.
ONIONS - Red and white, too bad they don't make a blue onion!
SPINACH - dark green and leafy, leafy, leafy. It was hard to stuff it into the bags.
MESCLUN SALAD MIX - lots of different lettuces to try like Deer Tongue and Red Sails, you might even get some kale in your bag!
RADISHES - only one more week of radishes, they come and go so quickly. Don't let the larger sized radishes scare you. These are German Giant radishes and they can get to baseball size without getting bitter or woody.
PUMPKIN BREAD - homemade by yours truly with homegrown and frozen pumpkin, we ate a whole loaf last night!

I hope you enjoy the boxes this week. As I write this it is pouring rain outside, but I don't mind! We got the harvest done in just a light rain early this morning. We did have to wash and sort radishes inside which takes a lot longer than using the washing station, but that was OK. The boxes are packed and everything is ready to go...I LOVE DELIVERY DAY!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Those are the funniest looking leeks I've ever seen!

This year I decided to try a few new crops in the gardens including kale, turnips and leeks. I have never grown them before but thought they would be great to try! I selected varieties I thought would do well here and placed my orders. Here came my little seed packets, dutifully labeled with those same varieties I had chosen. (Sometimes if a seed company runs out of a particular variety they will substitute a different, yet similar, one.) I planted the seeds according to package directions. And then I waited. I was fairly certain I knew what each seedling was supposed to look like and I found the turnips and kale rather easily. I had a heck of a time finding the leeks. Never having grown leeks before I thought maybe I was missing something. But no, I couldn't find even one flat, sword-shaped leaf anywhere in those two rows. Wait, what are those rounded leafed, white stemmed bunches that seem to be in rows?? I'm very familiar with all the weeds I have around here and they weren't any weeds I'd ever seen. I had a pretty good guess what it might be and dug out my favorite seed catalog (for the great pictures) to confirm my suspicions. Yup, I was right! In the package clearly marked "Musselbrough Leeks", it actually contained Pac Choi!! Not that I'm opposed to try the asian stir fry green, I had planned on trying it in a year or two, but I had ordered LEEKS! Here's a photo of my Pac Leeks as I've started calling them:

My CSA customers can expect some Pac Choi in the next week or two, but don't get your hopes up for leeks! Ahhhh, the joys and surprises of gardening!!

In addition to playing "guess the vegetable", we've been doing an awful lot of weeding lately. My goal is to have all the gardens weed free before the baby makes his appearance in approximately three weeks. We're winning the weed war and the end is in sight. We expect a full surrender early next week. Then we will work (although certainly not as hard or backbreaking) to maintain our weed-free status. This is a photo of our weed free beans! Two varieties of green beans, golden wax beans and pinto beans!