Thursday, May 27, 2010

Arugula week

We went a little overboard with this week's share, especially in the arugula department. I think we may have seeded twice the arugula we meant to, so we'll give out twice as much... We also went ahead and thinned beets, probably a week earlier than we should have, but you can enjoy those, same as most greens, sauteed in a little olive oil or even steamed. I wouldn't recommend them raw. There's green garlic in the share, which combined with the arugula would make a lovely arugula pesto. I've been using mine to add a little flavor to soba noodles and in gyoza. Lettuce and the last of the radishes fill out the share. The lettuce is Flashy Lightning, a surprisingly buttery little lettuce with beautiful red spots.

Today's sun was a nice surprise and maybe we'll get a little this weekend to help warm the soil up for our summer crops. We've got a backlog of plantings to do with all of the new ground turned up. We're hoping the weather will cooperate next week as well.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Power Tools


Up to this point all of the beds we've planted have been prepared by hand. We've stripped sod, forked and raked and even mowed in between the beds by hand. This spring we planned an expansion, and part of that plan was to do an initial preparation of the new beds with a little help from internal combustion motors. Last thursday was nice and dry during the day (despite the forecast) and we borrowed a riding mower which took down the tall grass on 40 new beds. Yesterday, the one dry window in this week's forecast, we borrowed a BCS walk behind tractor with a rotary plow from our friends at Red Truck Farm. That piece of machinery allowed us to turn up soil for 40 new beds, which more than doubles our existing 28 hand dug beds.


Above is a view of what the rotary plow does. In about two hours we had roughly broken up the sod and worked the soil about 8" deep. We'll still have quite a bit of hand work to get the beds ready for planting, but stripping sod alone on that number of beds would have taken us over 40 hours of hand work. It's hard to argue with those short term economics, but given enough time I still prefer to do it all by hand. We'll consider using the BCS or other tractors occasionally when we're short on time, but I hope at this point we'll be able to finish out this season without.

I'm glad we're getting a decent amount of moisture, it saves us a lot of irrigation work, and it's better for the germinating seeds. I would like a little more warmth and a few dry windows for more planting. We'll see what the next few weeks bring. Meanwhile the spring greens are doing great and even the tomatoes we planted last week look like they're handing the cold nights.


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Repeat performance

On the face of it we've got the same share this week as last week, there are a few subtle differences. The lettuce this week is a beautiful red butter called Pirat. The spinach, although from the same plants, is a bit more mature which gives it a firmer texture. Similarly there's a bit more raab and both the raab and spinach are the last of the spring plantings. Finally, the radishes are having a good run this spring and we may even have a few more next week before they make their exit.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

New Approach

I'm trying out a new way of posting to the blog using my phone. For more than a year now I've been making the weekly posts from the farm using my phone, and a convoluted method that involves the camera on my phone, e-mail, and the Internet browser on my small screen. I think I've found a simple application that will streamline the whole process. What does this mean for you the reader? Probably nothing, but I just thought I'd let you know that I'm still pretty amazed by the technology that let's me share these snapshots in real time from the farm.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, May 13, 2010


The spinach is beautiful this week!  Spinach is a tricky crop to grow so we're really happy to have such a beautiful bunch for the shares this week.  There's also a head of emerald oak lettuce, a couple of french breakfast radishes, and a stalk or two of the beginnings of our broccoli raab harvests.  The raab is a little like a mustard, I like these quickly sauteed with a bit of olive oil and coarse salt and used as an accent on pasta or soup or any other dish.

We're seeing our first crop loss due to slugs.  They've decimated a planting of fennel, but fortunately I think we'll still have enough. Other than that things are looking really beautiful now that we're getting a little more sun and warmth. I'll post a few more photos soon.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Big Plants


On Monday we realized we'd been babying the tomato plants a little too long. They've outgrown the mini greenhouse and really need a bit of hardening off before we set them out later this month, when we hope it'll actually warm up and dry out a bit. So now they're in the unheated section of the still not quite completed hoop house, which means they get a little breeze through the vents that haven't been completed and the door panels that haven't gone up yet.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Small picture

This week a small picture, but actually the share looks pretty large to me. Arugula, green garlic and lettuce are all featured. If you haven't had green garlic before you can use the whole thing, greens and all. It's a bit like the scallion compared with a regular onion. Use it in soups, sauces, omelettes, etc. Spring arugula is tender and makes a great salad with just a bit of sharpness. I like it with fresh cheeses, like chevre and slightly sweet dressings.

We've been giving out slightly larger portions of a few crops in the shares this year for a few reasons. Basically we have extra, mostly because we're undersubscribed. We've debated how to handle the extras, and in the end we've been giving some of that to the members who have signed up, wanting to see it used. We're also looking for other outlets at this point and a bit of it has been going as sample shares, or into small commercial kitchens we know. If you know someone who would like a sample, and might actually be convinced by a sample to become a member let us know and we'll hook them up.

If you're wondering why the small photo, I'm actually in Philadelphia today visiting old friends and attending my 20th high school reunion. Usually I take a photo of the share on my phone, upload it and some text to the blog after we finish with harvest. I find that pretty amazing! Even more amazing this week, Kji harvested all of the shares solo, and now has texted me the photo, which I then pasted into an e-mail that posted to the blog. We might be small and hand scale, but we're certainly not low tech.