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Week 1 Newsletter

June 19, 2014

In your box:
–Kale, “Red Russian”
–Lettuce, “Red Romaine
–Rhubarb
–Scallions
–Strawberries
–Thunderstorm

Welcome to the start of our CSA season for 2014! Except that it will not be known as 2014, but rather “that one crummy year when it rained every day all spring and the mosquitoes drained us of all our blood.” If it’s any consolation, we are now officially enduring the wettest year in all of recorded Minnesota history. If it’s going to be way too wet, it might as well at least set records.

Somewhat surprisingly, the farm is still in good shape after all of the rainy days we’ve had. All winter I come up with plans for where to plant what crop, how to shape my rotation, and when everything will go into the field. As this spring wore on, it quickly became obvious that none of those plans were going to come to fulfillment in any way. Nothing is planted where I thought it would be and my planting schedule involved not an Excel spreadsheet but “look, there’s some dry dirt” and then planting something there as quickly as I could before it started raining. In the end, everything has now been planted that should have been. Some crops will be late—sweet corn, salad mix, carrots—and we did lose our spring cauliflower and spinach to the stress of over-saturation.

Thank you all so much for your support this year, and your understanding as we deal with less-than-ideal growing conditions. All of our crops should really take off once they dry up a bit, and we’re optimistic about our season even if the first few boxes are on the light side.

I wrote all of that so optimistically last night. This morning we were socked with 4 inches of rain, most of which fell as I scurried to bring in the harvest. This looks to be a pretty devastating storm, but it’s hard to tell the damage as so much is under water. Right now we’re just hoping that the water subsides quickly so that the plants can recover. Unfortunately, I was not able to harvest any Tat Soi this morning, as it is currently under a foot of water. Had I known we were about to get drenched, I would have harvested it last night obviously.

Strawberries are a welcome surprise! Strawberries are not tolerant of too much moisture and seem to develop fungal problems if you look at them the wrong way. However, the crop came in earlier than I expected and looks to continue for another week or two. I’m not going to bother explaining what to do with them, since your passengers in the backseat just ate them all….

Half shares received four leaves and full shares eight of Red Russian Kale. Kale has really caught on with much of the public, if only because CSA farms have shoved so much into member boxes and people have learned to love it. The number of farms producing kale has nearly tripled in the past 7 years, with 6,256 acres of the United States planted to kale (0.05 of those acres occurring right here at Fox and Fawn Farm!) Kale still pales in comparison to the popularity of broccoli, with nearly 21 broccoli plants growing in the US for every kale plant.

Now that your head is full of useless knowledge, aren’t you feeling hungry for, say, kale? The good news is that kale can go into just about anything (lasagna, pizza topping, quiche, pasta) and add a huge kick of nutrition without dominating the taste of the meal. To prepare, simply cut the spine and discard. Slice the leaf into ribbons and steam for 4-5 minutes (don’t let it get too soggy) and bake it into any dish. You can also try it plain or with a little soy sauce. If you still can’t enjoy it, try coating it with oil and baking until it becomes crispy and you’ve made your own homemade kale chips.

Scallions are also known as green onions and can be used in any recipe calling for onion.

Thanks for your support this year! And let’s hope the rain lays off for a few weeks…

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One Comment leave one →
  1. June 23, 2014 9:39 pm

    God bless you farmer Red – I know what it’s like to have veggies 12″ under. Last year, all my leafies came on strong after submersion, much to my astonishment. I did bath the leaves fearing they’d suffocate from the mud mask. We put in two big culverts down by the garden now and the soil is fine. Last week we had 18″ deep torrents sweeping to the side of my precious organic plot, through the new drain tile. I’ve never seen so much rain inside brief hourly segments, for four years in a row now. All the best to you and Nina, and family. We hope to stop in on you this season for a hello….. Michelle and Duncan.

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