In your box:
–Head lettuce, “Red Romaine”
Welcome to our 2016 growing season!
We are so grateful for your support as we kick off our eighth season of growing here at Fox and Fawn Farm. Once again this year, all of our farm income comes exclusively from our CSA program and sales of surplus produce to members. We couldn’t do it without you!
Our farm team this year consists of, well, mostly me. I’m in charge of scheduling, planning, fertilizing, seeding, transplanting, watering, weeding, cursing the sun when it doesn’t rain, belittling the clouds when it rains too much, and whatever else happens to need tending to on the farm. Henry is our loyal farm dog whose sole responsibilities include chasing rabbits into the neighbors’ yard and trying in vain to convince our neighborhood raccoons to leave our corn alone. My dear wife Nina helps out when she can (especially in strawberry season) but is mostly in charge of watching our two boys, Nathan (4) and Adam (1). I’m eternally grateful for the help of my parents, Steve and Arlene Kirkman of Chaska and Nina’s mom, Julie Healy of Bloomington, for help on harvest days and pulling all the weeds I point them toward.
We love visitors and our members are encouraged to visit the farm during the season if you like. We plan to have a volunteer work-day when we harvest garlic, an open house in August, and a celebratory potluck in September as we wrap up the growing season.
Spinach has never been easy for me to grow, so it was a delight to see it survive our three days of ninety degrees thus far without any complaint. Spinach is quick to “bolt,” putting out seed stalks as soon as summer warms up. This is the second spring in a row that we’ve had spring spinach successfully after many years of failure, so I’m happy to have found the best variety to grow here. We should have it for another week if the temperatures stay moderate. We also grow a spinach crop in the fall, which is much more dependable. Try this spinach raw in a salad, baked on a pizza, or cooked in lasagna. Just don’t boil it to mush and force it on your kids! It took me twenty years to overcome the spinach abuse I witnessed as a child.
Komatsuna is probably the least familiar crop in your box—indeed I hadn’t even heard of it until I read its description in a seed catalog this past winter. This is one of just a few new crops to the garden this year, and I think it’s a keeper. With its nutritious leaves and tender stalks, it’s perfect for a stir-fry. It can also be baked into a quiche or lasagna, or wilted and eaten on its own.
We also have a bag of arugula in your box this week. Arugula carries a nice spicy kick on its own and tastes great in a salad. If the bite is a little too much for you, you can mix it in with lettuce or spinach and distribute the taste that way. It can also be wilted or steamed but be careful to not overdo it.
Unfortunately the flea beetles (don’t worry—they’re not true fleas) have already discovered the komatsuna and arugula and left a few pinprick bites in the leaves. It’s been my policy for the past four years to not spray anything on the fields—even organic sprays. I’ve been working on the theory that bugs seek out weak or injured plants and that the best way to overcome them is with rich soil that nourishes the good plants and helps them overcome any visiting pest. This has certainly played itself out for the past few years as we constantly improve the soil, but of course some pests are inevitable. The tiny flea beetle bites are purely cosmetic and do not effect the taste at all. And they’re nothing compared to what your teeth are about to do to them!
All of your veggies this week would prefer to be kept in a hydrator drawer in the fridge, and should keep well for up to two weeks. They would also prefer to be eaten before your next CSA box comes, since there are many greens still to come! We’re also expecting garlic scapes and strawberries next week.
Please feel free to contact us with any questions or suggestions throughout the season. You can always reach us via phone, 952-353-1762 or e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org. And don’t forget to check out our website for recipes and ideas from past newsletters: www.foxandfawnfarm.com. We hope you enjoy the season!