In your box:
–Bok Choy (“Vivid Choy”)
–Kale (“Red Russian”)
Welcome to your first CSA delivery of the 2018 season! We are so excited to kick off the growing year and we hope you enjoy all of the flavors and crops that this season brings.
Back in April it seemed like this first harvest would never come. We received far more snow than we have ever had that late in the winter, and temperatures were very slow to warm up to anything like average. But as soon as the calendar flipped to May the farm was off and running. The warm dry weather we had during May was so helpful to getting the fields ready to plant, and we ended up receiving just enough rain to keep the crops happy. I always get nervous when the weather in April is lousy, but I’ve been learning that it’s really the growing conditions we have in May that set the tone for the whole year.
June has been ok but wet, so everything is growing well—including the weeds. After heavy downpours over the weekend and on Monday I would really appreciate a nice dry spell to catch up on weeding and keep the good crops growing nicely.
This week’s box is mostly greens, as strawberries are still a week or two away. One new crop offering some beautiful color is a pink/purple variety of bok choy called “Vivid Choy.” This is the first time we’ve grown this crop, and it’s kind of a combination of kale, mustard greens, and the usual bok choy that I expect to harvest next week. Vivid Choy isn’t as rigid as common bok choy, so it can be wilted and cooked down like kale or chopped into a stir fry. The stems can be eaten or removed, depending on your preference.
Unfortunately all of our Asian greens are nibbled this year. We usually try to cover them with a netting that keeps the flea beetles off. But the netting adds a few degrees to the temperature of the plants, so with the 100 degree weather a couple weeks ago it seemed like it would have killed the plants to keep the netting on. Without any protection the flea beetles did some cosmetic damage, but the crops themselves are still in good shape despite the beetle holes.
The beetles also got into the arugula, but overall the taste and quality is still good. If you’re not familiar with arugula, this is the short green with rounded edges in your box. Since they are not longer baby-sized, I have bunched them this week. Arugula is great mixed in with a salad, but it can also be wilted in a stir-fry or processed into pesto. If you aren’t a fan of the spicy flavor, try substituting it for basil in a pesto recipe and you’ll get a great-tasting pesto that doesn’t have the peppery flavor of arugula.
In our CSA boxes, we always try to strike a balance between organization and not over-packaging. We know of some farms that just dump everything in a box and others that wrap everything in plastic, and we try to find the right balance in between. The bags that we provide for many salad items and green beans later in the year are compostable and recyclable, and they really go a long way to keeping these items fresh. If you have access to a compost program or a backyard pile we’ve had good success in their decomposition and recommend this for finished bags. It does take a couple years in a compost pile to really break them down, but in a municipal pile this isn’t a problem. We also use cardboard pint and half-pint containers for berries and cherry tomatoes. These can be recycled or returned to the farm if they are in good shape.
Thanks again for your support this year! Farming continues to be my passion and a unique encounter every year. We couldn’t do it without the support of our CSA community. We hope you enjoy the season and try a few new crops with us. Be sure to contact us if you have any concerns or questions: firstname.lastname@example.org or 952.353.1762.
Expected next week: Salad mix, arugula, sweet turnips, chard, head lettuce, bok choy, strawberries.