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And a Cherry Tomato Plant, Too!

Beet Box -

96 And a Cherry Tomato Plant, Too! One more thing in your Harvest Basket this week!

I forget to mention...

All Harvest Basket members get to take home a cherry tomato plant this week as part of your weekly share! Look for a yellow bin of tomato plants at your pick-up site. Please take one per Harvest Basket. The variety is SunOrange (an improved Sungold), our all-time favorite cherry tomato: sweet & tangy tropical flavor, great texture, high yielding and crack resistant! If you want more than one plant, we have extras for sale at the farmstand!
How to Care for Your Tomato Plant:
  • Choose a sunny, protected location for it. You can plant it in the ground or in a large pot or 5 gallon bucket with holes drilled in the bottom.
  • Plant your start as deeply as possible in soil amended with compost or a balanced organic fertilizer. Tomatoes are adventitious rooters, meaning they will sprout roots from the stem wherever it is in contact with soil, so the deeper you plant it the greater the root system it will develop. You can bury your plant up to the top-most set of leaves (just don't bury the growing tip).
  • Water your plant regularly to get it established, but as it matures you can taper the water. It will let you know if it's thirsty (keen observation is the cornerstone of good farming). Once your plant is yielding, less water = sweeter, more flavorful fruit.
  • This variety is indeterminate, meaning it will continue growing vigorously upward all season. It will need support of some kind (a wire cage, a string trellis, etc). Don't be afraid to prune it aggressively. Removing excess leaves and suckers will help maintain good airflow and light penetration, which helps prevent disease and promotes fruit ripening.
By late July or August you should start to see your first trusses of ripe fruit and your plant should yield well into the fall.


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Summer CSA Kickoff!

Beet Box -

Summer CSA Kickoff! Get ready for your first delivery of produce this week!
Thanks for eating locally from our family farm!
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What's Cookin' at the Farm...
  • Summer CSA Starts this Week: Top 5 Things you Need to Know!
  • What's in the First Box?!
  • Tamales Next Week!
  • The Farmstand is open for Summer!
  • Recipe Links
What's In Your Share This Week:*
  • Scallions
  • Baby Walla Walla Sweet Onions
  • Red Ursa Kale
  • Asparagus
  • Artichokes
  • Hakurei Turnips
  • Head Lettuce
  • Arugula
  • Pac Choi
On Rotation:
(Some locations will receive it this week; others in a future week)
  • Nothing this week...
*Harvest Basket contents may vary between pickup sites in a given week depending on what's ripe and ready on the farm. Don't worry - if something is on the list but not in your tote, you'll get it soon!

The VF Crystal Ball - What Might be in your Share Next Week...
  • Scallions
  • Walla Wallas
  • Broccolini?
  • Spinach
  • Chard
  • Pac Choi
  • Kohlrabi
  • Lettuce
  • Radishes
  • Strawberries? (Come on sun!)
CSA Season Begins! Top 5 Things you Need to Know...
Hurrah, it's veggie time! We're celebrating our tenth CSA season this year, and many of you have been with us since the beginning (wow, that makes me misty-eyed, and it also explains the greater abundance of crow's feet fanning out at my temples...OK, yeah, and the handful of silver hairs, too...)! Thanks for being with us in this milestone year.

I've been in touch with all of you in the last couple days with specifics about your particular pick-up site: days, hours, locations, important details. If you didn't get that email, please let me know so I can re-send it to you. My goal is to equip you all with the info you need this week so that CSA pick-up runs smoothly. Maybe together we can set a 10-year record and have NO MIX-UPS in the FIRST WEEK!

Here is the list of the TOP 5 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW as a CSA member:
  1. READ: It makes all the difference! Every CSA member is signed up for a different combo of things. Except for Harvest Baskets, we label most things with names, so check the label or the list on the coolers before you take a salad share or tamale share home. Ninety-nine percent of the mix-ups happen because someone didn't read carefully! It's also a great idea to read this newsletter each week (those who do find out about special CSA perks like flats of strawberries and bags of peppers available by special order...).
  2. SENDING A SUB: If you send someone to pick up your CSA on your behalf, PLEASE make sure they know what items to take and what not to take! Salad, tamales and flowers tend to cause the most confusion for untrained proxies, so give them a list of exactly what to pick up for you.
  3. 28 LOVELY WEEKS! The CSA season is 28 weeks long. We'll delivery Harvest Baskets through the first week of December. Salad Shares go for 20 weeks until mid-October. Flower Shares go for 12 weeks starting in late June or early July. Tamales are delivered monthly, usually in the first full week of the month, seven deliveries total.
  4. HOW TO REACH ZOË: I'm hard to get ahold of throughout the week because I'm mostly in the field for long days and we have poor cell service at the farm. I will always try to get back to you within two days, if not sooner. The two best ways to reach me are:
    • Email: valleyflora@valleyflorafarm.com
    • Text: 541-551-0314
  5. YOU MATTER! Many of you have heard it before, but it's true: our CSA members are the backbone of the farm in so many ways and we want you to love your CSA experience. We'll do our best to accommodate you if you need something out of the ordinary. (Sorry, we can't oblige special requests to sub more strawberries for your kohlrabi every week, but we can do things like hold your tote in our walk-in cooler instead of delivering it to your pick-up site if you are going to be out of town and want to pick up later at the farm). All we ask is that you give us plenty of heads up if you need something out of the ordinary - at least 3 days - so we can adjust accordingly.
    And finally, in case you need a quick reminder about the where and when of your pick-up site, all of that info is always one click away on our website. Please share the link with anyone who might be picking up on your behalf this season.

    All right team, let's do this!
What's in the First Box?!
Introducing your first week of VERY GREEN PRODUCE!!!!

Summer was off to a rip-roaring, scary-early start a few weeks ago (30 mile an hour north winds and 95 degree days at the farm). The strawberries loved it and got the earliest start ever in Valley Flora history, but then the weather regained its sanity and it feels more like Oregon-in-May again (grey, lush, calm, the trees dripping-green and heavy with nubile leaves and birdsong). Which means no strawberries this week, but lots of very happy leafy green things: kale, pac choi, arugula, lettuce! All of them can be eaten raw, but typically kale and pac choi are used more as cooking greens and arugula and lettuce for salads. If ever you feel overwhelmed by the green leafy things in your weekly share, remember that cooking kale, chard, collards, spinach, and pac choi reduces them to a small little pile that you could eat singlehandedly. Or throw them in to your smoothie.

This spring has been an epic slug fest like never before, so don't be alarmed if you encounter a gastropod hiding in an outer leaf of head lettuce or pac choi (they don't always come off in the dunk tank!).

Also this week: asparagus and baby artichokes - two of our favorite spring crops. The artichokes are a family heirloom that have been growing on the farm for over 40 years, since before it was Valley Flora. The baby chokes are practically choke-less, meaning you can eat them whole, bottom-up, heart first (after steaming and dredging them in your favorite fat of choice). With this particular variety you won't run into hairy or tough leaves until you reach the top of the choke.

The white round roots are Hakurei turnips - tender, buttery, and sweet. I love them raw in salads, or munching them like apples.

The scallions and baby Walla Walla sweet onions are an early treat. We planted the Walla Wallas last October and they overwintered beautifully until a few weeks ago when we noticed they were all starting to send up flower spikes. Overwintered onions are notoriously finicky and unfortunately this batch must have experienced some temperature stress that induced bolting. We decided to harvest them early this week while they're still tender. Our other planting of April-planted Walla Wallas will most likely yield big, fat onions come July, so not to worry if you were looking forward to making giant onion rings this season.

A lot of you are accomplished in the kitchen and passionate about food, so over the past few years I've included fewer and fewer recipes in the newsletter each week. Keyword searches on the internet seem to bring up every possible preparation for arugula these days, so I trust you'll find recipes that match your own tastes and preferences without much difficulty. Some weeks there will be a combination of produce in your tote that begs to be made into something special, at which times I might share a favorite recipe with you. Keep in mind that your fellow CSA members often have great tips for what to do with the produce, so get to know each other and share your ideas (and even your produce: I know one member in particular who will gladly swap her fennel for your eggplant come September).
Tamales Next Week
For Tamale Share members, your first delivery of Tamales will come the week of June 3rd (not this week). Tamales will be frozen, packed into marked blue coolers and labeled individually with names. Double check the label on your bag before you take your dozen home!

Please mark your calendars with these tamale delivery weeks for the 2019 season:
  • June 3
  • July 1
  • August 5
  • September 2
  • October 7
  • November 4
  • December 2

The Farmstand is Open for Summer Hours!

Every Wednesday & Saturday
9 am to 2 pm
Rain or shine!

Fresh Produce
U-Pick Strawberries & Flowers
Homemade Jam & Hot Sauce

Please bring your own bags and u-pick containers if possible!

Directions to the Farm
For Recipes & Cooking Inspiration:
Valley Flora Recipe Wizard
Our own collection of recipes gathered over the years.
A vast collection of recipes, searchable by one or multiple ingredients
Full Belly Farm
Recipes from one of my favorite farms in California, pioneers of the organic movement since the 80s.

Farm Fresh to You
A storehouse of recipes, searchable by ingredient.
Helsing Junction Farm
A Washington farm that has a good collection of seasonal recipes geared toward CSA members.
Copyright © 2019 Valley Flora, All rights reserved.

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