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Week 17 from Valley Flora!

Beet Box -

Week 17 from Valley Flora!
Thanks for eating locally from our family farm!
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What's Cookin' at the Farm...
  • Cover Crop Season
  • Valley Flora Back on the Road!
  • Special Order Sweet Peppers
What's In Your Share This Week:*
  • Red Onions
  • Head Lettuce
  • Carrots
  • Tomatoes
  • Eggplant
  • Sweet Corn
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Fennel
  • Rainbow Chard
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...
  • Leeks
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes
  • Cauliflower?
  • Parsley
  • Lettuce
  • Eggplant
  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Hot Peppers
Cover Crop Season: Second Spring
September and October are our biggest, most important months for cover cropping. We grow cover crops in the summer as well - heat-loving species like buckwheat and sudan grass and phacelia that get tilled into our soil as green manure throughout the summer. But right now is the moment that matters the most, when we seed most of the farm into overwintering cover crops that will protect our soil through the winter and give it a boost of organic matter and nutrients in the spring. It's a bit of a dance because a lot of the farm is still covered in cash crops that have to be removed before the cover crops can be seeded in their stead. It means that we are using every sunny, dry moment between these early September storms to harvest winter squash, dry beans, popcorn, and potatoes and get them into storage. Once the cash crop is cleared, the drip lines rolled up and the crop residue disked in with the horses, we broadcast various cover crop mixes of our own making and then roll them in with our horsedrawn cultipacker (a big heavy set of metal rollers that packs the seed into the soil and gives good soil-to-seed contact for higher germination). Most of our cover crop mixes include three to four different species, including a grain or grass for high biomass production (rye, oats, triticale) and legumes for nitrogen fixation (clover, peas, vetch). What gets planted where depends on where various cash crops are going next season in our extensive crop rotation on the farm. It's a really fun puzzle to solve each year.

Over the past few years I've also been doing more and more inter-seeding of cover crops among cash crops. Our field of fall and winter Brassicas is notoriously hard to get into cover crop before it's too late (mid to late October is the deadline for successful germination on most species). We'll be harvesting from that field from now until next May, leaving no window to broadcast seed. The solution has been inter-seeding, where I drill in a few lines of cover crop between the cash crop rows before the cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage plants fill in completely (see pictures above and below). They grow up together and then once the cash crop has been harvested the cover crop continues to grow and fill in, providing important cover through the winter.

I love this work, knowing that it's the most important thing I can do for the soil health of our farm, and because it's all about harnessing up the team and falling into rhythm with my horses. And then, like magic - and with a little help from some well-timed rain - the whole farm turns from brown to various shades of green again as it grows its coat for winter in a beautiful second spring.
Valley Flora Back on the Road!
You may or may not remember that the timing chain broke on our delivery van way back in early June. What you probably didn't know is that we've had to rent U-hauls every week all summer to get the food delivered. But hallelujah, we finally got our van back last night, a big relief after too many stressful and expensive weeks in mechanical limbo. It seems like there's always something each season - be it irrigation pumps, walk-in coolers, or vehicles - but after this ordeal we're hoping we've paid our break-down dues forward a few years :). We're happy to be back on the road again.
Special Order Sweet Peppers!
Pepper fans! It's
your moment! Sweet peppers are available right now and they won't be around forever, so get yourself some peppers to freeze, roast, pickle, and eat like popsicles! They are super easy to put up for winter: just chop and freeze, no extra steps. You can email Bets, the Grand Poobah of Pepper Production, and give her your NAME, PICKUP SITE, PHONE NUMBER and the QUANTITY and TYPE of PEPPER you want! They are $22 for 5 pounds, and you can choose from Stocky Red Roasters (that's the red Italian type pepper in your share this week) or a mix of her various roasters: Stocky, Gypsy, and Glow (the orange pepper in your share).
The Farmstand is Open for Summer Hours!
Every Wednesday & Saturday (rain or shine)
9 am to 2 pm

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

Please bring your own bags and u-pick containers!

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.
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