The Valley Flora Beetbox

Valley Flora's newsletter, sharing news from the farm, seasonal updates, and more!

Week 6 CSA from Valley Flora!

In the CSA Harvest Basket this Week!

  • Chard
  • Carrots
  • Lettuce
  • Purplette Onions
  • Strawberries
  • Zucchini
  • Hakurei Turnips

On Rotation:

  • Broccoli
  • Broccolini
  • Mini Cucumbers

Want More Food?!

If you're getting through your Harvest Basket each week and still wanting for more, remember there are a couple ways to source more produce directly from the farm:

  1. Strawberry U-Pick! Open every Wednesday and Saturday starting at 11 am at the farm. The berries are sweet and red now that our summer weather has arrived. Keep in mind we have some new u-pick systems in place this season due to COVID-19, so be sure to read up about the u-pick before you come.
  2. The Farmstand Drive-ThruDue to COVID, this spring we pivoted to a new pre-order, online farmstand system with drive-thru pick-up at our barn. We're using a customer-friendly online platform called Cropolis designed for small farms selling to local markets. There is no open-air, drop-in shopping this season. Instead you sign up for a farmstand drive-thru day - Wednesday and/or Saturday - on our website. Once you do that, you'll automatically start receiving our weekly farmstand availability emails and be able to place an order for drive-thru pickup. In addition to our produce, hot sauce and jam, you can also purchase Aguirre Farms local organic eggs, Farmstead Bread and Langlois Creamery sheep milk through our new system.

And, if it's too far for you to come to the farm, you can also find our produce at the Port Orford Community Co-op, the Langlois Market, Mother's Natural Grocery and Coos Head Food Co-op each week.

Thanks for eating locally!

Newsletter: 

Week 5 from Valley Flora!

In your Harvest Basket this week:

  • Carrots
  • Dill
  • Lettuce
  • Strawberries
  • Kohlrabi
  • Mini cukes
  • Beets - some members will get sweet red beets, others will get Chioggia beets (pink skin with a pink and white bulls-eye interior)

On Rotation:

  • Broccoli
  • Broccolini
  • Zucchini
  • Arugula
  • Mizuna - mizuna is a mild, light green, serrated Asian green - wonderful as a salad or alongside a slab of fish

A few quick notes about storing your produce and keeping it perky for as long as possible:

  1. Any leafy vegetable, like lettuce, herbs, bunch greens and baby greens, do best in the fridge in a sealed up plastic bag. They like it between 34 and 40 degrees with high humidity. Broccoli, broccolini and cauliflower are the same way. Best used in the first week.
  2. Root veggies like carrots and beets, and dense veggies like kohlrabi, store the longest if you take the tops off and store in a plastic bag in the fridge. They'll keep for months without tops, but won't taste as good 3 weeks from now as they do today. 
  3. Zucchini and cukes prefer life at around 50 degrees with some humidity, but who has their fridge set to 50?! Nobody, I hope! They'll go soft on the counter, so your best bet is to put them in the fridge in a plastic bag but use them within the week before they get slimy.
  4. Strawberries will last on your counter for a day or two, and will continue ripening as they sit there. However, you can get a lot more life out of them if you keep them in a tupperware in your fridge. Not that anyone is actually making it home with a full pint of strawberries....If you are, you probably don't have kids in the backseat :)

Farm Updates

  • NEW laminated checksheets are going out to all pickup locations this week! Please mark yourself off each week with the dry erase pen!
  • BULK BASIL by SPECIAL ORDER! Primo tops, no stem, $18/pound. Pesto-lovers rejoice! To order, email Bets your:
    • Name
    • Pickup location
    • How many pounds you want
    • Daytime phone number

Farming Improv

I have one regret about college and it's that I didn't take an improv class. At the time I had my schedule packed with other classes: fiction writing workshops, sustainable development in Latin America, ecological forest management, biology, econ, statistics...

The thing I've heard over and over from friends who did enroll in improv is that it was the most valuable class they took. My friend the labor organizer, my friend the OSU farm advisor, they swear that improv has served them in life more than any other course. Darn, I guess I really blew it in undergrad.

But good news, my Stanford alumni magazine came in the mail last month and had a whole spread about the "8 Life Lessons You Can Learn from Improv: How to apply just-go-with-it wisdom to your career, realtionships and well-being." The funny thing is, some of the guiding principles of improv have been guiding the management of the farm without me realizing they had anything to do with improv. Even better news: I didn't have to pay an arm and a leg for the college credits!

  1. Pay Attention: Yup, keen observation is by far the most important skill for keeping a highly diversified farm like ours humming, and for averting occasional disaster. Everyday I'm paying attention to every detail, with eyes, ears and nose cocked to all the sensory information the farm is throwing at us - why is that row of cauliflower an imperceptibly lighter shade of green - is there fertility stress? Why is the pump cycling so often - do we have a leak somewhere in the mainline? How big are the newly budding broccoli crowns and what's the weather forecast and should we pick them today or will they hold until Friday?
  2. Don't Go it Alone: It's all about working together - one giant spontaneous choreography each day to get all the work done between dawn and dusk on the farm. We're all leaning on each other to pull off a successful season, and the energy of every single person on our crew is essential.
  3. Trust that the Scene Will Evolve: Things are in constant flux on the farm, so extremely seasonal is our model of production. It helps to remember that one setback - like symphylans in the spring Brassicas - will give way to some other success, like beautiful June carrots. We are never stuck in one failure for too long, the failures teach us how to be better farmers, and in the end the diversity of the farm carries us through. 
  4. Stay Positive: It's easy to think it's the end of the world, but it never is. The glass-half-full mindset is the place where we proactively solve problems on the farm. The pressure tank exploded? OK, I guess that means it's time to replace it, build a better pumphouse, and plumb the system smarter than we did the first time.
  5. Accept the Offer: Saying "yes" to whatever is going on at the farm lubricates the wheels of creative innovation. COVID-19 means we can't run our farmstand? OK, Coronavirus, we'll turn it into a drive-thru!
  6. The Journey is the Thing: "what makes improvisers so good at creating something out of nothing isn't as much about what they do as it is about how they do it..." We farm because we love this place, we love working together as a family, we love to eat well, and we believe in organic, regenerative agriculture and it's ability to transform communities - from the living community in our gut microbiome all the way up to how humanity interacts with this planet. Yeah, it's about growing carrots, but it's also about a whole lot more.

My advice to you this week: say yes to beets! Accept the offer (even if you are sure you don't like beets), stay positive (they really might taste good!), don't go it alone (share them with friends), trust that the scene will evolve (i.e. you won't get beets next week!), and know that the journey is the thing (you tried them and confirmed for yourself that you really still do not like beets so you decided to carve them into stamps for your kids and you made really cool vegetable art).

A+!!!

 

 

Newsletter: 

Week 4 from Valley Flora!

Happy official summer! It arrived with a bang this week, with temps in the mid-eighties at the farm the past couple of days - dreamy weather for all the eggplant and squash and corn and beans and tomatoes and melons; a little less dreamy for all the sweaty farmers. Grateful to have legs that can march me down to the creek and throw me into the drink late-afternoon!

In your share this week:

  • Red Ursa Kale - at last! Our new plantings of kale and chard are hitting full stride now, which means we can finally leave the bitter taste of spring symphylans crop failure behind us. Red Ursa is an heirloom variety that I love for it's beautiful colors and tender leaves, and it's a great variety to use for kale chips. One of our farmstand customers is a kale chip fiend and she shared her recipe, below, with me. If you don't have a food dehydrator, you can also make kale chips in your oven on low heat: https://minimalistbaker.com/how-to-make-kale-chips/
  • Bunch Carrots
  • Mini Cucumbers - a little sampler of our favorite early mini-cuke. Not enough to make a dish, but enough to get you excited about cucumber season to come!
  • Abby's Spinach
  • Basil
  • Head Lettuce
  • Strawberries
  • Radishes
  • Hakurei Turnips
  • Fava Beans - the big, fat green pods in your tote are fresh favas. This is one of the not-so-common things we grow for you and the season is fleeting. You'll likely only see favas this week and maybe next week. They're a delightful fresh bean but they take a little effort to prepare, which is why I consider them a "weekend" food - one of those things that I'll cook when I have the luxury of a little more time. Ideally it's also one of those things you dig into with a bunch of friends - sit around and shell favas and talk story - but that might not be in the cards this COVID season. So....maybe shell favas while visiting friends on Zoom...? That's how I got 40 pounds of artichoke hearts preserved earlier this spring, in the Zoom company of college buddies around the country. If you're new to favas here's how to prepare them: https://www.epicurious.com/ingredients/how-to-prepare-fava-beans-gallery

On Rotation:

  • Broccoli
  • Broccolini
  • Snap Peas

 

Cory's Kale Chips

2 bunches kale

Dressing:

  • 3/4 cup tahini 
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons nutritional yeast 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or 3/4 if you're a salt fiend like me)

Remove all main stalks from the kale and cut leaves into large pieces. Wash and dry the pieces in a salad spinner so they're fully dry. Make sure they're fully dry.

Whisk all dressing ingredients together.

If you don't have a mixing bowl big enough for all the kale pieces, use a stock pot to toss them with the dressing until all the pieces are evenly coated. This process takes several minutes, using both hands.

Lay out the coated leaves on the food dehydrator trays and set to 135 degrees. For really crispy kale chips, eave them in for 18-24 hours, but best to check on them after 8 hours and play it by ear from there. 

 

The 2020 Valley Flora Crew!

It's high time you met the team that's growing, packing and delivering your food this season! Pictured left to right:

Sarah Snow and Allen Williams joined us this season after 7 years farming in Idaho and Hawaii. Sarah has the hardest job on the farm: keeping track of all four of our kids during the week, along with helping with harvest and running the U-Pick. Allen is a core part of of our harvest and field crew and is in charge of Saturday deliveries. He is also regularly called upon to reach for anything stored up in the stratosphere. We feel so lucky to have these two in our midst!

Bets, Cleo, Zoë, Abby, Jules, Pippin, Uma & Roberto in a not-so-social-distanced clump in the middle. Yes, that's Cleo stuffing her face with homemade strawberry-rhubarb pie. The kids got really into baking during "homeschool" this past spring, which is paying sweet dividends on Fridays now - they've been baking Friday treat for the whole crew. In this picture, taken last Friday, we were celebrating Roberto's birthday! Roberto has been part of Valley Flora since 2010, and what beautiful decade it's been! Roberto has thrown himself into the farm heart and soul and helped make Valley Flora what it is today. 

Jen Faraci on the far right, sporting the latest Valley Flora washline fashion (you wouldn't believe how that neon orange brings out the green in her eyes!). Jen joined us this spring and wears multiple essential hats at the farm: greenhouse manager, field and harvest crew, Wednesday deliveries. She says she's wanted to work for Valley Flora for years so she could get a free VF baseball hat. Mission accomplished. Might have to get some new merch made so we can bribe her to stay forever.

Not pictured is Donna Smith, who is running the farmstand drive-thru this season. Hats off to Donna for taking on a brand new, logistically complicated system and making it run smoothly - with a smile! A round of applause!

This little farm wouldn't chug along without this team working together. And speaking of teams, there are a two more members of the crew who pull a lot of weight around here:

Enjoy the food, have a great week!

Zoë

Newsletter: 

CSA Week 3 from Valley Flora!

In your share this week!

  • Strawberries
  • Kohlrabi - a green one and a purple one. If you're new to kohlrabi, it's the bulbous thing with the up-do of leaves. Cut the tops off and then peel the bulb with a sharp knife or good veggie peeler. It's juicy and crunchy inside, a little bit like jicama. I prefer it raw, but you can also add it to stir fries and other dishes. My five year old goes nuts for it cut up into veggie sticks. Douse it with chili and lime if you like it ala Mexicana!
  • Head lettuce
  • Bunch carrots
  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • Hakurei Turnips - the white roots that look like big radishes. These are a Japanese salad turnip, and pretty much the only turnip I grow because they're so dang good. Munch them like apples, or slice up on your salad. Buttery and tender. If you want an even more refined flavor, peel them.
  • Zucchini
  • Yellow onion

On Rotation:

  • Red mustards greens, bunched - lacey maroon leaves, eat raw or cooked - has a little kick!
  • Tatsoi, bunched - dark green spoon-shaped leaves, eat raw or cooked.
  • Braising mix, bagged - a mix of Abby's baby kale and mustard greens
  • Spinach, bagged - Abby's succulent baby spinach

The Color of Food

Tucked up Floras Creek it's easy to feel far removed from the headlines, from COVID hotspots and urban riots. It's easy to feel like race is not a pressing topic in our quiet, rural (mostly white) community. But this week I found myself really giving that more thought. I recently got my stimulus check in the mail and wanted to donate it to an organization doing good work on racial justice, ideally somewhere close to home. But what I realized is that there aren't any organizations that I know of to give that money to right here in Curry County. Is that because race is "not an issue," or rather is it because race has been such an issue - for so long - that we haven't even gotten to the point of addressing race constructively in our little corner of Oregon? 

I learned for the first time this year about Oregon's Exclusion Law of 1844: a law that banned Black people from living in Oregon. Another black exclusion law was enacted in 1849 that made it illegal for Blacks to to enter or reside in Oregon territory. It meant that when Oregon became a state in 1859 it was the ony state in the Union with a black exclusion law on the books, which was expanded to prohibit Black people from owning property and making contracts. These laws remained in place until 1926. Even though the same racist sentiment pervaded all of the U.S., Oregon was the only place bold enough to write it down. That wasn't part of my Oregon history class in high school.

My mom has an old letter written by a Civil War veteran who moved here in 1885, Samuel T. Malehorn. He settled on Floras Creek and started a fruit farm and nursery on the land where Valley Flora now sits. In 1896 he sent a letter to a friend and fellow war vet, encouraging him to move to the area:

"It is all timber, light and heavy, rolling land, well watered, productive, all of it adaptive to good fruit. I am 4 miles from the beach, which is about right, 15 miles north of Port Orford. There are still good choices for homesteaders near me...Deeded lands can be bought from $5 to $40 per acre now. 40 acres is enough for a family to live on. You can build your houses with one cedar tree by hand. Fish and game everywhere. There is no poisonous reptiles or insects, you can lay out under a tree anywhere safely. It is blessed and glorious country, the best in the U.S."

I've always loved that letter - such an affirmation of this place where we live and farm - but this week I realized another significance of that letter. Samuel Malehorn was a white man, inviting a fellow white comrade of the 29th Regiment to come to Oregon. He could live here - and so could his white friend - because they were white. They had access to cheap homesteads - and therefore land and the means of production - where Black people didn't. Oregon's historic racist exclusion laws set us on a course that put property ownership - and power - into the hands of white folks only. 

This history is no doubt part of the reason that your farmers here at Valley Flora are white, not black - why my family "owns" this land, not a Native American family or an African American family or a Chinese family or Latino family. We are standing on and supported by the very big, broad shoulders of institutionalized, systemic racism.

That's uncomfortable. And it's high time to be uncomfortable, since most of us probably don't have a clue what it's like to be really uncomfortable. Really uncomfortable, as in not able to breathe because a cop is kneeling on your neck because your skin is not white.

It's hard to know what to proactively do with this heavy realization, especially in June when most of my bandwidth is occupied with beating back the weeds, harvesting peas, and planting seeds left and right. But this morning I did something that felt really good. At the recommendation of a friend who has worked on racial justice issues for decades, I donated my $1200 stimulus check to the Movement for Black Lives Fund, a coalition that's made up of over 150 organizations that are working to coordinate actions, messages and campaigns for the Black Lives Matter Movement nationwide, and to funnel resources to frontline organizing efforts where they're needed most: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/movement-4-black-lives-1

Martin Luther Kind, Jr. said, "Everything we see is a shadow cast by that which we do not see." It's time to see what's behind the shadow.

Newsletter: 

Strawberry U-Pick is Open for Summer!

The U-pick is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays, from 11 am until 3 pm, or until the patch is picked out. If the berries get picked out before 3 pm, we will close early. Apologies that we can't promise an exact range of open picking hours. If you are traveling a distance to the farm and you are hoping to do a big pick, we recommend getting to the farm at 11 to guarantee there will be enough berries to justify your trip. 

Remember that our strawberry season goes ALL SUMMER LONG, into October! We mainly grow a day-neutral variety called Seascape that yields from May until the fall rains arrive in earnest. It's a long, lovely season so there is ample time to fill your freezer and your belly!

Keep in mind that we will be implementing some new policies to keep everyone safe in the strawberry patch this season in the context of COVID-19:

  • Face masks will be required for all u-pickers, including children over the age of 2. We will have handsewn facemasks available for purchase at the u-pick if you do not have your own.
  • The u-pick stand will be set up in our field opposite the original farmstand this season with a dedicated person staffing it. Please park nose-in in the designated parking area on the left just after you cross the bridge over Floras Creek.
  • Everyone will be required to wash their hands before entering the strawberry patch and before checking out. We have handwashing facilities for your use in the field.
  • We will be limiting the number of people in the field at any one time to one group per row, so you may experience some wait time when you arrive until a row opens up - kind of like waiting for a bowling lane :). If the patch is full when you arrive, please give Sarah, our u-pick manager, your name so she can put you on the waiting list. She will call your name when a row opens up. 
  • We're requiring all pickers to use our lined buckets for harvest; no outside containers for harvest please. Once your berries are weighed and paid for we can transfer them into your own containers to carry home.

Strawberries are $3/pound.

We accept cash, check and Farm Direct Nutrition Program coupons only; we cannot process credit cards or Oregon Trail cards in the field due to our rural, offline location.

Please leave no trace: take all garbage and personal items home with you.

No pets allowed.

Thanks for respecting these guidelines, and happy picking!

Newsletter: 

CSA Week 2 from Valley Flora - June 10th!

Good morning all!

I meant to take a photo of this week's produce during packout yesterday, but was buried in strawberry sorting until late evening! Take a pic when you unpack your veggies in your kitchen this week and email it to me!

This week in your Harvest Basket!

  • Bunch Carrots - I've been especially excited to have carrots for you in June. It's been a farmer goal of mine for many years to have a year-round supply of fresh carrots on the farm, without a lapse in any month. This is the year I finally pulled it off and I'm been pretty tickled. To do it takes a combination of planting the right winter varieties, having a spring crop in the greenhouses, and getting an early February seeding established for outdoor May/June production. The weather cooperated, the seeds all germinated, and we've had sweet, freshly-dug carrots all year. Whether we'll ever be able to pull it off again is up to the weather gods...
  • Purple Radishes
  • Head Lettuce
  • Strawberries
  • Tokyo Bekana Pac Choi - the lime green ruffly head with white ribs, great in stiry fry.
  • Artichokes - there's a story behind them, read up below!
  • Sunflower Shoots - my favorite micro shoots: tender, nutty, great on salads or atop a main course. I also put them in my smoothies.
  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • Fresh Red Onions - an overwintered variety called Desert Sunrise. This was an experimental planting that did pretty well - our first real success with overwintering onions, after a few years of trying different varieties and watching them all bolt in the spring :(. These were seeded last September and planted in October, tended for 8 months in the field, and finally harvested this week. Labor of love, and probably not at all profitable(!) but great to have big onions so early!

The Story Behind the Valley Flora Artichoke

In the early 70s my parents landed in Bandon, a little bit by accident, and the place got ahold of them. They stuck around, they made friends, they owned a little restaurant on Beach Loop for awhile, they fell in love with the southcoast. Eventually they traded the restaurant for the farm and settled in on Floras Creek, Abby and I were born, the years unfolded. Early on my mom, Bets, got some artichoke plant divisions from a friend who lived on Short Street in Bandon, near the old Coast Guard building on the waterfront. She heeled the plants into her garden where they thrived and fed us many an artichoke every spring throughout my entire childhood.

When I fledged and eventually landed in Portland with my own place, she gave me some divisions for my garden. They took off and yielded there until 2008 when I packed up my life and moved back to Langlois to start up Valley Flora with my mom and sister. One of the things I stuffed into the 26' U-Haul, next to my wheelbarrow and houseplants and blender, was a bucket full of artichoke divisions that I unearthed from the garden at the last minute.

Home on the farm, I opened up new ground for an artichoke patch in the field and planted one of the five rows with the plants I'd brought down from Portland. The other four rows got planted with Green Globe plants I'd started from seed. Within the first year it was obvious that our family chokes eclipsed the Green Globes in every way: hardiness, productivity, flavor, beauty, and best of all, they barely have a hairy choke inside. In fact we always tell folks that you can eat the small chokes "bottom up" once you get a few layers of outer leaves out of the way (with a little help of some melted lemon butter or aioli). It wasn't too long before I had torn out all the Green Globes, divided the mother row of chokes once more, and replanted them to fill out the rest of the patch. We've been harvesting and selling chokes from these five rows for the past decade and they've garnered a little local notoriety. B&B Farm Suppy orders artichoke plants from us to sell to their eager gardening customers every spring, and the artichokes themselves have a loyal following.

Fast forward to 2020 and I recently found myself telling this story to someone who had eaten our artichokes for the first time and was inspired to write to me about it. She had lived most of her life in Monterey, CA, near the artichoke capitol of the world, and had struggled to find a decent artichoke ever since she moved away - until this spring when she tucked into a VF choke that she bought at our farmstand. "Yours are da bomb!" she wrote. "...incredible!" 

I told her the story of these chokes, and while doing so it dawned on me that it's been almost 50 years since those artichokes ended up in my mom's garden. They've now fed three generations of our family - and lots of our beloved customers as well - which makes them a bonafide heirloom at this point. We still have no idea what variety they really are, which only makes the story better. This year we gave them a new lease on life and transplanted divisions into a whole new corner of the field with more space. Five rows has turned into nine, and because they're young first-year plants they're yielding a little later in the spring than usual. Normally the season is over by now - peaking in April - but we're getting a small June flush in the new field that we're glad to share with you this week.

If you've never cooked an artichoke before, the easiest way is to steam them (stovetop or pressure cooker) until tender-soft (25-25 minutes stovetop, longer for big chokes, and around 8 minutes in the pressure cooker) and the outer leaves pluck out easily. Then melt some butter or whip up an aioli (we like a little mayo with lots of lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, pepper and fresh thyme) and dip away! I don't bother trimming the spines off the leaves: too much work, and you can navigate the spines easily enough if you're careful.

https://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/how_to_cook_and_eat_an_artichoke/

For the more adventurous, there are lots of other things you can do with artichokes: artichoke dip, roasted artichokes, braised artichokes, and more. Have fun. Oh, and a quick sidenote: artichokes do NOT pair well with the tannins in red wine, so if you want to have a glass while you enjoy your chokes, stick to white or rosé. :)

Have a great week!

Zoë

Newsletter: 

Our CSA Season Kicks Off this Week!

Hello CSA Members!

Your first CSA delivery is coming to your pickup site this week!

Whether you're getting a Harvest Basket, a Salad Share, or both, thanks for jumping on board with us for the 2020 season! To our new members, an extra special welcome!

I'm Zoë, the one you'll hear from each week via this farm newsletter/blog, which will normally go out on Wednesday mornings. I send it out preemptively - on Monday - the first week of the season, to ensure that everyone is awake and knows that their VF veggies are coming for the first time, either this Wednesday or this Saturday, depending on your pickup location

This newsletter will also always be accessible (and look prettier) from our website. Like any email, you have the choice to opt out and unsubscribe, but PLEASE DON'T! This is the main way we'll communicate with you this season and keep you updated about delivery schedules, pickup reminders, what's in your share and other important info throughout the season!

If you haven't already read up on all of the very important info about your pickup site, please do it now! Our pickup sites are unstaffed, so we rely on all of you (and anyone who might pick up for you - spouses, friends, family) to learn the drill and do your part to make the system work. I beseach you (and will continue to beseach you) to READ all the signage at your site and know the pickup protocol posted on our website. Thanks!

And now for the fun stuff - what's in the Harvest Basket! If you're a veteran member, you know that the Harvest Basket changes weekly, depending on what's in season on the farm. Also, there are times when certain crops are "on rotation," which means one pickup site might receive it this week and another will receive it next week (it's how we make sure everyone gets their fair share of crops with limited production). Each week I'll try to give you a complete list of what's in your share, but some weeks there might be a surprise in your tote that's unlisted, or you might not get something that is on the list because we guessed wrong and got skunked in the field (yes, nature really does bat last). Nevertheless, we work hard to make sure it all evens out in the end and that your share is diverse and delicious throughout the season. Also, although we say that the share averages around $30 in value each week, that also fluctuates with the season. You might get shares that are under $30 in value at the beginning of the season and shares that are worth far more than $30 at the peak. 

If you're a new member, more than likely you are going to find yourself face to face with some vegetables you've never seen or eaten before. According to our long-time members, that's part of the fun. Many of them have learned to love things they thought they hated, eagerly anticipate veggies they'd never heard of before, and become prosyletizers for produce they didn't know was worth preaching about. And of course there are those who still detest beets and fennel, despite my best efforts to convert them for a decade. That's OK, too. The CSA will never make everyone 100% delighted, 100% of the time, but it will hopefully feed you well, help you learn a few new tricks in your kitchen, and now and then provide you with something you can gift to your neighbor (the one who DOES love beets and fennel)!

Sometimes I will offer up a recipe that I love for a particular thing, but not always. The internet is an amazing source of recipes these days, searchable by individual ingredient, so I mostly leave the menu-planning fun to you and your search engine. That's usually how I cook dinner: come home with a bucket of broccolini, type broccolini into the search bar, and see what new inspiration jumps out at me from the myriad recipe sites that are out there. I love epicurious.com. We also have a not-too-shabby collection of recipes archived on our website that you are welcome to access and add to, searchable by ingredient, called the Recipe Wizard. You can access it directly from the top menu on our website.

This season is starting off in the most unusual way ever for us. We suffered a significant setback this spring when our early Brassicas - the kale, collards, broccoli, broccolini, cabbage, kohlrabi, turnips- were attacked by symphylans, a soil-dwelling arthropod (looks like a tiny white centipede) that feeds on root hairs. The symphylans stunted all of our early plantings, adding up to almost complete crop failure. We replanted, but it put our essential early season crops behind a month or two, which has been no small source of anxiety for me as a farmer, knowing we had to fill 125 CSA totes this week - totes that are usually full of kale, broccolini, kohlrabi, turnips and other cool-season Brassicas.

Fortunately, my unforeseen saving grace was a one-week window of good weather in February when I was able to plant peas, carrots and beets a month early, all of which are now ready for harvest a month sooner than usual. On top of that, we grew some overwintered onions which have done great (you'll see those soon in your share, maybe next week). And we put in some early experimental plantings of zucchini and cucumbers in our greenhouses, which are yielding. So, the bottom line is that the the June shares might look more like typical July shares, and then in July you'll see some of our typical June staples, a month late! It always works out in the end, somehow....

This week your Harvest Basket is shaping up to look like this (still subject to change as we harvest this week):

  • Bunch Carrots
  • Pac Choi: a little holey due to flea beetle chomping, which is extreme this Spring - maybe due to our mild winter
  • Head Lettuce
  • Cilantro
  • Zucchini
  • Pea Shoots: tender micro shoots, great as garnish on a salad, or as a salad, or eaten plain by the fist-fulll :)
  • Baby Arugula 
  • A SunOrange Cherry Tomato plant: We don't grow cherry tomatoes, but we give you a plant - our all-time favorite variety - to grow in your own garden, planter pot, or 5 gallon bucket! They're like candy. Plant it deep, feed it a balanced organic fertilizer, keep it warm and protected from the wind, and give it something to cimb up. You should have little sugar-bomb tangy cherry tomatoes by late August, if not sooner.

And maybe included, possibly on rotation:

  • Radishes
  • Asparagus
  • Strawberries
  • Artichokes
  • Sugar Snap Peas

Alrighty then! I'm off to jump on the harvest crew and help get your produce ready. Set yourself a reminder to pick up your food this week, right day, right time, right place! Read the signage! Don't forget to wear your mask at your pickup, for the sake of everyone! Questions, send me an email and I'll do my best to get back to you ASAP (but don't be surprised if it takes a couple days).

Thanks again for being an essential part of our farm!

Zoë

p.s. this is how Uma (age 5) and Jules (age 3) say you should eat your pea shoots this week:

 

Newsletter: 

New Farmstand Hours for May!

For the month of May, the farmstand will be open on Thursdays from 9 am to 4 pm. We will not be open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, but the Thursday offerings will be more abundant and diverse.
 
It is self-serve, honor system. Please bring small bills or a check since no change is available.

 

Asparagus, artichokes, beets, carrots, Abby's Greens, kale, and other goodies may be available each week.

 

We anticipate that we'll open the farmstand for regular summer hours and service on Wednesday, June 4th. Starting June 4th, summer hours will be Wednesdays and Saturdays from 9 to 3 pm.

 

Please respect the honor system, and come enjoy this beautiful spring season on the farm!

 

 

Newsletter: 

Mark Your Calendar! Farm Tour and Potluck May 17th!

Remember to mark your calendar for our Spring Farm Tour and Potluck on Saturday, May 17th - rain or shine!

  • 11 am - Tour of the fields, greenhouses and barns (and you'll meet Maude, my giant draft horse!)
  • 1 pm - Potluck in the field (in the barn in case of rain)

We'll provide dishes and utensils for the potluck.

 

Please RSVP by May 12th. Bring friends and family - all are welcome!

 

Things to bring:

  • Sturdy walking shoes (rubber boots if it's wet)
  • Raincoat or umbrella
  • Water bottle
  • Camera
  • Potluck dish

 

We don't get many opportunities to meet our farm members in person throughout the season so we'd love a chance to put faces to names, and to give you a glimpse of where and how your produce is grown.

 

We hope to see you at the farm on May 17th!

RSVP

Directions to the farm.

Newsletter: 

Week 28: December 9th

In This Week’s Beet Box:

  • The Last Week – Brrrrr!
  • A Mighty THANK YOU!
  • Please Share your Feedback with Us!
  • 2014 CSA Sign-ups
  • The Year in Review

 

In your share this week:

  • Leeks
  • Kale
  • Shallots
  • Parsnips
  • Potatoes – Red, Yellow Finn and/or Fingerling
  • Carrots
  • Sunshine squash

 

On Rotation:

  • Brussels sprouts
  • Romanesco cauliflower

 

The Last Week - Brrrrr!

This is it: your last installment from Valley Flora for the season. This week’s basket is a true testament to the possibility for local, wintertime eating. We’re halfway through December in the midst of a deep cold snap, but there’s no lack of food in your totes. We filled them with almost twenty pounds of veggies – most of it fresh-harvested from the field (all but the squash, shallots and potatoes, which have been in storage).

 

That said, the field is looking pretty bare. We’ve picked and dug and pulled and cut just about every stick of food out there (save for a good stash of parsnips). A week of hard cold has also brought an end to certain crops that might have persisted longer were it not for the 18 degree nights.

 

The cold has presented a few problems to this last harvest that you may notice. Each day we’ve had to wait for the field (and the veggies) to thaw before we can harvest. On Monday, that didn’t happen until late afternoon so the thaw window was very short. As it turns out, some of the Brussels sprouts – which were thawed when we picked them – re-froze in the harvest bins in transit to the cooler (which feels balmy at 38 degrees compared to the outside world). During packout yesterday, we discovered that some of the sprouts at the bottom of the bins (cold air sinks) were more like sweet Brussels sprouts popsicles. Hopefully they will hold up, but I encourage you to eat them immediately before they turn to mush.

 

Also, the kale was hard to rehydrate (it wilts in extreme cold), so some of it is not as perky as you are used to (but again, very sweet).

 

And finally, our last bed of romanesco, which some of you will receive this week, seems to have survived the cold but may have some frost damage. Hopefully the flavor will make up for any other quality shortcomings!

 

A Mighty Thank You!

Were it not for all of you making the choice to eat locally, our little farm could not exist. As many times as we have been on the receiving end of the gratitude, I want to return the sentiment a hundred-fold. Because of you and your commitment to Valley Flora, we are able to do what we love on the land that we treasure. There are three generations on the farm now, from Bets down to Cleo and Pippin, plus the invaluable help of Roberto, Roxy, Aro, Jake, Tom, and John. It’s a small and humble operation, but it fills our lives with purpose, meaning, and deep satisfaction. We love growing this food, and even more knowing that it’s directly feeding the local community. We wouldn’t be able to do it without you.

 

From all of us at the farm, a heartfelt THANK YOU for being part of it!

 

Please Share your Feedback with Us!

We're not putting out a formal survey to our members this year, but we would still love to hear from you if you have feedback of any kind about your CSA experience - positive or negative. Just send us an email with your thoughts. We are in the midst of planning for next season so this is the perfect window to share your input with us!

 

2014 CSA Sign-ups

This season is not even over yet and we are already knee-deep in planning for 2014: making next year’s field maps, teasing out the crop plan, and ordering seeds. (Believe it or not, we’ll be sowing next year’s onions, leeks and shallots in the greenhouse in less than 6 weeks)

 

Many of you have been asking about signing up for next season. We plan to do priority sign-ups in January. Anyone who was a member of the CSA this season – that being anyone who got a Harvest Basket, eggs, bread, salad share, and/or tamales this year - will be included in the priority sign-up process in January. If you are included in the priority sign-up process, you will be guaranteed a Harvest Basket if you want one. (Our Harvest Baskets are limited and always sell out so we give priority to returning members each year. There is usually no limit on eggs, bread, salad, or tamales).

 

We will send out a direct email to our entire 2013 membership in early January with specific sign-up instructions for 2014. Please be sure that we have your correct email address so you don’t miss out on your sign-up invitation.

 

Then, starting in March, we’ll move on to our waiting list and sign up wait-listed individuals until the Harvest Baskets are sold out.

 

The Year in Review

The chart below is a crop-by-crop recap of the season summarizing what we projected we would put in your Harvest Basket and what we actually put in it.

 

The thing I love about this chart is that every discrepancy in the projected versus actual quantities tells a story. For instance: we had a beautiful, warm spring this year, which made for a great crop of onions. It also meant that perennial crops like artichokes came on early – so early that they were almost over by the time the CSA started in June (hence the smaller share of artichokes). Major shortfalls in strawberries, celery and basil this year were due to disease pressure that wiped out all or portions of those crops. It was a warmer, more humid summer than we normally get, which created ideal conditions for diseases like Septoria and downy mildew. All told, the total value of food we put in your Harvest Basket this season was equal to $776.44, based on our farmstand pricing. You paid $765 for that food.

 

Whether it’s pests or weather or any number of other factors, your CSA share is largely defined by the forces of Mother Nature – and our varying ability to work with and around her. It's a constant dance.

CROP

PROJECTED

ACTUAL

DIFF.

NOTES

Scallions

1 bu

1 bu

 

 

Leeks

8 ct

11 ct

+3 ct

 

Purplette Onions

4.5 lbs

7 lbs

+2.5 lbs

Great onion year

Red Onions

6 ct

10 ct

+4 ct

“ “

Walla Wallas

4 ct

6 ct

+6 ct

“ “

Yellow Onion

8 ct

9 ct

+1 ct

“ “

Shallots

3.5 lb

3.5 lb

 

 

Artichokes

2 lb

1 lb

-1 lb

Early spring; artichokes were ending before CSA season began

Asparagus

1 lb

1 lb

 

 

Beans

0.5 lb

0.5 lb

 

 

Beets

12 lb

10.5 lb

-1.5 lb

Mice ate last bed of beets

Broccoli

16.5 lb

20 lb

+3.5 lb

Good spring crop

Brussels sprouts

3 stalks

2 to 3 stalks

 

 

Cabbage

6 heads

6 heads

 

 

Carrots

20 lbs

21 lbs

+1 lb

 

Cauliflower

2 heads

1 head

-1 head

Lost a planting due to cabbage maggot

Romanesco

1 head

1-2 heads

 

 

Celeriac

3 ct

3 ct

 

 

Celery

14 stalks

0

-14 stalks

Total crop failure due to Septoria disease pressure

Corn

18 ears

20 ears

+2 ears

 

Cucumbers

No projection

3 ct

 

 

Escarole/Radicchio

2 heads

2 heads

 

 

Fennel

6 bulbs

8 bulbs

 

 

Arugula

1 lb

1.5 lb

+0.5 lb

Sunny fall weather = late bonus greens

Braising Mix

0.5 lb

1 lb

 

“ “

Chard

5 bu

5 bu

 

 

Kale

7 bu

9 bu

+2 bu

 

Mizuna

None

0.5 lb

+0.5 lb

“ ”

Pac Choi

7 heads

6 heads

-1 head

 

Spinach

2 lbs

2 lbs

 

 

Collards

None

2 bu

+2 bu

 

Perennial Herbs

6 bu

7 bu

+1 bu

 

Cilantro

3 bu

3 bu

 

 

Dill

3 bu

3 bu

 

 

Basil

5 oz

1 oz

-4 oz

Crop failure in greenhouse

Parsely

4 bu

3 bu

-1 bu

 

Kohlrabi

5 ct

4 ct

-1 ct

 

Lettuce

33 heads

26 heads

-7 hds

Crop losses due to downy mildew pressure all summer (weather-related)

Parsnips

6 lbs

6 lbs

 

 

Peas

3 lbs

2.5 lbs

-0.5 lbs

 

Hot Peppers

10 ct

9 ct

-1 ct

 

Sweet Peppers

20 ct

23 ct

+3 ct

 

Potatoes

28 lb

38 lbs

+10 lbs

Bumper crop

Radishes

5 bu

6 bu

+1 bu

 

Rhubarb

½ lb

1 lb

+0.5 lb

 

Strawberries

24 pt

15 pt

-9 pt

Crop failure in July

Summer Squash

16 ct

24 ct

+8 ct

 

Apples

No projection

2 lbs

+2 lbs

Great orchard fruit year!

Plums

No projection

2.5 lbs

+2.5 lb

“ “

Turnips

6 bu

6 bu

 

 

Tomato plant

1

2

 

 

Cherry tomatoes

5 pts

2 pt

-3 pt

Late blight wiped out crop after Labor Day rain

Heirloom tomatoes

3 lbs

3 lbs

 

 

Red tomatoes

13 lbs

13.5 lbs

+0.5 lb

 

Acorn squash

2

3

+1

 

Butternut squash

2

2

 

 

Delicata squash

8

12

+4

 

Sunshine squash

2

2

 

 

Spaghetti squash

1

1

 

 

Winter sweet

1

1

 

 

Pie pumpkin

1

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recipes Galore

Please note: all of our produce is field-rinsed, not washed. We recommend you wash all of your produce before eating it.

 

For recipes and ideas, check out these links:

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/forum/4

Our own collection of recipes, where you can contribute and share your favorites

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/recipe-searcher

Our website’s recipe “search engine,” where you can hunt down recipes by ingredient

 

www.epicurious.com

A vast collection of recipes, searchable by one or multiple ingredients

 

http://info2.farmfreshtoyou.com/index.php?cmd=RE

A storehouse of recipes, searchable by ingredient

 

http://helsingfarmcsa.com/recipes.php

A Washington farm that has a good collection of seasonal recipes

Newsletter: 

Week 27: December 2

In This Week’s Beet Box:

  • New Produce: Monster Kohlrabi & Scarlet Queen Turnips
  • Tamales This Week!
  • Stuff Some Stockings with Cranky Baby Hot Sauce!
  • Last Two Weeks!
  • 2014 CSA Sign-ups

 

In your share this week:

  • Delicata Winter Squash
  • Green Cabbage
  • Kohlrabi
  • Leeks
  • Carrots
  • Scarlet Queen Turnips

 

On Rotation:

  • Broccoli
  • Radicchio
  • Chard

 

New Produce

Monster Kohlrabi: You’ve gotten kohlrabi from us before this season, but never any that were as big as a baby’s head. This is our late-season storage variety, and in my opinion, the best-tasting kohlrabi there is. Just like the other varieties, you need to peel the tough outer skin. What you’ll find inside is a tender, sweet, crunchy treat that is something akin to jicama crossed with broccoli stem. This is my favorite kohlrabi for raw-eating, plain or with dip. But you can also cook it up - steamed, sautéed, stir-fried or roasted.

 

This variety is intended for storage, so it’ll be fine in your fridge if you don’t get to it for a month or two. Our household stash keeps all winter long in the cooler, no problemo.

 

Scarlet Queen Turnips: It’s hard to resist growing a hot-pink vegetable, especially for this time of year when the palette of farm color has been diminished to mostly greens and browns. They’re a relatively mild turnip (like radishes, all the kick is in the skin). They should keep for weeks in the fridge.

 

Tamales This Week

Tamales shares go out this week. If you are a tamale member, look for your final tamale share in the blue cooler at your pickup site this week.

 

Stuff Some Stockings with Cranky Baby Hot Sauce!

A few years back, Bets endeavored to make the perfect hot sauce and she succeeded. Handcrafted with homegrown serrano peppers that are vine-ripened to a sassy red in the greenhouses, Cranky Baby strikes the perfect balance between hot, sweet and tangy. Think Tabasco, only 100 times better…

 

(Even if you don't like spicy stuff, it's worth investing for the label alone. That's our very own Pippin in the highchair, with a little help from PhotoShop...)

This year’s vintage is now available to our CSA members by the case (12-five ounce bottles per case for $48). It’s shippable if you want to mail it out, and you can fly with it if you’re traveling for the holidays. If you only want a bottle or two, it’s also available at our farmstand ($5/bottle) this week and next week.

 

To order your case, please email us your:

  • Name
  • Pickup Location
  • Quantity of cases you would like

We’ll deliver to your pickup site.

(Cranky Baby is approved for farm-direct sale by the Oregon Department of Agriculture.)

 

Last Two Weeks!

We’re winding down. The cold snap that's moving in this week is adding some definitive punctuation to the end of the season. You’ll receive your final Harvest Basket/eggs/bread NEXT week, the week of December 9th. Final pick-up dates are as follows:

  • Valley Flora: Wednesday, December 11
  • Coos Bay: Wednesday, December 11
  • Port Orford: Friday, December 13
  • Bandon: Saturday, December 14

 

2014 CSA Sign-ups

This season is not even over yet and we are already knee-deep in planning for 2014: making next year’s field maps, teasing out the crop plan, and ordering seeds. (Believe it or not, we’ll be sowing next year’s onions, leeks and shallots in the greenhouse in less than 6 weeks.)

 

Many of you have been asking about signing up for next season. The plan is to do priority sign-ups in January. Anyone who was a member of the CSA this season – that being anyone who got a Harvest Basket, eggs, bread, salad share, and/or tamales this year - will be included in the priority sign-up process in January. If you are included in the priority sign-up process, you will be guaranteed a Harvest Basket if you want one. (Our Harvest Baskets are limited and always sell out so we give priority to returning members each year. There is usually no limit on eggs, bread, salad, or tamales).

 

We will send out a direct email to our entire 2013 membership in early January with specific sign-up instructions for 2014. Please be sure that we have your correct email address so you don’t miss out on your sign-up invitation.

 

Then, starting in March, we’ll move on to our waiting list and sign up wait-listed individuals until the Harvest Baskets are sold out.

 

The Valley Flora Crystal Ball

No promises, but your LAST TOTE of 2013 might include some of the following next week:

  • Leeks
  • Brussels sprouts or Romanesco
  • Kale or chard
  • Shallots
  • Parsnips
  • Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Sunshine squash

 

Recipes Galore

Please note: all of our produce is field-rinsed, not washed. We recommend you wash all of your produce before eating it.

 

For recipes and ideas, check out these links:

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/forum/4

Our own collection of recipes, where you can contribute and share your favorites

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/recipe-searcher

Our website’s recipe “search engine,” where you can hunt down recipes by ingredient

 

www.epicurious.com

A vast collection of recipes, searchable by one or multiple ingredients

 

http://info2.farmfreshtoyou.com/index.php?cmd=RE

A storehouse of recipes, searchable by ingredient

 

http://helsingfarmcsa.com/recipes.php

A Washington farm that has a good collection of seasonal recipes

Newsletter: 

Week 26: Thanksgiving!

In This Week’s Beet Box:

  • Wednesday Pick-up Reminder!
  • New Produce (and a Recipe) for Thanksgiving: Parsnips & Sunshine squash

 

In your share this week:

  • Shallots – 1.5 pounds
  • Brussels sprouts – 1 stalk
  • Carrots – 1.5 pounds
  • Celeriac – 2 heads
  • Kale – 12 ounces
  • Mixed herbs – thyme, rosemary, sage
  • Parsnips – 3 pounds
  • Yellow Finn Potatoes – 5 pounds
  • Sunshine winter squash - 1

 

WEDNESDAY PICK UP REMINDER!

This week we are delivering ALL Harvest Baskets, Eggs & Bread on WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 27th

  • There will be NO DELIVERY to PORT ORFORD on Friday, November 29th.
  • There will be NO DELIVERY to BANDON on Saturday, November 30th.

 

These are the specific times for pickup at each location on Wednesday, November 27th:

  • Valley Flora: unchanged – 9 am to 5 pm
  • Coos Bay:  unchanged – 12 pm to 3 pm
  • Bandon: Wednesday, 11/27, starting at 12 noon (no end time)
  • Port Orford: Wednesday, 11/27, starting at 10 am (all day)

 

New Produce for Thanksgiving

Parsnips: Parsnips are yet another of those emotionally-charged vegetables, loved by some and loathed by others. They have a potent, powerful flavor that is not to everyone’s liking, which is why I’ve included one miraculous recipe in this week’s newsletter – a recipe that might just cause the most staunch skeptic to cross over to the parsnip-liking side. If there is one new dish you add to your Thanksgiving menu this year, let it be this one:

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/roasted-winter-squash-and-parsnip...

 

I’m speaking from personal experience. I’ve never been wildly in love with parsnips, but I appreciate them for the fact that they’re a sturdy food that offers some diversity to our late-fall and deep-winter diet. They are willing to grow in our climate and they’ll store for months, so they have a few merits. I’d call my relationship to them something like “respectful tolerance.”

 

But exactly one year ago today, I vowed passionately, out loud, that I was divorcing parsnips for good. Never again would I plant them. It was over between us.

 

It was the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, 2012, and a fury of a storm was blowing through. Roberto was in Portland for the birth of his second son, and I was hustling to try to get all 100+ CSA totes packed in one day with the volunteer help of my sister and Farm Angel Tom. Near the end of the pack-out, we ran out of parsnips. It was pitch-black-dark outside and the rain was driving sideways, but I had no choice but to venture back out into the field and wrestle some more parsnips out of the ground.

 

If you’ve ever dug parsnips before you know that “wrestle” is no exaggeration. It’s the best verb in the dictionary for this particular job. Parsnips send down a long taproot, deeply anchoring themselves into the ground. There is no digging spade in the world that can fully loosen a parsnip (we have broken two trying), so you have to do your fair share of grunting and tugging on each root to haul it out of the ground. The parsnips tend to break in the process, or get scuffed by the spade, and somehow we’re always digging them in a driving rain, slathered in mud, by the weak glow of pickup headlights. To top it off, our parsnips get an ugly orange rust on the skin, and the biggest ones inevitably split and get spongey. All in all, it’s a defeating harvest – especially after tending the crop for six full months (we seed them in May each year).

 

So went the script that night: mud, rain, headlights, ugly roots. After a half hour in the mud – and already twelve hours and thousands of pounds of produce into my harvest day- I had enough bins filled and I loaded up the pickup. I stripped my muddy rain bibs down around my ankles, slid behind the wheel, and turned the key. The pickup wouldn’t start.

 

I was a ½ mile from the barn and the only way home was on foot, dragging the loaded harvest cart behind me. Part way there, I saw headlights creeping along the road, searching for me through the storm. When Tom pulled up, I was on the verge of crying, or laughing. Both.

 

“You OK?” Tom asked.

“Never again, Tom. I will never grow parsnips again! I am divorcing parsnips!”

 

Two days later my family sat down to a big Thanksgiving dinner, at a table laden entirely with food we had grown. One of the dishes I made was the maple-glazed squash and parsnips. It probably seems odd that I’d try that recipe, given the beating I’d had two days prior. Maybe subconsciously I was giving my relationship with parsnips one last chance. Or maybe it was just the butter and maple syrup that caught my eye. Either way, that dish was the best thing on the table that night. Parsnips redeemed.

 

This year I’m happy to report that for the first time ever, we dug parsnips in the sunshine, and there were plenty to see us all the way through our big, 110-tote pack-out today. Sure, they were still ugly and rust-streaked and amputated, but that’s what veggie peelers are for. Nobody’s perfect. Relationships take work. A little butter and maple syrup never hurts either.

 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

 

Sunshine squash: Tropical, sweet, intensely flavorful – sunshine squash is our all-time favorite kabocha-type winter squash. It’s a great Thanksgivingsquash because it’s festive and versatile. It plays a star role in the parsnip recipe above, or if you’re vegetarian it’s a great squash to stuff and bake like a turkey. It peels relatively easily, and it stores for a long time on the counter. Also makes great soup!

 

Farmstand Open 3 More Weeks!

The farmstand is still open and well-stocked with all kinds of produce (even a few late tomatoes, still!).

We will be open every Wednesday through December 11th from 10 am to 2 pm (including the Wednesday before Thanksgiving):

  • Wednesday, November 27th 10-2
  • Wednesday, December 4th, 10-2
  • Wednesday, December 11th, 10-2

Come stock up!

 

The Valley Flora Crystal Ball

No promises, but your tote might include some of the following next week:

  • Leeks
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Escarole
  • Kohlrabi
  • Turnips
  • Delicata squash

 

Recipes Galore

Please note: all of our produce is field-rinsed, not washed. We recommend you wash all of your produce before eating it.

 

For recipes and ideas, check out these links:

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/forum/4

Our own collection of recipes, where you can contribute and share your favorites

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/recipe-searcher

Our website’s recipe “search engine,” where you can hunt down recipes by ingredient

 

www.epicurious.com

A vast collection of recipes, searchable by one or multiple ingredients

 

http://info2.farmfreshtoyou.com/index.php?cmd=RE

A storehouse of recipes, searchable by ingredient

 

http://helsingfarmcsa.com/recipes.php

A Washington farm that has a good collection of seasonal recipes

Newsletter: 

Week 25: November 18th

In This Week’s Beet Box:

  • Our Thanksgiving Delivery Schedule - Mark your Calendars!
  • Winter Farmstand Going Strong
  • The VF Crystal Ball: What to expect in your Thanksgiving Share

 

In your share this week:

  • Leeks
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Pac choi
  • Lettuce
  • Yellow Finn Potatoes
  • Hakurei turnips
  • Broccoli
  • Delicata winter squash

 

On Rotation

This means that some pickup sites will receive it this week; others next week or in a future week.

Nothing this week….

 

Our Thanksgiving Delivery Schedule - Mark your Calendars!

 

WE WILL DELIVER ALL HARVEST BASKETS ON WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 27th

 

There will be NO DELIVERY to PORT ORFORD on Friday, November 29th.

There will be NO DELIVERY to BANDON on Saturday, November 30th.

 

We do this for two reasons:

  • To ensure that everyone gets their food in time for Thanksgiving
  • To give ourselves a brief holiday from harvest and delivery during Thanksgiving celebrations.

 

These are the specific times for pickup at each location on Wednesday, November 27th:

  • Valley Flora: unchanged – 9 am to 5 pm
  • Coos Bay:  unchanged – 12 pm to 3 pm
  • Bandon: Wednesday, 11/27, starting at 12 noon (no end time)
  • Port Orford: Wednesday, 11/27, starting at 10 am (all day)

 

If you will be out of town for the holiday and won’t be able to pick up your Thanksgiving tote, we are happy to hold it for you in our walk-in cooler until you return. To make special arrangements with us, please email us

  • Your name
  • Your pickup location
  • ALL of the items you usually pick up each week (i.e. Harvest Basket, eggs, bread, etc.)
  • The date you plan to pick up your Harvest Basket at the farm.

I’ll reply to your email with detailed pick up instructions from our walk-in cooler at the farm.

We need to hear from you by this Friday, November 22nd if you need special arrangements.

 

Winter Farmstand Going Strong

The farmstand is still open and well-stocked with all kinds of produce (even a few late tomatoes!). So far the weather has cooperated beautifully each week on our farmstand days. Miraculous.

 

We will continue to be open every Wednesday through December 11th from 10 am to 2 pm (including the Wednesday before Thanksgiving), so come stock up!

  • Wednesday, November 27th 10-2
  • Wednesday, December 4th, 10-2
  • Wednesday, December 11th, 10-2

 

The Valley Flora Crystal Ball: What will most likely be in your THANKSGIVING SHARE…

No promises, but your tote might include some of the following (hopefully it will all fit!):

  • Shallots – 1.5 pounds
  • Brussels sprouts – 1 stalk (2 halves)
  • Carrots – 1 to 2 pounds
  • Celeriac – 1 to 2 heads
  • Kale – 1 bunch
  • Mixed herbs – thyme, rosemary, sage
  • Parships – 3 pounds
  • Yellow Finn Potatoes – 5 pounds
  • Sunshine winter squash - 1

 

Recipes Galore

Please note: all of our produce is field-rinsed, not washed. We recommend you wash all of your produce before eating it.

 

For recipes and ideas, check out these links:

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/forum/4

Our own collection of recipes, where you can contribute and share your favorites

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/recipe-searcher

Our website’s recipe “search engine,” where you can hunt down recipes by ingredient

 

www.epicurious.com

A vast collection of recipes, searchable by one or multiple ingredients

 

http://info2.farmfreshtoyou.com/index.php?cmd=RE

A storehouse of recipes, searchable by ingredient

 

http://helsingfarmcsa.com/recipes.php

A Washington farm that has a good collection of seasonal recipes

Newsletter: 

Week 24: November 11th

In This Week’s Beet Box:

  • New Produce of the Week: Gold Shallots, Celeriac, Romanesco, Winter Sweet Squash
  • Our Thanksgiving Delivery Schedule (PLEASE READ!)

 

In your share this week:

  • Gold Shallots
  • Broccoli
  • Romanesco Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Celeriac
  • Rainbow Chard
  • Head Lettuce
  • Radishes
  • Winter Sweet Squash

 

On Rotation

This means that some pickup sites will receive it this week; others next week or in a future week.

Nothing this week….

 

NEW PRODUCE OF THE WEEK

Gold Shallots:Shallots always find their way into your tote late in the season, primarily because they are our best-storing allium, outlasting onions by months. A long-time CSA member told me this week that she had just used up her final shallots from last season, more than a year old. They are a great storage crop to have in our quiver, helping to round out late-season harvest baskets and keeping our kitchens stocked well into the new year.

 

They also tend to feature prominently in holiday recipes, so you’ll see them again the week of Thanksgiving and the final week of harvest baskets (the week of December 9th). If you have a Thanksgiving recipe that calls for lots of shallots, you can expect another 1 ½ pounds at Thanksgiving and they are also available in bulk at our farmstand, at the Port Orford Community Coop, and at Coos Head Food Store.

 

Shallots are more closely related to garlic than they are to onions, but I use them interchangeably with onions. Vinaigrette recipes often call for minced raw shallot, and you’ll see plenty of recipes calling for crispy fried shallots and caramelized shallots. Our website has an eclectic array of recipes that call for shallots, if you want some inspiration: http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/recipe_search/results/shallots

 

If you are of a mind to squirrel them away, they’ll keep the longest in a cool, dry, dark place.

 

Celeriac: Introducing another of the gnarly fall foods, celeriac is also known as celery root. Don’t be intimidated by its gruff exterior; inside is a smooth, creamy-white, celery-flavored root that’s a great addition to mashed potatoes, soups, salads, roasted veggies, stuffing, pilaf, etc. It offers all the flavor of celery stalks, with the integrity of a potato (it’s fine to eat raw, as well). We love it at Thanksgiving in stuffing, and to give an extra twist to our mashed potatoes (just peel, cube, boil with the spuds, and mash).

 

Celeriac stores like a champ – a long, long time in your fridge – but I encourage you to experiment with this first specimen so that you can include the next round of celeriac in your Thanksgiving meal with confidence (more coming the week of November 25th).

 

Romanesco Cauliflower: To be eaten, not just gawked at! Romanesco is beautiful to behold with its lime green spiraled minarets (an infinitely-repeating fractal!), but it’s also a huge treat to eat. It has the texture of cauliflower but an even better, nuttier taste and texture. Wonderful roasted with Brussels sprouts, or lightly steamed. It makes a splash on a platter of veggies and dip.

 

Romanesco keeps for at least a week in the fridge in a plastic bag. Enjoy!

 

Winter Sweet Squash: This is a new variety for us this year. It’s a Kabocha type, with flaky, sweet, dry flesh (great for soups, pies, stuffing, ravioli filling, or plain eating with butter).

 

Our Thanksgiving Delivery Schedule

Mark your calendars! For the week of Thanksgiving:

 

WE WILL DELIVER ALL HARVEST BASKETS ON WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 27th.

There will be no Friday delivery to Port Orford on 11/29 and no Saturday delivery to Bandon on 11/30.

 

We do this for two reasons:

  • To ensure that everyone gets their food in time for Thanksgiving
  • To give ourselves a brief holiday from harvest and delivery during Thanksgiving celebrations.

 

These are the specific times for pickup at each location on Wednesday, November 27th:

Valley Flora: unchanged – 9 am to 5 pm

Coos Bay:  unchanged – 12 pm to 3 pm

Bandon: Wednesday, 11/27, starting at 12 noon (no end time)

Port Orford: Wednesday, 11/27, starting at 10 am (all day)

 

If you will be out of town for the holiday and won’t be able to pick up your Thanksgiving tote, we are happy to hold it for you in our walk-in cooler until you return. To make special arrangements with us, please email us

  • Your name
  • Your pickup location
  • The date you plan to pick up your Harvest Basket at the farm.

I’ll reply to your email with pick-up instructions. We must hear from you by Friday, November 22ndif you need special arrangements.

 

In case your menu planning is already underway, your Thanksgiving tote will likely include the following:

  • 1.5 lb Shallots
  • 1 stalk Brussels sprouts
  • 1-2 poundsCarrots
  • 1-2 Celeriac
  • 1 bunch Kale
  • 1 bunch Mixed herbs (sage, rosemary, thyme, oregano)?
  • 3 lbs Parships
  • 5 lbs Yellow Finn Potatoes
  • 1 Sunshine Winter Squash

 

The Valley Flora Crystal Ball: What MIGHT be in your share NEXT week…

No promises, but your tote might include some of the following:

  • Leeks
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Pac Choi
  • Lettuce
  • Kohlrabi
  • Potatoes
  • Hakurei Turnips
  • Delicata Winter Squash
  • Parsley?

 

Recipes Galore

Please note: all of our produce is field-rinsed, not washed. We recommend you wash all of your produce before eating it.

 

For recipes and ideas, check out these links:

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/forum/4

Our own collection of recipes, where you can contribute and share your favorites

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/recipe-searcher

Our website’s recipe “search engine,” where you can hunt down recipes by ingredient

 

www.epicurious.com

A vast collection of recipes, searchable by one or multiple ingredients

 

http://info2.farmfreshtoyou.com/index.php?cmd=RE

A storehouse of recipes, searchable by ingredient

 

http://helsingfarmcsa.com/recipes.php

A Washington farm that has a good collection of seasonal recipes

Newsletter: 

Week 23: November 4th

In This Week’s Beet Box:

  • New Produce of the Week: Brussels sprouts, Delicata squash, Reine des Glaces lettuce
  • Reminiscent of Spring: Pac choi, Hakurei turnips & mizuna
  • Tamales This Week!
  • Waiting on the Broccoli: Racing Persephone

 

In your share this week:

  • Yellow onions
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Pac choi
  • Reine des Glaces lettuce
  • Yellow Finn Potatoes
  • Hakurei turnips
  • Mizuna
  • Green peppers
  • Delicata winter squash

 

On Rotation

This means that some pickup sites will receive it this week; others next week or in a future week.

  • Romanesco cauliflower

 

NEW PRODUCE OF THE WEEK

Brussels sprouts: So begins our fall season of the weird, the gnarly, and the Dr. Seussian: Brussels sprouts on the stalk! I imagine there will be some bartering going on at drop sites this week, for Brussels sprouts are one of those iconic love it or hate it foods, right in there with beets. I know for a fact that Valley Flora Brussels sprouts have made converts out of some staunch detesters in the past, so you might think twice before giving them away.

 

There are some great recipes on our website if you need to be convinced:

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/recipe_search/results/brussels%20sprouts

 

Or do a simply roasting: clean up your sprouts, cut them in half, toss them with olive oil and salt, and roast in the oven at 400 until the edges are browned.

 

The reason that some Brussels sprout haters actually like our sprouts probably has to do with the fact that we don’t harvest them until late fall when they’ll have the best flavor. Cold weather, and particularly a frost, will bring up the sugars in all Brassica plants (kale, collards, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, etc.), reducing their bitterness (aka, the “stanky gym sock” flavor). The sugars act like cellular antifreeze to help the plants survive the winter, so as they sense cold temperatures they actually pump out more sugar and sweeten up. We usually hope for our first light frost on the farm at the beginning of November. We got it last week, right on time, so the sweetening is underway out in the field.

 

The vast majority of the Brussels sprouts in the U.S. are grown on the central coast of California where temperatures rarely drop to freezing. As a result, store-bought, out-of-season Brussels sprouts do in fact taste like old gym socks. I wouldn’t eat those things either!

 

Kitchen tip: Brussels sprouts do take a little patience. The lower sprouts usually need to be cleaned up, and they will store the best if you snap all the sprouts off the stalk and keep them in the fridge in a plastic bag. They have a great shelf life – like little cabbages – and will keep for a few weeks at least (longer if they’re cleaned and then stored).

 

Delicata Squash: The number one favorite winter squash, it’s here. You’ll get it two more times this season, so no need to hoard. Their flavor is exquisite, but part of the reason they are so great has to do with how easy they are to prepare: Just cut them in half, scoop out the seeds, and bake face down in a pan with a little water until soft (20-30 minutes). I like to eat them with a pat of butter melted in the middle. You can eat the skin as well.

 

Reine des Glaces Head Lettuce: The name aptly translates to “Queen of the Ice.” This is as close to an iceberg lettuce as we grow, but with a spiky, punk rock spin. It has all the juicy crunch of iceberg, and holds up just as well under a bleu cheese dressing. We did it up last night in wedge style, with sliced peppers and a homemade, creamy feta dressing. No need to be ashamed at how much you’ll enjoy it. I mean, hey, if 80s style is back (so soon?), why not iceberg?

 

Reminiscent of Spring: The return of some old friends        

Hakurei turnips, mizuna, and pac choi are all making a showing in your share this week, not seen since early summer. The cool weather of fall is ideal for these crops, so they make a second appearance as reliable bookends to the season.

 

Tamales This Week!

Tamale shares go out this week. Look for your labeled share in the marked blue cooler at your pickup site.

 

Waiting on the Broccoli: Racing Persephone

Our broccoli and Romanesco cauliflower plantings have been excruciatingly slow to mature this fall. The autumn broccoli harvest would normally be over by now, and the Romanesco should have appeared in your totes two weeks ago. But for some reason, they are only just now starting to head up to harvestable size. I wasted some of October worrying that they wouldn’t get there in time, but it’s looking hopeful now.

 

Why the worry? This week we’re entering what’s known as the “Persephone Period,” the winter months when there is less than 10 hours of light each day. That’s the point when plants pretty much stop growing (including the broccoli and Romanesco, so I've been hoping they'll mature before the days get too short). It lasts until the end of January, at which point the days start getting longer and there is a sudden jump in growth again. We have a great visual indicator of the Persephone Period on the farm: our kale plants. We harvest kale all year long. During the spring, summer, and early fall it grows back every week, fully replenishing itself. But from now through the end of the Harvest Basket season, we will be taking money out of the bank, so to speak. The leaves won’t re-grow and by the middle of December our kale plants will look like naked sticks with a small tuft of tiny leaves at the growing tip (you’ll notice in the coming weeks that the kale leaves in your share are smaller and smaller, and they will be packed by the pound instead of by the bunch).

 

The plants will stand naked through January like this, and then suddenly at the start of February they will send up new leaves, size up old leaves, and be bushy once again. We’ll emerge from the Persephone Period, kale leaves a-blazing, and start having to mow our lawn again.

 

The Valley Flora Crystal Ball: What MIGHT be in your share NEXT week…

No promises, but your tote might include some of the following:

  • Shallots
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Celeriac
  • Chard
  • Lettuce
  • Radishes
  • Winter Sweet Winter Squash

 

 

Recipes Galore

Please note: all of our produce is field-rinsed, not washed. We recommend you wash all of your produce before eating it.

 

For recipes and ideas, check out these links:

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/forum/4

Our own collection of recipes, where you can contribute and share your favorites

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/recipe-searcher

Our website’s recipe “search engine,” where you can hunt down recipes by ingredient

 

www.epicurious.com

A vast collection of recipes, searchable by one or multiple ingredients

 

http://info2.farmfreshtoyou.com/index.php?cmd=RE

A storehouse of recipes, searchable by ingredient

 

http://helsingfarmcsa.com/recipes.php

A Washington farm that has a good collection of seasonal recipes

Newsletter: 

Week 22: October 28th

In This Week’s Beet Box:

  • New Produce of the Week: Butternut Squash
  • Phatty - Fat Leeks!

 

In your share this week:

  • Leeks
  • Carrots
  • Rainbow Beets
  • Head Lettuce
  • Winterbor Kale
  • Radishes
  • Butternut Squash
  • Arugula

 

On Rotation

This means that some pickup sites will receive it this week; others next week or in a future week.

  • Broccoli

 

NEW PRODUCE OF THE WEEK

Butternut Squash: Everyone goes nuts for butternuts – they’re probably tied with Delicata for number one favorite winter squash. And for good reason: they are almost pure meat (very small seed cavity); they’re easy to peel; they have a thin skin (no death-defying, ninja, knife battles); they make a stellar, creamy squash soup; and they roast up beautifully.

 

But never was there a squash so finicky; they are somewhat difficult to grow, not very productive, and even harder to successfully store. We’ve had bad luck with butternuts rotting in storage and developing weird skin blemishes (only skin deep, but ugly nonetheless) - to the point that we’ve questioned whether we should even bother growing them.

 

But the demad is insatiable, so we tried again this year with a new organic variety called Nutterbutter. It’s quicker to mature than many varieties (which is helpful in our temperate climate), and it’s supposed to have great flavor. It also turns out that it produces smaller squash, for better or for worse. As a result, you’re going to see two or three butternuts in your tote this week – enough for a really big pot of soup, or a handful of other dishes. The squash are mostly blemish-free this year, but there are a few with some of those brown skin spots. As in year’s past, we’ve only found them to be skin-deep, so don’t worry if you get one with a birthmark. It’s nothing a vegetable peeler won’t take care of, lickety-split.

 

This is the one and only time you’ll be getting butternuts this year, so enjoy them. They should last on your counter, in case you want to drag the pleasure out for awhile.

 

Phatty – Fat Leeks!

Another experiment this season: a couple of new leek varieties. This one is aptly called Megaton (you’ll see the other variety at the very end of the season). They are by far the fattest, heaviest leeks we have ever grown, and they are much faster to harvest and clean – all good things to a production farmer. But the true test is flavor. This week I’m going to do a side-by-side leek taste trial, and you can, too, if you have any leeks leftover from two weeks ago. The last leeks you got from us were King Richard, an old-time favorite of many farmers that we’ve always grown. Their only drawback is that they tend to be much less uniform and skinnier, which makes harvest more of a chore.

 

I’m going to cook up some King Richards and some Megatons in separate pans, done the blindfold, and see if Megaton also wins out on flavor, or not. If it does, I dare say it’s worth spending three and a half times more on the seed.

 

Let me know what you think. Do you like big, fat leeks? Or do you prefer a handful of skinny leeks? What about the flavor? Would love to hear your opinion on it all.

 

Fall Farmstand Hours

We have switched to our fall schedule and the farmstand is now open on Wednesdays ONLY from 10 am to 2 pm. There is still the stray tomato to be had at the stand and the last of the summer peppers, but autumn food is taking over – winter squash, parsnips, potatoes, bunched greens, radishes, broccoli, and much more.

 

The Valley Flora Crystal Ball: What MIGHT be in your share NEXT week…

No promises, but your tote might include some of the following:

  • Onions
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts?
  • Romanesco Cauliflower?
  • Pac Choi
  • Thyme?
  • Lettuce
  • Radishes
  • Yellow Finn Potatoes
  • Hakurei Turnips?
  • Delicata Squash

 

Recipes Galore

Please note: all of our produce is field-rinsed, not washed. We recommend you wash all of your produce before eating it.

 

For recipes and ideas, check out these links:

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/forum/4

Our own collection of recipes, where you can contribute and share your favorites

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/recipe-searcher

Our website’s recipe “search engine,” where you can hunt down recipes by ingredient

 

www.epicurious.com

A vast collection of recipes, searchable by one or multiple ingredients

 

http://info2.farmfreshtoyou.com/index.php?cmd=RE

A storehouse of recipes, searchable by ingredient

 

http://helsingfarmcsa.com/recipes.php

A Washington farm that has a good collection of seasonal recipes

Newsletter: 

Week 21: October 21st

In This Week’s Beet Box:

  • New Produce of the Week: Spaghetti Squash
  • Cover Crops and Strawberry Crowns
  • Remember, No More Abby’s Greens Salad Shares
  • Fall Farmstand Hours

 

In your share this week:

  • Yellow Onions
  • Carrots
  • Braising Mix
  • Parsley
  • Head Lettuce
  • Red Potatoes
  • Radishes
  • Spaghetti Squash

 

On Rotation

This means that some pickup sites will receive it this week; others next week or in a future week.

  • Broccoli

 

 

NEW PRODUCE OF THE WEEK

Spaghetti Squash: Probably the most-maligned of all the winter squash (hippy food, sneer!), spaghetti squash deserves a chance in your kitchen. In this day and age of widespread gluten-intolerance, perhaps its day to shine has finally come. It’s different from all the other winter squash in that it does truly resemble spaghetti inside once it’s cooked. You can bake or steam it (some people like to poke it full of holes with a knife or fork and then bake it whole until soft). Once it’s cooked, you can scoop out the “spaghetti” inside and dress it up with good old fashioned tomato sauce, or cream sauce (especially good with chantarelles and herbs), or anything else to suit your taste.

 

Cover Crops and Strawberry Crowns

You’d think we’d be done planting by this point in the season, but there is one last flurry of seeding and transplanting going on right now. Over the past two weeks we’ve been broadcasting hundreds of pounds of cover crop seed – a mix of rye, oats, red clover, vetch, and field peas – which will grow through the winter and provide erosion control, beneficial habitat, and a lot of nutrients for our soil. Next spring, we’ll till all that biomass back into the field, providing nitrogen and rich organic matter for next year’s cash crops. Our over-wintered cover crops usually grow to 6 feet in height and provide spring forage for bees and other beneficial insects.

 

We’re also in the midst of our fall strawberry planting. This time every year we plant new strawberry crowns that we order from a nursery in Northern California. We get them established in the fall, which gives the plants a head start and encourages them to begin fruiting more quickly in the spring. In addition to our beloved standby, Seascape, we’re planting two new trial varieties this year that are supposed to be more disease resistant and better tasting than Seascape: Albion and Sweeet Ann. It’s hard to imagine beating the flavor of a Seascape strawberry, but we'll let you be the judge of that next year.

 

Remember: No More Abby’s Greens Salad Shares

Last week was the 20th and final week of Abby’s Greens Salad Shares. There will continue to be Abby’s Greens for sale at our farmstand each Wednesday from 10 am to 2 pm. You can also find Abby’s Greens at the Langlois Market, Mother’s Natural Grocery, Coos Head Food Store, and probably at the soon-to-open Port Orford Community Co-op (grand opening November 1st from 10 am to 5 pm).

 

New Fall Farmstand Hours

We have switched to our fall schedule and the farmstand is now open on Wednesdays ONLY from 10 am to 2 pm. There is still the stray tomato to be had at the stand and the last of the summer peppers, but autumn food is taking over – winter squash, parsnips, potatoes, bunched greens, radishes, broccoli, and much more.

 

The Valley Flora Crystal Ball: What MIGHT be in your share NEXT week…

No promises, but your tote might include some of the following:

  • Leeks
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Beets
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Thyme?
  • Radishes?
  • Butternut squash

 

Recipes Galore

Please note: all of our produce is field-rinsed, not washed. We recommend you wash all of your produce before eating it.

 

For recipes and ideas, check out these links:

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/forum/4

Our own collection of recipes, where you can contribute and share your favorites

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/recipe-searcher

Our website’s recipe “search engine,” where you can hunt down recipes by ingredient

 

www.epicurious.com

A vast collection of recipes, searchable by one or multiple ingredients

 

http://info2.farmfreshtoyou.com/index.php?cmd=RE

A storehouse of recipes, searchable by ingredient

 

http://helsingfarmcsa.com/recipes.php

A Washington farm that has a good collection of seasonal recipes

Newsletter: 

Week 20: October 14th

In This Week’s Beet Box:

  • New Produce of the Week: Leeks, Savoy Cabbage, Acorn Squash & Pie Pumpkins
  • Winter Squash Kickoff!
  • Last Week of Abby’s Greens Salad Shares
  • New Fall Farmstand Hours

 

In your share this week:

  • Yellow Onions
  • Leeks
  • Carrots
  • Fennel
  • Savoy Cabbage
  • Rosemary
  • Head Lettuce
  • Hot Peppers
  • Acorn Squash
  • Pie Pumpkins

 

On Rotation

This means that some pickup sites will receive it this week; others next week or in a future week.

  • Broccoli

 

NEW PRODUCE OF THE WEEK

Leeks: Long and lovely, mild-mannered and deeply flavorful, leeks are like a gateway drug to onions. They rank on the mellower side of the allium spectrum and can be cooked up in any recipe where you would normally use onions. They are most famously paired with potatoes in potato leek soup, but don’t stop there. The possibilities are endless and delicious.

 

Prep tip: Sometimes dirt gets caught within the inner rings of the leek. Cut the leek up the center the long way and then slice the leek crosswise, discarding the root and leaf ends. Rinse the sliced leek in a colander to wash off any dirt and then cook.  Will store for a few weeks in the fridge in a plastic bag. If the outer layers get funky, just strip them off to reveal pristine leek below (like cabbage).

 

Savoy Cabbage: A curly-headed cousin to regular smooth cabbages, savoy cabbage is light and tender. It can be used in all the same ways.

 

Acorn Squash: Acorns have dark green to black skin, with deep ribs. They often have a bright orange spot on one side, where they were in contact with the ground. This is one tough-skinned squash, so be extra-careful when you cut into it. Acorns are among the more ubiquitous squash varieties in the supermarket and are maybe a little less intimidating to some folks. There are a couple of recipes on our website that I really like if you want to do it up fancy-ish, or turn them into a main dish:

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/recipe_search/results/acorn%20squash

 

But if you’re in a hurry or more inclined towards the simple, I suggest simply halving your acorns, scooping out the seeds, and placing them face down on a baking tray with a little water in the tray. Bake in the oven at 400 until you can pierce the skin with a fork and the flesh is soft, about 30 minutes or so. We eat them with a pat of butter melting inside, and I have been known to put a splash of maple syrup or a sprinkle of brown sugar on them.

 

They also make great lunch food if you bake them the night before and then pack them for the next day. The hollow cavity begs to be stuffed with something – feta, rice, nuts, salad, sautéed onions, or all of the above.

 

Like all the winter squash you’re getting, Acorns will store for a couple months at room temperature, so no need to stress about eating them right away if you have a perishable produce pile-up right now.

 

Pie Pumpkins: These cute little pumpkins can double as Halloween/Thanksgiving décor and/or the key ingredient in a homemade pumpkin pie. They will store for a couple months on the counter – like all the squash varieties – so if you want to save yours for Thanksgiving you can. (We also have all the winter squash varieties for sale at our farmstand on Wednesdays if you want to stock up in a big way for winter eating!)

 

My sister is the queen of homemade pumpkin pie. I know, I know: what a wholly un-modern thing to bake the pumpkin, make the filling, craft the crust, and see it through to steaming completion. But once you’ve had the real thing, with a dollop of whipped cream on top, there’s no going back. So be forewarned if you have a stash of canned pumpkin pie filling in your pantry: you’d better be ready to put it up for adoption after you try the real thing. Here are a few variations on the theme:

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/recipe_search/results/pie%20pumpkin

 

Winter Squash Kickoff

This week marks the official start of winter squash season! In the nine remaining weeks of the Harvest Basket season (the last week of the CSA will be the week of December 9th), you are going to meet an array of different winter squash. All of them are cured and ready to eat, but will also store for another few months, either on your countertop or in a cool, dry, dark place. There is no need to refrigerate winter squash; in fact their preferred storage temperature is around 50 degrees. Even though they look tough, handle them gently. Bruised winter squash won't store as long.

 

Many people are new to winter squash and often relate to them more as seasonal décor than food. We’re here to encourage you to EAT them, because they are fantastically sweet, delicious and versatile. We’ve grown a selection of our all-time favorite varieties and each week I’ll give you tips, suggestions and recipes that will help you enjoy them. Don’t be intimidated by their tough skins, large size, or funky shapes. Winter squash is one of the highlights of seasonal eating in our climate, and lucky for all of us it was a good year for squash on the farm!

 

A word about kitchen safety and winter squash: Their skin is often tough as nails, so be very careful cutting into them. If you’re cutting a squash in half or into slices, you’ll want to use a large, heavy-bladed, sharp-tipped knife (not a thin-bladed, paring, or delicate ceramic knife). We once broke the blade of our best knife while trying to hack open a winter squash, so now we only use a heavy-duty stainless steel chef knife for the job. It’s best to insert the tip of the knife into the squash first and then work the blade down and through the flesh of the squash. Be careful that the squash doesn’t spin out of your grip, or that the knife slips. Always be strategic about where your hands are and where the knife is headed. If you have a microwave, some people suggest nuking the squash for a couple minutes to pre-soften it before attempting to cut into it.

 

Enjoy the parade of squash coming your way. They are a seasonal delight, and not particularly perishable – in case you need some time to warm up to them.

 

Last Week of Abby’s Greens Salad Shares

This is the 20th and final week of Abby’s Greens Salad Shares. If you’ve been getting a salad share all season, enjoy this last bag of greens. There will probably continue to be Abby’s Greens for sale at our farmstand each Wednesday from 10 am to 2 pm. You can also find Abby’s Greens at the Langlois Market, Mother’s Natural Grocery, and Coos Head Food Store (depending on supply).

 

New Fall Farmstand Hours

We have switched to our fall schedule and the farmstand is now open on Wednesdays ONLY from 10 am to 2 pm. There is still the stray tomato to be had at the stand and the last of the summer peppers, but autumn food is taking over – winter squash, parsnips, potatoes, bunched greens, radishes, broccoli, and much more. We anticipate being open each Wednesday through mid-December.

 

The Valley Flora Crystal Ball: What MIGHT be in your share NEXT week…

No promises, but your tote might include some of the following:

  • Onions
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Braising Mix
  • Lettuce
  • Parsley
  • Red Potatoes
  • Radishes
  • Spaghetti Squash

 

Recipes Galore

Please note: all of our produce is field-rinsed, not washed. We recommend you wash all of your produce before eating it.

 

For recipes and ideas, check out these links:

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/forum/4

Our own collection of recipes, where you can contribute and share your favorites

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/recipe-searcher

Our website’s recipe “search engine,” where you can hunt down recipes by ingredient

 

www.epicurious.com

A vast collection of recipes, searchable by one or multiple ingredients

 

http://info2.farmfreshtoyou.com/index.php?cmd=RE

A storehouse of recipes, searchable by ingredient

 

http://helsingfarmcsa.com/recipes.php

A Washington farm that has a good collection of seasonal recipes

Newsletter: 

Week 19: October 7

In This Week’s Beet Box:

  • New Produce of the Week: Escarole
  • Produce Smugglers and Roadkill Tomatoes: A Delivery Escapade

 

In your share this week:

  • Yellow Onions
  • Radishes
  • Carrots
  • Yellow Finn Potatoes
  • Escarole
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Rainbow chard

 

On Rotation

This means that some pickup sites will receive it this week; others next week or in a future week.

  • Broccoli

 

NEW PRODUCE OF THE WEEK

Escarole: It looks like lettuce, but it’s actually a member of the chicory family (lumped in there with radicchio, endive, friseé, dandelions, and other such bitter greens). And yes, unadulterated, it is mildly bitter, which will probably please some of you more than others. But if you are suspicious of bitter foods, don’t toss your escarole out just yet. It’s a versatile green and there are lots of ways to prepare it that won’t make you pucker up. Here are some good options:

 

Salads: Wash your escarole well (it tends to collect dirt more than lettuce), cut it into ribbons, and then let it soak for 10 minutes in water. This tends to leach out any trace of the bitterness. You can then use it raw just like lettuce. I like to pair escarole in salads with sweet ingredients like dried cranberries, diced apple, pomegranate seeds, and candied nuts. Add some goat cheese or parmesean and you have a gourmet salad. It’s also good with avocado and citrus. I usually make up a honeyed-lemony vinaigrette of some sort to go with it.

 

Cooked: Escarole is more durable than lettuce and it holds up well to cooking. Check out this long list of escarole recipes on epicurious.com: http://www.epicurious.com/tools/searchresults?search=escarole&x=0&y=0

 

Your escarole will store for a week or so in the fridge in a plastic bag. Note that last week’s rain did some damage to the heads, causing some exterior leaf rot. I tried to clean them up as much as possible, but you might encounter a small amount of rot on some of the outer leaf margins. Just cut or tear those sections out; the majority of the head should be perfectly fine. But you might want to eat it sooner than later. Thanks for understanding!

 

Produce Smugglers and Roadkill Tomatoes: A Delivery Escapade

Last week I was sitting here at my desk, working away at the newsletter, when the phone range. It was Roxy, our delivery driver, and she was on the side of the road on Beaver Hill with some bad news. Frank (our white delivery van) was acting up: the oil light was on and the oil pressure gauge was bobbing wildly, in spite of the fact that I had just topped off the oil the day before. Frank was, as he always is on a Wednesday morning, packed to the gills with the Coos Bay Harvest Baskets, coolers, and boxes of produce for Coos Head. All of us on the farm had already-impossibly full days ahead of us, between office work, fieldwork and juggling our kids.

 

The dilemma: keep driving the van and hope it didn’t blow up (the Coos Bay CSA pickup was scheduled to start in 45 minutes), or go to Roxy’s rescue. My mechanic is currently out of town for 6 months, so we decided to err on the side of caution. I told Roxy to stay put and we mobilized. Better to sacrifice a day than have to buy a new van.

 

My mom and I raced north in the little green farm pickup and her old Volvo station wagon. When we reached Roxy, she told us that a cop had been there. He wanted to know what she was up to. She explained that she delivered for Valley Flora, but he insisted on searching the van. She opened the back doors for him and showed him the tower of Harvest Baskets.

 

“What’s in the totes?” he asked suspiciously.

“Vegetables.”

“I need you to open one up for me, ma’am.”

It dawned on Roxy at that moment that he thought she was smuggling drugs.

“Now mmmmm-mm, doesn’t that look good?” Roxy said with just the tiniest trace of sass as she popped the lid off a tote and brandished a full October Harvest Basket.

 

By the time we reached Roxy, we were overdue at the Coos Bay CSA site by almost an hour. We hustled all the CSA totes into the pickup, tied them down hastily, and crammed the rest of the Coos Head boxes into the Volvo. I sped off up Beaver Hill, the speedometer reading 70, and looked in the mirror just in time to see my mom pulling a U-ey in the middle of 101. I pulled the pickup over and got out. A lid had blown off one of the Harvest Baskets, but all of the produce was still there. A few minutes later my mom pulled up with the lid, we re-tied the ropes and added a bungey net in hopes of keeping everything in place. My stomach was strung tight with urgency. It was already 1 o’clock.

 

Off we went again at break-neck speed, but it was only moments before I saw a flash in the mirror and watched in horror as, slow motion, a red lid followed by a red tote cartwheeled through the air and crashed onto the highway, catapulting produce in every direction. Ripe tomatoes exploded, purple beets skidded, lettuce shredded, brittle carrots snapped, and a bunch of parsley bounced twice before coming to rest on the white line. I’m pretty sure I said something that looked like this: #@$%@!! And then my mom and I started laughing. Was this really happening? The very thing that I have hoped for six years would never happen?

 

If there was a scenario-meter to measure situations from best to worst, I quickly realized that although we were rapidly plummeting towards “worst,” we weren’t there yet. Jolene, the site host in Coos Bay, is not only an awesome human being, she is also a CSA member (those two things seem to go hand in hand) and I quickly realized that I could bring her a replacement tote the next day. So long as we didn’t lose another harvest basket off the back of the truck, we might still be able to pull this mission off. We re-tied the load yet again and set off at a mild-mannered 50mph.

 

Over an hour late and belching white exhaust (the green farm pickup has some issues right now, too…oi vei!), we arrived at the CSA site and off-loaded all the totes, with a promise to Jolene that we’d bring her a new one the next day. (A big thank you to all the Coos Bay members for their patience, and to Paul, the CSA site organizer, for his help!).

 

As for Frank, the long and short of it is that we’re pretty sure now that his problem is nothing but a faulty oil gauge. Which means that the entirety of last week’s escapade was a fire drill, no more. That, and fodder for some newsletter story-telling. Roxy and Frank made it home from Coos Bay today without a hitch, and hopefully the oil gauge will only be dancing for another week. The mechanic made room for us next Monday.

 

The Valley Flora Crystal Ball: What MIGHT be in your share NEXT week…

No promises, but your tote might include some of the following:

  • Leeks
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Savoy cabbage
  • Lettuce
  • Winter squash
  • Fennel

 

Recipes Galore

Please note: all of our produce is field-rinsed, not washed. We recommend you wash all of your produce before eating it.

 

For recipes and ideas, check out these links:

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/forum/4

Our own collection of recipes, where you can contribute and share your favorites

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/recipe-searcher

Our website’s recipe “search engine,” where you can hunt down recipes by ingredient

 

www.epicurious.com

A vast collection of recipes, searchable by one or multiple ingredients

 

http://info2.farmfreshtoyou.com/index.php?cmd=RE

A storehouse of recipes, searchable by ingredient

 

http://helsingfarmcsa.com/recipes.php

A Washington farm that has a good collection of seasonal recipes

Newsletter: 

Week 18: September 30

In This Week’s Beet Box:

  • New Produce: Priscilla Apples
  • Is it November?

 

In your share this week:

  • Red Onions
  • Beets
  • Baby Carrots
  • Parsley
  • Head Lettuce
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Apples

 

On Rotation

This means that some pickup sites will receive it this week; others next week or in a future week.

  • Broccoli

 

NEW PRODUCE OF THE WEEK

Priscilla Apples: They may look like a boring Red Delicious, but they don’t taste like one. Another treat from the orchard this magnificent fruit year!

 

Is it November?

In all the many, many years that we have dwelled up Floras Creek, we’ve never experienced a storm like that at this time of year. Six inches of rain in a weekend. Sixty mph winds. Heavily laden apple trees blown over. Corn stalks flattened. Parts of the field under water. It’s one thing when it comes in November or December when the majority of things are dormant. It’s a whole other thing at the end of September when we are still mid-swing in peak harvest.

 

All things considered, we fared OK. You might notice certain little details this week in your share (the particularly small heads of oakleaf lettuce, which I had to trim mercilessly due to extensive rain rot in the outer leaves; the fact that broccoli is on rotation instead of going full throttle, due to rain rot on the newly-formed crowns; the still-small carrots, which haven’t seen much sun to ripen further).

 

The good news is that the rain seems to have cleared up the powdery mildew that always affects our rainbow chard at this time of year, so hopefully you’ll be seeing chard in your share again soon! Our newly-seeded cover crops also got a thorough watering-in (hopefully not too thorough) and I'm looking forward to a trillion little green shoots popping up all over in the field: oats, rye, field peas, clover, and vetch to feed our soils through the winter.

 

The Valley Flora Crystal Ball: What MIGHT be in your share NEXT week…

No promises, but your tote might include some of the following:

  • Red Onions
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli?
  • Savoy cabbage?
  • Lettuce
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Potatoes
  • Radishes?

 

Recipes Galore

Please note: all of our produce is field-rinsed, not washed. We recommend you wash all of your produce before eating it.

 

For recipes and ideas, check out these links:

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/forum/4

Our own collection of recipes, where you can contribute and share your favorites

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/recipe-searcher

Our website’s recipe “search engine,” where you can hunt down recipes by ingredient

 

www.epicurious.com

A vast collection of recipes, searchable by one or multiple ingredients

 

http://info2.farmfreshtoyou.com/index.php?cmd=RE

A storehouse of recipes, searchable by ingredient

 

http://helsingfarmcsa.com/recipes.php

A Washington farm that has a good collection of seasonal recipes

Newsletter: 

Week 17: September 23

In This Week’s Beet Box:

  • New Produce: Yellow Storage Onions
  • Corn Earworm, Beware!
  • Bumper Red Potato Crop!
  • Sweet Peppers are Peaking! Order by the Bag!

 

In your share this week:

  • Yellow Storage Onions
  • Baby Carrots
  • White Sweet Corn
  • Cilantro
  • Head Lettuce
  • Hot Peppers
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Red Potatoes

 

NEW PRODUCE OF THE WEEK

Yellow Storage Onions: If these onions could talk, the story they would tell you. It might go something like this:

Oh man, this has been such a great season to be a yellow storage onion. Well mostly…

We had such a nice spring in the greenhouse, growing roots and getting our first leaves in those trays. And then those farmers picked the nicest day to plant us out in the field: the soil was so warm and soft and smooth, and just damp enough. We took to it like flies to you-know-what. And we grew so fast it almost hurt. Did you know onions have growing pains, too? Yeah, really. Then, sometime in June, all of a sudden, we started to get fat and paunchy around the midriff. Just ballooned out like we’d been eating too many Ding-Dongs. I mean, we hadn’t, but jeez, we just got bigger and bigger and rounder and rounder, and everyday those farmers walked through us in the field and just marveled at how pretty we were with our golden tan skin and big bellies.

 

Then the sun started to pitch south a little and we got tired of keeping our green hair standing straight up (it’s a lot of work to maintain a do like that for 4 months, you know!). So, we relaxed and let our hair down, and before you know it, we were getting yanked out of the ground and put into the back of the pickup for the return trip to the greenhouse (the perfect place to finish off our summer tans and dry out our hair). We were all just chilling there for a month or so, watching the rest of the red onions and shallots get their hair cut every week and nestled into bins, when some strangers showed up. I think they were friends of our farmers or something. Anyway, they came and they gave some of us haircuts and put us into those cozy bins, except they forgot to shut the door to the greenhouse when they left in the evening.

 

It was OK at first, but then we heard a rustling in the middle of the night. Nobody knew what it was. Then we heard an onion scream, and a thwack as it hit the floor. Something said “Baaah.” Before we knew it, everyone was getting yanked off the table and we felt hot sheep breath on our cheeks. They had found us, and they were hungry, even for onions.

 

When dawn broke, we slowly opened our eyes afraid of what we would see: all of us, strewn about the floor, some maimed, some bitten in half, some stomped to death, many with their hair chewed off. It was terrible. Roberto arrived a little while later and the look on his face said it all: after such a perfect onion season, after all the hard work, to lose it all now? He chased the sheep out and then he called Zoë to tell her the bad news. Zoë's stomach turned over and stayed there, upside down, while she tried to finish up in the office. Roberto set about tenderly picking us all up, inspecting us, and sorting us. Miraculously, many of us were unharmed altogether. But a few hundred of us weren’t so lucky. Doomed for the compost.

 

Those of us that are in your Harvest Basket this week are the survivors. There are lots of us, each with their own story to tell. If you have a minute, bend your ear close to our remarkable girth and listen. We might just open up to you before you eat us.”

 

Corn Earworm, Beware!

This is the last planting of corn, and as usual, the corn earworms have found it. That’s par for the course in our later corn plantings every year. Beware that when you shuck your corn you will probably encounter one or two at the tip of the cob. Just cut off the tip, rinse the shucked ear, and enjoy!

 

Bumper Red Potato Crop!

This time of year is all about hauling in the storage crops, among them the potatoes. In a normal year, we are happy to get a yield of 2-3 pounds of potatoes per bed foot. This year, our red Desirees blew every previous record out of the water with a yield of 5 pounds per bed foot. Our walk-in cooler is busting at the seams! We’ll be sharing in the bounty by throwing in a few extra distributions of potatoes this fall, starting this week.

 

This extraordinary yield was not just due to the number of potatoes under each plant, but the size of them. Let me know if you're the Harvest Basket member who receives the single 3 pound potato in your share this week. You win a prize, on top of receiving the prize potato. And no, it doesn’t involve any Oompa-Loompas.

 

Sweet Peppers are Peaking! Order by the Bag!

The sweet peppers are at their peak! Order now to get ‘em in bulk for fresh eating or preserving. You can choose from either:

  • Roasters: 5 pounds of sweet red roasters
  • Jellybean Mix: 5 pounds of mixed bells and roasters - red, orange, yellow, purple (no green)

The cost is $20/bag. Orders will be fulfilled on a rolling basis in the order received (pepper season usually goes into October). To order, please email us:

  • Your name
  • Your pickup location
  • Best daytime phone number to reach you
  • The type and quantity of peppers you would like (in 5 pound increments).

Peppers preserve wonderfully.

  • Frozen: just dice them up raw and toss them into a freezer bag.
  • Roasted: blacken the outer skin over an open flame, toss them into in a lidded pot to steam, peel the skin off once they’ve cooled, lay the roasted peppers on cookie sheets to freeze individually, then transfer to a freezer bag.

Either way, they are a great addition to wintertime meals – pasta sauces, stir fries, soups, lasagna, and more!

 

The Valley Flora Crystal Ball: What MIGHT be in your share NEXT week…

No promises, but your tote might include some of the following:

  • Red Onions
  • Carrots
  • Beets
  • Parsley
  • Lettuce
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Kale?
  • Winter squash?

 

Recipes Galore

Please note: all of our produce is field-rinsed, not washed. We recommend you wash all of your produce before eating it.

 

For recipes and ideas, check out these links:

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/forum/4

Our own collection of recipes, where you can contribute and share your favorites

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/recipe-searcher

Our website’s recipe “search engine,” where you can hunt down recipes by ingredient

 

www.epicurious.com

A vast collection of recipes, searchable by one or multiple ingredients

 

http://info2.farmfreshtoyou.com/index.php?cmd=RE

A storehouse of recipes, searchable by ingredient

 

http://helsingfarmcsa.com/recipes.php

A Washington farm that has a good collection of seasonal recipes

Newsletter: 

Week 16: September 16th

In This Week’s Beet Box:

  • New Produce: Winterbor Kale & Italian Plums
  • Big Bummer in the Cherry Tomatoes: A Haiku
  • Carrots on Pause
  • Sweet Peppers by the Bag!
  • Garlic is Going Fast! Order now if you want some….

 

In your share this week:

  • Red Onions
  • Winterbor Kale
  • Head Lettuce
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Zucchini
  • Tomatoes – Red & Heirloom
  • Italian Plums

 

NEW PRODUCE OF THE WEEK

Winterbor Kale: It got this name for a reason. Winterbor is tied for first place for being the hardiest kale variety we grow. It’s great in late summer and through the fall, but most impressive is the fact that we will still be harvesting from these plants next March. It’s an incredibly frilly, lofty kale, and tends to be my first choice for making Kaleslaw. Here's our treasure trove of other favorite kale recipes:

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/recipe_search/results/kale

 

Your kale will keep for at least a week in the fridge in a plastic bag.

 

Italian Plums: Four or five ancient Italian plum trees hang over my mom’s driveway at the farm. Abby and I were raised on those plums – picking them fresh off the tree in September on our way down the driveway to catch the school bus in the morning, and eating them dried all winter (thanks to my mom’s heroic food preservation efforts all fall). We haven’t seen plums on the trees in four years, due to the terribly wet, nasty spring weather we’ve had (no pollination in March means no plums in September). But this year the trees were loaded, so much so that one of them broke in half under all the weight this summer.

 

True to the Italian plum tradition, the three of us have been busy pitting and drying as many plums as we can at midnight, but there is still plenty to share with our CSA members. Eat them fresh, or make my favorite Italian Plum Clafouti for dessert: http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/plum-clafouti

 

Big bummer in the Cherry Tomatoes: a Haiku

August rains. Humid.

Vines blacken. Fruit drops. Uh-oh.

Better luck next year.

 

Where’d the Carrots Go?!

The last few weeks you’ve been receiving a half pound of carrots instead of the usual full pound, and this week none at all. What gives?! Back in July, one of our seedings failed, and because we protect our carrots with floating row cover (to exclude the carrot rust fly), I didn’t notice the failure until 2 weeks later when I uncovered the carrot beds to do another seeding. Which meant our usual steady succession of mature carrot beds was interrupted. I was hoping the re-seeded bed would catch up in time, but it didn’t. So carrots are on pause altogether this week, in hopes that the next bed will be big enough by next week.

 

Once we turn the carrot switch back on, it looks like there will be an ample supply to see us all the way through the season into December, and beyond.

 

Sweet Peppers by the Bag!

The sweet peppers are on! Order now to get ‘em in bulk for fresh eating or preserving. You can choose from either:

  • Roasters: 5 pounds of sweet red roasters
  • Jellybean Mix: 5 pounds of mixed bells and roasters - red, orange, yellow, purple (no green)

 

The cost is $20/bag. Orders will be fulfilled on a rolling basis in the order received (pepper season usually goes into October). To order, please email us:

  • Your name
  • Your pickup location
  • Best daytime phone number to reach you
  • The type and quantity of peppers you would like (in 5 pound increments).

Peppers preserve wonderfully.

  • Frozen: just dice them up raw and toss them into a freezer bag.
  • Roasted: blacken the outer skin over an open flame, toss them into in a lidded pot to steam, peel the skin off once they’ve cooled, lay the roasted peppers on cookie sheets to freeze individually, then transfer to a freezer bag.

Either way, they are a great addition to wintertime meals – pasta sauces, stir fries, soups, lasagna, and more!

 

Garlic is Going Fast! Order now to get your bag or braid!

For some reason, we’re unable to grow garlic at the farm. Each time we’ve planted it, we lose the entire crop to white rot, rust, flooding, or other diseases. After enough disappointments we’ve stopped trying altogether.

 

Our long-time family friends have a small organic farm called Calapooia Crossing. They are located on the Calapooia River in the foothills of the Cascades and they excel at growing garlic. Last year they brought us part of their harvest and we sold it at the farmstand, to wide acclaim. They just delivered this year’s crop to us, so we have a couple hundred pound of beautiful garlic for the offering. It’s available at the farmstand, but for those of you who can’t make the trip, we’re happy to deliver bulk bags or braids to your pickup site.

 

Here's the scoop if you want to order:

  • Bulk garlic is available in 3 pound bags, $25 per bag. (There are about 5 large heads of garlic per pound, so a bulk bag contains approximately 15+ heads of garlic. It’s a hardneck variety, meaning the head has a central stem with a ring of large, easy-to-peel cloves around the stem.)
  • Garlic braids are also available, $12 apiece. Braids contain approximately 7 heads of softneck garlic called Italian Late. It’s the best keeper and makes a beautiful gift.

 

To order, please email us:

  • Your name
  • Your pickup location
  • Best daytime phone number to reach you
  • The type and quantity of garlic you would like.

We’ll deliver!

 

The Valley Flora Crystal Ball: What MIGHT be in your share NEXT week…

No promises, but your tote might include some of the following:

  • Red Onions
  • Carrots
  • Sweet corn
  • Cilantro
  • Head Lettuce
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Hot Peppers
  • Strawberries? (weather dependent, rain in the forecast)
  • Tomatoes

 

Recipes Galore

Please note: all of our produce is field-rinsed, not washed. We recommend you wash all of your produce before eating it.

 

For recipes and ideas, check out these links:

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/forum/4

Our own collection of recipes, where you can contribute and share your favorites

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/recipe-searcher

Our website’s recipe “search engine,” where you can hunt down recipes by ingredient

 

www.epicurious.com

A vast collection of recipes, searchable by one or multiple ingredients

 

http://info2.farmfreshtoyou.com/index.php?cmd=RE

A storehouse of recipes, searchable by ingredient

 

http://helsingfarmcsa.com/recipes.php

A Washington farm that has a good collection of seasonal recipes

Newsletter: 

Week 15: September 9

In This Week’s Beet Box:

  • New Produce: Napa Cabbage & Fingerling Potatoes
  • September Strawberries
  • Fennel Pesto
  • Shifting into Fall
  • Sweet Peppers by the Bag!
  • Calapooia Garlic by the Bag or the Braid!

 

In your share this week:

  • Walla Walla Sweet Onions
  • Napa Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Fennel
  • Dill
  • Head Lettuce
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Hot Peppers
  • Fingerling Potatoes
  • Strawberries
  • Zucchini
  • Tomatoes – Red & Heirloom

 

On Rotation:

This means that some pickup sites will receive it this week, others next week – or in a future week.

  • Cucumbers
  • Cherry Tomatoes

 

NEW PRODUCE OF THE WEEK

Napa Cabbage: This has to be tops on my list of favorite cabbages: tender, sweet, versatile. It’s tender enough to stand in for lettuce, or cabbage-y enough to hold it’s own in slaw. Here are a couple good recipes off our website (I make a lot of the napa-apple-nut salad at this time of year):

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/recipe_search/results/napa%20cabbage

 

Napa is also the cabbage of choice for making kimchi, or Korean pickles. This is a relatively quick, easy recipe if you’ve never tried it before:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/quick-spicy-kimchee-recipe/index.html

 

Napa stores best in a plastic bag in the fridge. It won’t last as long as a red or green hard cabbage, but you should get a week or two out of it.

 

Fingerling Potatoes: Whimsical and weird-looking, this is a variety called Russian Banana. Fingerling are usually described as “waxy” in texture, meaning they’re a firmer, drier potato than most. The most common preparations are to either roast them or boil/steam them for use in a salad. Store in your fridge in plastic bag.

 

This is about as simple and easy a dish you could make with them, using your fresh dill:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/dill-fingerling-potatoes-recipe/index.html

 

September Strawberries

Every strawberry harvest in September feels like a bonus to us, given the uncertain weather as we slide towards Fall. As soon as the rain and cool weather arrive with any earnestness, it will shut down the strawberries for good.

 

This recent blast of sun, however, has made for some good late-season picking. The berries have ramped up so much in the past week, there's enough to fill some last-minute, late season special orders. If you want to order a flat, email me your name, pickup site, daytime phone number, and the number of flats you want.

 

Take note that September’s sweet berries also tend to have a shorter shelf life. There’s more mold pressure from all the morning dew, and they tend to be more fragile overall. We painstakingly try to cull every berry that has any sign of rot, but even so they sometimes slip by us during the 6-hour strawberry pick on Tuesday and Friday mornings – so please forgive the occasional mold bomb that might light up your pint of berries if you let them sit for a day or two. Sooner is better when it comes to eating September strawberries! Enjoy the last few pints coming your way this season.

 

Fennel Pesto

I'm always looking for new ways to convert the fennel skeptics in the crowd, so I was extra-excited to try this fennel pesto recipe that my dad and stepmother discovered. They were kind enough to post it to our website. I swooned. Hope you do, too.

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/fennel-recipes

 

Shifting into Fall

September is a month of transition for us. We’re just wrapping up our last direct seedings and transplantings in the field, and the focus shifts markedly from putting seeds and plants in the ground to taking food out of the ground. Big harvests of storage crops like potatoes, onions, and winter squash are upon us and it seems that no bin weighs less than 30 pounds at this time of year. From now on as the food gets heavier, we do a lot of bending at the knees. Core strength! Steady now!

 

Sweet Peppers by the Bag!

The sweet peppers are on! Order now to get ‘em in bulk for fresh eating or preserving. You can choose from either:

  • Roasters: 5 pounds of sweet red roasters
  • Jellybean Mix: 5 pounds of mixed bells and roasters - red, orange, yellow, purple (no green)

 

The cost is $20/bag. Orders will be fulfilled on a rolling basis in the order received (pepper season usually goes into October). To order, please email us:

  • Your name
  • Your pickup location
  • Best daytime phone number to reach you
  • The type and quantity of peppers you would like (in 5 pound increments).

 

Peppers preserve wonderfully.

  • Frozen: just dice them up raw and toss them into a freezer bag.
  • Roasted: blacken the outer skin over an open flame, toss them into in a lidded pot to steam, peel the skin off once they’ve cooled, lay the roasted peppers on cookie sheets to freeze individually, then transfer to a freezer bag.

 

Either way, they are a great addition to wintertime meals – pasta sauces, stir fries, soups, lasagna, and more!

 

Garlic by the Bag or the Braid!

For some reason, we’re unable to grow garlic at the farm. Each time we’ve planted it, we lose the entire crop to white rot, rust, flooding, or other diseases. After enough disappointments we’ve stopped trying altogether.

 

Our long-time family friends have a small organic farm called Calapooia Crossing. They are located on the Calapooia River in the foothills of the Cascades and they excel at growing garlic. Last year they brought us part of their harvest and we sold it at the farmstand, to wide acclaim. They just delivered this year’s crop to us, so we have a couple hundred pound of beautiful garlic for the offering. It’s available at the farmstand, but for those of you who can’t make the trip, we’re happy to deliver bulk bags to your pickup site.

 

Here's the scoop if you want to order:

Bulk garlic is available in 3 pound bags, $25 per bag. (There are about 5 large heads of garlic per pound, so a bulk bag contains approximately 15 heads of garlic. It’s a hardneck variety, meaning the head has a central stem with a ring of large, easy-to-peel cloves around the stem.)

Garlic braids are also available, $12 apiece. Braids contain approximately 7 heads of softneck garlic called Italian Late. It’s the best keeper and makes a beautiful gift.

 

If you’d like to order, please email us:

  • Your name
  • Your pickup location
  • Best daytime phone number to reach you
  • The type and quantity of garlic you would like.

 

We’ll deliver!

 

The Valley Flora Crystal Ball: What MIGHT be in your share next week…

No promises, but your tote might include some of the following:

  • Red Onions
  • Carrots
  • Sweet corn?
  • Kale
  • Head Lettuce
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Zucchini
  • Tomatoes

 

Recipes Galore

Please note: all of our produce is field-rinsed, not washed. We recommend you wash all of your produce before eating it.

 

For recipes and ideas, check out these links:

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/forum/4

Our own collection of recipes, where you can contribute and share your favorites

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/recipe-searcher

Our website’s recipe “search engine,” where you can hunt down recipes by ingredient

 

www.epicurious.com

A vast collection of recipes, searchable by one or multiple ingredients

 

http://info2.farmfreshtoyou.com/index.php?cmd=RE

A storehouse of recipes, searchable by ingredient

 

http://helsingfarmcsa.com/recipes.php

A Washington farm that has a good collection of seasonal recipes

Newsletter: 

Week 14: September 2nd

In This Week’s Beet Box:

  • New Produce: Red Storage Onions! Chehalis Apples!
  • Halfway!
  • Sweet Peppers by the Bag!
  • Calapooia Garlic by the Bag or the Braid!

 

In your share this week:

  • Red Storage Onions
  • Cylindra Beets
  • Carrots
  • Chehalis Apples
  • Sweet Corn
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Zucchini
  • Tomatoes – Red & Heirloom

 

On Rotation:

This means that some pickup sites will receive it this week, others next week – or in a future week.

  • Cucumbers
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Cauliflower

 

NEW PRODUCE OF THE WEEK

Red Storage Onions: The big red onions this week are a variety called Red Emperor, and they are a medium-term storage onion. They are fully cured, so no need to refrigerate. They’re supposed to keep for up to a couple of months under ideal conditions (cool & dry).

 

These onions have been a delight to grow, harvest and clean. We’ve never had such beautiful, huge, red onions in all our years of farming. The sunny spring certainly helped, but it may also be the variety itself. We usually grow a red onion called Cabernet, but it was sold out this year, forcing us to resort to Red Emperor. It was a bit of gamble since we’d never trialed it before, but we’ve had happy results so far. We’ll see how well they keep into the fall, but for now we’re enjoying the satisfaction of our heaviest onion harvest to date.

 

Chehalis Apples: Just in time for back to school! Another product of our beautiful spring, much of the orchard is laden with apples this year. The pollination was so thorough on some trees that we’ve had to thin a lot of fruit and still there are branches breaking under all the weight.

 

Chehalis is a relatively early apple, and it’s earlier than ever this year. It’s thin-skinned, sweet, crispy, and incredibly juicy – intended for fresh eating and baking. They’re more delicate than some apples so try not to bang them around to avoid bruising. If you don’t eat them right away, keep them in the fridge to prevent them from getting mushy.

 

Halfway!

This week marks the halfway point in the CSA season: 14 weeks down, 14 to go. If this week's dense share is any indication of the direction we're headed, you can rest assured that heavy will be the name of the Harvest Basket game this fall. All that sturdy food in your tote (note the sheer absence of light, leafy stuff this week!) is the sum total of so many summer hours of sunlight, heat and water, all condensed into a rainbow of fruit and vegetables for you. The farm takes on a certain gravity, a weightedness, at this time of year that is palpable: so many tons of food lurking underground (potatoes, beets, carrots, parsnips, turnips, radishes, celeriac, onions!) and squatting above ground (squash, cabbages, giant kohlrabi, ripe corn, gone-to-seed sunflowers). I never worry about scarcity at this time of year; only whether the week's harvest will fit into a Rubbermaid!

 

Sweet Peppers by the Bag!

The sweet peppers are on! Order now to get ‘em in bulk for fresh eating or preserving. You can choose from either:

  • Roasters: 5 pounds of sweet red roasters
  • Jellybean Mix: 5 pounds of mixed bells and roasters - red, orange, yellow, purple (no green)

 

The cost is $20/bag. Orders will be fulfilled on a rolling basis in the order received (pepper season usually goes into October). To order, please email us:

  • Your name
  • Your pickup location
  • Best daytime phone number to reach you
  • The type and quantity of peppers you would like (in 5 pound increments).

Peppers preserve wonderfully.

Frozen: just dice them up raw and toss them into a freezer bag.

Roasted: blacken the outer skin over an open flame, toss them into in a lidded pot to steam, peel the skin off once they’ve cooled, lay the roasted peppers on cookie sheets to freeze individually, then transfer to a freezer bag.

 

Either way, they are a great addition to wintertime meals – pasta sauces, stir fries, soups, lasagna, and more!

 

Garlic by the Bag or the Braid!

For some reason, we’re unable to grow garlic at the farm. Each time we’ve planted it, we lose the entire crop to white rot, rust, flooding, or other diseases. After enough disappointments we’ve stopped trying altogether.

 

Our long-time family friends have a small organic farm called Calapooia Crossing. They are located on the Calapooia River in the foothills of the Cascades and they excel at growing garlic. Last year they brought us part of their harvest and we sold it at the farmstand, to wide acclaim. They just delivered this year’s crop to us, so we have a couple hundred pounds of beautiful garlic for the offering. It’s available at the farmstand, but for those of you who can’t make the trip, we’re happy to deliver bulk bags to your pickup site.

 

Here's the scoop if you want to order:

  • Bulk garlic is available in 3 pound bags, $25 per bag. (There are about 5 large heads of garlic per pound, so a bulk bag contains approximately 15+ heads of garlic. It’s a hardneck variety, meaning the head has a central core with a ring of large, easy-to-peel cloves around the core.)
  • Garlic braids are also available, $12 apiece. Braids contain approximately 7 heads of softneck garlic called Italian Late. It’s the best keeper and makes a beautiful gift.

 

If you’d like to order, please email us:

  • Your name
  • Your pickup location
  • Best daytime phone number to reach you
  • The type and quantity of garlic you would like.

We’ll deliver!

 

The Valley Flora Crystal Ball: What MIGHT be in your share next week…

No promises, but your tote might include some of the following NEXT week:

  • Walla Walla Sweet Onions
  • Napa Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Fennel
  • Dill
  • Lettuce
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Hot Peppers
  • Fingerling Potatoes
  • Strawberries
  • Zucchini
  • Tomatoes

 

Recipes Galore

Please note: all of our produce is field-rinsed, not washed. We recommend you wash all of your produce before eating it.

 

For recipes and ideas, check out these links:

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/forum/4

Our own collection of recipes, where you can contribute and share your favorites

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/recipe-searcher

Our website’s recipe “search engine,” where you can hunt down recipes by ingredient

 

www.epicurious.com

A vast collection of recipes, searchable by one or multiple ingredients

 

http://info2.farmfreshtoyou.com/index.php?cmd=RE

A storehouse of recipes, searchable by ingredient

 

http://helsingfarmcsa.com/recipes.php

A Washington farm that has a good collection of seasonal recipes

Newsletter: 

Week 13: August 26th

In This Week’s Beet Box:

  • New Produce: Cured Walla Wallas! Lacinato Kale! Hot Peppers! Sweet Peppers!
  • Make your own Pico de Gallo
  • Bulk Peppers By the Bag

 

In your share this week:

  • Walla Walla Sweet Onions
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Lacinato Kale
  • Cilantro
  • Hot Peppers
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Zucchini
  • Tomatoes – Red & Heirloom

 

On Rotation:

This means that some pickup sites will receive it this week, others next week – or in a future week.

  • Cucumbers
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Green Beans

 

NEW PRODUCE OF THE WEEK

 

Cured Walla Walla Sweets: The greenhouse is doing a great job of drying down all of our storage onions and shallots, and the Walla Wallas are the first to be fully cured. This means that their tops have fully dried down and they have a papery outer skin. Once onions are cured, you don’t need to store them in the fridge. You can keep them on the countertop, or in a cool dry place. Walla Wallas are not intended for long-term storage (maybe up to a month at most), so don’t delay too long in eating them!

 

Lacinato Kale: My favorite of all the kales, this blue-black, blistered kale is also beloved in Italy. It goes by many monikers, including Tuscan kale, Tuscan cabbage, Italian kale, Dinosaur kale, cavolo nero, black kale, flat back cabbage, palm tree kale, or black Tuscan. And yes, this kale by any other name does taste as sweet. Give us some cold nights or a light frost, and it’ll get even sweeter – so there is at least one reason to look forward to the end of summer and the start of chilly weather.

 

Peppers – Hot & Sweet: Let the march of the peppers begin! My mom’s greenhouses are starting to pump out the peppers, in perfect time for salsa season. The two small peppers in your share this week are jalapeños with a good kick. The bigger peppers are sweet varieties (you’ll see bells and long Italian roasting peppers throughout the next month or so).

 

Store in the fridge in a plastic bag.

 

Fresh Pico de Gallo

You have all the ingredients (minus the lime) to make fresh, homemade salsa this week: tomatoes, hot peppers, sweet peppers, cilantro, and sweet onion. There’s nothing to it: dice everything up, salt to taste, squeeze in some lime, and get yourself some (non-GMO) corn chips!

 

Bulk Peppers Available by the Bag

As the colored sweet peppers come on, Bets will be able to offer them in bulk to our members. The pepper fanatics in the crowd tend to eat them raw on the spot, but they also preserve wonderfully (frozen: just dice them up raw and toss them into a freezer bag; or roasted: blacken the outer skin over an open flame, toss them into in a lidded pot to steam, peel the skin, lay the roasted peppers on cookie sheets to freeze, then transfer to a freezer bag).

 

They will be available in 5 pound bulk bags, $20/bag. Orders will be fulfilled on a rolling basis in the order received (pepper season usually goes into October). To order, please email us:

  • Your name
  • Your pickup location
  • Best daytime phone number to reach you
  • The quantity of peppers you would like (in 5 pound increments)

 

We’ll deliver to your pickup site!

 

The Valley Flora Crystal Ball: What MIGHT be in your share next week…

No promises, but your tote might include some of the following NEXT week:

  • Red Onions
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Corn?
  • Fennel?
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Zucchini
  • Tomaotes

 

Recipes Galore

Please note: all of our produce is field-rinsed, not washed. We recommend you wash all of your produce before eating it.

 

For recipes and ideas, check out these links:

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/forum/4

Our own collection of recipes, where you can contribute and share your favorites

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/recipe-searcher

Our website’s recipe “search engine,” where you can hunt down recipes by ingredient

 

www.epicurious.com

A vast collection of recipes, searchable by one or multiple ingredients

 

http://info2.farmfreshtoyou.com/index.php?cmd=RE

A storehouse of recipes, searchable by ingredient

 

http://helsingfarmcsa.com/recipes.php

A Washington farm that has a good collection of seasonal recipes

Newsletter: 

Week 12: August 19th

In This Week’s Beet Box:

  • New Produce: Sweet Corn! Parsley! Yellow Finn Potatoes!
  • The Not So Sweet News About Sweet Corn

 

In your share this week:

  • Onions
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Sweet Corn
  • Zucchini
  • Tomatoes – Red & Heirloom
  • Parsley
  • Lettuce
  • Yellow Finn Potatoes

 

On Rotation:

This means that some pickup sites will receive it this week, others next week – or in a future week.

  • Cucumbers
  • Cauliflower
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Green Beans

 

NEW PRODUCE OF THE WEEK

Sweet Corn: The quintessential, Americana, summer food – and for once it’s actually ripe in time for summer! We usually we don’t get our first ears of sweet corn until September once summer is already on the wane, but this year it’s here in time for prime BBQ season, alongside tomatoes, green beans, and potatoes (to round out the picture-perfect American picnic). The ears are on the small side (I think due to a combination of factors: 1) we transplanted our early corn, which is semi-stressful for the plants, and 2) we didn’t give them an extra helping of organic fertilizer this year, and corn likes a lot of nitrogen). On the bright side, there’s a nice heap of those ears in your tote, so hopefully numbers will make up for size this week.

 

We tend to eat our corn one of three ways: 1) raw, straight off the cob, while standing in the middle of the field on a summer evening, legs splayed, happy half-grin on face; 2) shucked and steamed lightly and rolled in the butter; 3) grilled with the husk on: http://bbq.about.com/od/vegetablerecipes/r/bln0218a.htm

 

If you don’t like to gnaw it off the cob, I also like to make a fresh tomato and corn salad. You can put whatever herbs you like in it (basil, parsley, etc.). Cut up tomatoes, cut the raw (or lightly steamed) corn off the cob, add some feta or fresh mozzarella, olive oil, vinegar, salt & pepper, maybe some cucumbers – and you’ve got a festive insta-salad.

 

Eat your corn sooner than later; the sugars convert to starch over time, so the sooner, the sweeter, the better. Store it in the fridge to slow down the sugar-to-starch process.

 

Parsley: You’ll either see Italian flat-leaf parsley or curly parsley this week (and depending on which you get, you’ll receive the other type next time). I thought the parsley and potatoes would be good comrades.

 

Keep your parsley in a bag in the fridge, or in a glass of water and covered in the fridge.

 

Yellow Finn Potatoes: Yellow Finns are our favorite, reliable standby in the potato world. They are versatile and delicious any way you cook them (mashed, steamed, roasted, fried, au gratined, hashed, saladed, pancaked, latke-d, stuffed, baked. And so on.) They also are a great keeper in cold storage, so we grow a lot of them to see us through the late fall and winter (they actually get sweeter in cold storage). You’ll see them many more times this season.

 

Best to store this batch in the fridge, as the skins haven’t fully cured yet.

 

The Not So Sweet News about Sweet Corn

My father-in-law, like many of us, is highly concerned about GMOs (genetically modified organisms: plants or animals that have been genetically engineered with DNA from bacteria, viruses or other plants and animals) in our food supply. And for good reason: in the U.S., GMOs are in as much as 80% of conventional processed food (yes, even if you think you’re not, you are already eating GMOs, probably everyday).

 

Almost all of the corn and soy (the underpinnings of America’s processed food industry) is GMO in the U.S. (88% and 94%, respectively, in 2011). So that bag of Fritos, or the low-sugar yogurt that’s made with aspartame instead, or the fruit juice with ascorbic acid, or the soda with high fructose corn syrup, or the chips fried in canola/soybean/corn oil, or anything with natural or artificial flavorings is most likely made with GMO ingredients (assuming it's not certified organic; GMO ingredients are prohibited in organic foods).

 

My father-in-law, like many of us, thinks it’s an outrage, especially since most other developed nations – like Australia, Japan, and all of the EU nations - do not consider GMOs to be safe (for human health or the environment) and have implemented outright bans or major restrictions on the production and sale of GMOs.

 

The only fresh foods I knew to be GMO were conventionally grown papayas and zucchini/summer squash. So when my father-in-law started talking about GMO sweet corn on his last visit, I was curious. He is prone to conspiracy theories now and then, and I figured he was mistakenly lumping sweet corn in with all the GMO soybeans and “cow corn” they grow by the square mile in the Midwest - for animal feed and to make all those unprounce-able ingredients in processed foods: Sodium Ascorbate, Sodium Citrate, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Lactic Acid, Maltodextrins, Monosodium Glutamate, Sucrose, Xanthan Gum, etc.

 

Finally this week, as I was harvesting our first ears of sweet corn, I was impelled to do a little research. And I was disappointed to learn that my father-in-law was right. GMO sweet corn was widely introduced into the market (in grocery stores, farmers markets, farmstands) last year. 250,000 acres were grown, accounting for over 40% of the market.

 

Which means that if you want to enjoy GMO-free sweet corn from now on, you have a task ahead of you as a consumer. It’s everywhere, and in everything. The Non-GMO Project, which does education and certifies GMO-free foods, has compiled a list of brands that pass their no-GMO test: http://www.nongmoproject.org/find-non-gmo/search-participating-products/...

 

Eating Valley Flora corn is also good bet. We farm in an isolated pocket where there isn’t much risk of drift (because there aren’t any other corn farmers in the neighborhood) and we farm organically. That said, seed testing is now showing that virtually all of the seed corn in the U.S. has at least traces of GMO contamination, if not more. So the corn seed I buy every year, even if it is organic, is most likely contaminated to some extent.

 

Pandora’s box has been opened. If you are concerned as a consumer, you can learn more and take action at: http://www.nongmoproject.org/2012/08/29/gmo-sweet-corn-anything-but-sweet/

 

What’s the worry about GMOs? Some of the concerns include:

  1. Human health issues. Studies in animals fed GMOs have shown organ damage, gastrointestinal and immune disorders, allergic reactions, accelerated aging, and infertility.
  2. Environmental issues. Most GMOs are engineered for herbicide tolerance and the agricultural use of toxic herbicides like Roundup has increased 15 times since GMOs were introduced. GMO crops can also spawn “super weeds” and “super bugs” that don’t respond to spraying. Plus, the long-term impacts of GMOs are unknown, and once they’re let of the lab, there’s no stuffing them back in.
  3. Farmer rights. Believe it or not, a farmer in Canada, Percy Schmeiser, was sued for patent infringement by Monsanto when GMO pollen drifted from a neighboring field and contaminated his canola crop. Monsanto won, striking a huge blow to farmer sovereignty. For organic farmers, GMO contamination is a huge concern because they can lose their certification and their price premium due to uncontrollable drift.
  4. Consumer rights. Consumers should have the right to know what's in their food, but there is no GMO labeling law in the U.S. That’s in spite of the fact that 91% of Americans say they want GMOs to be labeled (according to a 2012 poll).

Learn more at:

http://www.nongmoproject.org/learn-more/what-is-gmo/

 

The Valley Flora Crystal Ball: What MIGHT be in your share next week…

No promises, but your tote might include some of the following NEXT week:

  • Head lettuce
  • Onions
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Cilantro
  • Zucchini
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Hot Peppers
  • Lacinato Kale

 

Recipes Galore

Please note: all of our produce is field-rinsed, not washed. We recommend you wash all of your produce before eating it.

 

For recipes and ideas, check out these links:

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/forum/4

Our own collection of recipes, where you can contribute and share your favorites

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/recipe-searcher

Our website’s recipe “search engine,” where you can hunt down recipes by ingredient

 

www.epicurious.com

A vast collection of recipes, searchable by one or multiple ingredients

 

http://info2.farmfreshtoyou.com/index.php?cmd=RE

A storehouse of recipes, searchable by ingredient

 

http://helsingfarmcsa.com/recipes.php

A Washington farm that has a good collection of seasonal recipes

Newsletter: 

Week 11: August 12th

In This Week’s Beet Box:

  • New Produce of the Week: Shiro Plums! Torpedo Onions!
  • Public Service Announcement: This Week’s Cabbages
  • Tamales Shares this Week

 

In your share this week:

  • Cabbage – red or green
  • Red Long of Tropea torpedo onions
  • Carrots
  • Zucchini
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes – Red & Heirloom
  • Broccoli
  • Dill
  • Shiro Plums

 

On Rotation:

This means that some pickup sites will receive it this week, others next week – or in a future week.

  • Cucumbers
  • Cauliflower
  • Sweet Peppers

 

NEW PRODUCE OF THE WEEK

Shiro Plums: You can thank that long, sunny spring we had for the nest of yellow plums in your tote this week. Never has there been such a Shiro harvest! And as much as we’d like to think it will happen again, regularly, it all depends on how much rain and hail falls from the sky in the months of March & April.

 

These are one of our favorite plum varieties – the drip-down-your-face kind, at once sweet and slightly tart. And they’re ripe now, so don’t delay with the dripping! I imagine it won’t be too hard to figure out what to do with them (as in, eat the whole dozen right away), but they do make a lovely yellow plum sauce if you want to cook them down with a little sugar (my mom likes to use if for barbecue sauce). Or one of my favorite desserts (usually made with pretty, purple Italian plums, but anything will do), plum clafoutis:

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Brandied-Plum-Clafoutis-243386

 

I think the flavor and texture is best if you keep your plums on the counter at room temperature. They won’t last as long, but that’s probably a moot point altogether – given the sugar-yum-eat-me-now factor.

 

Red Long of Tropea Torpedo Onions: It’s a mouthful to say, and a delicious mouthful to eat. This variety harks from Mediterranean France and Italy where it’s grown for fresh harvest and specialty markets. It’s similar to the Purplette onions you got throughout July, but slightly slower to mature. Red Longs need to be kept in the fridge because they aren’t cured (no papery outer skin), and ideally eaten within in a couple of weeks.

 

Public Service Announcement: This Week’s Cabbages

If you have back trouble, you may want ask for assistance lifting your cabbage this week. Some of our green cabbages grew to a gargantuan size this year, due to the fact that about half of our green cabbage planting got wiped out by cabbage maggot in the spring. As a result, the surviving plants had ample room to grow and grow. And grow. Some of the cabbages we packed into totes yesterday topped the scales at 8 pounds. If you are not a cabbage fan and you open the lid to a tote that has a monster in it, you might want to look for a different tote with a smaller specimen. This is one of those times when not all things are created equal in the CSA share, so hopefully you all can sort it out at your pickup sites based on need, want, and goodwill!

 

Also, we came up short on green cabbages, so some people will be getting red cabbage in their share. Again, I have faith that you can work it out without any brawling over over-sized brassicas!

 

Tamale Shares this Week

Tamales go out to pickup sites this week. If you are a tamale member, look for your share in the marked blue cooler at your pickup site. Enjoy!

 

The Valley Flora Crystal Ball: What MIGHT be in your share next week…

No promises, but your tote might include some of the following NEXT week:

  • Head lettuce
  • Cucumbers
  • Potatoes
  • Red Long of Tropea Torpedo Onions
  • Carrots
  • Parsley
  • Zucchini
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Corn?

 

Recipes Galore

Please note: all of our produce is field-rinsed, not washed. We recommend you wash all of your produce before eating it.

 

For recipes and ideas, check out these links:

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/forum/4

Our own collection of recipes, where you can contribute and share your favorites

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/recipe-searcher

Our website’s recipe “search engine,” where you can hunt down recipes by ingredient

 

www.epicurious.com

A vast collection of recipes, searchable by one or multiple ingredients

 

http://info2.farmfreshtoyou.com/index.php?cmd=RE

A storehouse of recipes, searchable by ingredient

 

http://helsingfarmcsa.com/recipes.php

A Washington farm that has a good collection of seasonal recipes

Newsletter: 

Week 10: August 5th

In This Week’s Beet Box:

  • New Veggies of the Week: Walla Walla Sweet Onions! Tomatoes! Cucumbers!
  • Summer Thunderstorms & Truckloads of Onions
  • Strawberries Available by the Flat
  • Farmstand Cornucopia

 

In your share this week:

  • Head Lettuce
  • Walla Walla Sweet Onions
  • Carrots
  • Zucchini
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes – Red & Heirloom

 

On Rotation:

This means that some pickup sites will receive it this week, others next week – or in a future week.

  • Cucumbers
  • Cauliflower

 

NEW VEGGIES OF THE WEEK

Walla Walla Sweet Onions: Huge, mild, and truly sweet, these are my favorite onion in our Allium line-up. They seem to be particularly pumped up and early this year, thanks probably to a great start in the greenhouse back in February and a good, warm, dry growing season since they were planted outside in late April.

 

Walla Wallas are definitely mild enough to be eaten raw, but I prefer them cooked. My favorite basic preparation is to caramelize them down with fennel, adding some fresh tomato and basil at the end. My other favorite, though more involved, is to make Walla Walla onion rings. We have an annual tradition of making beer- battered (equal parts beer and flour, mixed together), deep-fried Walla Walla rings on my mom’s back porch each summer. The key is to fry them outside, eat ‘em hot and salted, and to have plenty of ketchup on hand. And to go into it knowing that you’ll probably over-indulge and feel sick afterwards. But it’s worth the gut bomb.

 

These Walla Wallas are fresh-harvested, so you should keep them in your fridge. They’ll hold for at least a couple weeks. The yield is so good this year that it looks like we’ll be curing some down for short-term storage, so you’ll see them again in the not-too-distant future.

 

Tomatoes: That’s right, tomatoes. The red slicers are about three weeks ahead of the plan, and the heirlooms are six weeks ahead of our CSA projection. I know I don’t need to say much about tomatoes – kind of like strawberries, they seem to disappear into CSA members’ bellies with little to no prodding on our part – but everyone should know this: it’s best NOT to refrigerate your tomatoes. The flavor and texture aren’t quite as good out of the fridge, so keep them on your counter. Also know that the heirloom tomatoes come in all shapes, sizes and colors. If you get a green tomato, it’s a ripe Aunt Ruby’s – so don’t wait for it to turn red!

 

Like our strawberries, these tomatoes should be eaten sooner than later (my mom, who grows almost all of the tomatoes, chooses varieties that are all about flavor and less about shelf life…as it should be with something that was never intended for transcontinental transport).

 

Sidenote: The ideal distance a tomato should travel is about 3 feet, from the plant to your mouth, or if necessary, the ten paces from garden to kitchen. Modern times and inexorable demand have forced us at Valley Flora to expand the range to about 45 miles, as far north as Coos Bay and as far south as Gold Beach. This is still more jostling than most ripe, real tomatoes like so we apologize if there are any dents or dings when you receive yours. When we're packing your totes, we try to make little nests for the tomatoes, in the fennel fronds or tucked into a quiet corner. But there's always the chance that an over-aggressive zucchini is going to go bully in there and beat up on the tomatoes. The red slicers are typically a little more durable than the thin-skinned, delicate heirlooms, in case you need to prioritize which to gobble up first. If your heirloom has a split when you get it (they sometimes crack in transport), eat it up soon before the fruit flies find it.

 

And in the unlikely case that you are at a loss for tomato-eating ideas, here’s one for you: a fat slice of tomato sandwiched inside some fresh Seth’s Bread, with some good cheese, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Throw some slivered fresh basil or cilantro in there if you have any.

 

Cucumbers: This year’s cukes, on the other hand, are late. They have been thwarted by moles, cucumber beetles, and bacterial wilt (spread by the cucumber beetles). Finally this week there were enough of the mini-cukes at least for Wednesdays totes; we’re hoping for a little sun to ripen up the next batch for Friday/Saturday totes. If not, they’ll be on rotation. After three years of cucumber struggles on the farm, they are about to earn top brass for being possibly the most difficult crop to grow. Ever. Sigh.

 

Summer Thunderstorms & Truckloads of Onions

Normally the Beet Box would have been sent out hours ago, but just as I was about to start typing this morning, the skies unleashed a totally unexpected, totally-bad-timing rainstorm. What, is the weather man on vacation this week?!?

 

The reason for the panic was this: on Monday, Roberto and I (with the help of Cleo) pulled and windrowed all of the red storage onions, the Walla Walla Sweets, and the red shallots (about half of our total onion crop for the year). The forecast on Monday morning was for sun all week – perfect weather for drying down and curing onions in the field. So we yanked them, made tidy rows, and patted ourselves on the back, hopeful for our best onion year yet.


 

 

 

 

When the rain let loose at my house today, I groaned audibly in the office. NO!!! If the onions we pulled on Monday were to get soaked, there’s a high chance they’d mold instead of cure for long-term storage (these are the onions that feed you into December). I dropped everything in the office and raced to the field where Roberto was already loading the pickup with Walla Wallas. We double-teamed it all afternoon, schlepping truckloads of onions from the field to the greenhouse, where we laid them all out on pallets and tables to dry for the rest of their curing process.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fortunately, the rain let up while we were in the field and the onions didn’t get too wet. It wasn’t until everything was safely inside the greenhouse this evening that the thunder rolled up the valley, bringing with it fat, heavy raindrops. Let it rain, I thought. Except please spare the strawberries…

 

Strawberries Available by the Flat

They’re back and they’re sweet! We are able to offer strawberries by the flat again, so order now and get on the list! The details:

  • $35/flat
  • Email us your name, pickup site, number of flats you want, and the best daytime phone number to reach you (so we can call you when they’re ready).
  • We’ll fill orders in the order we receive them and deliver to your pickup site.

 

Farmstand Cornucopia

It’s that time of year when the farmstand is a veritable rainbow of produce – everything from leafy greens to heirloom tomatoes to purple peppers to red strawberries to yellow Shiro plums (our adolescent orchard has started to produce a little fruit here and there, in small quantities, and some of it is for sale at the farmstand occasionally). PLUS, The strawberry upick is the best it’s been all year (really!), and Seth & Rachel have been coming on Wednesdays to sell their scrumptious bread, cookies, granola, and crackers. Candace has also been showing up with her vibrant eggs. SO, the moral of the story is that if any of your dietary needs are not being met each week, come to the farmstand and fill in the gaps! Open Wednesdays & Saturdays from 9 to 3.

 

The Valley Flora Crystal Ball: What MIGHT be in your share next week…

No promises, but your tote might include some of the following NEXT week:

  • Head lettuce
  • Cucumbers
  • Cabbage
  • Red Long of Tropea Torpedo Onions
  • Carrots
  • Dill
  • Zucchini
  • Strawberries

 

Recipes Galore

Please note: all of our produce is field-rinsed, not washed. We recommend you wash all of your produce before eating it.

 

For recipes and ideas, check out these links:

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/forum/4

Our own collection of recipes, where you can contribute and share your favorites

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/recipe-searcher

Our website’s recipe “search engine,” where you can hunt down recipes by ingredient

 

www.epicurious.com

A vast collection of recipes, searchable by one or multiple ingredients

 

http://info2.farmfreshtoyou.com/index.php?cmd=RE

A storehouse of recipes, searchable by ingredient

 

http://helsingfarmcsa.com/recipes.php

A Washington farm that has a good collection of seasonal recipes

Newsletter: 

Week 9: July 29th

In This Week’s Beet Box:

  • New Veggie of the Week: Potatoes!
  • Part II: The Joy of CSA Farming
  • Strawberries: Phoenix Rising?

 

In your share this week:

  • Head Lettuce
  • Purplette Onions (the last of ‘em for the year)
  • Cilantro
  • Carrots
  • Collards
  • Zucchini
  • Strawberries
  • Potatoes

 

On Rotation:

This means that some pickup sites will receive it this week, others next week – or in a future week.

  • Spinach
  • Cauliflower

 

New Veggie of the Week: Potatoes

I'm trying not to count my chickens before they hatch (given last year’s disappointment when late blight wiped out half of our potato patch), but oh man - it’s looking like a good spud year so far. We dug the first couple beds of Desiree red potatoes on Monday and pulled out some impressive lunkers – a pound apiece, some of them!

 

This week’s potatoes are semi-new, meaning that the skin is thin and hasn’t cured fully yet (you’ll notice little scuffs and places where the skin peeled off while we were washing them). Because of this, you should store them in your fridge in a plastic bag.  It also means that these potatoes are as juicy as they come.

 

“Juicy?” you’re thinking? Since when are potatoes juicy? When they’re fresh. Go get a store-bought potato and do a side-by-side cut-in-half test. The Desirees in your share this week will actually weep, since they haven’t lost any of their moisture content in storage. You might not think there would be much difference in taste with something as plain and basic as a potato, but I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised this week when you cook up your freshly dug spuds.

 

If you haven’t already tried it, this would be a great week to make the recipe for Collards with Potatoes: http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/collards-potatoes

 

Desiree potatoes are also a good candidate for potato salad. I like to make a tangy version that’s lighter on the mayo, full of veggies, and uses some of Candace’s fresh eggs, hardboiled:

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/zs-potato-salad

 

Part II: The Joy of CSA Farming

On the heels of last week’s Beet Box about the challenges of CSA farming, my inbox was awash in wonderful emails from our members. I am sharing some of them here, anonymously, to give you a glimpse of what makes this work so gratifying at times. It’s true, farming is tough at times, but having a community of eaters like you – who are sympathetic to the setbacks and appreciative of the successes – makes it all a very, very worthwhile endeavor.

 

We love hearing from you. Of course we prefer to get the happy, gushing emails from our members, but we definitely want to hear from you if you have some negative/constructive feedback for us as well. I mean it.

 

 Thanks for all your hard work. You guys are amazing!

 

As a consumer I just want to say thank you for providing healthy food for us.  I know it can often feel like a thankless job full of hard work and sometimes disappointment, however what you are doing is greatly appreciated!

 

Please know that from my point of view, each week is a surprise and I look forward to the pick-up each week.  I have learned to cook vegetables and have felt better for it!   Who knew that I liked collards and chard!  I love it!  The only thing that I can't get to know or like are beets!    That's ok, though, since I'm sharing with my sister and she likes them.   I appreciate that when you go organic, mother nature has the final say!  I am duly spoiled.  I can't eat produce from Safeway any more. I love it!

 

Love your newsletter!  It’s so informative, helpful and fun.  You have a great sense of humor.  I also want to thank you for providing me, my family, and the whole south coast community with the most wonderful vegetables.  I have learned to eat so many more veggies than I used to have in my repertoire thanks to your food baskets.  For example, the first year, I just kinda looked at the kale.  I didn’t know what to do with it and was sure I wouldn’t like it.  Then I got a couple of recipes and now it is probably my very favorite “green.”  Now, I will try beets.  I am not a beet fan, but I’ll try the recipe you listed.  Oh, and I do like beet chips that my husband makes in the oven.  Who knows?  I may decide beets are the greatest thing since Seth’s bread! So keep up the good work!  We are blessed to have you and your produce in our lives!

 

Strawberries: Phoenix Rising?

Just when I think I know something on the farm, I usually get proven wrong. Which happily, seems to be the case with the strawberry patch right now. As of last week, the strawberries started to stage a comeback. Their bright scarlet sheen is back, the sweetness is returning, and the harvest is up. Enough so to put them in the CSA totes again, and to start fulfilling special orders once more. Who knew?

 

I have to give credit to Jake, who has been a steadfast optimist throughout the entire, depressing month of July. Roberto and I had both thrown in the towel on the berry patch and were consoling ourselves with the promise and possibility of a fantastic next year (that’s the great thing about farming….there’s always a fantastic next year, at least in your mind). But Jake stuck by those berries, picking the patch clean of ugly fruit each week and maybe sprinkling some magic pixie dust on them when I wasn’t looking.

 

Whatever the reason (compost tea? time? root regeneration? pixie dust? positive thinking?), we’re seeing a new flush of green leaves and flowers, which hopefully portends a bountiful August of berries. The u-pick is also getting better and better, so if you’ve been hesitating about coming to the farm to pick your own, August will be a good month for it. Or so I think. We know how that goes….

 

The Valley Flora Crystal Ball: What MIGHT be in your share next week…

No promises, but your tote might include some of the following NEXT week:

  • Head lettuce
  • Cucumbers?
  • Cabbage?
  • Walla Walla Sweet Onions
  • Carrots
  • Fresh Herbs
  • Zucchini
  • Strawberries

 

Recipes Galore

Please note: all of our produce is field-rinsed, not washed. We recommend you wash all of your produce before eating it.

 

For recipes and ideas, check out these links:

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/forum/4

Our own collection of recipes, where you can contribute and share your favorites

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/recipe-searcher

Our website’s recipe “search engine,” where you can hunt down recipes by ingredient

 

www.epicurious.com

A vast collection of recipes, searchable by one or multiple ingredients

 

http://info2.farmfreshtoyou.com/index.php?cmd=RE

A storehouse of recipes, searchable by ingredient

 

http://helsingfarmcsa.com/recipes.php

A Washington farm that has a good collection of seasonal recipes

Newsletter: 

Week 8: July 22

In This Week’s Beet Box:

  • Recipe of the Week: Zucchini Pancakes
  • The Challenge of CSA Farming (Or, How to Feed a Few Hundred People Every Week for Seven Months of the Year…)

 

In your share this week:

  • Broccoli
  • Head Lettuce
  • Purplette Onions
  • Fresh Dill
  • Carrots (with some Rainbows in the mix)
  • Russian Frills Kale
  • Zucchini

 

On Rotation:

This means that some pickup sites will receive it this week, others next week – or in a future week.

  • Spinach
  • Cauliflower

 

Recipe of the Week: Zucchini Pancakes

My mom has been making these lately and they are GOOD! She makes up a batch of batter and if she doesn’t use it all, she just stores it in her fridge for the next day. Makes a tasty, quick lunch or dinner.

 

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/moms-zucchini-pancakes/

 

The Challenge of CSA Farming

This past weekend I fretted that there wasn’t going to be enough food (both quantity and diversity) to fill this week’s Harvest Baskets. Then came Tuesday. Everything was harvested and washed for our Wednesday CSA members and we began packing totes in the barn. Strawberries (what a total, utter surprise!). Onions (2 full pounds of Purplettes, because we're having such an unprecedented bumper onion crop so far). Carrots (with some rainbow carrots in the mix this week). Broccoli. Beets (harvested in lieu of potatoes this week because I decided that the spuds weren’t quite sized up enough to merit our first dig). A nice pile of zucchini (because it’s their prime time). Russian Frills kale (probably the last kale you’ll see from us until September). Some super jumbo lettuce (I was laughing all morning as I harvested those lunkers). And a bunch of dill (intended to be paired with potatoes, but alas their stars didn’t align).

 

Whew. We got to the end of the packout line with the first tote and discovered that we could barely get the lid on it.

 

So much for worrying.

 

The challenge of CSA is this: how to plan to have a diversity of enough (but not too much) food every single week from June through December, for a few hundred people. Accounting for, of course, the fact that some people love beets and some people don’t, and some people want kale every week and some people don’t, and some people are splitting a basket and some people are feeding a family of five (or more). It’s a dinner party host’s worst nightmare.

 

And then of course there’s the environment. Sometimes it rains all spring and stays cold until July, except for when it doesn’t. And who knows if the cucumber beetles are going to fly in (not too bad this year), or the cabbage maggots are going to eat our cauliflower seedlings (they did), or the moles are going to undermine the marionberries (they did), or the phytophthora is going to nuke our berry patch (it mostly did, except for this week’s unexpected mini-comeback).

 

A lot of it is out of our control, but I do my best to try to impose some predicted order on what always turns out to be the wild chaos of a real live farm season. It all starts in January, when I create a CSA projection: essentially, my best guess at all of the produce that will be in your share each week for 28 weeks (best case scenario). It’s an Excel spreadsheet with a column for every week of the season and a line for every single fruit and vegetable we grow. I fill it in based on past year’s experience, but of course no two years are the same…

 

Then we seed and plant and sow accordingly. Lettuce gets seeded ever two weeks, carrots every three. Broccoli gets planted every week or two throughout the spring, and corn goes in the ground in succession in hopes of a nice staggered harvest come September. Every planting date is dictated by a hoped-for harvest date, all with the goal of keeping your harvest baskets replete, and keeping you happy.

 

Enter Mother Nature, who laughs somewhat sardonically at Excel spreadsheets. This year, carrots came a full five weeks sooner than planned but green cabbage and potatoes are weeks later than expected. The artichokes shut down a month sooner than I’d hoped, but corn is probably going to be a month earlier than anticipated.

 

It becomes a task of constant observation and on the fly decision-making. For instance, yesterday I discovered a small cache of ripe cauliflower, from the few plants that survived the cabbage maggot this spring. It was enough to give to our members who pick up at the farm. But I had to do some quick calculating: will there be enough heads from the next bed of cauliflower to fill everyone else’s totes (fairness is a top priority – we do all we can to keep it even-steven among our four pickup sites throughout the season)?

 

I decided that there would be, so the farm pickup members got some neon caulifower to boot. If I was wrong and we don’t end up having enough to give to everyone in Port Orford, Bandon, and Coos Bay, then we’ll have to make it up with something else. What? I’m not sure yet. It’s an improv show.

 

Thanks for buying a ticket to the show (in doing so, you’ve shown a degree of trust in us, and a willingness to roll with the unexpected). If nothing else, I hope the enormity of your lettuce makes you laugh this week.

 

The Valley Flora Crystal Ball: What MIGHT be in your share next week…

No promises, but your tote might include some of the following NEXT week:

  • Head lettuce
  • Cucumbers?
  • Purplette Onions
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes?
  • Cilantro
  • Zucchini
  • Strawberries?

 

Recipes Galore

Please note: all of our produce is field-rinsed, not washed. We recommend you wash all of your produce before eating it.

 

For recipes and ideas, check out these links:

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/forum/4

Our own collection of recipes, where you can contribute and share your favorites

 

http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/recipe-searcher

Our website’s recipe “search engine,” where you can hunt down recipes by ingredient

 

www.epicurious.com

A vast collection of recipes, searchable by one or multiple ingredients

 

http://info2.farmfreshtoyou.com/index.php?cmd=RE

A storehouse of recipes, searchable by ingredient

 

http://helsingfarmcsa.com/recipes.php

A Washington farm that has a good collection of seasonal recipes

Newsletter: 

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