The Valley Flora Beetbox

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

May on the Farm



We’ve been getting inquiries about when the Harvest Basket season will start, which was a good reminder that it’s high time to send everyone an update from the farm!


At this point, we’re hoping the first week of Harvest Basket and Salad Share deliveries will begin the week of May 30th. Specific dates for your pick-up location, whether it be Port Orford, the Farm, Bandon or Coos Bay, are posted on our website at:


We will keep everyone posted as the week of May 30th draws near. Last year we had to postpone the first delivery by a week, due to the cold wet spring we endured, but this year it looks more hopeful. It’s been a chilly spring thus far (our weather records boasted only three days in April that were 60 degrees or warmer, compared to years past when more than half of April was 60….and even 70 degrees!). But fortunately, April and May haven’t been as brutally wet and grey as last year, which means that we’ve been able to stay on track with weekly outdoor plantings and tillage in the field. Your veggies are growing, and your strawberries are flowering, so keep your fingers crossed that you’ll be eating Valley Flora produce within a couple weeks!


We’re lucky to have well-drained ground; even a day or two of sun right now will dry the soil out enough that we can get in to work up beds for transplanting. And miracle of all miracles, we’ve had good luck so far with direct-seeded crops like beets, carrots, peas, turnips and radishes (compared to last season when we didn’t get a successful carrot germination until early June….ach!). Brave little seedlings that they are, we have most of our crops covered with floating row cover right now – to give them a few degrees of extra warmth, plus protection from pests, hail and frost.


Currently in the ground outdoors: lettuce, leeks, onions, shallots, kale, chard, broccoli, turnips, radishes, pac choi, kohlrabi, carrots, beets, parsnips, peas, potatoes….plus all the perennials that we tend: raspberries, strawberries, marionberries, artichokes, asparagus, orchard trees, and more. In the greenhouse, the tomatoes and peppers are getting planted, as well as some early summer squash and cukes. Yum.


It’s hard to believe that we’re barreling into the produce madness of summertime once again. This year promises to be even more of an adventure, with Abby’s 16-month-old Pippin toddling around the farm (and taking great interest in all things mechanized, particularly Wilma, the Kubota tractor…), and Cleo, my 4-month old, riding around in the front pack. Farming is always a juggling act - a bit of a dance - but now more than ever as we try to do it all with the kids in tow. Just last week, Abby and I were racing to get a batch of salad greens seeded in the field between rainsqualls. Pippin was on her back, Cleo was on my chest, and in the end we all got soaked – but at least the salad got planted. At this very moment, Cleo is squirming on my lap as she awakens from a nap. My one-handed typing skills are getting better and better….:)


Fortunately, we are so lucky to have the help of Roberto Sierra, who has worked with us since last summer. He has kept the farm ship-shape in the months since Cleo was born and is an incredible part of our farm team. And of course we couldn’t do it without the help of our mom, Betsy, who is busy farming herself but who always makes time for her two grandkids - so that her two daughters can get some work done in the fields! To top it off, we've had the invaluable help of Tom Lynch this year. Tom was a founding CSA member and has put his incredible quiver of skills to work at the farm, maintaining equipment, improving our irrigation system, helping us build the new greenhouse addition, and getting the new electric tractor tricked out with cultivating and seeding set-ups. Turns out, it takes a village to grow a farm!


So here we go – the big farm adventure of 2011! We’re glad you’ll be part of it, and look forward to bringing you all the good food we can grow!


Starting the week of May 30th – or whenever our first harvest and delivery is – we’ll be sending out a Beet Box newsletter on a weekly basis to tell you what’s in your basket and what’s up on the farm. And of course, don’t hesitate to be in touch with us anytime. We plan to host a farm tour for all of you in late June so that we can meet face-to-face (we’ll be sending out info on that soon), but in the meantime we have posted a bunch of new photos on the website where you can get a glimpse of the Valley Flora universe in spring!


Thanks so much for your support and your choice to eat locally!



tester newsletter

Week 1
June 1-6, 2009
What's In Your Basket?

  • Tillamook and/or Seascape Strawberries
  • Sylvesta Green Butterhead Lettuce
  • Crunchy Royale Radishes
  • Green Globe Artichokes
  • Arugula
  • Genovese Basil
  • Black Summer Pac Choi

Coming Soon!

  • Hakurei turnips
  • Kale & Chard
  • Kohlrabi
  • Spinach

We're thrilled to be able to include some of our favorite tastes of summer in the very first Harvest Basket of the season - among them, basil and strawberries. June will be a month to savor these early treats, as well as some of Spring's signature crops: kale, chard, spinach, and the sweet, buttery hakurei turnip (coming soon!).
Also remember that these early Harvest Baskets will be leaner than those that come later in the season. We strive for an average value of $25 of produce each week, which means that as the season progresses the baskets will get heavier (literally!) with summer's bounty. Enjoy the first harvest!
And finally, we recommend that you wash your produce before eating it. Technically, we only "field-rinse" the produce, so it is not legally considered to be "washed."
Produce Tips - How to Eat It, Cook It and Keep It!

  • Some people love the spicy bite of a spring radish, but if you want a less sassy mouthful, peel your radishes. All of the heat is in that red skin; the meat of the radish is tender, juicy and sweet!
  • Also, radish tops are great in stir-fy (they belong to the same family as mustard greens). Don't toss 'em - chop them up with your Pac Choi and sautee with a little rice vinegar, tamari or any other seasonings!
  • If you want your radishes to last longer in the fridge, cut the tops off and store the roots in a ziploc in the crisper.


  • We are choke addicts here at Valley Flora. We usually prepare them the simple old-fashioned way in a steamer basket. It usually takes 30-45 minutes in a regular steamer basket with plenty of water, depending on size, or 8-14 minutes in a pressure cooker. The bigger the choke, the longer it takes. Check for done-ness by plucking an outside leaf. The chokes are ready when a leaf plucks off easily. Dig in and eat your - its - heart out.
  • Check out our easy ailoi recipe and turn your artichokes into a great vehicle for mayo, balsamic and capers.


Pac Choi

  • Great sauteed, stir-fried, or eaten raw, this succulent green keeps best in a plastic bag in the fridge.


  • In the unlikely event that any of your berries are still left by the time you get home, folks say that their berries store best in an airtight container in the fridge with a damp paper towl lining the bottom.
  • Whipped cream anyone?



On the Farm....
Now that the soil temperatures have warmed up and the nights are hovering near 50 degrees, we are putting lots of summer and fall crops in the ground this week: pepper plants galore, as well as an entire block of winter squash (for your eating pleasure come October...). We are also prepping fallow ground for some summer cover crop plantings of buckwheat and sudan grass. In the greenhouse, we're already seeding fall crops like chard, kale and cabbage, which will be planted in early July. Farming is one of those things where you are living 6 months in the future and every day in the moment - all at once....


As for the present moment, don't forget to visit the
Recipe Exchange
to check out the new recipes this week, and to share your own recipes with other farmsters.




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