The Reality and Reward of Eating Seasonally
I kept imagining that refrain as you opened up your totes this week, to once more find kale, broccoli, hakurei turnips, lettuce, radishes, and strawberries in there – which by now, are familiar friends (or foes) in your weekly Harvest Basket. Usually at this point in the season, there are some folks who have reached their “fed up” point – enough with the greens and spicy roots already! Bring on the summer food!
Well, the good news is that the summer food is coming: cukes, zukes, snap peas, new potatoes, beets, and more (and yes, this is the LAST week of radishes until fall!). Most likely you’ll see a few of those new summery crops in your tote next week, thanks to the recent blast of sunshine and heat.
But we hope you don’t say goodbye to the past month of greens-heavy Harvest Baskets with disgust. If nothing else, the food you’ve been receiving for the past few weeks is exactly what grows – and grows well – at this point in the year (not to mention the fact that nutrient-dense greens are considered the perfect thing to cleanse and fortify the body after a long fresh-veggie-deprived winter). And that’s part of what CSA – community supported agriculture - is all about: experiencing what it means to eat locally and seasonally.
I suppose we could put cherry tomatoes in your totes in June, if we wanted to import them from Mexico, but that would negate much of what we’re trying to achieve on our family farm: reducing the number of miles from farm to fork; helping our eaters understand what kind of food grows on the southcoast of Oregon, and when; and making sure that whatever you get from the farm was picked at its peak of flavor and freshness.
As a result, when you sign up with Valley Flora you’re signing up for an experience marked both by abundance and, yes, limitation (how un-American!). We aren’t a supermarket that offers every kind of fruit and vegetable every week of the year; we’re a physical farm, tended by real people, within the constraints of a specific climate, weather, latitude, ecosystem, soil, and water supply. It means that most of the time you can’t have it all: tomatoes in February or radishes in August. There are limitations on our farm, and on our local food supply.
But what you can have is exactly whatever is in its prime and at its peak here on Floras Creek. And if you like to preserve food by canning, freezing, or drying, you’ll be able to enjoy summertime tomatoes next winter after all.
We’ve found after years of growing and eating our own food year-round, our bodies crave exactly what is in season at any given point of the year. We eat kale and winter squash for 3 months straight through the winter, and for some reason never tire of it. By August we are salivating for a fresh tomato; but come November we’re kinda over them and ready for hearty winter food again. The fact that we can’t have it all, all the time, reminds us to savor and celebrate the fresh food that is in season – because before we know it, it’s gone again.
Hopefully you can taste the difference that fresh, local and seasonal makes - and hopefully that flavor is enough to convince you that some things are worth waiting for, and other things are worth putting up with…:)
On that note, enjoy your last little spicy pile of amethyst radishes this week!
Reminder: Tamale Shares are going out this week! Tamales will be delivered to pick-up sites in marked coolers. PLEASE DO NOT TAKE TAMALES unless you have signed up for them and your name is on the list on the cooler!
In your share this week:
Arugula or Braising Mix
Red Ursa Kale
Please note: all of our produce is field-rinsed, not washed. We recommend you wash all of your produce before eating it.
I had to grow these this year, for the color alone. They are a spicy radish, which is partly the variety itself and partly the fact that they have grown through some warm weather. Heat brings up the heat in a radish root. Remember, you can always tone down the picante factor by peeling them; all the spice is in the pretty skin.
Storage: keep in the fridge, in a plastic bag; greens will store a few days to a week; the roots, if topped, will store for weeks.
Farm Fact of the Week:
All combined, the farm drinks up about 100,000 gallons of water per week to irrigate all our crops. Vegetables and berries are mostly water! We draw our water from Floras Creek, via a state water right. We use drip irrigation on more than half of our acreage in order to make the most efficient use of this precious resource, and to leave as much water as possible in the creek for fish, otters, and other aquatic critters.