It has been a very busy few weeks on the farm since the final winter CSA distribution. With three weeks of no deliveries we have been racing to seed, plant, and weed everything. The results are starting to show and we are pumped to begin our weekly harvests. Our fields are filling up, with an abundance of early season crops ready to harvest as well as later summer crops beginning to take off. In the Produce Share this week things will look very green and this will be a trend for the next few weeks. Then before we know it things will begin to transform into summer! We have also made progress in the animal department. We processed most of the rest of our winter-raised pigs and there are many very fresh cuts in the meat share. This winter we got three sows (mama pigs) and bred them and last Tuesday we had our first litter. 11 piglets are now the main attraction of the farm and the population should triple any day now. We got our first batch of meat chickens processed and in the freezer just in time for the pick up. We revamped our pastured chicken operation from many small field shelters that had to be moved by hand to one large shelter that can be pulled with a tractor. I don’t know if the chickens know the difference in this new improvement but I can say the farmers are much happier with it.
Most weeks when you receive this newsletter this section will be more about stories of what is happening on the farm, but for this week, I just want to give you a rundown of a little bit more on what to expect from our shares.
In the produce share you will be getting lots of unwashed produce. This is not anything new for those of you who have been with us for a while but for others it can take some getting used to. We do this for a reason. A bunch of radishes may look nicer with the dirt washed off but they will go by faster than one that is harvested and immediately placed in a cooler. So that is how we harvest most of our produce. It goes straight from the field to a cooler, then from a cooler straight to you! That way it spends less time in the hot summer sun. Also greens that get wet and don’t get dried out will turn slimy much faster then those that are kept in their original state in the field. One important tip when it comes to washing greens. Submerge your greens in water a couple times before drying them in a salad spinner. If you just rinse them and spin them you will not allow for the dirt to come off. Submerge them in water and repeat a few times and you will start to see that the water will get less dirty which each rinse. Greens keep well if wrapped in a damp paper towel and kept in the fridge. Bunched roots, like radishes will keep better if you remove their tops. Scallions will keep very will with their roots in a glass of water.
The egg share consists of 1 dozen eggs week. If you ordered a cheese share you will be getting a pound of cheese each month from different local cheese makers.
If you have a meat share you will receive 17 points to use to go through and pick out what you will use. Keep in mind that we are a small farm and we deal with whole animals at a time so while we always aim to have a wide variety of cuts available, we do not always have every single cut.
The chicken share consists of two whole frozen chickens. If you have not gotten our chicken before it is important to know that most grocery store chicken is injected with a saline solution to prevent the meat from drying out. Our meat does not have this so make sure if you are roasting a chicken to keep moisture on the breast meat. Also, I highly suggest using the carcass for soup. It makes a great chicken soup and some people tell me they feel like they eat the chicken happily but mostly look forward to the soup.
The first pick up can be a little overwhelming so please try to give yourself enough time to pick out your shares. If you can arrive at the pick up at least 15 minutes before the end of it that should help you to not feel too rushed in picking out your shares and it will help your farmers make it back to the farm to start over again the next day with more work! If you have some bring some bags or boxes to put your shares in this can be helpful though we will have extras with us if you need them. We are so excited to be feeding you this season!
Margaret and Kevin Brown