This week marks the inaugural season here at Willowsford Farm, and we’re glad to welcome you to the 2012 Willowsford Farm Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. Through CSA, you and the farm can deepen our relationship with each other, with the food we eat, and with the land itself.
This is the first of the newsletters, and you can expect one each week. We will give you updates from the farm (just finished planting sweet potatoes), discuss topics of interest (why there’s no broccoli in summer time), and relate some of the great lightnesses and heavinesses of farm being (watching a bluebird fly from the shelter of the barn into the parsley patch to eat a parsley-eating caterpillar). We will also share recipes and information on our produce – what it is, how to store it, how to use it, and of course, recipes for making it a part of a meal.
Here at the farm we’ve planted most of our crops for the first half of the season, and many of those for the second. We’re looking pretty good right now; the recent rain bordered on Too Much, but the farm has handled it well. Rain can give our crops a kick in the pants, and usually the weeds, too, so we’ll have some cultivating to do this week and next. But so it goes. We have squash on the way, tomatoes green on the vine, melons and cucumbers and beans in flower; peppers, eggplant, and okra are coming along… summer is not too far off, not far off at all.
We may see even basil in the next few weeks – a little ahead of schedule, but let us know if that’s a problem for you! In the meantime, there is cilantro, parsley, beets and fennel to harvest, as we move from late spring herbs to summer ones.
This is a great week of veggies. A couple of notes. First, the bok choy has transformed from Lou Ferrigno to The Hulk – it’s large, it’s green, and it cooks down nicely into a stir fry. If you’re a juicer, you might try juicing it with some fruit or avocado. Also, we’re just starting to see edible flowers on the farm, and you may see them in your salad mix: calendula (pull the petals apart and let them fall on the salad), blue borage (tastes a little like cucumber) and bachelor’s buttons, and nasturtium (spicy). And, those of you who like radishes spicy are in luck – this week they’re the best of both worlds, crisp and just that side of hot. For those of you who don’t like radishes spicy, you might try cutting or slicing them, then roasting them – I like making homemade French fries out of them and eating them with ketchup or chili sauce.
Finally, garlic scapes. I love garlic and I will undoubtedly mention garlic again, and maybe a few agains after that, and this week it’s time to harvest “garlic scapes”. Like most plants, garlic wants to flower – part of that natural impulse to procreate (cover your ears, kids). But just because you can doesn’t mean you should, and most farmers snap off the flower stalks when they start to curley-que like a pig’s tail. The thought is that the garlic bulb will size up a bit more. There’s debate over this of course, and some say that letting the flower stalk straighten improves the bulb’s storage through winter. Honestly, I just like eating whatever part of garlic is available, so this week we’re going to pick the scape and give you a small bunch to try. I recommend drizzling with olive oil and roasting in the toaster.