From the Farmer

Week 10 – 7/15/2013

In the Box

This week we’ll be skipping the beets and Swiss chard. Although the Swiss chard and beets look great right now, we’re thinking that maybe you need a break.  If not and you want beets and/or chard this week, drop us a line and we’ll bring them for you. Otherwise they will see you next week.

What’s with all the beets and chard, anyway?  Well, we plant beets and carrots for summer root crops, but this has been a rough carrot year for us due to poor germination, flooding, pestilence, a possible case of the carrot heebie-jeebies and maybe something karma related.  So we’re thinking, talking and eating beets for most of the summer. This is a great year to get over a fear of them. They really are good and they are really good for you. The Swiss chard will be our go-to green in coming weeks as kale and collards are going on summer vacation. They and their relatives are plagued by the Harlequin bug, which spreads a virus that causes discoloration of their leaves. I took the flamer out last week and toasted the remaining brassicas, and most of the Harlequin bugs on them.  We hope to break their lifecycle by not giving them any of their favorite foods for a month before planting again for fall.  We hate to do it, but this is one of our best options. So starting again next week (or this week if you request), Swiss chard will be the most frequent leafy green in your summer share, joined by our summer greens: sweet potato leaves, amaranth, Malabar spinach, and Molokhia or Egyptian spinach.

That’s two paragraphs about things not in your box this week. Now as for what is and may be:

Tomatoes.  We like to mix it up as best we can.  As available, we like to include both heirlooms and slicers. The heirlooms come in all shapes and colors: purple, yellow, white, pink, multi-color and  red.  They come with kzippers, knobs, gnarls, and various other silent letters that go hand-in-hand with rich taste. The “Ugly Tomato” you sometimes see at the supermarket is one company’s attempt to commodify the things.

Heirlooms usually arrive to you ripe and should be eaten quickly – they don’t store long.  If they give to the touch and have a deep and mature color (whatever it may be), eat! 

Slicers want to be a deep red to eat. We tend to give you some orange ones that will ripen later in the week too. Don’t refrigerate!

Peppers.  Still mostly green, although you may find a red or a reddening pepper. Peppers turn red, orange, or yellow as they mature – this explains the difference in taste between green (unripe) and colored peppers (ripe).  It also explains why colored peppers cost more: it takes several more weeks of cultivation, disease prevention, and loss to get to the good stuff. 

Beans.  These are really nice beans you’re getting this week.  I love the first pick on a new planting.  If you’re not sure what to do with them, try cooking them in a pan with butter or oil, add garlic and sesame seed. If you prefer oil, use some (toasted) sesame oil this time. See what you think.

Tentative in your share this week: Eggplant and Cape Gooseberries.  They are coming along and if we have enough for everyone, they’ll be in your share. Cape gooseberries are small yellow berries that come packaged in a papery husk. They’re also called ground cherries, husk cherries, poha or aguaymanto. Put this sweet and savory berry in yogurt, ice cream, on dessert, make a pie out of it, make jam with it, or even add it to salsa or sauce. In fact, try that and let us know what you think. 

Salad fixings will make their return soon!


Speaking of recipes, we want to hear from you.  In person and by email is great, but we can all share together using these two tools: Facebook (Willowsford Farm Facebook Group) and now online at our website,

If you haven’t seen our website, check it out: Willowsford Farm. There’s information about the farm, about CSA and a link to the Online Store, archived newsletters, and a section called: At the Table, where you’ll find recipes, storage tips and information about the (coming soon) culinary program. The recipe section is a new feature and allows you to submit new recipes, search by keyword (i.e. kohlrabi or steak), and rate your favorites.

At the Farm Stand

Those of you who stopped by to meet Mike and Molly Peterson from Mount Vernon Grassfed may already be stocked up on grass-fed, pastured meats but for those of you who’ve been away: Check the Farm Stand freezer this week. We’ve restocked on their ground beef, NY strip, sirloin and sausage and have filled up on other meats, too.

David Kramer from Cherry Glen Goat Cheese Co. will be our guest at the Farm Sand this Saturday, July 20th from 10:00am-2:00pm. David will be representing the award-winning dairy goats behind our best-selling Chevre, sampling a variety of Cherry Glen’s cheeses and chatting with customers about the artisan processes behind them.


Let us know if you would like beets or Swiss chard this week…  Just respond to this email: “We love the beets and/or Swiss chard! Keep ‘em’ coming!”

Pre-orders are encouraged. We will harvest or set aside your order for your pick-up day: if you’d like a pint of blueberries, extra veggies, a pie, or a quart of chocolate milk, visit our online store to pre-order.

Beef with Map

Mike and Molly Peterson of Mt Vernon Grassfed visited the Farm Stand this weekend.  Mike and I were talking about cuts and how he often runs out of certain cuts (why we’re often out of bacon!) of meat – because he raises a set number of animals, there’s only so many T-bones or spare ribs.  What else is there I asked?  And I realized that what I needed was a map of a cow.  Here’s one and All About Beef from Bonnie.

Be great,


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41025 Willowsford Lane, Aldie, VA 20105

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23595 Founders Drive, Ashburn, VA 20148

Phone: 571-297-6900

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