This is our fifth season growing vegetables for sale, our fourth season with it getting at least one person’s full time attention, and our first full season with it being our family’s only source of income. (Janet worked a part time job for half of last year.) We (and the USDA) still consider ourselves beginning farmers. And for a few more months, we still get to be classified as “young farmers,” as the USDA caps this distinction at age 40 years.
So, as young, beginning farmers that depend on the growth and sale of vegetables to support our family of six, and with good faith commitments made to 75 CSA members for the 2015 season, we spend a fair amount of time in February through May being, shall we say, curious about how the seeds will germinate, how the greenhouse heater will function, how the rains are timed, how the temperature fluctuates, how the transplanting goes, and how the thousands of plants fare in the ground.
Curious sounds so much better than worried.
Then, when things go well, there is a moment when we walk the fields, look around, and
sigh a huge sigh of relief.
Sure, there are some crops that aren’t growing as well as we would like. (High tunnel cucumbers? Not as healthy as we want. Experimental rows of summer squash using different methods? It’s painfully clear which method worked tremendously better, and so we wish we had treated them all that way, but we never would have known without the trial…)
But in general, we are surrounded by healthy plants. Abundant vegetables. And thanks to our Community Supported Agriculture members, we know that a certain amount of this produce is already spoken for. We know it will go to the kitchens of households that value this nourishment. (Thank you!) Not pictured here today are our turnips. Our sweet salad turnips, variety name Hakurei, are ready. If you really want to know how to enjoy them, take a lesson from our three-year old, demonstrated here in a very short video. Available for Market Share CSA members to choose from this week: Arugula, Bok Choy, Collards, Cucumbers, Garlic Scallions, Hearty Mix, Lettuce Mix, Microgreens, Radishes, Salad, Spinach, Turnips …and Pepper Jelly, Fermented Jalapenos, naturally leavened Hearth Baked Bread. PLUS Plants: Cilantro, Dill, Basil, Parsley, Zucchini, Tomatoes, Eggplant (variety details on ordering page).
2015 Market Share CSA Members: Reserve your selection online to pick up on Saturday, May 23 at our farm, at the Brandermill Green market, or at the South of the James market.
**Anyone may order select goods from us, through Fall Line Farms, Richmond’s online farmers’ market. You can use discount code “broadfork” to earn a complimentary 6 month subscription.
Recipe Suggestion: (see other suggestions catalogued on our Recipe Page)
This one came to us from a CSA member this week, and while it sounds crazy (Lettuce Soup??), she said it was too yummy not to pass on. We plan to make this for dinner tonight! Recipe credit: Edible Garden Cookbook
Creamy Lettuce Soup (serves 4, makes 7 cups) Time 45 min
1.5 lbs green lettuce (romaine, butter for example – or use any combination of our current greens – hearty mix, etc.)
2 large leeks (white and light green parts only), Split lengthwise, rinsed well and sliced
2 tbsp. butter
¼ tsp freshly ground nutmeg, more for sprinkling (Penzey’s carries whole nutmegs, fresh makes all the difference)
Finely grated zest of one lemon (we used lime as we were out of lemons)
¾ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper
1 qt reduced sodium chicken broth
½ cup half and half
- Cut ribs from lettuce and chop. Chop leaves, Set both aside separately.
- Cool leeks and lettuce ribs in butter in a 5-6 qt pot over medium heat with nutmeg, lemon zest, salt, pepper, stirring occasionally until tender, about 10 minutes.
- Stir in lettuce leaves and broth, cover, and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until lettuce is tender, 1-2 minutes.
- Whirl soup in batches in a blender until very smooth, pouring as blended into a large bowl. Return soup to pot and stir in half and half. Heat, stirring, over medium heat until steaming. (don’t let it come to a boil), about 2 minutes.
- Ladle soup into bowls or cups and sprinkle more nutmeg on top.
Certified Naturally Grown Farm in search of:
We are currently shopping for a couple of large pieces of equipment. We aren’t looking to trade these for vegetables – just cold hard cash. But we sure would appreciate help from any of you in locating either of these items in a gently-used state. Let us know if you have one of these things, or if you see a good source. Thanks!
:: Refrigerator case with glass front for our farm stand :: Honda Odyssey van, perhaps a 2007 or so? This is for the family, not vegetable deliveries, and the budget has its limits, but any help locating one is appreciated. Craigslist and CarsGuru.com haven’t been of much help for the past month or so that we have been looking.
Above: we have been gathering and drying red clover blossoms to make tea.
Below: Birthday season continues around here, and this guy turned 6 this week, with a crazy shaped cake of his design.