a wilted salad and Sugar Anns

Eeep! We meant to get this posted on Thursday, but somehow it slipped. It(we) got lost in the weeds. Here we go. A post post, if you will.

This week’s CSA harvest is brought to you by big smiles and both moms! We’re exceptionally lucky to have you two. Here is a link to this week’s newsletter, a list of what’s in the share and some ideas on how to prepare them.csa 4 with momsA new bed is getting established behind the farm stand, we’re planting it with you-pick fresh herbs for CSA members and farm stand customers. The only thing better than cooking with fresh herbs is having the chance to prance around in the plants and cut them yourself. The line-up right now includes sage, oregano, thyme, chives, and lavender.new herb bedThe grape vines look like they will have a good crop this year. Jeremy was gifted some glass gem corn seed (a vogue heirloom flint corn) which is now knee high. And we have twelve different varieties of winter squash planted.grapescornsquash Here are some photos from the back field: Swiss chard and little leeks.cropsA friendly customer at the farm stand this past weekend picked up salad greens just for a wilted salad.  After a brief internal “are you kidding me? it’s 90 million degrees, it hasn’t rained for 3 weeks, do you realize how hard we’ve worked to not wilt these greens?! and you want to go home and wilt them?? I’m sorry, what?”,  we smiled and had to ask for details. Here’s her recommendation: cook up bacon in a skillet, pull out the cooked bacon and break this up into chunks. Add red wine vinegar and a little bit of sugar to the bacon drippings and simmer this just a bit, with chopped scallions too. Season with salt and pepper then drizzle this vinegary, bacon greasy, scallions and sugar on fresh salad greens. Decorate with bacon crumbles, toss and eat immediately. Of course! wilted salad. Sounds like a perfectly reasonable thing to do. Probably wouldn’t hurt to toss some scapes in to simmer with the bacon grease too…

The young chickens are now 4 weeks old and they’re all deep into their extreme spiky punkster phase; sporting Robert Smith eyeliner and an underlying Patti Smith attitude.This week’s CSA shares included the first of our season’s snap peas. We grow two varieties of snap peas, Sugar Ann and Cascadia.  The majority of the what we plant is Cascadia, a beautiful and productive snap pea bred at Oregon State University for Northwest gardeners; we find it does great here. We also grow a couple rows of Sugar Ann peas each year because they mature about ten days earlier than Cascadia and they are also delicious. Snap peas are derived from a cross between a snow pea and a shelling pea. For seed growers, off-type peas can appear during subsequent years of saving seeds.  If these off-types are not removed from the seed stock they can, over time, present a problem for growers trying to have a uniform crop.20160629_085152This year we are finding that our planting of Sugar Ann has a lot of variation.  We are getting about 3/4 snap-pea type plants, about 1/4 shelling-pea plants and a few snow-pea types.  This makes harvest take longer in order to keep them separate and it reduces our expected yield of snap peas. We start everything from seed and we are very deliberate about where we source our seed. We preferentially source open-pollinated and regionally adapted varieties grown using organic practices. If we have an incredible crop or if we have a problem or questions, we know where our seed originated and can directly communicate with our seed producers. This is an advantage over buying seed from large companies where tracing the actual seed grower may be difficult.  In the case of our Sugar Anns, we can contact the source of our seed to let them know what is happening so that the seed can undergo a rogueing and selection process making future seed lots more uniform. We’d be really surprised if the seed company hasn’t already noticed the variability and begun this process, but we will give them a call anyway.

This open-communication is what we strive for with our own customers and community at the farm. Receiving honest feedback offers us the opportunity to learn and improve as farmers. Which is (despite appearances) what we’re constantly working on.

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