celebrating late-bolting lettuce

lettuce bolting and slogun, not bolting.Each year we try out a few new varieties of lettuce to see how they compare to our past favorites.

This year we are smitten with Slogun, a beautiful crisphead that has amazing bolt tolerance.  It has held in the field a good two weeks longer than the other 8 varieties we transplanted at the same time.  But not only is it still looking good, it also is one of our sweetest flavored. Slogun is definitely a variety we will plant next year, the tricky part is that we have a bed full of lettuce needing to be pulled out and replaced, except for lovely Slogun, still holding in the middle.  This will take a little finessing of our succession planting plan. (If you are in the market for good seed, we bought our Slogun seed from Adaptive Seeds, out of Oregon, who also provided us with our other new favorite, Vulcan)field hops cabbage tomatoe rowsA few quick-before-the-sun-sets photos: Renegade sunflowers in the middle of our trellised tomatoes. Freshly weeded tomatoes and basil.  Our most productive hop plant, a mystery variety that appeared at the corner of the house a few years ago.  Cabbages are heading up.summer veg August 4This week’s CSA shares include cucumbers, beets, eggplant, and fennel. The newsletter is online here with a recipe for a fennel, eggplant, garlicy pasta sauce. And for those of you who are still working on developing a love for beets, check out the super simple beet chip recipe online here. We have confidence, you’ll be kvassing soon.week 9 CSACheers! t&j

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rain, rain, come and stay.

..at least for a while longer.csa week8We really enjoyed harvesting for this week’s CSA in the rain. Usually we are moving quickly, trying to keep greens cool and happy between harvest and washing before going into the walk-in cooler. The cool, wet morning allowed for coffee breaks and an opportunity to explore camera settings. And revel in golden beets.seding lettuce inside and rain on kaleAfter losing a couple rounds of lettuce successions in our toasty warm greenhouse, we’re now starting seed trays in the living room which is considerably less toasty warm.  july flowersMints, sunflowers, echinacea, and feverfew are blooming. Birds have picked over the last couple chokecherry bushes and are now eyeing up the grapes. We’ve got the front grape rows netted, but will hold off on netting the back grapes until they get closer to harvest. And LOOK! Our first slicer tomato of the season: a 2+ pound Gold Medal. We capresed our hearts out for lunch. And dinner.gold medal for the winWith help from our most competent and reliable (and hugely appreciated) farm sitters/ chicken tractor wranglers/ hen whisperers/ greenhouse tenders, we were able to take a couple days and scoot over to visit J’s grandparents in Montana. We camped out at the kitchen table and heard good stories about growing up on a small dairy farm in the mountains and working on the Milwaukee rail road. We also had a chance to catch up with some good friends in the big cities and visit Rathvinden Farm and get farm-geeky over all the beautiful and tasty things they’re growing. Good farmdog Radish enjoyed the holiday too.Big thanks happy summer feastings, t&j

 

beets, margaritas, and the KBP

Quite possibly the world’s most photogenic beets.

are in our CSA shares this week, mostly Chioggia, some Early Wonder Tall Top.  We have been having a hard time getting even germination with our direct seeded crops (beets, carrots, parsnips, peas).  In this beet bed we filled in gaps with a planting of lettuce. The lettuce made for excellent companion planting and a fun beet harvest/hunt, but it’s not the abundant yield of beets we were scheming for back in February. Look here for this week’s CSA newsletter, a list of what’s in the share, and a recipe for parsley chutney.beets july 7Having Trish’s mom around these past couple weeks has been great fun and lots of thoughtful conversation. We’re getting a lot of good work done – especially early morning weeding parties with hot coffee and Miss Marple (Agatha Christie books on tape). We’ve discovered that heart-racing whodunnits are fantastic for cruising through rows of parsnips and peas. Mom has not only helped us out with marathon weeding, but she’s also introduced us to a new farm tradition: margaritas while seeding fall successions. mom and margaritasThe farm stand signs have been getting dusted off and (some) repainted. Things like Gooseberries and Citron are getting painted over to read Garlic Scapes and Arugula. The original signs were painted by the Schuttlers in the 1950’s. Some of the other crops/products they grew/made/sold include sand cherries, horseradish, plums, apple cider, fat hens, rutabagas, beet greens, fresh eggs, sweet corn, pumpkins, strawberries, dill… Many thanks to our number one farm friend Kaija for helping trace letters and cut out stencils and to Mom for her steady hand and smart spelling. farmstand signsThis week we also harvested seed from our kale breeding project.  In 2012, we ordered a breeders mix from Adaptive Seeds. Since then we’ve been planting out, overwintering, and selecting seed from good looking survivors.  We’re excited to cultivate a kale that is not only especially adapted to the soils, climate, and winters of Spearfish Valley, but also tastes delicious and withstands a fair amount of weed pressure and neglect from busy farmers.kale breedingThings are all lined up, greening and blooming. Here is a view inside the field tunnel (left to right: shishitos, eggplant, beets, cucumbers, chard); trellising in the greenhouse looks like the inside of a piano; a photo of the two of us together!; and the eggplants are flowering.tunnel greenhouse j and t and eggplantAnd lastly, most importantly, some love to our parents – without your steadfast encouragement, support, and love we wouldn’t be able to do any of this. We are so very grateful for your wisdom and profound patience. And for your help. And for finding joy in our ridiculousness. We love you heaps. ann and randi beauties and the beets