CSA Week 11- Sharing the Harvest
Mornin’ CSA Members!
I’m sure that you are all just about as tired of hearing me say “All is well at the farm!” as I am saying it. It’s funny how even though there’s literally tons of stuff to write about in these newsletters, the only things that come to mind at 7 in the morning is how the field looks and the fact that crops are coming out of it- I guess that’s what happens when you’ve got farm brain! This week I’m going to try to change focus a bit and talk about some of the awesome organizations and projects we’ve been lucky to be a part this season whose goals are to bring our healthy, local food to those folks who need it the most.
One of the great conundrums for organic farmers is that we want to sell our product at a price that realistically reflects the countless hours and inputs we put in while also getting our food to folks across the socioeconomic spectrum. In our current food system, these higher priced goods are typically only afforded by those who can transcend the worry about where their next meal is coming from and whether or not they can keep the roof over their head. Truthfully, these customers are our bread and butter and we must be particularly grateful that the tides are changing and more and more folks are choosing to use their dollar to support a vibrant local food scene. However, access to fresh and nutritious should be a basic human right and we are lucky to have many partners in this quest in the Four Corners region.
The Good Food Collective, a local non-profit whose sole purpose is to enrich our food system, has been playing an active role in coming up with unique ways to direct our area’s abundance towards folks who historically haven’t been included at the table. This year we partnered with the GFC and local philanthropists to grow over 8,000lbs of potatoes that will be donated to local food banks with hopes of exploring the viability of a “farm-to-food bank” model. Furthermore, I am proud to have been the farmer consultant for putting together a grant in conjunction with the GFC and Manna Soup Kitchen that provides a low-cost CSA program for community members that aggregates not just “seconds” but the crème de la crème from local farmers. Using the grant funding and money made from selling the shares, Manna’s CSA share is able to give farmers a fair price for their food while also exposing a lot of folks to the tasty benefits of eating local!
I suppose that the moral of this blog post is that supporting local means way more that just attending the occasional farmers market. Supporting and being involved with organizations like the Good Food Collective and Manna Soup Kitchen is a great way to spread bounty across the many fabrics of life that make La Plata County and beyond such a unique and desirable place to live. Y’all already know this too, but also supporting local farmers’ viability through CSA programs is another amazing way to make sure the bounty exists in the first place!
Let’s keep up the good work!
What’s in Your Share?
Bunch of beets
The last of our bunching beets are leaving the field this week and it’s been a good ride! Starting in a few weeks we will be harvesting our storage beets for the winter and we want them to size up as much as possible. Enjoy roasted and sauté the greens for bonus delicious-ness!
Bunch of carrots
The carrot train keeps on a-rollin’ this week! I never thought I’d grow so many of these tasty orange sticks but life without them every week seems almost unimaginable at this point… besides how would you ever be able to enjoy something as delicious as roasted brown butter honey garlic carrots without them?!
We’ve been experimenting with a few different varieties of cucumbers this season and so far I’ve gotta say that these slightly curved, thin-skinned Asian cucumbers have been my favorite! Use as you would any other slicing cucumber or try this quick n’ easy Asian cucumber salad recipe for dinner.
This is my first season growing eggplant and I’ve been amazed at how well they’ve been doing! We’re just calling them baby because they’re definitely smaller than the store-brought kind (isn’t everything though?) but there’s no lack of flavor here. You can whip up some garlic parmesan eggplant with these beauties!
Head of lettuce
Unfortunately our lettuce game has taken a serious dive the past couple of weeks… the problem is three-fold: 1) we fell behind our succession plantings about a month ago when things got really crazy in the field 2) the consistently HOT weather seriously effects these cool weather-loving plants and 3) our abnormally wet spring has brought on bug problems like I’ve never experienced in my four years as a farmer. That being said we should be back on track in a couple of weeks and in the meantime we have plenty of spinach, kale, etc to fill the essential greens space. FYI, this week’s lettuce is a bit more tart than recent ones so perhaps it’s a good chance to dial in your easy vinaigrette making skills.
We’ve been inundated with hot peppers the past couple of weeks and this blog post has been a great help in figuring out what to do with all those jalapeños!
Purple bell peppers
Without a plethora of greenhouses it can be difficult to grow the big red bell peppers that we’re all used to seeing at the grocery store (they love hot weather and long growing seasons). Thankfully plant breeders have come up with early-maturing bell pepper plants that not only taste great but are PURPLE as well! This website is a great resource for many of us as it has delicious, easy recipes but considers small budgets as well. Here is her UNstuffed bell pepper recipe, enjoy!
As some of our other greens have taken a downward turn this week, the spinach is holding up strong and here to provide a much needed fresh kick to your share! I eat this stuff with pretty much every meal but it makes a great pasta salad as well.
After a much needed week of rest from summer squash last week, it’s back again this week and I highly recommend frying it! This recipe is super easy and satisfies our inner junk foodie without too much guilt ;)
Cherry tomatoes (every other share this week)
Tomato season is so close that we can almost taste it! Well in fact, half of you can taste it this week in the form of a box of fresh-picked cherry tomatoes (don’t worry, the other half of y’all will get a big box next week). This has been my first season having access to any form of greenhouse or high tunnel so it has been a huge learning curve with growing tomatoes. While they’re a little late this year (everyone’s have been so I hear…) we are excited to have lots of delicious slicing, cherry, Roma, and heirloom ‘maters in the next couple of weeks!