Week No. 3 – 2013 Season

Transitioning through Wisconsin’s cold spring toward summer’s bounty

Only 4 – of the original 20 Madison area CSA coalition growers – are still farming 19 years later. Knees broke. Backs gave out. Spirits gave up. Bills mounted. Debts took over. Stress became insurmountable. Weather and bugs whipped them. Drought, then floods, then frost. The economy crashed. Growth necessary to reach scale proved out of reach. Often the finances just weren’t there. Subscribers came and went. Customer loyalty proved a relic. Educating consumers as far removed from gardens and fields as Mars wore even the most energetic organic grower down, down, down. Honestly, I don’t know how Dela and I survived to this point. Maybe we‘re just extremely stubborn. Every year continues to present unique challenges. This season, so much moisture from snow and rain lingered long in the ground. It was so muddy that few farmers could not get into the fields. Planting has been running 4 to 6 weeks behind last year’s weather. When we seized advantage in late April and May to catch up seeding and transplanting, frost threatened and killed – twice. Some CSA farms (both the big and experienced and the small and youthful), had to delay first vegetable delivery. We actually started a week earlier than normal for our organic vegetable crop farm. We did this so you all could get asparagus and rhubarb before it passed quickly out of season. Those early perennials have already peaked and gone to seed. Lettuce varieties we planted have already passed their prime, too. Now we’re in a transition period, trending toward summer’s bounty. Many varieties that should come next in the season – broccoli, snow peas, cucumbers – are still struggling to begin yielding. Nagging effects of the tough spring, however, are still slowing many varieties among more than 60 vegetables we grow. Nature is leading this chorus, writing all the music, too. We play our part. We use every talent we’ve gained from 19 years of applied learning. We encourage our audience to participate, too. We really cannot raise good quality vegetables consistently without active community involvement and support. If you can give Scotch Hill a few hours of volunteer time, a morning, an afternoon, an evening, a day – just once in a season, it will make a huge contribution to the whole of our season’s work. Better pick a date and put it on the calendar, though. We’re already more than 10 percent into the season. Scotch Hill is a magical place this time of year. Flowers so fragrant. Cardinals, doves, Robins singing. Brilliant sunsets smile n all we do in a day to grow your food. Maybe this Saturday? Let us know when to expect you. 608 8907-4288 tony@scotchhillfarm.com

Farm fresh eggs? – We’ve had a problem recently tending our flock. We make sure they get organic feed and water, morning and night. Yet in the past 10 days or so, Dela and I both thought each other was gathering eggs. Broody heritage breed hens, free ranging with roosters, the warm days – well, you know the rest of the story. If you got a dozen eggs from us recently that our birds were trying to hatch, please forgive us and let us make it right. We’ll give you another dozen for free. Our good neighbor Karen Hudson, who raises hens for income, is selling eggs through our vegetable crop farm again, too. Same price, $4.50 per dozen. Same organic practices. Let us know if you want them.

This Week’s Vegetables include:

  • Leaf lettuce mix
  • Bright lights chard (Use as you would spinach)
  • Early onions
  • Garlic scapes ( a cutting from the plant to help the bulbs grow bigger; use as you would fresh garlic)
  • Bok Choi
  • Valentine Romaine Lettuce
  • Bibb lettuce
  • Turnips
  • Radishes

Cooking Tip for the Week – 

Garden breakfast scramble (from Farm Fresh and Fast)- Whisk together 6 eggs and 2 tablespoons of water (or fresh, whole milk). Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Sauté one small diced onion, 2 small summer squash, thinly sliced, 10 to 15 green beans chopped, ½ red bell pepper chopped, OR any vegetables you have in-season – be inventive, creative – until lightly browned and crisp tender (7 to 10 minutes). Add 2 Swiss chard or beet leaves and 6 to 8 basil leaves and stir until wilted. Push the vegetables into a ring around the edge of the skillet; pour the egg mixture into the center of the skillet and cook until the bottom layer of the eggs is set. Crumble 2 ounces of feta over the eggs, then fold the vegetables into the eggs and cheese. Gently turn as needed until the eggs are cooked. Serve immediately.