Week No. 4 News. Vegetable list, Recipes
Tony & Dela Ends family at Scotch Hill Farm, Brodhead, Wis.– Our 20th Season
I rose at dawn on the longest day of the year. Sunlight glistened magically on dew-laden pea vines, tall as saplings along 2,000 feet of trellis. A little sea of tiny white flowers greeted me.
I began plucking sugar snap peas into 5-gallon yellow pickle buckets, a gift from a subscriber who had hotdog stands on Chicago street corners. Before 1 p.m., I had harvested 61 lbs. of snow peas.
When peas are ready for harvest, they must be picked. If they harden past their prime, they signal to their plant that they’re going to seed. The plant stops producing. I’ve never met a subscriber who disliked snow peas. Not a few have asserted that our snow peas perfectly introduced their children to eating raw vegetables.
I’m sure you wouldn’t want just one week of them, so come to the first annual “pea hunt” at Scotch Hill Farm this weekend. It’s timed especially for Dela’s birthday. I assure you, no greater gift could you give her than helping harvest peas, or weeding this Saturday.
After my pea-picking last Sunday, I left Dela working in our home field and went alone to a bigger field and its challenges. We’re battling weeds brought on by showers and storms that have swept this region for weeks. I spent the rest of the day until dark, running a hoe through dense, wet weeds and grasses closing in on un-mulched vegetable transplants. A 2nd day, I ran a tiller up and down the vegetables paths and over into 400-foot squash row plantings.
Squash between sweet corn varieties hides them from insects. Broad squash rows also inhibit cross-pollination of corn. Squash plants rise like a hedge across the field. The tiller churned grasses and weeds along each side into mud lingering from the many rains. I also tilled a broad driving path for harvesting squash and corn. Will I be able to seed this path with a cover crop?
Each moment of each day now poses such questions. It’s a time of year, especially peculiar to unique weather. It confronts us with impossible decisions. Which tasks will we attempt to complete? Which crops will we by necessity lose or at least risk losing? Like “Sophie’s Choice,” which of our dear plantings, so like that story’s children, will we save, which will we let die?
For me, I fret about our sweet potatoes and transplanted vegetables that need straw mulch, sweet corn that needs another tractor cultivation and walking with a hoe, and fall squash that needs weeding. For Dela, there are beds of tiny carrots and other varieties we’ve kept weeded up until this last flush of weeds brought on by rain. They need attention all over again, or they’ll be lost.
We must keep planting and transplanting, too, to sustain successions of harvests and keep replacing what gets eaten through the season. All this work provides a grand lesson, a lesson America and the world badly need to heal the land, local economies, our souls, as well as our bodies. If our minds focus only on taking, we forget all about what we’ve taken. We don’t treasure, savor, steward – places, people, practices, as well as their products – so others one day will have and enjoy, too.
There’s more here for you than a bag to take from a delivery point. You’ve embarked on a yellow brick road of adventure. Why hunt for Oz when you can set a date for Scotch Hill? Reporters for several publications recently came here in search of grand wizards behind our 20-year CSA success story. Yet little dog Roxanne helped show them it was just Dela and me behind the giant veil. We can’t pretend not to need you with us.
No smoke, no mirrors here, just your organic farmers stubbornly trying to do too much, with too little. If you can, please come potluck with us, work a little with us, tell us about your next birthday upcoming, and toast our plant manager extraordinaire – Dela.
This week’s vegetables: Turnip greens, endive, garlic scapes OR leeks, Oregon Giant snow peas, sugar snap snow peas, little spring onions, Bright Lights Chard, Cherry Belle Radishes, Pink Beauty Radishes, parsley, and a gift of Dela’s cream cheese from our goat milk.
Recipes: Dear Megan Adams has more recipes for you at www.scotchhillfarm.com and on a farm facebook page; Dela’s photo of the vegetables helps identification; and Karen’s blog shares more cooking, eating ideas. Call us at 608 897-4288 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you can come for a volunteer visit.