CSA 2015: Week 1

Left to right: Potted basil, asparagus, parsley, spring onions, hakurai turnips, nasturtiums (edible flowers), cherry belle radishes, iceberg lettuce, bibb lettuce.

Welcome to Scotch Hill Farm’s 21st CSA Season! It’s off to a great start already; our spring crops are flourishing, and the summer ones are starting strong. The proof is in your share.

This season, like all the seasons before it, will be completely unique. Each year small changes in the weather , the seeds, the soil, and the people stack up to form a wholly different farm. We can never be sure which crops will thrive and which will fall short. That’s the beauty and the importance of diversified farming – not knowing exactly what we’ll have to eat, but knowing that we will have plenty.

There are some different faces here this year. Tony and Dela’s eldest son James has returned to manage the farm, with the help of apprentice Jenna (That’s me!).

These weeks leading up to the first share have been filled with transplanting – today we are rushing to get tomatoes in the ground that are quickly outgrowing their pots in the greenhouse, plus peppers and late broccoli and Brussels sprouts.

A lot of crops are seeded directly into the ground. There’s a little more risk involved in this – there are seed-eating critters and plant-nibbling insects to contend with, and we don’t have much control over the environment. That being said, it has been wonderful to watch, always with a sense of relief, as summer squash, carrots, radishes, greens, and more emerge in the field.

As soon as our seeds germinate, so do the weeds – often before. We spend a good portion of each day weeding. Most of the time, we don’t plan for this, but on the way between tasks there is always a bed of veggies that cries out from beneath the weed canopy, “Help!” and we oblige.

Aside from weeds, we have found ourselves up against cucumber beetles. These black-and-yellow-striped bugs nibble holes in cucumber and squash leaves. Our first step in fighting these pests is to place traps around the plants. These consist of bright yellow bowls that attract the beetles– to them it looks just like the yellow flowers of squash and cucumbers (poor eyesight, I guess). In the bowls is organic soy oil to trap the bugs. Now we wait to see if the traps are enough to give our plants some relief.

Mark your calendar!

Join us for a Season Kick-Off workday and potluck on Saturday, June 27th. Come help us out any time after 9:00 am, pack a picnic lunch to eat amongst the vegetables, and stay for a pot-luck from 5-8 pm.

Your Share

Spring is the season for salad, and just about everything in your share could be incorporated into one! Top any of the lettuces with sliced radishes, turnips, asparagus, onions, and – my current favorite – nasturtiums. These peppery-sweet edible flowers are a great way to spruce up a salad in flavor and appearance.

A couple of notes about turnips and radishes: First, there's a readson we leave the greens on them. Radish and turnip greens are both edible, tasty, and nutritious. I like them sauteed with onion and butter. Second, while they are both tasty raw, you don't have to eat them that way! Radishes are delicous roasted; they mellow out in flavor and take on a nice texture. Turnips are also great roasted, or boiled and mashed with potatoes.