This week has been a typical week with lots of weeding, seeding, and harvesting. The heavy and never-ending rains this weekend delayed any outside tasks but gave us a reprieve and allowed us to tackle all the indoor tasks that pile up when we are outside. Sometimes farmers are grateful for a rainy day simply because it means a bit of rest! With the sun out today, we are excited to be back in the fields, even if our boots feel like lead weights because of all the mud stuck to them!
Several share members have asked if the Guelph CSA drop off is still on this Wednesday, July 1st because of the holiday. The answer is yes. Neither the vegetables nor us take stat holidays so we will be there with fresh produce! If you wish to use this Wednesday as a vacation day, you must let me know by Monday evening. We start harvesting Tuesday early AM so I need to calculate numbers prior to harvest.
This year, we are SO excited to be using our new walk-in cooler that Rob built with a covered wash station beside. For the previous two years, I have made do with several refrigerators for the harvested vegetables and we had definitely outgrown that method! Now, we simply pack the freshly washed vegetables, stack the bins in the cooler, and then pack in the truck right before leaving. Whereas I was packing, unpacking, and repacking things what felt like a million times last year. We still have to modify the insulation slightly and spread pea gravel on the floor, but otherwise it is up and running. Once it's fully complete, I will share some pictures.
Another new 'building' on the farm this year are our caterpillar tunnels. It is the ropes strung across the plastic that gives these tunnels their caterpillar appearance (and name). These movable tunnels replace our permanent hoop house and are where we grow most of the tomatoes and all the eggplants and peppers. After the tomato blight disaster of last year, we keep our fingers crossed that everything produces well this year. So far, we have many flowering tomato plants that are nearly 3 - 4 feet tall! And the eggplant and peppers are not far behind. We also managed to squeeze in 160' of basil which is doing really well and will be ready for the first harvest in a week or two :) Since these tunnels are movable, it allows us to rotate the location of crops to reduce pest and disease, while allowing the salts that accumulate in the soil when only irrigated to be washed away.
Weekly Share Contents:
Head or Leaf Lettuce
Bonus: Mixed Herbs
Welcome to the 2015 season on Terra Verde Homestead! We are very excited to start the CSA drop offs for the 2015! The vegetables have received lots of rain and sun and are growing well with all the additional soil amendments we have used this year. We have taste tested all the produce for you and can assure you that it's delicious. For the share members who may have missed the email I sent with details on the first pickup and other tidbits, you can access the information here.
We have finished most of the main plantings and now are focusing on weeding, weeding, weeding. If we get the weeds under control by the end of June, then it makes for much smoother harvesting and weeding later in the season. This year, I (Lorraine) in joined in the fields by our interns, Kim and Erin. You will have to opportunity to meet with them at the first share drop off and they will each take turns writing the weekly newsletter here. For now, I will say that their help has been immense and enjoyable. I know they are looking forward to meeting each of you and seeing our CSA 'in action'. Rob had been busy juggling his off-farm employment with building coops and shelters for all our new animals (broiler chickens, turkeys, and more layer chickens and ducks) as well as propagating nut and fruit trees and managing the bees. Busy guy!
While the weather was a little odd at the beginning of the season (very dry), things seem to have normalized with more rain and heat to get things growing. We did have one late, very hard frost that killed our first planting of beets and some onions, but luckily we lost very little. We are used to late frosts around here, so we delay planting tomatoes and other sensitive plants. We will have more beets coming in the share, they will just be a few weeks behind what I have intended.
We had a great day yesterday at the Local Food Fest in Guelph and were happy to see many share members stop by the booth. It's heartening to see so many people supporting local food producers. From now until we see share members this week we will be busy washing harvest bins, packing the truck, and, of course, harvesting yummy vegetables.
Each week in this blog I will outline the vegetables you can expect to get in your share. Please remember that we write this list several days prior to harvest, so sometimes things can change at the last minute! We will also include a few recipes or links to recipes each week to inspire you when using your share contents. If you are ever unsure of what to do with a particular vegetable, please ask and we will be happy to share our ideas.
Weekly Share Contents:
Baby Leaf Lettuce
Bonus Table: Mixed Herbs
In your share this week you will be receiving kohlrabi. Kohlrabi is an early spring vegetable in the brassica family (kale, cabbage, broccoli, etc.) that is mild in flavour and can be used in a variety of ways. Kohlrabi can be simply eaten raw by slicing or grating into salad or using on a vegetable tray. The leaves are also edible and can be chopped into a salad or lightly sauteed with olive oil, garlic, and salt. With spring kohlrabi, there is no need to peel the bulb. For more creative ideas, check out these delicious recipes: http://www.thekitchn.com/top-five-ways-to-prepare-kohlr-60321