On our first share pickup I had many share members ask me whether we had received too much rain so far this season. And I usually said that while it was pretty wet, I wasn't ready to complain yet because of how dry it was last season. But I've changed my mind: we have had TOO MUCH RAIN!
Last Thursday night and into Friday early AM Environment Canada tells us we received 158mm of rain in an eight hour window! That is about 6.2 inches. Our rain gauge tops out at 5 inches and was overflowing in the morning when we checked on it. 6.2 inches of rain on already saturated soils has some negative consequences: our basement flooded, some areas of our fields flooded, and we lost about 20 broiler chickens that were just a week old due to flooding in their coop.
Nevertheless, we emerged from this in better shape then some. We grow all of our vegetables in raised beds which means that most of our walkways were under water but the bed tops were not. In one low section of our fields even the bed tops were under water but this receded within 24 hours so I think it should not drastically harm the crops planted in these areas (peas, beans, and potatoes).
We thought we were going to lose far more than just 20 chickens as they were all soaking wet, cold, and mostly unresponsive. But once we got them back under their heat lamps and dry straw on the ground many of them perked back up.
While we did have 5 inches of water in our basement, the furnace, water heater, and other appliances down there seem to still be in working order. And because it's an old farmhouse basement, we try not to keep anything of major value down there. Rob did spend part of Saturday throwing out some things and drying out others. Our neighbours, on the other hand, had over 18 inches of water in their basement and need all new appliances.
Here is what some of the flooding looked like:
Garlic Scapes are the flower stalk of the garlic plant that must be removed in order to get large bulbs later in the season. But they are also delicious in their own right. We use garlic scapes in the exact same way we'd use bulb garlic or green onions. Milder than a raw garlic clove, scapes are nice added to salads or tossed into stirfrys or soups. We also love to make garlic scape pesto, which has a real zip when eaten fresh but mellows nicely in the freezer. At this time of year, when scapes are prolific, we make several big batches of garlic scape pesto and freeze in ziploc bags or small glass mason jars. In the middle of winter, this pesto makes a great seasoning for roasted root vegetables, chicken, fish, or, of course, pasta. A tablespoon or two added to mashed potatoes or rice is also a great touch.
Garlic Scape - Basil Pesto
1/4 cup chopped garlic scapes
1/4 cup fresh basil
4 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
Sea salt to taste
1. Put garlic scapes, basil, and lemon juice into a food processor with a steel blade, and process until scapes are very finely chopped. With food processor running, add oil through the feed tube and process 2 - 3 minutes.
2. Remove the lid, add half the parmesan cheese and process 2 minutes, then add the rest of cheese and salt and process 2 -3 minutes more.
Options: You can use arugula or spinach instead of basil for a different flavour. To make dairy-free, substitute 1 cup toasted pine nuts or cashews for the cheese.
Taken from: The Farmers Market Cookbook by Julia Shanks and Brett Grohsgal
We have arrived at the first week of our fifth growing season! Thank-you to all our new and returning share members for choosing to support local, organic food and to vote with your dollars! We are privileged to be growing vegetables for you over these next 20 weeks.
Everything is growing well here on the farm, despite having some rather wild weather so far this season. (Yes, us farmers talk A LOT about the weather! It's the one variable we simply cannot control and can be the biggest growing challenge or benefit provided to us each season). I've lost count of the number of violent thunderstorms with high winds we have experienced so far this season! The first one brought down a huge spruce tree on our walk-in cooler and wash station, which created some unneeded work for us in the busy spring season but thankfully did not destroy the building. We were unable to do any plantings the first week of May due to extremely wet conditions, which tends to be our busiest planting week of the year. This means that a few crops will be slightly delayed (peas and onions, namely) but most other crops have caught up now that we have received a week of hot temperatures. The heat did make our spinach crop bolt but we will try again once the temperature levels off a bit! For those aren't familiar with my farming lingo, bolting simply refers to a plant sending up a flower stalk in preparation for producing seed. Once a plant bolts, it is largely inedible because the leaves will turn tough or bitter. The crops most likely to bolt on us are the lettuces and leafy greens such as spinach and arugula. All of these crops love cooler temps and will bolt in response to heat stress. Lucky members will find some delicious spinach in the the trade-in bin to enjoy!
You will notice that everyone received eggs (1/2 dozen for small shares and 1 doz for large shares) this week as part of the share. Eggs are not typically included in the shares but because we have quite a surplus we thought we would share the bounty in the first share while we wait for more vegetables to be available! For those that do not eat eggs, they can be traded in, just like any other item. You will receive a mixture of chicken and duck eggs. Our duck eggs are very similar in flavour to our chicken eggs but will be slightly larger in size and the whites will cook up firmer than a chicken egg. If unsure how to use a duck egg, just throw them in any baking or pancakes and you will never know the difference. In fact, egg connoisseurs suggest that duck eggs produce superior baked goods. Additional eggs will be available for purchase ($6/doz) this week and each week going forward.
We will also have our Raw Wildflower Honey and Frozen Whole Chickens available for purchase. If interested in a chicken, please pre-order as I will not bring these with me unless an order has been placed. The prices are as follows: Honey 500g $8, Honey 1 kg $15, Chicken $5/lb.
Here's a quick reminder of share delivery and pickup details:
Home Delivery Members:
Starts Tuesday, June 20th in the afternoon. No need to be home - simply leave a cooler or box out for me to fill. Please watch you inboxes for the weekly 'trade-in' email. For further details, please reference our welcome letter that was emailed to you at the end of May.
Guelph Pickup Members:
Starts Thursday, June 22nd at St. James Anglican Church (86 Glasgow St. N, Guelph) between 4 - 6:30pm. For further details, please reference our welcome letter that was emailed to you at the end of May.
Farm Pickup Members:
Starts the week of June 19th (actually date dependent on your arrangements with me). For further details, please reference our welcome letter that was emailed to you at the end of May.
Many people are unsure what to do with the spring turnips and kohlrabi that are key features in the early weeks of the CSA. So, I thought I'd start the season out by giving you a few simple ideas for each!
Spring turnips are a mild, crisp early treat similar in texture to a radish but without the heat. Turnips are equally enjoyable raw or lightly cooked (heavy cooking is the death of these spring turnips, so please no boiling!). At their simplest, turnips can be chopped, grated, or sliced and added to salads or eaten with a variety of dips. We also like to lightly saute the turnips in olive oil, coconut oil, or butter along with some chopped garlic scapes and a splash of soy sauce or tamari. They make great additions to a stirfry as well. And don't forget to eat the greens! Turnips greens are highly nutritious and have a spicy bite, similar to mustard greens.
Kohlrabi are the funny-shaped green or purple veggies that are part of the cabbage family. The bulbous portion of the stem has a flavour that's similar to apple and cabbage mixed together. And the leaves are very similar to a mild cabbage. Like turnips, the bulbous portion can be eaten raw in salads or sliced and served with dips. I tend to throw the leaves in smoothies, soups, or stews. Recently, I chopped several kohlrabi and mixed with zucchini, mushrooms, asparagus, onions, olive oil, and sea salt and roasted in the oven at 425 for approximately 15 - 20 minutes. These were delicious served with garlic aioli on the side!