Your anticipated vegetable share may contain the following:
Beets 1 bunch
Broccoli 3 heads
Napa Cabbage 1 head
Salad Turnips 1 bunch
Lettuce 2 heads
Dandelion greens 1 bunch
Bok Choy 1 head
Dairy Share: Two Yogurt Containers and 2 blocks of cheese.
Meat Share: Meat will arrive in an insulated bag at the pickup location. Folks who purchased Meat shares in addition to veg shares will be indicated on the pickup names checklist. Insulated bags are $15.00 each and need to be returned next week!! This is important, as the meat farm is providing them free of charge.
Honey Share: Start Date TBD
I hope everyone enjoyed their first week of veggies and were able to make a couple of things over the holiday weekend to enjoy. Speaking of enjoyable things, one of our pick up locations is at Victoria's Fancy Foods in Severna Park, MD. The shop is divine with some of the best tasty eats and delectable wines around. No I do not get a discount for telling you about it, possibly I should try to work that angle more, hmmmm. Anyway I have been asking Victoria for some wine and cheese suggestions for our current veggies we are receiving and she has obliged. Just reading her email made my mouth start watering. You can check out her recommendations at the end of this email. Simply dreamy!
We received a couple of inquiries as to the size of the share, average cost of the weekly share and variety of veggies last week and I wanted to take an opportunity to address some of these questions in this week's newsletter. Alison also talks about last week's share and the upcoming season's summer shares in her On the Farm Blog. Be sure to check that out, as well as her recent blog about walking around the farm this weekend. The pictures are stunning.
The first box is always lighter for several reasons, time of year, weather conditions and first box of the season, we have had a lot of people freak out over a lot of greens in their starting share if they are not used to eating greens regularly in their diet. We like to build up with the amounts. I apologize if anyone was disappointed. The quality was amazing and absolutely delicious as I have heard over and over again from our members this week!
You will find the shares follow a bit of a bell curve during the season in regard to quantity. As far as cost average, the average cost of the weekly share is just around $25 per week however that does not mean every week is $25. You will find the majority of the weeks fall well above this cost averaging into the $40 range if you were to purchase all organic from the supermarket. There will be a couple of times during the year that the shares will fall below $25 but they are few and far between and you will definitely feel that you receive more than your monies worth, or possibly too much is what we hear, by the end of the season.
That being said the variety was limited because of the spring weather we had very warm days and very cold nights with lots of rain. This causes many vegetables to quickly go to seed rather than mature in growth. This has happened to 6 of our vegetables now, 4 of which were slated for last week's starting share including most of the radishes and spinach. The constant rain during spring caused the spinach to get a fungus. These trials are common for the farmer but seldom seen by the customer. Possibly you have noticed the sporadic supply of organic kale and other organic greens at local organic produce providers; I certainly have and have been stalking the produce section weekly, while waiting for the CSA to begin, pouncing on any that comes in. This is because California, the primary grower, is also experiencing problems due to too much rain and similar weather patterns. A couple of local CSA's have delayed their start to their CSA pick up because of these issues and are not starting their shares until mid-June. Fortunately Alison and Luke are seasoned farmers and this is not their first time dealing with adverse weather growing conditions. They have learned to roll with the punches and quickly adapt to what is working to make sure their CSA is producing.
That being said you are going to see more vegetables both in quantity and variety in the next few weeks that we would not normally see until much later in the season. This is the earliest recorded time we have for broccoli which just loves the recent spring weather and all of our varieties of cabbage are in heaven. Of course with this record high jump in temperatures over the weekend that extended into this week our seasonally cooler veggies are crying for mercy. I am shocked farmers have any sanity left at all as I watch the weekly weather report. I remember when Homestead Farm was just beginning and did not have an irrigation system, I am sure I am bringing up nightmare for Alison and Luke today just remembering those times.
I hope this answers some of our members’ questions and concerns and makes you feel a little more connected to what is happening at "your farm" as you are a part of our community. Alison and Luke always make every season successful and extremely enjoyable, and 2011 will be no exception. Also Alison and Luke, in effort to also make everyone feel more connected to our community, will be present at a different pick up location every week until all pick up locations have been visited at the start of the season. They will also make periodic visits in the middle of the season and towards the end to make sure they get the chance to meet and talk with all of our members.
I have listed 3 recipes that I found on the web, 2 of my own that I love and one found recipe from a fellow CSA member, for a total of 6 delicious new ways to love your veggies this week! Remember to read Victoria's current recommendations below and as always, Happy Healthy Eating! - Jess Gorski
Victoria's Current Picks to pair with your CSA veggies:
Cascal Garcia Vinho Verde White and Rose Wines: Inexpensive wines from Portugal that scream summer and are a perfect match to the Spring greens. Both wines are light and refreshing with a tiny bit of effervescence that gives them a little zip on the tongue! Serve chilled.
Olive Oil/Rosemary Manchego – This Manchego is sooooo good! It has been aged in Olive Oil and Rosemary and the flavor is just amazing!
Midnight Moon Aged Goat Cheese – aged to perfection with those crystals that form during aging. The “goat” is not so noticeable and folks who say they don’t like goat cheese like this one. It is a much harder consistency than most goat cheeses. As with all cheeses, it shows best at room temperature.
And, don’t forget a box of Litlle Ragghi’s Crackers! All natural Parmesan crisps made in Ocean City, Maryland by a Native American woman. This may just be the best cracker on the planet!