Week #8 Tuesday, July 31 – Saturday, August 4, 2018

Farm News
We got just one tenth of an inch of rain this past week so irrigating remains a priority.  Baby and adolescent carrots and newly seeded crops are on the top of the list for watering.   We did plant a bunch of cover crops this past week in anticipation of some rain.  It was good to get the cover crop in the fields where spring greens had been planted and harvested but it would be really nice for them to get a good soaking.  It’s very fun to see the buckwheat coming up despite the dry field.
We’ve been busier than you might imagine with planting.  The end of July, beginning of August tends to bring a little push for planting.  Not quite like spring, but enough, as we want a nice mix in the fall bags.  In the last week or so we’ve planted some arugula, a spicy salad mix and cilantro and we’ve transplanted rainbow chard, fennel and basil.  This week we plan to plant some watermelon radish, turnips and more salad greens.  They’ll all want water too so we’re hoping Wednesday’s fifty percent chance of rain brings us something! 
Of course no rain means weed pressure has slowed down significantly so we’re feeling caught up in that regard.  We made enough hay to mulch the raspberries (which are just starting to ripen) and the final planting of cucumbers which will vine out soon and benefit from the mulch. 

In Your Bag:

Kohlrabi, Broccoli (last broccoli until the fall!)
Fresh onions – red tropea and white
New Red Potatoes!
Zucchini/Summer squash
Cucumbers, Garlic
Green beans OR Eggplant
Peppers
Tomatoes 
Herbs – Cilantro, Dill

From Spring Hill member, Mary Yee
Potatoes don’t grow on trees, do they?

I am pretty sure my children never asked me this question but I wanted to be certain that it wasn’t sitting in some recess of their brains. So, on the first Spring Hill Farm work day we attended–back in, say, 2002–I jumped up when Mike asked who wanted to harvest potatoes. The three of us walked down to the field with a bunch of other people and started picking up potatoes. Mike had already prepared the way by removing the green tops and harrowing the field so that we could see the potatoes emerging from the loosened soil. It was like finding buried treasure. We picked and picked. I think we had mesh bags for the potatoes and deposited them in a trailer behind Mike’s tractor when the bags were full. I remember it was a beautiful, sunny day. Not too hot. We might have had slightly creaky backs, though. At least I did. Maybe not the kids with their supple spines. We definitely had dirty hands because we hadn’t brought gloves. When we walked back from the field, towards the packing shed, we found cooks preparing vast vats of vegetable soup over open fires. My son was not a fan of vegetables but that evening he enjoyed the soup. He had seen the leeks and carrots and potatoes being chopped and dropped into the tall pots. Somehow, that acquaintance made the soup palatable. And I was sure now that neither child was ever going to ask, “Do potatoes grow on trees?”

Next Week’s Harvesters:
Tuesday, August 7 – Steve Petermeier & Ann Peterson, Nicole Gallagher/Shelly Johnson,  Jacki Betsworth & Faye Fisher Ward,  Elaine Ess,  Sue Poore

Saturday, August 11  Doug Alecci, Shelley Thron & Shelley des Islets,  Brie Reed & Alex Ross-Stuart/Michaela Klein,  Kathleen & Mike Lauer, NEED ONE!

Week #7 Tuesday, July 24 – Saturday, July 28, 2018

Farm News
We started irrigating today.  We had the irrigation pipes out in May, put them away for June and much of July and today they’re back at work.  Many things in the field are fine.  They’re mature plants with good root systems.  They’re mulched and the mulch holds the moisture in even when it’s been dry for a period of time.  Field tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons and Brussels sprouts fall into this category.  But the youngsters out there need a little help.  We’ve got baby carrots planted just a few weeks ago that need a drink.  Some newly transplanted broccoli and kale and cucumbers will also need a shot of water.  If we don’t get rain mid-week, part of each day will involve moving those pipes around the farm, ensuring the crops are reasonably happy, hoping for rain – and very thankful we can irrigate when we need to. 

This week’s bag looks a little different.  We’ve made a definite move into the summer crops.  Tomatoes, peppers, fresh onions, cilantro – it’s fresh salsa time!  We had our first batch a few days ago and what a treat that was.  For me, that is summer.  New potatoes, eggplant, green beans are also summer favorites.  We recently made some marinated eggplant, zucchini, onions and tomatoes.  The inspiration came from Katy and Larry’s cooking videos on Spring Hill’s web site.  Those videos are an amazing resource for all of us.  You’ll find them under the “recipe” section of Spring Hill Community Farm’s web site: https://www.springhillcommunityfarm.com/cooking-videos/ .  Along with the eggplant video there’s one for new potatoes with Indian spices, another for spicy beans, one for Moroccan carrots, carrot pickles and many more.  It’ll be well worth your time to check them out!

In Your Bag:

Carrots
Fresh onions
New Potatoes!
Broccoli
Zucchini/Summer squash
Cucumbers
Green beans
Eggplant
Peppers – bell & jalapeno
Tomatoes
Herbs – Cilantro, Sage/Thyme bunch

Coming Soon
Likely a cabbage next week, maybe kohlrabi. 
Tomatoes and potatoes too!

Week #6 Tuesday, July 17 – Saturday, July 21, 2018

Farm News

We’ve been working on the garlic harvest this past week.  With the help of Erin and Micah and plenty of farm members, much of the garlic is laid out in the greenhouse for curing.  Tomorrow’s crew should come close to completing the task.  Many hands have made light work.  Yes!!

Today we picked the first of the green beans and the first tomatoes.   At some point bean picking will get old but today it felt good.  The eyes and fingers went right to work, spotting the beans, then quickly wrapping fingers around the beans and over time, filling the bucket and filling it again, an occasional one in the mouth for sustenance.  Mindless, mindful work –a number of our tasks fall into that category.  Beans for sure, carrot weeding, berry picking.  They require just enough concentration to keep the mind focused, but plenty of space for conversation or contemplation if you like.  

Our annual stand-off with the deer is at its peak.  The neighborhood deer have broadened their tastes over time from just beans and beets and lettuce to include most vegetables now.  It’s what you’d appreciate seeing in a growing child– that exploration of flavors–and not so much in the deer.  We currently have fences around cucumbers, beans, beets, broccoli/cabbage, carrots and melons with plans to fence in the Brussels sprouts as well.  So far the greedy critters are leaving the pepper/tomato/eggplant section alone and the same goes for the winter squash.  They’ve sampled onions and leeks but have moved on. 

The fences we use are powered by the sun though we have more fences than energizers.  Our plan is to keep them guessing about which fences have the juice, thus “encouraging” them to stay in the woods and on the edges of the fields where there really is plenty for them to browse thereby leaving the vegetables for all of you. 
Cross your fingers … and your toes!

In Your Bag:

Carrots
Garlic
Scallions
Broccoli
Zucchini/Summer squash
Cucumbers
Green beans
Lettuce
Arugula
Tomatoes  – just the beginning!
Mixed Herb bunch

Coming Soon

Look for some new potatoes soon!  Eggplant and peppers are coming along.  More beans and tomatoes!

Next Week’s Harvesters:

Tuesday, July 24 – Roger & Suzanne Dahl, Susan Schonfeld & Doug Hicks, Peter McAllister, Diane Clayton & Colleen Bell, Barnes/Carlson family
Saturday, July 28 – Marilee & Paul Tuite, Joseph Mitchell & Mache Holliday-Mitchell ,  Ian Young & Katherine Ingram, Marilyn Johnson & Dave Bostrom, Carolyn & Rick VandenDolder

Week #5 Tuesday, July 10 – Saturday, July 14, 2018

Farm News

The garlic harvest has officially begun!  We began by putting the shade cloth on the greenhouse in preparation for transforming the greenhouse from a house of growing plants to a home for curing garlic.   Mike hooked up the potato digger (or in this case the garlic digger) to the tractor and we all headed to the garlic patch to begin.  Garlic has remained one of our favorite crops to grow and each stage of its growth has become a marker of sorts.  Garlic tasks bookend the growing season for us.  In early spring we wait and watch (and worry), checking for the first green tips of the garlic plant to poke through the ground.  “Garlic’s up and looks good!” are often words that begin the spring growing season.  Planting garlic in the fall is the last big task of the year and marks the first planting for season to come.  And other things too.  Garlic scapes are often found in the first bags we send soon to be followed by fresh garlic and then cured garlic.  We may skip a week or two but most weeks, you’ll find Spring Hill garlic in your bag.  Garlic harvest inevitably occurs when it’s beastly hot outside and even hotter in the greenhouse where we lay it out for curing.  Getting to the other side of garlic harvest often feels like a turning point in the season.  There’s less planting to do and more harvesting.  Even cultivation, while important, becomes not quite so urgent at this time.  The early greens garden is typically about to be put to rest, beans are coming in and we can see that the summer crops (tomatoes and peppers and eggplant) are not too far off.  That feeling of running downhill begins to feel more like running on level ground; plenty to do but less frantic.

Ever freeze basil? You can puree the basil with olive oil (1 cup basil/1T olive oil in a food processor and freeze it in ice cube trays or plops on a cookie sheet.  Store your cubes or plops in a freezer bag or freezer-safe container and enjoy basil all winter long!

In Your Bag:

Carrots
Beets
Garlic
Scallions
Broccoli
Zucchini/Summer squash OR Eggplant
Cucumbers
Lettuce
Red Russian Kale
Big Basil Bunch

From Peggy Abram:
Why I Belong to a CSA?  
It’s been a trying day, I’m beat, feeling like I should order pizza and crawl under the covers. Anything in the fridge that could be dinner? Wrapped in damp paper towel some green lettuce and lettuce with red/almost black leaves…and piquant red radishes and enormous scallions too…salad done (or, should I add the kohlrabi too?).  I pull a pizza crust from the freezer, and find curlicues of garlic scapes to chop and saute, then add the tossled handful of radish greens and a bit of the deep green kale leaves too…the crust is readied with a layer of grated cheese, sautéed greens and scapes on top? VOILA! Delicious, fragrant, local, healthy, not to mention sustenance…I am revived by a multitude of CSA veggies!

This Week’s Bingo Challenge

Use a new part of a vegetable.  Try peeling your broccoli stems to make stir fry, saving your onion skins (or green onion tops) for soup stock, or using your kale stems as a compostable shish kabob skewer for the grill.  Get creative!

Next Week’s Harvesters

Tuesday, July 17 – Susan Conner & Sherman Eagles, Patrick & Sara Wright, Mary Dolan O’Brien & Clark Furlong, Sean & Mallory O’Brien, Poppele & Bergerson, Brenda Beyer 

Saturday, July 21 – Noah & Jess Holm , Ian Whitney & Laura Murphy, Amy & Lee Friedman, Liz Farrell, Marilee Light & Katie Aafedt

Week #4 Tuesday, July 3 – Saturday, July 7, 2018

 Farm News

We’ve been negotiating storms and heat all week. Generally that’s been good for the garden and a bit tough on those who work it. Once again, I’d like a pause button; this time for the broccoli and lettuce. Each winter we carefully put together a planting schedule based on what we’d like to see in a bag and the “days to maturity” of a given variety. We like to make sure there’s a good mix of veggies even in those early bags which lean heavily on greens. We work to give them some heft with beets and napa cabbage and bok choy. We plan for lettuce varieties that do well (or at least better) in the heat. This week’s summer crisp varieties are an example of that. We plant broccoli weekly for six weeks early on for the spring/summer crop (more coming in the fall) planting spring varieties first and then shifting to summer. We try to get some form of onions in each bag so we plant three rounds of green onions in the spring with the hope of getting six weeks out of them, ending just as the early white onions are ready to go. We like to start with fresh whites and reds and when those are done, we move on to the yellow onions. We work to space out vegetables like kohlrabi, turnips, fennel, pac choy and napa cabbage – some of the vegetables that are perhaps less familiar. After much encouragement from all of you we are conscious about spacing the cabbage giving you a chance to use one before the next one arrives. You get the idea. There’s a fair bit of consideration and planning that happens before seeds are planted. Just so you know, things never go as planned! This crazy heat combined with regular rains bunches up the broccoli and lettuce. Disappointingly our sugar snap peas have been a bust. We got ½ week from our earliest planting and the second one succumbed to disease. We’ve tried to pick what was still good and send it as “extras.” The overall garden picture is good – more than good really. Most crops like rain and heat. We just need to keep up with it all! 

 In Your Bag

Cabbage
Fennel
Garlic
Scallions
Broccoli Zucchini/Summer squash
Cucumbers
Summer Crisp Lettuce
Rainbow Chard
Cilantro

Bingo Challenge 

You wrote in to the newsletter to let us know why you belong to a CSA!

 From Kari Hansen: Why CSA? Here is the short list…
The first real day of summer:
a full bag of greens from field to farm
to host’s porch,
to our fridge. 

The incredible smell of fresh basil and cilantro. 

A most grounded and quietly joyous day of our summer: the Spring Hill work day. 

Two years ago, a Spring Hill video… and eating beets for the first time. Still am! 

Chopping zucchini, garlic and tomatoes. Repeat. 

Fresh potent-flavored homemade minestrone soup- all CSA veggies. 

Our CSA is a summer highlight all summer long… (and into fall…)

From Beth Franzen:
The food, the people….it’s what makes America great! 

From Peggy Steif Abram:
It’s been a trying day, I’m beat, feeling like I should order pizza and crawl under the covers. Anything in the fridge that could be dinner? Wrapped in damp paper towel some green lettuce and lettuce with red/almost black leaves…and piquant red radishes and enormous scallions too…salad done (or, should I add the kohlrabi too?).  I pull a pizza crust from the freezer, and find curlicues of garlic scapes to chop and saute, then add the tossled handful of radish greens and a bit of the deep green kale leaves too…the crust is readied with a layer of grated cheese, sautéed greens and scapes on top? VOILA! Delicious, fragrant, local, healthy, not to mention sustenance…I am revived by a multitude of CSA veggies!

Thanks for providing so much to our lives, Patty and Mike!

 This Week’s Bingo Challenge 

Go beyond veggies – try some local eggs, cheese, meat, or grains. Farmer’s markets are a great place to start! 

 Next Week’s Harvesters
Tuesday, July 10
– Barry Schade,Louise Hotka & Jill Meyer, Robin Schow & Robbie Bray, Patricia Turner, Sandy & Roger Clarke, Jacki Betsworth & George Hunt
Saturday, July 14 – Lynne & Hans Dekker, Linda & Chuck Oberg, Rebecca & Douglas ParrellShelley Thron & Shelley des Islets, Kris & Luther Mazer, Kathleen Sullivan