Week #8 Tuesday, August 27 – Friday, August 30, 2019

 Farm News

We rely heavily on weather forecasts. Given how often they’re wrong, it may seem ill advised, but really, those forecasts are all we’ve got when it comes to planning our days and weeks. So, when the forecasts (and we check several) predict an all-day rain on Monday, we believe them. Monday is typically a heavy harvest day as we gather up a good portion of what will be bagged up on Tuesday. Heavy rains and thunderstorms on Monday are a problem, something we need to strategize about. We don’t really mind getting wet, and we do have rain gear, but harvesting when it’s wet and muddy is problematic for all the reasons you can imagine. Unless it’s absolutely necessary, we try to avoid it. We always avoid harvesting, or any work for that matter, when there’s lightening. That’s why Monday’s forecast of heavy rains and thunderstorms forced a change in our plans. Sundays are typically a lighter work day on the farm. We often have a couple of things to harvest, crops that are picked on an everyday or every other day schedule like cucumbers and zucchini and beans. There may also be some field work to catch up on or a weeding project to tackle, but it’s a different pace, peppered with cooking and laundry and visits with friends and family. Monday’s forecast changed our Sunday. We set aside our leisurely Sunday pace to harvest much of Tuesday’s vegetables and considered what to do on Monday if it was indeed storming. By Sunday evening the forecasters had shifted the rain start to Monday at 11am and by Monday at 11am the prediction was for rain to start at 5pm. Monday became a bonus day! Cover crops were planted where carrots and cucumbers had grown. The tomato hoop house was cultivated and the new hoop house prepped for fall greens. All good! 

 In Your Bag

Melons
Potatoes
Yellow Onions
Garlic
Cabbage
Green Beans
(or possibly beets)
Cucumbers
Zucchini
green & yellow
Bell & Jalapeno Peppers
Carrots
Box of Slicer tomatoes + Pint of Salad Tomatoes
Cilantro

Veggie Notes

This is indeed the last of the green beans for this season. It may be the last of the melons too. It’s been a good run though! We’ve got red potatoes for you this week. Next time we send potatoes, it’ll be the Satinas, a yellow potato. Our final planting of cucumbers is ready. They are the same variety as the last round, but for some reason, they’re coming in short and stubby. They still make a wonderful cucumber salad! This week we’ve got a nice cabbage for you along with carrots and peppers and cilantro, all the makings of a summer coleslaw. Or, try Avery’s recipe for baked cabbage included in this week’s newsletter. It’s a favorite at her home! This bag also has the makings of fresh salsa with plenty of tomatoes, onions, peppers and cilantro.

Looking Ahead to Next Week 

As we enter September, we’re planning to send the first of the Roma tomatoes. We think we’ll be able to keep going with the salad tomatoes but the slicers are slowing way down. It looks to me like we may have cauliflower, broccoli and I think it’s time for a round of Shishito peppers!

Spring Hill’s Fall Community Work Day

Saturday, September 14, 12:30-4:30 Join us for a day of work and play, good food and good company! We’ll make soup and cider and bread. Weather permitting, we’ll dig potatoes, harvest squash and clean garlic and more! 

 Next Week’s Harvesters

Tuesday, September 3 – Stacie Warejoncas, Carrie Pomeroy & Brian Berg, Randi Roth & Mike Bander, Martha Joy and John Cushing, Kathleen Weflen & Lou Ferreri 

Friday, August 30 – Peg LaBore & Myrna Tautant & Rosemarie Merrigan, Hermann Weinlick, Laurie Reed, Michele Gersich & John Hartman, Kate Kysar

Week #7 Tuesday, August 20 – Friday, August 23, 2019

Farm News 

Every Tuesday and Friday is mini work day at the farm. It’s a day when several households make their way out to the farm and work together to make sure each farm member expecting a bag of vegetables actually gets one. The way we approach the day has evolved over the years. In the beginning, when there were just about 20-40 shares to pack each week, we did all the harvesting, washing and packing on the day the vegetables were delivered. As we added more shares and purchased a walk-in cooler, that changed. Tender greens are harvested the day before delivery giving them a chance to cool before their trip to the city. Many vegetables – zucchini, cucumbers, broccoli, beans and melons – benefit from being picked more frequently than the twice a week delivery days. They are typically picked every other day and stored in the cooler. Some vegetables are still picked the day of delivery, but are often harvested before people arrive while temperatures are still cool. They stand ready to be washed, trimmed, or bagged as more hands arrive. Herbs are an exception. It’s not unusual for a group to head to the field to pick and bunch basil or parsley. In addition to the all the work we do together in the pack shed, cleaning up onions and scallions, bagging beans and carrots, making the garlic look beautiful, there is often a work project ready to go for those interested in some field work. This year members have taken on mulching and harvesting garlic, transplanting and weeding. Last Friday’s crew brought a couple of loads of onions in from the field and set them out to dry in the greenhouse. These are all great many hands projects. Of course, amidst the work, recipes are exchanged, books and favorite podcasts shared and politics discussed. Always, always, always a delicious potluck lunch follows the work. We are so fortunate to have a community of people willing to share in the work. What a pleasure!

 In Your Bag

Melons
Potatoes
Red Tropea & Yellow Onions
Garlic
Beets
Green beans
Eggplant
Zucchini
green & yellow
Bell & Jalapeno Peppers
Box of Slicer tomatoes + Pint of Salad Tomatoes
White Russian Kale
Basil
bunch

 Veggie Notes

As Kristin (who compiles the recipes) says, “looks like it’s a ratatouille week!” Eggplant, peppers, zucchini, tomatoes, they’re all there. Check out the recipe she found. There’s also a recipe for zucchini quesadillas which looks pretty intriguing. Enjoy the green beans. We may have them next week. It’s also possible this is the last of them. We’ll see how it goes. The White Russian Kale has a little cosmetic damage. Ignore that, it’s so tender! Thinly slice for a nice salad or chop it and add at the end of cooking to eggs, a stir-fry or curry. These melons have been picked fully ripe. Eat ‘em up now or keep them in the refrigerator until you do! 

 Looking Ahead to Next Week 

We’re thinking we’ll have a cabbage, carrots and cilantro for you next week. It looks like there will be one more week of melons. We’ll keep the tomatoes coming as long as we can. 

 Next Week’s Harvesters

Tuesday, August 27- Amy Cichanowski & Marc Beitz, Susan Schonfeld, Bernadette Knaeble, Anne Holzinger & Caron Moore, Carla Urban 

Friday, August 30 – Cassandra Herold & Martin Perkins, Elaine & Lary May, Amy & Ryan Woldt, Shelley Thron & Shelley desIslets, Julie Glanton

Week #6 Tuesday, August 13 – Friday, August 16, 2019

 Farm News

It’s been mid-season garden clean-up week on the farm. We mowed down the early broccoli patch. The first bean plantings got the same treatment. Cucumbers are next in line. The onion tops have flopped over (in some cases with a little help), a signal that they have stopped growing and are ready to be moved out of the garden and into storage. We’ll be working on getting them out of the field over the next week or so. As the days shorten some and the nighttime temps cool a bit, the growth in the gardens slow down. Most of our days now are spent harvesting, with just a small amount of time allotted for weeding, etc. However, we still continue to transplant and plant some fast-growing fall crops such as Swiss chard, beets, Black Spanish Radish and our favorite green from last year: Amara! Amara is sometimes referred to as Ethiopian kale, or Texel greens. Whatever you call it, it is delightful with a mild taste suitable for salad or cooking. We just planted a bed of Amara, and plan to plant another in the hoop house in about a week or so. Look for it in September and, in the meantime, enjoy the tomatoes, peppers and melons! A really big planting this past week was peas and oats (a traditional forage mix for grazing animals) in the pollinator patch. This cover crop will grow to about 18”to 24” yet this year before dying back in the fall. This will help hold the soil in place, keep soil temperatures moderate and provide a nice planting environment next spring for the Monarch Habitat with no more tillage required. 

 In Your Bag: 

Melons
Purple Viking Potatoes
Red Tropea & Yellow Onions
Garlic
Carrots
Cucumbers
Broccoli
(or perhaps beets)
Zucchinigreen & yellow
Bell & Jalapeno Peppers
Box of Slicer tomatoes + Pint of Salad Tomatoes
Arugula
Dill

Veggie Notes

These melons have been picked fully ripe. Eat ‘em up now or keep them in the refrigerator until you do! More will be coming. It looks to be a great melon year! This is the last of the cucumbers and broccoli for a bit. We have later plantings of both so look for them later in the season. The Purple Viking Potatoes have a creamy white flesh. They’re yummy baked, roasted or mashed. It looks like we’re hitting the height of the tomato season. Enjoy!

Looking Ahead to Next Week 

So, it’s beets NEXT week. I had thought it would be this week, but no, it’s next week (except for a few of you who may get beets if we run out of broccoli). We’ll have green beans for you as well, more peppers and tomatoes, possibly eggplant and potatoes; of course, onions and garlic too! Of Note: Harvest/Delivery Days We have a number of slots to fill for harvest/delivery days, most immediately, Tuesdays, August 20th & 27th and Tuesday, September 3rd. If you haven’t signed up for your day as yet, please do! E-mail Michele at mgersich@att.net to sign-up for your work day at the farm. 

Spring Hill Bags

We need them! Please remember to return your bag(s) to your pick-up site. 

 Next Week’s Harvesters

Tuesday, August 20- Janet Peters & Alan Torborg, Sue Poore & Desmond, Jacki & George Betsworth, Sherm Eagles & Sue Conner, NEED ONE! 

Friday, August 23 – Leah & Paul Robinson, Angie & Andrew Barker, Rachel Brown & Lew Anderson, Nancy Dilts & Dan Philippon, Abby Nesbitt family

Week #5 Tuesday, August 6 – Friday, August 9, 2019

 Farm News

Many people have been asking us how this year’s farm changes are working for us. Last season we came to the conclusion that the work load and our energy levels no longer matched up. We needed to make some changes. We met with Spring Hill’s Core Group a couple of times last fall to begin tossing around ideas. We came to that first meeting with a proposal and they first listened and then asked really good questions. After taking time to ponder that discussion, a new and very different proposal emerged. We shifted from an 18-20 week season to 14 weeks, beginning in July rather than mid-June. Those extra weeks in June gave us time to get more plants in the ground and early cultivations and mulching done before harvesting began. What a huge difference that made in garden maintenance. Although there’s still some areas of the garden that are weedier than we’d like, and more mulching to do, it hasn’t felt like the same uphill battle that it has in years’ past. We also shifted from a Tuesday/Saturday vegetable delivery season to a Tuesday/Friday rotation. We wanted to have more flexible time on the weekends so that when our children and grandchildren came to visit, we could relax with them. We do still work on the weekends but it’s a different pace and we appreciate that a ton. In addition, we wanted to create time and space to think about the land beyond the gardens; the woods, the wetlands and the spaces in between. There’s so much more to think about and do in this regard, but we are starting with the pollinator and monarch planting mentioned in last week’s newsletter. Thanks for supporting the changes!

 In Your Bag: 

Cabbage
Fennel
Red Tropea & Yellow Onions
Garlic
Carrots
Wax beans
Eggplant
Cucumbers
Broccoli
Zucchini
green & yellow
Spicy Salad Mix
Colorful tomato mix!
Mixed herb bunch

Veggie Notes: We debated about the eggplant. We know it’s not everyone’s favorite. We know it’s the third week in a row. But, it’s so beautiful and it wouldn’t keep for another week in the garden. Try making some ratatouille, or baba ganoush or capanota or grilling it or, if need be, sharing with a neighbor! It’s been an amazing year for broccoli. This may be it until fall, possibly one final batch next week. If it’s too much, try freezing it.

Looking Ahead to Next Week 

Next week beets and bell peppers will make a showing, maybe jalapenos too. Look for more tomatoes and a nice bunch of arugula. We’re keeping a close eye on the melons. Soon! 

 Next Week’s Harvesters: 

Tuesday, August 13 – Beth Franzen, Lynne & Hans Dekker, Claudia Egelhoff & Jennifer Trombley, Loosen/Veeder family, Russ Heuckendorf, John Cushing & Martha Joy & Jordan Cushing 

Friday, August 16 – Doug Alecci, Athena Adkins, Billing Family, Melissa Partin & Brian Martinson, Robin Preble & Dan Hedlund