CSA Newsletter

CSA Season 2017

May 31, how is this season going?

June is right around the corner.

Seasons past tell us that we should be harvesting some of our first crops right about now. Peas, carrots, beets would be just about ready. Lettuce all of sorts would abound. Green onions, broccoli and early potatoes, oh my!

This season is different. A long drawn out and wet winter was followed by a cold and equally wet spring. Soils in the Fraser Delta are dominated by fine silt and clay and they require long periods of dry weather before they can be worked.

It is almost June and we just planted our onions. Last year, all onions were in the ground and growing fast by mid-April. We only just managed to make beds last week!

As such, we have completely forgone all of our first spring crops and will be late on some things.

The good news is that we are right on time on some crucial heat loving and later planting staples like tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, corn, beans and squash and there will be lots of these soon.

For this reason, you will have to wait a bit longer before you indulge in scrumptious Farm School veggies.

Our CSA program start date will be on the week of Saturday June 24th. Everything remains the same about your pick-up location and the timing but everything starts on this date.

Your first box will contain a lot of crops that grow very fast: microgreens, leafy greens, peas, turnips, etc. The diversity will quickly increase and as crops become more abundant and so are your boxes. Think of your box as a reflection of the growing season. As the bumper crops of late summer start rolling in, we will make sure to send you some recipes for canning, drying and cooking all the different crops!

We look forward to being your farmers all summer and seeing you on the farm, at markets or at KPU every week!

With fists full of compost,

Corine, Caroline, Mike, Emily, Sara and the Farm School cohort


CSA Season 2016

Harvest Box Oct 7-9

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The season of the winter squashes is upon us. Be ready, each week a new squash will enter your life. Winter squashes are some of the least known vegetables yet they are delicious, versatile and nourishing. A true staple. I won’t lie, they are my favorite. There is an extraordinary sense of accomplishment that comes with hauling hundred of pounds of colorful, odd shaped gourds out of the field and onto the greenhouse for curing. If harvested at the right moment and cured appropriately, squash can store for up to 6 months.

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This week, we honor the Spaghetti Squash (featured above on the right). It is best cooked right into its skin. Cut in half and put onto an oiled baking sheet. Cook for 45 min at 350 until you can pull out the flesh as easily as in the picture. You can eat just like that as a side dressed with butter, garlic and salt. You can also toss it back into a hot pan full of caramelizing onions! You can also eat it as the main ingredient to a casserole with some meat and other veggies, baked with cheese on top.

Other guests in your box this week includes the baby hakurei turnips. They are so sweet and tasty at that size. Don’t forget to eat the greens, they are delicious. A great pairing with the squash, onions and herbs!

We still have corn in our fields, it is getting smaller but it is still scrumptious. We grew just a small amount this year (3 rows!) but we are definitely planning on growing a lot more next year. We are excited to hear your feedback on what you would like to see more of and less of in your boxes next year. We will be sending a little survey later.

In the meantime, we are wishing you a fantastic and laughter filled Thanksgiving with your families!!!

Harvest Box August 5-7

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August! A month of heat and harvest! We are mostly caring for veggies that are already in the ground at this point and planting a few things still. We will continue to plant lettuce every 3 weeks until the end of September. Another planting of beets and carrots will go in. As the temperature cools down, short season cool loving crops like spinach and peas will occupy the space that cucumbers, tomatoes and summer squash are now taking. But not yet! You can still look forward to eggplants, peppers and many more types of tomatoes. Anytime now!

This week, new kids on the block include a very favorite Walla Walla onions and Patty Pan squash. Oh and beets! Do you like them? We grow particularly sweet, juicy and delicious beets and there will be a lot way into November.

Walla Walla Onions are sweet summer onions that can only be found fresh and local for about a month out of the year, unlike storage onions that you can preserve for most of the winter. They lack the pungent smell of regular onions due to their relative lack of sulphur and high percentage of water. Go ahead, get up close and personal with these Wallas, they won’t make you cry! You can cook the onions as you would any other, fried in oil or in recipes. They really shine however if cut into quarters and barbecued. You can cut a big slice and put into a burger or sandwich.

 

Harvest Box July 29-August 1st

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Sooo much abundance of produce this week…and for quite a foreseeable future! To deal with all of this bounty we like to preserve foods through every way possible in order to spread the joy throughout the year, especially the long winter months where veggies look sad and are tasteless at the supermarket. Pickling, canning, drying, jamming are all tried and trusted ways to keep the wealth from the garden lasting a little longer.

This week, we’d like to share a simple pickle recipe to try with the pickling cucumbers in your box.  Fear not, 20 minutes only are required in preparation time and you will be whipping out a jar of homemade pickles to the next dinner party. Big slice of pickle on a burger anyone? Who could resist?

So what are “pickling cucumbers”. Typically these are harvested when relatively small but can get enormous if left to their own ambition. They have a prickly skin that is slightly thicker than “slicing cucumbers”. You can eat them fresh also by peeling off the skin and slicing them into a salad. You would be hard pressed to tell the difference.

There are a few secrets to a good pickle.

  1. Fresh pickles make the best pickles. Yours were harvested the day before you got them. To verify if a cucumber is fresh, check if there are remnants of the flowers that were growing at the end. It is a sure tell sign.
  2. Sanitize your jar and utensils. Put in the dishwasher or place your jars and lids in boiling hot water for a minute.
  3. You must chop off the flower end (opposite of stem). When the flower dies on the cucumber it releases hormones that are meant to accelerate the decomposition of the cucumber so that the seeds are released to back to the soil to make more cucumber plants. These can spoil your precious burger accompaniment.
  4. Place your pickles in cold water in the fridge overnight for that extra crunchiness that makes life worth living.

You will need:

  1. 2  litre Mason jars with lids
  2. 4 cups of water
  3. 3 tbsp Kosher salt
  4. 1/2 cup of vinegar
  5. Dill to taste (ie. lots!)
  6. 1 or 2 cloves of garlic

In a saucepan, bring the water, white vinegar, and kosher salt to a boil, whisking till the salt is fully dissolved.
Put the dill and garlic in the jar and set your cucumbers on top. Fit as many as possible in the jar as possible without too much bruising. Keep space on top as the liquid must cover everything.

Let the liquid cool down and cover your pickles.

Cover, put in the fridge and try in 48hrs minimum. ENJOY!!

On another note…EGGS. Our hens are laying more and more eggs and we have a few extra egg shares available on a first come, first serve basis. Please contact tfs@kpu.ca if you are interested.

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The Farm School recently finished renovating an old shed into a chicken coop on wheels for our chickens. Happiest hens on earth!

 

 

Harvest Box  July 22-24

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Hello Lovers of Fresh Farm Foods!

This week in your box, a few new guests on your plate: Hakurei turnips and zucchinis!

Hakurei turnips are a favorite on our farm, so versatile and so fresh. I sometimes just eat one like an apple. We are not the only ones who are fond of them however. Multiple pests on the farm favor them also. Brassica flea beetles and leafminer flies go crazy over the leaves while cutworms like to gnaw at the delicious bulbs. We averted disaster this year by growing on an area that was free of pest after being fallow for 2 years and covering them with insect nets. The result: beautiful, blemish free, healthy and delicious turnips. We won’t lie, we are a bit proud. We hope that you enjoy them!

How am I to eat them’ turnips??

Hakurei Turnips is a Japanese variety that is sometimes referred to as “salad turnip”. Unlike some of its counterparts, Hakurei shines when left uncooked, thinly sliced and served as accompaniment to salad. You can also grate it and a add a bit of apple cider vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper for a mean substitute to coleslaw.

You can also use the greens:

  • Cook greens as you would any other greens;
  • Sautéed and seasoned with some soy sauce, lemon juice and cayenne pepper;
  • Sliced thin and eaten raw;
  • Add slices to olives and cherry tomatoes to make delicious appetizer;

Another fun way to eat them is to make Quick Turnip Pickles

To store your turnips, separate the greens and the roots and store in a plastic bag to keep fresh. Whenever you get root vegetables that still have their greens on, remove them right away. The leaves keep robbing nutrients from the roots quite a while after harvest. We leave them for you because it looks pretty and also because you get your veggies never more than a day or 2 after harvest. This applies to carrots, beets, etc.

Until next week…enjoy!