Community-Supported Agriculture for the Upper Valley of New Hampshire and Vermont

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2014 Week 16

September 1 & 4, 2014

Hello Veggie Fans—

I saw a monarch butterfly on Saturday afternoon, feeding on goldenrod at the edge of the pasture out by the sheep. It’s the first I’ve seen this year. There’s been much talk that, owing primarily to the drought in the western past of the country and the intensified farming practices in the Midwest, the monarch migration might completely fail this year for the first time in anyone’s memory.

These butterflies go through multiple generations on their annual migration between Mexico and Vermont, and it’s not clear how easily they might be able to recover if an entire migratory year were to be lost. So I felt tremendous joy and relief to see this lovely creature gracing the fields of Sunrise again, swaying in the breeze with the evening light playing on Mount Ascutney in the background. There’s hope for the future.

The sheep, meanwhile, had a different view of the matter, serenading me with a chorus of boos when it became clear that I was dawdling over a butterfly instead of completing progress on moving their fence to fresh grass. Everything in perspective.

Our vegetable abundance continues, and though I’m still bit foggy on the details this morning, here’s the likely harvest for today:

*Onions & garlic
*Potatoes & carrots & beets
*Peppers, tomatoes, and cherry tomatoes
*Kale & chard
*Mesclun, radicchio, head lettuce, spinach
*Cucumbers
*Melon medley - yellow and red watermelon and cantaloupe

A note on the potatoes and beets: we’re discovering that our resident chipmunk population has been going to town on these tasty vegetables out in the field this summer. The beets in particular have been hard hit, with probably 25% destroyed and 50% at least nibbled. Rather than discard tons of wonderful produce that’s been partially marred, we’re going to try to harvest what we can, and we encourage you to cut away that part that’s ruined so that you can enjoy the good stuff that’s left.

For the potatoes, if you come across a gnawed spud in the crate, feel free to take it without counting it as part of your 1.5-lb share for the day. (Call it a lucky strike extra.) For the beets, we’ll try to increase the quantities so that you will still have plenty of beet after trimming them down.

Happy September everyone! See you soon,

—Chuck

PS: We also have fresh, un-frozen chickens for sale today in the barn. They’re in the big walk-in cooler, and there’s a clipboard with details.

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2014 Week 15

August 25 & 28, 2014

Here are the stats so-far on our first-ever haying season: 130 bales of outstanding hay, 150 bales of decent hay, 100 bales of moldy hay, and 50 bales so wet that we’re monitoring their temperature every day and keeping them stacked loosely to prevent spontaneous combustion. (They’ll make great mulch next year for the onions if they don’t burn the barn down in the meantime.)

On the equipment side, the 1958 baler ran like a dream, the rake performed without a hitch, the tedder spent weeks upside down on the garage floor while I searched the internet for metric tools and replacement parts, and the cutter bar’s drive shaft shattered in spectacular fashion as I attempted to lay down a final dozen bales last week with darkness closing in.

 

I guess it’s not yet time to quit my day job, which is growing vegetables!

 

Speaking of which, the delicious flow continues unabated. Hot new item this week: cantaloupe, which we think will be ready this morning. Yum! Tatsoi and beets are back after taking the hot summer off. And old favorites continue…

 

*Onions & garlic

*Potatoes & carrots

*Peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, and cherry tomatoes

*Kale & chard

*Mesclun & arugula, frisee & radicchio

*Watermelon & cucumbers

 

A quick note on how choice, pick-your-own, and surplus work: The “choose any 12 items” on the main chalkboard refers just to the items displayed on the main counter. Everything else is a lucky strike extra that doesn’t count against the 12 (or 10 or whatever.) In other words, choose any 12, then help yourself to anything on the metal surplus table or in the pick-your-own garden.

 

Our neighbor, Chef PJ, will be bringing blueberry crumble today for you dessert eaters out there. Other than that, we should be out and about today controlling weeds and planting cover crops. See you soon,

—Chuck

 

PS: We also have fresh, un-frozen chickens for sale today in the barn. They’re in the big walk-in cooler, and there’s a clipboard with details.

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2014 Week 14

August 18 & 21, 2014

Hello Veggie Fans—

Smooth sailing continues this week, with vegetables rolling into the barn in an orderly fashion. Last week’s potato harvest was our best ever, so we should have potatoes available every week for the rest of the season. It feels like money in the bank! Garlic, sweet onions, and shallots have all been harvested, too, with the shallots set to appear in a few weeks once they’ve cured. Still to go: red and yellow storage onions, which we’ll work on curing today once we’ve cleared the garlic from the greenhouse curing area.

The only dark cloud on the horizon at the moment is the return of the fungal rot that often affects our head lettuce at this time of year. We’ll miss one to two weeks while we wait for the next plantings to size up. Meanwhile, we’ll have mesclun and spinach right through.

Other than that, I think we’ll have the first of the watermelons today… fingers crossed!

In the share this week:

*Mesclun and spinach, kale and chard, frisee and raddicio

*Red potatoes, zucchini, summer squash, cucumbers, carrots, green and purple peppers, eggplant

*Sweet onions and garlic

*Tomatoes and cherry tomatoes

*Red watermelon

*Basil for pesto

*Edamame (more on this below.)

In addition, or neighbor PJ has made some more baked goods for today - the homemade pasta is incredible! The offerings: spaghetti & meatballs, tagliatelle with maple-smoked ham and spinach, and blueberry crumble.

See you soon,

—Chuck

Edamame: if you haven’t enjoyed these beans before, they’re a delicious appetizer or addition to pasta. They’ve been grown for us by Derek O’Toole, who worked at Sunrise for four years and now has his own farm up in Braintree, Vermont. The pods are still on the plants, so job one is to pick the pods off and discard the stems. Then the classic way to cook them is to immerse them in heavily salted, boiling water for about 5 minutes, checking to see when the beans are tender. Then drain off the eater, allow to cool, and salt them again if your taste buds run in that direction. You hold the pod up to your mouth, squeeze out the tender beans, and discard the pod.

Or, try the following recipe, substituting this week’s frisee for the escarole…

Escarole and Edamame Salad

Gourmet |  January 2005

Active time: 25 min Start to finish: 25 min

Servings: Makes 4 servings.


Ingredients
2 cups edamame (soybeans; 9 oz)
1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 lb escarole, trimmed and cut crosswise into very thin strips (8 cups)
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh mint
1 3/4 oz finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (2/3 cup)
Preparation

Cook edamame in a 3-quart pot of boiling salted water 5 minutes. Drain in a sieve and rinse under cold running water to stop cooking. Drain edamame again and pat dry.
Whisk together vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper in a small bowl until sugar and salt are dissolved. Add oil in a slow stream, whisking until combined.
Toss together edamame, escarole, and mint in a large bowl. Add cheese and drizzle salad with dressing, then toss again. Serve immediately.

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2014 Week 13

August 11 & 14, 2014

Hi CSA fans—

We’ve never sprayed any pesticides on our crops, including the pesticides that are organically permitted. There are a variety of reasons for this, including worker health and safety, consumer health and safety, and a general lack of knowledge and expertise on my end. But a fourth reason is to protect and encourage wildlife on the farm.

The attached photo shows one of the real joys of this approach - a nest with baby birds that we discovered last week deep in a thicket of tomato foliage. I think they are finches, though we didn’t poke and prod too closely. They should have plenty of time to grow and fledge before the neighboring fruit starts to ripen.

We’ve had a variety of great wildlife sitings on the farm this season, highlighted by the juvenile bald eagle that was learning to fly over the farm this spring. Indeed, the wide diversity of flora and fauna on the farm seems to contribute to health and safety. When I tested the water in the pond this spring prior to using it for irrigation water, we received a perfect score (meaning no contamination.) When I marveled about this to a man who paid us a visit from the State, he took one look and said, “That makes sense. You have a functioning ecosystem here.”

We’ll chock it up to a bit of good luck, too. Which brings me back to another story of good luck - the ongoing vegetable harvest. This week we have the first red potatoes of the season, along with a growing harvest of tomatoes and enough basil for pesto makers to enjoy. Choose from among:

Raw greens: head lettuce, mesclun, frisee, raddicio, spinach

Cookable greens: rainbow chard

Heartier fare: sweet onions, garlic, zucchini and summer squash, cukes, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, green and purple peppers, and carrots. And new red potatoes

Pick your own is tapering off, with basil, blueberries, all the herbs, flowers, and the last of the yellow and purple beans.

In the retail area today, we have fresh quiches again, made by our neighbors up the hill at Home Meadow Farm. The two flavors are listed below. We’ve also re-stocked with ground beef from Clay Hill, bacon from Winter Moon, and Andouille sausage from Cedar Mountain. Plus we have our own chickens for sale, frozen in the second chest freezer.

That’s the story today at the farm - see you later,

—Chuck

Spinach + Feta Quiche

Rainbow Swiss chard - sunrise farm
Garlic - sunrise farm
Tomato - sunrise farm
Swede onions - sunrise farm
Feta
King Arthur flour
Free range eggs - home meadow farm

Maple smoked ham + pea quiche

Maple smoked ham - home meadow farm
Sweet onions - sunrise farm
Garlic - sunrise farm
Garden peas
King Arthur flour
Parmesan
Free range eggs - home meadow farm

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