Welcome to the tenth season of our Amber Waves Farm and our CSA Program! We have had a busy spring getting ready for the season both out in the fields and at the market. In the fields we have been starting and then transplanting seedlings from our greenhouses, sowing seeds directly into the field, and sprucing up the herb garden and raspberries. We've spent much of the spring moving acres of "row cover" or "remay" around the farm, which is a white fabric we use to cover newly planted seeds and plants to increase the temperature of the soil surface and speed up plant growth (you can see large sections of it out in the fields). It takes five or six people to lay out a piece of remay; the leader begins unrolling it from its spool by grabbing the end and then walking through the field between two beds. The remaining crew spreads themselves out, hopping in to support and carry the remay about every 40 feet after the leader. After we have it extended the length of the field, we tack down the long edge (about 2-300 feet, our standard bed length), and then together we jump across one bed at a time, extending the fabric to its full width of about 30 feet, covering four or five beds. In order to keep the remay in place the crew has filled hundreds of sandbags to firmly weigh it down at regular intervals along the edge; if the wind catches an edge it blows of like a sail, and since the pieces are roughly 6,000 square fight, that's a mighty powerful force! When things are going well, this process takes about 20 minutes, and row cover is an incredibly effective tool in buying us days or even weeks of expedited growing time by creating a micro-climate for young plants that is a few degrees warmer than the air temperature; it's also a great pest-protection measure from pests that devour spring greens, like flea beetles. Last week we had a day when things did not go so well; we found ourselves on Town Lane working to cover a new planting of cucumbers as quickly as possible before Tuesday's driving rain storm began. We had the new piece completely set up, but evidently not well-enough tacked down, and the wind took it. We were able to save the new piece from blowing away entirely, but we all we could do was roll it into a giant ball and retreat from the fields completely drenched as the wind, rain, and thunder blew across the field. Fortunately, we were successful in replacing that piece the following day, and we typically stop using remay in early June, so we're almost in the clear, just hold on remay (literally)! Growing spring food is hard! The crops are slow, the weeds are fast, the insects are hungry, and the crew is new. So after a couple months of the work described above, we're excited to kick off the season with some luscious greens and radishes that are flourishing in the fields despite the cold spring temperatures and sometimes challenging conditions.
This week's box:
- Pea Shoots
- Broccoli Rapini (so young and tender, eat it raw chopped in a salad or in a quick steam or saute)
- Bok Choy
- Pea Shoots
- Edible Flowers (great on salads)
- Green Goddess Herb Bunch
- 3 Seedlings of your choice (herbs, flowers, and lots of veggies available!)
This week's Cheese Share:
- Fresh Mozzarella from Villa Italian Specialties
This week's Bread Share:
- Selection from Carissa's Breads
**The fruit share begins the week of June 19th
This Week's Recipes:
We farmers think you should make yourself a nice arugula salad topped with a sprinkling of the edible flowers and a fresh dressing made with the "Green Goddess" herb bunch. Our farmer-style approach to herbed dressing is to finely chop (or food processor) the whole bunch (woody stems removed first) and blend with olive oil, apple cider vinegar, a dash of balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. The herbs are very flavorful, so the herb to oil and vinegar ratio is small and you should be able to make enough dressing for a few salads.
If you're into grilling this weekend, try this recipe for pea shoot pesto as a fresh, bright side to any chicken, meat, or fish on the grill. Andy while you're at it, slice the bok choy lengthwise, drizzle in olive oil, salt, and pepper, and put that on the grill too! A few minutes per side, or browned to your liking.