It is HOT this week folks! As I write this at 6:30am the field crew has already been out for a half hour, opting to come in extra early to try to beat the heat. This year’s crew is small but mighty (only eight people full-time) and has been getting a lot done despite not there not being many of them. Remember that every item in your box was hand seeded, transplanted, weeded, harvested, washed, bunched, and packed by our extraordinary crew!
Today (and every day, seven days a week) the crew starts with the harvest to get food out of the field while it’s still cool out. As heavier “solid food” starts to come in (cucumbers, zucchini, eggplant, soon to be tomatoes) we change the way our crew does the daily harvests. Early in the season our harvests mostly consist of leafy greens and roots, which we harvest by the quantity we need - based on how many CSA members are picking up, what our kitchen orders, and what we think we’ll sell in our market. Some of these are quick “one hit wonders” that we plant in multiple successions like head lettuce, bok choy, radishes, scallions: one cut or pull and that’s it; we try to plan and plant “perfectly” to have just enough to not run out but not waste excess (which is nearly impossible to nail down) but whatever we can’t sell/spoils/gets taken over by weeds or insects in those multiple rounds gets either harvested and donated or tilled in as organic matter, and we know there is another round of that crop right behind it. Those crops are cheaper and faster to grow than peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant that we’re starting to bring in now. Our plantings of these solanceous crops went in the ground starting in late April and throughout May and June; we’ve been caring for them since then and they are just now ready for harvest. Because these types of fruiting plants have a longer harvest window of a few months, we try to keep them as healthy and productive as possible for as long as possible, so we harvest what’s ready every day, rather than what we think we’ll sell or distribute of that item in a given day. Our crew lingo for this type of harvest is a “walk.” For example, “zucchini walk” means take everything that’s ready. We schedule our walks based on the productivity of a given crop; we walk the cucumbers and zucchini every day, tomatoes every other day, eggplant and peppers every three days. We then store the “walked” crops in our bulk cooler, and pull from those bulk bins as needed for CSA, market, and kitchen (eggplant and peppers will be in the box next week!). All of this is coordinated by our Field Manager, who spends an hour each morning before the crew arrives creating a detailed harvest sheet, separated by field (we split up on our two fields) and destination (CSA, market, kitchen, etc). The sheet gets distributed to crew members and our wash station so everyone has the same information about what food is going where. Managers act as harvest captains on each field, dictating the priority and order of the harvest and how frequently to make drop offs back at our wash station, where another manager choreographs washing and packing priorities. We start with leafy greens and bunches, get those to the shade of the wash station, and end with the walks. We try to do all of this before lunch, so we can all break at the same time and then shift into field work in the afternoon. So many logistics! We hope you are enjoying what our fields and crew have had to offer so far, there are many hands that contribute to the packed box, thanks for supporting us as we work to grow delicious, healthy, and beautiful food for you!
This week’s box:
Hakurei Turnips (Japanese salad turnips, use raw in salad or take a look at the recipe below)
Basil (big bunches for pesto!)
Open in U-Pick (all areas open for picking are marked with a blue and white stake)
Herbs (chives, mint, oregano, lavender)
This week’s cheese share: Mecox Bay Dairy Sigit (gruyere style cheese)
This week’s bread share: Carissa’s Honey Oat
This week’s fruit share: Blueberries and Yellow Peaches from Briermere Farms