After many cold and rainy days the weather has warmed and we have enjoyed sunny conditions in which to work. We had been slowed by the rain, prevented from working in the fields by excessive moisture in the soil, but the recent succession of dry days has allowed us to get back on the tractor and back in the fields. We have fully incorporated the spring cover crop, and where last week there were undifferentiated swaths of lush rye grass there are now rows of carefully formed planting beds. Into many of these we have planted the summer crops that will thrive on such warm days as we have had: tomatoes, eggplant, squash. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. The cool temperatures that preceded these days of heat were ideal for our spring crops, and it is those we are harvesting this week for our first CSA distribution of 2011. The spring greens--kale, bok choi, arugula, and more to follow--were kept comfortable by the overcast days and influx of water, and are now invigorated by the warmth and sunlight. They have grown well, and we're proud to offer them in a share that is fully appropriate in size and content for the season.
Last week, as the weather began to turn, I went to dinner at a friend's house in Dover, and afterward, in the dark nighttime of a warm day, I could see that a cool mist had moved into the air. I turned on my headlamp and rode my bicycle toward home, and as I rode particles of moisture seemed to rush toward me within the parameters of my light and then over my head or past my face, stars in a tunnel. So it is with the year. Yesterday it was March 1st and we were sowing the first seeds of the season in a greenhouse surrounded by snow, today we are harvesting from the plants we sowed that day, tomorrow will be a cold morning in October and the season will have moved past us, over our heads and on toward someplace dark.
That was not meant to sound gloomy. It was a roundabout way of saying: Welcome to the 2011 Dover Farm CSA season! There is a lot to look forward to, and it is all approaching quickly. Thank you for being a part of Dover Farm this year, and thank you for taking the time to enjoy each week of this CSA season with us.
The share this week:
Red Russian Kale
Purple Top Turnips
Scallions or Leeks
Notes about the food:
* I might as well get this out of the way during week 1: I am inordinately fond of vegetable juice. I wake up in the morning excited to make vegetable juice. Late this winter I bought a vegetable juicer, my thought being that eating vegetables is something I love to do, and making juice would be an enjoyable new way to do so. So I bought a juicer, and I now own exactly two kitchen appliances: 1. Tea Kettle and 2. Vegetable Juicer. I'm practically ready to set up a household.
I mention this because greens are among my favorite things to juice, and this week and in weeks that follow we will be providing the CSA with an abundance of leafy greens. I made the juice in the picture with kale, arugula, and turnip greens, all of which are included in this week's share. Sweetened with a few slices of apple and a carrot (ginger would be good, too), it's practically a milkshake for vegetable lovers, and if you have a juicer (or a quality blender and a strainer) it's a fun thing to do when you have a large amount of greens on hand. If you want to talk about juicing, find Jonathan during distribution.
* The turnips in this week's share are a variety called Pruple Top, named for the purple blush of their shoulders (the rounded part of the roots nearest the greens). You'll notice that the turnips this week are extremely small--we are harvesting them at this size because we sowed them heavily, and in order for the remaining turnips to grow bigger, they need room. So you can expect larger turnips in future shares, but for now treat them as cooking greens with a small, edible root.
* Bok Choi and Red Komatsuna are asian-style greens similar in every way except their color. The crunchy stems and tender leaves make a nice textural contrast when chopped together into a salad, and the colors compliment each other nicely if the two plants are served together this way, or if stir-fried together.
* Thank you for checking this blog. It will be updated once a week with a list of what is in the week's share, notes from the farm, tips and recipes about the food, and pictures. It is intended to be a resource that keeps you connected to the farm and helps you enjoy the CSA to its full potential. We encourage you to read it regularly!
* For the first several weeks of distribution, Joshua and/or I will stay near the distribution stand so that we can introduce ourselves, explain the pick-up routine, and answer any questions you may have. We look forward to meeting new CSA members and saying hello to returning members whom we haven't seen for many months.
* This week and every week we invite you to take a walk around the farm while you're here. You can see the food where it grows, get a preview of crops that are in the ground and will be harvested in future weeks, and visit the chickens.
* We ask that you bring your own bags for the produce. We will have some bags on hand in case you forget, but by not providing bags we keep our costs down and reduce the amount of waste produced by the farm. That said, if you ever have paper grocery bags, plastic grocery bags, or egg cartons that you don't need, please feel free to leave them with us. We will make good use of any and all such things.