Winter CSA Week 1: November 6th
Winter CSA Week 1: November 6th
Hello members! We hope you all are doing…..well? It’s a pretty uncertain and stressful day, but there are still some beautiful veggies growing to remind us that we will go on! We are happy to welcome you all to the farm for the first pick up (or delivery) this Friday, November 6th from 3-6. Here’s what will be in your shares:
-Thai Chilis (slightly dried)
Fennel is usually a crop that we do not grow very successfully. It starts going to seed and getting too tough once the weather gets warm in the spring or gets taken by a frost when planted in the fall. This fall, however, we got the nice large bulbs and softer consistency that we’ve been aiming for. I think extra watering sessions and the cooler consistent weather we saw through September and October really gave them the optimal growing conditions. We also got them covered with frost cloth before they could get cellular damage from below freezing temperatures. The fennel is growing in the small caterpillar tunnels in the 15th Street garden. It’s so pleasant to crawl into a cozy tunnel filled with fuzzy looking fennel!
I love fennel for roasting, sautee, or shaved as a salad. The fronds are great to garnish or mix into a salad but since they are so huge they can also be turned into vegetable stock. Also in this week’s share are fennel seeds. They are not completely dried so they still have that fresh anise flavor, but work well for sprinkling on some roasted vegetables or chicken. We hope you can get creative and enjoy the delicious and distinct flavor or fennel!
Also in your share this week is spinach and lettuce. Get ready for lots of winter greens over the next couple of weeks! Just a reminder that the compostable bags we distribute the greens in are great for the environment but awful for keeping greens fresh. I suggest transferring your greens into a reusable plastic ziploc bag or sealable bin. This will ensure that your greens will stretch as close to two weeks as possible.
I have attached a recipe from my favorite cookbook Ruffage. All the members who were a part of the summer CSA know I love Abra and her approach to cooking vegetables. I think this would be great with a nice spinach salad on the side!
I thought for the first newsletter I would explain our different winter growing techniques! We use five types of protected growing: hoop house, green house, caterpillar tunnels, mini caterpillar tunnels, and frost cloth (with supportive hoops). Our hoop houses are the large structures covered with plastic. These are not heated but the plastic keeps the inside temperature about 10 degrees warmer than outside, or about one growing zone warmer. We use frost cloth (pretty much a permeable blanket for plants) inside of the hoop house in very cold months to get about 15 degrees warmer temperatures for the plants. Our greenhouse (the smaller structure on 15th Street) is heated with a simple natural gas heater, but we do not have soil or in-ground growing. This is where we grow all of our transplants, so it is just filled with benches for the trays of plants. In the winter we grow some microgreens in there, so you can look forward to those! Our large caterpillar tunnels are down the street and are a more simple version of the large hoop houses (a metal structure with plastic covering). They do not hold heat quiet as well but are still great for growing carrots and other cold hardy vegetables while being much more cost effective.
The mini caterpillar tunnels are just rebar pieces pounded into the ground with arched plastic piping attached to make a tunnel. We then cover it with the frost cloth mentioned earlier and weigh it down with fire hoses and sand bags. These are only on 15th Street but protect our fennel, chard, collards, and root vegetables from the cold. We also use frost cloth with one foot high metal arches on our salad greens and root crops in a few different fields. The salad greens under frost cloth alone may not make it much beyond the end of November, but last year we harvested radishes and turnips straight from the field through February and March! It’s amazing what a little protected growing space can accomplish.
We look forward to seeing you all on Friday and hope that we have some good political changes to celebrate!
Amy and Andy