Down on the farm: We are taking new members through the end of January, so welcome to some new subscribers who are starting this week! Being a CSA member can be challenging at times-let us know if you don't understand something. Our original members didn't have the resources of the internet which we have now, so we used to include recipes and some tips on using some of the vegetables. We rarely do that now, but there are some of our favorites on the subscriber page of our website. (www.veggies4u.com The password this year is cilantro.)
Speaking of challenges, I often notice on the websites of other CSA farms that they include more leafy greens and herbs than we do, and fewer of the "fruiting" crops. In general, greens are easier, faster, and cheaper to grow, especially in the cooler climates where most of the CSA farming is done. Our past surveys always found that tomatoes, broccoli, and corn were the most popular vegetables among our subscribers. So we have generally tried to include only one type of greens in small boxes and 2 in large ones. It's obvious from what you buy as extras that more of you now appreciate the health benefits of greens and have learned to prepare and enjoy them (even though kale would still not be in the top 5 most popular vegetables!)
So this week everyone will get lettuce and spinach, and arugula in the large boxes. This should be easy for most of you to handle, since spinach is good as a raw or cooked green-and can even be frozen, if you want to save it. Due to the recent favorable weather, we just happen to have a lot of nice spinach. Most of it will be bigger, not baby, spinach, so we are not able to wash and dry it, since our spin dryer breaks the big leaves too much.
At the same time, I'm sorry that we are not going to have many big greens (chard, kales, and collards) for those of you who buy them as extras. We have just cut so many of them recently and they are not growing back very fast in this cool weather. So, it should just be a 1-2 week shortage. If you can use more baby greens instead, we have good supplies of them. That's because we plant them more often than the big ones, and, of course, it doesn't take as long for them to be ready. If I had known the demand for big greens was going to be so high, we would have planted more 6 weeks ago. We've been doing that for a couple weeks now, but it takes time to catch up.
We're also going to do something we rarely do: have a 'special' price on something. That's because one of the companies who grows their tomato varieties here harvested their trial this week. The varieties they develop are generally grown by farms which produce for the large commercial market. These farms harvest what are called "mature green" tomatoes and treat them with ethylene to ripen them. That's because firm, immature tomatoes can be shipped easily and the ethylene treatments will ripen them all at the same time. It's just more convenient for the producers and buyers of these tomatoes-most are institutional or commercial buyers who want all their tomatoes to always look the same (such as schools, cruise ships, and large fast food companies). Since these plant breeders want to treat their crops in a similar manner to how those farms would be harvesting, they harvested a lot of green tomatoes last week. So, that explains why we have a lot of them! New subscribers may wonder if we are treating these tomatoes, or any tomatoes we grow, with ethylene. We aren't-at least not artificially. Since ethylene is the main ripening chemical produced and given off by ripening tomatoes (and bananas, and apples, etc.), when we put our tomatoes into our closed cooler, they actually are giving off ethylene and causing other tomatoes and anything else we put in there to ripen.
Also, whenever I mention variety trials and plant breeding, some want to know if there are any genetically engineered varieties here. That answer is also NO.
Thanks for all your orders for the Culturful fermented vegetables. We hope you enjoy them as much as Donna and I have. (We got free samples-aren't we lucky!)
What's in your box this week: cherry tomatoes tomatoes bell peppers lettuce spinach fennel arugula (large boxes only) green onions (large boxes only)
Enjoying your veggies: As far as I can remember, this is the first time we have put fennel in all boxes. Like many people, I always thought I wouldn't like fennel, since I don't like licorice/anise. But the anise flavor in fennel is so subtle that I found I did like it-roasted or raw in a salad.
Around our area: This Friday evening we are participating in an event called Palm Beach EATS, sponsored by the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association. Chefs from local restaurants, assisted by culinary students from local schools, will prepare food using products from local farms and other local food producers. The event will raise money for scholarships for culinary students. It will be at the new West Palm Beach Hilton on Okeechobee. There is more information at the FRLA website: https://www.frla.org/event/palm-beach-eats-2018/
Our annual Subscriber Open House will be February 10th and 11th. This Open House is not open to the general public, but subscribers are invited to bring friends and family. Each of those days, there will be farm tours at 9AM, 11AM, and 1PM. Tours usually last about an hour, or slightly longer. We try to keep the tour groups to less than 50, which is why we ask for reservations.
There is also a potluck lunch at noon each day. If you want to come share lunch with other subscribers, reserve your spots in either an 11 AM or a 1 PM tour, so you can eat after or before your tour. If you will be joining us for lunch, you don’t have to tell us what you’re going to contribute to the potluck-that's why it's called potluck! (But please do contribute-if you don't have time to make something, bring some good bread or a deli dish or dessert.) We just eat what everyone brings and always seem to end up with a good mix of main dishes, salads and other side dishes, breads, and desserts. (Sometimes it seems to be a little heavy on the desserts, but I haven't heard any complaints about that!) We supply the drinks, plates, and eating utensils.
The only requirement for that weekend is that you do reserve your spot in a tour group. Please e-mail your reservations to Donna at firstname.lastname@example.org . We need to know 3 things: 1. your name (not the names of everyone in the party-just the subscriber who is making the reservation); 2. the TOTAL number of people in your party (please count the children, too); 3. which DAY (Saturday Feb. 10th or Sunday, Feb. 11th) and the tour TIME (9, 11, or 1) you wish to attend. Donna will send you a confirmation within 2 days. If you don't receive that from her, please check with her again to be sure she got your reservation. And, if you need directions to the farm, she can send those to you, also. As the time gets closer, I'll add more information about attending the tours.
EXTRAS: The best way to order extras is to email Donna at email@example.com 2 PM the day before you get your box. If you are ordering later than that, please call 561-638-2755 and leave the message on the machine, since we don't always have time to check email in the mornings. (Those ordering for Monday boxes should call and leave a message, since you don't receive this list in time to order by email.) From Culturful.com Please order 1 week in advance order! Beet Kvass 12 oz. bottles $3.50 3 liter (100 oz.) "pouches" $25 Snappy Carrots 16 oz. Glass Jar $8 Made from Organic Carrots, Red Onions, Garlic, and Ginger. Their gingery, umami flavor will go well with your salads, sandwiches and wraps or as a tasty snack. Savory Beets 16 oz. Glass Jar $8 Made with Organic Beets, Red Onions, Garlic and spices. They have a tantalizing savory taste and beautiful color. Enjoy as you would any crunchy condiment and use the ruby colored juice as a vinaigrette for your favorite salad or have as a "gut shot". Zippy Tomatoes 16 oz. Glass Jar $8 Made with Green Cay Produce's own homegrown Cherry Tomatoes, Celery, Red Peppers, Garlic and Dill. They are garlicky and simply dill-icious!!! Eat straight from the jar or add some zip to your fresh vegetable juice, gazpacho or even a Bloody Mary. Turmeric Cauliflower 16 oz. Glass Jar $8 Made with Organic Cauliflower, Carrots, Celery, Red Peppers, Red Onions, Garlic and Turmeric. It has a beautiful golden color and taste that will complement any dish.
Locally grown Flowers : Probably none avaiable for a while now: Caribbean Exotics, Delray Beach: long-stemmed Heliconia-large, impressive "ginger" flowers $20 plus tax (most stems are about 3' tall) If it gets too cold in Delray Beach, these tropical flowers may not be available. These cut flowers require earlier orders since we don't keep a supply of them here. We order just the number of bouquets that we need from the nursery.
McCoy's Honey-raw, unfiltered, locally produced http://www.mccoysfloridahoney.com/ 3 lb. plastic jug $14.00 each (orange blossom, palmetto, or wildflower) 8 oz. bee pollen $12 12 oz. honey bears (orange blossom only) $4.50 each
LeDuc "Flavor Pict" Honey (some hives are on our farm, some are in Loxahatchee) Honey 1 qt. (3 lb.) glass jars $17 2 lb. glass jars with comb $18 For honey connoisseurs: a limited amount of a specialty honey. This "mustard honey" was made when the bees were collecting nectar from wild mustards in The Glades. It is a light colored, very sweet honey. 2 lb glass jars with comb $23
Extra tomatoes Tomatoes (round red ones) $2.50/lb. Tomatoes, plum types $2.50/lb. SPECIAL: Green tomatoes $1/lb. Cherry tomatoes-red and yellow mix (or just one color) $3/sandwich bag 'Sauce' tomatoes-these are tomatoes which are small and/or have more flaws: cracks, bruises. If you buy them, plan to use them within a day or two. They are sold only in a 20 lb box for $15.
Sweet Peppers Green bell peppers
Hot peppers (sandwich bag with 4-5 peppers-mix or match. $3. NOTE: We don't have many of the "really hot" peppers.) Jalapenos Datil peppers-small yellow hot peppers (https://www.slowfoodusa.org/ark-item/datil-pepper) Almost out of these for a while: REALLY HOT peppers: chocolate (color, not flavor!) Bhut Jolokia; red 'scorpion'; yellow 'Scotch bonnet'
Microgreens, sandwich bag $3 (mix may contain radishes, arugula, purple kohlrabi, red pak choi, broccoli, and/or red kale)
Baby greens 8 oz. bag $3 'Elegance'-a colorful, slightly spicy mix of mustards and some Asian greens 'Red Russian' kale 'Tuscan' kale (also called Lacinato or alligator kale) Arugula Spinach
Larger greens $3/bag (large bunch or head) Temporarily out: Collards Chard- green or red stems-or a mix Curly kale-green Tuscan kale NEW! Escarole NEW! Frisee endive
Herbs (some are from our farm, some from Pontano Farms) $3/bunch basil ?? (there isn't much available in these temperatures) chives cilantro dill garlic chives mint specialty mints: peppermint, orange mint oregano rosemary sage "tarragon" thyme
Lemongrass $3 for 1/2 lb. (about 5 stalks)
Other vegetables from our farm: Fennel bulbs $3/lb. (1-2 bulbs/lb.)-tell us if you want the tall fernlike leaves left on Eggplant: round ones or small skinny ones, or a mix $3/lb. Watermelon radishes 3 for $2 NEW! Green onions, bag of about 6 $2