Middle Way Farm 2015 CSA - Week 5
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What's in the Share

For Delivery Wednesday, July 1

Standard Share
Broccoli - 1 head  - $3/head or 2 for $5
Carrots - 1 bunch - $2.50/bunch
Cauliflower - 1 head - $3/head (Standard Share Only) 
Cabbage, Chinese - 1 head - $2.50/head 
 or 2 for $4
Green Beans - 1 bag (~1 lb) - $3.50/bag
Kohlrabi, Green & Red - 3 bulbs - $1/bulb or 3 for $2.50. $1.50/jumbo bulb or 3 for $4
Salad Mix (baby lettuce) - 6 oz. bag - $3.50 or 2 for $6
Snap Peas - 1 bag (.5-1 lb depending on harvest) - $3/bag

Swiss Chard - 1 bunch - $2.50/bunch 
Available for Custom Order
Beets - $2.50/bunch
Cabbage - $2.50/head - Choose green, red, or savoy (green crinkled leaf) 
Kale - $2/bunch or 3 for $5 - choose Lacinato (flatleaf heirloom),Redbor (red curly)

Seconds* Produce
Salad Mix (seconds) - 6 oz. bag - $2 or 2 for $3.50
Kale (seconds) - $1/bunch or 3 for $2.50

*Seconds is a term we use on the farm to describe produce that is not marketable or is leftover from CSA packing, farmers market, etc. This is usually the produce that the crew and I eat. The only thing to be aware of is it will be older and have reduced shelf life than the "firsts" you normally receive, hence the reduced price! Offering seconds is a way to cut down on some of the waste of dealing with a lot of highly perishable produce and while giving you a cheaper price for a still perfectly good to eat product. 
Available for Bulk Order 
  1. Turnips - $1 per pound. 2 lb or 5 lb bags. 
  2. Kohlrabi - $.75 each. 10 bulbs

Berry Patch Farm Fruit Share
Black Raspberries - 1 pint

Every other week share - ODD Number Week

Sandy Hill Farm Egg Share

Every other week share - ODD Number Week

Plant Starts Available for Custom Order

All plants are $2 each or 3 for $5

Aroma - Hybrid green Italian type, slow to bolt
Rosie-  Beautiful purple leaf hybrid, flowers readily. Ornamental and edible. 

Perennial Herbs 
Rosemary - $3.50 per plant
Garden Sorrel - early season, perennial lemony green
Winter Savory - perennial version of summary savory

Flat leaf - Italian type
Dear CSA shareholders,

Early in the season I had commented that the rains had been very timely. We would get a moderate amount of rain, enough to water crops and germinate seeds, and then a nice stretch of clear weather to dry up the soil and allow more field work and planting, followed by more timely rain. This pattern persisted from late March until early June, but since then its been wet, with only one day of tractor field work possible since June 8, and probably none until early July. As soon as the soil begins to dry out, we've gotten rain on top of saturated soil, as we did this morning. 

While the wet soil delays plantings, prevents weeding, and makes for muddy harvesting, it has not yet been disastrous. I am very lucky to farm on a flat-topped ridge, which means that we get little downhill erosion but also that standing water drains relatively quickly. The fields also have good air circulation which dries out soil and plants. We also have been lucky in Grinnell to avoid the worst of the past month of storms. Some areas have gotten twice as much rain as we have. As usual, I continue to ruminate in my third season of growing on how to better plan for next year and build more resiliency into my farming system for the inevitable challenges of rain, wind, heat, cold, pests, weeds, and more. 

Your farmer, 


Interdependence Day

When I was 21 years old, I spent two summer months at Green Gulch Zen Center and Farm in northern California. It was a very formative time for me. Not only did I experience their 4 acre organic farm (the first time I had spent significant time on a vegetable farm), but I also worked in the kitchen, where they practiced true farm to table, seasonal eating. That summer I also discovered an interest in wild edible foraging from another resident who led an impromptu walking tour of the property. All those experiences were pivotal in launching me on the trajectory that led to starting a farm. I think many of us can think back on brief, liminal experiences such as these and see their reverberations still echoing through our lives. 

One of the many things that has stuck with me from that time at Green Gulch was the way they celebrated 4th of July. They called it "Interdependence Day," which was a tongue-in-check way of subverting the uncritical exceptionalism of "Independence Day," to make the holiday more reflective of Buddhist values. Since then I have always thought of the 4th as Interdependence Day, a day to celebrate our connection with everything else, rather than a day to exclusively celebrate our separation from other nations. I think we too often focus on our independence, our individuality, our singularity, as a nation and as individuals rather than how blurred the lines actually are between us and the rest of the world.

I think a lot about interdependence in agriculture. The name Middle Way Farm is really meant to reflect on that interdependence, in that I am seeking to finding a middle way between human control and natural pattern, trying to find a way to learn about and respect the complete interdependence of these two factors. The research that has come out in recent years about the importance of microbial communities in the soil for plant health and in our guts for human health are obvious examples of how what we think of as an individual human or a plant are actually composed of and supported by billions of other organisms. 

Food is a very clear way of seeing our complete interdependence with other living things. We are literally composed of molecules from the foods that we (and our mothers) have eaten. The atoms in these molecules have been in existence since the start of the universe. We are made up of everything else. Author Paul Greenberg (who I have quoted in the newsletter in previous years) wrote "we can have no more intimate relationship with our environment than to eat from it." I believe this notion of intimacy truly gets to the heart of how local food can bind us to our surroundings, commit us to our local environment and communities, and make it plain that we exist only through the support of everything around us. 

So while we celebrate the traditional 4th of July this weekend, I hope we will also think about how the necessary counterpart to our independence, whether its as a nation or as an individual, is our interdependence, which binds us to together much more deeply and strongly than any fleeting sense of separation might. 

Place Your Custom Share Order!

What's New in the Share

Cauliflower - Due to limited planting size, cauliflower is only available to the standard share. Cauliflower is excellent roasted as 'steaks' and also used very well in Indian cooking. Like many vegetables (as with green beans below), I prefer them roasted rather than steamed or boiled. Here is a roasted cauliflower recipe I have used in the past that I've enjoyed. 

Rainbow Chard - A close relative to beets, rainbow chard is a variety that expresses many different color stems in the same planting, so that when picking I end up with bunches of mixed color stems. The stems resemble celery and can be chopped up and eaten along with the leaf (like beet greens). Chard is good sauted along with its chopped up stems in butter or oil with onions and garlic, finished with balsamic and other vinegars and soy sauce, and served as a side dish. Its also great wilted with pasta and added to soups.  

Green Beans- I'm excited to have green beans in June, a first for me. This is the start of a long green bean season that should stretch all the way into September and even early October. I enjoy green beans roasted more than steamed or boiled. It brings out their full flavor and I love the slightly crispy rather than mushy texture. The Recipe of the Week is a basic method for roasting green beans. You can also add bread crumbs and parmesan. Green bean pate is another unconventional but delicious way to eat green beans. 


Oven Roasted Green Beans

1 1/2 pounds green beans
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Trim the ends of the green beans and add to a large bowl.

Toss with the extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper and spread out evenly on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Roast, stirring once halfway through, until lightly caramelized and crisp tender, 12 to 15 minutes.

What's on the Horizon...What's on the Way Out

All the spring kohlrabi has been harvested. This probably will be the last week of it in the standard share, but it will continue to be available by custom order, along with spring turnips, for several weeks. 

The final planting of spring Chinese cabbage  will be harvested this week, and it will be the last time it will be in the standard share until the fall. Red and savoy cabbages will be in the box in future weeks. 

I'm going to hold off at least one more week on new potatoes, due to the muddy soil. 

Spring onions will be returning next week as we continue to thin out onions from the patch. Garlic harvest should commence within the next few weeks, but until it does there will be a short gap in garlic availability. 
Two gold finches in the herb garden. Its been great this year to observe and listen to the increase in bird population and diversity on the farm with the addition of the alfalfa-clover hay field.
Along with beneficial insects, pollinators, and birds, snakes and amphibians are another key part of the healthy farm ecosystem that help keep pest species in check. 
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