Spring Share #8 Newsletter         May 25-31, 2015

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In Your CSA Box This Week:

Kohlrabi - Crunchy, juicy fresh-eating kohlrabi. Peel off the outer skin, eat like an apple or if you are more civilized or are sharing - slice and eat raw.
Leaf Lettuce - mix of red & green oak, romaine and lollo leaves
Carrots - the ferny carrot tops have a strong herbaceous flavor and can be used as an accent for cooked dishes or salads. Separate carrots from their tops when storing in the refrigerator.
Shunkyo Radishes
Salad Turnips
Swiss Chard -
information on chard is below along with recipes


The kids took time for some bed jumping races between helping transplant tomatoes and helping cover them with row cover. I guess this is our version of Track & Field Day.

Liam & Aidan found this fawn hiding behind our barn when Liam almost stepped on it!

Calendar & Reminders: 

  • This is the last Spring Share box. Please remember to return your boxes.
  • Summer shares start next week. I sent an email reminder of this to all Summer Share members. Please let me know if you didn't receive it or if you have any questions. Next week all weekly members & EOW (every other week) members in Middleton/Madison will receive their first boxes. All other EOW members will receive their first boxes the following week.
  • Wishing you were getting the Summer Share? We still have a few Summer Shares available. You can signup online or email me. 
  • If someone signs up for a share and mentions your name - you will receive a $10 My Fine Homestead voucher! You can use the voucher to purchase any available products we have - more produce, bodycare, maple syrup, vanilla, eggs, beef, chicken, sauerkraut - anything we produce on the farm.
  • Our potluck farm party will be Sunday July 26th from 1 to 4pm. All farm members are welcome and encouraged to come.

On the Farm . . .

what's been happening this week in words and pictures

This week has been busy, but both Bill and I can't help but feel apprehensive about the busy weeks to come.

We've been transplanting crops like tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and eggplants along with successions of carrots, beets, beans, and lettuce with the help of family, friends and our children. As you can imagine everything is growing in front of our eyes - including the weeds!

We like having grass pathways between our beds as they are nicer to walk in when it is muddy, clearly delineate where people walk and where vegetables grow, as well as concentrating our soil enriching compost and weeding efforts on the beds not the walkways.

However this time of year it seems like we spend a lot of time mowing along with the weeding. And of course, this week our mower broke down. After a couple frustrating days of Bill trying to figure it out (times like these are when it is hard to be his wife!) he was successful thanks to a couple helpful phone calls with Jason, his mechanic nephew and buddy. A rocker arm had come loose and bent a rod. He was able to fix it himself (Whewww - not costly in terms of dollars!)  as well as give the kids a lesson in how the motor works. I snuck up and took a picture.

Now we don't feel as stressed about getting the established pathways we have mowed as well as the ones still to be planted in the newly added fields.

Sunday morning while it was lightly raining, Bill applied beneficial nematodes to most of our crops. The type of nematodes we use are a mix of Hetrorhabditis Bacteriophora and Steinernema Carpocapsae. These nematodes are our main defense against crop damaging pests after soil building practices which help ensure healthy plants that are better able to withstand attack.

In case you are interested, here is what Bugalogical, our source for nematodes, says about them and how they work:
Though they are harmless to humans, animals, plants, and healthy earthworms, beneficial nematodes aggressively pursue insects. The beneficial nematodes can be used to control a broad range of soil inhabiting insects and above ground insects in their soil inhabiting stage of life. More than 200 species of pest insects from 100 insect families are susceptible to these nematodes. When they sense the temperature and carbon dioxide emissions of soil-borne insects, beneficial nematodes move toward their prey and enter the pest through its body openings. The nematodes carry an associated bacterium (Xenorhabdus species) that kills insects fast within 48 hours. The bacteria is harmless to humans and other organisms and cannot live freely in nature. Several generations of nematodes may live and breed within the dead insect, feeding on it as a food source. When the food source is gone, they migrate into the soil in search of a new host. When the pest population is eliminated, the beneficial nematodes die off and biodegrade. Beneficial nematodes are so effective, they can work in the soil to kill the immature stages of garden pests before they become adults.

We used them last year on our fields and were pleased with the results. Bill mixed them with water and sprayed them on the ground around the plants or on beds soon to be planted. The light rain helped them move down in the soil where they will live.

We feel good about using practices such as these to produce healthy food.

If you have any questions or are just curious about how we grow your vegetables - please let us know. We welcome the discussion along with the opportunity not only to explain but to find out your concerns.

We have enjoyed sharing the Spring season with you through our produce. Thank you for you membership in our farm!

Swiss Chard
Chard is high in vitamins A, E and C and minerals like iron and calcium. Minerals are more readily absorbed from chard than they are from spinach, chard also contains no oxalic acid, an element present in spinach that tends to bind minerals and render them unavailable during digestion.

If leaves are large and mature (about the size of your hand), you can still use them in salad - slice into thin ribbons and combine with softer greens like lettuce. If cooking chard, remove the leaves from the stems by folding the leaf lengthwise and cutting alongside the center stem as they need to cook about 4 - 6 minutes longer than the leaves. Both stem and leaves are typically cut into diagonal pieces.

Here are some common ways to use chard:

  • Saute with butter
  • include in stir-fries
  • use in any recipe calling for spinach
  • can be sauted, steamed or braised
Store chard in a plastic bag or wrapped in a damp towel in the hydrator drawer of your refrigerator.

Swiss Chard Pie
From Asparagus to Zucchini

1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 Tbl oil
1 bunch Swiss Chard
6 eggs
1 c shredded cheese
1 tsp salt
2 pie crusts


Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Brown onion and garlic in oil. Trim and chop chard, add to pan, and cook down until wilted. Beat eggs in a bowl; mix in cheese, salt and chard mixture. Pour into pie crusts; bake until knife inserted into center comes out clean, 30-40 minutes. Makes 2 pies.

Fried Rice with Pork and Vegetables
(The Four Season's Gardeners Handbook)

4 large fresh Swiss Chard leaves
1 lb boneless pork (shoulder chops or country-style ribs) or beef or lamb 
or go meatless
2 Tbl toasted sesame oil
2 Tbl peanut oil
4 medium carrots, scrubbed not peeled, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 Tbl finely chopped ginger of 1 tsp ground dried ginger
5 or 6 white salad turnips
* 2 Tbl fermented black soybeans (optional)
4 c cooked brown rice (from 1 1/2 c uncooked), cooled to room temperature
6 green onions (green & white parts), cut into 1 in pieces
soy sauce for serving
Tabasco or your favorite hot pepper sauce for serving

1. Separate center stems of the chard from the leaves. Slice the stems diagonally into 1-in pieces. Cut the greens into roughly 2-in squares.

2. If using meat, cut into 1/2-in cubes and blot with paper towel to dry surfaces.

3. Heat the sesame and peanut oils together in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add half the meat. Saute, stirring or flipping the pieces with tongs so they brown uniformly, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a bowl and repeat with the remaining meat. Leave the oil in the skillet.

4. Put the chard stems in the skillet, and add the carrots, garlic and ginger. Cook over high heat, stirring frequently, until the carrots have started to soften, about 5 minutes.

5.A dd the turnip and soybeans and cook for 2 minutes.

6. Add the rice, green onions, chard greens, and the reserved pork. Cook, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pan with a spatula to keep the rice from sticking, until the rice is heated through and the greens are slightly wilted, about 5 minutes.

7. Serve right away, passing the soy sauce and Tabasco at the table.

* fermented black soybeans are small and soft, with a pungent, salty flavor like that of soy sauce. Adding just a few will give a dish a unique zing. they can be found in Asian groceries or ordered online, and will last at least a year in the refrigerator.

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