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Newsletter
Spring Share #1
March 30, 2016

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Announcements:

Spring Share dates & times:
Middleton - every other Wednesday March 30, April 13, 27, May 11, 25  2-6pm @ 3417 John Muir Dr 
Madison
- every other Wednesday March 30, April 13, 27, May 11, 25 2:30-7pm @ Fit Moms Transformation Center
Madison - every other Wednesday March 30, April 13, 27, May 11, 25 4-7pm @ 2825 Wayland Dr
Spring Green - every other Friday April 1,15, 29 & May 13, 27 12-5pm The Office Market


Previous editions of our newsletter are at https://www.facebook.com/pages/My-Fine-Homestead/145013635612327 
Spectacular sky at sunset from our fields. (photo credit - Liam Meyer)

Table of Contents 
 (Click on the links to go directly to an item or scroll down.)


 

In Your Box

Spinach - almost a lb See recipe in this newsletter.
Red Russian Kale - 1/2 lb This kale has flat, scallop-edged leaves and a chewy texture. Store in plastic bag or wet towel in your fridge. De-stem large leaves before using. To use in salads, massage with your dressing to tenderize. De-stem and chop leaves. In a large bowl, rub your dressing in the kale, trying to get your hands on every leaf. The leaves will darken and become silky as the kale's tough cellulose structure breaks down.
Sorrel - 1 bunch  Green with a citruslike sour brightness. Store in a plastic bag or wet towel in your fridge, and sorrel will keep for a week or even longer. Slice larger leaves by stacking and slicing into thin ribbons and add to salads. Or prepare wilted. Stir wilted sorrel into cooked pasta, bean or grain dishes after they've been removed from heat. Sprinkle over hot chicken, fish, or meat. Also good in creamy soups, where it adds viscosity, making the addition of flour unnecessary.

Creamed Spinach
Serves 4 as a side dish
I tablespoon butter
1 medium-size onion, peeled and finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 to 1 1/2 pound fresh spinach, any large tough stems removed
1/2 to 3/4 heavy (whipping) cream
Pinch of nutmeg
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. In your largest saucepan or pot, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until it is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
2. Add the spinach, cream, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the spinach is wilted and tender, 5 to 10 minutes. (It may help to cover the pan for the first 2 minutes or so, to reduce the volume more quickly. If only some of it fits in the pan, keep adding the rest as it cooks down.)
3. Transfer the mixture to a food processor or blender, in two batches if necessary, and puree. Taste, and add more salt if needed. Serve hot. (If the spinach is not to be eaten right away, you can return it to the pan for reheating over low heat.)
On the Farm . . . what's happening this week in words and pictures.
We are making the switch from Winter Shares to Spring Shares this week. This includes welcoming new members to our farm . . .  and saying good-bye to others, either for the season or for longer. People’s lives change, and sometimes CSA isn't the right choice for whatever reason.  The McMillan family was inspired by their Yearly Membership to make their dream of owning a farm come true. Now they will be growing their own produce. We feel proud and excited for them and wish them the best.

Unexpectedly, Bill is still adding to our syrup harvest. Because our sugar bush is down in a steep and narrow ravine, it hasn't warmed up the way most other locations have. While it will mean more syrup, it takes away from the time he has available to make soil blocks, work in the fields, water in the greenhouse, make repairs, etc. He always pushes himself this time of year, and the last week has been no exception!

And now more than any other time there’s more paperwork. I'm busy processing new member information, answering questions, and organizing our records. It’s also my job to keep us on schedule and to continuously review this year’s crop plan revising as necessary. 

Since our seed starting greenhouse isn't finished yet, we have growing lights, shelving units, and tables filled with flats of seedlings set up in our living room. Every few days more flats come out of the germination chamber and encroach on our space. It is a little challenging to maneuver around the trays of tiny plants.

Sound overwhelming - sometimes it is. Don't get me wrong, the planning and potential of this season feels great. We are certain this will be our best year yet! Our seeds are germinating and growing well. We are better organized. We have new techniques (new to us) and some new tools to help us be more efficient. And we have new workshare members to help us.

Through the view of our rose-colored glasses, we realize the chance there may be some disappointments. Heck, the weeds may get away from us once in a while. (Wink, wink!) Even so, this will be a better year because with every growing season, we learn more about vegetable farming and encouraging the soil structure of our farm, both of which are conducive to growing abundant crops. 

We also become wiser about ourselves and about sharing responsibilities. Working under a deadline, around - and sometimes through - harsh weather, dealing with sudden obstacles like an unpredicted frost, packing produce late into the evening for the next day's delivery, or dealing with a broken part on our tractor strips away the protective layers we wear most of the time. Bill and I get down to the nitty gritty of both our business and our relationship.

It seems to be an opportunity not only for the growth of our farm but for us personally. It’s a time to re-dedicate ourselves to our goal – working together making a living growing nutritious produce.

Well, let's just say . . . we are deep in that process right now. And while I'm certain we are growing - sometimes it is stressful. We are tired and a little overworked. We get frustrated with each other. How could you forget to do that? Why did you do that? Did you move the tool I was using? You do chores today. Okay, then you make supper tonight! Arghhh!

Fortunately for us, the stress of Spring is coupled with promise and hope. Kind of like when a new baby is born. Its soft skin, endearing coos, and enticing baby smell help new parents make it through the sleepless nights, mountains of dirty laundry, and seemingly endless nursing sessions. Being out in the sun, smelling the fresh air, seeing earthworms working in the soil, watching seedlings sprout and stretch toward the light, and having people sign up for our shares helps Bill and me keep our focus. It helps us catch ourselves when our tone gets sharp and our words harsh. The wonder of it all helps us be kind to each other. And, ultimately, that is our most important goal.

Have a good week,

Stacey
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32727 Byrds Creek Valley Dr.
Blue River, WI 53518

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