2016 CSA Week 4

Week 4, June 6 2016 ~by Mandy

Things are growing like crazy on the farm and last week we got a HUGE PUSH of plants in the ground! We are still a
little bit farther behind than I would like...that's why the eternally optimistic farmer always says NEXT YEAR is going to be even better! Today for something different: A little info about….a common question we get, “Are these greens washed?”

Friends, in short, technically, no….no they are not.

One neat thing about CSA is we have an opportunity in our CSA newsletter to delve a little deeper than I often am able to at CSA pickup/market. So. Let's look closer at that question. I'd like to share a little bit with you about the harvesting process of salad greens, dive (just a bit) into food safety, and round it up with a very long winded answer that still doesn't really answer the question.

First, your greens are harvested with Extreme Care. We keep our harvest totes clean. We never set a harvest tote on the ground (!) it either stays on the harvest cart (cleaned every harvest day) or is nestled into another tote which does touch the ground. After being harvested, your greens are cooled in our walk in fridge. Then they are hydro-cooled in our crisp, fresh, well water. We fill clean tubs, soak the greens and then rinse them in our commercial salad spinner.

So, with all the care that goes into harvesting our salad mix, why don't we sell it as “Ready to Eat?” Because in the State of Montana, salad greens would need to be washed in a commercial kitchen to be labeled “Ready to Eat”. And you know what? That's okey-dokey with me. Because selling my greens is a two way street between producer and consumer, selling those greens as NOT WASHED! also protects me as a grower. Food grows outside attached to the ground where there are mice, birds, honeybees, hummingbirds and more in the field … there was a toad hanging out in the arugula last week when I was harvesting. “Hi Mr. Toad, thanks for eating the grasshoppers.” And off he hopped...

I'm very thankful that we have Food Safety Management on the radar at our farm; it's put more intent and focus into our harvesting and post-harvesting, but more than my (TWO INCH THICK) binder full of our food safety plan, what really keeps me motivated to harvest with care is thinking of all of ~you~.

And that's one (of the many) things that is great about buying local. My customers aren't some nameless faceless group of people. They are ~you~ I know you and I see you every week. And I want to provide you with safe, beautiful, abundant, perfect veggies:

Partial Share 
Small Napa Cabbage - 1 each
Salad Mix - Partial Bag
Lacinato Kale - bundle
Cilantro Small bundle
Arugula Partial bag 
Easter Egg Radishes Partial bundle 
Purple Spring Onions Partial bundle 

Full Share
Small Napa Cabbage - 1 med or 2 small each
Salad Mix - Bag
Lacinato Kale - Large Bundle
Cilantro Small - Bundle
Arugula - Bag
Easter Egg Radishes - Bundle
Purple Spring Onions - Bundle

Aren't those Easter Egg Radishes just beautiful? Our middle child actually squealed with delight to find a purple radish on his salad at dinner. If you don't care for the spicy bite of radishes remember you can grill, roast, or saute them. Also, the tops on these guys are gorgeous and would be perfect sauteed with your morning eggs.

I'm sure most of you have heard of making kale chips. A super neat idea (from Tracy!) are these 'Everything Bagel' Kale Chips. Kale is a pretty incredibly diverse vegetable. I like it sauteed or added to stir fry. The kids, of course, like the chips. And the toppings on the “Everything Bagel” Kale Chips make them super yum.

A Napa Cabbage Cole Slaw with Yogurt and Herbs will be perfect for this hot week coming up!

Coming Week 5:
Looks like next week we will have some new things to add including red beets and kohlrabi. We'll see if the dill I planted decides to play along; because dill and kohlrabi are a match made in veggie heaven. Also looks like there will be spinach and red leaf lettuce.

Time, weather, and bugs willing….it's getting' hot out there!