It's week 2! But since we are welcoming our biweekly pickup members this week, we'd like to repeat our housekeeping section at the top of this newslettter.
At the bottom of this newsletter, you'll find a list of share contents, but we always write our updates first so that you can truly feel that you're a part of this farm and come to understand the contents of your share each week!
Don't forget to bring your bag for pickup! Delivery members, you'll be receiving a bag this week. Please remember to leave this same bag with your cooler outside so that we can pack into it next week. We'll leave your share in a cooler that you provide on your porch. If the cooler is in a less obvious location, please email us and let us know where to find it.
For biweekly members, the title of this blog post is coded as "2P" - that means that it's week 2 of the program and it's a pickup (P) week. Next week will be "3D" meaning that it's week 3 of the program and a biweekly delivery (D) week.
Balances are due upon your first pickup.
There may be some substitutions in your share this season, depending on availability. When we plan for the week ahead, the box contents listed in the newsletter are what we intend to harvest. Sometimes Mother Nature throws us a curveball, which may affect harvest quantities or quality and force us to make a substitution. Though we may need to substitute an item in your share, we are committed to providing the same value of produce in your share. We will do our best to tell you about a substitution at pickup, but please feel free to email us and ask if your box contents are different than expected.
Remember that we will hold your share for 24 hours after your pickup day (Monday for Saturday members), and then it will be donated to a local food pantry. With more members than ever before, we don't have the cooler space to hold onto shares longer than this.
If you need to skip your share for the week, or change your pickup day, you must provide us with 48 hours notice since we pack shares the day before pickup. Once your share has been harvested and packed, we can not cancel your pickup.
Although shares are not customizable, feel free to use the veggie swap table to change out one item of your choice each week, if you'd like. Remember that part of the fun of joining a subscription program is trying something new. We highly recommend trying a veggie first before deciding to swap it out.
It feels like the summer season is gaining traction now. This week we're bulk harvesting a lot of our cooler weather crops to get them into storage. Napa cabbage, broccoli, kohlrabi, escarole, and lettuce all need to come out of the heat or they'll rot or "bolt."
You'll hear us use this term a lot this season. "Bolt" means to "go to seed," so if you've heard either of those terms, they're interchangeable.
Put simply, every single plant's goal is to reproduce. Cooler weather crops like greens and roots that don't tolerate heat well are in danger when temperatures start to rise. Since they can't survive the heat, they become stressed out and frantic to reproduce before they die. They'll then begin the process of generating seeds to secure the next generation of the crop.
Here's an example of what that looks like:
See how those heads of escarole have funny-looking points shooting up from the center? At the very top of those escarole towers, there will be escarole seed pods. The escarole is sensing the temperature swings and doing whatever it can to reproduce.
We talk about this so much because it affects our crops probably more than any other process on the farm. We have lost entire crops of greens overnight due to bolting. We can try to water the plants to keep them cool, but more often than not, the process of going to seed takes over and the plants are gone in an instant.
Remember the broccoli rabe from last week? Here I am among the broccoli rabe flowers, scrounging to piece together bunches. Those yellow flowers are the broccoli rabe florets that opened up literally overnight. We planned last week's shares to include spinach and broccoli rabe because we knew it wouldn't last much longer.
Sometimes bolting affects the flavor of crops and makes greens very bitter. So home gardeners, beware! Most of the time we feel that there isn't a huge difference, but we always check for bitterness before we include an item in your share.
Long story short, this week, broccoli is on the harvest list, but we truly can never guarantee that sensitive items like this won't bolt or rot literally overnight and ruin our entire plan. Broccoli is probably my least favorite crop to grow for this reason - it's so finicky! Fingers crossed that we won't need a substitution, but we'll try to let you know if one is needed.
These massive bowling balls in your share this week are called Napa cabbages. Be sure to read all about them in our Library of Resources.
Last season, Randy's mom Dawn's napa cabbage slaw went viral in our Facebook group. (P.S. If you haven't joined us, please do so here!)
Here's a recipe for that incredible slaw.
The beautiful thing about this slaw is you can add whatever you want to it: radishes, cucumber, peas, kohlrabi, scallions. Be sure to post your variation in our group to show it off!
You'll definitely be able to get a couple of dishes out of your head of cabbage this week, and believe it or not, it's one of our favorite greens to grill at home:
We toss ours in olive oil and season it with salt and pepper, garlic and onion powder, and a touch of red pepper flakes. Then we grill it on high for about 15 minutes. It makes a flavorful, crunchy (and surprisingly filling!) side dish.
This week, sugar snap peas made it into your share! We're really excited about that since we know it's nice to get a respite from eating all leafy greens. No need to shell or de-string these peas. You can eat them raw (maybe even with dip!) or quickly stir-fried, steamed, or blanched.
Squash and zucchini are here, too! Small share members are receiving one small squash or zucchini, and large share members are receiving one large size squash or zucchini. From time to time, you'll see that the newsletter will say "____ or ____." Unless otherwise noted, this means that which item you receive is dependent upon our farm's availability. There will be chances to choose an item during structured opportunities such as "grab-a-green," "pick-a-pint," and "select a winter squash," but we'll explain those further when they arise. We appreciate your flexibility in accepting whichever crop you receive this week.
Greenhouse tomatoes are also starting to ripen! Last year was the first year that we grew greenhouse tomatoes, and we might have been able to share 1 or 2 in boxes in July. We hope to have enough to share with you, but we promise we'll see plenty of field tomatoes beginning around week 8 of the program. Whatever greenhouse tomatoes we harvest will be in the store.
Save the date for the Great Garlic Harvest on Saturday, July 16th! This was an awesome community-building event last season. We welcomed members to the farm to pull up garlic and spend time together. Unfortunately, if it rains, we'll have to get the garlic up during the week, so there will not be a rain date. Fingers crossed for good weather! As this date approaches, we'll discuss the details more.
This past week, we seeded all of our pumpkins and gourds for the fall.
We grow jack-o-lanterns, specialty pumpkins, edible pumpkins, and a variety of little gourds. This year we're also growing a little bit of ornamental corn... and popcorn!
All of our farmers' markets are now underway. You can find Steve and Henry at the following:
Trumbull Farmers' Market at the NIA ballfiends on Thursdays from 4 to 7
Monroe Farmers' Market at the Monroe Town Green on Fridays from 3 to 6
Shelton Farmers' Market on Canal Street on Saturdays from 9 to 12
In Your Share (Listed approximately from shortest shelf life to longest)
1 pint of peas
1 head of lettuce
1 head of romaine
1 head of broccoli
1 large squash or zucchini
1 bunch of scallions
1 head of Napa cabbage
1 pint of peas
1 head of lettuce
1 small head of broccoli
1 small squash or zucchini
1 head of Napa cabbage
Caring For Your Share (All of this information, plus long-term storage info, can also be found in our Vegetable Library of Resources)
Store lettuce, romaine, and Napa cabbage in a plastic bag in the fridge, shaking out any excess water first.
Most sources will recommend wrapping a head of broccoli in a damp paper towel in the fridge. We think the less air it's exposed to the better. Open air causes it to wilt fast. You can try putting your broccoli in a plastic bag in the fridge and using it within the week. Wash when ready to use.
Store scallions roots-down in a glass of water in the fridge, like a bouquet. Cover the greens with a plastic bag. Or, store in a plastic bag in the fridge and use within the week.
Store snap peas in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer of the fridge. Remove stems and wash when ready to eat, within the week.
Store squash or zucchini in the crisper drawer of the fridge for approximately a week. Wash when ready to use.
The LGF Cooking Club
30 Minutes or Less:
Large Share Additional Ingredients:
Biweekly Catch-Up (A copy of last week's updates)
Now seems like the perfect time to introduce you to the crew members who harvest and prepare your veggies every week! On Tuesday, we'll send out an email with their bios so you can get to know them a little better.
For those who don't know, Randy and I (Victoria) operate Laurel Glen Farm. Randy is the head farmer and is responsible for all aspects of planning and caring for the crops grown here. I'm the voice of our communications and primarily responsible for packing your shares every week. If something is ever missing or the quality of an item slips by us, please send us an email. We're always happy to rectify our mistakes.
P.S. You can feel super comfortable addressing any emails to Victoria - I'm the one who writes to you!
This is our son Peter, who turned 3 in May. Though we don't post about him a lot, you can sometimes catch him in the store or around the farm on Saturdays. He loves to say hi!
Here are the crew members who make Laurel Glen Farm complete! Ethan, Carly, and Harmony are pictured first, because they are the most likely to see you at pickup. Click the arrow to scroll through the gallery.
This is Dawn, Randy's mom, who is also in the store on most Saturday mornings.
We can't wait to get to know all of our new members!
It was a super productive week on the farm. We finished last week not quite completing everything we had set out to do, which was a yucky feeling. This week we finished planting leeks and shallots, replacing the eggplant that was decimated by woodchucks, weeding the beets, and planting basil, which we had hoped to do last week.
This week we actually got so far ahead that we were able to weed our beans, onions, carrots, tomatoes, husk cherries, and eggplant, which is an awesome feeling. Weeding is usually the very last thing on our to-do list and often feels like a bonus if we can get to it. This season we pushed the start of our program back two weeks from when it typically begins, and Randy has really felt like it was the right thing to do. We were able to finish so many of our major projects and can focus primarily on harvesting now that we have 235 members in our Main Season program - the most ever!
Also accomplished this week: seeding all of our butternut, acorn, kabocha, delicata, spaghetti, and hubbard squash for the fall.
After the heavy rain on Wednesday night and Thursday morning, look what happened to our tomato field!
This is one of the lower spots on our Waverly Road property, so it's not a surprise that this happened. Here our crew members are finishing tying tomatoes up, and they're troopers, huh?! There was no damage to the crop, just maybe to some socks...
Although there aren't enough snap peas for shares this week, our crew members have been steadily harvesting what's available. Feel free to shop for pints of snap peas in the store, and cross your fingers for a full harvest next week!
Check out all of the amazing dishes our Extended Season members cooked with their cress! We harvested cress for the first time ever a couple of weeks ago and we challenged our members to share a photo of what they made with it. One thing we love about this program is that sometimes we find a trendy recipe and our community cooks it together, and sometimes we prove how diverse a crop can be and all of the incredibly different dishes you can make with it. This is a prime example of that!
Since all looked delicious and I received the submissions, I asked Randy to blindly choose a dish to win. He picked Jackie's sweet potato, bacon, onion, and watercress salad! Jackie was the winner of a bottle of Dash 'n Drizzle oil or vinegar of her choice. We thank EVERYONE who submitted to our contest! We host little contests like this over the course of our program, and we hope you'll join in!
One of the best tips we can give you about any root crops you'll receive this season, such as radishes, kohlrabi, carrots, or beets is this:
The first thing you should always do with them is twist off the green tops from the roots, right around the area of the rubber band for bunched items. To store them, you'll place them into Ziploc bags to keep them fresh. Separating the roots from the greens ensures that the roots stay firm.
But, don't throw those greens away! You can eat radish tops, kohlrabi greens, and even carrot greens. In our Library of Resources, we include a couple of recipes about what you can do with greens, like make Radish Top Soup. However, anything you would do with greens, you can do with these tops. For example, sprinkle the radish greens into a salad for a little extra zip, or throw them into a stir fry. They can be tossed in with egg salad, or wilted into a soup during the last few minutes. For carrot tops, you can even make chimichurri or pesto! Keep this in mind to make the most of your share this season. And if you're ever at a loss, just Google it: "radish greens recipe" should do the trick.
This wraps up our first newsletter of the season. Be sure to visit our Vegetable Library of Resources before you meal plan each week. There you'll find information that will help you identify your crops (like the kohlrabi!), understand how to store them, and inspire you with tons of recipes! We recommend meal planning as soon as you read the list of contents below. This will help you to avoid food waste!