We hope you’re all had a marvelous long weekend! Welcome to all of the new folks who have joined us in the last month. This newsletter comes out once a month to our CSA members during the “preseason” and weekly during the 18 week CSA season. If you would like to read the past issues of the CSA newsletter, I have posted them on our blog at https://sideroadnaturalfarm.com/farm-stories/.
Some logistics…We’ll be starting the CSA around the end of June this season, possibly the third week. We’ll keep you posted on that as we see how spring plays out. As of right now we have many crops ground and are even harvesting a little bit for markets, but we like to wait til we can put at least 8 items in the first bin of the season. Flower shares will start around the middle of July. Many farmers markets have opened for the season and hopefully you can get to your local one to fill your fresh produce void until the CSA starts.
For those of you who are new, you will get an email explaining exactly how and where the CSA pick up happens and other tips and tricks to help the season go smoothly. Look for that sometime in June in your inbox.
The farm has really come alive over the last month and we are swimming in babies babies babies (of the pig, duck and plant variety), We’re high into planting season and it’s been a good one thus far. We planted our first crops around the 3rd week of April and since then have had lots of unseasonably hot and dry weather allowing us to continue on with our planting schedule. We’re still at that awkward point in the season where the seedling greenhouse seems to be filling up as quickly as it is being emptied out…so no rest for the wicked, for awhile anyways.
Our productivity these days is due to our two apprentices who are living and working alongside us for the season. Kayla and Aaron joined us at the beginning of the month and will be here for the bulk of the season. Here they are tackling the shittiest job of the season – cleaning out the chicken coop after a long winter of deep litter (a method of keeping chickens in which you let the poop pile up so that it composts and helps to heat the coop). Both come from Toronto and are interested in learning the ways of the small farm for different reasons. I’ll probably have them write a bit in the upcoming newsletters to tell you all about who they are and why they wanted to apprentice on a small farm. Aaron is writing in his blog about the experience on the farm, which you can read here: http://www.aaronokada.com. You will likely see them around at the markets and certainly at our August CSA picnic (possibly turned pig roast…more on that later).
It is so refreshing to have some new people working with us this season. Pat and I both love what we do but if I am going to be completely honest, we’re coming into the season feeling fairly overwhelmed by the amount on our plates right now what with moving farms, expanding our markets and subsequently production and our first human baby and all. Having Kayla and Aaron here is allowing us to share the workload around and enforcing more structure in our lives, which is something that we have been trying instill since starting on this farming journey. We’re eating much more regular and some seriously tasty meals and I think that is going a long way to keep us all going through the long days.
To finish off this month’s newsletter, I thought I’d throw out a recipe to you folks, just in case all this spring in the air has inspired you to start cooking with fresh, local product again. Many of you know that wild leeks/ramps are somewhat of an obsession of mine. I had no idea that they even existed in this world until we moved here from BC. We just so happen to have a brilliant patch of them at our new farm and we’ve been enjoying them in our dinners for the past month or so. You can probably find them at your local farmers market or specialty stores, if you don’t have your own secret patch…but not for much longer. The photo is from my leek harvesting this evening. I was searching down below the trilliums to harvest them…all the while swatting thousands of mosquitos away from my face. Oh well. The leeks are worth the trouble.
The recipe is super easy and is from epicurious.com. I might throw in some bacon or asparagus in addition to what is listed below.
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 ounces ramps, white and pink parts finely chopped and greens cut into 1-inch pieces
- Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for sprinkling
- 8 ounces dried egg tagliatelle or fettuccine
- Heat the oil in a deep heavy skillet (preferably cast-iron) over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Cook the white and pink parts of the ramps with 3/4 teaspoon salt and the pepper, stirring occasionally, until they are golden, about 5 minutes. Add the cream and the ramp greens and boil until the sauce is slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the Parmesan.
- In a large pot of heavily salted boiling water, cook the pasta until it is al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta-cooking water, then drain the pasta.
- Add the pasta to the sauce in the skillet, along with 1/4 cup of the cooking water, tossing to coat. Thin the sauce with more cooking water, if you prefer a looser sauce. Serve immediately, with additional cheese for sprinkling.