In this Week’s Box: Strawberries, Zucchini, Dill, French Breakfast Radish, Sugar Snap Peas, Spanish Roja Garlic, Summer Crisp Lettuce, Broccoli, and Spinach
Greetings Calliope Farm CSA members,
Jenni here, filling in for Teva this week for the newsletter. Every so often you will be hearing from me with updates of what’s happening at Calliope Farm, as well as with introductions to the people behind the produce.
This week I’m featuring Brian Hausman, our harvest and packshed manager. Brian’s job entails managing the crew and systems that go into harvesting and handling a diverse array of crops for our CSA, the farmer’s market, and numerous wholesale accounts. When not harvesting, packing orders, or managing the harvest crew, he loves to hoe and prune tomatoes.
Brian, how long have you been farming?
BH: I started exploring agriculture while pursuing an undergraduate degree at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, North Carolina about six years ago. I worked part-time doing vegetable gardening for the college, as well as working part-time at a goat farm nearby. I also worked growing plant starts for a few Spring seasons. In 2014 I decided to jump into farming full-time, working for a large CSA farm in the Hudson Valley in New York. There, I began to learn what it meant to grow vegetables at a production scale. After the Hudson Valley, I moved to Olympia in January 2016 and started working at Calliope around the same time.
I’ve been lucky to experience different scales and ways of production throughout different regions in this country. Growing in North Carolina, New York, and now Washington has helped me see subtle differences in the ways in which plants grow. One of the most appealing things about farming for me is the endless opportunity to always … Read the rest
In This Week’s Box: Bibb lettuce, Garlic scapes, Carrots, Cucumbers, Strawberries, Arugula, and Shelling peas.
The produce that you receive each week is grown at one of our two fields. The Calliope Farm home field is where it all started in 2004, and contains about 5 acres of production area. At the home site we grow a wide variety of smaller succession crops, including the spinach, lettuce, radishes and other small brassicas, salad mix, beans, peas, herbs, and zucchini. As well as our berries, tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers.
This week’s box features a few crops from our leased fields south of Olympia – carrots and garlic scapes. About 3 years ago, Calliope Farm expanded it’s production area to include another 5 acres of fertile soil, located about 10 miles south of Olympia on Case Road. We affectionally call it “Left Foot” after the previous tenants, Left Foot Organics. That field is home to our garlic, potatoes, carrots, beets, broccoli and other large brassicas, chicories, celery, winter squash, and onions.
We hope you are enjoying the produce thus far. As the growing season progresses and warm weather settles in, you will see the change reflected in your box. In the meantime, we invite you to savor the produce that only the early summer season provides.
Happy Eating, the Calliope Farm crew
In This Box: Lacinato Kale, Butterhead Lettuce, Garlic Scapes, Radishes, Sugar Snap Peas, Hakurei Turnips and Cucumbers
Well just like that, the summer produce is here, and I am ready. It was a good long winter and spring of root vegetables and greens, which I love and will continue to eat throughout the summer, but variety is so important to keeping cooks and eaters inspired.
If anyone out there has not yet made the acquaintance of a salad turnip, allow me to introduce you by way of a quote from the Johnny’s seed catalog. This is my preferred method of introduction and one that some of you have, no doubt, seen on this blog before. “Eaten raw, the flavor is sweet and fruity, and the texture crisp and tender. The dark-green, hairless tops are useful raw or lightly cooked with the roots.”
Garlic Scapes are tasty garlic flower buds that are great sautéed, grilled, roasted, made into pesto, or used anywhere you would normally use garlic.
Enjoy these early summer veggies!
The Calliope Crew… Read the rest
In This Week’s Box: Arugula, Chard, Kohlrabi, Bok Choi, Green Onions, Pea Shoots, Butterhead Lettuce and Cilantro
Today we bring you a box of abundant spring greens, perfect for salad and stir fry dinners. Try combining butterhead lettuce with arugula and pea shoots, for a tasty spring salad. These young kohlrabi are tender and sweet and I recommend eating them raw to fully experience their flavor. Use a paring knife to peel away the tough skin and then slice them and either add them to your salad or just snack away on them. They never last vey long in our house. The leaves are similar to kale and can be eaten as well.
Enjoy the greens of spring, as we look forward to vegetables of other colors that are ripening in the fields.
The Calliope Crew
The House Dressing
This is the dressing that our family eats year round on salad. We occasionally make a small batch of balsamic or tahini or honey mustard but always come back to this all time favorite. If I were going to choose just one condiment to make at home, salad dressing would be it. I am convinced that there would be more salad lovers out there, if only they had a homemade dressing to put on their greens. I make a quart at a time but have given smaller measurements here so you can decide if it’s the one for you.
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3/4 cup olive oil
Combine all ingredients in a jar and either shake vigorously or use an immersion blender and blend … Read the rest
In This Week’s Box: Rhubarb, Nettles, Russian Kale, Bibb Lettuce, Radishes, Green Garlic and Yellow Finn Potatoes
Well the spring produce is here and we are off on another year of CSA. I was just looking back on our first share from last year, and wow, what a different season it was. Our first boxes had strawberries, carrots, peas and garlic scapes! This long slow spring means that things are coming on at a slower pace this year, but it means that you get to eat a few of the early things that are often passed their prime by the time CSA begins. One of those things is nettles, the highly nutritious green plant that you also may know by the painful things it can do to your legs when taking a walk in the forest. All the sting goes out of it when cooked, so do not fear, but do keep it in mind when you are preparing them and be sure to wear gloves. Nettles are delicious added to soups, or steamed and drizzled with ponzu sauce, really they can be subbed into any recipe that calls for cooked spinach. Another early vegetable that we love is green garlic. Green garlic is just a garlic plant, that if left in the ground would become a head of garlic in July. It is tender and has a mild garlic flavor. We love to include it in any vegetable sauté, but also like it steamed and drizzled with vinaigrette.
Now onto the rhubarb, a classic spring staple. I doubt I have to tell you about the virtues of rhubarb and I’m sure that many of you have favorite ways of preparing it. I love a good strawberry rhubarb pie or crisp, and this year I made … Read the rest
Sunny weather is forecasted for later this week and the Calliope Farm crew is ready for some dry weather for weeding projects and prepping ground for more seeding and transplants. It’s been a productive spring here despite the wet and cold weather. We’ve been able to plant and prep ground in the dry moments, and keep on top of other projects when it’s raining, all the while harvesting for the market and wholesale accounts. Our market table has been full of stored crops, and field crops that bounced back after the cold winter, in addition to the early radishes and salad mix that we planted in January.
At Calliope Farm we mark the year not only by the meteorological seasons of spring, summer, fall and winter, but also by our CSA and market seasons. April 6th marked the shift from the Saturday-only winter market to the main 4 day per week market season. In another three weeks, our 2017 CSA season will begin. May 23rd is the first Tuesday pick-up and May 27th is the first Saturday pick-up for our Main Season and Full Season members. Peak Season will begin the first week in July.
Our CSA has room for more members, and you can find more information about share types, pricing, and pick-up locations on our CSA Information page. New features of our 2017 CSA include, a 3-month Peak Season Share, 10-month Full-Season that now goes into March, a salad mix add-on, and a new pick-up location at The Little General Food Store downtown.
If you have already signed up for a CSA share with us, thank you!! We hope you are looking forward to another year of happy eating. If you have questions about our CSA, please get in touch via … Read the rest
In this week’s box: Savoy Cabbage, Leeks, Kabocha Squash,
Carrots, Potatoes, Beets, Tardivo, Belgian Endive, Sugarloaf Radicchio
Dear Members, This is the last share of our late season CSA. Thanks to everyone for venturing into the leaner season of produce with us. The new item in this week’s box is our first attempt at Belgian endive, which is of great eating quality even if smaller and looser than we had hoped. We find that our favorite winter salads are based on the trio of sugarloaf, tardivo, and endive. Belgian endive is grown in the field all summer and as winter approaches it is topped and the roots are stored. Mid-winter we replant and force it in darkness in the 50 degree room we store winter squash in, then harvest the regrowth which is extremely tender and void of any bitterness. It takes a diversity of approaches to season extension to keep it interesting in the winter; we force crops, we grown crops under protection, we choose winter hardy crops and varieties, we gamble with the weather a bit, and we stow away huge piles of storage crops. Our farm will be at the Olympia Farmers Market straight on through the remainder of winter, so come find us there until the start of our next CSA season, and here is more information about our growing CSA program:
We hope you have enjoyed your 2016 CSA and are looking forward to joining again this year. We are excited to announce new additions to our 2017/2018 CSA – a new Peak Season share, longer main season and winter seasons, a salad share add-on, and a full-season share that is 10 months long! We have also added another pick-up location, at the Little General Food Store in downtown Olympia on … Read the rest
In this week’s box: Fingerling Potatoes, Shallots, Fresh Thyme, Celeriac, Winter Salad Mix, Red, Orange and Purple Carrots, Purple Daikon and Sweet Dumpling Squash
Last weekend we had dinner with some friends and the way they prepared the squash was a revelation. They were cooking delicata, which is basically a sweet dumpling in a different shape. They cut them in rounds and roasted them, with oil and onions, which is something I also like to do, but they left the seeds right in there! Now I love roasted squash seeds, but I usually spend a lot of time painstakingly removing them from the pulpy squash innards before putting them on their own pan and watching them carefully so they don’t turn completely black. It is a lot of work for a tiny, if delicious, reward. Left in the squash, the seeds were crisp and that inner pulp was also somehow crisp, yet soft. I have yet to recreate it in my own kitchen, but next time we are eating either sweet dumpling or delicata, I plan to try it myself.
You will notice a little bundle of thyme in your box this week. I love fresh thyme in soups and on roast meats and vegetables. I made this salad a few weeks back, there seem to be many versions of it out there, and I thought the best part about it was the thyme and citrus marinade that went on the carrots before roasting. We have really been enjoying the hearty winter salad mix and we hope you will too. At this time of year when greens are generally scarce, it is so comforting to have something fresh and crunchy to eat with dinner. They would work well as the greens in the salad mentioned above.… Read the rest
In This Week’s Box: Carrots, Potatoes, Onion, Garlic, Purple Top Turnips, Sugar Loaf, Radicchio Treviso, Chioggia Beets and Red Cabbage
It’s official, seeds have been planted in the greenhouse! This is the first year that we have been distributing CSA while simultaneously starting the next season’s crops and although there isn’t much winter downtime for us, there is a sense of security in knowing there will be food to eat from one season blending into the next. And even though the new season will bring a lot of hard work, it will also bring us a succession of new treats, starting with baby salad greens, radishes, and turnips and that is worth a lot.
The vegetables this week are mostly familiar winter standbys. I have been making a lot of baked potatoes lately and even though I know that everyone is familiar with baked potatoes, I do know that they kind of slipped my mind for a long time, and when I remembered their existence I couldn’t believe I had gone such a long time without having one. Just in case that also happened to you, I thought I would remind you of the amazing comfort that is a baked potato. Also, there are two members of the chicory family in your share this week, as you may remember, the sugarloaf is quite sweet while the radicchio treviso tends to be more bitter. They will balance each other out nicely when combined in a salad. Purple top turnips go well in mixed root roasts, can be boiled and blended with mashed potatoes, and are excellent raw. If they are a little bit too biter for your palette, try slicing them and peeling off the outer skin, which is where most of the strong flavor is, … Read the rest
In This Week’s Box: Butternut Squash, Yellow Onion, Kohlrabi, Potatoes, Parsnips, Purple Daikon Radish, Radicchio, Tardivo, and Goldrush Apples
Just looking at these vegetables has me dreaming up a sauté of kohlrabi, apples and onions. That’s right, we have apples for you this week. The Goldrush apples are our winter fruit of choice and we have never distributed them to the CSA before. This year we had an abundance on our two trees, plenty to share, and they are tart and sweet, perfect for cooking up for dinner or for spreading with peanut butter for a satisfying snack. I am also pleased to tell you that there is a butternut squash in your box. I love the humble butternut for its versatility and its easiness to peel. I like to peel them, cut them in half and scoop out the seeds, then cut them into approximately 1″ chunks and roast them with olive oil, salt and pepper. I often do this before adding them to a thick winter stew, although, if I must be honest, sometimes most of them mysteriously disappear on the way into the pot. Parsnips are also really good when prepared this way. I know it adds another step to what you are cooking, but the caramelization that happens during roasting, really makes vegetables irresistible. Last week my son ate a purple daikon as big as the one in the lower picture. Half before school in the morning and the other half upon returning home. For those of you who are not quite ready to eat one of those like an apple, please remember that they keep quite well in the fridge and can be added to your salads in small amounts throughout the week.
The Calliope Crew