Monday, June 28, 2010

A short berry season

Note: We do not offer PYO berries at this time (2015)

So much go talk about this week and so little time....

Let's start with the strawberries. The first flush of berries was marvelous and the outpouring of customer support was unprecedented. Due to articles like the one in the LATimes and this one by Avery Kamilla in the Portland Press Herald, about pesticides and berries, people are really tuning in to clean food. Despite the strong support, Mother Nature had another plan. We saw the effects of 3 frosty May nights as the remainder of the blossoms set. The fruits were damaged, presenting a "cat face" appearance, meaning the bottoms of the berries were wrinkled. When the frost hits berry plants, depending on the stage the fruit is in, it will damage the fruit. We thought we had been saved this crop loss, but alas, we too lost some of our crop (some farms north of us lost ALL of the strawberry crop) ....thus the early end to the pick-your-own season. We did not do as well as last season, despite the better picking weather and the increased interest, due to the fact that we closed the field early and the last flush of berries were so small, making harvesting the fruit a real chore.
The damaged berries are edible just underdeveloped. We managed to get some more berries out of the field for the CSA this week, though they are small, and wrinkly cat-faced.

U-Pick Berry Signs back in the barn for another year....
Other news includes a stellar release on Friday night of Meet Your Farmer, now available online. Please forward this series of 8 films far and wide to encourage support of our Maine growers and possibly move more folks closer to considering farming as a life plan. We had a lovely time mingling with farmers and supporters and friends. Flora's first night out to the movies included her first debut as a movie star. She thought this was way cool.

Finally, I'm (Stacy) is on a personal mission to increase sales of MOO Milk. Maine's Own Organic Milk is produced organically on a handful of farms in Northern Maine. They created a bottling and distribution cooperative this past winter to market their milk when they were dropped by their former distributor. As dairy farmers, they face great challenges, most obvious is the federal regulations on milk prices (why doesn't his exist for bottled water and oil?). Marketing for the MOO Milk cooperative has been challenging without a budget for advertising. Therefore, I have taken it upon myself to visit a different grocery store every time I need to buy groceries and ask to speak with the dairy case manager. I ask this person why the MOO Milk is not more prominently displayed on the shelf and explain, in more detail than they probably care to hear, the importance of helping these farmers succeed if we want to have milk produced in Maine available for purchase. Today, I followed the chain of command to the corporate level, calling the man in charge of dairy products at the corporate office. He didn't call back but had Bo Hamlyn, of consumer affairs call back. I explained my concerns and he agreed to do some research to find out what is possible. And, he did call back. He explained that the organization of the dairy case is not planned for review or change any time in the near future, meaning MOO Milk is stuck at the bottom of the case. Next step.....I'm going to ask you all to call Hannaford and explain your concerns....and to buy MOO Milk at the store. It's organic, pasteurized but not ultra-pasteurized and available at Hannaford stores and Jordan's Farm Stand in Cape Elizabeth. Show these farmers we want them to be viable and start choosing MOO Milk. E-mail Bo Hamlyn or call him at 1-800-442-6049 and tell him how important it is to you to see these farmers succeed and encourage him to display MOO Milk more prominently. Let's work to make the demand for MOO Milk strong!

Other news of the week: Stacy's first big flower gig of the season went great and there should be an abundance of flowers from here on out for weddings and the flower CSA.

The van loaded with blooms...

This week's share:
Mustard Greens
Herb Bouquet (chives, oregano, sage)
Salad Turnips

We are serving up two notorious greens this week: Kale and Mustard greens. Veteran CSA members learn to love both of these greens, whereas new members are plagued by the simple problem of not knowing what to do with them. Both can be cooked in similar ways, but they have different personalities.

Kale is a cool season crop, but is fine in spring and summer too. Several ways to cook it: sauteed, in soup, or as a topping for pizza. My favorite right now: Not cooked, just pounded with a mallet, with a bit of lemon juice, vinegar and salt tossed in- it sounds strange but the kale gets tender and juicy and flavorful with what amounts to pre-chewing it!

Mustard greens are a warm weather green, as common as collard greens in southern cooking. Last night I stir fried them with ground beef and lots of good herbs and spices.
If you find a good recipe, post it to the Broadturn Farm Facebook page.
Epicurious is a great recipe resource that we use often.
But the main attraction with these greens is that they are the embodiment of healthy eating. "Eat More Kale!" is a bumper sticker you will see as you drive through the hip parts of town.
As we leave the month of June, we can start to look forward to veggies that will fill us up-- squash is coming along, onions are growing, and there will be those amazing tomatoes soon enough!
But these tender turnips are substantial eating too: our new favorite variety, Hakurei salad turnip...
Blessing on the meal,
John and Stacy

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