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Sharing Notes from the Field

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Sharing Notes from the Field
This Week's Vegetable Share Harvest:
  • Cucumbers
  • Fresh Basil
  • Zucchini
  • Celery
  • Little Gem Romaine Lettuces
  • Italian (Romano) Green Beans
  • Fresh Baby Shallots
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Eggplant or Slicing Tomato - Members will receive the opposite in an upcoming share. 
  • Sweet Corn - from Didier Farms, Prairie View, IL
This Week's Fruit Share Harvest:
  • White Peaches
  • Blueberries
  • 'Pristine' Summer Apples
What's New at the Farm Stand
  • Masking Request - We ask that farm stand shoppers please wear a mask while inside the farm stand when other shoppers are present. Thank you!
  • Open Daily, Summer Hours (Memorial Day - Labor Day, 7am-8pm), Normal Hours, 7am-7pm
Farm Journal
Good afternoon from the farm!
Jeff and I took a moment to walk the fields together this morning and it was a treat. We generally perform our field reviews separately, because we're each looking for different things. Jeff is looking holistically, noting relationships between plants, animals, and weather patterns, and noticing year-over-year trends to plan for the whole farm. I'm focused on specific crops -- taking notes of pests, diseases, weed pressures, planning upcoming harvests for members -- and I'm known to get distracted with beautiful flowers in the fields! When we can walk together, it is a great time to chat, compare notes in real-time, and share observations with one another. So we thought it might be fun to share our field notes with you, too.
Firstly, like every year, we've had many great wins this season and some failures. Unlike this picture of Jeff and Abbey from 2019, our onions and shallots were severely damaged by thrips this year. We've never struggled with thrips as badly as we have this year, which means we have smaller and fewer onions and shallots to share. The good news is that we've had a wonderful lettuce, cherry tomato, zucchini, cabbage, and beet season so far. With less rain, we've seen fewer diseases in these crops. Besides some nibbling on our green bean plants, the deer population is limiting their lettuce and tomato consumption this season, thankfully!
Secondly, thanks to our summertime team, we've managed to keep weeds at bay throughout most of our crops. While weeding provides the look orderly fields, we weed for many other reasons. Managing weeds with tractors and by hand allows the crops to grow bigger, lessens plant diseases from spreading from weed to plant, and always makes for a much happier harvesting team! 
Thirdly, we need to state the obvious: it's still extremely dry and thusly, we must continue to irrigate consistently. Our weather station on the farm tracks a variety of weather data on an hourly basis. Jeff's recent data analysis allows for many interesting year-over-year comparisons, including rainfall here on the farm.
The average rainfall in our region from March - July is 16.8 inches. In March - July 2020, the farm received 21.5 inches. In March - July 2021, the farm received 6.3 inches. That's quite a dramatic difference! This winter, we'll plan for further changes we need to make to our seed selections, equipment, infrastructure, processes, etc. to handle these types of fluctuations.
Fourthly, despite the lack of rain in the forecast, we're feeling optimistic as the remainder of the growing season is shaping up nicely! The late summer crops are looking healthy as the fall seeds are germinating in the field and greenhouse. Abbey's begun preparing hoophouse soils for winter planting. The team and our friends at Real Paleo are working to preserve the summer harvest for winter. 
The first year elderberries are thriving and the food forest continues to serve as home with a wide variety of birds, animals and insects. The farm is sustaining life, food and hope for us all!
Enjoy this final early summer harvest and look ahead to late summer bounty to come!

From all of us,

~ Jen, Jeff, Tyler, Abbey, Arlet, Ben, Alex P., Peggy, Alex J., Laura, Jack, Silas, Lucas and Owen (and Gavin)
Notes from the Farm Kitchen
To make sure all early summer members receive, we're including sweet corn in shares again this week. The sweet corn in this week's CSA shares comes from a nearby farm, Didier Farm, located in Prairie View, IL. While their sweet corn is not organic, it is local, sweet and delicious
Celery season has begun! Midwestern celery is oftentimes quite a bit different than celery that you'd find in a grocery store from California. Our celery is slightly different in size, extremely flavorful, somewhat firm, and thusly, ideal for cooking or slicing very thin. We expect to celery with members this week and next, so here are creative ideas for using your celery.
Seasonal Recipes in the Farm Kitchen

Zucchini Butter Pasta
Little Gem Wedge Salad
White Peach Tart
Braised Romano Beans
Blueberry Smoothie Breakfast Bowl

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