CSA Week 4: June 28-July 2

*The first meat share is this week!*

Did you know that cows with names make more milk? Every December The New York Times Magazine has its “Year in Ideas” issue. One entry in particular caught my attention last year; a study of British dairies found that cows with names produce, on average, 6% more milk than cows without names. This struck a particular chord with me given the amount of time I’ve spent coming up with names for the little piglets here. The study did not conclude whether this fact was causation or simply correlation (the cows with names probably received better care and more attention than those without names) but either way, I have to agree that our animals (many of which have names) taste much better than those unnamed animals you encounter in the supermarket.

On that note, let me introduce you to Flo, our eldest sow here on the farm. Flo is the mother of Randy (our other sow) and Saturday night, she gave birth to 12 new piglets (Congrats to Tim for winning the farm pool about how many piglets Flo would have; his confidence earned him a maple creamie courtesy of the rest of us).

Flo nursing her piglets in their farrowing hut.

A well-deserved mud bath break. Pigs don’t sweat so in order to cool off, they take mud baths.

The piglets playing in their hut.

Flo came to the farm 6 years ago and has been a very good mother in her time here.

Right now, it sort of feels like we’ve just gotten over the hump. All the squash, peppers, tomatoes, and potatoes have been planted for the their and the first group of meat birds is in the cooler and freezers. Everyone is pretty tired and would love a break, but that’s not really how farming works. The rain we’ve gotten over the past week has resulted in an explosion of weeds. Meanwhile all the heat has the greenhouse tomatoes out of control and in desperate need of clipping. Then we need to make sure we don’t fall behind with successional seedings of beets, carrots, and a variety of greens. Fortunately, we now have a little time to deal with these things.

On to this week’s share:

* Monday we didn’t have enough cucumbers for all the small shares to get the cucumber they were promised last week so some small shares received Broccoli instead of a cucumber. Friday smalls should receive cucumbers.

Preparation Tips:

Pretty straightforward veggies this week. Check last week’s entry for ideas on scapes and bok choy.

Beets – Check last week’s entry for ideas about using the beet greens. Beets are very versatile, great both raw and cooked. I really like grating them raw in salads, either by themselves or with some greens and other veggies (cucumbers, etc.). They also are great boiled or they can be chopped up, tossed with some olive oil and salt and roasted in the oven or (if you don’t want to use your oven on these hot days) on the grill.

Scallions – These can be sauteed just as you would onions or they would be great stir-fried with your bok choy, garlic scapes, and zucchini along with a little soy sauce and ginger root.

Lettuce – Everyone knows what to do with lettuce but some people might not realize how easy it is you make your own salad dressing. I’ve never really found a bottled dressing that I like so I always find myself coming back to this simple, delicious, and healthy dressing.

Maple Vinaigrette
3 tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tbs Maple Syrup (the darker the better!)
1 tbs Red Wine Vinegar (Balsamic works too but its sweetness sometimes masks the maple syrup)
1 clove garlic, chopped (or try a finely-chopped scape instead)
Dijon Mustard to taste (I usually use about a half-teaspoon)
pinch of dried herbs (Basil, Marjoram, and Oregano all are great)
salt and cracked pepper, to taste
Throw it all in a jar and shake it up. This recipe is very easy to scale up (that’s never enough dressing for the farm crew here), I just always keep the basic 3-1-1 oil-maple syrup-vinegar ratio.

Parsley – Parsley is a very nutritious herb. It has more vitamin C than oranges and more vitamin A than carrots. Its often used as a garnish and is great on potato and rice dishes. It also is excellent in soups and stews. For something a little different, try tossing some of your parsley into your salad or add it to your stir-fry toward the end.

That’s it for this week. As always, comments, questions, and feedback of any kind is much appreciated. Have a good 4th!.

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