Mendocino Organics Vegetable CSA – Tuesday, July 24
In Your Share This Week
- Summer Squash
We have a late edition of the weekly CSA newsletter! This week’s harvest was a lot for the three of us to harvest, minor farm injuries and all. Apologies if you got to the distribution site on time and the vegetables were not there yet! This time of year, harvest is a big job, and we are feeling the labor pinch. Since we did not have as many CSA sign-ups as hoped for, we had to trim our budget, including not hiring part-time labor to help on busy harvest days. But, with better planning and time management, we should have next week’s harvest done on time.
Now that summer squash is here, expect it to be here for a bit. Aside from mixing them in with stir fry dishes, have you tried a summer squash sauté? Check out this easy one from Bon Appetit. Not only a mandolin, but a regular grater with medium-sized holes works well.
Need more ideas for the cabbage? We found this great compendium of 10 Recipes That Remind Us Why Cabbage Is Awesome
The big cabbage leaves are perfect for rolls!
Notes from the Field
While it is hot hot hot out, our cool-weather crops are still producing well, thanks to lots of irrigation. We would very much prefer that it were in the 80s and 90s, rather than the 90s and 100s we’ve been having. We did not anticipate such early high heat, hence no ripe tomatoes yet, but they are on their way! We usually get ripe field tomatoes in August at the earliest. Right now, we are keeping them weeded and trellising them with highway posts and twine. Since our first foray into baling hay, we have a lot of hay twine from badly made bales to repurpose.
If you know anyone looking for cheap certified-organic hay mulch, we have a lot for sale. $5 per 70-lb bale. It’s cattle-filler quality, so probably not good for any pampered horses.
We finally got our sheep moved out to Potter Valley irrigated pasture, guardian dogs in tow. The four boer-cross goats went with them; they had a shocking experience learning about electric fence, but everyone is very happy to be on fresh green pasture. And construction on the new sheep barn and corral are well underway. Many thanks goes to Golden Vineyards for financing this much needed infrastructure. This barn will be very important for the vegetables. With ample cover from the winter rains, we can keep the sheep barned while the majority of them lamb. After a month or two, we can collect their manure, make compost and put nutrients back into the land, feeding the soil which will feed the crops. While the sheep are barned, we will feed them much of the hay that we just made this summer. A few years ago, we used to have to buy hay to feed our sheep, and now we are much more sustainable, spending less money on land rent and pasture/hay management instead.
We have many seedling trays with fall crops seeded and will start them in a different way this year. Usually, we really struggle to get broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, etc. to germinate and thrive in the high heat of Inland Mendocino summer. Plus, at Heart Arrow Ranch, we are surrounded by wild spaces with birds and mice looking for anything green during the dry summer that they love attacking the seedlings. It’s usually very management intensive starting fall seedlings, with constant misting and pest control. So, we’re taking about 30 trays (over 3,800 seedlings) to Noyo Food Forest in Fort Bragg to live in their propagation greenhouse for a few weeks. There, in the coastal climate, we should have much better fall seedling germination. Just for comparison, Accuweather says that it’s currently 91F in Redwood Valley while it is 66F in Fort Bragg. There is a reason why many of the organic greens you see in the grocery store come from the Central Coast of California, and Salinas is called America’s Salad Bowl. We are figuring out a trade-for-rent of some kind (possibly supply meat for a fundraiser) with Gowan, the farmer and educator at Noyo Food Forest. They have lots of workshops and community events, and we encourage you to check them out.
Mutually beneficial relationships among biodiversity on the farm and in the community are everywhere, and that’s what keeps our farm going!
Adam & Paula
sheep barn construction
plums ripening at Heart Arrow Ranch
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