THIS WEEK'S HARVEST
Heirloom & Slicing Tomatoes, Sweet Peppers, Celery, Zoey Yellow Onions, Italian Late Softneck Garlic, Broccolini, Red Russian Kale, Amara Ethiopian Kale, Lemon Cucumbers, Striped Armenian Cucumbers, Olympian Cucumbers, Summer Squash and Zucchini, Rainbow Carrots, Sarah’s Choice Cantaloupe Melons (Kayta’s favorite), Esmee Arugula, Little Gems and Red Butter Lettuce
Husk Cherries See week 8’s newsletter for harvest tips
Cherry Tomatoes: See week 7’s newsletter for harvest tips
Frying Peppers: Shishito, Black Hungarian, Padrón / See Week 2's newsletter for harvest tips
Jalapeños: Located below the frying peppers
Pickling Cucumbers: LAST WEEK * 2 gallon season limit * See below for instructions
Wild Blackberries See week 8’s newsletter for locations
Herbs: Italian Basil, Tulsi Basil, Thai Basil, Purple Basil, Italian Parsley, Rosemary, Lemon balm, Lemon Verbena, Perennial Cilantro, Annual Cilantro, French Sorrel, Onion Chives, Garlic Chives, Shiso, Tarragon, Oregano, Thyme, Chamomile, Mints, Dill, Anise Hyssop
Flowers! We have a new planting of cosmos and zinnias planted to the left of the cherry tomatoes.
On Tuesday we started distruting canning and 2nds tomatoes in bulk on the back table. We are running preserve tomatoes at a 15 lb season limit this year, meaning starting now, members may take 15 lbs from the back table total this season. You can take your 15 lb allotment all at once, or in smaller increments (7lbs this week, 8 lbs next week, for example).
Don’t wait too long though, the tomato avalanche will only last a few weeks! We’ll have a scale out for weighing, and a clipboard to check off if you’ve taken your share. Please bring your own bag or box to take them home.
We are retiring our first planting of Italian basil which means it’s PESTO TIME! We each share to take home two whole basil plants from the old planting. Just snip the plant at the base. (Make sure you’re in the old planting. The new planting is located on the left side of the garden when facing the mountain.)
ThE LAST WEEK OF PICKLING CUCUMBERS
Last week’s heat wave precipitated the end of our pickling cucumber planting. If you have not picked yet there are still a few good quality cukes to be found out there.
Picking instructions: Bring something you can estimate 2 gallons with, or one of the white buckets below the sign-in table to pick into. Find the pickling cucumber bed out on the farm marked with yellow flags. They’re in the far left field near the corn. Comb through the plants gently, doing your best not to step on the vines or the adjacent bed. The ideal sized pickling cucumber is around 4 inches long and 1 inch thick. Bigger is great. Please don't pick them much smaller than this so they can size up for the next pickers. If you use the farm bucket, please transfer your cukes to another container and put the bucket back below the sign-in table.
Check out Kate Seely’s tried and true pickling cucumber recipe for pickling instructions.
BRAMBLE TAIL MILK HERDSHARE
As many of you know, this land is home to Bramble Tale Homestead, a grass fed raw milk herdshare and a true Sonoma County local food gem.
Raw milk — from healthy cows raised on grass — is a nutrient-dense and alive food, containing active nutrients, healthy fat & protein, immune factors, vitamins, minerals, enzymes & healthy bacteria. The Jersey cows are rotationally grazed through the grasslands of this diversified and collectively owned land, playing a vital role in the regeneration of the landscape by sequestering carbon & creating habitat for wildlife while feeding our community.
Their herdshare program works similarly to our CSA where member-owners of the herd receive a portion of the milk produced by the herd each week. They also offer a value-add share (think yogurt, feta, and fresh cheese!)
It’s an incredible experience, trust us, we’ve been members for 5 years!
For more information email Aubrie and Scott: firstname.lastname@example.org
CSA member Leanne Sarasy will be selling her beautiful lavender products in the barn from lavender she grows just down the road!
She’ll have dried Grosso lavender bunches ($5), hydrosols ($5), bath soaks ($10), & dried sachets ($5) available. Please bring cash.
HEARTH FOLK SCHOOL
We’re rich in amazing neighbors here at Green Valley Farm + Mill. Our newest, the Hearth Folk School, offer workshops and series classes on skills such as willow basketry, hide tanning, fiber arts, woodworking, blacksmithing, timber framing, and more. Check out their website to learn more.
Upcoming classes include:
Fiber Basketry: August 30th
Beaded Earrings: September 1st
Hide Tanning: September 4th - 8th
Fiber Basketry: September 9th
NOTES & REMINDERS
Dead heading: Whenever you are picking flowers, it is helpful to the plant and the garden to snip off any dead/wilting or spent flowers that you see. This allows the plant to focus on new blooms for next week!
More Eggs in the Creamery: Aubrie set up a relationship with Green Star Farm, a wonderful West County pastured egg and meat producer, in order to meet more demand for eggs in the creamery. Let us know if you don’t know where to locate the eggs. Thanks, Aubrie!
Pint Baskets: Please remember to return / re-use your farm pint baskets.
VOLUNTEER WEDNESDAYS, 8:00-10:00 AM
Interested in some farm therapy? Come out on Wednesday mornings to help us tend the garden and farm together! Find us in the garden or out in the main fields on Wednesdays from 8:00am 'til 10:00 am. People of all abilities welcome, we’ll find something comfortable for you to do!
Bodies, Faces, and Food
We have a great harvest for you this week with some scrumptious newcomers: Everyone's favorite melon (Sarah's Choice), everyone's favorite cucumber (Striped Armenians), celery, an exotic brassica bursting with flavor (Amara Ethiopian Kale), and a beautiful new variety of arugula.
It was a slightly weird week out here. On Tuesday, Anna tweaked her back. It was freaky at the time, but luckily, it seems it was of the less-serious variety. Anna's feeling strong again and was back in action today.
Missing Anna for just a few days highlighted a couple things we already knew: 1.) Anna is completely integral to the functioning of this farm. And 2.) Small farms like ours are completely reliant on bodies. Healthy, happy, human bodies.
One of the things we love about the model of CSA we practice here is that it puts a face on those bodies. It allows the faces that eat the food get to know the faces that grow the food and vice versa.
But what's the deal with this crazy model with its upfront payment and free-choice and 2nd tomatoes and u-picking? Where did it come from?
After World War II, agriculture changed drastically. The mechanization and industrialization of the war turned inward into industry and food production. Farms got bigger and more mechanized; family farms were put out of business; food importing, exporting, and shipping exploded; supermarkets became dominant; even rural communities began losing the neighborly connection to the sources of their food they had once taken for granted.
In reaction to this, people in Japan and Europe began forming groups around a single farms to sidestep the facelessness of food. (Legend has it that one of the first formal such arrangements was a group of Japanese women organizing with a local dairy farmer to get fresh milk... hey, Bramble Tail!).
In Europe, these arrangements interwove with and were influenced by the work of Rudolph Steiner (an Austrian philosopher who inspired Waldorf Education and Biodynamic Agriculture). Steiner believed that good farming and good land stewardship were so important to our survival and well-being that maybe... just maybe... we should not subject our farms, farmers, and soils to the cut-throat forces of global capitalism, but steward them as communities and see to their good care so that they might provide for us in perpetuity.
Lots of people agreed.
When it came to food and farms, Steiner thought we should be asking, "What do you need from me to grow me this apple while taking care of the soil, the tree, and yourself," rather than, "How cheaply can I buy this apple from you?"
From the former, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) was born. With the financial support of neighbors when they need it (Spring!) and in times of need, farmers can rest assured, care for their land and workers, and shower their communities with abundance.
CSA’s thrived in Europe and jumped the Atlantic in the 1980's. Nowadays, the term "CSA" has come to encompass a wide range of practices and relationships. In California, the term often refers to box-subscription retail service without much shared risk.
We love this more old school way. There is something magical about food and land and all the bodies and faces involved in the cycle coming together in the same place each week.
See you in the fields,
David (for Kayta & Anna)