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My Driveway Is Back!

Since the middle of March we have had plants hardening off in our driveway with a fence around them to keep four-legged pests out of the area. Now all of that is gone! All of the plants are in the garden and I can pull in and back out without worrying about running over a tray of precious plants! In addition to planting these crops, Robert has been direct seeding others. Our cucumbers did not germinate properly on the first planting, so he has replanted those. They will grow quickly and we trust we will have a bountiful supply of the best cukes you have ever tasted.

The first kohlrabi will be in the boxes this week. We are growing both purple and green kohlrabi. You need to peel them first. The beautiful purple will be gone, but the bulb is crisp and crunchy! I prefer them raw in salads or as a snack. They can also be sauteed. The tops are edible as well.

The veggie boxes will contain most all of the crops you have been seeing with the addition of kohlrabi; also, romaine and kale for some CSA Members depending on where you are in the harvest/pickup rotation. The spring greens will not last forever, so enjoy them while you can.

We do have community supported agriculture (CSA) farm shares available. Veggie Adoption Stragglers will be pro-rated into the harvest season.

We believe all food should be local. Thank you for supporting local farmers and agriculture in whatever manner you do because No farmers . . . No food . . . No future is a fact and not just a tag line!

Romaine & Kale Arrive In June

Today is the first of June and romaine and kale join the parade of vegetables you will find in your CSA Boxes this week! Romaine you can trust and how I love romaine!! The kale will be either of the red or green variety depending upon the day’s harvest. Of course, all of the previous Asian greens will continue!

Romaine and tender kale–in both red and green varieties

Robert stapled the deer fencing around the garden every three feet. Still much like Peter Rabbit sneaking into Mr. McGregor’s Garden, Gregory Groundhog did the same this week in order to help himself to our tender broccoli and cauliflower plants. I see another Have A Heart trap purchase in the immediate future. One of the deer made a huge hole in the back of the fence late last week. This is the first time this has ever happened! Robert mended the fence with a Frankenstein stitch and we trust the intrusion was an accident and not intentional. The wildlife in our neighborhood is a continual challenge. We call our property a Wildlife Sanctuary, but we prefer they all remain on the outside of our seven-foot fencing!

Staples hold the fabric and drip lines in place–as well as the deer fencing.

We got enough rain to prevent us from resuming planting, but not so much that the soil could not absorb the moisture. Rain from the Heavens always makes plants grow more quickly it seems. The fabric and drip lines are in place and finishing the greenhouse transplanting is in the plans for the coming weekend.

The second and “wetter” side of the fenced garden.

This is all that remains in the “hardening zone.” You can see the remaining red lettuces and our eggplant, sweet bell peppers, and tomato plants waiting to be transplanted. Of course, many crops were previously direct seeded into the soil such as potatoes, carrots, beets, peas, onions, beans, squash, rutabaga, zucchini, etc. Thus, another stage of the 2023 Harvest Season approaches an end in sight just as the actual harvest gets into full swing!

The last of the greenhouse plants grown from seed.

Farm shares are still available. If you join now, you will have missed our first three weeks of harvest; but there are still plenty of lettuces and spring greens coming in the next couple of weeks!

Second Veggie Week Ends!

As of today every one of our CSA Members has received their first veggie box of the 2023 Harvest Season! Remember it takes us two weeks to start up using the every-other-week pickup schedule. As the days passed, we added tatsoi and green or red kale to the Joi Choi, Ching Chang, Black Summer, Asian Delight, and the “Rosies” or purple choi. Next week will include all of the above in the CSA Box!

If you have been considering joining a CSA, now is the time! We do have CSA Farm Shares available! We always plan for those “late joiners” who have not yet thrown their hat into our Seasonal Gourmet Vegetable ring of veggie lovers. If you are enjoying our farm fresh veggies, please spread the word about our small, Fairview family farm. Oh, and just for your perspective, each of these rows is 180 foot in length.

Now an update on the gardens! Last weekend Robert expanded the seven-foot deer fence to enclose everything except the potatoes and winter squash–which the deer do not seem to like! Last year a Mamma Doe taught her twins to eat our tomatoes! Not the tomato plants–they actually ate the little tomatoes off of the plants! It took us a while to figure out this was happening as this was a first for us in 2022, but we learned the lesson and we have a good memory. This will not happen again.

It has been dry in May so we have been using our underground drip irrigation system. The weatherman says we may get about three inches of rain this weekend. Robert believes the soil is so dry that will absorb it all. The plants always prefer rain from the Heavens over drip irrigation! Below is one of our three broccoli varieties. As you can see the heads are beginning to form! Yay!!

The kohlrabi are also growing to the point when I can photograph them. If you have never had kohlrabi before, we think you will enjoy this unusual, crunchy vegetable! More on this later . . . they need to grow a bit before they can be harvested. They grow right on top of the soil and look a bit like little “space ships” that have landed in the garden.

Joi Choi like all of the Asian greens are hearty enough that you can add braised beef tips, or chicken strips, etc. to the top of your salads if you like. The ends will have the highest possibility of containing soil. When you cut the ends off, you can prevent some of the silt in your wash water by first rinsing these ends separately.

Do you have an Instant Pot? I was late to the game when it came to purchasing this kitchen tool as I am not one to buy gadgets. I like my big chef’s knife and cutting board and stainless steel cookware. However, I did finally buy an Instant Pot last March and I will say that I have used it every single day since! Robert likes sauteed Tatsoi for example, and we have discovered that pressure cooking it for “zero” minutes with a quick release gives perfectly sauteed Tatsoi (or any other green, for that matter). Of course, you can do the same in your large skillet with a lid!

We trust you are enjoying your first box/bag of veggies. There will be more to come! And then one day they will be gone until next spring. So enjoy these nutritious greens while you can!!

TATSOI RICOTTA QUICHE CAKES

Tatsoi will be added to the choi mix in the second week CSA Boxes. And yes, this will be the first CSA Box for half of our CSA Members. Remember we schedule our veggie boxes on an every-other-week pickup schedule. We can do an every week schedule if that that what your family desires. The price per box is the same and the pickup location is more limited, but we can do it. However, in our thirty years of CSA farming experience, we have discovered most families are happiest on an every-other-week schedule.

Three (3) tatsoi are pictured in the photo above on my cutting board. And for your information, the cutting board measures 25 1/2 by 31 inches! We can do some serious chopping on this board!! One of our favorite ways to make tatsoi is TATSOI RICOTTA QUICHE CAKES. The recipe is under “T’. I realize my recipe pages are not particularly sophisticated, but you can be sure we have tested them all. This Asian green is in the bitter family and has lots of Vitamin C. I do include the stem in all of my recipes.

By Friday, May 19 at 2 p.m. every CSA Member should have received an email about their first veggie box pickup. Please be sure to reply to my email so I know you know when your CSA Box is coming. Once the vegetables are harvested, they cannot go back into the soil. The spring crops like this cooler weather! And so far the insect pests have been far and few. As it warms up, you will begin to see a bug bite here and there on the greens and perhaps even a worm or slug. Our veggies are ORGANIC so it is to be expected. Our position is: If the bugs won’t eat it, perhaps we should not either! We do have some organic inputs we can apply later when those pesky, little white “butterflies” become common, but so far, so good!

We do have CSA Farm Shares available! As I have said before, please spread the word about our small, Fairview family farm.

In The First CSA Box!

The first CSA Boxes are going out today. (Before you call to see when you are getting your first box, be sure to read the previous Blog posts, please!) In your box you will find at least two Black Summer choi, two Joi Choi, three purple choy, three Ching Chang, and three Asian Delights. I say at least because if I felt a particular item was “light,” I might have tossed in an extra one.

If you have ever eaten Chinese food, I guarantee you have had these greens before! All of these items mixed together make the most delicious salads! Or they can be sauteed, or shredded and tossed into soups and stews. I use some of the stems in the place of celery and fill them with peanut butter! Or chop the stems for chicken salad, etc. Of course, the Asian greens are wonderful juiced. Juicing will cause them to disappear quickly!! They were harvested this morning, so you can expect them to last two weeks in a refrigerator with the proper temperature control. However, we trust you will begin enjoying them immediately and not letting them sit in the ‘fridge!

We don’t think we gave you “too many” veggies. However, if you feel you have too many, please share them with someone who you think would appreciate our local, seasonal gourmet vegetables! your sharing them is a surefire way to introduce our family farm to a potential customer. Plus you friend will love your kindness! Or perhaps you have a house-sitter or neighbor or another person in your life with whom you would like to share the “choi joy.”

We do have CSA Shares available at this time. Please help to spread the word! Some of our members have been with us for over twenty years, but we always have room for new CSA Members who are fresh vegetable lovers!

CSA Boxes Starting May 16

We are starting the delivery of our CSA Boxes of local, seasonal gourmet vegetables on Tuesday, May 16. All CSA Members who are to pick up their first box of veggies during this first week have been notified by email. Please check your Spam Boxes. And please RSVP to my email so we know that you know you are to come for your first box of delights!

If you have signed up for Cane Creek Asparagus & Company CSA and do not find an email from us, then you know your first box of veggies will be coming during the second rotation or the Week of May 22. I have not sent out those informational emails yet. Do not fear!! I have not forgotten you. They will go out next Friday. Remember it takes us two full weeks to complete our start up. We have been operating using this procedure for nearly thirty years as we have discovered most families prefer every-other-week CSA Boxes and our veggies will last at least that long as we harvest the day of delivery!

The veggies in the boxes will be similar both weeks. And if something new is added one week, you can be sure it will still be available the following week. Most crops have a four week harvest window because we plant in waves so that we can maintain a constant supply–or as constant as Nature will allow because sometimes they grow at the same rate! The first boxes will contain five different Asian green varieties of choi or choy as shown in the above photo. Four are green and one is purple. The variety on the far right is new to us this season. It is called Asian Delight! You will need to look closely to tell one variety from another. The Veggie ID pages on the website will help. However, mixing them all together into one big salad is how we like to enjoy them.

The item in the photo on towel is called Tatsoi. This can go into your salads, too. You have seen this before I am sure, but usually they are quite LARGE in size. We attempt to harvest as seasonal gourmet vegetables. Of course, anything in the soil will continue to grow until it is harvested so they will get bigger as the weeks pass. We do plant our crops in “waves,” but sometimes the weather conditions still cause everything to grow at the same rate. Gardening can be tricky!

Most all crops will be rinsed one time before leaving the farm, but I recommend two to three more washing to remove all of our Fairview soil. I like to wash them all at once and store greens in a two-gallon Hefty Bag. Pour out as much of the remaining water as possible and gently squeeze most of the air from the bag without damaging the tender leaves. Then at mealtime all one needs to do is pull out some greens and a chef’s knife to prepare salads! The leaves are hearty, so I do not recommend tearing as it will bruise them. We usually add a drizzle of honey or something sweet like dried cranberries to our salads. Asian greens fall into the bitters category when it comes to vegetables. There will be lettuces, but we start with hearty, nutritional greens.

And now the Parade of Salads begins! Yes, all of the greens can be sauteed or sauteed and properly frozen for later. And we love Tatsoi Quiche Cakes, Tatsoi Feta Pie, and a tasty Tasoi Casserole in the dead of winter, but fresh garden salads is my absolute favorite time of the year! All of these recipes are on the website under “G” for greens and “T” for tatsoi.

Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers and mothering people this Sunday, May 14! What? You did not realize it was this coming Sunday?! There is still time to run to the mall and find a gift or you could give a CSA Farm Share! If you want a gift certificate to hand deliver on Sunday, let me know by 6 p.m. on Saturday and I will email one to you!

I love my vegetables, but I also love my flowers! Right now peonies are in season and I like having bouquets all over the house! Our gardens are growing well. We are seeing the sizes of the greens double every week now and soon I will be sending out start notices for the first CSA Box pick up.

The photo above shows one of the five (5) varieties of choi or choys that we are growing this season. and the photo below is kale. The kale is slower for some strange reason, so it will not be in the first boxes this year. Every year is different! And we have so many different crops to get into the ground. Some of you may have a tomato plant on your patio or in your garden. Our tomatoes are still in the greenhouse! So you may be ahead of us with that particular crop; however, we trust you will enjoy our early Asian greens for the best salads you have ever tasted! They are hearty, flavorful, and full of vitamins!

CSA Farm Shares are still available. We will be starting our CSA Box pick up soon, so watch for your email in your INBOX.

CSA Farming . . .

We have been using drip irrigation during the month of May. It is amazing how quickly the soil dries out when the wind is blowing. More mowing has been accomplished on the property. The fabric has been laid between the various rows of potatoes. This fabric will help to retain moisture, keep the weeds down, and give us a clean area to walk upon. Beets, peas, carrots, and spring onions have been planted via direct seeding into the soil. There is never a shortage of things to attend to on this family farm.

Each week on this Blog, I will give you some idea of what to expect in your box. You can subscribe to receive it sent to your Inbox. We also have a Harvest Calendar, Vegetable Identification Photo Albums, FAQ, and recipes. If you have other questions, the best way to reach me is via email.

I have been working on CSA scheduling. Once I get things arranged, I will be sending emails out to each and every CSA Member with more details. Remember we do schedule on a every-other-week basis. This means half of the CSA Members will start before the other half.

Each CSA Member will get a direct email from me indicating when your first CSA Box is being prepared.  You will be asked to reply (RSVP) to the email so we know you are expecting it.  We will give as much notice as possible before we harvest your first box of veggies.  In this every changing world one thing is certain, the garden does not stop growing; so be there every other week to get your veggies! Once we begin harvesting, just follow the calendar every other week from your Start Date until you hear from us that our season is ending.

We still do have CSA farm shares available fresh, local vegetables if anyone is interested. Just go to the website Join Our CSA page and sign up. I will get right back to you with an email of acceptance.

What Is Quick?

I may have a different view of quick than some people. For example, I realize how long it takes to get from tiny seed to edible vegetable and I have patience. When dealing with Quickbooks, however, I trust the process to be quick! Needless to say, I spent three full days dealing with Quickbooks upgrades, etc. during the past week. NOT QUICK! My patience was tested and my tongue said some words it should not have expressed. I trust this part of the job is done for another year.

I want to show you a photo taken with my camera right up to the deer fence! As you can see it is almost invisible to the human eye. It is seven feet tall which is necessary because we have a herd of about fifteen deer residing in the area. They love to eat our tender plants and shoots. We attempt to encourage them to stay near the woods by planting clover on that side of the field. Alas, they are comfortable enough with seeing us to venture out into the gardens–thus, the fencing! As you can see, the transplanting continues each and every day. Our plants are beautiful and have strong root systems. We lost some due to the cold temps, but that is to be expected and we plan for it.

Look closely at this photo and you can see the fencing bellowing out from the breeze! It is a very fine material. We must lift it up to enter and exit the garden. Turkeys have been known to fly from the trees and into the fence tearing it down. And they have been known to land inside the fence and tear it up on the way out. Our property is a Wildlife Sanctuary it seems! We have flock of over thirty turkeys some days. Much of the property along Cane Creek has been developed leaving less and less space for the wildlife to inhabit.

This is the designated “First Summer Garden”which will be enclosed inside the fence eventually. Robert tilled it this week in preparation for laying down the fabric and drip tape before planting. AND he needed to do some mowing on the property; hence the tiller came off for the season. The blueberries got a final mowing. He removed all of the sticker and briar bushes last winter, but the grass and weeds will come back quickly! Also, the berries will be set making it impossible to drive the mower between the rows again. If we were planting the bushes again, we would put more space between the rows. Hind sight is always 20/20!

I will begin working on CSA scheduling NEXT WEEK. Once I get things arranged, I will be sending emails out to each and every CSA Member with more details. We do have shares available if anyone is interested. Just go to the website Join Our CSA page and sign up. I will get right back to you with an email of acceptance. Spring salads are in my nightly dreams!

Crazy Weather

The weather is crazy in WNC. It is like this every year in the sense that nothing can be predicted! The blueberry bushes seems to have made it through the late freeze. There are still buds blooming out and the bushes have been a haven for area bees for the last several weeks. This should make for lots of (late season variety) blueberries for those CSA Members who are brave enough to come and harvest for themselves. We do not put these berries into our CSA Boxes and we are NOT open to the public in general.

I have now finished transplanting seedlings in the greenhouse. Eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes were the last crops I worked on. Robert has made much progress transplanting our vegetable starts into the first spring garden. Each tray has fifty plants in it. One afternoon he managed to put 1,100 plants into the ground–all by himself. Of course, he had made the holes the night before in order to manage this feat. Still, he is a human machine when it comes to getting the crops into the ground!

We did have to put the deer fence up the day after the first plants were set out There were footprints and tracks from our beloved wildlife friends who were quick to nibble. We have a seven foot fence which goes around the entire first garden. It is installed in a manner so that we can move one side and extend the fence around the second garden in time. You will have to look closely to see the fencing on the white poles as it is practically invisible to our eyes, but NOT to the deer!! YIPPEE!!!

I will begin working on CSA scheduling NEXT WEEK. Once I get things arranged, I will be sending emails out to each and every CSA Member with more details. We do have shares available if anyone is interested. Just go to the website Join Our CSA page and sign up. I will get right back to you with an email of acceptance. Spring salads are right around the corner . . .