This Weeks Box 11/9/2013

Here is the list

tangelos
bag of spring mix
bell peppers
red yellow and purple potatoes
chard
bok choy thinnings
summer squash
dyno or kurly kale
bunch of basil
bunch of lavender
persimmons
mexicola grande avocado

This weeks box 11-09-2013

 Lower garden filling up early this year. Those are bee boxes way in the background.

I want to thank everyone for filling out the farm questionnaire. We finally combed through the survey last week. I am so glad we did this. We learned an awful lot more than I had ever expected. It will take a little while to unpack and create action steps for each part of the survey, but it is going to be so worth it to make some of the suggested changes where possible.

For today, I will mention a few standouts that I intend to start working on right away.

One of those are mushrooms and asparagus. These two came up more than any other items on the customer wish list of items. If you have been with us for over a year, you know that we used to get shitake mushrooms from an indoor grower in Ramona. He has shut down. But seeing the interest, I will be looking into connecting again with a local grower. As far as asparagus goes, well, we look into finding a source for this as well. Also We might look into some planting this spring. I prefer to grow as much of our food as we can. But when it comes to specialty items like these. It is almost more cost effective to source them from a reputable local grower. If anyone know a local organic mushroom or asparagus grower. Please put us in touch with them.

Another real standout was the desire by many for a recipe page on the website. This was something we were already slowly working on. Now we have kicked it into to high gear. Thanks to Harmony and all her hard work in helping the CSA run smoother, The recipe page might be a reality in the near future.

What are bok choy thinnings? When we seed directly into the garden rows, we intentionally sew more seed than needed. Once the seedlings start getting crowded, we “thin” out the row so that there is space for as many plants can grow to maturity as possible. Once you have thinned a row, you end up with a bin full of small veggies who have sacrificed themselves for the sake of a larger more uniform crop. Some farms might throw these on the ground or they might till them in with a cultivator. If there is enough, I would rather rinse them and put them in the csa box. Even if it comes out to a very small amount per box.

This we have something special in the box. As I have mentioned before, Allyson works a lot of behind the scenes magic for the csa. This week, she used her family connection with Futterman Farm in Indio, CA to secure a bag of dates for each one of us this week.

Image from Futterman farm

Here is a write up from Allyson on the dates in this weeks box.

The dates you received this month are from Futterman Farm in Indio, CA, the “City of Festivals”.  Art and Gale Futterman have been growing dates together on their property since 1994, but Art has been involved with date farming one way or another since the ‘70’s.  The soft dates like Barhi, Amir Hajj, and to a certain extent Medjool, require more TLC than the dryer dates like Deglet Noor, Halawy and Zahidi, which can be cut as an entire bunch and lowered or even dropped to the ground on a tarp.  Softer dates are picked by hand one by one or cut strand by strand.  Before they get to your table, their natural, sustainably grown, pesticide free dates are “graded”, each one checked for tears in the skins or “intruders” (discerning bugs that like dates!).
The harder dates require going up the palm 5 times, Medjool 7 times, and Barhi 9 – de-thorning, pollination 2-4 times [search “date palm pollination” or go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=L27bMQirY60 to see Art demonstrating this process], tie down (each bunch of dates is tied to a frond to support weight), bagging (to protect dates from pests, birds, rain), and at harvest for Barhi, a minimum of three times.  Dates are high-fiber, low glycemic, and have at least 26 anti-oxidants, two of which are found only in dates.  They contain iron, magnesium, calcium, zinc , and more potassium than bananas.

Dates are a healthy sweet, as they include the minerals and fiber that help the sugar to be well utilized.  They are good in a number of dishes besides the Yam Date one you received on the back of their label, including muffins, salads, oatmeal, vegan piecrust pressed together with nuts, and they even are really good in chicken enchiladas – who would have known?!  The graders especially enjoy dipping them in almond butter!  A newer discovery about the value of dates is that for women, sucking on the date pits helps with a number of hormonal imbalances and have been known to chase away PMS and menopausal symptoms like night sweats.

Contact Futterman Farm

One more thing! What is a Mexicola Grande? Mexicola Grande is the best tasting avocado in the world. Nuff said.

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