From the Fields - Thaddeus
Have you ever heard a CSA farmer complain that spring is the hardest time to fill the box? Does that sound like an odd comment, considering that everything is growing like crazy outside our windows right now?
So here’s the rub - while nature and all our domesticated farm plants are taking off with the warmer weather and longer daylight hours, harvesting from those new plants is still a few weeks off because they are not fully mature. Since we are fortunate enough to have a nearly year-round growing season in California, we are still harvesting from our established plants, but they are almost done. We’re in the “tweens” you might say - the awkward in-between period where we are preparing for the unfolding of summer, but still holding on to a bit of the past… a perennial teenage time.
What it means for our boxes is a couple things. First, you are still seeing winter standbys like beets, potatoes, carrots and broccoli. These plants grow well, although much more slowly, during the cooler months and appreciate not having the bright sun burning down on them all day (unlike tomatoes and eggplant which love the hot summer days, but that’s another story).
Our Nantes carrots, if you’ve tasted them, are about the best carrot in the world, but even as we pull them out of the ground, their tops or greens are looking a bit worn. This time of year, the carrot and beet greens get a little limp, yellow or ragged sometimes, but it doesn’t mean that the root underneath is any less tasty or healthy. We might “top” them (a practice of cutting off the greens) before we put them in your box since they aren’t as pretty, but we hope you enjoy eating them just as much.
Second, it means we get to feature more produce from our farming partners. We love to support our neighboring farmers, some of whom are small or just getting started, by sharing their harvests with you. It also give us the chance to provide you with more choice and variety since their favorite crops may be different than ours. A win-win situation! I’ve been reminded to tell you that on the website under “info” for each item we offer in the box, it tells you where it was grown or made.
Third, and something you may or may not have noticed, is that the size of the produce you get from week to week can vary quite a bit. My beets this week were huge, but my carrots were small. Why is that? During the winter rains, we can only get into the fields to harvest when the fields aren’t too wet, so sometimes we harvest early (smaller) or later after the rains (veggies grow bigger.) In the spring, it can be a matter of having enough time, frankly.