Here’s the deal. In all my years farming nothing brings more excitement to our shareholders than the arrival of the tomatoes. It’s true! I have folks start asking about the tomatoes in early May. Something about those fruits that stir people like nothing else when it comes to locally grown goodness. The tomato season begins in July..for all field grown..not greenhouse but ripe on the vine in the bright sunshine here in Middle Tennessee. We start seeing the cherries and small tomatoes first then come the big girls the heirloom slicers that taste like summer..looks like summer and yes..once the tomatoes arrive it is summer! This next pickup is one of those tomato pickups. The first of the season besides the little guys we sent home last pickup. The sun is high in sky and it is heating up which brings on the bountiful harvest of those queens of the farm. Right now I have 3 different varieties of heirloom slicing tomatoes. Black Krim , Purple Cherokee and Mortgage Lifter these are my favorite large heirlooms. I also have some medium size tomatoes growing along with our sweet corn down at my families farm where there is lots of farm land and Mark and I have 2 acres partitioned off for our organic crops that need lot’s of space like the sweet corn and over flow like winter squash or crop rotation when we need to rotate crop beds here every 3 years. We have some lemon boys and canner tomatoes and paste planted there.The sweet corn is still a little bit from being ready to harvest..but that is okay…because there is plenty to love in your FarmBox this next pickup..
Prep for your CSA FarmBox
Tips to get ready for your FarmBox before you pickup.
As with anything prep is important. I wanted to give you all a few tips I have learned over the years to prepare for all these vegetables that will be coming during the farmbox season.
If you haven’t already check out “The Top 6 Tool Guide” please do so.. This will help with making sure you have some of the tools you need in navigating through your CSA. Spring time is greens season and there is lots of salad and cooking greens in your Farmbox. I am working on the Greens Guide for y’all in hopes that it will help you learn more about each of them. You always get a list of contents in your FarmBox when you pickup but sometimes identifying them from each other can be the trick.
Spring: Salads are in season with lots of different types and varieties of lettuce greens. Butter lettuces are my favorite and are some of the first lettuces you will see in your share. These lettuces are super sweet and tender. You will find them in both full head forms and loose leaf. The main tip with butter lettuce is to be gentle with them during the wash stage. Just give them a good rinse and spin in the salad spinner and allow them to dry a bit before you put them in whatever storage container you want to store your lettuce in. They should be good for 5-7 days in your refrigerator. The same can be said with Spinach and loose baby salad mix lettuce.
The beginning of the CSA FarmBox season will be the most labor intensive because of all the salad & cooking greens. Here are my 4 best tips to prep for those.
1. Decide how best you want to store these greens when they come in. Green Bags, Containers, or ziplock bags. Have plenty of these on-hand and ready to go.
2. These greens need to washed and stored imminently. They will wilt on you. A good soak in cold water will help but, getting them washed and stored is your best bet with keeping these greens at their peak. Also the salad spinner is a most tool to have. This will save you tons of time getting your greens nice and dry before you store them.
3. Knowing that spring is salad season plan around that and how to mix it up and make them interesting while you have so many of them. 3-4 times a week..try a different take on salads. Pintest is great to look for seasonal salad ideas.
4. Prep your fridge for your coming farmbox. Make room for it’s contents before your pickup. And besure to label the greens while you’re storing them. I use freezer tapeand a sharpy because it is easy to peel off.
MCF FarmBox Masters News
The Flower Season @ The Farm & In Your FarmBox
As the weeks move forward in our CSA seasons so do the many beautiful flowers here on the farm. It is truly one of my personal loves are all those colorful blooms. I start planning our flower season in the dead of winter when not a single pop of color is out in the field. My desk is filled with notes, bed layouts and flower seed packets. This has been my winter time task for almost 20 years now…and I do love putting it all together and in play out there for you and I to enjoy.
I like to go with a wilder look to my cut flower sections in the field and there are a couple of reasons for this.
1. By mixing different colors and types of flowers, herbs and vegetables I am creating a perfect calling card of my pollinators. The bees love skipping around from bloom to bloom and as seed savers we need them to pollinate all the flowers they can.
2. All the colors and varieties out there bring several of beneficial insects to the field. Yes, sometimes a few non-beneficials with sneak in there too..but the good out weight the bad most of the time.
When you are at the farm for your FarmBox pickup and the flower season is in full bloom do take advantage of cutting your self or a friend a big gorgeous bouquet. This is part of your FarmBox share and just getting out there amongst the flowers in the field slows you down and before you realize it all the stress of the world slips away and your field of vision just got a whole lot more colorful.
Our Video on flowers and making bouquets in the flower section of your Shareholders only area.