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Week 3 of Winter from Valley Flora

  • Bulk Kale
  • Celeriac
  • Autumn Frost Winter Squash
  • Red Potatoes
  • Pea Shoots
  • Cauliflower
  • Curly Parsley
  • Goldrush Apples
  • Onions
  • Leeks

There are two extra-special things that made their way into your tote this week: Goldrush Apples and overwintering cauliflower. The former is our favorite apple variety (which is saying a lot, given the 35+ different varieties of pommes growing in the our orchard). It's a late-harvest apple, never coming off the tree before Thanksgiving and it stores well into May with refrigeration. The flavor is sweet-tart and complex with firm texture that lends itself to fresh eating or baking. A big thanks to Abby, the apple queen, for adding these to the share this week!

The overwintering cauliflower is one of four varieties that come on in a staggered succession throughout the winter and spring. I've waxed poetic about overwintering cauliflower before, because it astounds me every time we harvest it: how did this plant make a perfect white dome of dense curd through the darkest months of the year? Quasi-miraculous in my botanistic opinion. The plants were seeded in early July and transplanted in eary August, so they did most of the work of growing a large frame of leaves in late summer and fall. But the actual heading of the cauliflower doesn't get triggered until this moment, after the Persephone period when the days start to stretch longer. Our mild winter means that this variety is almost a month earlier than it was last year, so enjoy the unexpected!

Also, there's quite a stash of leeks in your share this week. There was a little communication mishap with the crew, which resulted in lotsa leeks for all this week! :)

London Bridge is Down

The reigning queen of Valley Flora, Maude (my Belgian draft horse), died on Sunday at the farm. She was 25 years old and a founding member of our crew since Valley Flora hatched in 2008. Maude was part of my first draft team; I lost her partner, Barney, to colic over a decade ago but Maude soldiered on, working every season in harness to help us coax vegetables out of the field. In 2017 she gained a new herd when I brought Jack and Lily home. By then she had earned her retirement, but she ruled the roost as lead mare until her very last day. Which, as it turns out, was a beautiful last day: Saturday, sunny, out on grass, eating with gusto, rainbows flying overhead. The next morning when I came to feed her, she was gone.

Maude helped make my farm dream come true, a Valley Flora icon through and through. I thank her for everything she gave to make it possible, and for everything she taught me along the way.

All hail the queen, she will be missed dearly.

 

Newsletter: 

Week 2 of Winter!

  • Rainbow Chard
  • Bulk Winter Kale Mix
  • Radish/Mesclun Micro Mix
  • Beets - Red, Gold & Chioggia
  • Purple Mini Daikon Radish
  • Leeks
  • Cipollini Onions
  • Yellow Potatoes
  • Savoy Cabbage
  • Candystick Delicata Squash
  • Pie Pumpkin

A Few of My Favorite Winter Meals...

I generally assume that if you're signed up for our Winter CSA, you're pretty adept at the seasonal-eating thing. I'm routinely impressed by the inspired concoctions our CSA members come up with in the kitchen using VF produce. In our household we eat well and we eat farm-forward (we've been teased many a time about our over-sized salad bowl), but meals typically err on the side of simple and straightforward in order to juggle busy schedules, kids, and all the rest. If you have the time to get gourmet with this week's share, do it! But if you don't, here's how I'd go about eating through that hefty tote of produce without much fuss:

  • Candystick Delicata: Cut in half, scoop out the seeds, bake it face-down on a sheet pan with some water in the pan @ 375-400 until soft. Put a pat of butter in each boat and eat with spoon, for any meal. This is a special variety of Delicata bred by Oregon's own Carol Deppe, selected for longer storage life (we don't normally still have Delicata at the end of January!) and exceptionally sweet date-like flavor. It's nicknamed the "dessert delicata." We've noticed some variability in flavor depending on size, so would love it if you'd do a side by side taste test of your larger and smaller squash and let us know what you find out.
  • Kale & Chard: Most likely we'd steam the greens and eat a big pile of them drizzled with olive oil and ume plum vinegar (tangy and salty) or reduced balsamic vinegar with a sprinkle of salt. But I also love this quick soup: Lemony White Bean Soup with Greens. I usually omit the ground turky and use kale instead of collards.
  • Micro Mix: I'd be putting this all over a radicchio salad, or cabbage slaw, or the beet recipe below - unless it got pilfered for smoothies first.
  • Beets: Roast, roast, roast! That's usually our go-to. There's also a great winter salad courtesy of Joshua McFadden (Six Seasons cookbook): Beet Slaw with Pistachios and Raisins that I love. It takes a little more time, but is 100% worth it.
  • Daikon: I love these diced up on burrito bowls, or sliced thinly in any kind of salad, or cut up for snackable veg. I usually peel them.
  • Leeks: Also great roasted sheet-pan style alongside beets, spuds, squash. They get crispy and caramelized in a 400 degree oven, with a little help from some olive oil. Also obviously a go-to ingredient for potato leek soup, or any soup. We just had them in a frittata last night - excelente!
  • Cipollini Onions: Use them anywhere, but be sure you caramelize them down first to bring out their wow factor. Perhaps the best pizza topping there is.
  • Potatoes: They were in said frittata last night. We made roasted potatoes last week. And we're having mashed spuds tonight.
  • Cabbage: This is a January King type cabbage, mostly savoy in its expression. Certainly great for fresh slaw, but I have to say the most unctuous cabbage is the one that is cut into wedges, tossed with olive and salt, and yes - you guessed it! - ROASTED at 400 (the magic oven temp) until soft and crispy and browned. Really good with leeks in the mix on the same sheet pan.
  • Pie Pumpkin: I egregiously forgot to mention when all of our CSA members got one of these last fall that this variety is called "Pie Pita" and is mulit-purpose: it has hull-less seeds that can be roasted into pepitas, and tasty meat that can become dinner or dessert (dinner: Thai Pumpkin Curry; dessert: Pie!). My sister, Abby, loves to bake and is the pumpkin pie queen of the family. I like being on the receiving end of all her experimentation and efforts.

So that's the farmer quick and dirty on how to grub down this tote. I guess the main takeaways are: stock up on olive oil and make sure your oven runs at 400 :). If so, you're golden.

Newsletter: 

Our Farmstand is Closed for Winter

Our farmstand is closed January through April. We anticipate re-opening in May of 2024.

There are two ways to get our farmstand produce: pre-order it online, or swing by and drop in to shop when we're open. If you pre-order you'll have access to our full array of seasonally available produce, which changes every week. There is usually a smaller selection available for drop-in shopping.

If you’d like to pre-order and haven’t registered an account with Local Line (our online store), it’s quick and easy. Simply follow the instructions below to set up your account. Once you do that you will begin to receive our weekly availability emails with a link to our “store.”

You can also go directly to our Local Line store to check it out: https://valley-flora.localline.ca/farmstand

Farmstand Details and How to Order:

  • Anyone is welcome to shop our farmstand. You do not need to be a CSA member and there is no waiting list to join.
  • The farmstand is located 1.5 miles up Floras Creek Road at the shed just after the bridge. Directions
  • If you want to pre-order produce, you can either shop online as a guest, or you register a new account with Local Line. Here's how (it's easy):
    1. Go to https://valley-flora.localline.ca/farmstand to view our store.
    2. Click "Register" on the right side of the page.
    3. Set up your account by providing your email address, password, name, phone number and address.
    4. Accept the terms and conditions,
    5. Click the green button, "Creat Your Account"
    6. Start shopping!
  • The ordering window for our Wednesday farmstand opens on Thursday morning by 9 am until Sunday night at 8 pm. Farmstead Bread is available on Wednesdays only. 
  • The ordering window for our Saturday farmstand opens on Monday morning by 9 am until Wednesday night at 8 pm.
  • There is a $20 minimum on orders. The "Place Order" button will not appear until you have met the $20 minimum.
  • Once you register, you'll start getting our weekly availability emails (Thursday morning for the Wednesday farmstand; Monday morning for the Saturday farmstand). 
  • You can always access our Local Line store by clicking the "Order Farmstand Produce" button on the left sidebar of our homepage, following the link below, or going directly to https://valley-flora.localline.ca/farmstand.

Thanks for your support of the farm and your passion for eating local, seasonal produce!

Shop the Valley Flora Store for Farmstand Produce Now!

Valley Flora - Growing Good Food for Local Folks

Valley Flora is a mother-and-two-daughter collective nestled on the banks of Floras Creek near Langlois, Oregon. Together with the help of our draft horses, a handful of fantastic employees, one little tractor, trillions of soil microorganisms, thousands of pollinators, and 12 kilowatts of solar power, we grow hundreds of varieties of vegetables, berries and fruit to feed our local coastal community year-round. Our farm was founded in 1998 with a deep commitment to ecological and organic farming practices and our passion is growing good food to strengthen our community-based food system on the southern Oregon coast. We rely on crop diversity, compost, cover crops, and crop rotation to keep our farm healthy and thriving both above and below ground. Our produce feeds our 130-member CSA, our farmstand, u-pick, local foodbanks, and a number of stores, restaurants and co-ops. Our love of the Floras Creek valley – the fertile loam and the river that runs through it - inspires us to farm with the next generation in mind, and the next. We are grateful to call this our life, our livelihood and our passion.

Week 1 of Winter!

  • Red Cabbage
  • Chioggia Radicchio
  • Winter Kale Mix
  • Red Onion
  • Celeriac
  • Fennel
  • Butternut Squash
  • Yellow Potatoes
  • Parsnips
  • Leeks

Back at It in the Field!

It's all too fitting that our first winter harvest lined up with the first week when we finally get some real winter weather! Snow level is licking the top of White Mountain above the farm right now, making for some nice "41 degrees and raining, er, make that hailing" conditions (the coldest cold there is). We've been truly grateful for insulated boots and waterproof harvest gloves this week. Our winter get-up does slow the whole show down a bit: gloved hands lose dexterity, sensitivity and nimbleness, and big warm boots mean more slogging and stumbling than hopping and skipping. Then there's the head-to-toe impermeable membrane we cloak ourselves in (aka Grundens and other brands of vinyl raingear). All to say, it's not exactly ballet or high fashion out there as we're bringing in the bins of bulk kale and muddy parsnips, but at least we're semi-warm and getting the job done.

This week's share is the epitomy of winter eating: hearty leeks, durable spuds, sweet butternuts that are begging to become soup, our wintry kale mix, long-keeping cabbage, ugly-as-usual parsnips (but you're practiced with VF parsnips and a veggie peeler by now :)). I was also delighted to forage up some "resurrection fennel" for all the totes this week. This is second-growth fennel, sprouted from the stump of an already-been-harvested-last-summer fennel plant. As a fennel lover - and I acknowledge that not everyone is - it's one of my favorite winter treats. The bulbs themselves have an intensified sweet flavor due to winter frosts, and from a harvest persective it's kinda like the free prize inside the cereal box: a total bonus. I love to slice the little bulbs up thinly and add them to radicchio salad, along with some orange slices and maybe some candied pecans and a little bleu cheese. Whip up a sweet-tangy-citrusy vinaigrette and then call me and invite me over for dinner.

A big, big thank you to all our Winter CSA members who are on board for our 2024 winter season. We appreciate your year-round support and love the challenge you create for us: to fill up those totes - amply and colorfully - through the darkest, coldest months of the year. We hope you enjoy this first installment!

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