Week 2 of the Valley Flora CSA!

  • Baby Arugula
  • Head Lettuce
  • Radish Microgreens
  • Bunched Mustard Greens - the colorful, frilly bunch of red, green and variegated mustards - great steamed, sauteed, or chopped into salad for some extra spice!
  • Pac Choi - the dark green plant with spoon-shaped leaves and white ribs. Stir fry time!

On Rotation (this means that some pickup locations will receive it this week, others in a future week):

  • Broccolini - our sweetest and most tender baby broccoli of the year, a special June treat! (Once during pickup at the farm, a 9 year old kiddo of a CSA member was overheard saying,"Valley Flora broccolini is better than steak!" That makes a farmer feel pretty good.)
  • Zucchini
  • Purple Radishes (Saturday totes)
  • Hakurei Turnips (Wednesday totes) -  smooth, round, tender, white Japanese salad turnips with buttery-sweet flavor. Hakurei turnip are the gold standard for fresh-eating salad turnips, asked for by name by chefs. I like them best raw, sliced into salads or eaten whole like mini apples. You can also find plenty of recipes online for cooking/glazing them, but I rarely turn on the heat. Raw is hard to beat.
  • Strawberries

Strawberry Fever

The picture above doesn't lie: there is indeed a pint of strawberries in the Wednesday Harvest Baskets this week (fingers crossed we have enough fruit to put into our Saturday Harvest Baskets as well, which is why they are listed as "on rotation"). Our strawberry season has been off to a halting start because of all the rain. The storm that blew through over the weekend took a toll on the berry patch, but luckily we were still able to eek out enough flats to get some berries into our Wednesday CSA totes (we also had to toss a lot of damaged fruit into the compost pile). Strawberries like sun - the soft, fragile fruit doesn't hold up well in the rain - so every June squall equals another delay to our u-pick season. That said, the  strawberry patch is poised to explode with an abundance of huge, red, ripe fruit - there are tons of blossoms on the plants and lots of developing green berries. We have more rain coming this weekend so it might be another week or two before we hit full stride, but that moment is near. We are tentatively hoping to open the u-pick on Saturday, June 18th, but no promises! I hesitate to even say that out loud, knowing full well that there could be people lined up at the farm gate that Saturday, whether we're open or not. SO: Keep an eye on our website for u-pick updates and we will certainly let you know as soon as the berry patch is ready!

That said, here's some useful information that should help quell any subconscious anxiety you're feeling about getting enough strawberries in your belly and freezer this season:

We grow a strawberry called "Seascape." It's a day neutral variety, which means it's triggered by temperature to make fruit (in contrast to June-bearing varieties, which are triggered by day length). The plants will set fruit so long as the temps are between 40 and 90 degrees, no matter what month it is, which means they tend to produce reliably for us from June through September. All to say, we have strawberries ALL SUMMER not just in June (and in fact June tends to be the most volatile month given the higher chance for rain). We try to put a pint of berries in the Harvest Basket every week once the patch is up to full production, at least until September. And our u-pick, once it opens, will be open every Wednesday and Saturday through September. Given that strawberry fever tends to rage hottest in June and July, we always suggest that folks wait until August to come do their big freezer-filling, jam-making pick. Competition for ripe berries can be intense at the start of the season, and often the patch gets picked out within an hour of opening. But the fruit actually gets sweeter as the summer goes on, which means August berries are where it's at for jam, smoothies, fresh-eating, anything.

That said, there's no denying the thrill of picking the first big, red berries of the season and making a deep dish of strawberry rhubarb crisp (we enjoyed one of those last weekend, thanks to all the rain-damaged seconds we've been hauling out of the field). Just know that the Valley Flora strawberry season is long and abundant and there is enough for everyone so long as you spread your u-picking out over the whole summer. Abundance, not scarcity. It's so much better to live in that paradigm.

Enjoy your produce this week. We're happy to see more crops coming on in the field, even in spite of the cool weather.