- Baby arugula (bulk, in the larger of the two plastic bags)
- Head Lettuce - varieties rotate each week
- Yellow bunched spring onions
- Bunched Tatsoi (bunched, dark leaves with white stems)
- Radishes - pink or purple
- Spinach, bunched
- Sunflower Shoots (in the smaller plastic bag)
- A SunOrange Cherry Tomato Plant
Hello 2023 CSA Members, and welcome! The Valley Flora van is on the road as we speak, delivering the first load of CSA totes to Coos Bay! Old Frank (that's the van) is also loaded down with a motherlode of head lettuce, radishes, turnips, and other VF produce for Coos Head Food Co-op, 7 Devils Brewing Co., the Langlois Market, and a handful of other stores and restaurants (insider tip: the first Abby's Greens salad was delivered to McKay's in Bandon today, in case you are not an Abby's Greens Salad Share member and are jonesing for some of those greens, stat!). All to say, the season has started with a bang. We are off and running.
The farm surprised us with a few things this week, in quantity enough to share with our beloved CSA members: namely, STRAWBERRIES! This has been perfect strawberry weather the past couple weeks and the plants are starting to yield some beautiful fruit. There isn't enough red out there to open the u-pick yet, but hopefully within a few weeks we'll be ready for the strawberry stampede. Also ramping up: our early zucchinis, which - like artichokes - are on rotation this week. That means that some pickup sites will get them this week, others will get them in the coming week or two. We are diligent about tracking who gets what every week so that we can keep it even-steven for all of our members throughout the season.
Overall, though, the name of the game right now is greens! Big salads, spinach in your smoothies, tatsoi in your stir-fry. We farmers tend to be terrible sympathizers when it comes to that common feeling of greens-overwhelm that some CSA members experience at the start of the season (that's because our household can easily put down a couple heads of lettuce and bunch of spinach/chard/kale/tatsoi every day, between morning smoothies, lunchtime leftovers, and dinner plates heaped high with salad). So my advice: eat like your farmer! The more greens the better! Also, remember that you have a superpower in the kitchen and it's called heat. If that bunch of tatsoi or spinach is staring you down in your fridge, toss it in a frying pan or the steamer and you'll diminish it to a teency but tasty little pile in a flash. Zap! Take that, tatsoi! (Definitely put on your superhero cape when you do that, and please send me the picture.)
Also going home with Harvest Basket members this week: a SunOrange cherry tomato plant. Be sure you take a plant from the yellow bin at your pickup site, one per Harvest Basket. We don't grow cherry tomatoes for the CSA, but we provide you with our all-time favorite variety, SunOrange, to grow in your own garden or pot. It's an improved Sungold the produces tons of tangerine-orange fruits from August through the fall. The flavor is exquisite - tropical/tangy/sweet. For best results, plant your tomato as deep as possible in a warm, protected location (it's good to bury the stem and some of the bottom leaves; the plant will sprout new roots underground and add to it's root mass). If you're planting it in a pot, use at least a 5 gallon container and put it in a warm, sunny, protected location. Give it a balanced organic fertilizer and water deeply. You'll need to provide some kind of trellis or support because this variety is an indeterminate, which means it'll climb, and climb, and climb. Prune excess leaves as it grows, leaving all fruiting/flowering stems and suckers. With a litte TLC it should be yielding fruit for you by August. These little cherry bombs are fantastic snackers, are awesome sliced up in salads, and also make the best dried tomatoes I've ever eaten - like little candies.
A reminder that all of the info about our CSA pick-up locations is on our website, in case you need a refresher about the when, where and how of it all: https://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/valley-flora-pick-locations
As of today our farmstand is operating on Summer hours: we're open every Wednesday from 11:30 to 2:30 for order pickup and drop-in shopping. We will be adding Saturdays to the schedule within a couple weeks, once the strawberry u-pick is ready to open. You have two options for sourcing produce at the farmstand: pre-order your produce on Local Line (our online store); or, drop in to shop. You'll find the greatest diversity, abundance, and guarantee if you pre-order on Local Line, but we try hard to always have some produce on display for folks who don't want deal with the internet :). (We understand, we're half-Luddite, too. See Exhibit A, below).
Enjoy your first week of VF produce, and thank you ALL for being part of the magic!
P.S. Coming in next week's newsletter: an introduction to our all-star crew, aka the fantastic humans who are growing and harvesting your produce this season! Stay tuned for more!