StrawberriesPhontoTomatoesMaudeUmaSunflowerPeppersA&ZCherry TomatoesApplesPippin Cabbage LeafPotatoes FloweringApplesRed Sunflowers3 GenerationsChicoryCrimson CloverMaude FaceshotTeam in BroccoliRadicchioRomanescoArtichoke FlowerStrawberry in HandZinniasZ Harvest Basket3 GenerationsJos Tree DannyBeetsRoberto LacinatoBrusselsGreensCleo Red PepperRomaineFavas3 AbreastCaneberriesChardBasketsKids on MaudeRhubarbFarmstandGiant PumpkinsJules Asian PearShiroZ CauliCarrotsBouquetKids TransplantingJack and Lily Cover Crop GerminatingGraffiti

Week 5 of the Valley Flora CSA

  • Arugula
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Portuguese Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • Strawberries

On Rotation:

  • Cilantro
  • Basil
  • Cucumbers
  • Zucchini

Those Aren't Collards! It's Portuguese Kale!

The GIANT elephant-ear sized bunch of greens in your share this week is a new-to-us kale variety. It goes by many names: Portuguese kale, Tronchuda Beira, Bragganza Cabbage, or sea kale. I've been curious about this unusual variety for awhile and thought it might be a good late-summer substitute for collard greens, which always fizzle out for us after their initial flush. It's the basis of the unofficial national dish of Portugal, Caldo Verde, a simple soup that is served all over the country. It can also be prepared any way you would use kale or collards, plus the thick white stem can be peeled and eaten raw - similar to broccoli stalks. This variety has been around for a long time but isn't something you'd ever find in a grocery store nowadays. 

The growth on these huge plants has been incredible this spring, outpacing any of our other kale varieties in the field. As they've matured they've started to resemble loose heads of cabbage, which - according to our friend Maurice Fuld of 1918 gardening fame (above) - is another way you can harvest them (log the whole plant instead of bunching leaves). But contrary to what Maurice says, ours are not going to be a valuable winter crop because we noticed yesterday that they are already starting to bolt. It's possible that the long days of solstice have triggered the plants, which would argue for sowing it with our late season kales instead (planted in mid-July for fall/winter production instead of late March for spring/summer production). The problem with that is that the seed catalogues don't describe it as very winter hardy, so alas, this might be a once-and-never-again variety that graces the fields of Valley Flora. We opt for kale varieties that will produce for a full season - and into the winter - in order to maximize the production we get from a single bed. Suffice to say, you should make the most of this one-night-stand with handsome Tronchuda and whip up some Caldo Verde this week.

Even if Portuguese Kale ends up in the "failed" column, experiments and variety trials like this are the spice of life on the farm. We're ever-curious about vegetable varieties and are passionte about trying new things. Many of these experiments end like this one, but every now and then we stumble upon a new variety that becomes a beloved mainstay of our crop plan. "Glow" peppers, "Traviata" eggplant, ALL of the lettuce varieties we grow, our sweet corn, every individual component in Abby's Greens, Bets's tomatoes, our winter squash line-up, our potato varieties, all the different onions we grow - each and every one of these crops is being grown on the farm because it was a winner in one of our on-farm trials over the past 14 years. We are selecting for many different important attributes: we want varieties that grow vigorously and are relatively trouble-free (resistant to pests and diseases) in our temperate marine climate; that have excellent flavor; that are beautiful; that yield well; that ripen in time in our cooler growing season; that are efficient to harvest; that add diversity to our existing produce line-up; and in the case of potatoes, winter squash and onions, that store well into winter.

The energy that we have put into trials on the farm means that we have fine-tuned our crop plan to be highly specific to our location on earth: our microclimate, our soil, our growing season. That's an invaluable thing when you're trying to make the most of all the effort that goes into farming.

Enjoy this once-ever flirtation with Portuguese kale this week, and savor those "Mokum" carrots and "Seascape" strawberries, which we promise to keep growing until we're dead. :)

 

 

Newsletter: 

Strawberry U-Pick Opens June 22nd!

What better way to celebrate the official start of summer!

Starting June 22nd, our strawberry u-pick will be open on Wednesdays and Saturdays starting at 11:30 am until 2:30 pm, or until the patch is picked out, whichever happens first. The u-pick will be open only as long as there is ripe fruit to pick each day; once it's picked out we will close. Apologies that we can't promise an exact range of open picking hours. If you're traveling a ways to get to us, we recommend coming at the front end of our open hours.

Strawberry Fever burns hot in June and July and the berry patch can get picked out very quickly some days. Here's some useful information that should help you get 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, which damages the fruit). 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. The craze eases up in August and the fruit actually gets sweeter as the summer goes on, which means late summer is a great time to get your fill.

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. 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!

The details:

  • Strawberries are $3.25/pound.
  • We provide a certified scale for weighing out. Feel free to bring your own containers to pick into. We also have  a limited supply of 1 gallon buckets for u-pick use. It's always a good idea to bring a box or bowl to take your berries home in.
  • We accept cash, checks and Farm Direct Nutrition coupons as payment. We cannot run credit cards due to our rural, offline location.
  • Please park nose-in at the pull-out. Do not block the farm entrance and do not drive into the field.
  • No pets
  • No smoking
  • No potable water available.
  • Leave no trace: please take your trash home with you.

Have fun!

 

Order Farmstand Produce through our Online Store!

If you'd like to get fresh, seasonal produce straight from our farmstand, read on!

The Valley Flora Farmstand is now open every Wednesday, soon to be open on Saturdays as well! Hours are 11:30 to 2:30. Our farmstand is primarily pre-order, with the occasional odds and ends available for drop-in shopping. We use a web platform called Local Line that allows you to place your order from our webstore. We then custom-harvest and pack your order and have it waiting for you on your farmstand pickup day. 

If you’d like to shop with us and haven’t registered an account with Local Line, 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 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.
  • Farmstand produce is available by pre-order every Wednesday and Saturday from June through December, and every other Wednesday between January and May.
  • From June through December, pickup is at our original farmstand location, 1.5 miles up Floras Creek Road at the shed just after the bridge, between 11:30 and 2:30 every Wednesday and Saturday. Between January and May pickup is at our barn, a half mile up the road from the bridge. When picking up your order, please wait in line until it's your turn to be served. Masks are required.
  • If this is your first time ordering our produce through Local Line, you will need to register a new account with Local Line before you can place an order. 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 11:59 pm. Farmstead Bread is available on Wednesdays only. Between June and December, if you are not a bread customer and can come on Saturdays, we recommend ordering for Saturday pickup because there are fewer pre-order customers that day and the produce line will be shorter (and some items that have inventory limits will be more available).
  • The ordering window for our Saturday farmstand opens on Monday morning by 9 am until Wednesday night at 11:59 pm.
  • There is a $20 minimum on orders. The "Place Order" button will not appear until you have met the $20 minimum.
  • We will send an email with a link to our updated store to everyone in our Local Line farmstand customer base every Monday and Thursday morning (every other Thursday only during our winter season). You won't receive that email unless you have registered for a Local Line account as described above.
  • 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 ever 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, 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 with an eye towards the artful. Our love of this beautiful 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 rely on crop diversity, compost, cover crops, and crop rotation to keep our farm healthy and thriving both above and below ground. With the help of our draft horses, a handful of fantastic employees, and one little tractor, we are grateful to call this our life and our livelihood. We love what we do - so much you can taste it!

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