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

Strawberry U-Pick is Open - SATURDAYS ONLY!

We are slowly easing into our summer u-pick schedule as the berry patch comes into full production.

We are currently open on Saturdays ONLY. Gate opens at 11:30 am, until the patch is picked out. We’re guessing that will happen pretty quickly given that strawberry fever is running hot and the early-season berries are limited, so be forewarned it could be over in under an hour. Strawberry "stampede" or "derby" might be more appropriate monikers for the u-pick right now :)

Remember, we grow a variety called "Seascape" that yields ALL SUMMER LONG, into October! That means there is ample opportunity to get your fill. Strawberry fever is a litte insane in June and July, so if you want a mellower experience come in August and September!

We hope to be open for u-pick every Saturday now (unless we notify you otherwise) and will add Wednesdays to the schedule as soon as we can. Hours are 11:30 am until the patch is picked out, or 2:30 pm (whichever comes first). 

We provide harvest buckets but please bring your own containers to take your berries home in. You can pay for your fruit with cash, check, or Farm Direct coupons (no credit cards).

When you sign Up for our CSA with SNAP, Double Up Food Bucks Pays Half!

Double Up Food Bucks (DUFB) is a program that helps low-income Oregonians purchase more fruits and vegetables while supporting local, family farms. You can purchase one of our Monthly Pay Plan CSA shares using your SNAP/Oregon Trail card and DUFB will provide 1:1 matching funds (you pay half the cost of the CSA with SNAP* and DUFB covers the other half). It's a win-win that strengthens our community by providing better access to fresh, healthy food while helping local farmers earn a living.

One in eight Oregonians experience food insecurity, and for families with limited incomes the cost of fresh produce can be prohibitive. Double Up Food Bucks helps SNAP participants heap their plates high with fresh, local veggies when they purchase a Valley Flora CSA share. 

Click here to learn more about our 28-week CSA!

*Applies to SNAP food benefits only. If you receive SNAP cash benefits (allowing you to buy non-food items), unfortunately you will not be eligible for the DUFB program.

Farmstand is Open - WEDNESDAYS ONLY!

As we ease into our summer schedule the farmstand is currently open every Wednesday from 11:30 to 2:30. We will add Saturdays to the calendar sometime in June.

There are two ways to get our farmstand produce: pre-order 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, go to our online store where you can set up an account or shop as a guest.
  • 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 an account, 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 online 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. We rely on crop diversity, compost, cover crops, and crop rotation to keep our farm healthy and thriving both above and below ground. 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 also deeply committed to strengthening our community-based food system on the remote southern Oregon coast. We collaborate with a number of other local farmers, ranchers and wildcrafters to promote and distribute their high quality goods to our customers. All of this food supplies our 130-member CSA, our farmstand, local foodbanks, and a number of stores, restaurants and co-ops up and down the coast. We are passionate about place, in love with plants, and grateful to be a part of this community. 

Week 3 from Valley Flora!

  • Purple Kohlrabi
  • Strawberries
  • Mizuna
  • Kale
  • Head Lettuce

On Rotation:

  • Zucchini
  • Broccolini
  • Cilantro
  • Hakurei Turnips

For some of you this might be your first encounter with kohlrabi. Those pretty purple bulbs are edible from top to bottom: you can use the leaves as a cooking green, just as you would kale or collards. The bulb requires peeling (¡que lástima! you have to peel away that plum-colored exterior). But the interior is a crisp, white, crudités delight, not unlike jicama or the tender peeled stem of broccoli. There are various recipes that call for cooking kohlrabi, but personally I think it's at its best when eaten raw. If you want to keep it simple: peel it, cut it into sticks or slices, and dip it in your favorite dressing. Or try a kohlrabi slaw recipe - there are lots of variations on this theme, so take a gander on ye olde internet and search for "kohlrabi slaw" to find the flavor profile that sings to you.

 Mizuna might also be a new one for some of you (the bagged baby green with light green, serrated leaves). Mizuna is a mild Japanese mustard green and can be enjoyed raw as a salad base or sauteed. This Mizuna Salad with Ponzu Dressing is the kinda thing that makes my mouth water. It's also a recipe that will most likely require you to improvise a little, since it might be hard to track down shiso leaf and Japanese ginger. But no worries, even if you just make the ponzu dressing and toss it with naked mizuna (and/or try some of the recommended substitutions) you'll have a lovely little flavor bomb.

Kale is finally showing up in your tote this week, a little behind the normal curve for us. Our spring planting came under attack by root maggots and symphylans, but we've been singing encouragement to the plants for the past month and all of our kale, chard and collards are finally taking off. If you want to get yourself addicted to kale, make some kale chips. You can also throw raw kale into a smoothie, steam it, sautee it, or make any number of riffs - from deluxe to monastic - on raw kale salad.

Easing into Summer: Our Current Farmstand and U-Pick Schedule

We are slowly easing into our summer schedule with the farmstand and strawberry u-pick. The farmstand is currently open on Wednesdays only from 11:30 to 2:30 pm and strawberry u-pick is open on Saturdays only starting at 11:30 am (the berries are still limited while the patch comes into full production). We plan to add our Saturday farmstand to the schedule in the next couple weeks, and Wednesdays to the u-pick schedule once there are enough berries.

If you want to shop the farmstand, we strongly encourage folks to pre-order their produce in advance via our online store. We do stock the farmstand with limited produce for drop-in shoppers, but you have the widest selection and best guarantee if you pre-order.

Finally, a quick heads up that next week's newsletter will be either 1) very short, or 2) non-existent because I won't have muy usual office time on Wednesday to spin farm yarns for you :).

Have a great week!

 

 

Newsletter: 

Week 2 from Valley Flora!

  • Radish Micro Mix
  • Baby Arugula (bagged)
  • Yellow Spring Onions
  • Head Lettuce
  • Purple Radishes
  • Strawberries
  • Pea Tendrils

On Rotation:

  • Broccolini
  • Zucchini

We couldn't be more grateful for the almost 2" of rain on Sunday night - enough to help keep the hills green and the creek full. There's also a bit of magic in real rain, as opposed to irrigation water, that makes plants go crazy. Rainwater is slightly acidic (thanks to colliding with CO2 as it plummets through the atmosphere) and when it hits the soil it catalyzes the release of important micronutrients like zinc, copper, iron and manganese, all of which are essential to plant growth. Rainwater also contains nitrates - the form of nitrogen that plants can readily absorb through their roots - which gives crops a noticeable boost. And, it rinses off the dust that collects on the leaves of plants, allowing more sunlight to reach their cells and boost photosynthesis. It's no wonder that in the week following a good summer rain we sometimes see our field crops double in size.

Growing up here as a kid, June was always a misty, drippy, green month - a little maddening when you're ten years old and school's out for summer and all you want is to head for the swimming hole, if only it weren't 60 degrees and drizzling. In the last decade that's changed noticeably, such that June as become much more of a dry, sunny, summer month here. I suppose that's great for swimming season, but not for drought. A June without rain means less feed and a thin hay crop for the ranchers, water scarcity in the creeks and rivers, and higher risk of wildfires - our new, unnerving, normal courtesy of climate change. Even though rain makes a mess of the strawberry patch when it's loaded with ripe fruit, I'll take it any day in the summer! That's what strawberry jam was invented for: a great use for rain-battered berries.

This week you're seeing a few new things in the CSA share:

  • Baby Arugula, thanks to Abby - wonderful as a stand-alone salad green, blended into pesto, tossed into risotto, sauteed, or used as a pizza topper.
  • Radish Micro Mix - a superfood packed with vitamins and minerals, great as a topper on tacos, salads, pretty much any dish - or add it to your smoothie for a nutrient boost.
  • Pea Tendrils - whimsical, wonderful, delicious pea tendrils! The entire thing is edible, flowers and stems included (although the lower stems may be tougher/woodier and worth avoiding). You can do just about anything with pea tendrils; here are a few recipes to help you decide which direction to go. These are a great prelude to our sugar snap peas, which are growing like gangbusters and should start yielding in a few short weeks. 

Salad Shares Begin this Week!

As of this week we'll begin delivering marked red coolers to all CSA pickup sites containing Abby's Greens Salad Shares. If you did not sign up for a salad share this season, DO NOT TAKE SALAD from the coolers! If you did sign up for a salad share, be sure you take the correct size bag each week. There are half pound and full pound shares, so please double check that you have the right size bag.

Enjoy the early summer harvest!

Newsletter: 

Week 1 of the 2024 CSA Season!

In your first share this week:

  • Red Spring Onions - a labor of Allium love, planted last fall and finally ready for harvest this week!
  • Purple Radishes - juicy with a little kick; if you like it less spicy, peel them!
  • Bunched Arugula - a mildly spicy green, wonderful in salads or alongside a slab of fish
  • Bunched Tatsoi - a dark green, spoon-shaped leafy green with white ribs, great sauteed or stir-fried
  • Head Lettuce - red butter, red oakleaf or redleaf plus a mini romaine
  • A SunOrange Cherry Tomato Plant - see below for planting tips!

On Rotation:*

  • Hakurei Turnips - our favorite salad turnip, buttery-sweet and good enough to eat like an apple
  • Zucchini - the first tender harvest out of our field tunnels
  • Strawberries - starting to come on strong in the field! We'll try to get you as many pints of these over the summer as we can! :)
  • Cilantro 

*These are crops that we don't have enough of all at once to put in every CSA tote in the same week, usually because they are just coming into production and aren't yielding fully yet. Some pickup sites will receive them this week, others in a future week - we keep track so it's even-steven all year :)

Hello CSA Members and Welcome to our 2024 Season!

We're tickled that you all have decided to embark on this 28-week seasonal eating adventure with us! The CSA is the biggest ever this year, thanks to a tsunami of unprecedented interest, so THANK YOU for being a core part of it! We are especially delighted that we have more SNAP members participating than ever before, thanks to the Double Up Food Bucks Program, which covers half the cost of the CSA for folks with SNAP/Oregon Trail benefits. Our CSA membership is the backbone of our farm economy and community (some of our members have been with us for 15 years!) and we make you our absolute first priority, ahead of our other sales channels (wholesale and farmstand). Some CSA's are managed the other way around: sell everything you can to other outlets first and then dump the leftovers on your CSA. Not at Valley Flora. Our commitment to our CSA is what drives the crop diversity at Valley Flora - we want to keep those totes interesting and abundant for you every week! - which has a beautiful ecological ripple effect on the farm: hundreds of different crops and varieties growing in coloful, organic polyculture, and supporting all kinds of vibrant life (other than the vegetables themselves), like this baby Pacific tree frog that greeted me in the lettuce yesterday:

For  those of you who are new to the Valley Flora CSA, an extra special welcome. It takes a certain adventurous spirit to commit to 7 months of the unknown, but we promise to do our very best to keep you stoked and stocked with peak-of-season, fresh-harvested produce every single week from now through December. As returning members can attest, it can be a lot of food! We hope it motivates you to eat more plants, and I, Zoë, will also do my best to offer tips, recipes, and backstory for all that produce in this here weekly "Beet Box" newsletter. These days the internet is rife with great recipes - easily searchable by ingredient - so I trust that many of you can find inspiration online or in your own collection of cookbooks. That said, I'll try to do some extra coaching when we throw something more unusual your way. There is also a collection of recipes on our website organized by vegetable: check out our Recipe Wizard, and feel free to contribute your own favorite recipes there! If you make something that knocks your socks off, share it with me and I'll pass it along to the rest of the CSA membership in the next newsletter.

A little housekeeping: if you haven't already familiarized yourself with our Pickup Instructions and Protocol, PLEASE DO THAT BEFORE YOU PICK UP YOUR FIRST CSA SHARE this week! Our CSA sites are all essentially unstaffed, which means they are run by YOU! Help us avoid SNAFUs and mix-ups by brushing up on how things run, and make sure that anyone else in your circle who might pick up your CSA is briefed as well. We thank you, and so do your fellow CSA members!

Also remember that Abby's Greens Salad Shares start NEXT WEEK. There is no salad this week.

Finally, be sure you grab a SunOrange cherry tomato plant this week at your pickup site. There is one per Harvest Basket and they will be in bright yellow bins. 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 (Abby was still picking tomatoes off of a plant in her greenhouse in February!). 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, wind-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.

Thanks again for being a part of this beautiful thing called community supported agriculture. 

P.S. In addition to cute little tree frogs, the farm also supports other wildlife, such as invasive garden slugs. Because we don't use any chemicals (herbicides, pesticides, etc), you might say we're an equal opportunity habitat haven. Despite our best efforts, you might find one of these in your head lettuce this week, and I'll let you decide what you want to do with it when it plops into your sink. Me, I know I'll be getting reincarnated as a slug in my next life, and in that life an organic farmer will come along on a lovely May morning and cut me in half or stomp me flat, which is what I deserve after 20+ years of slug-slaying (never Banana slugs though, they eat nothing but detritus and are a wonderful native species!). If nothing else, the slugs that might be lurking in your head lettuce are good motivation to wash your produce well (we "field rinse" everything, but you should wash it at home before eating it).

Newsletter: 

The LAST week of "Winter" :)

  • Redleaf Lettuce
  • Spring Lettuce Mix
  • Baby Hakurei Turnips
  • Pink Beauty Radishes
  • Bunched Arugula
  • Red Beets
  • Purple Potatoes
  • Tetsu Squash - don't miss the recipe included below!
  • Cabbage
  • Shallots

On Rotation:

  • Artichokes

This is it for "winter" shares: one last medley of stalwart-storage-crops-meets-delicate-new-Spring-tenderlies. We were delighted to see our Hakurei turnips sized up enough to bunch for you this week, and relieved that our pink radishes made it through the weekend heat wave without bolting or splitting. At this time of year when the weather can swing wildly and the days are stretching long, our every-other-week harvest schedule can be tricky. You never know if you're going to nail it, or miss the window altogether on something. Fortunately, we threaded the needle this week and, and our weekly harvests are right around the corner.

For those of you opening up this final CSA tote this week, I have to make another passionate pitch about the Tetsukabuto squash in there. Maybe you're thinking it's not winter squash season anymore, or maybe you're thinking about the pile of uneaten winter squash that's already sitting on your counter from the past few months. I feel you. But this past weekend my good friend, Laura (fellow farmer and horsepacking buddy), came down to visit and we camped at the Bullards Horse Camp for two nights. She dished up dinner on the second night and as usual blew my tastebuds' brains with a simple, farm-inspired Tetsu Agrodolce. I've pasted in the recipe below for you, and if my own formerly squash-cluttered counter is any proof (not a single tetsu left on it as of this week thanks to this recipe!), the Agrodolce will have you wishing you had an entire tote full of Tetsu to see you through the summer. It's so goo-ood we packed up camp on Sunday, came home, raided the squash room at the farm, and made two more sheet pans of it for Mother's Day! FYI, Laura is also the person who introduced me to oven-roasted cabbage wedges and the famous radicchio salad that I never stop talking about, which means she gets full credit for opening my eyes to three of the best, easy, winter-produce-inspired recipes I know of. All I can say is, EAT THIS! And if you want more Tetsu, we stil have a little stash that will show up at the farmstand for a couple more weeks.

In addition to filling the last winter CSA totes this week, we were also harvesting for our first farmstand (today, Wednesday May 15th, from 11:30 to 2:30!). We were able to coax some bonus goodies out of the field in token quantities, like baby zucchini, broccolini, baby carrots, and yes, strawberries! We're feeling hopeful that this could be a good strawberry year, but let's not talk about it for fear of jinxing things. Feel free to swing by the stand today and pick up some bonus produce, and/or take home a box of organic starts for your garden. We have a good assortment of farm-grown tomato plants, pepper plants, cukes and zukes that are ready to go in the ground, all tried and true varieties that we grow and love at Valley Flora.

Next week will be a transition week for us as we switch gears out of Winter CSA mode and get ready for our main summer season, which will kick off the week of Memorial Day! Lots of things will be happening that week:

  • Our first CSA totes will be delivered to our 2024 main season members:
  • Our farmstand will go to weekly Wednesdays starting May 29th. We'll be adding Saturdays to the schedule by the summer solstice, if not sooner.
  • We will open strawberry u-pick as soon as the patch is ready. Please don't call or email if you are wracked with strawberry fever; we promise to get the word out via email, on our website, in this newsletter, and through our Instagram/Facebook feed once the patch is ready for the eager public. Remember, the strawberries produce ALL SEASON LONG, into October, so there are many good months of u-picking ahead of us. 

Recipe of the Week: Zucca in Agrodolce (Sweet and Sour Butternut Squash, but you can use Tetsu or any kind of squash!)

Credits: Naz Deravian, NYT Cooking

  • 2.5 pounds Tetsu or Butternut or other squash
  • 2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 to 4 Tbs granulated sugar or honey, to taste
  • 1 large garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 20 mint leaves

Place a rack in the center position of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees.

Cut the Tetsu in half, scoop out the seeds, and then carve the halves into wedges, leaving the skin on. The fatter your wedges, the longer the baking time. Place the wedges on a sheet pan, drizzle with the oil and season well with about 1 teaspoon salt; season with black pepper to taste. Toss and spread out in a single layer.

Roast for 12 minutes (or longer, depending on the thickness of your wedges), then flip the squash slices (using two forks works well) and continue to roast until cooked through (but not falling apart) and slightly golden around the edges.

Meanwhile, add the vinegar, 2 Tbs sugar or honey, garlic slices and a pinch of salt to a small saucepan, then stir and bring to a gentle boil over medium-high heat. Immediately reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the sugar fully dissolves and the mixture reduces to a slightly syrupy consistency, 6 to 8 minutes. Halfway through, taste the syrup and add more sugar/honey, one tablespoon at a time, if desired. Remove from the heat. You should have about 1/4 cup syrup.

Place the roasted squash in a serving dish, tear half of the mint leaves and scatter over the squash. Drizzle the syrup over the squash. Set aside and let marninate for at least 2 hours. As the squash cools, tip the dish a little to one side, spoon some syrup and drizzle it over the top of the squash. Repeat as often as you like. Garnish with the remaining mint leaves and serve at room temperature. Sidenote: you can make this a day or two ahead and let it develop flavor in the fridge, or eat it hot out of the oven if you're in a hurry - just spoon the agrodolce sauce over the squash wedges when they come out of the oven and garnish with mint.

 

 

 

Newsletter: 

Week 9 of Winter/Spring from Valley Flora!

  • Redleaf Lettuce
  • Baby Pac Choi
  • Bunched Bellezia Arugula
  • Bunched Fava Greens
  • Rainbow Chard
  • Pea Shoots
  • Red Cabbage
  • Purple Sprouting Broccoli (final harvest!)
  • Yellow Onions
  • Purple Potatoes
  • Purple Radishes
  • Tetsu Winter Squash

On Rotation:

  • Artichokes

Happy Mayday!

Your "winter" CSA share is listing hard towards "spring" this week, with the arrival of head lettuce from our field tunnels, pac choi, fava greens, young radishes, and a wild-type arugula that is aptly named "Bellezia." As Allen put it as he and Roberto packed the totes yesterday, "we couldn't have fit a single leaf more in there." It's not all fluff, though. Some dense winter goods are still anchoring the bottom of the bin, with purple potatoes, the last of the jumbo yellow onions, a Guiness-book sized Tetsu squash, and purple cabbage. We've been genuinely impressed with this cabbage variety, which got planted last August, was harvested in late March, is storing like a champ, and is still winning cabbage beauty pageants. 

And if you are groaning at the sight of that big kabocha squash, here's some inspiration from a fellow CSA member in Port Orford who was moved to email me last time we put Tetsu in your share:

The oven was on today, so I went ahead and baked the Tetsu whole before I decided for sure what to do with it. Seems that’s a moot point because it is SO DANG GOOD that I keep eating it right out of my refrig container with a spoon! Yumm!! Thanks for the introduction!

Alternatively, you can procrastinate and leave that Tetsu on your counter for another month or two. We've had CSA members eat them a whole year after they were harvested - that's how crazy-long they can store. 

If you want a yummy way to disappear your arugula this week, along with that stash of red beets that I know are piled up in the back of your fridge, I highly recommend some version of this salad from Ottolenghi: Beetroot and Walnut Salad. Danny made it for dinner last night. We didnt' have half the ingredients - cilantro, leeks, tamarind water, pomegranate seeds, walnut oil - but it didn't matter. Skip all the things you don't have and use olive oil instead of the other oils. The main point is that roasting those beets in tin foil, then peeling them, gives them a wonderful, deep flavor. We crumbled some feta on top and doused the arugula (known as "rocket" in the U.K.) with a little more olive oil and reduced balsamic. Wowza.

Also, before I go, you probably need some pointers for those fava greens. Right. Favas are mostly known for their beans (which will be part of the CSA share come early July). But the tender young leaves are a lesser-known delicacy with a wonderfully nutty flavor. I think they shine the most when you lightly sautee them in butter or olive oil with a little salt, but you can also eat them raw as a salad ingredient. Snip the leaves and tender tips from the plant, removing any tough or woody stem. Wash well to remove any field dirt and spin dry. From there, the world is full of fav-ulous possibilities. Here's a creative spin on basil pesto, using fava leaves instead: Fava Greens Pesto. This is a once--a-year-only harvest for us, when we thin our fava bed to make room for the bean-producing plants. So give 'em a try - it'll be your only chance in 2024!

Newsletter: 

Week 8 of Winter/Spring from Valley Flora!

  • Spring Lettuce Mix
  • Arugula
  • Bunched Spinach
  • Cebollitas
  • Micro Mix
  • Potatoes
  • Green Cabbage
  • Shallots
  • Red Bets
  • Purple Sprouting Broccoli & Spring Raab

On Rotation:

  • Caulliflower

If our wifi signal was a little stronger here at the farm today, I'd be attaching a photo that might make you ponder the order of things at Valley Flora: picture the whole crew bent over in the field, five hours into a marathon day of transplanting. The ground is freshly turned, each of us doubled over at the waist, trowels flying like pistons as we chip away at the 7,000 seedlings that are going into the ground on this first day of our outdoor planting season. Meanwhile in the foreground: a black Lab lying fully sprawled on the back of the flatbed amidst scattered half-empty transplant trays and crew water bottles, her head draped over the edge of the truck in our direction. The look she is casting at the camera is one of purest indolence, as if to say, "All this, for kale?"

Yes, Juno, all this for kale. And for chard and collards and lettuce and pac choi and beets and peas and favas and radishes and turnips and even for that one vegetable you genuinely love, carrots. (It is a good thing, by the way, that your farmers here at Valley Flora are not dogs because if we were your CSA membership would consist of paying us to mostly lie around all day, dig holes, swim in the creek, and maybe, occasionally, once in a very blue moon, do something useful by catching a field mouse for you.)

Instead your human farmers have been taking full advantage of this sunny spell to kick the season off with gusto, rapidly transforming the farm into row upon planted row of early crops that will be making their way into summer CSA baskets in six short weeks (spring is the antithesis of indolence when you file a Schedule F for a living)! Meanwhile, our winter CSA members are starting to see some signature seasonal edibles in their share right now - arugula and spring lettuce mix - and will soon be dining on tender fava greens and artichokes. All the while the farm dogs snooze in the shade, perhaps vaguely mystified at the hustle-bustle. But then again, why ask questions when the napping is ample and the kibble is sin fin?

Happy spring, whether you are out there napping or out there bustling.

 

Newsletter: 

Week 7 of Winter/Spring from Valley Flora!

  • Purple Sprouting Broccoli 
  • Cauliflower 
  • Ruby Streaks Mustard Greens
  • Pea Shoots
  • Yellow Onions
  • Painted Purple Potatoes
  • Spring Raab
  • Bulk Spinach
  • Tetsukabuto Winter Squash
  • Cebollitas 

Week 7 Produce Notes:

It was a fun week of harvest abundance at the farm: the purple sprouting broccoli at max production, spinach leaves the size of baby elephant ears, and our first harvest of "cebollitas." Cebollitas (little onions) are the green tops of our onion seedlings, which are currently sizing up in trays in our propagation greenhouse. We start all of our own onions from seed in early February and as they germinate and size up we have to give the seedlings periodic "haircuts" to encourage the plants to girth up ahead of transplanting. We've learned to save the green tops and put them to culinary use since they make a great substitute for chives or green onions. 

This week's motherlode of purple sprouting broccoli (aka "PSB" in farmer parlance) is worthy of center-of-the-plate attention. You can cook PSB the same way you would regular broccoli or broccolini. It will lose its vibrant purple color in the process, but the flavor is unbeatable. It's also mild and sweet enough to munch raw if you don't want to lose that vibrant purple hue (the stem in particular is oh-so-tender and sweet). Check out this diverse collection of purple sprouting broccoli recipes for inspiration.

Cauliflower: I got home late from the farm on Monday with no idea what I was making for dinner. I had a couple big heads of cauliflower that needed to be eaten so I did what I often do when I'm at a loss for a dinner idea but have produce staring me down in the fridge: I got online and searched "cauliflower recipes." I landed on this one: Kung Pao Cauliflower, and it was a hit. Quick, easy, tons of flavor, one single sheet pan to wash at the end of the night, perfect alongside a pot of rice. I didn't have any green onions on hand so I subbed thin-sliced leeks and roasted them with the cauliflower to crispy them up. Made for great leftovers the next day, too. I highly recommend, especially if you've got a cauliflower backlog.

Tetsukabuto Winter Squash: One of our favorite and longest-keeping squash, "Tetsu" is a cross between a butternut and a kabocha. They can be intimidating for some folks because of their tough-as-nails bumpy skin, but they are worth the effort ("tetsukabuto" translates to "steel helmet" in Japanese). The OSU winter vegetable project has created a great collection of videos on how to cook with lesser-known winter vegetables, including Tetsu: https://www.eatwintervegetables.com/videos

You can also find some delish recipes and videos for purple sprouting broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, celeriac, radicchio and more on their site. Eat it up!

Mustard Greens: The variety that most of you are getting this week is a mild, lacy-leafed variety called "Ruby Streaks." If this is the vegetable that predictably ends up yellow and half-rotten in a slimy bag at the back of your fridge, I'd suggest cooking it up tonight alongside that Kung Pao cauliflower. In fact, the sauce for the cauliflower would work perfectly splashed over a pile of sauteed mustards (and I promise you, it will be a very small pile once it cooks down). You could also try this teriyaki-inspired recipe: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/218501/asian-inspired-mustard-greens/

Let the Planting Begin!

In spite of the near-relentless rain the past many months, the skies have afforded us enough of a window that we'll be starting our outdoor planting season on time this week. This first week of transplanting is a bit like boot-camp for farmers, with thousands and thousands of transplants staged in the greenhouse right now, ready to hit the soil. The way they get there, from greenhouse tray to fertile field, is human hands. We hand-transplant every last seedling on the farm, flat-backed, bent at the hips, leaning into our glutes. Even with our baseline fitness, we'll all be sore by this weekend, guaranteed. We'll be transplanting kale, collards, chard, head lettuce, kohlrabi, cabbage, broccolini, broccoli and pac choi. And by light of headlamp last night, I was able to get carrots, beets, turnips, radishes, arugula and spinach direct-seeded before the rain started. Spring is manic like this: rainy lulls followed by sunny weather sprints.

Good thing there are 12 hours and 50 minutes of daylight now, because there are times when we need every last second of it (and then some, courtesy of Petzl headlamps and an arsenal of rechargable triple A batteries :)...

CSA Shares Almost Sold Out, Sign Up Today!

We have a few spots left for the upcoming CSA season. Sign-ups are now open to the general public so spread the word! Remember, anyone with SNAP food benefits is eligible for Double Up Food Bucks (DUFB) when they sign up for our CSA. That means they only pay half the cost of the CSA with SNAP and DUFB covers the other half. It's a great way to get a season of fresh produce from Valley Flora at a 50% discount.

Sign up on our website at https://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/valley-flora-harvest-basket!

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Week 6 from Valley Flora - Happy Spring!

  • Bunched Spinach
  • Cauliflower
  • Leeks - last harvest of the year!
  • Butternut Squash
  • Shallots
  • Spring Raab - a mix of tender buds from our kale, cabbage, collards and Brussels sprouts this week
  • Purple Sprouting Broccoli
  • Red Beets
  • Purple and Yellow Potatoes
  • Parsley - Curly or Italian
  • Resurrection Celery - These flavor-packed stalks are winter regrowth from the celery plants we logged for you last fall. In a mild winter, the plants can send up new shoots after being harvested, giving us a a special harvest of mini "resurrection" celery come spring. Great sauteed up as a flavor base, added to soup, or even munched raw.
  • Micro Mix - radish and mesclun blend
  • Purple Cabbage

Spring!

Spring sprang yesterday amidst a frenzy of activity on the farm as we tried to cross everything we could off our list before the next wall of rain arrives. Jack and Lily had their first day back in harness after a winter's rest and they earned an A+ for good behavior and tireless work ethic. The horses spread mountains of compost on the field, cultivated the new artichoke patch, and helped unearth the rhubarb, which was choked with winter weeds. Meanwhile all the Valley Flora two-leggeds were putting their opposable thumbs to good use pruning fruit trees, weeding perennials, mowing cover crop, transplanting greenhouse starts, and putting row cover on all the beds that got seeded over the weekend: favas, peas, carrots, beets, turnips, radishes and arugula, oh my! Might we actually be a little relieved when it starts raining again, if only to get through the unruly pile on this neglected desk? Perhaps....

Sign Up for the Valley Flora CSA with SNAP, Double Up Food Bucks Pays Half!

Spread the word to anyone you know who has SNAP food benefits! SNAP members who sign up for our CSA pay half the cost and Double Up Food Bucks covers the other half. It's a fantastic program that makes fresh produce more accessible to everyone in our community. Help us get the word out! You can read more about it and sign up on our website here.

 

Newsletter: 

Week 5 of Winter from Valley Flora!

  • Autumn Frost Winter Squash - wonderfully flavorful specialty butternut, great roasted or turned into soup
  • Celeriac - aka "celery root," also a great soup ingredient, or mash it with potatoes, or grate into hashbrowns, or roast with other root veggies
  • Yellow Onions (not pictured)
  • Micro Mix - a blend of pea shoots, radish and mesclun (not pictured)
  • Bunched Mustard Greens  - semi-spicy cooking greens....here's a collection of 8 eclectic recipes to help you use them: https://www.foodandwine.com/vegetables/greens/10-ways-use-mustard-greens
  • Baby Leeks
  • Red Potatoes
  • Purple Mini Daikon Radish - beautiful sliced and added to salads or snacked on raw...peel the outer skin for milder, more tender munching.
  • Winter Salad Mix - a blend of 8 lettuce varieties and asian greens from our greenhouses
  • Bunched Spinach - as loved by slugs as it is by humans, pardon the holey leaves!
  • Savoy Cabbage

On Rotation:

  • Cauliflower
  • Spring Raab
  • Purple Sprouting Broccoli

Happy March, and happy few days of much-needed sunshine! This past week of frigid, relentless rain/hail/sleet wasn't a problem for any of our hardy overwintering field crops, but ironically it put a major damper on the growth of our pea shoots in the greenhouse. The cold and the grey slowed them down significantly, such that our usual Monday harvest was postponed. All day Tuesday I was popping in and out of the propagation house to see if they had put on enough top growth. Finally at 6 pm, with all the CSA shares already packed and in the cooler and the crew gone, I took the electric knife to them and harvested all 30+ trays by headlamp. Because we were short on poundage (due to the diminuitive stature of those preemie peas), I mixed in all our radish and mesclun to create a lovely little fancy-pants blend. It'll make a nice garnish on that winter salad mix this week.

It was fun to finally dive into some of our much-anticipated greenhouse crops this week: spinach, cut lettuce, baby greens. All of it was seeded/planted as early as last Thanksgiving and is only now ready for harvest. It's a myth that plants don't grow during our winter; they do, just very, very slowly. We transplanted a new bed of cut lettuce into a greenhouse yesterday and it will likely be ready for harvest in a month or so (instead of the three months it takes when it grows through winter). We have a steady succession of spinach on the horizon (hopefully the slugs won't ravage it all, apologies for those holey leaves!), and even have a bed of baby carrots up and growing indoors.

With any luck, we might be able to get some outdoor peas, favas, carrots, beets, radishes and turnips seeded this week before the next deluge. And while we wait for it to dry out, we'll be pruning in the orchard like madwomen, transplanting artichokes, and mowing mowing mowing! 

All to say, office tasks are on hold until it starts raining again!

CSA Sign-Ups are Now Open for our Waiting List!

If you are on our CSA waiting list, you should see an email from us this week with an invitation to sign up! If you were a member last year and didn't sign up during our priority window - but want to - grab a spot before it's too late! To sign up, visit our website: https://www.valleyflorafarm.com/catalog/7

Newsletter: 

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: 

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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