CSA Spring Share 2014 - Week #2 (15 October/17-18 October)

CSA SPRING SHARE WEEK #2 ***TAKE CARE*** There are stinging nettles in your box.  Once the nettles are heated, the lose the formic acid which brings the sting.  Read more about nettles.NOTES ON STORING THE HARVEST Please check out our Vegetable & Fruit page on the website to find tips on maximizing the life of your veggies.  We envisage that many of the vegetables you are receiving this week will last for two weeks with careful attention to storing upon arrival. Although we do wash all the greens after harvest, we are washing to take the heat out of the plants and wash away some surface dirt, not to prepare them for consumption.  We also spray a seaweed/herb brew about every ten days.  While this will not harm you, it does have a taste. We do suggest washing your produce prior to eating.

WHAT’S IN THE BOX The following are the items harvested this week.  Items and quantities in your box may vary depending on your harvest day and the total harvest of each crop.  The boxes are completely governed by what is ripe and ready for harvest and how much of it there is.  We endeavor to divide the harvest fairly.

1/4 share: 5-7 items   1/2 share: 8-10 items   Full Share: 10-12 items

Bok Choy Broad Bean Tops Chillies Chives Lettuce Mung Bean Sprouts Nettles Onions Pumpkin Radishes Perpetual Gator Silver Beet English Spinach Thyme

EXTRAS Artichokes Beet Root Red Bok Choy Purple Sprouting Broccoli Leeks NOTES ON WHAT IS GROWING

We usually try and hold our Winter green manure crops until right before we plant an area.  This year though, they were infested with the red legged earth mite.  This is a mite from South Africa which has become a real problem in Australian pastures.  The Department of Primary Industries suggests several insecticides to try and break the life cycle of the mite.  The biodynamic treatment is to use preparation 500 and 501 together to support the roots of the plants and to tighten the plants pores and help it photosynthesize better to outgrow the damage done by the sucking mite.  We have been using this method in conjunction with tilling in our green manure crops early as these are the major food source of the mite.  Consequently, unless an Early Spring seeded pea crop grows more, we will not have pea shoots this Spring. The mite has also affected our first pea crop.  It is now growing through the damage but the crop is only about half of what it was.  The second crop looks great though.The Spring surge of the sucking insects (like aphids) is happening and many of the leafy greens show the signs of their attack.  Our attitude towards “pests” is wait and see.  We believe in the ecosystem we are cultivating and have seen nature working with the arrival of “beneficials” to feed on the “pests”.  What we see on plants is aphids being fed upon by lacewings with wasps laying their eggs into the aphid eggs.  What you see is bugs.  We get that! And we are working to have high quality, bug free produce.  We also need to balance the whole ecosystem of the farm.  We do not want to spray organic insecticides as they are not selective – killing pests and beneficials. This could lead to a bigger problem later in the season.  So while we watch the ecosystem in action, we have also tried to help it along by purchasing eggs for beneficial bug predators.  We are releasing these around the farm in hopes of increasing our beneficial population.

The early broccoli is heading up well.  We are unsure if they will be ready for harvest next week or the week after.
Theses are very busy weeks on the farm as we get back into the rhythm of harvesting and we rush to get the Summer heat loving plants in the ground.  This week the night time temperatures are still below 10 degrees here.  We have cloches protecting the zucchini and cucumbers.   The potatoes, first plantings of beans, more carrots and beetroot and greens are all in the ground too.  In the next few weeks we will seed our pumpkin and watermelon crop, our second melon planting and our first planting of sweet corn.

RECIPE SUGGESTIONS Broad Bean Tops Sesame Salmon with Honey Bok Choy Spinach Pie - a Jamie Oliver recipe which is a real hit for farm crew lunches! Bok Choy Salad Nettle Tartlets Here are some internet nettle recipes which look good. Nettle Spanikopita Quinoa and Nettle Pilaf Nettle and Goats Cheese Pie Nettle Pesto

You can search our recipes by looking for the key ingredients on our website recipe page.

Please note - Photo is a randomly selected full share box with the addition of a whole pumpkin (the boxes received 1/2 a pumpkin).