Wednesday, June 21, 2017

A Box Deconstructed- 6/22/2017

Cooking with This Week’s Box!

“To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.”  -François de La Rochefoucauld

Welcome to summer…and all the delicious vegetables it brings with it!  As we start cooking from this week’s box, how about making a cake to celebrate the first day of summer this week?  Cake, with vegetables?  Yes—Zucchini Pecan Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting! You can make this cake and still have plenty of zucchini left to make Hummus and Grilled Zucchini Pizzas.  There are so many things you can do with zucchini, so don’t let them intimidate you this summer.  Rather, put them to use and find interesting ways to use and enjoy them throughout the summer!!

In this week’s newsletter, we’ve included two kohlrabi recipes from Andrea Bemis.  I don’t usually highlight multiple recipes from one source in the same newsletter, but Andrea Bemis knows kohlrabi and these are both good recipes!  You have enough kohlrabi this week to make both BLK Sandwiches for two (bacon, lettuce and kohlrabi) as well as Kohlrabi and Chickpea Salad. If you don’t care for either of these recipes, visit Andrea’s blog, Dishing Up the Dirt where you will find more interesting recipes in her collection utilizing kohlrabi.  Andrea Bemis is not only a recipe developer, but she is also a farmer.  One thing is for sure…she knows vegetables and how to properly use and enjoy them throughout the season!

Sugar snap peas are one of my favorite vegetables, and one of my favorite dishes to make during their season is a simple dish of Sugar Snap Peas and Scallions.  This is a recipe we featured in our June newsletter back in 2008.  It calls for fresh thyme, but it’s also good with other herbs such as dill or parsley.  I like to serve this as a side dish with a variety of meals, but it goes particularly well alongside grilled or sautéed fish or roasted chicken.  I also like to make Quinoa Salad with Sugar Snap Peas and Mint. This is a recipe we featured in our newsletter in June 2007.  It’s a light, refreshing, simple salad to make and travels well.  Take a larger portion of this to enjoy as a main item in your pack-and-go lunch or serve it as a side dish at dinner.

We’re excited to finally have fresh beets!  Notice how beautiful the greens are this week…and don’t forget to use them!  Fresh, green top beets are like two vegetables in one.  It would be a shame to throw away the greens when you could put them to use in so many different ways.  This week, I’m going to use the green top beets to make this interesting Beet Pizza with Beet Greens Pesto.  The pizza crust will turn pink, which will make for an interesting and eye catching pizza!

This is our last week of head lettuces until we harvest our fall plantings.  My mom and grandma used to make a simple creamy dressing to drizzle over fresh leaf lettuce from the garden.  It’s very similar to this recipe for Lettuce with Cream DressingThis is a simple and delicious salad to make with just a few ingredients including the head lettuce and scallions in this week’s box! 

I’ll reserve the baby kale mix and the kohlrabi tops this week for breakfast.  Incorporate these greens into a frittata to eat for Sunday brunch and then enjoy leftovers for lunch the next day, along with a green salad.  Here’s a recipe for Frittata withGreens to guide you. Adding greens to your breakfast is a great way to start your day and increase your daily vegetable consumption. 

Salad Mix will weave its way in and out of meals throughout the week.  If you need a quick snack, meal or side dish, it takes just a moment to put some salad mix in a bowl, toss it with a dressing or vinaigrette and you’re done.  If you have a little more time, you could add olives, other chopped vegetables, diced cooked chicken, nuts, seeds, etc.  The point is…keep it quick, keep it simple and enjoy the convenience!  Visit The Kitchn to find a few simple vinaigrette recipes.  Whip up a jar of one of these and keep it in the refrigerator next to the bag of salad mix!    

That does it for this week’s box.  Looking ahead to next week, I’ll give you a little sneak preview of a few things that might make their way into the box.  Richard brought the cutest little cucumber in from the field earlier this week.  They should be ready to start picking next week!  We’re also keeping our eye on the fennel and broccoli.  Both of those items should be ready soon as well.  Have a great week and welcome to summer! —Chef Andrea 

Featured Vegetable:  Kohlrabi

The name for kohlrabi is derived from “khol” meaning stem or cabbage and “rabi” meaning turnip.  While it is in the cabbage family and resembles a turnip, it grows differently than both.  Many people mistake kohlrabi for being a root vegetable that grows under the ground, but it is actually an enlarged stem that grows above the soil level.  Its stems and leaves shoot up from the bulbous part to give it, as many describe, the appearance of a space ship. 
We grow both green and purple kohlrabi, which are no different from each other once they are peeled.  Kohlrabi is seeded in the greenhouse in early March and transplanted to the field as early as possible in April, along with other vegetables in the same family of cole crops including broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage.  Kohlrabi is reliably the first of this family of vegetables to be ready, so it has earned its “niche” in seasonal eating while we wait for broccoli and cauliflower to make heads. 
The fibrous peel should be removed from the bulb prior to eating.  You can do this easily by cutting the kohlrabi into halves or quarters and then peeling away the outer skin with a paring knife.  The flesh is dense and crisp, yet tender and sweet with a hint of a mild cabbage flavor.  The leaves on kohlrabi are edible as well, so don’t just discard them.  They have the texture and characteristics of collard greens, so you could use them in any recipe calling for collards.  They are also good eaten raw.  Just make sure you slice them thinly and toss them with an acidic vinaigrette to soften the leaves.  To store kohlrabi, cut the stems and leaves off.  Store both leaves and the bulbs in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.  The leaves will keep for about 1 week, and the bulbs will last up to several weeks if stored properly.
Kohlrabi can be prepared in many different ways, both raw and cooked.  The simplest way to eat it is to peel it and munch on slices plain or with just a touch of salt.  It can also be shredded and used in slaws with a variety of dressings or sliced and added to sandwiches or salads.  Just this week we enjoyed a creamy kohlrabi slaw for dinner when Richard’s mother and brother joined us for a visit.  This is reliably Richard’s favorite way to eat kohlrabi and every year as he puts kohlrabi on the kitchen counter he asks, “Can we have creamy kohlrabi slaw?” 
I always think of kohlrabi as an old-world European vegetable, which it is, but don’t forget that kohlrabi is also eaten in other parts of the world such as China and India.  You can find some interesting ways to prepare kohlrabi in stir-fries and curries if you look to these parts of the world for recipe ideas.  In this week’s newsletter we’ve included two recipes from Andrea Bemis, a recipe developer and farmer who lives in Oregon.  She has more recipes including kohlrabi on her blog, Dishing up the Dirt.  There are also some interesting recipes at  Hopefully you’ll find a recipe that sparks your interest this week as you find ways to use this interesting vegetable! 
Kohlrabi & Chickpea Salad
Yield:  4 servings

2 medium-sized kohlrabies, about 1 ¼ pounds
1 ¼ cups cooked chickpeas (rinsed and drained, if from a can)
¾ cup full-fat plain yogurt
2 ½ Tbsp minced dill
2 ½ Tbsp minced parsley
1 large clove of garlic, minced
2 ½ Tbsp fresh lemon juice
½ tsp honey
2 ½ Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
A few healthy pinches of salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup sunflower seeds, lightly toasted
½ cup raisins, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes, then drained

¼ tsp sumac (optional)
1.      Trim the leaves and stems from the kohlrabies and use a sharp knife to peel the bulbs.  Cut them into 1/4 to ½ inch cubes and place them in a large mixing bowl.  Add the chickpeas and set the mixture aside.
2.       In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the yogurt, dill, parsley, garlic, lemon juice, honey, oil, salt, and pepper.  Taste test and adjust seasonings as needed. 
3.       Pour the dressing into the bowl with the kohlrabi and chickpeas.  Mix until well combined.  Add in the toasted sunflower seeds and raisins. 
4.       Sprinkle with sumac and serve.


What is Sumac?  
Sumac is a common Middle Eastern spice and is one of the main ingredients in the spice blend za’atar.  It has a tangy, lemony flavor.  I like it because it isn’t as tart as lemon juice and it adds a lovely finish to a variety of dishes, from scrambled eggs to roasted veggies and even hummus.  It can be found in Middle Eastern grocery stores, spice shops, and online.  

This recipe was borrowed from Andrea Bemis’s book, DishingUp The Dirt.
BLK  (Bacon, Lettuce & Kohlrabi) Sandwich
Yield:  2 servings
Cashew Herb Spread
1 cup raw cashews, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes
2 ½ Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 ½ Tbsp minced parsley
2 ½ Tbsp minced basil
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

4 slices of good quality bread
6 slices of good quality bacon (may substitute a vegetarian alternative “bacon”)
1 medium kohlrabi, peeled and sliced into ¼ inch thick rounds
1 small head of lettuce, washed and individual leaves separated
Flakey salt and fresh ground pepper

1.       Drain the cashews and rinse under cold water. Place all the ingredients for the spread in a high speed blender– along with 1/3 cup of water and whirl away until completely smooth and creamy, adding more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency–it should be smooth and spreadable. Taste test and adjust flavors as necessary.
2.       Fry your bacon in a large cast iron skillet or frying pan until fully cooked and crispy. Drain on paper- towel lined plates. Pour out half of the bacon fat (save for another use) and return the pan to medium­-high heat. Add the sliced kohlrabi in a single layer and cook in the bacon fat until crisp tender and lightly browned on both sides, about 1­2 minutes per side. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towel lined plates.

3.       Toast your bread in a toaster oven, outdoor grill, or under the broiler until golden brown and crisp.
4.       To assemble the sandwiches spread a tablespoon or two of the spread over each slice of bread. Layer with the bacon, kohlrabi and lettuce. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper and enjoy.

This recipe is featured on Andrea Bemis’s blog, DishingUp the Dirt, where she shares this recipe as well as other tasty ones featuring kohlrabi and other season vegetables!  

Strawberry Day 2017…What a Fun Day!

 By Farmers Richard & Andrea

Last Sunday we hosted our 24th annual Strawberry Day event at the farm. While this day is sometimes a scorcher, we were pleased to have a very pleasant day for the party. With just a little rain overnight and a few clouds passing through, we made it through the day with just a few sprinkles of rain. The cloud cover and temperatures in the 70’s was the perfect backdrop for comfortable strawberry picking. We had an estimated 120-130 members in attendance. One member referred to our visitors as members of our “fan club.” Our “fan club” included people ranging in age from the very little ones riding in carriers with their moms to seasoned veterans returning to the farm for another visit to check in on us and make sure we still know what we’re doing!  

We started off the event with our annual potluck. We enjoy seeing our vegetables return to the farm in various forms. Jars of fermented vegetables and salsas preserved from last year’s bounty, pasta tossed with garlic scape pesto garnished with sugar snap peas and baby white turnips, and strawberry-rhubarb lemonade were just a few of the foods that made their way to this year’s potluck. We also enjoyed a delicious and refreshing batch of Strawberry Basil Kombucha made with our strawberries and basil by NessAlla. Of course a farm party isn’t complete without Iced Maple Latte made with cold brew coffee from Kickapoo coffee!

Image may contain: 2 people, people standing, mountain, sky, outdoor and nature
After the potluck, we loaded up the harvest wagons and made our way to the fields to check out some crops.  We enjoy taking members to the fields every year and feel that it makes your CSA experience so much more personal and meaningful when you can see for yourselves what it takes to grow and care for your vegetables.  Field tours have also proven to be a very meaningful and formative experience for children who visit the farm, and this year was no different.  On our first stop, Richard took a group over to check out the onions.  He showed them how to pull the purple scallions, clean them, and then of course you have to eat them!  This year’s purple scallions are pretty pungent, but that didn’t deter some of the kids and adults alike to try eating them raw right there in the field.  Richard was afraid the hot onions might leave a negative impression on one young member, but quite the contrary.  She did acknowledge they were hot, but described it as a “good hot.”  Not the kind of heat you get from hot salsa, but rather a healthy kind of hot.  She didn’t even fall victim to onion crying!  On the other side of the field, Andrea showed a group of members how to pick basil and rainbow chard.  Everyone commented about how fresh the basil smelled when it was picked right there in the field!  A few people who had never tasted fresh basil were able to pick some and get their first taste right there in the field.  Next to the basil we found the rainbow chard.  There were a few children and adults who were not familiar with this vegetable, so we found some big leaves to pick and sample.  Everyone who tried it agreed that it was pretty tasty.  What a sight to see children munching on a chard leaf in the field!  Awesome!

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The next stop on our tour was the potato field.  One member made an observation when we were in the field that when Farmer Richard picks up a carrot fork and starts walking, everyone follows in anticipation of what he might find!  We wanted to stop at this field so we could dig some potato plants and check the progress.  First we had to identify the early variety, Red Norland.  Once we found that variety in the field we looked for plants with blossoms and hopefully some cracking on the ground around the plant which would indicate potatoes swelling and growing underneath.  We dug a few plants, and did find some potatoes, but they were tiny!  We did make the assessment that we need to give them a few more weeks before we start harvesting them, but we observed great potential on the plants we took a look at!  There were as many as 10 potatoes forming on one of the plants. With a few more weeks to grow, we should get pretty good yields on our harvest.  As we walked back to the wagons we took a look at the winter squash crop which looks pretty nice.  At this point we paused to take a vote as to where to go next and the consensus from the group was to move on to STRAWBERRIES!  

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As we approached the field, we could smell the scent of the berries wafting our way.  Even though we were at the tail end of the season, there were still nice berries in the field.  It just took a little more time and patience to find them, but we didn’t have the hot sun beating down on our backs so everyone just settled into picking and took their time.  There was plenty of sampling in the field, but no one declared themselves too hungry for strawberry ice cream!  There were over 200 pounds of strawberries picked on Sunday.  We didn’t weigh any children or adults before and after picking, so this is just an estimate of the berries picked and eaten in the field as well as those that were taken home.  

When the wagons returned to the farm, we all enjoyed a bowl of strawberry ice cream.  This is a highlight of every Strawberry Day as this is one-of-a kind ice cream made for us by Castle Rock Organic Dairy using our very own strawberries in a higher ratio than normal.  It was described as the “best ice cream ever” and many people commented about how creamy it was….as they ate a second serving!

Over the course of the day we enjoyed our conversations with members, both those we have known for years as well as new members visiting the farm for the first time!  We watched children playing together throughout the day.  Some used their imaginations to pretend the wagon was their pirate ship and they showed us handfuls of their “gold,” which we usually just call gravel.  We had some runners in the group too.  When they got off the wagons they started at one end of the field and ran the entire length of the field and back!  What energy!  It must be all the organic vegetables they are eating!  It’s wonderful to see children feeling free to run, play, experience and enjoy their day on the farm.  

We are grateful to everyone who took the time to come and spend the day with us.  We appreciate the opportunity to visit with you, show you our farm, and get to know you more personally.  Your faces and stories stay with us and we think of you throughout the year as we work.  We would also like to thank our crew members who volunteered to help us set up, clean up, assist in the strawberry field, drive the tractors, etc.  We couldn’t do this all by ourselves and we appreciate their willingness to participate in making this a fun and memorable day for everyone.

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If you weren’t able to make it to the farm for Strawberry Day, we hope you’ll consider joining us for the Harvest Party in the fall.  We’ll have field tours, pumpkin picking, live music, games and another delicious potluck!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

A Box Deconstructed- 6/15/2017

Cooking with This Week’s Box!

“Great cooking is about being inspired by the simple things around you — fresh markets, 

various spices. It doesn’t necessarily have to look fancy.”
 – G. Garvin

Before we get cooking with this week’s box, I’d like to welcome any new members who are just joining us for the start of our Peak Season Vegetable shares.  Please take a moment to read your newsletter and “What’s In the Box” email that accompany each delivery.  This is where you’ll find important information about your box contents, recipes, etc.  This year we’re trying some new things in the newsletter, including this section which is intended to provide you with some ideas about what you might make with your box contents and, when possible, we’ll also provide you with a link to that recipe. 

Ok, lets dive into this week’s box.  It’s been a whirlwind of strawberry picking over the past two weeks so I’ve got strawberries on my mind and am thinking a batch of Buttermilk Pancakes with fresh strawberries and whipped cream sounds pretty good for weekend brunch!  Farmer Richard always likes bacon with his pancakes so we’ll add that to weekend brunch as well.  I’ll set aside a few pieces of cooked bacon though so I can use it to make a Tossed Bacon, Egg and Spinach Salad with a honey-mustard bacon dressing. If you prefer a vegetarian spinach salad option, check out this recipe for a Wilted Spinach Salad with Warm Feta Dressing.  

The featured vegetable in this week’s box is garlic scapes.  When you see garlic scapes, you know garlic harvest will be coming soon!  Use this week’s garlic scapes to make a Creamy Garlic Scape Dressing. This is a recipe flashback to one of our June 2003 newsletters.  This recipe can be made thick and used as a dip or thinned out and used as a dressing.  The original recipe called for dried dill, but why use dried dill when you have a bunch of fresh dill in this week’s box!  Take the outer leaves of the green Boston and tear them into bite sized pieces along with the red oak lettuce.  Dress these beautiful lettuces with this creamy garlic scape dressing and top it off with chunks of avocado, a little freshly grated Parmesan cheese and some cooked chicken or salmon to make an entrée salad for lunch or dinner. Use the inner leaves of the Green Boston to make the Butter Lettuce Cups with Peaches and Blue Cheese, featured in our Fruit Share newsletter this week. This is a recipe from the Masumoto Family Farm in California. Either enjoy the salad on its own for a light lunch or dinner or serve it with a grilled pork chop or a slice of ham.

This will be our last week for baby white turnips until our fall plantings come in.  I’ve been eating them in salads, but this week I think I’d like to make Braised Turnips and Greens to serve with a piece of broiled fish.  If you have some of the fresh dill remaining, chop it up and add it to a little melted butter.  Pour it over the fish and finish it with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.  It will be a simple yet delicious dinner! 

It’s been awhile since I have made Braised Pork Shoulder with Rhubarb-Red Wine Sauce, so I think that will be on the menu this week.  This recipe was featured in one of our June 2013 newsletters.  Serve this with some simple Sauteed Broccoli Raab or Red Russian Kale for dinner along with a piece of warm, crusty bread to sop up the sauce!

That brings us to the end of this week’s box.   I hope to see you at our Strawberry Day party this weekend. If you come, you might get a sneak peak at our zucchini field.  Farmer Richard said it’s almost time to start picking!  Have a great week!—Chef Andrea 

Featured Vegetable:  Garlic Scapes

Garlic scapes are the long, skinny, green vegetable with a lot of curl that you’ll find in this week’s box.  Up until the early 90’s we used to remove scapes from the garlic plant and throw them on the ground!  We were the first farm in the Midwest to start harvesting the scapes for use as a vegetable.  In the early 90’s there was a woman from Korea who asked us to save the garlic scapes for her so she could make pickles. We thought this was odd (remember we used to throw them on the ground), but saved some for her anyway. She shared a jar of pickled scapes with us and we realized how good they are for eating! We stopped throwing them away and started eating them!

  Garlic scapes are a curly shoot that forms on a hardneck garlic plant, which is the only variety we grow, and grows up from the center of the plant in June. This is part of nature’s plan for the plant to propagate itself. The scape extends from the middle of the plant and forms a small bulb on its end. If left to choose its own destiny, that bulb would eventually fall over and plant itself in the soil. Right now we want the garlic plant to focus its energy into producing a nice bulb of garlic, so we remove the scape from the plant. 

  Nearly the entire scape is edible and are best when harvested young and tender. You may need to trim off the skinny end near the little bulb as it is tough sometimes.  Garlic scapes are very tender and do not need to be peeled….Easy! Scapes have a bright, mild garlic flavor. They can be used in any recipe that calls for garlic cloves, just chop them up and add them as you would clove garlic. They are a great addition to eggs, are tasty when mixed with butter to use as a spread, or toss them into a stir-fry. They’ll keep in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks. 
Tempura Garlic Scapes
Yield:  3-4 as an appetizer
1 bunch garlic scapes
3 cups vegetable oil for deep frying
1 egg yolk
1 cup ice water
2-3 ice cubes
1 cup flour, cake or all-purpose
1.   Prepare the scapes:  Cut off the stringy tip from the flower end.  Cut each scape in half or thirds, so that each piece measures about 4 to 6 inches in length. 
2.  Fill a heavy pot with tall sides (something with a wide opening is ideal) with the oil to a depth of at least one inch.  Use a deep fry thermometer to gauge the temperature—it should be steady at 360°F.  Maintaining a consistent temperature is important. 
3.  While the oil is heating, line a sheet pan with paper towels and set aside.  Place the egg yolk in a medium-sized mixing bowl.  Mix the egg yolk with 1 cup of cold water.  Add 1/8 cup of ice cubes.

4.  Add 1 cup of flour.  Hold four chopsticks with their tips pointed down and stab at the flour to combine it with the liquid until a loose, lumpy batter forms, about thirty seconds.  Do not whisk, and do not use a fork—the batter should be barely mixed with pockets of dry flour visible.  The liquid will be the consistency of heavy cream.

5.  Dip a scape into the batter, then gently lower into the oil.  Repeat until there are 5 or 6 scapes in the oil.  It is important not to overcrowd the pan.  Note:  Do not rush through the frying process by crowding the pan—the scapes won’t cook properly.
6.  Cook until the batter turns golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes total.  Remove the scapes from the oil using a slotted spoon, and place them on the paper towel-lined tray to drain.  Season with a pinch of salt immediately, then repeat the dipping and frying with the remaining scapes.

7.   Serve immediately with aioli.  If you have garlic scapes remaining from last week, you can use them to make Garlic Scape Aioli.  The recipe may be found at as an accompaniment to this recipe.

Photos credit:
Recipe adapted from Alexandra Stafford’s recipe featured at
Garlic Scape Dressing
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
4-5 garlic scapes, finely chopped

1 ½ Tbsp dried dill or 3 Tbsp fresh dill

3 Tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped

2 Tbsp white wine vinegar

Milk, as needed to thin it to desired consistency

1.      Mix all ingredients except for the milk in a blender.  Blend until all ingredients are well-combined. 
2.     Add milk as needed to thin it to the desired consistency. If you are using it as a dip or spread, you will want it to be thicker.  If you want to use it as a salad dressing, thin it with a little more milk. 
3.     Season to taste with salt and pepper. Store in the refrigerator.

Photo Credit: Diana Rattray
This recipe may be found on our website in our recipe database.  It was originally featured in our June 2003 newsletter and was created by Lee Davenport who was the farm chef!

💦How Quickly The Picture Can Change: Lets Talk Irrigation💦
By Farmer Richard de Wilde

Our last farm report was all about a six week run of cool and wet weather.  Despite the challenges we faced, we planted all of our heat loving crops because we figured the warmer weather would come eventually! And it did come. We quickly changed course from chilly days and nights to three full weeks of 80’s and 90’s with NO RAIN! Our irrigation equipment, which had seen very little use for the last two years, has suddenly been needed everywhere! Our irrigation crew, under Vicente’s guidance, became a full time job. This crew has worked long days, and has gotten up in the middle of the night to check pumps or turn off irrigation when it is finished. Many things can go wrong: Leaks, problems with pumps, etc. It takes a dedicated, diligent and determined crew to keep up with irrigation during a time like this.

  Every crop has different water needs.  Since we have a lot to water right now, we use sensors buried six inches deep in fields to help us monitor moisture in different crops so we can prioritize our watering schedule. They have to be “read” every day or two so we know how to plan our irrigation schedule.  

  We have three main types of irrigation we use. The first type is Buried Drip Tape. We’ve used this method for many years with crops that are planted on plastic mulch, such as tomatoes and onions. In recent years we’ve also started to use this tape on bare ground crops such as kale. The benefit of drip irrigation is that you can feed the plants water and fertilizer right at their roots. No evaporation loss, so it only requires ⅓ to ½ the amount of water needed with overhead methods. The other benefit is that the watering is more specific so you don’t water as many weed seeds!

The second type of irrigation we use is Sprinklers.  Germinating seeds is another matter that relies on consistent observation of moisture in the soil.  Small seeds in particular, such as carrots, need to be planted shallow, ¼ to ½ inch deep.  They need moist soil to germinate, so if the top layer of soil is dry and there’s no rain in the forecast, we have to provide the moisture in order for the seed to germinate.  This is where we often use sprinklers to either pre water several days before planting or immediately after a planting.  Larger seeds, such as sweet corn and beans, are planted 2 inches deep.  Most of the time we can plant deep enough to get to moisture and these crops often come up well without having to water. In fact, that’s what happened!  We planted and the seeds did germinate.  We also use sprinklers to water transplants that have just been put out in the fields, such as broccoli or lettuce.  The down side to sprinklers is that it takes a lot of time to lay out all of the pipe and then the pipe has to be picked up and moved before we can take other equipment into the field to cultivate.  The sprinklers also have a wider area that they water, so they do water weed seeds as well.

Lastly, we have an irrigation tool we call “The Gun.”  This is an overhead sprinkler that has a long hose mounted on a reel that can be travel slowly across a field with water pressure.  With one large nozzle, this can deliver 150 gallons of water a minute.  This equipment has a high initial investment cost, but the benefit is that it can be set up with only 2 people.  It does require a straight line and level ground to work properly, so we can’t use it in all of our fields.   

Our main crew includes Vicente, Manuel, Juan Pablo, Rafael and Alejandro, although other crew members have stepped in when additional hands are needed.  Of course, there are always repairs, so we can’t forget to thank Juan for helping us keep the equipment running!  

If you come to our Strawberry Day party this weekend, please take a moment to thank our awesome irrigation crew for their hard work.  We did get one inch of rain earlier this week, for which we are very grateful.  We can’t water everything, which reminds us we’re at the mercy of Mother Nature sometimes.  We continue to do the best job we can and remember that every year of farming is different.