Well it's March and it's barely 40 degrees, with nary a warm day forecasted. This is not the March in the Piedmont as I remember from three years back! I guess the best we can do is take the opportunity to practice patience. It's easy to want to rush things along in the Spring garden - to taste that first Spring salad, to carry that first bunch of baby carrots to market with pride. But wait we will.
In the meantime we can dream of the bounty to come - and invite you to dream with us. The Spring brings so much hope - not all of which will be fulfilled, but many hopes will - especially the reward of those pursuits worked and worked over again.
I hope you will join us in this endeavor - to me, there is no better way to support a family farm than by joining a CSA. By putting your faith in us to provide fresh food for your family, you are putting faith in small family farms to provide for the community. There is a way back to the simple joys and pleasures - and I think that sharing in the harvest, accepting these gifts of nature, we can get back.
High-falutin speech aside, I want to share with you some of the highlights of our Spring and early Summer CSA...
Endive. There are so many types of endive - I think most people think of the blanched yellow Belgium totems. While we won't be harvesting these, we will have frisee and Natacha escarole. These bitter greens add depth and dimension to a salad and, because they have body, will hold up to cooking as well. Escarole is traditionally used in Italian wedding soup, while frisee may be wilted as a side.
Broccoli Shoots. As many of you know, we love broccoli at Harmony Ridge. So much so that we don't stop with the harvest after the crown is cut. We grow varieties of broccoli known for their side shoot production. These are essentially 'less refined' types that don't put all their energy into producing one big crown as many commercial types. While the crowns are great, the shoots are icing on the brassi-cake. This 'poor-man's broccolini' is more tender, more nutritious and sweeter than the crown.
We are also partnering with a grower near Burnsville, NC to grow Summer broccoli. If all goes well, he will help extend our broccoli harvest well into Summer.
Dark Red Romaine. One of the earliest crops out of the field is lettuce. Our personal favorite is red romaine. It's bright lime green inner leaves contrast with the deep purple outer leaves to create something almost too pretty to eat. But I like eating it too.
Artisan cherry tomatoes. It's never too early to get excited about tomatoes! While it likely won't be until late June before they are actually ripe, we can at least drum up some anticipation. In addition to our standby Sun Gold and Black Cherry tomatoes we have grown in the past, we are trying some other varieties to mix it up -
Blush: from Johnny's Seeds: "Beautiful (elongated) bright yellow tomato has red stripes that appear as blossom-end red marbling develops." This one is supposed to have exceptional flavor as well.
Indigo Cherry Drops: These are a truly black tomato with rich flavor and loads of anthocyanins - which I hear are good for you.
Brad's Atomic Grape: (from Baker's Creek Heirloom Seeds) "The color and flavor is a full-blown assault on the senses-lavender and purple stripes when immature, turning to technicolor olive-green, red, and brown/blue stripes when fully ripe." Granted, seed descriptions are prone to hyperbole - but this just looked too cool to pass up.
HERBS. We will be growing a selection of culinary herbs, including parsley, oregano, lemongrass, basil (thai, genovese and purple), and anise hyssop.
If all goes well we will have a 'chef's garden' planted in front of the barn at Bowens Rd. this Spring and Summer - we would like for you all to be able to see some of the more interesting crops we will be attempting this season.
I hope you will consider joining our CSA family this year - we pledge to make it as interesting and fulfilling for all of you as possible.
Please read more and sign-up here: www.harmonyridgefarms.net
Isaac, Kevin and the crew