Dear Farm Friends,
Crops: This week you are getting new red potatoes, carrots, beets, red onions, garlic, cucumber, summer squash, broccoli or cauliflower and celery. Normally we do not have celery this time of year. But we are noticing that some are starting to go to flower. We think the hail may have something to do with this. We don’t want to lose the entire patch. Soooo; we are going to give you small heads of celery this week. Now this kind of celery isn’t like anything you have had from the grocery store. It is very strong tasting and is best used cooked. Dry the leaves to use as an herb for soups and stews. The celery can be chopped up & frozen. I find (for some reason I have not discovered why) the celery dries out in the freezer, so I prefer to hydrate it in boiled water before using in roasts. Some members tell me they freeze the celery in water to prevent dehydration. The broccoli or cauliflower may also be very strong tasting this time. Again the weather has had a big effect on these two crops! We need to thin out the crop of beets. For that reason, each Distribution Center may have a different kind of beet in their bags. We grow red, Chioggia and golden beets. Chioggia is an Italian beet that is either candy striped or has a bulls-eye depending on how you cut it.
Coolers: Do you have unused and unwanted coolers sitting around? Over the years, our coolers have disappeared. We deliver eggs in coolers with blue ice and if you have a large cooler you no longer need, we would be glad to take it off your hands. Please take it to your Distribution Center and they will send them on to me! Thank you!
T-shirts and Hats: We have our cookbooks and hats. T-shirts will not be ordered until we get orders in from members. We will be delivering the cookbooks this week and each Distribution Center will have a hat to show you how beautiful they are. If you are interested in ordering a hat or t-shirt, please send in your form by the end of the week. I will send out the order to the manufacturer by the end of the month!
Festival: The highly anticipated Fall Festival will be the 3rd Sunday in September, the 18th. This is a festival to thank everyone for being members of Monroe Organic Farms. It is for members only. We will have a pot-luck lunch where we will provide the hot dogs and hamburgers, games for the kids & adults, u-pick items (if available this year), chili roast, pickle and jelly contest, self tours of the farm and how about something special for our 75th anniversary? I was thinking of mules & horses working the ground out here. This way, you can see how Jerry Sr. and Grandpa Lester farmed back in the 20’s and 30’s. I am also looking into a possible pig roast as well! This is an awesome, exciting, fun day. But it cannot function without volunteers! We will need set up and tear down crew; veggie & fruit choppers; 7 to 8 people to man the Check-in Station, one hour each; 8 people to man the grill, one hour each; 4 people to clear the food table of empty dishes and keep the drink containers filled; 2 to 4 people to empty the trash and keep the bathrooms supplied; 4 people to man the t-shirt/cookbook/hat booth, one hour each; and 4 people to man the canning corner booth; one hour each giving canning advice.
We are letting you know now what it takes to keep this special event running smoothly. Take a few minutes to talk to your family and figure out how you can be involved with the Festival. Mark your calendars now so you don’t double book this date. I will give you more directions on how to RSVP next month! You don’t want to miss this!
Fields & Produce: Our fields are slowly starting to recover from the severe weather storms this spring. Everything is starting to perk up and get a pretty green color. The pepper and tomato plants are small but are getting bushy. The second planting of cucumbers will be producing in a week or two, so we will be getting more cucumbers. Jerry tells me the sweet corn and popcorn is looking pretty good. The plants are about hip high. Oooo! I am looking forward to fresh sweet corn! The melon plants are all stunted and those that died have been replanted. He says he is seeing lots of flowers and some small balls starting to form. Yea! We probably won’t have melon of any kind until the end of August or the beginning of September.
Thank you all for being so understanding and comforting during these horrible storms. Your cards and letters really make us feel you are connected to us and understand the ups and downs of farming. I’m sure many of you are experiencing the same disastrous hail storms with your gardens! We believe we have been set back by three weeks this summer.
Fruit: I received a call from First Fruits Organic Farms and they want you to know you are a priority, but they are experiencing the same cold, wet weather we are. All the fruit is at least two weeks late this year. In their last hail storm, the stones were marble sized and the cherries and plums really got it. They are hoping we will still get plums in Sept., but they will have marks in them. Peaches are coming next week. Again, you can expect some marks. They need lots of sun and warmth; just like us! Please note: no more rain dances!
Veggies: You have received all the lettuce & peas for the year. Hope you loved every bite. Greens are not our specialty, but through high demand, we grow and distribute lettuce early in the season. Isn’t it amazing to see how those heads come alive again with just a cold water bath?! We are sad to have to say goodbye to the beans for awhile. I just don’t think it is summer until the green or yellow beans are coming. I will miss them terribly and know you will too. Jerry plants beans every week in order for you to get them every week. We will get beans from later plantings. When that will be, I really don’t know. Pickling cucumbers will be producing soon. If you are interested in pickles, call me (do not email) and get on the Wail List. As soon as we see pickles we will give you a call. We will pick on Tue evenings as 6:30 and Sunday at 9am & 1:30pm. I don’t know how many pickles we will be getting or how long the patch will last, but we will try to get as many of you out here as possible, even if that means limiting the amount you pick. Alaina came up with a great way to use the round zucchini: brown sausage with onion and garlic, cook up some rice, mix it all up with parmesan cheese, stuff the squash, bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees and serve. Yum!
Have a great week! Jacquie, Jerry, Alaina and Kyle