Farm NewsLetter 05/15/06

For the Week of May 15th, 2006

Welcome to the first summer share pickup! We’re really looking forward to meeting the new farm folks and seeing lots of old friends.

I’ll introduce you to the whole farm crew in more detail over the next few weeks, but if you need any help at all or have questions during pickup feel free to ask any of us. Kris DeMaria is the farm manager and she has working with us for the past 5 years. We are thrilled that all our apprentices from last year are continuing through this, their second summer season. Brandon, Sarah & Caley are all extremely knowledgeable and would be happy to answer all your questions about the farm. We’ll look forward to getting to know all of you better over the coming summer.

How pickup works:
ß Check off your name on the sign-in sheet
ß Take a paper copy of the newsletter and extra recipes if you’re interested
ß Look up at the sign and take the full amount of each vegetable if you are a whole share, or half the amount if you are a half share.
ß Put anything you don’t want to take home in the “Pass-Along Box” and/or take something from it that you do want.
ß We often have extra eggs, goat cheese or other assorted items for sale at the pickup
ß Wander around, chat with some other farm folks, feed the chickens, pick some berries…
ß Take your veggies home and enjoy!

Please bring your own plastic, paper or earth-friendly bags. We can re-use clean cardboard egg cartons, so feel free to bring those to the farm as well. Ask us about our bucket exchange program if you’d like to bring your food waste compost to the farm.

At Luscher Farm, there is parking around behind the white barn. Please be careful not to block access to any of the barn doors.

Thanks so much for joining us this season!

The Weather: Hot and sunny!
Thank you everyone for all your help!

Your share this week may include:
Broccoli Raab This amazing broccoli was planted out last August and fed us all through the winter. Use the pretty little purple heads and tender stems in any recipe that calls for broccoli or broccolini.
Cauliflower This cousin to the broccoli was also planted last summer. It is a special variety called Maystar that grows through our mild winters and is ready- you guessed it- in May. Great timing we thought!
Chard A stalwart hardy green that was very productive for us last fall, slowed down over the winter, but has put on a lot of nice new growth this spring. Enjoy the beautiful colors!
Green Garlic These are the immature sprouts of the garlic plant. In the fall we plant a single clove and it grows slowly through the winter and spring. At some point in the early summer, triggered by increasing day length and heat, it stops growing up and the bulb gets bigger finally forming another full head. Use these little garlic sprouts like you would a green onion or scallion.
Lettuce Mix These lovely little lettuces make for a tasty spring salad.
Mustard Greens A favorite in the south, these are tender, but spicy greens. They add some real kick to a salad, but are quite mild when cooked.
Onions These come from our friends down south at Mustard Seed Farms
Spinach These big leaves are so sweet and tender!
Shoigun Salad Turnips These are some very tiny turnips, with very big greens! The greens are so good that I often just sauté the whole thing all together.
Cherry Tomato Starts We’re growing the rest of your veggies for you, but this iss one of those things best eaten straight from the vine. These cherry tomatoes can grow almost anywhere. If you don’t have room for a real garden, just put one of these in a big pot, give it a little sunshine and water and off you go! Soon you’ll be nibbling on the perfect summer snack.

Roasted Cauliflower, from Shareholder Susan Agre-Kippenhan
(Good for Broccoli, Green Beans and just about anything else too)

Cut Broccoli or Cauliflower into chunks all the same size. Toss with olive oil and spread on a cookie sheet in one layer (use multiple sheets rather than crowd). Sprinkle with sea salt. Roast at 500 degrees until edges are brown (approx. 5-7 minutes) turn and continue roasting a total of 10-20 minutes (variable on the size of the vegetable pieces). Pierce with a knife to check for tenderness but don’t hesitate to let them get a nice brown color.

Lemon peel, minced garlic and/or pine nuts can be added for the last few minutes.

Great as a vegetable or at room temperature on an antipasti platter

Tuscan Style Baked Cauliflower
From Marcella Cucina by Marcella Hazan

2-2 1/2 lbs cauliflower salt & pepper to taste
1 oz butter 1/8th teaspoon grated nutmeg
Bechamel sauce 4-5 oz grated Parmesan cheese
2 large eggs optional: 4 oz boiled unsmoked ham

ß This can be make with leftover roasted cauliflower (see above) or you can cook it just for this.
ß Preheat oven to 400 degrees
ß To cook the cauliflower: trim outer leaves from the head and cut florettes & stem into bite sized pieces. Boil or steam until just tender. Drain cauliflower.
ß In a frying pan that can accommodate the cauliflower pieces in a single layer, put in the butter and heat to medium high. When the butter foams, add the cauliflower pieces, turning them over for about 1 min to coat them well.
ß Make Bechamel

The Farms:
Laura’s Farm (and house) 6632 SE 47th Ave, Portland
Zenger Farm 11741 SE Foster Rd., Portland
Luscher Farm 125 Rosemont Ave., West Linn

Work Parties are happening the 1st Saturday of every month from 1-5pm
June 4th Luscher Farm: Summer Planting Party
July 2nd Zenger Farm: Trellising, Planting & Harvest Party
August 6th Luscher Farm: The Big Dig Potato Party
September 3rd Zenger Farm:
October 1st Luscher Farm: Garlic Planting & Squash Harvest Party
Final Harvest Shareholder Party

For sale:
Goat Cheese
Meat from Graf

questions. knowlegable teamare all extremely knowledgable, We’ve had a relatively mild spring on the farm. It has made life so much easier that we’ve been able to get out in the fields without too much trouble- read mud! This current heat wave has caused everWe’ve been planting like crazy There was a bit of it early on, but it’s hard to remember in the midst of this heat wave. Many of the veggies you see this week and you will see in the early shares were planted last summer or fall. This is true of the broccoli, cauliflower and chard. Not many things are planted during the winter, but garlic, fava beans and our earliest peas are among the few. We started in January seeding onions and leeks in the greenhouse. By mid-March, not only the greenhouse, but my whole basement was full of plant starts. The fields are starting to fill up now. We transplant many crops once a month startingeveral waves of succession planting.

We are extremely privledged to have our entire crew from last season with us still. Kris DeMaria is back for her 5th and final season as the farm manager. The apprentices from last summer, Sarah Johnson, Brandon Damitz & Caley Hard, worked with us all winter and are going to continue through this, their second summer season. In addition, we’ll have two new staff starting in June. Tigre Lusardi worked last year n Eugene managing the kids garden down there. Kaye Jones has experience… I am thrilled to have this amazing group of folks working for me and I know They have all now They are an amazing team, and Kris DeMaria same great crew all returned from last season and we are adding a few new staff. They’ll be starting in June.

Staff intro

The farm is growing. Acreage expansion, additional staff, better profitability. True sustainability

This hot weather is making us all feel like it ought to be July, rather than just mid-May. However, the veggies in your share this week are

Wow are we happy to see the sunshine! I know all this rain we’ve been having the last few months was badly needed to replenish groundwater and fill empty reservoirs, but it has been wreaking havoc on our plantings. Even the hardy cold weather crops eventually start to drowned in a spring like this. Most of the veggies you are eating now were planted before the torrential spring rains began. Sugar snap peas, favas and green garlic were planted last fall. Turnips, kale, spinach and lettuce were all planted in late February or early March. The crops we were able to transplant like kale and lettuce heads seemed to fare better this spring than crops we seeded directly into the ground. The transplants have a head start because they go into the ground with more top growth and perhaps more importantly, a bigger root ball. That root system is critical when the ground is really wet, because oxygen is very limited in wet soil. Wet soil in the spring is also cold and that can inhibit germination of seeds. Our earliest planting of carrots had this problem, and then when they finally did germinate the slugs devoured them. There are always a few crops we have to till in and start over again. If the sun stays out, hopefully the carrots will be the last causality of this super wet spring.
Despite the weather we optimistically kept on planting through the deluge. The crew planted a half-acre of broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower earlier this month. They also put in over 20,000 onion plants over the last few weeks. We grow onions several different ways. Certain varieties we plant seed in the greenhouse then transplant them into the field, and others we buy the transplants. This year we are going to seed some directly into the ground. One of the big challenges with onions is keeping the weeds under control. Crops like squash and broccoli we can hoe for a few weeks, and then they grow big leaves that start to shade out the weeds. Unfortunately none of the onion family ever gets leaves big enough to shade out anything so we have to keep weeding them right up until harvest time. We also planted onion sets which look like tiny little pearl onions, but should grow into regular big plants. It was a lot faster to get these into the ground compared to the transplants, so if they do well, perhaps we’ll try more of this next season.
We are still hoping to sell a few more shares and you, the members, are the best advertising we have. If you know someone who might be interested they can read more about the farm and download a brochure at
Thanks, Laura

We also managed to squeeze a little bit of fieldwork in during one of the only dry windows in the last two months. With some planning and plenty of luck we managed to have enough open ground available to last us through the end of last week. This weekend was nerve wracking as I tried to plan what we would do if the rains didn’t stop. Happily, the sun has finally decided to smile upon us once again, and by the end of the week the ground should be dry enough to work it again. we would have been out of space also caught the only
All that planting emptied out the greenhouse, but now it is full again. The tables are filled with baby squash, tomatoes, fennel, lettuce and more brassicas. With all this nice weather we hope to transplant the tomatoes and fennel soon. That will free up more space for cucumbers and allow us to pull the peppers out of the greenhouse. The greenhouse is full again.

Thanks for joining us for our 10th anniversary farm season. Hard to believe it has been a whole decade since I gathered my friends around the kitchen table and asked them to join me on this adventure in urban farming. We have worked land all over the greater Portland Metro area in the intervening years, from Hillsboro to Ridgefield to Gresham. These last few years have happily found us working a bit closer to home at the two beautiful sites we are farming now.
We have a wide variety of early crops planted at Zenger Farm. One of the most exciting innovations for us this season are the peas you’re eating this week. Traditionally we plant peas early in the spring and start harvesting in June. This year we planted peas in the fall, and started harvesting them in April! It was a very mild winter and that worked to our advantage, but there were still challenges to overcome. We tended those peas over the winter fending off marauding pheasant, geese, slugs and chickweed. We trialed 4 different varieties of sugarsnap, snow and shelling peas. This week you are eating fall planted Oregon Sugar Pod II and Mega, both of which are very sweet edible pod peas. Since it was a trial, we only planted a few hundred feet of each variety. Of course now that it has worked so well, we really wish that we’d planted a whole lot more! We’re excited to share these early peas with you, and promise that soon there will be lots more of these sweet and tasty treats. At Zenger Farm we are also growing fava beans, kohlrabi, kale, turnips and lots of different greens.
This is our second summer season growing vegetables at Luscher Farm. The green garlic and whistles that are in your box this week came from the half-acre field of garlic that we planted there last fall. There are more than a dozen varieties- some are early, some late, some mild and others super spicy hot- that we hope to share with you over the course of the summer season. We plant the smallest cloves of garlic on very tight spacing and harvest them throughout the winter and spring as green garlic. The whistles are actually the unfurling garlic flower stem and tender bud. Both are sweet and tender with a mild garlic flavor. In addition to the garlic we have also planted all of our potatoes (19 different varieties), sweet onions, early broccoli, purple cauliflower, and a myriad of other crops at Luscher Farm so far this spring.
This farm season would not be possible with out the help of our incredible farm crew. Kris DeMaria is back full time as our indispensable organizational guru and farm manager. Evan Clendenin was a stalwart apprentice last summer, stayed on through the winter and we are pleased that he is going to continue part time through the summer. The newest members of the farm crew, Sarah, Cahill and Brandon, will be introduced in greater detail on the following pages. They come from diverse backgrounds, and bring with them a wide range of interests and experiences. Already we have been impressed and inspired by their intense curiosity and boundless enthusiasm. We are off to a great start this spring and we are looking forward to a bountiful and fun summer season.
Thanks for joining us!