This week’s share

Click on crops above for recipes for each

This is Alice from Fields of Plenty writing this week. As we continue on this never ending heat wave and there continues to be no rain, I have been thinking about the fact that there was snow on the ground about 2 months ago. Every year has its weather challenges, but as climate change effects the Great Lakes region we are certainly seeing more extremes in both temperature and precipitation.

Every winter every farm in our cooperative makes a detailed planting plan of all the things we plan to grow, taking into consideration what has grown well in the past, what our customers enjoy, and how we rotate our crops to maintain soil health. We then all get together and merge those plans into one master plan, making sure we have enough growers on each crop and that we’ll be able to provide a good variety every week. We’ll also recruit other growers to provide crops that might not be covered.

After all this careful planning… the plants and weather just do whatever the heck they want. The early cold weather last fall meant that the garlic planting schedule was impacted for many of us, I only planted 2/3 of what I had originally planned. The cold snap and then dry weather this spring meant my strawberry yield was MUCH lower than what I had thought it would be (luckily Food Field has a better irrigation system and so we were still able to provide you with Strawberries for a couple weeks). At the beginning of last week we planned that we’d be able to give everyone at least half a pound of peas in their boxes, but the plants had a different idea so by Friday we were struggling to put together anything.

Luckily, we’ve set up a business that helps us to weather all these problems better than most. With a Community Supported Agriculture we have a steady stream of income regardless of yields, and we can provide extra full boxes to you in June and August to make up for a rocky July. Also by being a cooperative of multiple farms spread out over the city a bad week for one of us doesn’t have to mean a bad week for the CSA. And also we are all diversified farms. Even though the strawberries really let me down this year, it looks like my hot peppers and eggplant are going to do really well (knock on wood).

Some notes on Watercress

Watercress is a slightly pepper-y green. It grows in very wet places, in this case as part of the aquaponics systems at Food Field. You can use it in salads or on sandwhiches raw, or add it to eggs or other places where you might use a green like spinach. The spicy-ness will mellow with a little cooking.

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