Stillman’s CSA -Week 1
You MAY have in your box: strawberries, lettuce, kale, chard, beets, arugula, peas.
Welcome back to SO MANY of you and welcome to all of our new members! I usually cover the housekeeping portion of the CSA in the first letter which is long and boring…so this year I covered most of it in the “start Date” email I sent out last week.
Super short recap: as the weeks continue, you will see an increase in variety and quantity …it all works out, no worries.
If you get your CSA in a box, vs a bag, PLEASE return your undamaged box at the next pickup. They are designed to open and close repeatedly without tearing or ripping. If you have any questions about how to open or collapse your box, please ask anyone. We even have a tutorial on You Tube 😉 If you get your CSA in a bag, please reuse or recycle as you see fit, we do not need it back nor left at your pickup location. Thanks!
Farming is not a particularly consistent business (that’s putting in mildly). As we do not control all the factors that affect production, it is impossible to guarantee results. When you consider your favorite coffee shop has an exact formula for how they make their coffee, the results are the same every time. Your farmer knows exactly what everything growing on the farm needs, but there are so many factors out of his control (sun, rain, high wind, and worse) that he must constantly make adjustments to ensure a good harvest. If the weather was very predictable (and it’s New England, so it isn’t) we could exercise more control and guarantee consistent results. This is the very reason why I write every week “you may get”.
Please do not rummage through boxes/bags and swap things, but you are welcome to open your box, make sure it actually a CSA and not an entire box of mesclun or squash, and also see what variety of lettuce or beets are inside. If you want to try the Chiogga beets, for example, take a box/bag that has them. If you are unsure what you have, please email or post on fb or instagram @stillmansfarm. Also, as we pick every single day of the week, it is possible that on Friday, when I write the letter, we were not picking peas, but by Wednesday we are. Or, sometimes, at the beginning of harvesting a particular crop, we choose to bring what we have to share with the CSA members, but there isn’t enough for all the members, that day, or even that week. HOWEVER, everyone receives the same value. Item for item, there might be variations, different but equal.
So let’s get to the good stuff – FOOD!
The berries are AMAZING, and I’m guessing I don’t need to tell you what they are or how to enjoy them. Swiss chard bunches may be white, yellow, ruby red – there is no rhubarb in your box 🙂 Beets may be purple, bright red, golden, even white. Peas may be snow (flat green or purple pods), sugar snap (edible pod), or English shell. If you are not sure if you have snap of shell peas, bite one in half, if you can chew it up, it’s a snap pea, if not, get shelling.
We grow A LOT of lettuce. I have to tell you, we love our salads -especially with flavorful greens. All the greens benefit from a brief soak in lightly salted water (small creature let go). Many of your greens have not been sprayed with any chemicals (organic or otherwise) so sometimes you might see small pin holes.. Drain, rinse and spin dry. If you take care of all your greens when you get them, you will be more likely to use them. I keep mine washed and dried, loosely in a bag in the fridge. Varieties we grow: Romaine, Red Romaine, Boston, Simpson, New Red Fire, Waldman’s, French Batavia, Red French Batavia, Red Leaf, Oakleaf.
Check out my blog for lots of ideas, picture and recipes. Simply click the in the upper right of our website and type in what ever you are looking for, i.e. “chard recipe”
Quick Chard Sauté
Rinse your bunch of chard (I dunk the whole bunch in large pot of water, shake off water). Cut the stalks into 1″ pieces. Chop the leaves into inch-wide strips. Keep them separate. In 2 Tb of olive oil, sauté 1 chopped garlic clove and a pinch or two crushed red pepper flakes on medium high heat for about 30 seconds and the garlic is fragrant. Add the chopped chard stalks, lowering the heat to low, cover and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the chopped chard leaves, toss with the oil and garlic in the pan. Cover and cook for 3 to 4 more minutes. Stir the leaves and stalks around in the pan, check for done-ness:)
There’s a lot going on the farm any given day of the week. This is the section where I try to keep you in touch with happenings at the farm, wildlife sightings, our family, etc. Our farm/your farm is full of mammals, amphibians, insects, flora, and our beloved birds. I typically include the latest sightings and wildlife tidbits that excite us from week to week.
This week I have been busy getting the CSA organized and Glenn has laid miles of plastic to plant in and now has a sore neck – but it is GREAT to get on the fields have some warm weather.
If you are new to the Stillman’s family: Glenn is your farmer, I am the desk jockey, you may know the grown kids, Kate, the farmer at Stillman Quality Meats, Curtis and Halley, the farmers at Still Life Farm, and there’s still two at home, Reid who just graduated from high school and Faith who just 12! We all work together to have one some of the best market offerings in Massachusetts.
We encourage you to become part of the farm and be connected to your food and farmer; visit, check out the crops, sample in the field, picnic, watch the birds, amphibians, and insects!
Eat well, Geneviève Stillman
Next week: strawberries, lettuces, radishes chard, kale, maybe garlic scapes…