Tuesday, June 15, 2021

BGF NEWS - June 15, 2021 - VOL. XLVII, NO. 3

In this week’s box:


Arugula
Garlic Scapes, curly green bundle
Head Lettuce, assorted varieties
Lemon Thyme
Napa Cabbage
Spinruts (baby Hakurei turnips)

 and perhaps one of the following: (please see **NOTE  after "A Little Detail..." below)
Broccoli:(Gypsy) small, early heads
Snow Peas
Sugar Snap Peas

For those with the Herb option: Herb share will begin in a couple of weeks (waiting for basil)

Featured Recipes:  
Stir-fried Napa Cabbage Spicy Garlic Dressing 
(use scapes for garlic)

What’s up on the farm?

Precipitation in the past week: 0.00"

The theme for this week (again) was Hot and Dry! We were really hopeful that we would catch some of the rain in the state this past Friday, but all we got was wind and a bit of a temperature drop (which was appreciated). Our early season crops are really struggling to survive the conditions and we are starting to lose some of them. We thought about trying to market pre-cooked greens for this week's VegEmail sales but decided snarky farmer humor might be lost on some. The CSA boxes today are really greens-heavy. We would have liked to give the arugula and napa cabbage in this week's delivery another week or so to grow a bit more, but they were starting to protest the weather so it was a "now or never" harvest decision. We probably won't have these crops available again until fall, so now is the time to enjoy them!

The weather conditions have pushed us to do something we've never had to do before, we ran irrigation lines on our popcorn and winter squash, just to try and get the seeds to germinate. The squash is responding better than the popcorn at this point. Here's hoping it's successful. 
One positive thing about the dry conditions is that we have ample opportunity to cultivate and try to stay ahead of the weeds.

While most of the past week was focused on irrigation and cultivating, we did get some new crops in the ground because farmers, by nature, are optimists (we just hide it well)! We transplanted okra, basil and several varieties of flowers into the field and high tunnel, as well as replacing holes in some earlier crops, including the tomatoes that we lost a few weeks ago to some bold, furry pest. 

So what's looking good in the field? Lots of things! We are harvesting peas and garlic scapes several times a week. The early broccoli is heading up nicely and are seeing blooms on squashes, cucumbers and tomatoes and fruit set on peppers and zucchini. Heavier CSA boxes are on the way!

Finally, we always want to make it perfectly clear that it takes many hands to bring your produce to you every week. We are SO very lucky to have an incredible team of hardworking young women on the farm five days a week.
Today's lettuce harvest
They are fierce weed warriors, gentle care-takers of all things living and occasionally, clever practical jokers. I can't imagine the farm without them. I'd like to introduce you to them so we're starting a new section of the newsletter so you can get to know them a bit.

Crew Corner: Danielle, Crew Chief
To all of our veteran CSA members: thank you for joining us for yet another growing season. To those of you who have just started this journey, I bid you a warm WELCOME!
In the six years I have worked at BGF, there have been many improvements and updates in the tools we use and our harvest processes.   That is one of the things I love most about this job, Jill is always learning what is best for the land and the vegetables we grow and we are constantly trying new methods or tweaking our old ones.  In fact, each year before the growing season begins, we discuss what new efficiencies we can employ and what new varieties of plants we should grow for all of you. As this job is very demanding physically, it can be very disconcerting to see plants and produce lost to drought or little furry eaters after all of the effort we put forth to bring you vegetables that are nutritious and chemical-free. Last year was the beginning of our flower trials, which went quite well, and I am thrilled to say we have expanded this year!  One of my favorite things to do is harvest an array of flowers each week and use my creativity to build bouquets for our customers who place their orders through Veg-Email.

A little detail on your produce this week:


Broccoli: Wrap broccoli loosely in a plastic bag and keep it in the vegetable bin of your refrigerator for up to a week. Immediately before cooking, soak broccoli, head down, in cold, salted water (1 teaspoon salt to a 8 cups of water) for 5 minutes. Any [organic] critters will float to the top where you can rescue them or allow them to suffer a salty death. (Note: If you soak broccoli in salt water before storing, it will become too rubbery and wilted to enjoy.) Slice the juicy, edible stems and use them wherever florets are called for. Peel particularly thick skin before using.


Garlic Scapes: One of our favorite crops of the year. These curly green things are the emerging flower stalk from a hardneck garlic plant. We remove them to redirect more of the plant's energy into the bulb, but it also provides us with a delightful fresh garlic treat. These keep very well in a plastic bag in your produce drawer and can be used in any recipe calling for garlic. They would be perfect in last week's garlic salt recipe, make a great pesto and can be minced and added to room-temperature butter, which is then stored in log shape, in the freezer for a last minute dollop of goodness for vegetables, breads or meat.

Herbs:
 Besides basil, most herbs keep best standing upright in a glass of water in your refrigerator with a loose plastic bag over the top. To use, simply pull a stem between your fingers and the leaves usually shear off. Chop with a sharp knife and add to your favorite recipes.

Napa Cabbage: Store Napa cabbage whole in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. To prepare the entire head at once, cut it in half lengthwise, remove the core, and chop as desired. Or, separate and wash individual leaves as needed.  

Peas: 
We grow snow peas (flat pod with little bumps showing immature peas inside) and sugar snap peas (rounded pods with mature peas inside).  Both have edible pods and can be used interchangeably in recipes.  They are particularly good in stir-fries and salads, though we tend to eat them fresh as a snack.  Peas keep best in their plastic container in the produce drawer of your refrigerator.

All of your GREENS will keep best if stored in a plastic bag, with the top folded over and placed in the produce drawer of your refrigerator. Large leaf greens can benefit by being wrapped in a linen or cotton towel inside the bag if excess moisture is a concern.

** NOTE: You will notice over the course of the season that some box contents listed above say "Perhaps one of the following..."  These are items that we can’t harvest in sufficient quantities for the whole CSA to receive at one time.  We do track who gets what and we will do our best to ensure that everyone eventually receives each item.  On some items this may take several weeks, so please be patient.

Is a weekly newsletter not enough for you? Do you want to read more about our life on the farm and see more pictures? Follow us on Facebook at Blue Gate Farm or on Instagram at bluegatefarmfresh. CSA members can also connect with other BGF members to share recipes or ask questions on our FB community page at Blue Gate Farm Community.

That's about it for now. If you have any questions or comments, be sure to let us know.
Best from the farm,
Jill & Sean (and the whole BGF crew)

Indigo, Luci & Sky

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

BGF NEWS - June 8, 2021 - VOL. XLVII, NO. 2

In this week’s box:

Asparagus, last of the season!
Garlic Scapes, curly green bundle
Golden Oyster Mushrooms
Green & Leafy Mix (Amara & Vivid Choi), bunched leafy greens
Snow Peas
Strawberries!
Tapestry Salad Mix, zip-top bag

 and perhaps one of the following: (please see **NOTE  after "A Little Detail..." below)
Broccoli:(Gypsy) small, early heads

For those with the Herb option: Herb share will begin in a couple of weeks as herbs mature

Featured Recipes:  
Asparagus & Oyster Mushrooms
BGF Garlic Scape Pesto see recipe below

What’s up on the farm?

Precipitation in the past week: 0.00"

This isn't how I usually start a newsletter, but I have to tell you, I have been so tickled by the recent activity on the BGF Community Page on facebook. A number of folks have been posting photos or descriptions of recipes or whole meals made from last week's CSA delivery. These are things that make my little farmHer heart sing! The group is a great place to share your food triumphs and your questions. Our membership is a goldmine of veggie enthusiasm, knowledge and experience. If you haven't already, you can find the group here: Blue Gate Farm Community

Now back to our regular program...The theme of the past week (and the week to come) on the farm was/is IRRIGATION! We have a nearly unending cycle of irrigation lines installed and running on the crops, both to germinate new crops and to keep the established crops alive and growing. Trying to keep the farm crew "irrigated" is even more important in this weather. Keeping crops, livestock and crew healthy requires vigilance when we are this hot and dry so early in the season. The graphic below shows the departure from normal rain levels across the state for the past 2 months. 
We are more than 4" below where we should be right now. Lots of places are worse off than we are, but that doesn't make growing food any easier.
Our cool-weather/early season crops are particularly offended by the hot temperatures. It makes them think their time is done and they should flower and go to seed. This ends their use as food crops. We've already lost our spring choi crops to this fate and there are others That are likely to follow soon. It's pretty frustrating when it happens before the crop is ready to be harvested. The Amara in your leafy-greens bunches is doing just that, so we will harvest what we can from it today and then we'll pull it and make room for the next crop. Don't worry, there's still plenty of things to come...like strawberries!!!

The past week was a productive one. We harvested the last of the asparagus for the season and started harvesting strawberries and garlic scapes. 










We got lots of seeds sown including: winter squash, summer squash, melons, komatsuna, edamame, beets, carrots, sunflowers, clover and choi. We transplanted additional head lettuce, broccoli and collards and re-planted our entire popcorn patch, due to poor germination.  We've been cultivating, hand weeding and hilling potatoes as well as the aforementioned irrigation work. 
Now if it would just rain, in a timely and reasonable fashion, that would be great!

A little detail on your produce this week:


Asparagus: Keeps best stored upright in a glass with about 1" of water, in the refrigerator. Delicious raw or cooked. 

Broccoli:

 Wrap broccoli loosely in a plastic bag and keep it in the vegetable bin of your refrigerator for up to a week. Immediately before cooking, soak broccoli, head down, in cold, salted water (1 teaspoon salt to a 8 cups of water) for 5 minutes. Any [organic] critters will float to the top where you can rescue them or allow them to suffer a salty death. (Note: If you soak broccoli in salt water before storing, it will become too rubbery and wilted to enjoy.) Slice the juicy, edible stems and use them wherever florets are called for. Peel particularly thick skin before using.

Garlic Scapes: One of our favorite crops of the year. These curly green things are the emerging flower stalk from a hardneck garlic plant. We remove them to redirect more of the plant's energy into the bulb, but it also provides us with a delightful fresh garlic treat. These keep very well in a plastic bag in your produce drawer and can be used in any recipe calling for garlic. They would be perfect in last week's garlic salt recipe, make a great pesto and can be minced and added to room-temperature butter, which is then stored in log shape, in the freezer for a last minute dollop of goodness for vegetables, breads or meat.

Herbs:
 Besides basil, most herbs keep best standing upright in a glass of water in your refrigerator with a loose plastic bag over the top. To use, simply pull a stem between your fingers and the leaves usually shear off. Chop with a sharp knife and add to your favorite recipes.

Oyster Mushrooms: 
To maximize the shelf life of raw mushrooms, refrigerate them in a paper bag; do not wrap in plastic or store in airtight container, as this will speed spoilage.  Properly stored, raw whole mushrooms will usually keep well for 4 to 7 days in the fridge. To use, trim off the stems as they are tough and either discard them or save to make a vegetable stock.

Peas: 
We grow snow peas (flat pod with little bumps showing immature peas inside) and sugar snap peas (rounded pods with mature peas inside).  Both have edible pods and can be used interchangeably in recipes.  They are particularly good in stir-fries and salads, though we tend to eat them fresh as a snack.  Peas keep best in their plastic container in the produce drawer of your refrigerator.

Strawberries keep best in your refrigerator in a vented container. Use within 3-4 days.

A few other details: All of your GREENS will keep best if stored in a plastic bag, with the top folded over and placed in the produce drawer of your refrigerator.  

** NOTE: You will notice over the course of the season that some box contents listed above say "Perhaps one of the following..."  These are items that we can’t harvest in sufficient quantities for the whole CSA to receive at one time.  We do track who gets what and we will do our best to ensure that everyone eventually receives each item.  On some items this may take several weeks, so please be patient.

Is a weekly newsletter not enough for you? Do you want to read more about our life on the farm and see more pictures? Follow us on Facebook at Blue Gate Farm or on Instagram at bluegatefarmfresh. CSA members can also connect with other BGF members to share recipes or ask questions on our FB community page at Blue Gate Farm Community.

That's about it for now. If you have any questions or comments, be sure to let us know.
Best from the farm,
Jill & Sean (and the whole BGF crew)

Indigo, Luci & Sky

BGF Garlic Scape Pesto
1 bunch tender scapes, cut into pieces, and processed in a food processor until finely chopped
Add the following and process until well blended:
1/3 cup olive oil (add more if you like a thinner pesto)
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
optional, toss in some basil for additional pesto flavor if you have it.

This can be served now or frozen for future use. I freeze it in small (1/2 c.) zip-top plastic bags, flattened. Then you can just break off whatever amount you need.

Monday, May 31, 2021

BGF NEWS - June 1, 2021 - VOL. XLVII, NO. 1

In this week’s box:

Asparagus
Choi: Joi (white stems), Shanghai Green (lt. green stems) or Vivid (purple stems)
Golden Oyster Mushrooms (in plastic clamshell)
Green Garlic
Kale Mix  (large mixed leaf bundle)
Lemon Balm
Spinruts: Hakurei (baby Japanese salad turnips)
Tapestry Salad Mix

 and perhaps one of the following: (please see **NOTE  after "A Little Detail..." below)
Snow Peas

For those with the Herb option: Herb share will begin in a couple of weeks as herbs mature

BGF Favorite Kale Salad (see recipe below)
BGF Summer Herb Spritzer (see recipe below)

What’s up on the farm?

Precipitation in the past week: 0.2"

Welcome to the first delivery of the 2021 CSA season and the start of weekly newsletters!  The boxes feel a little light at this time of the season and you will notice the abundance of greens and not quite as much variety as we expect later in the season.  This is part of the joy of eating fresh, seasonal foods.  As the season continues the weight and variety of the contents will increase with the arrival of heavier crops including beans, tomatoes, potatoes and squash.  One thing that does remain somewhat consistent is the presence of some cosmetic damage caused by our local insects.  This is an indication that we are truly a chemical-free farm.  We try to keep the insect population under control, but they are simply a fact of life in a naturally grown system.  We hope you can overlook some minor leaf damage and we will do our best to keep it to a minimum.  Also we do our best to provide you with clean produce, but you may find a little dirt here and there or, yikes, possibly an insect.  We do wash the produce and sort it to the best of our ability, but we are processing a significant volume and it is possible that at some point you will find a little “nature” in your box.  If and when it happens to you, we apologize ahead of time and hope you will forgive the oversight.  Remember, while we do clean the produce, it is always good practice to wash your vegetables before using.

A bit on our efforts be more mindful producers. Over the years we have tried to minimize our use of plastics and single-use products both in our field practices  and in the packing shed/kitchen. We use long-term reusable totes for your CSA deliveries both for sanitation and low waste. You'll notice they have the name "Grinnell Heritage Farm" stamped on the sides. When our friends from GHF "retired" from farming last year, we purchased their CSA totes. They met a need that we had, filled a need that GHF had and allowed us to not buy new plastic. We are continually looking to reduce our plastic bag use  and we've switched over to twist-ties or rubber bands on products that we used to bag like chard, kale, herbs and lettuce bouquets. We haven't yet found a good solution for our baby greens like salad mix and arugula or things like green beans but we're always looking. So how can you help us on this journey?

Clean & Return to Us
Plastic pint/quart containers
Plastic or paper berry boxes
Half pint, pint and quart glass canning jars

Please don't return plastic produce bags or twist ties, we can't reuse those in the packing shed but we encourage you to wash and reuse them in your own home. The less waste we create, the less we have to clean up later. Do you have questions or suggestions on our use of packaging materials (or anything else)? Please let us know!

A big thank you to our pick-up site hosts: Peace Tree Brewing Co - Des Moines and the Grand Theater in Knoxville.  Over the course of the season please consider supporting these independent, local businesses who offer us a great place to deliver your produce.

So what have we been up to this week in addition to preparing for CSA delivery #1? Mostly digging out from our abundance of weeds! While we needed last week's rains, the weeds took the opportunity to throw a party. That meant scrambling to get the fields back under control once the soil dried out (almost) enough. When it is that wet, the most we can do is edging and hand weeding, which is the least efficient method of weed control, but sometimes that's what is available to us.

We were able to finally get some cultivating done and even got the first round of hilling done on the potatoes.
More crops were transplanted including flowers, summer squash, hot peppers, additional cabbage and basil. We also did some replacement seeding in our beans and edamame which didn't germinate 
well.
We've recently been battling a pest in our tomato plot which is mowing down tomato plants at an alarming rate. I thought it was voles, but my farmer friends suspect cutworm. 
We spent time today placing wire flags up against each plant stem so the critters have a harder time chewing through them and then we surrounded the stem with cayenne pepper. Here's hoping they don't think they're invited to a party! 

A bright spot to our recent moisture has been a huge flush of golden oyster mushrooms in our timber! This is the 4th year we have been able to offer mushrooms as part of the CSA and we hope you are as excited about them as we are. 

 We hope you enjoy this first delivery and are looking forward to this season as much as we are.

We hope you also enjoy the weekly online newsletter. One of the goals for this format is so you can go to the blog/newsletter at any time and search for specific vegetables, that should allow you to see any archived recipes for that item. It also allows us to include photos and links to more recipes and information. As we mentioned in the recent newsletter, in addition to the regular BGF Facebook page, we also have a Facebook page for CSA members. You can find it here: Blue Gate Farm Community. If you have a Facebook account we encourage you to post recipes, photos and questions about your weekly produce box adventures. If you don't have an account, don't worry, you can still see/read anything on the page, but you won't be able to post anything. We will keep an eye on the page and try to answer questions in a timely manner, but really this is to encourage the "Community" aspect of CSA and to provide you all a venue to share and connect with each other.

A little detail on your produce this week:


Asparagus: Keeps best stored upright in a glass with about 1" of water, in the refrigerator. Delicious raw or cooked. 

Choi (a.k.a. - pac choi, bok choy or pok choy) is a member of the cabbage family and is a traditional Asian stir-fry vegetable.  Both the stems and leaves of choi can be used and are especially tasty in cooked recipes.  If cooking them, separate the leaves and stems, and begin cooking stems first to avoid overcooking the more tender greens. You can also use the leaves like any green-leafy vegetable and the stems like celery.  We tend to use choi leaves as a sandwich wrap, or just roughly chop the whole thing and sauté with garlic and/or onion.  Cook until stems are tender and dress with a little seasoned rice vinegar. Store choi loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in your produce drawer.

Green Garlic: is immature or "teenage" garlic and should be stored in the refrigerator, where it will keep for 5-7 days. Wrap the green garlic in a damp paper towel and place it in a plastic bag; or for a non-plastic alternative, stick the green garlic in a tall glass with some water in the bottom. You can use all of the tender white and light green parts in recipes calling for fresh garlic. Dark green leaves can be frozen and saved for stock, or used to add flavor to a soup (pop them in whole, like a bay leaf).

Herbs: Besides basil, most herbs keep best standing upright in a glass of water in your refrigerator with a loose plastic bag over the top. To use, simply pull a stem between your fingers and the leaves usually shear off. Chop with a sharp knife and add to your favorite recipes.

Oyster Mushrooms: To maximize the shelf life of raw mushrooms, refrigerate them in a paper bag; do not wrap in plastic or store in airtight container, as this will speed spoilage.  Properly stored, raw whole mushrooms will usually keep well for 4 to 7 days in the fridge. To use, trim off the stems as they are tough and either discard them or save to make a vegetable stock.

Peas: We grow snow peas (flat pod with little bumps showing immature peas inside) and sugar snap peas (rounded pods with mature peas inside).  Both have edible pods and can be used interchangeably in recipes.  They are particularly good in stir-fries and salads, though we tend to eat them fresh as a snack.  Peas keep best in their plastic container in the produce drawer of your refrigerator.

Turnips: keep best if separated from their greens.  Greens are stored in a plastic bag and can be cooked like mustard or collard greens (you can add them in with your Braising Greens Mix).  Trimmed roots can go into a lidded container or zip-close bag. These aren't your grandma's turnips. These are a sweet, Japanese salad variety that is particularly tasty for fresh eating. They will still work great in cooked dishes, but we love to eat them raw, often right out of hand, like an apple. One of the farm crew's favorite mid-field snacks.

A few other details: All of your GREENS will keep best if stored in a plastic bag, with the top folded over and placed in the produce drawer of your refrigerator.  

** NOTE: You will notice over the course of the season that some box contents listed above say "Perhaps one of the following..."  These are items that we can’t harvest in sufficient quantities for the whole CSA to receive at one time.  We do track who gets what and we will do our best to ensure that everyone eventually receives each item.  On some items this may take several weeks, so please be patient.

Is a weekly newsletter not enough for you? Do you want to read more about our life on the farm and see more pictures? Follow us on Facebook at Blue Gate Farm or on Instagram at bluegatefarmfresh. CSA members can also connect with other BGF members to share recipes or ask questions on our FB community page at Blue Gate Farm Community.

That's about it for now. If you have any questions or comments, be sure to let us know.
Best from the farm,
Jill & Sean (and the whole BGF crew)

Indigo, Luci & Sky

BGF's Favorite Kale Salad  

Yield: Makes 6 to 8 servings

2 tablespoons dried cranberries or cherries
5 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, divided
3 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
a big bunch of kale (about 1 pound), center ribs and stems removed, leaves thinly sliced crosswise
2 tablespoons sunflower  or pumpkin seeds, (if using salted, cut down on the 1tsp salt above)
Parmesan cheese shavings

Place cranberries in small bowl; add balsamic vinegar, seasoned rice vinegar, honey oil and salt and allow to soak several hours (overnight is even better).
Place kale in a large bowl, add cranberry mixture and toss to coat. Let marinate 20 minutes at room temperature, tossing occasionally. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with cheese shavings and sunflower seeds just before serving.

Recipe Source:  adapted from an epicurious recipe by Dan Barber

BGF Summer Herb Spritzer
Besides pesto, this is one of our favorite ways to use herbs during warm weather. It is deceptively simple and delightfully refreshing! All you need is:

1 sprig of your favorite herb. Our favorites for this are lemon balm, lemon basil, lemon thyme, mint and anise hyssop.
ice cubes
plain seltzer water
Glass jar with leak-proof lid (or a martini shaker)

Place washed herb in the jar, add ice enough to fill 1/3 of jar. Secure lid and shake it, shake it, baby! A few vigorous shakes will do it, you are just trying to bruise the leaves and release the aromatic oils, not pulverize them.
Remove lid and top with seltzer. Enjoy! You could add a bit of your favorite sweetener, but I've never found it necessary.

Monday, May 24, 2021

BGF NEWS - May 2021 - VOL. XLVI, NO. 7

 

WHAT’S UP ON THE FARM? 

Precipitation in the past month: 4.2"

                                                        
Reading back over last month's newsletter, it is amazing to me how fast things change this time of year. After a very dry early spring, the past two weeks we finally started getting some rain, and now it seems as though it will never stop. Not that we're complaining, we were pretty desperate for moisture but a couple of weeks ago we were feeling pretty good about staying ahead of the weed pressure and now it is too wet to cultivate (or plant) and we are quickly falling behind. Ah well, such is the cycle of life on a vegetable farm! We did get lots done before the rains started. 

First snow peas of the season
All the onion family crops are in as are the early cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, chard, lettuce, celery and roselle, plus the first peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, basil and a variety of flowers. The earliest seeded crops are growing nicely including a variety of greens, peas, turnips carrots, beets and popcorn. The potatoes are up and the beans and edamame are just peeking out of the ground. The next big round of transplanting will include the tomatoes and summer squashes and as soon as the soil dries out a bit we'll be seeding winter squashes and melons as well as more successions of most of the direct seeded crops.

Aspara-sword practice!
It might be obvious from the list above, but we can't do all this alone and we are thrilled that the farm crew is back on full time hours again. 
These ladies can outwork just about anyone, including the farmHer in chief, and they do it with style, grace and a great sense of humor! I can't imagine farming without them.

Boris and his barber team
In addition to all the other tasks on the spring to-do list, it is also the time of year for shearing. Since we only have 3 alpacas, it isn't a huge deal but it does require time, preparation and some savvy 'paca catching (they hate being handled). We've used the same shearing team from Missouri since we got the alpacas and they do an awesome job! Shearing alpacas isn't like shearing sheep, unless the alpacas have been trained to stand for shearing (usually show alpacas) then laying them down stretched out like this is the safest and most humane way to shear. It looks a bit alarming the first time you see it, but it is quick, painless and efficient.

CSA 2021: The CSA is full and on schedule to begin deliveries on Tuesday, June 1st in Des Moines, Knoxville and on the farm. CSA members will receive an email from us later this week detailing the pick-up process and extra options available for each location.

VegEmail sales are back on the summer schedule of Saturdays from 10-noon. It's a perfect opportunity to get first choice at top quality, chemical-free produce and other farm-fresh products, like meat/eggs from Ebersole Cattle Co, while avoiding the crowds and parking hassles of the farmers market. Plus, in DM you can enjoy your favorite beverage from Peace Tree Brewing Co!

We've recently gotten a couple of questions about the difference between CSA and VegEmail. The quickest answer is that CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) is a subscription program where a limited number of "shares" are offered for pre-sale for the season. Members pay up front and then receive a box of produce weekly over the season. The box contents are chosen by the farmer.

VegEmail is our year-round custom delivery program. We send out emails weekly (bi-weekly in winter) with what is available for that week and customers can choose their items for purchase or can opt not to order for that cycle. Payment is made at purchase time.

Here's a quick comparison:


And speaking of VegEmail, just a reminder that our newest offering in that program is our U-Pick Yarn. The first Saturday of each month, we will bring our full yarn inventory for perusal and purchase along with the VegEmail orders in Des Moines. Keep an eye on the VegEmail announcements for more info. Next U-Pick Yarn date is Saturday, June 5th. Marion County or non-local customers can contact us directly for other arrangements.


Is a monthly newsletter not enough for you? Do you want to read more about our life on the farm and see more pictures? Follow us on Facebook at Blue Gate Farm or on Instagram at bluegatefarmfresh. CSA members can also connect with other BGF members to share recipes or ask questions on our FB community page at Blue Gate Farm Community.

That's about it for now. If you have any questions or comments, be sure to let us know.
Best from the farm,
Jill & Sean (and the whole BGF crew)

Indigo, Luci & Sky

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

BGF NEWS - April 2021 - VOL. XLVI, NO. 6

WHAT’S UP ON THE FARM?


Precipitation in the past month: Snow: trace x 2
                                                            Rain: 0.7"

The sunroom,  where all of our transplants are "born"
April greetings from the farm. (I know, I nearly missed getting a newsletter out this month, yikes!) April is such a crazy time on the farm. So much field prep and seed sowing and transplanting and, and, and... Then the cultivating starts almost before there are crops in the ground. Plus we are still harvesting the overwintered crops and the early ones like asparagus. It's all a bit of a whirlwind.

Speaking of asparagus, you know the tune! 
The season is on and the asparagus is growing like crazy. We were so pleased that the below freezing temperatures last week didn't seem to do much damage. Last year we had similar temps after the asparagus was up and it froze the whole field to the ground. Ouch! We still got plenty of asparagus, but it delayed harvesting for about 2 weeks. This year, I think we are going to miss that little farm drama.

The planting season is on full force. We've already seeded field crops for greens, peas, carrots, beets, lettuce, spinach and turnips. Transplanting is underway for onions, shallots, leeks, broccoli, kale, chard, cauliflower and fennel, with many more to come in the next few weeks. 
Planting leeks with lots of help
Planting potatoes









We were delighted with today's 1/4" of rain. We are alarmingly dry for this time of year so the soaking was just right for all those recently planted crops! We will be even more delighted when the farm crew starts returning to their full schedule next week. We've missed them!


Spring brings so many changes on the farm but probably our biggest change this year has been the relocation of our chicken flock to our friends at Ebersole Cattle Co. They will continue to make eggs available for Des Moines VegEmail customers and CSA members which is exciting for all of us! We are also working with our neighbors (and farm crew members) and FarmYard Fancies to provide eggs for our Marion County customers. We are so pleased to share our awesome customer base with these wonderful friends and producers!

Speaking of  VegEmail, we are moving to our summer delivery schedule this week, with weekly deliveries on Saturdays from 10am-noon in DM, Knoxville and on farm. And, with the bit of time opened up by the chicken move, we are refocusing on our fiber business. Introducing:
On the first Saturday of each month, we will have our entire yarn stock available for sale at the  VegEmail delivery in Des Moines! We are so excited to be able to provide for your "high fiber diet"! Marion county and other customers can contact us to make other arrangements to "visit" the yarn.

We are pleased to announce that the CSA is full for the 2021 season. Membership payments are due by April 30, but the vast majority of our members have already paid in full. Thank you so much for that, you can't imagine what a difference it makes for a small farm. We still anticipate the first delivery of the CSA season to be on Tuesday, June 1. We will send out an orientation email to all CSA members in late May. We will also send out information about opportunities to order CSA subscriptions from our partner farms for things like meat, eggs and baked goods. If CSA members have any questions before then, don't hesitate to let us know.

Is a monthly newsletter not enough for you? Do you want to read more about our life on the farm and see more pictures? Follow us on Facebook at Blue Gate Farm or on Instagram at bluegatefarmfresh. CSA members can also connect with other BGF members to share recipes or ask questions on our FB community page at Blue Gate Farm Community.

That's about it for now. If you have any questions or comments, be sure to let us know.
Best from the farm,
Jill & Sean (and the whole BGF crew)

Indigo, Luci & Sky