Starting our summer routines

(CSA Newsletter: Week 21)

Meet this week’s vegetables:

  • Carrots — The first summer carrots of the year! They’re not perfect or pretty, but they taste great.
  • Broccoli — Woah! Three heads of broccoli! Try last week’s broccoli-cheddar soup recipe or enjoy any of your favorite broccoli recipes.
  • Sugar snap peas — Woah! Woah! Woah! Even more sugar snap peas than last week! We planted more peas this year because last year’s pea harvest was smaller than we prefer. Well, I guess we planted enough, because this isn’t even all of them!!!! This week’s experiment: can you have too much of a good thing? Let us know!
  • Chard — The first of this year’s chard. This variety, “Silverado,” is one of our absolute favorites.
  • Red leaf lettuce
  • Green lettuce
  • Sweet onion
  • Garlic scapes
  • As I write this on Monday, I am being gently serenaded by one of my favorite sounds: irrigation sprinklers going in the orchard just outside the window. I love that sound, especially now that we have enough water to adequately irrigate all summer. The rhythmic chic-chic-chic-chic of the water is so soothing on a warm sunny day.

    And, yes, it’s finally warm and sunny! Not hot (which is ok for now), but definitely warm and sunny.

    Casey was finally able to catch up on the last of the deferred spring work this week: mowing headlands, planting the last of the spring successions, hilling the potatoes, working up last year’s field and sowing a cover crop.

    But the most important part of the warm weather is that crops are growing! Quickly! Finally! After such a long cool spring, we’d almost forgotten what real summer growth looks like — the kind of growth that can happen literally overnight so that crops look different and bigger every single day.

    We never want to get too comfortable with the weather, but it looks like we might just have a summer after all. Maybe it will be milder than usual, but summer is no longer completely M.I.A.

    Spring is often a season of fits and starts that make it difficult for us to pattern our life — sometimes Casey just has to work on Sundays, even though we prefer to take that day as our sabbath. The arrival of more consistently dry weather allows Casey to get most of his work done on his own time schedule rather than the weather’s, which means our life becomes a lot more predictable.

    As we settle into what we hope will become this summer routine, we’ve been doing some more organizing in our own life too to match. Since having Rusty last December, we’ve been sort of in a perpetual ‘catch up’ mode. We had to ‘catch up’ to learn all about our newborn baby and his needs. We had to ‘catch up’ to adjust to having a newborn and running a farm when Casey started back to work full time in February. We’ve had to ‘catch up’ all spring to continually adjust to our changing baby and the temperamental spring weather.

    Now that we’re hopefully hitting a groove for the summer (hopefully!), we’re trying to work on organizing our life so that we can be saner throughout the summer and beyond. Specifically, we’ve been rethinking how we plan and organize our meals.

    We keep a well-stocked pantry and freezer and live next to a field full of fresh vegetables, so up until now our meals have been planned spontaneously every day. We always have lots of good stuff to work with, so that isn’t a problem. However, now that we have the farm and a baby to care for, we’re realizing that we need to start planning ahead just so that we better use our time after Casey gets off work. We find ourselves too often eating at 8 pm, which is just before our bedtime. So, as of this week, we’re instituting a flexible meal ‘rotation’ at our house.

    The rotation consists of the basic simple meals we were eating anyhow, but now that they’re each assigned a day of the week, it allows us to better plan ahead when it comes to things like pulling meat from the freezer to thaw or starting beans to cook. Those are tasks that are easy for me (Katie) to complete in the windows of free time I get during Rusty’s naps. On the other hand, making a whole meal — timed perfectly for dinner no less — is not easy for me to accomplish. Like I said, the dishes we’ve included on our routine are things we eat frequently anyway, and they’re flexible enough to accommodate whatever vegetables are available at the time (but we will update the rotation itself as we move into a completely different season — there are no soups or stews on this rotation, but we’ll add those in fall).

    We’re also planning to intentionally make enough food for every dinner that we’ll have leftovers for the next day’s lunch (something that happens occasionally now, but not every time). So, hopefully, our rotation will help better balance the work of feeding our family between both Casey and me, keep us sane when the days get busy and hot, and allow for us to continue having interesting and diverse meals.

    I thought I’d share our newly planned summer meal rotation since I know our CSA members are also busy and always trying to find easy ways to fit seasonal vegetables into their meal routines. I’m also interested in hearing from CSA members what works for you each week. Cookbooks are great for ideas, but I’m always more interested in what real people cook and eat on a daily basis. That’s the stuff that works for us in our kitchen best.

    Thanks to the warmer weather, this week there’s an abundance of favorite vegetables — especially broccoli and sugar snap peas. Using whatever meal plan, rotation or spontaneous inspiration works for you, enjoy this week’s vegetables!

    Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla

    ~ ~ ~

    Casey & Katie’s Summer 2010 Weekly Dinner Rotation Plan:

    Sunday: Big Green Salad, with bread, cheese and leftovers from the rest of the week
    Monday: Pasta & greens or veggies
    Tuesday: Quesadillas with cooked or fresh greens
    Wednesday: Curry vegetables, lentils, quinoa, goat cheese
    Thursday: Hamburgers, sautéed onions, salad
    Friday: Open meal! (Eat out or plan something new!)
    Saturday: Meat, roasted veggies, grain (or eat this on Friday and go out on Sat)

    ~ ~ ~

    Get involved in the quarry issue!

    Join us for a community meeting, 7 pm, Wednesday, June 30 at Unionvale Church (on Wallace Rd, about 7-8 miles south of Dayton, just south of the Grand Island turn-off). We’ll be discussing the potential impact of the proposed quarry on Grand Island and surrounding communities. Jim Johnson from the ODA will be speaking. More info can be found at

    ~ ~ ~

    Important dates – Coming up!

    Sometime soon ~ The CSA pick-up will move to the newly remodeled Market building in the Granary District! We’ll keep you posted for the date when we know it.

    July 1 ~ Third $240 payment due for folks on on the quarterly payment plan!

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