2022 CSA Newsletter #2

Happy Solstice and the official start of summer! With the weather that we've had for the last month, it seems like summer has been here for a while but now we can really say it. Last week was a busy one, especially "off farm" for me. I mentioned briefly last week that I made a trip to the Dominican Republic in April. That trip was part of an innovation fund grant we were awarded last fall through 100K Strong in the Americas. We partnered with a university in the Dominican Republic that we already had a relationship with and focused our proposal on exploring food systems across cultures, with reciprocal student exchange between the two colleges. I was supposed to head to the DR with students in January but unfortunately, due to COVID, we were unable to go. The April trip was a modified one for me to explore what a study abroad experience could be like for students from Tompkins Cortland and let me tell you, it didn't disappoint. The Dominican Republic is such a beautiful country with incredible people, culture and cuisine!

That being said, the other part of the grant was to have students from our partner institution, UFHEC, travel to TC3 for an exploration of our food system and agriculture scene here in the Finger Lakes area. So, last Saturday, seven students and two faculty members arrived to campus with incredible eagerness to learn and explore. Their schedule has been packed and I've had the honor of being their main guide around the area. It has been such a rewarding experience for me and I look forward to bringing students from Tompkins Cortland to the DR in the future. I can go on and on about their time here and the experiences we've shared but I want to stay on track. Feel free to ask me about it anytime you see me. 

We've got a few new items in this week's CSA choice and the theme is salad or ensalada (I've been working on my Spanish with the group from the DR). The first lettuce mix of the season is here. This lettuce grows as a head but when harvested, separates into individual leaves. We grow a number of different varieties to make this beautiful mix. To complement the lettuce mix, there will be French Breakfast radishes and Japanese salad turnips. Now before you turn up your noses reading turnips, you definitely need to give these a try. They're not your Grandma's turnips. These tender white little balls are milder than radishes with a hint of sweetness. I usually snack on 3 or 4 before slicing some for a salad. They are so tender that they don't even need to be peeled. They are also amazing pickled! The greens will be attached to both the turnips and radishes, so feel free to use them in a salad or sautee too. Just remember to detach cut of the greens before storing them in the fridge. If you don't the roots will start to soften quickly as the greens pull the moisture away from them. There will still be carrots and the stir-fry mix. It's mostly bok choy but there will be some of the purple tat soi mixed in. Finally, there will be another week of strawberries. Last week was definitely the peak for this new planting for us but there are still berries to be harvested. As I mentioned last week, the mulching method we attempted during planting didn't work out for all the beds over the winter. Because of this, some of the berries are on bare soil which makes them a little dirty from rain splashing the soil. Strawberries are one of very few crops that we don't wash. The reason behind that is they are so tender and fragile and since we don't spray anything at all on them, we want them to last as long as they can by handling them as little as possible.

Have a great week!

-Farmer Todd