Although it is December and the cold temperatures didn’t necessarily catch us off guard, these last few mornings have been painfully nerve-wracking. A new weather station was installed just a half a mile or so from us as the crow flies, and it reported temperatures dipping down to 13 degrees on Monday night and 15 degrees Fahrenheit last night. So, today, like yesterday, we sip our tea, water our microgreens in our sun room turned “greenhouse”,watch the sun rise over the Cedar Mesa and extend its’ glow across the Surface Creek Valley, listen to our roosters, Cliff and Guy, crow as they welcome the new day, and try to distract ourselves while anxiously waiting until the sun hits the hoop houses, and we can lift the cover from our tender but surprisingly hearty crops in hopes that there was no cold or frost damage.
Being our first winter farming, this is one great learning experience and the farm our life-size laboratory. I keep a nightly journal listing high and low temperatures for the day, records of the length of day and sunshine hours, how many eggs our girls laid, and shorthand notes indicating what plants seem to be best adapted to this weather and how they are doing. While we work to extend the season into the coldest days of winter, we are heavily reliant upon the passive solar heat produced from all these glorious days of sunshine we experience here in Colorado, a 6 millimeter piece of poly plastic that tightly hugs the galvanized steel arches that shape our hoop houses, and a polypropylene fabric frost blanket from Agribon that supposedly provides 6 degrees of warmth to all the plants which they cloak. There are so many variables that are completely out of our control and the risk of experiencing loss is present with every change in weather and every storm that blows through. We read the literature, watch the experts, make decisions, and then second guess them, all while hoping for the best for these little plants that have been entrusted to our care.
In one such attempt to distract myself, on my morning run, I was reminded of something that was recently said to me, “It’s okay to be green because it means you are still growing.”. As we gently ebb forward and continue to grow, I know there will be many more days ahead like this. But for today, we’ll remain grateful for the abundance we’ve experienced thus far this season and for the opportunity to nurture and care for everything here at our farm.
And, with this said, here is what is in today’s CSA bag:
Carrots (Cosmic Purple and Scarlet Nantes): We never tire of these and don’t think that you can ever have too many of these sweet carrots around. If you’re up for trying something new, I love making carrot soup, specifically carrot coriander soup. It is so aromatic and warming on these cold days we’ve been experiencing.
Radishes (De 18 Jours): Here’s a wonderful way to use both your radishes and spinach: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchen/sauteed-radishes-with-spinach-3362260
Arugula: Try this spicy green lightly wilted in a pasta dish with lemon, pine nuts, and brown butter, or make white pizzas with fresh arugula and prosciutto. Also, arugula makes a delicious pesto if you’d like to try an alternative to basil pesto.
And new this week:
Head lettuces (Red Cross or Mirlo Butterhead): For 23 years, I followed a vegetarian diet, and during that time, tempeh, fermented soy beans, was one of my favorite sources of protein to incorporate into my meals, not to mention the nutritional value derived from the fact that it is FERMENTED!! This recipe was always a go-to of mine: https://www.vegetariantimes.com/recipes/thai-lettuce-wraps
Try it with chicken or any other meat if you’d prefer.
Microgreens (Brussels sprouts & Spicy Greens): Try these as a topping for your lettuce wraps or incorporate them into any salad.