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LOCALLY GROWN, ORGANIC PRODUCE DELIVERED TO YOUR DOOR.

SIGN UP FOR JBG'S FREE FARM TOUR!

04/17/14 — Farm

The farm tour is coming up soon on Saturday, April 26th!  Photo by Scott David Gordon The farm tour is coming up soon on Saturday, April 26th! Photo by Scott David Gordon

Sign up now for JBG's Free Spring Farm Tour on Saturday, April 26th from 10am to 12pm by clicking here!  All are welcome!  If you're CSA member, I especially hope to see you there - and, please, bring your friends and neighbors.  I know so many of you work hard at eating seasonal, locally produced food, and this is a great opportunity to see where your vegetables are coming from - and who is doing the growing!  I also encourage kids to attend because I think it's really important for young people to have a connection to their food, too.  Plus, we'll have fun activities including harvesting your own carrots and being part of a crop mob.  So, be sure to wear clothes and shoes you don't mind getting dirty!

Leading last year's tour.  Photo by Scott David Gordon Leading last year's tour. Photo by Scott David Gordon

We had some crazy challenges this year - hail storms, flooding, drought to name a few!  Plus, after four years of hard work, we finally have the whole farm planted in vegetables and cover crop.  It has been quite a transformation to witness!  I was talking to one of our neighbors over there, and he remarked on how much the land has changed.  It used to be a quiet hay farm; now, there's lots of activity and vegetables growing everywhere.  My neighbor said he loves all of this, and so do I.  To our CSA members, I want to say thank you again because we really wouldn't have been able to do this without your support.  I hope you will take me up on my invitation to visit our fields on Saturday, April 26th.  Remember, bring your friends along, too - they should see what you had a hand in creating!  It's free to all, but since it helps us to know how many people are coming, please kindly RSVP by clicking here.

Our Greenhouse Manager, Lindsay, with the second result of the second hail strike.  Our Greenhouse Manager, Lindsay, with the second result of the second hail strike.

We got some nickel-size hail on Monday. We got some nickel-size hail on Monday.

Can you believe we got hit by hail - again!  That makes for two Mondays in a row.  I have to say we have been really lucky over at River Road - there wasn't much hail there.  Hergotz Lane got hit a little harder, but, all in all, it wasn't bad.  This time, we had already brought most of our transplants back into the greenhouse because forecasters were calling for a very late Spring frost.  There were a few flats of eggplant that did get hit, but the transplant damage was relatively contained this time.  Where the hail's effect was most visible was on the leaves of our broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage plants.  In fact, some of you CSA members may think a bunny or deer took a bite out of your broccoli!  I assure you it was the hail, and despite the holey appearance, it still tastes just as good.  It has been a bit of a roller coaster over here trying to keep up with the weather!  I was worried about the frost warning earlier this week, but, luckily, the temperatures hovered just above freezing.  Let's hope that's the last freeze scare of the season!  Soon enough, I imagine it's the Texas heat we will be complaining about... On the brighter side, this means it won't be too long until we have tomatoes!  On the agenda for next week is to transform 150 rolls of wire into 11,250 more tomato cages.  Our tomato plants are looking great so far despite the crazy weather - fingered crossed for the best season ever!

IMAGES FROM THE FARM

04/17/14 — Farm

Getting stakes into the ground.  Photo by Scott David Gordon Getting stakes into the ground. Photo by Scott David Gordon

Tomato season is coming, and we are busy getting ready for this fruit of summer.  This includes getting all of those stakes and tomato cages into the ground!

Stakes waiting to go in the ground.  Photo by Scott David Gordon Stakes waiting to go in the ground. Photo by Scott David Gordon

Field crew member Ian uses the post driver the get these stakes in the ground.  Photo by Scott David Gordon Field crew member Ian uses the post driver the get these stakes in the ground. Photo by Scott David Gordon

 

Tomatoes - and Summer - will be here before you know it.  Photo by Scott David Gordon Tomatoes - and Summer - will be here before you know it. Photo by Scott David Gordon

Rows of tomato cages.  Photo by Scott David Gordon Rows of tomato cages. Photo by Scott David Gordon

Broccoli!  Photo by Scott David Gordon Broccoli! Photo by Scott David Gordon

 

Field of fennel.  Photo by Scott David Gordon Field of fennel. Photo by Scott David Gordon

Workshares give us a hand over at Hergotz Lane.  Photo by Scott David Gordon Workshares give us a hand over at Hergotz Lane. Photo by Scott David Gordon

Helping out at Hergotz.  Photo by Scott David Gordon Helping out at Hergotz. Photo by Scott David Gordon

Matt, our CSA Packing Shed Manager, loads up the truck.  Photo by Scott David Gordon Matt, our CSA Packing Shed Manager, loads up the truck with shares for delivery. Photo by Scott David Gordon

TRANSPLANT SALE ENDS THIS SATURDAY, APRIL 19TH!

04/17/14 — Farm

Last Chance to get your organic transplants is this Saturday!  Photo by Scott David Gordon Last Chance to get your organic transplants is this Saturday! Photo by Scott David Gordon

This Saturday, April 19th, from 10am to 2pm  is the last day of our Spring Organic Transplant Sale!  So, stop by our greenhouse at 9515 Hergotz Lane, Austin, TX 78742  - we will have lots of organic transplants to choose from, including Heirloom, cherry, San Marzano, and large red tomatoes, tomatillos, sweet & hot peppers, onions, seed potatoes, eggplant, squash, zucchini, basil, kale, swiss chard, watermelon, lettuces, kale, broccoli, cabbage, okra, cauliflower and spinach.  While you are there, you can also pickup some of JBG's compost mix to aid with planting and stakes and cages for your tomatoes.

Were any of your Spring transplants damaged by hail or freeze?  If so, we know the feeling and would like to lend you a hand!  If you lost part of your garden due to this crazy weather, stop by our greenhouse this Saturday, April 19th, from 10am to 2pm, and we will give you some free transplants so you can plant again.  There's still time!

DANDELION GREENS

04/17/14 — Farm

Dandelion greens.  Photo by Scott David Gordon Dandelion greens. Photo by Scott David Gordon

When most people think about a dandelion, they visualize its bright yellow flowering head or its later fluffy seeds waiting to be scattered by the wind.  Dandelion greens are the leaves of the plant, and they are packed with nutrition.  According the the USDA, dandelion greens have more nutritional value than spinach or broccoli.  Who knew that the plant that many just consider a weed could pack such a nutritional punch!  These greens are full of iron, calcium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6 as well as potassium and manganese.  They also provide more protein per serving than spinach!  Add to this their anti-inflammatory properties and ability to boost digestion and you can see why dandelions are touted for their health benefits.

Dandelion greens have a very bold taste and therefore are often mixed with sweeter flavors or foods like cheese, milk and eggs (they're great in a fritata or omelet!).  Below are some recipes ideas for you to give a try.  Also, if you have a dandelion green recipe you would like to share, please email it to carrie@jbgorganic.com for inclusion in the blog.

10 Ways to Use Dandelion Greens from theKitchn

Braised Dandelion Greens from Food & Wine

MORE WAYS TO COOK CELERY ROOT!

04/17/14 — Farm

Just harvested celeriac/celery root.  Photo by Scott David Gordon Just harvested celeriac/celery root. Photo by Scott David Gordon

By Meredith Bethune

Celery root, also called celeriac, doesn’t have the most appetizing appearance. They’re usually knobby, hairy, and maybe even dirty when they arrive in your kitchen. They appear harsh, looking like they might be bitter in flavor. On the contrary, their flavor is actually much more subtle than celery stalks, the more well known incarnation of this plant.  Actually, people who dislike celery might find that they actually like celery root.  When you strip away the rough skin, you’re left with a delicate vegetable with a clean minerality.

The skin of celeriac is so thick that you’ll likely lose a quarter of the vegetable’s weight in trimmings. Peel it as you would an apple, and add the scraps to chicken or vegetable stocks. Like a good winter squash, celery keeps for weeks stored in the fridge, so it’s not commitment to keep one on hand for cooking inspiration.

Celery root remoulade is a classic French dish. It plays on common pairings for the vegetable like mustard, creamy ingredients, herbs, and lemon juice. Not only does celery take well to ingredients like citrus and vinegar, but the acid keeps the vegetable from discoloring after slicing. Walnuts, hazelnuts, and strong cheeses like Gruyere will bring out the vegetables natural nuttiness.  Celery root puree is commonly added to mashed potatoes and soups, and almost all of these dishes are improved by a garnish of crispy bacon lardons.

Creamy Curried Celery Root Soup from The New York Times

Celery Root Goat Cheese Agnolotti from Local Milk

Celery Root Remoulade from David Lebovitz

CSA BOX CONTENTS WEEK OF APRIL 14TH

04/14/14 — Scott

140414_SDG195114 CSA Box Contents Week of April 14th

Large Box
Beet, Red
Carrot, Orange
Celery Root / Celeriac
Greens, Dandelion
Greens, Kale, Curly
Greens, Salad Mix
Herb, Dill
Lettuce, Braising Mix
Lettuce, Red Leaf
Mystery Vegetable
Onion, Spring Yellow
Parsnip
Medium Box
Beet, Red
Carrot, Orange
Celery Root / Celeriac
Greens, Dandelion
Greens, Kale, Curly
Greens, Salad Mix
Herb, Dill
Lettuce, Braising Mix
Mystery Vegetable
Onion, Spring Yellow
Small Box
Beet, Chioggia
Carrot, Orange
Greens, Collards
Greens, Salad Mix
Herb, Fennel
Onion, Spring Yellow
Parsnip
Individual Box
Beet, Chioggia
Carrot, Orange
Lettuce, Braising Mix
Lettuce, Red Leaf
Onion, Spring Yellow


 

FROM THE FARMER'S PERSPECTIVE

04/10/14 — Farm

Photo by Scott David Gordon Harvesting Cilantro.  Photo by Scott David Gordon

This past Monday, I was really caught off guard by that storm we had - it seemed to come out of nowhere!  Sheets of rain started pouring down coupled with high winds.  Then came the hail.  It bounced off our roof and into the vents of our house - we actually had hail on our carpet floor!  I think this was the most powerful storm I've experienced since moving out here to Hergotz Lane in 2006.  While it rained on Monday, we moved all of our trucks out of the lower-lying loading dock area because I was worried they might end up getting stuck in the mud.  Unfortunately, we also had a lot of transplants outside of the greenhouse "hardening off" and waiting to be transplanted.  Typically, we take the transplants out of the greenhouse to acclimate to the weather, or "harden", before planting them in the field.  Well, these little transplants were no match for the sudden hail - we lost 115 flats of basil, 9 flats of okra, 24 flats of watermelon, and about 20 flats of peppers.  Since each flat has 128 cells, that's a loss of over 20,000 transplants.  I hated losing these and all of the time and energy that went into growing them, but farming doesn't give you much time to dwell on setbacks.  The truth is, I don't like to complain.  I feel much better figuring out what to do next, and I don't think I could handle farming if I weren't able to move on pretty quickly.  Also, I know I have been very, very lucky so far not to have suffered a serious crop disaster.

The greenhouse in Denton after the storm The greenhouse in Denton after the storm

This is another reason I don't like to complain  - I know things could always be worse.  Take what happened out at our new backyard garden in Denton, TX this week.  There, storms really did some serious damage - the entire greenhouse was destroyed by wind and the majority of the crops were decimated by the golf ball sized hail. Here in Austin on Hergotz Lane, hail knocked down some our broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower plants and left holes in their leaves, but comparatively, the damage was minimal.  At River Road, the only crop that really suffered was the Romaine lettuce.  So, I feel incredibly lucky that our fields here were spared the destruction inflicted up in Denton.  Our farm manager, Ryan, will have to do what all farmers do when weather takes out their crops: salvage what he can and then replant.  Luckily, Ryan loves farming as much as me - you really have to if you are to survive these inevitable setbacks.

Photo by Scott David Gordon Rows of young Beets.  Photo by Scott David Gordon

I feel very grateful that our River Road fields still look great  - except for the fast growing weeds on our newly cultivated land!  The rain we've had has both spurred on this weed growth and made it too wet for us to cultivate.   As I said last week, it is amazing to see how quickly the onset of Spring transforms the fields.  To experience this incredible growth, we need rain, so I really can't complain about the weeds.  I asked our Harvest Manager, Vicente, what was different about our farm now compared to last Spring.  His immediate reply was that he and his crew no longer have anywhere to play soccer now that the entire farm is planted in vegetables and cover crops.  What was the soccer field is full of dandelion greens....  He also said there's a lot more work to be done, but experience has made the crew more able to handle it all.  Harvesting is hard work, and we are always looking for ways to make it physically easier for our staff.   This includes things like using bulk bins that can be fork-lifted or using a tractor to pull a trailer for easy in-field harvest loading.  As Vicente noted, we are learning from our experience.

Photo by Scott David Gordon Photo by Scott David Gordon

CSA members - just a quick reminder from me about the free farm tour on Saturday, April 26th from 10am to 12pm at our River Road farm.  I know I have been going on and on about how fantastic the farm looks (despite the weeds!) - now, you need to come see if for yourself.  For the tour, we will be going on a 1.5 mile walk around part of the farm, so I recommend you wear comfortable shoes that can get muddy.  Also, you will have the option of participating in some hands-on activities, so I would wear clothes that can get dirty, too. These activities include harvesting your own carrots and being part of a "crop mob."   The crop mob is going to attack the weeds in our onion fields!   I hope you will head out and bring your whole family - I want you to see what your support as a CSA member has helped to create.   Plus, it's a fantastic way to get to know how and where your food is grown.  Hope you can make it on the 26th.  This is a free event for all CSA members, but it is helpful to us to know how many people are coming.  So, if you plan to attend, please register using this link.  Thank you!

Brenton leads a tour of JBG & leads people by rows of spinach. Last year, Brenton leads a tour of JBG by rows of spinach.
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