Hello CSA members,

It’s hard to believe we are at the half way point of the farm season and the CSA!  Here in Montana, July 4th marks a distinct change.  Before the 4th, farmers are most focused on protecting crops from the cold, and after the fourth we can pretty much count on hot and dry for at least 6 weeks, if not 8 or 10.   It’s this time of year where the warm season crops such as tomatoes, corn, peppers, and squash that have been tolerating the cool weather really start to ramp up their growth.

Some Sunday night potato weeding….probably last time I can fit the tractor over the crop.

The corn, which was knee high on the 4th, is already head high by the 16th.  And the first cherry tomatoes are ripe. And the weeds….whew!  It’s sort of like a video game.  The more we weed, the faster the weeds start to grow, and so it becomes increasingly difficult to keep the farm weeded.   I’m not embarrassed to admit I broke out the lawn mower today to knock back a few of them!

This dog is no dummy. Finally, a good use for a (f)artichoke plant!

The much anticipated farm video is officially ready for release.  For those of you who have never flown over the farm, I think this gives a great perspective of what the farm looks like, the organization of it, and the scale.

Less than 5 years ago, this was a old horse pasture, so I’m pretty proud of what it’s become.  It’s a challenging place to farm, with it’s cold climate and funky soil issues, but we’re figuring it out.   I think what I”m most proud of though, is that everything that you see in the video, vegetable-wise, was done this year by 6 people.  And while we use some machinery and special implements, there is a ton of manual labor involved.  So, hat’s off to the 2018 farm crew for all their hard work.    Just for reference, every one of those vegetable beds is 180 feet long.  And if we needed further proof the soils and crops are improving, the wildlife, primarily the deer and turkeys, are moving onto the property in droves.

This week we are seeing the first tomatoes and cucumbers rolling in.  We are not at full production on these, so we will be parsing them out as they become available.  If you don’t get them this week, you will certainly get them next week, so we appreciate your patience! We are also heavy into the broccoli and broccolini, so you’re getting a healthy dose of these.  One note on the broccolini, which I also should have mentioned long ago, is that you cook and eat the entire thing….leaves and all.  They are delicious.  I heard someone say they were pulling off all the leaves, and I realized I had failed in my responsibilities.

Want to take down your summer squash and kale together?   Try this delicious looking recipe.

Or maybe some help with the broccoli and carrots?

I did hear back from one CSA member on the creamy cashew recipe I included a week or so ago, and she said the entire family loved it….so you can find that in an earlier post.

For those of you who love hot sunny days, this is your week!   Looking forward to seeing you at CSA distribution.

Todd and the Two Bear Farm team.