Full Share: Green onions, Radishes, Salad Mix, Spinach, Rainbow Chard, Baby Kale, and Baby Bok Choy

Partial Share: Green Onions, Radishes, Salad Mix, Little Gem Romaine, and Baby Kale

Seems there are storms brewing on a lot of fronts these days. While not the most significant, the one we felt most acutely was the thunderstorm that rolled through on Sunday morning. While I’m happy to report that there was no damage to the farm, we were out of power up until 6:15pm today (Monday). We are creatures of habit, and it was almost comical to watch people try to turn on lights, use the sink, turn on a hose, or open a garage door with an opener even though we all knew the power was out. Given we always harvest a large portion of Tuesday’s share on Monday morning, we took a gamble and harvested. Then we got word from FEC that they weren’t likely to get power turned back on in this area until tomorrow. If you remember back to the CSA Rules newsletter, you know that we are committed to getting you your shares each week, and we have never missed a CSA delivery day in 13 years. So, in light of issues beyond our control, we had to get creative. We loaded all the food into the refrigerator truck , and then loaded a triple bay sink, our two salad spinners, hoses, and nozzles onto a flatbed trailer, and we headed over to Two Bear River Ranch next door where they had power and fresh water. It wasn’t ideal, but it got the job done. As we were finishing up, we got word that power had been restored at the farm, which was a huge relief to be able to store all the fresh produce in the walk-in coolers overnight. It made for a long day, but I’m glad the power is back. While I know Covid 19 has been extremely disruptive to life as we know it, there is nothing quite like going without power for a few days to realize how disruptive it is to have to live without it.

On another note, those bio-bags sure suck at keeping greens fresh, eh? We did not come to the decision to use them lightly. In fact, this winter, Rebecca reached a point where she felt the need to address the issue of single use plastic. Believe me, I would love it if government or big industry would step up with a solution, but they have not. At the time, I told Rebecca that we already take on too much as a farm…trying to be good land stewards, grow our community healthy food, work hard and put so much time and energy into our cause…that the last thing I wanted to do was take on the issue of single use plastic. There are only so many battles a person can fight. But if Rebecca is anything, she is stubborn and persuasive. She told me it was our duty to do the right thing, and if not us, then who. I told her it wasn’t worth affecting our business over this issue, and it had a real potential to do that. She didn’t relent. And so we dove in. And alas, change is hard. And not always perfect. But rather than throw in the towel on the bio-bag, I ask you to humor me for a moment as we rethink the point of a bag.

The modern plastic bag is a phenomenal invention. It not only provides a way to transport items from purchase to home, but it also serves as a storage container once home. But, I think it’s hard to deny that our planet is getting buried in plastic bags (have you been to the Flathead County Landfill lately?), and we need to think of ways to address that. So, let’s rethink the point of a bag….what if we need it only for transporting items, not storing them? Take the bio-bag for instance. What if this easily compostable plant-based bag’s sole purpose was to transport your food from CSA to home. I know Neil is willing to forego the bio bag altogether and simply wrap his salad greens in his shirt, but most of you want some sanitary methods of transport. Then, once you get home, you transfer those greens to a container. Maybe it’s a glass or plastic tupperware container. Maybe it’s into a reused bag or ziplock. Preferably, it’s not into another single use plastic bag. But the point is, the bio-bag isn’t relied upon to be the storage container once home. Because, we know it kind of sucks in that role, and we’ve gotten more than a few reports of wilty spinach and salad. But it does really well in the transport role, and then it get’s composted. Remember, our goal at the moment is not to rid the world of plastic, simply to cut back on the single use variety. Some you might ask…is it any better to go out and buy a plastic tupperware instead of just using a bag? And I think the answer is “yes”. Ideally, you would use glass, but if you choose a plastic tupperware, that container should last you multiple years as opposed to only a couple of days, and so I think that equates to a significant reduction in plastic use. So, yes, that makes a bit more work for our customers to go home, and transfer any bagged greens into a better container. But using the biobag and tupperware combo seems to be a easily achievable, small step towards improving the plastics issue. And I think it is a meaningful change. Remember how I said we are all creatures of habit? Well, the real way to change our relationship with plastic is to change our habits surrounding its use. What do you think? Are you willing to adapt and keep trying? Personally, I’m not willing to erode our farm’s reputation for quality to fight the plastic fight….but, I agree with Rebecca that we should give this an honest effort and see if we can’t make it work. And maybe some day Elon Musk will stop trying to get to Mars and focus instead focus his vast resources on fixing the plastic bag issue here on earth.

Alas, I am a bit off track. Last week was a huge week for us in terms of pulling out spring crops and getting summer crops planted. The carrots and broccoli and beets are all just about ready, but we’re still very much in the early greens season. And we realize the shares look pretty similar to the past couple of weeks, but that is what grows in Montana at this point in the season. So, get creative. This week the salad mix returns to a pure blend of lettuce, so no more spicy mesclun. The radishes continue to be a bumper crop, and the bok choy is still going strong. If you haven’t tried cooking the radishes yet, here is a delicious Grilled Radish with Radish Green Chimichurri sauce recipe from one of our favorites, Dishing up the Dirt. Or, how about this one that uses your Baby Bok Choy as well….Chicken with Charred Bok Choy, Radishes & Peanut sauce….yum! I highly recommend book marking Dishing up the Dirt’s website….Andrea does a great job of listing all the veggies, and then providing some amazing options on recipes for each type. If you are ever in doubt about what to do with an item in your share, visit this site and I’m sure you will find some inspiration…from both extremely simple recipes to some pretty complex ones….but all delicious.

Barring any more freak weather events, we’ll see you all at CSA pickup. And thanks to FEC for putting in the long hours to get the Valley back up and running!