A good friend of mine grew up on a farm. Although she moved to the suburbs to raise her kids, her family still runs the farm. Every summer, I hear her talk about her farm share program, but I was always too intimidated to try it. Would I like the vegetables I received? Would I be able to consume them all before the expire? Would I be just wasting money? This year, I decided that my family need to branch out and try new things. Long gone are the days we consume frozen peas and corn! This summer, we were going to go on a vegetable adventure!
A Farm Share Program is both an investment and a risk for the farmer and the family who joins. Together we are sharing in the risks and rewards of farming. Each week, we receive a bin of fresh fruits and vegetables grown on the farm. Each week is different. The vegetables you are provided are the crops that are at the peak of ripeness for that point in the season. Early in the spring, its mostly salad and herbs, as the summer wears on you find yourself with hearty veggies like tomatoes, peppers and squash.
Well. we have just completed our first month and oh what a month it was! Being a farm share virgin, this month was full of trials and errors! Some weeks, I was bang on with my preparation and usage of the vegetables and others, I struggled. Here are the 5 Things I learned about a farm share program.
1.. Remember when you farm share is ready! My program is set up that every Wednesday I head to my friends house and a bin with my name on it is waiting on her front porch. I get reminder emails telling me my shares are ready, but if I don’t get it when I’m out and about, I tend to forget. The thing with farm shares is its a time sensitive program! The veggies are freshly harvested from the ground and it is your job to store, prepare or preserve them! With 50+ orders, my friend can’t be responsible for refrigerating the lot of them! Being tardy means, I could miss out on a fabulous batch of raspberries!
2.. Bring a way to transport your goods! My farm share is processed in individual bins. When I arrive, I am able to take the veggies, but the bins must remain behind. Having a good bag or a box makes transporting the vegetables easier. Think of it as bringing your own bags to the grocery story.
3. BE Prepared! If you are like me, you probably won’t know what to do with half of the vegetables. Researching how to properly store them, dry them or where to store them (dark room, fridge, brown paper bag, etc) is important to insuring your vegetables are fresh when you want to use them. Often times, you will receive the same products for a few weeks in a row. This makes the process less time consuming as time goes on.
4.. Explore new recipes! Garlic scapes, swiss chard, fava beans! These are some of the vegetables that we received that my family has never tried before, never mind trying to incorporate it into the family’s meal plan. Pinterest is a great resource for finding new ways to incorporate these vegetables into your favourite dishes.
5.. Think beyond the dinner plate! The first few weeks, I was so consumed by the idea that I had to eat all of the vegetables provide before the next farm share day, that I was going crazy. After a while I realized there was know way to eat 6 bundles of garlic scapes in one week. Instead, I began preparing my vegetables for a later date. Drying, pickling or freezing are just a few ways you can make your Farm Share crop last longer.
Here is my favourite recipe for prolonging the use of your Garlic Scapes!
Garlic Scape Butter
Garlic scapes are the flower bud of the garlic plant. The bud is removed in late June to encourage the bulbs to thicken up. Scapes make a fabulous addition to a flower bouquet, and they are delicious to eat! Scapes taste just like garlic. They can be used in exactly the same way as garlic in any recipe. ~ Cedar Circle Farm
- 1 cup of unsalted butter, room temperature.
- 4 garlic scapes
- 1 tsp of lemon juice.
1. Chop the scapes up into 1/4 inch pieces.
2. Chop butter up into 1/4 inch pieces.
3. Add the butter, scapes and lemon juice to a food processor and mix until well blended.
4. Use right away or store in freezer wrapped in wax paper for up to 2-3 weeks.