Fredericksburg Buyer's Club - bok choi, collards, cornmeal, & more!

Happy spring (supposedly)! This week we've got a beautiful mix of greens - bok choi, salad mix, field greens, collards, and more. Our asparagus is just beginning to pop up as the weather gets warmer, so be on the lookout for that! 

Here's what we've got this week:

Arugula *limited amount* : $5/bag
Bok Choi: $3/bunch
Broccolini: $4/bunch
Collards: $4/bunch
Cornmeal (heirloom Bloody Butcher corn, finely ground): $8/bag (3 cups)
Eggs: $6/dozen
Garlic chives: $2.50/bunch
Head Lettuce *very limited - order ASAP*: $4.50/head
Mixed field greens: $5/bag
Mustard greens: $4/bag
Bunching onions (aka scallions)$3/bunch
Salad Mix: $5/bag
Winter squash
      Sweet Japanese winter squash: $2/lb
       
All sales taxes are included. Scroll down for pictures!

To order, email us at blenheimorganicgardens@gmail.com with what you'd like by Thursday, April 12, at 9pm. Pick-up will be at 807 Brompton St (off William St, near the Sugar Shack) on Saturday, April 14, between 4-6pm. (Please note the change in time for this week!) 

You're also welcome to pick up your order at the farm in Colonial Beach. If you prefer that, let us know in your email with a preferred time.

Please bring cash or check made out to Blenheim Organic Gardens. We ask for a $15 minimum to your order.

Please bring your own bag so we can reuse our boxes. If you have our old boxes or other containers, we would love to have them back -  this helps us keep costs down! 

Thank you for being part of our farm.

Cheers,
Cameron, Kim, Becky & Lawrence
blenheimorganicgardens.org
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Squatters in the sunflowers

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Earlier this week, cover crop planting was temporarily halted when I discovered a big covey of bobwhite quail in the sunflower patch.

It wasn’t a complete surprise to find them, as I've come across them in two memorable encounters this season:  The first time was in mid-summer while I was harvesting sweet corn and was treated to the frantic distraction displays of the hen who was obviously trying to protect her young brood by faking a broken wing.

A month or so later while mowing next to my asparagus, I had to slam on the tractor brakes when a cloud of baby quail, just able to fly, erupted from the weeds just in front of me.  Only after the last baby flew away did the momma quail take flight and follow her young ones into the nearby hedgerow.

Wednesday, the quail appeared fully fledged.  They exploded out of the sunflower field and rocketed to that same hedgerow.  Quail were commonplace when I was a kid, but have become alarmingly scarce in recent decades.  The last couple of years, I’ve begun to see and here a few and have begun leaving more weedy patches and “buffer strips” along the perimeter of the fields to encourage their recovery.

Since the quail have now claimed the sunflowers, I will mow down just half of the patch and leave an acre or two standing next to the hedgerow.  I had already decided not to cut the corn stalks in that area for the winter cover and protection they will over the birds.  I’ve also left one corner of the field to grow up in foxtail and other natural vegetation.

It’s tempting to say that farming “is for the birds.”

- Lawrence

Do tomatoes go in the fridge? A quick guide for storing your produce

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When you buy local, your produce will last a heck of a lot longer than if you get it from the store. That's because it's been picked more recently. A bag of salad mix from the supermarket goes bad within a few days, because it most likely came from hundreds or even thousands of miles away. Which means it was harvested weeks ago, not yesterday. 

Salad actually lasts for a couple weeks. Many things do, when they're stored properly. Here's how to keep your produce the freshest, crispiest, and most flavorful, for as long as possible: 

In the fridge: 

  •  Asparagus, beets, black-eyed peas, cabbage, chard, collards, figs, garlic chives, green onions (AKA spring onions), eggplant, mizuna, mustard greens, kale, okra, peppers, radishes, roc d'or beans, salad mix, spinach, summer squash, turnips, zucchini 

Not in the fridge - somewhere well ventilated, dry, and cool:

  • Cucumbers, garlic, onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes (the only exception to this sungolds - they can be refrigerated), winter squash 

In water (like flowers):

  • Basil, mint, parsley

There are some exceptions, like the sungolds. Garlic is one - it can be kept out on the counter in a basket, but you can also refrigerate or freeze it. (Freezing it will keep it the longest - it'll be good for months and months.) If you're storing it outside the fridge, though, make sure to refrigerate or freeze it once you cut into one of the cloves, or else it'll go bad quickly.

Under no circumstances should basil be refrigerated! Treat it like a flower bouquet - we keep ours in water on our dining room table, like a centerpiece. It'll last for up to two weeks that way.

Same with tomatoes. Contrary to popular practice, tomatoes should never go in the fridge (except sungolds). The frigid air sucks them of their flavor and their will to live (okay, maybe just their flavor).

Make sure your produce is getting air. Unless you get it from us in a Ziploc bag (like with our leafy greens), you probably don't want to put it in one for long. Most veggies, and especially herbs, need ventilation to stay fresh.

Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments below! 

Happy September, 

Kim

 

Sweet potato "fries" - your new favorite snack!

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I found the basis for this recipe last December, and I made these delicious "fries" every day for months. Now that the sweet potatoes are out of the ground, I'm so excited to be able to make them again! 

The spices are totally up to you. You can mix, match, go heavy, go light, whatever. The important thing is not skimping on the oil. Here's my favorite combination I've found:

Ingredients

2 lb Blenheim Sweet Potatoes
2 tbsp Olive Oil

A hearty dash of:
Garlic Powder
Paprika
Cumin
Cayenne pepper (optional)
Onion powder
Salt
Pepper

Preheat oven to 450. Cut sweet potatoes into 1/4-inch strips. On a baking sheet, drizzle them generously with oil and spices. Spread them out so they're not lying on top of each other.

Bake for 15 minutes. Turn them over, then bake for about 20 more. If you like them really crispy, set the oven to "broil" for the last 5 minutes.

Enjoy!