What New Things Will You Try This Year?

As a CSA member, we know you like to try new things and expand your horizons with vegetables.

So do we.

Heck, one of our very favorite things to do as farmers is PICK what we're going to grow in the coming season.  

Yep, the farm crew has spent many of these cold, wintry days in early March holed up inside the farmhouse, noses in seed catalogs debating the merits of this variety or that variety.

If you're like us, you've probably poked your nose into a seed catalog this winter... or five!

You know how fun it is to dream, plot and scheme about your upcoming garden.

And that's just what we do, too!  Just on a bigger scale... after weeks of planning we end up with a multi-page spreadsheet full of tiny numbers and crop varieties that outlines our entire CSA growing season. 

The what, when, where, and how of growing 5 acres of organic vegetables at Ripley Farm!  

And it's finally done!  And Farmers Gene, Robert, and Sabrina are proud of the plan and want you to know that they've made room in the CSA planting schedule for a few new and exciting things this year...

 

 

What New Things Will You Try This Year?

Our farm is a CSA farm.  (Duh, you probably know that!)

The CSA farm share program is our number one priority.  That means that whatever we plan to grow that does come to fruition (which unfortunately is not everything) goes into the CSA shares at some point during the growing season!  That's how we know that these are all things you (hopefully) will try this year!

In addition to the dozens of veggie varieties that are similar from year to year, which we know have become favorites for many of you (ahem, our sweet carrots, buttercup squash, baby bok choy, etc. etc.!) we've also got several new and exciting things this year in store for you as CSA members.

So let's get started!

  • Dare we say shishito peppers and more poblano peppers?  In 2018 we trialed these things in the PYO gardens (where all new ideas start) and plan to bring them out into the field for CSA production. Robert's favorite veggie is peppers and these are his favorites!  I'm picturing a "frying pepper" focus this year!
     
  • A new culinary pumpkin called Autumn Crown!  This is my most exciting addition for this year as it is a cross between butternut squash and pumpkin.
     
  • More little tomatoes!  After a quick survey in the private CSA Facebook group recently, we've learned that you do love small tomatoes!  Gene was getting nervous that last year we had increased the number of cherry tomatoes (approx 1" diameter), and was pleased to hear that people are loving those!  We've got orange cherries planned in addition to red!!  Plus also some plum/roma tomatoes are going in as well.  Stay tuned for the YUM!
     
  • And 'Oregon Giant' snow peas will be back this year!!!  Yum, yum, yum, and yum!  Speaking of raw snacking, anyone?
     
  • How about a variety called 'Dragon Lingerie'?!  Sound too racy for you?  We'll all find out because we've not grown this heirloom flat-podded stripey purple string bean for over a decade.  Time to bring it back for a try!  And what I remember is that these are super tasty and crunchy making them even good for raw snacking.  Oh yeah!
     
  • Several new potato varieties have made it on the list this year, including a brand new-to-us one called 'All Blue'!  Yep, blue outside AND inside!  
     
  • We also plan to bring back farmers’ market favorites from past years including cauliflower and fennel.  Both of these crops bombed for the Summer CSA last year so we'll try try again!  Hey, who knew that deer LOVE fennel?!
     
  • And for the adventurous Winter CSA members out there we're trying super exciting new crops this year for you including sweet potatoes (whaaaaat?  YES), salsify root, red savoy cabbage, and watermelon winter radishes!  Hold on to your hats, folks!

 

What new things will you PICK-YOUR-OWN this year?

Do you know that the CSA Pick-Your-Own gardens are free all season long to any Ripley Farm Summer CSA member no matter where you pick up your share?

Yes, that is true and we want you to remember that when you are looking for a fun outdoor activity this summer.

Come to the farm and pick yourself a flower bouquet, get fresh herbs, and try some of our trial plantings of new things.  Here are some of the fun stuff you can try in the free pick-your-own (PYO) gardens:

  • First of all, there will be a new location for the CSA PYO gardens!  What with FOUR hoophouses now taking over the PYO gardens, we're moving a big block of them up closer to the parking area.  Yep, more convenient!  I'll update you with a new PYO map as we get closer to July.  Stay tuned!
     
  • OKRA!  OMG I'm so excited about this!  Who knows if we'll get any, but if you see some grab it and take it home! 
     
  • Cucamelons aka Mexican Sour Gherkins!  Suggested by a CSA member, we're trialing these tiny cute things which no one has ever tried so we'll have to see what we all think!
     
  • 'Fairy Tale' Eggplant!  These are mini pink and white oriental eggplants that caught our eye in the seed catalogs.  If they're good, we might put them in the production fields for the CSA in 2020.  Let us know if you like them!
     
  • Orange sweet frying peppers!  Similar to our beloved 'Carmen' red sweet frying peppers that members cannot seem to get enough of.  We're trialing the sister of 'Carmen' in orange to see if they'll live up to the original.
     
  • And Jimmy Nardello frying peppers, another new addition to the pepper area thanks to Robert's suggestion.  He's going to do a tutorial on how to best use his favorite kind of pepper when season comes.
     
  • New flowers this year will be strawflowers and scabiosa.  I can't wait to make my first bouquet!!!

All this above in addition to the regular herbs and flowers and random assortment of unusual veggie trials that we normally do for the PYO.  Don't miss a trip (or 16) out to the farm this year to PYO.  It truly is a fun, relaxing, and interesting experience!

 

But, new things aside, the bottom line is...

It’s not all going to be unfamiliar new stuff! Of course not! We’ll still have roughly the same mix as we do every year with greens for your salads, veggies for raw snacking (candy carrots, anyone?), and plenty for cooking, too!  

Now who's ready for spring to come?!

If you missed it the first time around here's how you can download Farmer Gene's 2019 Summer CSA Harvest Calendar!