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 spent many of the 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 Hannah 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.  And we're excited to share them with you!

So let's get started!

  • Two new varieties of KALE!
    For the past over 10 years we pretty much have only grown our favorite type of kale, a "Russian" type, which has flatter leaves than the curly kale and the most tender leaf you can get!  And we know that you love it!  So in addition to our old favorites of Red Russian and White Russian kales, we're also trialing Lacinato (aka Dinosaur) Kale and an heirloom green curly kale called Dwarf Curled Scotch.  Yay for diversity!
     
  • Pointy-headed green cabbage!
    Have you ever seen a head of cabbage that wasn't round??  If not, watch for it this summer in your CSA share at some "point"!  I've always wanted to try these and this is the first year we're actually doing it!
     
  • 'Sunshine' Winter Squash
    After a few years of hearing requests for this particular variety of winter squash, it will be yours (as long as it yields!) in the fall of this growing season!  Picture bright orange skin and flesh!  Very appealing and has great flavor!
     
  • Collard Greens!  
    We're always trying out new things on the farm and collard greens are totally new for us!  I grew up in Texas where these things are standard fare, so I'm excited to see how they do (and taste) in Maine!
     
  • Watermelon!
    You may have been a lucky CSA member way back the last time we grew watermelons for the shares.  Then you can remember how sweet and refreshing they were!  If not, you'll be in for a treat with these mini-watermelons that are supposed to be the perfect size to fit in the CSA boxes.  Fingers crossed, friends!
     
  • Purple summer kohlrabi!
    These things are so appealing that we've had to bring them back to the Summer CSA after a several year hiatus!  Plus purple is our daughter's favorite color!
     
  • Pickling cucumbers!
    These little cukes are the perfect snack size PLUS will make awesome quick pickles for those of you who have fallen in love with those.  
     
  • Orange Italian Sweet Frying Peppers!
    Our red Italian frying peppers are one of the most popular things we grow for the extra super sweetness that they bring to the late summer and fall CSA shares.  These are the same kind except they turn bright orange when ripe, and, after trialing them in the PYO gardens last year and seeing how much people liked them, I expect them to do the same!  YUM!
     
  • And for the adventurous Winter CSA members out there:
    We're trying super exciting new crops this year for you including sweet potatoes again! salsify root, green daikon radishes, red turnips, mini-edible-pumpkins, and a super hardy winter green called mache (aka vit)!  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 is some of the fun stuff you can try in the free pick-your-own (PYO) gardens:

  • First of all, the CSA PYO gardens will continue in the new popular location! 
    What with FOUR hoophouses now taking over the PYO gardens, we moved a big block of them up closer to the parking area.  Yep, and it did prove more convenient for members!  Last year we had more people take advantage of this free perk than ever!
     
  • Lemongrass
    It will have to be grown as an annual so it will be smaller than what you can get at the store, but it WON'T be short on flavor!  Robert's pick!
     
  • New peppers this year: Thai hot peppers and Korean kimchi peppers! 
    Can't wait to try new peppers again this year.  The PYO peppers were such a hit last year!
     
  • New flowers this year: Annual Dianthus, Stock, and Baby's Breath!
    I can't wait to make my first bouquet!!!

All this above is 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 warmer weather to come?!

If you haven't already, sign up for the Summer CSA here.