Ups and downs on the farm

“I almost love the CSA I’m participating in,” I thought last night, as I sipped the homemade chamomile, sage, and mint herbal tea “my” farmer, Dana Mast of WindyView Acres, had included in yesterday’s box of goodies.

I more love it than not, but it hasn’t provided the overflowing basket of abundant greenery I thought I’d be receiving weekly.  We had a weird winter here in south-central Arizona, and the location of the farm (Dewey, AZ) had freezing night temperatures into May!  Dana has been farming there for fifteen years, and she said it was the longest, coldest spring she can recall.  Logically, I can extend her some grace;  of course the freezing temps could stunt growth… and that is one reason why CSAs exist — to help the farmer offset some of the risk associated with farming.  I appreciate her efforts to make up for the lack of produce by adding extra eggs, milk, cheese, and even farm-raised, chemical-free meat and home-baked goodies…  And, I extend her grace when she doesn’t communicate all that well;  I know she’s super, super busy.  But, it does make me at least start to have second thoughts of the cost-benefit of the endeavor.  One friend of mine has even dropped out, due to her disappointment.  I haven’t given up on Dana and the farm, but I’m kind of waiting until the end of the season to pass my final judgement on whether or not the whole adventure is worth decreasing my already-tight grocery budget by $25/week to accommodate the cost of the CSA.

Yesterday, she said that a pack of coyotes got into her chickens and killed 80 of the 120 (if I’m remembering the numbers correctly).  On top of that, the remaining chickens are molting, which decreases egg production.  So, no eggs are likely for the rest of the season.  😦

Banana peppers

Still.  Last night, we enjoyed dinner, largely courtesy of the CSA.  I made a delicious scramble with Egyptian Walking Onion bulbs (like shallots), garlic, green onion tops, red bell pepper, banana peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, sheep milk feta cheese, fresh oregano, and fresh Thai basil, two goose eggs, and 18 chicken eggs.  (All items in bold were from the farm.)  I served it with fresh farinata and gluten-free sour-milk biscuits (made with this flour mix), on which we gleefully slathered butter and honey.

My son Wesley, who as I have mentioned previously, gets a severe asthmatic reaction from dairy, has been able to drink raw goat milk from the farm.  Last night, he ate two and a half biscuits made with sour cow milk, and he didn’t even wheeze.  Not at night, nor this morning.  Hmm…

Yesterday’s haul had:

  • black Spanish radishes (have to look up recipes for these huge, spicy radishes… found these…  looks good!)
  • Button red radishes
  • Egyptian walking onions
  • green (spring) onions
  • a small bag of about six assorted hot peppers (banana, jalapeno, and Thai hot)
  • several sprigs fresh oregano

    Black Spanish Radishes -- they're the size of beets! White inside, though.

  • several sprigs fresh Thai basil (I love Thai basil!)
  • about one cup of the above-mentioned dried herbal tea mixture
  • a plate with six (wheat) egg & onion dinner rolls — I kept four and gave two extra to my friend who is doing the CSA as well, since we only have two gluten-eaters in our family of seven.
  • 1/2 gal raw goat milk
  • 1/2 gal raw cow milk
  • 2 goose eggs (each equivalent to 3 chicken eggs)
  • large pork shoulder roast — a good 4 pounds or more
  • two packages (about 3 lbs total) beef liver — I would never consider eating liver from any “commercial” cow…  Pastured beef, though…  I’m still a little hesitant, but I’m gonna try it!

Definitely, money-wise, worth more than $25 — since raw milk is $10/gallon and natural/organic meat is at least $3/lb, those items by themselves make it worth the cost.  But still, I mostly got into it for the produce, which has been less abundant than I’d anticipated.

We’ll see.  🙂



About Karen Joy

I'm a partially-homeschooling mother of six -- 3 boys ages 19, 17 and 15 years old, and three girls: 11, 8, and 3. I like birding, reading, writing, organic gardening, singing, playing guitar, hiking, the outdoors, and books. I very casually lead a very large group of homeschooling families in the Phoenix area. I have a dear hubby who designs homes for a local home builder and who is the worship pastor of our church. I live in the desert, which I used to hate, but now appreciate.

Posted on July 28, 2011, in Budget, Clean Eating, Cooking/Baking/Food/Recipes, Desert Gardening, Groceries, Weather. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Wow… night frosts in Arizona until mid-May; sounds like where I live, except that that is normal here, haha! So far from my garden I have been able to produce new potatoes (though I am reluctant to dig them up yet because I don’t really have that many), lots of spinach and chard, basil and oregano, and chives… and that’s about it. My peas are finally starting to ripen and I’ll have zucchinis and beets worth picking in a week or two. But my carrots, parsnips, rutabagas, pumpkins, cucumbers, beans, and tomatoes are all WEEKS away from being ready. All this to say that, hang in there with the CSA; I’m thinking that in a few weeks you’re probably going to have more produce than you do now… At least I hope you do!

    A question about the Egyptian walking onion: do you know if you eat the bottom bulb on them, or do you eat the bulb that grows at the top? I have a random bunch of walking onions and I have no idea what to do with them.

    • ‘m not sure about the walking onion. I had never even heard of them until a couple of months ago! I’m just trying to eat whatever part tastes good and is tender. 🙂 I’m eating the bulb from the ground because that’s what I’ve been given by the CSA. I tried serving the greens several ways, and they were just too tough. Like leeks or lemongrass that never softens… I could eat it like that, but my husband won’t. Everything needs to be chewable. 🙂

      • I actually looked it up, so now I now ALL about walking onions, haha… Apparently all parts are edible, but I guess not all parts are necessarily good. 🙂

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