New Years Break coming up

The crickets are back – seems early this year, as I seem to remember more like Christmas that I start to hear them, but today they are really here!  Hearing crickets brings me back to my childhood years where we would go on summer holidays to France (I do not think we have crickets in The Netherlands?) and thus a good feeling of lazy summer days galore!  The lazy summer childhood days are far gone, but the good feeling already makes it great!

With regards to lazy summer days, we had to make some important decisions about CSA deliveries around Christmas time and New Year as they fall awkwardly on our harvest, packing and delivery/pick up days.

With our team of harvesters and packers we have decided to work through the weekend in the first week and have a little break in the second week. This way you can still enjoy fresh produce up to Christmas! So here is the schedule:

Thursday 19 December: Normal pick up

Thursday 26 December: Brought forward to Tuesday 24 December (Christmas Eve)

Thursday 2 January:  No deliveries 

Thursday 9 January: Back to normal deliveries

What does this mean for our CSA members: Early pick up just prior to Christmas, no pick up in the second week of the first Christmas period. It also means that we bring the Summer CSA forward with one week, i.e. your Summer season now finishes a week later than indicated on your last invoice (unless you already organised a CSA Holiday break with us and we have made special arrangements). For most of you this new end date is now the 13th of February (was the 6th). For those of you paying by automatic payment, please stop for one week or use it to catch up if you are somewhat behind.

We hope it will work out the most of you. Let me know if it doesn’t or if you have any questions regarding this.  If you are keen on getting an extra share at the Christmas week pick up, that can be arranged too.  I will make sure to update the online shop so you can order extra shares or extra items.

Think Green in Alicetown this November 30th

Alicetown Community Centre and Transition Town Lower Hutt are having a “Green Day” (still to be officially named) on Saturday 30th November at 11am till 3pm. The day is designed to let people know what is in their local area to think and do more ‘green’! 

We will be there to give a talk about the CSA (around 11.45) and enjoy a day away from garden!

Contact Juanita McKenzie,  Transition Town Lower Hutt Interim Co coordinator for more information.

TTLH Office and venue for the day – 38 Victoria St, Alictown, Lower Hutt

Office: 04 5892646     Mobile: 021422542

Email: Juanita.mcknz@gmail.com

Their office Hours: “Pop in”  Tuesdays   9.30 – 3.00pm or  Meetings  Wednesday 9.30 – 3.00pm.

Maybe see you there!

New Zealand Spinach

This year we are growing New Zealand Spinach for the first time as a commercial crop. It is not well known, so here a blurb and some recipe links.

 New Zealand spinach or Tetragonia tetragonioides is not actually a true spinach, but is comparable when cooked.  It has succulent-like nature of the leaves and is therefore occasionally referred to as ‘ice plant’. Its flavour is very similar to common spinach with the same sharp taste; however, the New Zealand spinach does not get as bitter.

As the common name suggests, the plant is native to New Zealand and Australia, where it grows on coastal dunes and bluffs. Other names for it include Warrigal greens, sea spinach, tetragon, Botany Bay spinach, and Cook's cabbage.

It is high in Vitamins A and C, it was discovered and eaten by Captain Cook and his crew to combat scurvy during their South Seas expedition. Botanist Joseph Banks brought the seeds back to London's Kew Gardens in 1771. New Zealand spinach now grows in countries like England, France, Japan, Chile, Argentina, and the U.S.

New Zealand spinach can be used like common spinach in a variety of applications; raw, sauteed, steamed, or braised. Make salads or use as a bed for meats and fish. New Zealand spinach contains a high level of oxalic acid which can inhibits the body’s ability to absorb other nutrients. Cooking can reduce and sometimes rid the vegetable of oxalic acid. Saute and combine with cheeses and herbs to stuff chicken or pork. Add leaves to soups or stews or add cooked New Zealand spinach to lasagnas.

A great website with some interesting ideas: 

http://chocolateandzucchini.com/archives/2010/06/pasta_with_tetragon_new_zealand_spinach.php

This week’s CSA shares:

Fruit Share: either a punnet of strawberries and 1 kg of oranges, or 1 kg kiwifruit and 1 kg of oranges.

Small Veggie Share: 1 kg new potatoes or a Lettuce, 700 grams of Broad Beans, a bunch of Radish, 140 grams of Salad Mix, and 150 grams of Cavalo Nero Kale.

Large Veggie Share: 1 kg new potatoes or a Lettuce, 700 grams of Broad beans, a bunch of Radish, 140 grams of Salad Mix, 150 grams of NZ Spinach, 150 grams of Mizuna Greens, a bunch of Table Carrots, 1 Bok Choy and 150 grams each of Cavalo Nero and Red Russian Kale.

For those new to the CSA you can click on the links to find out more about all the crops listed here. There should be pictures there so you can identify the different types of greens and find some useful cooking tips. 

Healthy living,

Josje and Frank