The First (2013)

 

Welcome to the spring CSA!  As most of you know already, our spring shares are generally composed of different types of greens (arugula, lettuce, mustard mix, spinach), herbs, radishes, scallions, peas, and then the beginnings of the summer treats toward the end.  This week is no different.  You received:

A choice between greens
Chives
Sage
Spring Onions
Radishes
Eggs or Spinach
The Eggs you received came from the 16 hens that live on the farm.  Most of them are a breed called White Leghorn.  Leghorns are the standard commercial breed in the United States.  They are extremely efficient egg layers–they lay 25% more eggs a year than many heritage breeds, and are light eaters.  We didn’t choose this breed, we received them for free from a 5th grade science class that had hatched eggs as part of a lesson.  We were happy to get free chickens, but were worried that they wouldn’t be a good fit for our farm because of their reputation as a factory breed.  At first they did give us some trouble–they used to love to fly over the fence, and sleep in trees–both habits put them in higher danger of predation and being annoying.  We worried that all of their survival sense had been bred out of them.  As winter set in, though, they joined the others in the coop, and more than just surviving, they continued to lay eggs all winter long.  The experience reinforced my opinions about the amazingness of chickens–they turn all of our kitchen scraps and weeds into delicious breakfast, and they can survive a Chicago winter without any supplemental energy!
You may not have noticed, but we don’t have electricity at the farm, so the chicken coops are heated and cooled passively.  The tall coop has three inch thick insulated walls that help keep in the birds heat during the winter, and the heat out in the summer.  Both coops have lots of windows, and we put them under a large deciduous tree so that the Sun would shine on them in the winter, but they would be shaded in the summer.  The tall coop is also draft free except from bellow.  Because much of the gas given off by the chicken poop and bedding is heavier than air, it settles low in the coop and can be drafted out the bottom, while the heat the chickens generate will rise to the top where the chickens roost to sleep.  Also because we don’t have electricity at the farm, we have been brooding the next flock of chickens at my house where we can warm them with a lamp an a space heater if needed.  This is a flock of 25 chickens of many different heritage breeds.  The new chickens were born in early March and have recently gotten big enough to start to live outside (if the forecast cooperates).  We’re going to start expanding the chicken area at the farm to accommodate them this week, and will move them in as soon as the forecast seems warm enough.  We’re hoping that they will start to lay eggs in August, so that we can expand the egg CSA by September.  If you are interested in being added to the egg CSA, let us know and we’ll put you on the waiting list.
Recipe:
Okay, so Katie is writing this email, and Katie rarely uses recipes, BUT I found this recipe online that you all might want to try this week.  It will use the radishes, the onions, and possibly even the eggs!
If you try it, let me know how it goes.
See you next week
Katie and Molly
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