Food: Growing organic produce is a way of life for the Tuckeys
As any gardener knows, planting a plot takes a lot of forethought. But how much planning goes into a garden that encompasses five acres?
My friends Brendan and Jenny Tuckey know. They run EverGood Farm and despite the snow and cold we have been experiencing lately, they are preparing for the days when planting can begin.
In fact, right now the couple, along with their little boy Emmett, is busy planting seeds in containers that will germinate into a variety of vegetable plants and give this industrious pair a jump start on their community supported agriculture (CSA) farm located just north of Rhinelander.
I first met this family last summer. It was a hot and sticky day when I made my way to their farm to find out what a CSA was. Little did I know how committed Brendan and Jenny are to providing nourishing and wholesome vegetables to their CSA members who they consider family.
And I found out, a CSA is a way for people to obtain fresh, organically grown produce without actually having to do any of the labor. Brendan and Jenny do that and it’s a perfect arrangement for people who lack the land, time or stamina to grow a garden. The couple sells memberships to their CSA, and in return, those members receive vegetables throughout the summer months.
This year, they expanded the options people can choose from. For instance, a person opting for the full share would receive a box (3/4 of a bushel) of vegetables for 16 weeks starting June 17 through Sept. 30. There are half shares offered too, in addition to summer shares for those who are snow birds or just visiting the area throughout the summer months. EverGood Farm CSA members also have the option of going directly to the farm to pick vegetables. “We really want to share our farm with our CSA families,” said Jenny. “It’s important to us to show people, especially kids, how their food is grown. We want them to have a connection with us, the farm and what we grow.”
This is the third year for the Tuckey’s EverGood Farm CSA. They bought 10 acres of hard scrabble land in 2010, cleared it of brush and trees, plowed it and then erected endless lengths of fencing around the garden. It wasn’t long before the couple could look out their kitchen window and see long rows of vegetables growing strong and healthy. Every year since then, they have been expanding their vegetable offerings and this year is no different.
In fact, right now hundreds of little seedlings are sprouting under lights. So far, they have planted 2,592 peat containers with everything from broccoli to cabbage to Brussels sprouts. Once night time temperatures remain above 40, they will move these tiny plants to their greenhouse and then when full garden weather sets in, they will be planting close to 50 different varieties of veggies.
And in addition to growing food for their CSA members, Brendan and Jenny will also be taking their produce to two area farmer markets this summer in Eagle River and Minocqua. This is another way they like connecting with their customers.
There’s no doubt the Tuckeys are getting antsy to get into their garden. The work ahead is a challenge they are looking forward to though, because to them, their CSA is a way of life.
“We really do enjoy this,” said Brendan. “We want people to have a connection with their food and we really enjoy the people who are part of our CSA family.”
To find out more about the Tuckey’s CSA, call them at (715) 272-1041 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit their website here.
Cauliflower and Apple Salad
- 1 lb. cauliflower
- 2 sweet eating apples
- 1 celery heart
- 2 oz. golden or black raisins
- Small handful of chopped walnuts
- Honey and cider dressing (below)
Wash and finely chop the cauliflower. Wash the apples and chop. Slice the celery into small chunks. Place in a salad bowl. Cover raisins with boiling water and leave for 10 minutes. Drain and mix in with apples, cauliflower and celery.
Honey and Cider Dressing
- 1 Tbs. honey
- 1 Tbs. cider vinegar
- 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
Thoroughly combine all the ingredients in a bowl or screw-top jar. Add to salad and toss.