The acknowledgment is long overdue, and now it’s time to finally do something. My arugula crop, for whatever reason, has just not been performing as well as the others. Since I started growing it, there have been seemingly random poor batches of this variety of greens here and there. Some subpar quality, some poor germination, some slow growth, and quite often some early die-off, which then gets intermingled with the good growth, and just causes lots of headaches for harvesting and getting the yield you planned for, as you might imagine. Some batches are ok, but the bottom line is, it’s been just too unreliable in my system, which causes me to have to pull from other varieties to compensate and throws off an entire harvest that’s been calculated nearly to the ounce and drives me crazy when I’m trying to fill orders as accurately as possible. The crop might just be too finicky, it might be other variables my system (e.g. seeding density, temperature, etc.), and I’m convinced that my latest batch of seed was contaminated with mold spores that manifest themselves in the later stages of it’s growth cycle, which certainly doesn’t help anything and was just the last straw.
Arugula has been among the most loved varieties of micro greens that I grow (probably a close second to sunflower), so I’m not giving up on it and will likely continue to try at least a tray or 2 each growing cycle to see if it responds better to altered growing environments (e.g. the change to the greenhouse) and/or if I can get it’s issues figured out. But, I’ve decided I need to make some changes. I’ve bought seeds of a few different varieties of crops with a similar taste and spice as the arugula that might work better in my system and/or might just be hardier in general. These varieties include those in the mustard family like mizuna, tatsoi, (which I’ve grown before and have performed well) and others. There’s also a wasabi micro green, which isn’t a true wasabi, but also in the mustard family. I’ll be trying these varieties, in conjunction with the arugula, to compare yields, taste, reliability, etc. and hope to be able work these into your orders in addition to, or in place of the arugula. And of course, there’s always the reliable radish greens, which are equally spicy and delicious, and are much more reliable and will always be grown. Please let me know if any of you who ordered arugula for your share would rather not get anything other than arugula and I’ll be happy to try to accommodate. Or better yet, if you’d like to change from arugula to the radish or another variety, please let me know that as well. If it comes down to it, you’re welcome to cancel the arugula portion of your CSA and I’ll refund you for the remainder of your share period. Otherwise, look for a few different varieties in place of your arugula.
Introducing the Aurora Mix
Right along with the demotion of arugula in my micro green line-up, I’m very pleased to offer an addition to the program that’s been evolving in my head for some time. Let me introduce The Aurora Mix! My initial thought with the micro greens CSA was to offer folks an unparalleled level of customization to their micro greens weekly order, right down to the very ounce, which I think some people love. Others, I’m learning to find out, simply would just like some (any) micro greens and many would like a changing mix each week. Thus, I’ve developed the Aurora Mix option, in which you will be able to get in “Spicy” or the “Mild” version. The Aurora Mix will be a farmer’s choice, revolving mix of greens (at least 3, and hopefully 4 or 5) – whatever’s looking the best that particular harvest. The mix will always have a base of sunflower (because it’s a big, mild, sweet, and loved by just about everyone) and will always have some sort of color other than green incorporated into it for aesthetic beauty and phytonutrient enhancement. The “Spicy” Aurora Mix will contain either radish, arugula, or one of the aforementioned mustard greens (something spicy!) and the Mild Aurora Mix will simply be without this added zing. This will be a great option for those who are not picky about what they get and would appreciate new weekly mixes. It’s also great for me, in that I get to highlight the best looking crops that week in the mix.
I’m making The Aurora Mix available immediately – for you current CSA members, and of course, anyone else who’d like to sign up! If you’d prefer this option, I’ll happily figure out how much of the Aurora Mix you get as derived from the value of your previous orders. For all future orders, for simplicity and calculation expediency sake, I’ll be offering the mix in volumes of $5 value multiples ($5, $10, $15, $20, etc.), which should always be about the same volume overall. For an example of the Spicy Aurora Mix, one week might be 2 ozs. of sunflower (2 ozs. x $1.25/oz. = $2.50), ½ oz. of radish (1/2 oz. x $2/oz. = $1.00), ½ oz. of pea (1/2 oz. x $2/oz. = $1.00), and 1/8 oz. of amaranth (1/8 oz. x $4/oz = $.50) for a $5 order. Another example of the Mild Aurora Mix might be 2 ozs. of sunflower (2 ozs. x $1.25/oz. = $2.50), ½ oz. of buckwheat lettuce (1/2 oz. x $2/oz. = $1.00), ¼ oz. of kale (1/4 oz. x $2/oz. = $0.50), and ½ of purple kohlrabi (1/2 oz. x $2/oz. = $1.00) for a $5 order. Of course, these would be doubled and tripled for $10 and $15 orders, and so on. Also, you if you really didn’t like any variety, you’ll have the ability to opt out of that variety and I’ll be happy to replace it with something of equal value. Here’s to adding some pizzazz to your plates and palettes with the colorful, diverse, and ever-changing Aurora Mix!