Farmer Reuben welcomed a garter snake to the greenhouse this spring.

You see, if a snake is present, we can be sure that the mice will stay away and our seeds will be safe.

Unfortunately, the snake must have moved on because earlier this week Reuben suddenly noticed that his paste tomato plants were going missing.

The little creatures pull the whole 7 inch transplant out of the trays, one by one.

Are they using them for food or bedding? We really don’t know.

Or are they voles? Mice generally eat the seeds while voles are more interested in the stems and roots of plants. Maybe that’s why they waited for the plants to grow.

Farmer Reuben weighs the options and the dangers. Is the danger of frost in the second week of May greater than the threat of voles or mice in the greenhouse.

Farm News from the Field with Tessa will explain Reuben’s decision and show you what else we are planting that you can look forward to in your Market Boxes.


It’s worth the risk this year. the mice/voles won’t follow the plants over the hill to pull them out of their new home in the North Field.

Now before you start dreaming of perfect pasta sauce or salsa verde with roasted tomatillos it’s time to come back to reality.

Spring vegetable are delicious too and your creativity in the kitchen means that you’ll be able to get more veggies in your diet, increase your nutrient variety and rebuild your energy stores that become depleted in the winter.

If you are on a quest to improve your health and eat more nutrient dense foods, you’ll be grateful when you start to enjoy new foods and greater variety to your diet.

You don’t like Asparagus?

Mushy and “woody” are the two reason not to like asparagus.

But after a long, cold winter, asparagus is like a breath of fresh air for your body!

I can help you like asparagus and maybe learn to love it.

  • First of all you want to make sure you NEVER cook woody asparagus. It’s just a BAD experience that some folks never get over.
    • The whiter fibrous ends are from where the stalks where picked at the ground level. Their job is to keep the plant standing straight. You don’t have to eat it!
    • Simply break each stalk where it snaps off easily at the stem end. Like I demonstrate in this video (at minute 5:50). It’s okay to break off a little extra as insurance. I usually eat that part raw so it doesn’t go to waste.
    • I think it is super important to give your eaters a good eating experience when convincing them to give asparagus a chance.
  • Second: don’t overcook asparagus.
    • Roasted asparagus – toss those trimmed spears with some olive oil, salt, and pepper, then pop them in the oven until they’re tender but still crisp, letting their natural sweetness shine.
    • Grilled asparagus – gives them that lovely smoky flavor while keeping them nice and firm; a little olive oil before grilling does wonders for their taste.
    • Blanched asparagus – if you’re in a hurry, blanching is the way to go – just a quick dip in boiling water until they’re bright green, then straight into an ice bath to stop the cooking, preserving their crunch. Be sure to salt and pepper to taste and and drizzle with olive oil or your healthy fast of choice to aid digestion. Grass fed butter is my choice.
    • Stir-frying with a bit of sesame oil and garlic over high heat – keeps them crisp and adds that savory kick.

To be honest, last night I overcooked the asparagus that I roasted in the oven.

Farmer Reuben noticed.  “What did you do differently to the asparagus this time?”  he thoughtfully inquired.

You see, I usually stir fry my asparagus and Reuben would like them cooked just a little longer than I do. But he didn’t prefer them so soft, apparently.

I was aiming for those blackened bits but I kept them in the oven too long and then broiled them at the end. Remember to cook them at a high heat in the oven: 450 F and watch them closely.

Add Asparagus to Your Seasonal Eating Plan for Better Nutrition

These unique spears are delicious sign of spring but also a nutritional powerhouse that can help kickstart your health after the winter blues.

Packed with vitamins and minerals, including immune-boosting vitamin C and energizing B vitamins, asparagus provides a much-needed nutrient boost after months of heavy comfort foods.

Its high fiber content aids in digestion and helps detoxify the body, flushing out any lingering toxins from winter indulgences.

Plus, asparagus is low in calories and rich in antioxidants, making it an ideal choice for anyone looking to shed those winter pounds and revitalize their body for the warmer months ahead.

So whether you’re roasting it, grilling it, or tossing it into a fresh spring salad, asparagus is the perfect way to welcome in the season of renewal and rejuvenate your health after a long, cold winter.

Should I Add Rhubarb to My In Season Diet?

Absolutely! Spring is the perfect time to enjoy rhubarb.

This vibrant vegetable (yes, it’s technically a vegetable!) is at its peak during the spring months, bursting with tart flavor and vibrant color.

I recommend trying Rhubarb in savory dishes in order to get the benefit without the negative consequences of added sugar that can surpress your immune system.

It’s a versatile ingredient that can be used in both sweet and savory dishes, from pies and crisps to sauces and compotes.

Plus, rhubarb is loaded with vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin K, and calcium, making it a nutritious addition to your springtime meals.

So go ahead and indulge in some rhubarb this spring—you won’t regret it!

Farm Members Experiment with Spring Dishes

Clean out the fridge day is a common routine among farm members. It’s time to finish the last of the veggies and left over bits in a thouroughly satisfying salad or grain bowl before the next Market box delivery.

Mary posted in our Farm Member Chat Group:

“Today’s clean out the fridge lunch bowl featuring WHF spinach, arugual, carrots, roasted beets, red cabbage and cucumbers. Eat the rainbow!”

Farmer Reuben doesn't like mushy asparagus + Seasonal Recipes 2
Early cucumbers?! Yes, grown in Farmer Leroy’s greenhouse, these local cucumbers are offered to our Market Box subscribers for the first time ever.

My kids were crying at lunch when a couple of them missed out on a cucumber slice!

Let’s try Rhubarb and Asparagus Together

Try this recipe using the combo of Asparagus and Rhubarb. They are available at the same time of year so why not have a recipe that uses them both.

Rhubarb and Asparagus Pasta with Goat Cheese and Walnut Pesto


  • 8 ounces pasta (such as penne or fusilli)
  • 1 cup rhubarb, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 cup asparagus, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 2-3 stalks green garlic, chopped (use both the green and white parts)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup watercress or arugula leaves
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)


  1. Cook the Pasta:
    • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
    • Cook the pasta according to the package instructions until al dente.
    • Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water, and set aside.
  2. Prepare the Rhubarb and Asparagus:
    • In a large skillet, heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat.
    • Add the chopped rhubarb and cook for 2-3 minutes until slightly softened.
    • Add the asparagus pieces and cook for another 3-4 minutes until tender but still crisp.
    • Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Make the Walnut Pesto:
    • In a food processor, combine the walnuts, chopped green garlic, watercress or arugula leaves, and a pinch of salt.
    • Pulse until the mixture is finely chopped.
    • With the food processor running, drizzle in the olive oil until a smooth pesto forms.
    • Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
  4. Combine Everything:
    • In a large mixing bowl, toss the cooked pasta with the rhubarb, asparagus, and crumbled goat cheese.
    • Add the walnut pesto and toss until everything is well coated, adding reserved pasta water as needed to loosen the sauce.
  5. Serve:
    • Divide the pasta among serving plates or bowls.
    • Serve with grated Parmesan cheese on top, if desired.
    • Serve immediately and enjoy!

Market Box Veggies for First week of May, 2024

Every member’s customized Market Box is unique so we hope you will take advantage more varieties of vegetables as you get comfortable with all the great organic produce we are offering.  Use our A to Z Vegetable Guide to help use and store your veggies.

Storage & Usage Tips

What to use first: arugula, loose leaf lettuce, microgreens.

Arugula – Place arugula in a loosely sealed plastic bag in the crisper drawer. Use within three days. Arugula is a slender, leafy green which has a spicy/nutty taste. Some prefer to eat it tossed with other fresh greens or lettuce so that the spicy taste is not as strong. Putting it on a sandwich is another delicious way to enjoy its flavor without being overpowered by it. It can also be sautéed or added to hot pasta. Here is a collection of recipes for any taste 19 Ways to Eat Arugula

Asparagus – Store upright in a jar with an inch of water in the refrigerator. Some recommend draping a plastic bag over the spears. Best flavor if used within a couple days but will keep longer. The key to enjoying asparagus is to trim off the “woody” ends. The tough fibers are unpleasant compared to the soft, melt in your mouth stems and tips. This video (at minute 5:50) shows my preferred method. Freeze with blanching method for 30 – 60 seconds depending on thickness.

Asparagus with greens Market box CSA 2024

Butterhead Lettuce – this variety is a head lettuce. Store it properly to last all week. How to Store Lettuce.

Collard Greens – To store, wrap the greens, unwashed, in damp paper towels until you are ready to use them. Keep the wrapped greens in an open plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to about 5 days. When you are ready to cook the greens, you’ll need to wash them. To freeze: Wash the leaves, cut off the woody stems, blanch in boiling water for three minutes and chill in ice water. Dry the leaves, pack into freezer bags and freeze.

Kale – Red Russian kale. Store in a loosely sealed plastic bag in the crisper drawer for 7-10 days. Lacinato is dark green, narrow bumpy leaves. Red Russian kale has red/purple stems and a more tender, flatter leaf. To freeze, wash and chop into small pieces and place in a freezer bag. This would be delicious used in the winter in a potato soup or vegetable stir fry.  I love it sauteed with garlic and olive oil until bright green and tender.

Lettuce loose leaf – this variety is a cut leaf lettuce. Store it properly to last all week. How to Store Lettuce.

Microgreens – transfer to an airtight container or a resealable plastic bag lined with a paper towel to absorb excess moisture. Store the container or bag in the refrigerator’s vegetable crisper drawer, where the microgreens can stay fresh for about 5 to 7 days.

Mushroom, Portobello & Cremini – These two mushrooms are the same variety but are harvested at different sizes. Store in a paper bag and refrigerate in the main section of the fridge with a dry paper towel to absorb excess moisture. Alternatively, mushrooms can be briefly sautéed or blanched before freezing to extend their shelf life for up to 3 months.

Potato, White – Keep unwashed potatoes in a cool, dark, dry place, such as a loosely closed paper bag in a cupboard. They will keep for two weeks at room temperature. Light turns them green, and proximity to onions causes them to sprout. Don’t put them in the refrigerator, as low temperatures convert the starch to sugars.

Rhubarb – To store rhubarb, remove any leaves and trim the ends, then place the stalks in a plastic bag and store them in the refrigerator for up to a week. For usage, rhubarb can be cooked into compotes, jams, pies, or used in baked goods, providing a tart flavor that pairs well with sweet ingredients like strawberries or apples.

Scallions – Green onions, or scallions, can be wrapped in damp towel or placed in plastic bag in the crisper drawer of the fridge. Chop and use raw or cooked anyway you would use a bulb onion. The whole of the green onion can be eaten, stalks and all.

Watercress – To store, trim the ends of the stems and place the bunch in a container or jar filled with a small amount of water. Cover the leaves loosely with a plastic bag and store it in the refrigerator, changing the water every few days to keep it fresh. Watercress can be used in salads, sandwiches, soups, or as a garnish, adding a peppery and refreshing flavor to dishes.

Do you know what vegetables have greens you can use?

Click the image to download a list of Vegetables Greens You Can Use:

Vegetables with greens you can use


As Always…

We support your desire to have a good, healthy way of life and food on your table that supports that goal.

We’ll keep farming for you!

Reuben and Tessa DeMaster
Willow Haven Farm


P.S. The Farm store is open on Saturday to help you stock up on eggs, milk, cheese, vegetables, natural cleaners, home remedies and more.

Open this weekend!

Market Hours: Saturday: 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM