This Week's Share: Garlic Scallions, Mixed Greens and Asparagus

Farmer joe
Here's a nice photo of Farmer Joe at his recent birthday party on the farm! Thanks to Lewis Tennenbaum for sending this our way. Want to see your photos featured in this weekly email? Just snap a pic -- from the farm, from your CSA share itself, or even a recipe you make with your Clagett produce -- and either email it to us or post it to Instagram with the hashtag #ClagettFarm!   

 

Welcome to the first week of the 2018 season!  Need any reminders of how the share pickups work? Here's everything you need to know.

 

THIS WEEK'S SHARE

  • 1/4 pound lettuce + spinach
  • 1/4 pound tat soi OR 1 bag stinging nettle
  • 1/4 pound total combination spicy mix + arugula + asparagus
  • 3 seedling plants
  • 1/2 pound garlic scallions

 

NOTES

  • Not sure what to do with those garlic scallions? Here are some good recipes
  • So what about strawberries? We've gotten a handful of questions about the strawberry forecast at the farm. We are sad to say that we had a strong crop of strawberries, but they have been decimated by deer. We have already planted a new field which will produce for next season, and we're working on a fence to protect them. We are as disappointed as you in our lack of strawberries. Onward! 

 

ON U-PICK THIS WEEK:

In addition to the vegetables we harvest and deliver for the CSA shares, each week we'll let you know the items that are available for you to pick in unlimited quantities out at the farm. This week that includes: garlic chives, thyme, oregano, sage, sorrel, onion chives (edible flowers), stinging nettle (Be sure to wear gloves, sleeves, pants and closed-toed shoes!). 

That's it for the week! Enjoy the share! 

~ The Clagett Farm Team


It's Week 1 of the CSA Share Season! Here's a Preview of What You'll Be Getting.


Here's one of our new farm staff members, Garrett, potting up tomato plants for this week's share.

Would you like to see your photos featured in this weekly email? Just snap a pic -- from the farm, from your CSA share itself, or even a recipe you make with your Clagett produce -- and either email it to us or post it to Instagram with the hashtag #ClagettFarm!   


Hello, 2018 CSA Members! 

It's time for the first shares of the season, which will take place this Wednesday, May 9th & Saturday, May 12th.

Here are some things you need to know: 

WE'RE LOOKING FOR A VOLUNTEER FOR THE DUPONT PICK-UP
We have a new manager for the Dupont pick-up: Garrett. We are looking for someone to help Garrett every Wednesday from 5:00-8:00 pm. The volunteer will receive one free CSA share in exchange for helping Garrett unload the van, set up the share, keep bins filled, interact with our members and pack up when it’s over.  In case you're not familiar, the address for the Dupont pick-up is 1737 Fraser Ct, NW, and the CSA season runs May 9 through November 7.

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM US EACH WEEK
Ever Wednesday afternoon we send an email that tells you the contents of the share, along with the amounts of each vegetable. We send this as soon as the harvest and calculation are done -- they're not exact but they're very close. Wednesday's email also serves as the preview for Saturday.

FIRST SHARE PREVIEW
For this first week , here's our best guess on the share: 

  • one bunch of garlic scallions, a.k.a. green garlic 
  • a choice of salad mix, including lettuce, spinach, spicy mix and tat soi. We'll go heavier on lettuce and spinach because they are available fewer weeks: They don’t like the heat.
  • Some seedlings, including basil, tomatoes, lettuce, oregano, kale and flowers
  • And we’ll pick a few bags of stinging nettles for the people who want it

On U-Pick this week: In addition to the vegetables we harvest and deliver for the CSA shares, each week we'll let you know the items that are available for you to pick in unlimited quantities out at the farm. This week that includes garlic chives, thyme, oregano, sage, sorrel, onion chives (edible flowers), stinging nettle (Be sure to wear gloves, sleeves, pants and closed-toed shoes!). 

Coming soon: radishes, turnips, kale, collards, and basil. We expect cilantro to be added to U-Pick next week. 


MORE DETAILS, LOGISTICS & SUCH

We have the pick-up locations and times published on the blog. And there's a handy FAQ there, too. 


STILL WANT TO JOIN THE CSA? 

Haven't purchased or know someone who wants to be a member this season? We still have several slots left. Sign up now!

As always, let us know if you have any questions! 

~ The Clagett Farm Team 


Help us celebrate

Joe sifting compost

What would you do if you met someone who is about to turn 70 and discovered that no one had ever thrown him a birthday party?  You'd throw a big one, of course!  This gentle soul, Mr. Joe Brown, turns 70 this month and we need your help to celebrate.    He is quite shy, after all, and hasn't left the farm much in these 70 years, so you are some of the lucky few he has met.  Don't have a lot to say to Joe?  Don't worry!  Come for the food, cake and good cheer.  The farm staff are throwing the party right after the Spring Open House, so you can come early for the hayride and stay late for the birthday festivities. 

Saturday April 28th

5:00-9:00pm

No need for birthday gifts--just bring yourselves.

RSVP here.

A little history about Joe:

Joe Brown came to this farm with his family when he was 16 years old.  This was a tobacco farm owned by Charles Clagett at the time, and Joe's father was a well digger.  Joe spent his working life planting, hoeing, harvesting, hanging and stripping tobacco.  In 1982 when the farm was donated to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Joe continued to live on the property, while helping our neighbor, Billy Addison, with his tobacco.  In the 90s, Billy stopped farming tobacco and Joe started working with us on the vegetable operation, and helping with mowing and hay.  We appreciated his incredible strength and endurance, and he is quietly kind to everyone he meets, without fault.  Joe is now retired, and continues to live by himself in one of the farm houses.  He takes a walk through the farm every day to check out what's new, and during the CSA pick-up, Joe likes to sit at the bench and watch everyone come and go.  

If you're interested in bringing food to the party, let us know.  Joe likes soft foods (egg salad, tuna salad, pasta salad...).  No need to bring him a bottle of wine--Joe does not drink alcohol.  

  Joe feeding bale chopper


Spring Open House at Clagett Farm Saturday April 28th 1:00-4:00pm

Instagramjordanpschreiber_bootsonwagon
It's that time of year when we bring out the hay wagon and show off the baby lambs.  The cows will be dressed up in their fresh spring coats.  The calves will romp around playfully.  And your farm staff will be excited to tell you and your friends and family and neighbors and anyone else you can cajole to the farm all about our CSA and how marvelous it will be this year.  Bring a picnic if you'd like!  We'll have a great time.  

Saturday, April 28th

1:00-4:00pm

FREE for all, everyone welcome

   Holding baby lambs lwintherhansen

Photo credits: Instagram user JordanPShreiber (top) and Lauren Winther-Hansen


Some new varieties to try

 

 If you've ever scanned a vegetable seed catalog, surely you know the giddy feeling we get every winter of new possibilities--and I admit, a little fear, as well.  ("But groundhogs ate all our cantaloupes last year.  Can we get it right this time?")

Pushing our hesitancy aside, here's a few things we're trying in 2018:

  • Did you know Anne Arundel County has its own melon variety?  The Anne Arundel muskmelon should be orange and green on the inside, similar to the Arava melon that we've grown successfully in some past years.  Varieties bred for our region are a rare treat, and with luck, this one will be well-adapted to the soil types, plant diseases and pests common to our area (think downy mildew, powdery mildew and cucumber beetles).  It's true that cantaloupes are the all-time favorite of groundhogs, which have a thriving population here at Clagett Farm.  But we have improved our skills in fencing and trapping, and we think this is our year.  Too bad we don't have a Prince George's County melon!
  • For over a decade, we couldn't size up a single beet on this farm, but we're getting better.  We think the biggest improvement was fertilizing with a little Boron (the same stuff sold as Borax in the laundry aisle of your grocery store).  Boron, Nitrogen and Sulfur are all negatively-charged ions in the soil, and are prone to leach deep into the soil and out of reach of our crops when it rains. Over the years, our Boron supply has dwindled to almost nothing, so we're slowly adding it back, little by little, and catching it with organic matter to hold it in place.  So this is the year we go a little crazy and try this new variety of striped chioggia beet to test our chops.  
  • And that last picture is of Christmas lima beans.  Normally we prefer bush beans over pole beans, because they are easier to manage and give us a big harvest quickly.  But this year we're trying out a few varieties of pole beans, including this beautiful lima.  Pole beans are said to taste better, and should produce beans over a longer period of time.  U-pick, anyone?

Wish us luck!  And better yet, invest in our new season by becoming a 2018 CSA member!  We need 250 full-paying CSA members to make this business work.  And that means you!  Who's going to eat all these lovely vegetables if you don't sign up?  

 

 


It's a good time to be a mama cow at Clagett Farm

IMG_3869bWe're up to ten calves, including a pair of twins!  And there's at least a dozen more to come.  Then in April, the new baby lambs will be born.  

The cows don't let you get close enough to pet them, but a patient visitor (human--not canine) can get to within a few yards.  So it may be chilly out, but it's still a good time to visit.

Cows serve an important purpose in the ecosystem of our farm.  They eat the grass and return those nutrients right back to the soil where it came from.  Much of this property is far too hilly to plant vegetables.  The vegetables we grow are annual plants that don't compete well with weeds.  We have to till the soil bare in order to get the vegetables established, and on these hillsides, rain would carry our precious soil into our streams, turning it from an asset into pollution.  We're constantly experimenting with growing organic vegetables with reduced tillage, but none of those techniques work well enough yet to allow us to plant on a steep slope.  Cows allow us to create a marketable product from these nutrient-poor slopes, while holding our soil in place.  That perennial grass they're eating is also constantly adding carbon into the soil, pulling it out of the atmosphere.  Thank you, cows! 


Winter brings new life to our high tunnel

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One of your farmers, Jared Planz, captured this photo of a storm moving in over our high tunnel.  A high tunnel is a greenhouse where we grow plants directly in the ground (as opposed to the greenhouse where we grow seedlings that get transplanted into fields elsewhere).  We've been getting the beds and frame ready so we can put on a new cover.  Pretty soon, this high tunnel will be home to an early planting of tomatoes.  Winter is still a busy time on the farm! 

We've been doing a lot of planning in spreadsheets, as well.  Did you know, over the course of this season, we'll plant 600,000 seeds in the ground, of 175 different varieties?  And before you've eaten your last leaf of salad in November, we'll get help in the fields from over 1000 people.  Getting excited yet?

(Pst!  That's your hint to sign up for a 2018 Clagett Farm CSA share.)

 


We need to hear your thoughts about the CSA

Remember those sweet peppers--the ones you roasted, and you realized you'd never appreciated how delicious peppers are?  What about that bouquet of flowers that brightened your kitchen?  We tried a few new things this year--colanders filled with herbs, lettuce and kale; and little trays of microgreens that pack a punch of nutrition and flavor and make a classy garnish.  Did they work for you or did you wish we would stick with the basics?  This is your moment to register your opinion

We've had 52 responses so far (and if one of them was you, THANK YOU), and we had 220 members. Please, to all 168 of you that we haven't heard from yet--complete our survey!  It's quick!  It's painless!  We appreciate you!

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Your farmer, 

Carrie


Clagett Farm CSA shares for 2018 are available now! 

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Clagett Farm CSA shares are available now!  New and returning members can purchase a share beginning now. 

www.cbf.org/clagettsignup

Ever thought of giving a farm membership as a holiday gift?  You can!  It’s a great way to give something HEALTHY to someone you love.    

Are you a returning member but not ready to buy a CSA share yet?  Don’t worry, we’ll guarantee a slot in the upcoming season for you and all of our other 2017 CSA members until March 1st.  And as always, we give you a $50 discount to thank you for being a loyal, returning member. 

New this year, we are offering a 13-week share.  This is a good option for those of you who can’t make it most weeks, but still want to come a few times per year.  Instead of the full 26 shares, you get half as many over the same period of time (May 9th – November 10th).  You can collect the shares whichever weeks you want, but a maximum of only one at a time.  And you can only you-pick on the weeks when you pick up a share.  We’re only offering a limited number of 13-week shares, and only for pick-up at Clagett Farm.  So if this is the option you want, don’t wait until March to sign up. 

Most of you will want to purchase a full season share because it is the cheapest option per week, because you get all the wonderful, organic vegetables you love, and because it’s the best way to support this farm.  You still get all the same flexibility we gave you last year—you can pick up the shares any week, 2 shares maximum per day.  And you can pick up at the farm on Wednesdays or Saturdays. 

If you sign up for farm pick-up, you can pick up at Dupont up to 6 shares total for the season.  If you sign up for Dupont pick-up, you can pick up at the farm as often as you’d like. 

I bet you have friends who would like to sign up for a CSA share at Clagett Farm.  Tell them to register!  Otherwise, when they’re tasting the wonderful, ripe tomatoes you bring home this summer, they’ll wonder why you didn’t tell them about it sooner. 

Let me know if you have a questions, or if you have ideas for how we should spread the word. 

Your farmer,

Carrie


Last Chance to Reserve Your Holiday Wreaths

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For our 2017 Wreath Drive, long-time Clagett friend and farm-hand Jenn is selling wreaths made from flowers and grasses grown organically at the farm, and in her DC garden space. 
 
Each wreath is hand-crafted to order and exquisitely designed—ensuring that everyone has the most beautiful holiday on record! Wreaths are $50 each, with delivery and gift-wrap options available for additional charges. For Clagett CSA members and friends, two wreath pick-up dates are available: One in Dupont Circle, DC on November 29th, and one at Clagett Farm, MD on December 2nd. There may be extra wreaths available for sale at these pick-ups, but it’s always best to reserve in advance.
 
Order your own wreaths by filling out this form. We have a limited supply of local flowers and foliage, so please order as soon as you can! And, most importantly: Happy Holidays from your farm team!