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September 2003
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November 2003

Planting Garlic

Besides harvesting and other farm activities we are right in the middle of garlic planting. We'll probably be done with it later this week. Here is a quick run down of the process. First we select the seed garlic. Only the best heads of garlic are chosen. The rest are for eating. Then we "pop cloves." That is, we manually break the heads into individual cloves. Only good quality cloves are chosen for planting. Most rejected cloves are excellent for cooking. Next is the planting itself. We plant our cloves in rows, about fives inches between each clove. Just to note, garlic cloves are planted with the root end (basal end) down--the narrower, more pointy end is up. After planting the field we mulch it with straw, and then wait until next year.


A Call for Recipes

Earlier today Carrie sent a few links for recipes. Now we would like shareholders to send us recipes. Any recipes using veggies you got from the farm. Share your knowledge and experience! Just from talking to shareholders during the pickups, I know that there is a trove of delicious recipes among you. For example, I was intrigued by an Middle Eastern okra dish mentioned by a Dupont Circle shareholder. It seemed that such a dish would pique the interest of even those who are not particularly fond of okra. Another shareholder described the way arugula is folded into mashed potatoes which sounded very good--maybe common in Italy, but not here in the US. What you send us will be posted and archived on this weblog. Anyone clicking on the "recipe" category will be able to access them. Email your recipes to <a href="mailto:clagettfarm@cbf.org">clagettfarm@cbf.org</a>


Recipe Links for Mustard Greens and other veggies

I would like to post some recipes for you, but I'm sensitive to copyright laws. Instead I'm giving you some links to web pages that have lots of archived recipes you can search by ingredient. I chose the following with an eye for their variations on mustard greens and garlic (since we have more of these than we know what to do with) and for easy recipes with short preparation times.

<a href="http://www.epicurious.com">www.epicurious.com</a>
Includes such recipes as "Sauteed mustard greens with garlic" and "Wilted mustard green pasta"

<a href="http://www.recipesource.com">www.recipesource.com</a>
Look out for "Chili-Garlic Mustard Greens"

<a href="http://www.recipeland.com">www.recipeland.com</a>

<a href="http://www.taunton.com/finecooking/">www.taunton.com/finecooking/</a>
Not a huge selection, but they did have a nice once called "Spicy Mustard Greens with Asian Noodles"

Have fun!


The highs and lows of sweet potatoes

I know that many of you are well-aware of how peculiar the weather was this year. We do our best to draw on previous experience to decide how much of each crop to plant, but this enormous variability makes planning a challenge.

Want an example? Last year we harvested just over 11,000 pounds of sweet potatoes (That was about 60 lbs. per share, if memory serves). Given our over-abundance (and also because organic sweet potato plants were in short supply this year), we planted about half as many plants this year, and harvested only about 500 pounds total. That's just 5% of last year's harvest. Yikes!

Certainly we could use hot-houses and chemicals to get more control over our harvest, but I don't think that's what you would want from us. I thank you, and our farm thanks you.


Last month of shares

We've had a number of questions regarding our final month of shares, so I thought it would be appropriate to answer them here.

1) <strong>Our last shares </strong>are November 15th (Saturday pick-up) and November 18th (Tuesday pick-up).

2) <strong>Gleaning weekend</strong>: As of Friday November 21st, we will set up signs to direct you to fields where we still have vegetables you can pick. This will give you a chance to come to the farm and harvest anything you want for Thanksgiving. Clean us out! All vegetables are on a first-come first-served basis. We will be on the farm from 10am-2pm Saturday to help you find everthing. No RSVP is necessary, but if you are interested in coming, it will help us to know so we have a sense of how many people to expect.

3) <strong>What will be in the remaining shares</strong>?
Tuesday October 28: All shares should get a few sweet/bell peppers, some amount of tiny greens (possibly including arugula, tat soi, mizuna, tokyo bekana, red kale, red mustard and lettuce), broccoli florets, and large cooking greens (possibly including green kale, southern giant mustard, mustard-spinach, turnip greens and collards), a few heads of garlic, and some sweet potatoes for Dupont only (Farm Tuesday has already received sweet potatoes twice).

November 1(Sat) and 4(Tues): All shares should get a few heads garlic, a few small "cherriette" radishes, greens, a bit of broccoli, and carrots for Dupont and Saturday shares unless we want them to grow another week (Farm Tuesday has already received carrots).

November 8 and 11: All shares should receive garlic, greens, and any remaining radishes, turnips and carrots.

November 15 and 18: All shares should receive greens, lots of garlic for the winter, and some popcorn (either loose or on the cob).

Gleaning weekend: Any remaining garlic (including loose cloves), any remaining greens in the field (there should be as much as you can use if you're not especially picky about which kind), and whatever radishes, broccoli and popcorn that didn't get distributed.


Squash and Microwaves

Hi, Lara again. One final note about the butternut squash: if anyone else would like to order a case, this is the last chance to do it. We can only order the squash if 3 or more people request a case, so let us know if you're interested. We have one person so far. I would need to order by 11 am tomorrow, Thursday, and it's $19.50 for a 35-lb. case. I may not get a chance to check the weblog after 4 or 5 today, so please leave a message at 301-627-4662 if you are interested.
There's one other thing we'd like to get your help with. We had a very generous donation earlier in the year of a microwave, so that the farm workers can have hot lunches at work. However, yesterday the micro had a peaceful demise after a life of good service, and we're seeking a replacement. Several other CSA members had offered their old ones last year. If you would still like to donate, please just bring it with you to your pick-up site. It'll have a happy home up at the washing station.
That's about it. Hope everyone is enjoying the fall veggies. See you soon.


Clagett Farm Photo Album

Now we have a Clagett Farm photo album online. Only ten pictures for now, about half of which were already published here, but we'll be adding more photos in not too long. You can view the album by clicking on <a href="http://kolya.typepad.com/photos/farm/">Farm Photos: 2003</a>.

The "cover" of the album shows thumbnail pictures. For an enlarged image of any given photo, click on it. For future reference, the left sidebar of this weblog has the above link to the album. Being the photographer of most of them, Carrie does not appear on any of the photos. But this will change with the next batch of pictures.


Update

The days are shorter and cooler--very pleasant for outdoor work.

Although it has warmed up since then, Clagett Farm was hit by a frost on October 3. Late September or early October frosts are not unheard of, but such a deep frost usually occurs in late October. The tomatoes and cucumbers were already on their way out. The frost made their anticipated departure a bit more abrupt. The okra was hit hard, but it is still hanging on. For how much longer or whether shareholders will get to see any of it, we don't yet know. With so many frost-burnt leaves, however, we don't expect significant okra yields.

We checked the sweet potatoes a few days before the frost. They were smaller than we wanted them, so we decided to let them grow for two or three weeks longer. But the frost changed that. Leaf damage was extensive and not much new growth can be expected from the sweet potatoes. Therefore, we started harvesting them. Keep in mind, though, that after harvesting they need to be cured for several days. This means that there is a longer than usual gap between harvest and distribution to shareholders.

As to the various greens, most greens love cooler weather. There will be more of them through the very end of our CSA season--the week before Thanksgiving. And to end this post, a reminder that during the next pickup all shareholders will receive a nice butternut squash in their share.


Winter squash? yes and no

What a year this has been! If I hadn't seen all that rain myself, I never would have believed it was possible. It's been some relief to me to hear so many other farmers tell me they've lost crops to the wet weather. Our production has been relatively low this year, but that seems to be typical of everyone in the region. Frankly, I'm surprised we were able to harvest anything at all! I'm also surprised that the tomatoes and watermelons, which held up so well in the drought years, were able to survive this wet year, as well.

We were sorely disappointed when the non-stop rain wiped out our winter squash. Not one little pumpkin survived. But to make up for our loss, we're using all the money we made from selling peaches this year to buy one local, organic butternut squash or pie pumkin for each share. You should see them in your share October 14 and 18. If any of you would like to buy a case of squash for yourself wholesale, they're about $.30/lb [<strong>correction: about $.56/lb</strong>] and we can include it in our order. Just let us know this week. Thanks!