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October 2003
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December 2003

Tomorrow is Gleaning Day

Tomorrow is gleaning day at Clagett Farm. It's the end of the season. Needless to say, there is not much left on the fields and those plants that are still alive are barely producing. They had a tough season and many of them declared, "No mas!". But tomorrow promises to be a nice day and if you want to see how the farm looks at the end of the season, please come.

If you are interested in gleaning, here is what you may find (unless other gleaners got it before you): some arugula; very small quantities of lettuce, spinach, tat soi, tokyo bekana and a bit of baby hon tsai tai (an Asian green that did not reach harvestable); our heavily harvested mustard greens still have some leaves; there are almost no collards and kale, but if you walk through the rows perhaps you will be able to pick a tiny bit of each.

Gleaning hours: 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.

A couple of November photos

Carrie and Ken Weiss finishing work on the garlic field.

<a href=" garlic/planting_garlic.jpg"><img alt="planting_garlic.jpg" src=" garlic/planting_garlic-thumb.jpg" width="350" height="439" border="0" /></a>

One of our last harvests. Carrie, Lara and our hard working van behind them.

<a href=""><img alt="late_harvest.jpg" src="" width="350" height="225" border="0" /></a>

Recipe: Arugula and Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes

Several of you asked me about arugula. I love it in various salads, but the link below will take you to an arugula recipe with mashed potatoes and goat cheese that I would like to try soon.


The Epicurious site has a helpful search engine. Just enter the vegetable or ingredient of your choice and more than likely there will be several recipes to choose from. For more targeted searches, use the "Advanced Search" option.

What do I do with this popcorn?

<p>Even better than surveys, it's popcorn time.</p> <p>Before you can pop your popcorn, you need to dry it. We tried drying a few test batches for you in a warm oven, but we've had a tough time getting the popcorn to the ideal 13% moisture level. I suspect it's a little too moist right now, and with a few hours in the oven, our popping success raised from 10% of kernels popping to 50%. But perhaps we are over-drying it, because we can't seem to improve on 50% popping success. In years past, we've recommended that you keep your popcorn in your pantry for a month or so before you pop it, which worked well for me at least. Next year, I hope to get access to a moisture meter (most corn growers keep one if they hope to store their corn in a silo). </p> <p>Until then, here are my suggestions...</p> <p>To Dry:</p> <p>1) Leave the popcorn in a paper bag--not plastic. In a month, test a few kernels. If they pop, then pop the rest and enjoy!<br />2) If you want to eat it now, you're welcome to try the same thing I did. Leave the popcorn in the oven at it's lowest setting (100-200 degrees) for an hour or two, and give it a try. </p> <p>To Pop, follow the same procedure you would for store-bought microwave or regular popcorn:</p> <p>1) Microwave: Put the loose popcorn or the whole popcorn cob in a closed paper bag in the microwave. Set it for ten minutes, then allow it to pop until the rate of popping slows down. Don't pop it for the full ten minutes or it will burn! (My microwave took about 6 minutes.) If you want to watch the kernels pop off the cob, you can leave it out of the bag.</p> <p>2) On the stove: Cover the bottom of your dutch oven or some other heavy, lidded pot with a good amount of oil (my parents used to use 1/4 cup oil and a 1/4 cup popcorn). Heat the oil until a few test kernels pop. Then add the rest of your popcorn and shake vigorously while it's popping. Again, remove it from heat when you hear the popping slow down to one pop every couple seconds. </p> <p>In general, don't season the popcorn with your butter, salt, parmesan, tamari, etc. until it's popped.</p> <p>If you have a little time and curiousity, I recommend the kid-friendly Jolly Time&nbsp; <a href="">Popcorn Science</a> site. They have a much better review of the science of popping corn that's interesting for kids and the young at heart.</p>

Survey time

We've emailed a copy of our survey to everyone on our email list, and we'll be bringing paper copies to all our drop-off sites. They're quick and easy, so please fill one out and send it back. It's not every day you get to tell people exactly what you think and give them lots of good advice AND they want to hear what you have to say. These are the weeks when we plan what to plant where, which seeds to buy, and how many shares to sell at each drop-off on which days. And frankly, we make lousy decisions without your input.

Also, if you <strong>did not </strong>receive our e-mail, let us know. That means we cannot contact you in the spring when we ask people to sign up for shares. Yikes!

October Photos

<img alt="cow_barns_for_weblog.jpg" src="" width="350" height="228" border="0" />

Thirteen photos, all of them taken in October, were added to our photo album. You can jump directly to the new photos by clicking <a href="">here</a>, and then moving on to the next pictures (from photos 11 to 23.) To enter the album from its main page click <a href="">here</a>, or click on the Farm Photos: 2003 link on the left sidebar.

Next Season Already off and Growing!

The seeds for success for the next growing season are already planted - literally. These seeds are for the cover crops that will be critical to our successfully growing healthy crops and building healthy soils for next year. Oats, hairy vetch, crimson clover, and rye all are planted and growing well as the ‘growing’ season draws to an end. An old farmer once told me, “You’ve got to treat a cover crop as good as you do your cash crops.” This is farm wisdom too seldom acknowledged by many farmers today.

These fall/winter cover crops protect the soil over the winter and early spring. They will begin strong growth in March, April and May. Our vegetable crops depend upon them for good weed control (as they block the light to any aspiring weeds) and pest control as they provide habitat for the beneficial insects that help control pests. Next spring we will plow them into the soil or mow them so that we can plant vegetables. Then they perform one of their most important functions as they slowly decompose and release valuable nutrients that are a key part of the vegetable crops’ fertility. Cover crops get priority treatment on our farm because of their importance to our growing system.

Let us know if you are not picking up

A request to shareholders for the sake of fellow shareholders. In any given week, if you know that you will not be picking up your share, please let us know. Send an email to <a href="mailto:"> </a>. The earlier we know, the better, but notify us at least three hours before the beginning of the pickup. Knowing this will permit fellow shareholders to have a larger share. For example, last Tuesday only 37 out of 55 Dupont shareholders showed up, an unusually low number. (If it was because of the dark, keep in mind that now we have lamps at our pickup sites.) If we would have known in advance that only 37 shareholders would show up, we would have adjusted the share so that shareholders who did come would have had a larger share. We know that sometimes shares are missed because of last minute snags. But if you know in advance, please notify us.

As you know, most of the produce that is not picked up is donated. This does not mean, however, that if all the produce is picked up by shareholders we do not donate any of our veggies. A good portion of what we grow is already slated for people in need.