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March 2005
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May 2005

Quick Note

<p>We hope to send a more informative update in not too long. For now let me just say that we are working hard on the fields as well as trying to process the shareholder applications at the office--not very compatible tasks.</p> <p>Last October we planted the garlic cloves and now the plants look nice and healthy, so our guess is that this year you will once again be enjoying good garlic from Clagett Farm.</p> <p><a href=""><img width="350" height="466" border="0" src="" title="Garlic_field_in_april_2" alt="Garlic_field_in_april_2" /></a> </p> <p>The photo above was taken two days ago. A partial view of our garlic field. Notice the straw mulch. </p> <p><a href=""><img width="350" height="257" border="0" src="" title="After_remulching_the_potatoes_2" alt="After_remulching_the_potatoes_2" /></a> </p> <p>Wrapping things up after a long day on the field. An evening scene: Carrie on the tractor, Kenji next to the wagon, and Suzanne at the other side of the straw mulched potato field. </p>

Dupont is Full!

<p>We've reached our limit of 70 shares picking up at Dupont, so anyone who hasn't sent us their order yet will have to choose another site or start our waiting list. Please note, we're still in a position to make special exception for our long-time members or people whose orders were somehow mishandled on our end, so if you're one of those people, let us know.</p>


<p>We transplanted a lot of brassicas last Thursday (April 7). It was a long day, and yet we are not done with all the brassicas (cabbages, broccoli, kohlrabi, kale, collards). At Clagett Farm we use a tractor that slowly drags an old transplanter. Here is how it works.<br /> <a href=""><img width="350" height="262" border="0" alt="Transplanter_scene" title="Transplanter_scene" src="" /></a> </p> <p>The tractor driver, Megan Caine in the photo above, slowly moves the tractor forward making sure it stays on track, while the setters sitting on the transplanter, Joe Brown and Kathleen Davis, pick up seedlings from the boxes in front of them and alternate in placing them into a carouseling mechanism. The transplanter makes a furrow, sets the seedlings in the soil (spacing them at the proper interval in the row), gives each plant a shot of water, and repacks the soil around the roots of each plant. All that when it works fine. The transplanter we have is old and variations in the soil and the slope of the terrain can affect it. That's when the person walking behind the transplanter (in the photo, Kenji Warren) springs into action and makes sure that all seedlings are properly set. Transplanting&nbsp; involves team effort and we try to be fair to each other, so from time to time team members switch to a different task.</p> <p><a href=""><img width="350" height="262" border="0" src="" title="Carrie_transplanting" alt="Carrie_transplanting" /></a> &nbsp; &nbsp; <br />&nbsp; <br />It's Carrie Vaughn's turn to drive now. The barrel on the right side of the tractor is connected to the transplanter by a hose, which permits the seedlings to get a measure of water at the moment they are placed in the soil. </p>

FAQ from potential new members, and a dire request for okra recipes.

<p>1) As of today, we have 175 shares filled of the 215 total.&nbsp; So if you'd like to buy a share, we still have space for 40 more!</p> <p>2) There is a new CSA cookbook that is soon to come out from an organization called One United Harvest (for a preview check out <a href=""></a>).&nbsp; I made a special request that she include recipes for the southern vegetables that are often left out of CSA cookbooks, such as sweet potatoes, okra and collard greens.&nbsp; She has a few recipes for okra but she needs more!&nbsp; Please, please, for the good of mankind and your fellow members, send the author a few of your favorites.&nbsp; Her name is Julie Sochacki, so her email is JC plus her last name at; &nbsp;</p> <p>3)&nbsp; People often ask how large one share is.&nbsp; This is a tough question to answer since it varies so much each year and week-to-week.&nbsp; Our customers tell us that one share feeds 2-4 adults.&nbsp; The average size is about 7-10 pounds--it's smallest in the first month (mostly greens and a few strawberries) and gets quite heavy in late summer and fall when we have sweet corn, melons, sweet potatoes or pumpkins.&nbsp; We hope to archive our shares on the weblog this year, so perhaps this question will be easier to anwer in the future.&nbsp; Perhaps!</p> <p></p>

On Volunteering at Clagett Farm

<p><span face="Times New Roman">&nbsp;</span><span face="Times New Roman"><em>This post was written by Pat Burke, a shareholder, worksharer, volunteer and dear friend of the farm.</em><br /><br />A friend wanted to know why I volunteer at an organic farm. After all, I’m a nurse, and nursing jobs are plentiful. Why would I leave paying health care work for “stoop labor” in the fields?</span> </p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;"><span face="Times New Roman">I tried to explain. My life had changed radically. I had just returned to graduate school, and was taking on considerable debt as well as a double course load. Instead of being outdoors, I was spending my hours sitting in lectures and libraries and hunched over the keyboard. My food was increasingly coming out of vending machines instead of from the organic market. I was stressed out, not exercising, not relaxing, and eating scary things out of cellophane.</span></p> <div style="border-style: none none solid; border-color: -moz-use-text-color -moz-use-text-color windowtext; border-width: medium medium 0.75pt; padding: 0in 0in 1pt;"><p class="MsoNormal" style="border: medium none ; margin: 0in 0in 0pt; padding: 0in;"><span face="Times New Roman"><br />When I found out that there was a CSA nearby, and that I could exchange 4 hours of farm work a week for a share of fresh organic produce, I thought it was too good to be true. I could be outside, get exercise, get a break from studying, and afford organic &quot;veg&quot; again! I expected that the work would be tedious, but thought I would give it a try.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="border: medium none ; margin: 0in 0in 0pt; padding: 0in;"><span face="Times New Roman"><br />To my surprise, the work gave me far more than delicious produce. I met wonderful people, heard great stories, and gained a new appreciation for the work of farmers. The staff and volunteers at Clagett are hardworking folks. They are cheerful when things are going well, and creatively resolute when challenges appear. Time together in the fields yields friends and fond memories. </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="border: medium none ; margin: 0in 0in 0pt; padding: 0in;"><span face="Times New Roman"><br />The farm itself is an oasis of quiet in an increasingly unquiet world. At the farm, the sounds are of birdsong, the drowsy hum of honeybees, the welcoming bark of farm dogs, the murmur and laughter of volunteers sharing stories as they plant, transplant, mulch, weed, stake, hoe, clip and pick.&nbsp; If you want to be with people, there is plenty of opportunity. If your day requires silence, then you can have that, too.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="border: medium none ; margin: 0in 0in 0pt; padding: 0in;"><span face="Times New Roman"><br />The work is varied. For those who want a physical challenge, there are plenty. There are many full wooden crates of produce to hoist upon a scale. Or fields of pumpkins or watermelons to pick and load into a van. But there are also flats to be seeded, carrots to be thinned, strawberries to mulch and potatoes to wash and sort. One day the “work” was to pick flowers and bunch them for the Dupont Circle shares.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="border: medium none ; margin: 0in 0in 0pt; padding: 0in;"><span face="Times New Roman"><br />Farm lessons are for free. Volunteers told me how to preserve abundant harvests for winter. Experience taught the sweet contentment that comes with working with a properly sharpened hoe. I’ve learned that the taste of heirloom tomatoes is indescribably good. That not all weeds are bad. I’ve learned that okra flowers look like hibiscus, and that kohlrabi looks like alien spaceships. And that raw sweet corn eaten in the field is a treat best enjoyed in moderation. </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="border: medium none ; margin: 0in 0in 0pt; padding: 0in;"><span face="Times New Roman"><br />Most of all, I learned that a few hours of volunteering brings so much more than fresh organic produce. Three years have passed since my friend asked me that original question. I’m still volunteering at Clagett, and my life is richer for it. Come join us!</span></p></div>

Busy Spring and Volunteers

<p>Spring is here and we at Clagett Farm are in full swing with early spring activities: preparing beds, seeding trays, transplanting our first crop veggies, and on and on. By the end of March we were done with planting the potatoes but we have not yet finished mulching them. We were also busy building two greenhouses, one to be used for Clagett Farm's native trees nursery operation for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the other for some CSA crops. We are not&nbsp; yet done with the CSA&nbsp; greenhouse. There are so many things to do that we have to engage in a sort of triage. What we do in any given day depends on many variables, the weather always being one of the major ones.<br /> </p> <p>With so much work, we are fortunate to have eager and hard working volunteers--we are immensely grateful for them. Their good humored help has been crucial. To illustrate this, here are a few photos taken on Saturday, March 25, a cold and gray day that did not deter them.</p> <p> <br /><a href=""><img width="350" height="268" border="0" src="" title="Don_and_nina" alt="Don_and_nina" /></a> </p> <p>The photo above shows volunteers Don Edwards and Nina Yu carrying rafters that were assembled a few dozen yards away from the greenhouse site. </p> <p><a href=""><img width="350" height="231" border="0" src="" title="Rob_nina_josh_and" alt="Rob_nina_josh_and" /></a> </p> <p> Clagett Farm's Rob Vaughn and volunteers Nina Yu, Dione Elmendorf and Josh Riesler Cohn pounding the ground posts into place and making sure that they are lined up just right. <em>(Photo by Barbara L. Salisbury/The Gazette)</em></p> <p><em><a href=""><img width="350" height="233" border="0" alt="Curtis_rob_and" title="Curtis_rob_and" src="" /></a> </em></p> <p>Curtis Elmendorf, Rob Vaughn and Dione Elmendorf placing the rafters onto the posts. <em>(Photo by Barbara L. Salisbury/The Gazette). </em>About two hours before this picture was taken Dione was still high up in the air, flying from warm and sunny Florida to cold and damp Washington, DC. She was flying for a weekend visit. Her brother Curtis picked her up at the airport and headed straight to the farm to help us out for a few hours. This was news to Dione, but she jumped into the work with gusto.</p> <p><em><a href=""><img width="350" height="228" border="0" alt="Nina_and_curtis" title="Nina_and_curtis" src="" /></a> </em></p> <p>Nina and Curtis atop step ladders attaching purlins to the greenhouse rafters. <em>(Photo by Barbara L. Salisbury/The Gazette)</em></p> <p>For a couple additional pictures, check out the just started <a href="">Clagett Farm Photos: 2005</a> album.&nbsp; As in the previous two years, more photos will be added to the album as the season progresses.</p>