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Last week of May

Among other things during the last week of May, we transplanted sweet potatoes, u-pickers hit our two strawberry fields hard, and we started to harvest garlic scapes. The appearance of garlic scapes usually indicates that garlic bulbs themselves will be harvested about a month later. As Carrie noticed, the garlic plants are drying somewhat earlier than usual. We are not exactly sure what this means. The drier than usual spring is certainly a factor. Perhaps we will start harvesting garlic sooner than expected and perhaps our bulbs will be smaller than in previous years.

May turned out to be a fairly dry month. The farm probably got less than half the usual precipitation. All in all this has been a dry spring: in terms of rain, April was a good month, but it was sandwiched between a March with virtually no precipitation and a fairly dry May.

Last Saturday we were surprised by the number of worksharers that came to the farm--almost forty individuals. In August we can keep such a crowd busy harvesting, but there is simply less to harvest in May. Nonetheless, once the harvest was done we kept everyone fairly busy with weeding some of our beds as well as raking recently mowed rye grass and hairy vetch (cover crop) and then piling it all up on a compost heap.

We appreciate our volunteers and worksharers, and we understand that most of them are unable to come to the farm during the regular work week. But let me lobby for Tuesday as the day of the week to come. If you want to work for a share or simply volunteer at the farm, you will be especially welcomed on Tuesday, which is our most intense harvest day.

And now a few photos.

Above we see Dave clearing a heap of just-mowed cover crop that was in his way. Dave was using the tractor to prepare a couple of beds with a mechanical spader. (Photo by Sarah Tooley.)

Worksharers and Gail (foreground) weeding one of our beds.
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Kenji engaging in close combat with new green stuff on his compost pile.


Job Opening: Harvest for Health Program Director

Job Description

Job Title: Program Director
Department: Harvest for Health
Reports To:  Senior Program Director
Classification: Exempt

Basic Function: To provide direction and oversight for staff and all aspects of programming for projects in the Harvest for Health Department, including the Anacostia Farmers Market, From the Ground Up at Clagett Farm, Cooking Close to Home and activities relative to each of these, while maintaining focus on the organizational mission, budget and strategic plan.

Responsibilities:

  • Sets and evaluate goals for programs and staff through written strategic plans, work plans and action plans in a format compatible with other CAFB departments;
  • Regularly provides constructive feedback on performance of all department staff and interns
  • Facilitates planning meetings with CAFB and CBF staff to encourage ongoing communication and collaboration on FGU program development;
  • Seeks opportunities for streamlining and integrating all CAFB programs related to fresh produce, and work to encourage a Community Food Security perspective and approach;
  • Tracks and reports poundage distribution related to all departmental programs, and ensure a near 50% distribution of Clagett produce to low-income households;
  • Tracks expenses and income related to the department 4 (market) and 5 (farm) budgets, and assist in creating a monthly reconciliation between CAFB and CBF accounting records;
  • Collaborates on grant proposals and other development activities to source funds for current project costs and future program development;
  • Maintains records and monitors project progress to ensure compatibility with the predicted outcomes of awarded grants;
  • Supervises plan and messaging for all departmental marketing and outreach;
  • Provides direction and focus for educational aspects of all programs;
  • Forges relationships and suggests needed action for CAFB Advocacy on issues related to departmental programming;
  • Represents department or identify a staff member to be present at relevant national conferences, regional forums and local neighborhood meetings when appropriate;
  • Forges strong community partnerships with groups and organizations, CSA shareholders, and member agencies located near project sites;
  • Works with the Local Food Alliance and other pertinent community organizations to identify and secure a long-term community organizer for the Anacostia Farmers Market;
  • Serves as the on-site and behind-the scene Anacostia Farmers Market manager until a community partner has been identified to assume leadership;
  • Responsible for securing market site annually and work with District government on obtaining any necessary permits and approval;
  • Supervises the recruitment of new farmers for the Anacostia Farmers Market and manage existing relationships with current farmer vendors;
  • Monitors effectiveness of EBT acceptance and look for opportunities to take this experience elsewhere to other markets within DC and the Metro Area;
  • Ensures efficiency of the From the Ground Up at Clagett Farm Fresh Produce Grant distribution of donated shares;
  • Works to initiate Cooking Close to Home classes and provide structure for volunteers and interns to assume a large part of day-to-day project responsibility;

Minimum Qualifications:

     
  • Bachelors degree in related field
  • 4 years work experience and training in the fields of project management, program development and/or community organizing
  • Competency with Microsoft Office Software to include: Word, Excel, Outlook and Publisher; knowledge of website updating beneficial

Knowledge, skills, abilities:

  • Working knowledge of sustainable agriculture, preferably in the operations of a producer-only farmers market, small farm and/or Community Supported Agriculture program
  • Experience in planning, organization and time management in team-oriented environments.
  • Ability to think creatively and strategically.
  • Exhibits excellent communication skills (written and verbal).
  • Experience in marketing, event planning, public relations, customer service, and/or related fields a plus.
  • Ability to meet deadlines in a dynamic organization.
  • Experience working in low-income communities and with diverse populations.

Physical requirements:

  • The ability to lift heavy boxes up to 40 lbs

Working Conditions and Hours: This position will require a flexible 40-hour work week, and will be based at the Capital Area Food Bank office. Time in the Anacostia community of SE Washington, DC, and at the farm in Upper Marlboro, MD will also be required. Most work is during the normal working day but some activities will take place during evening hours or on weekends during the growing season. Position requires working outdoors in varying conditions during the growing season.

The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work performed by people assigned to this job. They are not intended to be an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties and skills required of personnel so classified.

Please contact:
  Les Johnson, M.S.
Human Resources Director
johnsonl@cfoodbank.org
www.capitalareafoodbank.org
202-587-1330 - Fax


Great to be at the farm

We had a week of beautiful spring weather. It was a good week to come to the farm and that's precisely what many of you have done. The picture below was taken on Saturday morning. Among the harvesters we see Kathleen and Dave on the foreground, the rest are worksharers. I cannot speak for the worksharers, but it seems that they enjoyed the work. Well, we certainly appreciated their help and good spirits.
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And speaking of Saturday's harvest, here are some glimpses of it. Carrots fresh from the ground:

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Garlic scallions:

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And strawberries for dessert:

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And here is a photo taken by Carrie of two Clagettistas that can often be seen around the farm.
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They are wearing typical farmer headgear. Perhaps not exactly typical for Maryland, though. Dave (on the left) has been wearing the hat that his parents brought to him when they recently visited from Wales. Not to be outdone by Dave, I (Kolya, the guy on the right) decided to wear a hat I bought in 1990 in a little Siberian village hours away from the closest paved road.


Rita's first set of RECIPES

We had the good fortune to meet Rita Calvert, who is a local chef and volunteer for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.  She has volunteered to create a set of recipes especially designed for each share.  She created the first set just in time for the first share, complete with photos.  But we had some logistical trouble, so we're a bit late getting it to you.  Nonetheless, your second share will be very similar, so we still have the chance to use all the exciting recipes below. 

Clagett Farm CSA Recipes   
Spring/Summer 2006

Eat The Rainbow
Following an optimal healthy eating program, try to combine colorful foods with at least 5 colors in each meal. This is quite simple when produce is abundant. Even your garnish can be edible and bring in another vibrant color.

Each week you will find the produce from Clagett Farm CSA can be beautifully used to create different recipes that unfold into an entire meal or you can simply employ 1 or 2 recipes at a time.

Sauteed  Greens  and  Salmon
Our hail to the spring summer season brings you young collards that need only a dash of cooking for a fresh enlivened meal. Starting with the Steam Sautes method, wove added dried fruit and seeds for extra character, crunch & health..      Serves 4

Ingredients

3/4 cup garlic scallions/white and green thinly sliced
10 cups young collards, stems removed/cut into 1/2Ó ribbons
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 Dragon Chile, minced
1/4 cup dried raisins, or cranberries
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds

1 pound wild salmon center cut fillet/marinated in Citrus Vinaigrette

Directions:

In a wok or saute pan, heat the water and olive oil over high heat. When boiling, add the garlic/scallions, collards and chiles. Steam Saute for about 4 minutes over high heat. Add dried fruit, chiles, salt and pepper and continue to saute for about 2 minutes more or until the water has evaporated/

If preparing salmon, wipe the same pan clean with a paper towel. Lower the heat to medium high. When hot, add the marinated salmon and sear on each side for about 4 minutes.

To Serve:
Place the greens on a serving platter with a shallow well in the center. Place the salmon in the center and sprinkle all with the sunflower seeds.

Roasted Lemon & Garlic Scallion Herb Pesto

Feed this to anyone & their eyes will light up with the complexity of a beautifully simple melange. The range is great for using this sauce. Try it on produce, seafood, poultry, meat, sandwiches, Middle Eastern foods or anything that strikes your fancy.

1/2 lemon, washed quartered.
1 cup coarsely chopped garlic scallions, white & tender green parts
1/4 cup toasted walnuts
olive oil for tossing + 2/3 cup for sauce
2 tablespoons fresh mixed herbs/oregano, or thyme, anise hyssop, rosemary

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Toss the lemons and olive oil,salt and place on foil to retain the juices. Place on the top rack in your oven and roast for about 10 minutes. Add the garlic/scallions and roast all another 10 minutes.

Remove any seeds & place the entire lemon, garlic/scallions and walnuts in a food processor.
Process while slowly drizzling in the olive oil. Add the herbs and salt and pepper and process a bit more, but not totally pureeing.

Carrie's DARLIN' Popcorn
1 ear yields about 2 1/2 cups
Yes, you skip the middle man in this delectable healthy treat. children and adult children will love it because you just literally throw the corn in a natural paper bag, close and microwave. NO TRANS FATS for you!

1 ear Clagett Farm corn for popcorn, husks removed
all natural olive cooking spray
sea salt to taste
fresh chopped & dried herbs such as thyme, or rosemary or any from our farm
medium size brown paper bag

Microwave on high for 3 to 5 minutes or until most kernels are popped.

Place the popped corn in a bowl and spray with oil (this acts as your glue). Sprinkle on salt, pepper & desired herbs. You may want to repeat this process of spraying & seasoning.

Spring Herb Citrus Vinaigrette and Marinade
Makes about 1 cup

1 tablespoon minced garlic/scallions (white and tender green parts)_
1-2 Dragon chiles
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon chopped mixed fresh oregano, or thyme, anise hyssop, rosemary (or a combination)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground  pepper

In a mortar and pestle (or in a food processor) mince garlic/scallions, and chiles and mash to a paste with 1/4 teaspoon salt, then whisk together with orange and lime juices,  honey, mixed herbs, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt.
Add oil in a slow  stream, whisking until well blended, and whisk in pepper.

Garden Spring Salad
Serves 4

Spring is the optimal time of year for a body cleansing. Much of the more feisty slightly bitter young greens are especially beneficial along with radishes, daikon and cucumber. Use this as the base salad and add more fresh vegetables as they come in season.

2 cups young spicy greens
1 cup thinly sliced radishes or grated daikon
1 thinly sliced yellow bell pepper
4 thin asparagus, lightly steamed & sliced 2Ó lengths
1 cucumber, very thinly sliced
Citrus Vinaigrette
4 cups garden greens

Directions:
In a medium bowl mix the spicy greens, radishes,bell pepper, asparagus, cucumber, and just enough Citrus Vinaigrette to moisten. Line plates with the garden greens and top with the tossed veggie mixture serve more vinaigrette on the side.

Recipes by Lady Calvert 2006


Strawberry time!

We have ripe strawberries, ready for you-pick.  We'll be including strawberries in your share, but one quart really isn't enough. You should definitely plan to find your way to the farm at least a few times in the next four weeks and pick to your heart's content.  We're not at peak ripeness yet--most of the berries you find are sweet but under-ripe.  So your first share of strawberries might need a few days on your counter to reach their maximum potential. If you're picking large quantities for jam, I recommend waiting a week more. 

And just a quick note for Saturday members--you should have received an email that there WILL be a share this Saturday, May 20.  It turns out your greens grew better than we had expected.  Nice surprise, eh?


First Week of May

The first week of May was a busy one. Seeding, transplanting, weeding, cultivating, and so on.  Much of the time was spent on laying drip tape to irrigate many of our crops. This can be a time consuming process. Besides making all the connections, it involves holding the drip tape by hand and walking down each row and making sure the tape is properly placed along the row. To give you an idea, one of our brassica fields has 33 rows that add up to a total of 6,900 row/feet. That's more than 1.3 miles of drip tape in that one field.

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Cassie gives Kenji a welcome interruption from his work. Kenji was connecting drip tape to an irrigation hose.

We also increased the size of the herb garden by the Wash Station. There will be some herbs this season, but it would be in a couple of years or so when the newly planted perennials reach an acceptable size.

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Dave working on a foot path between the herb beds, while Kenji and Carrie are figuring out what to plant in one of the newly dug beds.

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Gail Taylor digging out garlic chives to move them to a new location. Gail was a frequent volunteer last year and now we are very happy that she is part of this year's farm staff.

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Susan Topping and Janie Hill-Williams seeding trays for one of Susan's projects at the farm. Susan works for the Capital Area Foodbank and Janie is a Clagett Farm volunteer.


Volunteers and Worksharers

One of the nice things of spring and early summer is to once again see the faces of volunteers from previous years back at the farm.  Several veterans from previous seasons have come back and we are sure to see more of them as the growing season progresses. We are always happy to see old friends willing to labor and sweat alongside us. And not only old friends. New volunteers willing to experience some farm work are always welcome. This spring we already met several eager volunteers who have managed to come to the farm more than once. Keep in mind that when vegetables are available for harvest you can work for your share. For four hours of labor "worksharers" get the equivalent of what our paying shareholders get in that week's share. A few of our hardcore shareholders sometimes also work for a share. In those weeks they get two shares--one paid for and the other worked for.

To read Pat Burke's last year's piece on her own experience as a volunteer, click on On Volunteering at Clagett Farm. You can also read Tina Shane's 2004 post, Musings of a Worksharer.

If you are thinking about it, give it a try! Bring a water bottle and comfortable clothes that you don't mind getting quite dirty--clothes with which you would not hesitate to sit or kneel on the ground. We are quite flexible, but if this is your first time it's better if you arrive sometime between 9:00 AM and 12:00 PM. If you want directions or other info, send an email to "Clagett at cbf.org" or call 301.627.4662.


May 9-13: the goodies in your first share

Next week we begin!
If you're a CSA member, I hope you've received our email alerting you that Tuesday 5/9, Wednesday 5/10 and Saturday 5/13 are the first pick-up days for our CSA.  If you didn't receive it, TELL US, because we also included a member handbook with lots of information we want to give you to start the season.

Here's what we hope to have in your first share:
A selection of lettuce, spinach, young kale and collards, and baby mustard mix.  We have small amounts of arugula, tat soi and asparagus, so you will probably get an option of one of those, and then the others in future weeks. 
We'll also have popcorn and dried chiles from last year, tomato, pepper and basil seedlings, garlic scallions and some herbs (including oregano,  mint and anise hyssop).

The spring is an exciting taste of things to come, but never as abundant as summer and fall.  We had the choice of saving half our harvest for the following week, or picking it all at once for one larger share.  We chose the latter, since sometimes our customers tell us they don't want to drive to the farm for a small amount of food.  So we will NOT harvest the week of May 16-20.  We're skipping a week to let your greens re-grow and we'll start again May 23rd.  By the time you come back, we'll have strawberries! 


Book signing party--join us!

You're invited to the Capital Area Food Bank's first Grub Party!

Join us at Vegetate Restaurant in DC on Thursday May 18th to celebrate the release of Anna Lappé and Bryant Terry's new book, Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen.

Over half of the proceeds will go toward helping Clagett Farm raise and distribute food to low-income families. 

Anna will give a short address and book signing during the event.

Please visit the Capital Area Food Bank website at http://capitalareafoodbank.org/events/GrubPartyatVegetate_0506.cfm to learn more about the event and purchase tickets.

Hope to see you there!

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Upside Down Tomatoes

Have you ever seen tomatoes growing upside down? If not, you may see some in our high tunnel below the wash station. Carrie decided to experiment and see how they'll turn out. The plants are small now, but we hope that later in the summer you'll enjoy some of our big beef and sun gold (which are tiny) upside down tomatoes. The vast majority of our tomatoes are grown the normal way and they'll be maturing somewhat later than the high tunnel upside down tomatoes.
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Here we see Dave Vernon installing the irrigation hose for the upside down tomatoes. The fact that Dave is a tall and handy fellow made him perfect for the job. We put up the tomatoes the day before, a job that provided a good work out for arms and shoulders.