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September 2008

Fall Festival approaches--September 27

This year we've planned the fall festival to be a bit earlier in the season than years past in order to take advantage of having some summer veggies, like tomatoes, for the pot luck, and we won't have to worry about cold weather. 

If this is your first year as a member at Clagett, the fall festival is a bit bigger than the spring festival.  The spring festival was a simple meet-and-greet--a chance to tour the farm and meet your fellow members.  At the fall festival, we invite a band, we eat a pot luck meal, and we auction off some items you've donated to help us fund the food we give away every year. 

So here's what we'd like you to do:
1.  Mark your calendars!  The festival will be 1-4pm Saturday September 27th, in the "Education Barn", which is the largest of the 3 barns in a row at the center of the farm. 
2.  None of our farm educators are available to do activities with your kids this year, so we would love it if any of you would be willing to volunteer to lead an activity.  It could last just 15 minutes at some point in the afternoon, or we could set up an activity for kids to do on their own throughout the afternoon as they wander by.  All ideas would be welcome.  We can provide tables and bales of straw. 
3.  Donate an item for our silent auction.  Already we've received donations of hand-knitted hats and a framed photograph from the farm.  Perhaps you would like to bake something, or you have access to some tickets to an event, or you can offer your services, or you make something special that people would like to buy. 
4. Invite your friends.  Everyone is welcome to the festival and it's free.  We'll have hay rides for everyone.  If there's anything else you would like to encourage us to do, please feel free to mention it to our staff.

Thanks everyone,
Farmer Carrie


Kathleen Davis--an update for those who know her

If you picked up your share at the farm on Saturdays last year, you probably know Kathleen as the warm,  generous, tall, broad-shouldered woman who was in charge of the pick-up with Emily Summerlot.  She doesn't like her picture to be taken, but you can spot her in the center of the pictures below from our archives.
Pic122006 Pic222006_3  
Kathleen began working with us in 2004 when she moved to the area to take care of her mother.  She is humble, organized, works constantly, she's always on time and follows through on her commitments, and I most admire her for her ability to make every human soul feel welcome and important.  This year she had to stop working with us because her mother's health worsened to the point that Kathleen couldn't leave her side. 

It looks like Kathleen's mother, Marie Smith, will not know the end of this week.  She is comfortable and getting great care at a Hospice facility in Arlington, where Kathleen is with her.

Kathleen's plans have always been to move back to Hawaii immediately after her mother's death.  She has promised to stop by the farm before she leaves, so if any of you who have become friends with her would like to leave any notes or messages, we would be happy to give them to her.  She has always been uplifted by her interactions with everyone at the farm and dearly misses your support, smiles and companionship.  I mentioned to Kathleen this evening how many people have been asking about her and she was surprised and touched and sends her thanks. 

-Carrie


Preserving your harvest--can you give lessons?

We have had a lot of inquiries from members this week about how to can their produce, ferment pickles, and other questions about preserving food.  Do you have a lot of experience canning?  When I say "can", I really mean sealing food in jars, which some people refer to, properly, as jarring.  Perhaps you would be willing to host an informal canning session in your home.  Some members have even mentioned they would be willing to pay for such a class. Or maybe you're a good person to ask about pickles. 

If you would like to offer your wisdom, comment at the end of this post on the weblog or tape up a note at your pick-up site.  We can look around for some large kitchens in your area (such as the Chesapeake Bay Foundation headquarters in Annapolis, or a soup kitchen in DC) if you would like to offer a lesson but prefer to give it outside of your home. 

We do have some basic information at the farm about storing, freezing and drying your vegetables and herbs, so feel free to ask us if you need some simple guidance. 

I just froze a few summer squash, dried some oregano and plan to freeze some bell peppers and beans, which are all fast and EASY.  So there's a lot you can do even when you're feeling busy.   

Thanks,
Carrie


Cucumbers!

We all breathed a deep sigh of relief with this week's ten-pound share. 
Since four of those pounds are cucumbers, I've been testing recipes.  Here is a nice relish that I've been adding to tacos.  Please comment on this post with your own favorite cucumber recipes (look for the small "Comments" link at the bottom of this post on the weblog). 

Sassy Corn and Cucumber Relish 
From Rolling Prairie Cookbook, by Nancy O'Connor
[Carrie's notes are in brackets.]

1 cup fresh corn kernels, steamed [I didn't think steaming was necessary.  Two of the large, "Luscious" ears were enough for one cup].
1 cucumber, seeded and diced
2 green onions, finely chopped [I used onion chives from the herb garden, instead]
2 teaspoons sugar or honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 to 4 teaspoons finely copped cilantro
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon dried red chili flakes
1 small hot pepper, seeded and minced

Mix all ingredients.  Refrigerate for several hours to allow flavors to blend.
Serves 8 to 10 as a condiment. 

Corncuke_relish_3

Don't forget to post a cucumber recipe you've enjoyed this week!

-Carrie