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October 2009
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December 2009

Upcoming conferences on farming, gardening, sustainable agriculture and landscaping

We have 2 great conferences coming up that may be of interest to the Clagett Farm community.

1. Let’s Talk Turkey About Conservation Landscaping
 “Turning a New Leaf” Conference
Friday, December 4, at George Washington University in Washington, DC.
for details and registration information.

Give thanks that the Chesapeake Conservation Landscaping Council and George Washington University’s Landscape Design Program are putting on the best Sustainable Landscaping conference ever on Friday, December 4 (until the next one in 2011 anyway).
Turn a New Leaf and don’t procrastinate – Register Now!

At the table will be landscaping professionals, policy makers and educators talking turkey about sustainable landscaping practices in the Chesapeake Bay region.  The Honorable Anthony Williams will open the conference talking about D.C.’s green initiatives.  Concurrent sessions will cover sustainable design, selling green, getting it done with local governments, and urban ecology and new technologies.  Eric Eckl, founder of Water Words that Work will close the conference with a talk on “The World Outside: What They Say About Why Your Work Matters.”

For the same price as in 2007, $105, you can eat up not just breakfast and lunch but also knowledge picked up at the EcoMarketplace, and information from educational displays.  Relax and exchange stories at the post-conference reception featuring wines poured by Black Ankle Vineyards. (sorry, no beer or football).

2. 2010 Future Harvest  - CASA Annual Conference

The 2010 Future Harvest - CASA Annual Conference will be held January 15 & 16, at the National Conservation Training Center (NCTC) in Shepherdstown, WV.  There will be a variety of seminars concerning farming regulations and food policy, urban and community agriculture, farmers markets and CSAs, and sustainable farming practices.  Speakers include CBF’s own Michael Heller, keynote speaker Kathy Ozer of the National Family Farm Coalition, numerous local farmers, and representatives of the USDA, US Fish and Wildlife, and MD Department of Agriculture.  Registration deadline is Dec. 15, 2009. Conference schedule and registration information are available on the website at:

Thank you,
Marcy Damon
Grassroots Restoration Coordinator, Chesapeake Bay Foundation
443-482-2156 or

Rob Schnabel
Maryland Watershed Restoration Scientist, Chesapeake Bay Foundation
443-482-2175 or

Mulching help welcome

Can you believe all this rain?  The waterlogged soil has been preventing us from finishing our last big field task--mulching the garlic.  Over the next few weeks, Joe and I will spread about 180 bales of straw over the last third of our garlic field.  The mulch will protect the garlic from wide temperature and moisture fluctuations and deter weeds until we harvest the garlic in June.  

We can't mulch while it's raining or the day after a rain, and we won't be mulching on Thanksgiving day, so that delays us until Friday at the earliest.  It will take at least a week to finish.  If any of you would like to join us on any day, please do!    Call our volunteer line--301-537-3038 to let us know.

Mulch creates a lot of dust, so if you are sensitive to dust but still want to volunteer, be sure to bring a face mask. 

Here's some a few of our mulching photos from 2006 and 2003:
2006 mulching
2003 mulching


Survey reminder

Just a reminder to all of our CSA members--send back those surveys!  41% of you have already responded, which is terrific.
In case you didn't get our original email, here is a link to the survey.  Using this link, your answers will be completely anonymous: 2009 Clagett CSA member survey
The staff will be meeting tomorrow evening to gather some initial ideas about how much of each crop we'll plant next year, so the sooner you respond, the more impact your opinions will have on our plans. 
In early December, we'll post the survey results on this blog (without any respondents' names or contact information, of course). 

On an unrelated note, we've seen many happy gleaners these past few days!  We still have salad greens and cooking greens (especially if you like cooking broccoli leaves), herbs, and some celery that's appropriate for cooking.  And we still have mushrooms for sale ($8/lb here, $10/lb delivered).

Hope to hear from you soon, if we haven't already!

Shiitake Mushrooms for Sale

Some of our mushroom logs fruited just after the last CSA pick-up, so we're offering the mushrooms to you at a discounted price: $8.00 per pound.  Pick them up when you come to glean.  If you don't see someone here when you arrive, call us (301-646-0282) and someone will meet you at the washing station.  We have 20 pounds--first come, first served.  We can deliver a minimum of 5 pounds if you pay $10/pound and you're not too far out of our way.

What's available to glean from our fields

CSA members, agencies serving the hungry and regular worksharers are welcome to glean whatever remains in our fields beginning tomorrow, Friday November 20th.  Harvest a salad for your Thanksgiving dinner!  We have drawn a map of the farm on the white board at the washing station, and we have a number of laminated maps that you can take with you to the fields. 

Here's a list of what's available:

  • kale (plenty)
  • hakurei turnips (lots of small ones)
  • scarlet queen turnips (small)
  • cherriette radishes
  • watermelon radishes (small)
  • collards (a little)
  • spicy mix (plenty)
  • arugula
  • bok choi (small ones)
  • yokatta na
  • tat soi
  • pizzo mustard
  • mibuna
  • mizuna
  • lettuce
  • swiss chard (small leaves)
  • cabbages that haven't headed yet
  • broccoli raab (lots of leaves)
  • broccoli and cauliflower (lots of leaves, not many florets)
  • celery (good for cooking, but too tough to eat raw)
  • stinging nettle (bring gloves!)
  • lemon balm
  • parsley
  • Russian tarragon
  • dill
  • cilantro (lots)
  • onion chives
  • stevia (dry the leaves and use as a non-calorie sweetener)
  • oregano and mint (they are growing into each other, so taste them if you can't tell them apart)
  • lavender (leaf only--no flowers)
  • anise hyssop (leaf only)
  • sorrel

Some guidelines:

  • Bring your own bags and knives for harvesting.
  • Please drive ONLY on the paved parts of the driveway.  It's been very wet, and we do not want your vehicles to slide around and get stuck.
  • Some of the fields are only accessible by hiking up a hill.  Please wear appropriate footwear. 
  • There are little bits of things scattered in various fields, and it will take some time to gather what you want.  (After all, if it were easy to harvest a lot of it, we would have put it in your share!) 
  • There are deer hunters in the woods these days.  They only hunt within an hour of sunrise and sunset, so if you expect to be in the fields at that time, it is wise to wear bright colors.  Also, if you bring a dog, please keep the dog in your sight and don't let it run around in the woods where it could be mistaken for a deer.   

Have fun!


Our summary of your 2009 season

We'll be emailing our year-end survey questions to you shortly, so we summarized the season to help jog your memory and give you a sense of our perspective.  

Overall, we felt good about the season. There was a lot of variety in the shares all season, we had a bumper crop of potatoes, and when late blight struck the mid-Atlantic region we were relieved that our tomatoes survived until the end of the summer.  We also had a steady amount of salad in the spring (mostly lettuce) and fall (mostly spicy mix).

Our disappointments this season were that the shares were on the light side, so a larger household or a vegetarian one would have needed to buy a lot of extra produce.  Also, we learned from a few mistakes that cost most of our sweet potatoes (we planted in a wet field) and beans (we didn't release the bean beetle predator soon enough).  The year was cooler and wetter than average, so plants in the cucurbit family suffered more.  We had plenty of summer squash, not quite enough melons, and almost no cucumbers or winter squash

A few changes we made thanks to previous years' surveys:

  • In the past few years we've planted some perennials--rhubarb, asparagus and mushrooms --which will continue to increase their production each year.  
  • We tried celery for the first time, but it was a miserable failure.
  • We made the double-skip option a permanent feature so everyone could double their shares in exchange for skipping the previous or following one.   
  • We gave more choices in the share this year, so you could avoid some items and take more of the ones you like. 
  • We did a better job of emailing a list of what was in the share every week.  Our listserve stopped working, so we couldn't send it to our worksharers and other interested folks, but that's easy to fix for next year.  We know many of you want to know sooner what will be in your share each week, but that has been especially tough for us to predict.
  • We bought a new scale for the Dupont pick-up, but then one broke, so we're back down to two.  That's easy to replace, but there's not much we can do to alleviate the tight space--we're generously given free use of two parking spots but no more.   

You received an average of 6.2 pounds per member per week this year.  Rather than list what was in the share each week, we have merged the weeks into groups by season:

Average early spring share: 4 pounds

  • bunch of garlic scallions or scapes
  • 1/3 pound lettuce (or other salad greens)
  • 1-2 pounds kale (or other cooking greens, incl. cabbage)
  • 1/4 - 1/2 pound carrots, asparagus, kohlrabi, turnips, radishes, broccoli, sugar snap peas, rhubarb [varied from week to week]
  • 1 pint strawberries (first two weeks only, along with a little you-pick)
  • herbs and flowers

Average late spring share: 5.75 pounds

  • garlic (1 or 2 heads)
  • 1/2 pound total combined lettuce, broccoli, spring onions, chard, chiles, or a pint of sungold tomatoes
  • 1.5 pounds total combined bok choi, cabbage, turnips, beans
  • 1.25 pounds popcorn or zucchini

Average summer shares: 10 pounds

  • 1 head of garlic
  • 3 pounds of tomatoes
  • 3 pounds of potatoes
  • 2 pounds, total combined summer squash, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers
  • 3 ears of corn or 1 melon
  • ½ pound total, combined chard, chiles, beans, okra

Average late summer shares: 7.5 pounds

  • 1 head garlic
  • 1 pound tomatoes or 3 ears corn or 1 melon
  • 2 pounds potatoes
  • 1.5 pounds, total combined summer squash, peppers, eggplant
  • 1/2 pound, total combined okra, cucumbers, beans, salad greens, chiles
  • 1 winter squash (acorn or carnival)

Average fall shares: 4.5 pounds

  • 1 head garlic (or loose cloves)
  • 1 pound sweet potatoes or winter squash
  • 1 pound kale/collards/ chard/ turnip greens or 1 head cabbage or bok choi
  • 1.25 pounds, total combined summer squash, peppers, eggplant
  • 1/4 pound salad greens (each week was a choice between 4-7 different mustards, mild and spicy)
  • 1 pound daikon or watermelon radish or 1 bunch cheriette radish or 1 bunch carrots


If you would like to read a more thorough review of the season, here's a link to Gail's end-of-season summary

Stay tuned for our post this coming Thursday of what's available in the fields to glean. 


-Carrie and Gail