Previous month:
June 2010
Next month:
August 2010

Meet Your Farmers: Emily + Learn About Our Partnership with Capital Area Food Bank

As you may already be aware, our CSA not only supplies great produce to members, but also has a social mission through "From the Ground Up," a partnership with the Capital Area Food Bank.

The program ensures that more people in the DC metro area have access to healthy, affordable, sustainably grown produce. To that end, FGU runs the Fresh Produce Food Grant Program, a grant program that provides the same produce you enjoy every week to people of low-income throughout the DC metro area.

The FGU Fresh Produce Grant is administered by the Capital Area Food Bank and provides Clagett’s fresh produce to partner organizations throughout the metro area. A guaranteed 40% of the produce grown at Clagett farm goes to feed low-income people every season. This year nine hard-working partners applied for and were awarded the grant, and with it the chance to provide fresh, local food to their clients through meal programs and food distributions. Their clients are hungry kids in aftercare programs, working families, homeless men and women, and people who struggle with terminal illness. In other words, these are the folks who could really use a great meal composed in part of healthy produce packed with nutrients. More info about sharing the harvest is available at the Capital Area Food Bank website.

Emilyclagett The coordinator of the From the Ground Up Produce Grant for the last year has been Emily, a North Carolina native who now lives at Eastern Market. Her time with the farm wraps up in mid-August.

What's your role on the Clagett team?
I coordinate the From the Ground Up Fresh Produce Grant. This means I coordinate the part of the Clagett CSA that goes non-profit feeding programs who are Fresh Produce Grant recipients from the Capital Area Food Bank.  

What kinds of agencies receive Clagett produce?
We have 9 main recipients this year: Allen Chapel AME, Bread For The City, Carl Vogel Center, Damien Ministries, Father McKenna Center, Martha’s Table, Miriam’s Kitchen, True Vine Center, and Western Fairfax Christian Ministries.

How did you come to work with Clagett? 
After graduating from college at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I decided to do a year of service and applied to Brethren Volunteer Service, or BVS. BVS is similar to many other religious volunteer service programs that invite young adults to serve different communities all over the world. BVS placed me in Washington, DC working for the food bank. 

Continue reading "Meet Your Farmers: Emily + Learn About Our Partnership with Capital Area Food Bank" »


More Zucchini Ideas From Our Members. Plus, Ideas for Eggplant?

IMG_3897 We got some great comments from our members about new ideas for zucchini. They were so great, in fact, that I've collected them below.

With five pounds of eggplant in this week's share, many of us will no doubt be looking for new ways to use it. Do you have a favorite eggplant recipe? Post a comment or email them to me, and we'll feature them on a round-up here on the blog. 

Now on to your zucchini ideas!

(Photo via TheBittenWord.com)

Continue reading "More Zucchini Ideas From Our Members. Plus, Ideas for Eggplant? " »


11th CSA Share: Beans, Eggplant and Peppers

Beans
Photo via Kolaleh Eskandanian over on our Facebook page

Here's what you'll find in this week's share.

1 head garlic

5 lbs eggplant

2 lbs squash

3 lbs total tomatoes and peppers

1 lb total cucumbers, beans and okra

Choice of 3 ears of corn or 1 melon

On U-Pick This Week

  • Swiss Chard
  • Eggplant
  • Chiles
  • Green tomatoes (up to 3 max per week)
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Herbs (Thai basil, basil, sorrel, thyme, lemon balm, cutting celery, mint, anise, hyssop, garlic chives, onion chives, lavender, sage with blossoms, and dill). 
  • Flowers

A Preview of Next Week

  • No big changes next week! 

Have any questions about this week's share? Recipes you plan to make this week? 

Let us know in the comments!


August Activities: Canning, Food Storage, Herb Walk

As we approach the half way mark in our CSA season, I'm happy to share with our members some exciting activities being offered by a few wonderful volunteers.

Susan Sanders, a long time CSA member and avid home canner, is returning with her introductory workshop to canning. As a testimonial to her calm and easy approach to canning, I can say that I was so embolden by the workshop last year that this season I picked 40lbs of strawberries and stuffed them all into jars. (Just a side note: I didn't harvest the 40lbs from Clagett - you can blame the deer for the fewer pints. Maybe they've taken up canning, hiding Ball jars in the woods like stills in the mountains?).

Workshops will focus on high acid canning appropriate to pickles, chutneys, jams, and relishes. They will be held at her Dupont home - Sundays, August 8th and 22nd from 2 to 5pm and Tuesday, August 17th from 6:30 to 8:30 (Susan lives just a block from the Dupont pick-up, so you could easily stop by for your share then go over for the workshop). There will be a $5 per person collection to cover the cost of materials. Each workshop will cover the same information so please send an email to Clagettfarm@cbf.org with your 1st and 2nd choice of date. We'll send you a confirmation and address. Space is limited!


Mary Dallavalle, a registered dietitian and experienced food storage instructor, will be leading a workshop on food storage
with a focus on freezing and other food storage methods useful for small batches. This will be a great chance to find out how to make that eggplant last into fall and also get a head start on preserving our fall brassicas (think kale - round 2) and winter squash. This workshop will be conveniently located at the washing station on Saturday, August 14th at 3:30pm until 4:30ish. No reservations are required, but there will be a $1 collection to cover the cost of materials. If you would like to attend the workshop, please arrive around 3pm so you can pick up your share before the workshop begins.

And on a different note, Holly Poole-Kavana, an herbalist who runs the Little Red Bird Herbal CSA, will be leading an Herb Walk at Clagett farm on August 21st from 3 to 4pm. She will talk about edible and medicinal plants growing wild around the farm, providing information about their various uses and how to identify and harvest them. The walk begins at the washing station and is free for all CSA members. No reservation required, but please arrive a few minutes early to pick up your share before the walk begins.

Please note: All of these activities are informal classes offered by friends of the farm who are happy to share their knowledge and experience in various fields with others. Please use all information at your own risk.

See you at farm!

-Anne


Meet Your Farmers: Carrie

We thought it might be fun to profile some of the folks who make the CSA possible, be they full time staff, dedicated volunteers, or behind the scenes folks you might not know about.  Here's our first farmer profile, featuring Carrie (pictured right in the photo below), a native of Arlington, VA, who manages the vegetable operation on the farm.

Carrie2 How did you come to work with Clagett?

I first came to the farm as a volunteer.  I studied Biology in college and hoped to do agricultural research as a career.  I came to Clagett thinking that a little time on a farm would help me become a better researcher.  But what I really learned was that we have plenty of people talking about the “right” way to farm, and not enough people putting it into action.  So I never left!

How long have you been involved with Clagett?

My first day as a volunteer was in May of 1998.  I became an intern here that June 1998, and then the grower in 2001. 

What do you do when you're not working with Clagett?

I have a wonderful little daughter to play with. I try to keep my house in some kind of order.  I occasionally try to revive my cooking skills (sadly, I either have lots of food and no time to cook it, or vice versa).  And I spend about six weekends a year leading Alternatives to Violence workshops at a women’s prison in Jessup, Maryland.

What foods are you most excited about at the farm this year?

Oh my goodness, the onions!  Amazing!  We’ve never been so lucky.
 
Any favorite recipes or preparations using Clagett produce?

Anything I can eat raw (yay peas!), anything prepared for me by someone else, and Deborah’s chocolate zucchini cake (the recipe is in One United Harvest, which we have at the washing station).

 Any particular vegetables you can't stand?

Am I allowed to say that out loud?  I think I’m supposed to be a cheerleader for everything.  But if you want my honest opinion, its turnip greens, followed closely by the whole purple-top turnip.  It’s a crime that they are so easy to grow while carrots are such a horrible nuisance.  I could toss turnip seeds over my shoulder as an afterthought and end up with 1,000 pounds, whereas carrots have to be weeded and thinned and weeded again and irrigated and fussed over to no end, and they still might get bitter on me if I’m not careful.  Thank goodness for hakurei turnips, which are not as delicious as carrots, but still tasty and much easier to grow.

What's the best part of working with a CSA?

Hands down, it’s the great people I get to work with and serve every week.  We have volunteers who come every week and bust their rear ends to help us, and they are funny, competent, inspiring people.  And our customers show up excited and grateful.  Even when we screw up or we’re late or foul-tempered, everyone is so forgiving.  And when we need something, be it a microwave or some baby clothes or a glass of lemonade, someone brings it.  I feel so supported.   

What have you learned by working with Clagett that you think others would be surprised to know?

It’s tough work, but you can do it.  I’m barely 5’3”, I grew up in the suburbs and never even had a garden before coming here.  I was always a terrible athlete in school, and I kill every plant I try to grow in my house.  Seriously, if I can do it, you can do it. 


New Ideas for Zucchini: Zucchini Strands with Mint

I IMG_3836 happened to be listening to The Splendid Table on my way to pick up this week's share and heard a recipe that sounded great.

It was Zucchini Strands with Mint (recipe below) -- a new take on zucchini by slicing it very thin like spaghetti, sauteeing it with garlic and then tossing it with mint. Definitely an interesting way to use the vegetable that I'll be trying to do something new with the vegetable.

What are you doing with this week's vegetables? I'd love to hear your ideas!

-- Clay

Zucchini Strands with Mint
Adapted from The Herbfarm Cookbook by Jerry Traunfeld, via The Splendid Table
4 servings

    •    2 small to medium zucchini squash (1 pound)
    •    1/2 teaspoon salt
    •    1 tablespoon unsalted butter or olive oil
    •    1 clove garlic, finely chopped
    •    2 tablespoons finely shredded fresh spearmint
    •    Freshly ground black pepper

Cutting and salting the zucchini: Cut the stems and bottom tips off the zucchini and slice them on a mandoline or other vegetable slicer into long spaghetti-like strips, about 1/8 inch wide and 1/8 inch thick. Toss them with the salt in a medium mixing bowl, then transfer them to a fine sieve or colander and set it over the mixing bowl. Let the zucchini sit for 15 minutes at room temperature, then gently squeeze it in your hands to extract some of the water. It will give off at least 1/2 cup.

Sautéing: Melt the butter in a large (12-inch) skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic to the pan and stir until it loses its raw fragrance but is not browned, less than 1 minute. Add the zucchini and mint and toss with tongs just until heated through, about 1 minutes. Taste and season with pepper.

Herb Substitutions: In place of the mint, use an equal amount of shredded basil, lemon balm, or perilla.

Photo above via TheBittenWord.com


10th CSA Share: Here comes the squash & eggplant!

4522331650_4062b5e229_o
(Photo via Omar)

Here's what you'll find in this week's share.

1 head garlic

5 lbs combo squash and eggplant

1/2 lb peppers

2 1/2 lbs combo tomatoes and green onions

On U-Pick This Week

  • Swiss Chard
  • Eggplant
  • Green onions
  • Chiles
  • Green tomatoes (up to 3 max per week)
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Herbs (Thai basil, basil, sorrel, thyme, lemon balm, cutting celery, mint, anise, hyssop, cilantro, garlic chives, onion chives, flowering lavender, sage with blossoms, and dill). There is also a new crop of basil in the field.
  • Flowers (there are especially a lot of zinias and sunflowers)

A Preview of Next Week

  • We'll start introducing okra and cucumbers next week.
  • We thought that beans and corn would be ready for this week, but they're not quite there. We hope to have them next week.

Have any questions about this week's share? Recipes you plan to make this week? 

Let us know in the comments!


Meet the Team: Clay

Starting this week, we're going to be profiling individuals who work for and volunteer for Clagett to make the CSA happen each year.  We'll also hear from a handful of people associated with the farm through other programs you might not know about.

Since I'm the one who has been badgering our farmers for interviews, I'll bite the bullet and introduce myself first.  Here's a short interview profiling me -- Clay. 

What's your role on the Clagett team?   IMG_7516

I'm volunteering with the farm this year helping with communications to our CSA subscribers. I'm writing most of the blog entries, helping others with their posts and maintaining the Facebook page.

Where do you live now and where are you originally from?

My partner Zach and I live in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of DC.  I'm originally from Western Kentucky.

How did you come to work with Clagett? 

We started subscribing to the CSA four seasons ago and have loved it every year. When the call went out for volunteers this spring, I thought this might be a good way to help out.

What do you do when you're not working with Clagett?

I've just started a new job, where I'm the Online Community Director for Share Our Strength, a national non-profit working to end childhood hunger in America. For fun, Zach and I also write a food blog called The Bitten Word, which is one reason you see a lot of our photos on the blog this year. Speaking of, if you have photos, submit them! I'd love to use them for the Clagett blog.

What foods are you most excited about at the farm this year?

I'm so excited about summer squash and tomatoes. I can't wait to dig into a big ol' tomato!

Any favorite recipes or preparations using Clagett produce?

We make a Tomato, Zucchini and Eggplant bake that I really love and can't wait to make again this year.

Any particular vegetables you can't stand?

I really struggle with eggplant. I'm always looking for ideas on how to use it. There is only so much baba ganoush we can eat! So if you have eggplant ideas, send them my way!

What's your favorite part of working with Clagett?

I really look forward to Tuesdays when I call the farm to see what's in the share, so I can update the blog and Facebook page. It's so exciting to hear what's coming that week.

What have you learned by working with Clagett that you think others would be surprised to know?

There are so many people involved in the farm. When I first pitched the idea of interviewing staff and volunteers here on the blog, I was surprised when a list of nearly 30 names came back.  I hope you'll love hearing about the work they do.


9th CSA Share: Zucchini and Tomatoes

IMG_3023

And we're back!

Last week was a busy one at the farm. Though we didn't pick for a share, the staff did a lot of prep work to get the fields in shape and prepare for the rest of summer. Big fields of okra, beans, squash and cucumbers were weeded.  Two of three fields of tomatoes were trellised and a lot of Mexican bean beetles were vanquished! 

Here's what you'll find in this week's share.

2 lbs summer squash

3 lbs eggplant

1 lb Swiss chard

1 head garlic

1/4 lb green onions

1 bulb onion

3/4 lb tomatoes

1/2 lb bell peppers

On U-Pick This Week

  • Zucchini
  • Green onions
  • Chiles
  • Green tomatoes (up to 3 max per week)
  • Starting Saturday, we will also be adding cherry tomatoes to the U-Pick list.
  • Herbs (Thai basil, basil, sorrel, thyme, lemon balm, cutting celery, mint, anise, hyssop, cilantro, garlic chives, onion chives, flowering lavender, sage with blossoms, and dill)
  • Flowers

A Preview of Next Week

  • We'll start introducing beans and corn next week.
  • There will be no bulb onions next week.

Have any questions about this week's share? Recipes you plan to make this week? 

Let us know in the comments!


Have Your Clagett Photos Featured on the Blog

IMG_3488 We'd love to feature more photos from our CSA members here on the blog.

If you're snapping photos of your produce after you get home or taking your camera along on a trip to the farm, we'd love it if you allowed us permission to feature them within our posts and updates.

There are two ways to submit photos:

1. Add them to our Facebook Page. In the Photos tab of our page, click "Upload photos" and submit them here. In the caption, please include how you should be credited when we use the images.

2. Email them to Clay, who is volunteering with us this season and writing most of our blog posts. In the email, please include how you want to be credited.

If you have any questions about this, feel free to post them in the comments. And thanks in advance for submitting photos!

Photo via TheBittenWord.com