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October 2010

Meet Your Farmers: Anna

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Here's the latest in our series of interviews with Clagett staff and volunteers. Meet Anna, a member of the seasonal farm staff who works with the vegetables. She's originally from Annapolis and this is her first year as a full-time farmer at Clagett.

How did you come to work with Clagett?
I volunteered here in the summer of 2005 when I was just starting to get interested in farming; when I decided I wanted to move back to the area, working at Clagett was my first choice and I was lucky enough to get hired!

What do you do when you're not working with Clagett?
Cook; read; think; spend time with my friends; dance.  Last winter I traveled around New Zealand wwoofing, where I worked on farms in exchange for room and board. This winter...looms.

What foods are you most excited about at the farm this year?
Most of my favorite foods have come and gone - eggplant, tomatoes, I guess we're still feasting on garlic. Really I love just about everything we grow.

Any favorite recipes or preparations using Clagett produce?
So far, I'm actually a big fan of our cabbage - I like to make lacto-fermented sauerkraut; coleslaw; fried cabbage with toasted almonds and raisins; it's a nice base for a variety of dishes.

Any particular vegetables you can't stand?
I'm not too fond of chicory; luckily, we don't grow any!  At least, not on purpose.  And I have yet to eat an okra dish that I honestly enjoyed.  But usually, I find all vegetables at their peak to be delicious.

What's the best part of working with a CSA?
It feels like one big theater production, in a way - you plan all winter, get everything as in order as possible, but then curtain goes up and stuff doesn't go as you expected but the show must go on!  You hang on and improvise and have a ball.  And, of course, the usual: knowing everybody's getting fresh vegetables; community building; working outside; farming organically - all kinds of good stuff.

What have you learned by working with Clagett that you think others would be surprised to know?
1.  Clagett has more barns than you can shake a stick at, all tucked away in the hills.
2.  Colored sharpie marker washes off - be warned! 
3.  If I'm going to be squishing bugs I prefer taking out asparagus beetles to potato bugs - the latter are full of orange bug juice that gets everywhere. 
4. What else...I had never tried mulberries before this May and they're amazing!

 

 

 

 


20th Share: Last Week for Eggplant and Ripe Tomatoes!

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Photo via Krossbow on Flickr

If you missed our post earlier today, we put up an ugpdate about the Potluck Fall Festival coming up on Saturday, October 9.  Get the full details.

And without further delay, here are the details on this week's share:

  • 1 head garlic
  • 2 lbs winter squash + potatoes
  • 1/2 lb swiss chard + sweet potato greens (the leaves and thin stems are edible)
  • 3/4 lb total green tomatoes + okra
  • 2 1/2 lb total eggplant + watermelon radish
  • Choice of 1 1/4 lb ripe tomatoes or 1/2 pound arugula

On U-Pick This Week

  • Chiles - Lots! Come and get them!
  • Cherry tomatoes - still hanging in there
  • Tomatillos - they're hidden between the rows of zinnias
  • Okra - please pick all you want, especially on non-harvest days
  • There's tons of basil - it's a little weedy, but you could pack your car easily.  If winter comes and your freezer isn't full of pesto, you should be embarrassed. 
  • A variety of herbs and flowers

A Preview of What's to Come

  • We hope to dig sweet potatoes this week (weather permitting) and they need to cure for a week, so we'll have them in 2 weeks.
  • More chard coming in 2 weeks.
  • This is the last week of winter squash.
  • We'll have potatoes at least once more coming up.
  • More Clagett salad greens in a few weeks. This week's greens come from Radix Farm (an organic farm nearby), who is supplying the lettuce and arugula.

Have any questions about this week's share? Recipes you plan to make this week? Let us know in the comments!


Potluck Fall Festival in 2 weeks--Saturday October 9, 2010

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Image via Krossbow on Flickr

Let's talk festival!

1) FREE:  We have considered charging an entrance fee so we could offer some more extravagant games or a moon bounce.  But inclusiveness is important to us, so we decided to keep the festival FREE and simple and open to everyone.  If you plan to eat, please do bring a dish to share.

2) SILENT AUCTION:  We'll have a silent auction at our fall festival.  We need your donations, or donations from your friends!  10 years ago we called this the Pie Auction.  Along that vein, consider making a pie or some other baked good.  Perhaps you can provide a service.  Perhaps you know someone associated with a business or performance that wants to auction something.  You can bring items to us at a CSA pick-up, or you can bring it to the festival itself.  This is not a flea market.  There is no need to bring us items that you think are worth less than $2.00.

3) POTLUCK:  Bring food to share.  We'll be eating at 2pm.  We'll supply the compostable cups, plates and flatware.  Is it lunch?  Is it dinner?  Is it dessert?  Whatever you bring is what we'll eat. 

4) SCHEDULE:

  • 1:00pm:  CSA pick-up begins and continues until 4pm
  • 1:15pm:  1st hayride begins, includes visits to chickens and cows.
  • 1:30pm:  A walking tour of the area around the barns and run-off demonstration plots--all your farm questions answered.
  • 1:45pm:  Bluegrass band starts playing.  They tell us they welcome fellow musicians who wish to join in. 
  • 2:00pm:  Hayride and walking tours return, and we begin eating everyone's food. 
  • 2:45pm:  Silent Auction winners announced, money exchanged (cash or check).
  • 3:00pm:  2nd hayride, identical to the first. 
  • 4:00pm:  The end!

5) HAYRIDES AND WALKING TOUR: Do you have farming or gardening questions?  Do you want to learn more about all of the things we do on the farm?  Either the hayride or walking tour will be guided by farm staff who will happily tell you everything you want to know.  We're assuming hayrides will be dominated by kids, and so we're catering the walking tour to adults.  But of course both are welcome on both tours.  

6) MELWOOD MUMS FOR SALE:  Melwood is a community near us that serves people with developmental and intellectual disabilities.  They have greenhouses and will be selling lovely mums at very reasonable prices at our festival.   

We hope you'll come out and join us on October 9.  It's going to be a great day!


Recipe Ideas for Acorn Squash

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Photo via TheBittenWord.com

With Acorn Squash coming into the share, several of you might be looking for ways to use it.  Here are a handful of ideas.

What do you plan to do with yours?

Moroccan-Style Acorn Squash -- We made these last year and for meat-eaters, they're delicious.

Fig, Goat Cheese, and Acorn Squash Pizza -- These look great (and vegetarian)!

And here's a basic Roasted Acorn Squash that comes recommended from a Clagett partner: 

Acorn Squash
From Neo Soul 
by Lindsey Williams (grandson of the queen of soul food, Sylvia Woods, owner of the famed Sylvia’s Restaurant in Harlem) 
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

2 tablespoons brown sugar
Juice of one orange
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg, plus more for sprinkling
Zest of 1 orange
1 acorn squash, about 1 pound, halved and seeded

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium sauce pan, melt butter and brown sugar. Add orange juice. Stir well and remove from heat. Whisk in nutmeg, then the orange zest. Rub each half of the squash with the butter mixture, rubbing both the inner and outer portions. Place the squash on a baking sheet, flesh side down, and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until flesh begins to soften.

Using a brush, recoat the flesh side of the squash with the butter mixture. Return the squash, flesh side down, to the baking sheet, and continue to cook for about 45 minutes, until the squash collapses in the center. Remove the sheet from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. 

How will you use your winter squash?


19th Share: Sweet Potato Greens

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Photo via Krossbow on Flickr.

Here are the details on this week's share:

  • 1/4 lb basil + garlic
  • 1/2 lb sweet potato greens (see note below)
  • 2 lbs potatoes
  • up to 3 lbs winter squash (acorn + butternut)
  • 1/2 lb tomatoes OR 2 1/2 lb squash + peppers + okra

On U-Pick This Week

  • Chiles - lots
  • Cherry tomatoes - still hanging in there
  • Tomatillos - they're hidden between the rows of zinnias
  • Okra - please pick all you want, especially on non-harvest days
  • There's tons of basil - it's a little weedy, but you could pack your car easily.  If winter comes and your freezer isn't full of pesto, you should be embarrassed. 
  • A variety of herbs and flowers

A Preview of What's to Come

  • Eggplant will likely return next week, but peppers will be gone. These crops will alternate for the next few weeks. 
  • Next week is likely the last of the tomatoes, so we'll have some green tomatoes in the share.
  • More winter squash and potatoes are on the way.
  • We expect to have sweet potatoes in 2 weeks.
  • Our plantings for Fall greens & lettuces have to produced so far. Due to a dry August, the seeds are just sitting there.  We expect them to still produce greens that we can have in upcoming shares.

Don't Forget!

  • Our Fall Festival is next month--Saturday, October 9th.  Start thinking of what you might want to donate for the silent auction.

So What Do You Do with Sweet Potato Greens?

  • Sweet potato greens can be stir fried or sauteed as you would similar greens such as kale. The greens have three parts:  the leaf, the stem and a branch. You should eat and prepare only the leaves.  There's a good piece on Sweet Potato Greens that ran on the Washington Post blog in 2007.  Here's a basic Sweet Potato Greens recipe from their blog that can be customized to your own tastes:

Ad Hoc Sweet Potato Greens
Via Washington Post

Ingredients
vegetable oil of choice for sauteeing
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 chile pepper of choice, seeded and minced
1/4 pound sweet potato greens, thoroughly rinsed, stems removed
1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce

Method
Heat a skillet over medium heat and add enough oil to coat surface of pan. Add garlic, onion and chile, and allow to soften, about three-five minutes, making sure that vegetables don't burn.

Add greens, and with tongs, toss and coat well with aromatics. Allow to cook for at least five minutes, until greens wilt and soften. Add soy sauce just before serving.

Makes two-three side-dish servings.

Have any questions about this week's share? Recipes you plan to make this week? Let us know in the comments!


18th Share: Butternut Squash

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Photo via Krossbow on Flickr.

Here are the details on this week's share:

  • 1 big or 2 small butternut squash
  • 1 head garlic
  • 2 lbs potatoes
  • 2 lbs squash + eggplant (with a maximum 1 lb eggplant)
  • 1 lb peppers
  • 1/2 lb chard + okra
  • 1/2 lb tomatoes

On U-Pick This Week

  • Chiles - lots
  • Cherry tomatoes - still hanging in there
  • Tomatillos - they're hidden between the rows of zinnias
  • Beans - plenty, if you can find them under the morning glory weeds (field A3)
  • Okra - please pick all you want, especially on non-harvest days
  • There's tons of basil - it's a little weedy, but you could pack your car easily.  If winter comes and your freezer isn't full of pesto, you should be embarrassed. 
  • A variety of herbs and flowers

A Preview of Next Week

  • We expect to have acorn squash starting next week

Save the Date!

  • Our Fall Festival is next month--Saturday, October 9th.  Start thinking of what you might want to donate for the silent auction.

Have any questions about this week's share? Recipes you plan to make this week? Let us know in the comments!

 



17th Share: Pumpkins

This week's share:

1 head garlic

1 large pumpkin

5 pounds (summer) squash

1 1/2 pounds potatoes

1/2 pound peppers + beans

1 1/4 pounds tomatoes + okra

Dupont only: basil and chiles (people picking up at the farm have been u-picking these for months)

Our Fall Festival is next month--Saturday, October 9th.  Start thinking of what you might want to donate for the silent auction.

On U-Pick This Week

  • Chiles - lots
  • Cherry tomatoes - still hanging in there
  • Tomatillos - they're hidden between the rows of zinnias
  • Beans - plenty, if you can find them under the morning glory weeds (field A3)
  • Full-size tomatoes - the ones in D field are still on you-pick, but the pickings are meager
  • Okra - please pick all you want, especially on non-harvest days
  • There's tons of basil - it's a little weedy, but you could pack your car easily.  If winter comes and your freezer isn't full of pesto, you should be embarrassed. 
  • A variety of herbs and flowers

A Preview of Next Week

  • butternut and acorn squash soon

Have any questions about this week's share? Recipes you plan to make this week? Let us know in the comments!