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June 2011
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August 2011

U-Pick Tomatoes!

CSA members and current worksharers, you may now pick all you want from the tomato field (field D, in front of the barns).  Hooray!

You'll see we have labeled the varieties and indicated what color they should be when they are ripe.  There are some chiles planted between them and the barns, which you may also pick.  They are just beginning to ripen, and they are not labeled.  If you're curious about variety names, staff can identify them for you. 

We don't know how long the tomatoes will be on the u-pick list.  There's no reason to suspect we'll have to stop you anytime soon, but it's always hard to guess.  We'll keep you updated on this blog, and on the dry-erase board at the washing station.  Worksharers, as always you are welcome to u-pick, as well, during the weeks when you take a share.  

So far the plants look terrific.  We were worried when we lost a lot of tomato seedlings in the greenhouse--we don't have as many planted as we normally do.  But the plants are taller and more productive than normal, so we're thrilled.  You would never guess they haven't had a drop of irrigation.

Thanks to volunteer help from the staff and faculty at Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, we have just pounded in fallen stakes and re-twined some of the super-tall plants.  It was a lot of work on a very hot day to make all the aisles passable, so PLEASE do not lean on the stakes, and do not climb over the rows.  We don't want all those stakes to fall over again! 

We recommend beginning with the rows nearest the barns.  We always start picking from the other side of the field, so the ones nearest the barns have been harvested least.  Also, there are more sun gold cherry tomatoes on that side.  They are, in my humble opinion, the sweetest tomatoes in the world, and the plants are just dripping with them.  I can hardly tear my three-year-old daughter away!  The row-and-a-third nearest the barns and chiles are not labeled because there are so many varieties mixed together.  We're hoping a little mystery will add to your fun. 

If you find your hand near a weed, such as pigweed, morning glory or sedge grass, please feel free to pull them out.  Thank you!  We appreciate it!

Some varieties you might want to try:

  • Opalka Paste, Goldman's Italian American and Roma:  bred for making sauce
  • Striped German:  most frequently requested by our CSA members
  • Hillbilly and Sioux:  purchased by your fellow CSA member, Fred Delventhal, so we could try them.  What do you think? 
  • Garden Peach and Wapsinicon Peach (identical varieties, as far as I can tell):  mild, low-acid; my favorite breakfast tomato

Happy picking, canning, freezing, saucing and eating!

-Carrie

 

 


This Week's Share: Tomatoes, Melons and More

IMG_4931
(This photo via TheBittenWord.com)

 

Happy Tuesday!

At the end of this post, we've included a lengthy update about many crops, so that you can have an idea of what to expect in the coming weeks and months. Much of what we expect to provide is dependent upon rain. The farm needs it! During yesterday's storms, the farm didn't receive any measurable rain. So when you see that weather forecast, root for rain! 

And now, here's what you'll find in this week's CSA Share:
  • 1/2 pound combination of carrots, basil, garlic, or okra
  • 2 1/2 pounds tomatoes or 1 melon (cantaloupe)
  • 1 pound combination peppers + cucumbers
  • 2 1/2 pounds total eggplant + squash

On U-Pick this week:

  • New: Beans. We have large amounts of beans. They're a little on the tough side, but plentiful. 
  • Peas. They're not plentiful, but they're still available. 
  • Swiss chard, kale and collards. There aren't great quantities of these items and the kale and collards are a bit bitter, but they're available. You can't drive to the field and it will be a muddy walk, but they're available. Wear sturdy shoes!
  • Flowers: Any flowers on the farm are yours for picking. There are a lot of beautiful sunflowers on the farm right now. 
  • Herbs: There is a large variety, including lots of basil, mint, oregano, sorrel, lemon balm, thyme, lavender, sage and others.

A preview of next week and some updates on crops: 

  • Next week we'll have cabbage. 
  • Our corn, unfortunately, is not doing well. Our first crop didn't work, and our second crop is struggling. There may be some more corn coming, but we don't expect it to be much. 
  • Eggplants and peppers are coming along well. The peppers are ripening and we'll have more in the share soon. 
  • We're in a lull right now with squash. There may be none next week, but a lot in weeks following (rain willing!). 
  • Cucumbers are thriving. 
  • We have an entire field of beans that have flowered and are ready to go, but need some rain in order to produce beans. Soon, there will be some really nice pole beans on u-pick. 
  • Tomatoes are doing well. We've started to see a little blossom end rot, but we feel good about how they're doing. We expect tomatoes to come onto u-pick in the coming weeks. 
  • Carrots are finished after this week.  
  • We have basil as far as the eye can see -- if you want to make a freeze pesto, come to the farm!
  • Okra will be more plentiful later.  
  • Greens will come back in the fall. 

If you have any questions, let me know!  

-- Clay

 


Pickles at the Farm on Saturday, Zucchini Ideas & Canning Classes

Picklesandpeppers
(This image and others in this post via Maxine Minerva of sidehustlestories.tumblr.com)

Happy Friday, members!

Here are a few items you might find of interest: 

  • The pickle tasting that was offered at the farm on Tuesday was popular, so Zachari (who works on the farm staff) and her sister will offering a second tasting at the farm this Saturday during the regular 1-4 pick-up hours. If you want to buy pickles, you can do so with cash or PayPal. 
  • With zucchini and summer squash coming into abundance, you may be looking for new ideas to use them. Earlier this week, on my personal blog, we posted about Skillet Eggs with Zucchini and Squash. I highly recommend them as a brunch or vegetarian dinner option. 
  • Don't forget about the upcoming canning classes being offered on August 13 or 21.  Info about how to sign up can be found here.  

I'm working on a round-up of eggplant recipes for next week.  Have some good ideas?  Please leave a comment or shoot me an email!

Have a great weekend,

Clay 


This Week's Share Plus a Lacto Pickle Tasting Today at the Farm 3-7PM

Greenbeanpickles
(This image and others in this post via Maxine Minerva of sidehustlestories.tumblr.com)

 


Before we get to this week's share, there's a special pickle tasting today for those of you who pick up at the farm. 
 
Zachari, one of our full-time staff this season, makes and sells vegan, lacto-fermented veggies and fruits and teaches about lacto-fermentation for her business ThePickle cultured food . While she's working hard bringing in the harvest, her sister Alex will set up a pickle tasting near the wash station. Come by the farm today between 4pm and 7pm to try homemade Kimchi, Chimichurri, Dills, Green Beans, Beets, Watermelon Rinds, Ginger and more. If you sample anything you like, you can even take some of The Pickle's unique ferments home. 
And now, here's what you'll find in this week's CSA Share:

 

  • 1 head garlic
  • 1 bell peper
  • 1 1/2 pound eggplant
  • 1 3/4 pound combination onions, carrots, basil, chard and cucumbers
  • 2 pounds summer squash
  • 1/2 pound beans
  • 2 pounds tomatoes

On U-Pick this week:

  • Peas
  • Swiss chard, kale and collards. There aren't great quantities of these items but they're available. You can't drive to the field and it will be a muddy walk, but they're available. Wear sturdy shoes!
  • Lettuce. It's a bit bitter and it's best to pick it in the a.m.
  • Flowers: Any flowers on the farm are yours for picking.
  • Herbs: There is a large variety, including lots of basil, mint, oregano, sorrel, lemon balm, thyme, lavender, sage and others.

A preview of next week.

We'll definitley have melons next week! We may have cabbage depending on whether we have rain. 

If you have any questions, let me know!  Before we go, here's a look at some more of the pickles!

-- Clay

Continue reading "This Week's Share Plus a Lacto Pickle Tasting Today at the Farm 3-7PM" »


Preserving the Harvest: Take a class this August

CANNING CLASS

For the third year in a row, Susan Sanders, one of your fellow CSA members, has offered to let a few of you into her kitchen to learn how to can your produce.  She'll demonstrate how to pack a jar with tomatoes, jam, relish, or some other high acid food, and set it in boiling water until the any potentially dangerous microorganisms are cooked away and the jar is sealed.  It's a simple process that can be intimidating until you see it first-hand and realize how easy it is.  Many of us have taken the opportunity to learn from Susan and we've all been inspired to do it ourselves, cheaply and easily, in our own kitchens.  Worried about BPA in your canned tomatoes?  Come to this class, so you can pack your very own organic tomatoes in glass jars. 

When:  Saturday August 13 and Sunday August 21 (choose one), 2pm.  Plan to stay at least until 4pm, or later to see a little extra. 

Where:  Susan lives near Dupont Circle in DC.  We'll give you more details when you sign up. 

Sign up by sending an email to clagettfarm@cbf.org with your preferred date.  Classes are limited to 6 participants each. 

Cost:  Susan only charges a $5 fee for supplies, which includes some photocopies and a jar of something you've made.  Keep in mind that no one is licensed, insured, or paid for this activity.  Susan offers this class to you because many of our members have asked over the years, and she is willing to do it.  Thank you Susan! 

 

FERMENTING CLASS

A few of our co-workers preserve a lot of their leftover veggies using lactofermentation, which doesn't require any boiling (brine pickles and saurkraut are examples of this technique).  They will be offering a class this summer, as well.  Details are coming soon. 

PRESSURE CANNER TO LOAN

We have a pressure canner on the farm, which you can use to can foods that are not high in acid.  It doesn't get constant use here, so we're happy to lend it for a few weeks (instruction manual included).  It's a significant investment in money and kitchen space, so if any of you were thinking of buying one, this is a handy opportunity give it a test drive first.  Sign up in advance so we can have it packed up and ready for you when you come to get your share. 


Wildlife Sightings + Recipes for This Week: More Zucchini and Greens Ideas

Deborah
(Photo from CSA Member Deborah Starobin Armstrong)

Here are some new ideas for how to use the vegetables in this week's share. Plus, a great photo and story below from a CSA Member who had a wildlife encounter while at the farm.  

Have an idea to share? A recipe for a certain vegetable you're wanting? Leave it here in the comments or shoot me an email

 

Swiss Chard and Collard Greens

CSA member Bonnie suggests this Creamy Swiss Chard Pasta that she made and enjoyed. 

Fred made this Baked Cheese Polenta with Swiss Chard, which he says he really liked. (Chard is on u-pick this week.) 

If you still have collards, Bonnie also recommends this recipe for Kickin' Collard Greens. I'm planning to try this one myself tonight, as we have a big bag of them that need to be used up. 

 

Squash and Zucchini

Nichole shared this link from Saveur magazine, which has compiled a bunch of ideas for zucchini

I've personally been eyeing this Shaved Summer Squash Salad from Bon Appetit, which looks light and fresh. 

And of course there are more ideas in our archives for zucchini, squash, chard and greens

Continue reading "Wildlife Sightings + Recipes for This Week: More Zucchini and Greens Ideas" »


This Week's Share: Beans, Cucumber and Summer Squash

Photo 3
(Photo courtesy of CSA member Erika)

Happy Tuesday!  Here's what you'll find in this week's CSA Share:

  • 3/4 pound combination of eggplants and carrots
  • 2 1/2 pounds combination squash (inc. zucchini and summer squash) and cucumber 
  • 1/2 pound combination peppers and tomatoes
  • 1/2 pound beans OR 1/4 pound peas
  • 1/4 pound lettuce OR 1/2 pound basil OR 1 pound combination kale, collards or chard
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 3/4 pound bulb or bunching onions

On U-Pick this week:

  • Peas
  • Herbs: There is a large variety, including lots of basil, mint, oregano, sorrel, lemon balm, thyme, lavender, sage and others.
  • Swiss chard, kale and collards. There aren't great quantities of these items but they're available. You can't drive to the field and it will be a muddy walk, but they're available. Wear sturdy shoes!
  • Lettuce. It's a bit bitter and it's best to pick it in the a.m.
  • Flowers: Any flowers on the farm are yours for picking.

A preview of next week.

Don't expect any bunching onions, peas or lettuce. 

Summer squash will continue to roll out.  Plus, look for more carrots, garlic, eggplant, peppers and tomatoes!

Depending on how they do in the field, we may have more bulb onions and cabbage.

We'll be offering chard now starting every other week (so there will be no chard next week).

If you have any questions, let me know!

-- Clay

 


The Season Resumes on Saturday and Here's a Preview of the Share

Krossbow
(Photo from Krossbow on Flickr)

 

I hope everyone had an amazing Fourth!

Now that we've completed our skip week, the season will resume with a pick-up at the farm this Saturday. 

So what to expect in this week's share? 

  • Beans
  • Cucumbers
  • Zucchini
  • Other summer squash is starting to appear, like yellow squash
  • Some peas, which are winding down 
  • There will be a choice of peppers, eggplant, corn or tomatoes
  • There may be some lettuce -- the famers need to check the bitterness on Saturday
  • Garlic
  • Bulb onions

A few other notes:

Basil is growing like crazy at the farm.  If you're interested in making pesto, now is a good time to do it! Making and freezing pesto is easy. There are some good online guides at sites like Instructables

It looks like we may have some overgrown beans and zucchini this week, so if you have a recipe that might be especially good for a big ole' zuke, now's the time to pull it out!

And lastly, this will be the only post this week -- we'll resume with our regular posting schedule on Tuesday, and will also be sharing new recipes next week. 

Have questions?  Leave them here!

-- Clay