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Organizations That Benefit From Our Farm

Deborahphoto1
This photo by CSA member Deborah Starobin Armstrong

 

Editor's Note:  Though we don't discuss it very frequently on the blog, each year almost half of the produce from Clagett Farm is distributed free or at reduced prices to underserved communities in the D.C. area. We call this program From the Ground Up (FGU), and it is a joint effort of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the Capital Area Food Bank. Our aim is to bring nutritious, fresh produce to communities of all income levels throughout the D.C. area.

Alicia Camden is the From the Ground Up associate at the Capital Area Food Bank, and she manages the fresh produce grants to local agencies. As part of her work, she has been visiting with the agencies this summer. Here's an update from her on who a few of those agencies are and how they're benefiting from the produce. Let's hear from Alicia! 

 

You may already know that Clagett Farm donates 40 to 50 percent of its yield to organizations that serve low-income communities in D.C. and Maryland. Last year, 36,698 pounds were donated. I coordinate the competitive grant process that Capital Area Food Bank partner agencies undergo to receive part of that 40 to 50 percent, picking up several hundred pounds from Clagett every other week to support their pantry and meal programs.

One of the highlights of my job has been meeting with every participating organization to see how they put their Clagett produce to use. I’ve been driving all over D.C. and Maryland to talk with pantry coordinators, chefs, volunteers and clients about the fruits and veggies they’ve had this season.

I’d love to share some highlights.

Mckenna At the Father McKenna Center, Clagett Farm produce is used in healthy, balanced meals for homeless men and distributed through a pantry that serves families and seniors. I asked a lunch guest of several years, Bill, why he came to the Father McKenna Center. “Of all the places I’ve been in my travels, the Father McKenna Center is the place that helps me in more ways than one, whatever my needs might be,” he said. “Plus, I like the company!”

Bill told me that he and the other guests choose from two veggies every day, and the meals are “good in a nutritious kind of way. They don’t serve junk food here.”

He explained that the men who eat there have been on the street and don’t always take care of their health, so it’s important that the Father McKenna Center serve meals that are as healthy as possible. A nutritious meal may be the only health care these men have access to. “The veggies that come here are actually good. I like spinach, corn and beans. I like fried squash and fried green tomatoes.” 


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This Week's Share: Chard, Eggplant, Squash and More!

Peppers
(This photo from CSA member Deborah Starobin Armstrong)

 

Hello, Tuesday!

After a very eventful week last week, we're happy to report that this week at the farm is off to a perfectly normal start. The farm lost power for a few days, but it's now back on. There are a lot of down trees but nothing too bad. The only two sustaining problems are that some buildings experienced some chimney damage during the earthquake and the storm was very hard on the winter squash fields (but it's too soon to count them out).  

The share details are included below. Tomatoes are still in the share (last week we said that it may be the last week, which turned out to not be true). 

Let me know if you have any questions about this week's share, or if you're wanting special recipes for certain ingredients!

-- Clay 

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

  • 1 lb total combination beans + okra + squash
  • ¾ lb tomatoes
  • 1 lb total combination bell peppers + Swiss chard + radishes + chile peppers (Dupont only on the peppers, theyr’e on u-pick at the farm)
  • 1 head garlic
  • 1 ¼ lb total combination eggplant + cucumbers

On U-Pick this week:

  • Beans: There are two fields of beans now – we’ve added them in A5 (see the map at the wash station).  There are lots – come out and pick!
  • Tomatoes. Ripe tomatoes are off the list but green tomatoes are on.  
  • Okra. It's still available as well! We suggest that people pick it the day before the harvest days (Fridays and Mondays). There are rows that are not being harvested so that they're available for u-pick. 
  • Tomatillos. They’re available but word of warning: they are hard to find.
  • Swiss Chard. It’s available for picking as well!
  • Basil. Still lots and lots of basil.
  • Chile Peppers. There are six varieties available.
  • Potatoes. If you want to dig some potatoes, you are welcome to, but it is difficult. You have been warned!
  • Flowers. Any flowers on the farm are yours for picking.
  • Herbs. There is a large variety, including mint, oregano, sorrel, lemon balm, thyme, lavender, sage and others.

A preview of next week and some updates on crops: 

  • Coming up: Fall items like lettuce and kale will be in the share soon. The wet weather has been great for these greens. We should also have a lot of spinach in a few weeks. 

If you have any questions, let me know!

-- Clay


If an earthquake won't stop us, why would a hurricane?

We've been struggling to decide whether to harvest a share for you tomorrow, and we've decided--YES.  It looks like it will rain through most of the day, but the heavy winds won't come until evening (around 7pm), after the end of the pick-up (1-4pm).  No need to let rain stop you from getting your hard-earned August bounty.

Our biggest dilemma has been with the expected power outage.  Pepco doesn't exactly have a good reputation on this farm (mostly due to some power surges that almost burned down the big farm house 3 times over the course of a month before they finally decided to fix the problem).  After Hurricane Isabel we lost power for a week.  We don't want leftover chard, beans, cucumbers and peppers to sit in a warm cooler for two days while they wait to be donated to Miriam's Kitchen and DC Central Kitchen.  We do have a generator, but we'll be busy using it to keep our well pumps running and the freezers frozen.  So we think we'll harvest a little lighter than normal.  It's possible that the people coming after 3pm might get fewer options but more pounds in their share.    


This Week's Share: Summer's Winding Down with Tomatoes and More

Tomato morning
(This photo: TheBittenWord.com)

 

Happy Tuesday! This afternoon's earthquake put us a little behind schedule in getting this update out. But the pick-up is going along as planned at Dupont today.  

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

  • A choice of one of the following:   3/4 pound combination cucumber + tomatoes + peppers (Note that we believe this will be the last week for tomatoes)  OR 1 melon (we ask that if you've previously received a melon, you let others take them this week)
  • 1 1/4 pound combination eggplant + squash
  • 1 head garlic
  • 1/2 pound combination Swiss chard + basil + beans 

On U-Pick this week:

  • Tomatoes. Still on u-pick and as noted above this will be the last week for tomatoes in the share. 
  • Okra. It's still available as well! We suggest that people pick it the day before the harvest days (Fridays and Mondays). There are rows that are not being harvested so that they're available for u-pick. 
  • Basil. Still lots and lots of basil.
  • Chile Peppers. There are Thai chilies and yellow Ho Chi Mihn Chilies. 
  • Flowers: Any flowers on the farm are yours for picking. There are still a lot of beautiful sunflowers on the farm.  
  • Herbs: There is a large variety, including mint, oregano, sorrel, lemon balm, thyme, lavender, sage and others.

A preview of next week and some updates on crops: 

  • Next week: Sweet potato greens and potatoes get introduced into the share, plus we'll have more Swiss Chard next week! 

If you have any questions, let me know!

-- Clay

 

 


Helpful website for canning, freezing, fermenting and other storage advice

There is a lot of information out there about how to preserve your produce, and some of it is conflicting.  If you're looking for the latest science-based advice about how to do it safely, check out this link to the National Center for Home Food Preservation: www.uga.edu/nchfp.  Their publications are free, and cover a wide array of topics, from how to can spaghetti sauce (complete with recipe) to troubleshooting why your fermented pickles might be slippery.  From their home page, you'll see a handy column on the left: "How Do I?...Can, Freeze, Dry&Smoke, Ferment," etc. 

My thanks to your fellow CSA member, Hiram Larew, for bringing it to our attention.

-Carrie

 


This Week's Share: More Tomatoes, Okra and Eggplant

IMG_2750_tomatoes
(This photo via CSA Member Rita Calvert)


Happy Tuesday!

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

  • 4 1/4 pounds total tomatoes + melon (melons are less sweet due to the rain)
  • 1 1/2 pound total eggplant + peppers 
  • 2 pounds total okra + squash + cucumber + beans (1/2 pound max beans) 
  • 1 head garlic

On U-Pick this week:

  • Tomatoes. Still on u-pick but will begin to decline after this week. They're plentiful on Fridays and Mondays. There are also rows that are not being harvested  so that they're available for u-pick. 
  • Okra. It's abundant! We suggest that people pick it the day before the harvest days (Fridays and Mondays). There are rows that are not being harvested so that they're available for u-pick. 
  • Basil. Still lots and lots of basil.
  • Chile Peppers. There are Thai chilies and yellow Ho Chi Mihn Chilies. 
  • Tomatillos. There are a few available. 
  • Flowers: Any flowers on the farm are yours for picking. There are still a lot of beautiful sunflowers on the farm.  
  • Herbs: There is a large variety, including mint, oregano, sorrel, lemon balm, thyme, lavender, sage and others.

A preview of next week and some updates on crops: 

  • Next week: More of the same. There will be fewer tomatoes, eggplant and peppers next week. 

If you have any questions, let me know!

-- Clay

 


This Week's Share: More Tomatoes, Squash and Eggplant

July 26 Harvest4
(This photo via CSA Member Susan Minor)

 

Before we get to the share, a few notes and updates:

  • The Capital Area Food Bank brought a bunch of kids out to the farm recently. They have a great write-up on their blog with some fun photos if you want to check it out.  
  • As we announced yesterday, Zachari will be offering a lacto fermentation class on August 14 (details). 
  • Mark your calendars! The Fall Festival at the farm will take place on October 1. More on that in the coming weeks. 

And now, here's what you'll find in this week's CSA Share:

  • 1 pound total combination cucumbers + squash
  • 1/2 pound total combination peppers + okra
  • 3 1/2 pounds total tomatoes + melon (melons are limited but everyone who wants one will get one eventually)
  • 3 pounds of eggplant OR 3/4 pound of corn (they're small ears -- unfortunately this will the last of the corn of the season)
  • 1 head garlic

On U-Pick this week:

  • Tomatoes. They're plentiful on Fridays and Mondays. There are also rows that are not being harvested  so that they're available for u-pick. 
  • Okra. We suggest that people pick it the day before the harvest days (Fridays and Mondays). There are rows that are not being harvested so that they're available for u-pick. 
  • Beans. Not much left -- there are probably about 4 pounds total available for picking. 
  • Basil. Still lots and lots of basil.
  • Chile Peppers. There are Thai chilies and yellow Ho Chi Mihn Chilies. 
  • Flowers: Any flowers on the farm are yours for picking. There are still a lot of beautiful sunflowers on the farm.  
  • Herbs: There is a large variety, including mint, oregano, sorrel, lemon balm, thyme, lavender, sage and others.

A preview of next week and some updates on crops: 

  • Next week: The newest rounds of squash and cucumbers are doing well and we expect to have more next week.  Peppers aren't producing very quickly but they're starting to ripen. 

If you have any questions, let me know!

-- Clay

 


Intro to Lacto Fermentation w/ Zachari, August 14th

FERMENTING CLASS

Zachari Curtis, staff here at Clagett, is leading a workshop on lacto-fermentation this Sunday, August 14th.  This is the first time this type of thing has been offered here and Zachari is very excited to demystify this process for you.  Zachari makes, sells and teaches lacto fermenting for her business The Pickle. Participants will learn some of the science behind lacto-fermentation and will go home with their very own jar of lacto-pickles and a few recipes to boot.  This class is for anyone from experienced canners and sauerkraut makers to absolute novices. Hope to see you there!

When:  Sunday August 14th, 12pm. Plan to stay at least until 2pm, or later to taste ferments from The Pickle. 

Where:  Clagett Farm - 11904 Old Marlboro Pike, Upper Marlboro MD 20772.  Meet us at the Wash Station.

Sign up: Sending an email with your name to clagettfarm@cbf.org, subject line "Fermenting RSVP" by Saturday August 13th, 5pm.  Class is limited to 20 participants. 

Cost:  Zachari charges a $5 fee for the workshop.  Keep in mind that no one is licensed, insured, or paid for this activity.  Zachari offers this class to you because many of our members have asked over the years. Thank you Susan! 

 


This Week's Share: Tomatoes, Cabbage and More

Flowers 
(This photo from CSA Member Kathy O'Master) 

We got 1/3 inch of rain at the farm this week, which was great for the crops.  Still more is needed, but it was a nice start.  

And now, here's what you'll find in this week's CSA Share:

  • 4 1/2 pounds combination total tomatoes and melon (there won't be enough melons for everyone, so if you don't get one this week, you will in a coming week). 
  • 1/2 pound combination of cucumbers, garlic, and peppers
  • 2 1/2 pounds combination of cabbage and okra
  • 1 pound combination eggplant and squash. (We posted a round-up of eggplant recipes yesterday.) 

On U-Pick this week:

  • Tomatoes. They're plentiful on Fridays and Mondays.
  • Okra. We suggest that people pick it the day before the harvest days (Fridays and Mondays).
  • Beans. Not many of these left but there are still some. 
  • Basil. Still lots and lots of basil.
  • Chile Peppers. They're not yet red, but will be in a few weeks. 
  • Flowers: Any flowers on the farm are yours for picking. There are a lot of beautiful sunflowers on the farm right now, as you can see in the photo above. 
  • Herbs: There is a large variety, including mint, oregano, sorrel, lemon balm, thyme, lavender, sage and others.

A preview of next week and some updates on crops: 

  • Next week: tomatoes, melons, peppers, and eggplant. We may potentially have a resurgence of cucumbers. There's also lots more okra on the way. Squash is rain dependent -- there will be more if there's more rain. Beans may be back next week in the share, also depending on the rain. 

If you have any questions, let me know!

-- Clay

 


New Ideas for Eggplant

5944721836_b6412c3df3
(photo via CSA member Krossbow on Flickr)

 

Eggplant is plentiful in the current shares and there's more on the way as we kick off August. 

If you, like me, have trouble finding ways to use all that marvelous eggplant, here are a few ideas that will hopefully help you navigate these aubergine waters. 

CSA member Bonnie used her eggplant haul to try out four recipes recently.  There's Eggplant Dip, Eggplant Fries, Creole Aubergine, and an Eggplant Parmesan. Though the dip got mixed reviews, the fries, Creole dish and parm were all big hits.  Bonnie has the recipes over on her blog

On my personal blog, our hands-down favorite Eggplant dish is this Eggplant Parmesan for Two, which is just delicious (and can easily be expanded to feed more people). Another favorite that uses lots of the current Clagett produce is this Eggplant, Zucchini and Tomato Bread Gratin

Last year here on the CSA blog, we rounded up 7 new eggplant ideas from members

And finally, CSA member Deborah shares her favorite eggplant recipe (below).

Do you have a recipe to share?  Please do in the comments!

 

Eggplant Antipasto
From: Cooking with Herbs & Spices  by Craig Claiborne

Yield: about one quart

3 cups peeled and cubed eggplant                          
½ cup stuffed green olives          
1/3 cup chopped green peppers                              
1 cup tomato paste
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped                        
¼ cup water
¾ cup sliced fresh mushrooms                  
2 TBS wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, crushed                                 
1 ½ tsp sugar
1/3 cup olive oil                                                
1 tsp oregano
1/8 tsp ground black pepper

Put the eggplant, green pepper, onion, mushrooms, garlic and oil in a skillet. Cover and cook gently ten minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Simmer, covered, until the eggplant is tender, about thirty minutes.

Put in a dish, cover and chill in the refrigerator overnight to blend flavors. Serve on lettuce leaves.