I had a banner broccoli harvest and made a gigunda batch of cream of broccoli soup for the freezer in anticipation of the cooler days to come.
In keeping with the theme, I thought it best to continue to share the notes and musing from the local CSA farmers. Again, Elizabeth Keen from Indian Line Farms pulls it together in rare and exquisite form for her members. Here's her weekly summary: News From Indian Line Farm We keep on planting, weeding and harvesting here. Last week we planted another lettuce planting which will be salad in your mouths the first week of September. We also planted the second to last round of direct seeded items: arugula, mustard mixes, spinach, white and red turnips, and broccoli rabe to name a few. We also harvested all the storage onions which are now curing on the upper level of the barn. Every day is harvest day now. And our job just got a little heavier with the outdoor tomatoes blushing before our eyes. On Monday alone we harvested over 500 lbs. of tomatoes and we have to harvest them three times per week. Time for making tomato everything!
The farm is looking especially great after last week as we had several visitors. On Sunday night we let a foursome of Appalachian through hikers tent here. They were interested in a work for food exchange that we do on occasion. The worked intently on weeding our smallest greenhouse in its entirety, helping out in our perennial gardens and lastly, clipping the stems off all the over 6000 bulbs of dry garlic. It was a hot day and they worked really hard. They kept me busy directing and with some additional food preparation. They eat so much!!! They said as I took them to the trail head the following day that their day off here was their best day off on the trail so far. We felt lucky to have them.
They next day we had a group from GreenAgers working here. GreenAgers was launched from The Center For Peace Through Culture in 2007 as one way to address global and local environmental issues. Taken from their website: GreenAgers mobilizes and empowers young people to come together and work cooperatively to design and carry out environmental projects in their own their local communities. Through this program, young people can not only make a real difference, they can also learn independence, creativity, leadership, responsibility and self-respect. As they develop their own interests and abilities, they are also promoting community and global health, and ultimately contributing to global peace. Community involvement is a strong emphasis of GreenAgers, as the intellectual, spiritual, creative, and physical energies of young people focus on projects that will make a difference to the local communities and to the environment.
The first local GreenAgers group has an office in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, headed by Will Conklin. The Great Barrington GreenAgers' plans include setting up a community garden, hosting a monthly Sustainability Discussion Group on how individuals can integrate sustainability practices into their everyday lives, working together with other organizations and schools on new or existing projects, and creating a program of educational environmental presentations conceived, researched and written by students and delivered in classrooms and community spaces. They also plan to have a lot of fun!
The Great Barrington GreenAgers is a pilot program, laying the groundwork for GreenAgers groups around the country and around the globe.
Working with them was a pleasure. They finished harvesting the end of our first carrot planting, they pulled all our storage onions from the field and put them in the upstairs of the barn and they helped out with some weeding too. Big thanks to Will Conklin for organizing our work day and introducing us to this fantastic organization.
And if that weren't enough we had many folks come to weed and clean garlic on Wednesday. We are thrilled!
A couple reminder notes: 1. Please bring your own bags to pick up. We no longer have any recycled plastic bags. 2. Food leftover from Friday pick up will all be put away by 10:00 am Saturday morning. 3. We will be weeding Wednesday August 18th from 8-12. We look forward to your company. 4. We will have numerous boxes of tomatoes for processing this week. The boxes are $15 for 15 lbs. of tomatoes.
For the farm crew,
Vegetables for Week of August 16th
Choices: Sweet Peppers Beets Carrots Chard Eggplant--limited supply Leeks Cucumbers New Potatoes, from Thompson Finch Farm--Ancram, NY Frisee Escarole
Summer Squash and Zucchini Tomatoes--up to at least 2 lbs. Basil Rainbow Salad Mix Garlic--NEW Upick-- Green beans--limited supply Cherry Tomatoes Flowers Herbs Fruit Share White Peaches from Maynard Farm
Well...for whatever reason Farm Girl Farm's newsletter is not readily available to share and because today is the day dedicated to farming I thought I'd speak of my garden's bounty and introduce you to Indian Line Farm - the first CSA in the country. Elizabeth Keen runs quite an efficient and beautiful farm. Every time I pick up my share I am just in AWE!!
Out of my patch of dirt this week I harvested potatoes, onions and will be picking some broccoli for dinner tonight. This time of year is so fulfilling and healthy. I have become a veritable vegetarian. Tonight I plan on concocting stuffed zucchini with quinoa, fresh corn, cherry tomatoes, leeks and basil. Served up with a side salad of delicate Indian Line Farm greens and we are in veggie HEAVEN!!
And now: News From Indian Line Farm c/o Elizabeth Keen What a great summer we have been having! Warm sunny weather making it great for afternoon/early evening swims. No need for the rain gear like last year when they never dried out between rain storms. But wow has it been hot! We always start out the mornings with rain pants just to keep the dew off our pants, but this year we can't get them off soon enough before it feels like we are sitting in a sauna. And the sweat by midday is dripping down our backs with such vigor that we have decided Indian Line Farm should open a gym. We can supply all the ingredients to good health: cardiovascular workout; strengthening by regularly carrying 40 # bins and buckets; and stretching, bending and reaching for flexibility. Honestly, today the heat got me down. We need a big rain. Everything is really dry. I can't really irrigate everything that really needs it. I noticed the leaves on the corn on route 23 curling to maintain moisture. The HousatonicRiver is low enough that is some places we had to get out and push our canoe on Sunday.
Heat makes me think of zucchini. We have a lot right now as we are still harvesting from our 1st planing which is still going strong and our second planting is gorgeous and putting out green beauties. On Friday alone, we harvested 308# of squash and zucchini. In response I had an all zucchini dinner: savory zucchini pancakes topped with sour cream and fresh tomatoes and for dessert a double chocolate zucchini cake. Marvelous! I was going to make a raw zucchini salad, but decided against it. I have included several zucchini recipes for you too, to enjoy this week. And watch out if you park too long in the lot, you might find an extra zucchini in your front seat!
Season 6 of Farm Girl Farm, just like any good serial, has definitely been its own season—some new characters, some new locations, but very much rooted in the seasons that came before. In the vein of “last year at this time,” there are many differences—most notably, we’re on our way to what looks like a very healthy crop of ripe tomatoes, where last year of course we were grieving over the lost crop. This year, the river is hanging low in its lair, last year, it jumped the banks more than once—at one point flooding the fields so badly that as we harvested vegetables knee deep in water, they actually floated away at one point. All in all, I’m glad to be living out this season rather than last!
There are similarities, of course—each season right about now, even last season with the absent tomatoes, we look around and there is so much to do, so many veggies to take care of, the battle of priorities is always center stage. We have 3 hours for field work this afternoon—do we keep spraying the tomatoes? Pull the garlic? Weed the onions? Mulch the eggplant pathway? Plant the next succession of lettuce? Fix that really leaky spot in the irrigation? It is overwhelming but this season, more than any other I can remember, I’m just so grateful to be in this situation, glad to have so much food to take care of, happy to be scared that the tsunami of tomatoes is about to monopolize all of our harvesting time, and acutely aware that in a few way too short months, this will all be over and the cycle will begin again. I much prefer the problem of too many veggies needing our attention than few or none.
I’m also grateful for all of you, participants in this journey of nature—you are such an important part of the cycle. Some of you have been around the seasons with Farm Girl Farm for several years running, some of you are just embarking with us this year. But without you to love and appreciate and prepare and consume the veggies that we care for, there’d be no point in doing what we do.
While farmer Val is making her way back down to Florida for the remainder of the summer and then to Sweden we are happy to introduce the newsletter from one of our favorite Berkshire CSAs, Farm Girl Farm, that is written by our next favorite farmer gal, Laura Meister. We hope you enjoy Laura's insights and delightful recipes that of course include in season ingredients!
Hello Farm Girl Farmers.
I may have mentioned before that I often read last year’s corresponding week’s newsletter before writing the current ones, and when I looked back at the one I wrote a year ago, it was all about the loss of our dear tomatoes. Thank the harvest gods that it has been a very different year. But the pathogens that cause Late Blight are around in small numbers this season, and we have been warned to take precautions. We are spraying an organically approved fungicidal copper on our tomato plants—we started yesterday and will work our way through all 40 beds throughout the week. Its not much fun—the stuff is supposed to be non-toxic in such small doses but still, it feels kind of yucky to work with, and it is incredibly time consuming—I estimate it will take 20 person hours to spray all of our plants. And if it should rain or if the warnings continue, we’ll have to do it AGAIN in another week. Hard to conceive of how we’ll find the time. But given the spectre of another total crop loss, I’m spraying. You should know that we will wait the recommended 24 hours before harvesting any tomato that has been sprayed but I do recommend that you rinse your tomatoes when you get them home, just to be extra safe.
For more information about Late Blight and the copper funcigide (we’re using Nu Cop), please see http://www.umassvegetable.org and click on Late Blight Alert. This is a very informative website with links to other relevant sources.
In other news from the field, I’m excited to begin to welcome the real summer veggies into our lives—we’ve got peppers beginning, as you see in your share, and eggplant trickling in, and we have seen one or two ripe tomatoes out there as we’ve been making our rounds. . Its such an exciting and colorful time of the season! All of these crops are grown in our field across Pumpkin Hollow Road, which you can see from Rt. 71 if you’re heading west and remember to look down and to the right. Meanwhile, we’re turning over the “home field,” the one you see when you pick-up your veggies. We’re pulling all of the garlic, we’ll cure it in the greenhouse, sort the best and the brightest out for seed, and store and distribute the remainder for the rest of the season. We’re mowing down the crops that are finished for now, and we’ll rent a burly rototiller for a day or so and turn over all the vegetable residue and prepare the beds for the fall plantings. We’ll do more beets, carrots, turnips, radishes, bok choy. And we’ll also try a few things we didn’t do in the spring—broccoli raab did well last fall so we’re going to do more of it this fall. We’re trying again with the broccoli, too—this spring it got so hot so fast we lost a lot of it to the heat (it bolted) and the weeds.
Speaking of weeds, we are definitely in need of helping hands—we have some beds of kale which are rather engulfed but which are otherwise healthy and harvestable throughout the season. We’d like to keep these crops going and haven’t been able to keep up with all of it ourselves—give us a call if you’ve got a few hours and would like to get your hands dirty!
Enjoy the veggies this week.
--Laura Meister, Farm Girl Farm Farmer
VEGGIE NOTES JULY 27, 2010.
Original recipe by Judith Janowski
2 cups shredded zucchini (8oz.)
2 cups granular sugar
1 cup cooking oil
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup chocolate chips
1 recipe Peanut Butter Frosting
Preheat oven to 325 F. Line muffin cups with paper bake cups or lightly coat with nonstick cooking spray.
In a large bowl stir together zucchini, eggs, granulated sugar, oil, and vanilla. Add flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, baking powder, and chocolate chips; stir until combined. Spoon batter into prepared cups, filling about half full. Bake about 25 minutes (about 15 minutes for mini-cupcakes) or until a wooden toothpick inserted near centers comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 5 minutes. Remove from cups. Cool completely. Frost with Peanut Butter Frosting.
Peanut Butter Frosting:
Beat 1 cup peanut butter, 1/3 cup softened butter, 1 tablespoon milk, and 1teaspoon vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Gradually add 1 ½ cups powdered sugar, beating until combined. If necessary, stir in 1 to 2 teaspoons additional milk until desired consistency.
Dill-icious(!) cucumber salad-
From the kitchen of Ruth Ballenzweig, Farm Girl Farm Girl emeritus
juice of 1/4-1/2 of a lemon approx. 1 cup plain yogurt
small bunch of dill
salt and pepper to taste
Rinse and peel 2-3 cucumbers (I like to leave on some of the skin)
Thinly slice cucumbers into a bowl
Remove thick stems and loosely chop dill
Add yogurt, lemon, juice, and salt and pepper to taste
Stir and enjoy!
This a light, cooling summer salad. Double or triple quantities for a great potluck dish!
I'm moving on from interning at a CSA/restaraunt farm to concentrate on Boulderwood- the three cute couples: Jim and Carole, SO and I, and Burt and Uni; the horses, and the beautiful land. From now on I will be posting about my adventures with those guys and our exploration of the Berkshires and any farm-related things that I do, along with thoughts I have about agriculture, sustainability, and life.
Today, for example, SO and I will be scraping paint from shutters in the company of the adorable Burt and Uni. Then we will walk around Great Barrington, finally becoming acquainted with the city near which we live. Yesterday, we saw Kripalu and ate some of the best healthiest food I have ever seen together in one room. You should know where you live.