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Week 14 Newsletter (September 21, 2017)

» 2017 Newsletters

Week 14 Newsletter (September 21, 2017)

In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks. -John Muir

Zinnias

Week 14 Crop List

  • Bok Choy – all
  • Tomatoes – all
  • Cucumbers – all
  • Summer Squash – all
  • Genovese basil – all
  • Oregano – all
  • Radishes – all
  • Peppers (bell, bananas) – all
  • Kale – all
  • Zinnias – single
  • Eggplant – full
  • Apples – full
  • Potatoes – full
Week 14 boxes

Farmer notes

  • We are very thankful for 1 inch of rain last week
  • The apples are pretty gnarly for fulls but good for salads or baking
  • Cherry tomatoes are only for fulls and T.C. singles this week
  • Last hurrah for the Genovese basil with a ‘pesto bunch’
  • Bok choy does not hold up the greatest in your box. Please soak in very cold water for 15 minutes then make stir fry!
  • Pizza last evening was excellent using oregano, basil, tomatoes, peppers etc.
  • Radishes are back with the crispness of autumn
  • Enjoy the cucumbers, eggplant, tomatoes and summer squash before the frost hits
  • Registration for our Fall Share continues on through the summer share season – we would love to have you join us!
  • Wash all of your produce before you eat it
  • FALL HARVEST CELEBRATION is Saturday October 21st from 2-8. Mark your calendars and stop by at any time during that day.  Itinerary to follow
Pizza last night

A walk through the fields

As summer squash gives way to winter squash, sweet corn to popcorn, and green beans to dry beans, we turn our attention to the Autumn season.

Diane and I took some time to just walk through our fall crops earlier this week to get a read on how things were looking.  It was easier to see all of the Delicata, Acorn, Sweet Dumpling, and Butternut squashes decorating the ground with the leaves now dying off.  The pumpkins are taking on color, the popcorn filling in, and the root crops (carrots, beets, parsnips, rutabaga, turnips) swelling.  The leeks and the brussel sprouts still need a few weeks to mature and many of the hardy fall greens are just coming out of the ground.  Yesterday I removed several rows of hoophouse tomatoes to make room for spinach, lettuce etc for our Fall Share season.  The Fall Share is a great way to extend the year of fresh fruits and vegetables and to eat local and in season until Christmas rolls around.   The delivery dates are Th. October 26th, Th. November 9th and Tuesday November 21st.  We are usually able to continue to offer a limited number of crops later into the winter as well.

Delicata Squash

 Red Kale
                                                                                               Spinach

Meet the Farmer: Drying Herbs

Herbs drying over an intern’s bunk

Herbs are a delicious addition to any meal one might cook, you might add fresh oregano to your pasta sauce or sprinkle dried Thyme on your potatoes before popping them in the oven.  Whether you have a plentiful harvest from your own herb garden or a small amount of purchased herbs that aren’t going to be used immediately, these various methods of herb preservation are simple and allow you to enjoy cooking with herbs no matter the season.

Using a dehydrator is a quick and efficient way to retain the flavor of herbs that require immediate attention after harvesting; broader leaved herbs such as Basil can face the threat of mold if dried incorrectly. Herbs that should be dried quickly include Mint, Tarragon, Lemon Balm, and Parsley. Beginning the drying process soon after harvest reduces the risk of the herbs gathering moisture, wilting, becoming discolored, and losing their potency. When dehydrating herbs like Basil, wash and dry the leaves carefully.  Any water droplets left on the leaves can lead to discoloration. The drying can take anywhere from 12 to 24 hours depending on the temperature of the dehydrator’s settings. When the Basil is completely dry the leaves will be crisp and easily crumble, the herbs should then be placed in an airtight container after being removed from the dehydrator.

If you don’t have access to a dehydrator, have no fear! There are even simpler ways to have your own stock of herbs on hand. The good old “hang and dry” method is a suitable option for drying herbs like rosemary and Thyme.  Bundles can be made by tying the herbs together with rubber bands, twine, or any sort of string. A helpful hint is to not make the bundles too large, this can slow down the drying process and allow for mold to grow. Drying to completion may take a couple days depending on where the herbs are hung; a space that’s warm and dry will speed up the process. Laundry rooms are an ideal spot to hang herbs but not the only option.

Drying herbs can seem like a long process, a faster option is to dry them in the oven. Fresh Sage leaves can be placed on baking sheet and put in the oven at 180 degrees F for 2-4 hours. The leaves cook a bit which decreases their potency, to keep the maximum potency the leaves should be kept whole until used. Herbs can be dried in small or large quantities, using a plethora of different methods, allows them to be enjoyed long after their peak freshness.

Another intern utilizing the “hang and dry” method

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you for reading and thank you for supporting local and sustainable agriculture. Enjoy your produce! Like and follow us on Facebook and Instagram @EarthDanceFarm!


Week 13 Newsletter (September 14, 2017)

» 2017 Newsletters

It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all. – Laura Ingles Wilder

Earth Dance Farm!

Week 13 Crop List

  • Onions – all
  • Summer squash – all

    Week 13 Boxes

  • Cucumbers – all
  • Basil – all
  • Potatoes – all
  • Hot Peppers – all
  • Pac choy – all
  • Tomatoes (slicers and cherry) – all
  • Apples – single/half
  • Eggplant – single/half
  • Italian frying peppers – full/single
  • Sweet corn – full/single
  • Korean melon – full
  • Fennel – full

Farmer Notes

  • Hot peppers are coming – great to freeze as is, or better yet to roast and then freeze (see our newsletter feature for more about these)
  • Sweet corn is all washed up for this season – ears today are small
  • We have only had one half inch of rain since August 17th
  • Peppers, basil, tomatoes and onions – let your imagination soar!
  • Really tasty eating apples for the single and half shares – everyone will receive apples next week
  • No more planting in the field (except for next year’s garlic)
  • Hot summer weather – grilled veggies are the best!!
  • Don’t forget to sign up for our FALL SHARE
  • Member Camping opportunity is Sept. 22/23 – contact us at norm.the.farmer@gmail.com for more information and to RSVP
  • Please return ice packs, boxes and berry containers for reuse
  • Wash all your produce before you eat it
  • Enjoy your box and have a wonderful weekend!

Food and Family

I have many fond memories of a crowded kitchen table, both crowded with people and with food.  We did not have many things growing up but I do not ever remember wondering where my next meal would come from.  From the milk cows and stock cattle and pigs to the chickens and gardens and orchard, I knew that my daily hard labor resulted in a full kitchen table.  Some food memories include: the smell of 8 loaves of bread in the oven every Tuesday morning, strawberries and ice cream for special occasions, fried chicken and mashed potatoes on Sunday after church, frying eggs with potatoes after an away basketball game on a cold winter night, and the excitement of an additional face around the table when older siblings came home for a visit or a holiday.  Take a minute to reflect on your own food and family memories.

This past Friday through Sunday I hosted several siblings and a nephew for the canning of tomatoes.  This has become a more recent tradition, now going on 6 years.  We canned whole tomatoes, and also made pasta sauce and salsa.  All of us took home, more or less, 50 quarts of goodies, which we are able to use throughout the winter, share with our kids etc.  Of course, there is plenty of time for banter, a beverage, and to participate in some other farm chores.  Connecting around good wholesome food is really what Earth Dance Farm is centered around.  It is my deepest hope that your membership this summer has encouraged that in your own family.  Peace!

Vegetable of the Week: Hot Peppers

Cayenne Peppers

This week’s vegetable of the week is hot peppers! Our peppers are really starting to come around as of late with some of the warmer days we have been getting. In each of your boxes will be a selection of jalapeno, cayenne, and/or banana peppers. To preserve them, you can dehydrate them, roast and then freeze them, or simply freeze them. To dehydrate them, cut off the stems, slice thicker peppers into rings and thinner peppers in half, and place them in the dehydrator at about 1350F overnight. To roast them, place them on a cookie sheet lightly drizzled with oil and place them in the oven at 3500F for about 25 minutes. Then, allow them to cool slightly before placing them in a closed baggie for 20 minutes to steam. This will allow their skins to loosen, which you can then remove. Finally, slice them up and place in freezer bags. They can keep for about a year. If you are interested, you could also check out how to pickle peppers.

Hot peppers not only add a nice kick to your salsas, chilies, stews, soups, and stir fries, but they also add a nutritional boost. Hot peppers get their heat from the alkaloid capsaicin. Eating peppers in the capsaicin family can increase circulation, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and improve digestion. They can also increase metabolism and really clean out your sinuses!

How do you use Earth Dance Farm hot peppers? What other recipes have you all been using? We would love to see and hear how our produce is prepared! Snap a pic and share it on Facebook or Instagram, or email it to us at norm.the.farmer@gmail.com. Enjoy your box!

Meet the Farmer: A Fond Farewell

Tom and a baby chick

Hi all, this is Tom. I have been an intern at Earth Dance Farm since mid-May and have been a part of all the major facets of the farm including planting, weeding, irrigating, harvesting, packing, and much more. I have also been the person behind each week’s newsletter. I have taken most of the pictures, written several “Vege of the Week” and “Meet the Farmer” sections, included many of my favorite quotations, and did the editing, formatting, and posting. I of course received help from Norm (who writes the “Farmer Notes” and main articles), past interns Jo, Piper, and Jillian, as well as the other current interns Alex, McKenna, and Samson, who all deserve a shout out.

I came to Earth Dance with the desire to acquire a new skill set, experience life on a farm, and learn about where my food comes from. Sadly, this Friday will be my last day on the farm before I embark on my next adventure as a member of AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps). However, as I reflect on my stay, I know that I have come away with several new insights about farming and fresh outlooks on life. I would like to share a few of them here.

Before living on this farm, I didn’t think a lot about where my food came from, nor thought much about how where it comes from affects me. At the farm, I have discovered how delicious freshly grown food tastes and how good it feels to eat well. My internal aura is consistently energized with so many good vegetables. I now make a conscious effort to take a mental note of what I am eating, where it comes from, and what work went into producing it.

Going off this, I want to state an obvious but too often overlooked point…farming is hard work. I knew before arriving here that I was getting myself involved in a job that would require tough physical labor in the fields. But what I did not expect was the mental fortitude required for this type of work. I learned that organic produce farming demands an incredible amount of knowledge about how to grow dozens of different crops at the same time, as well as a certain awareness for the land they are grown on that few people possess. I have believed for many years in the importance of supporting local businesses who supply the goods and services I need. However, being at this farm has enhanced that belief ten-fold. Experiencing the behind the scenes action of what goes on at a small local business is worth every minute I spend in the fields.

I want to close my final newsletter with a few thoughts I have gathered over the past four months.

  • Invest in a good pair of boots. They can take you places you never expected you’d go and allow you to learn things you never thought possible.
  • Go out and do good things with the knowledge you learn. Knowledge never used or shared is like a jar of sauerkraut that is never opened, but left to ferment forever. Eventually it will become too sour to enjoy.
  • Be deeply skeptical of marketing, especially in the food industry that likes to make unfounded health claims.
  • We need economies of communities to push back against economies of scale that have used the logic of industry to manufacture (not grow) cheap, low-quality, and unhealthy foods that are damaging to our societies resources, health, and economy. By being a part of this CSA, we are all a part of the solution.

Until next time,

Tom

Thank you for reading and thank you for supporting local and sustainable agriculture. Enjoy your produce! Like and follow us on Facebook and Instagram @EarthDanceFarm!