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Week 11 Newsletter (August 31, 2017)

Adopt the pace of nature; her secret is patience. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Green Beans!

Crop list

  • Sweet corn – all

    Sweet corn

  • Green beans – all
  • Summer squashes – all
  • Cucumbers – all
  • Tomatoes – all
  • Italian purple basil – all
  • Banana peppers – all
  • Cascade potatoes – all
  • Eggplant – all
  • Fennel – full
  • Beets – full

Farmer Notes

  • Sweet corn is the second picking of the first of two plantings – many of the ears are a bit smaller and not fully filled out
  • Let your tomatoes sit on your counter if they are still a bit hard – or put in a paper bag and let the off-gassing ethylene hasten the ripening
  • Banana peppers are a 3 on a heat scale of 5 – remove the seeds for less heat. You can just throw these in a freezer bag and use all winter long
  • Our tomato/corn/cucumber salad for supper last evening was tasty
  • Beet greens and fennel stalks are good for eating – fennel will be our vegetable of the week for next week
  • Read the farm article for our tomato varieties
  • Tomatoes, peppers and basil, oh my!
  • Think about “Camping on the Farm” Sept. 22-23 – please rsvp
  • Return pulp containers, boxes and ice packs for reuse
  • Wash all the produce before you eat it

 

 

 

 

Tomatoes…

Sure, we had tomatoes on the farm when I was a kid, but they certainly were not my favorite vegetable.  I remember having them as slicers with a sprinkle of sugar on top and that was always good.  My brother sprinkled salt (on tomatoes and on every other thing as well) and pepper on them, which I thought was disgusting, but have learned to appreciate since then.  I mainly remember canning tomatoes and seeing all those mason jars in our cellar gathering dust.  We would often stew them during the winter and have them as ‘sauce’.  I hated hot tomatoes as a kid: stewed, in chili, in spaghetti sauce, you name it.   As I grew older I could not understand why so many people went on, and on, and on, and on, and on (you get my point) about tomatoes this and tomatoes that and “how are your tomatoes this year, Rosalia?” Somewhere along the line I started to cook with them myself, and my palate matured to a point where I enjoyed tomatoes.  Every year now, several of my siblings come to the farm to can tomatoes – Sept. 9 is the day this year.  We still have a few jars in our pantry from last year’s event and are itching to resupply.

Our tomatoes in the field are doing okay, and are finally coming into their own.  We have not had the hot temperatures this year and they have been slow to ripen and soften through the middle.  You will be receiving them in your box for the next month or so.  We have several different varieties:  Big Beef (indeterminate), Valley Girl/Mountain Plus/Celebrity (determinate slicers), Amish Paste/Valencia (Heirloom varieties), and a cherry tomato called Yellow Mini.  It is fun to compare the flavors and to try the endless ways to enjoy them both fresh and cooked.

What do you do with your tomatoes? – share with us on Facebook!

Vegetable of the Week: Sweet Corn

Sweet corn out in the field

This week’s vegetable of the week is a farm favorite…sweet corn! Easy to prepare, delicious, and nutritious, it is hard to go wrong with corn on the cob. Whether you boil it, grill it, or blanch it, sweet corn is great on its own or goes well with a spattering of butter and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. No matter how you prepare it, you are sure to get the carbs, fiber, and rich sources of potassium, vitamin A, phosphorus and niacin. A classic summer vegetable, sweet corn is a great addition to any meal.

Here in the Midwest, corn isn’t only a classic summer vegetable to eat. It is also a prominent part of the countryside. The field corn we see off county highways, the stuff that stretches for miles across the landscape, is much different from sweet corn. Unlike sweet corn, which is grown in smaller batches for direct consumption, field corn is grown in massive quantities and sold to large corporations mostly for livestock feed, ethanol, bio-based products, or processed foods. Common nutrition label ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup, corn starch, corn oil, corn syrup, vegetable oil, corn meal, dextrose, lactic acid and much more are all ingredients derived from field corn. Check out this corn allergens list to see more.

Besides the differing implementations of field corn and sweet corn, the production of them is also quite different. Our sweet corn grows in rows about three feet apart with the corn spaced about 6 to 12 inches in the rows. We prepare the soil, plant the corn, and let nature do its thing. We do not use herbicides, pesticides, fertilizers, or any other chemicals to grow it. Field corn on the other hand is genetically modified to be grown as tightly together as possible to maximize yields. When growing field corn, the only thing that matters is greater yields. Consequently, herbicides, pesticides, fertilizers, and other chemicals are all dumped onto field corn so that it will grow. This ultimately damages soil health, long-term fertility, water reserves, and much more. Many farmers become squeezed between seed corporations, chemical suppliers, equipment manufacturers, and dealers with no way out but to try and grow more corn. This puts many farmers in a vicious cycle of reliance on the corporations they are already being squeezed by.

Here at Earth Dance Farm, we don’t have the same problems as large field corn operations. However, we rely on people such as yourself who care about local and sustainably grown produce. Thanks for supporting your local farmer and enjoy your sweet corn!

To learn more about industrial corn, check out Part I of The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan.

How do you use Earth Dance Farm sweet corn? 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

Look at that cabbage!

I’m Mckenna! I ventured to Earth Dance Farm from Port Angeles, a small town in Washington state that’s nestled between the Olympic Mountains and the Strait of Juan De Fuca. I grew up in the Olympic National Park hiking, surfing, and having a tremendous appreciation for the preservation of wildlife and natural resources. The Midwest is untraveled territory for me but I’ve moved here to gain knowledge regarding sustainable agriculture. I just finished my junior year at Western Washington University, I’m majoring in environmental studies. I’m taking time to work and travel, with plans to add a sustainable design minor when I return to finish my BA.

Enjoy your produce! Like and follow us on Facebook and Instagram @EarthDanceFarm!

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