FarmFare. Connection. Farm. Week... August 15, 2012 CSA Week 11

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1 FarmFare Connection CSA Week 11 In the Bag this Week... Fresh From the Farm Hello CSA Members, New in your share this week Basil Beans Cherry tomatoes Garlic Ground cherries Malabar spinach Onions Potatoes Red peppers Tomatoes Okay, what s that green in your share this week? Malabar Spinach (Basella alba), also known as Indian or Ceylon spinach, Lo Kui, and Basella. Malabar spinach is not in the spinach family at all but is used in similar fashion around the world, particularly in Southeast Asia. It is a soft-stemmed vine with succulent leaves; in the tropics it is a perennial and grows thirty feet or more. It loves it here in the summer, and we grow it because one can eat only so much Swiss chard. And it s good for you: it is high in vitamins A and C, iron and calcium, and is low in calories but high in protein per calorie. It is a good source of soluble fiber, phenols, and anti-oxidents. I generally let pretty plants win me over as a food, and I like Malabar spinach. It is hard to find good greens this time of year, our bodies crave them, and Malabar spinach is here for us. You may find that it s a love or hate veggie in your family. You will find that we have left the leaves on the stem: generally, use the leaves, but many traditional recipes call for the tender part of the stem, too. Malabar spinach is good in soups and stir-fries and seems to like garlic and chili peppers. I recommend using it in a mild curry or even in a tomato and roasted red pepper soup: ask your kids to separate the leaves from the stem, and then add mid-way through cooking. The leaves hold up well and are a good thickening agent. If you make curry, use a little coconut water instead of plain water when you make the rice, to sweeten it some Founders Drive Ashburn, VA

2 Fresh from the Farm Check Out Our Saturday Farm Stand, Featuring Variety of Fresh Fruit and Veggies Fresh Pastured Eggs Yogurt by Pequea Valley Farm Homemade Sandwiches by Willow Specialty Lemonade or Iced Tea Fresh Baked Bread and Cookies When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Where: Founders Drive Ashburn, VA August is For Strawberries I like to plant strawberries in the summer. It s a little different than the traditional approach but one that s been picking up steam in recent years: it saves space for other crops early in the year, and the production can be very good. But it is easy to lose sight of strawberry planting in the rush of August, and I have to discipline myself to think of planting strawberries as if it were an if you don t respond immediately, the plants will get left in the inbox for the day that you ll have time for them. You won t for another month. So when the plants arrive, it s important: plant them now, right away! They arrived last Wednesday afternoon, and were in the ground by dusk. Yes, August is busy. This is a transitional time here in the Mid-Atlantic. It doesn t feel like it; it s still summer, and it will be into September. But August finds us looking at the present, with all the crops of summer to harvest, and also at the future, both forward to fall and even beyond to next spring and summer. Weekly Features: Rustic Tomato, Basil and Goat Cheese Tart Click here to pre-order tart! Blackberry-Peach Crumble Pie Click here to pre-order pie! There are noticeable changes in the Farm s fields now. We ve begun planting the first of this Autumn s crops: broccoli, cabbage, kale and greens; beets and carrots and turnips, and will continue to plant successions throughout the next month and some. We re also taking care to clean out any fields or beds from the first half of the season where we ve let the weeds grow after harvest. It is now time to plant a new round of cover, or soil-nourishing crops. I had a mentor farmer who would say to me, as I left for the weekend to visit my girlfriend, Sow your oats in the winter, Mike. He was right about many things, but not this one. Cover crops should be sown throughout the year and especially in the summer, when they re underutilized by farmers. So in some fields now, we re planting polycultures of cowpeas, sudangrass, sunflowers, and buckwheat. We do this for many reasons. Cover crops catch and cycle nutrients, keeping them on the farm and out of the Chesapeake Bay. They cover the soil, they feed soil organism, suppress disease, provide habitat for insects and other critters, and they give the farm a healthy, vibrant feeling.

3 Fresh from the Farm Essentially, we are taking our cue from Nature, which almost never plants just one species at a time. Nature digs diversity and Nature is the standard to which I compare the farm ecosystem vs agroecosystem. By planting cover crops, and by rotating our crops around the farm, we can mimic that diversity in time, if not in space. We end up planning one, two, even three years into the future (even more!) what crops will go where, and we plant cover crops to feed the soil, so the soil will feed those crops. Cover crops, crop rotation, and the use of compost and mineral amendments, these all drive the fertility and pest control cycles here at the farm. and we decided to grow a full year s cover crop to improve conditions there. So after a healthy dose of compost and soil minerals, we planted strawberries last Wednesday in an old cucumber patch. You can see we do a lot of juggling in August, and this is why we don t usually take a vacation around now. There are summer crops to harvest, fall crops to plant, and fields to prepare for the cover crops that will make way for next year s veggies. And of course strawberries to plant, we wouldn t want to forget those. Ciao, Katharyn Tupitza We say farewell, Katharyn and thank you. Katharyn joined the farm team early this summer and has left for Virginia Tech, where she is entering her second year. Those of you who pick up on Saturdays will remember Katharyn from the farm stand. Katharyn, your memory will live on in the cantaloupe-ground cherry crumble of my heart. Have a good year and visit us. Have a good week and be great, Mike If you ve gone for a walk on the Farm Loop Trail, you may have noticed the summer weeds and grasses senescing. I like to let these grow in certain areas of the farm to provide habitat for insects and other critters, but as they get old, any pests in there start to look for lush green growth somewhere else. That is usually our crop plants, so we try to plant something fresh for them to move into when we mow and till. For this we like to use buckwheat. Buckwheat works well because it has a short life, just four weeks, and then it flowers. This lets us keep the soil covered, the nutrients cycling, and the insects happy in an odd window like August. When we turn the buckwheat under, the insects will go to the cowpea-sudangrasssunflower field. By then, in late August and early September, it s time to sow the fall and winter cover crops that will take us into next spring. Now occasionally, we ll reuse, or double-crop, a bed or field. This year our plans for next years strawberry field changed (they say that if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans; farmers are a pretty funny bunch)

4 FresH FroM the kitchen all about P Sweet PePPerS CoMMon VArIetIes Bell, Banana, Cubanelle, Pimento and Wax peppers. Bell peppers are green when they are young and turn red when left on the vine to ripen longer. Bell peppers can also be yellow, orange, purple and brown. The sweetest ones are red, yellow or orange. What to Look For Peppers that are well shaped and firm, and have thick walls with no shriveled or soft spots. Avoid peppers that feel heavy for their size, it means they are full of seeds. easy storage and PreParatIon Keep peppers in the refrigerator for three days or more. Rinse before cutting. Always remove the cap and stem and scoop out the seeds. Best Uses Peppers are delicious cooked or raw. Grill, roast, broil, stir-fry peppers or sauté with tasty results. To roast a pepper, simply place the entire pepper over or under an open flame (either a gas burner or broiler or outside grill) and cook until the skin is evenly blistered all over. Put the pepper in a bowl and cover. After a few minutes, the skin will lift off easily. good PaIreD WIth... Willowsford s Culinary Director, Bonnie Moore Basil Capers Corn Cheese, especially goat and mozzarella Eggplant Garlic Olive oil Onions Marjoram Tomatoes Vinegar Recipes and tips are created for each week s harvest by Willowsford s Culinary Director, Bonnie Moore.

5 Sweet Corn and Garden Vegetable Sauté Here s a lovely alternative to corn on the cob. Here the corn kernels are stripped from the cob and sautéed alongside garden vegetables. A bit of sugar and vinegar adds a delightful balance of sweet and sour flavors. This is a perfect side dish for seafood such as shrimp, salmon, and best of all local rockfish. Sweet Corn and Vegetable Saute 2 ears corn 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 teaspoon finely chopped shallots ½ cup chopped red peppers ½ teaspoon (or to taste) seeded, finely chopped jalapeño peppers pinch of cumin seeds or ground cumin ½ teaspoon sugar 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved salt to taste freshly ground black pepper Serves 4 Mid- to Late Summer 1. Shuck the corn and break each cob in half. Stand each half up on a cutting board and cut strips of kernels from the cob. 2. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook the shallots for 2 to 3 minutes, until soft but not brown. 3. Add the peppers, corn kernels and jalapeño pepper, and cook for 1 minute. 4. Add the cumin and sugar, and cook 1 more minute. 5. Add the vinegar and tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes are just warm, about 1 minute. 6. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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