Sunday, May 29, 2011

CSA Farm Talk: Week 1 is here!

Hello CSA Members,
Welcome to the CSA Journey --- The Cutting Veg team is thrilled to be sharing it with you! Each week you will receive this e-newsletter "CSA Farm Talk." This will keep you up-to-date with what's happening on the farm, provide recipes, inform about volunteer opportunities, and let you know what produce to expect at the CSA pick-up in the upcoming week. Let the Soil and Soul nourishment begin!

Farm Update:
It's been a challenging spring for most organic farmers in Southern Ontario. The bounty of rains have washed out many grower's plans for planting cool-weather crops (eg. Peas, Salad Greens, Bok Choy), and delayed the planting of the heat loving plants (eg. Tomatoes, Cukes, Zukes). However, as The Cutting Veg team was blessed to find a 2nd growing location with sandier soil (which drains well, and thus allowed for an early planting), we are thrilled to have a bounty of spring crops. Our Salad Mix, Arugula, Asian Greens, Onions, Radishes, and Green Garlic are all ready for harvest and looking great! Further, our Peas, Chard, Kale, Beans, Parsley, and Turnips have all germinated beautifully, and provide us with more crops to look forward to in a few weeks. We too, however, are delayed in the planting of our heat-lovers. We are eager for a dry window of weather, so that we can plant our Tomatoes, Basil, Eggplant, Hot Peppers, Zukes, Cukes, and Winter Squash. It's looking like this dry window may begin this week. One of the things I adore about farming is that it truly is a co-creation. As the farmer, I have my plan and desires. However, I must follow the earth's lead --- taking cues from the weather, the soil, the appearance of the plants --- and respond accordingly. Although the spring has been challenging for so many growers, and required a great deal of patience, The Cutting Veg team is doing a great job of listening to the earth, and following its lead. In following the earth's lead, I believe we are setting ourselves up for a bountiful growing season, and if the early harvest is an indication, we are certainly on track.

CSA Members Day on the Farm - June 12th:
Please join us on the farm on Sunday June 12th, from 10am-noon, for our first "CSA Members Day" of the season. During the morning, we will participate in various farm activities (eg. planting, harvesting), a farm tour, and an interactive hand-drumming circle, provided by the Rhythmic by Nature drumming ensemble (http://www.rhythmicbynature.com). If you can make it, please rsvp to your CSA contact person Jessica, at jessica@thecuttingveg.com, and she will provide directions. Bring your friends and family! Get to know YOUR farm!

Produce this week:
This week you can expect to see most of the following items at the CSA pick-up (We say "most" because we can't always predict with 100% accuracy what will be ready to harvest): Salad Mix (2pts), Green Onions (1pt), Green Garlic (1.5pts), Asian Greens Mix (2pts), Radishes (1pt), Arugula (2pts), Asparagus (2.5pts), Bok Choy (2pts), Mushrooms (2pts), Apples (1pt/3 apples), Beets (1.5pts). The first six items in the list were all grown on our farm, and the others are being sourced from other local, organic farms. As the season goes on, more and more will come from our farm.

Introducing Green Garlic and Asian Greens:

You are all familiar with Green Onions. But how about Green Garlic? Green Garlic is simply a garlic plant that is harvested before it reaches full maturity. With Green Garlic, you can use the entire plant, just like you do with green onions. Soups, stews, salad dressings...you're gonna love the flavour and medicinal qualities that Green Garlic offers.

Another one of the fun crops that The Cutting Veg grows is our Asian Greens Mix. Included in this mix are leafy greens such as mizuna, pac choi, tah tsai, komatsuna, and mustard greens. What we love about this mix, aside from the unique flavours, is that it can be used as a salad, or cooked. If cooking your Asian Greens, you can use them however you would cook with kale, chard, or spinach --- steam them, throw them in a stir-fry, soup, stew, curry, etc. Whether in salad or cooked, our Asian Greens are certainly well-loved.

Recipe: Asian Greens Salad with Edemame

Ingredients:

4 cups Asian baby greens

1 cup frozen edemame

1 cup sweet corn

1 ripe mango, peeled and sliced

Sunflower sprouts (optional)

The dressing:

4 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp apple juice

1 tsp sugar (optional)

1 tsp dry basil


Instructions:

Ø Whisk all the ingredients for the salad dressing.

Ø In a medium bowl, combine all the vegetables for the salad.

Ø Add the dressing and mix.

Ø Serve as a main course or appetizer.

Serves 4


Spread the word:
Please help others to learn about what we are up to, and how to get involved: 1. Twitter (http://twitter.com/): Follow us at @thecuttingveg; 2. Facebook: Like us at http://on.fb.me/iTSbQQ, 3. E-mail this newsletter to anyone who may be interested; 4. Share the link to this newsletter (http://bit.ly/ga5Am0) on Facebook or Twitter. 5. Bring a friend with to the farm or a CSA pick-up. Thanks for helping us to spread the word!


That's all the news from the farm for now. Enjoy your first week of local, organic veg from your farm. Until next time, Keep Livin' on the Veg!


Daniel


Daniel Hoffmann
Organic Farmer
The Cutting Veg
(647)388-7444
www.thecuttingveg.com
twitter: @thecuttingveg
facebook: http://on.fb.me/iTSbQQ

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Volunteer Opportunities

Hello Farm Folk,

Within The Cutting Veg community, our volunteer program is very important to us. All of our volunteers benefit in a variety of ways, including learning farm and/or market skills, being part of community of like-minded people, veggies to take home each shift, exercise and time outdoors, etc. We have two types of volunteers: Casual and Core.

Casual volunteers do not need to make any commitment, and are welcome to help out on the farm most Sundays to Fridays, between 6:30am and 3pm. Casual volunteers need simply to rsvp to our e-newsletter Farm Talk, when you want to come to the farm. We will start welcoming casual volunteers to the farm at some point in the next few weeks. If you are interested in being a casual volunteer, email daniel@thecuttingveg.com, and say "Add me to your e-newsletter." Then, simply keep your eyes open for the "Volunteer Needs" section within Farm Talk.

In contrast, Core Volunteers commit to a certain shift at the farm or a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture Program), over a two month minimum period. We are currently accepting applications for the following "Core Volunteer" positions for the 2011 season:

FARM: Sunday`s, 6:30am-3:30pm
FARM: Monday`s, 6:30am-3:30pm
FARM: Tuesday`s, 6:30am-3:30pm
FARM: Wednesday`s, 6:30am-3:30pm
CSA: Thursday`s, 2-7:30pm, Bloor and Yonge area
CSA: Thursday`s, 2-7:30pm, Bathurst and Rutherford rd area
FARM: Thursday`s, 6:30am-3:30pm
FARM: Friday`s, 6:30am-3:30pm


To apply:
  • Email Jessica Gibson, at jessica@thecuttingveg.com, and let her know:
          • What shift you'd like to apply for
          • Dates you'd be interested in committing to
          • And to book a trial shift.
  • If, after your trial shift, both you and the Farm team feels it's a good fit, we will firm up the plan, including dates of the commitment.
  • No resumes necessary
Whether you decide to be a Casual or Core Volunteer, we very much look forward to farming with you soon! Keep Livin' on the Veg!

Daniel

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

How can you make a difference?:

At The Cutting Veg, we try to inspire and support people to take action in their relationship with food to improve their quality of life, while making a difference. A healthy world starts with healthy lifestyles. Here are a couple options of how you can take action to enhance your relationship with food, and the health of the planet:
  • Cook and eat with whole foods: As food-revolution author Michael Pollan likes to say "Don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food." A diet based in fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, and moderate amounts of fresh meat and dairy products is best for you and for the planet

  • Grow your own: The 2nd best place to get your food is directly from the producer. The best is when you grow it yourself! When we grow some of our own food organically, we enrich the environment, learn valuable skills, enjoy exercise and time outdoors, and get to delight in the flavours of homegrown produce.

  • Vote with your dollar: Purchase your food directly from the producer, or from a source you believe in. Buying your food at Farmers Markets and CSAs provide you and your family with the highest quality food (nutrition and flavour), while supporting the development of a healthy food system.

  • Support a Food Security Organization: Volunteer for, or donate to, an organization whose focus is the creation of a healthy food system:

  • Teach others how to cook, grow, or eat healthily: Expose your loved-ones to these simple life pleasures. And of course, the best way to teach is to lead by example.

  • Focus on Kids: Connecting the children in our lives to a healthy food system will help them to choose a healthy lifestyle as they grow. Bring them with to your local farmers market or CSA. Involve them in cooking and gardening. Model for the kids in your life that food, and a healthy food system, is important to you.

There are countless ways to get involved in the food movement. Enrich your quality of life, and make a difference. How are YOU inspired to take action?

The Cutting Veg in the News:
Check out last weeks Globe & Mail article referencing The Cutting Veg's Garden Coaching service: http://bit.ly/kp9kW1

Farm and CSA Update:
We finally had a dry window of weather last week, enabling tillage at the farm in Brampton. We had a major plant-o-rama last week including 13 beds (100ft x 4ft) of Peas, 6 beds of Salad Greens, 4 Asian Greens, 2 Radishes, 2 Turnips, 4 Beets, 2 Chard, and 12 Onions. The rains of this weekend were perfect for us, as it gave a nice soaking to all the seeds we planted. Lets hope for fantastic germination for all the new crops! Meanwhile, the crops planted in mid-April in Sutton are doing very well. We're working furiously to keep up with the weeds, but it's looking like we'll have lots of salad, Asian greens, arugula, etc, for our early weeks at the Farmers Market and CSAs. It's certainly not too late to join our Community Supported Agriculture Program. We up to 180 members now, who have chosen to be part of a healthy food system while delighting in some of the freshest, localest, organicest produce around. More info at www.thecuttingveg.com/CSA.

Join FoodShare for Recipe for Change:
Join FoodShare for an unforgettable evening of fine food, wine and beer featuring 29 top Toronto chefs, 8 wineries, a brewery and a champion coffee barista. Recipe for Change is a Tasting Adventure unlike any other, and includes a lovely full meal and accompanying beverages, plus unprecedented opportunities to mingle with top chefs and local gastronomes. Tickets are $100 for a full meal and accompanying beverages. And best of all, Recipe for Change is a celebration of food with a purpose, supporting FoodShare's innovative and multi-faceted work toward Good Healthy Food for All and specifically the Field to Table Schools program, which returns Food Literacy to students from Junior Kindergarten through Grade 12. Visit http://foodshare.net/RFC2011/index.htm for full details, including the Menu, a full chef list and bios and to purchase tickets, which are selling quickly. Don't miss out! Marion Kane (former Food Editor of the Toronto Star, local food sleuth and broadcaster) calls Recipe for Change "the best fundraising feast I have attended", saying "chefs and guests all relished the fantastic food and uplifting spirit."

That's all the news from the farm for now. Until next time, Keep Livin' on the Veg!


Daniel

P.S. We will start welcoming volunteers to the farm in a couple weeks. Stay tuned to "Farm Talk" for updates. Also, a reminder that our CSAs start in 2 weeks. Take a risk and try something that's good for you, your family, and the planet: www.thecuttingveg.com/CSA

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

HOORAY FOR SUNSHINE!

After what seems like endless rains, the farm team is thrilled with this stretch of warm, sunny weather! Our crops that are in the ground are thriving --- Salad Greens, Asian Greens, Onions, Arugula, etc --- and we're tilling up new land as we speak. Our CSA starts in just 3 weeks, and the sunshine has come just in time. Hooray for sunshine!!!

We are doing one final push to get people on board for our CSAs so that they don't miss out on the first week. Please help us to continue to spread the word. It would be helpful if you posted this note below (or a variation) on Facebook, or Twitter:

I LOVE this farm, and highly recommend you check it out: www.thecuttingveg.com/CSA. I can't wait to be delighting in the freshest, localest, organicest produce around! Local, Organic Tomatoes, Apples, Garlic, YUM!

Thanks for helping to spread the word everyone. Enjoy the sunshine and until next time, Keep Livin' on the Veg!

Daniel

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Farm Talk: Garden Coaching, Podcast, CSAs!

Hello Farm Folk,

Introducing The Cutting Veg Podcast:
We are thrilled to present "Seeds" --- episode 1 of The Cutting Veg podcast We will be offering a new podcast every month or two, as a different way to explore some of the current themes and issues within local, organic agriculture. Listen in: www.thecuttingveg.com/podcast


Introducing Garden Coaching:
The 2nd best place to get your food is from a local, organic farmer that you know. The best place? When you grow it yourself! Since gardening can promote personal, social, environmental, and economic health, the more people growing their own food, the happier and healthier our planet will be. Are you wanting to start a garden at your home or place of work, and needing a little support? The Cutting Veg, in collaboration with Garden Jane (www.gardenjane.com), is ready to support you to make your garden vision a reality. We won't do the work for you, but we'll coach you in the process to have a productive garden, which enhances your environment and your quality of life. If you're interested in hearing more about this service, please contact daniel@thecuttingveg.com. For those of you who already have gardens, thanks for being part of the solution! Happy Planting!

CSAs, Farmers Markets, and Community Gardens:
With the days getting warmer, more and more people are starting to think about the harvest season ahead. Some of us will be growing our own, while others will be turning to farmers markets and CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) to source their local, organic produce. Many of us will use a combo of these options. If you are interested in finding a farmers market or CSA in your area, I suggest phoning Foodlink, run by FoodShare, who can provide this information. The Foodlink phone # is 416-392-6655. They can also tell you about Community Garden plots in your area. More and more people are desiring connections to where their food comes from, and are building relationships to farms through participation in a farmers market or CSA. Though a CSA, one chooses to become a member of a farm for a season, and this entitles her/him to a weekly share of the harvest. Of course, you are also welcome to join The Cutting Veg CSAs, at one of our 4 locations in the GTA. More info about this at www.thecuttingveg.com/CSA. We're at 150+ members now and counting. Regardless if you grow it, or source it through a farmers market or CSA, it is definitely that time of year to be thinking where you'll be getting your local, organic goodies this harvest season.

Farm Update:
The good news is that we were able to plant 3/4 of an acre of veg at a dry location in Sutton. Here we planted early salad greens, Asian greens, radishes, turnips, arugula, and 3 varieties of onions (red, yellow, and white). These early plantings are germinating very well, and are on track to be harvested for the early weeks of our CSAs and Farmers Markets. The bad news is that the persistence of the rain means that we have been unable to start planting at our primary farm in Brampton. With the weather having been more dry the last few days, we are optimistic we will be able to till, and start planting there, shortly. We are very eager to begin planting at the Brampton farm, as there are no shortage of crops to get in the ground. In specific, we want to plant (asap) 16 beds of peas (snow and snap), 3 beets, 3 chard, 3 kale, tons more onions, and the next timelines of salad greens, Asian greens, radishes, turnips, arugula. The word around Southern Ontario is that there are a lot of frustrated farmers, delayed in their planting. The reality of farming is that we work in collaboration with the weather, and must adjust as the weather shifts and changes. No two seasons are exactly the same. Last year at this time, we had planted approx 1.5 acres of veg in Brampton. This year, nothing yet. The co-creative nature of organic farming certainly tests one's spiritual self (eg. patience, acceptance) and physical self (like having to do 6 weeks of planting in 3 weeks, once the soil dries). Quite the challenge...gotta love it!!!

That's all the news from the farm for now. Until next time, Keep Livin' on the Veg!

Daniel