Monday, July 25, 2011

Farm Talk: The Garlic Harvest is coming!

Hey Farm Folk,

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!

The Garlic Harvest:
It's time for the annual garlic harvest, and we've got 30,000+ bulbs of Persian, Korean, Italian, Tibetan, Israeli and 15 other varieties to harvest and hang in the barn to cure! Please join us for the garlic harvest this coming Sunday, July 31st, and/or Monday, Aug 1st (Civic Holiday) from 6:30am-3:30pm. If you are interested in helping with the garlic harvest, please rsvp to jessica.gibson81@gmail.com, and let her know which day you want to come, and if you need directions to the farm, or a lift (leaving at 6am from Davenport and Bathurst area). Looking forward to harvesting garlic with you very soon!

Did you Know?: The Health Benefits of Organic Kale
Kale is known to be one of the healthiest foods around. The list of vitamins and minerals that Kale is very high in is endless, and includes Iron, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, B1, B2, B6, Calcium, Beta-Carotene, etc, etc, etc. Regarding health impact, in addition to generally making you feel good when you eat it, Kale is also known to help respiratory problems, reduce risk of cancer, reduce the symptoms of arthritis and asthma, reduce cholesterol, balance blood sugar, and on and on. Personally, I like to steam kale for 15 minutes or so, and combine with butter or olive oil, and salt. For more kale recipes, visit http://www.thecuttingveg.com/recipes

Farm Photos:
Check out some recent photos of the farm and our veg at http://on.fb.me/iTSbQQ

Farm Update:
It's a season of extremes. Endless rains from March to May. Heat Wave and drought in July. However, good news from Farmer Paul, who reported from the farm on Sunday, "We had a million dollar rain last night." This is a saying from Paul's childhood of growing up on a farm, for when you got just the right amount of rain, at just the right time. HOORAY! After weeks of coming extra early, and staying late at night, to water, the rain couldn't have come at a better time. Not only will this rain free us up from watering, allowing us to focus our energy on other things (like staking the tomatoes, keeping up with the weeding, and planting more greens), but rain nourishes the plants in a way that water from a hose never can. Otherwise, most of our plants are responding nicely to the heat. The tomatoes, hot peppers, zukes, cukes, eggplants, and basil are really bulking up, and looking healthier than ever. The tomato plants are now covered in green fruits, and the eggplants and hot peppers are also flowering. Hooray for heat and rain!!!

TCV in the media:
Check out our column on making a difference in the world through one's relationship with food on Meghan Telpner's "Making Love in the Kitchen Blog": http://bit.ly/q9Yvg8

The McVean Farm Harvest Table: One of the Great Events of the Year!:
On August 28th, 2011, Chef Yasser Qahawish will prepare a unique and delicious 4-course family-style feast cooked over charcoal. The meal will feature the amazing diversity of fresh produce from the McVean farm and local artisans, paired with local sustainable wines and beer. Join us at 3pm for a walking or wagon tour of the farm stopping for hors d'oeuvres and to meet our passionate hard working farmers. Tickets are $100.00 per person (all wine and beer included), children under 12 are free. All proceeds will go to support the McVean Farm and FarmStart's other programs and services for new, ecological farmers. For more information and to reserve your spot at our harvest table visit www.harvesttable.ca or call 519.836.7046 ext.103.

Volunteer Opportunities:
Each week, we welcome volunteers to the farm from Sunday-Friday, 6:30am-3:30pm. If you are interested in helping on the farm, please rsvp to jessica.gibson81@gmail.com, and let her know what day you want to come, and if you need directions to the farm, or a lift (leaving at 6am from Davenport and Bathurst area). Hope to see you on the farm soon!

RECIPE: Refreshing Cucumber Dill Salad (from http://www.thecuttingveg.com/recipes)
4 medium cucumbers, sliced
1 bunch of dill, chopped finely
1 small red onion, cut into thin rings
1 tsp sesame seeds, toasted
The dressing:
2 Tbsp oil
1 tsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp sunflower
1 tsp balsamic vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp sugar
Pepper
Salt
  • Whisk all the ingredients for the salad dressing
  • In a medium bowl, combine the cucumber, dill, onion and sesame seeds.
  • Pour the dressing and mix well.
  • Allow vegetables to marinate in the dressing before serving (a few minutes).
  • Serve chilled.

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


Daniel

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Farm Talk

Hello Farm Folk,

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!

Volunteer Opportunities:
The beans are ready for harvesting, which means we need lots of hands to help with the harvesting. Each week, we welcome volunteers to the farm from Sunday-Friday, 6:30am-3:30pm. If you are interested in helping on the farm, please rsvp to jessica.gibson81@gmail.com, and let her know what day you want to come, and if you need directions to the farm, or a lift (leaving at 6am from Davenport and Bathurst area). Hope to see you on the farm soon!

Did you Know? Organic Spinach Nutritional Facts:
There are countless studies citing the nutritional superiority of organically grown food. One study comparing Organic and Conventional produce, done at Rutgers university, found Organic Spinach to have twice as much calcium, 5 times the magnesium, 3 times the potassium, and 83 times the iron! Popeye must have been eating organic before any of us!

The Cutting Veg in the News:
  • Check out "Wannabe farmers see dollar signs in the dirt" from the Globe and Mail: http://bit.ly/o2CMzq

  • And volunteer, Sarah-Lyn Amaral, blogs about her experiencing volunteering on the farm: http://bit.ly/nMVTnU


Farm Update:
One of the great gifts of this season has been the discovery of our new growing site in Sutton. Loes, Hans, and Justin Pape have been incredibly generous to share their land with us, and we are so thrilled with how well our crops have grown in this soil. The success of our Sutton crops, in combination with a 2nd consecutive season of struggling crops at our farm in Brampton, has led us to reevaluate where we will focus our growing in the future. Thus, in preparation for the 2012 growing season, we have started to prepare an additional 5 acres in Sutton. We are undecided whether or not we will also cultivate crops in Brampton as well in 2012, but it is looking like Sutton will become our primary growing location starting next year. I have never wanted to leave our Brampton location, as its proximity to Toronto makes the farm accessible to so many people. It has always been a primary priority for the farm to be a therapeutic and educational resource to the community, and it has been a joy to see people come to the farm over the years, and be enriched from the experience of helping out. Yet, there is no denying that the soil is exceptional on the Pape's land, and the veg that we have been harvesting is just fantastic. For 2012, how much of our crop will be grown in Sutton and how much in Brampton is still to be decided; however, it is clear, that we have begun the transition to make Sutton our primary location. As part of that transition, we will try growing a few crops on this newly tilled land this fall. In specific, we will plant some salad greens, Asian greens, arugula, radishes, and turnips there over the next few weeks. This will not only support an abundant fall harvest, but enable us to continue learning about the realities of growing on this land. Organic Farming forces one to constantly think on their feet, and adapt ones plans, as the season unfolds. We responded to the never-ending rains of the spring, by growing on this new location in Sutton, because its sandier soils dried more quickly. Sometimes from life's curveballs, comes life's greatest gifts.

RECIPE: Chilled Zucchini Soup (from http://www.thecuttingveg.com/recipes)
4 medium zucchini, peeled (optional) and diced
4 stalks celery, diced
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Garlic Cloves (or scapes), minced or chopped
1 Tbsp dill, chopped
Salt
Pepper

Blend all ingredients in food processor, until smooth
Chill in the fridge before serving
Serves 4

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


Daniel

P.S. If you haven't had a chance to listen to episode 3 of the FarmTalk Pod, you can do so at http://www.thecuttingveg.com/podcast

Monday, July 11, 2011

Farm Talk: "Weeds" the podcast

Hello Farm Folk,

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!

Podcast & The Cutting Veg in the Media:
Farm Update:
For farmers throughout North America, spring planting was severely delayed this season, due to the abundance of rain in April and May. In my experience, it is customary for planting of the heat-lovers - tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cukes, zukes, etc. - to spill over into mid-June (mid-late May is ideal for planting heat-lovers in our climate in Southern Ontario). However, it wasn't until last week that we finally finished planting our heat lovers, with the sewing of 24 beds (100 ft x 4ft) of Winter Squash. Winter Squash is so named not for when you grow or harvest it, but because it is storable for the winter, due to its tough outer shell. Anyway, we are optimistic we planted our Winter Squash just in time, and we have delicious Acorn, Delicata, and Spaghetti Squash to look forward to. The other exciting update is the growth of our rhubarb plants. We added 250+ rhubarb plants on June 16th to our Sutton location, and already we have seen fantastic growth. We will start reaping the rewards of these new Rhubarb plants next spring. Meanwhile, we are hyper-focused on nurturing our plants these days. Weeding is key --- to reduce competition for space, moisture, and nutrients. We've also been top dressing our beds with compost, and watering our plants with nutrient-rich organic liquids (such as compost and nettle tea) to get as much nutrition to the plants as possible. We are hoping these teas will provide a boost to the crops that are struggling (due to soil saturation), and we've already seen positive impact on our parsley and eggplant crops. It is uncertain times on the farm. As we visually survey our plants, we do not see the visual vibrancy we are used to, as a result of the spring soil saturation. We are hoping all this plant nurturing will provide us with a reasonable, if not abundant, harvest. The heroes behind all this loving care of our plants are the Organic Farmers on our team --- Paul Clarkson and Jessica Gibson --- our motivated and inspiring Intern Team --- Jesse, Linda, Tunde, Meghan, Jane, Tom, Kirsten, Janaki, Leanne, Paolo, Sandra, and Tara --- and the endless stream of volunteers who join us daily to learn organic farming skills while feeding the community. And you too, are the heroes, for supporting this work, and choosing to be part of a healthy food system --- including the ups and downs that reality brings.

Volunteer Opportunities:
Each week, we welcome volunteers to the farm from Sunday-Friday, 6:30am-3:30pm. If you are interested in helping on the farm this week, please rsvp to jessica.gibson81@gmail.com, and let her know what day you want to come, and if you need directions to the farm, or a lift (leaving at 6am from Davenport and Bathurst area). Hope to see you on the farm this week!

CSA Update:
Our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) members continue to delight in their weekly share of the harvest, at one of our 4 locations in the GTA. We are up around 280 members now. This week members will be delighting in the following local, organic veg: Basil, Cukes, Kale, Zukes, Head Lettuce, Beets, Mushrooms, Asian Greens, Green Onions, Garlic Scapes, Turnips, and Mustard Greens. It's not too late to join at a pro-rated cost. More info at http://www.thecuttingveg.com/CSA, or email daniel@thecuttingveg.com.

RECIPE: Kale Chips (from http://www.thecuttingveg.com/recipes)
8-10 medium kale leaves
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp sesame seeds (optional)
Pinch of salt
  • Preheat the oven to 350 F
  • Rinse kale under warm water. Pat dry with a paper towel.
  • Detach the kale leaves from each stem. Transfer the leaves into a clean bowl and discard the stems.
  • Coat the kale leaves with olive oil. Add salt and sesame seeds. Mix well.
  • Transfer to a baking pan and bake in the oven for about 6-10 minutes, until crispy.
That's the news from the farm for now. Until next time, Keep Livin' on the Veg!

Daniel


Sunday, July 3, 2011

Farm Talk

Hello Farm Folk,

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!

The Cutting Veg in the News:
Check out this article, "Urban Gardening Blossoms", in the Globe and Mail, on saving money by growing your own food: http://bit.ly/bs83Tb

Quick, Cool Kid-friendly Video:
A child's experiment turns into a lesson on the toxins in our food supply: http://bit.ly/iewzKW

Farm Update:
Slowly but surely, our crops are coming along. The snow and snap peas are starting to produce. The parsley, kale and chard plants are thriving, and also close to harvest-time. The basil and hot peppers are looking healthy, and enjoying the heat. The beans are flowering, and we should be harvesting from them in the next couple weeks. The cukes and zukes are several weeks behind, due to the late planting, but looking very healthy, and primed for an abundant harvest. Some of our tomato plants are thriving, while others are struggling along. The low points, where the water collects, are where the tomatoes are struggling most. Meanwhile, recently planted crops are also coming along. Our most recently planted beds of salad greens and Asian greens have germinated beautifully, as have our 2nd timeline of beans. Last week, we finally finished planting the last of our 130,000 onions, which will supply our CSAs and farmers markets throughout the season, and potentially winter farmers markets as well. We also planted 24 beds of Winter Squash last week, including Acorn Squash, Delicata, and Spaghetti Squash. This week, we will continue to focus on weeding, harvesting, and nurturing our plants. We will also be preparing beds to plant our second timelines of cukes and zukes. While the intensity and demands of June are over (first harvests, first markets/CSA, planting heat-lovers, endless weeding, etc), there is no mellow phase of the farming season. July and August look to be both demanding and rewarding months --- lots of work to do, and hopefully lots of veg to delight in.

Introducing Garlic Scapes:
Garlic Scapes are the flowering seed-pod of the garlic plant. We harvest the garlic scapes because a)We want the plants to focus its energy on producing large bulbs, rather than seeds; and b)They are delicious! Garlic Scapes can be cooked however you normally cook with garlic. Sautee with onions to start your dish, put in a salad dressing, add to a dip...or chop, puree, and freeze in a double-bagged ziploc, for your winter supply or local, organic garlic. Another fun option, is garlic scape pesto.

RECIPE: Garlic Scape Pesto
  • Blanch or steam your bunch of garlic scapes for 2-4 minutes. This step can be skipped if you want your pesto extra strong and garlicky.
  • Puree garlic scapes in a blender, adding as much olive as needed to make a smooth texture.
  • Add and puree healthy amount of nut or seed of choice: pine nuts, walnuts, roasted sunflower seeds, etc.
  • Add and puree fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice
  • Add and puree parmesan or asiago cheese (optional)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste.


Volunteer Needs:

Each week, we welcome volunteers to the farm from Sunday-Friday, 6:30am-3:30pm. If you are interested in helping on the farm this week, please rsvp to jessica.gibson81@gmail.com, and let her know what day you want to come, and if you need directions to the farm, or a lift (leaving at 6am from Davenport and Bathurst area). Hope to see you on the farm this week!

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

Daniel